Nath on Equity – Some more DooDats 

Yawn, the story goes on… 

Let’s 21). not think about our folio at night. 

We’re also 22). only going to connect to the market on a need-to basis, no more. 

If there’s a 23). doubt, wait. 

24). Clarify doubt. If it goes away, proceed with market action. If not, discard action. 

Don’t spread 25). too wide. 75+ stocks means you’re running a mutual fund. 

Don’t spread 26). too thin either. Just 5 stocks in the folio means that risk is not adequately spread out. Choose your magic number, one that you’re comfortable with. 

Once this number is crossed, 27). start discarding the worst performer upon every new addition. 

28). Rarely look at folio performance. Only do so to fine-tune folio. 

Don’t give 29). tips. Don’t ask for them either. 

You are you. 30). Don’t compare your folio to another. 

Due diligence will require 31). brass tacks. Don’t be afraid to plunge into annual reports and balance sheets. 

32). Read between the lines. 

Look 33). how much the promoters personally earn annually from the underlying . Some promoters take home an unjustified number. That’s precisely the underlying to avoid. Avoid a greedy promoter as if you were avoiding disease. 

Is 34). zero-debt really zero-debt?  Look closely. 

Are the 35). promoters shareholder-friendly? Do they regularly create value for the shareholder? 

Are 36). strong reserves present? 

Are the 37). promoters capable of eating up these instead of using them to create value? 

Is the 38). underlying liquid enough to function on a daily basis? Look at the basic ratios. 

Is any 39). wheeling-dealing going on with exceptional items and what have you? 

40). Is the company likely to be around in ten years time? 

Yeah, things in the equity world need to be thorough. 

We’re getting there. 

🙂 

Nath on Equity – Yardsticks, Measures and Rules

Peeps, these are my rules, measures and yardsticks. 

They might or might not work for you. 

If they do, it makes me happy, and please do feel free to use them. 

Ok, here goes. 

I like to do my homework well. 1). DUE DILIGENCE. 

I like to write out my rationale for entry. 2). DIARY entry.

I do not enter if I don’t see 3). VALUE.

I like to see 4). MOAT also. 

I don’t commit in one shot. 5). Staggered entry.

I can afford to 6). average down, because my fundamentals are clear. 

My 7). defined entry quantum unit per shot is minuscule compared to networth. 

I only enter 8). one underlying on a day, max. If a second underlying awaits entry, it will not be entered into on the same day something else has been purchased. 

I’ve left 9). reentry options open to unlimited. 

I enter for 10). ten years plus. 

Funds committed are classified as 11). lockable for ten years plus. 

For reentry, 12). stock must give me a reason to rebuy. 

If the reason is good enough, I don’t mind 13). averaging up. 

Exits are 14). overshadowed by lack of repurchase. 

I love 15). honest managements. 

I detest 16). debt. 

I like 17). free cashflow. 

My margin of safety 18). allows me to sit. 

I pray for 19). patience for a pick to turn into a multibagger.

I keep my long-term portfolio 20). well cordoned off from bias, discussion, opinion, or review by any other person. 

There’s more, but it’ll come another day. 

🙂

Looking for a Deal-Breaker

I look. 

Don’t find it. 

Look again. 

And again. 

Keep looking. 

Tired. 

Eyes ache. 

Sleepy. 

Stop. 

Resume next morning. 

Still nothing. 

So on and so forth. 

Few days. 

Absolutely nothing. 

Buy the stock.

Yes. 

That’s the chronology. 

After zeroing in on a stock…

…that’s the chronology. 

Am I happy the search was unsuccessful?

You bet!

Am I spent?

Yawn…yes. 

Was it worth it?

Of course. I now own a quality stock. 

What’s happened before?

Stockscreener. 

Stock pops up. One that appeals to me. 

Check it for value. 

Pass.

Check it for moat.

Pass. 

Look for deal-breaker. 

Yeah, final step. 

Takes the longest. 

It’s boiled down to a yes or no. 

One’s going to holding the stock for a long, long time. 

This is when one is asking every cell in one’s body. 

Yes or no?

No deal-breaker?

Fine. 

Going for it. 

It’s a yes. 

