Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Company cheatsheet and stuff - not to be missed!

According to Philip Fisher, one of Buffett's teachers (besides Ben Graham), you cannot never compile a cheatsheet for a company. You have to constantly sniff out info on the company, keep talking to anybody and everybody, from suppliers to customers to employees etc. So analysing a company probably takes like two gozillion years and Frodo have completed the Mt Doom trip like 15 times.

In our world of MTV and instant gratification. Nobody has time for this crap right? So yours truly here has compiled a the ultimate cheatsheet to look at when you first lay your eyes on a company.

I must stress that this cheatsheet is not exhaustive. There are probably another 1,001 things that you should look at. But it should be a good way to start. Also remember than the time you spent researching a company is inversely proportional to the risk that you will lose money. i.e. more research less risk.

But then again who has time to wait for Frodo to go Mt Doom 15x considering we don't even have time to make babies. So I have also kindly calculate the optimal time to spend research a co.

This would be roughly 30 hrs for beginners and 10 hrs for more lao jiao people. But after analysing, this does not mean that you should buy or sell the stock immediately. You should wait for a good time to enter or exit. Investing needs patience, so watch less MTV.

Anyway, to save you from more bull shit, here's the list.

Company specific factors
Mkt cap greater than S$100mn
Operating Profit greater than S$10mn
OPM greater than 10%
Dividend yield greater than 4%
D/E Ratio less than 1x
Growth greater than 5%
ROE greater than 15%
ROA greater than 5%
(Usually these factors can be put into a screening tool to screen out companies that meet these criterias, but I have not found a free screening tool yet... if anyone can find one, pls inform me ok?)

Qualitative factors
Industry climate and firm's position
Strengths and weaknesses of the firm
Major risks for the firm

Valuations
PER less than 18x
PBR less than 4x
EV/EBITDA less than 10x
(These can be put into the screening tool as well)

There are a few things to take note. Even if a firm fails to meet 1 or 2 criteria, it doesn't mean that the stock is lousy. If there are good reasons, it is still a buy. If you try to find a stock that meets everything, probably there won't be any. That's why the each criteria is actually not too strict to begin with. Also, qualitative info matters, that's why it pays to read annual reports, research reports and business news.

See also Investment Philosophy
and Investment Process
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