It became more difficult. For example, software engineers were often called on to customize field solutions. It was a nimble operation: 1 sales rep, 1 very good sales engineer, and me...quick, agile, and winning serious deals.
After IBM acquisition, an ARMY of less technical people had to be engaged. Trying to throw every product, seeing what stuck, hoping to charge as much as possible. Process oriented administrators wanted a formal SOW and project plan...taking many weeks to do what was once done in a few days. The worst was when administrators imposed a solutions approach, dominating the software engineers.
As for R&D, budgets were cut. Proposals to advance core technology blocked. These are things Google or Facebook would let you prototype with ease.
Like I said, IBM had better do something to reintroduce this spirit of technology initiative and creativity...and yes, treating key sales, marketing, and technology personnel with some perks.
Bottom line: too much administrative overhead and reporting to non-technical people. This degraded product development and field solutions for customers.
On top of that, benefits and perks don't match other bay area companies. They changed the nice 401k match to only 1x/year. You can't even get a free cup of coffee. Cynical. All this works to push away the best engineers, consultants, and sales personnel...whom have much better alternatives.
Google, Facebook, and even Oracle and SAP treat their employees much better, especially engineers. IBM still has a deep bench. But they better address this fast. Like I said, great people leave IBM for Google, not the other way around. It's a shame...because IBM have everything needed to turn it around...except, seemingly, enlightened management that fosters an optimal technology culture.
A top down culture driven by accounting and financial engineering has long eroded IBM. At some point, it became difficult to initiate and promote bottom up innovation. Not only in engineering, but from sales and marketing personnel.
Strict accounting and processes resulted in masses of people being pigeonholed into niche areas. Skills and even work habits degraded. Suffice it to say, especially in services, IBM did not foster a culture of self learning and adaptation...in a day and age of open source products that demand this.
So you're seeing a labor tragedy of sorts as IBM tries to turn itself around. Will it? I'm not sure. Not if Ginni and co remain in charge. No doubt, IBM still has world class engineers...but they're moving on...with no sign that the opposite is occurring in any significance. Engineers leave IBM for Google, not the other way around.
Until this settles, I wouldn't buy. I'm holding my shares...just because. In defiance of rationality. I hold hope that an iconic American machines company will endure this and stay around for another 100 years...although, like I said, I'm not feeling it.
I'll repeat what I said before. We got caught by an outlier oil price war. It happens.
I do agree that CBI management has not been proactively forthcoming. That is a sore point. And yet another judgement call. Not that it eases your pain, but they sure fooled a lot of top investors.
I will. For many years. I refuse to to materialize my current paper $11k loss on a $26k basis. I still believe $70 is fair value...and that we'll see this in 18 - 36 months.
As we discussed before, I'm not going to lose money unless forced. I doubt CBI bankrupts. I know I won't, due to diversification. Above all...I'm going to be wary of investing in commodity cycle exposed companies...although now that we're at a near bottom with oil...I might gamble a bit on MRO, COP, and add more to my XOM position.
Not a lot of bargains right now. You have to sift. Market overall is not cheap. Wars loom. Economies are pressed. I think this calls for keeping a lot of dry powder...unless individual stock value is assessed.
All the best.
I was up near 400% at some point. Now I'm break even. Sobering.
My mistake was in not understanding commodity cycles. I do now. That's why I'm going to buy more...and just wait. It will again surge. This PE is about the same as in 2008...at which buying would have been an 8x - 10x gain.
The stock is broken. Not the company. This can be fixed...save for an outlier legal judgement on the guardrail issue.
I'm preparing to put in another $10k in 1/4 positions. Let's see. This has been hard to bear emotionally...but I'm committed to value investing principles...and will stay the course.
