BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “CONTRARIANISM”

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Many investors are following the trend for making their investment decision but for becoming a superior investor, we need to think in an oppositely.

As we have seen that for becoming superior investors, we need to develop a skill of second level thinking. Second level thinking provides us an opportunities to generate above-normal returns and also protect us from the loss of capital. We need to think against the crowd because crowd generally operates at the basic level of thinking rather than the second level of thinking.

If we engaged in doing what others are doing then we also get what others are getting. So for getting superior from others, we need to think differently.

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When we are joining the herd then following the herd can be dangerous to our financial health. When people are highly optimistic then prices started moving upward, top-level starts to form. And when people are panicky selling then prices started to go down, bottom starts get the form.

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It seems much easier while we are understanding the concept but it is a much difficult task while we put it into the action.

1) We never come to know that how far pendulum will swing, when it will be reversed and how far it will swing to the opposite direction.

When pendulum starts moving towards an extreme then we are not able to know the extract extreme point and from where it will start reversing. Overpriced stock can become more overpriced and cheaper can become cheaper.

2) We can be only sure about the reaching of the pendulum to the extreme level. We can just make an estimation that pendulum will reach an extreme, reversed it to mid-point and move towards opposite direction where it will reach to another extreme point.

3) There are many points which can influence the market behavior, many reasons which make pendulum to swing and not anyone strategy which is always able to generate a higher returns.

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There are many examples where we can able to see the overpriced situations but we cannot be sure that such situations will reverse from tomorrow and starts going down. It can remain more overpriced and can keep on staying to the same situations for over a period of time.

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Cheap

We can able to see that expensive stock remains expensive for the longer period of time and cheaper get cheaper over a period of time.

Also, we cannot always go and make a decision to do the opposite of what everyone is doing. We cannot start walking backside as everyone is walking towards the front side. Just doing opposite of what everyone is doing, does not provide us profit-making opportunities. We need to analyse and make a logical reasoning then reach to the conclusion that we should go opposite or not.

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If we just do opposite of what others are doing without doing proper homework then also we can able to lose our financial wealth. So that it is not only to take contrarian decision is enough but with it, proper homework is also required.

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If some assets are temporary getting hate by people & with our proper homework then making a contrarian decision on it help us to generate an above-normal returns.

If everyone like some idea than probably it has done well or doing well. And if everyone is liking some ideas then prices reflect those liking. So much risk involves when crowd changes their mind.  Price can fall significantly due to change in the mind of the crowd; which is harmful to our financial health.

We can able to create above average returns when we can able to buy an investment at the substantial discount. And the discount is available only when the major crowd is not liking it, not at where everyone is liking it.

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For the protecting our financial health, we require having a skeptical mindset. When we skeptically analyze any situations then we will not fall in trap with the crowd. We have to always keep in mind that what can happen and what is the probability of occurrence of those events.

When a crisis happens than actually, we can able to see & believe in the negative side of the market. But we have to skeptically think regarding the negative side when positive waves going on. We always need to think that what can go wrong while everything is going in a good way.

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If we believe in the story prevails among the market then we will definitely do what others are doing. We will tend to buy an investment at a high price with expectations of generating higher returns. We keep on buying overpriced securities with an expectation of another great fool will buy it from us. But we always need to keep in mind that while we are buying overpriced assets then we are only the great fool, no one else.

We will buy things which doing well and sell which performing poorly. Such actions resulted towards the losses during the crisis time, also we might not able to take benefits when things recover from the bottom. We remain followers not able to become contrarian.

We need to be skeptical enough for identifying the aspects that which is good for creating wealth and what is not good for it.

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If we keep on follow the herd then we will not get a chance to evaluate situation skeptically and we will lose while the optimistic situation turnout as a pessimistic situation.

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BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “Combating Negative Influences”

In this article, I am going to discuss regarding the psychological factors which affect our decisions negatively.

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Market many times provide us an opportunities to earn superior performance through inefficiencies, mispricing, misperception, mistakes of other people.

But the question is why such opportunities come? What makes us different from other people? Why mistakes do occurs?

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We need to analyze data and reach the conclusion. In investing errors occurs not due to analytical factors but errors mainly come from psychological factors.

Let’s look at the few psychological elements which affecting the investment decisions.

First emotion is GREED – Desire for money.

Most of us are making an investment for making more money. If we don’t care about the making more money than we are not going to make an investment.
And also there is nothing wrong with trying to make money. The market and economy run because of our desire to make money. But we should remain careful with a transformation of desire towards greed.

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Real estate

Real estate sector in India in the year 2007-08 creates a bubble and huge jump in the optimism by everyone. Such situation resulted under the sharp fall in the value of the sector.

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Due to an impact of greed, people hope that their strategies help them to produce higher returns without taking higher risk for forever. And due to this hope, many times people hold highly priced securities with expectations of more appreciation can be possible. Many times such expectations went wrong and prove that expectations were unrealistic and people have ignored the risk.

Opposite of Greed is FEAR. As similar to the greed, excess fear is also harmful to the investors. Excess of fear stops us from taking a constructive decision while actually, we require taking such decisions. Due to fear, many a time we cannot able to make a good investment and also lose the opportunity.

The third factor is PEOPLE’S TENDENCY TO DISMISS LOGIC.
Generally, it happens that people stop using logical thinking and they start doing work with an irrational mindset. Many a time, we are not ready to accept logical reasoning for the situations and work as per unrealistic scenario. We do not apply what we have learned in the past but get easily deviate from those learning.

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When market or a particular strategy starts generating higher returns for a while, then we started believing that it will continuously generate such returns without an involvement of risk.

Howard Marks called such situations as “Silver bullet”, the Holy Grail.

But is it really same strategy keeps on generating higher returns without risk?

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As Warren Buffett mentioned, when prices started rising then it affects to the reasoning power of the people. It led to mania and situations of mania results towards the bubble.

The fourth factor is THE TENDENCY TO CONFORM TO THE VIEW OF THE HERD RATHER THAN RESIST.

Many a time, we started Believing to the crowd and starts to take an action as per the crowd behavior. Though behavior of the crowd is harmful and dangerous to us.

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The fifth factor is ENVY. Envy comes into the picture when we are comparing ourselves with others. And envy works as a negative force which affects our decisions.

When we see that our investment is growing then we remain happy. But the time we start comparing our investment returns with investment returns of others then we become sad. Now, envy starts showing its color and we make decisions which we may not take or which may be harmful to the financial health.

It is very difficult to see the higher growth of other compared to our growth.

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The sixth factor is EGO. Ego gets satisfaction while we generated higher returns compared to others. And we are keeps on evaluating our return in the short term. While we should focus on the longer horizon returns rather than keeps on tracking returns in the short term and also try to get out of the trap of ego. Ego can be harmful to the financial health. We keep on demonstrates that how much we know much compared to others rather than focusing on how much we know and how much we do not know.

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The seventh factor is the CAPITULATION. It means investors give up towards the situations while economic and psychological pressure becomes irresistible.

Many a time, overpriced assets become more overpriced, and underpriced assets become more and cheaper. This scenario affects to the psychology of investors and repetitions of such situations inspired investors to give up towards the situations and make investment decisions without using logical reasoning.

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When few or all the factors combined then it affects to the investor’s decision making and that affects the market. This resulted in the mistakes and those can be expensive for our financial health.

Psychology in IPO is funny. When our friend is applying to IPO and we asked for the business then he doesn’t know about the business. But he is applying for getting good returns. And he continuously getting higher returns and such higher returns earned by our friend attracts us to make an investment into the IPO. And such situations keep on repeating & more people get involved into the IPOs.

IPOs

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Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “AWARENESS OF THE PENDULUM”

In the previous article, we have seen that everything moves in a cycle. And if we cannot able to understand the cycle, then we must pay for it. In this article, I am going to discuss on moments of the pendulum and how we can take benefits of its moments.

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We have seen pendulum and its moments. Generally, pendulums do not always remain to the extremes, majority time pendulum stays near to its main point. And whenever pendulum moves towards its extreme then again it will come back towards either extreme. The force of the swing of the pendulum itself responsible for its reversal.

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Generally, our behavior towards the situation is responsible for the swing of the pendulum towards extremes and also responsible for coming back towards its mean point. Investors see the situation with either greed or fear and reach to the conclusion. When people are greedy, they become more optimistic toward the situation and they want to pay any premium for getting that situation favorable. Vice-versa, when people feel fear, then they are not ready to buy the stock at the cheapest value.

Excess greed creates risk taking behavior and excess fear creates a risk aversion among the people.

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As there are two major risks in investing – 1) Risk of losing our capital and, 2) Risk of losing opportunities. But when pendulum moves towards the extreme end, then one of the above risks will dominate our investment decisions.

When pendulum at extreme bullish situation then

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And when the pendulum nears to the extreme bearish situation then

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When things happen in a good manner, then people become more greedy and confident about the situations which bring optimism towards the particular situations. People forget the involvement of risk and ready to pay anything for getting the assets. Vice-versa when things not happening in a good manner, then people are more fearful towards the situations and realize the inherent risk. Such situations bring bargains for the assets.

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Sugar prices

Sugar stocks

We can able to see that when prices of sugar were low, people not ready to make an investment in the sector, etc. at such situations provide us a bargain opportunities and when things start getting well, we can able to make a good return. Vice-versa when everyone knows about the story, then that story is there in the price. We cannot able to make an abnormal return or chances are high to lose of our capital.

Wise people recognize the bargain first, then others will follow them and run behind the assets for buying it at any premium price.

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We have seen three phases of the bull market. As similar to it, the bear market also has three phases.

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When everyone fears with the negative news, events and they start thinking that such worst situations remain forever. Major bottom occurs over such situations. When everyone forgets that tide can again come in and such situations provide us a bargain opportunity. Vice-versa when everyone thinks that good time never going to end and they can generate higher returns easily, people forget that tide can go out then major top gets formed.

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Those people who understand swing of the pendulum then they have protected their capital as well as made the huge return during the year 2009 and year 2014.

When everyone fears from the situations and think such worst remain forever. When such situations arise then the person who analyses and conclude that things can go better he can generate a better return with lower risk. Vice-versa when everyone thinks that things remain better forever than that is a period of painful losses.

The pendulum never continues to swing towards an extreme, it will be reversed from extreme. Extreme swing of the pendulum is itself responsible for the swing towards the opposite direction of the pendulum.

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Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

 

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “BEING ATTENTIVE TO CYCLES”

In this article, I am going to discuss on cycles and reasons for the occurrence of the cycle. For becoming a successful investor, we need to understand cyclicity of the market, earnings, business, etc., then only we can able to protect ourselves from the destruction of our wealth as well as we can able to grow our wealth.

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We as a human also born, grow up and die. These cycles keep on continue. And like that company also came into existence, grow up and once it will close or might get some revolution.

(Click here for human life cycle – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdprpVCIhu0)

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As like our life, Economy, businesses, products, earnings of businesses, etc. also rise and fall. It also moves in a cycle. Many a time people forget that everything moves in a cycle and that situation provides us an opportunity for protecting and creating a wealth. We should always keep in mind that nothing in the world keeps on rising in a straightway. It will rise to an extreme level and falls to an extreme level.

NMDC

The margin of the company increases when the price of the iron ore increases and margin fall with the fall in the price of the iron ore. We must have to understand the cycle for protecting our wealth.

The main reason for the cyclical behavior of the economy is human involvement. Human nature is not mechanical but humans are emotional and inconsistent. Many a time Humans take the decision based on their feelings, emotions which itself cyclical in nature.

When we feel good, we remain optimistic about the situations and reverse when we feel bad then remain pessimistic about the situations. Our psychological involvement pushes cycle to the extreme points and after that extreme point, cycle corrects itself to the reverse direction and then again come to the mean value.

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If we see carefully, then we can able to understand that more worst loan given at a good time rather at the bad time. Because people forget the cyclical nature of the economy, industries, businesses, etc. also the credit available at cheaper rate. And additionally, people break discipline. They start to borrow extensively which will be resulted into the burst of the credit cycle.

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Credit cycle –

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When we are happy then we might get happier for some period and then our mood turns to the sad and vice-versa. Our mood also keeps on fluctuating and that turns out to be our happiness or sadness. Sometimes we become extremely happy or sad, but that situation does not remain similar for forever. It will change, it will get normalized.

So, if the cycle is in a good phase, then it might be remaining more good for the period and then correct for the bad phase and vice-versa. It will not remain good or bad for forever. It will come to the mean value at some point in time.

The cycle only stops occurring while people take all decisions by being unemotional and rational. But it is not always happening and such human decisions which will be resulted in the cyclical behavior of the market /economy. And this is only the major reason for keeps on occurring cycles.

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B Cyl 01

High profit into the business attracts the competition. This competition will turn high-profit margin into the low-profit margin. And business will fall into the problem. Many players get close and get out of the business. Consolidation of among the players will happen and few players survived in the business. Those survived players will again be getting a good amount of business and the again cycle starts moving. No business keeps on growing for forever with the same pace of growth.

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The growth of Indian IT is falling compared to initial days. Also, players among the industry and startup are rising rapidly.

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We always need to keep in mind that everything moves in a cycle and when we forget it, we will be at the risk of losing our capital.

Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

 

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “CONTROLLING RISK”

In the last article, we have talked about the identifying risk and recognizing risk. Now, in the current article, we discuss regarding controlling the risk. Generally, in the market, we put much emphasis on the higher absolute return instead of superior risk-adjusted return. But the great investors are those who focus on the risk and generate moderate returns with low risk or high return with moderate risk.

Generating higher returns with the higher risk for a long time is rare in the market. The risk of losing money arises when our investment meets adverse situations and Loss does not occur till the negative events occur. We should always focus on controlling the risk because we do not know that when the negative situation arises and we met losses.

When we bought the home, we check that the home is constructed in a way which can be protected by earthquake or not. The similarly, we should focus on our investment. We should focus on the situations where the occurrence of such negative situations can destroy our wealth. And work as an earthquake in our financial position.

It can be possible that an earthquake will never happen in life long, but we bought the home which can be protected with an earthquake. Similarly, it may be possible that adverse situations will not arise during our investment time, but we should focus on raising of adverse situations and how we can able to protect our wealth from such situations.

The risk is not always easily visible. If our surrounding environment is positive, then we start thinking that negative situation may not arise due to the influence of that positive environment. But in fact, the risk is always present in the good environment also. And anytime good environment can easily turn out to the bad environment. Such transformation does not come to us with the prior intimation. We must have to be ready properly with such considerations before making investment decisions. Even controlling risk is becoming essential into the good environment because nobody is talking about risk and in a bad environment, risk takes care of itself because everyone fearing of risk.

Generating superior return compared to benchmark with the similar risk nature is a good performance. But, a good value addition is while we generate a return which is like the benchmark return with the lowest risk and with proper controlling of the risk. Such scenario is even better.

 

When the environment is positive, everyone rides the wave and we cannot able to say which one is better. (Good article – Doubled your Money in Last 3 Years ? Skill or Luck ?)

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So that we should always focus on the controlling risk, whether it will rise or not. Because we cannot able to really predict the occurrence of the risk.

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Careful investors always know that they cannot able to know the future so that they try to focus on controlling risk and try to factor the risk of loss of capital while they make any investment decisions.

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We start avoiding focusing on risk as the environment is going positive. Initially, we might put weight on risk, but many times that risk might not get triggered. So that we start avoiding it and started believing that there is a no risk into the environment. Such risk will not occur and we saved from the negative situation.

As we have seen in Russian Roulette with 100 chances, we may save for 99 times, but the 1 time can kill us. Or if we are lucky we can be saved all the 100 times. It doesn’t mean that there is no risk or risk may not arise in the future.

Example – THE EVENTUAL CONSEQUENCES OF RISK SEEKING OR RISK BLIND BEHAVIOR

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We constructed belief in our mind from our past experiences. If we have seen the positive environment, then we have made belief that negative situations never come. We should always keep in mind that occasionally extreme situations can arise and that can be out of our all belief.

In the year 2007, also welcome structured products, huge capital inflows, etc.

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We should not run from the risk but should manage risk intelligently. We should take the risk, but at the appropriate time and most importantly at an appropriate price.

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When we walk on a road with keeping our eyes closed and we do not meet an accident, then it’s not our talent, it’s a pure luck which plays out. We are a real blind if we consider such situation as our own skill. And such risky situations do not stay rewarding for a long period and we must walk on the road with keeping our eyes open.

Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “RECOGNIZING RISK”

We have seen the process for the identification of risk in the previous article of the same series. In the current issue, I am going to discuss regarding recognizing of the risk.

For the successful investing, we must have to focus on the generating return with having a proper control on risk. And for the controlling risk, we require to identifying and recognizing the risk.

The risk is always being at a much higher where we are too much optimistic towards the particular scenario and also paying a much higher price for the buying particular asset. But we should focus on When odds turn out against us than how we can able to protect ourselves or get out of such scenario with least damage. So, for the protecting ourselves, we need to avoid paying too high prices and also keep ourselves away from the extreme level of optimistic sentiment.

Click for Video — Auction scene

We always forget the real worth of the assets in the bull phase and start chasing that asset class. Such behavior is dangerous for the health of our wealth. This increases the risk while we are purchasing assets more than its worth.

The market always works in a pendulum and people generally forget the nature of the pendulum. The pendulum always moves towards the both extreme directions.

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Whenever pendulum moves towards the bullish extreme, many of us forget that such situations will not stay forever. Many of us forget about the risk which involves during the bull phase. And start taking higher risk for generating higher returns; which invites further huge amount of risk. At bullish sentiment, people generally buy assets at the highest valuations multiple and that invites the risk to the particular asset class. This scenario has a very high chance of getting damage to our wealth compared to generating a higher return.

Reverse to such scenario, whenever the pendulum moves towards extreme bearish phase, then generally people start recognizing the risk and start avoiding to invest in the particular asset class; which take out the risk from that particular asset class. Such scenario is the appropriate time for capturing the opportunities because in such scenario we have very less chance to lose.

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Many a time due to bullish sentiment, we think that the risk is very low, we start taking more risky situations, also start taking leverage and from that time risk starts taking its shape. Our behavior towards particular asset class invites risk.

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Risk will be only low if we as an investor behave in a careful and wise manner. We cannot eliminate the risk, but we can able to control its effect. We have to analyze risk in every scenario. Risk always has its presence, though we are having a bullish sentiment. And according to me, the risk is much higher while having a bullish sentiment.

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At the extreme bullish sentiment, we forget to worry, fear of loss and instead of it, we think about to miss the opportunity. We think that all others will earn the money and we remain without earning money. We start taking much leverage and believe that we are living in a low-risk world.

Click for Video — Bull phase in auction

We have seen in the above video that the person who doesn’t want to purchase a horse for the Rs.5 lakh; same person bought the horse for the Rs.5 lakh due to the influence of the increasing value of the bid for the horse. The person doesn’t want to lose the horse and cannot see others to take that horse.

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Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “UNDERSTANDING RISK”

For making any investment decisions, we have to be dealt with the future, which is uncertain in nature. So, that when there is an uncertainty, then there is an involvement of risk and we cannot escape from the risk. We must have to focus on asserting risk while making any investment decisions.

When we focus on the return of the particular instrument, then we have concentrated our focus on half of the movie and rest half will get completed with asserting risk in that particular investment.

Risk 01

Traditionally, we all have learned, that in making a higher return, we need to take an incremental risk.

But we think logically about the same that if we get a higher return for the taking of incremental risk than there should not be a risk. We get rewarded by the returns for taking a higher risk.

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Traditional risk/return graph has communicated the positive relationship between risk and return but ignored uncertainty involved for making such returns. Additionally, traditional risk/return graph has shown a risk as similar to volatility, but not focused on the danger which is involved in the investment.

Many a times volatility cannot be an as riskier as compared to other dangerous events for our investment.

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So, that risk is not a volatility in the price of stocks, but the real risk is the permanent loss of our capital. And we must have to be worried about the permanent loss of capital rather than volatility. We must have to focus on the understanding of the risk which could have the probability of erosion of our capital.

Many a times risk is not only limited to, permanent loss of capital or to volatility, some kind of risk are objective and personal in nature; such as-

1) Falling short of one’s goal

Many investors have a different need, goals and not meeting those by investment results can be the risk for the particular person.

If someone just requires meeting the routine expenses, then getting a fixed return from fixed return instrument might not be at risk for the person, but if someone who wanted to build capital for investment then such a lower return can be a risk for that particular person.

2) Underperformance

Such kind of risk is related to the investment manager. If the investment manager cannot able to generate higher returns compare to index than the investment manager might lose his clients.

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3) Career risk

This is an extreme form of underperformance risk. Continuous underperformance can have resulted in the risk to the career.

4) Unconventionality

This risk is connected with a being different while making an investment idea. If unconventional idea got wrong, then there might be a risk to the career.

We buy metals, sugar stocks, etc. (at the worst time of the cycle). Instead of buying pharma, IT, Banking which is a darling of the industry. And if our stock picks up doesn’t work, then we have to face trouble and extreme risk of loss of career.

5) Illiquidity

This risk arises when investors need a money for some urgency and unable to break his investment.

Let me take an example of the cricket match for understanding a risk.

The main risk in the cricket match is to losing the match, series, etc. as similar to losing our capital in investment. If all the players play a poor game, then definitely team will lose the match and similar to an investment; if all our investment resulted in poor returns or more risk oriented than we might lose our capital or lose real value of capital.

As we have seen in Indian cricket history that Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, Mr. Rahul Dravid has played very well and created the record, they don’t always come to the ground for making a century or creating a huge score but always played well for protecting their wickets. Their focus on protecting their wicket helps them to play well for the longer period of time. And on against to them, many other players came to Indian cricket history and gone also; cannot able to stay for a longer period of time. They just have focused on making a score and sometimes due to the luck they can able to make good score but not always.

If players do not able to play well on a continues basis, then they will have lost the opportunity of staying with the cricket team (Career Risk). Also, we have seen that Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has taken a many unconventional decision for the team during the match. Many of his decisions got success and many not. When he filled with his unconventional decisions, he has to face the anger of the people. This is as similar to our unconventional investment decisions and has to face anger from our clients if we filed into the unconventional decisions.

It is not necessary that we only can be incurred a loss by buying weak fundamental stocks. If we bought the comparatively lower fundamental company at a very lower price than that investment turns out to be a successful investment.

Sugar IT

We can see that if we have bought the comparatively lower fundamentally good stock at a cheap price than this stock has generated a higher return compared to the good fundamental stocks in last 5 years.

Also, not good macro environmental promises of safety. Because too positive news brings up prices at too high and any small adverse development can be enough for damages to our wealth.

People generally tend to associate with the things that are doing well. And that investment might be able to fulfill expectations for a while and thereafter small negative event can damage much higher. Such scenario having an involvement of higher risk.

So, that value investors believe in achieving higher returns from lower risk. We have to be ready with underperformance risk while we are buying bargains and market is in a heated bull phase. We need to accept it rather than incurring losses.

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Investment is dealing with the future and the future is highly uncertain. And it’s impossible to know anything about the future.

Risk means more things can happen compared to what happened in the past. Understanding of risk requires a second level thinking and it’s not an easy task. The risk of losing money is observed by one that’s similar is not observed by another one.

Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRICE AND VALUE”

As we have discussed regarding value in the previous article of a Bibliophile. Now, I am going to talk about the 4th Chapter of The Most Important Thing – The relationship between price and value.

01 P&V

There is not an availability of any asset class which having a birthright for providing a higher return. If we bought a particular asset class at an appropriate price, then that provides us a higher return to safety.

02 P&V

An example of one the biggest wealth creator company of the Indian stock market—

INFY Chart

If someone has bought this company during the March-2000, At the high price of around Rs.431 then after the 16 years of the period, he gets returned at 7% CAGR. And if enter to the similar company at the low price of around Rs.275 during the March-2000 then after the 16 years of the period, he gets a returned of 10% CAGR (*Considering all time high price for calculating returns). Though revenue grew at 30% CAGR, Operating profit grown at 27% CAGR and Net profit also grown at 27% CAGR during the same period with supported by the good management team.

If we buy such a good thing at a too high price, then we have to wait for the very long time for getting fair returns rather getting superior returns. But if we have bought junk asset class or good asset class at an appropriate value, then we can able to create a superior return.

We should focus on correctly buying an asset at a cheaper price so that we need not keep focusing on the selling decisions. Because our buying decision provides us a huge safety. Whenever we buy any stock at a cheaper price and all our calculations of intrinsic value are correct, then over a period of time, the stock price should reach its intrinsic value.

So, that One of a good idea of making an investment is to buy whenever the pessimistic situations around us which provide us a good return with proper safety. But such scenario not always comes. This means we construct our portfolio at the time of crisis, but every time, we cannot stay only dependent on the crisis for making our buying decisions.

03 P&V

Thus, most important are to understand the relationship of price & value. By knowing the relationship between price and value, we can able to take an advantage of mispriced valued stock and consistently create a wealth for the longer period of time. We also need to understand the Psychology of investors along with the understanding the price – value relationship because the psychology of investors can drive stock prices in the short run. But at a longer period, the price should reach its intrinsic value. So, that it is an essential for us to buy an asset at a discount from its intrinsic value.

IT Bubble

Infra & Logistics

04 P&V

Investors Psychology is also one of the important factors along with the Fundamental value of the security which can drive stock prices to an extreme side and that provide us an opportunity for our entry/exit. We should avoid falling into the trap with short term price fluctuation due to the psychology of investors but should take an advantage from it.

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06 P&V

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People never focus on the price at clever people make an investment. But they start herding towards the news of such deals. So, that more and more people start buying the same stock and due to the flow of buying, the stock starts rising and again more investor start buying into it and stock start rising again. Thus, psychology drives a price much more rather than its fundamental in the shorter period of time. Everyone starts creating stories after the clever people make an investment, those stories drive the price of the asset class at extreme direction.

As per the Howard Marks, there are few ways by which we can earn a profit on the investment:

  • Benefiting from rising in the asset’s intrinsic value.

In this method, an investor has to predict accurately to the improvement in the intrinsic value of the assets in the future. But this task is not as easy as it seems. We even don’t know our future and we are going to predict the future of the intrinsic value which is very uncertain in nature.

  • Applying leverage

Leverage means investing using borrowed money. Leverage always works as a double edged sword. It can either make you or will break you. It magnifies both gains as well as losses. So, leverage might provide us a higher return, but it can also create a threat to our own capital. Selling for more than your asset’s worth

  • Selling for more than your asset’s worth

Here, we need to hope for the buyer who is ready to buy an asset at a higher price. If we are holding an asset which is overpriced or fairly priced than we need a greater fool to buy an asset from us at a higher price.

