Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) Valuation

Berkshire Hathaway probably needs no introduction. It is one of the largest conglomerates in the world, and a holding company / investment vehicle for Warren Buffett, arguably the most famous investor of all-time. It is also a favorite holding of "value" investors, whose devotions to Buffett's philosophies sometimes border on the…

2019 Performance Review

In 2019, my portfolio returned 11.59%* and the S&P 500 index returned 31.49%. Underperformance relative to the index was driven by: a relatively concentrated portfolio (7 holdings, on average); poor short-term performance of a few key stocks, detailed below; and substantial cash holdings that ended the…

Baidu (BIDU): Q3 2019 Valuation Update

Quick take on Baidu's (BIDU) Q3 2019 results, which were reported yesterday. Key business takeaways for me were: Baidu Core, which includes Search (and basically everything other than IQIYI) performed better than expectations. Likely, modest declines in Search are being offset by strong growth in Smart Speakers / Displays and Cloud.…

Unknown unknowns

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there…

NOK: Thoughts on Q3 2019 Earnings

NOK reported Q3 2019 results today, and the stock is experiencing a spectacular one day drop for a large, mature company (-23.53%). Q3 results were actually inline, but the following actions have indicated a significant, material decline in the business: Dividend has been paused due to poor cash position…

Diner Beware

One of my friends recently recommended a great interview with a relatively unknown European value investor named Anthony Deden. Deden is highly skeptical of management, financial reports, ratings agencies, governments and the press. He seems to operate under the premise that everyone is lying and likens investing to "going to…

Investing Principles: Valuation

I believe that a good investment starts with proper valuation. This should be an uncontroversial statement (how do you know whether or not something is a good deal if you don't know how much it is intrinsically worth?), but from my experience most people don't seem to think this way.…

Baidu (BIDU): Valuation Update

It's been an eventful few months for Baidu's stock since my initial writeup on March 13th: The stock price was hammered due to fears of 1) "core" business (search) growth declining 2) general China macroeconomic weakness, which is impacting advertising spend and 3) trade talks between the USA and China…

Investing Principles: Owner Mentality

During the past year and a half, I feel like I've gained enough experience (mainly through making mistakes) to begin formulating a set of personal "investing principles". It's one thing to read generic aphorisms about investing in theory ("be greedy when others are fearful"), but quite another to execute on…

The Halo Effect

I recently finished reading an interesting book called The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig. The premise is straightforward but powerful: most of the things that people think contribute to company performance are actually attributions based on performance. An example makes this distinction intuitively clearer: Barry Staw, then at the University…