Bonding

As Equity players…

…we enter the bond segment to…

conserve capital.

There is no other reason.

Return?

We do make a slightly better return than a fixed deposit.

We’re not in bonds to make a killing.

That is outlined for the Equity segment.

We’re Equity players, remember. 

I was just going through the top ten holdings of each of FT India’s now “discontinued” (new word for mini-insolvency?) debt funds. (I’m uncertain just now what word they’ve used, was it “stopped”? Or “halted”?) [Just looked up the internet, the words used are “winding up”].

My goodness! 

The fund managers in question wanted to outperform all other funds at the cost of asset-quality. 

Many of these top ten holdings (for six funds, one is looking at six top ten holdings) one would not even have heard of. 

A top ten holding constitutes the backbone of the mutual fund being studied. 

If the backbone is wobbly, the whole structure trembles upon wind exposure. 

This corona black swan is not a wind. It’s a long-drawn out cyclone, to fit the analogy. 

This particular structure has crumbled. 

Fund managers concerned have acted out of greed – that’s the only explanation for above top ten holdings. 

No other explanation comes to my mind. 

That they are also holding large chunks of Yes Bank and Vodafone is more an error in judgement, albeit a grave one. 

People commit errors in judgement.

Could one still overlook the a large chunk’s (10%?) segregation in FT India’s Debt folios, where Yes and Voda bonds have been marked down to zero?

Such a hit is huge in the debt segment.

Why are we in debt?

To conserve capital. 

10% hit in debt?

NO.

Wobbly top ten holdings?

NNOO!

Had no idea that the FT India debt portfolio had so many red-flags. 

Till they dropped the bombshell that they were discontinuing their six debt-funds, from last evening, one had no idea. 

Now that it’s dropped, one digs deep to understand their mistakes.

Why?

One doesn’t want to make the same mistakes. 

One doesn’t want to be invested in any funds in the debt segment which are making the same mistakes.

However, another look at their holdings reassures one that one won’t be making such mistakes, of greed, and of comprehensive failure to read managements and road conditions – in a hurry.

Nevertheless, one wishes to be aware.

Now that one is, all measures will be enhanced to prevent even an inkling of such an outcome for oneself. 

Wait up. 

Such measures were already in place. 

Greed? In bonds? 

We’re in bonds to conserve capital. 

No greed there. 

Top ten holdings?

Rock-solid. 

That’s the fundamental tenet one looks for while entering any mutual fund, whether in the debt or in the equity segment. 

We’re good. 

Are you Saying These are Small Losses, Mr. Nath?

No. 

Everything is taking a hit. 

Sure. 

Hit’s actually in the “Wealth” segment…

…and not as such in the “Income” segment.

Would you like to elaborate on this one, sounds pivotal?

Yes it is exactly that, pivotal. Because of this one fact, I’m talking to you with a straight face.

I see.

Auto-pilot income-creating avenues are still doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e. creating income. Nothing has changed there, yet.

You mean something could change there?

Sure, if companies start going bust, their bonds won’t create income. Instead, principal will take a hit. It’s not come to that yet, at least in India. You have an odd company going bust here and there now and then, but nothing major as of now. Income is intact, for now. If were done with CoVID in two months, this factor might not change. Let’s focus on this scenario. 

Right. 

Secondly, we’re highly liquid. We try and become as liquid as possible during good times, ideally aiming to be 80% in cash before a crisis appears. 

How do you know a crisis is going to appear?

This is the age of crises. A six sigma event has now become the norm. After Corona it will be something else. This has been going on from the time the stock market started. It’s nothing new. Come good times, we start liquidating all the stuff we don’t want. 

Don’t want?

Ya, one changes one’s mind about an underlying down the line. At this point, one shifts this underlying mentally into the “Don’t Want” category. Come good times, one makes the market exit oneself from this entity on a high.

Makes the market exit oneself?

Yes, through trigger-entry of sell order.

Why not just exit on limit?

Then you’ll just sell on the high of that particular day at best. However, through trigger-exit, your sell order will be triggered after a high has been made and the price starts to fall. It won’t be triggered if the underlying closes on a high. That way, if you’re closing on a high, you might get a good run the next day, and then you try the same strategy again, and again. In market frenzies, you might get a five to seven day run, bettering your exit by 15-20%, for example. Who wouldn’t like that?

