Value investing

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Value investing is an investment paradigm that involves buying securities that appear underpriced by some form of fundamental analysis. [1] The various forms of value investing derive from the investment philosophy first taught by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd at Columbia Business School in 1928, and subsequently developed in their 1934 text Security Analysis .

To invest is to allocate money in the expectation of some benefit in the future.

An investor profile or style defines an individual's preferences in investment decisions, for example:

Security (finance) tradable financial asset

A security is a tradable financial asset. The term commonly refers to any form of financial instrument, but its legal definition varies by jurisdiction. In some countries and languages the term "security" is commonly used in day-to-day parlance to mean any form of financial instrument, even though the underlying legal and regulatory regime may not have such a broad definition. In some jurisdictions the term specifically excludes financial instruments other than equities and fixed income instruments. In some jurisdictions it includes some instruments that are close to equities and fixed income, e.g., equity warrants.

Contents

The early value opportunities identified by Graham and Dodd included stock in public companies trading at discounts to book value or tangible book value, those with high dividend yields, and those having low price-to-earning multiples, or low price-to-book ratios.

In accounting, book value is the value of an asset according to its balance sheet account balance. For assets, the value is based on the original cost of the asset less any depreciation, amortization or impairment costs made against the asset. Traditionally, a company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities. However, in practice, depending on the source of the calculation, book value may variably include goodwill, intangible assets, or both. The value inherent in its workforce, part of the intellectual capital of a company, is always ignored. When intangible assets and goodwill are explicitly excluded, the metric is often specified to be "tangible book value".

The dividend yield or dividend-price ratio of a share is the dividend per share, divided by the price per share. It is also a company's total annual dividend payments divided by its market capitalization, assuming the number of shares is constant. It is often expressed as a percentage.

High-profile proponents of value investing, including Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, have argued that the essence of value investing is buying stocks at less than their intrinsic value. [2] The discount of the market price to the intrinsic value is what Benjamin Graham called the "margin of safety". For the last 25 years, under the influence of Charlie Munger, Buffett expanded the value investing concept with a focus on "finding an outstanding company at a sensible price" rather than generic companies at a bargain price. [3]

Berkshire Hathaway American multinational conglomerate holding company

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. The company wholly owns GEICO, Duracell, Dairy Queen, BNSF, Lubrizol, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, Long & Foster, FlightSafety International, Pampered Chef, and NetJets, and also owns 38.6% of Pilot Flying J; 26.7% of the Kraft Heinz Company, and significant minority holdings in American Express (17.6%), Wells Fargo (9.9%), The Coca-Cola Company (9.4%), Bank of America (6.8%), and Apple (5.22%). Since 2016, the company has acquired large holdings in the major US airline carriers, and is currently the largest shareholder in United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and a top three shareholder in Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. Berkshire Hathaway has averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.0% to its shareholders since 1965, while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.

Warren Buffett American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist

Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, speaker and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of US$82 billion as of July 18, 2019, making him the third-wealthiest person in the world.

In finance, intrinsic value refers to the value of a company, stock, currency or product determined through fundamental analysis without reference to its market value. It is also frequently called fundamental value. It is ordinarily calculated by summing the discounted future income generated by the asset to obtain the present value. It is worthy to note that this term may have different meanings for different assets.

Graham never used the phrase, "value investing" the term was coined later to help describe his ideas and has resulted in significant misinterpretation of his principles, the foremost being that Graham simply recommended cheap stocks.

History

Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham (pictured) established value investing along with fellow professor David Dodd. Benjamin-Graham-fundamental.jpg
Benjamin Graham (pictured) established value investing along with fellow professor David Dodd.

Value investing was established by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, both professors at Columbia Business School and teachers of many famous investors. In Graham's book The Intelligent Investor , he advocated the important concept of margin of safety  — first introduced in Security Analysis , a 1934 book he co-authored with David Dodd — which calls for an approach to investing that is focused on purchasing equities at prices less than their intrinsic values. In terms of picking or screening stocks, he recommended purchasing firms which have steady profits, are trading at low prices to book value, have low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios, and which have relatively low debt. [4]

Benjamin Graham American investor

Benjamin Graham was a British-born American investor, economist, and professor. He is widely known as the "father of value investing," and wrote two of the founding texts in neoclassical investing: Security Analysis (1934) with David Dodd, and The Intelligent Investor (1949). His investment philosophy stressed investor psychology, minimal debt, buy-and-hold investing, fundamental analysis, concentrated diversification, buying within the margin of safety, activist investing, and contrarian mindsets.