Pioneering One o One

Sure, who am I to write about this?

Valid question.

However, I don’t really care.

I’ve got something to say.

And I’m saying it.

If you’re still wondering about the validity, well, I’m treading two paths where the textbooks say only so much. After the textbooks have signed off, I’m pretty much left groping in the dark. Whether or not I come up with something big, that time will tell. Meanwhile, here are some comments from along the path.

It’s lonely.

I walk alone.

I listen to no one.

That’s the price of it all.

That’s ok.

I don’t mind walking alone.

Challenge of the path keeps me awake, alert and alive.

There are chances I’ll die out in oblivion, without having found anything significant.

That’s also the big risk of pioneering.

Without taking this risk, I won’t be able to tread the path.

Yeah, it’s fine.

This is the extra mile.

It will cause one to stretch extra.

Some feel life’s boring without such a challenge.

At times one gets disheartened.

Strategies don’t pan out.

Systems fail.

Map isn’t being charted.

One is getting nowhere.

This happens many times.

At such times one wishes one were doing something else.

Yeah, only human.

Wanting to be super-human?

Why not?

Is it a crime?

At times one can forget one’s responsibilities.

Then it’s a crime.

Coming back to zero is required then.

Hubris.

Highly avoid.

Sure, you’ll eventually become great, a pioneer and all. Hubris will bring you down.

Remember Sir Isaac Newton investing twenty thousand pounds in a company at its peak, just before the company went bust…? He went around having a law passed that no one was allowed to utter the name of this company in his presence.

Grounded.

Stay grounded.

Works best.

That’ll keep you focused.

Go, Pioneer.

The CC

Done it again.

Introducing…

…the…

…Constitutional Comparative (CC). 

It’s in our constitutions…to compare. 

We exhibit the constitutional comparative by default…

…and we need to expunge this trait from our DNA…

…which takes time…

…but can be done, with determination and practice. 

Each one of us is unique, and we’ve come to do unique things. 

Some blossom early. 

Some blossom late. 

Some don’t blossom at all, or so it seems. Turns out later, their sole purpose in life was to provide stabilizing energy to their environment. They became activated from the womb, and they deactivated upon death. There was no question of blossoming at a certain time. You could also say, that they blossomed their whole life long. 

SEE?

Don’t compare. 

You can’t see the wheels within wheels just like that. 

Seeing wheels within wheels takes insight, penance and an appropriate state of mind. Therefore, if you really must compare, at least graduate to that state of mind first, where you possess the capability to see wheels within wheels in action. 

Or, if graduating to this state of mind is not worth your while, well, fine, no probs, but…

…DON’T COMPARE then…please. 

Live your life. 

Do what you’ve come to do. 

If you don’t know what you’ve come to do, well, FIND OUT. 

HOW?

Go within. 

Talk to yourself. Yeah, it’s not crazy to talk to yourself. 

In solitude come phenomenal solutions. 

You realise who you are…

…and what you’ve come to do. 

In a crowd, such finer points get lost, in the noise. 

And, why all this on a blog which has to do with finance?

Well, you can only invest properly if you’ve found yourself first. 

If you know who you are, you’ll also invest like who you are, as per your risk profile. 

A portfolio put together with the knowledge of your own risk profile will last you long, and will give you good returns for life. 

🙂

 

 

WoC

I think I found something. 

It’s very possible someone chanced upon my discovery before me. 

Doesn’t bother me. 

Reason?

I’m happy that I found something…myself. 

Struggle in finding…taught…me. 

I’m richer in implementational knowledge. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m sharing the essence of my discovery…with you. 

Why?

I like to share. 

I won’t be spoon-feeding you…believe me. 

However, I won’t fall short of inserting the seed in your mind. 

Spare me the BS. 

I’ve heard it a million times before.

I have enough, and beyond that, I’m not commercially minded. 

In sharing are the riches. Hoarding leads to blockage…which leads to disease.

Sharing is flow. 

Flow leads to health…and happiness. 

Anyways, I’ve just established the WoC. 

Stands for Window of Confidence. 

You make it. 

How?

With your System. 

How?

Any which way you can mould your System to make it. 

Why do you make it?

It’s your basket…, your fishing net, actually. 

