Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Stock selection for defensive investors: seven criteria

In his book, The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham suggested seven quality and quantitative criteria for the selection of common stocks for a defensive investor’s portfolio. The seven suggested criteria are: Let’s zoom in on criteria (6) and (7) above. Moderate ratio of price to assets: Current price of stock should be no more than 1.5…

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Warren Buffett recommended reading

Four books recommended by Warren Buffett

In his 2003 chairman’s letter dated February 27, 2004, to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, legendary investor recommendated four books for reading. Here is what Warren Buffett said: “A 2003 book that investors can learn much from is Bull! by Maggie Mahar. Two other books I’drecommend are The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and…

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Warren Buffett lessons

What has Matthew 6:21 to do with director independence?

In his annual letter dated February 28, 2004, to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, chairman Warren Buffett shared how several institutional shareholders and their advisors decided that he lacked “independence” in his role as a director of Coca-Cola. “…independence is defined in Webster’s as ‘not subject to control by others’,” Mr Buffett said, adding: “I’m puzzled how…

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Warren Buffett lessons

Warren Buffett: There is seldom one cockroach in the kitchen

In his annual letter dated Feb 21, 2003, to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, chairman Warren Buffett had three suggestions for investors. Mr Buffett’s first suggestion was for investors to beware of companies displaying weak accounting. “If a company still does not expense options, or if its pension assumptions are fanciful, watch out. When managements take the…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Investment vs Speculation

“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.” – Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor) Giving his thoughts on Investment versus Speculation in his opening chapter in The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, said: “Outright speculation…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway abandons “book value per share” practice

Berkshire Hathaway has abandoned its long-time practice of featuring the percentage change in its per-share book value. In his annual letter dated February 23, 2019, to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, chairman Warren Buffett said: “Long-time readers of our annual reports will have spotted the different way in which I opened this letter. For nearly three decades,…

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Warren Buffett's thoughts

Warren Buffett on prudence in acquisitions

In Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders dated February 24, 2018, for FY2017, one line stands out in the section on acquisitions: “Despite our recent drought of acquisitions, Charlie (Munger) and I believe that from time to time Berkshire will have opportunities to make very large purchases. In the meantime, we will stick with our…

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Warren Buffett lessons

“Avoid borrowing money to buy stocks”

In Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report for FY2017, chairman Warren Buffett gave examples of “four truly major dips” suffered by Berkshire shares in the past. “Berkshire, itself, provides some vivid examples of how price randomness in the short term can obscure long-term growth in value,” Mr Buffett said. The legendary investor said the examples offered “the…

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Investment criteria

Understanding Warren Buffett’s moat strategy

Warren Buffett’s long-held “moat” strategy has come to the fore in the wake of an argument between the legendary investor and Telsa’s Elon Musk. A CNBC report (Warren Buffett responds to Elon Musk’s criticism: ‘I don’t think he’d want to take us on in candy’) quoted Telsa’s Musk as saying this week that “moats are lame”…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Buffett, Munger have harsh words for cryptocurrency

Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett minces no words when it comes to cryptocurrency, calling bitcoin “probably rat poisoned squared” and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, has even harsher words, saying “it (cryptocurrency) is like someone else is trading turds and you decide I can’t be left out”. A Yahoo Finance May 6, 2018, report (Why…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway takes a bigger bite of Apple, dumps IBM

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought an additional 75 million shares of Apple in the first quarter of 2018, while dumping its remaining stake in IBM, said a Bloomberg May 4, 2018 report  (Buffett Buys a Further 75 Million Apple Shares, Sells Out of IBM). The report quoted the Berkshire Hathaway chairman as having said in…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Why Warren Buffett steers clear of bitcoin

Legendary value investor Warren Buffett is still dismissive of bitcoin as an investment. He laid out his latest thinking on the cryptocurrency in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance (Warren Buffett on buying bitcoin: ‘That is not investing’, April 28, 2018). “If you buy something like a farm, an apartment house, or an interest in…

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Quotes

Who has been swimming naked?

“You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out…” – Warren Buffett (letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in FY2007) P/S Full quote: “As house prices fall, a huge amount of financial folly is being exposed. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out – and what…

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Investment philosophy

Mind-blowing compounding

Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett shared in a Yahoo Finance interview (“Warren Buffett explains how you could’ve turned $114 into $400,000 with a simple long-term investment” dated April 25, 2018) how a sum of $114 invested in the S&P 500 in 1942, with dividends reinvested, could have turned into $400,000 today. “Let me give you…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Share repurchases: What is smart at one price is stupid at another

Discussions about share repurchases often become heated in the investment world. But, in the words of Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett,  assessing the desirability of repurchases isn’t that complicated. “From the standpoint of exiting shareholders, repurchases are always a plus. Though the day-to-day impact of these purchases is usually minuscule, it’s always better for a…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett on intrinsic value

“Intrinsic value is an all-important concept that offers the only logical approach to evaluating the relative attractiveness of investments and businesses,” Warren Buffett said in the 2016 Annual Report of Berkshire Hathaway. “Intrinsic value can be defined simply: It is the discounted value of the cash that can be taken out of a business during…

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Aswath Damodaran on valuation

Philosophical basis for valuation

“A postulate of sound investing is that an investor does not pay more for an asset than it is worth,” says Aswath Damodaran, the well-known author of “Damodaran on Valuation”, a book on security analysis for investment and corporate finance. “The statement may seem logical and obvious, but it is forgotten and rediscovered at some…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Stock selection for the defensive investor

Benjamin Graham (1894-1976), the father of value investing, said in his widely-followed book, The Intelligent Investor,  that one choice for the defensive investor in stock selection would be to apply a set of standards to each purchase, to make sure that he obtains (i) a minimum of quality in the past performance and current financial…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

The Intelligent Investor

“To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What is needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework.” These words came from legendary investor Warren Buffett, the best known disciple of Benjamin Graham, the…

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Investment philosophy

Choose simplicity over complexity

Is investing in the stock market something that is complex, mysterious and risky and therefore best left to the professional? “Warren Buffett has shown this to be a myth,” says James Pardoe in his book “How Buffett Does It”. James Pardoe says in the book, which shares 24 simple investment strategies from the world’s greatest…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

What is speculation?

“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.” Source: Benjamin Graham, “The Intelligent Investor”

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Quotes

A climate of fear is your friend

“A climate of fear is your friend when investing; a euphoric world is your enemy.” – Warren Buffett (2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders)

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Margin of safety

“You don’t try and buy businesses worth $83 million for $80 million. You leave yourself an enormous margin (of safety). When you build a bridge, you insist it can carry 30,000 pounds, but you only drive 10,000-pound trucks across it. And that same principle works in investing. ” – Warren Buffett on what Benjamin Graham,…

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Investment philosophy

A bull market is like sex

“A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.” – Barton Biggs. (Note: Warren Buffett, in his 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, was quoting the late Barton Biggs.) P/S Barton Biggs (November 26, 1932 – July 14, 2012) was a money manager said to be best known for accurately predicting…

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Investment philosophy

Warren Buffett on investment success

“In my opinion, investment success will not be produced by arcane formulae, computer programs or signals flashed by the price behavior of stocks and markets. Rather an investor will succeed by coupling good business judgment with an ability to insulate his thoughts and behavior from the super-contagious emotions that swirl about the marketplace.” – Warren…

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Philip Fisher thoughts

Don’t be afraid of buying on a war scare: Philip Fisher

In Philip Fisher’s “Five More Don’ts For Investors”, one of those don’ts is titled “Don’t be afraid of buying on a war scare”. American stock investor Philip Arthur Fisher (September 8, 1907 – March 11, 2004) was best known as the author of the investment guide book known as Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. The…

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Warren Buffett lessons

Two things to remember amid panic over possible US-China trade war

Global markets are in a turmoil as the USA and China poise themselves for a possible trade war. This brings to mind what legendary investor Warren Buffett said in his FY2016 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. “The years ahead will occasionally deliver major market declines – even panics – that will affect virtually all stocks,”…

