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My Favorite Investment Writing of 2017 - Mar, 12/26/2017 - 15:29
Plus My Favorite Books I Read in 2017Photo: Pixabay

Outside of Twitter and my email list, I rarely discuss other writers’ work on Of Dollars And Data. However, without these individuals I wouldn’t be even half as good of an investment writer as I am today. Reading the work of others is the most helpful way to learn about investing and it can also improve your writing. So, where credit is due, my favorite investment pieces of 2017:

Morgan always writes great stuff, but this post is so good that it completely changed the way I write. I’d actually argue it’s a little too good, because Morgan gave away one of his secrets. I won’t tell you what the secret is, but I will say this: good writers imitate, great writers steal from Morgan Housel.

If you are unconvinced of the value that an active manager can provide, this is the post to read. Corey does an incredible job of explaining the behavioral reasons why certain active strategies can outperform in the long run.

Well researched. Incredible charts. This is primetime Batnick. It is also probably the best summary of the Bessembinder paper, which made a splash in the finance community earlier this year. Looking forward to Michael’s book in 2018.

This guy doesn’t post often, but when he does, I listen. This one completely changed how I view rising equity valuations and future expected returns. Seeing higher P/Es might me justified merely because it is easier and cheaper to invest with less risk (i.e. more diversification) than in previous decades. I can’t say with certainty this is correct, but it makes a lot of sense to me.

They say an image is worth a thousand words, and Ben uses that to his advantage in this post better than anyone. His writing is simple, yet profound. I know few writers that can say so much by saying so little.

Always funny, entertaining, and informative, this piece is no exception. Josh probably knows every trick in the finance industry and he regularly exposes them all. Mad props for leading the way in integrity. Josh sets an example for the rest of us.

Never forget the master. Jason Zweig has been writing about investing longer than anyone on this list and he always delivers. This post is particularly insightful because of the history of the main character (Karl G. Karsten) who called into question forecasting and discovered smart beta before either were a thing.

My Favorite Books I Read in 2017

I read 45 books in 2017 which is 15 books short of what the average CEO reads, so now you know why I’m not a CEO. Either way, here are my 10 favorites (in no particular order):

This book inspired one of my most popular posts of 2017 and covers the physical and psychological aspects of survival in a unique way. Gonzales focuses on accidents and how to mentally survive incredibly difficult situations. If you are interested in adventure, perseverance, or psychology, then this book is for you.

Sapiens takes a deep dive into truly understanding humans and how they live and organize themselves. One of his main arguments is how humans use stories to define themselves and the world around them. Harari’s unique perspective on these issues presents insightful research that is also entertaining.

How do animals have sex? It’s not as simple as the birds and the bees. In this book, Olivia Judson digs into the many and varied reproductive strategies that have evolved in species across the globe. From spiders performing bondage to slime molds with over 500 different sexes, this book will open your eyes to the driving force behind life itself. If you need more convincing, Meb Faber said it was one of his favorite books.

Howard Marks, cofounder of Oaktree Capital, is known for his annual letters that educate and inspire. In The Most Important Thing, Marks summarizes the many tenets of his investment philosophy into one simple work. I enjoyed the book because it was so profound and entertaining at the same time. Just consider this story Marks used to explain how worst case scenario projections may not be negative enough:

I tell my father’s story of the gambler who lost regularly. One day he hears about a race with only one horse in it, so he bet the rent money. Halfway around the track, the horse jumped over the fence and ran away.

I still think the jury is out on a lot of nutrition science because the problem is so difficult, but Nina Teicholz does an incredible job showcasing the scientific evidence for including more fat in the diet. In fact, the book is quite boring at times because of how many studies Tiecholz is able to cite in support of her argument. Seriously, Tiechnolz cites study after study after study on saturated fat consumption, and the weight of the evidence (no pun intended) is impressive. So, if you are still convinced that bacon and butter are bad for you, read this book.

Glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light. Six things that we all take for granted, but all have intriguing histories. Steven Johnson does a wonderful job of telling the narratives behind a handful of the life changing technologies we use on a daily basis. One funny story that stuck with me was how wrong many inventors were about how their inventions would ultimately be used. Ironically, Alexander Graham Bell thought the telephone would be used to listen to music, while Thomas Edison thought the phonograph would be used to communicate via recorded audio.

Peter Bernstein maybe one of the best investment thinkers of all time, and Against the Gods has no shortage of his brilliance. I wrote an entire post based on Bernstein’s work and highly recommend the book if you want a more in-depth view of risk and its history in human society.

This book changed the way I viewed my future career and other life decisions. Taleb’s premise is that you should follow life strategies that make you antifragile. In other words, find ways to follow strategies with infrequent, large non-linear gains and small linear losses. Careers that include blogging/writing are of this nature as the costs are small, but the upside can be massive. If you want to discover how antifragility might be able to help you, read this book.

I love Jocko Willink’s ability to inspire others to put in the work and get things done. His Twitter/Instagram feed consists of his daily 4:30 AM wakeup and workout routines. This book is on theme and does not disappoint. I still am the top review for this book on Amazon if you want to get my full thoughts. Either way, I will leave you with a quote from the book that I hope speaks to you as it did for me:

We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be. It isn’t that you wake up one day and decide that’s it: I am going to be weak. No. It is a slow incremental process. It chips away at our will-it chips away at our discipline.

Last, but not least, this book brings up a lot of controversial issues on intelligence and its increasing importance in modern society. Many people throw this book out because of its discussion of race. Personally, I don’t find the race and intelligence ideas that interesting. The more important question to me is: as careers evolve to require ever higher amounts of intellectual ability, what will happen to those individuals that don’t have such intellectual gifts? What should we do (if anything) to give those with unequal ability a fair shot in a world where they are genetically disadvantaged? If these questions interest you, then look past the controversy and read this book.

I hope you found something useful in this list. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and I will see you all in 2018! Thank you for reading.

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This is post 52. Any code I have related to this post can be found here with the same numbering:


The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. Please read my “About” page for more information. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and affiliated sites.

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Artículos recomendados para inversores 223 - Mar, 12/26/2017 - 10:34

Recopilación de artículos recomendados para inversores en general y, en especial, para los seguidores del value investing, volumen 223.

La entrada Artículos recomendados para inversores 223 aparece primero en Academia de Inversión - Aprende value investing desde cero.

Constructive Dissatifcation - Dom, 12/24/2017 - 15:06
It’s possible I’m becoming a huge sap over the past few years now that I have children. So during the holidays I find myself pondering things like the ideal balance between my family and everything else in my life while considering how happiness and time management fit into this equation. A few weeks ago I wrote about the benefits of being in control of your own time on the job. One of my astute readers passe...

Prime Value - Dom, 12/24/2017 - 12:50

Prime Value

25 de diciembre de 2017, por Víctor Morales

Take a simple idea and take it seriously

-Charlie Munger

Este mes ha nacido Prime Value, fondo de inversión que Adrián Sánchez y yo vamos a gestionar.

Por seguridad y flexibilidad hemos creado un fondo luxemburgués.

El cual permite una mayor concentración, similar a los hedge funds americanos y si bien el mínimo a invertir es alto, estamos buscando opciones para reducirlo.


Seguimos fielmente la filosofía Value Investing a través del análisis en profundidad de cada empresa.

Lo que se basa en 3 pilares:

Compañías adecuadas:

La decisión más importante es seleccionar las compañías correctas con historia de éxito de la rentabilidad de los accionistas.

Precio adecuado:

Un buen negocio no siempre es una buena inversión, todo depende del precio pagado. Buscamos buenas empresas en momentos difíciles.

Propietarios y gestores adecuados:

Toda empresa se compone de decisiones financieras, de inversión y operativas tomadas por la dirección y los propietarios.


El objetivo del fondo no es otro que encontrar empresas infravaloradas que ofrezcan un Margen de Seguridad amplio lo que permite disminuir la posibilidad de pérdida permanente del capital a la vez que aumenta la probabilidad de conseguir un retorno satisfactorio.

Esto es posible aplicando el value investing, el cual se basa en que en ocasiones el mercado no valora correctamente las empresas.


El proceso del gestor ha de concluir con la valoración de la empresa, determinando su valor intrínseco. Para lo que será necesario un profundo análisis que contemple la historia de la empresa y del sector, la posición competitiva, el modelo de negocio, la cadena de valor, los estados financieros y la propiedad y la gerencia.

Siguiendo el Principio de Pareto, el análisis ha de identificar las tres o cuatro variables críticas que afectan al 80% de la creación de valor de la empresa.

Es en este momento, tras el análisis, cuando entendemos el sector y la posición competitiva de la empresa cuando podemos valorar la empresa, estimando unos flujos de caja basados en el crecimiento de la empresa y los márgenes.

El proceso finalizará con una tesis de inversión sencilla que nos ayude a tomar la decisión de invertir o no.