What do you catch in it?

That, which you wish to investigate further…for the purpose of investment. 

Whatever you delve into needs to meet certain standards, right?

There, you have it. 

Oh, one last thing…

…you ONLY look in your WoC…

…for that which needs to be investigated. 

You don’t look anywhere else.

Period. 

Happy Investing!

🙂

Walking on the Moon?

giant steps are what you take
walking on the moon
i hope my legs don’t break
walking on the moon

Don’t know how old this song is.

There was the version from Sting, or perhaps The Police.

Heard another jazz version of the song on internet radio the other day.

Got me thinking.

We all do. Walk on the Moon, that is.

The Moon stands for something undiscovered.

Each human is unique.

Our next moments are undiscovered, yet.

We live them in our own way.

Yeah, we walk on the Moon, each day, every new moment.

Even in uncharted territory, one wants a smooth walk, doesn’t one?

There are three steps that ensure this.

1). Proper due diligence.

2). Smelling liability from a distance.

3). Walking the other way, away from liability.

Even a donkey understands what’s written above.

Enjoy your walk, on your Moon, on your own personal journey.

The lyricist has penned it aptly. He or she knows about giant steps, so due diligence has been done. He or she hopes that his or her “legs don’t break”,  so he or she is alert that liability could be lurking.

Yeah, above three steps, people.

How Will I Know?

What?

How will I know what?

Well, what do you think?

How will I know if I’m on the right track…? !!

I’m sure you have asked this question…many times. 

If not, you need to.

Why?

You’ve realised that you’re your most reliable source.

You know you.

Therefore, you need to ask this question… to yourself.

This is the marketplace, not some low-stakes video-game parlour.

Lives and futures hang on your decisions.

Make these the right decisions.

How will you know you are on the right track?

It’s quite simple, really. 

Once you’ve heard the answer, you’ll probably go in denial. 

You’ll probably say, naehhhh, this can’t be it.

Believe me please, it is. What’s totally simple need not be worthless. In fact, the best ideas in the world are…simple. 

You’ll know. 

You’ll feel right. 

There’ll be a sense of satisfaction. You’ll feel comfortable. 

Your mind will be sorted. It will make the body feel at ease with an endorphin burst. 

That’s how you’ll know. 

It’s that simple. 

Take the wrong decision, and the opposite things will be happening. Try it out. Trust your reflexes. 

Learn to rely on yourself. 

This is the marketplace we’re talking about…

…where…

…you’re on your own. 

Shooting Straight, Shooting Right – Finding One’s Structures.

What are the right shots?

Who calls them?

Who doesn’t call them?

How many wrong shots? Before a right shot?

Why this discussion?

Yeah, I ask a lot of questions. I’ve become oblivious to the pain connected to the world finding out my exact level of silliness.

Yeah, I don’t keep my silliness under wraps. I’M NOT EMBARRASSED ABOUT MY SILLINESS. If you are, about yours, you are doing something grossly… WRONG. You are going to have huge problems finding what works for you. Reason – you’re not getting it out of your system – oh it’s so embarrassing, oh it looks so silly, oh it’s awkward…well stay where you are then, NOBODY is sorry for you. 

I’m silly, them a little more, then maximum, till I’m not silly anymore, for a while. That’s when right shots happen.

What are we talking about?

Life is about taking pot-shots at something or the other. Yeah, ultimately, it boils down to that. You take a shot – at something. If you don’t, you are just left twiddling your thumbs, and life passes you by. 

Once, me and my brother were fighting. We were kids. My grandfather heard the commotion, and stopped us. He just had one thing to say – and he said so much with that one sentence. He said that 100 years – they just pass you by in a flash. So stop fighting. Try and enjoy your togetherness. Whoaahhhh!!!

We’re not going to let life pass us by just like that. We’re going to first call the right shots, and then take them. 

Right shots don’t just happen. 

Before something fits, many things don’t. 

You just have to keep on taking shots. 

Forget about disappointment, embarrassment, awkwardness, silliness, what have you. 

Keep on taking…shots. 

On and on. 

Something will fit. 

Wait for it. 

It feels right. 

Build up on it. Copiously. 

