The Stingy News Weekly (01/30/2011)
Stingy News Flash
I'll be speaking at The Investment Show (http://www.theinvestmentshow.ca). The show is being held at the Hyatt Regency, 370 King Street West in Toronto on February 5 and 6. I'm due to go on at 10am on the 6th and I'll be available to chat afterwards at the Canadian MoneySaver booth. If you preregister, a weekend pass is $10. (Canadian MoneySaver subscribers are eligible for an even better deal.)
New @ StingyInvestor
5 Stingy Stocks for 2011
"Our Stingy Stocks climbed a phenomenal 69.4% this year and that marks the second year in a row that they've gained more than 60%."
Asset Mixer Update
We've updated the Stingy Investor asset mixer to include data for 2010.
Periodic Table Update
We've updated our periodic table of annual returns for Canadians to include data for 2010.
The misunderstood side of value investing
"Warren Buffett, on the other hand, whom many consider a value investor, has modified, if not deserted, the value approach he once employed. At the extreme, value investing is, in Mr. Buffett’s own words, like buying a three-puff cigar butt for the price of one puff, and selling it for two, leaving the remnant for the final holder. The cigar is merely a butt, intended for a one-time gain. This is how Mr. Buffett started investing, until his partner, Charlie Munger, convinced him to modify his approach. Instead of looking for more one-time gains, Mr. Buffet instead began looking for steady businesses that would keep growing, and buy them only when, once in a blue moon, they suffered non-terminal problems that made their stock temporarily cheap."
Follow the Cash
"'A company can transfer that free cash flow to shareholders even without sales growth. That's our theology!' jokes the former seminarian. Double-digit cash-flow yields look very attractive compared with 10-year Treasuries yielding roughly 3.5%."
In debt to Grandpa
"Sometimes the financial system can appear like one of those Escher drawings in which water flows simultaneously uphill and downhill. Governments rescued banks from the threat of failure in 2008, but banks are also big buyers of government bonds—so much so that a sovereign default in Europe might cause a banking crisis. Who is supporting whom? The same question can be asked of pension funds."
How to Tax the Rich
"The president was too polite to mention it during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, but here's a quick summary of the problem: The U.S. is broke. The hole is too big to plug with cost cutting or economic growth alone. Rich people have money. No one else does. Rich people have enough clout to block higher taxes on themselves, and they will. Likely outcome: Your next home will be the box that your laser printer came in. I hope that you kept it."
Illinois Plan for Pensions Questioned
"The Securities and Exchange Commission has said it has a special team devoted to investigating public pensions, and last year it brought its first case ever against a state, accusing New Jersey of securities fraud for claiming to have pension assets that did not really exist."
Lies, flame-grilled lies and statistics
"Burgernomics does support claims that Argentina’s government is cooking the books. The gap between its average annual rate of burger inflation (19%) and its official rate (10%) is far bigger than in any other country. Its government deserves a good grilling."
Peter Cundill's last interview
"Reporter David Berman spoke with the legendary investor, who passed away this week, for the February issue of Report on Business magazine. Here is Mr. Cundill's last interview."
The Cost of Clout
"People in Chicago tend to write off clout and political corruption in Chicago with a shrug, as a unique or even amusing local affectation, or just part of the character of purely political life of the city, but one that doesn’t fundamentally change its status as the “City That Works.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Chicago’s culture of clout is a key, perhaps the key, factor holding the city back economically."
The president as micromanager
"While watching the speech, I tweeted that 'Obama sounds remarkably similar to the CEOs I used to listen to on earnings calls: the ones with mediocre EPS and a failing business model.' This wasn't a crack at Obama, or Democrats it was a reaction to the content. And after watching the responses, the impression lingers--indeed, maybe it's strengthened. The nation is facing some really difficult problems, particularly on the fiscal front. There's no longer any way to put it off pretty soon, the government is going to have to start making some very hard choices about taxes and spending. No matter what it chooses, that probably means lower economic growth, angry voters, and some real loss on the part of whoever's ox is gored."
Don't enter the dragon
"Yet, because the railways offered—and sometimes delivered—the prospect of enormous wealth, the money kept flowing. Today, the same is true. China’s boom is real enough, and so it’s possible for investors in small Chinese stocks to believe that they’re heeding Deng Xiaoping’s famous admonition “To get rich is glorious.” Unfortunately, many of them are just proving the truth of another famous adage: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” "
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