Warren Buffett had a ‘huge information advantage’ early in his investing career: Strategist – Yahoo Finance
Smead Capital Management CIO Bill Smead sits down with Yahoo Finance Live to review Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett’s most recent shareholders letter, the billionaire investor’s investing philosophy, and how he has capitalized on trading trends in the past.
SEANA SMITH: All right, Warren Buffett publishing his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders this weekend. In his latest entry into the 60-plus-year tradition, the so-called Oracle of Omaha preaching the merits of reinvestment, writing, quote, “The power of compounding your money inside a successful business for a long time is nearly unmatched in capitalism.”
Joining us now to discuss a little bit more about that and also what else we heard from Buffett over the weekend, I want to bring in Bill Smead, Smead Capital Management chief investment officer. Bill, it’s great to see you again. So certainly no shortage of lines that we could pick out here from the shareholder letter over the weekend– share buybacks, taxes, earnings, long-term optimism here on the US economy just to name a few. Just first, your takeaway from the shareholder letter that we just got.
BILL SMEAD: Well, we thought it was a great letter. And one of the things was he said he makes an incredibly important decision on average once every five years. In a 60-year stretch, he came up with about 12 investments that made all the difference for him, which you compare that to what most people do and what most of your watchers and most of the behavior of investors in the United States, and they change– they change their stocks about as often as they change their clothes.
JARED BLIKRE: Bill, great to see you here today, and you and I have talked about this at webinars generally surrounding Warren Buffett’s releases of the annual shareholder letter in years past. And if we’re on this schedule, let’s see, a dozen good business ideas once every 60 years or every 60 years. That’s about once every– one great idea once every five years. Do they still have it? Munger and Buffett, are they still executing?
BILL SMEAD: Yeah, the reason for that is they got very large, and that limited what they could do, right? They have to do things in a very, very large way. When in the first 25 years Buffett was picking stocks, he had a huge information advantage over everyone else and the education he got from Ben Graham, who was an excellent buyer of $0.50 dollars.
So what Munger helped him realize in See’s Candy and brands is that as you manage very, very large amounts of capital, you’re going to be limited in the number of good ideas that are available to you. If Buffett was running $10 billion, he could have just gone out in the spring of 2020 and had a Ben Graham delight session. But instead, he had $120 billion and has looked for things like OXY and Chevron to put it in based on their view of the next 10 years.
JARED BLIKRE: And Bill, you and I have also talked about some of the secular tailwinds benefiting certain industries. You take a look at millennials and with the continued demand we expect them to have for housing over the next decade. You can tie oil into some secular themes there. Just wondering how you’re seeing Buffett play out in the 2020s and his style of investing here.
BILL SMEAD: That’s a great question. Buffett mentioned that you need to be a lifelong learner, and when things change, you need to learn and adapt with it. And what he figured out was the railroad industry was going to be dramatically more attractive to him when it was only four companies, including the company that he bought, Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
We feel that same way about the three homebuilders that we own. That industry has changed dramatically. It used to be a land development business where you put a house on it to turn the lots over, right, to gain the profit out of the lot. Now in the case of Horton, Lennar, and NVR, the vast majority of the land they build on is developed by someone else, and they are just a home manufacturer.
So we find that business incredibly attractive because there’s 92 million millennials coming, and now that people have gotten off of their big city, single, expensive apartment routine in, you know, the major coastal cities and are spreading themselves out across the country, there’s an awful lot of homes to be built.
JARED BLIKRE: All right, we’ve got to leave it there, but always glad to have your insights, especially when it surrounds the Warren Buffett annual share– excuse me, shareholder letter. Bill Smead, thank you.
18 Mutual Funds with Clearly Defined Investment Processess – The Globe and Mail
What are we looking for?
Top-rated mutual funds with top-rated investment processes.
When investors look at the performance of mutual funds, they are likely looking for something simple – are those performance numbers positive or negative? Considering why those numbers are positive or negative is also important. Why a fund performs a certain way can be the direct result of its investment philosophy and process. An understanding of these components can help investors better gauge if performance results are expected given the goal and method applied. This can be particularly helpful during periods of volatility, such as the one we have experienced since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month. A strong investment process is well-defined and consistently executed, and generally able to withstand short-term market shocks and reward investors over the long term.
A fund’s investment process can be nuanced. To help guide investors, Morningstar’s manager research team assigns ratings to Canadian funds and ETFs that include an explicit component focused on understanding their investment philosophy and process. We refer to this component as the “Process” pillar and rate each asset manager as either Low, Below Average, Average, Above Average or High, depending on the efficacy of their practices. To highlight a few great mutual funds available to Canadians with top-rated investment processes, I used Morningstar Direct to screen more than 3,400 Canadian-domiciled mutual funds and ETFs to find a selection of options to consider. The criteria include:
- A Morningstar Quantitative or Analyst Process Pillar rating of High, indicating the fund has a clearly defined investment process and performance objective that is repeatable and implemented effectively.
