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During the quarter, we added three new positions to the portfolio.
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I often get asked the question, “What do you think makes a good investment analyst?” Outside of the criteria used by many investment firms, we at Oakmark look for three unique characteristics in all hires.
We are very pleased that recent performance showed a substantial reversal from the results reported to you a year ago following the fourth quarter of 2015.
Since the founding of our flagship Oakmark Fund 25 years ago, we have striven to stand out from competitors by focusing on being the type of mutual fund that we ourselves would want to be invested in.
This quarter marks the 25th anniversary of the Oakmark Fund, and we are proud of our long-term results and pleased to mark the occasion with an all-time high adjusted NAV at quarter end.
With October upon us and many Chicagoans’ minds fixated on the Cubs’ post-season play, I couldn’t help but consider how short the average investor’s time frame has become—effectively investing for just the World Series rather than the longer regular season.
At Oakmark, we evaluate businesses by summing the present value of their future cash flows, which we believe will only be minimally affected by U.K.’s recent vote to leave the EU.
We at Oakmark are confident in the advantages of active management, and believe that if you are a middleman who can be replicated by a computer algorithm, in asset management or elsewhere, you’re in trouble.
We remain focused on assessing the long-term underlying value of businesses, which we believe are much less volatile than stock prices.
During the quarter, I had the opportunity to answer some questions for The Motley Fool. What follows is an excerpted version of that Q&A.
As portfolio managers and large shareholders of the Fund, we’re not satisfied with losses, but we remain confident in our time-tested philosophy, investment process and research team.
We believe that our Funds are positioned to continue delivering on their dual long-term goals of growing investor capital and performing better than index funds.
We remain confident that our focus on business value and our extended investment time horizon will position the Fund for favorable results over longer periods of time.
When we invest in undervalued businesses run by CEOs with good win-loss records, we believe the foundation is put in place for long-term success.
We continue to feel that financial securities are among the most attractive segments in the market.
During the quarter I had the opportunity to answer some questions from readers of GuruFocus. What follows is an excerpted version of that Q&A.
We feel the financials and energy sectors remain undervalued, and the Oakmark Fund added to several positions in these sectors during the quarter.
We don’t see any reason that the investing environment we face today is materially different than what we’ve faced throughout our history.
As we have written in the past, we believe the financial and information technology sectors are among the most attractive, and investments in these areas represent over half of the Fund’s equity holdings.
Unlike much of the mutual fund industry, Oakmark is focused on maximizing after-tax return.
The information technology and financial services sectors are still among the most attractive sectors of the market.
I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss how we at Oakmark analyze acquisition proposals.
Our great team of research analysts continues to find attractively valued companies to add to the portfolio. Over the past two quarters, we have added seven new companies to the Fund.
To us, buying great businesses at average prices is just as much value investing as is buying average businesses at great prices.
Stocks certainly aren’t as cheap as they were a year ago, but we are still finding attractive companies to add to the portfolio.
At Oakmark, our professionals learn quickly that the team is more important than the individual.
Our portfolio has been heavily invested in financial services, economically sensitive industrials and information technology.
Our message is the same as it almost always is – don’t let current events keep you from following your long-term financial plan.
We still found the financials and information technology sectors to be attractively valued for the quarter just ended.
During the quarter I had the opportunity to answer some questions from readers of GuruFocus. Following is an excerpt of that Q&A.
Our portfolio has been heavily invested in financial services, technology and economically sensitive stocks. Those sectors performed well in the quarter, and not surprisingly, our best performers were companies in those industries.
A little over a month ago – May 21, to be exact – the stock market was on track for another great quarter....
Despite strong market gains in the first quarter of 2013, we believe stocks remain moderately undervalued relative to their own history and extremely undervalued versus bonds.
Corporations are generating more cash than they can reinvest, so dividends, buybacks and acquisitions are on the rise.
The long-term success of Oakmark's investment culture depends on training the next generation of leaders
Bill answers questions about the role of macro for bottom-up investors, future financial regulation and market volatility
Being a big fan of Jack Schwager’s Wizard series of investment books, I eagerly read his newest book, Hedge Fund Market Wizards, and was not disappointed.
2012 is off to a great start for stock market investors. The S&P 500 was up 13% for the quarter. In just one quarter the S&P 500 returned more than a seven-year U.S. government bond would have returned over its entire lifetime.
Something crazy happened the morning of December 13. When I turned on CNBC, the S&P futures were exactly unchanged from their December 12 close. Dead flat. Zero movement. In a normal year, no change would be common or even expected. But in 2011, especially during the second half of the year, days frequently started with stock prices at very different levels from where they were just hours earlier. It became the norm for pre-market prices to be up or down 1% or 2%. Late in the year, S&P 500 volatility exceeded 30%, more than three times the volatility levels of five years ago.
When I studied stock market history in college, I used to think that it would have been so easy to be an investor in the 1950s. The math behind dividend discount models hadn’t yet been widely accepted, and most investors thought that, because equities were riskier than bonds, they needed to have higher yields. Of course, we have learned that equities require a higher expected return than bonds, but that expected growth is a very large component of that return. When equities yield less than bonds, they still usually have the higher expected returns. If only we could again have the opportunity they had in the ’50s! Be careful what you wish for.
Every week seems to bring a new story about how much money is flowing into mutual funds. If we stopped after the headlines, we might wrongly conclude that mutual fund investors are once again positive about the stock market. And, because mutual fund inflows have historically been a contrary indicator, this trend might worry investors.
I enjoy reading books about successful organizations. I like to see how their methods overlap with ours and the companies we have investments in. I also like seeing what they do differently than we do to get ideas for how we can improve. While we have learned some things from studying other successful investment firms, I find we learn more from comparisons to non-investment companies. And given my non-work interests, I especially enjoy the comparisons to successful sports organizations.
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Date of first use: January 24, 2013.