You’ve been groping in the dark, and have found something that works for you. Don’t let it go. Build on it. Till you can’t anymore. Let the structure stand. Let the structure be there for you, forever. 

Then, look for your next structure.

You, and Your Purpose

Who are you?

Yeah, that question again…

Frankly, I’m not too bothered about who you are.

Yeah, I’m too busy trying to fathom who I am.

Guess who needs to be concerned about finding out who you are?

You!

Nobody else.

In addition to “Who are you?”, here’s another one that goes with the flow…

Where do you fit?

Not stopping…

What’s your purpose?

Yeah, why are you here?

What drives you?

Where do you start?

And sure, where do you stop?

What’s the gauge? How do you gauge where you stand with all these questions and their answers.

Luckily for you, Nature hid this gauge inside you.

Connect please.

You’ll feel… comfortable where you fit.

You’ll know where to start. When to stop. From inside. Below all the huff and puff, in the stillness of mind, lie answers. Find them. Talk to yourself. It’s not crazy to talk to yourself. In fact, those who don’t are crazy.

Where you’re happy doing stuff lies your purpose. That which causes maximum happiness and satisfaction, in you and around you – that’s your purpose.

Your behavior in multiple situations tells you who you are.

Align who you are with your purpose.

Once you know who you are, you can go about defining and delineating your risk-profile.

The Valuation Game

Value is a magic word. 

Ears stand up. 

Where is value?

Big, big question. 

Medium term investors look for growth. 

Long-termers invariably look for value. 

How do you value a stock?

There are many ways to do that. 

Here, we are just going to talk about basics today.

For example, price divided by earnings allows us to compare Company A to Company B, irrespective of their pricing.

Why isn’t the price enough for such a comparison?

Meaning, why can’t you just compare the price of an Infosys to that of a Geometric and conclude whatever you have to conclude?

Nope. 

That would be like comparing an apple with an orange. 

Reason is, that the number of shares outstanding for each company are different. Thus, the value of anything per share is gotten by dividing the grand total of this anything-entity by the number of outstanding shares that the company has issued. For example, one talks of earnings per share in the markets. One divides the total earnings of a company by the total number of outstanding shares to arrive at earnings per share, or EPS. 

Now, we get investor perception and discovery into the game. How does the public perceive the prospects of the company? How high or low do they bid it? How much have they discovered it? Or not discovered it? This information is contained in the price. 

So, we take all this information contained in the price, and divide it by the earnings per share, and we arrive at the price to earnings ratio, or P/E, or just PE. 

Yeah, we now have a scale to judge the value of stocks. 

Is this scale flawed?

Yeah. 

A stock with a high PE could have massive discovery and investor confidence behind it, or, it could just have very low earnings. When the denominator of a fraction is low, the value of the fraction is “high”. You have to use your common-sense and see what is applying. 

A stock with a low PE could have low price, high earnings, or both. It could have a high price and high earnings.  The low PE could also just be a result of lack of discovery, reflected in a low price despite healthy earnings. Or, the low PE could be because of a low price due to rejection. What is applying? That’s for you to know. 

At best, the PE is ambiguous. Your senses have to be sharp. You have to dig deeper to gauge value. The PE alone is not enough. 

Now let’s add a technical consideration. One sees strong fundamental value in a company, let’s say. For whatever reason. How does one gauge discovery, rejection or what have you in one snapshot? Look at the 5-year chart of the stock, for heaven’s sake. 

You’ll see rejection, if it is there. You’ll understand when it is not rejection, because rejection goes with sell-offs. Lack of discovery means low volumes and less pumping up of the price despite strong fundamentals. You’ll see buying pressure in the chart. That’s smart money making the inroads. Selling pressure means rejection. You’ll be able to gauge all this from the chart. 

Here are some avenues to look for value :

 

– price divided by earnings per share,

– price divided by book-value per share,

– price divided by cash-flow per share,

– price divided by dividend-yield per share,

– in today’s world, accomplishment along with low-debt is a high-value commodity, so look for a low debt to equity ratio,

– look for high return on equity coupled with low debt – one wants a company that performs well without needing to borrow, that’s high value,

– absence of red-flags are high value, so you’re looking for the absence of factors like pledging by the promoters, creative accounting, flambuoyance, 

– you are looking for value in the 5-year chart, by gauging the chart-structure for lack of discovery in the face of strong fundamentals. 