Finalizada la tesis de inversión, valoraremos la creación de valor de la compañía, pero no siempre será así debido a la complejidad de algunos sectores, algunas compañías o la existencia de unos riesgos que no podamos valorar.

Después del esfuerzo realizado analizando una empresa, puede aparecer el sesgo del aumento de compromiso, el cual erróneamente orienta creer que la inversión es mejor que lo que realmente es simplemente por haber decidido analizarla, por ello se deberá ser lo más racional posible para reconocer si se ha entendido la empresa.

Así la decisión de inversión estará basada en:

  • Reconocer si se ha entendido la empresa y su entorno
  • El Margen de Seguridad
  • El resto de opciones existentes en nuestro universo de inversión

Prime Value muestra claras ventajas competitivas:


El fondo permite una mayor flexibilidad en la concentración de valores que los estándares del mercado, hasta un máximo de un 30% en una misma posición frente al habitual 10% de la industria.


Ser un fondo pequeño nos permite mayor flexibilidad en la inversión de small y mid-caps y explorar terrenos que a los que otros no llegan.


El custodio se realiza en Luxemburgo, uno de los pocos países calificados triple A por Standard & Poor’s.


La gestora del fondo es Altarius Capital, los cuales encajan perfectamente con nuestra filosofía de trabajo para ofrecer a nuestros clientes el mejor producto.

El soporte de los equipos de staff, operaciones y riesgos de Altarius Capital nos permiten estas centrados en el análisis.

Momento del Mercado

No esperes el momento preciso en el que el mercado esté listo para invertir. Empieza ahora. El mejor momento para sembrar un roble fue hace 20 años. El segundo mejor momento es ahora.

-James Stowers

Si bien estoy de acuerdo con la frase de Stowers, en mi opinión estamos en el mejor momento de los últimos 20 años para crear un fondo de inversión.

2008-2009 fue un excelente momento para invertir, pero ahí hasta un mono disparando a una diana habría acertado seleccionando acciones, ya que todo estaba barato.

Hoy el mercado está polarizado, algo similar a lo que ocurrió a finales del siglo pasado.

Existen multitud de empresas, buenas y menos buenas, en precio, algo caras o muy caras, recordemos que las principales bolsas mundiales cotizan por encima de su media histórica.

Pero de la misma manera, existen algunos sectores totalmente deprimidos, cotizando a mínimos de varias décadas.

Lo que nos ha obligado a buscar valor en ellos, y ahí hemos encontrado un puñado de excelentes empresas, con ventajas competitivas claras. Las más eficientes de cada industria, con mejores márgenes que la competencia, con los mejores activos o procesos de su sector, gestionadas por los fundadores, dueños o con accionistas mayoritarios y con contratos a largo plazo que ofrece visibilidad y seguridad en los flujos de caja.

Este profundo análisis junto a un seguimiento continuo con los directivos de cada empresa nos ha permitido diseñar una cartera concentrada de inicialmente 12 valores los cuales valen bastante más del doble de lo que cotizan.

Ficha Contratación

Los primeros clientes ya han realizado sus transferencias, naceremos con unos 7 millones de euros. La cartera ya está definida, empezaremos a comprar el próximo 2 de enero.

El producto, de la misma manera que nos permite mayor concentración y nos da mayor seguridad al estar en Luxemburgo, exige un mínimo a invertir de $125.000, lo que esperamos reducir a $50.000-$100.000 en los próximos meses.

Para contrataciones por favor contactad con el gerente de operaciones en

No quería despedirme sin desearos una Feliz Navidad.

¿Quieres leer más reflexiones como esta?

Consigue gratis mi ebook “¿Por qué invertir te va a cambiar la vida?” y descubre por qué deberías empezar a invertir en Bolsa.



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Preguntas interesantes para entender negocios

LaVueltaAlGrfico - Vie, 12/22/2017 - 09:40
Como todo en la vida no hay una verdad única y podemos encontrar diferentes enfoques para abordar un mismo problema o como estamos en un blog de economía e inversión, podemos llegar a una misma inversión desde un proceso completamente diferente. Por ello, diferentes gestores le dan una gran importancia a entrevistarse con el management de la compañía.

The 2017 Financial Market Awards - Vie, 12/22/2017 - 03:23
Here are your 2017 Financial Market Award winners: Biggest (non-crypto) Winners: Pretty Much Everything Stocks were up around the globe as U.S., European, Japanese and emerging markets have all gained in excess of 20%. Bonds were up. Gold was up. REITs were up. Small caps, mid caps, individual countries, you name it. Morningstar’s Jeffrey Ptak even ran the numbers for me on the entire mutual fund universe which show...

Getting the Most Out of Your Equity Investments - Jue, 12/21/2017 - 21:56

As we approach 2018, I thought this final chapter from the 4th edition of What works on Wall Street might be a helpful frame of reference for equity investors.

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all.”

                       –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Investors can learn much from the Taoist concept of Wu Wei. Taoism is one of the three schools of Chinese philosophy that have guided thinkers for thousands of years. Literally, Wu Wei means “to act without action” but in spirit means to let things occur as they are meant to occur. Don’t try to put square pegs into round holes. Understand the essence of a circle and use it as nature intended. The closest western equivalent is Wittgenstein’s maxim: “Don’t look for the meaning: Look for the use!”

For investors, this means letting good strategies work. Don’t second guess them. Don’t try to outsmart them. Don’t abandon them because they’re experiencing a rough patch. Understand the nature of what you’re using and let it work. This is the hardest assignment of all. It’s virtually impossible not to insert our ego or emotions into decisions, yet it is only by being dispassionate that you can beat the market over time.

We’ve lived through the most tumultuous market environments since the 1920s and 1930s since I originally published this book in 1996. A stock market bubble between 1996 and March 2000—the likes of which we had not seen since the late 1960s and before that the roaring 1920s—led many investors to throw out the investing rule book. The more insanely overvalued a company, the more it soared. Everyone talked of “the new economy” and how it really was different this time. Sticking with time-tested investment strategies during the stock market orgy was close to impossible. Month in, month out you had to stand on the sidelines, watching your reasonably-priced stocks do nothing while the over-priced “story” stocks soared. And, as often happens with stock market bubbles, just as the last sane investors capitulated and learned to love the stocks with the craziest valuations, along came the reckoning—all the previously gravity-defying stocks came crashing back to earth. Fortunes were lost and millions of investors lost their faith in the long-term potential of stocks. What’s worse is that after recovering from the bear market of 2000-2003, a new bubble appeared in real estate markets and the debt used to finance them. This new bubble popped in any even more destructive fashion than that of the stocks earlier in the decade and brought worldwide markets close to the brink of collapse, ushering in the worst bear market for stocks since the Great Depression. Investor’s faith in equity markets was almost completely destroyed by the great market crash of 2007-2009.  The S&P 500’s loss of 37 percent in 2008 was second only to 1931, where it dropped by 43 percent. People were literally hoarding cash, terrified to make any investment in the stock market. And much as the bubble years gave birth to the idea that things really were different than in the past and we had emerged with a “new economy”, the bust years also gave birth to the concept of “the new normal.”  To its advocates, the new normal meant that returns would be permanently lower going forward than they had been historically and there was really nothing that we could do about it. Money poured out of equities into bonds with investors desperate to avoid risk of any kind. The September 2010 issue of Institutional Investor had a cover story entitled “Paradise Lost: Why Fallen Markets Will Never be the Same”, in which the authors argue that “the financial crisis has discredited free-market capitalism and given its state-driven counterpart a boost.”  Yet we are forever fighting yesterday’s battle without paying attention to what we can learn from historical events.

In markets moving from extreme speculation to extreme despair, believing in Ockham’s razor—that the simplest theory is usually the best—is almost impossible. We love to make the simple complex, follow the crowd, get seduced by some hot “story” stock, let our emotions dictate decisions, buy and sell on tips and hunches and approach each investment decision on a case-by-case basis, with no underlying consistency or strategy. On the flip side, when equity returns are horrible over a long period of time, we are far too willing to assume that stocks will never generate returns comparable to those of the past and abandon them in favor of less risky assets like bond and money market funds.  Even fourteen years after this book was first published—showing decade upon decade of the results of all the various types of strategies—people were more than willing to throw it all out the window because of short-term events, be they good or bad. No wonder the S&P 500 beats 70 percent of traditionally-managed mutual funds over the long-term!

A Taoist story is illuminating: One day a man was standing at the edge of a pool at the bottom of a huge waterfall when he saw an old man being tossed about in the turbulent water. He ran to rescue him, but before he got there the old man had climbed out onto the bank and was walking alone, singing to himself. The man was astonished and rushed up to the old man, questioning him about the secret of his survival. The old man said that it was nothing special. “I began to learn while very young, and grew up practicing it. Now, I’m certain of success. I go down with the water and come up with the water. I follow it and forget myself. The only reason I survive is because I don’t struggle against the water’s superior power.”  

