Focusing on value beats worrying about macro

|By:, SA News Editor

Particularly apt reading tonight as stocks head south on worry about a partial U.S. government shutdown, The Brooklyn Investor makes the case for trying to ignore whatever the latest macro-boogeyman happens to be, and instead focus on buying and holding reasonably valued stocks. Paraphrasing Seth Klarman: "You just have to figure out what a business can earn in five or ten years on a normalized basis and see what it's worth; if you can buy it for lower than that, then it doesn't matter what the headlines say."

The Shiller cyclically adjusted P/E ratio does raise TBI's eyebrow as it shows the market to be 47% overvalued, but it was similarly so in 1966. While the averages did nothing over the next 16 years, the "Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville" (Walter Schloss, Tweedy Brown, Sequoia Fund) racked up ridiculous returns (this, of course, may be of little comfort to index investors).

Buffett's classic "Superinvestors" article from 1984.

Can the market go down? A lot? No doubt, says TBI, but the odds against being able to exploit a bear market are far too long - better to spend time looking for stocks trading at 1.1x book that should be selling for 1.5x book.

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