- A Morningstar star rating of five stars. The star rating is an objective look back at a fund’s after-fee, risk-adjusted returns relative to the category to which the fund belongs. Though the measure is backward-looking, Morningstar’s research shows that over time and on aggregate, five-star funds continue to outperform four-star funds, three-star funds, etc., after receiving the rating.
- A top quintile category rank month-to-date indicating the funds selected have outperformed their peers since March 1, 2023.
*Data as of March 23, 2023
What we found
The list above highlights funds from 13 different mutual fund categories (as defined by the Canadian Investment Fund Standards Committee) from six different asset managers, indicating strong processes are not confined to a specific asset class or investment style. Although not explicitly screened for, each of these funds also earned a Bronze, Silver or Gold Morningstar Analyst or Quantitative Rating indicating a forward-looking view of the fund’s ability to outperform its peer group and/or relevant benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis over a full market cycle. Every fund on the list has delivered, with all but two ranking in the top decile of their respective categories over the past five years.
Note that the management expense ratios listed here are reflective of the f-share class. In the table, f-class (also known as fee-based share classes) shares exclude the cost of advice and are held in fee-based accounts where the adviser charges separately for advice.
This article does not constitute financial advice. Investors are encouraged to conduct their own independent research before purchasing any of the investments listed here.
Danielle LeClair, MFin, is director of manager research, Canada for Morningstar Research Inc.
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For the ultimate in cheap investing, check out the Freedom .08 ETF Portfolio
Fee competition in the exchange-traded fund business is driving down the cost of investing to new lows.
A simple little ETF strategy I call the Freedom .08 Portfolio proves it. Some previous names for this portfolio included Freedom 0.15 and Freedom 0.11. The numbers are based on the aggregate management expense ratio for the portfolio, which has fallen ever lower through the years. That’s how we get to Freedom .08 in early 2023. That’s 8 cents in fees for every $100 you have invested.
Here’s how the Freedom .08 Portfolio is put together using a 70:30 asset mix of stocks and bonds.:
-30 per cent in the Desjardins Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (DCU-T): The MER for this fund is 0.08 per cent, which is at the low end for aggregate bond ETFs covering the broad Canadian market for government and corporate bonds. It tracks the Solactive Canadian Bond Universe total return Index, which is a relative newcomer to the Canadian market. You can compare returns to competitors using the bond fund installment of the 2023 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer’s Guide, but they’re very similar to more established indexes.
-30 per cent in the iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC-T): The MER for this fund is 0.06 per cent and the underlying index is the ultimate benchmark for Canadian stocks.
-20 per cent in the Franklin International Equity Index ETF (FLUR-NE): The MER here is 0.1 per cent, which is strikingly low for the international equity category. That’s markets outside North America, by the way. Solactive is again the index provider. In doing your research, compare returns against international equity ETFs tracking the more traditional MSCI EAFE index.
-20 per cent in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (VFV-T): The MER is 0.09 per cent and the index is one you know and love, the S&P 500.
ETFs trade like stocks, which means you’ll need a digital brokerage account to build a portfolio. For extreme frugal investing, consider the zero-commission brokers Wealthsimple, National Bank Direct Brokerage, and Desjardins Online Investing. CI Direct Trading and Questrade offer ETF purchases at no cost, but you pay the usual commission to sell.
A final point of comparison for the Freedom 0.08 Portfolio is a popular kind of exchange-trade fund called the asset allocation fund. You can buy these fully diversified portfolios with MERs of 0.2 to 0.24 per cent.
— Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist
This is the Globe Investor newsletter, published three times each week. If someone has forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you or you’re reading this on the web, you can sign up for the newsletter and others on our newsletter signup page.
Stocks to ponder
Bombardier Inc. (BBD-B-T) The plane maker is generating cash, paying down debt and raising its financial targets. Investors are paying attention, too: The share price has rallied more than 250 per cent over the past eight months. David Berman asks: Has the stock become relevant again?
WELL Health Technologies Corp. (WELL-T) After this health-care company reported record quarterly financial results last week, the share price rallied nearly 16 per cent on high volume. Analysts believe this positive price momentum will continue. The average one-year target price implies a 61 per cent potential gain for the stock. Jennifer Dowty takes a look at the investment case.
Banking woes, Fed keep investors on edge in nervous stock market
Investors are settling in for a long slog in the U.S. stock market in coming months, braced for more tumult in the banking sector and worries over how the Federal Reserve’s tightening will ripple through the economy. As David Randall of Reuters reports, many worry that other nasty surprises are lurking as the rapid series of interest rate hikes the Fed has delivered over the past year dry up cheap money and widen fissures in the economy.
