An Update, New Translation Page, and Links

As you might have noticed at the top of the page is now a translation page where you can translate the entire blog into many different languages.  I found something similar to this a few days ago but could not get it to work on the blog so I enlisted the help of my brother and he got the translation page working, thanks a lot Kev.  This also means that the short-lived Mandarin Value Investing Journey is also not now needed and will be going away.  I am sure the 20 of you who visited the mostly untranslated site will miss it dearly :).

A quick update on where I am at with the process of my article series.  I have now finished up the first two articles of the series and as you know I had planned to write articles on one or two more companies and then do a conclusion article.  Two of the companies I was planning on writing articles on I have been asked not to by the person who recommended them to me because he is planning on writing articles about them.  I am still going to read those companies annual reports and other filings but will not be writing articles about them so this has turned into a three-part series covering the two companies I have already written articles about and the conclusion article where I decide which of them to buy.  I will hopefully have the whole series posted as soon as possible.

“Things do not happen–they are brought about by careful planning, diligence, application, and direction.”George Mecherle, Founder of State Farm Insurance.

Valueprax-This One Is Personal.

25iq.com-Charlie Munger On The Importance Of Worldly Wisdom And Consistently Not Being Stupid.

CP-Africa.com-Meet 31 Year Old Ashish Thakkar-Africa’s Youngest Billionaire.

OTC Adventures-International Wire Group Is Cheap, But Is It Safe (ITWG)

Valuewalk-Baupost Group’s Seth Klarman Sees “50 Shades Of Value” In The Market.

Valueinvestingblog.net-CASA Holdings and Fiamma Holdings.

CSinvesting-A Reader’s Question On Case Studies.

Santangel’s Review-Benjamin Graham On Staying Small.

Motley Fool-Charlie Munger Info From A Board Poster.

Valueprax-Notes-Nintendo Back In The Saddle?

CSInvesting-Valuation Case Study HVAC.

OTC Adventures-Value Investing Strategy and Unlisted Securities Part 2.

CSInvesting-ValueUncovered Philosophy; Treat Everything As A Case Study.

Wexboy-2013: The Great Irish Share Valuation Project Part 2.

Credit Bubble Stocks-Horizon Kinetics, Owner Operators, and the Predictability Arb.

Some Links For The Week

Motley Fool-Monish Pabrai’s Lunch With Buffett and Munger.

Value Investing Blog-Alpha Pro Tech And The Value Of Optionality.

Cant Eat Value-Why You’re Undervaluing Good Capital Allocation.

Student Of Value-Investment Analysis Of Quality Products $QPDC The Mysterious.

Zero Hedge-Guest Post: A Short Lesson In Bad Decision Making.

The Daily Beast-Don’t Go To Business School!

Wexboy-The Great Irish Share Valuation Project (Part 1).

Oddball Stocks-CIBL is Undervalued Again, Is The Valuation Gap Enough?

Business Insider-Vitaliy Katsenelson Presentation On Why The Market Will Move Sideways For Another Decade.

Distressed Debt Investing-The High Yield Market “Is Completely Out Of Control”.

Philip Beeching-Why Companies Fail–The Rise And Fall of HMV.

Value Walk-Charlie Munger And The Art Of Stock Picking.

Sahara Investing-The Hour Glass.

OTC Adventures-Great Lakes Aviation Is Not Your Typical Airline $GLUX.

Grizzly Rock Capital-Why Selling Methodology Differs For Average Versus Great Companies.

Seraphin Group-When Do I Sell Stocks? Drawing Wisdom From Buffett To Zuckerberg.

CS Investing-Reading On Moats And Competitive Advantages.

Whopper Investments-Why Is Buying A Rising Stock So Hard?

Guru Focus-Geoff Gannon On How To Learn Everything You Need To Know About A Stock.

25iq.com-Charlie Munger On Investment Concentration Versus Diversification.