David Dodd American educator and economist

David LeFevre Dodd was an American educator, financial analyst, author, economist, professional investor, and in his student years, a protégé of, and as a postgraduate, close colleague of Benjamin Graham at Columbia Business School.

Columbia Business School business school

Columbia Business School (CBS) is the business school of Columbia University in the City of New York in Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1916, Columbia Business School is one of the oldest business schools in the world. It is one of six Ivy League business schools, and has been referred to as among the most selective of top business schools.

Further evolution

However, the concept of value (as well as "book value") has evolved significantly since the 1970s. Book value is most useful in industries where most assets are tangible. Intangible assets such as patents, brands, or goodwill are difficult to quantify, and may not survive the break-up of a company. [5] When an industry is going through fast technological advancements, the value of its assets is not easily estimated. Sometimes, the production power of an asset can be significantly reduced due to competitive disruptive innovation and therefore its value can suffer permanent impairment. One good example of decreasing asset value is a personal computer. An example of where book value does not mean much is the service and retail sectors. One modern model of calculating value is the discounted cash flow model (DCF), where the value of an asset is the sum of its future cash flows, discounted back to the present. [6]

Goodwill (accounting) accounting

Goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that arises when a buyer acquires an existing business. Goodwill represents assets that are not separately identifiable. Goodwill does not include identifiable assets that are capable of being separated or divided from the entity and sold, transferred, licensed, rented, or exchanged, either individually or together with a related contract, identifiable asset, or liability regardless of whether the entity intends to do so. Goodwill also include contractual or other legal rights regardless of whether those are transferable or separable from the entity or other rights and obligations. Examples of identifiable assets that are goodwill include a company’s brand name, customer relationships, artistic intangible assets, and any patents or proprietary technology. The goodwill amounts to the excess of the "purchase consideration" over the net value of the assets minus liabilities. It is classified as an intangible asset on the balance sheet, since it can neither be seen nor touched. Under US GAAP and IFRS, goodwill is never amortized. Instead, management is responsible for valuing goodwill every year and to determine if an impairment is required. If the fair market value goes below historical cost, an impairment must be recorded to bring it down to its fair market value. However, an increase in the fair market value would not be accounted for in the financial statements. Private companies in the United States, however, may elect to amortize goodwill over a period of ten years or less under an accounting alternative from the Private Company Council of the FASB.

In business theory, a disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances. The term was defined and first analyzed by the American scholar Clayton M. Christensen and his collaborators beginning in 1995, and has been called the most influential business idea of the early 21st century.

In finance, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis is a method of valuing a project, company, or asset using the concepts of the time value of money. Discounted cash flow analysis is widely used in investment finance, real estate development, corporate financial management and patent valuation. It was used in industry as early as the 1700s or 1800s; it was publicly explicated by John Burr Williams in his The Theory of Investment Value in 1938; it was widely discussed in financial economics in the 1960s; and became widely used in U.S. courts in the 1980s and 1990s.

Value investing performance

Performance of value strategies

Value investing has proven to be a successful investment strategy. There are several ways to evaluate the success. One way is to examine the performance of simple value strategies, such as buying low PE ratio stocks, low price-to-cash-flow ratio stocks, or low price-to-book ratio stocks. Numerous academics have published studies investigating the effects of buying value stocks. These studies have consistently found that value stocks outperform growth stocks and the market as a whole. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Performance of value investors

Simply examining the performance of the best known value investors would not be instructive, because investors do not become well known unless they are successful. This introduces a selection bias. A better way to investigate the performance of a group of value investors was suggested by Warren Buffett, in his May 17, 1984 speech that was published as The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville. In this speech, Buffett examined the performance of those investors who worked at Graham-Newman Corporation and were thus most influenced by Benjamin Graham. Buffett's conclusion is identical to that of the academic research on simple value investing strategies—value investing is, on average, successful in the long run.

During about a 25-year period (1965–90), published research and articles in leading journals of the value ilk were few. Warren Buffett once commented, "You couldn't advance in a finance department in this country unless you thought that the world was flat." [11]

Well-known value investors

The Graham-and-Dodd Disciples

Ben Graham's Students

Benjamin Graham is regarded by many to be the father of value investing. Along with David Dodd, he wrote Security Analysis, first published in 1934. The most lasting contribution of this book to the field of security analysis was to emphasize the quantifiable aspects of security analysis (such as the evaluations of earnings and book value) while minimizing the importance of more qualitative factors such as the quality of a company's management. Graham later wrote The Intelligent Investor , a book that brought value investing to individual investors. Aside from Buffett, many of Graham's other students, such as William J. Ruane, Irving Kahn, Walter Schloss, and Charles Brandes went on to become successful investors in their own right.

