Berkshire Hathaway

  • 08 Jun
    How To Invest For Your Children Or Grandchildren

    How To Invest For Your Children Or Grandchildren

    • Whether investing for children or retirement, the goal is to maximize portfolio value at a specific future date, not now or in the next six months.
    • Be wary of fees as they eat up a huge part of your future wealth. I’ll show how to avoid them.
    • Temporal diversification and buying companies that create value will do wonders over time.

    Introduction

    Our greatest treasure is, of course, our kids. I’m a proud father for six months now and I must say that every day since my child was born has been the most beautiful day of my life.

    In that spirit, I want to provide the best possible environment for my kid to grow up, but also to enable him to do everything he wants when he is older. This has me, and probably many other parents or grandparents, already thinking about college tuition money, start-up capital for a business venture, helping with the down payment for a house, or simply paying for a wedding or a honey-moon. The notion that you can build a substantial nest-egg with small monthly payments is very attractive to me and will also provide a great educational experience to my kid as it will show him how small actions over a long period of time can bring huge results. More →

  • 26 May
    Corporate America’s Focus Isn’t On Shareholder Value Creation

    Corporate America’s Focus Isn’t On Shareholder Value Creation

    • Earnings haven’t grown in the last 10 years. What is corporate management doing?
    • A temporarily higher stock price isn’t good for the majority of investors, especially those investing for the long term and retirement.
    • Buybacks are idiotic, management pays $ 3million for a home they can build for $1 million.
    • There is only one company that does smart buybacks.

    Introduction

    There’s a huge problem affecting corporate America that nobody is seeing because most people think in positives and negatives, and can’t think on an relative scale. What do I mean by this? Well, when shareholders judge management, they look at whether the bottom line is positive and in line with what the competition is doing. Nobody is assessing whether it could have been much better.

    We expect only the best from our favorite athletes and we hope our children develop to their full potential but when it comes to corporate management, we remain mostly silent and accept whatever they throw at us. More →

  • 16 May
    When CEOs Become Delusional: The Case of Unilever’s Polman

    When CEOs Become Delusional: The Case of Unilever’s Polman

    • Unilever CEO Polman declared himself more competent than Buffet just because Unilever has outperformed Berkshire in the last 8 years. The funny thing is, Unilever outperformed thanks to Buffett.
    • Not only that, but Berkshire outperformed Unilever on revenue and earnings while at equal valuations, Berkshire would also largely outperform.
    • The 8-year bull market has clearly gotten into some CEOs’ heads. This creates a very dangerous situation for long term shareholder value creation.

    Introduction

    In an interview with Jim Cramer, I was thunderstruck to hear Unilever’s CEO (NYSE: UL), Paul Polman, tell the world that his returns have been better in the last 8 years than Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B). More →

  • 15 May
    Why You Shouldn’t Love Dividends

    Why You Shouldn’t Love Dividends

    • It’s human nature to like immediate compensation. When it comes in the form of a dividend, even better.
    • However, there are far more disadvantages than advantages. Dividends are another indication of how irrational markets are.
    • We can’t even imagine what Microsoft or Apple would look like if their cash had been reinvested and not used for repurchases or dividends.

    Introduction

    When a company announces increased buybacks or hikes its dividend, the market usually reacts very positively. However, there are some people that aren’t so enthusiastic about dividends and especially buybacks as they see the former as a poor allocation of the company’s cash and the later as a fast way to destroy shareholder value. In this article, we’ll analyze why dividends aren’t as good as they seem at first sight. More →

  • 31 Mar
    Don’t Give Up On Stock Picking. Do It The Right Way.

    Don’t Give Up On Stock Picking. Do It The Right Way.

    • Passively managed funds are extremely dangerous as their positive performance is self-reinforcing due to the huge positive net inflows.
    • But don’t jump to actively managed funds as, on aggregate, they will always underperform the market in the long term because they are the market.
    • The only solution is to invest like a business owner. You can do this by investing yourself or by finding an active manager who has the same principles.

    Introduction

    A recent Wall Street Journal article described how BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) is switching to robots from using humans to improve its stock picking for its actively managed funds. BLK’s reasoning is that its stock picking unit lagged in performance and has had many withdrawals that cut assets under management to $275 billion from $317 billion in the last three years despite the S&P 500 surging 27% in the same period. The hope is that robots will perform better at lower cost. More →

  • 24 Mar
    Using Intrinsic Value To Measure Portfolio Performance

    Using Intrinsic Value To Measure Portfolio Performance

    • The market is irrational and can’t be used as the only measure of investment performance.
    • Imagine if all the businesses you own suddenly delisted, you’d look at their value in a different way.
    • Intrinsic value is based on the business owner perspective which is essential for reaching healthy long term returns.