The market is like the water, overpowering all who struggle against it and giving those who work with it a wonderful ride. But swimming lessons are in order. You can’t just jump in, you need guidelines. Our study of the last 84 years with the CRSP dataset and 46 years with the COMPUSTAT suggests that to do well in the market, you must do the following:


Always Use Strategies

You’ll get nowhere buying stocks just because they have a great story. Usually, these are the very companies that have been the worst performers over the full time period of our study. They’re the stocks everyone talks about and wants to own. They often have sky-high price-to-earnings, price-to-book and price-to-sales ratios. They’re very appealing in the short-term, but deadly over the long haul. You must avoid them. Always think in terms of overall strategies and not individual stocks. One company’s data is meaningless, yet can be very convincing. Conversely, don’t avoid the market or a stock simply because things have been bad over the short-term. Few investors could see the compelling valuation of the overall stock market in March 2009, yet it was at this time that stocks were a screaming buy and about to embark on a huge rally. If you had a simple rebalance strategy in place at the time which allocated between stocks and other investments, the strategy would have forced you to buy more stocks. But as Goethe’s quote at the beginning of this chapter makes plain, acting is hard, and acting in line with what you think is almost impossible.   If you can’t use strategies and are inexorably drawn to the stock of the day, your returns suffer horribly in the long run. Remind yourself of what happens to these stocks by looking at charts of all the high flyers between 1998 and 2002 and the tables and charts for how value stocks came soaring back after the stock market bubble burst in 2000. If, try as you might, you can’t stick to a strategy, put the majority of your money in an index fund and treat the small amount you invest in story stocks as an entertainment expense.

Ignore the Short-term

Investors who look only at how a strategy or the overall market has performed recently can be seriously misled and end up either ignoring a great long-term strategy that has recently underperformed or piling into a mediocre strategy that has recently been on fire. Over the last 15 years, I cannot count the number of times investors have gotten extremely excited about our strategies as they were doing well relative to their benchmark and the same number of times that investors became despondent about short-term underperformance. Tragically, investors seem hardwired to inordinately focus on very short periods of time, often completely ignoring how the strategy has done over long periods of time. As investors, all of our information about returns is focused on extremely short periods of time. Witness everyone falling all over themselves to explain why the stock market has gone up or down in a single day! What’s funny is that over very short periods of time, the stock market is relatively impossible to forecast, yet when you extend your horizon, the market becomes far more understandable. As I mentioned in the introduction, if you look at the 50 worst ten year performances for the stock market, there is not a single instance where over the next ten years the stock market failed to go up.

The point is that at some time in the future any of the strategies in this book will underperform the market, and it is only those investors who can keep their focus on the very long-term results who will be able to stick with them and reap the rewards of a long-term commitment. You should always guard against letting what the market is doing today influence the investments decisions you make. One way to do this is to focus on the rolling batting average of how your portfolio is performing versus its benchmark. Much like we focus on the rolling base rates for all of the stock selection strategies we have tested in this book, you can do the same for your portfolios performance versus its benchmark. When you look only at how your investment portfolio has performed for the last quarter, year, and three and five year period, you are simply looking at a single snapshot of how you’ve done. Now, this might make you very happy if you’ve done exceedingly well for that particular period but it also might make you want to abandon your strategy if you’ve done poorly relative to other strategies available. In both cases, I would argue that you are potentially misled by only looking at a snapshot. What if it is December 31st, 1999 when you take a look at this snapshot? For an investor who had loaded up on pricey and tech stocks five years earlier looking at the snapshot and  he or she will think they are a genius—my God, I will be able to retire in a few years if I keep growing my portfolio at this rate! Or how about an investor who had kept their portfolio devoted to small-cap stocks and large-cap value fare? They might look at how they’ve done and wince about the relative lack of great returns in their portfolio and be tempted to follow the same strategy as the first investor with a tech and heavy portfolio. By looking at the snapshot at that point in time and extrapolating it into the future, both investors would have been seriously misled. The tech-heavy portfolio went on to crash and burn just as the small-cap and value portfolio began to soar.

By focusing on how your portfolio is doing against a benchmark on rolling periods, you will get a much better sense for how you are continuously doing against the market and will be much more likely to be willing to stick with a strategy that may be underperforming recently but has an outstanding win rate versus the market over all rolling periods. It gives you continuous feedback that allows you to take the hills and valleys with greater restraint than if you simply looked at one point in time. It also lets you put recent performance into the historical context of the strategy—if you’re relative performance is down but still very much in line with what the strategy has done historically, you will probably be more able to stay the course.

Finally, this advice is equally useful after sharp draw downs for stocks. In March of 2009 I wrote a commentary for Yahoo Finance that was entitled “A Generational Opportunity”  in which I argued that many investors were facing a once in a lifetime gift to purchase equities at valuations that we hadn’t seen since the early 1980s. I urged middle-aged investors to increase the equity allocation of their portfolio to 70 percent to take advantage of the fear that permeated the markets and for the most part the response was silence. People were so shell-shocked by what had happened over the previous 15 months that no amount of data would move them to take advantage of the situation. That’s why ignoring the short term may be both the hardest and best thing you can do for the overall health of your portfolio.


Use Only Strategies Proven Over the Long-Term

Always focus on strategies whose effectiveness is proven over a variety of market environments. The more time periods you can analyze, the better your odds of finding a strategy that has withstood a variety of stock market environments.  Buying stocks with high price-to-book ratios appeared to work for as long as 15 years, but the fullness of time proves that it is not effective. Many years of data help you understand the peaks and valleys of a strategy. What’s more, sometimes a strategy might make intuitive sense, like buying stocks that have the greatest annual gain in sales, yet a review of the data tells us that, in the long-run, this is a losing strategy, probably because investors get so excited by those huge annual sales increases that they price the stocks to perfection, which is rarely achieved.  Attempting to use strategies that have not withstood the test of time will lead to great disappointment. Stocks change. Industries change. But the underlying reasons certain stocks are good investments remain the same. Only the fullness of time reveals which are the most sound. Remember how alluring all the stocks were in the late 1990s? Don’t let the investment mania de jour suck you in—insist on long-term data that supports your investment philosophy. Remember that there will always be current market fads. In the 1990s it was internet and technology stocks, tomorrow it might be nanotechnology or emerging markets, but all bubbles get popped.

Dig Deep

If you’re a professional investor, make certain to test any strategy over as much time and as many seasons as possible. Look for the worst-case scenario, the time it took to recover from that loss and how consistent it was against its relevant benchmark. Note the largest downside deviation it had against the benchmark and be very wary of any strategy that has a wide downside deviation from it. Most investors can’t stomach being far behind the benchmark for long.

If you’re an individual investor, insist that your advisor conduct such a study on your behalf, or do it yourself. There are now many websites where you can do this research. With all the tools now available to individual investors, there is simply no excuse for not doing your homework. A wonderful resource for individual investors is the American Association of Individual Investors. Their website ( is chockablock full of helpful ideas as well as an entire section devoted to stock screening. Check the links at for any new sites that might appear to aid you in your research.  



Invest Consistently  

Consistency is the hallmark of great investors, separating them from everyone else. If you use even a mediocre strategy consistently, you’ll beat almost all investors who jump in and out of the market, change tactics in midstream, and forever second-guess their decisions. Look at the S&P 500. We’ve shown that it is a simple strategy that buys large capitalization stocks. Yet this one-factor, rather mediocre strategy still manages to beat 70 percent of all actively managed funds because it never leaves its strategy.  Realistically consider your risk tolerance, plan your path and then stick to it. You may have fewer stories to tell at parties, but you’ll be among the most successful long-term investors. Successful investing isn’t alchemy, it’s a simple matter of consistently using time-tested strategies and letting compounding work its magic.


Always Bet With the Base Rate

Base rates are boring, dull and very worthwhile. Knowing how often and by how much a strategy beats the market is among the most useful information available to investors, yet few take advantage of it. Base rates are essentially the odds of beating the market over the time period you plan to invest. If you have a ten-year time horizon and understand base rates, you’ll see that picking stocks with the highest multiples of earnings, cash flow, sales or lowest value composite score has very bad odds. If you pay attention to the odds, you can put them on your side.  You now have the numbers. Use them. Don’t settle for strategies that may have done very well recently but have poor overall batting averages. Chances are you’ll be getting in just as those long-term base rates are getting ready to reassert themselves.  


Never Use the Riskiest Strategies

There is no point in using the riskiest strategies. They will sap your will and you will undoubtedly abandon them, usually at their low. Given the number of highly effective strategies, always concentrate on those with the highest risk-adjusted returns.

Always Use More Than One Strategy

Unless you’re near retirement and investing only in low risk strategies, always diversify your portfolio by investing in several strategies. How much you allocate to each is a function of risk tolerance, but you should always have some growth and some value guarding you from the inevitable swings of fashion on Wall Street. Once you have exposure to both styles of investing, make sure you have exposure to the various market capitalizations as well. A simple rule of thumb for investors with ten years or more to go until they need the money is to use the market’s weights as guidelines. Currently, 75 percent of the market is large-cap and 25 percent is small- and mid-cap. That’s a good starting point for the average investor. Unite strategies so your portfolio can do much better than the overall market without taking more risk. Indeed, while this book only covers stocks that trade in the United States, with a reasonable number of them being American depository receipts of Foreign-domiciled companies that offer shares to U.S. investors, you might think about having your portfolio aligned in a similar fashion to the MSCI All World Index. Currently, the U.S. makes up 35 percent of that index, with Japan, the United Kingdom. France and Canada rounding out the top five. If you include the next five countries by market capitalization, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia, Switzerland and Brazil, you would cover 74 percent of the total market capitalization in the world. The point is, these strategies work outside the United States as well, and a well diversified portfolio should reflect this. We have run tests similar to those in this book on the MSCI dataset that begins in 1970 and found that, for the most part, these strategies work equally well in foreign markets.

Additionally, you should have a plan for your entire portfolio, not just the equity portion. One of the simplest and most effective strategies for your entire portfolio is to rebalance your allocations to various styles and asset classes back to your target allocation at least once a year. If you are working with a financial advisor, he or she is probably already doing this for you, but if not, figure out what makes the most sense for you and then make sure that you follow your allocation. What this effectively does is force you to buy more of an investment style or an asset class when it has done poorly and take money away from styles and asset classes that have done well. It would have served you extraordinarily well near the bear market bottoms of the last decade, as it would have forced you to move money from fixed income into equities at a time when most investors were fleeing the equity market and allowed you to take advantage of the big move up from the market bottom. But it also would have served you well during the last market boom, as it would have had you trim equity allocations and put additional money in fixed income and other assets. It’s important to have a strategy for your entire portfolio.



Use Multifactor Models

The single factor models show the market rewards certain characteristics while punishing others. Yet you’re much better off using several factors to build your portfolios. Returns are higher and risk is lower. You should always make a stock pass several hurdles before investing in it. The only exceptions to this rule are our Composited factors like the Composited Value Factor, the Composited Earnings Quality and so forth. These are essentially multifactor models as they include several factors and require a good score on each for a stock to rise to the top.

Insist On Consistency

If you don’t have the time to build your own portfolios and prefer investing in mutual funds or separately managed accounts, buy only those that stress consistency of style. Many managers follow a hit-or-miss, intuitive method of stock selection. They have no mechanism to reign in their emotions or insure that their good ideas work. All too often their picks are based on hope rather than experience. You have no way to really know exactly how they are managing your money, or if their past performance is due to a hot hand unguided by a coherent underlying strategy.

Don’t bet with them. Buy one of the many funds based on solid, rigorous strategies. If your fund doesn’t clearly define its investment style, insist that they do. You should expect nothing less.


The Stock Market Is Not Random

Finally, the data proves the stock market takes purposeful strides. Far from chaotic, random movement, the market consistently rewards specific strategies while punishing others. And these purposeful strides have continued to persist well after they were first identified. We now have not only what Ben Graham requested—the historical behavior of securities with defined characteristics—we also have a 14-year period where we’ve witnessed their continued performance in real time. We must let history be our guide, using only those time-tested methods that have proven successful. We know what is valuable and we know what works on Wall Street. All that remains is to act upon this knowledge.

Animal Spirits Episode 9: Invest Like the Worst - Mié, 12/20/2017 - 14:33
On this week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben we discuss: Michael’s old trading diary and why he shorted Amazon. The benefits of documenting your investment process & ideas. GMO’s latest dire predictions for the markets. The prospect for micro efficiency and macro inefficiency in the markets. Why the path of returns matters more than the returns themselves. Why millennials should pray for lower r...

La importancia de la Psicología en los mercados financieros (novena parte)

LaVueltaAlGrfico - Mar, 12/19/2017 - 21:19
Hoy retomamos nuestra serie de post sobre Psicología para los Mercados Financieros.

The Pros & Cons of Momentum Investing - Mar, 12/19/2017 - 18:12
Since I wrote this piece for Bloomberg in late-October there has been an additional 14 new all-time highs in the S&P 500. I’m often asked why the market continues to trudge higher in the face of so much uncertainty in the world. The simplest explanation is this idea of momentum. Momentum is by far the best performing academic risk factor in the markets historically, but it’s not always so easy to take adva...

When Do You Sell? - Mar, 12/19/2017 - 15:53
The Most Challenging Question in Investing

Before you buy your next investment, consider the following question:

When do you sell?

The question seems easy enough, but I’d argue its the most challenging question for investors. Why? Because it forces you to face off against two of the strongest behavioral forces in investing: fear of missing out on the upside and the fear of losing money on the downside. Let’s go through a few examples to explain my thinking:

Imagine you are putting money into your 401(k) every 2 weeks and buying a diversified portfolio of cheap index funds/ETFs. When do you sell?

Excluding rebalancing, you might say, “I will only start to sell in retirement.” That was my gut response as well.

However, what if there is a melt up and valuations start to rise to extreme levels? If the CAPE kept rising from 30 to 40 to 50 … all the way to 100, would you sell then and move to cash? The only time we have ever seen valuations that high was Japan in the late 1980s when the CAPE rose to ~94, and you know what happened afterward:

So, do you cash out as the market heats up, or let is play itself out? We must also consider the flip side of this.

As you near retirement, the market starts drawing down significantly. In dollar terms you are down $100,000, then $200,000, then $300,000 and it is outside of your control. The decades you spent saving, investing, and making the right financial choices are being wiped out in a matter of months. So, do you sell?

It is easy to talk about buy and hold, but very different in a moment of crisis. I haven’t personally experienced anything more than a 10–15% drawdown across my portfolio since I have started investing in 2012, but based on what I have read, it doesn’t sound pleasant. Large dollar drawdowns are known to be gut wrenching with many people reporting feeling physically sick. So before you talk the talk of not selling in a panic, consider whether you can actually walk the walk.

Now let’s propose a different scenario:

Instead of buying broadly diversified index funds/ETFs in your retirement account, you decide to do some individual stock picking in your brokerage account. Once again, when do you sell?

You might be tempted by Buffett’s wisdom from his 1988 letter to shareholders (emphasis mine):

When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.

However, remember that of all the stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1901, only General Electric is still in the Dow today. Forever is a lot shorter than it seems.

Assuming you don’t want to hold forever, let’s say you bought two stocks, one of which doubled in a year and the other is down 25% after a year. If you are a typical investor, you will sell your winner to lock in a gain and hold onto your loser so it can recover in price. This is known as the disposition effect and it is a well documented investor behavior.

However, the evidence suggests that selling your winners and holding your losers would (on average) be the wrong move. Why? Stocks that do well over the previous year tend to do well over the next year and stocks that did poorly over the previous year tend to do poorly over the next year. This is known as momentum factor and it is also one of the most well documented investment results we see across different markets and time periods. This factor combined with the disposition effect provides evidence for how typical investors sell at precisely the wrong time.

The examples above are just two of many different scenarios you will face as an investor. Considering whether to sell an underperforming asset class, or thinking about the tax consequences of your actions will also effect if/when you sell. Nevertheless, being cognizant of the behavioral forces at play in every scenario can make a big difference in your investment results.

The Importance of When to Sell

The question of when to sell is important because it forces you as an investor to put a range on the downside and upside for when you should sell a given investment. It seems obvious after the fact, but I have gotten into many positions previously where I didn’t have a set price range (or selling methodology) in mind.

I thought about this idea while talking with some coworkers about the crypto market. One of them said, “I wish I had gotten into Bitcoin while it was $100.” I responded, “Okay, but when would you have sold?” He didn’t have an answer, and I don’t blame him. It is hard to conceptualize Bitcoin at $15,000+ before the fact. It is far more likely that he, like me, would have sold out before it got anywhere near $15,000.

I can say with certainty that if I had bought Bitcoin at $100, as soon as it hit $300, or maybe $500, I would have sold. Why? A 3x-5x return is incredible in such a short time frame. Those are the kind of returns I expect over decades in equity markets, so why would I not lock those returns in if I received them in far less time? Yes, my decision looks silly when Bitcoin hits $15,000 after the fact, but at the time, making 3x-5x in a short time frame is amazing.

So, before you go buy your next investment, ask yourself:

When do you sell?

Thank you for reading!

➤ You can follow Of Dollars And Data via Email (1 weekly newsletter), Twitter, Facebook, or Medium.

This is post 51. Any code I have related to this post can be found here with the same numbering:


The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. Please read my “About” page for more information. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and affiliated sites.

When Do You Sell? was originally published in Of Dollars And Data on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Nuevas reflexiones sobre la inversión en Bitcoins y criptodivisas - Mar, 12/19/2017 - 12:38

Nuevas reflexiones sobre la idoneidad, rentabilidad y el riesgo de la inversión en Bitcoins y criptodivisas a día de hoy.

La entrada Nuevas reflexiones sobre la inversión en Bitcoins y criptodivisas aparece primero en Academia de Inversión - Aprende value investing desde cero.

Human Behavior and The Panic of 1907 - Lun, 12/18/2017 - 22:46

I recently wrote a post about a book I really liked called America’s Bank, by Roger Lowenstein. The book talks about the formation of the Federal Reserve, and the events that led to it. One of the major catalysts that started the process of banking reform was the Panic of 1907.

What Caused the Panic of 1907?

Basically, the Panic of 1907 was caused by a classic run on the bank, leading to the failure of the Knickerbocker Trust company in New York, which drained cash reserves from the financial system and created a shortage of liquidity all over the city and eventually in the broader economy. Merchants couldn’t use credit to pay for inventory, cash wasn’t available to pay workers, farmers couldn’t sell their crops, and the economy entered a recession.

The First Domino

It all started with a routine speculation that went awry. In those days, it was common for “stock operators” to borrow huge sums of money to finance an effort to manipulate a stock price for their own personal gain. The big speculators and their syndicates had enough buying power to move the prices of even the largest stocks.

In October of 1907, one of these operators, a banker named F. Augustus Heinze, attempted to corner the market of a copper mining stock. The operation failed, and the stock, which reached a price of 60 during the attempted corner, almost immediately collapsed to 10. Because of the leveraged nature of these manipulations, Heinze’s bank, Mercantile National Bank, was feared by the public to be bankrupt. In fact, Heinze’s bank was still solvent, but in banking, perception can become reality, and as depositors pulled their money out, Mercantile needed an emergency loan to stay alive.

On its own, the prospect of a small bank failure shouldn’t have been more than a blip on the economic radar. But without a central bank to act as a lender of last resort and without deposit insurance that would have calmed nervous savings account holders, this tiny bank run was the spark that led to contagion (a fancy word economists now use for widespread fear).

Fear Spreads

Other depositors around New York City wondered if their own deposits were safe, and like Lehman in 2008, the panic spread when a much larger organization suffered its own “no confidence” vote. Just two days later on October 18th, 1907, news broke that the president of one of the largest trusts in New York (The Knickerbocker Trust) was an associate of Heinz, and people all over the city began to question the safety of their deposits.

It was a classic run on the bank – fear begat more fear, and everyone wanted their cash back at once.

Trusts in New York at that time were not technically banks, but they acted just like them – taking in deposits and making loans. The problem was that these trusts were not regulated. Trusts made riskier loans, such as uncollateralized loans to stock brokers, who then used that capital to lend to their customers who bought stocks on margin. The trusts also had much more leverage. Banks in those days kept around $1 of cash in their vault for every $4 of deposits. At the trusts, each $1 of reserves was stretched across every $20 of deposits.

This meant that the trusts were much more vulnerable to runs. A trust could become insolvent if only 5% of its deposits were redeemed. In those days, with the right amount of fear, that could happen in an afternoon. And in October of 1907, it didn’t take much longer than that to cause the failure of the Knickerbocker.

Around that time, a group of bankers, led by J.P. Morgan himself, were going over the Knickerbocker’s books, to determine whether or not it should be saved. In the end, the bankers, who were essentially acting as a central bank of sorts, decided to let the Knickerbocker go down (technically, the trust didn’t fail, it just closed its doors for six months and locked out depositors, but practically speaking, it was bankrupt).

The Knickerbocker failure sparked massive fear all around New York, and the contagion quickly spread to other banks, and even larger trusts. Morgan and his cohorts realized they may have made a mistake, and quickly reversed course by extending a lifeline to The Trust Company of America and a few other major financial institutions in the city.

This may have mitigated the worst possible outcome, but just like in 2008, the bailouts didn’t stop the crisis from spreading. Depositors continued to ask for their cash back, and the banking reserves of the entire financial system rapidly evaporated. An astonishing 48% of the deposits left New York trusts and found safety in mattresses and dresser drawers.

The panic eventually spilled over into the broader economy. Businesses didn’t have enough cash to finance their operations or pay their workers, and many had to close their doors and halt production lines. The stock market plummeted 40%.

Economic devastation has real consequences and it’s never fun to read about the plight of those who feel the effects most acutely. But from a human behavior standpoint, the Panic of 1907 is a fascinating sequence of events to read about.

Financial Panics Rhyme

As a side note, the similarities between the Panic of 1907 and the crisis that occurred 101 years later in 2008 were remarkably similar. Heinze’s bank failure was like Bear Stearns – it was the first domino, but on its own it should have been manageable. But the Knickberbocker – just like Lehman in September of 2008 – was the catalyst that accelerated the crisis and nearly brought down the financial system. In both instances, the men in charge (Morgan and his syndicate in 1907; Bernanke and Paulson in 2008) decided against saving what turned out to be a systemically important bank. And in both cases, this decision led to panic, crashing stock prices, and additional bank runs. Everyone wanted their cash in hand. Both bank failures also caused the decision makers in each case to reverse course and save other teetering institutions – in 1907 Morgan saved the Trust Company of America, and in 2008 the US government saved AIG.

In addition, before the bailouts in 1907 and 2008, both groups of bankers were concerned about propping up doomed banks. Prudent lending was the concern in 1907; moral hazard was the concern in 2008. But ideology quickly was tossed out the window, and the focus became the practical matter of putting out the fire – the financial system had to be saved.

The Aftermath – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same…

The aftermath of both crises unfolded in a similar way as well. In both cases, the run on the bank created further panic, people demanded cash above any other asset, liquidity dried up causing businesses that relied on credit to suffer, which caused a broad economic downturn. (One difference is that the 1907 recession was very deep, but the recovery was swift, unlike the aftermath of 2008). The political aftermath was very similar between the crises as well. As is the case with most crises, Congressional leaders of both parties got on their collective populist and moral high-horse and dragged business leaders to Capitol Hill, demanding an explanation for what went wrong.

The general result of every crisis is always the same: after the finger pointing is finished, the remedy is new legislation and increased regulation – all designed to prevent the next crisis. Sometimes, this post-mortem results in sensible reform. 1907 gave us the Federal Reserve Act, at the time a wildly controversial piece of legislation that was viewed as a vast overreach of government power, but one that has proven to be a necessary linchpin to our financial system. The Great Depression gave us the FDIC and the SEC. And the most recent crisis gave us Dodd-Frank and the CFPB. The merits of any of these could be debated, but I think it’s really interesting to study the common denominators and the human behavior aspect of all of these crises.

Given the fact that human nature doesn’t change, the next crisis is inevitable. Laws and regulation can be effective at times at preventing what caused a previous crisis, but greed and fear are two constants in financial markets, and they will be the two key ingredients that will lead to the next great crisis. The cause will be different and unexpected, but the human behavior before, during and after the panic will look very similar.

Practical Takeaway

From a practical standpoint as an investor, I think it’s always interesting to study the various financial crises that have occurred throughout market history. Reading first-hand accounts of these events as they unfolded gives you a great sense of how much asset prices can be impacted by sheer emotion and herd behavior. This is obvious to most of us, but it’s helpful to keep in mind, as even the most level-headed investors can be influenced by fear.

It’s also helpful to remember that the greatest investors are usually the ones who capitalize on such panic. Morgan was making loans when no one else was in 1907, and acquiring assets on the cheap. Buffett was providing capital and buying stocks when very few others would in the midst of the panic in 2008 (and coincidentally, J.P. Morgan’s eponymous bank would also be buying cheap assets 101 years after he helped save the system in 1907). Just like some of the banks in Morgan’s 1907 syndicate that came out of the crisis in a stronger position than when they entered it, some of the best companies in today’s world actually added to their intrinsic value because of 2008 (Berkshire and JPM are just two examples – extending credit and buying companies when few others had the means or will to do so).

One good lesson here is that it’s important to own stocks of companies that can take advantage of crises rather than be at the mercy of them. Even if you are fully invested and all the stocks in your portfolio decline, if you own shares of businesses that can capitalize on the meltdown, the intrinsic value of your portfolio will increase (and stock prices will eventually catch up with that value). Almost every crisis turns out to be an incredible opportunity for those who can think clearly and make rational decisions.

Again, “being greedy when others are fearful” is one of the most obvious and most widely-repeated phrases in investing. But it’s easier said than done, and studying these crises gives you a sense of why that is. Human nature is a very powerful force that impacts us all.

John Huber is the portfolio manager of Saber Capital Management, LLC, an investment firm that manages separate accounts for clients. Saber employs a value investing strategy with a primary goal of patiently compounding capital for the long-term.

To read more of John’s writings or to get on Saber Capital’s email distribution list, please visit the Letters and Commentary page on Saber’s website. John can be reached at 

Artículos recomendados para inversores 222 - Lun, 12/18/2017 - 12:29

Recopilación de artículos recomendados para inversores en general y, en especial, para los seguidores del value investing, volumen 222.

La entrada Artículos recomendados para inversores 222 aparece primero en Academia de Inversión - Aprende value investing desde cero.

Estudio y lectura, inversión y paciencia, entrevista a Adrián Sánchez - Lun, 12/18/2017 - 08:26

Estudio y lectura, inversión y paciencia, entrevista a Adrián Sánchez

18 de diciembre de 2017, por Víctor Morales

Alguien dijo una vez que buscando personas para contratar, busques tres cualidades: integridad, inteligencia y energía.

-Warren Buffett

Adrián Sánchez es el mejor analista que conozco.

Serio, metódico, estudioso hasta la saciedad y apasionado. Cumpliendo de largo los requisitos que Warren Buffett busca en una persona: integridad, inteligencia y energía.

Y donante. Conocí a Adrián a través del brillante análisis de Noble Corp. que nos regaló. Eso hizo toda la diferencia.

Lo evidente sucedió y en la decisión más fácil que recuerdo, Adrián se convirtió en el tercer socio del fondo que estamos sacando.

En los próximos días tendréis más información del mismo, de momento podemos disfrutar de una entrevista a Adrián.

La primera pregunta es obligada, ¿cómo conociste el mundo de la inversión?

Primero por mi cuenta, de forma autodidacta como tanta gente. Más tarde comencé a trabajar en gestión para un fondo de inversión, y ahí fue donde conocí el negocio y esta industria en profundidad.

¿Cómo has aprendido a invertir?

Invirtiendo. Quizá sea demasiado simplista, pero es así. Los conocimientos se adquieren con estudio, pero hay una parte intangible e inseparable de este negocio muy ligada a la psicología y eso sólo se aprende invirtiendo.

¿Qué te llevo a gestionar un fondo de inversión?

Sin duda es la parte más bonita de este negocio. El análisis combinado con la toma de decisiones en base a ese análisis es lo más satisfactorio que creo se puede hacer en esta industria.

Se suele generalizar hablando de Value Investing, pero este concepto engloba diferentes estrategias, desde las Net Net de Benjamin Graham, al crecimiento de P. Lynch, calidad de P. Fisher,  el B&H de Buffett entre otras. ¿Qué características tiene la estrategia que utilizas y por qué la elegiste?

Al final se trata de pagar un precio inferior a su valor intrínseco, en cualquier activo. Suena obvio. Los estilos son cosa de cada uno. A mí particularmente me gusta ver flujos de caja que al menos sean relativamente predecibles (contratos a largo plazo) a precios atractivos (no es fácil encontrarlo).

Coméntanos algo de tu valoración de empresas: ¿Cómo las valoras?, ¿Te gusta más utilizar múltiplos o descuentos de flujo de caja?, ¿Qué es en lo que te sueles fijar primero?

Utilizamos ambos métodos. El descuento para aquellas compañías en las que los ingresos están ya prefijados en muy buena parte y los flujos de caja son relativamente predecibles. Para todo lo demás (y para estas también), vemos sus múltiplos, especialmente aquellos que contemplan la estructura de capital.

¿Tienes alguna preferencia en las empresas que sueles analizar, cómo sectores, países o tamaño?

No te voy a engañar. Me gusta ver aquellos sectores que están machacados. En este sentido me gusta mirar en el barro, “Even the ugliest of assets purchased at the right price can make a great investment” Marathon Asset Management, aunque ponderando siempre los riesgos. Suelen ser de pequeña y mediana capitalización, donde el mercado presta menos atención y además es más fácil tener acceso al management.

Sabiendo que la inversión es necesaria y cada día más debido al fin de las pensiones públicas. ¿Cuál crees que es la mejor estrategia de inversión para el pequeño inversor?

Si es un inversor que no está dispuesto (por los motivos que sean) a aprender a invertir, entonces que se lo deje a los profesionales y lo invierta en fondos. La renta variable históricamente ha sido lo que mejor ha funcionado. Si no se fía de la gestión activa (tiene una buena base para no hacerlo en general, que se indexe. Si, por el contrario, decide buscar y encuentra aquella gestión activa que ha batido a sus benchmarks en periodos largos de tiempo (10-15 años), que lo invierta ahí, sin duda la mejor alternativa.

El Value Investing es fácil entenderlo, pero difícil aplicarlo, en tu opinión, ¿Qué crees que es lo más difícil en este mundo?

Aguantar los bandazos del corto plazo, tanto de precios como psicológicos (tendemos a ser cortoplacistas) y NO tomar decisiones en base a ello.

Aparte de los conocimientos económicos, la psicología es un tema clave en la inversión, ¿Creéis que cualquier persona puede ser inversor?

Depende. Creo que se puede entrenar y trabajar como todo. A una persona de 80 años, complicado. A una persona de 10 años, sí. De ahí que la educación (empezando por el colegio) juega como siempre en todo, un papel determinante.

En la actualidad hay cientos de fuentes económicas y de inversión. Nos puedes explicar brevemente donde buscas las empresas a invertir.

Por citar unas cuantas: casas de análisis, foros especializados, colegas del sector, observación, comparables…

Existen multitud de visiones respecto a la diversificación. Desde la concentración de W. Buffett a la mayor diversificación de P. Lynch: ¿Qué importancia tiene para ti la diversificación?

Cuanta más confianza se tiene en los valores que uno tiene en la cartera, menos compañías necesitas tener en la misma. La diversificación viene de la necesidad de reducir la volatilidad, un concepto que en la teoría moderna de carteras mide el riesgo, y que no es otra cosa una dispersión respecto a una rentabilidad media de un activo determinado en un periodo concreto de tiempo. Riesgo, una vez insistimos, es no saber lo que uno hace, y esto se mitiga poco a poco con un mayor estudio del activo en cuestión.

¿Qué 3 libros recomendaríais de inversión?

The Dhando Investor, Capital Returns y Code Red (más macro).

¿Qué 3 libros recomendaríais de otras temáticas diferentes a la inversión?

A sangre fría, El arte de la guerra y Dinero, Crédito Bancario y Ciclos económicos.

Cada día se escucha más el concepto de “Independencia Financiera”. ¿Cómo crees que te cambiaría la vida ser IF?

De forma radical. Todos tratamos de hacerlo, de alguna manera hacer lo que a uno le apasiona depende de los recursos que tenga para permitírselo. Nosotros por suerte vamos a poder hacerlo, esperemos que por muchos años.

Últimamente parece que hay un apogeo del Value Investing. Los medios especializados e incluso generalistas incluyen un número de noticias inimaginable hace unos años.  ¿Qué opinión te merece?

Se mezclan muchas cosas. Pero en general lo han hecho muy bien, de ahí la fama.

Para todos aquellos que están empezando, ¿qué consejos les darías?

Estudio y lectura, inversión y paciencia.

Teniendo en cuenta que pensamos a largo plazo, ¿cómo te ves en 10 años?

Esperemos que haciendo lo mismo, y ojalá que con mucho más patrimonio y buen track récord.

¿Quieres leer más reflexiones como esta?

Consigue gratis mi ebook “¿Por qué invertir te va a cambiar la vida?” y descubre por qué deberías empezar a invertir en Bolsa.



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Las acciones torpedo de Seth Klarman: Concepto, precauciones y ejemplos - Jue, 12/14/2017 - 17:42

Explicación de qué son las acciones torpedo, ejemplos de ellas y riesgos a tener en cuenta a la hora de incluirlas en nuestra cartera de inversión

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Niño, ¡deja la maquinita! - Jue, 12/14/2017 - 09:19

Niño, ¡deja la maquinita!

14 de diciembre de 2017, por Adrián Godás

No deberías comprar una acción porque está barata, sino porque sabes mucho de ella.

-Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch decía que invirtiéramos en aquello que conocemos. Si eres banquero compra bancos y si eres jardinero pues como empresas de fertilizantes.

A mi hasta ahora no se me había ocurrido indagar (en modo inversor) en uno de los sectores que inconscientemente mejor conozco como consumidor: videojuegos.

Bienvenidos al mundo gamer

Los primeros videojuegos datan de los años 70 y desde entonces la cosa ha cambiado mucho. Se han visto guerras de consolas, el atardecer de la industria nipona, el auge occidental….

Este sector incluso ha visto como un juego de ET casi lleva a la ruina a TODO el mundillo (la historia es muy graciosa porque acabaron enterrando los cartuchos en el desierto).