 

We can go on, but then we won’t remain basic any more. Basically, look for margin of safety in any form. 

Yeah, you don’t buy a stock just like that for the long-term. There’s lots that goes with your purchase. Ample and diligent research is one thing. 

Patience to see the chart correct so that you have your proper valuations is another. 

Here’s wishing you both!

🙂

 

Whose Game Are You Playing?

Are you playing your game?

No?

Why not?

Why do you play someone else’s game?

Do you think that’s going to make you happy?

Just for the record, working for someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing that someone’s game. You’re walking a common path with someone. Could be your boss. Spouse. Parent. Sibling. Whosoever. You could still be playing your game.

Life’s a game too.

A game doesn’t mean you have to rule over someone, or something. Wherever there’s a lesson to be learnt, a game is on. When we talk about your life-lessons, we talk about your game.

If I’m not mistaken, life is about learning. For some of us. There are souls who come to spend surplus Karma. Once this is exhausted, their game changes by default, since the lessons start again.

We come face to face with people and situations… to learn. The same people and / or situations keep reappearing till some learning is fully learnt. They can appear in an overbearing role, but you’re still playing your game. You’re learning your lesson. Or not. These people and / or situations cause you to behave as per a groove which has encompassed your life. The lesson is to learn how to break out of the groove. If you’re learning the lesson, you’re playing your game. If not, you’re playing someone else’s.

Play the market. Play your game with the market. Someone else’s successful market game might lure you. It won’t give you lasting succes. Why?

Someone else’s successful market game caters to someone else’s psychology. In crux situations, you will falter in that game. You will lose it all. That someone will succeed. He or she has spent years devising a game which caters fully and totally to his or her psychology and risk profile. Not to yours. He or she cannot know as much about your own psychology and risk profile as you do. Therefore, devise your own market-play. Then, play it.

It takes years or perhaps a decade to discover and understand your behaviour, psychology and reactions to varied market situations. Be there. In the market. Make small mistakes. Learn your lessons. Understand your grooves. Devise a comprehensive strategy around this.
That’s your game.

What are you waiting for?

Play it.

🙂

Breathing Time

Ideas…

… make the world spin.

At the core of any genius achievement is at first… an idea.

Ideas don’t come for free.

A certain degree of evolution translates into a corresponding idea.

Evolution costs.

Pain is a precursor to evolution.

Not every good idea is lucrative. Lots of bad ideas emerge too.

We’re concerned about sifting through the noise.

A potential candidate emerges, let’s say.

You feel you’ve got something.

What’s the next course of action?

Sit.

Don’t jump.

Let it breathe.

It will either continue to breathe, becoming stronger day by day, until it is so strong, that it coerces you into expression. Or, if it’s weak, it’ll die. It might even transform… … into something stronger.

Let the idea make you want to jump. Yeah, let it become that strong, inside of you. You’ve been sitting, remember?

Why?

Why this whole rigmarole?

You want a high success translation percentage.

Why not? It’s human nature.

And that’s why.

Strongly evolved ideas translate more easily into systems of success.

Even if you don’t remember me, remember this line just above.

Thanks.

What’s the Frequency, Flipkart?

Hmmm, a zero-profit company…

In fact, a loss making company…

Do you get the logic?

People are probably seeing an Amazon.com in the making.

Amazon exists in a highly infrastructure-laden country with systems.

Can we say the same about us?

As of now – no.

Are we on the trajectory?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s been five steps forward and then three back till now.

What’s all the hype about?

Institutions want to make money during the ride.

Whether the ride culminates into an Amazon.com is irrelevant for institutions.

Public opinion acknowledges the ride.

That’s enough for institutions.

They’ll ride to a height and exit, irrespective of any MAT or what have you.

While exiting, they’ll hive off the hot potato to pig-investors in the secondary market, post IPO.

Hopefully, a valuation is calculable by then. Even the PE ratio needs earnings to spit out a valuation. No earnings means no divisor, and anything divided by zero is not defined.

