The Cold War was raging, Jimmy Carter became the first candidate from the Deep South elected President since the Civil War and Apple Computer was a newly established company the year Joyce Gordon began her career at Capital Group. She started as an assistant at age 19 – the youngest employee ever hired at the firm at that time.
冷战正在肆虐，吉米卡特成为内战以来南方当选总统的第一位候选人，而苹果计算机公司是乔伊斯戈登在资本集团开始职业生涯的新成立公司。她19岁时开始担任助理 - 当时雇用该公司的最年轻员工。
It didn’t take Gordon long to recognize that the investment analyst role was the job to have at Capital. “For the first couple of years I was in a clerical role, but I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to work as an investment analyst,” she recalls. “Portfolio managers depend on the analysts to provide the information they need to make investment decisions. And I really liked the camaraderie and mutual respect among the investment professionals.”
戈登很久没有认识到投资分析师的角色是资本的工作。 “在最初的几年里，我担任过文职人员，但我很快就决定要担任投资分析师，”她回忆道。 “投资组合经理依靠分析师提供做出投资决策所需的信息。我真的很喜欢投资专业人士之间的友情和相互尊重。“
With Capital’s backing, Gordon earned her degree and then an MBA at night. In 1987 she became an analyst covering savings and loans.
“Two years later, my responsibilities expanded to include the banking sector. That was in 1989, right before the commercial real estate crisis, when the average bank lost 67% of its value over 12 months,” she says. “It was about the only group of stocks that was declining because the crisis was centered around real estate. It was a lonely existence. I remember my research director saying, ‘Joyce, you are so lucky. You’re getting five years’ experience in one year.’”
Today, Gordon is the principal investment officer and a portfolio manager for American Mutual Fund® (AMF). Since 1950, the fund has pursued three objectives — capital appreciation, current income and preservation of principal — by investing primarily in quality companies that pay dividends. Such value-oriented shares have lagged the broader market in recent years, behind a few fast-growing technology and consumer leaders. But with equity valuations elevated, market turbulence rising and the U.S. economy in late cycle, dividend-focused investing may start to attract more attention.
如今，Gordon是AmericanMutualFund®（AMF）的主要投资官和投资组合经理。自1950年以来，该基金通过主要投资于支付股息的优质公司，实现了三个目标 - 资本增值，当前收入和本金保全。这些以价值为导向的股票近年来落后于大盘，落后于一些快速增长的技术和消费者领导者。但随着股票估值上升，市场动荡加剧以及美国经济处于后期周期，以股息为重点的投资可能会开始引起更多关注。
We sat down with Gordon to get her perspective on the current environment and lessons learned about investing through volatile markets.
The U.S. economy is firmly in late-cycle territory. How are you thinking about portfolio positioning today? Are you doing anything differently?
Now that the Federal Reserve has halted its interest rate hikes and taken a more dovish stance, I expect the decade-long U.S. expansion can continue, even though we are in the late stages of the cycle. I also feel that markets can continue to offer appreciation.
But equity markets tend to be more volatile during the late cycle. In part, that’s because order volumes start to come down — or at least level off — which increases the potential for companies to fall short of their earnings estimates. So I expect markets to be volatile going forward.
但股市在后期周期中往往更具波动性。在某种程度上，这是因为订单量开始下降 - 或者至少是平衡 - 这增加了公司未达到盈利预测的可能性。所以我预计市场将会出现波动。
In this environment I am looking to be more defensive, focusing on established companies with a track record of generating steady revenue regardless of what is happening in the economy.
What type of companies are you looking at today that might have those qualities?
Utilities such as American Electric Power, with long-term contracts and a stable rate base, have tended to hold up well in troubled economic times. Indeed, in 2018 the utilities sector of Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index posted a 0.46% gain while the broader S&P 500 declined 6.24%.
I also look closely at defense contractors, food companies and health care companies such as AbbVie. Hormel [0.6% of the fund’s portfolio as of 3/31/19], for example, has held up better than the market during past declines, as have retailers like Costco.
These types of companies tend to have low debt levels; sometimes they are net cash. And many of them pay dividends. The longer this expansion continues, the more attention I pay to dividend sustainability. Should the company decide to cut its dividend, support for the stock price could collapse. That’s what happened with a lot of companies in the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.
What lessons did you draw from the 2008 recession and other down markets over the course of your career?
One important lesson I learned is to avoid companies with a lot of debt. Companies with significant debt service are subject to a number of challenges. For example, they may feel pressure from credit rating agencies to cut their dividend so that they can maintain an investment-grade rating for their debt issuance.
Another thing I learned is to pay close attention to what company executives and boards are doing. Take Washington Mutual, which failed during the financial crisis in 2008. Going into the crisis, the bank issued a proxy proposal that would change its management bonus structure, removing the impact of any loan losses. In other words, management was being incentivized by volume, not quality. Looking back, that should have been a telltale sign that something horrible was coming.
I don't see a lot of those types of things going on today. But some companies are issuing debt to buy back shares and pay their dividends, rather than using free cash flow. It’s tempting for companies to do this because rates are so low, but it can be a warning sign.
I have also seen some companies that have typically increased their dividend every year that have yet to do so over the past year. And in many cases these have been the companies with a lot of leverage who are becoming concerned about paying down debt. We have seen that with some of the food companies. This suggests that sales growth is tougher in this late-cycle environment.
AMF has a track record of resilience when markets are declining. Are you and the other AMF managers taking a more defensive approach?
Because preservation of principal is one of the fund’s primary objectives, I am always thinking about steps I can take to help protect on the downside. Today I am holding more cash than usual; it's partly because we are so late in the economic cycle and partly because I'm getting a little nervous about valuations. While I do give up some of the market return potential, holding cash can help mitigate market volatility and, if the market corrects I have the dry powder to invest in good companies at relatively attractive valuations.
In addition, all the portfolio managers in the fund are looking through their portfolios with a fine-tooth comb. We are studying how companies have fared in previous downturns to identify a whole array of stocks that typically do well versus those that don't tend to fare so well.
It comes down to doing the fundamental research on individual companies. Over time we have constructed a backdrop of what has typically happened during recessions and the types of companies that have fared better than the broader market.
We go through all the scenarios and try to make sure that we are protecting on the downside while still participating in the market. The goal is to help our investors stay the course through difficult periods by reducing the amount of volatility in the fund.
Joyce Gordon is an equity portfolio manager with 38 years of investment experience and has been with Capital Group for 43 years. Earlier in her career, she covered thrifts, banking and paper & forest products companies as an equity investment analyst. She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business finance from the University of Southern California.
Joyce Gordon是一位拥有38年投资经验的股票投资组合经理，并在Capital Group工作了43年。在她的职业生涯早期，她作为一名股权投资分析师，曾为储蓄机构，银行和纸张及林产品公司提供服务。她拥有南加州大学的工商管理硕士学位和商业金融学士学位。