Case Studies

Importance of ROIC Part 5: A Glance at the Last 42 Years of Wells Fargo

Posted on

“Experience, however, indicates that the best business returns are usually achieved by companies that are doing something quite similar today to what they were doing five or ten years ago… a business that constantly encounters major change also encounters many chances for major error. Furthermore, economic terrain that is forever shifting violently is ground on which it is difficult to build a fortress-like business franchise. Such a franchise is usually the key to sustained high returns.”   –Warren Buffett, 1992 Shareholder […]

Case Studies

10 Years of Google and the Importance of Long Term Thinking

Posted on

“Google has a huge new moat. In fact, I’ve probably never seen such a wide moat.” – Charlie Munger, 2009 Google celebrated the 10 year anniversary of its IPO last week. Google is a company that I’ve never owned (unfortunately), but really admire. There are a few businesses I almost root for, like a fan of a football team. Costco, Fastenal, and Walmart among others are on the list. These are really high quality businesses that have made their shareholders wealthy […]

Industry-Insurance

Markel (MKL): A Compounding Machine

Posted on

“Our financial goals are to earn consistent underwriting profits and superior investment returns to build shareholder value” – Markel 2013 Annual Report Markel is an outstanding business currently in its 85th year of operations. It is an excellent insurance company with a history of underwriting profits. It is also a superb investment company with a history of above average investment returns. Markel had an outstanding year in 2013, basically doubling the size of its insurance business and investment portfolio in […]

Case Studies

An Exercise on Thinking Differently and a Great Business

Posted on

I came across an excellent presentation that I wanted to share because it sparked some thoughts. It is not about a current—or even prospective—investment, but one that exemplifies the art of thinking differently. I spend a fair amount of time reading annual reports about businesses that I have no intention of owning. Typically, these businesses are high quality companies that—although maybe too expensive to offer attractive investor returns—are great entities to study and learn about. Studying businesses that have a […]

Case Studies

Wells Fargo vs. Small Community Banks

Posted on

Charlie Munger once said that he compares every possible investment to Wells Fargo… Why buy company X if it’s not as good/cheap as WFC?  For weeks I’ve been slowly and steadily working my way through hundreds of small community bank stock filings looking for bargains. A good friend of mine lately has been the trusty old FDIC website where you can find current/historical financials on banks to your heart’s content… But after a few more hours of sifting through Call Reports […]

Investment Ideas & Company Research

Coach (COH): An Overview of the Numbers

Posted on

I was reading the news one morning last week and noticed that Coach reported earnings that disappointed and the stock was off 8%. I’ve never really looked at Coach and don’t know much about the company, but I glanced at some of the numbers and was impressed by how strong the business appears to be. Although I prefer investing in stocks that are cheap and obviously undervalued, I’m always looking at great businesses to study them and learn more about […]

Investment Ideas & Company Research

Markel (MKL) is a Compounding Machine

Posted on

A couple weeks back I wrote a quick post on Tom Gayner, who is an outstanding investor and head of Markel (MKL), one of my favorite companies in America. Markel is a well run insurance company that has been compounding shareholder equity consistently at about 16% per year over the past 20 years. MKL operates with a similar business model to that of Berkshire Hathaway: Write insurance policies to collect premiums Invest the float Insurance companies make money in those […]

Investment Ideas & Company Research

Check Point Software (CHKP) is a Free Cash Flow Machine

Posted on

One of the things Buffett consistently refers to when evaluating the quality of a business is the amount of cash it produces relative to the amount of cash it needs to maintain the business. Buffett calls this cash flow that is produced “owner earnings”, which is basically free cash flow. Buffett defines owner earnings as the cash flow a business produces less the capital expenditures a business has for maintaining the business (he excludes growth capex). Free cash flow is […]

Investment Ideas & Company Research

Finding Value in 4 Big Cap Tech Stocks

Posted on

In the process of scanning the investment landscape to find value amidst the all time highs for the indices, I’ve noticed that a number of big cap tech stocks are priced at low valuations relative to their earnings and free cash flow, measured on an absolute basis and relative to their own historical valuations. Some of these stocks are producing huge amounts of free cash flow and are paying (and growing in a few cases) their dividends. These are good companies […]

Investment Ideas & Company Research

Couple Thoughts on Wells Fargo (WFC)

Posted on

I was reading one of my favorite blogs that I just only recently discovered called Brooklyn Investor. He does a great job at doing thorough analysis on companies, and some of the posts are good case studies to learn from. He had a couple posts last week on Wells Fargo (WFC), which I found interesting. Of course, WFC is one of the top 4 largest banks in the country, and with a market cap just shy of $200 Billion, it’s […]