Para no aburrir y no sonar demasiado friki intentaré resumir como está configurado el sector y cuales son sus perspectivas.

Para empezar, hablemos de qué tipo de compañías podemos encontrar:

1. Consolas: hoy en día existen tres grandes empresas fabricantes de videoconsolas. Estas son Nintendo, Microsoft y Sony; de todas ellas la única centrada en los videojuegos es la Gran N pues las otras poseen múltiples divisiones.

Nota: hoy día también puede ser interesante buscar empresas fabricantes de componentes para ordenadores gaming (para jugar en resumen) , como puede ser Nvidia o Intel.

2. Estudios y desarolladores: estos son los que se encargan de crear la magia. Pueden ser desde estudios con miles de personas (Ubisoft Montreal) a un tipo en un garaje (a los juegos de grupos muy pequeños se les llama indies). Muchos estudios están a las órdenes de una distribuidora y otras veces van por libre.

Algunos estudios grandes, o agrupaciones de ellos, cotizan en Bolsa como es el caso de CD Projekt Red o Take-Two (en este caso también hace muchas veces de distribuidora, pero lo que vale son los estudios internos que tiene).

3. Grandes distribuidoras: la mayoría cotizan y suelen ser las más estudiadas y seguidas por los analistas a la hora de hablar de este sector. Estas empresas tienen por un lado estudios que crean videojuegos, normalmente los más grandes y con más presupuesto; y por otro se encargan de publicar y distribuir juegos de otros estudios. Esto es muy sencillo de entender, un estudio pequeño puede negociar con una de estas para que a cambio de un % de los ingresos, la empresa grande se ocupe de hacer el marketing, promocionar el juego, imprimir copias que lleguen a las tiendas…

En este campo destacan Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, … por la parte occidental y Capcom, Bandai Namco, … por Japón. Además, en los últimos años han aparecido grandes players en China como Tencent y NetEase.

4. Retail: las empresas que comercializan los juegos en las tiendas. Destaca sobre todo GameStop, empresa que está pasando por problemas (más adelante lo veremos). En España la única cadena especializada es GAME, el resto suelen ser grandes superficies que dedican algunos lineales y secciones a estos entretenimientos.

Ahora que ya sabéis como va la cosa pasemos hablar de lo que de verdad importa… dinero.

La industria globalmente mueve hoy día más de 100 mil millones de dólares, siendo los mayores mercados China y EEUU.

Añadir que es un sector en crecimiento por el aumento de las clases medias y reducción de la pobreza a nivel global. Esto es normal, cuando una sociedad avanza se pueden permitir más ocio y otro tipo de entretenimientos. Muchas compañías hablan del gran potencial de países como India en este campo.

Eso si, mercados como Japón ya están muy maduros y ya no crecen demasiado. Además, las crisis económicas suelen causar mella pero el sector siempre se ha recuperado. En 2007 globalmente movía 70 mil millones y en 2008 tocó mínimos de 63, después de unos años estable en 2013 volvió a crecer hasta llegar donde están ahora.

Este efecto tiene una explicación muy clara, y es que los videojuegos son como las vacaciones: si tienes que recortar gastos familiares, tiras de aquí.

Super-tendencias que deberías conocer

Hay varias tendencias dentro del sector dignas de ser mencionadas aquí:

Game over, consolas

En la última década se aprecia como las ventas de juegos de consolas están más estancadas, mientras que las ventas en PC no paran de aumentar.

Hay varios motivos: por un lado, hay mucha gente que creció con consolas pero al llegar a cierta edad prefiere jugar un rato en el ordenador, ese mismo artilugio con el que puede trabajar, escuchar música… Pero esto se ha debido sobre todo a algo… y alguien.

Adoremos al Señor (Gabe Newell)

Este hombre es el fundador de Valve, posiblemente la mejor empresa de videojuegos del mundo (no cotiza, lo siento). Tienen desde varias de las mejores sagas a nivel calidad (Portal, Half-life, …) hasta varios juegos e-sports como Dota 2 o Counter Strike.

Y por encima de todo, son los creadores de STEAM.

Esta plataforma para ordenadores es como el supermercado de videojuegos definitivo, en ella podéis comprar miles de juegos y muchas veces, con grandes descuentos. Además, ha generado tal Efecto Red que todos los estudios quieren que sus juegos estén ahí (muchos ni venden en físico, sólo aquí).

A parte que al reducir costes (nada de alquileres, ni salarios, ni envases) y tener tal base de jugadores (se llegan a registrar picos de 15 millones de usuarios a la vez, y más de 60m únicos al mes) le permiten ofrecer descuentos y ofertas de escándalo.  Estamos hablando de que pueden tener durante una semana un descuento del 50% en cualquier juego de tu lista de deseados.

Os comentaré una pequeña historia personal. Hace unas semanas durante unos días tuvieron las rebajas de otoño. Para que os hagáis una idea de como fue la situación, en cuanto me avisó un amigo y abrí el ordenador acabé gastándome en media hora 60€ en juegos. Pude comprar 5 juegos al precio de uno nuevo (suelen rondar 50-70€) y todos con descuentos de entre el 30% y 70%.

Esta plataforma ha sido una verdadera disrupción en el mercado de videojuegos: juegos más baratos, de forma sencilla (si metes tus datos con 2 clicks puedes tener ya el juego), servicio al usuario perfecto… Esto ha motivado un gran flujo de jugadores desde las consolas hacia los ordenadores.

El transvase de lo físico a la digital

STEAM ha motivado no solo el cambio desde las consolas a los PCs, si no también de los juegos en físico (con sus cajas y discos) a los juegos digitales que se descargan en el disco duro del ordenador.

En gran parte también es por el peso de los juegos para móviles (y redes sociales) que obviamente sólo existen en versión digital (lo comento más abajo).

A pasar por caja dos veces

Otra tendencia notable es que las compañías han encontrado la manera definitiva de potenciar los ingresos, los llamados DLC.

Básicamente es contenido extra por el que en la mayoría de casos vas a tener que pagar.

Muchas compañías han encontrado un verdadero filón con estos contenidos. Pero ojo, generan mucha indignación y enfados entre la comunidad. No es de extrañar, pues pretenden muchas veces que pagues 5€ por vestidos (no hacen nada, solamente que son diseños distintos).

Personalmente opino que si la gente los detestara tanto y no los comprara las compañías ya habrían dejado de crearlos. Así que su público tienen y lo que es más importante, la gente lo paga. Yo a título personal tengo comprado varios, siempre y cuando aporten lo suficiente y a un precio razonable.

Smartphones y juegos del Facebook

Cada vez pesan más en el monto total de ingresos de videojuegos aquellos que son para móviles y tablets (Angry Birds, Candy Crush,...).

Este año ya suponen más de la mitad de las ventas totales, un 52% aprox.

Una señal muy clara de esta tendencia es que compañías muy poco interesadas en este segmento han apostado fuerte por él.

Activision por ejemplo compró King (Candy Crush Saga) hace un tiempo, y la muestra definitiva la vemos en Nintendo que ha sacado varios juegos de sus mejores franquicias como Mario Bros.


Se calcula que el baloncesto, deporte con más de un siglo de antigüedad y una liga que mueve millones como la NBA en USA,  tiene unos 400 millones de seguidores a nivel mundial y es aproximadamente el octavo o noveno deporte con más seguidores.

En menos de 15 años los e-sports ya tienen esos 400 millones. Siglo XXI caballeros.

Los llamados e-sports son aquellos videojuegos con más seguidores que por uno u otro motivo se vuelven competitivos a nivel internacional.

Los más destacados son League of Legends, Counter Strike, Starcraft II, Hearthstone y Dota 2. Los torneos de estos videojuegos mueven millones y millones.  De hecho, ya se hacen equipos con sus traspasos y fichajes (cientos de miles), y jugadores que ya están cobrando por encima del millón anual.

Soy aficionado al Counter Strike, así que os puedo garantizar que esta tendencia va ir en aumento y si tenéis una empresa, cuyo target es la gente joven, apostaría por patrocinar este tipo de eventos.

Compañías como Orange, Telefónica o SK Telecom (mejor equipo del mundo de League of Legends por cierto) ya lo están haciendo y la prueba de fuego para saber si un deporte mueve dinero los e-sports ya la han pasado: se pueden hacer apuestas en Codere.

Verdaderas máquinas de hacer dinero

Es un sector que recomiendo encarecidamente que analicen todos. Por los siguientes motivos:

  • La mayoría son empresas grandes con mucha liquidez
  • Suelen ser bastante seguidas, así que hay información
  • Poco intensivos en capital
  • Raro ver diluciones
  • Poca deuda
  • Crecimiento global del mercado

Por si fuera poco, muchas sagas tienen verdaderos fans que van a correr en cuanto salga el último juego.

