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Berkowitz Semi-Annual Report is Out


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He says that AIG is trading at half of its intrinsic value...then why didn't he sell when it was a few bucks a way from that within the past year or so?

 

I have a great deal of respect for Berkowitz and I assume he will continue to outperform the market over time, but his public comments do not seem to exactly match his actions.

 

He said St. Joe was cheap because the land was so good, but no he calls it an asset manager.  I guess that is true in that they are managing land, but I don't believe they are recieving asset managment fees for this.  It just seems like a little bit of drift

 

Much more importantly, I believe he articulated his strategy as going long all the cheap financials but keeping about 30% of the fund in cash in case things got worse in the real economy.  Things are getting worse in the real economy (at least by all the quantifiable numbers) and yet he has paid out all of this cash for investments.

 

Berkowitz could be and likely is correct about all of these investments, but I am bothered by his unwillingness to ever admit mistakes.  Does he now say he doesn't need extra cash on hand?  Why didn't he sell any AIG?  Did he really make a multi billion investment based on the thesis that the government wouldn't sell below book value? 

 

 

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He says that AIG is trading at half of its intrinsic value...then why didn't he sell when it was a few bucks a way from that within the past year or so?

 

I have a great deal of respect for Berkowitz and I assume he will continue to outperform the market over time, but his public comments do not seem to exactly match his actions.

 

He said St. Joe was cheap because the land was so good, but no he calls it an asset manager.  I guess that is true in that they are managing land, but I don't believe they are recieving asset managment fees for this.  It just seems like a little bit of drift

 

Much more importantly, I believe he articulated his strategy as going long all the cheap financials but keeping about 30% of the fund in cash in case things got worse in the real economy.  Things are getting worse in the real economy (at least by all the quantifiable numbers) and yet he has paid out all of this cash for investments.

 

Berkowitz could be and likely is correct about all of these investments, but I am bothered by his unwillingness to ever admit mistakes.  Does he now say he doesn't need extra cash on hand?  Why didn't he sell any AIG?  Did he really make a multi billion investment based on the thesis that the government wouldn't sell below book value?  

 

 

 

He also talked about how PFE would become the world's biggest generic manufacturer...and then talked about how it was more of a defensive position for the rough times of the economy.

 

To be fair, he does admit mistakes. He talked about how was wrong "so far" regarding the banks and stuff.

 

 

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Well, my personal opinion is that Bruce is completely right...and that's because we've pretty much made the same bet!  ;D  Although we've also bet heavily on discounted technology companies.  No one thinks that things will improve right now...that the hole is so deep, we'll never get out.  That's exactly the time to start looking for things no one wants to touch.

 

What would have happened if the house and senate were both controlled by one party?  We would have a big problem.  I think what we all consider stupidity with the debt ceiling debate, actually makes the system work better, because no one gets exactly what they want and no special interest gets exactly what they want.  The U.S. will do fine going forward because the system works.  There is alot of work to do, but with no single party in control, they will have to work together.

 

Things look messy right now, but that's the way things work!  Cheers!   

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Well, my personal opinion is that Bruce is completely right...and that's because we've pretty much made the same bet!   ;D  Although we've also bet heavily on discounted technology companies.  No one thinks that things will improve right now...that the hole is so deep, we'll never get out.  That's exactly the time to start looking for things no one wants to touch.

 

What would have happened if the house and senate were both controlled by one party?  We would have a big problem.  I think what we all consider stupidity with the debt ceiling debate, actually makes the system work better, because no one gets exactly what they want and no special interest gets exactly what they want.  The U.S. will do fine going forward because the system works.  There is alot of work to do, but with no single party in control, they will have to work together.

 

Things look messy right now, but that's the way things work!  Cheers!   

 

Parsad I find your optimism refreshing and its nice that you arent simple a bet on America perma optimist like Buffett. Same outcome, but I prefer your rationale.

