Monday, 14 October 2013

Margin of Safety - The Three Most Important Words in Investing (Benjamin Graham)

Margin of Safety

1.  Knowing how to compute intrinsic value is just the beginning of valuing a company.

2.  You will be able to appreciate intrinsic value more accurately only when it is deducted from the market price to determine its margin of safety.

3.  Having a margin of safety does not guarantee a successful investment, but it takes care of downside to minimize errors.

4.  It helps to eliminate capital losses or reduce investment risks.

5.  When you have a margin of safety, it will serve as a buffer for any investment and leave room for errors in the event that wrong assumptions were made during the period of valuing a stock.

6.  Capital preservation is the first rule in investing.

7.  We invest only when the risk is reduced to its minimum.

8.  In investing, we need to have good protection (insurance) for our investments - a margin of safety.

9.  The wider the margin, the more protection we will have.

10.  With a margin of safety, the success in investing is not dependent on the exact intrinsic value; the margin of safety serves as better protection against wrong assumptions.

11.  A margin of safety is affected by intrinsic value and the market price.

12.  When the intrinsic value and share price of a company change, the margin of safety will change.

13.  These are three most important terms when using margin of safety:  Undervalued, Fair Value, and Overvalued.

14.  Undervalued:  Intrinsic value $1.  Market price $0.50

15.  Fair value:  Intrinsic value $1.  Market price $1.

16.  Overvalued:  Intrinsic value $1.  Market price $1.50.

17.  There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding how much margin of safety needs to be in place in order for you to become a prudent investor.

18.  Obviously, a 50% margin of safety will generally be better than paying a fair price (0% margin of safety) for the same company.

19.  The wider the margin of safety, the better you will be protected should a financial crisis hit, or when you make a wrong assumption.

20.  However, there are companies, like blue-chip companies that are unlikely to sell at a bargain price with a margin of safety of more than 50%.

21.  Since most blue-chip companies are not growth companies, they will normally trade at a fair price or even be overvalued, rather than being priced at a bargain price, even during times of crisis.

22.  Warren Buffett's statements about quality companies:  "It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

23.  The best time to have a great margin of safety is when the market is depressed or when a company is heavily punished by the market due to bad news.

24.  Remember Ben Graham, the market is there to serve us and not to guide us.

25.  You should take such period of market sell-down or stock sell-down as an opportunity to scoop up bargain stocks.

26.  During this period, average investors would not dare to enter the stock market, for fear that prices would continue to drop.

27.  Be greedy when others are fearful!

28.  Understandably, it can be very difficult to make a purchase when the investment mood and environment are shrouded with negativity.

29.  Investors who can overcome this and take action regardless of market pessimism will definitely become very successful.

30.  Teach and prepare yourself to buy growth companies at a low price (undervalued) and sell them ( if you intend to ) when the price is higher or overvalued.

31.  Teach and prepare yourself to avoid buying a stock when it is overvalued (e.g. negative margin of safety).

32.  Warren Buffett once said, "It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong."

34.  Caution:  Calculating the intrinsic value should be used only to determine WHEN investors want to enter or exit the stock market.  It should not be used to determine the QUALITY of the stock.

35.  The price is mainly determined on market sentiments and not the quality of the stock.

36.  During the 2008-2009 crisis, some growth companies did not continue to grow after the price correction, owing to the respective growth factors of companies.

37.  On the other hand, there are growth companies that continue to grow consistently even in a bear market.

Margin of Safety (Intrinsic value / Market Price)

>50%         ACTION: BUY (undervalued)
50% - 0%  ACTION:  BUY/HOLD (fair value)

> -10%      ACTION:  SELL/HOLD (fair value-overvalued)
> - 50%     ACTION:  SELL (grossly overvalued)


Anonymous said...

Something to share with you in determining margin of safety:

Unknown said...

Stock market investing advice focused on undervalued stocks and value investing principles. Good tips investing marketing. Thanks for sharing investing information.