Happy President’s Day!

This Week at MANIFEST (2/22/2019)

“Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Abraham Lincoln

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended on to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts — and some beer.” — Abraham Lincoln

Raise A Glass

Lincoln was a voracious reader. And legend has it — a pretty good listener, too. Reading the Lincoln-Douglas debate transcripts, he was self-effacing, quick on his feet and the exchanges were actually pretty enjoyable (most of the time.)

Holders of the nation’s highest office have often had a close relationship with booze, as George Washington established the nation’s largest whiskey distillery in 1797 and Thomas Jefferson brewed his own beer. Andrew Jackson’s inaugural party in 1829 was so legendary that we still drink the orange punch party goers consumed. But Lincoln was the only president who was also a licensed bartender.

While they sold booze, it was far from a watering hole. The Chicagoist states that “Stores could sell alcohol in quantities greater than a pint for off-premises consumption, but it was illegal to sell single drinks to consume at the store without a license.

In March 1833, Berry and Lincoln were issued a tavern, or liquor, license, which cost them $7 and was taken out in Berry’s name. Stores that sold liquor to consume on the premises were called groceries.

So … it’s more appropriate to think of Lincoln as a grocer than a bartender.

I still think the Spielberg movie, Lincoln is a must see in these interesting times in which we live.

Why In The World Would A Long Term Investor Live In Fear Of Recessions?

MANIFEST 40 Updates

Round Table Stocks

  • Alliance Data Systems (ADS)
  • CBRE Group (CBRE)
  • C.H. Robinson (CHRW)
  • Forward Air (FWRD)
  • Health Care Services (HCSG)
  • Illumina (ILMN)
  • Maximus (MMS)
  • S&P Global (SPGI)
  • Starbucks (SBUX)

Best Small Companies (2019 Dashboard)

The status of the 2019 Best Small Companies can be tracked at: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/best-small-2019

Investing Round Table Sessions (Video Archives)

Investing Topics with Ken, Mark & Friends

Results, Remarks & References

Companies of Interest: Value Line (2/22/2019)


The median Value Line low total return forecast for the companies in this week’s update batch is 7.3% vs. 6.5% for the Value Line 1700 ($VLE).

Materially Stronger: Golar LNG (GLNG), Allegiant Travel (ALGT), United Continental (UAL), Spirit Airlines (SAVE)

Materially Weaker: Bristow Group (BRS), Papa John’s Pizza (PZZA)

Discontinued: Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), American Railcar (ARII)

Market Barometers

The thing very few people tell you about “overvalued” markets is that, occasionally, the fundamentals arrive to justify them. — Joshua Brown

Value Line Low Total Return (VLLTR) Forecast. The long-term low total return forecast for the 1700 companies featured in the Value Line Investment Survey is 6.5%, decreasing from 7.7% last week. For context, this indicator has ranged from low single digits (when stocks are generally overvalued) to approximately 20% when stocks are in the teeth of bear markets like 2008-2009.

Update Batch: Stocks to Study (2/22/2019)

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (February 22, 2019) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

The average return forecast (PAR) for this week’s update batch is 8.7%. (MIPAR = 8.2%)

The 52-week total return forecast for the group is 18.7% versus 14.9% for stocks overall. S&P has a 1-year outlook for this week’s batch at 10.4%.

Morningstar sees them as fairly valued (P/FV = 101%) and S&P “dissents” at a P/FV of 107%.

Discovery Club

““I think I could make you 50% a year on $1 million. No, I know I could. I guarantee that.” — Warren Buffett, 1999 BusinessWeek Interview

This is a reference to portfolio design and balance — specifically achieving a blend of blue chip stalwarts combined with a suitable mix of faster growing promising smaller companies. We generally aim for an overall sales growth forecast of 10-12% with suitable adjustments for time horizon and/or risk tolerance. Based on some recent soul searching, we’re now pondering how much “relatively undiscovered company content” is enough. Or too much? In any event, we’ll be dedicating a larger slice of our weekly updates to DISCOVERY.

This Week’s Sources and Suggestions

  • Value Line Investment Survey Updates
  • Groundhog Challenge XIII (2019) Entries
  • Barron’s 100 Sustainable Companies
  • Kim Butcher’s S&P 600 Initiations

Coverage Initiated/Restored: Northstar Realty Europe (NRE), RingCentral (RNG), Roku (ROKU), Invitae (NVTA), Baozun ADR (BZUN), DXC Technology (DXC)

Invest … Reading Is Fundamental

“Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Abraham Lincoln

This weekly message was first posted during November 2012, rekindled as a reminder that “Reading Is Fundamental.”

Reading is Fundamental

This Thanksgiving season, I was intrigued by a few conversations that covered the complete spectrum of the investing experience.

One discussion revolved around getting started. The individual happens to be stationed in Afghanistan with some time on his hands and is wrestling with where to start. I believe I convinced him that he was already ahead of the challenge. Why? Because he’d already begun imitating a sponge — absorbing everything that he could get his hands/eyes on. Read. Rinse. Repeat.

I still believe http://www.fool.com is a valuable resource for getting started and referred him to their broker smorgasbord and commentary on how to choose one.

The second discussion involved someone very close to me who is now actively funding a 403(b) and is giddy about the potential. We look forward to watching the account balance grow in much the same way that Tin Cup (our retirement plan model portfolio) continues to entertain us.

The third is actually a blend of a couple of separate conversations. One long-time subscriber called me to let me know that she’d no longer be subscribing. She’s 80 years old, for one thing. But she wished us well … a joyous holiday season … and then gave us an early Christmas present. “God bless you and your family and all of the Manifest Investing staff and community. It’s not that I’m not investing anymore — but I have reached ‘critical mass’ and I really want to thank you. I have a collection of high-quality stocks at Fidelity and Ameritrade … but I’ve reached the point where you’ve taught me how to watch them — and even more importantly, because of what I’ve learned, I have no trouble sleeping at night. In fact, I’ve slept well for a long time. Thank you.”

No. Thank you.

We’re humbled and grateful.

My wife and I and my parents went to see Lincoln this weekend. (1) Daniel Day-Lewis clearly knocks it out of the park and will be nominated for an Oscar, and is a likely winner. (2) If you’re going to see the movie, I’d recommend googling or spending a few moments with Wikipedia and the setting, characters and situation surrounding the passage of the 13th amendment. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens is also worth the price of admission and a true courageous pioneer. (3) If you believe that bipartisan rancor and disagreement is something new on Capitol Hill, you’re wrong. Go see the movie.

Read. Rinse. Repeat.

Lincoln was voracious reader. There’s also a poignant scene in the movie where Lincoln urges simplicity while pondering a major decision. He shares “Occam’s Razor according to Euclid” with a youthful engineer and the telegraph operator, a powerful reminder that sometimes the best solutions are the glaringly simple.

And from a couple of young people getting started to a group of experienced long-term investing advocates who sleep pretty well at night, we’re grateful for the reminder.

And the optimism about what the future holds.

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended on to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts — and some beer.” — Abraham Lincoln