Dole update, some links, and my plans

Dole

I was planning on doing an entire write up on my thoughts on Dole now that it is up almost 50% since I wrote my articles on it and its competitors, but these two links from the Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha respectively, do a good job of talking about most of what I was going to.  Why is This Insider Buying Shares of Dole?  Top Insider Buys Filed on August 15th.

I wonder what Mr. Murdock knows or expects to happen?  Since July 24th he has bought almost 5 million additional shares and he now controls just fewer than 62% of the company.  I wonder if he is thinking about taking the company private again or if he knows or expects a spin off or asset sale to happen.

In any event, it is usually a good sign to see an insider buying this amount of stock before the company is expected to announce some kind of plan to enhance the value of the company.

In my opinion Dole is still undervalued but it has come a lot closer to my estimate of intrinsic value. The almost 50% appreciation in stock price thus far has come on almost zero news, so I am excited to see what kind of price movement happens when and if Dole announces some kind of spin off or asset sale. The following are the links to my four articles detailing Dole, Chiquita, Fresh Del Monte, and my concluding thoughts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Links

From Farnam Street Blog, @farnamstreet on Twitter who I would highly recommend following, they give some quotes on learning.

From Psychology Today, and tweeted by @favillapsych who I would also recommend following, they give you examples of how geniuses think and how to improve your thinking.  I especially like this portion of the article, which I think is very applicable to the investment world, quoting from the article:

GENIUSES PRODUCE.

A distinguishing characteristic of genius is immense productivity. Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents, still the record. He guaranteed productivity by giving himself and his assistants idea quotas. His own personal quota was one minor invention every 10 days and a major invention every six months. Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when he was sick or exhausted. Mozart produced more than six hundred pieces of music. Einstein is best known for his paper on relativity, but he published 248 other papers. T. S. Elliot’s numerous drafts of “The Waste Land” constitute a jumble of good and bad passages that eventually was turned into a masterpiece. In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Dean Kean Simonton of the University of California, Davis found that the most respected produced not only great works, but also more “bad” ones. Out of their massive quantity of work came quality. Geniuses produce. Period.

From Deloitte, The Persistence Project and its associated articles.  Some of the links are pretty dry, and while I do not necessarily agree with everything they put forward I do think the articles contain some very good information about what makes certain companies great in comparison to others.  Quoting from the site:

Discovering the causes of superior corporate performance

Trying to understand what makes great companies great is the defining quest of popular management research. Sadly, like the quests of great literature – from the grail to the fleece – the search seems endless. Even the most famous and influential efforts at uncovering the causes of enduring success have of late been knocked off their pedestals, and often for good reason. Why should we bother even to try?

Well, if George Mallory wanted to climb Everest because it was there, then, following Thomas Berger, we determined to try our hand at the recipe for persistent superior performance precisely because it isn’t there.

To make any progress, we recognize we’ll have to try a different approach. We’ve begun with advances in statistical techniques to define a unique sample. You can read more about that in our monograph, A Random Search for Excellence.

 

My Plans

I was planning to get right into my 2 week plan that I outlined here a couple days ago, but since my internet was out yesterday I decided to start The Investment Checklist.  On top of hearing that this book is fantastic, I hope it helps me refine my checklists and also helps me figure out a way to more efficiently maximize my research and analysis time.

After I get done reading I will officially start my version of deliberate practice that I talked about the other day.

 

L.B. Foster, Incredible chart on investment fees, and Optimizing the Investment Process.

L.B. Foster News

Original article from Seeking Alpha here.

PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based L.B. Foster Company (FSTR) has been awarded the company’s largest rail products contract, valued at approximately $60 million, by contractor Kiewit/Kobayashi, a Joint Venture for the county-wide construction of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) passenger transit system. L.B. Foster rail, concrete ties, direct fixation fasteners, third rail with accessories and special trackwork will be installed throughout the Honolulu Rail Transit Project’s new elevated railway system and maintenance yard.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101222/MM21387LOGO)

L.B. Foster offered a comprehensive materials and logistics package that maximizes purchasing efficiencies and meets critical scheduling requirements for the HART project. “Our company provided the highest quality and value offering, most comprehensive logistics package and the professional project management team necessary to successfully satisfy the requirements of such a large municipal project,” noted Greg Lippard, Vice President of Rail Products Sales at L.B. Foster Company.

