Venture capitalist and finance author Morgan Housel published Read Old Books this week, arguing that investing wisdom written decades ago remains relevant today.
He focused on two books from the 1980s, The Money Masters and The New Money Masters, which featured interviews with the prominent fund managers of the time and included some timeless advice.
Benjamin Graham, probably one of the five most famous investors in history, likened investing to war. “From time to time a new technique appears – the short sword, the longbow, the machine gun, the tank, radar – and sweeps the field,” he wrote, “Then the other side adopts it and parity returns.”
Artificial intelligence is a very recent example of a ‘new technique’ that is currently benefitting Microsoft stock while Alphabet software engineers race to catch up.
Laurence Tisch, founder of investing conglomerate Loews Corp., warned about CEO arrogance and incompetence. Mr. Housel notes WeWork leader Adam Neumann, Peloton’s John Foley and, more recently, Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, are signs that Mr. Tisch’s guidance is still required for investors.
Hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt essentially advised against himself, noting that the best investors are not motivated by commissions or subscriptions. In other words, the world’s best investors will rarely be fund managers. The widespread underperformance of mutual funds continues to prove Mr. Steinhardt right.
Fidelity’s Peter Lynch, another of history’s most prominent investors, pointed out that many investors mistakenly hold stocks without knowing what the company actually does or whether its prospects are positive.
Mr. Housel made his point well – a lot of good investment advice doesn’t need to be changed over time because human psychology doesn’t change. Investors can’t stay on top of their game solely reading dusty old tomes from the library, but a blend of wisdom from the past and relevant information in the present is the most effective course.
-- Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist
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Markets won’t give up the ghost
Even after a bank shock that could well have changed the whole picture, investors appear reluctant to give up the ghost just yet. Far from running for cover, asset managers doubt the now seemingly contained banking stress will prove systemic. And most view the net fallout as another drag on growth and inflation to varying degrees that may bring a significant relief in stopping central banks from tightening much further from here. In truth, most admit it’s just too early to tell amid numerous imponderables about the likelihood of recession unfolding and fuzzy debates about what would constitute a hard or soft landing. Mike Dolan of Reuters explains.
Markets in Q1: Moving fast and breaking things
After extraordinary rally, bonds’ fate now with bank stability and inflation
U.S. semiconductor index hits highest in nearly a year on hopes for industry turn
Vacancies are up and office REITs are down. The case for bold investors
After suffering through a dismal 2022, office real estate investment trusts remain threatened by hybrid working schedules, rising vacancies and a gloomy economic outlook. But David Berman argues the sector is worth a second thought. The steep selloff of the past year is yielding bargains, and the depressed market sentiment may be suggesting that changes in our working routines are permanent, whereas they may not be. Investors, meanwhile, would be wise to consider the huge debt levels in the commercial real estate sector in general. Former bond fund manager Tom Czitron warns about a perfect storm forming of declining vacancy rates, lower rents, high interest rates and less access to credit.
These dividend stocks beat inflation two ways
There may not be a better inflation fighter than the double-duty dividend stock. The double-duty stock offers a dividend yield at or better than the inflation rate, and a history of raising dividends by average annual amounts that meet or exceed inflation. In the S&P/TSX 60 index of big blue chips, there are seven such stocks right now. Rob Carrick went looking for them, and has this list to share.
Short sales on the TSX: What bearish investors are betting against
Larry MacDonald is back with a review of what Canadian stocks are being shorted by investors. Among the findings: Canada Goose Holdings emerged with a significant short position in March.
Others (for subscribers)
Number Cruncher: 6 companies benefiting from the pandemic pet boom
The highest-yielding stocks on the TSX, plus risk data
Friday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades
Thursday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades
Friday’s Insider Report: CEO tops up his investment in this gold stock with 70% upside forecast
Why this portfolio manager is betting on fixed-income and dividend-paying securities while selling tech, health care
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Ask Globe Investor
Question: Can you explain the difference between GAAP and non-GAAP? I keep seeing those terms in financial reports, but I don’t know what they mean. – Arnold M.
Answer: GAAP is the acronym for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. These are standards that publicly traded companies must follow when preparing their financial statements. GAAP ensures the statements are accurate and comparable between different companies.
Non-GAAP refers to financial measures that are not prepared in accordance with GAAP. These are often used by companies to supplement their GAAP financial statements to provide additional information to investors and analysts. Non-GAAP measures can include metrics such as adjusted earnings, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), and free cash flow. Non-GAAP measures can exclude certain expenses or revenues that a company deems to be non-recurring or not representative of its ongoing operations.
The use of non-GAAP measures can make it difficult for investors to compare financial statements between companies, as company A may use different measures and calculations than company B for specific entries. Payout ratios are a classic example.
--Gordon Pape (Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and write Globe Question in the subject line.)
What’s up in the days ahead
This weekend, Rob Carrick goes global with the latest instalment of his 2023 ETF Buyers’ Guide. Plus, John Heinzl gives us his opinion on whether it’s worth snapping up REITs right now while they’re down.
Springing into action: World market themes for the week ahead
Click here to see the Globe Investor earnings and economic news calendar.
More Globe Investor coverage
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Compiled by Globe Investor Staff