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Well, my personal opinion is that Bruce is completely right...and that's because we've pretty much made the same bet!  Grin  Although we've also bet heavily on discounted technology companies.  No one thinks that things will improve right now...that the hole is so deep, we'll never get out.  That's exactly the time to start looking for things no one wants to touch.

 

I always enjoy knowing that I am on the same side of the trade(s) as you!  ;D

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Parsad I find your optimism refreshing and its nice that you arent simple a bet on America perma optimist like Buffett. Same outcome, but I prefer your rationale.

 

I always enjoy knowing that I am on the same side of the trade(s) as you!

 

We back it up as well!  We're the largest investor in our U.S. Fund and one of the larger investors in our Canadian Fund.  We were buying tons of a net-net today, as well as adding to some of our other holdings.  Still have dry powder and looking for more bargains!  

 

It's funny, because earlier in the year the market was at the same level, but everything was overpriced.  Now you have certain areas that are very overpriced and some that are very underpriced.  That's the way it works sometimes.  Cheers!

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Well, my personal opinion is that Bruce is completely right...and that's because we've pretty much made the same bet!   ;D  Although we've also bet heavily on discounted technology companies.  No one thinks that things will improve right now...that the hole is so deep, we'll never get out.  That's exactly the time to start looking for things no one wants to touch.

 

What would have happened if the house and senate were both controlled by one party?  We would have a big problem.  I think what we all consider stupidity with the debt ceiling debate, actually makes the system work better, because no one gets exactly what they want and no special interest gets exactly what they want.  The U.S. will do fine going forward because the system works.  There is alot of work to do, but with no single party in control, they will have to work together.

 

Things look messy right now, but that's the way things work!  Cheers!    

 

Yep.  

 

Gridlock = Balance = A great set-up for future gains!

 

Oh, how quickly they forget that.

 

I recommend for any doubters to head down to their favorite library and read financial articles from previous eras.

 

This is a great reminder that the ways things are now is NEVER the way things will always be. Invest accordingly!

 

Here are a couple of examples:

 

From 2005...

 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1069097,00.html

 

John Williams, a disc jockey from Long Beach, Calif., is available for weddings and birthday parties. He also does real estate closings. Williams, 40, recently decided to hitch his fortunes to the Southern California home market, buying houses, fixing them up and--in the parlance of our times--flipping them for a quick profit. "I saw so many friends and colleagues getting rich," he says. "I wanted to get rich too."

 

Williams has made some money--he flipped his first two properties for a combined gain of $27,000--and quickly discovered that he's not alone. "I went to look at some homes in Palmdale- Lancaster [an area of Los Angeles County]," he says, "and the woman showing me and a group of other investors around was a hairdresser who works for Century 21 on the side. We went into Taco Bell for lunch. The girl at the register heard us talking, and she told us she just got her mortgage broker's license."

 

-and-

 

From 1999...

 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,991528,00.html

 

The IPO market, as hot as I have ever seen it, is pumped full of next Ciscos, as company after company goes public with a Cisco flavor. Some of these new issues seem to jump solely because they list Cisco as a competitor in the prospectus! Brocade, which makes fiber-channel switches--something that has the look and feel of Cisco--jumped from 19 to 116 in five weeks after coming public on the back of this buzz. Redback, a high-speed broadband IPO with enough Cisco overlap to be cast as Junior, went from 23 to 163 in two months. But none of them can touch the run of Juniper Networks, a newly minted maker of next-generation routers. A direct competitor of Cisco's, it jumped from 34 to 162 in five days. Now we are talking certifiable Son of Cisco. Even I, skeptical of any parentage or resemblance plays, have bought a few thousand shares of this one.
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What would have happened if the house and senate were both controlled by one party?  We would have a big problem.  I think what we all consider stupidity with the debt ceiling debate, actually makes the system work better, because no one gets exactly what they want and no special interest gets exactly what they want.  The U.S. will do fine going forward because the system works.  There is alot of work to do, but with no single party in control, they will have to work together.

 

Things look messy right now, but that's the way things work!  Cheers!   