You talk of market frenzies at a time like this, my dear Sir…

The market is like a rubber band. What were witnessing currently is the opposite pole of a market frenzy. Humans beings are bipolar. If they’re reacting like this, they sure as hell will react like the opposite pole when conditions reverse. Especially in India. We’re brimming with emotions. 

Which brings us back to the initial question…

Yes, these notional losses look huge. But, who’s translating them into actual losses? Not us. We’re busy enhancing our portfolios as multiples get more and more lucrative for purchase. That’s entirely where our focus is. We are numb to pain from the hit because our focus is so shifted. 

And there’s no worry?

With such high levels of liquidity, shift of focus, income tap on, dividend tap on – yeah, please don’t ignore the extra big incoming dividends, underlyings taking a hit currently are paying out stellar dividends, and these big amounts are entering our accounts, because we’ve bought such quality – – – we’re ok.

Stellar would be?

Many underlying have shared double digit dividend yields with their shareholders! That’s huge!

So no worries?

No! We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, i.e. buying quality. We’ll keep getting extraordinary entries as the fall deepens. 

What if that takes a long-long time?

Well, the year is 2020. We’re all on speed-dial. 18 months in 2020 is like 15 years in 1929. Because we follow the small entry quantum strategy, our liquidity should hold out over such period, providing us entries through and through. 

And what if it’s a four digit bottom on the main benchmark, still no worries?

NO! Look at the STELLAR entry over there. A bluechip bought at that level of the benchmark can be held for life without worries. So yes, NO WORRIES.

Thanks Mr. Nath.

One more thing.

Yes, what’s that?

What’s my maximum downside in an underlying?

100%.

Correct. Now what’s my maximum upside in an underlying?

Ummm, don’t know exactly.

Unlimited. 

Unlimited?

Yes, unlimited. Entries at lucrative levels eventually translate into unreal multiples. Looking at things from this perspective, now, the size of these notional losses pales in comparison to potential return multiples. It’s a combination of psychology, fundamentals, mathematics and what have you. In comparison, these are still small losses. If we can’t take these swings in our side, we shouldn’t be in the markets in the first place, focusing our energies on avenues we’re good at instead.

Right, got it. 

Cheers, here’s wishing you safe and lucrative investing. 

🙂

Sitting – III

Mood-swings…

…happen all the time…

…in the markets.

If we don’t get used to dealing with them, we’re pretty much gone.

When pessimism rules, it’s quite common for one to develop negative thoughts about a holding. 

Research – stands. 

There’s nothing really wrong with the stock. 

However, sentiment is king. 

When sentiment is down, not many underlyings withstand downward pressure.

Eventually, you start feeling otherwise about your stock that is just not performing, as it was supposed to, according to its stellar fundamentals. 

If your conviction is strong enough, this feeling will pass. 

Eventually, pessimism will be replaced by optimism. 

Upwards pressure…

…results in upticks. 

Finally, you say, the market is discovering what your research promised.

You feel vindicated, and your outlook about the stock changes, in the event that negativity had set in.

You’ve not ended up dumping this particular stock.

If your conviction had not been strong enough, you would have gotten swayed. 

Market-forces are very strong. 

They can sweep the rug from under one’s feet, and one can be left reeling. 

In such circumstances, solid due-diligence and solid experience are your pillars of strength, and they allow you footing to hold on to. 

However, if your research isn’t solid enough, you will start doubting it and yourself, soon (and if you’re not experienced enough, make the mistake, learn from it, it’s ok, because your mistake is going to be a small mistake just now, and you’ll never repeat it, which is better than making the same mistake on a larger scale at the peak of your career, right?! We are talking about the mistake of doing shoddy due-diligence and getting into a stock without the confidence needed to traverse downward pressure).

With that, your strategy has failed, because it is not allowing you to sit comfortably. 

Please remember, that the biggest money is made if first one has created circumstances which allow one to sit comfortably. 

Basic income. 

Emergency fund.

