Thursday, May 16, 2013

Performance of Stocks Analyzed in Past Hedge Fund Wisdom Issues

Most of you know that we publish a premium newsletter each quarter called Hedge Fund Wisdom (HFW).  It reveals the portfolios of 25 top hedge funds, provides hedgie consensus buy/sell lists, and features an equity analysis section written by hedge fund analysts.  (If you haven't seen it, check out a free sample here).

The brand new Q1 2013 issue of HFW will be released next week (May 21st), but in the mean time we wanted to update everyone on the performance of the stocks analyzed in past issues.  (After all, the newsletter has been running for almost 3 years now). 

Performance of Stocks From Past Issues

Each HFW issue features an equity analysis section and all numbers herein assume each stock was purchased when each issue of the newsletter was released and held until present day (5/15/13).  The numbers are pretty solid.  Here are some stats:

- 36 stocks profiled through all issues thus far

- 26 of these stocks have outperformed the S&P 500

- Average performance across all stocks profiled = +51.2%

- Average performance of S&P 500 = +28.5%

- Average outperformance over S&P 500 = +22.7%

- The 26 outperforming stocks beat the S&P by an average of +41.2%

- 4 stocks have more than doubled (+177%, +156%, +148%, +137%)

- 5 other stocks have each almost doubled (+97%, +92%, +91%, +87%, +84%)

- Only 10 stocks underperformed the S&P (and only 1 had a negative return: -3.1%)

Quarterly Breakdown of Performance 

Here's a quarterly breakdown starting with the most recent issue and working backwards:

Q4 2012 Issue: 3 out of 3 Outperformed (February 2013 - Present)

Spirit AeroSystems (SPR): +32.3%
Herbalife (HLF): +18.5%
Capital One (COF): +15.0%
S&P 500: +9.8%

Q3 2012 Issue: 2 out of 2 Outperformed (November 2012 - Present)
B/E Aerospace (BEAV): +45.4%
Ocwen Financial (OCN): +24.4%
S&P 500: +19.3%

Q2 2012 Issue: 1 out of 3 Outperformed (August 2012 - Present)
AIG (AIG): +35.9%
VeriSign (VRSN): +2.9%
Textron (TXT): +2.5%
S&P 500: +17.4%

Q1 2012 Issue: 1 out of 3 Outperformed (May 2012 - Present)
Equinix (EQIX): +47.7%
AutoZone (AZO): +15.8%
TempurPedic (TPX) Short: Shares -0.82%, so performance = +0.82%
S&P 500: +25.9%

Q4 2011 Issue: 2 out of 2 Outperformed (February 2012 - Present)
United Rentals (URI): +44.3% (PCLN): +38.3%
S&P 500: +21.9%

Q3 2011 Issue: 3 out of 3 Outperformed (November 2011 - Present)
Netflix (NFLX): +177.4%
Visa (V): +91.0%
Lowe's (LOW): +87.1%
S&P 500: +31.3%

Q2 2011 Issue: 2 out of 3 Outperformed (August 2011 - Present)
AIG (AIG): +97.1%
Sensata Technologies (ST): +4.5%
First Solar (FSLR) Short: Shares -51.9%, so performance = +51.9%
S&P 500: +40.7%

Q1 2011 Issue: 3 out of 5 Outperformed (May 2011 - Present)
Expedia (EXPE): +156.7% (doesn't include TripAdvisor (TRIP) spin-off either)
Seagate Technology (STX): +136.9%
Yahoo (YHOO): +65.2%
MetLife (MET): -3.08%
Best Buy (BBY) Short: Shares -18.3%, so performance = +18.3%
S&P 500: +24.0%

Q4 2010 Issue: 4 out of 4 Outperformed (February 2011 - Present)
The Gap (GPS): +91.7%
Blackrock (BLK): +42.2%
Williams Companies (WMB): +36.1%
Coinstar (CSTR): +28.6%
S&P 500: +24.8%

Q3 2010 Issue: 4 out of 6 Outperformed (November 2010 - Present)
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI): +148.6%
Aon (AON): +61.8%
CareFusion (CFN):+45.8%
Express Scripts (ESRX): +17.5%
Cisco Systems (CSCO): +5.3%
Alcon (ACL): Bought out
S&P 500: +38.3%

Q2 2010 Issue: 1 out of 3 Outperformed (August 2010 - Present)
American Tower (AMT): +84.3%
Ensco (ESV): +40.9%
Citigroup (C): +32.3%
S&P 500: +53.7%

Sign Up For Next Week's New Issue

To see what stocks will be analyzed in next week's new issue of Hedge Fund Wisdom, click here to subscribe.