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Warren Buffett lessons

Warren Buffett wins bet and charity gets US$2.2m instead of US$1m

Back in December 2007, Warren Buffett made a ten-year US$1  million prize bet (background reading: Warren Buffett is set to win this US$500,000 wager) with asset manager Protégé Partners. Essentially, Warren Buffett wanted to prove a point:  that his pick – a virtually cost-free investment in an unmanaged S&P 500 index fund – would, over…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Warren Buffett: Don’t treat marketable common stocks as ticker symbols

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine; in the long run, however, it becomes a weighing machine.” – Benjamin Graham Legendary value investor Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, once again cited the abovementioned  maxim of Benjamin Graham in his FY2017 letter to shareholders. What is so endearing about this quote…

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Berkshire Hathaway owner-related business principles

Berkshire Hathaway’s 15 owner-related business principles

Source: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report 2016 1.  Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership. Charlie Munger and I think of our shareholders as ownerpartners, and of ourselves as managing partners. (Because of the size of our shareholdings we are also, for better or worse, controlling partners.) We do not view the company itself…

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Warren Buffett's thoughts

How Berkshire Hathaway treats company’s new information

In his February 27, 2016, letter to Berkshire Hathaway for FY2015, chairman Warren Buffett said: “While I’m on the subject of our owners’ gaining knowledge, let me remind you that Charlie and I believe all shareholders should simultaneously have access to new information that Berkshire releases and, if possible, should also have adequate time to…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Does Warren Buffett or Berkshire Hathaway hold certain stocks forever?

Does Warren Buffett or Berkshire Hathaway hold certain stocks forever? To answer this question, one needs to go back to Berkshire Hathaway’s 2016 Annual Report 2016, in which chairman Warren Buffett said:  “Sometimes the comments of shareholders or media imply that we will own certain stocks “forever.” It is true that we own some stocks…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Investment versus Speculation

“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.” – Benjamin Graham, “The Intelligent Investor” Benjamin Graham, widely known as the  father of value investing, said that “outright speculation  is neither illegal, immoral, nor (for most people) fattening to the pocketbook”….

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Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway ‘A’ and ‘B’ shares

A new release by Berkshire Hathaway dated 10 July 2017 said that chairman Warren Buffett  that day converted 12,500 of his Class A shares into 18,750,000 Class B shares. “Of these Class B shares, 18,628,189 have been donated to five foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Warren Buffett: Two things to remember during scary periods

“The years ahead will occasionally deliver major market declines – even panics – that will affect virtually all stocks,” Warren Buffett said in his FY2016 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. “No one can tell you when these traumas will occur – not me, not Charlie, not economists, not the media. Meg McConnell of the New…

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Berkshire Hathaway

Why Warren Buffett sold about one-third of stake in IBM

Warren Buffett, who owned about 81 million shares in IBM at the end of 2016, sold off about a third of that stake in the first and second quarters of 2017. He told CNBC this in a report dated May 4, 2017 (Warren Buffett has sold IBM shares, and ‘revalued’ tech icon downward, cites ‘big strong…

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Books

What stocks to buy: 15 points to look for

“What are the matters about which the investor should learn if he is to obtain the type of investment which in a few years might show a gain of several hundred per cent, or over a longer period of time might show a correspondingly greater increase? ” In other words, what attributes should a company have to give…

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Who's Who

Who is Ray DeVoe?

The name Ray DeVoe was mentioned by Warren Buffett in his FY2010 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Warren Buffett said: “We keep our cash largely in U.S. Treasury bills and avoid other short-term securities yielding a few more basis points, a policy we adhered to long before the frailties of commercial paper and money market funds…

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Investment philosophy

The Fourth Law of Motion that Sir Isaac Newton failed to discover

“Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us three laws of motion, which were the work of genius,” Warren Buffett  said in a comment in Berkshire Hathaway’s FY2016 annual report. ” But Sir Isaac’s talents didn’t extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, “I can calculate the movement of the…

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Investment philosophy

Warren Buffett is set to win this US$500,000 wager

Background on Warren Buffett’s US$500,000 wager: Warren Buffett said in  Berkshire’s 2005 annual report that  active investment management by professionals – in aggregate – would over a period of years underperform the returns achieved by rank amateurs who simply sat still. Recalling his argument, he said in his FY2016 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders: “I explained…