“Our L.B. Foster team has a long and successful relationship with Kiewit. We have worked closely with this leading contractor to provide quality products for signature projects throughout North America,” said Hakan Eksi, General Manager of L.B. Foster Transit Products.

Incredible chart from the Motley Fool

This chart is showing the difference in returns.  The Vanguard fund has a 0.05% fee, and the generic mutual fund in the chart has a 1% fee. It ends up being a difference of almost $600,000 over the time period.

I ran into the same problem this writer for the Fool did.  I saw that my parents were being charged 6% fees every time their investment advisor bought or sold any shares they owned.  That is not including the sometimes above 2% fees that were being charged by the mutual funds he had them in.  I was shocked to see those huge fees, especially since there are comparable funds or ETF’s that he could have put them in that had fees as low as 0.05%

Stated another way, and not even counting inflation, the way he had their funds set up, they had to produce returns of at least 8% a year just to break even.  Suffice it to say that I am now running their retirement funds.

Michael Mauboussin on Investment Process

This is a fantastic and very important article where Michael Mauboussin talks about how it is extremely important to come up with a great investment process and how that can lead to great returns over time.  This article also talks about how investment returns, especially short term, can sometimes be misleading.

“Mauboussin believes the main difference between good and great investors comes down to temperament and focus. Good processes and good outcomes deliver deserved success, just as bad processes and bad outcomes are a form of poetic justice. Conversely, bad processes that yield good outcomes are just dumb luck. Investors often confuse the two. Successful poker players and renowned economists agree that better decision making comes from evaluating decisions on how well they were made rather than on outcomes.”

 

I encourage you to read the whole article at the above link.

An Amazing Free Offer, More Vivendi News, and Investing Lessons from a stock up almost 1500% since 2002

Free offer from the Manualofideas.com

The Manual of Ideas put out a free offer of their monthly publication.  I had never heard of them before but the information in the free publication is incredible.  Manual of Ideas gives investing ideas, goes over valuation and analysis of those companies, giving three different valuations of the companies, talks about the risks of the company going forward, and shows you holdings of top hedge fund managers that you could get more ideas from.

At the very least I highly recommend that you should download the free publication to get some ideas to research, and look at how they value and analyze companies to see what we could all be doing better and what we might be missing from our analysis.

Too bad that if you like MoI, which I do a lot, is pretty expensive if you want to subscribe to it.  The price for one year of subscription to the regular monthly publication is just under $1300.

I will learn from the free publication and when I am able to start my own firm or work for someone else, this is going to be one of the first things I buy to get ideas from.

More Vivendi News

This article on Vivendi again talks about which of their businesses they should sell or spin-off and lists some of the companies that they are talking with about the potential sale.

The main thing that caught my eye is that they are talking with Microsoft to see if they are interested in buying Activision Blizzard.

Any reasonable sale of ATVI would be good for Vivendi shareholders.  However, the only way Microsoft buying ATVI could be good for the console gaming industry would be if it meant some kind of gaming merger between the Playstation and Xbox brands, eventually leading to a one console future, and the gamers winning out.

Most likely though, if Microsoft were to buy ATVI that would probably lead to Sony having to buy EA, and each company trying to acquire the best gaming companies they could to keep them out of the hands of the other.  A very bad scenario for the gamers.

Sony and Microsoft have been pretty antagonistic to each other over the past decade when it has come to their consoles, so although I hope there is some kind of console merger with a one console future, at this time I do not see that happening.

Lessons from a 15-bagger

This article is from the Motley Fool and goes over some of the original reasons they bought Amazon in 2002 and how since then the stock is up almost 1500%.

Any stock pick that goes up by that amount should be analyzed and learned from.

Feel free to post your thoughts.  Enjoy