Disclaimer (as noted at the bottom of this website and in the newsletters): This information is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. Use this information at your own risk. Market Folly and Hedge Fund Wisdom are not investment advisors of any kind, so do not consider anything on this page to be legal, tax, or investment advice. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What We're Reading ~ Analytical Links 5/15/13

Meb Faber's new book: Shareholder Yield [Meb Faber]

Explanation of Tepper's chart: Equity risk premium is high (this is bullish) [The Big Picture]

On confirmation bias and the perma-whatevers [Abnormal Returns]

The end is where we start from [Reformed Broker]

On emotional finance [Research Puzzle]

What record profit margins imply for future profitability and the market [Greenbackd]

It's time to fight the Fed [MicroFundy]

The low return of high yield [Contrarian Corner]

Missed Visa and Mastercard? Then keep an eye on this one: Fleetcor (FLT) [Old School Value]

The bull case on Hospira (HSP) [Forbes]

An overview of a hedge fund favorite: Dollar Tree (DLTR) [Aegaia Research]

Time to change the channel on media stocks [CNBC]

On the 'spying' Bloomberg terminals [CNBC]

Will Wall Street's Bloomberg terminal addiction break? [NYMag]

Steelmakers develop new iron recipes [WSJ]

Thoughts on a potential Verizon & Vodafone deal [VODVZ]

Two strategies: The Washington Post vs the NYTimes [Monday Note]

Forget gold, the gourmet cupcake market is crashing [WSJ]

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

David Tepper Still Bullish on Markets, Long Japan: Today's Interview

David Tepper appeared on Squawk Box this morning on CNBC.  The once elusive Appaloosa Management hedge fund founder has now become somewhat of a sporadically recurring guest, each time popping in update his degree of bullishness.

Reasons For Tepper's Bullishness

He originally came on air in September 2010 and inspired the 'Tepper rally' in markets.  The market is up almost 45% since Tepper's original bullish call and he said "sure, I'm definitely still bullish."  He cited improvements in housing and autos as great reasons to be bullish in the US and also pointed to central banks around the globe that are easing.  We highlighted Tepper's recent media appearance in January when he said to be long equities.

While many in the market are worried about the Federal Reserve tapering, Tepper shows how the deficit should be shrinking in the next six months and notes how there's $400 billion that can either go into the economy or stocks.  "If we don't taper back, we're going to get into this hyperdrive market."

He went on to say, "There better be a true taper or else you might be back into the last half of 1999.  So like guys that are short, they better have a shovel to get themselves out of the grave."

As far as potential risks go, Tepper says you always have to consider potential problems arising in the Middle East that could cause a 5% correction or so, but he doesn't see that coming and he also points that North Korea has settled down a little bit. 

In the end though, Tepper summarizes his thoughts by saying it feels like we're in an early stage economy.

Tepper on the Equity Risk Premium

Tepper highlights how "we're at one of the highs in equity risk premium in history" and that "when the equity risk premium is high, historically you get good returns after that.  A chart he pulled up shows that the highest levels were in 1975, 1982 and now.

He also cited how there's a low 13-handle for the S&P on next year's earnings. 

When asked where specifically he's bullish "I think every place is the place to be in the stock markets of the world.  I think you've taken out the tail risk, the disaster case.  That doesn't mean you won't potentially have riots in Europe."

Appaloosa Long Japan

Appaloosa is long Japan and has been long pretty much since the beginning of this year, Tepper said.  They commented on how Dan Loeb of Third Point has approached Sony (SNE) about restructuring as well.  Tepper noted that, "even though that market's moved a lot, you can still have a lot left in there."

Other Appaloosa Positioning

Tepper said, "It's one of those times where the indexes really are cheap ... My biggest position is Citi (C), you'll see it when my 13F comes out, it's still my biggest position.  We don't own commodities, however if we still see a strong economy, as world growth picks up, commodities will pick up in 2014.  General manufacturing is good, tech is cheap, but you have to be careful because of obsolescence" (so you have to look at individual names there).

He also said they still own Apple (AAPL), though they cut their stake a little bit at the beginning of the year around $500 or so.  They bought just a little bit below $400, and he looks at it as part of his tech basket.  Tepper feels the company either needs to come out with innovative new products, or transition to an evolutionary company where they make cheaper phones, bigger screens, and promote the ecosystem and grow that way.  He says the problem is they haven't done either lately.

Embedded below is the video of David Tepper's interview:

Video 1

Video 2

Tepper was listed as the highest paid hedge fund manager of 2012.

Scout Capital Goes Activist on DineEquity, Raises Stake

Adam Weiss and James Crichton's hedge fund Scout Capital filed a 13D on shares of DineEquity (DIN) yesterday after market close.  Per the filing, Scout has revealed a 6.6% ownership stake in with 1,280,321 shares.

This means they've boosted their position size by 134,631 shares since the end of 2012, or around a 12% increase.  They filed the 13D due to activity on May 3rd. 

Activist Stake in DineEquity

In the fine print of the filing, we see that Scout's purpose of transaction is listed as follows:

"The Reporting Persons have engaged and expect to continue to engage in discussions with senior management of the Issuer with respect to the Issuer’s optimal capital structure, debt refinancing, timing and magnitude of share repurchases, management compensation metrics and merger and acquisition strategies, among other matters."

Late last year, we flagged how Mick McGuire's activist fund Marcato Capital Management also filed a 13D on DineEquity.

Per Google Finance, DineEquity "owns franchise and operate two restaurant concepts: Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, (Applebee's), in the bar and grill segment of the casual dining category of the restaurant industry, and International House of Pancakes (IHOP), in the family dining category of the restaurant industry."

For additional moves from this hedge fund, head to recent portfolio activity from Scout Capital.

Paulson & Co Discloses Position in New Dex Media Entity

John Paulson's hedge fund Paulson & Co has filed a 13D with the SEC regarding the new entity of Dex Media (DXM).  Per the filing, Paulson & Co has reported a 10.9% ownership stake with 1,878,927 shares.

Dex Media came to fruition via a merger of Dex One and SuperMedia, both positions Paulson was previously long.  As a result, they received a stake in the new entity after reorganization.

Last week, we highlighted how Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass presented the bull case on Dex Media at this year's Ira Sohn Conference.

Per Yahoo Finance, Dex Media "engages in the publication and marketing of directories, which include Yellow Pages and White Pages in the United States. The company also offers Internet-based telephone directory and database marketing services."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Notes From the London Value Investor Conference 2013: Marks, Price, Montier & More

Today we're pleased to present notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.  The event features well known investors presenting investment ideas and insight in order to benefit children's charities The SMA Trust and Place2Be.  Summaries of each presentation are linked below:

Notes From 2013 London Value Investor Conference

Howard Marks (Oaktree Capital): The sweet spot in corporate bonds

Michael Price (MFP Investors): On investment process & 2 long ideas

James Montier (GMO): Latest asset allocation model

Gary Harding (Winton Capital): Key value metrics to focus on

Anthony Bolton (Fidelity China Special Situations Fund): On investment process & China

Gary Channon (Phoenix Asset Management): Long Glaxosmithkline

Richard Oldfield (OldfieldPartners): Long Nokia & long Hitachi

Simon Denison-Smith (Metropolis Value Fund): Long Cisco Systems & J. Smart

Ian Lance & Nick Purves (RWC): Effectiveness of value investing today & 1 long idea

Jeremy Hosking: Long AIG & long US Airways

Richard Titherington (JP Morgan): Emerging market opportunities

Michael Price's Presentation at London Value Conference: Long Hospira & Hess

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Michael Price of MFP Investors.  He talked about his investment process and presented two long ideas: Hospira (HSP) and Hess (HES).

