# The Intelligent Investor – 11 – Security Analysis for the Lay Investor: General Approach

A security analyst has to deal with the past, the present and the future of any security issues. The analyst works on the understanding of businesses, financial strength, strong & weak points, possible risk, future earning power under the various scenario, etc. after all works, he decides whether to invest in the given security or not. We do not always rely on past performance, but for selecting the growth stocks, we need to value a future earning power and growth rate. Additionally, we should not forget the past performance given by the businesses for making a mathematical calculation of valuations. When we forecast for the longer future horizon then it will become the involvement of more errors.

Bond analysis

We need to focus on the safety, quality of the bond issue. And our prime criterion should be several times interest charges have been covered by the earnings currently. Cover on the average earnings of previous years and cover on the poorest earning year. As preferred stock dividend is not tax-deductible so that we need to check cover on PBT to interest charges + 2x of preferred dividend.

With the above points, we need to check the size of the company, (debt + preference stock)/equity ratio and property value. Now, if bonds passed through the stringent test and survived into the past performance then it has a higher probability to survive into the future. If the bond does not meet such criterion then it must be avoided though it offers a 2-3x yield compared to the risk-free rate.

Common stock analysis

Valuation of common stock needs to perform for deciding whether a common stock is attractive to purchase or not.

This means estimating future earnings and then multiplying it with the multiples. Multiple decided as the 1/expected earning yield. For example – if I expected to get 6% earning yield then my multiple would be 1/6% so multiple will be 16.67x. Different people provide different multiples and estimate different earnings which tends to a different price target for them. Why one company available at 10x of earning and other at 20x of earning? Do we pay rightly or paying overdue to a rosy picture? These all questions getting answered by the following factors –

Long term prospects – we cannot able to know that what will be going to happens in the longer future but then also, we try to estimate for the far future. This estimation creates a different multiple for the same stock. Also, need to check that whether the company is a serial acquirer or they make an investment to own company? If serial acquirer then what is the track record of previous acquisitions? Whether the company able to generate enough cash from operating a business or has to rely on other people’s money? Whether diversified customer base or rely on one single customer?

Does the company spend money on research & development, developing new products though they have a successful product? (R&D as a % of sales) and also how much company is spending on selling and marketing? (Selling & marketing, distribution spending as a % of sales)

One of the Pharma company of India

A company having R&D and Selling spending combined account for ~16.73% of sales. Such spending improves the longevity of earnings. Sales and profit of the company have grown by CAGR of 17% and 26% respectively during FY12-19.

Management – we know that management plays an important role in the development of the business. And many a time, given weight to the management leads to overvaluation or undervaluation to the stock. If any business is continuously successful for a longer period then it will be considered as having good management. Does management has fulfilled promised made by them? How they behave while meet failure – they admit failure or pass responsibility to the economy, uncertainty, weak demand, etc.? Look at their behavior during the best period. Does senior management involve the frequent buying and selling of shares? Does management involve to direct the market speculation through announcement? Does the financial statement of the company is transparent?

All the above points provide a study of qualitative aspects of the management part. If we focus on the above points then we can avoid the management who is not shareholder-friendly.

Financial strength and capital structure – one company has an excess of cash on the balance sheet and another one has a bank loan + preference shares + bonds then we should consider the first one good compared to the second one though both have the same revenue, EPS, etc. Good business does not frequently require huge cash to run a business and they generate a good sum of money.

I am not quoting any example over here; I have already explained the same in Warren Buffett’s 2007 letter article. And many businesses pass and fail from the above parameters.

Dividend – consistent dividend payment is one of the criteria for judging the quality of the company. Defensive investors will focus on the consistency of the dividend payments. We also have to check that the company paying dividends out of free cash flow or from borrowings.

One of the steel manufacturing company

There are few companies which are into the expansion phase then also paying out dividend by taking a debt and equity dilution rather retain cash for expansion. In such cases, we should not focus on the dividend. Also, if the company can grow with generating a good return ratio then we should prefer to retain cash for expansion purposes rather than the distribution of dividends.

One of the retail company

The company has good growth and over some time, the company has started generating a decent return ratio. Here, the company does not require to distribute dividends and retain cash for expansion of the business which the company is doing with zero dividend payout.

If the company does not have a growth opportunity and does not require to bring external funding to run a business then it is preferable to distribute earning as a dividend.

Dividend policy – how much company is distributing profit as a dividend, higher the dividend distribution higher the valuation the company gets. Here, we need to see that whether dividend serves the purpose of shareholders or retaining profits for future expansion serves the purpose. The company should buy back the shares when it available cheap, not when it traded at high/overpriced.

The capitalization rate for growth stocks

Value = Current Earnings * (8.5 + 2 * Expected annual growth rate)

*Expected annual growth rate would be considered as growth for upcoming seven to ten years

Industry Analysis

For making an analysis of any security, we need to check the industry growth, position of the particular company within industry, how industry will grow and earn profits, what was the past of the industry, what is present state and what will be the future state of the industry, what will be the new product and process.

For calculating the value of the company, we need to check how the company has performed into the past and what are the factors which can change the future performance of the company. Calculate valuation on the past performance and list down the factors which make changes to the valuation based on past performance. Also, mention points that can change the future performance of the company.

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: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

# 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Mr. Graham mentioned regarding a cyclical business

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

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