Las empresas generan así ventajas competitivas en intangibles con marcas muy valiosas (calculad cuanto puede valer The Legend of Zelda, por muchos la mejor saga de la Historia).

Pero se lo que estáis pensando: que no hay barreras de entrada, y cualquier programador puede ponerse y sacar un juego.

En cierto modo tenéis razón, pero al final os garantizo que (salvo excepciones contadas) los juegos más vendidos van a ser lo que reciban más marketing y tengan más presupuesto.

También veréis que muchas empresas tienen márgenes y retornos normalitos. No os fiéis del todo porque los resultados contables están condicionados por el funcionamiento del sector: tu puedes estar gastando dinero en desarrollar un juego durante 1,2,3… incluso 5 años, que casi todo el beneficio vendrá del año en que lo lances. Esto explica porque los resultados (y los ratios) suelen ser muy volátiles.

EA por ejemplo pasó de un ROE del 4% en 2013 a 32% en 2015. Y hay casos extremos como CD Projekt Red que tuvo durante años pérdidas para en 2015 sacar el juego del año (The Witcher 3) y multiplicar x8 los ingresos de años anteriores.

Antes de que os lancéis a comprar…

Sé que muchos ya tenéis ganas de empezar a buscar, pero dejadme advertiros.

Este sector es muy volátil y puedes pasar de la cima a la quiebra en poco tiempo, preguntadle a SEGA o Atari. Si vais adentraros en él aseguraos de conocer un poco las IPs (sagas, en castellano profano) más importantes de la compañía.

Además, que hay un gran problema con estas empresas tan geniales. ¡Que todos saben que son geniales!

La gran mayoría cotizan a múltiplos de risa. La mitad de las distribuidoras mencionadas aquí cotizan entorno a PER 50, EV/EBIT de más de 20….

Si queréis encontrar cosas a múltiplos razonables vais a tener que tirar hacia el país del sol naciente con empresas como Capcom o Bandai.

Por diversos factores allí el sector cotiza a múltiplos mucho mas normales.

Para empezar porque es un mercado poco seguido por extranjeros; segundo, por el mercado bajista-lateral que lleva el Nikkei desde hace años; y la industria de videojuegos japonesa ya no es lo que era en los 80-90.

Por tanto, al valorar estas compañías hay que tener mucho cuidado e hilar fino. Debemos ajustar muchos elementos, como los costes de desarrollo que no darán frutos hasta dentro de unos años. Y a su vez no caer en trampas de valor porque puede parecer que la empresa ha mejorado mucho, y luego deberse a un solo juego de ese año.

Por último, otro factor clave y de lo más preocupante en el sector: las expectativas fallidas. Una de las peores cosas que le puede pasar a un estudio es sacar un juego y que este no venda lo esperado.

Imaginad que estáis tres años desarrollando un juego y os gastáis 30 millones en ese tiempo (hay juegos que llegan a costar 50 o más). Como luego sólo consigáis reunir 25m estáis casi quebrados con seguridad.

Paradox, calidad nórdica

Para terminar quería añadir un pequeño análisis de la empresa que más me ha gustado, se trata de una pequeña compañía sueca que me encanta, y es que por esos países donde nunca sale el sol suele haber verdaderas joyas escondidas.

El chiste del sol va en serio, en Escandinavia debido al factor tiempo suelen estar muchas horas en interiores por lo que han desarrollado una gran cultura relacionada con videojuegos.

Esta compañía que capitaliza cerca de mil millones se dedica a los juegos de estrategia, tiene varias de las mejores sagas de ese segmento: Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Stellaris, … e incluso han sacado Cities: Skylines considerado el mejor simulador actualmente de construir ciudades.

Como veis se centran mucho en nichos de mercado como juegos estratégicos históricos, pero creedme si os digo que le sale muy bien la jugada.

Todos sus juegos tienen notas de entre notable y sobresaliente, y es impresionante pero varios juegos sacados hace años todavía son de los más vendidos en STEAM.

¿Recordáis que antes hable de los DLCs y el cabreo que generan en la comunidad? Pues esta empresa ha sabido usarlos muy a su favor.

Observamos que los ingresos de juegos existentes crecen continuamente, en plan compounder, y es debido a que siguen sacando expansiones incluso para el Crusaders Kings 2 que salió en 2012.

En estos juegos incluso se agradece, porque veréis, son juegos en los que les echas fácil 100 horas y si cada poco te sacan algo de contenido extra barato pues es como un soplo de aire fresco.

La empresa tiene varios millones de seguidores, y es bastante frecuente que si algún jugador compra por ejemplo Europa Universalis IV acabe comprando otras sagas como Hearts of Iron IV.

Además, según datos de la compañía, la gente es muy friki con sus juegos (lo dicen indirectamente). Me quedé de piedra al descubrir que hay gente que todavía juega 16 horas semanales (más de 2h al día) juegos de 2012 o 2013.

Tiene el ROA siempre entre 20-30% y ROE 40-60% (WTF), por no hablar de márgenes netos siempre cercanos a 20-30%. Estos datos contables vienen de años atrás al subidón de 2015 (ocasionado por el Cities: Skylines) así que es bastante previsible que se mantengan incluso si caen los ingresos.

Que conste que son los mejores resultados que he encontrado en toda la industria.

En el balance casi lo único que hay es Caja e Intangibles (estas dos partidas suman el 75% del Activo total). No tienen deuda y no han hecho prácticamente ninguna dilución al accionista desde que salieron a Bolsa.

Es un negocio que genera mucha caja y no necesita CAPEX de mantenimiento pues no dejan de ser unos tipos con ordenadores en unas oficinas.  Como generan tanta caja, no tienen deuda y apenas free-float (luego explico por qué) pues con todo ese dinero lo que hacen es adquirir otros estudios y expandirse con más personal y oficinas.

Como aún así siguen generando mucho Free cash Flow han decidido empezar a repartir dividendos (pay-out cercano al 40%).

La directiva es increíble, especialmente el CEO: Fredik Wester . Este hombre fundó la compañía y ahí sigue (y seguirá muchos años):

“After the IPO one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “when are you planning to exit?” As an entrepreneur and CEO it’s hard for me to understand that question. A more suitable question in my opinion would be “how do you plan to scale?” In many ways we are just getting started on our journey.”

Que en un informe anual te diga eso ya te impacta, pero lo que más me llamó la atención fue que la carta de 2016 empezaba diciendo:

“[…] At the same time it’s important to remember that we will continue to have stronger quarters and less strong quarters, just like we’ve previously communicated.”

Cuando el CEO ya empieza en el primer párrafo diciendo eso, ojo, no sé vosotros, pero a mi me transmite mucha tranquilidad porque no te viene vendiendo humo de crecer al 30% anual.

La estructura de capital está muy alineada con los accionistas: la mayoría de directivos tiene acciones directamente o las controlan a través de una subsidiaria. El CEO posee 1/3 del capital, el Chairman el 25%, otro directivo el 10%, … a eso le añadimos que Tencent (este gigante chino merece tres artículos) controla el 5% pues al final queda de free-float cerca del 10%. Y es más, Wester ya afirmó que hay muchas acciones que le constan que están en manos de empleados y jugadores fans de sus juegos.

Y joder, ¿cómo no te puede gustar una empresa que te dice que entre sus valores está ser un nerdy?

Pero alto vaquero, que esta calidad se paga:

  • PER 35
  • EV/EBIT  27
  • P/FCF  43
  • P/S 12,8

Además, el pipeline no es muy prometedor, tienen dos juegos: Battletech y Surviving Mars, pero tras leer varias presentaciones sé que tienen algo escondido: he leído algo de gastos extra por un juego un-named.

Este secretismo es bastante habitual en la industria por temas de marketing.

Podéis anunciar un nuevo Crusader Kings en el informe anual o hacerlo en el E3 de Los Ángeles, el mayor evento de videojuegos del mundo. ¿Qué preferís? Pues ya está, ahí tenéis la explicación.

Vosotros juzgareis si están justificados estos múltiplos (incluso algo por debajo de muchas empresas comparables), yo personalmente vigilaré la compañía y quizá abra una pequeña posición porque de seguro subirá si resulta que ese un-named es de alguna saga grande.  Y también porque sé que durante años seguiré comprando juegos suyos y dándoles dinero, así por lo menos recupero algo


Espero que os haya gustado este pequeño resumen de la industria del videojuego, un entretenimiento que ya mueve más que el cine y que a buen seguro seguirá creciendo.

La asistencia a eventos como la Gamescom de Colonia, el E3 de Los Ángeles o el Tokio Game Show, los mayores eventos de cada continente lo demuestran.

Ahora, si me disculpáis me vuelvo al Counter para seguir matando píxeles.

¿Quieres leer más reflexiones como esta?

Consigue gratis mi ebook “¿Por qué invertir te va a cambiar la vida?” y descubre por qué deberías empezar a invertir en Bolsa.



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