Monday, 16 May 2016

WHEN TO SELL by Buffett

When To Sell Quotes

Warren Buffett’s advice on when to sell is fairly straightforward. Sell when the business you are invested is performing poorly (and will likely continue to do so).
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
As an individual investor, you can’t fix a declining business. Your energy is best spent cutting losses and moving on.
“The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.”
Buffett sells infrequently. He is a long-term investor that would rather hold forever than sell as long as a business maintains its competitive advantage. Even Buffett gets it wrong sometimes. When you make a mistake, learn from it and cut your losses.
Selling businesses in decline is a form of risk management. 

http://www.suredividend.com/warren-buffett-quotes/#when to sell

WHEN to Buy by Buffett

Warren Buffett on When To Buy

Warren Buffett’s buying wisdom can be condensed into 2 statements:
  1. Buy great businesses when they are trading at fair or better prices.
  2. This occurs when short-term traders become pessimistic
The 8 quotes below clarify Warren Buffett’s thinking on when to buy great businesses.
“Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that ‘Price is what you pay; value is what you get.’ Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”
In the quote above, Buffett explains that he acquired his value-focused mindset from his mentor Benjamin Graham. Graham was the father of value investing and a fantastic investor in his own right. It makes sense that his philosophies significantly influence Warren Buffett.
There is a stark difference in investing style between Graham and Buffett. Graham focused on deep value plays – businesses that were trading below liquidation value. These were typically poor businesses that were undervalued because they had such bad future prospects.
Buffett focuses on great businesses trading at fair or better prices, as the quote below clarifies:
“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price”
Wonderful companies compound your wealth year-after-year. Poor quality businesses that are exceptionally cheap only grow your wealth once (when you sell them – hopefully for a profit).
Note that Buffett does not say to buy great businesses at any price.
“For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.”
Overpaying severely limits the growth of your wealth. If you pay for a large part of future growth today, you will not benefit from that growth down the line. Great businesses can be very overvalued…
“Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.”
You don’t need to be a contrarian to do well in investing, but you do need to exhibit emotional control and be realistic.
Just as great businesses can be overvalued, they can also be undervalued.
“The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble…We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table.”
It’s not easy to buy great businesses when they are ‘on the operating table’. That’s because the zeitgeist is decidedly against buying – stocks become undervalued because the general consensus is negative. Intelligent investors profit from irrational fears.
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
Fear and market corrections create opportunities for more patient, long-term investors. The two quotes below expand upon this.
“So smile when you read a headline that says ‘Investors lose as market falls.’ Edit it in your mind to ‘Disinvestors lose as market falls—but investors gain.’ Though writers often forget this truism, there is a buyer for every seller and what hurts one necessarily helps the other.”
&
“The most common cause of low prices is pessimism—some times pervasive, some times specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces. It’s optimism that is the enemy of the rational buyer.”
Paying too high a price is an investing risk that can be avoided (for the most part) by staying disciplined.
Buying is only half of investing. The next section covers when to sell.

http://www.suredividend.com/warren-buffett-quotes/#when to buy

WHAT to Buy by Buffett


Buffett Quotes on Great Businesses & Competitive Advantages

Investors can be divided into two broad categories:
  • Bottom up investors
  • Top down investors
Top down investors look for rapidly growing industries or macroeconomic trends. They then try to find good investments that will capitalize on these trends.
Bottom up investors do they exact opposite. They look for individual investment opportunities irrespective of industry or macroeconomic trends.
Warren Buffett wants to invest in great businesses. He is a bottom up investor.
“The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”
Buffett prefers to invest in businesses that have differentiated themselves from the competition. Commodity selling businesses don’t have a differentiator (unless they are the low cost producer).
“Stocks of companies selling commodity-like products should come with a warning label: ‘Competition may prove hazardous to human wealth.’”
Commodity business (in general) are not quality businesses for long-term investors. The reason is because competition will erode margins and make investing in the business a zero-sum game.
Commodity businesses that have found a way to survive are not great businesses. The analogy below emphasizes this point:
“A horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse—not a remarkable mathematician.”
Don’t invest in horses that can count to 10. Invest in businesses with a strong competitive advantage that allows for large excess profits…
And make sure that company’s competitive advantage is durable.
“Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it’s the lack of change that appeals to me.”
Chewing gum doesn’t change much. Neither does Coca-Cola (KO), or banking with Wells Fargo (WFC), or Ketchup at Kraft-Heinz (KHC). Buffett invests in slow changing businesses because they will compound growth over the long run. 
Businesses in rapidly changing industries have shorter periods of time in which they can compound investor wealth.
Now that we have covered what to buy, it is time to see Warren Buffett’s thoughts on when to buy.

http://www.suredividend.com/warren-buffett-quotes/#circle of competence

Constructing a Winning Portfolio using a general methodology that will serve you well

No one can predict the course of the market over the next month or the next year but you will be able to better the odds of constructing a winning portfolio.

The price levels of stocks and bonds will undoubtedly fluctuate beyond your control.

You need to acquire a general methodology that will serve you well in realistically projecting long-run returns and adopting your investment program to your financial needs.


What determines the returns from stocks and bonds?

Very long run returns from common stocks are driven by two critical factors:

  • The dividend yield at the time of purchase, and,
  • The future growth rate of earnings and dividends.


In principle, for the buyer who holds his or her stocks forever, a share of common stock is worth the present or discounted value of its stream of future dividends.

A stock buyer purchases an ownership interest in a business and hopes to receive a growing stream of dividends.

Even if a company pays very small dividends today and retains most (or even all) of its earnings to reinvest in the business, the investor implicitly assumes that such reinvestment will lead to a more rapidly growing stream of dividends in the future or alternatively to greater earnings that can be used by the company to buy backs its stocks.

LONG RUN EQUITY RETURN = INITIAL DIVIDEND YIELD + GROWTH RATE.

From 1926 to 2010:
Common stocks provided an average annual rate of return of about 9.8%.
The dividend yield for the market as a whole on Jan 1, 1926 was about 5%.
The long-run rate of growth of earnings and dividends was also about 5%.
Adding the initial dividend yield to the growth rate gives a close approximation of the actual rate of return.


OVER SHORTER PERIODS, SUCH AS A YEAR OR EVEN SEVERAL YEARS, A THIRD FACTOR IS CRITICAL IN DETERMINING RETURNS.

This factor is the change in valuation relationships - specifically, the change in the price-dividend or price-earnings multiple.  (Increases or decreases in the price-dividend multiple tend to move in the same direction as the more popularly used price-earnings multiple.)



Price-dividend and price-earnings multiples vary widely from year to year.

In times of great optimism, such as early March 2000, stocks sold at price-earnings multiples well above 30.
The price-dividend multiple was over 80.

At times of great pessimism, such as 1982, stocks sold at only 8 times earnings and 17 times dividends.



These multiples are also influenced by interest rates.

When interest rates are low, stocks, which compete with bonds for an investor's savings, tend to sell at low dividend yields and high price-earnings multiples.

When interest rates are high, stock yields rise to be more competitive and stocks tend to sell at low price-earnings multiples.




Sunday, 15 May 2016

Buffett's Investment Philosophy. That's it. That's the secret formula.

Buffett’s investment philosophy is succinctly summarized in this quote below:
“We select such investments on a long-term basis, weighing the same factors as would be involved in the purchase of 100% of an operating business:
(1) favorable long-term economic characteristics;
(2) competent and honest management;
(3) purchase price attractive when measured against the yardstick of value to a private owner; and
(4) an industry with which we are familiar and whose long-term business characteristics we feel competent to judge.”
That’s it. That’s the basic ‘secret formula’ to Warren Buffett’s $60 billion fortune.
http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/04/107-profound-warren-buffett-quotes-learn-build-wealth/?all=1

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Berkshire Hathaway live-streamed its annual shareholder meeting for the first time in the company's history (video)




For the first time in the company’s history, Berkshire Hathaway live-streamed its annual shareholder meeting for all of the world to see.
https://finance.yahoo.com/brklivestream

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The risk you can assume is determined by: your sleeping point, your age and the sources and dependability of your noninvestment income.

The theories of valuation worked out by economists and the performance recorded by the professionals lead to a single conclusion:  There is no sure and easy road to riches.

High returns can be achieved only through higher risk-taking ( and perhaps through acceptance of lesser degrees of liquidity).

The amount of risk you can tolerate is partly determined by your sleeping point.

