Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Look Back: Ben Graham Nuggets Trounce The Market

Over the last year and few months I wrote a couple of posts high lighting the famous value investor Ben Graham titled "A Few More Ben Graham Nuggets" and "Ben Graham Nuggets Part 2". Both post high lighted a basket of seven stocks, notice the number... "7"... Lucky number seven (ha ha).

For those not familiar with Ben Graham, here is a quick catch up. Graham is considered the Father of security analysis and value investing as practiced by many value investors today. He wrote two best selling books "Security Analysis" (1934) and "The Intelligent Investor" (1949) that are still in print today. He also ran a money management firm called Graham- Newman and taught at Columbia Business School. Among some of Grahams disciples are Walter Schloss, Irving Kahn and the most famous Warren Buffett.

All the issues mentioned met the following criteria:

  • Current ratio of 1.5 or better
  • A Book Value of 1.5 or less
  • A p/e ratio under 15
  • Positive eps growth over last 5 years
  • Very low or NO debt
  • Pay a dividend

These are not dyed- in- the- wool Ben Graham screening techniques, but rather based on Graham's many years of teaching, writing, and investing. However these 14 stocks mentioned fall under bargain issues. Their are many ways for screening when searching for value stocks, such as earnigs yield used by Joel Greenblatt of Gotham Capital and "The Little Book That Beats The Market". Their is also CROIC (cash return on invested capital) coined by Joe Ponzio over at FWallStreet.

CompanyTicker SymbolClosing price on Oct 30Th 2008 $Closing price on March 24Th
2010 $
Cumulative Return

Abercrombie & Fitch ANF27.0644.38+64.01%

Ashland ASH21.9853.43+143.08%

Bel Fuse BELFB18.7022.04+17.86%

Movado GroupMOV14.2911.79-17.49%

Nam Tai ElectronicsNTE7.284.91-32.55%

Seaboard CorpSEB1098.001389.75+26.57%

Thor IndustriesTHO17.5031.78+81.60%

Total Cumulative Return
Graham Nuggets
+40.19% returnS&P Index
cumulative return Oct 30Th 2008 thru Mar 24Th 2010
+22.40% return

CompanyTicker SymbolClosing price on Dec 10Th 2008 $Closing price on March 24Th 2010 $Cumulative Return

Intersil Corp.ISIL9.3614.74+57.48%

Lufkin IndustriesLUFK35.2679.48+125.41%

bebe storesBEBE6.649.40+41.57%

Heidrick & StrugglesHSII20.6628.21+36.54%

Titanium MetalsTIE8.5416.71+95.67


Williams PipelineWMZ14.3530.14+110.03

Total Cumulative Return Graham Nuggets+98.49% returnS&P Index cumulative return Dec 10Th 2008 thru Mar 24Th 2010 899.24- 1167.72 +29.90% return

As you can see by the results that these portfolios based on Ben Graham and Value Investing techniques smashed the market returns. Keep in mind that these techniques may be more favorable during down markets or markets with much volatility.

* returns do not take into the account of any DIVIDENDS paid out
dividends add to total return

Author currently long SEB

Monday, March 22, 2010

Berkshires McLane Unit Buys Spirits Distributor Kahn

Berkshire Hathaway ($BRKB) subsidiary McLane Co. which is a 32 billion supply chain services provider is buying Kahn Ventures LLC which owns Empire Distributors, a wholesale alcoholicbeverage distributor based in Atlanta Georgia with operations in Georgia and North Carolina. Buffett likes buying private family run businesses and this one seems to fit the bill. As of this writing the price of the deal was not disclosed. Here again Buffett buys another simple to understand business, nothing fancy. According to other wire services its noted that Buffett might be using this as a base for further ventures in this field.

  • Family run operation lead by Michael and David Kahn

  • Empire has been in business since 1940

  • According to industry analysts its the nation’s 15th largest beer and wine distributor.

  • Over 650 employees

  • Revenue of 350 million a year(2006) according to latest figures I can come by

  • They have eight facilities totaling over 850,000 square feet of operating space equipped with high-tech equipment, including bottle scanning and GPS routing, to help them operate efficiently.

Author currently long BRKB

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Oracle's Annual Letter To Shareholders

Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders was released early yesterday morning. The annual letters are Buffett's way of communicating with his shareholders. Buffett has been writing these letters to shareholders for over fifty years. The letters dating back to 1977 can be found here at Berkshire Hathaway. If you have never read any of them, I highly recommend doing so. Buffett speaks in a simple mans English and not the typical wall street analytic jargon that one needs to decipher. Buffett used the past year or so to put more dollars to work, and that he did. Berkshire invested in Goldman Sachs preferred shares and General Electric preferred shares both netting a 10% yield. He recently consummated the deal to buy the rest of Burlington Northern Santa Fe shares that he didn't own. He further increased his stakes in the largest retailer WalMart ($WMT), the number two waste company Republic Waste ($RSG) along with his good buddy Bill Gates who happens to be the largest shareholder of Republic Waste. Buffett has been a busy man over the last year and a half and certainly in the media more.

Here are some recent articles on the Oracle of Omaha...

Berkshire reports higher Sanofi, Tesco stakes

Author currently long $BRKB and $RSG