The Investment Scientist

Posts Tagged ‘investment philosophy

ImageAs far as investment philosophy is concerned, I am solidly in the camp of Nobel Prize winner Eugene Fama and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle. They both believe that the market is by and large efficient, and there is no point in picking stocks.

Most of my money is in broad-based passively managed asset class funds, but I do set aside 5% just to have some fun with and right now I only have three stocks in my fun account.

Safeway

I bought SWY last November after going to the Chicago Booth Entrepreneur Advisory Meeting. From the meeting, I learned that big retailers routinely write off their inventory at a huge loss. The reason being that they can not control demands as they have little information about the needs of the individual consumer, though they can usually make a rough guess on aggregate needs.

I noticed my wife had been shopping at Safeway more and more. After a little digging, I found out Safeway had set up a technology system to track each individual’s needs and price sensitivities. Then it can make targeted offers to shoppers like my wife that unfailingly brought her back over and over. I recalled my earlier meeting and realized they would save tons of money just from better inventory management.

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icarra chart

MZ Capital 40/60 model vs S&P 500

Just like two sides of a coin, the capital market is made up of capital demanders (businesses) and capital suppliers (investors). What for businesses are costs of acquiring capital are for investors rewards of supplying it. It is a simple truth that

Costs of Capital = Expected Returns

Looking through this lens, many capital market phenomena can be explained.

Why small stocks tend to have higher returns than large stocks?

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Author

Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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