The best and biggest investment for you

John Paulson gave an interview on CNBC in which he described the “best investment for a retail investor”. To some it may come as a surprise that this wasn’t some stock or bond, it was to buy a home (or primary residence).

For many this will represent a large investment, possibly larger than the whole of their equity investments put together. So why is John Paulson saying it is a good idea?

Well over a period of 20-30 years the chances of house prices being below where you buy are minimal due to inflation, but in the short term it can create financial pressure on you. I look at how you can assess house prices in the short term and estimate intrinsic value.

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Technical Analysis for the Value Investor

I like to think of myself as open-minded, I try to not to let my pre-existing biases get in the way of learning new things and new ideas. But I also like to think of myself as a skeptic – unless someone can show evidence or proof that an idea is correct, I’ll have a hard time accepting it.

So when it comes to Technical Analysis you can see why I am of two conflicting minds. Like most value investors, I have a tendency to dismiss TA and just focus on valuation, but after attending some friendly get togethers with other investors in London I discovered there are people out there that have been using TA to make money for decades – maybe there is something to this TA after all?

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When cash isn’t really cash – $BDL

I recently ran one of my stock screens in the US to try and find some overlooked companies and I came across one company, Flanigan’s Enterprises ($BDL) which runs a chain of restaurants. It appeared cheap on an EV/EBITDA basis, but on further investigation wasn’t appealing. I wanted to go over it because it’s a great example on how investors can get caught out relying on such multiples without doing further research. The problem is: when is a company’s cash really free cash and not an essential business asset?

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Where to invest?

If you regularly search for undervalued companies then it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the US and UK markets are trading at much higher valuations than they were a few years ago. That makes it harder to find bargains – but not impossible. But rather than try harder, why not start looking at cheaper markets? Here are 30 international markets and their valuations.

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Half year portfolio report

It’s that time of year again, I review my portfolio performance every 6 months as a compromise between short term volatility and waiting too long between reviews. The first half of 2014 has been a bit of a roller coaster for my portfolio, driven mainly by swings in the price of my biggest holding Craven House Capital. The rest of the portfolio has been much smoother, seeing nice steady gains.

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