Busy Times

Market falls are busy times. 

No, we’re not busy whining. 

We’re busy buying.

Are we not afraid?

That the crack might deepen?

That it might go down to zero?

No.

We’re not afraid of this scenario. 

Meaning?

Meaning that even though such a scenario cannot be ruled out…

Huh!?

Yeah, it can’t be ruled out. With trade wars and back to back black swans waiting to strike, theoretically, the bottom is zero.

And you’re not afraid?

No.

Why?

Because I buy into fundamentally sound businesses…

…zero debt…

…great 5 year numbers…

…sometimes, great ten year numbers…

…and I buy with considerable margin of safety.

Still, one is normally always afraid, right?

Wrong. A small entry quantum strategy kicks out all remnant fear.

How?

This strategy leaves me liquid. Let it go down to zero. I’ll still have liquidity to buy.

And that which you’re buying…

…is sound, yes. If I buy something sound, it will yield returns. It’s like agriculture. Crops grow in good soil. They don’t grow well in bad soil. I make sure that I choose excellent soil.

How does one do that?

Due diligence. Period.

With all the scams and frauds going on…

Well, I look long and hard for shareholder-friendly managements. Representable salaries, willingness to share, largesse, debt-averseness, intelligence, business savvy, the list goes on.

What if you land up with a fraud management?

Solid research will make you avoid scamsters. I search the internet thoroughly for any kind of smoke. Crooks leave a trail, and one is able to catch their online trail pretty easily. 

Alone online?

Second recourse are annual reports. They reveal a lot. I don’t invest in a company without having a thorough look into its annual reports. I look at CSR, the director’s report, skin in the game, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash-flow, special items, what have you.

What if you still land up with a fraud?

After I know I’ve landed up with a fraud management, I would look to exit at the next market high. 

What if your holding is wiped out till then?

If it’s wiped out, I have many other holdings to lean on, and don’t forget the liquidity that is yet to flow into honest managements.

So you’re not afraid of the loss?

There is some risk one has to take. Here, it is the risk of being wrong. The good thing is, once I know that I’m wrong, I won’t double up on my wrong call. I’ll get busy elsewhere and look to exit from my wrong call with as little damage as possible, perhaps even in profit.

Profit?

You forget, I like to buy with margin of safety, and you’d be surprised at what people are willing to pay at market highs. 

I see, well then, happy investing!

Thanks! 🙂

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Sheer Moat Investing is not Antifragile 

There we go again. 

That word. 

It’s not going to leave us. 

Nicholas Nassim Taleb has coined together what is possibly the market-word of the century. 

Antifragile. 

We’re equity-people. 

We want to remain so. 

We don’t wish to desert equity just because it is a fragile asset-class by itself. 

No. 

We wish to make our equity-foray as antifragile as possible. 

First-up, we need to understand, that when panic sets in, everything falls. 

The fearful weak hand doesn’t differentiate between a gem and a donkey-stock. He or she just sells and sells alike. 

Second-up, we need to comprehend that this is the age of shocks. There will be shocks. Shock after shock after shock. Such are the times. Please acknowledge this, and digest it. 

To make our equity-play antifragile, we’ll need to incorporate solid strategies to account for above two facts. 

We love moats, right? 

No problem. 

We’ll keep our moats. 

Just wait for moat-stocks to show value. Then, we’ll pick them up. 

We go in during the aftermath of a shock. Otherwise, we don’t. 

We go in with small quanta. Time after time after time. 

Voila. 

We’re  already sufficiently antifragile. 

No magic. 

Just sheer common sense. 

We’re still buying quality stocks. 

We’re buying them when they’re not fragile, or lesser fragile. 

We’re going in each time with minute quanta such that the absence of these quanta (after they’ve gone in) doesn’t alter our financial lives. We’re saving the rest of our pickled corpus for the next shock, after which the gem-stock will be yet lesser fragile. 

Yes, we’re averaging down, only because we’re dealing with gems. We’ll never average down with donkey-stocks. We might trade these, averaging up. We won’t be investing in them. 

Thus, we asymptotically approach antifragility in a gem-stock. 

Over time, after many cycles, the antifragile bottom-level of the gem-stock should be moving significantly upwards. 

Gem-stock upon gem-stock upon gem-stock. 

We’re done already. 

Learning to Sit (Part II)

Can you sit?

I mean, can you really sit?

Maximum money is made by sitting, not by wiggling about.

I didn’t say that, but people far, far greater did.

To name just two who did say so, I’m sure you’ve heard of Jesse Livermore and Warren Buffett.

Fact remains – if you’re a long-term investor, you have to be able to sit.

One can’t sit for very long if one isn’t comfortable.

So, logic dictates – make yourself comfortable first.

Get rid of all extra background noise that disturbs you.

Keep consolidating – till you are comfortable to a point of not wanting to move from where you are.

You’ve gotten rid of investments you don’t understand.

Then, you’ve also dumped those investments that you do understand, but which don’t interest you.

Your rapport with your family is healthy.

You eat and sleep well.

You enjoy your life.

Then, the investments that you’re gonna sit on – are their volumes influencing the normal flow of your life?

If yes, it’ll be hard to stay focused somewhere down the line, because some fragment of your life will invariably be disturbed positively or negatively due to the voluminous investment in question.

Can you digest the volume such that its level does not interfere with your daily life?

What is your capacity for volume digestion?

Some have very large digestive capacities, like RJ. Such people can sleep comfortably on gigantic invested volumes for a very long time.

Others don’t digest volume at all, and can’t sleep over volume, like that day-trader who lives down the road. When the market closes, his invested volume is nil. Otherwise, the rest of his day is ruined.

Identify your volume threshold.

Invest below it. Then, you’ll be able to sit on your investment.

Any investment must have a rationale. Is your investment rationale sound? You’ll only be able to sit long-term on an investment made with sound rationale.

Therefore, take your time. Do solid research. Your research is pivotal for your investment. It doesn’t have to be so technical or so fundamental as to psyche a lay-person. It doesn’t have to deal with nitty-gritty. It doesn’t have to look for wheels within wheels.

In my opinion, market research needs to be broad-minded, and done with common-sense. Researching a company is an art. One doesn’t need to go ballistic with numbers, mathematics, projections, charts etc. One needs to formulate the long-term picture in one’s mind, based on key ratios, charting basics, knowledge of cycles, quality of management etc., and of course (based on) the million dollar question – is one looking at a multibagger? You can fill in the blanks here, for yourself.

Then, don’t enter with too big a bang. That’s my formula. Enter small. You can always top up later, if your conviction about your investment has grown. That’ll allow you to sit if your investment goes wrong in the initial stages. If you’ve entered too big and things go awry, you won’t be able to sleep, and then the first thing you’ll do is exit. So, enter small.

See, you can average down if you’re an expert, but for the longest time and till you get the hang of things, do not average down.

Why am I saying this?

Averaging down can make you even more jumpy if the stock in question goes down further. Your chances of sitting on your investment become even lesser.

Now for the flip-side. Sitting on a profit? Are you booking? Yes? No?

Depends. On you. On your outlook.

I mean, are you going to nip a multibagger in the bud?

I think you got the point.

So, till when do you sit?

Till you’re comfortable. Till you can sleep and eat well. Till you have a happy family life. Again, define you own “tills”.

The rest, as they say, is (your own investing) History.