Investment Aphorisms


Via PershingCubed

“Can you think of an example of a retailer that was successfully turned around?

Broadcasting is easy; retailing is the other extreme. If you had a network television station 50 years ago, you didn’t really have to invent or being a good salesman. The network paid you; car dealers paid you, and you made money.

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But in retail you have to be smarter than Wal-Mart. Every day retailers are constantly thinking about ways to get ahead of what they were doing the previous day.

We would rather look for easier things to do. The Buffett grocery stores started in Omaha in 1869 and lasted for 100 years. There were two competitors. In 1950, one competitor went out of business. In 1960 the other closed. We had the whole town to ourselves and still didn’t make any money.

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How many retailers have really sunk, and then come back? Not many. I can’t think of any. Don’t bet against the best. Costco is working on a 10-11% gross margin that is better than the Wal-Mart’s and Sams’. In comparison, department stores have 35% gross margins.

It’s tough to compete against the best deal for customers. Department stores will keep their old customers that have a habit of shopping there, but they won’t pick up new ones. Wal-Mart is also a tough competitor because others can’t compete at their margins. It’s very efficient." - Buffett

"I'm very leery of tech companies that become value stocks. It just never seems to work." - Chanos

"In the long run, valuation always matters, but don't short just on valuation. Is the business deteriorating? Does the company have a lot of debt? Our very best shorts historically have been stocks that appeared cheap, not expensive, because the business was deteriorating faster than investors were lowering their numbers." - Chanos again

"As long as the story around the investment remains the same, the position should get bigger (regardless of how much the price goes down by)." - Julian Robertson

For example: 'Say you are interested in a solid oak wooden table. The analyst could tell you that he had checked out the market for tables, evaluated the information, and come to the conclusion that the table was a good buy at $100 because it was well made, solidly built, and would not fall apart. This is the story. So you go to the shop, prepared to buy the table. And then, just as you are run- ning your hand over the table, a corner falls off. Well, now the seller is desperate to get rid of the broken table and is willing to sell it for $20. To the analyst, this seems like a steal. He sees an incredible opportunity to buy something for $20 that is really worth $100 and needs just a bit of fixing to get it there. But in Robertson’s eyes, the story is now flawed, and now he would say that you should want no part of the deal. How could something so well built, made of the finest oak, break? Robertson would say that more than the table is broken. The credibility of the re- search is now called into question. The story is broken; it is time to move on to something else.' ??????????????????????????????

"When you have enormous conviction in a position, you have to go for the jugular." - Soros

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is." - Buffett

"Never, ever invest in the present. It doesn't matter what a company's earning, what they have earned. He taught me to visualize the situation 18 months from now, wherever it is, that's where the price will be, not where it is today. And too many people tend to look at the present, oh this is a great company, they've done this or this central bank is doing all the right things. But you have to look to the future. If you invest in the present, you're going to get run over." - Stan Druckenmiller

"We prefer 1 foot hurdles." - Buffett

"Fashion can be a good way up but also a long ride down. Turning around fashion is almost as hard as turning around retail."

"Take care of the downside and the upside will take care of itself."

"You can't kiss all the girls."

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