A Squandered Opportunity

This is from the Wall Street Journal this week and it is absurd.  Millennials are missing out on the greatest edge they have investing – time.

Source: Start Now

Third Quarter 2016 Asset Class Returns

Asset Class Index Performance YTD 2016
Emerging Markets MSCI EM 13.8%
REITs NAREIT Equity REIT Index 13.13%
High Yield Bonds Barclays Global HY Index 14.49%
US Bonds Barclays Aggregate 5.8%
US Large Cap S&P 500 7.84%
Commodities Bloombery Commodity Index 8.63%
Developed Intl. Markets MSCI EAFE -.85%
US Small Cap Russell 2000 11.46%

Stock Splits are Going Extinct

A split “wouldn’t change the intrinsic value of the company and doesn’t provide any real benefit,”

“we want shareholders who focus on the investment itself, rather than on the currency it’s denominated in.”

Source: Death of the Stock Split: It’s Value Not Price That Matters – MoneyBeat – WSJ

Valuation Expert Finds Fault with Tesla/SolarCity Deal

I’m not the only one who thinks the combination of Tesla (TSLA) and SolarCity (SCTY) is “ludicrous“.  Aswath Damodaran, a Professor of Finance at NYU and one of the leading experts in corporate valuations, has taken a hard look at the valuation used by the bankers in order to justify the deal and come away outraged at the hijinks of the process.

In fact, it is far easier to make the case for reverse synergy here, since adding a debt-laden company with a questionable operating business (Solar City) to one that has promise but will need cash to deliver seems to be asking for trouble.

Source: Musings on Markets: Keystone Kop Valuations: Lazard, Evercore and the TSLA/SCTY Deal

How do the Mechanics of Negative Interest Rates Work?

Do bond holders that have a negative yield  pay the issuer?

chart-interest-option1

Now let’s look at an example with negative yields. If you buy the same bond at $101, and it matures a year later at $100, then your yield is -1%. You paid more for the bond than you received back when the bond matured, and you didn’t receive any coupon payments along the way. And this same mechanic can work for a bond that pays coupons. Say there is another bond that pays a $1 coupon in one year, along with the $100 you get back in maturity proceeds, in total you get $101. If you pay $102 for that bond today, then in a year you have again earned a yield of around -1%. You paid $102 in return for total cash flows of ($100+$1) = $101.

Source:  How do negative interest rates work?

ETF Tax Advantages over Mutual Funds

tax-return-image

If a mutual fund or ETF holds securities that have appreciated in value, and sells them for any reason, they will create a capital gain. However, due to the structural differences in the way the shares are created, an ETF fund can avoid recognizing capital gains on trading profits because they can avoid the outright selling of holdings triggering a capital gain that would have to be distributed.

Mutual funds and ETFs risk generating tax bills for investors whenever they sell stocks in a fund’s portfolio at a profit. Investors can be liable for taxes on those capital gains even though they themselves don’t sell their fund shares. Mutual funds are required to pass on capital gains taxes to investors through the life of the investment, but ETFs incur capital gains only upon sales of the ETF.  

When an ETF experiences redemptions, it can hand over a basket of the fund’s underlying securities instead of cash. It can also pick which shares to hand over, picking the shares with the highest cost basis will reduce the greatest embedded capital gains. Because the trade is conducted in-kind, no capital gains are realized.  Although, ETFs don’t shield dividend and interest income from current taxation.

From the perspective of the Internal Revenue Service, the tax treatment of ETFs and mutual funds are the same. Both are subject to capital gains tax and taxation of dividend income. However, ETFs are structured in such a manner that taxes are minimized for the holder of the ETF and the timing on the ultimate tax bill, after the ETF is sold and capital gains tax is incurred, is left up to the the investor.

Leon Cooperman on the Four Reasons for Selling a Stock

4reasonsellstock2

 

What is your sell discipline?” Okay, and I say. We sell a stock for one of four reasons. The first and of the highest quality reason, is that we bought a stock at X ’cause we thought it was worth X plus 30 or 40 percent, and it goes up 30 percent. Nothing has changed. We sell.

Source: Hurricane Capital – Business Analysis & Investing

Picking High Quality Stocks

Sources of Durable Competitive Advantage

Source:  The Building Blocks of Investing Nirvana

According to Buffett’s Alpha,  Warren Buffett’s outperformance has been generated by investing in cheap, safe, quality stocks.  So how do investors trying to follow the same strategy define “quality”?

One way to define a quality stock is to look for attributes of the business that set it apart from competitors, and allow the business to sustain through the ups and downs of the economic cycle.  High quality stocks are profitable, provide predictable stable cash flows and make investments of capital to set the stage for further growth opportunities.

Each of these traits is attractive in its own right, but combined, they are the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg, enabling a continued cycle of cash generation, which can be reinvested, begetting more cash, which can be reinvested again or returned to shareholders.

 

An Expert in Valuation Says Uber Is Only Worth $28 Billion, Not $62.5 Billion

 

Uber

It already has a valuation higher than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, and a finance professor at New York University says Uber Technologies Inc. has no more room to run when it comes to market value. According to Aswath Damodaran, a professor who specializes in equity valuation at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Uber is running up against the roadblock that has thwarted many upstart businesses: Profit.

“Disruption is easy but making money off disruption is difficult, and ride sharing companies would be exhibit 1 to back up the proposition,” he wrote in a recent blog post. “While the ride sharing option is here to stay and will continue to grow, ride sharing companies still have not figured out a way to convert ride sharing revenues in profits. In making this statement, though, I am relying on dribs and drabs of information that are coming out of the existing ride sharing companies, almost all of whom are private.”

Source: An Expert in Valuation Says Uber Is Only Worth $28 Billion, Not $62.5 Billion – Bloomberg

On Inflation, Prepare for the Unexpected

Inflation levels are low and expected to remain low—but that’s no excuse for not protecting against unexpected moves, according to Meketa Investment Group.The Boston-based consultant advocated for allocations to inflation-protected bonds and real assets to safeguard portfolios against sudden inflation spikes.“Holding assets that do not decline in real value during unexpected inflationary periods enhances the ability of the total portfolio to make payouts while protecting its value on the downside,” the authors wrote. “This diversification reduces the volatility of the total portfolio’s value, even though the inflation-hedging assets may demonstrate considerable volatility when viewed in isolation.”

Source: On Inflation, Prepare for the Unexpected | Chief Investment Officer