Excess liquidity.

Small entry quantum.

Rock solid research work, encompassing fundamentals and technicals both. 

Margin of safety.

Patience for good entries.

Exit strategy. Whichever one suits you. It should be in place, at least in your mind. 

Etc.

Fill in your blanks. 

Make yourself comfy enough to sit and allow compounding to work. 

Weed out what stops you from sitting, and finish it off forever, meaning that don’t go down that road ever again.

Very few know how to sit. 

Very few make good money in the markets.

Make sure that you do. 

Make sure that you learn to sit.

My Buddy called Compounding

Compounding…

…is my happy space.

When I’m having a difficult market day,…

…I open my calculator…

…and start…

…compounding.

My friend clears all doubts in a flash.

It’s easy to compound on the calc.

In German they’d say “Pippifax”.

The younger tribe in the English-speaking world would say easy peasy…

…(lemon squeasy).

Let me run you through it.

Let’s say you wish to calculate an end amount after 25 years of compounding @ 9 % per annum.

Let z be the initial amount (invested).

The calculation is z * 1.09 ^25.

That’s it.

You don’t have to punch in 25 lines. It’s 1 line.

What if you went wrong on the 18th line?

So 1 line, ok? That’s all.

What’s ^ ?

This symbol stands for “to the power of”.

On your calculator, look for the y to power of x key, and then…

…punch in z * 1.09 (now press y to the power of x)[and then punch in 25].

What does such an exercise do for me?

Meaning, why does this exercise ooze endorphins?

Let’s say I’m investing in sound companies, with zero or very little debt, diligent and shareholder-friendly managements, and into a versatile product profile, looking like existing long into the future, basically meaning that I’m sound on fundamentals.

Let’s say that the stock is down owing to some TDH (TomDicK&Harry) reason, since that’s all it’s taking for a stock to plunge since the beginning of 2018.

I have no control over why this stock is falling.

Because of my small entry quantum strategy, I invest more as this fundamentally sound stock falls.

However, nth re-entry demands some reassurance, and that is given en-masse by the accompanying compounding exercise.

At the back of my mind I know that my money is safe, since fundamentals are crystal clear. At the front-end, Mr. Compounding’s reassurance allows me to pull the trigger.

Let’s run through a one-shot compounding exercise.

How much would a million invested be worth in thirty years, @ 11% per annum compounded.

That’s 1 * 1.11^30 = almost 23 million, that’s a 2300% return in 30 years, or 75%+ per annum non-compounded!

Now let’s say that my stock selection is above average. Let’s assume it is good enough to make 15% per annum compounded, over 30 years.

What’s the million worth now?

1 * 1.15^30 = about 66 million, whoahhh, a 6600% return in 30 years, or 220% per annum non-compounded.

Let’s say I’m really good, perhaps not in the RJ or the WB category, but let’s assume I’m in my own category, calling it the UN category. Let’s further assume that my investment strategy is good enough to yield 20% per annum compounded.

Ya. What’s happened to the million?

1 * 1.20^30 = about 237 million…!! 23700% in 30 years, or 790% per annum non-compounded…

…is out of most ballparks!!!

How can something like this be possible?

It’s called “The Power of Compounding”…,

…most famously so by Mr. Warren Buffett himself.

Try it out!

Pickle your surplus into investment with fundamentally sound strategy.

Sit tight.

Lo, and behold.

🙂

Have the Guts?

Somebody did say …

… that Equity was not for the faint-hearted.

Oh, how true!

Everyday, my heart stands tested!

However, because of a small entry quantum strategy, I am able to stay in the game.

If I am able to stay in the game for multiple cycles, I will prosper.

Why?

Firstly, the strategy by default renders me liquid, such are its tenets.

Then, a good hard look at fundamentals is always called for.

To close, it is important is to enter with technicals to support you.

Now let’s say I make a mistake.

What is a mistake?

Ya, good question – in the markets, what is a mistake?

In the markets, when the price goes against you, you have made a mistake.

So let’s say that I’ve made a mistake.

Is the mistake big?

No.

Why?

Because of my small entry quantum.

What does it mean for my next entry?

Added margin of safety.

Is that good?