You should understand the risks and rewards of stock and bond investing and be able to determine the kinds of return you should expect from different financial instruments.

But the risk you can assume is also significantly influenced by your age and by the sources and dependability of your noninvestment income.

You should have a clear notion of how to decide what portion of your capital should be placed in common stocks, bonds, real estate and short-term investments.

You should develop  a sound philosophy and specific stock market strategies that will enable you as  amateur investors to achieve results as good as or better than those of the most sophisticated professionals.



A fitness manual for random walkers
Burton Malkiel

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The only 2 rules you need to know to succeed in business


Dan Waldschmidt, Edgy Conversations

There are many rules to business. There are many things you’re told you “need to be doing” if you want to be successful.

But despite all the complexity about getting business right, there are really only two rules — two philosophies really — that dictate success.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling.

It doesn’t matter what you’re planning to do. It doesn’t matter where you’re at or the industry you are in.

Massive success is rooted in these two rules.

1. Be incredibly easy to do business with.
Ubiquity is the new exclusivity. Helpfulness is the best strategy for driving awareness.

In today’s app-driven sales economy it’s easy to force prospective customers into a funnel where they have to fill out a form, download a white paper, or make a dozen frantic visits to your website before your technology scores them high enough for you to want to care to get to know them.

No wonder you’re not successful driving new revenue. You’re not flexible enough to meet people where they are.

No one wants to feel like an idiot to have to do business with you. More importantly — no one wants to have to do work to give you their money.

They want you there to help them and support them and give them guidance. And when you’re not easy to do business with it just adds to the frustration and chaos they already feel.

So abandon the strategies where you hide your contact information on your website. Make it incredibly easy for people to cancel your service or product if they’re not happy. Ditch all the complex contracts.

Be everywhere your prospective clients will be looking. Be there with a smile and a helpful hand instead of a gimmicky sales pitch and awkward marketing process.

2. Be so good they come back for more.
Obsess about ways to provide surprise and delight to your customers.

Think about all the frustrating things in your industry that you could remedy, even in small ways.

Deliver service with a smile, even when you’re stressed out and anxious. Put a plan in place to follow up on the promises you make.

A simple productivity platform or to-do app can help you stay scheduled and focused on delivering on your best intentions.

There is nothing particularly genius about doing what you say. But it makes all the difference in the world to your customer.

And it has a massive impact on your growth. Your customers want to believe in you. They want to give you a second chance when you screw up.

All you have to do is be willing to try. Apologize when you get it wrong. And keep trying to get it right.

These are the rules that make business awesome
Be impossibly easy to do business with.
Be so awesome that they ask for more.

No amount of sales automation or witty marketing satire can trump the impact you create when you execute these two rules.

Being awesome isn’t an accident. Changing the world doesn’t happen by chance.

It takes focusing on the details. It requires you playing the game by a different set of rules.

These are those rules.


http://www.businessinsider.com/the-only-2-rules-you-need-to-know-to-succeed-in-business-2016-4?IR=T&utm_content=buffer2f3ed&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer?r=UK&IR=T

A company with durable competitive advantage



Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Benjamin Graham's Classic Deep Value Investing versus Warren Buffett's Moat-Type GARP Investing.

Why Guy Spier Rejected Warren Buffett’s Investment Strategy

Who Is Guy Spier?

If the name Guy Spier seems familiar, it may be because of his growing reputation among the value investing community. Spier is famous for paying $650 000USD, along with Monish Pabrai, to have lunch with Warren Buffett. His 2014 book, "The Education of a Value Investor," has also made the rounds and is becoming a very popular book. It's currently rated a 4.5 star read by 295 people on Amazon.
Spier was born in South Africa and educated at the City of London's Freeman School, later receiving his MBA from Harvard. He started out as a professional money manager in 1997 with $15 Million mostly from family and friends. Since then he's managed to wrack up outstanding returns versus the S&P 500. In 2011, his gains totalled 221.6% versus the S&P 500's 36.7%. That's an impressive record especially when most managers fail to beat the market over even a moderate period of time.
Guy Spier's investment vehicle is his Aquamarine Capital, an investment partnership inspired by Warren Buffett's early partnership. Aquamarine is fairly restrictive with regards to who it manages money for, and fund information is only distributed by request.
Citing Buffett, Munger, and Pabrai as major investment influences, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Guy Spier sticks to Warren Buffett's moat-type businesses. While Spier was once a card-carrying Buffetteer, his true preference is for classic Graham deep value investments.

