Tag: Warren Buffett
Since 1928, value stocks have outperformed growth stocks by 3+% per year on average. Legendary investor Warren Buffett is maybe the best-known example of a dedicated value investor, who throughout his career has captured an impressive outperformance of his own – Berkshire Hathaway has outperformed the S&P 500 from 1965 – 2019 by 10.3% per year.
So what is value investing? It is the bargain-shopping of the investment world. Introduced in the 1920s by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, it’s an investment strategy based on finding stocks that appear to be trading for less than what they are actually worth (through analysis of the company’s balance sheet). In the 1990s, Nobel Laureate Eugene Fama and Kenneth French added fuel to the value fire by arguing that the value premium – the positive return investors get from investing in cheap stocks – largely explained equity outperformance in both the US and International markets.
Recently, value has not been having its day in the sun. Over the past 10 years, growth stocks have outperformed value by 3.3% per year*. So what happened to value premium?
Cliff Asness and his colleagues at AQR recently wrote a white paper titled Is (Systematic) Value Investing Dead? Their argument? Long-term value premiums are alive and well.
Said differently, even a sound investment strategy with a high expected return, like value investing, can underperform, even for extended periods. After all, without this inherent risk, we wouldn’t expect to see a positive return in the first place. That’s not to say the recent underperformance can’t continue, but if you are looking for the best odds of success, it would be hard to ignore the evidence over the long-term.
Our take: value investing is not dead. Far from it. Instead, true value investors earn their return in periods like these…by sitting still. Warren Buffett is quoted as saying “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the impatient to the patient”. Well said.
*comparing the S&P 500 (with more growth-oriented stocks) with the Russell 1000 Value Index
Unruffled serenity. We love that expression. It’s exactly what we seek to bring to our clients – especially when the volume of market noise rises to a roar, as it has in the latter half of 2018. We can’t claim credit for the phrase, though it does pair with our own tagline, Take the Long View®. Both are aimed at detaching emotions from market swings, whether high or low. The long-term view has always sloped up and to the right, but in the short run it’s unpredictable.
Who else can help bring a sense of calm in these times? We point you to Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal. Ever since Zweig launched his Intelligent Investor column a decade ago (succeeding the equally adept Jonathan Clements), it’s been far easier to list his few underwhelming columns than the vast majority we’ve enjoyed. His brilliant book, “Your Money & Your Brain” also has a permanent place on our recommended reading list.
As high a bar as Zweig has set for himself, we were particularly pleased by his recent column on market volatility and a behavioral bias known as herd mentality. The article explores a volume of evidence suggesting investors and even portfolio managers are strongly influenced by the “emotional contagion” of their neighbors. This results in market participants in communities, cities and even states mimicking one another’s trading habits, often to their detriment.
“Investors probably behave like their neighbors because gossip, news and beliefs spread by word of mouth,” says Zweig.
His suggested antidote to catching this communicable “disease” strongly reflects our own. Pointing to investment legend and economist Benjamin Graham (Warren Buffett’s mentor), Zweig describes how Graham went out of his way to cultivate “unruffled serenity,” strengthened by “a certain aloofness,” to ward off the constant peer pressure to react to random market noise.
“With markets gyrating, unruffled serenity may become important again. If volatility scares you, spend more time with family and friends who don’t obsess over stocks. You’ll be happier now—and, probably, richer later on.”
When this Wall Street Journal video of Warren Buffett’s reflection on the 2008 Financial Crisis debuted in early September 2018, a decade had passed since the beginning of the last big market crisis.
In light of current market volatility, it’s worth revisiting Buffett’s perspective today. Comparing the American economy to “an economic train moving down the track that has no ending,” he cautions against reacting to the occasional “derailments.”
“People talk about a fog of war,” says Buffett, “but there’s a fog of panic too, and during that panic, you’re getting inaccurate information, you’re hearing rumors. If you wait until you know everything, it’s too late.”
Words of wisdom that made sense in 2008. They still make sense today.