AAAMP Value Blog
A Value Investing Blog
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
We answer the question: What is Alpha and Beta?. Then we look at how a value oriented investor can approach these two investment concepts and become a better investor.
Portfolio Diversification is a foundational concept in investing. It can be a rather basic and easy to understand concept. However, in its implementation, many investors make catastrophic mistakes with too much concentration and others settle for average performance because of over diversification.
Portfolio diversification is a balance between concentration and over diversification to optimize risk and potential return.
As value investors, one of our most important rules is to avoid incurring large losses. There are two easy ways to subject yourself to possible large losses; buy stocks for more than they’re worth, and buy stocks of companies that go bankrupt. The Altman Z-Score is a formula of 5 basic financial ratios to help determine the financial health of a company. In particular, it is a probabilistic model to screen for bankruptcy risk of a company.
92 Insightful Quotes from The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks. One of the best value portfolio management books ever written. One of the best value portfolio management books ever written.
Howard Marks delivers his commentary in a style that has been described as “insightful, direct, homespun, expert and sharply pointed”. His objective in writing The Most Important Thing was to provide a book that would lay out his investment philosophy in a manner that would be beneficial to the average investor.
His approach is to lay out The Most Important Thing Is….. in 20 Chapters. Each is a building block to successful investing. Together they create a “solid wall” in which each piece is essential “guideposts” that keep investors focused on the most important things for successful portfolio management.
There is a debate between two approaches among investors: qualitative vs. quantitative. In reality, every investor adopts at least a little of both approaches; but may emphasize one or the other. The qualitative approach concentrates on the quality of the company. Emphasis is put on the company’s products, services, management, competitors, etc. A quantitative approach concentrates on the income statements, balance sheets, and cash flows, and analyzes the relationship between price and intrinsic value .
The biggest risk of investing is permanent loss of principal. This may seem intuitive, yet few investors understand this or employ a comprehensive investment risk management plan.
New Year’s resolutions for investors should be focused on making them successful in building long term wealth. These 9 resolutions are part of the foundation of being an intelligent investor who can manage his own investments.
Our discussion of these 7 investment concepts will provide you with a different thought process or approach to investing. Successful value portfolio management requires a different way of thinking. Make the effort to be above average.
The Graham Number is part of Benjamin Graham’s stock screen for dividend investors. It uses price in relation to earnings and book value to identify the relative valuations of stable dividend stocks.
Return on capital ratios provide the value investor with quality metrics that can be employed after, or along side, valuation metrics. This allows the long term investor to look for “wonderful companies at a fair price” (Warren Buffett).
Return on Total Assets Ratios provide analysts with an indication of management efficiency in utilizing company assets to create profits. Because it includes all (total) assets (assets funded by debt and equity) it is a profitability ratio that interests both creditor and equity stakeholders.
Cash Flow From Operations (CFO) is an important line on the company Cash Flow Statement . It is the cash inflows and outflows of a company’s core business operations. The cash flow statement defines three types of cash flow :
A comprehensive review and summary of Deep Value -Why Activist Investors and Other Contrarians Battle For Control of “Losing” Corporations, by Tobias E. Carlisle.
Failing businesses, poor management, and unpredictability often provide the most promising investment opportunities. Deep value offers the best risk/reward ratio for investors willing to go against intuition and what is normally accepted by the investment crowd.
Owner Earnings and Owners’ Cash Profits are similar types of cash flow for analysis of businesses and stocks. These metrics provide important insight into the cash flow of the entity, particularly the cash flow available for the owners.
Are you ever confused by the different types of cash flow for investment analysis? There are too many cash flow calculations for most of us to have in memory. I know I get them confused and I’m a seasoned investor.
I believe you will find this a useful guide to the different types of cash flow and cash flow calculations, along with practical step by step comparisons and uses for each metric.
Working capital is an important measure of a company’s operating liquidity. The working capital ratio (a.k.a current ratio) is an indicator of the ability of the company to meet its short term obligations.
Working capital calculations such as Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) and Net Net Working Capital (NNWC) provide valuable metrics with which to measure against price in order to identify bargain stocks.
