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Value Investing 101: Making Money the Smart Way

Created on 30 Nov 2023

Wraps up in 6 Min

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Updated on 01 Dec 2023

Value Investing 101

I will start today's article by sharing a meme that captures a conversation I had with one of my friends. 😄

You might be wondering why I had that surprised reaction. Well, it's because even though these are good companies, they have something in common- they're overpriced! 
Now, you might be wondering how I figured that out. My understanding of finance is pretty clear, and I'm here to help you too by talking about a crucial concept that often doesn't get enough attention: Value Investing!

Before we explore the concept of value investing, let's talk about the Nifty 50 index. Do you know what makes up this index? If you're already aware, great! If not, don't worry- I'll fill you in. It's composed of India's top 50 large-cap companies. These are the big players, the crème de la crème, the blue-chip stocks.

However, there’s a catch: roughly 10% of the stocks in Nifty 50 are overvalued. Now, you might be wondering why this happens. 🤔 Well, it's because the market views these stocks as top-notch, and there's a constant demand for them. Everyone wants a piece of these chocolate cakes, and that keeps their prices riding high, and that can bring in increased risk. 😓

And now, if you are confused about how to select the right company to invest from such a wide array of stocks, You must check out "Smart Stock Selection: Your Ultimate Screening Guide."

Moving on, what if a company is trading at a higher valuation, but its actual financial performance doesn't align with those high expectations? In such cases, the stock can even experience a correction. This leads us to the question…

What exactly is a Stock Correction?

There are two key types of corrections you should know about:
1. Price Correction: This one's straightforward. It happens when a stock's price takes a dip. In other words, investors see a decrease in the stock's market value. 📉



2. Time Correction: Now, this type of correction is a bit different. It doesn't involve a big drop in the stock's price. Instead, the stock tends to hang out in a specific price range for an extended period. This can go on for months or even years until the company's financial performance shows some improvement. 🕰️



Understanding these types of corrections is crucial, and this is where value investing enters the picture to save the day. 🦸‍♂️

The Key Role of Value Investing in Your Wealth Journey

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”.
- Warren Buffett
There are a few basic principles of Value Investing that one should be aware of; let me take you through a few of them individually:

  • Intrinsic Value: Value investors seek to determine the intrinsic or true value of an asset, such as a stock. This is done by analysing various factors, including the company's financials, assets, earnings potential, and overall economic conditions.

How to know if a stock is really worth its price? Quantitative analysis has your back as it helps calculate the true value of a company's stock, like your personal "Is this a good deal?" metre. For more details on What is the Intrinsic Value of Share and how to calculate it?, dive right in!

  • Margin of Safety: Value investors look for a "Margin of Safety," which means buying assets at a significant discount to their intrinsic value. This provides a cushion against potential losses and increases the chances of generating a profit.
     
  • Long-Term Perspective: Patience is the name of the game. Value investing is a marathon, not a sprint. Investors are willing to hold their investments for an extended period, allowing the market to eventually recognise and reflect the asset's true value.
     
  • Fundamental Analysis: Value investors rely heavily on fundamental analysis, which involves examining a company's financial statements, such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. They also consider qualitative factors like the company's competitive advantage, management team, and industry trends.

Why is Value Investing Important?

Value investing is like bargain shopping in the stock market. It's important because it helps investors find stocks that are cheaper than they should be. Imagine you're at a store, and you see a really good product on sale for much less than its usual price. That's like finding a stock through value investing.

Investors look for companies whose stock prices are lower than what they believe the company is actually worth. They believe that, over time, the stock's price will catch up to its real value, making them money in the long run. Value investing is about patience and believing that good things can come from buying something valuable at a discounted price.

This approach is essential because it helps people invest in companies that might be temporarily undervalued due to market fluctuations or other reasons. By choosing stocks this way, investors aim to lower their risks and increase their chances of making a profit in the future. 

Now, let's understand this with the help of a few case studies. 

Case Studies of Successful Value Investors

Let's take a look at two iconic value investors and analyse some of their notable investment decisions:
1. Warren Buffett:

Investment Philosophy:
     - Long-term value investing.
     - Emphasis on economic moats and sustainable competitive advantages.
     - Focus on high-quality businesses with predictable and understandable earnings.

Key Investment Decision: The Coca-Cola Company (1988):
     - In 1988, Berkshire Hathaway, led by Warren Buffett, invested heavily in The Coca-Cola Company.
     - Coca-Cola had a strong brand, global presence, and a significant economic moat.
     - Buffett recognised the enduring nature of the brand and the company's ability to generate consistent cash flows.
     - The investment turned out to be highly successful, with Coca-Cola becoming one of Berkshire Hathaway's most profitable holdings.

Lesson Learned:
     - This investment showcased Buffett's focus on companies with enduring competitive advantages.
     - It demonstrated the value of investing in businesses with strong brand recognition and the ability to generate reliable cash flows over the long term.

2. Benjamin Graham:

Investment Philosophy:
     - Pioneering figure in value investing.
     - Advocated for a margin of safety to protect against downside risk.
     - Emphasised the importance of fundamental analysis and financial ratios.

Key Investment Decision: Geico (1948-1951):
     - Graham began investing in the Government Employees Insurance Company (Geico) in the late 1940s.
     - Geico had faced financial difficulties, but Graham believed in its potential and saw a margin of safety in the stock price.
     - Over a period of several years, Graham's investments in Geico yielded substantial returns as the company's financial health improved.

Lesson Learned:
     - Graham's investment in Geico exemplified the importance of conducting thorough fundamental analysis and identifying companies with a margin of safety.
     - It showcased the value of patience and a long-term perspective in allowing the investment thesis to unfold.

One thing that I grasped from these case studies was how investing legends Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham achieved success by sticking to the basics of value investing. Their key principles- economic moats, competitive advantages, and a safety buffer have become the essence of value investing.

As an investor, here's the scoop: don't just bet on famous names. Check the company's financial health and value before diving in. To make it easy, take a look at: "Don't Overlook These Things Before Investing in a Company."

To summarise, take a look at the image below:

The Bottom Line

Before we wrap up, it's crucial to highlight that successful value investing isn't a walk in the park. It demands a deep understanding of financial analysis, a cool-headed attitude, and the determination to stick to your principles, even when the market presents challenges your way.
As we conclude, let's take a nugget of wisdom from Warren Buffett, who famously said, “Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” Smart guy, right?

Now, if you're all pumped up and ready to dive into the world of analysing companies as a value investor, read:
- "5 Must-Check Financial Ratios For Company Analysis".
- "How to do Sector-Wise Comparison of Companies?"
This journey is all about your investments, and these guides will be your trusted companions as you make informed decisions.

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Sakshi Dhakre

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Sakshi is an adventurous spirit who enjoys both the intellectual stimulation of Finance and the sensory experiences of good food and nature’s beauty. She has a passion for delving into complex financial topics and distilling them down into easy-to-understand insights. When she's not poring over financial reports, you might find her exploring a new corner of the city, trying out new restaurants and cuisines or admiring the beauty of the night sky.

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