 

Maybe over time, but for now we have a country that ignores the issue of deficit spending amidst two decades of improving asset prices and declining household savings, then makes a national emergency of deficits when the trends reverse. Is this the Bible's recommended prescription for 7 years of famine? Year 1: hoard food. Year 8: party!

 

Household economics scaled to macro = hedge like it's 1999.

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Re: some of the BOA comments on this thread and the other Berkowitz thread...

 

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan plans to answer questions from “skeptics” among fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s investors after shares of the biggest U.S. lender fell to a two-year low.

 

Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management LLC will hold a 90-minute conference call with Moynihan on Aug. 10, the manager said today in a statement. The event will help investors of Fairholme, with 92.6 million Bank of America shares as of March 31, understand why the firm is a core holding, Berkowitz said.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-03/bofa-s-moynihan-to-answer-skeptics-in-berkowitz-conference.html?cmpid=yhoo

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Re: some of the BOA comments on this thread and the other Berkowitz thread...

 

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan plans to answer questions from “skeptics” among fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s investors after shares of the biggest U.S. lender fell to a two-year low.

 

Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management LLC will hold a 90-minute conference call with Moynihan on Aug. 10, the manager said today in a statement. The event will help investors of Fairholme, with 92.6 million Bank of America shares as of March 31, understand why the firm is a core holding, Berkowitz said.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-03/bofa-s-moynihan-to-answer-skeptics-in-berkowitz-conference.html?cmpid=yhoo

 

Bad omen :) The last time he brought CEO of Pfizer on just such a call, he sold out of the position in a few months.

 

Vinod

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Interesting! The press release says that you can email questions for Brian Moynihan to askbrian@fairholmefunds.com. Any takers here? I emailed the following questions, for what it's worth.

 

1) Consider an adverse economic scenario with GDP dipping by 3%, home prices declining by a further 20% and unemployment rising to 10.5%, all by the end of next year. What will be the impact on BofA's capital levels in this case? What levers does BofA have that can be pulled to keep capital levels up while minimizing the issuance of equity?

 

2) Some commentators, including Joe Stiglitz just today, have been clamoring for (i) even higher capital levels than dictated by Basel III and (ii) faster phasing in of higher capital levels than the current schedule. Do you see any evidence of regulators agreeing with this viewpoint? Will BofA have to issue stock if it has to reach a 9.5% capital ratio by, say, 2016 rather than 2019?

 

3) It appears that most of BofA's mortgage losses, and legal issues related to securitizations and foreclosures are due to vintages from 2005 through mid-2008. How far along is BofA in terms of digesting the loans and securitizations from this period?

 

Re: some of the BOA comments on this thread and the other Berkowitz thread...

 

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan plans to answer questions from “skeptics” among fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s investors after shares of the biggest U.S. lender fell to a two-year low.

 

Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management LLC will hold a 90-minute conference call with Moynihan on Aug. 10, the manager said today in a statement. The event will help investors of Fairholme, with 92.6 million Bank of America shares as of March 31, understand why the firm is a core holding, Berkowitz said.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-03/bofa-s-moynihan-to-answer-skeptics-in-berkowitz-conference.html?cmpid=yhoo

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Re: some of the BOA comments on this thread and the other Berkowitz thread...

 

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan plans to answer questions from “skeptics” among fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s investors after shares of the biggest U.S. lender fell to a two-year low.

 

Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management LLC will hold a 90-minute conference call with Moynihan on Aug. 10, the manager said today in a statement. The event will help investors of Fairholme, with 92.6 million Bank of America shares as of March 31, understand why the firm is a core holding, Berkowitz said.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-03/bofa-s-moynihan-to-answer-skeptics-in-berkowitz-conference.html?cmpid=yhoo

 

Bad omen :) The last time he brought CEO of Pfizer on just such a call, he sold out of the position in a few months.

 

Vinod

 

Haha, that's true!  ;D  Hopefully, same thing won't happen this time.

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