You bet.

Why?

Because fundamentals are intact.

What’s going to eventually happen?

Stock’s going to bottom out.

I’ll have a decent amount of entries to my name.

My buying average will be reasonably low.

The margin of safety my buying average allows me will let me sit on the stock forever, If I wish to.

Down the road, one day, I might be sitting on a big fat multiple.

Please do the math.

Happy and lucrative investing!

🙂

Breathing Space

I like to breathe…

…between trades. 

There’s something fresh about being market neutral. 

One is decoupled from market forces. 

One feels light. 

If one has just closed a losing trade, there’s hung-over disappointment. 

Forget. 

Breathe. 

Move on. 

On the other hand, if one has just closed a winning trade…

…there’s remnant euphoria. 

Forget.

Breathe. 

Move on. 

Why forget?

The next trade is the next trade. 

It has nothing to do with the previous trade. 

Also, one is recuperating, remember?

Market forces take a toll. 

Market neutral air allows the system to regenerate. 

Don’t mistake this market neutral with the other market neutral. 

Insiders speak of being market neutral when they are hedged, and trades on both sides result in an overall market neutral stance for them. 

Hedged market neutral candidates experience a double whammy of market forces. 

You’ve understood by now, that we are talking about the “not in the of the market” neutral stance. 

Should one then even call it market neutral?

I mean, one can call it sitting out, or something. 

I like to call it market neutral breathing space.

When does the neutral strictly apply?

When I don’t know if the next trade is going to be long or short.

What will the trade direction depend upon?

Data. 

Chart. 

Technicals. 

Fundamentals. 

Whatever cooks your goose. 

However, sometimes, one is on a short-short strategy, or for that matter a long-long strategy. Meaning, that one might be out of a trade, but one is waiting to go short (long) on the next one, and so on and so forth. Meaning that one knows one’s trade direction for a defined time frame. 

Well, I still like to call the breathing space between trades market neutral, even here, because the word “neutral” reminds me to keep an unbiased mind about the next entry point. 

I try to then look at the chart free from the remains of previous experience, in my search for an entry point, even though I know the direction that I will be trading.

How much time can one spend between trades?

Depends on when the next setup arrives. 

Why the hurry?

Enjoy the calm of the space.

The Benefit of Quantum upon Quantum

Underlying equity. 

How do you protect against fraud and / or investor-unfriendliness?

You’ve done your research. 

All good. 

Stock is a buy. 

Meets your parameters. 

What’s the next step?

Protection. 

You buy quantum upon quantum. 

You don’t plunge into the stock with all you’ve got to give. 

No. 

You put in a quantum.

Then you wait. 

Better opportunity arises.

Fundamentals haven’t changed. All still good. 

You put in another quantum.

Quantum…

…upon quantum. 

That’s how you keep entering the stock till it keeps giving you a reason to enter. 

Year upon year. 

Between quanta, you’re studying behaviour. 

You’re looking for investor-friendliness. 

Your next quantum is only going in if investor-friendliness continues.

No more investor-friendliness?

No more quanta.

You wait.

Will investor-friendly behaviour resume?

And you wait.

Is it coming?

Yes. 

Good. 

Upon buy criteria being met, next quantum goes in. 

Not coming?

At all?

Ok. You’re looking to exit. 

Market will give you a high to exit. That’s what markets do. They give lows, and highs. 

Wait for the high. 

High?

Exit. 

Holding the Line

Your systems are in place.

They’re implemented. 

Basics are going. Life basics. Family basics.

Then you’ve got your income basics. They’re safe. They generate income. This income goes towards comfortable upkeep of your family. Some of it is saved. 

Your investment portfolios are firing. Savings have built these up. You don’t touch these, but keep adding to them upon opportunity. 

You’ve just finished implementing all your trading systems. 

Some of these are on auto-pilot. 

The other ones demand a little of your time each day. 

They keep you sharp and all there. 

Nothing much. 

Just fifteen to twenty minutes each. 

Skin off your teeth. 

You tackle them with your bed-tea. 

In other words, you are set as far as being income plus plus plus. 

Good. 

Now what?

Now you need to hold the line. 

