Cigarbutt Posted February 25, 2017 Share Posted February 25, 2017 Media headlines from the last few days: “The longest winning streak in decades is annihilating bears”, “America: confident and consuming”, “9 reasons the stock market is optimistic about 2017”, “Animal spirits are back”, and “Around the world, confidence is on the rise”, “Euphoria returns to markets” and “The case for Dow 30,000 in Trump's first term”. These days, overall, the story line seems to be so good…Can it get any better? Even significant net losses on investments can arise “as a result of fundamental changes in the U.S. in the fourth quarter that may bolster economic growth and business development in the future”…In his last letter, Mr. Buffett supplies us with his usual long term justified common sense optimism. Despite all that, it’s time to go back to my lair. This is my first post. It will run longer because of that and will serve as an introduction. I still prefer to read (and write on) printed financial reports and involvement in investment blogs is very recent. A few weeks ago, I started posting on the Stockhouse board…Interesting but, apart from intermittent nuggets, it was mostly useful to assess the playing field. Choose your opponents, some say. By chance, I came across this site. Over time, I have become a regular visitor and now feel I can prospectively contribute punctually. I have looked back many threads. My postings will probably mirror my investing style with periods of intense activity and focus interspersed by very long periods of apparent sleep. Like most, I really respect Mr. Buffett as an investor. My investment decisions though are more Graham-like in good times and more Fisher-like in tough times. Unconventional and contrarian I am and that suits me fine. Investing occupies a part of my free time which has grown at a comfortable rate in the last 15 to 20 years. Like many on this board, I really like the idea of compounding over long periods. Lumpy returns are OK. My strengths are overshadowed by weaknesses and biases but, I keep learning and, over the years, I have been able to opportunistically apply unrecognized simplicities of effective action. Investment results have allowed me to pretty much retire in my early 40’s. I tend to choose very selectively. I dig bottom-up but try to appreciate the context. I happened to be on the right side of the trades before and after the 2008-2009 episode. Perhaps, that nourished an overconfidence bias. Have been mostly selling since then (way too early, it seems, in certain cases). These days, I feel pretty much like during the months following my sale of Nortel in 1999 at around 36$ on the way up ie I felt like I was missing all the fun. Investment is truly fascinating. I find that many investing ideas on this forum are outside my circle of competence which remains patchy. Also, right now, I really don’t see value in the stocks that I follow and elsewhere, apart from the occasional cigar-butt. The stocks that I follow (the potential long term compounder type) would need to go down by at least 50% before I would start to get excited… Maybe, I just need to retire? Recently, I even sold my core positions. My only “long” position now is a debenture in liquidation that is about to enter the last stretch (claims process). Last year, I sold all my holdings in Fairfax... This was pretty much a permanent holding and yes, I am turning my back against one of my mentors. Ouch! This is a Corner of Berkshire and Fairfax Board after all and, reluctantly, for the first time in 20 years, I will read the annual report from the other side of the fence. Interesting time, isn’t it? This presidential volte-face is and will remain a nagging and perplexing head-scratcher… It would then seem to be an inopportune time to get involved in an investment forum, especially this one. I accept that others do well even if I don’t. From my perspective however, I doubt that this time is different and suspect/hope that I’ll eventually spread my wings again as the pendulum swings. Sometimes the wildness lies in wait. I may be just out of step and inappropriate anti-conformism may prevent me from embracing the present market environment but, for now, I feel comfortable waiving potential future returns. Unless convinced otherwise, I will watch from the sidelines, play defense and carry on my unspectacular preparation. Oh well, some of you may see Cassandra here. But, reflecting on this Greek mythology tragedy, I submit that, in the end, the tragedy is that Cassandra was right. In no way, do I know the future. It’s just that now does not feel right. The primary driver here is the absence of options in my opportunity set. I understand and concur with Mr. Buffett’s optimism but, now, I’m also kind of worried about the “short interruptions” that can happen from “time to time”. This site appears to overall provide a constructive forum that allows respectful collisions of ideas. We’ll see. By the way, looking back at various threads, I was impressed for instance by the thread on Canadian preferred shares especially concerning the Aimia preferreds. This was especially frustrating since I had extensively analyzed the company on my own concurrently and decided to pass, not noticing and taking into account the significant value proposition that Mr. Market specifically offered for the preferreds. Very rarely, investing is simple AND easy. This was a big miss as this was going right up my alley and I had significant dry powder to use. Error of omission. I have been impressed by many other posters as well. Long term, I am looking forward to participate in investment ideas/themes posts. GLTA. 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