Keep your wits about you. Follow performance. Follow earnings. Follow bearable debt. If you see all three, a sound management will already be in place. Then, look for value. Lastly, seek a technical entry.

Don’t follow hype blindly.

Cheers! 🙂

Finding Structure Within

You are you. He is he. She is she. I am I. It is it. 

Even if the above is the only thing that you carry home from this space, you’re done already. 

Move on then, with your life, because you’ve understood something big. 

If not, do please read on. 

You are not I. I am not you. He is not she. She is not he. That’s it. 

Here’s the next biggie.

Those who come into funds need to know how to manage them. Period. 

Do what you want. Run umpteen miles. Put up a million facades. Muster up all the drama you’re capable of. After that you’ll come to this conclusion …

 … that nobody else is more capable of managing your funds than you yourself. 

Why?

Because you are you. You know yourself best. A third party is firstly (realistically) not bothered about knowing you, and secondly is only capable of seeping into a minuscule portion of you, if he or she makes the effort. Forget about third parties. 

So you realize you need to manage your own funds, what then?

Jump into the water.

While your corpus is small, make mistakes. Learn from them. That’s college. Tuition fees.

Recognize your strengths. Play to them. Pulverize your weaknesses after identifying them.

Then come the structures, from within. These are your structures. They’ll come from inside of you. 

There’s you, and there’s the battle-field. The two are face to face. It’s a do or die situation. You go into reflex-action mode. Your systems start to function at full capacity. That’s when structures emerge.

Yeah, structures need an activation barrier to emerge. 

There’s a protective structure. It’s your protective structure. It guides you to build your moat. It protects your family. 

Then there’s your post-protection bulk-game structure. It guides you towards building up your innings without the worries of basic bread and butter. 

Lastly, there’s your multiplication structure. It chalks out high-reward-high-risk strategies, tweaks them towards maximum possible safety, and tells you where to put that minute percentage of your corpus with the intent of achieving extra-ordinary gains. 

Allow such structures to emerge. Embrace them. Innovate. Improvise. Achieve. Educate.

Go for the jugular. 

Who are You?

Who am I?

Do I know?

Am I trying to know?

Is this an important question for me?

What’s my path?

Where am I on this path?

What are my basic goals in life?

What are my weaknesses?

What am I doing to make these my strengths?

What motivates me to perform?

Does my environment enhance my performance?

Or does it hamper me?

If it does, what am I doing about it?

Am I tweaking my environment?

Yeah, am I manipulative enough?

Am I content with the hampering?

Why should I be content with the hampering?

Because it makes me grow, as in evolve?

Maybe.

Who are you?

What are your defining questions?

How do you unravel?

Ultimately, what is your risk profile?

Who are you… sure… very valid question.

Why?

It’s the basic precursor question with regard to another important question.

Who are you as far as finance is concerned?

In the field of finance, you need to know your risk-profile, and you need to have a defined meta-game-plan.

Defined as per who you are.

Uniquely, for yourself.

Bye 🙂

The Line of Least Resistance

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

I’m not guilty about using their work and ideas.

Firstly, obviously, I’m going to quote them. Then, I plan to achieve something new, whilst standing on their shoulders. Those will be my two pennies, and feel free, people, to use my two pennies copiously.

The phrase “line of least resistance” was first coined by none other than Mr. Jesse Livermore. He lost a fortune finding it, then won a fortune following it, and again lost a lot of money at times when he ignored his own discovery.

Pioneers have it tough.

Carving out a new path is perilous, to say the least.

So, what is the line of least resistance?

Imagine yourself to be poking and shoving around, looking for a clear path in the dark. Something gives. You push further, and discover that you can easily traverse the path that emerges, without stumbling. For a while.

Let’s just remain there.

You are travelling along seamlessly on this path you’ve discovered after poking and shoving around.

Freeze.

Now imagine the price of an underlying. Any underlying, that tends to trend. GBP vs USD would be a great example.

Price pokes and shoves (at resistance), as it tries to break out.

Once it has broken out, you need to understand why it has broken out.

It is not encountering enough resistance to make it stop.

It’ll keep moving along this line of least resistance, till there develops sufficient new resistance that is enough to make price stop, or even reverse.