Price's Background

Michael Price first came to London as an investor in 1984. At the time few people in Europe used  a balance sheet focused value approach. Many companies were not covered by an analyst at  all and this encouraged Price as the lack of coverage made him feel that he was discovering new  opportunities. Price said that this was the opposite situation that you find at recent Berkshire  Hathaway annual meetings where 40,000 people focus on one company. He said to find opportunity  you need to get off the beaten track.

Price's Investment Process

Price talked about his investment process. Two-thirds of his portfolio is made up of stocks that trade  below two-thirds of their intrinsic value. The other third are special situations e.g., firms involved  in proxy fights, liquidations or a fight for control. From his 40 years of experience, excluding 2008  - he said we all need to forget about 2008 - that type of value portfolio will weather the storms.

What’s important is to buy cheap and be well diversified with at least 30-70 holdings. When you are  convinced that what you already own is cheap compared to comparable businesses you add to it.  When you have done lots of work and you gain conviction about an idea you can take the stake up  to 3 to 5% of your portfolio. Your top five positions might each be 5% of your portfolio. If you have  conviction you should add to holdings as they get cheaper. He values businesses by asking what a  potential owner would pay for the whole company.

Be prepared to wait patiently. If there is nothing to do, sit with cash. Cash is ammunition. An  investor should spend all of his or her time working on calculating intrinsic values waiting for the  market to throw out an opportunity. The definition of luck is preparation meeting opportunity.

Bad news creates opportunity: wait for bankruptcies, the death of a control person who owns  a large part of the business, litigation, government intervention and accidents. Always look at  the companies whose share price is most down to find value. Price said he also likes investing in  companies where management has built up intrinsic value and made mistakes.

In terms of market valuation today, Price said the market was reasonably priced but there are still  some opportunities to find securities that trade at two-thirds of their asset value.

Long: Hospira (HSP)

Idea: Long Hospira (HSP:NYSE).  Hospira had been a growth story until the FDA shut down one of its largest plants. The share price  went from $45 to $28 overnight. The growth investors sold to the value investors. Price thinks that  the company will have completely recovered in two years.

Long: Hess (HES)

Idea: Long Hess (HES)  Hess is a case where the management have stumbled. Hess is involved in a proxy fight with Paul  Singer’s Elliott Associates. It trades at a 50% discount. Price thinks there is likely to be four or five  new directors. The company with be divided into two parts and share buybacks with be agreed.  Assets will be sold off. John Hess is likely to step down. The outcome of the vote is due on May 16.  It is also possible that Hess may get bought out.

Michael Price said he also likes US banks (not European banks, though). He thinks Berkshire  Hathaway is 20% overvalued.

Book Recommendation

Michael Price highly recommended a book about Peter Cundill’s  investment approach by Christopher Risso-Gill (2011) “There’s Always Something to Do: The Peter Cundill Investment Approach."

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Howard Marks' Presentation at London Value Conference on the Sweet Spot in Corporate Bonds

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is distressed investor Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital.  He shared an outlook similar to what he's been writing.  However, he did highlight where a lot of his portfolio has been allocated.

Marks is the author of one of the best  investment books ever written, “The Most Important Thing". The book has recently been reissued  as “The Most Important Thing Illuminated” with commentary by Seth Klarman, Joel Greenblatt, Christopher Davis and Paul Johnson, making the already outstanding volume even better.

Marks has  done a lot of interviews and presentations recently. For those who have seen these and avidly read  his regular memos there honestly was not a lot new in the London presentation.  If you missed those, one of his last memos touched on how he thought equities were in stage 2 of a bull market.

One fascinating thing Marks alluded to in the Q&A, though, was that he views single b as the sweet  spot in corporate bonds. He said “most bonds in my portfolio have been single b for years.”

We've also highlighted some of Oaktree's recent equity portfolio moves here.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

James Montier's Presentation at London Value Conference: GMO Now 50% in Cash

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is James Montier of GMO.  He presented an update on their latest asset allocation model.