What does that mean?

It means everything. 

It means no blow-ups…

…no crazy decisions that impact folios and family…

…basically nothing insane coming from you that will threaten your hard-earned situation or worse. 

Holding the line means making sure basics stay intact…

…folios keep growing…

…and new systems keep developing that add to these. 

It’s really that simple. 

When you hold the line, your next step either maintains status quo or adds to you. Preferably, it adds to you.

However, the simpler something is, the more difficult it is to follow. 

What are the demons that can slay you?

Over-confidence.

Over-ambition.

Hubris.

Greed.

Showmanship. 

Debt.

One-up-on-the-Joneses-ideology. 

This stuff looks pretty harmless at first, but is enough to give rise to cracks. 

Cracks grow… 

…till you’ve either come back to your senses and filled and sealed them…

…or till they’ve destroyed you right down to beyond your basics. 

Yeah, a full blow-up is never really far away, once cracks start to appear. 

Therefore…

…while holding the line…

… you keep reminding yourself about what you’re doing…

…why you’re doing it…

…and that you’re never going to blow up, come what may…

…and that you’re going to keep holding the line, come what may…

…and that your next step is always going to add to you.

Happy Holding!

🙂

Nath on Equity – make that a hundred

Long-term equity is 81). brought low.

The idea is to, if required, 82). sell it high.

Otherwise, 83). it is sold when you no longer believe in the stock concerned, for strong fundamental reasons. Or, it is sold when something more interesting comes along, and your magic number is capped. Then you sell the stock you’re least interested in and replace it with the new one.

84). Attitudes of managements can change with changing CEOs. Does a new management still hold your ideology-line?

Is the annual report flashy, wasteful, rhetorical and more of an eyewash? Or, 85). is it to the point with no BS? Same scrutiny is required for company website.

Your winners 86). try to entice you to sell them and book profits. Don’t sell them without an overwhelming reason.

Your mind will 87). try and play tricks on you to hold on to a now-turned-loser that is not giving you a single good reason to hold anymore.

If you’re not able to overcome your mind on 87)., 88). at least don’t average-down to add more of the loser to your folio.

89). High-rating bonds give negative returns in most countries, adjusted for inflation.

The same 90). goes for fixed deposits.

Take the parallel economy out of 91). real estate, and long-term returns are inferior to equity, adjusted for inflation.

92). Gold’s got storage and theft issues.

Apart from that, 93). it’s yielded 1% compounded since inception, adjusted for inflation.

Storage with equity is 94). electronic, time-tested-safe and hassle-free.

Equity’s something for you 95). with little paperwork, and, if you so wish it, no middlemen. In other words, there’s minimal nag-value.

Brokerage and taxes added together 96). make for a small and bearable procurement fees. Procurement is far more highly priced in other asset-classes.

One can delve into the nervous system of a publicly traded company. Equity is 97). transparent, with maximal company-data required to be online.

As a retail player in equity, 98). you are at a considerable advantage to institutions, who are not allowed to trade many, many stocks because of size discrepancies.

All you require to play equity is 99). an internet connection and a trinity account with a financial institution.

If you’re looking to create wealth, 100). there’s no avenue like long-term equity!

🙂

Nath on Equity : have stuff – will talk

Behind Equity, there’s 41). human capital. 

It’s human capital that keeps 42). adjusting equity for inflation.

43). No other asset-class quotes on an inflation-adjusted basis. 

That’s good news for you, because 44). equity takes care of the number one wealth-eater (inflation) for you. 

All world equity ever quoted, whether currently existing or not, has 45). returned 6% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. 

46). All equity ever quoted that still exists has yielded 11% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation.

Equity selected with good due diligence, common-sense and adherence to basic rules listed here and in previous articles is 47). well-capable of yielding 15%+ per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. 

However, equity is 48). a battle of nerves, at times. 

This asset-class is 49). more about creating long-term wealth. 

It can be used, though, to 50). generate income through trading. 

51). Trading, however, is burdened with more taxation, commission-generation and sheer tension. 

Trading equity 52). eats up your day. 

Investing in equity 53). gives you enough room to pursue many other activities during your day. 