What's Guy Spier's Problem With Warren Buffett?

In 2011, Jacob Wolinsky of Value Walk fame conducted a masterful interview with the man himself, which was published by The Manual of Ideas. Jacob's conversation with Spier revealed some valuable insights into how a small investor should manage his portfolio.
"Pretty soon after I started I fell in love with this whole GARP idea. I spent a lot of time around Ruane Cunniff by researching their ideas and attending their annual meetings, where I had the chance to listen to and meet some of their brilliant investors and analysts, including Bob Goldfarb, Greg Alexander, Jonathan Brandt, and Girish Bhakoo. I learned about why Warren had moved into the business of buying, and paying up for better businesses."
GARP, or "growth at reasonable prices," is a strategy that boils down to selecting companies that are expected to grow at high rates relative to their industry, or businesses in general, and then to buy those firms when their stocks are trading at reasonable valuations. What counts as reasonable is a matter of perspective, though, and many investors are split between using Discounted Cash Flow or classic Ben Graham measure of value.
Just like many other investors who are just starting out in value investing, Spier only focused on Warren Buffett's modern investment strategy, buying growing companies with strong moats at decent prices. He dug deep into Buffett's strategy, dissecting exactly what he looked for when he hunted large, well run, businesses with durable competitive advantages, and then formed his investment partnership around that.
As Guy Spier explains, this sort of strategy has a few major pitfalls.
"Something I learned during the financial crisis was that when you pay up for a better business, you can suffer greatly when the price people are willing to pay for that business goes down dramatically, as it did in 2008. Many “better” businesses fell in price more rapidly than other businesses because, as the crisis came about, many investors were not willing to pay up for growth or quality. ...I lost more money owning those businesses than I would have if I had owned the right cigar butts..."
But large drops in price during bear markets wasn't the only investment trap that Spier spotted. As it turned out, GARP firms also pushed investors into making major behavioural mistakes when investing.
"If you talk about your stocks, it will affect how you think about them as well as the portfolio decisions you make. At the time, I did not believe it would skew my decision making. But if I go back over the life of Aquamarine Fund and examine my letters to investors, I can see clearly how this created a bias for better businesses, simply because it was more fun to talk about them. (Or perhaps a better way to put this is that I developed a bias for businesses that are fun to talk about.)"
If Buffett was right in calling inflation a corporate tapeworm, psychological biases are definitely an investor's tapeworm. They cause us to overestimate the returns we can expect from a particular stock, how fast the company will grow, the profit the company will produce, or even how durable the competitive advantage of the company is itself. This trap is often due to the Halo Effect, the tendency to attribute or overestimate a range of good traits that a company may not actually have based on the existence of a single good trait that actually exists. In dating, for example, a beautiful woman may be seen as more sociable, better adjusted, or more popular, by virtue of her looks when she may not actually possess any of those attributes.
By contrast, Cigar Butts tend to sidestep this issue much of the time. They don't readily lend themselves to producing the halo effect and you're much less likely to talk about them at a party, keeping those psychological and social chains off so you can easily change your opinion when the facts change. They're also known to trigger an investor's gag reflex, so investors systematically underestimate a Cigar Butt's future growth rate and stock return.
Ironically, despite providing investors with better returns, small retail investors prefer great companies to Cigar Butts because they cause less psychological or emotional strain.
"Owning things that Mike Burry says have an “ick” factor or cigar butt investment ideas that have a lot of hair on them is not something your investors want to hear about unless you have a very sophisticated group of investors. In my case, many of my investors had never owned stocks before so they were not going to feel too comfortable about me owning companies with a high “ick” factor. So I was immediately biased toward buying better businesses at a reasonable price. With most audiences, it is much easier, for example, to talk about Heineken and their phenomenal sales growth in Russia and other BRIC countries, or about Nestle and their Nespresso brand, than to talk about businesses that are either “hated, or unloved,” as Whitney Tilson would put it."
Part of the reason why these "dirty" stocks work out so well is due to a phenomenon called "reversion to the mean." Reversion to the mean is a basic law in both life and investing. The principle is that abnormal results, either positive or negative, tend to not last.
Take height for example. A freakishly tall father and mother will have tall children, but those children will usually be shorter than their parents. The height of future offspring reverts to the average height of people in general.
Guy Spier and Aquamarine Fund Vs. The S&P 500

