As earnings season begins, we have central banks — the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Bank of China and Bank of England — all flooding the system with money in an attempt to encourage investors to buy risky assets. And considering that stocks are near a multi-year high right now, it’s obvious the central banks are winning the battle so far.
Still, we’ve already had some serious wipe-outs. Express (NYSE:EXPR), which caters to young 20-something men and women, pre-released a terrible Q3 report and said Q4 would be just as bad. Shares were down 22% Tuesday. Other retailers, such as Fifth & Pacific (NYSE:FNP) — the company behind the Juicy Couture brand as well as Kate Spade — also pre-released terrible earnings Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) pre-announced a weak third quarter — as if the company could even get weaker — and shares were down 13%. If you think about it, it’s kind of surprising because Hewlett-Packard is already considered to be on the skids and yet investors were still surprised at how terrible the quarter was.
So, what’s an investor to do? In my Trader’s Advantage newsletter, we’ve been focused more on companies that are outside of the mainstream and are less subject to the whims of quarterly earnings reports.
Enter Macquarie Infrastructure Co. Trust (NYSE:MIC). It’s the American unit of a large Australian company and owns large infrastructure assets in the U.S. It owns a lot of fixed-based operators, which are companies that operate commercial airports, and these just generate a lot of cash flow that Macquarie then delivers to shareholders in the form of a monthly dividend, which is quite high at 6% annualized.
Macquarie also owns half of a holding company called International-Matex Tank Terminals, which is one of the largest independent bulk liquid storage terminals in North America with something like 43 million barrels of storage capacity. It handles mostly petroleum, vegetable oils and specialty chemicals. The company also owns the largest liquefied natural gas company in Hawaii, a company called Hawaii Gas.
And Macquarie owns 50% controlling interest in two unusual operations: Thermal Chicago in Chicago, Ill., and Northwind Aladdin in Nevada. These two companies provide chilled water for buildings in downtown Chicago and Las Vegas.
Again, these are high cash flow businesses that Macquarie turns around and delivers to investors in the form of a dividend. The shares are up about 1200% since 2009.
Keep an eye on MIC. True, it’s not as glitzy as the retail names anyone would recognize, but that’s a good thing — it’s not going to be volatile around earnings time. MIC just recently moved up and consolidated and is about to go higher, in my opinion.
Jon Markman operates the investment firm Markman Capital Insights. He also writes a daily swing trading newsletter, Trader’s Advantage.