Grocery REITs are a safe harbour in the market storm
Feeling gouged by high grocery prices? Bummed out by bank runs? Sick of stock market volatility? With inflation and rising interest rates creating turmoil in the economy and financial markets, these are tough times to be a consumer – or an investor. John Heinzl is here to offer some help by profiling some real estate investment trusts in the grocery sector. The goal: put some of that grocery money back in your pocket while enabling you to sleep better even as markets gyrate.
Throw caution to the wind with the Free Cash portfolio
It’s time to catch up on the value stock race. Norman Rothery pitted 14 popular measures of value against each other in the U.S. market. Each measure was used to form a tracking portfolio containing the cheapest 10 per cent of the stocks in the S&P 500 index based on that measure. The 14 tracking portfolios were equally weighted and rebalanced annually. So far, the trend favours investors who keep an eye on debt while hunting for bargains.
Read more from Norman Rothery: Portfolios for Value and Dividend Investors
Canadian bank stocks may not be quite as special as we think
Canadians are used to thinking of bank stocks as a safe, nearly guaranteed way to bet the market. They may want to think again. As Ian McGugan tell us, investors would be wise then to consider the prospect of a future in which Canadian banks no longer churn out market-beating results with clockwork regularity.
Strength in megacap stocks masks broader U.S. market woes
Investors are relying on an old strategy to navigate the current tumult in asset prices: buying shares of the massive U.S. companies that led markets higher for years. Shares of the top five companies by market value — Apple , Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Nvidia — have gained between 4.5% and 12% since March 8, when troubles at Silicon Valley Bank set off banking system worries. In that period, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.5%. Lewis Krauskopf of Reuters tells us more.
Others (for subscribers)
Monday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades
Where investors put their money in this year’s RRSP season
How to play the demand for microprocessors as chatbots, robots and EVs disrupt sectors
Are you a financial advisor? Register for Globe Advisor (www.globeadvisor.com) for free daily and weekly newsletters, in-depth industry coverage and analysis.
Ask Globe Investor
Question: Harvest Healthcare Leaders has units that trade in U.S. dollars on the TSX. For tax purposes, is the income considered foreign income or Canadian? For example, can donations to registered charities in the U.S. be deducted against the income from HHL.U? – Michael K.
Answer: Only a small amount (9.26 per cent) of the income from this ETF was classified as foreign income in 2022, according to the Harvest Funds website. Most of the distributions (about 94 per cent) are treated as return of capital. So, you won’t get much help here for U.S. charitable contributions.
–Gordon Pape (Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and write Globe Question in the subject line.)
What’s up in the days ahead
Bond markets are suggesting interest rate cuts loom for this summer in both Canada and the U.S. But central bankers are dropping few hints. Who should we believe? Veteran bond fund manager Tom Czitron will provide some insight.
Online investment fraud increasing in Manitoba
Manitobans are being warned about the rise in fraudulent online investment websites, which have exploited some Manitobans out of more than $200,000.
During the Manitoba Securities Commission’s (MSC) ongoing investigation into cryptocurrency fraud, the agency uncovered 66 victims in Manitoba who were scammed through 34 separate online platforms. These Manitobans had transferred money to offshore crypto exchanges based in Lithuania and Bulgaria.
According to Jason Roy, MSC senior investigator, the initial investments were smaller amounts of money as the fraudsters know if they ask for too much money right off the bat, then people are more likely to decline the offer.
“They start with these small amounts and then show you fake trading results and get you excited about putting more money in,” he said in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Monday.
The victims’ losses ranged from $306 to $206,000, with the total losses coming to $710,000.
Roy said there are likely a lot more investment fraud victims in Manitoba, but they may feel too embarrassed to report what happened to them.
“Really, only five to 10 per cent of victims actually report being victimized,” he said.
For those who come across an online investment website, there are certain things to look out for to ensure it is legitimate. Roy recommends ensuring that you are dealing with a company that is registered to do business in Canada. Checking a company’s registration can be done online.
Other common attributes of the investment fraud websites uncovered in the MSC investigation include:
- Targeting victims on social media;
- Promoting cryptocurrency or Forex trading;
- Promising an unreasonably high or quick return on investment;
- Victims being unable to withdraw their initial investment or fake returns;
- Operating offshore, but telling investors they have offices in Canada;
- Requesting investors to convert funds to cryptocurrency; and
- Getting investors to provide remote access to their computers or phones.
Those who are solicited by a fake trading website, which can appear to be legitimate, are asked to report the incident by calling 1-855-372-8362.
– With files from CTV’s Katherine Dow.
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