Hottest links for Tuesday, March 25th, the late edition. Get our free daily newsletter and never miss a single linkfest. Also, now if you sign up you will get our new e-book on value investing.

Top stories for today are included below.  Today, we’ve got some killer stories, including a new way to think about moats and how secure they really are, a look at Sears as the King of Spinoffs, a fairly spectacular book review of The Speculator, and a look at how fair markets is more of a nice idea than a practical reality.

Hottest Links: Stories

Value Investing

The Speculator

In a riveting biography, “The Speculator”, the author, Jordan A. Schwarz, writes on Bernard Baruch. s Baruch told it, his mother originally wanted him to follow his father as a doctor. When he was ten or eleven, she took him to a phrenologist who agreed that he would make a good doctor but asserted that bigger things awaited him in finance or politics.  [Chetan Parikh, CapitalIdeasOnline.com]

Book Summary: Double Your Profits In 6 Months or Less

Bob Fifer’s book Double Your Profits in 6 months or less is a must read for managers and investors looking for signals that manager care deeply about profits. [Under The Rock Stocks]

Random Thoughts on Moats and Competition

The best way for an investor to examine a company’s economic moat and competitive positions is to take the point of view of a potential entrant into the industry, and figure out how much it would cost to replicate/disrupt the incumbent’s business model. [Stevenoops, Value Venture]

Buffett’s Alpha & Suspicious Minds

Buffett’s track record is in a league of its own. According to a recent NBER Working Paper, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) has the highest Sharpe ratio of all US stocks from 1926 to 2011 and a higher Sharpe ratio than all US mutual funds around for more than three decades. [Christopher Pavese, The View from the Blue Ridge]

Hottest Links

Funds

Markel 2013 Annual Report

So Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL)’s 2013 annual report is out. MKL grew book value per share by +18.2%, the same as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B). BPS is now $477.16 versus the recent price of $591, so it is trading at 1.24x BPS. [KK, Brooklyn Investor]

Hottest Links

The SEC’s AgFeed Complaint: No Restatement Means No Sarbanes-Oxley Clawback

The Securities and Exchange Commission says it’s stepping up scrutiny of corporate accounting and disclosure fraud. [Francine McKenna, re: The Audtiors]

Land Ho! Sears Set To Spinoff Land’s End In Early April

It would be interesting to come up with a ‘Spinoff Power Rankings’ list, but I would guess that one of the leading contenders for the top spot would be Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD). Since the launch of this site in 2010, Sears has executed three, yes three, different spinoffs! [Spin Doctor, Stock Spinoffs]

Elliott Management Boosts F&C Asset Management Stake

Paul Singer’s hedge fund firm Elliott Management has increased its stake in F&C Asset Management plc (LON:FCAM) (OTCMKTS:FCAFY). At the end of February, we noted that Elliott held the equivalent of 11% of FCAM’s voting rights. [Market Folly]

Kindred Healthcare Chairman Snares Loaded Retirement Sendoff

One day before his retirement was announced, Kuntz agreed to a two-year consulting deal that will pay him $120,000 a year. The contract, buried deep in the Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:KND) annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 28, permits  Diaz or the board — whoever needs him — to tap Kuntz up to 12 days per year. [Roddy Boyd, SIRF]

The impossible quest for fair markets: Pokemon cards, HFT and Life lessons

In my last post, I looked at the Insider Trading 2.0 doctrine advanced by Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General for New York, and argued that is was overly broad and likely to create more harm than good for small traders/investors, the very group that he wants to help. [Aswath Damodaran, Musings on Markets]

Hottest Links: Not the Onion

Texas town pays Ted Nugent $16,250 not to play at Fourth of July celebration

A Texas town was so intent on ridding themselves of the Motor City Madman that city officials opted to pay out more than $15,000 to have Ted Nugent not play on the Fourth of July. [Evan Bleier, UPI]