Five Questions: Tackling Some of the Toughest Questions in Investing with Michael Mauboussin

By Jack Forehand, CFA (@practicalquant) There are many skills that can benefit you as an investor. Being smart is certainly an asset, although it can also get you in trouble if you don’t know your limitations. The ability to control your emotions is also a huge plus. But I think the most important skill may be the ability to think critically. Having a process you use to view the investing world through and following that… Read More

Most Read on Validea’s Guru Investor

Below are links to our most popular posts for this week on Validea’s Guru Investor blog.- [1] Five Questions: Behavior in Investing with Dr. Daniel Crosby [2] Mauboussin on the Pitfalls of Using EV/EBITDA in Valuations [3] Hulbert: Fund Performance is Largely Luck-Driven [4] Pure-Factor ETFs Poised to Shine in Market Downturn ——- Photo: Copyright: arcady31 / 123RF Stock Photo  

Mauboussin on the Pitfalls of Using EV/EBITDA in Valuations

An article in Forbes features an interview with Michael Mauboussin, Director of Research at BlueMountain Capital Management. The interview focused on Mauboussin’s recent paper discussing “the merits and pitfalls of the usage of EV/EBITDA in valuation work.” Here are some highlights: Multiples, says Mauboussin, are used as a form of “shorthand” to avoid the use of a discounted cash flow model in valuing stocks (the results of which can vary significantly based on the inputs… 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

Mauboussin on the Language of Likelihood

In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, authors Andrew and Michael Mauboussin discuss the language of probability and share analysis that shows how its subjective nature can lead to “widely different interpretations.” “Today people in the worlds of business, investing, and politics continue to use vague words to describe possible outcomes,” the article says, citing an explanation by psychology professor Phil Tetlock: “vague verbiage,” he says, “gives you political safety.” The authors created… Read More

Mauboussin Offers Insights on Active Management

A recent Forbes article offers comments and insights gathered in a recent interview with Michael Mauboussin, Director of Research at BlueMountain Capital Management (formerly Head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse): Mauboussin underscores two risks inherent in value investing: (1) buying a cheap stock that “deserves to be even cheaper”—a value trap; or (2) “shunning a statistically expensive stock that represents a good value.” While indexing is a reasonable path for most investors, it… Read More

Luck or Skill? Focus on the Process, not Performance.

By John Reese (@guruinvestor) —  Is it better to be lucky or smart? When it comes to investing, I think we can all agree that success arises from a combination of the two, but to what degree has been the subject of much debate. Those who are well-studied in behavioral finance would tell you that investing is rife with the illusion of skill—an investor’s inflated, misplaced confidence in their own abilities to choose winning stocks.… Read More

Some Thoughts On Improving the Predictive Value of Morningstar’s Ratings

By Jack M. Forehand (@practicalquant) —  The Wall Street Journal article last week that called into question the predictive value of Morningstar star ratings has caused a lot of debate in the investment industry. Many investors rely on Morningstar ratings to select funds and believe that selecting five star funds gives them the best chance of future outperformance. The Journal article shows that relying on those ratings to predict future performance is probably a bad… Read More

Zweig: The Challenge of a Smaller Stock Pool

For stock pickers, choosing among a smaller universe of stocks is much more difficult, writes Jason Zweig in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Zweig cites data from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business showing that the number of publicly traded equities has dropped from 7,355 in 1997 to the current level of less than 3,600. The decreased number of stocks, writes Zweig, is attributable to regulatory tape (that makes it tougher for smaller… Read More

Mauboussin on Active Vs. Passive Management

A paper co-authored by Michael Mauboussin of Credit Suisse addresses important issues to consider in relation to the continued and increasing shift from active toward passive fund management. Those investors who are moving their money to passive funds, the paper argues, are “less informed than those who stay.” For every winner, it says, there must be a loser—and if there are fewer losers, the game becomes less interesting. In other words, as markets become more… Read More