Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

A 1947 photo of Benjamin Graham, Wall Street investment banker and the father of value investing. (AP)
A 1947 photo of Benjamin Graham, Wall Street investment banker and the father of value investing. (AP)

Number Cruncher

Targeting a 15% return with these stocks Add to ...

What are we looking for?

A Benjamin Graham-style strategy that may – emphasis on the “may” – provide 15-per-cent-a-year returns.

Mr. Graham, the father of value investing, learned how to spot undervalued stocks during the darkest days of the Great Depression. As the years went by, he became an increasing fan of an extraordinarily simple approach to picking a basket of stocks.

More Related to this Story

According to Greenbackd.com, a blog that explores various deep value and contrarian strategies, Mr. Graham recommended that investors create a portfolio of at least 30 U.S. stocks with price-to-earnings ratios below 10 and debt-to-equity ratios of less than 50 per cent. He suggested they hold each stock until it returned 50 per cent or, if it failed to meet that target, sell it by the end of the second calendar year from the time of purchase.

Speaking in 1976, Mr. Graham calculated that his strategy had returned about 15 per cent a year for the previous 50 years. “He cautioned, however that an investor should not expect 15 per cent every year,” writes Tobias Carlisle of Greenbackd. “The minimum period of time to determine the likely performance of the strategy was five years.”

How we did it

We emulated Mr. Graham’s approach by using our Bloomberg terminal to look for stocks listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange with price-to-earnings ratios of less than 10 and debt-to-equity ratios of less than 50 per cent. To avoid smaller, riskier stocks, we also insisted that each stock had to have a market capitalization of at least $200-million.

What we found

Twenty-eight stocks passed our screen – nearly enough for a full portfolio by Mr. Graham’s standards. But dangers abound. For instance, the high proportion of energy companies in our roster suggests that anyone buying this portfolio would be concentrating their bets on a relatively tiny slice of the global economy.

For now, we suggest caution. But we intend to come back to this portfolio from time to time and see whether Mr. Graham’s time-honoured strategy is still working.

Follow on Twitter: @IanMcGugan

 

Value screen emulates Benjamin Graham's approach

Company Ticker Market cap ($-mil) P/E
Suncor Energy SU-T 51,983.20 9.85
Magna Int'l MG-T 12,365.20 9.73
Genworth MI MIC-T 2,334.20 7.38
HudBay Minerals HBM-T 1,943.30 7.42
Celestica Inc. CLS-T 1,716.90 9.55
Alacer Gold Corp. ASR-T 1,328.20 7.48
High River Gold HRG-T 1,167.90 6.62
Major Drilling MDI-T 921.3 9.77
Nevsun Resources NSU-T 875.5 5.32
Petrominerales PMG-T 780.1 3.89

Bloomberg

Print

Download table as a CSV file

View full table

  • SU-T
  • MG-T
  • MIC-T
  • HBM-T
  • CLS-T
  • ASR-T
  • HRG-T
  • MDI-T
  • NSU-T
  • PMG-T
  • HNL-T
  • TBE-T
  • FRC-T
  • TGL-T
  • TS.B-T
  • P-T
  • TGZ-T
  • IAE-T
  • TOT-T
  • WRG-T
  • CDI-T
  • MAQ-T
  • CVG-T
  • HNZ.A-T
  • ESN-T
  • FAR-T
  • SO-T
  • RME-T
Live Discussion of SU on StockTwits
More Discussion on SU-T
Live Discussion of MG on StockTwits
More Discussion on MG-T
Live Discussion of MIC on StockTwits
More Discussion on MIC-T
Live Discussion of HBM on StockTwits
More Discussion on HBM-T
Live Discussion of CLS on StockTwits
More Discussion on CLS-T
Live Discussion of ASR on StockTwits
More Discussion on ASR-T
Live Discussion of HRG on StockTwits
More Discussion on HRG-T
Live Discussion of MDI on StockTwits
More Discussion on MDI-T
Live Discussion of NSU on StockTwits
More Discussion on NSU-T
Live Discussion of PMG on StockTwits
More Discussion on PMG-T
Live Discussion of HNL on StockTwits
More Discussion on HNL-T
Live Discussion of TBE on StockTwits
More Discussion on TBE-T
Live Discussion of FRC on StockTwits
More Discussion on FRC-T
Live Discussion of TGL on StockTwits
More Discussion on TGL-T
Live Discussion of TS.B on StockTwits
More Discussion on TS.B-T
Live Discussion of P on StockTwits
More Discussion on P-T
Live Discussion of TGZ on StockTwits
More Discussion on TGZ-T
Live Discussion of IAE on StockTwits
More Discussion on IAE-T
Live Discussion of TOT on StockTwits
More Discussion on TOT-T
Live Discussion of WRG on StockTwits
More Discussion on WRG-T
Live Discussion of CDI on StockTwits
More Discussion on CDI-T
Live Discussion of MAQ on StockTwits
More Discussion on MAQ-T
Live Discussion of CVG on StockTwits
More Discussion on CVG-T
Live Discussion of HNZ.A on StockTwits
More Discussion on HNZ.A-T
Live Discussion of ESN on StockTwits
More Discussion on ESN-T
Live Discussion of FAR on StockTwits
More Discussion on FAR-T
Live Discussion of SO on StockTwits
More Discussion on SO-T
Live Discussion of RME on StockTwits
More Discussion on RME-T

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories