High Conviction Buybacks

Large U.S. companies  spent nearly half a trillion dollars on net buybacks (cash spent on buybacks less cash raised through issuance) during the 12 months ending 6/30/2015.  That’s almost as much as the buyback peak in 2007, which didn’t turn out too well. Scary! But hold on. Something that gets lost beneath this broader trend is…

Biggest Investing Influences

I love this question from a recent interview with Harvest:  Who were some of the people that influenced your investment style along the way? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments section. My answer was: PO: David Dreman, for his sharp insight into the power of contrarian investment strategies. Joseph Campbell, whose writing on mythology contains countless lessons…

Bullet-Proof Book Recommendations

Every month for the past 16 months, I’ve emailed a group a list of 4-6 book suggestions. Last November, about 1,000 people were on the list, and today we are up to 4,000 and growing fast. I get a ton of feedback on the books I suggest along with dozens of recommendations for other books…

Stolen Prose

Its summer, I don’t write about topics like Grexit, and I am deep into several research projects, so in the meantime I thought I’d post something entirely different, that just might help you find your next book. The following is an arrangement of sentences and passages that I wish I’d written, pieced together into a…

Creating Unique Investment Strategies

I took a car service home from Newark airport at 1 a.m. this week after a tiring but fun west-coast trip. I’d just met with 15 very impressive teams—advisors, RIAs, etc—to discuss markets and investment strategies. It struck me that it must be very difficult for advisors–who are constantly bombarded by portfolio managers like me…

Return on Equity Explored

Non-financial firms are earning an impressive return on their collective equity value. As of April 30th, the U.S. markets return on equity was nearly 18%, well above the long term average of 14% for non-financial firms. Obviously, corporations like earning impressive returns on their equity. So what is driving today’s elevated rates, and what trends…

Some Poetry

Sometimes, I find good poetry superior to everything else. Tonight is one such night. These are T.S. Eliot, except where otherwise noted.   In my beginning is my end. The inner freedom from the practical desire, The release from action and suffering, release from the inner And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded By a grace…

A Wealth of Common Sense

You are who you read. Those who read Ben Carlson’s writing are better for it. He is honest, succinct, and full of insight for investors of all stripes. I’ve never interviewed anyone or published a guest post, but today I make an exception because this guy has become such a valuable resource for investors, and…

Exploring One of the Greatest Investment Passages Ever Written

Here’s how to find amazing quotes and passages: find great writers, and then find the passages that they reference. Having followed this plan quite a lot, I’ve noticed that many of the best writers are J.M. Keynes junkies. The man was as quotable as they come. One great writer, George Goodman (aka “Adam Smith”), put…

Buyback Extravaganza

When important people on Wall Street and Capitol Hill are actively criticizing an aspect of corporate America, we’d better take notice. Share buybacks—the open market repurchase of a company’s shares by the company itself—have been under a lot of fire. The amount spent on buybacks is matching records, and that money would be better spend…