By Joel Greenblatt
Contributor note: ahead through Andrew Tobias
Joel Greenblatt offers a consultant to beating the marketplace for every age. as well as taking off the fundamental rules of winning inventory marketplace making an investment, he offers a 'magic formula' that's effortless to exploit and makes deciding to buy solid businesses at discount costs computerized.
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Investing in great businesses at good prices makes sense. Figuring out which are the great ones is the tough part. Monopoly newspapers and network broadcasters were once considered near-perfect businesses; then new forms of competition and the last recession brought those businesses a little bit closer to earth. The world is a compli cated and competitive place. It is only getting more so. The challenges you face in choosing the few stellar businesses I hat will stand out in the future will be even harder than the ones faced by Buffett when he was building his fortune.
If an S&P 500 company spins off a division, you can be pretty sure that right out of the box that division will be the subject of a huge amount of indiscriminate selling. Does this practice seem foolish? Yes. Understandable? Sort of. Is it an opportunity for you to pick up some low-priced shares? Definitely. Another reason spinoffs do so well is that capitalism, with all its drawbacks, actually works. When a business and its management are freed from a large corporate parent, pentup entrepreneurial forces are unleashed.
The fact that you can drive a truck through any of these wide ranges of expected returns should lend comfort to those who don't hold fifty stocks in their portfolio and strike fear in the hearts of anyone who thinks owning dozens of stocks will as sure them a predictable annual income. Over the long term (and this could mean twenty or thirty years long), stocks, despite the annual variability in returns, are probably the most attractive investment vehicle. There fore, owning a widely diversified portfolio of stocks should enable you more or less to mirror the performance of the popular market averages.