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The Stingy News Weekly (04/05/02)

The Markets This Week

DOW 30: 10,272 -1.27% with a median P/E of 34.5
TSE 300: 7,782 -0.89% with a median P/E of 28.9

The Value View

Dow at a P/E of 20: 5,955 (-42.0%) Poor Value
Dow at a P/E of 15: 4,466 (-56.5%) Fair Value
Dow at a P/E of 10: 2,977 (-71.0%) Good Value

TSE 300 at a P/E of 20: 5,385 (-30.8%) Poor Value
TSE 300 at a P/E of 15: 4,039 (-48.1%) Fair Value
TSE 300 at a P/E of 10: 2,693 (-65.4%) Good Value

Stingy Links

Efficient Frontier Spring 2002
Articles include: Only Two Centuries of Data, When Risk and Return Become the Same,Efficiency Rationality and Arbitrage, Of Markets Economies and Populations,Links of the Month.

The 2002 Fortune 500
"This year was a record low for the FORTUNE 500. What made this such a terrible year? Sluggish revenue growth and a 53% drop in profits."

The revenue games people (like Enron) play
"Of all the accounting weirdness around--could anyone ever have dreamed that accounting would vie with pedophilia as front-page news?--the aspect that has most fundamentally affected the FORTUNE 500 is the handling of what are called 'energy trading contracts.'"

The TSE has a new site
Check out the TSE's slick new website. It's well done and keen data is easy to find.

Companies whose boards need a scare
"Don't worry if you lose the actual vote. In the long run, letting management and directors know that shareholders are watching can be just as important as winning the actual count."

Risky business
"Judging from the scalding headlines and investor rage of recent months, J.P. Morgan Chase picked the wrong path. It boosted telecom lending in 1999 and 2000, just before the sector crashed. It plowed its own capital into tech highfliers like StarMedia and TheStreet.com at the bubble's apex. And it kept lending to many of the same companies that the old J.P. Morgan had pulled away from--and which have since blown up. Scoffs Mike Mayo of Prudential Securities, one of the few research analysts openly critical of the banking powerhouse: 'The only fad they missed was Hula-Hoops.'"

Is the SEC corrupt or merely incompetent?
"One of the features that distinguishes American financial life from American street life is how long it takes the police to turn up after a crime has been committed."

Jason Zweig of Money Magazine
"The notion that stocks come with some sort of money-back guarantee if you just hold them long enough is preposterous. The idea that the Dow should finally admit that it's risk-free and instantly reprice itself to 36,000 is silly. And the claim that stocks have generated 7% annualized returns after inflation for 200 years is a distortion of the historical record. Accurate, comprehensive data for the 19th century simply do not exist--and it's a terrible mistake to assume that the returns of the few companies that were successful enough to survive can tell us anything about how the average stock performed back when Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland were gracing the White House. Even if the long-run data weren't rotten with this "survivorship bias," it's not clear why we should care, in the year 2002, about the stock returns of wooden turnpikes, steamboat manufacturers, trolley lines, pony express firms, mule-powered canals, or importers of Peruvian guano. Once you recognize that the 19th-century data are meaningless, the claim that stocks have never lost money over any 30-year period is utterly underwhelming: We have a grand total of three nonoverlapping 30-year periods to go on, and stocks have gone 3-for-3. Whoopie pickle."

Market Trivia

The trivia questions this week are:
Q1. Who said "Value Investing is just standard economics. Think logically about what you're doing. Think about it without emotion. And think about what makes sense."?
Q2. Who said "Quantitative data are useful only to the extent that they are supported by a qualitative survey of the enterprise."?
Q3. Who said "A common stock representing the entire business cannot be less safe than a bond having a claim for only a part thereof."?

The answers for last week's trivia questions are:
Q1. Who said "When an enterprise pursues questionable accounting policies, all of its securities must be shunned by the investor, no matter how safe or attractive some of them may appear."?
A1. Benjamin Graham
Q2. Who said "In almost every other walk of life, people buy more at lower prices; in the stock and bond market they seem to buy more at higher prices."?
A2. James Grant
Q3. Who said "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."?
A3. Winston Churchill

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Bullishly Yours,
Norman Rothery
ISSN 1499-2795

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