GMO Now 50% in Cash

James Montier said that GMO’s 7 year asset allocation model for US stocks is now predicting  negative returns. GMO are now 50% in cash.  While they've been known to hold higher levels of cash than most investors, this seems to be taking things a step further.  They still hold some investments in Japan but he  indicated that they are likely to be selling over the next couple of months.

He said that a year ago the model was indicating good returns in Europe but now it only suggests  2.5% real return per annum. He said that they are a bit frightened to follow the model in Europe  because of the leverage at the company level, particularly in the financial sector.

Their model suggests that the best value is in emerging markets where 6% real is forecast. However,  he mentioned that the research by his colleague, Edward Chancellor, which has identified an asset  bubble in Chinese real estate, has made GMO cautious and led them to allocate less to EM than the  model would suggest.

It is clear that at certain times GMO are prepared to overrule their  quantitative asset allocation models when other evidence suggests caution.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Anthony Bolton's Presentation at London Value Conference: On Investment Process & China

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Anthony Bolton of Fidelity China Special Situations Fund.  He talked about his investment process and gave thoughts on China, a market he thinks is set to rally.

Along with Neil Woodford, Anthony Bolton is probably one of the UK’s best known fund managers. Over a  28 year period from 1979 to 2007 Bolton returned 19.5% annualised managing the Fidelity Special  Situations Fund.

He retired in 2007 and came out of retirement to run the Fidelity China Special  Situations Fund in 2010. He is the author of a very good book on value investing “Investing against  the Tide: Lessons from a life Running Money”.

Anthony Bolton was interviewed by David Shapiro. His answers fell into two broad categories:  investment process and China.

Bolton on Investment Process  

Bolton said that he had been influenced by many people over the years and that he had picked  things up from here and there. He said “we are all plagiarists, what matters is how you mix it  together.”

The two things that set Bolton apart from most other value investors are that he finds charting/  technical analysis useful and interviews with management are very important to him. Bolton said  that he finds technical analysis gives a second view that is completely different and often more clear  cut than fundamental analysis. When the technicals and the fundamentals line up Bolton said it  gives him the conviction to make bigger bets.

When Bolton started visiting companies to interview managements in the 1970s it was unusual . He  said that the interviews are a hugely central part of his process, even in China today. The only thing  that he regards as more important is the dynamics of the business model.

Not being able to speak  the language has not diminished the usefulness of the interviews. He said that he is used to having  to work with translators in both Europe and China. Two-thirds of his interviews are currently carried  out in Mandarin.

Having done a lot of interviews over the years, Bolton said that he has developed  a feel for CEOs “who have it”.  He looks for managers that can talk strategically and financially.  What he does not like is a CEO who cannot talk about the financials well. He has found that to be  dangerous trait.

Bolton regards the second interview with a company’s management as particularly  important as it provides test of whether they say the same things or not.  Bolton mentioned a number of characteristics of businesses that can provide him with investment  opportunities. He likes companies that have a possible M&A angle. He looks for a discount to asset  value. He looks for unrecognised growth. Changing businesses can create opportunities.

Generally  he has not liked manufacturing and prefers cash generative rather than capital intensive businesses.  Bolton says he has always tried to know more about the companies he is investing in than anyone  else. It is only when he feels that he understands a situation really well that he is prepared to make  a large bet.  Bolton said that he makes a point of exploring what went wrong after he has made a bad  investment. What he has found by looking at his mistakes over the years is that they mainly have  two causes: a poor business model or too much debt.

On China  

Bolton’s China fund has struggled since its inception in 2010. It was clear from his comments that  his extensive experience in UK and European special situations had not prepared him for what he  encountered in China. He said that the reverse merger Chinese companies listed in the US were the  worst group he had ever seen. He estimated that about 80% were frauds.

Bolton lost some money in US reverse merger companies but he is now out of them. He warned that it is better to invest in  companies in mainland China than those list on AIM or in the US. He prefers to invest in Chinese private companies rather than state owned enterprises.

