E Portfolio Hi-Lites: March 2021

Quarterly Movers and Shakers

During the past three months, the S&P 500 index rose 7.1% as vaccines started rolling out and investors looked forward to a more “normal” 2021. The following HIquality stocks generated 10% or better gains during the same period.

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Walgreens (WBA) reported fiscal first quarter revenues increased 6% to $36.3 billion with the company reporting a loss of $308 million, reflecting the adverse impact of COVID-19 on financial results. Free cash flow increased 13% during the quarter to $764 million with the company paying $405 million in dividends and repurchasing $110 million of its common stock. The company announced plans to divest its pharmaceutical wholesale business for about $6.5 billion with plans to use the cash proceeds to accelerate its investment in the VillageMD full-service primary care clinics within its stores. Walgreens’ dividend yields a healthy 3.9%. Walgreens’ stock rebounded 28% during the past quarter. Hold.

Tractor Supply (TSCO) reported 2020 sales increased 27% to $10.62 billion with EPS plowing up a 37% gain to $6.38. During 2020, Tractor Supply delivered a bountiful 38.9% return on shareholders’ equity and generated $1.1 billion in free cash flow, up a fruitful 85% from last year. The company returned $517.6 million to shareholders through share repurchases of $343 million and $174.6 million in dividends. Reflecting confidence in the business and its robust cash flow, Tractor Supply recently increased the dividend by a hefty 30%. Tractor Supply has delivered a fertile 146% total return over the last four years. Hold.

Ulta Beauty (ULTA)The company launched Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty, a first-of-its kind initiative that will inspire more informed conscious product choices for guests, their loved ones and the environment. Through this program, Ulta Beauty will provide transparency around brands that use clean ingredients in their products, as well as whose products are cruelty free, vegan, use sustainable packaging and have a positive impact in communities. Ulta Beauty’s stock rose a pretty 18% during the past three months. Hold.

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