Well, Singapore doesn’t really have a summer season but I haven’t been writing for awhile now. That’s not because I wasn’t active — quite the contrary, I was too busy but there was nothing new under the sun to write about. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to sit on your hands and let the investment theses in your portfolio mature.
However, I have done a lot of reading lately and I want to share it with the readers of this blog. Below are the most recommended readings, by order, that I have done recently. As with wine — the older the better:
Blue Chip Stamps letters to shareholders 1978-1982
This is a true classic, written by Warren Buffett’s partner, Charlie Munger, to the shareholders of the company he ran at that time. Charlie shares his views on the different businesses that are held by Blue Chip, the general investing climate and his approach to risk management and value creation. It is very impressive to see how he deals with the economic uncertainly that prevailed at that time and how he positioned the businesses in his portfolio for long-term success. One thing that I particularly like about Munger, is that he doesn’t invest in companies or stocks but in people. His analysis is eye opening and so is the way he deals with business problems and issues as they arise. I highly recommend this piece, you can read it on this link.
Michael Burry Case Studies, August 2000 – Feb 2002
Moving forward in time to the last 2000’s, the blog posts of Michael Burry get the number two spot in my recommended reading list. For the uninitiated, Michael Burry is one of the heroes in the book The Big Short. He is a gifted investor that has achieved phenomenal returns for the investors in his fund and we can all learn a lot from his write ups. If you don’t feel like reading all the fifty pages I would at least urge to read the opening pages about his strategy. You can download the PDF on this link.
Latest Memo from Howard Marks — Risk Revisited
The legendary chairman of Oaktree Capital likes to write long memos. Although Buffett once said that he always looks forward to reading Marks’ memos I have to confess that I didn’t find his writings too interesting as he used to write about extremely theoretical aspects of investing such as how would the supply of food and population growth would inevitably lead to higher commodity prices. Interesting as it might be to some people, I classify such topics to be more entertaining than educating and with very little to none practical value. Fortunately, this time is different and his latest memo is highly recommended for anyone who does any kind of business as risk is something that we all deal with. Here is the link to his memo: http://www.oaktreecapital.com/MemoTree/Risk%20Revisited.pdf
Second Quarter Financial Reports
I read a bunch of those lately but I will not test the limits of your patience with recommending you to read these. However, I want to point your attention to what is going on in the mining industry and specifically the iron ore markets that was a topic of a series of write ups on that blog. I will touch more on that later this year but the developments there are quite fascinating. Anyway, if you have interest in any company and it might be the company you work for, I would recommend you to make it a habit to read the financial reports of that company and it’s industry peers. It will give you insights into the industry and it’s business landscape that you will get nowhere else. You will often find things in those reports that concern your department/products/business unit that you would have otherwise not known about.
The summer is now over and it is time for the final stretch of 2014. Q3’s reports are around the corner and it is going to be an interesting earnings season due to the price declines in the iron ore markets, the small war that Israel experienced (for the Israeli companies in our portfolios) and other business developments in other sectors.
If you have any interesting recommended reading that you have done lately please share it in the comments section below. It can be anything from an article (lowest priority) to a presentation or a book — I look forward to your reading suggestions.