  • Buying something for less than its value

In this option, we are buying an asset at the discount, from its intrinsic value. It’s just required for the proper functioning of the market and that brings an asset to its intrinsic value. This can be one of the most useful ways to make a consistent return with a safety of our capital.

Sultan Mirza

Click for Video — Sultan Mirza

As we have seen in the video that Ajay Devgan has bought Guava at a very high price compared to the real value of the Guava. We have many a time experienced such kind of the irrationality among the investors who focus on story prevailing at market space rather than focus on the real value of the particular stock. We will not always able to meet Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgan) / Irrational investor who buy an asset from us at a very irrational price. So, that we always need to focus on the buying an asset at a discount from the real value for getting a consistent return to safety.

Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “VALUE”

In the 3rd chapter of the book “The Most Important Thing”, Mr. Howard Marks has discussed regarding different ways to identify the value of any business.

Hope

We always make an investment at a lower price with the intention to sell it at a higher price. Means that we buy something at less price than we can able to sell.

But what is high, price and what is a low price? How to identify it? That is the main confusion for all of us.

For taking it at a simplify manner, we can say that we buy at below the intrinsic value of any assets for selling that asset at a higher price.

“Intrinsic value is the value (i.e. what the company is really worth). Different investors use different techniques to calculate intrinsic value.” – InvestorWords

Now the question is how to identify an intrinsic value? As we all know that there is a major 2 discipline to identify an intrinsic value of the company’s securities.

1) Fundamental Analysis and,

2) Technical Analysis

Technical Analysis basically studies past behavior of price and from that past behavior, person predicts future price behavior.

I am not going to discuss this study in details because it’s not suitable to me and I am not able to make decisions based on past price behavior.

Move forward to the Fundamental Analysis, which is suitable for me and am comfortable with it. But again, a Fundamental Analysis also having two approaches to making a decision for an intrinsic value.

1) Value Investing and

2) Growth Investing

We need to Valuing a company by depending on a finance resource, management, business, plants & machines, factories, intellectual properties, human resources, brand name, etc.; which all having a potential to grow earnings of the particular company. And that is what we study into the fundamental analysis.

Then what is the main difference between value investing and growth investing?

Now, let me talk about the concept of valuing the company through value investing approach.

Value Investing generally focuses on tangible assets, current earnings, cash flow for valuing a company. This concept gives less weight to the intangible assets such as human resources with talents, future growth prospects, etc.

Value Investing focus on buying a company at a cheaper value based on its financial metrics such as current earnings, cash flow, dividends, tangible assets and enterprise value. Value Investors qualify the current value of the company and buy it when the current value is much higher than trading price.

Value Investing is also known as “net-net investing” approach, where investors try to identify the company which is available at below its current asset value.

Whereas growth investing focuses on to identifying companies which having a very bright future growth prospects. Here, no focus on the current value of the company and also given more weight to the intangible assets.

Difference GI VI

The Happy

Still having a confusion for selecting an approach for determining a value of the company.

If we have bought a security of a company which is available at cheaper than the current price, but at the operational level, the company is not able to do well enough, then that value cannot able to remain sustainable for the longer period of time. The value will get decompound rather than be getting compounded in the future. And that increases our probability of incurring the loss.

I read one wonderful article about the value trap company.

MTNL

The company looks very cheap on the basis of the financial metrics, but if someone who do not have paid attention to the business of the company then—

MTNL Chart

An investor has lost his capital also. So, that in value investing also, we cannot escape from the future. (For detail article, Kindly visit – http://neerajmarathe.blogspot.in/2010/04/mtnl-value-trap.html)

For the growth investing

GI

But is it such easier to perform?

Let me take an example of one the biggest wealth creator company of the Indian stock market—

INFY Chart

If someone has bought this company during the March-2000, At the high price of around Rs.431 then after the 16 years of the period, he gets returned at 7% CAGR. And if enter to the similar company at the low price of around Rs.275 during the March-2000 then after the 16 years of the period, he gets a returned of 10% CAGR (*Considering all time high price for calculating returns). Though revenue grown at 30% CAGR, Operating profit grown at 27% CAGR and Net profit also grown at 27% CAGR during the same period with supported by good management team. During March-2000, the company was traded at 64x P/E at low price of Rs.275 and this multiple are common now-a-days.

There is a very thin line difference between Growth investing and value investing.

Value investing is more consistent in nature, but it’s not easy to find it out. It is not an easy task to valuing a company through value investing approach. I also learn this valuable learning after made the such mistake. If we don’t able to make our estimate appropriately than we might overpay or underpay to that particular security. If we overpay for some security, then we have to take support of good luck for getting some greater fool who buys securities from us at a higher price.

Also, the most important thing is not to just valuing security appropriately, but also, we need to hold it. Stock will not start moving up after we make our purchase. Stock does not know that we are holding it.

After our purchasing, many a time price will start to fall further. But we should hold to it firmly. If something good at price X then it will be more good at price X-1.

Fig3-1

This law of demand is not really put by investors into practice in the stock market. We tend to buy more stock when the price starts moving up. But if we have done all our work properly, then decline in the price of security should not make us uncomfortable and we should also need to add more at a lower level.

Last

Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

Disclaimer

Above article is just my perception, and perception can be wrong. For me, my perception can be right but for others, it might be wrong.

 

BIBLIOPHILE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BY HOWARD MARKS “UNDERSTANDING MARKET EFFICIENCY”

In the last article, we have seen that what is 2nd level thinking and how we can able to take benefits from 2nd level thinking. In this article, I am going to discuss my learning from the 2nd chapter of the book “The Most Important Thing”. This chapter talks about efficient market theory and how we can use it for our own benefits to earn an above average return.

So first, we need to know what is an efficient market hypothesis?

UET01

Source: The Most Important Thing by Howards Mark

According to the efficient market theory, it is not possible to earn a consistently above average return due to the availability of information with each and every market participants at the same time. And also, there are many investors who tracking real-time information and make a decision based on this information. Due to this hard work by an investor, the price of securities reaches at fair value easily.

INFY_Daily_07-03-2017

We can see in the above chart that as the quarterly result get announced, many of the investors have made an effort to analyze available information and stock price reaches to the fair value.

So, that We cannot ignore that theory is not relevant to the practice.

UET03

Source: The Most Important Thing by Howards Mark

As per the above criteria, Bank Fixed Deposit is one of the suitable examples of the efficient asset class among all other asset classes. Bank FD can pass through all above criteria and due to its efficient nature, we cannot able to get an above average return from Bank FD, even cannot able to earn higher than the inflation.

We must have to agree with the parameters that investors work hard for analyzing each and every available information for reaching towards some conclusions. And additionally, everyone having the same access towards all information. So, that we cannot able to make an above average return consistently over a longer period of time.

So, those companies which are tracked by more and more analysts, FIIs, and retail investors then chances of getting an above average return will reduce. Thus, we have to focus on the companies which is different and where we can able to get the edge for creating an above average return.

If we take an example of the huge wealth creator company with every 5 years’ interval, then

UET04

So, this stock has given a huge return when not much known to the investors (i.e. inefficient) and as the stock becomes known to all (i.e. efficient), speed & rate of return start falling.

As we agreed with the parameter that every investor works hard, but what about the emotional interference for making a decision? Is it really easy to control our emotions while making any decisions?

Also, the psychology of all investors influences the decisions taken by them, which creates misprice opportunity for us. All investors react differently to the same information due to their emotional influences.

If any news regarding company comes then everyone can get it at a similar time (I am considering everyone accessing information at the same time) but the interpretation of that news is different with different participants.

tamo

Everyone gets the news of the fire at the plant of the company at the same time. But some people analyzed that this will incur an additional loss to the company & starts feeling far from this news and started selling out their positions. And some will use second level thinking to buy that same stock at an available discount due to temporary reasons.

So, that’s how to use information & capturing mispricing opportunities is dependent on skills and emotional ability of individual investors and that helps them to make an above average return.

Also, we should not ignore theory because theory helps us to limit our focus on mispriced opportunities rather focusing on all the available opportunities. We have to open for analyzing all the unknown opportunities with using of 2nd level thinking. Then and only then we can able to catch up opportunities to getting above average returns.

Many a time, we get an opportunity which is avoided by others or others are not willing to grab those opportunities. We have to identify mispriced opportunities and have to take benefits from such inefficiency.

Every most efficient opportunity is mispriced opportunities at once upon a time. So, that we have to limit our focus on identifying misprice opportunity. As I quoted in the above example of fire at the plant of the company. As that company is widely tracking by many investors, FIIs, DIIs etc., but capturing opportunity when it becomes a mispriced opportunity that is the importance of skill (Obviously with important of LUCK).

Also, we should try to capture the opportunity which is not well known and not tracked by many of the investors. By this, we can able to limit our focus and can able to generate an above average return.

UET05

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Read for more detail: The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

Disclaimer

Above article is just my perception, and perception can be wrong. For me, my perception can be right but for others, it might be wrong.