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Jeff Auxier Comments on Bank of New York

- By Holly LaFon

Banks in general declined off euphoric post-election highs although Bank of New York (BK) still sells at a significant discount to the market and will benefit greatly if interest rates normalize.

After a difficult global earnings and revenue environment for over six quarters, we are seeing a pickup in sales and earnings for our core positions as many economies have seemed to stabilize. Domestically, the ISM services index still shows good improvement over 55%. We work hard at monitoring fundamentals to be able to catch the turn. While we are concerned with making good buys, it is also important to monitor highly valued "high expectation" stocks that can suffer painful drops when results fall short. We are looking for high integrity, dynamic management teams that can build value in any environment. We have learned over the years that having the cumulative knowledge of specific businesses, cash flows and balance sheets is far more important than being a market operator. When focusing on the power of compounding, it is critical to quantify and constantly assess risk through an in-depth knowledge of facts and valuation with a focus on the growth in underlying per share intrinsic value. At the core of mitigating risk is understanding the asset and the fundamentals. The problem with the proliferation of exchange traded funds is that nobody truly understands what they own as individual businesses. Most are following momentum. The real value added comes when markets drop and you really need to know the individual fundamentals at the height of panic. Many of the top Fund positions we have owned for 20-30 years. We want to be prepared daily and know ahead of time what we want to own. Then when the market drops we are ready to act. I love to study great coaches and in particular legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden who had preached that "the will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win." We see the will to grind out daily research as integral to prepare for difficult times and improve the odds of protecting our clients' life savings.

From Jeff Auxier (Trades, Portfolio)'s Auxier Asset Management first quarter 2017 shareholder letter.
This article first appeared on GuruFocus.