Close that Bloomberg tab, cancel your subscription to Barron’s, and don’t you dare even think about turning on “Mad Money.” These media outlets are like drugs: they provide a rush but ultimately leave us no better off than we were before. Actually, there is a good chance these financial vices are making you worse off. Consume enough mainstream financial news and you may start believing that you can profit from macro trends, currency plays, and high-flying “momo” stocks – a disastrous recipe for the average investor.
We suggest you dedicate just one week toward freeing your mind from the noise and living off a steady diet of reading material certain to improve your investment process. And for our money, nothing beats investment blogs. The ability to critique a writer’s thesis and judge their analysis as it plays out (or doesn’t…) is a valuable experience that few other mediums can offer. In this post, we’ll share the top five investment blogs at the top of our reading list.
If you only plan on reading one value investing blog, close your browser now – this is the one. No idea is off-limits for writer red, as he analyzes businesses from India to the UK, from obscure micro-caps to billion-dollar enterprises. Expect not an elementary analysis, but rather red ‘s uncanny ability to go beyond the reported numbers to uncover the true earning power of a business. Red puts all his picks in a portfolio tab so you can track his every move. And we highly suggest you do – since its inception in July 2012, red’s portfolio has generated a 120% after-tax return.
A blog that needs no introduction in the value investing community, Oddballstocks has made its mark looking for bargains in obscure places. From African stocks to liquidating banks to companies at 1X earnings, writer Nate Tobik offers ideas you won’t find anywhere else. In addition to unknown stocks, Nate’s blog is full of investment philosophy. Be sure to check out his posts on diversification, margin of safety, and bank valuation.
A high school dropout and self-taught investor, writer Geoff Gannon has grown to be one of the most prolific bloggers since his start in late 2005. Geoff and co-writer Haong’s posts can admittedly be lengthy, but trust us, they are well worth your time. You’ll be hard pressed to find the depth of business analysis and investment philosophy they offer. For Buffet-esque investors looking for above average businesses selling at below average prices, this blog is a must read.
A Europe-based professional poker player, writer Alpha Vulture brings a scientific and calculated approach to his investment ideas. Alpha Vulture is a master at assessing downside risk and has a sharp investment process that any investor can learn from. If you are interested in international deep-value plays, merger-arb ideas, and even a short thesis or two, be sure to add this one to your reading list.
The popular Bronte Capital is the brainchild of John Hempton, an Australia-based hedge fund manager. From shorting dodgy Chinese companies to exposing fraudsters, Bronte Capital offers a skeptical eye to the markets that is both refreshing and insightful. Where this blog falls short in actionable ideas, it makes up in downright entertainment. But don’t take our word for it – read John’s now famous post on Latvian Hookers and see for yourself!
Want to get the most out of these blogs? Try reading them from start to finish. This will allow you to understand the writer’s thought process at the time and see how the investment ultimately worked out. Were their assumptions overly optimistic? Did they improperly assess downside risk? Or perhaps they were right on the money and picked a multi-bagger. The best part about this method is seeing how the writer’s investment skills are sharpened over time, something we’re looking forward to doing with our blog after it has a few years under its belt (assuming we do actually get better, that is…).