Chinese official statistics are sometimes manipulated. Bolton said that you have to look at a range  of figures like freight volumes and electricity generation to double check. He thinks that the road to  social reform over the next ten years will be difficult for the Chinese. In the short term of a year or so he is expecting a big move up in Chinese equities.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Richard Oldfield's Presentation at London Value Conference: Long Nokia & Hitachi

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Richard Oldfield of Oldfield Partners.  He presented two long ideas: Nokia (NOK) and Hitachi.

Oldfield made some interesting comments about asset allocation. He said that his many years of  experience have taught him that wholesale, large moves in a portfolio are usually disastrous. He  recommended moving slowly. Investors are better to take marginal, incremental step as there is less  chance of being wrong for emotional reasons.

Idea: Long Nokia  

Oldfield said that Nokia was a great value but that they had got the entry price wrong. He noted the  value in Navteq mapping, the half stake in NSM and intellectual property and patents. He said that  the Lumia phones are very good and that capitulation for the stock is close at hand. 

Idea: Long Hitachi  

There has been a real change in style of Hitachi’s management. In particular it has become much  more target orientated. It has become globally aware for the first time. It has a successful nuclear  power venture. He noted that if Hitachi can be turned around then anything in Japan can. He said  that there are many Japanese sleeping monsters with great potential.  Last week we highlighted how investors are the Sohn Conference were bullish on Japanese stocks.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

David Harding's Presentation at London Value Conference: Key Value Metrics to Focus On

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is David Harding of Winton Capital.  He presented a background of his firm's strategy and touched on what important value metrics investors should focus on.

Winton Capital is one of Europe’s largest hedge fund managers with $25bn AUM. It primarily uses a trend following/ momentum, quantitative approach across many asset classes so at first sight  Harding was an odd guest at a value conference.

After reading Joel Greenblatt’s Little Book That Beats the Market, Harding became interested in utilising value in a systematic way. He said that Winton’s research findings echoed Greenblatt’s research finding a real edge using quantitative value. Winton do incorporate a value approach into some of their trading, although it did sound  as if it was a side show compared to their main trend following approach.

The key value metrics  that Harding discussed were return on assets and earnings yield. He noted that results could be significantly improved by equal weighting stocks rather than using capitalisation weighting.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Gary Channon's Presentation at London Value Conference: Long Glaxosmithkline

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Gary Channon of Phoenix Asset Management.  He talked about portfolio construction and presented a long idea: Glaxosmithkline (LON:GSK).

Channon's Investment Approach

Gary Channon is strongly influence by Warren Buffett and Phil Fisher. Phoenix is long-term, focused,  looking for great businesses run by shareholder aligned managers, companies with strong pricing  power, generating a high returns on capital. In short, they look for long-term greats.

The Phoenix  portfolio usually has around 15 stocks with the top 5 making up >60%. All the stocks are UK listed.  They carry out detailed research with extensive fieldwork and monitoring. Since inception in 1998  Phoenix has returned 9.6% net annualised or 290% in total. On a total return basis the UK market  has returned 4.6% per annum during the same time period. Phoenix have a high win/ lose ratio with  78% winners against 22% losers.

Channon talked about “Finding Opportunities in Flawed Heuristics”. A heuristic is a mental shortcut  that allows people to solve problems and make judgements quickly and efficiently. Channon argued  that investment heuristics like P/Es, price to book and EBIT lead investors to oversimplify and  misunderstand companies. At times these commonly used heuristics fail to identify stocks that are  really cheap creating opportunities for informed value investors.

Channon used the homebuilder, Barratt, as an example of how heuristics can fail. Historic cost  accounting creates a distorted picture of homebuilders in a rapidly rising or falling housing market.  The financial crisis wiped out IFRS earnings and made book value different from cost or market  value. No earnings and an unfathomable book value left the market without its usual heuristics of P/  E and P/BV which in turn led to the stock becoming cheap.

Long Idea: Glaxosmithkline (LON: GSK)  

Channon noted that the orthodox view of big pharma is that pricing power is being lost due to  patents expiring and therefore companies deserve to trade on a lower multiple than they did in  years gone by. Channon argued that this was a faulty heuristic.

