I’ve received a significant number of requests over the past few months asking that I discuss what is happening with oil, natural gas, pipeline, and refining companies; to explain how I look at the situation and the sorts of things Aaron and I discuss when we’re allocating our own capital or the capital of those who have entrusted their assets to us. It’s a big topic with a lot of niche considerations but I want to take some time today to address the oil majors; the handful of mega-capitalization behemoths such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips / Phillips 66, and BP.
My brother’s white coat ceremony for medical school was this past Saturday! We went to cheer him on as he was assigned to his docent, with the internal medicine experience up first. (Though he’s part of the class of 2019, I think he’s graduating in 2018 because of however his particular academic experience and credit history happened to coalesce. I’m not entirely clear on how the mechanics work. Whatever it is, it won’t be long before we’re calling him “Dr. Kennon”.)
After so many years of investing, interacting with people, and writing about stocks, mutual funds, index funds, and portfolio management, I have five theories that help explain investor behavior.
I spent all day working on the new business we’re launching, trying to figure out the pricing structure I want to use and the cut-offs I want to enforce before we get ready to file the regulatory paperwork, while Aaron oversaw the re-platforming of the sporting goods company. We came together around dinner time to…
On a recent late-night restocking run to the store, Aaron and I were walking down an aisle when we suddenly spotted something that, outside of a handful of enclaves, has been missing in action or relegated to back corners for decades: A product called Noxzema. For almost three-quarters of a century, the stuff was ubiquitous, found in nearly every home and an absolute must-have on any shopping trip taken by nearly any American family. The business story behind the Noxema fortune is a fascinating one.
I’ve publicly written many times about my extreme discomfort with the direction of certain technological innovations; how, left unchecked without explicit guarantees of privacy, they could lead to what one Supreme Court justice described as a turn-key totalitarian state. In the wrong hands, there would be nowhere to run, no place to hide. It’s not…
I’ve been thinking about the story that has captivated the country over the past two days – how, if various news reports are to be believed, Dr. Walter J. Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, owner of a practice called River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, Minnesota, and two of his guides poached the beloved Cecil the Lion from a national park in Zimbabwe, luring him from the sanctuary where he was protected, injuring him with an arrow before tracking him for two days, shooting him, beheading him, skinning him, and leaving the body behind with plans to mount the trophy in his office.
I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom of speech, and the first amendment in general, lately. Between the uproar over the Confederate Battle Flag, an unprecedented user and moderator revolt at Reddit after the decision to shut down certain groups (the CEO, whom many blame for the ugly affair, wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post), a very vocal minority of Americans upset about the Supreme Court granting equality to gay Americans in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, and world-class comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock publicly airing their concern about the sanitation of humor for fear of offending people, talk shows, newspapers, radio programs, books, and blogs have all been discussing the limits of personal expression to which an American is entitled under our constitution.
You may already know the Census Bureau data shows there are 115,610,216 households in the United States and, that, as per the Federal Reserve data, roughly 1 out of every 5 of these households earns $100,000 or more per year; that 1 out of every 25 of them has a net worth of $1,000,000 or more. What about substantial wealth excluding houses, cars, furniture, jewelry … actual investment portfolios stuffed with cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, master limited partnerships, tax-lien certificates, or any of the other numerous securities one can own to compound capital?
Back in 2011, I did a 20-year case study of Colgate-Palmolive. Global events have conspired in such a way that it can now serve as a perfect illustration of a valuation conundrum: While not cheap, Colgate-Palmolive is significantly cheaper for a long-term owner than the price-to-earnings ratio alone would have you believe. In fact, despite having what appears to be a 26.54 p/e ratio, it’s slightly undervalued to its private market value could you get your hands on the entire empire. It’s a rare thing to be able to talk about a gem like this under conditions such as these so I’m not going to let the opportunity pass. Dust off your powdered wigs, take out your walking cane, and travel back with me to post-Revolutionary America.