That’s a price move. You want to be part of it. Thus, you look for it. The pokes and the shoves are your entry tries. One of your entries will chance upon the line of least resistance. You’ll experience a clear move, which you’re a part of. The move will continue till resistance builds up again.

The idea, obviously, is to stay with the move to make up for failed entries and then some.

You stay in the trade till there is enough resistance to make the underlying reverse more than your threshold.

That would be your trigger stop.

When a concept is broken down to its absolute basics, it becomes easy to understand.

If it Fits You…

… then nothing else matters.

Who told you that finance is a one-size-fits-all game?

Actually, the truth is very far away.

Truth is truth.

It doesn’t matter how much you twist it, or bury it or whatever.

It eventually emerges, unchanged, unscathed, true.

And the winds here are talking about unique sizing for each market player.

Yeah, only a unique fit is going to fulfill your own market play.

It will look silly to others.

People will laugh.

Doesn’t matter.

It fits you.

You’ve found your fit. That alone is invaluable. People undergo decades of struggle looking for theirs. Many don’t find it.

What is that state of being, when you know that you’ve found your fit?

Satisfaction.

You’re not jumping.

Not edgy.

Not looking further.

Looking for extra time, to develop and enhance what you’ve found.

You’re at peace.

You’re happy sitting.

Small things count big in the markets.

The Womb in which One’s A-Game is Born

Simple situations don’t challenge you, and if a human being doesn’t feel challenged, he or she doesn’t grow. 

What would you like your A-Game to be?

Simple? Bread-winning? No surprises in store? Straight-forward? 

Fine.

If you don’t wish to feel challenged by it, that is your right. What ? You want to enjoy your A-Game, though? And you want to keep enjoying it for life?

Let me tell you a secret. If you master something, it becomes boring after a while. Where’s the challenge? You probably won’t enjoy something like that for life…just an opinion.

It’s taken me ten years in finance to actually discover what my A-Game is.

I’ve had a choice all along, I won’t hide that from you.

I’ve chosen two market niche-segments. I find both intriguing. Both fully absorb me. I keep asking questions. My mind feels that it meets its match. I enjoy both segments. 

It doesn’t matter which segments I’m talking about. They are my A-Game, and that’s what counts for this discussion. How did I know this was my A-Game?

Over the last ten years, I’ve tried all market segments. Got knocked around, made mistakes. Lost money. Tuition fees. You can’t really study the markets in college. You really need to study the markets in the marketplace itself. Eventually, an area of specialisation will speak to you. It will exercise a magnetism which will envelope you. Wait for this moment before going all-in. Even after identifying your A-Game, play it small for a long time, and only scale up slowly, according to strict money-management rules. 

The womb in which your A-Game is born can be really complicated. You can be left feeling confused for years about what your calling is. Life does remain a bit boring till you get there. You feel that that something is missing in life. While playing your A-Game, that very feeling is gone. That’s how you know it’s your A-Game. 

If you have a choice, secure yourself and your family financially before your A-Game unfolds. That way, your A-Game won’t necessarily have to yield you money in the beginning. Eventually , it will do that also, and of this there is no doubt in my mind, since complete engrossment into something will make you excel at that something. Treat the money as a bonus as it starts to come along. Focus on the monetary angle alone, forced perhaps by necessity, can make you lose sight of the enjoyment angle, or it can make you choose the more monetarily lucrative but less enjoyable activity. It all depends on your life-situation at that moment. 

Actually, come to think of it, whatever one does in life can be approached from a commercial angle only, blocking the enjoyment angle out totally. If your bread and butter depends upon it, I fully understand your choice, but if you’re already financially secure, then … go for growth, challenge, enjoyment… and money will follow too. 

Due Diligence Snapshot – IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd. (IIML) – Jan 14 2013

Price – Rs. 23.85 per share ; Market Cap – 499 Cr (small-cap, fell from being a mid-cap); Equity – 41.76 Cr; Face Value – Rs. 2.00; Pledging – Nil; Promoters – IL&FS; Key Persons – Dr. Archana Hingorani (CEO), Mr. Shahzad Dalal (vice-chairman) & Mr. Mark Silgardo (chief managing partner) – all three have vast experience in Finance; Field – Private Equity Fund managers in India (oldest), many joint venture partnerships; Average Volume – around 1 L+ per day on NSE.