    Introduction

    This past Tuesday was a bad day for stocks with both the Dow and the S&P 500 falling more than 1%. This isn’t very significant for now, apart from the fact that it broke the longest run the S&P 500 has ever seen without a 1% decline (64 days in comparison to 34 days in August 1995). However, it’s an excellent introduction to today’s topic on how we measure investment performance. More →

  • 01 Mar
    Value That’s Measured In Millions

    Value That’s Measured In Millions

    • My goal for what I write on Investiv Daily is to increase yearly returns by 4 percentage points for those who want to remain invested in the U.S. and diversified across sectors, by 8 percentage points for those who want the same but dare to go international, and by 12 or more percentage points for those who want to look at specific stock investments.
    • History, statistics, the Buffetts of the world, macroeconomics, cycles, etc., show that returns of above 16% on an annualized basis are possible, so why should you settle for average?
    • The current investing environment praises index or average investing. However, I would wait for a complete business and market cycle to pass before praising an investment strategy. It’s fun how quickly people have forgotten about 2001 and 2009.

    Introduction

    You probably know that I’ve been writing here on Investiv Daily for a while now. Apart from the content and commentary that I publish here, I have a very specific goal in mind. My goal is to eliminate the word “average” from your returns and without increasing your risk. More →

  • 21 Feb
    Buffett Put $12 Billion On Stocks, But He Didn’t Buy Into <i>This</i> Market

    Buffett Put $12 Billion On Stocks, But He Didn’t Buy Into This Market

    • Stocks grew on positive sentiment after Buffett disclosed his optimism and spent $12 billion.
    • His purchases included Apple, and an extremely cheap sector.
    • Passive investing without thinking is what allows for such heterogeneity in valuations. For investors like Buffett, it’s easy money.

    Introduction

    At the end of January, market bulls rejoiced when Warren Buffet disclosed in a Charlie Rose interview that he had bought $12 billion of stocks since Trump’s election. Since then, the market has jumped another 3% on positive sentiment as even the greatest low risk investors of them all is buying into this market.

    A few days ago, however, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed—in their obligatory holding statement—what Buffett actually bought. This, of course, hasn’t been as publicized as has the fact that he bought $12 billion of stocks, but as always, journalists prefer to focus more on what’s sexy than on what’s important.

    Let’s see if we can learn something from what the Oracle of Omaha has been buying in this market which is constantly breaching all-time highs. More →

  • 27 Jan
    What See’s Candy & WhatsApp Can Teach Us About Creating Shareholder Value

    What See’s Candy & WhatsApp Can Teach Us About Creating Shareholder Value

    • Stock option compensation rewards management if the market does well, business performance is almost irrelevant.
    • BlackRock and Vanguard are becoming more assertive in the implementation of better governance policies. However, it seems it’s only a rhetoric given that they own 9% of corporate America.
    • Two examples show how CEOs can have opposing attitudes toward shareholder value.

    Introduction

    Today, we’ll dig deeper into corporate governance as it’s essential for our long-term investment returns.

    We’ve already discussed how buybacks mostly negatively affect long term shareholder value. But apart from buybacks, there are other interesting, more subtle issues that can help us lower our risks and increase returns.

    We’ll analyze what Larry Fink and William McNabb have to say about corporate governance, and we’ll look at a few examples of how CEOs manage their companies in order to show examples of good and bad practices. More →

  • 10 Nov
    Why You Should Switch To Active Investing Now

    Why You Should Switch To Active Investing Now

    • PE ratios in the S&P 500 are all over the place; 7 of the top 20 stocks have PE ratios below 15, 7 from 20 to 30, and 5 above 30.
    • You can buy stable, growing businesses at PE ratios below 15, so why would you stick to passive investing and buying riskier stocks at PE ratios of above 20?
    • Maybe you think passive investing meets the definition of “boring,” something investors such as Buffett advocated. I don’t wish you the excitement of watching your portfolio fall from a PE ratio of 24 to a PE ratio of 15. Therefore, think about rebalancing now before it’s too late.

    Introduction

    Yesterday we discussed how the economy is doing well but that the market isn’t responding accordingly. This is because of the high valuations where only exceptional catalysts can push the market higher while any kind of negative news easily brings it into negative territory. However, by analyzing recent earnings, we have found large discrepancies among sectors in revenue and earnings growth. We understand this is normal for a well-diversified portfolio, but do we have to own more of the overvalued stocks and less of the undervalued stocks as a market capitalization weighted index fund does? More →

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