Irving Kahn was one of Graham's teaching assistants at Columbia University in the 1930s. He was a close friend and confidant of Graham's for decades and made research contributions to Graham's texts Security Analysis , Storage and Stability , World Commodities and World Currencies and The Intelligent Investor . Kahn was a partner at various finance firms until 1978 when he and his sons, Thomas Graham Kahn and Alan Kahn, started the value investing firm, Kahn Brothers & Company. Irving Kahn remained chairman of the firm until his death at age 109. [12]

Walter Schloss was another Graham-and-Dodd disciple. Schloss never had a formal education. When he was 18, he started working as a runner on Wall Street. He then attended investment courses taught by Ben Graham at the New York Stock Exchange Institute, and eventually worked for Graham in the Graham-Newman Partnership. In 1955, he left Graham’s company and set up his own investment firm, which he ran for nearly 50 years. [13] Walter Schloss was one of the investors Warren Buffett profiled in his famous Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville article.

Christopher H. Browne of Tweedy, Browne was well known for value investing. According to the Wall Street Journal , Tweedy, Browne was the favorite brokerage firm of Benjamin Graham during his lifetime; also, the Tweedy, Browne Value Fund and Global Value Fund have both beat market averages since their inception in 1993. [14] In 2006, Christopher H. Browne wrote The Little Book of Value Investing in order to teach ordinary investors how to value invest. [15]

Peter Cundill was a well-known Canadian value investor who followed the Graham teachings. His flagship Cundill Value Fund allowed Canadian investors access to fund management according to the strict principles of Graham and Dodd. [16] Warren Buffett had indicated that Cundill had the credentials he's looking for in a chief investment officer. [17]

Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger

Graham's most famous student, however, is Warren Buffett, who ran successful investing partnerships before closing them in 1969 to focus on running Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett was a strong advocate of Graham's approach and strongly credits his success back to his teachings. Another disciple, Charlie Munger, who joined Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway in the 1970s and has since worked as Vice Chairman of the company, followed Graham's basic approach of buying assets below intrinsic value, but focused on companies with robust qualitative qualities, even if they weren't statistically cheap. This approach by Munger gradually influenced Buffett by reducing his emphasis on quantitatively cheap assets, and instead encouraged him to look for long-term sustainable competitive advantages in companies, even if they weren't quantitatively cheap relative to intrinsic value. Buffett is often quoted saying, "It's better to buy a great company at a fair price, than a fair company at a great price." [18]

Other Columbia Business School Value Investors

Columbia Business School has played a significant role in shaping the principles of the Value Investor, with professors and students making their mark on history and on each other. Ben Graham’s book, The Intelligent Investor, was Warren Buffett’s bible and he referred to it as "the greatest book on investing ever written.” A young Warren Buffett studied under Ben Graham, took his course and worked for his small investment firm, Graham Newman, from 1954 to 1956. Twenty years after Ben Graham, Roger Murray arrived and taught value investing to a young student named Mario Gabelli. About a decade or so later, Bruce Greenwald arrived and produced his own protégés, including Paul Sonkin—just as Ben Graham had Buffett as a protégé, and Roger Murray had Gabelli.

Mutual Series and Franklin Templeton Disciples

Mutual Series has a well-known reputation of producing top value managers and analysts in this modern era. This tradition stems from two individuals: Max Heine, founder of the well regarded value investment firm Mutual Shares fund in 1949 and his protégé legendary value investor Michael F. Price. Mutual Series was sold to Franklin Templeton Investments in 1996. The disciples of Heine and Price quietly practice value investing at some of the most successful investment firms in the country. Franklin Templeton Investments takes its name from Sir John Templeton, another contrarian value oriented investor.

