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Price Is What You Pay; Value Is What You Get - Nifty Fifty Edition

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Thursday, May 24, 2018

Every investor is aware of Warren Buffet's famous dictum that, "Price is what you pay; value is what you get."  That of course applies to the valuation an investor is willing to pay for a given company's stock, and the subsequent returns he receives for doing so.  In today's environment, in which commentary focuses on the lofty multiples that characterize much of the U.S. stock market, particularly on some very popular names like Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the "Nifty Fifty" era of the early 1970s, when the Amazons and Facebooks of the day were what became today's boring blue chips:  McDonald's, Merck, Procter & Gamble, and so forth. Read More

2018: A Tale of Two Sectors and the Opportunity for Contrarians

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The S&P 500 has so far registered a positive total return in 2018, though it is a slight one.  A good deal of the market's anemic return can be explained by what has become a somewhat bifurcated market, with technology shares being the best performing sector year-to-date, and consumer staples being the worst performing sector.  In fact, the total return spread, - as measured by their sector ETFs - XLK for tech, and XLP for consumer staples, - has surpassed 2,000 basis points, with XLK returning almost 9% through May 21st, versus a decline approaching 13% for XLP. Read More

Uranium, Lottery Stocks, and the Transience of Wealth

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The commodity boom that took place at the turn of the century was spectacular by any measure.  As prices soared for every raw material from coal and oil, to fertilizer and gold, the industries that produced them became the hottest areas of the global stock market.  For shareholders of these resource companies, fortunes were made in short periods of time, and theories abounded as to why these stellar returns were merely a precursor of what was to come in a world where the forces of seemingly scarce supply and insatiable demand would work themselves out in favor of ever higher commodity prices. Read More