The following are today’s upgrades for Validea’s Low PE Investor model based on the published strategy of John Neff. This strategy looks for firms with persistent earnings growth that trade at a discount relative to their earnings growth and dividend yield.

HERITAGE FINANCIAL CORP (HFWA) is a small-cap value stock in the Regional Banks industry. The rating according to our strategy based on John Neff changed from 62% to 81% based on the firm’s underlying fundamentals and the stock’s valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: Heritage Financial Corporation is a bank holding company. The Company is engaged in the business of planning, directing and coordinating the business activities of its bank subsidiary, Heritage Bank (the Bank). The Bank’s lending activities focus on commercial business lending. The Bank also originates consumer loans, real estate construction and land development loans, and one- to four-family residential loans. The Bank’s investment securities available for sale include the United States treasury and the United States Government-sponsored agencies; municipal securities; mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage obligations, which include residential and commercial; collateralized loan obligations; corporate obligations, and other securities. The Bank’s primary sources of funds are deposits and loan repayments. Borrowings are used on a short-term basis to compensate for reductions in other sources of funds, such as deposit inflows.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy’s tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy’s criteria.

P/E RATIO: FAIL
EPS GROWTH: PASS
FUTURE EPS GROWTH: PASS
SALES GROWTH: PASS
TOTAL RETURN/PE: PASS
FREE CASH FLOW: PASS
EPS PERSISTENCE: PASS

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ’s Guru Analysis tool, click here

TCG BDC INC (CGBD) is a small-cap value stock in the Misc. Financial Services industry. The rating according to our strategy based on John Neff changed from 38% to 77% based on the firm’s underlying fundamentals and the stock’s valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: TCG BDC, Inc., formerly Carlyle GMS Finance, Inc., is a managed and non-diversified closed-end investment company. The Company is focused on lending to middle market companies. The Company’s investment objective is to generate current income and capital appreciation primarily through debt investments in the United States and middle market companies. The Company seeks to achieve its investment objective primarily through direct originations of secured debt, including first lien senior secured loans and second lien senior secured loans. The Company’s first lien senior secured loans include stand-alone first lien loans, first lien/last out loans, and unitranche loans. Second lien senior secured loans (Middle Market Senior Loans), with the balance of its assets invested yielding in higher investments include unsecured debt, mezzanine debt and investments in equities. The Company’s investment adviser is Carlyle GMS Investment Management L.L.C.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy’s tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy’s criteria.

P/E RATIO: FAIL
EPS GROWTH: PASS
FUTURE EPS GROWTH: PASS
SALES GROWTH: PASS
TOTAL RETURN/PE: PASS
FREE CASH FLOW: FAIL
EPS PERSISTENCE: FAIL

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ’s Guru Analysis tool, click here

Since its inception, Validea’s strategy based on John Neff has returned 271.40% vs. 178.78% for the S&P 500. For more details on this strategy, click here

About John Neff: While known as the manager with whom many top managers entrusted their own money, Neff was far from the smooth-talking, high-profile Wall Streeter you might expect. He was mild-mannered and low-key, and the same might be said of the Windsor Fund that he managed for more than three decades. In fact, Neff himself described the fund as “relatively prosaic, dull, [and] conservative.” There was nothing dull about his results, however. From 1964 to 1995, Neff guided Windsor to a 13.7 percent average annual return, easily outpacing the S&P 500’s 10.6 percent return during that time. That 3.1 percentage point difference is huge over time — a $10,000 investment in Windsor (with dividends reinvested) at the start of Neff’s tenure would have ended up as more than $564,000 by the time he retired, more than twice what the same investment in the S&P would have yielded (about $233,000). Considering the length of his tenure, that track record may be the best ever for a manager of such a large fund.

About Validea: Validea is an investment research service that follows the published strategies of investment legends. Validea offers both stock analysis and model portfolios based on gurus who have outperformed the market over the long-term, including Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch and Martin Zweig. For more information about Validea, click here

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.



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