Articles Archive for May 2008

The secrets of Warren Buffett’s success

27 May 2008 Sören Zschoche 7 Comments Investing

Warren Buffett the legend of the capital markets has some very intelligent investment principles. His principles aren´t very complex and you probably don´t have to be a mathematical or a social science genius to understand them. But in order to apply them you need a very conservative, clear and analytical character. Also you should read very much about value investing especially every opus Benjamin Graham and David Dodd ever wrote, so don´t think it´s a quick there´s quick way to become a superinvestor. However when you did that these 5 rules will put the final touch on your investment style.

1. Buy the boring not the pompous ones.

Invest your money in companies and business models you understand and which are needed by the world. Warren Buffett for example buys confectionery manufacturers, drink producers, producers of clay-bricks or if he really wants to have something exciting, assurances.

The Reason: Because these companies are always needed they will always grow just like the population of world does so actually you can´t do wrong really much.

2. Beware a cool head and have patience.

If you think Warren Buffett would sell one of his stocks just because it falls in price you are definitely wrong. Because actually he does exactly the opposite he buys new ones.

The Reason: Warren Buffett always buys his stocks to a very cheap price if you want to know how he does that read the chapter margin of safety. So when these cheap companies get even more cheap he is the happiest man in the world because he can buy more share of fools to an even better price.

3. Watch out for fortresses.

Mr. Buffett says you should buy castles with a big castle moat. Translated that means Warren Buffett buys companies with a very good business model which can´t be copied so easily. His companies should be something like a monopole just like Coka Cola, Gilette or Microsoft.

The Reason: The main problem of the capitalism is the profit margin when the margin is too high it attracts others who also want to participate in it and the margin falls. In order to circumvent that Warren buys companies which can´t be copied so easily.

4. Concentration instead of diversification.

Many people say you should diversify and spread the risk on at least ten different stocks. Warren Buffett says diversification is something for people who don´t know what they do.

The Reason: If you know that a stock is really cheap and you make a snap why should you also buy other stocks?

5. Don´t hit every ball !

Take your time by finding good stocks and wait until they get even more cheap. Sometimes Warren Buffett even waits 2 or 3 years before he buys a stock.

The Reason: Finding a good company isn´t that difficult much more difficult is to find a good company to a good price. So Warren Buffett looks for an interesting company and waits, waits and waits until he can buy the company for the price he want´s to pay.

Rebellion of the hungry

10 May 2008 Sören Zschoche 1 Comment Commodities

In 2007 more than 850 million people worldwide went hungry, everyday 25.000 of them died of the direct consequences of undernourishment. As if that wouldn´t be bad enough it´s alarming to hear that the number of hungry people has increased dramatically as a result of the enormous increase of the prices for basic foods.

But what´s the reason for the recent price explosion? According to the governments of the industrialised countries also in this case the main inflater is the unstoppable demand of the Asian region and the other emerging markets. On the other side environmental organisations blame bio fuel for the boost.

However in my opinion the problem originated elsewhere and started long before china was trendy and bio fuel a problem. The only thing is that through bio fuel and China the problem came to light. But to explain what i mean let´s go back to the year 1970 when new machines, fertilizers and new kinds of seeds revolutionized the whole agriculture. And as you know when the supply of a commodity grows but the demand stays constant it falls in price and that’s exactly what the agrarian commodities did. Well actually falling prices for food aren´t a bad thing wouldn´t there be the side effect that now thousands of farmers earn nothing anymore. So the governments of the industrialised countries had a fantastic idea, they just paid subsides for all agrarian products of the farmers so that the farmers could survive. The plan worked out the people had food in abundance and the farmers became money for producing too much, there was only one thing the politicians overlooked. Because instead of trowing the overproduces food away the farmers began to sell their commodities to developing countries. It sounds strange but it´s cheaper to carry potatoes from Europe to Africa than growing them there and so the clever industrialised counties began to sell their overproduced food there. After a certain time these governments even liked the idea of selling our goods on the markets of the third world and I guess that´s why the developing countries were not allowed to impose protective duties against this foods. The consequences for the farmers of the developing countries has been disastrous not that they just lost their existence they also lost their farming land because when you don´t use it for a longer period of time it it gets lost. So everything was fine the poor people worked to buy our food and we could use them the win other commodities we needed.

But then during the turn of millennium everything changed china climbed up to a net importer of food and just like China many other emerging market countries built cities on their reproductive land. Also the industrialised countries discovered bio fuel and how higher the oil price gets the more agrarian commodities will be used for that

What is sure is that we have to find a way that every county has the chance to produce its own food only this would solve the problem.

It doesn’t mean you’re right, when your stocks go up

3 May 2008 Michael Szumielewski 4 Comments Investing

Today’s article is about the reason to invest in a particular stock and the important fact, that just because a stock went up, it doesn’t mean you are right. One could argue, that when something works, the reason is unimportant, but that’s just not true. For example, if you jump into a lake and don’t know how deep the water is, there are two options: you break your neck or you enjoy your bath. Got it?

There are a lot of bad reasons to buy a stock, almost to much to mention. Let’s discuss a few.

Buying/Selling a stock because it went up/down: This is a common mistake. As written in Do not listen to Mr. Market, the stock market suffers from huge fluctuations regularly. If you want to buy a stock, don’t buy it when it’s totally overpriced. Instead search for great companies with a low price and it will be a successful investment. Also don’t panic and sell because the stock went down. Instead check the fundamentals again and make sure you didn’t overlook something.

Buying/Selling for the wrong reason: Today everything is linked to everything, so we call it globalization.This fact often makes it difficult to understand certain developments. It’s not enough to check out the product of a company and know the local business circumstances any more. You have to know exactly what the company does, understand the business model and figure out which variables are critical for success. The lack of understanding world economics like, for example, the euro/dollar constellation, might bring you into serious trouble and may cause unexpected surprises. Read Investment Research: What does the company do? for more information.

Bad investment advise: Especially dangerous for inexperienced investors who keep asking “What’s your favorite stock at the moment? What should I buy?” Again, check out our article Do not trust analysts and fund managers, which tells you why you should make your own investment decisions. Even if you have a good friend who invests successfully, you should probably not invest in the same stocks, because he buys them for specific reasons, which he monitors regularly. You will probably misjudge the case and make mistakes, because you don’t understand the company like he does. You know probably more about other industries.

Remember, we do serious long-term investing here, so if you have a trader attitude, this conclusions may not apply for you.

On the other hand, you’re not necessarily wrong, when your stocks go down. If you invest reasonably, but the stock market is not ready yet, you can also suffer months/years of falling prices, but in the end the attitude of value investing will be superior.