Enterprise value (EV) and Enterprise value ratios are part of the basic foundation of stock analysis for value investors.
The purpose of Enterprise Value (EV) is two fold; First, to calculate what it would cost to purchase the entire company or business. Secondly, to provide a capital neutral valuation with which to compare with other companies.
While preparing for The Intelligent Investor Book Review I underlined the great quotes from the book. They provide an interesting and valuable perspective of, what may be, the greatest investing book ever written. I have included the page number for each quote for easy reference.
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 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”.
Investment, Speculation, Inflation, and Market History – The Intelligent Investor Book Review (Chapters 1, 2, & 3)
One of the most important and basic rules is to keep the activities of investment and speculation totally separate. Intelligent investing involves: 1) analysis of the fundamental soundness of a business 2) a calculated plan to prevent a severe loss and 3) the pursuit of a reasonable return. Speculation involves basing decisions on the market price, hoping that someone will pay more than you at a later date.
The defensive investor should understand the difference between prediction (qualitative approach) and protection (quantitative or statistical approach). The risky approach is to try and predict or anticipate the future. The protection approach measures the proportion or ratios between price and relevant statistics (i.e. earnings, dividends, assets, debt, etc.).
The Enterprising Investor has the time and experience (or proper guidance) in investing to expand the possible universe of opportunities beyond conservative investments. It is an active approach that requires constant attention and monitoring.
If every investor did their research and only bought stocks with a margin of safety below the intrinsic value of the company, the market would be efficient and fairly stable. But we know that this isn’t true. The market swings wildly from day to day and takes large swings in valuation over periods of euphoria and pessimism.
Graham used a parable with an imaginary investor named Mr. Market to illustrate how an intelligent investor should take advantage of market fluctuations. This is a parable about greed and fear, price and value, and how the intelligent investor will react.
The most important objective of the advisor may be to save you from your own worst enemy, YOU. A good advisor will help you keep your emotions in control, especially at important moments. Instead of panic selling, are you going to be prepared to buy when prices have fallen? Instead of following the crowd, who might be buying at prices far above intrinsic value, are you going to look elsewhere for better values?
In investment selection, it is most accurate to be able to make judgments based on past performance. The greater the amount of assumptions that have to be made about the future, the greater the possibility of misjudgment or error. Graham is adamant about not putting any importance in short term earnings. The more an analyst relies on short term results, the greater the risk, and the more due diligence that is required.
Graham urged shareholders to take an active role in being owners of the company. He thought management with good results should be rewarded, and management with poor results should be questioned and challenged.
He was particularly adamant about shareholders demanding a fair portion of their earnings returned in dividends. This is because much of the time companies squander past earnings. Just because management does a good job with current operations doesn’t mean they know the best use of excess company capital.
The margin of safety for an investment is the difference between the real or fundamental value and the price you pay. The goal of the value investor is pay less (hopefully, much less) than the real value. Ben Graham called margin of safety “the secret of sound investment” and “the central concept of investment”. He also devoted a whole chapter to the concept and, I am confident, placed it last because it is the most important.
A well constructed asset allocation plan can lower portfolio volatility and increase returns at the same time! That makes asset allocation more important than which individual investments you choose for diversification.
Many financial firms give you standard platitudes about asset allocation plans. I’m going to challenge you to think skeptically about some of their commonplace thinking. Most of them leave out important aspects, such as expenses and valuation, because it doesn’t fit the products they sell. Here are the factors that are important and my thoughts on each.
There are fundamental investing principles that apply to each of us whether we are seasoned portfolio managers or a novice investor. Here are 10 investing principles fundamental to successful outcomes.
In value investing, one of the most important and difficult aspects of stock selection is determining whether you have found a real value investment or a value trap. The father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, spent a considerable amount of time trying to differentiate between true value investments and value traps.
The average investor makes decisions that cause them to underperform average investment returns. The difference between average investment returns and average investor returns is often called the behavior gap.
The following value strategies will provide a framework for making your asset allocation investment decisions and avoiding many of the mistakes that create the behavior gap.
Your investment analysis should include high probability value strategies that improve returns and lower portfolio volatility. The focus needs to be on strategies that are long term value oriented rather than on instant gratification.