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Warren Buffett's thoughts

Warren Buffett graces Cherry Coke cans

“It should come as no surprise that iconic investor Warren Buffett is one of the world’s best-known fans of Cherry Coca-Cola. At almost every public appearance for a generation, Buffett has been seen taking a swig of his favorite drink,” says a March 31, 2017 article (Chinese Consumers Do a Double-Take as Warren Buffett Graces…

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Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits

Philip Fisher’s five more don’ts for investors

1. Don’t overstress diversification Investors have been so oversold on diversification that fear of having too many eggs in one basket has caused them to put far too little into companies they thoroughly know and far too much in others about which they know nothing at all. “It never seems to occur to them, and…

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Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits

Five don’ts for investors: Philip Fisher

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher lists five don’ts for investors 1. Don’t buy into promotional companies All too often, young promotional companies are dominated by one or two individuals who have great talent for certain phases of business procedure but are lacking in other equally essential talents. They may be superb salesmen…

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Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits

Philip Fisher’s scuttlebutt method

For a man like Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett who doesn’t personally own an iPhone, one wonders why he more than doubled Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings in Apple to about 2.5 per cent in January 2017. At that point, Mr Buffett owned US$17 billion worth of the tech giant’s stock In a CNBC report on 27…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Benjamin Graham on dollar-cost averaging

In Chapter 5 (The Defensive Investor and Common Stocks) of The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, touched on various aspects of defensive investment, among which was dollar-cost averaging, an application of a “formula investment”. Elaborating, he said: “The New York Stock Exchange has put considerable effort into popularizing its ‘monthly purchase…

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Warren Buffett lessons

How Berkshire Hathaway selects a new director

Berkshire Hathaway’s four long-standing criteria in selecting a new board director: owner-oriented, business-savvy, interested and truly independent. Chairman Warren Buffett said: “I say “truly” because many directors who are now deemed independent by various authorities and observers are far from that, relying heavily as they do on directors’ fees to maintain their standard of living….

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Investment criteria

When it comes to stocks, Berkshire Hathaway looks for wonderful companies

“Woody Allen once explained that the advantage of being bi-sexual is that it doubles your chance of finding a date on Saturday night,” Warren Buffett said in his FY2015 letter to Berkshire Hathaway. Why did the Berkshire Hathaway chairman say this? “In like manner – well, not exactly like manner – our appetite for either…

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Books

Seven stock investing mistakes to avoid: Pat Dorsey

It takes many great stock picks to make up for just a few big errors, says Pat Dorsey, author of The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing. So even before one goes into any analysis process, care should be taken to avoid seven easily avoidable mistakes. Here is Pat Dorsey’s list of seven mistakes to…

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Marketable securities

Warren Buffett loves Apple

Warren Buffett’s FY2016’s letter dated February 25, 2017, to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders showed the group had 61,242,652 Apple Inc shares, a stake of 1.1 per cent costing US$6.747 billion and worth a market value of US$7.093 billion. This has since doubled. According to a CNBC report on Feb 27, 2017, the stake had doubled in…

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Warren Buffett lessons

How Warren Buffett picks stocks

“Excellent business results by corporations will translate over the long term into correspondingly excellent market value and dividend results for owners, minority as well as majority,” Warren Buffett once said. How true this is even today although Mr Buffett said this as far back as 1978 in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders for FY1977….

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Warren Buffett lessons

Misleading ‘record’ earnings

When companies say they achieve record earnings, be wary how they define “record” earnings. Warren Buffett said in a March 14, 1978, shareholder letter: “Most companies define ‘record’ earnings as a new high in earnings per share. Since businesses customarily add from year to year to their equity base, we find nothing particularly noteworthy in…

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Benjamin Graham's thoughts

Benjamin Graham Theory Of Diversification

In investment, having a margin of safety itself is not sufficient.  Why is this so? Benjamin Graham, the founder of value investing, uses the simple basis of the insurance-underwriting business to explain the need for diversification. He said that  diversification is the companion of margin of safety. In other words, margin of safety and diversification…

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