The general theme of my investing articles has been this: Buy healthcare. Buy energy. Buy consumer staples. There may also be a place for tobacco, telecommunications, and utilities depending on your moral sensibilities, desire to receive dividend income while giving up long-term growth, and willingness to deal with the lid on growth that results when you have to rely upon regulators to achieve rate increases.
Some things, like long-term retail investing, are debatable. Equally credible arguments can be made in favor of long-term investing in companies like Walgreen, Wal-Mart, and Target. Others can point to Woolworth, A&P, and Sears to make the opposite case. And then the buy-and-holders can point out that the Sears spinoffs of All-State, Discover Card, Morgan Stanley, and Lands’ End made it a superior investment (stock calculators no longer accurately report this information because they treat spinoffs as one-time special dividends and then reinvest it into … Read the rest of this article!
I’ve been digging through the financial commentary archives of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to compare the tone of investment commentary in the late 1990s to the financial news in the immediate aftermath of 1987’s Black Monday in which the value of the Dow Jones dropped by 22% in a single day.
It leaves an impression to see how quickly investor attitudes changed in under ten regarding the same exact companies. On October 20th, 1987, few people were talking about the inherent quality of enterprises like Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson, which had been paying out annual dividend increases of almost thirty years by that time. And had been reporting steadily growing profits as well. No one cared.
Just about all common sense was abandoned. The initial prints from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times compared the fall to the … Read the rest of this article!
Somehow, this site developed a strong Canadian audience. There are as many Canadian readers here as readers from the state of Georgia, which is a little perplexing to me because I can at least understand why people from Atlanta end up here—practically every investor there owns some Coca-Cola, and I have enough posts on that to bring ‘em in through the search engines. But I don’t know that much about Canadian stocks and the international rules regarding taxation, although I appreciate the country’s underappreciated banking history that does not get nearly the amount of global acclaim that it deserves.
I once attended an investment conference hosted by the great great grandnephew of an early 20th century American president, and all he did was rave about his investments in Canadian bank stocks. He said that they had a superior culture to American banks because there is less pressure to act … Read the rest of this article!
One of my favorite speeches of Charlie Munger, which Warren Buffett co-opted when he spoke at Florida University, was the story of how to turn $40 into $5 million. It was a story about Coca-Cola stock, and the conditions that can lead to super large financial rewards based on modest financial investments. The premise is this—you need a product that is super cheap to make and possesses enough brand equity that people will buy it deliberately on a regular basis.
Even before I encountered this story, I knew that the beverage industry has been a very lucrative place to make money if you want to make an initial investment and then grow richer in the coming years without having to do anything. Diageo, Anheuser Busch, and Brown Forman all have long records of growing profits per share and dividend payouts that are significantly higher each decade than the previous.
Pepsi … Read the rest of this article!
From an owner’s perspective, the advantage of having 3G operate your business is that a higher percentage of revenues become net profits that can be paid out to shareholders as dividends free and clear. The downside is that you cannot cut your way to prosperity, and eventually, you have to come up with growth initiatives.
Let’s look at what 3G did to Anheuser Busch since taking over. Even though the ADR of Anheuser-Busch began trading on July 1st, 2009, I am going to compare 2010 to 2015 because the 2009 recession distorts the picture of what 3G management does because the demand was unusually low for Anheuser-Busch products that year.
In 2010, Anheuser-Busch sold $36 billion in beer. It made $4.0 billion in profits. About 11% of revenues went to the bottom line as net profits. This is essentially a snapshot of what Anheuser-Busch looked like when it … Read the rest of this article!