Dear Clients and Prospective Clients:
The darkest days in World War Two were during the bombing of London. Air raid signals would blare and folks would go underground and wait for the bombing to get over. Since the United States had not yet entered the fight and mainland Europe had been overrun by the Germans, the British were left to stand alone. The relentlessness of the pounding and the loneliness could have broken the spirits of the British. With the strong leadership of Winston Churchill and their own grit and courage, they held on. The Pearl Harbor attack of Dec. 7 of 1941 brought the U.S. into the War and also initiated the process which led to an Allied victory.
For investors in U.S. common stocks, the year 2008 will go down as a year of unrelenting declines. We investors feel bombed out and many of us have sought shelter in Treasury securities, CD’s and money market funds. Today’s early trading fits the pattern we’ve seen all year. Stocks are down across the board without any discrimination between companies or sectors which might fare the best going forward. It is indiscriminate bombing and very disheartening and lonely.
Much like the British did, we must display courage and grit as long-term investors. The deep, long-lasting recession, which the experts have predicted since November of 2007, is trying to convince us to give up hope, just like the prospect of a long war tried to convince the Brits. We have to withstand overnight bombings as Hedge Funds redemptions, Mutual Fund liquidations and Margin calls force across the board selling without regard for future prospects.
In World War Two, the reward for not giving up was the defeat of an evil Dictator and an out of control regime called Nazi Germany. Financial matters are not nearly as important, but from these depressed prices on common stocks, significantly lower commodity prices, low interest rates and high levels of human ingenuity, we at Smead Capital Management believe a great deal of wealth could be created by owning U.S. common stocks over the next five to ten years. We intend to pursue victory with a portfolio that can withstand whatever bombings that remain and can prosper in the good years to follow.