Trading strategies are 54). diametrically opposite to investing strategies. 

55). It takes market-players the longest time to digest and fully comprehend 54).

For long-term players, 56). up-side is unlimited. This is a vital fact. 

Also, 57). downside is limited to input. Factor in good DD, and that very probably won’t even go half-way. 

58). Thus, 56). and 57). make for a very lucrative reward : risk ratio. 

Equity needs courage, to 59). enter when there’s blood on the streets. 

It also needs detachment, to 60). either exit when required for monetary reasons, or when everyone else is getting ultra-greedy and bidding the underlying up no-end. 

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. 

🙂

The Thing with Sugar and Dairy

It’s common knowledge now. 

Cancer cells love sugar and dairy. 

In fact, they love them so much, that they grow ten (?) times faster in their presence. 

Just act as if the question mark isn’t there. 

I’ve put it there because I’m not sure whether the number should be eleven, or nine, or what have you. 

However, the numbers are deadly. 

Shocker, right?

Spent my childhood gobbling sugar and gulping dairy. Didn’t know any better. 

Now, only dairy going in (hopefully) is the good dairy. Yoghurt. 

Only sugar in diet is the good sugar. Honey. 

At least, that’s the goal. 

What makes these two “good”?

There’s something bio in them. 

Yoghurt’s got bacteria. They’re the good bacteria. They cleanse one’s system. Cancer cells don’t like them, because probiotic bacteria probably break them down. 

Honey’s got the saliva of bees, containing vital enzymes. These catalyse various biochemical and metabolic processes. Cancer cells don’t like them either. They like the sweetness of honey, but not these enzymes. So, honey’s a tad less dangerous.

The bio-portion saves the day. It’s for a good cause. It’s purpose is friendly, and positive. 

Cut to equity. 

Where does one look for terminal disease?

In balance-sheets and annual reports. 

Debt. 

Promoter ego.

Fraud. Scam. Manipulation. 

Creative accounting.

These are some of the things that can cause terminal disease. 

All of them might exist, at some level, in any given balance-sheet and / or annual report. 

What we need to gauge in our minds are the levels. 

Is any level alarming enough to cause terminal disease, or for that matter just disease?

Bearable debt leading to growth is even a good thing. It’s like a tonic. Unbearable debt leads to terminal disease. We need to stay away from a stock with unbearable debt on its balance-sheet.

Nothing functions without ego. I am. Therefore I do. However, an overbearing and overambitious ego leads to disastrous decisions that can cause terminal disease. We need to stay away from companies whose promoters have overbearing, self-promoting and overambitious egos. Such promoters don’t even realize when they’re functioning in self-destruct mode. Am not going to take any names here, but you get the gist. 

Frauds, scams and manipulations come under the category of “sheer disease that’s already terminal or just one step away from going terminal”. Upon finding them, needless to say, avoid the stock.  

Accounting. Sure, everyone’s busy getting creative here. We need to separate positive accounting from its negative counterpart. 

Accounting that leads to fund-availability at the time of need and results in value-creation for the shareholder is to be welcomed. This kind of accounting does not cause terminal disease. It creates a detour that strengthens the company overall in the long run. 

Such accounting whose sole purpose is to deceive the shareholder and benefit the promoter is a very big red flag. This kind of accounting leads to terminal disease.

While zeroing in on a quality stock, you’re simultaneously ensuring longevity-enhancing conditions. 

In the process, you’re automatically ensuring that your portfolio accumulates one gem after another. 

Wishing for you happy and successful investing. 

🙂

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. 

What is an Antifragile approach to Equity?

Taleb’s term “antifragile” is here to stay.

If my understanding is correct, an asset class that shows more upside than downside upon the onset of shock in this age of shocks – is termed as antifragile.

So what’s going to happen to us Equity people?

Is Equity a fragile asset class?

Let’s turn above question upon its head.

What about our approach?

Yes, our approach can make Equity antifragile for us.

We don’t need to pack our bags and switch to another asset class.

We just approach Equity in an antifragile fashion. Period.

Well, aren’t we already? Margin of safety and all that.

Sure. We’ll just refine what we’ve already got, add a bit of stuff, and come out with the antifragile strategy.