Seth Klarman, a Mutual Series alum, is the founder and president of The Baupost Group, a Boston-based private investment partnership, and author of Margin of Safety, Risk Averse Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor, which since has become a value investing classic. Now out of print, Margin of Safety has sold on Amazon for $1,200 and eBay for $2,000. [19]

Other Value Investors

Laurence Tisch, who led Loews Corporation with his brother, Robert Tisch, for more than half a century, also embraced value investing. Shortly after his death in 2003 at age 80, Fortune wrote, "Larry Tisch was the ultimate value investor. He was a brilliant contrarian: He saw value where other investors didn't -- and he was usually right." By 2012, Loews Corporation, which continues to follow the principles of value investing, had revenues of $14.6 billion and assets of more than $75 billion. [20]

Michael Larson is the Chief Investment Officer of Cascade Investment, which is the investment vehicle for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates personal fortune. Cascade is a diversified investment shop established in 1994 by Gates and Larson. Larson graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1980 and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago in 1981. Larson is a well known value investor but his specific investment and diversification strategies are not known. Larson has consistently outperformed the market since the establishment of Cascade and has rivaled or outperformed Berkshire Hathaway's returns as well as other funds based on the value investing strategy.

Martin J. Whitman is another well-regarded value investor. His approach is called safe-and-cheap, which was hitherto referred to as financial-integrity approach. Martin Whitman focuses on acquiring common shares of companies with extremely strong financial position at a price reflecting meaningful discount to the estimated NAV of the company concerned. Whitman believes it is ill-advised for investors to pay much attention to the trend of macro-factors (like employment, movement of interest rate, GDP, etc.) because they are not as important and attempts to predict their movement are almost always futile. Whitman's letters to shareholders of his Third Avenue Value Fund (TAVF) are considered valuable resources "for investors to pirate good ideas" by Joel Greenblatt in his book on special-situation investment You Can Be a Stock Market Genius. [21]

Joel Greenblatt achieved annual returns at the hedge fund Gotham Capital of over 50% per year for 10 years from 1985 to 1995 before closing the fund and returning his investors' money. He is known for investing in special situations such as spin-offs, mergers, and divestitures.

Charles de Vaulx and Jean-Marie Eveillard are well known global value managers. For a time, these two were paired up at the First Eagle Funds, compiling an enviable track record of risk-adjusted outperformance. For example, Morningstar designated them the 2001 "International Stock Manager of the Year" and de Vaulx earned second place from Morningstar for 2006. Eveillard is known for his Bloomberg appearances where he insists that securities investors never use margin or leverage. The point made is that margin should be considered the anathema of value investing, since a negative price move could prematurely force a sale. In contrast, a value investor must be able and willing to be patient for the rest of the market to recognize and correct whatever pricing issue created the momentary value. Eveillard correctly labels the use of margin or leverage as speculation, the opposite of value investing.

Other notable value investors include: Mason Hawkins, Thomas Forester, Whitney Tilson, [22] Mohnish Pabrai, Li Lu, Guy Spier [23] and Tom Gayner who manages the investment portfolio of Markel Insurance.

Criticism

Value stocks do not always beat growth stocks, as demonstrated in the late 1990s. [24] Moreover, when value stocks perform well, it may not mean that the market is inefficient, though it may imply that value stocks are simply riskier and thus require greater returns. [24] . Furthermore, Foye and Mramor (2016) find that country-specific factors have a strong influence on measures of value (such as the book-to-market ratio) this leads them to conclude that the reasons why value stocks outperform are country-specific. [25]

An issue with buying shares in a bear market is that despite appearing undervalued at one time, prices can still drop along with the market. [26] Conversely, an issue with not buying shares in a bull market is that despite appearing overvalued at one time, prices can still rise along with the market.

Also, one of the biggest criticisms of price centric value investing is that an emphasis on low prices (and recently depressed prices) regularly misleads retail investors; because fundamentally low (and recently depressed) prices often represent a fundamentally sound difference (or change) in a company's relative financial health. To that end, Warren Buffett has regularly emphasized that "it's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than to buy a fair company at a wonderful price."

In 2002, Stanford accounting professor Joseph Piotroski developed the "F-Score", which discriminates higher potential members within a class of value candidates. [27] The F-Score aims to discover additional value from signals in a firm's series of annual financial statements, after initial screening of static measures like book-to-market value. The F-Score formula inputs financial statements and awards points for meeting predetermined criteria. Piotroski retrospectively analyzed a class of high book-to-market stocks in the period 1976-1996, and demonstrated that high F-Score selections increased returns by 7.5% annually versus the class as a whole. The American Association of Individual Investors examined 56 screening methods in a retrospective analysis of the financial crisis of 2008, and found that only F-Score produced positive results. [28]

Another issue is the method of calculating the "intrinsic value". Some analysts believe that two investors can analyze the same information and reach different conclusions regarding the intrinsic value of the company, and that there is no systematic or standard way to value a stock. [29] [ failed verification ] In other words, a value investing strategy can only be considered successful if it delivers excess returns after allowing for the risk involved, where risk may be defined in many different ways, including market risk, multi-factor models or idiosyncratic risk. [30]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Contrarian Investing is an investment strategy that is characterized by purchasing and selling in contrast to the prevailing sentiment of the time.

