Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Oracle of Omaha - Picking Stocks Like Buffett

How to Pick Fundamentally Strong Stocks

Replicating Walter Schloss' Investment Technique

How to Value Stocks


Picking Stocks Like Peter Lynch


Back to Basics: Investing Like Benjamin Graham


Income Investing - The Power of Dividends


Thursday, October 16, 2014

What is capitulation?

What is capitulation? CNBC Explains

Traditionally, the word capitulation describes a surrender between fighting armies. What is capitulation when it's used on Wall Street? What does it signify? We explain.

What is capitulation?

In simple terms, capitulation is when investors try to get out of the stock market as quickly as possibleand look for less risky investments. It's also described as panic selling. It's usually based on investor fears that stock prices will fall further than they have.

Capitulation is usually signaled by a decline in the markets of at least 10% in one day.

In getting out of the market, investors give up any previous gains in stock price. That means they take a financial loss, just to get out of stocks. The thinking is: take a smaller loss now rather than a bigger one later.

Real capitulation involves extremely high volume-or high numbers of traded shares-and sharp declines in stock prices.

Why do investors capitulate?

Suppose a stock starts dropping in price. There are two choices. Investors stick it out and hope the stock begins to appreciate-or they can take the loss by selling the stock.

If the majority of investors decide to wait it out, then the stock price will probably remain stable. But if the majority of investors decide to capitulate and give up on a stock, they start selling and that starts a sharp decline in a stock's price.

Are there any benefits from capitulation?

Only for those buyers ready to swoop in. After capitulation selling, common wisdom has it that there are great bargains to be had in the stock market. Why? Because everyone who wants to get out of a stock, for any reason, has sold it. The price should then, theoretically, reverse or bounce off the lowest price of the stock.

In other words, some investors believe that capitulation is the sign of a bottom and a chance to get stocks at a cheaper price than before the capitulation took place.

Is capitulation a way to gauge the markets?

Not at all.Capitulation is very difficult to forecast and use as a way to buy or sell stocks. There is no magical price at which capitulation takes place. Certainly during the trading day, stock prices and volumes are monitored and some measurement is used to determine if a capitulation is taking place and will remain so at the end of the day.

But most often, investors and market watchers look back to determine when the markets actually capitulated and see how far stocks have fallen in price for that one day of trading.

When have there been capitulations?

The stock market crash of 1929 that helped lead to the Great Depression, is a capitulation. In fact, it had more than one day of it.

On Oct. 24, 1929-what's known as Black Thursday-share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed. A then-record number of 12.9 million shares was traded.

But more was to follow. Oct. 28, the first "Black Monday," more investors decided to get out of the market, and the slide continued with a record loss in the Dow for the day of 38 points, or 13 percent.

The next day, "Black Tuesday," Oct. 29, 1929, about 16 million shares were traded, and the Dow lost an additional 30 points.

More recently, there was a massive sell off or panic selling of stocks on Oct. 10, 2008, in what can be considered a capitulation. Not only U.S. stocks, but global markets had major declines of 10 percent or more on one day.

Investors flooded exchanges with sell orders, dragging all benchmarks sharply lower. It's believed fears of a global recession and the U.S. housing slump sparked the sell-off.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slow and steady doesn't make headlines, but the company can continue to earn excellent returns on invested capital.

CTB operates worldwide in the agriculture equipment field.  Berkshire purchased it in 2002 and by 2009, it has picked up six small firms.

Berkshire paid $140 million for the company.  In 2008, its pre-tax earnings were $89 million.

Vic Mancinellis, CEO of CTB, an agricultural equipment company, one of Berkshire's boring manufacturing businesses, exemplifies another reason for optimism.

Since Buffett bought CTB in 2002, it has earned roughly an average 11 percent annual return, compared to the S&P return of only 3 percent.

How can such a basic business produce eye-popping results?

It wasn't through financial innovations or game-changing acquisitions.   Instead, Mancinelli focussed on "blocking and tackling, day by day doing the little things right and never getting off course:"

Ten years from now, Vic will be running a much larger operation and, more important, will be earning excellent returns on invested capital.

But slow and steady doesn't make headlines.  Investors approaching the stock market continue to put their money in the hare, not the tortoise.

Betting on tortoises can create long-lasting wealth.


Goodwill. Understand the "cost" of goodwill.

Goodwill is an accounting term that describes the dollars paid to buy a business over and above its book value.  Goodwill is a real number, but it tells us nothing about the future earning power of a business.

Berkshire owns some terrific businesses.  Many of them were purchased, however, at large premiums to net worth - point reflected in the good will item shown in its balance sheet.  In year 2008, its balance sheet reported a goodwill of US 16,515 millions.  The company earned an impressive 17.9% on average tangible net worth in 2008, but if goodwill was included, this reduced the earnings to 8.1%.

Buffett paid more for these businesses because he expects them to earn gobs of money in the future.  In this happy event, the goodwill number is not relevant.

However, if increased earnings don't materialize, the amount of goodwill will weigh on the earnings of a business.  How will this affect investor returns?

By including the amount paid for goodwill in the return calculation, Buffett clearly reports the "cost" of goodwill.

In 2008, Berkshire investors got a return of only 8.1% on their total net worth, including goodwill, compared to a return of 17.9% on tangible net worth, excluding goodwill.

Most large U.S. companies have large amounts of goodwill reported on their balance sheets.  This information is important to know.  If companies pay more for acquisitions than the future earnings these ventures produce, investors will be harmed.