It takes $300bn to join the mega cap club; FedEx earnings vs e-commerce

Equities 8 minutes to read
Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  Mega caps have done well in the past five years driven by strong gains across the FAANG segment but our mega cap equity basket launch is driven by our goal of providing clients with another option during inflation than our commodity sector basket. Mega caps have important characteristics such as high market share, pricing power, strong balance sheets, strong earnings power and global distribution which means that they should be able to offset inflationary pressures better than the general equity market. We also take a look at FedEx earnings last night and what their forecast of higher prices mean for e-commerce stocks over the coming year.


Today we are launching our next equity theme basket with a focus on global mega cap stocks. The basket consists of the 25 most valued companies across the stocks exchanges and tickers that are supported on Saxo’s trading systems. For a company in 2021 to join the exclusive join it must have a market capitalization of at least $300bn. As the table below shows this group of companies have delivered 8.5% revenue growth in 2020 during a global pandemic and grown earnings by 13% underscoring the high quality of these companies. The average price target is also 15% above the current price suggesting a substantial upside from current levels.

NameIndustryMarket Cap (USD mn.)Sales growth (%)EPS growth (%)Diff to PT (%)
Apple IncTechnology Hardware2,023,4699.916.425.6
Microsoft CorpSoftware1,740,14014.225.521.2
Amazon.com IncE-Commerce Discretionary1,524,78937.681.533.5
Alphabet IncInternet Media & Services1,367,87512.82.119.2
Facebook IncInternet Media & Services793,41821.623.020.3
Tencent Holdings LtdInternet Media & Services775,81427.453.730.1
Alibaba Group Holding LtdE-Commerce Discretionary640,99031.87.738.2
Tesla IncAutomotive626,93828.3NA-2.9
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co LtdSemiconductors593,80625.246.925.3
Berkshire Hathaway IncInsurance582,412-12.5-7.712.1
Visa IncTechnology Services487,543-8.7-10.410.0
JPMorgan Chase & CoBanking481,070-8.9-13.2-3.6
Samsung Electronics Co LtdTechnology Hardware433,6452.821.920.0
Johnson & JohnsonBiotech & Pharma422,4700.6-8.314.5
Kweichow Moutai Co LtdBeverages388,00710.79.216.0
Walmart IncRetail - Consumer Staples367,8356.78.721.5
Mastercard IncTechnology Services364,564-9.4-17.56.5
Walt Disney Co/TheEntertainment Content349,039-19.2NA6.5
UnitedHealth Group IncHealth Care Facilities & Svcs342,2536.211.99.3
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SEApparel & Textile Products335,837-16.8-31.10.7
Bank of America CorpBanking335,945-17.5-29.8-4.8
Procter & Gamble Co/TheHousehold Products316,9216.319.316.5
Nestle SAFood318,629-8.8-4.211.6
NVIDIA CorpSemiconductors315,51852.776.224.5
Home Depot Inc/TheRetail - Discretionary304,85019.917.26.4
Aggregate / mean16,233,7778.513.015.1

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group
* Sales and EPS growth is measured on 12-month trailing figures, Diff to PT is the difference between consensus price target and the current price in %

One of the reasons we have created the mega caps theme basket is because we started the year with our commodity sector basket as way to get exposure to rising commodities which tend to perform quite well both in absolute and relative terms during inflationary periods. Another way to lower the portfolio’s sensitivity to rising inflation is to increase exposure to companies with pricing power. Companies with market value above $300bn have gotten there because of great products, global distribution network, high market share, and strong earnings power. These characteristics are associated with high quality and likely pricing power suggesting they can keep up with rising inflation.

The chart below shows the performance of this mega caps group since December 2015. As the basket performance is based on today’s mega caps it naturally possesses survivorship and selection biases, so the historical performance should not be taken at face value. In any case, historical performance is no indicator of future performance. But tracking the mega caps going forward will be interesting against our these of relative strength during inflationary pressures.

FedEx forecasts elevated logistics costs

FedEx reported FY21 Q3 earnings (the company does not follow the calendar year) delivering adjusted EPS of $3.47 (146% growth y/y) vs est. $3.22, and revenue of $21.5bn (23% growth y/y) vs est. $20bn, but worse than expected operating margins due to input cost pressures. The company provided several interesting pieces of information such as that the company expects elevated prices for ‘at least the next 12 months’ and that online sales could likely see a deceleration in the short-term. Despite the deceleration in e-commerce short-term the company remained very positive on the outlook for volume and prices overall.

Overall logistics costs and last-mile delivery are important for e-commerce companies as it is around 10% of their revenue and thus around one third of most e-commerce businesses’ gross profit. On top of logistics costs rising there is also price pressure on warehouses in key spots around logistic hot spots. This means that e-commerce businesses are facing higher costs over the coming year which they can choose to eat out their operating margins to preserve market share or they can eventually choose to pass it on to consumers. This will be a story we will monitor closely this year and something investors in e-commerce stocks should as well. So far year-to-date e-commerce stocks have been doing relatively well against other parts of the year market (see table).

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