Phoenix’s research on the pharmaceutical industry indicates that the pharma industry is not  prone to creative destruction with open competition leading to lower prices, rationalisations and  bankruptcy. Instead Channon painted a picture of pharma as being a cosseted sector, with high  profitability, little cut throat competition and little change. The time horizons in pharmaceuticals  are very long. All the big companies are at least 90 years old. It is hard for new companies to break  into the large pharma sector. New products take 10-12 years to develop. Companies tend to keep a  stable market share over time.

Glaxo has kept a steady market share at 5% for 30 years. You get stability and high returns due to  industrial scale, not new drug development. Channon argued that patents are irrelevant to the long-  term investor. National health care spending is much more predictive of profitability than the drug  pipeline. Health care spending tends to go up over time as a proportion of GDP.

Channon likes the Glaxo management particularly the CEO Andrew Witty. He believes that Witty  has successfully changed the culture with the company becoming genuinely socially responsible. For  example, Glaxo is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, they are open with their drug  test data and they are making some drugs available for free in poorer countries.

Book Recommendation

Alfred Chandler’s Shaping the Industrial Century – Channon said the book  is a great introduction to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Simon Denison-Smith's Presentation at London Value Conference: Long Cisco Systems & J. Smart

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Simon Denison-Smith of Metropolis Value Fund.  He talked about his investment strategy and presented the long ideas of Cisco Systems (CSCO) and J. Smart.

Metropolis' Strategy

Denison-Smith’s investment strategy draws extensively on his experience of building and running  businesses. He has extensive experience of private company buyouts. Since inception in 2008  Metropolis Valuefund has returned 12% per annum.

He likes to buy unloved companies but he noted it was difficult to execute the strategy consistently  for a number of reasons. You need to be able hold your conviction when the market is selling off  hard. You need to be able to treat volatility as risk. It helps to think of investments as a fractional  stakes in a business. Avoid anchoring to an investment thesis as the facts change. Avoid over-  diversifying, 10-20 stocks are enough. You have to be able to cope with periods of inactivity.

Metropolis apply an entrepreneurial and private equity approach to long only investing. They screen  for cheap businesses and rule out most candidates using criteria such as sector, pension liability,  clarity of business and unfavourable ownership structure. They spend most of their time assessing  the quality of businesses carrying out analysis of multiple years of accounts, broker reports, web  based research, modelling cashflow and identifying risks. The favour the sum of discounted future  cashflows as a measure of value.

Denison-smith said that trying to fully understanding the bear case is an important part of their  process. As Chalie Munger says, always invert.

Idea: Long Cisco (CSCO)  

Since 1999 EPS has grown 13% pa. PE has fallen from a peak of 300x to 11-12x. EBITA margins  have remained within the range of 26-34%. It consistently generates positive operating cashflow  after interest and tax. Cashflow is consistently higher than reported profits. Today Cisco’s post tax  cashflow is only costs 7x. Free cashflow yield is 14%. Cisco has a moat in terms of scale, brands  and high switching costs. Denison-Smith noted that Cisco’s reputation for producing routers and  switches that are the safe and reliable option was particularly important. The most significant  threat to Cisco is that disruptive technology (SDN) and increased competition, particularly from  Huawei, will impact their high gross margins.

Idea: Long J. Smart (SMJ: LON)  

Denison-Smith billed J. Smart as an idea for personal accounts. J. Smart develop residential and  commercial property in Edinburgh. They also provide a range of construction services for external  and internal use. It is a family management team with 50% ownership and it is not covered by any  analysts. They are buying back shares and there is a dividend of 4%. The shares are illiquid. It’s  cheap in balance sheet and cashflow terms. The discount of enterprise value to net tangible book  value less cash is 65-70%. EV: post tax FCF of 7-8x. FCF yield of 12-14%.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Ian Lance & Nick Purves' Presentation at London Value Conference: Long Pfizer (PFE)

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speakers were Ian Lance and Nick Purves of RWC.  They presented the case for why value investing is hard in this market and one long idea: Pfizer (PFE).

