To kick off the beginning of 2023, there continues to be a bias we see in equity investor portfolios. These portfolios have many of the traits investors see at the endpoints of the economy like software, consumer products and computer chips.
What must happen to make these stocks attractive to investors like us?
There were many good things to think about from Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders which came out recently. In this piece, we’d like to drill down on two subjects that Buffett highlighted.
As a young stockbroker in the 1980s, I was very enamored with T. Boone Pickens.
A recession is two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
In 1817, David Ricardo developed his theory of comparative advantage to explain why countries engage in trade together, even when one country has an absolute advantage.
As we start the year 2023, we are reminded of the profound poetry from the band, Echosmith, in the song, “Cool Kids.” It can teach us about what it takes to succeed in long-duration common stock investing currently.
As we’ve hit the halftime mark for the investment year 2022, we are faced with a daunting two-headed monster.
Totally Addressable Markets (TAM) are at the heart of what Charlie Munger calls the biggest euphoria episode he has ever seen in his career. We believe that the coming stock market failure emanating from the over-pricing of the U.S. stock market is closely tied to TAM.
Warren Buffett released his 2021 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter on Saturday, February 26, 2022. He seemed to want to talk about almost anything besides the stock market.
We have been reading a book written by David Carey and John Morris called King of Capital. It is the story of the Blackstone company and its key founder, Stephen Schwarzman. An economic history from the 1980s through today is included and lays out some excellent reminders of certain disciplines which can create wealth in picking public companies to invest in.
Overall common stock index performance can be a very confusing thing to most investors. From a cyclical standpoint, the history of stock price performance in the U.S. is closely associated with the Federal Reserve Board. When the Federal Reserve Board reverses an accommodative interest rate policy, it is affectionately referred to as “pulling the punch bowl.”
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger always refer to Aesop as the originator of investment logic. His first dictum was “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” His second dictum was the fable of the “Tortoise and the Hare.”
At Smead Capital Management, we practice our discipline of picking and owning stocks which meet our eight criteria in both favorable and unfavorable environments. The current “blithe spirits” were brought to mind in a movie of the same name.
During our quarterly webcast last week (October 21, 2021), someone asked us a great question. They asked, “Does the ten-year Treasury bond rate at 1.65% and an inflation rate of 5% teach us that inflation will be transitory?” It is an important question because the majority of economists and market strategists are betting that inflation is transitory.
We have argued for years that the biggest mistake being made by Berkshire Hathaway was not giving shareholders access to the thoughts and investment discipline of their two talented stock pickers, Ted Weschler and Todd Combs. After all, Buffett calls the shareholders “partners” and has not allowed his partners to understand anything about the strategies and results of upwards of $30 billion of shareholder capital.
The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting was a mixture of caution, wisdom and honesty.
Now that the leaders of the most popular tech companies are going into outer space, we thought it appropriate to consider the return implications of this urge to “explore strange new worlds.”
Even before the war is over, the winning side needs to consider how to “win the peace” which will follow.
Dumb and Dumber was a 1994 movie which tells the story of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels)
My generation, millennials (those born from 1980 to 2000), have been noted for much of the last 10 years to be a risk averse group.
Lina Khan is being appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by President Biden’s administration.
Today’s stock market looks like the love affair between Danny and Sandy at Rydell High. Sandy is “hopelessly devoted” to Danny, even though he is the leader of a Los Angeles high school gang.
Warren Buffett’s annual letter was great in all the easy ways and disappointing in the ways that matter the most to his shareholder partners
The object of the game was to get to the finish line first and then become the leader the next round. The stock market has its own game of “Simon says” and that is in the mall property world.
We have enjoyed watching what happens in the late stage of a financial euphoria episode play out in the escapades of millennial investors on Reddit, who seem to “rule the nation.” While politicians, regulators, the media and others try to sort this out, we thought some historical perspective might be helpful.
There have been a small number of consistent alpha-creating axioms in the U.S. stock market over time. Value beat growth over long time frames, tech stocks hit bottom in the summer and crowded trades separate you from your money, to name a few.
We were fortunate to watch a recent interview Charlie Munger did with Cal Tech as a distinguished alum. We consider him to be one of the most successful contrarian investment thinkers on the planet. At 96 years of age, he has no fear of being politically incorrect. We contrast this with the mountain of writing, media and rhetoric associated with the topic of climate change.
There appears to be a few huge statistical bargains available in the stock market based on the simplified version of Benjamin Graham’s intrinsic value calculation.