Guy Spier's Aquamarine Fund Vs. The S&P 500
The same principle is at work in investing. It's why Cigar Butts tend to work out well in the end. Inevitably, the company's business improves or some piece of good news comes out to send significantly undervalued shares skywards. Conversely, great returns don't last and firms with higher levels of profitability tend to get beaten back to more average levels of profitability. This is why Buffett loves moats, but even moats can't fend off natural forces indefinitely.
"When I started investing I used screening software to find companies with the metrics you mention — high ROE, low price to book, and high return on invested capital. I was looking for all of those types of things.
I think all of those metrics have a potential downfall, and I will give you an example: In general, you want to invest in high ROE businesses, and you can run various types of a screen to find high ROE businesses, but to the extent that in the vast majority of businesses, ROE is going to revert to the mean, you may have paid up for something that might not be there in five years. The ROE five years forward might be a lot lower than the ROE you are paying up for today."
As Guy Spier explains, you end up paying a large price up front for a business that is facing an immutable law of nature. Eventually, that return on equity will shrink and the business will be far less profitable than when you spotted it. While the risk-reward relationship may still be in an investor's favour, the company's margins face a tremendous amount of pressure.
".........you want to own something that makes the situation unusual and gives you an unusual risk/reward. That is not necessarily a cigar butt, but you have to identify what it is that will result in a return of 3x in two years. I am trying very hard to own things that will give me a return of 3x in two years rather than settle for something that will appreciate at a few percentage points better than the market."
One of the huge advantages of net net stocks, the classic Cigar Butt, is that the risk-reward profile is heavily skewed in the investor's favour. Roughly 75% of net nets produce large positive return over a two year period, and the average results of a net net stock portfolio over time is 15% over and above the market. That makes for a 25%+ annual average return.
Often investors new to net nets make the mistake of only buying a few stocks and assuming that they'll all see massive advances in price. This is just not the case. While net nets work out well, some stocks are bound to disappoint which means that a proper net net strategy requires a decent amount of diversification. Still, net nets are probably safer than you assume. James Montier found that these stocks only see major (90%+) losses in 5% of cases. That compares to 2% for stocks in general, showing just how safe a well diversified net net stock portfolio is versus the market.
Keeping in mind basic requirements of good net net stock picking (no Chinese firms, resource explorations firms, etc) the highest returning net nets are often the stocks that are selling for the cheapest prices relative to net current asset value (NCAV). Buy cheap enough and you can bag the 3x advance in 2 years that Guy Spier favours.
But, as he explains, price to value often isn't enough.
"Tom Russo has said, “flying an airplane requires you to focus on five or more instruments,” and you can’t favor the altimeter over the speed indicator, or the vertical speed indicator over the pitch indicator, for example. You have to look at all the instruments together and fly the plane integrated. Tom has used this plane analogy to discuss investments. There is no single metric you should look at but rather keep an eye on all of them."
This is why investors should be using a high quality scorecard when assessing their stocks. For my own investing, I use our Core7 Scorecard to help dissect the net net stocks that I buy to see if they're the sort of stocks that are bound to avoid losses and produce meaningful returns. I've compiled most of the thinking that's gone into this checklist into my net net stock guide, Retire Young & Rich. Ultimately, it takes more than blindly following Buffett's current strategy to produce the best possible investment results. As Guy Spier said,
"Thus, you could say that my approach to investing, in contrast to Buffett, has gone in the reverse direction. My approach today has become more similar to the way Warren Buffett invested when he got started. The important thing to realize is that if Buffett today was running a fund the size of Aquamarine, he would be investing differently than the way he does today."
Start putting together your high quality, high potential, net net stock strategy. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Summary of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip A. Fisher

Philip A. Fisher’s Stocks Selection Criteria - What to buy?

In his book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip A. Fisher listed down his 15 points on the criteria of selecting good stocks. These 15 points cover 4 areas on sales & growth, financial, management and leadership.

