Outside of work and preparing for the quarterly Uguisu Value newsletter (among plenty of other things going on!) I spend a fair amount of personal time reading. A number of wonderful books for value investors have been published in recent years — most notably I’m thinking of The Manual of Ideas and The Education of a Value Investor. In addition to reading investing books and annual reports, I like to mix in as much non-investing material as I can.
Recently I began reading a critical review of the famous environmental preservationist John Muir’s (1838-1914) writing. Not long after arriving in California, around the age of 30, Muir worked for a short while as a shepherd. He made the following observation about sheep (quote below). I’m sure there are not a few individual investors that end up in this situation with the vicissitudes of “the market” (or as we value investors prefer, “Mr. Market”). Muir’s depiction also reminds me of some of the institutional and HNWI investors that I pitched regarding a small-cap Japan activist fund. Recapitulating the investment merits of profitable companies trading at substantial discounts to tangible assets, to so-called sophisticated investors … while being grilled about macroeconomic risks and the very company-specific characteristics (smaller capitalization, obscurity, etc.) that make value investing attractive. Go figure.
Even sheep that have strayed from the flock huddle timidly and silently, basely human in their actions. Afraid of their freedom, not knowing what to do with it, and seeming glad to get back into their old familiar bondage.
It is worth mentioning that in fact Muir was fond of wild sheep.
Nostalgic for California this past winter, it was fun to see Muir’s name appear in Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice. Put that book on your reading list. A character in Sides’ story is a Melville. The joys of being a value investor and not stuck watching stock quotes.
I recently published an exclusive article at Seeking Alpha, “Thoughts About Investing in Japan.” I like how SA has incorporated the summary bullet points atop its posts. I’m posting them below here with the original article linked in the aforementioned title. It’s not easy writing about Japanese stocks on SA when fewer and fewer Japanese ADRs trade in the U.S. (you can’t link Tokyo-listed ordinary shares on the site), let alone the matter that I’m focused on smaller caps. Have a look at the SA article and by the way, if you missed it, I launched a small/micro cap quarterly best-idea Japanese stock newsletter (Uguisu Value) in January.
Nomura’s latest investor survey shows Japanese individuals remain long Japan.
Demand for Japanese stocks seen exceeding supply.
Most-watched stocks include many usual suspects.
Thinking of Soros, Templeton, and Marks for Japan 2015-20.
Japanese stock idea generation.
The Uguisu Value newsletter, focused on micro-cap and small-cap Japanese stocks, has launched! The first edition features a micro-cap (>$50M <$300M) with a conservative 200%+ upside; an asymmetrical risk/reward profile with multiple value-unlocking catalysts including potential for the editor and private investor, Steven Towns, to engage management/BoD. Steven’s portfolio is highly-concentrated in thoroughly researched deep-conviction equities targeting baseline 2x(+) returns. Each quarterly edition of Uguisu Value will feature one in-depth writeup: such focus comes from Buffett’s “20-hole punch card” mindset and the fact that the best investors tend to have concentrated portfolios. Fluent in Japanese and a specialist in smaller-cap, domestic-demand focused Japanese companies, Steven’s research uses original Japanese language sources, often of companies that have little or no analyst coverage and no English (language) securities filings; all newsletters are published in English. Click for additional details and to subscribe. We look forward to welcoming you as a subscriber.
Japan-focused portfolio performance versus select benchmarks:
2013: 34.1% (40.1% in yen-denomination) | TSE-2: 44.2% | Jasdaq: 87.1% | Nikkei 225: 56.7% |
iShares MSIC Japan ETF (EWJ): 24.2% | WisdomTree Japan Hedged (DXJ): 38.1%
2014: 32.6% (49.1% in yen-denomination) | TSE-2: 23.0% | Jasdaq: 1.9% | Nikkei 225: 7.1% |
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): -6.4% | WisdomTree Japan Hedged (DXJ): -1.9%
The Uguisu Value newsletter has been reviewed and is endorsed by:
John Mihaljevic, CFA, and Oliver Mihaljevic of The Manual of Ideas
Guy Spier, Aquamarine Capital —“Excellent thinking and ideas for investing in Japan.”
Nate Tobik, Oddball Stocks —“Steven Towns is an expert on Japanese small caps. If you want exposure to cheap and safe Japanese stocks with a value-bent then Steven’s letter is the ultimate resource.”
Interested in a free copy of the first edition? Email us your name and affiliation (indiv./private investor or company name) and we’ll email you a copy prior to releasing the second edition scheduled for early April. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the final post of my live-tweeting and highlighting of professor Larry Cunningham’s book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett. I’ve practically run out of superlatives…. ValueWalk (dot-com) reported Berkshire Beyond Buffett was among the top-10 books purchased in 2014 by its readers. I suspect the momentum will continue this year. If you’ve missed any of the tweets or posts, see them in order here: I, II, III, and IV (and follow on Twitter: @ActiveInvesting).
This is my fourth installment of notes and summary tweets of Larry Cunningham’s perspicacious book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values. If you’ve missed any of the tweets or posts, see them in order here: I, II, and III (and follow on Twitter: @ActiveInvesting). I’ve selectively shared nuggets from Larry’s book and I’m finding Twitter’s 140 character limit to be just-right for capturing some of the highlights to share with others that will also spark my memory of the greater detail in the book; this also preserves the bulk of Larry’s hard work.
Here’s my latest installment of notes I’ve compiled while I continue to read Larry Cunningham’s wonderful book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values. Chapter 6 (“Kinship”) is one of my favorites thus far. It seemed to come alive and really epitomize “the enduring value of values.” I will continue to shares notes in this way as it’s much more efficient (posting a summary of my live-tweets) than trying to go back and put my notes into prose. One-third finished reading, I can already say that Berkshire Beyond Buffett is a keeper for me and should be on your reading list if not already. See my earlier posts (I and II).
Larry Cunningham is one of the most respected authors who has written about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. His Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values is proving to be an informative read thus far — last week I posted some notes and takeaways from the first few chapters. This time I’m sharing more of the same from the remainder of chapter 3 as well as chapter 4, which is the first chapter of the second part of the book.
Susan Decker’s recent panel discussion comments pointed out some of the magic behind Berkshire Hathaway’s returns. There is nothing new for Berkshire followers and investors, except the tax-free comment that Decker made got me thinking. Buffett’s baby is simple conceptually (i.e. float-supported — Decker didn’t mention float, by the way — with cash flow rich capital allocation to, and flow back from, operating subsidiaries and portfolio securities) and has performed brilliantly in terms of the annual and cumulative profits/investment returns achieved. See’s Candies is one heck of an example (see the BBB link below).
I followed the herd and read Business Adventures (by the late John Brooks, originally published in 1969) over the summer like many others did after learning the book was Bill Gates’ favorite all-time business book (even better, it came recommended to him from none other than Warren Buffett). I previously posted some of my favorite quotes and notes from the excellent first chapter that covers the May 1962 crash, a flash crash of sorts of the time. Reading that post before or after my summary thoughts about Business Adventures that follow below is worth your time.
I’m going to see how posting a daily summary of my tweets goes. I’ve always felt that tweets are too ephemeral and despite the excellent information and leads that do get shared, there’s far too much action/noise/distraction on Twitter. There is at least a “favorite” button, but the weak search function and inability to bookmark and sort, is something I hope Twitter gets right, soon. I’m starting these summaries for my own benefit — a quick recap of what I tweeted, retweeted, and favorited — and I’m fine if it remains for an audience of one and would of course be thrilled if others benefit. Highlights: