Deep Value explains, through numerous case studies and backed by data, why the counterintuitive approach of a traditional (deep) value strategy uncovers the most promising investment opportunities with limited risk.
Mistakes are the bane of investor performance. Naturally, the idea that avoiding errors improves performance is simple enough but our behavior often gets in the way.
There’s a reason why some of the best investors ever are often the most humble. Pride is an obstacle investors need to overcome before improvement happens.
The fact is humans are fallible. Mistakes are inevitable. The great ones accept it, are critical of their own when needed, learn what they can, and move forward.
With pride out the way, finding the recurring mistakes should be easier, right? But again, another obstacle called time gets in the way. Rarely is the same mistake made one decision after another until it’s recognized and removed. And investment decisions are rarely made in rapid succession either.
There’s the old adage that bull and bear markets are just far enough apart that investors forget how the last one ended. Well, similar mistakes have a distance between them too. It makes it difficult to remember the last time the mistake was made. Which can lead to repetition. Continue Reading…
Lessons in a 1938 Letter from Keynes
1937 was the first major market crash since the big one in 1929. The U.S. stock market peaked in March 1937 then sank about 50% over the next year. I’m sure the thought of a repeat of 1929 was in the back of a few investor’s minds at the time.
In fact, John Maynard Keynes may have been dealing with someone who was fighting that last war. Keynes served on the board of National Mutual. He believed the insurance company should hold a higher weighting in stocks than what was typical of the time. Though, not all board members agreed.
The disagreement grew louder as the U.S. market sank from 1937 to 1938 and dragged National Mutual’s portfolio down with it. By March of 1938, F. N. Curzon, the acting chairman in Keynes’s absence, had enough. He pushed to liquate some stock holdings. Then he fired off a letter criticizing Keynes’s investment policy over the previous few months.
Keynes’s reply came a few days later: Continue Reading…
Lessons from Charlie Munger at the Daily Journal Meeting
Charlie Munger held court at the Daily Journal Annual Meeting last week. He answered questions for almost two hours. These were a few lessons to take away from it.
On behavior in market booms.
You get crazy booms. Remember the Dotcom boom? When every little building in Silicon Valley rented at a huge price and a few months later, about a third of them were vacant. There are these periods in capitalism and I’ve been around for a long time and my policy has always been to just ride them out…
In fact, what shareholders actually do is a lot of them crowd in to buying stocks on frenzy, frequently on credit because they see that they’re going up, and of course that’s a very dangerous way to invest. I think that shareholders should be more sensible and not crowd into stocks and buy them just because they’re going up and they like to gamble.
The risk in the ensuing stock crash is that emotions trigger a host of actions that feel just as right as when stock prices were rising but ultimately end up being costly. It’s a story repeated throughout history. Continue Reading…
Lessons from the 2020 Berkshire Letter
Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders was released this past weekend. Like previous letters, it’s filled with several lessons and great reminders for investors. Let’s dive in.
Even the Best Investor Makes Mistakes
The final component in our GAAP figure – that ugly $11 billion write-down – is almost entirely the quantification of a mistake I made in 2016. That year, Berkshire purchased Precision Castparts (“PCC”), and I paid too much for the company. No one misled me in any way – I was simply too optimistic about PCC’s normalized profit potential…
I believe I was right in concluding that PCC would, over time, earn good returns on the net tangible assets deployed in its operations. I was wrong, however, in judging the average amount of future earnings and, consequently, wrong in my calculation of the proper price to pay for the business. PCC is far from my first error of that sort. But it’s a big one.
Every investor loves to tout their winners. Nobody likes to talk about their losers. Well, almost nobody. Continue Reading…
The Coffee Can Approach
The coffee can portfolio is a strategy built on one decision. You buy a stock. That’s it. It eliminates the difficult task of selling.
Robert Kirby envisioned the strategy after a client approached him. He had worked with the client for about a decade when she called. Her husband had suddenly died and she wanted to add his portfolio to hers so Kirby could manage it. As Kirby looked over her husband’s portfolio he was somewhat shocked and surprised by it. The husband not only cloned his wife’s portfolio but handily outperformed it.
Every time Kirby made a recommendation to buy a stock for the wife’s portfolio, the husband followed it too. Each time, he invested about $5,000 into the stock. But when Kirby made the recommendation to sell, the husband ignored it. Every time he bought a stock, he tossed the stock certificates into a safe deposit box and did nothing.
After a decade, with a growing pile of stock certificates, the husband’s portfolio became a weird mix of stocks. Many were worth less than the original $5,000 investment. A few were worth more. A lot more in fact. A handful were in excess of $100,000 and one small investment in Xerox exceeded $800,000. Continue Reading…
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