Area 1: Sales & growth
Products and services that have market potential to increase and give sizable sales for few years (Point 1)
Management determination in develop new products and services for growth and sales potential (Point 2)
Effectiveness of research & development in relation to size (Point 3)
An above average sales organization (Point 4)

Area 2: Financial
A worthwhile profit margin (Point 5)
Effort in maintaining or increasing profit margin (Point 6)
Good cost analyses and accounting control (Point 10)
Will new equity funding require from growth subsequently cancel the existing stockholders’ benefit from this anticipated growth? (Point 13)

Area 3: Management
Outstanding labor and personnel relations (Point 7)
Outstanding executive relations (good executive climate for team work) (Point 8)
Development of proper management in depth. Delegation of authority to develop pool of talents (Point 9)

Area 4: Leadership: visions and characters
Peculiarity of the company in winning the competition (Point 11)
Management perspectives in regard to profits (short-range or long range) (Point 12)
Management attitude in conveying troubles and disappointments. “Clam up”? (Point 14)
Unquestionable integrity (Point 15)


Philip A. Fisher’s Stocks Strategies - When to buy? When to sell or not to sell?

In Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip Fisher provided guidelines on timing of buying and selling stocks. Once a company fits into the 15 points criteria of a good and growth stock, when should we start buying the stocks? When should we sell it?

When to buy a good stock?

The best time to buy a company’s shares is right before the improvement of its earning power and before its shares price reflects the anticipated earnings improvement.
When the company’s commercial plant for a new processes is about to begin production. Initially, growth drains profit and other resources of the business. The point in the development of a new process that worth considering as buying time is that at which the first full-scale commercial plant is about to begin production. (Extra cost will incur, benefit of the new production has not crept into EPS. But eventually profit will come.) This criteria can only apply to the companies that fit the 15 points
When the company Introduces new products
When the company faces problems of starting complex plants. Such troubles are temporary rather than permanent
Alternatively, we can just buy into outstanding companies, though our patient will be tested.

Another important strategy is that we should buy the shares in staggered way. Spread the timing of buying to avoid losses caused by major economic storm.


When to sell?

There are only 3 reasons to sell
When a mistake has been made in the original purchase
The company has no longer qualified in regard to the fifteen points, either through deterioration or exhaustion of growth prospects
Switch to a more attractive investment as our investment resources (money) are limited

When not to sell?
General stock market movement, as the good companies that fit the 15 points may defy business cycle
Overpriced, as you cannot know whether it is really overpriced. The companies that fit the 15 points have good growth prospects
The price of the stock has a huge advance

Ultimately, "If the job has been correctly done when a common stock is purchased, the time to sell it is – almost never." – Philip A Fisher


Philip A. Fisher’s "Ten Don'ts" For Investors

In his book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip Fisher also stated "Ten Don'ts" for investors.

Don’t buy into promotional companies
Don’t ignore a good stock just because it is traded “over the counter”
Don’t buy a stock just because you like the “tone” of its annual report
Don’t assume that the high price at which a stock may be selling in relation to earnings (PER) is necessarily an indication that further growth in those earnings has largely been already discounted in the price.
Don’t quibble over eights and quarters, i.e. few sens.
Don’t overstress diversification
Don’t be afraid of buying on a war scare
Don’t be influenced by what doesn’t matter, that statistic of former years’ earnings and particularly of per-share price ranges of these former years quite frequently “have nothing to do with the case”.
Don’t fail to consider time as well as price in buying a true growth stock. Based on time, rather than price, eg. a month before the commission of new plant, etc.
Don’t follow the crowd, ie. collective perception on the broad picture or particular industry, trend, outlook, favor of the months, etc. These investment fads and misinterpretation of facts may run for several months or several years. Given the same facts, change of such perceptions would lead to different conclusion.


Philip A. Fisher’s View on Dividend

According to Philip Fisher, in his book Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, a company that fits the 15 points should retain its profits for better growth instead of distributing the profits to investors. There are more opportunities available to the management to get high yield investments than that available to the investors.

Argument on tax effects of dividend is not entirely relevant to Malaysian investors due to different tax system.