Here is my TRN investment over the years:
date shares total_price
17-Aug-2007 300 $4,958.95 $16.53 basis
31-Oct-2007 0.59 $10.50 $17.92 div
28-Nov-2007 400 $5,241.95 $13.10 basis
31-Jan-2008 1.79 $24.52 $13.68 div
30-Apr-2008 1.58 $24.58 $15.56 div
31-Jul-2008 1.45 $28.16 $19.42 div
31-Oct-2008 3.41 $28.22 $8.27 div
30-Jan-2009 4.84 $28.35 $5.86 div
30-Apr-2009 3.77 $28.55 $7.57 div
31-Jul-2009 4.05 $28.70 $7.08 div
30-Oct-2009 3.31 $28.86 $8.72 div
29-Jan-2010 3.65 $28.99 $7.95 div
30-Apr-2010 2.28 $29.14 $12.79 div
30-Jul-2010 2.87 $29.23 $10.17 div
29-Oct-2010 2.58 $29.34 $11.35 div
31-Jan-2011 2.12 $29.45 $13.88 div
29-Apr-2011 1.64 $29.53 $18.03 div
29-Jul-2011 2.27 $33.30 $14.68 div
31-Oct-2011 2.41 $33.40 $13.88 div
31-Jan-2012 2.12 $33.51 $15.82 div
30-Apr-2012 2.29 $33.60 $14.70 div
31-Jul-2012 2.91 $41.20 $14.15 div
31-Oct-2012 2.65 $41.36 $15.61 div
31-Jan-2013 2.11 $41.50 $19.71 div
30-Apr-2013 1.99 $41.62 $20.87 div
31-Jul-2013 2.53 $49.31 $19.47 div
31-Oct-2013 2.29 $57.09 $24.93 div
31-Jan-2014 1.93 $57.26 $29.61 div
30-Apr-2014 1.5 $57.41 $38.22 div
31-Jul-2014 1.74 $76.69 $44.06 div
10-Oct-2014 150 $5,425.45 $36.13 basis
31-Oct-2014 2.102 $76.87 $36.57 div
30-Jan-2015 3.355 $92.08 $27.45 div
30-Apr-2015 3.222 $92.41 $28.68 div
31-Jul-2015 3.579 $102.01 $28.51 div
30-Oct-2015 3.957 $102.40 $25.88 div
29-Jan-2016 4.995 $102.84 $20.59 div
It is what it is. The markets can be irrational. Basically we all agree that the stock, not the company, is broken.
Once again, this is a situation for Buffett patience and faith in the market being a short term voting machine vs a long term weighing machine...and we have to stay solvent longer than the market can stay irrational. I'm prepared to wait. Grimly so.
If I hadn't invested in energy, I'd really have a superior investing record. As I wrote before, I'm one of the many investors getting burned by the Saudi oil price war and China associated commodity crash. Fortunately, diversification in value is keeping me yet above the S&P500 overall...if not for these past 16 months.
I'll say it again: I envy those who can buy into energy now, with a clean slate.
I actually did with XOM. About a 10% gain on ~$7500. Doesn't make up for the CBI, NOV, RDS-B, and DVN...where I'm taking a hiding...but I'll slowly keep buying into majors on dips. My relatively recent bets in WFC, JNJ, & DOW continue to do well.
My eyes remain on DOW, INTC, WFC, DIS, BA...all which are solid right now.
Still, I haven't significantly deployed cash reserves. My gut says we'll go down further...although 1/4 positions in the above stocks would work now. That was indeed my mistake with the energy companies...I should have stayed disciplined with the 1/4 position investing...and been more aware of commodity cycling.
I am expecting that in 3 - 5 years, CBI will significantly gain. Probably beating the S&P500 over the same time horizon. Again, I'm counting on the management to be competent, honest, and disciplined...as otherwise this is a good business, working through, as you said it, a perfect storm of events.
I share your frustration. But CBI management has let us down. They weren't as forthcoming with accounting as they could have been. And the nuclear acquisition was not necessary, something being unraveled.
Plus, as we keep bringing up from time to time, there's the specter of an oil price war, making this a perfect storm for CBI. I'm down huge, some 45% on a $26k basis. But I'll hold on...as I don't want to bear a loss and still have some confidence the business will right itself.
BTW: as for Buffett, I deeply respect him and apply what he and Benjamin Graham teach. However, I keep in mind that he now invests at a different scale. As he famously once said: there's a structural disadvantage in having too much money.
He has to move capital where it can scale. CBI doesn't really move the needle in this context. No, Buffett has to make large scale bets on the likes of IBM, WFC, and PSX...where his fortunes are mixed.
All the best.
Investment history generally repeats itself. Tulips. Trains. Cars. Electronics. The internet. Now social, mobile, and cloud computing.
I've long learned to heed Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett's truism: price must eventually track earnings.