Effectiveness of Value Investing in Today's Market

With the AUM of large value funds dwindling from its peak, Lance and Purves suggested that it was  time for a little humility and introspection amongst value investors.  They argued that the pace of technological change meant that value investors were often not well equipped to invest in technology companies as they tend to fixate on the accounts.

Another factor undermining the effectiveness of value investing in today’s market is that stock prices  do not mean revert as much as they used to. This means that doubling down on investments is  more risky. They speculated that globalisation prevents mean reversion and they gave the example  of the pressure that large US car makers have been put under by global competition.

They pointed out that the last 30 years have been very generous to investors and that the next 30  years may not be so kind. Were the last 30 years normal? Could the next 30 years be different? Has  anything changed permanently?

-  The discount rate has fallen dramatically   
-  Government deficit spending has been high
-  Household savings have fallen
-  Corporate profitability is at record levels
-  The aggressive actions of central banks have supported markets

Looking forward they feel the last 30 years was abnormal. The future could well be harsher. We  should look out for corporate lifecycles getting shorter. Investing in low valuation stocks may not  work so well. We will need to be more selective about our investments. Sustainability of cash flow  will be very important.

Long Idea: Pfizer (PFE)  

High ROCE, shareholder friendly management, cost reductions of $5bn p.a delivered over the last 3  years. Share buybacks $18bn since 2010. Improving pipeline. P/E 13x, dividend yield 3%.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Jeremy Hosking's Presentation at London Value Conference: Long AIG & US Airways

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Jeremy Hosking, an entrepreneur and fund manager.  He presented the long case on both AIG (AIG) and US Airways (LCC).

On Opportunities in Markets

The theme of Jeremy Hosking's presentation was how the money management industry can produce  opportunities for value investors. There is a limited amount of opportunity in markets and we are all  fighting over it, Hosking said. It helps to have someone making opportunity at the poker table and  that is a role often played by institutional asset managers. Institutional funds cause:

-  Agent principal damage via high fees
-  Diseconomies of scale. The bigger the pool of assets the harder to outperform
-  Product proliferation (often at the top of the market)
-  Herding by fund managers is a disservice to the client

Herding by fund managers takes many forms: short termism, inside asset classes (“better to fail  conventionally”), volatility avoidance, excessive information processing, preference for high liquidity stocks, too much investment in mega cap stocks, high fees.

And while Hosking talked about herding, it is slightly ironic that he then went on to pitch AIG.  While the bull case on the company makes sense, it is held by many prominent US hedge funds as a top long and could be considered a 'herding' pick in and of itself.  But to be fair, perhaps it's not a consensus long over in the UK.  

Idea: Long AIG (AIG: NYSE)  

Cheap at 0.6x book. Cyclical improvement in underwriting. Sale of non-core assets nearly always  helps the share price. $5bn per annum in share buybacks. 30% reduction in share count between  2011-15. Use of data mining/ analytics will improve product mix and growth rate.

Idea: Long US Airways (LCC: NYSE)  

Industrial consolidation leaves US Airways as one of the big three. Operating cost compression  reinforces oligopoly. Shares to merge into New American on 1-for-1 basis Q3 2013. Post merger  EBITDAR of $8.3bn produces EV target of $50bn (6x multiple) or $50 per share target after net  debt.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.

Richard Titherington's Presentation at London Value Conference: Emerging Market Opportunities

Continuing our notes from the London Value Investor Conference 2013, the next speaker is Richard Titherington of JP Morgan.  He presented on which emerging markets were the most compelling as investments these days.

Emerging Markets Opportunities

Richard Titherington is the Head of the JP Morgan Emerging Markets Equity Team based in London.  In terms of price to book General Emerging Markets (GEM) is cheap but not at crisis levels. Because  corporate governance is shareholder unfriendly in many emerging markets, GEM may not actually  be that cheap. For example, many Indian and South Korean companies do not pay dividends.

Titherington likes China, Korea and Russia. He said that China is in the sweet spot, having both good  value and momentum. His main message was to buy what is cheap and unpopular and to sell what  is expensive and popular. Thailand and Indonesia are particularly expensive whilst Chinese financials  offer significant value.

Be sure to check out other investor presentations: notes from the 2013 London Value Investor Conference.