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Seth Klarman On Value Investing


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Dividends Don’t Lie


wealthymatters“Question — What’s the best action you can look for in a stock?
Answer — A long record of increasing dividends.

A lot of lies can be told about a stock, but dividends don’t lie. In order to increase dividends, a stock must create a history of producing cash. Analysts can lie, earnings can lie, CEO’s can lie, but dividends don’t lie. A company must increase its actual earnings in order to raise dividends. The only thing better than dividends is the float produced by an insurance company. The float, plus compounding, made Buffett a wealthy man.” – Richard Russell

Investing In Unlisted Shares


wealthymattersIf you’d like to be part of the action and excitement of various start-ups, you can consider investing in unlisted shares. But there are a few challenges to overcome and difficulties to bear up to.

Since these companies are unlisted, very little financial information is available. Also, because there’s no formal platform to trade these shares, the demand-supply situation varies and the price at which deals are struck are a function of the quantity, demand-supply situation and the sentiment prevailing in the secondary markets.

Unlike listed stocks, the unlisted space has few brokers and trades are made through known sources.Often, a broker accumulates small lots of shares from employees who have earned them as ESOPs, or from investors who have bought earlier and are looking for an exit. Once the broker has a sizeable chunk of shares, typically worth more than Rs 1 crore, it’s offered to HNIs.

Unlike listed shares, where a holder can exit through the stock exchange, liquidity is poor in unlisted companies. You would have to look for an IPO or another buyer. Read more of this post

The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville


wealthymattersThe Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville is a seminal essay by Warren Buffett.

Buffett begins this essay by imagining a nationwide coin-flipping contest. Everyone in the US participates and calls the flip of a coin. Call correctly and move on to the next round, guess wrong and you’re out.After 20 days, about 215 lucky flippers will have correctly called 20 consecutive flips. They gloat about their success, yet the nature of coin-flipping tells us they’re just lucky. It’s a game of random chance.

But what if all 215 flippers lived in the same town? What if they all hailed from the same school? The same fraternity? Then we’d get excited. The laws of probability suggest 215 winners after 20 days. But those same laws tell us that if all 215 belonged to an associated group, that almost certainly wouldn’t be the product of random chance. These 215 flippers clearly would know something we don’t.

The real flippers in Buffett speech are nine “superinvestors” — himself included. All nine crushed the market averages over multiyear periods by between 8% and 22% per year.In a world with millions of investors, such returns can occur by sheer luck — just like the 215 coin-flippers appeared at first glance. But all nine superinvestors hailed from the investment school of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd — Columbia professors now known as the fathers of value investing. That meant something big. It meant that their success wasn’t the product of luck. It almost had to be attributable to the only common link they shared: the investing philosophy learned from Graham and Dodd. The “intellectual origin,” as Buffett put it. Read more of this post

Stick To The Shares Of Private Banks


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The higher interest rates and slower GDP growth imply declining loan growth and rising NPAs in the banking system, most particularly in the cheap state-owned banks.

Current Indian gross NPAs are at 3.7% of total loans, but there are also another 4.6% of loans which are in the restructured category.

So despite the temptation to buy cheap banks on a contrarian basis,  stick with the expensive quality private sector banks geared to the consumer space, since it is far from evident that India has passed the worst.

It is also the case that the credit problems are primarily in the corporate and infrastructure related sectors.

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