“Actually dividend considerations should be given the least, not the most, weight by those desiring to select outstanding stock.” – Philip A Fisher

“Worthy of repetition here is that over a span of five to ten years, the best dividend results will come not from the high-yield stocks but from those with the relatively low yield.” – Philip A Fisher

In a way I cannot entirely agree with Philip Fisher in his view on dividend. I always like to invest in company with opportunities of growth, financially strong with net cash and that distributes dividend consistently. By receiving dividends periodically, I can be patient even when the market falls for a long period of time.

Without dividend, I am not sure if I can maintain the discipline to hold on to good stocks in an economy downturn. It is such "discipline" (plus knowledge in the company) that ultimately decides our investment outcome of gain or loss.



Philip A. Fisher’s Method on Finding Growth Stocks

In Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip Fisher illustrated his method of finding growth stocks.

Step 1
Listen to investment men with great ability as a source of original leads on what to investigate. Typical public printed brokerage bulletin available to everyone is not a fertile source. Few hours conversation, with and outstanding investment man, occasionally with a business executives or scientist, would lead to a decision that a particular company might be exciting.


Step 2
He didn’t approach anyone in the management in this stage. He didn’t spend hours and hours going over old annual reports and making minutes studies of minor year-by-year balance sheet changes. He didn’t ask every stockbroker he knew what he thinks of the stock.

He would glance over
a. The balance sheets to determine general nature of the capitalization and financial positions.
b. Breakdown of total sales by product line
c. Competitions
d. Shareholdings
e. All earnings statement figures throwing light on depreciation, profit margins, extent of research activity and abnormal or non-recurring costs in prior years’ operations


Step 3
Using “scuttlebutt” method, he would try to see every key customer, supplier, competitor, ex-employee or scientist in a related field that he knew or whom he could approach through mutual friends.

If he did not know enough of people that could lead to such background information, he would stop and do something else.

He would go through commercial bankers to those businessmen who have the information.

“Scuttlebutt” method
This method provides the clues that are needed to find really outstanding investments.
Ask the
a. Competitors
b. Researchers of the competitors, government, universities, etc.
c. Vendors
d. Customers
e. Executives of trade association
f. Former employees

Step 4
He would gather at least 50% of all the knowledge he would need to make the investment before approaching the management.

He would choose to see the man who make the decisions, not the financial public relations officer. It is wise and important to go to considerable trouble to be introduced to a management by the right people, ie. key customers, major shareholders, investment banking connections, etc.

He bought one out of two or two-and- a-half companies he visited. He had done his scuttlebutt work well enough to be very certain even before he visited the company. Meeting management was merely to confirm hopes or to ease fears by answers that make sense.


“One of the ablest investment men I have ever known told me many years ago that in the stock market a good nervous system is even more important than a good head. Perhaps Shakespeare unintentionally summarized the process of successful common stock investment: There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” – Philip A Fisher



Monday, 11 April 2016

The Intelligent Investor Book Review in 30 Minutes




The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, is probably the most important and influential value investing book ever written. Warren Buffet described it as “by far the best book ever written on investing”.
I have provided a summary and book review of The Intelligent Investor, Revised Edition, Updated with New Commentary by Jason Zweig (affiliate link). If you could only buy one investment book in your lifetime, this would probably be the one. By purchasing through the above link, this site will receive a small commission without costing you anything extra.
It had been 8 years since I last read The Intelligent Investor. I have  enjoyed my personal “refresher course” in value investing.

Objective of The Intelligent Investor Book

Benjamin Graham’s objective was to provide an investment policy book for the ordinary investor. He succeeded in putting seemingly hard concepts into terms that could be understood and, more importantly, implemented by the average investor.
The typical investor has a tendency to “follow the market” and learns poor investment habits trying to beat the market. Instead, Graham gives us an alternative based on fundamental valuation.
The goal is to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of allowing our emotions to control our investment decisions. Rather, Graham provides the foundation for making businesslike decisions based on fundamental investing principles .
The Intelligent Investor puts special emphasis on teaching:
1. Risk management through asset allocation and diversification.
2. Maximizing probabilities through valuations analysis and margin of safety.
3. A disciplined approach that will prevent consequential errors to a portfolio.

The Intelligent Investor Book Review Lay Out:

(There is a link at the end of each part so you can read all 8 parts in succession, in less than 30 minutes!)
I think you will be excited as we explore the knowledge and wisdom Benjamin Graham left with us. If you have the time, feel free to purchase the book and leave your personal insights and thoughts in the comment section as you progress!