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Alpine Capital Research – Investment Note: A Holiday Gift

From Alpine Capital Research’s December 24th email to investors titledĀ Investment Note: A Holiday Gift

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ACR Clients and Partners:
I hope you are enjoying your holiday and do not read this note until later in the week. For those among you who are concerned about recent stock price declines, we wanted to provide a timely update. First, here is the recent total return (price and dividends) for our flagship EQR strategy and the US market:
As of 12/21/18


Media hyperbole inflames public anxiety. We do not consider these fluctuations in the market or our portfolios to be informative. Investors are functionally business owners and lenders, not gamblers in a casino. Market fluctuations are often caused by economically de minimis fears such as a government budget conflict or cabinet turnover. Cash earnings are the ultimate substance of value.
Global economic conditions impact corporate earnings. A bursting bubble in China and a dysfunctional European currency regime could cause a deep recession, while higher rates or a hard Brexit could prove to be mild recession catalysts. Regardless, the nature of all four of these events is consistent with past periods of economic disruption, the very kind we expect and prepare for.

ACR plans for a recession because we are almost certain to have one someday, and because we believe no one can forecast exactly when recession will strike. Our corporate analysis includes significant declines from current earnings for cyclical firms. Most importantly, we refuse to overpay and are therefore sitting on a cash hoard today that we are happily beginning to put back to work.
Holiday shoppers love a good bargain. Buying investment securities should be no different. When prices decline, you get more for your money. ACR investors are getting a little holiday gift this December. We look forward to providing a more complete update in our January year-end commentary, including data on the underlying corporate performance of our holdings.
In the meantime, much health and happiness to you this holiday season.
Nick Tompras
December 24, 2018