What’s a company worth?

What’s a company worth? To judge by the stock market, you might think that there is little rhyme or reason to the exercise. Yet, since the beginning of commerce thousands of years ago, people have been asserting the value of enterprises. Despite that long history, the math and specific logic of enterprise valuation is only about a century old. For thirty of those years, Tim Koller and his colleagues at McKinsey have been in the forefront of thinking about value and how to measure it. The first edition of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies came out in …

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Heretical views!

Managing a portfolio based on cashflows? Heresy! Well, maybe not. Others are also making arguments similar to mine in Getting Back to Business. See Jim Garland’s 2019 CFA Institute Research Foundation Brief, introduced by Laurence Siegel. Thanks to Will Goetzmann for the link here .      

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Random Book Project #3: The Sinews of American Commerce (1941)

#3: Roy A. Foulke, The Sinews of American Commerce (New York: Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., 1941). No price. How did I get it: The book was recently given to me as a housegift by someone who knows that my proclivities run in this direction. Why: The book is classic deaccessioning material. It is a commissioned history to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dun & Bradstreet, a business information and credit research founded in 1841. Published in August 1941, just before the outbreak of direct US involvement in World War II, the book is a testament to a muscular, unapologetic capitalism …

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Barron’s conversation about dividend investing

A conversation with Barron’s Lawrence Strauss and Lauren Rublin on dividend investing in the current economic and financial climate.  The replay should be “free” but you may have to register with Barron’s to hear it. https://tinyurl.com/ya5apobb Note: The views expressed here are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer. Nothing written here should be construed as investment advice. Consult your investment advisor for specific recommendations. 

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Another battle in the neverending war between clarity and confusion….

A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal starts off with a promising title, “Why Many People Misunderstand Dividends, and the Damage This Does.” June 7, 2020 . That is most certainly true. After nearly two decades helping to manage dividend portfolios, I can say that even institutional investors and pension fund consultants still seem to trip over the basic math of dividend investing. Unfortunately the newspaper article only adds to the confusion when the author, an academic, asserts that “Paying dividends doesn’t benefit investors, because a dividend of $1 simply reduces the stock price by $1—just as withdrawing from …

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You mean big business is good? Tyler Cowen says yes.

You mean big business is good, contributes to our general welfare, and is not generally guilty–with notable exceptions–of all of the charges made against it?  That’s the argument libertarian economist Tyler Cowen makes in his book Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero (St. Martins, 2019) Most NBN listeners will raise an eyebrow to that claim, but most of those same NBN listeners are up for a good back-and-forth on the virtues and demerits of our market system. And to that end, being familiar with Cowen’s arguments–made in this book and his many other publications and platforms–is very useful.  The shift …

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New York Times column on dividend investing.

A recent column by Jeff Sommer in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/business/coronavirus-stocks-investing-dividends.html) highlights some of the challenges faced today by investors seeking income from their stock holdings. While the economic shutdown has certainly created an adverse environment for the public-company cashflows that have historically been paid out in dividends, income-seeking investors will want to consider a few additional perspectives beyond what is raised in the Times. First, Sommer implies that because stock ownership has shifted from individuals a century or half century ago, to mutual funds, pension portfolios, and other institutional accounts now, that dividends are somehow less felt on …

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