One of my favorite stocks, Leucadia National (NYSE:LUK), reported earnings on Friday. If you’re not familiar with Leucadia, it’s basically the Greta Garbo of the stock market. The company has no analysts who follow it, no earnings estimates, no whisper numbers, barely any press releases and it does minimal volume.
Talk about bare bones, check out their website.
So what does Leucadia do? It’s often called a “mini Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)” because it’s a holding company that buys assets on the cheap. For nearly thirty years, the firm has been run by Ian Cumming and Joe Steinberg. They own a hodgepodge of businesses; some real estate here, some timber there, even a winery. Nothing terribly exciting.
But what is impressive is the stock’s long-term performance. Remarkably, Leucadia National has done even better than Berkshire Hathaway.
Since the stock market bottomed in August 1982, shares of Leucadia National are up over 32,600%. Berkshire is up only 29,600%. (Poor Warren.) Actually, LUK has done even better because it paid out an enormous dividend in 1999. The stock is up another 60% this year, and unlike Berkshire, they split the shares so normal humans can buy it.
The lesson here is, don’t be afraid of companies that aren’t widely followed. Some of the best stocks are off Wall Street’s radar screen. Inhabitants of Wall Streetistan tend to see all time and space as neatly divided into three month chunks. The quarterly earnings game is tough to play and there’s a benefit to ignoring it altogether.