Expanding the Opportunity Set with Shareholder Yield

When most investors hear the word “yield” they immediately think about dividends. Things like stock buybacks and debt paydown typically don’t come to mind. But those are also yields, or ways companies can return cash to shareholders. When dividends, buybacks and debt paydown are combined, they give us something called shareholder yield. Calculating and sorting stocks by shareholder yield is a systematic way to identify companies that are returning cash to shareholders via these three… Read More

Replicating Buffett’s Wide Moat Investing Method

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  Warren Buffett and others have long advocated buying companies with moats around their businesses. Strong brand loyalty (Disney), economies of scale (Walmart), innovation (Google), location (Starbucks) and other sources of competitive advantage play an important role in in the success of companies over time. The reason companies with moats appeal as attractive investments is that a moat, which is a function of a firm’s competitive advantage, protects the business… Read More

Twin Momentum: A Combination of Fundamental & Price Momentum

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. -Isaac Newton Momentum investing, or buying stocks exhibiting strong price performance relative to other stocks nicely aligns with Newton’s principle. There are a numerous academic studies and white papers backing-up the robustness of the momentum factor. The knocks… Read More

Learning from Buffett’s Performance

In my last article, I looked at the stocks owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and asked the question, “How Active is Buffett’s Portfolio?”. As we found out, the answer is very active in terms of how different the equity portfolio looks vs. the broader market index. The combination of Buffett’s portfolio and investing acumen has translated into one of the best investment track records in history. There are some interesting observations we can… Read More

How Active is Buffett’s Portfolio?

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  With a $500 billion market capitalization, Berkshire Hathaway is the fifth largest company by market cap in the U.S. stock market and the majority of the company’s value comes from three sources. The first is the 60 or so operating companies Berkshire owns and the future earnings power of those companies. The second is the cash on the balance sheet and the optionality to invest that in in the… Read More

Learning from the Hierarchy of Investor Needs

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  The original “hierarchy of needs” model was developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Maslow proposed the hierarchy as a way to understand human motivation and later extended it to human curiosity. The hierarchy can be viewed as a pyramid with layers, which included things like “physiological,” “safety,” “belonging and love,” “esteem,” and “self-actualization”. Each part builds off the one below, and before one could move up the pyramid the… Read More

The Underappreciated Role of Luck in Investing

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  The $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot had a lot of people daydreaming about what they would do if they won such a windfall. With odds of about 1 in 250 million, you can almost guarantee with 100% certainty that you and everyone else you know that bought a ticket woke up on last Wednesday to be disappointed. Still, someone was lucky enough to become a multi-millionaire overnight. While luck… Read More

10 Reasons Why It’s Tough to be a True “Intelligent Investor”

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  Ben Graham’s tome The Intelligent Investor still sells over 100,000 copies a year as investors of all stripes look to learn the value-investing way. But as Warren Buffett once said, value investing is “is simple, but not easy”. The truth is, the vast majority of investors will never be able to become value investors as defined by Ben Graham for the reasons outlined below. This is not a critique,… Read More

Considerations in Momentum Investing

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  About a week ago CNBC had a piece that broke down how much the largest, best performing stocks have contributed to the overall market’s rise this year as tracked by the S&P 500. The table below shows that 99% of the market return in 2018 can get boiled down to a handle of tech darlings — Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet (Google) and Facebook. The average return of all… Read More

How Long is Long Term in Investing?

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  As investors, we are taught to try and think long term. The story goes something like this — invest in stocks, stay disciplined and patient and let your money compound over many years or even decades and you can growth your wealth. I strongly believe in that story, but the reality is for many investors the definition of “long-term” becomes too narrow and time focused. When thinking about long… Read More