Don’t confuse brains with a bull market – 16 – MASTERING THE MARKET CYCLE

When there is unusual profitability, higher return ratios command by a business then such businesses attract the incremental capital from others. This incremental capital results into the stiff competition and particular business become crowded where such unusual profitability and higher return ratio gone for a toss.

Reversely, businesses which are not able to generate huge profitability, higher return ratios, huge capital requirements etc. then such businesses fail to attract the attention of the new capital so that fewer players remain in the industry and due to challenging business environment, those few also reduces. This consolidation results in moving a cycle of profitability and return ratios to the improvement level.

Examples – high profitability and return ratios become lower (Telecom) and

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Merely 2-3 telecom operators to ~14 telecom operators and then again reach to strong 2 telecom operators. This journey suggests the rise and fall of companies.

lower profitability and return ratios become higher (Paint)

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So that we need to understand that business does not grow to the sky. They all have a cycle. Also, we need to keep in mind that best investors do not get successful all the time. Our human nature makes our success and that also moves in a cycle.

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Success changes the people and they start thinking that they are smarter. Success has a negative consequence also where people become richer and motivation level of them started reducing. Unconventional thinking transforms into conventional thinking. Rather we should know our limitations and also, need to understand that we can fail though we become successful investors.

Successful investors believe that they are mastered in the investing and they have less self-doubt, the worry about being wrong and risk of losses. This invites the risky situations.

We have to keep in mind that – “Don’t confuse brains with a bull market.”

Success teaches us to make money and failure teaches us an important of the risk aversion. We always have to focus on risk while balancing between the aggressiveness and defensiveness. When there is a bull market, everyone gives us a piece of advice. But the quality of advice getting checked during the bear market only.

Making money in the market is always an easy task but keeping secured that earned money is a difficult task.

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We keep doing hard work and keep learning for achieving success in the investing journey. One success does not make us a successful investor.

If we have earned an Rs.100 cr but we do not have the skill to keep it secure then it will not take time to again reach at zero.

We have seen that when the asset is not accepted by the crowd and all are uncomfortable to hold then the particular asset will be available at a bargain. Similar to us, when we start getting popular, everyone wants to make contact with us, everyone accepts our thoughts then we will not be available at a bargain. We also become crowded. We have to keep ourselves grounded and keep reminding ourselves that no rule, no strategy will work forever.

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When risky assets are penalized by the market and due to that, it will be available at the valuation where it will be no riskier.

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When there is a monopoly of the business, business generating good return ratios, decent profitability etc. These invites a competition, these plants a seed of failure. Reversely, when everything seems to be worst, then seeds for success getting planted.

Examples – monopoly kind of business worsening due to competition (Auto OEM) and

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Competitive business turns out to be good (Footwear)

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We believe that a good time will follow more good times but actually, we forget the cyclical nature of everything especially success. So that good time itself having a seed for the bad time and bad time itself having a seed for the good time.

Disclosure – Companies mentioned in the article are just for an example & educational purpose. It is not a buy/sell/ hold recommendation. 

Read for more detail: Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Mr.Howard Marks

Checklist about market cycle – 13 -MASTERING THE MARKET CYCLE

We cannot predict the future and cannot see the future so that can we prepare for the future? How can we be positioning our investments? Answers to these questions lie in the understanding of the cycle and at where we stand at the current cycle.

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It’s not always what we buy that matters but at what price we are buying that matters a lot.

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These checklists help us to an understanding regarding cycle and where we stand at the cycle. That understanding helps us with what we should do and what can be the portfolio positioning. These checklists also help us to remove some mistakes such as buying little when risk is low so that capital allocation decision also can be improved. The capital allocation also one of the key elements to becoming a successful investor.

We all see the everyday events which were covered by the media but we also need to put effort to understand that what it is going to indicate to us. These efforts help a lot to us. I got saved in recent market turmoil due to understanding of the cycle which I have practised after reading “The Most Important Things”.

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I want to quote my learning from the most important things here to explain this concept with a few additions.

The earlier scene in the year 2017-18

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The current scenario in the year 2019-20

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We need to focus on the current scenario what it is indicating to us, not to worry about the future. If the current scenario tells us to stay away and we are into the third phase of the bull market then we need to adjust our portfolio accordingly. And if the current scenario suggests the third phase of the bear market then we need to adjust our portfolio positioning accordingly. We cannot track each and every information flowing around the world but we need to understand which of them are important and help us to reach the conclusion.

When market and psychology of the investors flying then do not care for the valuations. People argue that old valuation techniques do not work in the current period. Another argument is that we should look at the business, not stock so that valuation does not matter. But what happens to this logic when bear take a charge?

Old technique again starts taking place. Higher P/E looks as an unhygienic for the health of the portfolio and low P/E tempted to the investors.

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We can see that during the bull period even non-qualitative companies also traded at the multiple of quality companies.

