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Deep Dive: These 6 stocks help you build an anti-FAANG portfolio that will beat the ‘Amazon effect’

Retail is useless, and Amazon and different “FAANG” corporations are taking over the arena.

Not so rapid, says Brian Milligan, the lead manager of the Ave Maria Growth Fund, which has a five-star score, the perfect, from Morningstar.

FAANG corporations include Facebook FB, +0.49% Amazon AMZN, -0.31% Apple AAPL, -0.91% Netflix NFLX, -0.23% and Google conserving corporate Alphabet GOOG, -0.27% GOOGL, -0.15% A not unusual theme for the U.S. financial system and for investors has been the death of brick-and-mortar shops in the “age of Amazon.”

But Milligan argued during an interview that there are many corporations which are both well-positioned to have the benefit of the dominance of Amazon and the other FAANGs or are sufficiently aggressive to weather the typhoon or even thrive.

O’Reilly Automotive

O’Reilly Automotive ORLY, +0.13%  a car-parts store with greater than 5,000 shops in the U.S., is swiftly expanding. What Milligan loves concerning the corporate is its focus on offering “best-in-class inventory thru an established provide chain built to serve skilled carrier suppliers,” in addition to people who fix their own cars.

Milligan says there are two spaces of retail which are “no longer Amazonable”: house growth and automobile components. He names O’Reilly as a chief instance of an organization with “a wide moat and strong network.”

“With auto components, time is of the essence,” Milligan says. “Some mechanics get six to 8 deliveries a day from an O’Reilly store they usually ceaselessly expect deliveries inside 30 mins.”

Ave Maria Mutual Funds
Brian D. Milligan, lead manager of the Ave Maria Growth Fund.

He expects an amazing growth alternative for O’Reilly in the years forward as more upkeep that people have traditionally achieved at house are moved to fix retail outlets and a few jobs move from the shops to auto dealers which are higher provided for sure high-tech upkeep. The corporate “can input a market the place they don't seem to be the primary name, and then acquire percentage as a result of they have got the components,” Milligan stated.

He went on to mention that during 2017 O’Reilly and its competition blamed the monetary crisis for a slowdown that helped lead to a vital decline (and then recovery) for the stocks:


The car-parts shops “have a candy spot that is cars 4 to seven years outdated,” Milligan stated. And the slowdown of auto gross sales from 2008 thru 2011 manner a temporary decline in the collection of automobiles in the candy spot.

Milligan stated he used to be “aggressively buying” the stocks as they declined ultimate yr. You can see in the chart that the stock has recovered and the company’s first-quarter numbers appeared excellent, with gross sales expanding 6% from a yr earlier and comparable-store gross sales emerging three.4%. Meanwhile, the company’s gross margin (gross sales less the cost of goods sold, divided through gross sales) advanced from a yr earlier, in line with information provided through FactSet.


Milligan referred to as Copart CPRT, +0.98% “the favourite corporate I've ever invested in.” Copart runs online auctions of salvaged cars. The industry of salvaging cars is growing as a result of insurers are more likely to consider a automobile “totaled” because the expanding collection of high-tech parts can more simply make it no longer profitable to fix a automobile after a major coincidence.

“The collection of automobiles being totaled goes up through double digits,” plus the average selling value in step with unit goes up in the mid-teens. The higher the cost, the higher the carrier price Copart earns,” Milligan stated.


Graco GGG, +0.61%  makes fluid-handling programs, together with paint sprayers, and in line with Milligan “spends three times up to its peer workforce on analysis and building.”

Milligan loves Graco’s “moat” for painting high-ticket machinery. “If you might be putting in combination a $70,000 piece of apparatus, you don't seem to be going to scrimp on paint. They have numerous pricing energy,” he stated.

Rockwell Automation

Milligan referred to as Rockwell Automation ROK, -0.36%  “ultimate in school,” for commercial automation, which he referred to as “an especially horny market with robust international growth possible.” The corporate rejected three takeout gives from Emerson Electric ultimate yr.

Payment processors

Tying into the growth of Amazon and ecommerce on the whole, Visa V, +0.67%  and Mastercard MA, +0.25%  are each among the top holdings of the Ave Maria Growth Fund. The corporations in combination “regulate greater than 80% of card spending in the U.S.,” he stated.

“With robust incremental margins, there may be tremendous room for growth, with tens of trillions of dollars of fee opportunities across money/take a look at, virtual and new segments,” Milligan added.

An outperforming fund

The $579 million Ave Maria Growth Fund AVEGX, +0.51%  has had an excellent observe document, with bills that Morningstar considers “below average” and with very low turnover in its portfolio of 26% during 2017.

Ave Maria Mutual Funds describes itself as “the largest Catholic mutual fund family in the U.S.,” with about $2.4 billion in belongings underneath control. The fund workforce used to be based in 2001 through Schwartz Investment Council of Plymouth, Mich., with backing from Tom Monihan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza DPZ, -0.74%  Schwartz Investment Council nonetheless owns the fund workforce and serves as its funding subadviser.

Ave Maria’s Catholic Advisory Board displays out corporations it determines are “related to” abortion, pornography, embryonic stem cellular analysis and “insurance policies undermining the sacrament of marriage.”

The Ave Maria Fund is thought of as a mid-cap fund through its managers and through Morningstar. However, the fund can spend money on corporations of any size and its average equity conserving had a market worth of $28.three billion as of March 31. So a comparability to the large-cap S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.31% is appropriate. Here’s how the fund has performed in opposition to its Morningstar class and the index.

Total go back - 2018 thru June 6 Total go back - 2017 Average annual go back - three years average annual go back - 5 years Average annual go back - 10 years
Ave Maria Growth Fund 8.8% 27.4% 13.three% 13.9% 10.9%
S&P 500 Index 4.6% 21.9% 12.1% 13.6% 9.7%
Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth class 9.1% 23.9% 10.three% 12.9% 9.2%
Source: FactSet

The general go back figures for the fund are net of bills, that have been diminished this yr to 0.97% of belongings yearly, from the previous expense ratio of one.07%.

An average annual go back of 10.9% over the last 10 years may not appear much higher than the 9.7% average for the S&P 500, but the chart sums up how much that outperformance can add up:


Here are the top 10 holdings (of 44) of the Ave Maria Growth Fund as of April 30:

Company Ticker Share of fund Total go back - 2018 thru March 6 Total go back - 2017 Total go back - 5 years Total go back - 10 years
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. ORLY, +0.13% 4.2% 16% -14% 155% 1007%
Mastercard Inc. Class A MA, +0.25%   4.1% 35% 48% 272% 620%
Accenture PLC Class A ACN, +0.97% 4.0% 7% 33% 128% 405%
Visa Inc. Class A V, +0.67% three.7% 20% 47% 215% 601%
Copart Inc. CPRT, +0.98% three.7% 32% 56% 232% 386%
Medtronic PLC MDT, +0.63% three.5% 9% 16% 88% 115%
Moody's Corp. MCO, +0.82% three.4% 21% 59% 193% 428%
Charles Schwab Corp. SCHW, +0.68% three.4% 13% 31% 211% 201%
Rockwell Automation, Inc. ROK, -0.36% three.three% -8% 49% 132% 319%
Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. ZBH, +0.73%   three.1% -5% 18% 52% 70%
Source: FactSet

Philip van Doorn covers various funding and industry subjects. He has in the past worked as a senior analyst at He additionally has experience in community banking and as a credit score analyst on the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

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