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Tired of the same old tech song?

Published on 10-17-2023

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Try some mining and financials to liven things up


It hasn’t been a great year for the stock markets. Better than 2022, sure, but that’s not setting a very high bar.

As of the close on Sept. 29, the S&P/TSX Composite Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were hovering around break-even for the year. The S&P 500 Composite Index and Nasdaq Composite Index were well into positive territory, but only because of their heightened exposure to the tech sector, which has been the major bright spot this year.

We’re going through a period where some segments of the market are in retreat, such as utilities and telecoms, while a few (notably tech and energy) are doing reasonably well. That doesn’t mean you won’t find profitable securities elsewhere. But they aren’t very plentiful, and you or your advisor need to do some research.

Here are three non-tech stocks that have outperformed this year. All are recommendations of my Internet Wealth Builder newsletter.

Cameco Corp.

Cameco Corp. (TSX: CCO), based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is one of the world’s largest uranium producers, with major mines in Saskatchewan and refineries in Ontario.

Uranium is a hot commodity again, and there is growing concern that global output may be insufficient to meet demand, especially with the sanctions on Russia. The price of one pound of the mineral has jumped more than 60% this year, and uranium mining stocks have gone along for the ride. Cameco shares, which ended last year at $30.69, closed recently at $49.59, for a year-to-date gain of 61%.

Second-quarter results showed a decline in revenue and profit compared with last year, due mainly to lower sales volumes. But the first six months of the fiscal year were very strong. Revenue was $1.2 billion, up 22% from the first half of 2022. Adjusted net earnings were $112 million ($0.26 per share) compared with $89 million ($0.22 a share) last year.

“All over the world, government policies and corporate decisions are being followed up with proposals, commitments, and actions to support the nuclear fuel cycle and re-energize nuclear power as a fundamental source of clean, secure, and low-cost energy,” said Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel. “We are seeing improving market fundamentals with prices for uranium rising.”

But while the fundamentals are improving, uranium extraction remains a tough business. That was brought home in early September when Cameco released an update that projected that this year’s production from its Cigar Lake mine and McArthur River/Key Lake operations will be down about 8% from previous estimates. The company cited equipment problems and a shortage of trained personnel as among the reasons for the shortfall.

So we have a situation where demand is on the rise, which means the price of uranium is likely to move higher. But production problems may limit Cameco’s ability to take full advantage of the situation. Investors should monitor the situation closely. The stock has a history of volatility.

EQB Inc.

EQB Inc. (TSX: EQB) provides mortgage lending services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Equitable Bank, to individuals and businesses in Canadian urban markets, with a focus on entrepreneurs and new Canadians.

Most bank stocks are in the red this year. EQB is a notable exception; the shares are up about 30% so far in 2023. The stock hit an all-time high of $84.79 in August. It’s pulled back since then but is still outperforming the financial sector by a wide margin this year.

EQB had record second-quarter and first-half results and raised its dividend for the seventh consecutive quarter. The stock pays $0.38 a share ($1.52 a year), to yield 2% at the current price.

This company has done well since it was first included on our recommended list over a decade ago. But history tells us the share price is vulnerable if we have a recession, so some caution is in order.

Fairfax Financial Holdings

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (TSX: FFH) is one of the largest property/casualty insurers and reinsurers in North America. Its CEO, Prem Watsa, is often called the “Warren Buffett of Canada” because of his value-based investment approach. Apart from its insurance operations, Fairfax owns positions in a number of non-insurance businesses, such as Stelco, BlackBerry, Resolute Forest Products, and Golf Town.

The stock has been rising steadily for the past year and is now well past the $1,000 per share mark – a level few Canadian companies ever achieve.

The company’s second-quarter results contained a lot of good news for investors. Net earnings attributable to shareholders were $734.4 million ($31.10 per share). That was a huge improvement over the same quarter in 2022, when the company reported a loss of $32 million (-$1.83 per share). Note that Fairfax reports in U.S. dollars.

Book value per basic share, which Mr. Watsa considers to be the key measure of a company’s financial performance, increased to $834.28, up 10.8% (adjusted for a $10 per share dividend paid in the first quarter) from $762.28 as of last Dec. 31.

These are just three examples of outperforming non-tech stocks in 2023. There are several in the energy sector, including such companies as ARC Resources and Canadian Natural Resources. We’ve also seen good results from transportation company TFI International, and engineering and design firm WSP Global. Investors should focus on sectors that are outperforming the broad market and then zero in on the leading performers in those areas.

Gordon Pape is one of Canada’s best-known personal finance commentators and investment experts. He is the publisher of The Internet Wealth Builder and The Income Investor newsletters, which are available through the Building Wealth website. To receive a free copy of the special report “The Tumultuous Twenties,” go to

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Notes and Disclaimer

Content © 2023 by Gordon Pape Enterprises. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion of the writer. Securities mentioned carry risk of loss, and no guarantee of performance is made or implied. This information is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Always seek advice from your own financial advisor before making investment decisions. Image: Condrea

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