There are qualitative and quantitative two phenomena which we can study to understand where we stand in the cycle. We always need to ask the question to ourselves how the assets priced and how the investors around us behave? That means the quantitative part refers to the valuation of the assets. And qualitative part refers to the behaviour of investors around us & understand it.

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Example – one of the E-Commerce company of India

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When the market is booming, the psychology of investors is positive, economy growing, people are eager to make an investment then low-quality securities also getting issued by providing a better rating.

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We have to be contrarian, have to learn to go against the wind prevailing in the market.

When market falling, people tend to stay away from it. They argue that keep away from catching a falling knife. But when dust gets settled and we realize that the final bottom has made, a bargain will also be gone.

There is no way to know when and at what price exact bottom has made. We come to know about the bottom only after it has made.

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We should avoid buying with leverage money because when pendulum moves towards extreme pessimism then we cannot able to know where it will stop and we get a margin call, due to the leverage. We get a disastrous outcome of such an act.

John Maynard Keynes is reputed to have said: “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

When the economy is in a troublesome period and investors psychology also negative then only, we get a good asset at a bargain price.

We have a two-risk scenario – one is a risk of losing money and the other one is a risk of missing out an opportunity. Investors have to make a balance between the risk. When market moving higher in the cycle, we have to focus more on the risk of losing money and when market-moving lower in the cycle, we have to focus on the risk of losing the opportunity. When there is a high chance of losing money then we have to play defensively and when there is a chance of missing out an opportunity then we need to play aggressively.

The cycle is going to happen and how we respond to it is the key matter. Successful investors are those who have survived under the different market cycle and that cycle makes them more thoughtful.

Disclosure – Companies mentioned in the article are just for an example & educational purpose. It is not a buy/sell/ hold recommendation. 

Read for more detail: Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Mr.Howard Marks

04 – THE ECONOMIC CYCLE – Mastering The Market Cycle

The economy also moves into the long term and short-term cycle as an industry, stock market and everything else moves which are explained further.

Long-Term cycle

We know that the growing economy graph going upwards in the long term but it has short-term ups and downs.

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Long term straight line is made up of small cyclical ups and downs of the economic cycle of recession and recovery, slowdown and prosperity. These are part of any economy.

Everyone gets agree with the above point but we also need to understand that long-term trends also having a cyclical move as same as the short term. Here we also need to put a focus.

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We can see that the GDP of India has moved from US$ 0.04 trillion to US$ 2.72 trillion which shows long-term up moves but if we see shorter-term momentum of growth rate than it shows highly fluctuating with ups & downs.

 When Population growing it will lead to more consumption and that encourages more production. For producing more, companies need more working hours and that will be converted into more GDP.

So, population growth remains key to the growth of an economy. If growth converts to degrowth then economy starting to shrink.

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When the growth of population changes, it affects the GDP growth for a longer period of time. When a child gets born then it takes around 20-22 years for a child to become an employee. Also, migration from other countries replaces the birth rate of the country. Migration from other countries also enhances consumption and productivity which resulted in growth in GDP.

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Another factor that affects GDP growth is productivity. As productive can be raised despite any growth in the population, then GDP also grows or getting slow with the slower or declining in productivity. We have seen the growth of productivity when human labour replaced by machines, new automobiles, electricity, and computer has introduced. But these all have taken decades of time to affect the GDP. So, for the year to year productivity remains steady. This is not a change that will come overnight and disrupt everything rather it will slowly create changes over a long period.

The aspiration to live a better life encourages people to work hard and produce more. Educational people contribute more to the economy but if people do not like to be educated then it will affect negatively the economy. Such negative effects need to be overcome by the migrated.

Technologies that introduce new businesses and replaced the older. Also, it affects employment.

Automation might have an effect on reducing employment, and thus income and consumption will also decline which again affects the GDP growth.

Globalization provides a chance to export to the other economies which enhances the GDP growth. But the impact negative to the economy which only relies on the import from the other economies.

Short-term cycle

We have seen that many factors take time to affect a long-term trend of GDP. Then why short-term fluctuations occur and why we need to focus on it?

There are factors that cause short-term fluctuations in GDP growth. We always need to focus on those factors to get an edge to our investment. The actual investment game is to getting superior returns than average. We should not focus on the correct forecast but should focus on the superior forecast.

Many of the economists extrapolate current trends and publish reports on it. Such information is available with every so that it does not add much value. Also, we do not get superior returns by doing the same what the majority is doing. It is easy to make any forecast on the excel sheet but it is very difficult to keep it near to reality.

Spending patterns of the individual affect the production of the companies and that has an impact on the GDP growth.

Similarly, companies feel that demand remains robust then they keep on producing more and more but what happens when demand does not come. These unsold goods added to the inventories and companies has to cut production until inventory does not come back at a normal level.

