Blog

1
Mar
2019

Same, Same, but different

Even before Warren Buffett gave up on showing long term book value progression in his Annual Shareholders letter, others were noticing that price / book had a problem.  According to a paper by OSAM there are currently over 100 companies in the US with negative book value. To me, it is the qualities that book value can’t capture that matter....
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24
Jan
2019

Everyone’s a winner

Drinks with an outsourcing analyst last month we were laughing about how, for her sector, it was 2008. It’s not fun to be an analyst when your sector becomes uninvestable. “No one trusts the management, the numbers, the forecasts, the accounting.” I laughed, it brought back some old memories. There are interesting parallels. Like banks 10 years earlier, companies like...
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9
Nov
2018

Heroes and Xeros

I’ve been thinking about “story stocks”. In case you don’t know “story stock” is normally a term of abuse among value investors. It means companies like Xeros or Cap XX, which have an exciting potential “story” often about a new technology but fail to deliver profits. To try and understand why we are drawn to these types of stories I’ve...
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12
Oct
2018

How to suffer loss

A friend, who has started his own litigation finance platform, https://www.axiafunder.com/ has asked me to write something about litigation finance.  He’s not paying me – but maybe he’ll buy me a pint in The White Hart at Barnes Bridge on the River Thames.  The idea of litigation finance is simple, legal cases cost money and sometimes a claimant is unable to...
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5
Oct
2018

Signals in obfuscation

A reader of this blog contacted me to suggest that when I look at financial text, instead of trying to analyse stories, I could instead test for “readability”. The idea being that the more readable a text, the clearer the strategy then the better the company might perform. Or indeed the more jargon, obfuscation and evasive language, the worse a...
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21
Aug
2018

Lying for money

The heatwave means that recently I haven’t been sitting in front of a computer much. Instead I’ve just finished reading Dan Davies delightful book “Lying for Money”.   Dan and I used to be competitors, so I know him to chat to over coffee and biscuits before (mostly dull) company presentations. I’ve been toying with the idea of publishing a...
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29
Jun
2018

Technology and zero sum games

Music Festivals. The World Cup. Beach volleyball. Bike rides. Beer gardens. I’ve been taking time to enjoy the summer. Not spending much time in front of a computer analysing financial language and stories. I’ve not been entirely idle though. I have also been contemplating what success might look like: maybe in ten years no human will read financial information –...
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