By the time I was 20 years of age I knew about Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett and Philip Fisher and was a big fan of Malcolm Forbes Sr.. I would do spreadsheets by hand and can you believe it on paper! It was not until 1990 that I converted to my first PC so I had a good 15 years of reading books in order to learn my trade.
Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty that attends the markets these days, I often find it relaxing to sequester myself for a while and do some analysis. Part of my job as an analyst is to discover things that others may have missed. These may be opportunities to identify “Special Situations.” Some very successful opportunities of mine in the recent past have been companies such as Nucor, Landstar System, C.R. Bard, Laboratory Corp., PACCAR, Asta Funding and Student Loan Corp (STU). I have had some excellent runs with these companies because I was able to isolate their uniqueness early – before Wall Street discovered them.
Last week the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 17th time in a row. This is dire news for the Homebuilder Industry because with every interest rate hike, it gets that much tougher for new home buyers to afford to buy a home. It also introduces an additional negative factor into the equation, in that existing homeowners become worried as to whether they are losing equity in their homes. This may induce them to panic and to put their homes up for sale. These same homeowners, many of whom took out ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) or “Interest Only” mortgages a few years back, will soon see reality knocking at the door.