Ben Graham Value Screens Image


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…]


This Day in History

1915 – Bethlehem Steel vaults from $88 to $117 per share, part of a 10 day rise that would see its share price rise 70 points. The World War 1 boom is underway. (Source: It Was A Very Good Year)


Best April 9th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1938 – Up 5.25%, +5.75 points


Worst April 9th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1943 – Down 3.17%, -4.30 points


Best April 9th in S&P 500 History

2009 – Up 3.81%


Worst April 9th in S&P 500 History

1987 – Down 1.48%



This Day in History


April 8th, 1940 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at 151.29, which would come to represent the market’s peak prior to World War 2. The Dow Jones Industiral Average would hit a WW2 low of 92.92 on April 28th 1942. The Dow would not close above 151.29 until December 29th 1944. (Source: The Market’s Measure)


Best April 8th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1938 – Up 3.93%, +4.14 points


Worst April 8th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1932 – Down 4.98%, -3.30 points


Best April 8th in S&P 500 History

1986 – Up 2.14%


Worst April 8th in S&P 500 History

1996 – Down 1.77%



Quote of the Day

“I went down to the street and found the financial district so quiet it seemed like a ghost town. Many brokerage firms had closed down; the rest functioned with skeleton staffs. Just before the opening bell at 10am I entered the board room of one of the leading firms founded by members of one of America’s ‘Sixty Families’. A younger scion of that family, whom I had known for some years, was now managing partner of the firm. He greeted me good-humoredly as an ‘early bird’. In a spacious room that could have held a hundred or more persons, I saw only two or three gloomy customers, who watched the opening in silence. I had brought with me some government bonds…and asked the broker to sell…The broker looked at me as if I were quite a brave fellow.”

-Matthew Josephson on the re-opening of the New York Stock Exchange on March 15, 1933. (Source: Eyewitness to Wall Street)


This Day in History


1933 – The New York Stock Exchange reopens after being closed since March 3rd. The reopening of trading releases pent up demand after the country has been comforted by FDR in his first ‘fireside chat’ and new banking legislation (The Emergency Banking Act). The Dow Jones Industrial Average rockets up 15.34%, still standing as the largest 1-day percentage gain in stock market history. This rally would continue and produce the best year in stock market history. (Sources: Eyewitness to Wall Street, It Was a Very Good Year)


1915 – The World War 1 bull market starts a major leg up. Over the course of the next 30 days, stocks rise 19% (Source: Manias, Panics, Crashes) [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

“Believe me, there are eternal investment principles, and technology doesn’t alter them: Time is your friend. Impulse is your enemy. Buy right and hold tight. Cost matters. If you aren’t sure, diversify. Invest for the long-term. Stay the course.”

John C. Bogle , “Reinventing Mutual Funds,” speech, June 11, 2001,

Also be sure to look in our links at the bottom of this post for an interview with Mr. Bogle and Barry Ritholtz published this weekend.


This Day in History


1907 – For the second day in a row, stocks fall sharply as stock market fundamentals degrade, eventually leading to the panic of 1907 in October. The decline is lead by railroads, the Dow Jones Railroad index falls from 107.52 to 99.71 (and was at 112.53 just 2 days prior). Dow Jones Industiral Average has also fallen sharply over the same period, down 12% over the last 2 days. (source: It was a very good year)


Best March 14th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1898 – Up 3.33% or 1.05 points


Worst March 14th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1907 – Down 8.29% or 5.04 points


Best March 14th in S&P 500 History

1986 – Up 1.44%


Worst March 14th in S&P 500 History

2001 – Down 2.58%


Chart of the Day

Dow Jones Industrial Average around the Panic of 1907: [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

“By the end of the first day of trading, some 2.5 million shares had changed hands, and the price of Microsoft’s stock stood at $27.75. The opportunity to take a quick profit was too great for many institutional investors to resist. Over the next few weeks they sold off roughly half their shares.” – Fortune on the Microsoft IPO

After making a quick 40%, almost half of the original shares purchased at the IPO were sold. Over the next 30 years Microsoft stock would rise another 75,000%!


This Day in History


1907 – The Panic of 1907 is still a few months away, but cracks are appearing in the confidence investors have in American companies. Stocks break lower, led by the once coveted railroads. The Dow Railroad index falls from 112.53 to 107.52. (Source: It was a very good year)

1986 – Microsoft Corp (Ticker: MSFT) goes public with an initial offering price of $21 per share ($0.07 today adjusted for splits and dividends). Every $100 invested at its IPO is worth a little more than $75,000.


Best March 13th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

2003 – Up 3.57% or 269.68 points


Worst March 13th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1907 – Down 3.94% or 2.48 points


Best March 13th in S&P 500 History

2003 – Up 3.45%, 27.71 points


Worst March 13th in S&P 500 History

2007 – Down 2.04%


Picture of the Day




Bill Gates was on the cover of Fortune Magazine after the successful IPO of Microsoft. The original article published July 21st 1986 can be found here.

