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Smead Capital Management is a registered investment advisor headquartered in Seattle, WA; founded in 2007. The company was formed to allow investors to benefit from long-term ownership of common stocks meeting the firm’s eight proprietary investment criteria. The firm manages a US Large Cap... More
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  • Two Bears, One Bull

    Bill SmeadWilliam Smead
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chief Investment Officer


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    Dear Clients and Prospective Clients:

    We at Smead Capital Management are not afraid to admire people who disagree with us. If someone sincerely believes that the stock market is going to do poorly over the next two years, puts their money where their mouth is and sticks to their guns, we have nothing against them. We don’t agree with them, but we can accept their position. They are Bears on the market and they most likely believe that price earnings ratios didn’t get low enough in March to justify a bottom or they believe that the debt accumulated in the last ten years will stifle economic growth and retard the financial system. They go by names like Roubini, Faber, Tice and Rogers. We have no problem with them and we think that the way they have scared everyone is going to make long-term buy and hold investors like us a ton of money.

    However, there is a second kind of Bear in the marketplace and we consider them to be dishonest Bears. They are the hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers and individual investors who temporarily own some stocks, but own them with one foot out the door the entire time. This is the “Fast Money” crowd and they are looking for something to own for six weeks to three months. Jim Cramer is there poster child and the discount brokers and stock exchanges are their sponsors. They are the worst kind of momentum investors. We consider them bears because the way they are organized and postured makes for very little likelihood that they or their clients would gain the benefits from holding common stocks for many years. After all, over long stretches of time a significant part of what you make from owning common stocks comes from dividends. In affect they rent stocks rather than own them. They whip around ETFs, are attracted to momentum markets like Gold and Oil and love high levels of volatility. Included in this category are the hyper-inflation folks who are invested in commodity oriented common stocks and think they are going to make a great deal of money from an economic comeback that ruins everything with high levels of inflation like in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

    We normally wouldn’t really care about these “Closet Bears”. Unfortunately, in this market cycle, they have ended up with way more of the existing capital than normal. It makes sense because after the decline from October of 2007 to March of 2009 most humans who have the courage to participate want to get out of the way quickly if things turn sour again. So you have the “Real Bears” who are in cash and short stocks, mortified from what happened this year. Then you have the “Closet Bears” long stocks for two months at a time with one foot out the door all along.

    To be a “Real Bull” you have to be fully invested in quality stocks which are selected based on how well they might do over the long term. Peter Lynch is our poster child. He was asked in early March about the stock market and he said, “I’m the wrong guy to ask because I’m always bullish.” Watch on T.V. and in what you read. If you see a hedge fund or mutual fund manager say that they are bullish on the market and then explain that they are long Oil, Gold and Basic Materials, you are staring a bear in the face!

    Warm Regards,
    William Smead
    William Smead

    The information contained in this missive represents SCM's opinions, and should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The securities identified and described in this missive do not represent all of the securities purchased or recommended for our clients. It should not be assumed that investing in these securities was or will be profitable. A list of all recommendations made by Smead Capital Management with in the past twelve month period is available upon request.

    Full Disclosure: Long Blue Chip Quality Stocks

    Jun 03 1:42 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Bull Markets in Oats and Hay

    Bill SmeadWilliam Smead
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chief Investment Officer


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     Dear Clients and Prospective Clients:

    The biggest pollution problem in the United States in 1900 was urban horse manure. Horses need to eat. According to one estimate each urban horse probably consumed on the order of 1.4 tons of oats and 2.4 tons of hay per year. This also means that a great deal of those tons of oats and hay were converted to manure. The estimates are that horses disposed of between 15 - 30 pounds of manure a day. Eighty-six percent of local transportation was by horse and buggy. Remember, there were only 4100 automobiles sold in the U.S. in 1900. Automobiles were even named after horse drawn buggy's, a "carriage" or "car" for short!

    Technology solved the urban horse manure pollution problem. By 1925 Americans had purchased 3.7 million cars in a single year and by 1929 there were 26.5 million autos in use in the U.S. How do you think the price of horse drawn carriages, oats and hay did from 1900 to 1930? I ask this question for a simple reason. Why do many of the "experts" and many of the portfolio managers that I admire invest heavily in the idea that a limited supply of Oil and Gas will result in higher prices? And why are they so excited about the companies who make a living supplying drilling equipment and oil rigs to the oil and gas industry?

    Our popular new President, Barack Obama, has laid out ambitious goals for gas mileage and even Bill O'Reilly thinks they are a good idea! The only way that those goals can be reached is by dramatically increasing the number of hybrid and electric-only vehicles in use. Today's number one polluter in major cities in America is the gasoline fueled internal combustion engine. When the sun shines for a week straight in Seattle (yes, that actually happens a few times each year), a brown haze engulfs the low horizon. In cities like Beijing, you can barely see in the distance.

    The only bear market rally going on in Wall Street today is the rally in the share price of oil and gas related companies. At Smead Capital Management we believe technology will eviscerate a great deal of demand for oil in the next ten years, just as it did for oats and hay just after 1900. We are happy to be under-represented in oil and gas companies, but are looking for investments in electricity that meet our strict criteria. And that is no manure.

    Best Wishes,
      William Smead
    William Smead

    The information contained in this missive represents SCM's opinions, and should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The securities identified and described in this missive do not represent all of the securities purchased or recommended for our clients. It should not be assumed that investing in these securities was or will be profitable. A list of all recommendations made by Smead Capital Management with in the past twelve month period is available upon request.

    Jun 01 6:04 PM | Link | Comment!
  • The Biggest Economic Calamity

    Bill SmeadWilliam Smead
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chief Investment Officer


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    Dear Clients and Prospective Clients:

    Economists, policy makers, regulators and investors spend most of their adult life worrying about the worst Economic calamity of their early adulthood. From 1946 to 1973, every time we had a recession it brought intense fear of the next "Great Depression" happening. Despite hyper-vigilance on the part of economists and policy makers, it took 30 years for investor's to trust stocks thereafter. They should have been more confident as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose from 92.92 on April 28th, 1942 to 995.15 by February 9th, 1966. This appreciation does not take into account dividends. The great run in the stock market in the 1950's happened while we worked off the debts incurred fighting the Depression and World War II.

    Inflation reared its ugly head in the 1960's and 1970's. Economists like Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker have caused us to be hyper-vigilant since then to not allow inflation to find its footing. Despite the fact that inflation fell all through the 1980’s and 1990’s, investor's did not trust stocks until the late 1990's and by then most of the good money had been made.

    Today the biggest economic calamity in the minds of economists, policy makers, regulators and investors has been the over-capitalization of real estate and high levels of debt attached to our economy. Economists like Nouriel Roubini and policy makers like Barnie Frank are leading the charge to remind us to not let the animals out of the barn, now that they are already out.

    We at Smead Capital Management believe that the real estate markets will be tame for years. Working down our current debt levels the next ten years will indelibly etch better and healthier attitudes into borrowers of all kinds. We believe that rather than waiting 20 years to trust good quality stocks, we should trust them right now.

    Best Wishes,
      William Smead
    William Smead

    The information contained in this missive represents SCM's opinions, and should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The securities identified and described in this missive do not represent all of the securities purchased or recommended for our clients. It should not be assumed that investing in these securities was or will be profitable. A list of all recommendations made by Smead Capital Management with in the past twelve month period is available upon request.

    Jun 01 4:09 PM | Link | Comment!
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