The Diamond In The Rough

There is a company, founded in 1889, with a long track record of rewarding its shareholders, that is now trading at a P/E ratio below its historical norms while it is primed to grow earnings per share at 13-16% over the medium term because certain risks are coming off of its balance sheet and other assets under its umbrella are about to become much more valuable. My own view is that 13-16% earnings per share growth will mix with P/E ratio expansion to deliver 15-20% annual returns over the medium term, far outpacing the returns generated by index fund investors in the S&P 500 in general.

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Jack Puelicher’s 1982 Letter To Shareholders

In 1982, Jack Puelicher, the CEO of Marshall & Ilsley, wrote an annual report which read, in entirety, as follows: “Your company had a very good year in 1982. Some of it was due to luck; some of it was due to good planning and management. We hope you enjoy the numbers and the pictures.”

I loved how Puelicher followed Shakespeare’s wisdom in that brevity is the soul of wit, and I also like the acknowledgement that luck played a role in his investments. With stocks in the S&P 500 up over 20% on average, it is easy for most of us to look in the mirror and see the visage of Warren Buffett when we look back upon the movements of our own investments in the past twelve months. It seems that the only way you could have lost money this year is if you owned large amounts of … Read the rest of this article!