We came up with a theory many years ago to address how important psychology is to owning common stocks. We found that the risks go up in a stock market, or in an individual stock, when a “well-known fact” (WKF) was acted on in the extreme.
When you run an equity portfolio which is concentrated in 25-30 common stock selections, there are usually three stocks which stick out as particularly attractive at any given time.
Our experience tells us that we have hope from the indignity and humiliation of the present circumstances.
We recently read Peter Doran’s book, Breaking Rockefeller, which is a fabulous economic history of the world from 1840-1920 and focuses on how the monopoly created by John D. Rockefeller was broken from 1890-1910. We also watched a documentary called, “The Social Dilemma,” which explains, through the eyes of some of the social media creators, how incredibly damaging the monopolies, created by internet technology, are to society.
Anyone who owns U.S. large cap stocks must understand what can happen from the actions of the government to enforce the laws on the books for antitrust. Contrary to popular opinion, these laws are not set up to primarily protect consumers from being gouged on price by someone with a monopoly.
We became extremely bearish on energy in 2011. At the time, we saw interest in Seattle for hybrid and electric cars. This convinced us that 10% of the cars on the road nationwide might be hybrid and electric by 2020.
An interesting contrast was drawn on September 15, 2020 between Lennar’s (LEN) earnings call and statistics on revenue per employee at Apple Corporation (AAPL). Lennar described strong growth out into the future in a measured way, because they believe that the prior decade created a home supply deficit due to underbuilding.
We hear numerous market strategists talk about stocks which are going up because “there is no alternative” to owning them. In the Wall Street vernacular, this goes by the phrase TINA.
Since the inflation cocktail is closely related to value stock outperformance, we are very excited about our future value investing possibilities.
In the time since COVID-19 hit the economy and stock market, there has been three phases. First, the question was ‘when’ will the economy return to pre-COVID normal? Next came ‘sooner or later’? Recently, we have moved to ‘will the economy ever come back’? For long-duration investors like us, what are the investment implications in where we are now in a U.S. stock market with many securities priced for ‘never’?
When you are in a financial euphoria episode, like the one we are in currently, it is hard to visualize the impact it has when it breaks. Historically, it is the leading cause of stock market failure. We thought it would be helpful to discuss the secondary impact of the euphoria on common stocks.
The nice thing about being the boy who cried wolf is that you look stupid before you are proven correct and you look smart when you are right, but nobody believes you until it is too late.
With markets extremely difficult and volatile as we work through COVID-19, we thought it would be good to review important parts of our investment discipline. One way to do that is to consider stocks we found via our eight criteria for stock selection and did not keep long enough to get to their ultimate rewards.
On June 4, 2020, eBay (EBAY) released a business update to make investors aware that the quarantine circumstances have caused their business to perform “significantly better than expectations,” compared to their earnings report on April 29, 2020.
A series of charts and historical evidence exists in late May of 2020 which shows that the S&P 500 Index and the vast majority of institutional investors of all shapes and forms have concentrated their investments in the most popular stocks in the stock market.
Great investment opportunities are lonely. History shows us the crowd behaviors to avoid and the investment market circumstances to capitalize on. We believe we are at one of the great junctures, where the crowd thinks they unequivocally know the future.
Warren Buffett has been arguably the best asset allocator and value stock picker of the last 60 years. We are normally thrilled to sit in his classroom. Quite frankly, we were baffled by the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting held on Saturday in Omaha.
You have to love The Wall Street Journal writer, Jason Zweig. His extremely inciteful “Intelligent Investor” column could be called “Jason’s Wet Blanket,” because he seems to throw a wet blanket on most investment disciplines in U.S. stocks. This week’s wet blanket is designed to create even more desperation for value investors via his interview with Charlie Munger.
This smashing of economic hopes, right before one of our brightest demographic phases, could be a bonanza which only those of us who are willing to look foolish can acquire.
The year after I graduated from college, the movie Animal House debuted in 1981. With everything falling apart for the Delta fraternity, including grades and double-triple probation, all looked lost. At the point when others would give up, senior fraternity member, John Blutarsky, gave a spirited call to arms by reminding everyone that the U.S. didn’t give up when our Naval operations at Pearl Harbor were bombed on December 7, 1941.
This year feels so much like late in 1981, late in 1999 and late in 2008 to us. The first reaction by investors was to flush whatever they had left in economically sensitive stocks. Then, as if there hadn’t been enough torture for value investors today, Saudi Arabia decided to chop the knees out from under the oil industry in the U.S.