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HP: Grow Up, Already

Anger and frustration are the two emotions pulsing through my veins as I write this.  HP, once the symbol of innovation, is being dismantled by its high-pedigreed board and the CEO of the hour (I truly hope his tenure will be measured in hours, not years).  I vividly remember the early 2000s, when Carly Fiorina, […]

Thoughts on Brown & Brown: Stay Away!

I looked at Brown & Brown about a year ago (May 2010), here are my thoughts which are still relevant today: Risk of growth by acquisition Very significant portion of Brown & Brown’s (BRO) growth in the past came from acquiring brokers.  I am naturally skeptical of sustainability of this type of growth as it […]

Finding Investment Treasures in International Markets

This is the letter we wrote to our clients in the first quarter of 2011.  It discusses the importance of international investing and our purchase of a UK retailer, Halfords PLC.  If you want to read a shorter version, I’ve turned it into an article that was published in the June issue of Institutional Investor, […]

The Boulevard of Broken Charts

Markets are efficient, or so we’ve been told. I am not here to put a rebuttal to this academic nonsense, but let me give you one of the core reasons why markets are and will remain inefficient: because human beings are efficient. To function in everyday life, our brains are used to simplifying complex problems, […]

I am back!

I am back!  It was an amazing trip.  It started with Warren Buffett’s Omaha.  I flew into Omaha on Thursday morning, and a few hours later received a call from the CFA Society of Nebraska, asking me to give a talk to their members.  Whitney Tilson and his partner Glen were supposed to do a […]

Microsoft Just Pulled Another “Microsoft” with its Purchase of Skype

When I wake up in the morning and check news for the companies I own, I worry.  I don’t worry that my companies missed their quarterly guidance by a few pennies – running a business is an art, and things don’t usually work out in a precise, linear fashion.  The companies that have a “deliver […]

Quarterly Letter – Q1 2011 – Part 1

I’d like to share excerpts from our quarterly letter we send to our clients (this is Part 1; I’ll send out Part 2 in a few weeks).  I’m not sharing the full letter for a simple reason: we are still accumulating shares in some stocks mentioned in the letter. Purchase of Big Lots Big Lots […]

Buffett, Sokol, Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion

I was quoted in FT about David Sokol, CEO of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, buying shares in Lubrizol a few months before Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought Lubrizol at a significant premium, which made Sokol 3 million dollars on his $10 million purchase. “Some investors expressed concerns about Mr Sokol’s actions. ‘Any time you buy stock […]

Set the Bar High

The Ups and Downs of Flying I am a very nervous flyer.  Whenever there is a little bit of turbulence, I look out the window, see shaking wings, and start to wonder whether they’ll keep holding the plane up.  Then my rational self kicks in, and I tell myself that statistically it is safer flying […]

Interview with Manual of Ideas

Manual of Ideas Interviews Vitaliy Katsenelson Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo.  He is the author of  upcoming The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley, December 2010).  To receive Vitaliy’s future articles by email, click here.