Category: Missives

A Sharpe Rebuke

We are closing in on what we think may be the question of the decade. If a majority of stock market capitalization in the US is passive or indexed, does this cause problems for stock markets? Bloomberg columnist John Authers addressed this conundrum by saying, “Logic dictates that not all assets could be run passively. If that were to happen, the market would stop functioning and cease to have any use in pricing and allocating capital.” We disagree with the ceasing to function. Markets were made by God to clear, but one question remains: at what price? […]

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Recession Fear Investing

A recession is two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. Historically, highly inverted yield curves like we have now are predictive of recessions. The 10 Year Treasury Bond interest rate has dropped from 4.3% at the peak to 3.5% currently, even as the Federal Reserve Board reinforces the idea that short rates will be taken above 5%. This has created very high short rates relative to longer-term rates reinforcing the recession predictions. […]

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Not the Cool Kids

[…] In the stock-picking world of the last 40 years, we consider Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Peter Lynch, John Templeton and other long-duration value investors to be the “cool kids.” They took dramatically less risk by investing where others feared to tread and required a high margin of safety. They bought part of a company as if they owned the entire business. […] 

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Unreliable Contrarianism

It appears to us at Smead Capital Management that investors are behaving in a way that will damage their capital and cause them to suffer stock market failure. In 2022, as the favorite tech stocks of the last ten years got trounced, individual investors poured $100 billion into mutual funds and ETFs dominated by ownership of the very stocks which have created the most damage to their results. We get asked all the time if we are stepping up to the plate on stocks like Apple and Google, for example. […]

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Companies Still SOIL-ing Themselves

I was reminded in a recent read of Robert Hagstrom’s book, Warren Buffett: Inside the Ultimate Money Mind, how Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger define the economic earnings power of a business. They refer to it as owner earnings. They take net income and add back depreciation, but adjust for the cost of the reinvestment of capital assets of a business to understand the real costs of being an owner. While being similar to free cash flow, it may need more adjustment depending on the capital assets of the business. Most would then use this to come to the natural conclusion that businesses with less capital-intensive business models would be superb companies to own based on owners’ earnings. However, this just exposes the fly in the ointment. […]

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Dallas Buyers Club

[…] History would argue that we have years of higher oil and gas prices ahead of us, especially if the Communist Chinese release their population from its COVID-19 imprisonment and start competing on the world economic stage. Therefore, we are making every effort to over-weight our oil and gas stocks despite their stock market success in 2021 and 2022. […] 

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Home Builders’ Sentiment

[…] What was going on in 2012 that made home builders so depressed about their future? What should you have done in 2012 with the shares of D.R. Horton (DHI) and Lennar (LEN) in response to the NAHB survey? What is going on now for home builders which makes them so uncertain and depressed about their future? Lastly, how should we as investors react to this sentiment? […] 

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The Good News: Einhorn is Finkle

[…] As Buffet said in the 1998 Berkshire Hathaway meeting: The secret to life is weak competition. We shouldn’t complain about how tough it is and how few people are willing to do this. We should celebrate the wealth (alpha) we can capture from this backdrop. We should intensify our work not on which stocks can rerate the quickest, but which businesses that we own can compound our capital inside their business without needing outside investors. It would be great, too, if other minority investors alongside us don’t understand the value we see and are more than willing to sell their shares during the next buyback activities. This market is requiring investors to play for keeps. […]

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Humpty-Dumpty Stock Market

The era of the dynamic sales growth tech company, with a religious quality to its leadership, appears to be over. Who are these mega-dynamic leaders? What was the key to their extended success in business and the stock market? How long will it be before these former powerhouse stocks get interesting again? In other words, when will Humpty-Dumpy get put back together again? […] 

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Dial P911 for Value in Porsche and VW

If you were walking down the street and saw a $100 bill just sitting near the curb, would you pick it up? Academia would argue that the $100 bill isn’t there. If it were real, it would have already been picked up by someone else. It remains to be asked that should you be standing there over the crisp bill, would you take it? […]

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