It was my birthday yesterday and I want to share a great information source with my readers: the Valor Intrínseco blog (translation: Intrinsic Value), which joins our blogroll. The blog posts are only in Portuguese, but its subject matter is Value Investing and the material they source is, 99% of the time, in English. I am more than glad to help this “competitor” out because great work always deserves praise – and because there is so much noise in the investment world, we need all the help we can get to hone in on the good stuff.
Shamelessly I return to reading lists, one from McKinsey & Co. and the other from Harvard Business School. If you don’t know whether to thank me or hate me (“I haven’t finished the last books I bought and here comes an interesting list…”), I completely understand you.
I have just finished reading Berkshire Hathaway’s 2015 10-K. The letter to shareholders by Warren Buffett (edited by Carol Loomis) is brilliant, as usual. I have written here about how these two “walk their talk” (Buffett and Munger), and this 51st letter to Berkshire shareholders is another fine example. The section on Productivity is mandatory reading, especially so for Brazilians.
In a return of reader-suggested stories – keep them coming! – we explore an specific example of how “some moats are harder to cross” using a Financial Times story on Elsevier, RELX Group’s scientific journal publishing unit. According to the FT, it is “the business the Internet couldn’t kill”.
My notes on Guy Spier’s book, The Education of a Value Investor. The book is much better for beginners, but there are very interesting tidbits for experienced investors. Some of what he shared about productivity and about finding a group of people you both admire and trust so you can debate ideas with them resonated a lot with things I had been thinking about, or doing, without necessarily having an idea of where it could lead to.
Bovespa’s Corporate Sustainability Index (“ISE”) is about to turn 10 in November and it has outperformed the flagship Bovespa Index. We are firm believers in active, case-by-case, in-depth investigative investing in our fund, but it doesn’t blind us to the potential benefits – for some – of index investing. The devil is in the details of any index’s formation, criteria, balancing and so on. Furthermore, the dangers of an inflexible mandate are well-known.
By now anyone on Earth minimally interested in business and finance has heard about the Heinz + Kraft deal. Buffett went on CNBC to speak briefly about the deal and said especifically about Berkshire and 3G (actual quote): “We look at everything. There is no finish line in either Berkshire’s investments or 3G’s investments.”
Very interesting post today by The Brooklyn Investor showing, with real-life examples, what great CEOs or investors can do to generate value even when the market is flattish or going down for long periods of time. He’s humble enough to say that this is far from the norm, but that’s precisely the point of, well, pointing out these examples: it is possible and it’s our job as stock pickers to focus substantial portions of our time to finding these great companies run by great people.
I’ve thought about not writing to comment the latest bullish posts on “Brazil” by the otherwise interesting blog Reformed Broker. In one post, he argues that if he had a gun to his head to pick one market to be invested in for the next 10 years, with no option to get out before these 10 years are over, he would pick Brazil. In another post he shares “analysis” that shows how buying “Brazil” after 20% drops has had great “performance” in ages past. For the sake of foreigners seeking to know more about this, here are a few comments.
Joseph Calhoun of Alhambra Capital in the US reminds us of the basics of Value Investing, in a quick post with some funny moments. Worth the read if only for the laugh. The follow-up regards Zynga, profiled here on Dec. 31st 2009. After that initial post I’ve come back to discuss the company before and after its IPO. I’ve also done the same with Groupon after a larger, initial post. Zynga has just followed the path of Groupon and the founder CEO has left the post after a collapse in share prices.