LinkedIn is an modernized resume store. It is not revolutionary in any way. At the end of the day, if you want a hire, a qualified human still must vet a candidate. LinkedIn is just another piece of data characterizing a person.
And yeah, LinkedIn doesn't make money. The same old pro forma reporting, of course, attempts to hype this differently. It's new. It's the future. It's different.
Yeah right. Once again, retail investors get fleeced. Yet another pump and dump. As are Splunk, Tableau, SalesForce, ServiceNow, and such names. None who make much money, if at all.
I'm buying WFC, DOW, JNJ, AAPL, INTC, CSCO, and such on dips. At
Like I keep saying guys, you need to have a long enough time horizon in individual stocks. I'm more than confident that 3 - 5 years from now, my currently being down 40% in CBI will markedly outpace the S&P500 across the entire time horizon of ownership.
As long as the company is not broken, the broken stock will correct itself.
The market obviously is irrational. Companies like SalesForce, Amazon, and Facebook are wildly overvalued. But look at Apple being doubted. It's often a popularity contest. As Buffett famously said: the market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term.
It's but a matter of time. I know it's cold comfort if you're concentrated and losing, but it is what it is. All the best.
I'm still holding. And I once was up 4x in TRN on my initial 2/3 position. Maybe I should have sold? In hindsight, sure.
But from a value investing standpoint, not really. In fact, I bought a 1/3 position at $36, which is obviously down significantly now. But overall I remain up 25% based on my average cost of $16/share.
TRN is a great company. It simply got caught up in a commodity crash and legal witch hunt. The stock is broken, not the company. Mind you, the legal specter is large...as corruption can rear itself even in a country like the USA.
But I'm betting it won't. I'm confident the market will normalize. Implying huge value in TRN. It might take a few years. But I've ridden many solid companies like this, waiting patiently, significant beating the S&P500 when price finally reverts earnings.
All the best.
Disclaimer: I posted the preceding on Seeking Alpha last October. The point is that you might have to wait years for a stock to revert to its norm...assuming it is in fact a quality company.
I believe this will be the case with CBI.
I'm with you all in suffering a current ugly PAPER loss on CBI. 44% on a $26k basis = -$11k. Individually catastrophic...but not in the context of being 1 of 23 stocks I own, with some funds thrown in.Thank goodness for MSFT, KO, JNJ, CNI, and the likes.
BTW: I'm not only looking to average down in CBI, but also buy more into DOW, WFC, and DIS. These should be more stable and are at least at fair value. Anchors when commodity cycles swing suddenly and impact holdings like CBI and TRN.
All the best.
I'll respond by posting my concrete results with MSFT over the years. Basically, I hope this illustrates how making a disciplined value investment in what one judges to be a quality business yields great results. Here is my position:
date shares total price $/share
8-May-2006 500 $11,831.95 $23.66 basis
14-Sep-2006 1.73 $45.00 $26.07 div
14-Dec-2006 1.69 $50.17 $29.76 div
8-Mar-2007 1.81 $50.34 $27.77 div
14-Jun-2007 1.65 $50.52 $30.54 div
13-Sep-2007 1.75 $50.69 $29.03 div
13-Dec-2007 1.59 $55.95 $35.10 div
13-Mar-2008 1.96 $56.12 $28.65 div
12-Jun-2008 2.05 $56.34 $27.44 div
11-Sep-2008 2.11 $56.57 $26.78 div
11-Dec-2008 3.35 $67.12 $20.04 div
12-Mar-2009 4.06 $67.56 $16.63 div
18-Jun-2009 2.9 $68.09 $23.46 div
10-Sep-2009 2.75 $68.47 $24.88 div
10-Dec-2009 2.31 $68.82 $29.78 div
11-Mar-2010 2.38 $69.12 $29.01 div
10-Jun-2010 2.77 $69.43 $25.07 div
9-Sep-2010 2.9 $69.79 $24.11 div
9-Dec-2010 3.17 $86.36 $27.28 div
10-Mar-2011 3.4 $86.87 $25.57 div
9-Jun-2011 3.67 $87.41 $23.84 div
8-Sep-2011 3.34 $88.00 $26.35 div
8-Dec-2011 4.34 $110.67 $25.48 div
8-Mar-2012 3.48 $111.54 $32.10 div
14-Jun-2012 3.86 $112.23 $29.11 div
13-Sep-2012 3.7 $113.00 $30.53 div
13-Dec-2012 4.77 $130.80 $27.44 div
14-Mar-2013 4.71 $131.90 $28.00 div