Recession in an automobile has impacted the inventories of OEMs

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Few events also affect the performance of GDP such as war, changes in tax rate & trade barriers by government, cartels in the price of commodity, drought, flood, hurricane, and earthquake.

Superior forecast where we identify the deviation from the long-term trend and recent status of it. Identifying such deviation provides us with an edge. But identifying such is not an easy task and not all unconventional deviation also gets correct. We remember people for their correct unconventional prediction but they also have many failed predictions.

These all short-term factors affect GDP growth in a shorter time frame but that also helps us to get an edge into our investment. So that we require to have a keen understanding of all and focus on it for taking benefits.

Disclosure – Companies mentioned in the article are just for an example & educational purpose. It is not a buy/sell/ hold recommendation. 

Read for more detail: Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Mr.Howard Marks

The Intelligent Investor 7 Portfolio Policy for the Enterprising Investor: The Positive Side

Enterprising investors are willing to put more attention and efforts for generating a higher return.

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Generally, an intelligent investor buys and keep holding common stock when it has a cheapness and they sell a common stock when it becomes overpriced. After selling off the stock they transfer to the bond and wait till another opportunity of common stock available with the cheapness.

General Market Policy—Formula Timing

This is an approach of investing timing of the market. The market keeps on fluctuating and taking a benefit of those fluctuations to our favor adds additional value. It is very difficult to forecast the future market level for a consistent period. When we look back towards any situation then it looks easier to predict but when we are passing through the situation then it is very difficult to predict.

Growth-Stock Approach

Growth stocks are the companies which have shown a growth better than an average. The problem with such kind of companies is they have given good growth into the past and we have to assume that they will keep on doing the same into the future. But such kind of stocks selection needs huge careful attention from the investors. As the bigger companies start to grow at a slower pace compared to the smaller companies. But it is also a fact that if the company is a leader with the availability of competitive advantage in the market then it has a huge probability of growth. We need to careful with what we are paying for buying a growth. If we pay a sky-high price for the prevailing growth then also, we have to suffer through the company grows.

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If we have proven wrong with our assumption of future growth and also, we have paid a higher amount for the business, then it will be a dangerously affect to our wealth. Growth stocks can create our fortune or can spoil our fortune. If our assumption for the future growth proven right and also, we have bought the stock at a proper valuation then fortune into the growth stock can be created. Many times, the company has a temporary problem, then it will be available at a relatively cheaper valuation. When larger companies have adversity, they have a resource and brainpower to come out from the adversity and market responds quickly to such improvement to the larger company.

One of the two-wheeler company of India

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The company which has a negative cash conversion cycle, availability of float, market leader since many decades, traded at 10%+ of earning yield with higher return ratio, market participants having a fear of electric vehicle disruption.

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One of the MNC FMCG company of India

Company’s one of the flagship product got banned which contributes decent revenue to the company. Also, no other competitor gets success in the same product at the same level. Company has a higher return ratio, good brand over the globe, successful track record.

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Mr. Graham mentioned regarding a cyclical business

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We need to bought such businesses during the bad time at higher multiplier and need to sell it at a good time at a lower multiplier. During the bad time, the profitability of the company gets depressed which resulted in the higher multiple to the company and reversely, when time is good, profitability gets improvement which resulted in the lower multiple.

One of the sugar company

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When we want to get an above-average return into the investment, then our investment needs to be proper, sound enough to avoid risk and we need to adopt a policy which is different from most of the investors or speculators are using.

Bargain issues are those which are selling below its true worth. Now, for calculation of bargain – first, we need to forecast future earnings and giving it an appropriate multiple for arriving at a future market price. If the current market price seems lower than future market price then we can consider it as a bargain common stock. And second, where we need to focus more on the net realization of the asset value and net working capital (Working capital – all obligations) with the growth into the future earnings. Also, the current result is disappointing (future result can be improved) and unpopularity among the stock price creates a bargain opportunity. During a bear run, people do not focus on the companies which are not a leader, because they have a fear and belief that leader can provide safety. So that companies other than leaders will be available at a cheaper bargain price. We should focus that whether these companies can generate a fair return on invested capital or not and whether that generated return will be above the cost of capital or not. Such companies require a bull market, changes in policies, changes to the management, acquisition of smaller bargain companies by a larger one, etc. for reaching the fair valuation.

A special situation is also one of the ways to create a return on our investment. Special situations are different from the usual part of investing. Here, we need a different kind of process and different level of mentality compared to the usual one. This strategy includes demerger, merger, arbitrage, delisting, buyback, right issues, etc.

When we select to be an aggressive investor rather than a defensive investor then we require a thorough knowledge of businesses, how to value it etc. There is not a middle way between aggressive and defensive investment. And those who are involved in the middle way, they get a disappointment to the result due to the lack of requiring time and knowledge.

Disclosure – Companies mentioned in the article is just for an example & educational purpose. It is not a buy/sell/ hold recommendation. 

Read for more detail: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

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