Fun With Math: Williams-Sonoma (WSM)

Based on it’s current stock price of around 8 bucks, WSM has an Enterprise Value (stock market capitalization plus all outstanding debt, minus cash) of about $840 million. We thought it might fun to figure out what else could be bought for the same price as the entire Williams-Sonoma chain (which includes Pottery Barn).

Barron's Buzz: December 20th, 2008

Quick thoughts on this week’s Barron’s… Kopin Tan killed it with massive 2009 outlook-y article…Brady Bunch-style grouping of Chief Market Strategist types from both buy-side and sell-side with their ’09 S&P earnings estimates and targets.  Didn’t see Abby Joseph Cohen in there…that’s refreshing.  Nice to see some non-bulge bracket people, Jason Trennert from Strategas grabs…

Weigh Anchor: Mark Haines

Mark Haines is the best in business. He comes off as completely natural and unpretentious, but can bring the gravitas when the situation calls for it.

Pick Sectors, Not Stocks

These are the days when you either need to have a 20 year time frame or a 20 minute time frame, and either can be extremely profitable. In either case, owning the sector is going to give you all you need in terms of volatility, so leave the stock picking to the masochists.

Bernard Madoff's Prison Reading Wishlist

Bernard Madoff’s Prison Reading List                                     Total Items: 7 Page 1 of 1   Crime and Punishment (Enriched Classics)   by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Author), et al. Avg customer review:  (465) In Stock Price: $7.95 35 used & new…

Read This Book: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

When people who are starting to get involved in the markets, whether as professionals or investors, ask me what books I suggest they read, this is the first one I always mention.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a quasi-biography of trader Jesse Livermore, who went from early 1900’s bucket shop speculator to master trader, having won and lost large fortunes along the way in everything from stocks to cotton futures.

Defensive Stocks Go Down Less, But They Still Go Down

As surely as day follows night, in a bear market environment, you will repeatedly hear the clarion call to “get defensive,” or to buy “consumer staples”. Ignore this call, individual investor, as it is merely a b-school trope that all the talking heads like to trot out in tough times to justify what they’re doing…

Trust Only The Chefs Who Eat Their Own Cooking

Is there anything more off-putting than the sight of a chef, clad in his whites and houndstooth trousers, looking emaciated and sickly thin? If he’s even an adequate cook or at least a lover of food, should the chef be anything but well-fed?

I would say that investment professionals should be held to a similar standard. If someone holds themselves out to the public as a brilliant stock picker, a steward of capital, or a talented manager of money and assets, should we not inquire as to how much of their own capital is at risk in the same investments or strategies that they are propounding or endorsing?