Finding a company with a competitive advantage means finding an investment that will offer solid returns for decades to come. What identifies a company with a strong competitive advantage? Some results may surprise you. [click to continue…]
9 Signs of a Competitive Advantage (#9 is One of Buffett’s Favorites to Look For!)
What Stocks Would Ben Graham Buy Today? Q2 2017
Analyze A Common Size Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Other Financial Statements – Common Size Analysis (Now Updated)
What is the Difference Between a Common Size Balance Sheet and a Regular Balance Sheet?
Common Size Analysis of Financial Statements involves looking at the numbers on the financial statement as a percentage of a total rather than their absolute value. Typically investors will look at a company’s common size balance sheet and common size income statement.
This is helpful when not only looking at a single company’s financial statements, but also comparing multiple business of different sizes at one time. Let’s take a look at an example of a normal balance sheet and a common size balance sheet for several companies:
Ben Graham Screens – Which Companies Pass the Test Today? – 4th Quarter 2016
This is a continuation of our “Ben Graham Value Screens” series, where we look at investment opportunities based on the criteria that Ben Graham used and that is outlined in his (excellent) biography, The Einstein of Money.
Here we present the results from 2 different screens. Ben Graham’s “Defensive Investor” screen and “Enterprising Investor” screen. [click to continue…]
Ben Graham Value Screens – Which Companies Pass the Test Today? April 2016
Looking for potential investments? With thousands of stocks to research, getting started can seem a bit overwhelming. Here are a couple screens (and the companies that made it through) using sets of criteria utilized by the “Dean of Wall Street” and “Godfather of Value Investing”, Ben Graham.
The significance of Ben Graham’s Wall Street career cannot be overstated. His investment partnership averaged 17% annual returns over its existence. He created and mentored some of the most successful investors ever to live and has been responsible for the education of more investors than almost anyone with his 2 best-selling investment books, The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis. He had a very disciplined, rule-based approach to investing that focused on only one thing: A company’s intrinsic value.
The following comes from the book, “Einstein of Money”, a great biography of Ben Graham that is also focused on his investment work. Every other chapter breaks from the life story of Graham to detail a main concept in his investment philosophy. Whether it is his concept of Margin of Safety, Fundamental Analysis or advice on dealing with “Mr. Market”, the author does a great job mixing in the life of Benjamin Graham and the ideas behind his work. [click to continue…]
Evaluating Financial Statements – Statement of Shareholder Equity
We have previously discussed the more well known financial statements; the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows, but there is one additional financial statement you will see listed within every company’s 10-k report, the statement of shareholder equity. Value investors like Warren Buffett consider information within this report as some of the most important and telling signs of a company’s health. Here is why:
Shareholder Equity – What is it?
Recall the most basic equation in finance:
Or, said another way:
Shareholder Equity = Assets – Liabilities
So really, shareholder equity should be considered the net worth of the company, or what the company is worth if all its assets were sold and debts settled.
The Statement of Shareholder Equity depicts the value of the company and describes where that value comes from and how it has changed over time for investors. [click to continue…]
Financial Friday: Leverage – What is it? How is it Calculated? And How it Destroyed One of America’s Largest Businesses in Days.
Leverage has been responsible for some of the most glamorous gains and disastrous declines in the financial world. Here we look at what leverage is, and show an example of its devastating potential.
What is Leverage?
Leverage is typically defined as your “exposure” relative to “actual capital”.
Where exposure is the value of your holdings, and actual capital is money paid or invested by you. The additional “exposure” comes from borrowed money, and this is why being “leveraged up” can be so dangerous.
In the most general terms, leverage is:
The most common form of leverage that consumers are familiar with deals with mortgages. Consider a family looking to purchase a $500,000 house. They likely cannot afford to write a $500,000 check. They will most likely go to a bank and put, say, $100,000 down and take out a mortgage for the remaining $400,000.
Here the family’s “exposure” is $500,000, the actual value of their house, but their “actual capital” is just the $100,000 they put down. [click to continue…]
Breaking Down a Company’s Asset Growth With Analysis of the Changes in its Balance Sheet
Generally, increasing assets are a sign that the company is growing, but everyone can relate to the fact that there is much more behind the scenes than just looking at the assets. The goal is to determine how the asset growth of a company is financed.
To do so all we need is the last few years of a company’s balance sheet and the most basic financial statement equation:
The assets of a company are what the company owns. Typical examples of assets are; equipment to make a product, buildings owned, raw materials to create a product, inventory of the product to sell and cash in the bank.
Think of your household. Your car, your home, your furniture, TVs, Computers, bank accounts etc.
Generally, increasing assets are a sign that the company is growing, but everyone can relate to the fact that there is much more behind the scenes than just looking at the assets. Back to our household example:
Imagine watching a neighbor pull a sparkling brand new BMW into their driveway, getting out dressed in his fancy Italian suit, talking on the latest smartphone, and coming over to ask if you can watch his house for 2 weeks while he travels to sail in the Caribbean. You may think he is making it big, right? Maybe he got a big bonus from work, or a promotion…
That may very well be the case, or he may be racking up debt (liabilities) to finance these assets.
You may never find out which option applies to your neighbor, but thankfully the SEC requires publicly traded companies to be a little more transparent with their financials than your neighbors. [click to continue…]
Want to Invest Like Buffett? Here is how you can see what he is buying
The SEC requires that investment managers with more than $100 million in assets file a 13-F form, disclosing their holdings each quarter. Here’s how you can use it to invest like your favorite famous investors.
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Evaluating Financial Statements – Cash Flow Statement
The first step in finding potential investment opportunities is to be able to go through and evaluate a company’s financial reports. In this article we evaluate the Cash Flow Statement, one of the most useful of the three financial statements.
Evaluating Financial Statements – The Income Report
The first step in finding potential investment opportunities is to be able to go through and evaluate a company’s financial report. In this article we evaluate the Income Report and show how investors can use the information within the income report to uncover potential value.
Evaluating Financial Statements – The Balance Sheet
The first step in finding potential investment opportunities is to be able to go through and evaluate a company’s financial report. In this article we evaluate the Balance Sheet.