So, quality.

Management.

Applicability to the times.

Scalability.

Value.

Fundamentals.

Blah blah blah.

You’ve done all your research.

You’ve found a plum stock.

You’re getting margin of safety.

Lovely.

What’s missing?

Entry.

Right.

You don’t enter with a bang.

You enter at various times, again and again, in small quanta.

What are these times?

You enter in the aftermath of shocks.

There will be many shocks.

This is the age of shocks.

You enter when the stock is at its antifragile-most. For that time period. It is showing maximal upside. Minimal downside. Fundamentals are plum. Shock’s beaten it down. You enter, slightly. Put yourself in a position to enter many, many times, over many years, upon shock after shock. This automatically means that entry quantum is small. This also means you’re doing an SIP where the S stands for your own system (with the I being for investment and the P for plan).

Now let’s fine-fine-tune.

Don’t put more than 0.5% of your networth into any one stock, ever. Adjust this figure for yourself. Then adjust entry quantum for yourself.

Don’t enter into more than 20-30 stocks. Again, adjust to comfort level.

Remain doable.

If you’re full up, and something comes along which you need to enter at all costs, discard a stock you’re liking the least.

Have your focus-diversified portfolio (FDP) going on the side, apart from Equity.

Congratulations, you just made Equity antifragile for yourself.

🙂

Action Oblique Inaction Upon Field-Proof

You.

Field.

In.

No theorizing.

Just get into the field.

Act upon field-proof.

Or, don’t act…

… upon field-proof.

That’s just about it.

There’s a time for theory.

It’s to tune your mind.

Learn the ropes.

Baby-steps.

Away from the field.

So you’re yet safe.

Fine.

That stage gets over.

The onus is on you.

Real world is different.

It’s not like theory.

If it were, everyone following theory would be a billionaire.

Today’s professors don’t even put their own money on the line.

If you don’t get a feel for the LINE, your paper-knowledge has no value whatsoever.

On the field, LINE is big. Very big. You have to handle the line well. Otherwise, your money’s gone.

So, gauge the field.

What proof are you observing?

Is it compelling you to act?

Yes?

Act. Forgot about everything else.

Is it compelling you to sit still?

Yes?

Don’t act. Sit still. Forget about everything else.

Carve your own dazzling destiny.

🙂

How and Where to Look for Outperformance

Is it surprising, that the kind of outperformance we look for crops up in unexpected places?

Not really.

Yeah, it’s not surprising. 

I mean, if we found a certain brand of outperformance in an expected place, well, everyone would make a beeline for it, and soon, it would be over-valued. 

There’s only one way we want to be in something that’s over-valued – when we’ve bought it under-valued. We’ll then keep it for as long as the ride continues. 

Otherwise, we don’t want to touch anything that’s over-valued, even though it might appear to be outperformance. 

Getting into outperformance at an undervalued level gives us a huge margin of safety. That’s exactly what we want. That’s our bread and butter. 

So let’s start outlining areas to look in. 

Task gets difficult. 

I mean, how will you define areas literally?

Button-clicks. 

Algorithms. 

No, you don’t need to know how to programme, to put together an algorithm. 

Just do it online. 

Put in it what you’re looking for. 

Hit and try. 

Ultimately, you’ll hit the right combo, Stay with it, as long as it’s working. 

What do you put in your algorithm?

Value. 

Good ability to allocate capital. 

Efficiency.

Frugality.

Humility.

Etc. etc.

You ask how?

Well, this is not a spoon-feeding session. 

You’ll need to use your imaginations a bit. 

It’s all possible, let me assure you. 

Meaning, it’s possible to incorporate traits like humility into your mother-algorithm. 

Do the math. 

Ok, so you’ve translated what you’re looking for into computer language without knowing how to programme. 

You run it. 

Where?

All over the place, online. Any finance site. Yahoo Finance, for that matter. 

You get some results. 

In these you look to confirm. 

Is the outperformance you were seeking there or not?

No?

Look further. 

Yes?

Has this outperformance been discovered by the general market?

Yes?

Look further. 

No.

Bingo. 