13-Jun-2013 3.84 $132.98 $34.66 div
12-Sep-2013 4.09 $133.87 $32.76 div
12-Dec-2013 4.38 $164.11 $37.45 div
13-Mar-2014 4.32 $165.34 $38.31 div
12-Jun-2014 4.105 $166.55 $40.57 div
11-Sep-2014 3.606 $167.70 $46.50 div
11-Dec-2014 3.892 $186.78 $47.99 div
12-Mar-2015 4.411 $187.99 $42.62 div
11-Jun-2015 4.121 $189.36 $45.95 div
10-Sep-2015 4.48 $190.63 $42.55 div
total shares: 619.445
avg $/share: $19.10
current price: $53.46
current value: $33,115.53
total return: 179.88%
S&P500 wi reinvested dividends total return: 84.203%
S&P500 wi reinvested dividends CAGR: 6.764%
shares earned as reinvested dividends: 119.445
base value of shares earned as reinvested dividends: $3,764.19
current value of shares earned as rein
I agree we are in cyclical bear. But a modest secular bull. So yes, I am confident the price will rise over the longer term...and eventually outpace the S&P500.
Obviously, for commodities, this might take some time.
I lived this with MSFT. I bought in 2007 or so. Reinvested dividends. All consistently at valuations below its norm. Eventually the price normalized and I now have a 180% gain, well beating the S&P500...especially accounting for what happened in 2008.
I'm going to average down at some point and have patience in CBI. It indeed takes years. Which is why I always caveat these discussions about diversified value. It REALLY does take time...which I'm going to need on this one.
I'm a value investor. SCTY is anything but a value investment. It's young, volatile, and losing money. It's an emergent company in an emergent industry...where most companies will fail as such markets develop.
Think of automobile, tech, and biotech companies that emerged with those industries. The majority of companies failed. A few became Ford, BMW, Microsoft, Google, etc. It's difficult to identify such companies.
Solar has a long way to go before the economics become compelling. Sure, you can bet. But it's a gamble. I reserve 5% of my money for what is a deep dice roll here. Just my 2 cents.
This is true.
I bought a basket of stocks in betting on the North American energy renaissance these past 2 years. These purchases complemented earlier buys in the energy-transportation-manufacturing supply chains.
I'm down 30% - 60% in pure energy buys. DVN. CBI. NOV. DNOW. RDS-A. RDS-B. I'm down in AA and MT. But I'm up big in TRN, AWK, CNI, DOW. I starte buying XOM, which is actually making money. As well as stocks like JNJ, KO, and so. Well, you know the deal about diversification and buying low...something I think adds color to this situation.
But yeah, I got caught in a confluence of factors killing energy right now. It was a commodity based sector bet. I have little choice but to be patient. I will...withstanding my greatest fear that fossil fuels face a secular decline due to correlated environmental degradation..
CBI however would do well regardless. Energy is energy when it comes to infrastructure. CBI would adapt to whatever energy is in vogue. So we're talking me losing in DVN, RDS, NOV, DNOW, and XOM if this happens...although I believe XOM would also adapt and diversify by acquisition into alternate energies.
Lots to think about. But I will say this: solar looks like a good long term secular bet. Maybe FSLR? But the economics of solar are tenuous. Companies will boom and but, as they have up to now. There's no sure secular bet here either.
Long on CBI for now. Grimly holding. Hoping to have the courage to average down when things stabilize.
I'm down 44% on a $26k basis in CBI. This is not pretty. But I'm prepared to hold until the price of oil stabilizes. Then I'll assess averaging down.
Oil is in a free fall. I think I posted here several months ago that I would wait for it to fall to $30. But it's going below even that. I didn't think it was probable, but we might see below $25.
I still believe CBI is a sound company. But it's unfortunately caught up in a serious oil price war. Saudi Arabia is desperate and sees losing market share as an existential threat...which is probably true.
This could take some years to play out. But like I said, I'm holding. I won't take a 44% loss.
All the best.