Evaluate the Forest, not each Tree
Warren Buffett has a way of communicating financial principles in ways that hit home, and this year’s annual letter to shareholders is no exception. He’s managed Berkshire Hathaway since 1965, growing the company into a $500 billion conglomerate that owns and operates 66 different businesses generating $225 billion in sales.
- The question for stocks in 2019 isn’t whether earnings will slow, it’s by how much.
- During such slowdowns, the evidence shows that not all stocks are equal.
- Tilting towards more defensive stocks during earnings slowdowns can be beneficial to one’s portfolio.
1. We find little evidence of excess in the economy that usually results in a recession, and this gives us reason to think the next recession is still some time away.
2. The investment markets are re-pricing for a slowdown in economic growth, but absent a recession, the bull market is likely to resume.
3. Non-U.S. stocks and value stocks offer some attractive opportunities given their respective cycles.
How can anyone judge unless one’s mind has been opened and enlarged by reading?
– John Adams
Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding.
– Bill Gates
Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.
– Mark Zuckerberg
The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
– Dr. Seuss
As we close 2018, we’re pleased to share our favorite books of the past year with the clients and friends of the Janiczek community.
Long-term strategies may challenge investors to stay focused. The fight against short-term thinking is getting harder as we accomplish so many things with increasing ease and speed.
There is more computing power in an iPhone than what NASA had during the first landing on the moon. Remember when Netflix mailed DVDs to your home? Now we can stream just about anything to our smartphones. And what would you have said ten years ago if I had told you the President of the United States’ main communication tool in 2018 would be Twitter?
But speed doesn’t change everything.
Books, Reading and Knowledge
“I read and read and read. I probably read 5 to 6 hours per day. I read five daily newspapers, I read a fair number of magazines, I read 10k’s, I read annual reports, and I read a lot of other things too. I’ve always enjoyed reading. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”
– Warren Buffett
In other words, reading opens one’s mind to bigger and better things. Another voracious reader, Bill Gates, recently shared his picks for some good summer reading. And who wouldn’t be interested in reading what a brilliant thinker like Gates found illuminating?
Of course, the Janiczek community isn’t short on good book recommendations either. In December, our team offered up some of our favorite books of the year, and our client community responded with some great picks of their own. (One client recommendation made the current Bill Gates list … great minds think alike, right?!)
So, as you begin your summer reading, whether to learn or to simply escape, we gladly share a few of our picks. Personally, I’ll be reading one of Bill Gates’ picks, Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian.
If you have book recommendations, by all means, let me know!
Book Recommendations from the Janiczek Team
I’m not sure Yogi Berra is big source of investment knowledge for most investors. But, that doesn’t mean his words of wisdom, “déjà vu all over again,” don’t apply.
Today’s Wall Street Journal included an article titled, “Value Investors Face Existential Crisis After Long Market Rally.” It discussed the “rut” that value investing has experienced since 2009. No arguments there. Value stocks are down about 1% year-to-date while growth stocks are up nearly 8%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index, which holds many of the favorite tech names among growth investors, is at its all-time high.
A Familiar Scenario
But as I sipped my morning coffee and read further, I didn’t ask myself how we should change our current value approach (for the portion of our portfolios dedicated to value investing) to match the current environment. Instead, I found myself thinking about earlier in my career, the late 1990s. Tech ruled the day from 1995 through 1999, and value investors lagged back then too.
“The Return of Volatility.” “Volatility Is Back With A Vengeance.” These are some of the headlines recapping the first quarter of 2018. Many of them
discuss volatility and risk interchangeably, as though they were both the same … but they’re not.
Risk and volatility are different, and we intend to set the record straight. In this issue of Portfolio Matters, we cover the first quarter’s risks and volatility that was (and wasn’t) witnessed in markets, and provide investors some clarity on thinking about the two individually and separately…read more.
Lifelong learning. It’s a core belief here at our firm, and we regularly read across a variety of topics. I recently asked the team to share any of their favorite books from the past year, business or otherwise. Below is what we’d offer up as our recommendations from 2017, and if you have any good book recommendations from the last year, please let us know!
JUDGMENT UNDER UNCERTAINTY
Behavioral Economics Takes Center Stage in Q3
I will be very impressed if the title of this latest edition of Portfolio Matters sounds familiar to anyone. It’s actually the title of the research paper by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky back in September of 1974 that brought the field of behavioral economics into the mainstream mindset we know today. (We credit writer Jason Zweig for bringing this anniversary into spotlight.)
What this research paper really did was to question our understanding of how we think, or at least, how we think we think. The paper shed light on powerful thought patterns that likely affect us all. And when it comes to investing, these thought patterns and resulting behaviors play a far greater role in the markets than most folks realize…read more