Charlie and the chocolate factory

1972 was an important year for Warren Buffett. It is the year in which he made an investment that was what I consider to be the turning point in his investing career that was inspired by none other than his partner in crime, Charles Munger. Some of you may have already guessed what I’m talking about (perhaps the title gave it away?) – See’s Candy.

This was a company trading at 3x book value and Buffett had likely never paid more than 80% of book value for a company in his life. Yet he saw something new in this investment and was willing to break with all he had known for most of his adult life. I’m going to look at the arguments for these types of businesses that likely persuaded him to do so.

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Diamond in the Gold rough

Gold miners have taken a pounding over the last 18 months, and quite rightly. The decade long bull run in the price of gold came abruptly to an end in 2012 with steep declines starting in 2013. Amid the blood and carnage of this sector there are doubtlessly companies that have been dragged down with the masses but don’t deserve such depressed prices. Lucky for me, I found one, Goldplat plc.

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Chancellor announces New ISA (NISA)

If you aren’t a UK based investor then this article probably wont interest you. But if you are, then you’ll want to read on. The chancellor George Osborne has just announced some of the most major changes to ISAs in a decade. I’m very pleased about them, and along with AIM shares becoming ISA eligible, investors are now in a much better position to wrap their entire portfolio in a tax free ISA.

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Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC)

Do you ever get the feeling you’re late to the party? Western Digital stock traded at just over $30 in 2011, and now trades at $86. In the last year alone it is up 100%. So you may wonder why I’m writing about it now. Well on the surface it still appears a somewhat attractive investment in a business trading at an adjusted Free Cash Flow yield of 9% with a historical 18% compound annual growth rate in revenues.

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A new financials spreadsheet

A few months ago I released a free spreadsheet which collected financial data from the web on a chosen stock and pulled it into a nice summary sheet. I was frustrated when doing this by the problems that occur when trawling the web for data, web pages constantly change name, data moves about and the result is the spreadsheet doesn’t work as fluently as I would have liked and continually has errors.

I have developed a new version which uses a professional data feed. Please try it out (it’s free) and let me know what you think. I have tried to pull together the most comprehensive financials data source on the market.

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A student once asked Warren Buffett how best to prepare for an investing career. Buffett thought for a few seconds and then reached for the stack of papers he had brought with him.

“Read 500 pages like this every day,” said Buffett. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

So here are some of my picks from my reading over the last couple of weeks for you to browse this weekend and make up some of your daily 500 pages.

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