Sell What the Promoters are Promoting

William Smead
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Investment Officer

Subscribe to the Missives Podcast
Click here to listen to this Missive

Dear Clients and Prospective Clients:

Among our most golden rules for investing is the rule that says to avoid or sell investments which are being most heavily promoted after a lengthy stretch of success. Here are the first few paragraphs of an offering announcement from May 27th on Bloomberg:

Claymore Investments Inc. has raised $400-million for its new gold bullion fund — an amount that could swell to $460-million, making it the largest structured product offering and one of the largest initial public offerings in at least two years.

The fund, which includes a number of novel features, including a hedge against the U. S. dollar, capitalizes on seemingly unquenchable thirst for the metal amid growing concern over inflation and the outlook for the greenback.

Notice in the second paragraph that it “capitalizes on seemingly unquenchable thirst for the metal”. Language like this happens at the top of the market and every single hot market that we have witnessed in the last 29 years seemed unquenchable until it was quenched by massive offerings like this. Isn’t it interesting that oil and gold are right back at the forefront of popularity even though Oil peaked at $147 per barrel one year ago and gold has gone relatively dead now that it doesn’t have Financial Armageddon stirring up investors. We covered oil earlier in the week, so let’s take a shot at gold while we’re in the mood.

Gold was $800 per ounce while I was in college in the late 1970’s. If it was such a good inflation hedge, why have folks who owned it so long lost their purchasing power?

Gold pays no dividends and has no earnings power, so you lose whatever you could have made in a productive investment like common stocks or bonds or CDs (Opportunity Cost). Lastly, the vast majority of demand for gold comes through the acquisition of jewelry. Jewelry sales are down 20-30% this year from last year and it is safe to say that it would be surprising that expensive jewelry would be the first category to bounce back in the new and more frugal environment of the next few years.

We at Smead Capital Management don’t buy the hyper-inflation story. Lending and securitization of loans has been permanently damaged in the recent credit crisis/panic and Americans will establish permanently higher savings rates than the last two decades. Excess capacity in manufacturing and services will persist for years and unemployment will take years to work down from the 9-10% levels. We add it all up and conclude that we want to own the premier companies with the strongest balance sheets, most recognizable brands and the most consistent customer bases. Besides, how can you thirst for a solid anyway?

Best Wishes,

William Smead

The information contained in this missive represents SCM’s opinions, and should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The securities identified and described in this missive do not represent all of the securities purchased or recommended for our clients. It should not be assumed that investing in these securities was or will be profitable. A list of all recommendations made by Smead Capital Management with in the past twelve month period is available upon request.

We Advise Investors

Sign up to get our advice sent straight to your inbox.

Recent Missives

A Sharpe Rebuke

January 31, 2023

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...

⟶ Keep Reading

Recession Fear Investing

January 24, 2023

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%...

⟶ Keep Reading

4Q22 International Value Strategy Newsletter: The Law of Comparative Advantage

January 15, 2023

[...] The frustration of other investors and the strength of non-US dollar assets we believe will be our comparative advantage.

⟶ Keep Reading

4Q22 U.S. Value Strategy Newsletter: Shame on Me in 2023

January 15, 2023

[...] We at Smead Capital Management believe the stock market wants to cause stock market failure by being extremely difficult in 2023. Most investors were fooled in 2022 by expecting circumstances similar to...

⟶ Keep Reading

Not the Cool Kids

January 10, 2023

[...] 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...

⟶ Keep Reading

Unreliable Contrarianism

December 20, 2022

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...

⟶ Keep Reading

We Advise Investors

Sign up to get our advice sent straight to your inbox.

US INVESTORS

Individual Investors

OR

Financial Advisors, Family Offices,
and Institutional Investors

OR

NON-US INVESTORS

Individual Investors

OR

Financial Advisors, Family Offices,
and Institutional Investors

OR

Scroll to Top