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This Day in History

March 6th, 1933 – The banking crisis that has plagued various states now effects the whole nation. At 1am, Monday March 6th, Franklin Denanor Roosevelt closes every bank in the nation in a shutdown that was planned to last 4 days, along with banning the export of gold and all foreign exchange transactions.  The next couple weeks would become many of FDR’s defining moments preventing the nation’s banking system collapse in the great depression. Banks nationwide would remain closed until at least March 13th. (Source: It was a Very Good Year)


Best March 6th in S&P 500 History:

 1998 – Up 1.99%


Worst March 6th in S&P 500 History:

1980 – Down 2.23%


Best March 6th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

 1902 – Up 1.83% or 0.87 points.


Worst March 6th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

1931 – Down 2.69% or 4.96 points.




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This Day in History – March 4th


March 4th, 1957 – The S&P 500 index is introduced. Although Standard and Poors introduced its first stock index in 1923, today marks the anniversary of the S&P 500 index as we know it today. It closed the day at 44.06.


Best March 4th in S&P 500 History:

 2009 – Up 2.38%


Worst March 4th in S&P 500 History:

 2003 – Down 1.54%


Best March 4th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

1926 – Up 4.38 %, or 6.32 points


Worst March 4th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

 1897 – Down 1.88% or .57 points




Chart of the Day

The S&P 500 since its creation in 1957:



Since March 4th 1957 the S&P 500 has returned 4424%, not counting dividends.

Or,  a compounded annual growth rate of 6.67%, not counting dividends. [click to continue…]


For any fans of stock market history, the next couple weeks marks some significant anniversaries for the 1933 banking crisis. Today’s event starts a series of events that would bring on nationwide banking holidays, a presidential radio address, landmark legislation and use of government power. Check back daily as we highlight these events in our “Today in Stock Market History” series.

Quote of the Day

“When the two largest banks of the fourth largest city of the United States closed their doors in the last week of February 1933, tying up half a billion dollars of depositors’ money, there seemed to be only one thing for the people of Detroit to do, and they did it.

They laughed.”

– W.K. Kelsey in an article in Barron’s – 1936

This Day in History:

March 3rd, 1933: The NYSE shuts down at close as the banking crisis sweeps the nation. [click to continue…]


CNBC had Warren Buffett on this morning (The first business day after his latest Letter to Shareholders), and he did not disappoint. Here was one of my favorite clips I saw:


Warren Buffett’s 5 tips for long term investors (Quotes below):


[click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

”I’ve thought the whole thing over, and if we are going bust, we will go bust big.”

– Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel on his plan to build a new steel mill to produce steel beams in the shape on an “H”. The design would later turn into the “I” Beam.

Hence, the company’s logo:Bethlehem_Steel_logo


This Day in Stock Market History


Charles_SchwabFebruary 18th 1862 – Birthday of Charles M. Schwab (2/18/1862 – 9/18/1939)
American entrepreneur who started his career with Carnegie’s steelworks and who later pioneered Bethlehem Steel. ( He is unrelated to the Charles W Schwab of the brokerage today.)

The company would become a major name on Wall Street as WW1 and WW2 produced massive steel orders. One such run up is featured in the book “It Was a Very Good Year” in which the price of Bethlehem steel shot up over 70 points in 10 days, and rising from 88 to 117 on April 9th.


With his leadership Bethlehem steel would become the second largest steel company in the world, and his idea of the “H” Beam would revolutionize the building of skyscrapers.

He would amass a wealth of nearly a billion dollars (adjusted for inflation), before dying in debt in 1939. He was an avid gambler, was known for his extravagant parties and extra-marital affairs.

A great, short biography of Schwab is available here.




Best February 18th in S&P 500 History:

2003 – Up 1.95% or 16.28 points

  [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

Once in the dear dead days beyond recall, an out-of-town visitor was being shown the wonders of the New York Financial District. When the party arrived at the battery, one of his guides indicated some handsome ships riding at anchor. He said,

“Look, those are the bankers’ and brokers’ yachts.”


“Where are the customer’s yachts?” asked the naive visitor.

-Opening to Where are the Customers’ Yachts by Fred Schwed



This Day in History

1977 – Blue Chip Stamps, with Charlie Munger as chairman and Warren Buffett as principal shareholder purchases the Buffalo Evening Newspaper – Entering Buffett into the newspaper business.

Buffett and Munger paid $35.5 million for the paper, which was their biggest purchase ever at that time. The history of Buffett and the Buffalo Evening Newspaper is an interesting one – it takes up a whole chapter in Alice Schroeder’s biography on Buffett: The Snowball

Initially, the paper was the most read local paper in Buffalo, but after a court case and managerial trouble, the newspaper began to quickly lose money, $1.4 million by November 1977. But things would slowly turn around and by 1983 the paper was making more than $19 million a year.