Earnings Per Share (on a trailing 12 month basis) – 3.55

Price to Earnings Ratio (thus, also trailing) – 6.7 (no point comparing this to an industry average, since IIML has a unique business model)

Debt : Equity Ratio – 0.35 (five-year average is 0.1); Current Ratio – 1.05

Dividend Yield – 4.7% (!)

Price to Book Value Ratio – 2.1; Price to Cashflow – 5.1; Price to Sales – 2.2

Profit After Tax Margin – 32.85% (!); Return on Networth – 35.24% (!)

Share-holding Pattern of IL&FS Investment Managers – Promoters (50.3%), Public (39.2%), Institutions (4.9%), Non-Institutional Corporate Bodies (5.5%). [The exact shareholding pattern of IL&FS itself is as follows – LIC 25.94%, ORIX Corporation Japan 23.59%, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority 11.35%, HDFC 10.74%, CBI 8.53%, SBI 7.14%, IL&FS Employees Welfare Trust 10.92%, Others 1.79%].

Technicals – IIML peaked in Jan ’08 at about Rs. 59.50 (adjusted for split), bottomed in October of the same year at Rs. 13.60, then peaked twice, at Rs. 56.44 (Sep ’09) and Rs. 54.50 (Aug ’10) respectively, in quick succession, with a relatively small drop in between these two interim high pivots. By December ’11, the scrip had fallen to a low pivot of Rs. 23.30 upon the general opinion that the company wasn’t coming out with new product-offerings anytime soon. A counter rally then drove the scrip to Rs. 32, which is also its 52-week high. During the end of December ’12, the scrip made it’s 52-week low of Rs. 23. People seem to have woken up to the fact that a 52-week low has been made, and the scrip has risen about 4 odd percentage points since then, upon heavier volume.

Comments – Company’s product profile and portfolio is impressive. No new capital is required for business expansion. Income is made from fund management fees and profit-sharing above designated profit cut-offs. Lots of redemptions are due in ’15, and the company needs to get new funds in under management by then. If those redemptions are done under profits, it will increase company profits too. Parag Parikh discusses IIML as a “heads I win (possibly a lot), tails I lose (but not much)” kind of investment opportunity. His investment call came during the mayhem of ’09. The scrip is 42%+ above his recommended price currently. What a fantastic call given by Mr. Parikh. Well done, Sir! Professor Sanjay Bakshi feels that IIML has a unique business model, where business can keep on expanding with hardly any input required. He feels, “that at a price, the stock of this company would be akin to acquiring a free lottery ticket”. I opine that the price referred to is the current market price. Before and after Mr. Parikh’s call, the company has continued to deliver spectacular returns. The company’s management is savvy and experienced. They made profitable exit calls in ’07, and fresh investments were made in ’08 and ’09, during big sell-offs. Thus, the management got the timing right. That’s big. I have no doubt that they’ll get new funds in under management after ’15, alone on the basis of their track record. Yeah, there’s still deep value at current market price. Not as deep as during ’08, or ’09, but deep enough.

Buy? – Fundamentals are too good to be ignored. They speak for themselves, and I’m not going to use any more time commenting on the fundamentals. Technicals show that volumes are up over the last 3 weeks. People seem to be lapping the scrip up at this 52-week low, and the buying pressure has made it rise around 4% over the last 3 weeks. If one has decided to buy, one could buy now, preferably under Rs. 24. The scrip seems to be coming out of the lower part of the base built recently. There is support around Rs. 23 levels, so downside could be limited under normal market conditions.

Disclaimer and Disclosure – Opinions given here are mine only, unless otherwise explicitly stated . You are free to build your own view on the stock. I hold a miniscule stake in IIML. Data / material used has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com, equitymaster.com, valuepickr.com, safalniveshak.com and from the company websites of IIML & IL&FS. Technicals have been gauged using Advanced GET 9.1 EoD Dashboard Edition. I bear no responsibility for any resulting loss, should you choose to invest in IIML.