Look for an entry strategy, provided your other parameters, if any, are being met. 

The Age of Shocks

We are in it. 

Bang in the middle. 

There’s some shock almost everyday. 

Even Yellen’s words have shock effects. 

Had anyone even heard of Yellen a few years ago?

Natural disasters, terrorism, scams, frauds, upheaval…

…well, you have no choice…

…but to incorporate them into your market strategy. 

If you don’t, well, God bless you and God help you. 

So, where do we stand. 

Definitely towards value. 

Growth – hmmm, we’ll take growth after we take value, in a stock picked up for value. 

We’re not following any growth strategies. 

Let growth happen as a matter of course. 

We’re not entering something which is in the middle of growth. 

We’re entering it before its growth potential is apparent to everyone. 

Why?

Stocks, whose growth is apparent to everyone, are very susceptible indeed, should they show even one bad quarter. They can be cut down to half their size even if one ruddy quarter goes out of line. That’s the problem in the age of shocks. 

What about stocks with growth potential which are in the doldrums?

Well, bad quarters are the norm for them, temporarily. One more bad quarter is not going to make much of a difference. It will make a small but digestible difference. Nowhere near the effect the bad quarter will have on a growth stock. 

Yes, the way to go is contrarian. 

We’re going contrarian with our eyes open. 

We’re not picking the dogs of the Dow, or the rats of the Sensex.

We’re picking gems people are throwing into the dustbin. 

What’s this dustbin?

We’ve made this dustbin. 

In cyber-space. 

It scans what people throw away. 

It couples 4-7 algorithms, makes them into a mother-algorithm, and scans. 

Today, one doesn’t need to know how to programme to achieve this. 

One just puts the algorithms together on any leading equity website. 

One concocts one’s dustbin. 

One looks in the dustbin everyday. 

What have people thrown away?

Anything that looks valuable?

No?

Let’s move on. 

Yes?

Lovely. Lets take a closer look. Let’s take this stock that’s looking valuable, and let’s put it through the works. 

Let’s fully analyze the stock. 

We do our analysis. 

Takes us a day or two. 

It’s yes or no time. 

No?

Move on. 

Yes?

Look at the charts. Pick up accordingly, in the next day or two. 

Quantum?

Small. 

So on and so forth. 

 

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!

🙂

 

Understanding and Assimilating the Fear-Greed Paradox

Holy moly, what are we talking about?

Let’s say you’ve done your homework.

You’ve identified your long-term stock.

Fundamentals are in place. Management is investor-friendly. No serious debt issues. Earnings are good.

Valuation is not right.

You wait.

How long?

Till the price is right.

What happens if that doesn’t happen.

You don’t pull the trigger. It’s difficult, but you just don’t pull.

Let’s say the price is becoming right.

You are looking for an extra margin of safety.

You are waiting to pounce. How long?

What’s your indicator?

Your gut?

Many things have been said about the gut.

It does feel fear.

Look for that fear.

Scrip is near a very low support, but holding. You are afraid that this last support might break and that the scrip might go into free-fall. Look for that fear. There goes your buying opportunity, you are probably saying. Intraday, support is broken. You are now sure it’s gone. Look for that feeling. Intraday, scrip comes back. Closes over support. Large volume. This chronology is your buy signal. You pick up a large chunk. Scrip doesn’t look back.

You don’t have to go through this rigmarole. You don’t have to bottom-pick. This exercise is for those who want that extra margin of safety.

Now invert the situation.

You’re sitting on a multibagger.

Lately, you’re not agreeing with the company’s business plans. You want out. Best time for you to exit would be now, sure. But, scrip is in no resistance zone, and is going up and up and up. What do you do?

Look for greed within yourself, when you start saying “Wow, this is going to be the next 100-bagger!” Look for the moment during this phenomenal rise when you’re getting attached to the scrip and don’t want to get rid of it, despite having concluded that you don’t agree with the vision of the promoters. Look for the time you start going “My Precious!”

Sell.

This chronology is your intrinsic sell signal.

Sure, radical.

I agree.

Sure, I’m combining trading techniques to fine-tune my investing.

I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.

I’ve seen from their heights.

It’s time I start contributing.