That nagging nagging push towards action 

Yeah, it’s always lurking… 

… in the background…

…waiting for an opportunity… 

… to catch you unawares… 

… and spring to the forefront. 

Market-play is a mental battle. 

Your mind wins or loses it for you. 

Make your mind understand the value… 

… of action… 

… and of inaction. 

Make your mind pinpoitedly choose… 

… the time for action… 

… and for inaction. 

Make your mind automatically switch from…

… a state of action… 

… to a state of inaction… 

… and vice-versa… 

… and feel perfectly normal doing the switch… 

… again and again and again. 

The above by itself is a winning state of mind for you, which you can build upon. 

🙂 

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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. 

🙂

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. 

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. 

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!

🙂