Everything Not As It Seems

Every now and then, a reader will want to know what kind of formula can be easily plugged in to figure out what stocks to buy. I can think of useful approximations to get the process started. If a newbie investor only considers companies that have been raising dividends for 20+ years with earnings per share growth of at least 5% annually over the past ten and then selectively removes the financial and tech companies from the list, he will put together a pretty darn good portfolio. It’s not a perfect test—companies like Dr. Pepper and Hershey would be great lifelong holds even though they don’t have the dividend history due to buyouts … Read the rest of this article!

The Upcoming $16.50 Dividend To Kraft Shareholders

In 1988, the private equity firm of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was on the prowl to take over a company after making hundreds of millions of post-tax dollars quickly from the leveraged buyout of Reynolds Tobacco. It wanted to buy The Kroger Company, a large American grocer that looked small enough to be taken over by activist investors. Because KKR wanted to oust the then-existing management at Kroger, the management team sought a creative strategy to keep out KKR so that they could keep their jobs. At the time, KKR did not engage in the golden-parachute strategy of paying off executives handsomely to relinquish control of the company and go away.

In one of … Read the rest of this article!

No Corporate Cash and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Many of you are familiar with the statistic that 40% of Americans could not withstand an unexpected expense of $1,000 or more without incurring a deep level of financial hardship. What people have not realized, and are perhaps realizing now, is that over the past thirty years the leading corporations (and even much smaller ones) have put themselves in nearly the same position.

Back in 1990, the median American corporation in the S&P 500 had enough cash to sustain itself for approximately 14 months and credit lines for another 9 months in the event that revenues turned to zero. If the world fell apart for a particular business, industry, or the economy as … Read the rest of this article!

Being A Selective Investor In 2015


At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend, Warren Buffett mentioned that most stocks are likely a bit pricey right now unless interest rates remain low for the next 5+ years. You don’t have to consult the Oracle at Delphi to know that paying 28x earnings for Church & Dwight right now is going to lead to total returns lower than the company’s growth rate because Church & Dwight’s valuation tends to settle in the 18-22x earnings range during words of 5%, 6%, and 7% long-term U.S. bond rates. That story plays out across hundreds of stock across the nation.

That’s the bad news—we aren’t in 2010 or 2011 anymore where buying any … Read the rest of this article!

Why Wall Street Ignores Perfectly Good Blue-Chip Stocks


On CNBC last week, a financial analyst/TV pundit went on air and said, “We are bearish on AT&T—it hasn’t grown its profits at a rate above inflation in a very long time. We don’t have it in any of our client portfolios.” Now, the statement by itself isn’t necessarily indicative of poor investment thought—I would imagine an investment portfolio consisting of Franklin Resources, Nike, Visa, Disney, and Becton Dickinson would create more aggregate wealth than AT&T stock.

Discussing the telecom giant’s 2% growth rate in isolation does paint a picture that would blend in with what the analyst said. But there is a catch: it’s not the whole picture. It’s like only talking … Read the rest of this article!