2000 – Total trading volume for the day on NASDAQ tops 2 billion shares for the first time, as 2,008,438,100 shares change hands and the NASDAQ Composite Index closes above 4500 for the first time, finishing the day at 4548.92.


Best February 17th in S&P 500 History:

1987 – up 2.07%


Worst February 17th in S&P 500 History:

2009 – down 4.56%


Best  February 17th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

1987 – up 2.48%, or 54.14 points


Worst February 17th in Dow Jones Industrials History:

 1932 – down 4.09%, or 3.51 points




Picture of the Day [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day


“Value is destroyed, not created, by any business that loses money over its lifetime.”

– Warren Buffett in 2001 in response to the tech bubble collapse. 


This Day in History

Best February 15th in S&P 500 History:

1974 – S&P 500 up 1.45%

Worst February 15th in S&P 500 History:

1980 – S&P 500 down 1.12%



1990 – Cisco System Inc. (Ticker: CSCO) has its initial public offering at $18 per share, or about 0.06 split and dividend adjusted today! By the peak of the tech bubble Cisco stock rose over 95,000% from its IPO price and on March 25th,  2000 Cisco passed Microsoft to become the most valuable public company in the world, with a market cap of $579 Billion.

In the midst of the tech bubble Cisco’s share price reached as high as $82. Immediately after the tech bubble burst shares fell as low as $10. Shares have never recovered their tech bubble highs.

Today Cisco has a market cap of $127 billion with shares around the mid 20’s.


Chart of the Day

Even buy and hold has its limitations when you buy at astronomical prices. Cisco is still a long ways off from its highs 16 years ago:





Quote of the Day:

Buffett on Romance:


This Day in History:


Best February 14th in S&P 500 History:
  • Year 2003 – S&P 500 up 17.52 points, or 2.14%
Worst February 14th in S&P 500 History:
  • Year 1980, S&P 500 down 1.45%


1933 –
At 1:32 AM on a Tuesday morning, Governor William Comstock of Michigan declares a 8 day banking holiday as Michigan banks struggle to remain open. In the midst of the great depression banks nationwide were stressed, but Michigan was hit particularly hard by the great depression. After failed negotiations with Henry Ford for help, the governor was forced to declare a banking holiday to prevent defaults. However the banks would not open in just 8 days. Banks in many other states were not in any better condition than those in Michigan. By early March, 36 states had banking operations suspended.

Then on March 6th, just 36 hours after being sworn into office, President Roosevelt declared a week long national bank holiday. Over the next week panic would subdue and with the help of legislation from congress, the worst of the bank runs would be over.


Image of the Day [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

“If owning stocks is a long-term project for you, following their changes constantly is a very, very bad idea. Its the worst possible thing you can do, because people are so sensitive to short-term losses. If you count your money every day, you’ll be miserable.”

—-Daniel Kahneman, Princeton professor of psychology, in Jason Zweig, Do You Sabotage Yourself? Money Magazine, May, 2001, p. 78. Also author of Thinking Fast and Slow


This Day in History

February 11th, 2000 – IPO at $11 per share.It would reach as high as $14 per share before its collapse: chart become symbolic of the mania involved with the dot-com boom of the late 90s and early 2000.

What was there possibly to like about Not much. In its first 11 months, lost an equivalent of $42.42 per share:


By November 6th 2000 gone – just 268 days after its IPO. [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day

“Men, it has been said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one” – Charles Mackay author of “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds



This Day in History

1637 Holland – The tulip market suddenly crashes. Within a day there are no buyers for tulips at any price, after just reaching prices as high as 6,000 Guilders for a single bulb. (At the time, the average annual wage is between 200-400 Guilders and a typical small town house sold for about 300 Guilders.) By May of 1638 contracts were annulled for 3.5 cents on the dollar, a drop of 96.5%. (Source: Devil take the Hindmost)



Chart of the Day

What would be today’s value of that 6,000 Guilder investment in 1637, if it was instead put in an investment yielding just 5%?

[click to continue…]


Quote of the Day



For the truly long-term investor, the results of a prolonged bear or bull market may very well prove of little consequence or may even produce surprisingly paradoxical results…. If you’re a twenty-something just beginning to save, then get down on your knees and pray for a market crash.

–William J. Bernstein, The Intelligent Asset Allocator [click to continue…]


Quote of the Day – Charlie Munger on the “surfing business model”
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shareasimage - great ceos

I first heard of the book “The Outsiders” in Berkshire Hathaway’s 2012 letter to shareholders. And who is going to ignore a book that Buffett calls “outstanding!”?


The book goes in detail on 8 different CEOs who excelled at creating exceptional long term returns for shareholders. In fact, the average returns of these companies’ shares outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 20 – every $10,000 invested in these companies was worth $1.5 million twenty five years later.


What’s their secret? And how can we use those lessons to find today’s great CEOs?

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