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<i>The Intelligent Investor</i> 1949 book by Benjamin Graham

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, first published in 1949, is a widely acclaimed book on value investing.

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A stock trader or equity trader or share trader is a person or company involved in trading equity securities. Stock traders may be an agent, hedger, arbitrageur, speculator, stockbroker. Such equity trading in large publicly traded companies may be through a stock exchange. Stock shares in smaller public companies may be bought and sold in over-the-counter (OTC) markets.

Margin of safety is the difference between the intrinsic value of a stock and its market price.

<i>Security Analysis</i> (book) 1934 book by Benjamin Graham

Security Analysis is a book written by professors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd of Columbia Business School, which laid the intellectual foundation for what would later be called value investing. The first edition was published in 1934, shortly after the Wall Street crash and start of the Great Depression. Among other terms, Graham and Dodd coined the term margin of safety in Security Analysis.

Growth investing is a style of investment strategy focused on capital appreciation. Those who follow this style, known as growth investors, invest in companies that exhibit signs of above-average growth, even if the share price appears expensive in terms of metrics such as price-to-earnings or price-to-book ratios. In typical usage, the term "growth investing" contrasts with the strategy known as value investing.

An undervalued stock is defined as a stock that is selling at a price significantly below what is assumed to be its intrinsic value. For example, if a stock is selling for $50, but it is worth $100 based on predictable future cash flows, then it is an undervalued stock.

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"The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville" is an article by Warren Buffett promoting value investing, published in the Fall, 1984 issue of Hermes, Columbia Business School magazine. It was based on a speech given on May 17, 1984, at the Columbia University School of Business in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd's book Security Analysis. The speech and article challenged the idea that equity markets are efficient through a study of nine successful investment funds generating long-term returns above the market index. All these funds were managed by Benjamin Graham's alumni, pursuing different investment tactics but following the same "Graham-and-Doddsville" value investing strategy.

John P. Reese is an American author, financial columnist, and money manager. He has written two books about investing, and is a columnist for several international financial publications, including Forbes magazine and Forbes.com; Canada's The Globe and Mail; RealMoney.com ; and the Israeli newspaper Globes.

Walter Schloss American investor

Walter J. Schloss was an American investor, fund manager, and philanthropist. He was a well-regarded value investor, as well as a notable disciple of the Benjamin Graham school of investing. He died of leukemia at the age of 95.

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Mr. Market

Mr. Market is an allegory created by investor Benjamin Graham. It was first introduced in his 1949 book, The Intelligent Investor.

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Geraldine Weiss is the co-founder of Investment Quality Trends and is nicknamed "the Grande Dame of Dividends" and "The Dividend Detective" for her unconventional value approach investment style by focusing on a company's dividends rather than earnings. As the co-author of Dividends Don't Lie and The Dividend Connection, Weiss popularized the theory of using dividend yield as a valuation metric by indicating that there is a strong relationship between a company's ability to pay dividends over time and the performance of the company in the stock market. Weiss is regarded as one of the most successful female investors in a traditionally male-dominated profession.

References

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  5. Investing Into Digital Assets
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  18. Brooker, Katrina. Like father, like son: A Tisch family story. Fortune, 2004-06-17
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  22. 1 2 Robert Huebscher. Burton Malkiel Talks the Random Walk. July 7, 2009.
  23. "A New Perspective on the International Evidence Concerning the Book-Price Effect".
  24. Conversely, an issue with not buying shares in a bull market is that despite appearing overvalued at one time, prices can still rise along with the market.When value investing Doesn't Work [ permanent dead link ]
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  26. "AAII: The American Association of Individual Investors". www.aaii.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  27. Li, Xiaofei; Brooks, Chris; Miffre, Joelle (2009). "The value premium and time-varying volatility". Journal of Business Finance and Accounting. 36 (9–10): 1252–1272. CiteSeerX   10.1.1.187.3128 . doi:10.1111/j.1468-5957.2009.02163.x. ISSN   1468-5957.

Further reading