Category: Quarterly Newsletters

2Q21 Newsletter: Stock Picking is Dead

Halfway through the year 2021, we must be reminded to “not confuse brains with a bull market.” These are the words we were taught back in the 1980’s. When all boats float, don’t think you are a genius because your boat floated. Investors in the S&P 500 Index, mega-cap tech stocks, momentum disruption stocks and a wide variety of success stories the last five years floated. The former kings of the stock market (active stock pickers) were pronounced dead. Goodbye Warren Buffett, John Templeton, Peter Lynch and all the others who were declared kings of stock picking.

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1Q21 Newsletter: Winning the Peace

Our outlook for 2021 is formed by the need to get away from the crowd and to expect some very stormy weather in the U.S. stock market. We are not afraid of drowning. Therefore, we will review the circumstances at the bottom of the market in 2009 with today’s market to see where the crowd is and where we need to go to avoid the coming storm.

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3Q20 Newsletter: Breaking Big Tech

You are probably aware that we do a great deal of reading, writing and watching at Smead Capital Management. We recently read Peter Doran’s book, Breaking Rockefeller, which is a fabulous economic history of the world from 1840-1920 and focuses on how the monopoly created by John D. Rockefeller was broken from 1890-1910. We also watched a documentary called, “The Social Dilemma,” which explains, through the eyes of some of the social media creators, how incredibly damaging the monopolies, created by internet technology, are to society.

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2Q20 Newsletter: To Hell and Back

Everyone who owned common stocks in the U.S. went through hell in the first quarter of this year. The 36% decline in the S&P 500 Index in February and March was the fastest 36% decline of my lifetime. This hell was especially damaging to those of us who have a positive view of the U.S. economy over the next ten years.

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1Q20 Newsletter: The Willingness to Look Foolish

[…]We will present the most difficult investment junctures of the last 40 years, tell you what was popular and what produced the highest future returns. We will consider looking foolish with the goal of obtaining long-term wealth creation in common stock ownership.[…]

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1Q19 Newsletter: Stock Market Morality

Virtually every major athletic and business endeavor has been governed over long periods of time by a set of standards or morals. In basketball it helps to be tall, in baseball it helps to run fast and throw hard and in football it helps to be physically strong. In business it helps to have capital, sales, profits and free cash flow. We believe that the morality of common stock investing gets unhinged after an extended period of easy money and low interest rates.

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4Q18 Newsletter: Dr. Jekyll Economy Meets Mr. Hyde Markets

In the famous book, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were one human being with a split personality. Dr. Jekyll healed people and Mr. Hyde murdered them. This economic environment and the U.S. stock market have the same kind of split personality. The economic environment has been healing people with jobs, consumer confidence and a bright demographic future. At the same time, in the second half of 2018, the Mr. Hyde stock market took investors out back to a slaughter, knocking a swift 18-20% off major indexes and punishing over-priced glam tech stocks even more.

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1Q17 Newsletter: Own Meritorious Businesses, Not Stock Markets

The current circumstance in the U.S. stock market reminds us of the mid-1960s. We thought it would be helpful to review what was going on back then and what took place in the following 16 years. It makes us believe that you want to own wonderful businesses and de-emphasize trust in the stock market’s ability to meet the financial goals of long-duration investors.

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4Q16 Newsletter: Outlook 2017—How Markets Work

Certain economic concepts have been a source of frustration to investors over the years. The movement of bond prices up or down to bring existing bonds in line with prevailing interest rates would be one example. We could be seeing declining bond prices over the next ten years when interest rates adjust higher as the economy strengthens. Our reasoning for this will be dissected later in this piece.

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