07/24/2010
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07/21/2010

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Kuppy


What screens do you run when looking for investment ideas? Just curious as to the search parameters you use when screening for ideas in databases (if you regularly use databases). Enjoy your blog.

Glad you enjoy the site. I really don’t screen much. Data has gotten to the point where so many quant funds can search for cheap stuff that screens are pretty useless. I look for certain ideas–for instance I feel strongly that exploration spending will increase going forward, so I bought the best companies in that sector. I have a few places to look for interesting ideas. The new lows list is always a favorite. Otherwise, I just spend a lot of time reading and I keep my ears open to interesting ideas. I have a lot of really smart friends. I’ve made them a lot of money over the years, and they like to return the favor. I get to hear a lot of really great stories that way. You just never know when something will click for you. I’m only looking for a few ideas a year–if that. If you want interesting ideas, sumzero.com and valueinvestorsclub.com are the two best places to go hunting.


How did you convince initial investors to let you manage the capital? Would enjoy hearing any anecdotes and challenges you had in the early days of the fund.

I have enough crazy stories to start my own blog on just that! Let’s just say that it was very hard. I was fortunate that I made some money investing before I started my fund, and that was the initial seed capital. After that, I went the usual routes–family, family friends, etc. After I made some people some money, they told their friends. It was a slow process and I met a lot of ‘gate keepers’ who manage billions and you wonder how they are entrusted with so much capital b/c they can barely tie their shoes. If the investment environment gets boring for a few weeks, maybe i’ll write about some of these stories. They should serve as a good warning for investors who give others their money. I want to note that after wasting thousands of hours trying to raise capital, I’m very content to never do that again. It’s one of the many reasons I closed the fund to new investors.


Thanks for the good report on Andean. I have invested in Andean after Fleck recommended. Based on the company’s presentation, it look like Andean trades at 1/5th of the NPV. I have been slowly accumulating from $0.3 to $0.5. Your report gives the confidence to add more. Thanks.
You have covered Aeroquest on Fleck’s website. I dont see it in your holdings. Has anything changed?

thanks.

NPV is a somewhat deceptive metric. It’s very useful for a mine with a short lifespan. For a producing asset, I find using a multiple on cash-flow to be more useful.

I took Aeroquest off the list of positions mentioned. I recently joined the board of directors and was concerned from a legal perspective that even mentioning it would be seen by some as a recommendation to do something. I still own all my shares. I realize that it is improper to tamper with the list of positions mentioned, but for legal reasons I had no choice. I hope readers will understand that this is something of a ‘special situation’ for me.


I live in Aventura, FL where my wife is a real estate agent. Condos will eventually end up as rental properties, as you say. The model would be Manhattan, NY where most multi-unit buildings were either rentals or co-ops. Then a wave of condo conversions took place with predictable consequences. Now the reverse will happen as the conversions go back to the more sensible apartment building model.

I was thinking about how a mining company can never be a viable long-term investment because it self-distributes its assets and in the end winds up with an empty property. The better alternative would to go long the physical asset, e.g. gold, and short the producer.

One company I do like though is Praxair because it literally makes its products out of thin air. I think over the last ten years it grew profits at 16%. It’ll be a long time before we run out of air.

Thanks

I think you are right about condos. At some point, I’m sure that investors will own them all and rent them out. It’s inevitable. But first you need a decade of pain and for condos to trade down significantly from here.

I have to disagree with you about a mining company. A good mining company will be smart enough to invest cash flow in additional assets and always be growing the reserve base. For individual assets, this may be the case however. I can think of plenty of other reasons why mining is an awful place to invest. Most mining companies do not get far enough along to deplete their assets…..Just keep that in mind.

I agree with your line of thinking however. It’s rare that I invest in mining any more, unless it’s a really special sort of situation. That’s why I’m such a big fan of mining service plays. Let others spend their money finding the next deposit.


First thanks for the money you have made me in anmcf. it looks like it is starting to run. I have a decent position in it but would like to accumulate more. In general do you ever buy on the way up or wait for a correction? I have been waiting for it to go back to .40-.50 for awhile now. Also, are you still accumulating egd? it has been silent but your analysis was compelling going forward. thanks for your insights.

I have been adding to my EGD. I had drinks with CEO Fred Davidson last week. Things seem to be going well.

I buy shares when they’re cheap and I usually ignore where they’re trading or what the chart looks like. If you are buying GE to make 20%, you need to be very sure what price you are paying for it. The thing about smaller companies is that when you’re right, you make a few times your money. A nickel here or there won’t matter. I don’t let a small move higher impact me. If I want more, I buy them. However, I always keep extra capital in case there’s a dip and I can buy them cheaper. Every situation is different and after doing this for over a decade, I realize that you cannot game these things. Share prices have minds of their own. I just buy them when I want them and ignore everything else. I realize that’s a non-answer. I rely more on fundamentals than the chart. Keep in mind that I need millions of shares of something like Andean.