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  • It’s Hard to Beat Risk-Free 46% Annual Returns

    Even in his prime, Warren Buffett couldn’t consistently deliver 46% returns year in and year out. The sage of Omaha is good…but not that good. (Ok, there was a stretch in the 1960s when he really did generate those kinds of returns, but we won’t split hairs.)


    Amazingly enough, those kinds of returns are offered to the vast majority of employed Americans. And even better, they are offered with absolutely no market risk…or any risk at all, for that matter.

      


  • Olstein Strategic Opportunities Fund 2014 Investor Letter

    Dear Fellow Shareholders:


    For the year ended December 31, 2014, load-waived Class A shares of the Olstein Strategic Opportunities Fund appreciated 12.34% compared to total returns of 7.07% and 13.69% for the Russell 2500™ Index and the S&P 500 ® Index, respectively. For the six-month reporting period ended December 31, 2014, load-waived Class A shares of the Olstein Strategic Opportunities Fund appreciated 6.77% compared to total returns of 1.06% for the Russell 2500™ Index and 6.12% for the S&P 500® Index over the same time period.

      


  • ONLY BUY LUXURY AT A DEEP DISCOUNT

    Most readers of this article will already be quite familiar with the theory of efficient markets which contends that the stocks that trade in the public markets are always fairly valued as the markets act “efficiently” to incorporate all of the information available into the price of any given stock at any given moment. However, if that contention were correct, there would have been no place or success for famed value investors such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio), John Templeton and David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio).

    These men, along with scores of others less known, made huge fortunes by having the patience to wait until they were presented with the opportunity to acquire extraordinary brands and businesses at unjustly depressed values. They were able to look beyond the short-term pessimism and emotionally driven fear that drove share prices to absurdly low levels and then, as the legendary Jim Rogers described it: “I just wait until there is money lying in the corner, and all I have to do is go over there and pick it up. I do nothing in the meantime.” Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) once was quoted as stating: “My investment style is best described as lethargy, bordering on sloth.”  


  • IVA International Fund Q4 2014 Review

    The IVA International Fund (Trades, Portfolio) Class A (NAV) (“the Fund”) ended the quarter on December 31, 2014 with a return of -2.19% versus the MSCI All Country World Index (ex-U.S.) (“Index”) return of -3.87%. This brings our year-to-date return to 1.15% versus the Index return of -3.87% for the same period.

    Global equities continued their selloff from September through mid-October and fell again in the first half of December as expectations for global growth and inflation fell, but markets rebounded at the end of December. The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for global growth citing persistent weakness in the eurozone and a slowdown in several emerging markets, including China. Japan fell into a recession in November and we continued to see oil prices decline and the U.S. dollar strengthen against all major currencies throughout the quarter. With so many imbalances and unknowns across the globe, our portfolio has remained cautiously positioned. A number of our stocks and bonds were hurt by weakness in their local currency, especially in Japan, however, the Fund benefited from being partially hedged as our currency hedges added 1.5% to our return. As of December 31, 2014 our currency hedges were: 70.5% Japanese yen, 56.5% euro, 40.3% Australian dollar, and 30.2% South Korean won. We increased our hedge against the euro this quarter, from 44.9% to 56.5%.  


  • Hennessy Japan Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Comments and Opinions (Q&A)

    In December 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was reelected by a landslide, securing up to four more years of a stable political environment and giving the government time to implement the “Three Arrows” program. In the discussion below, the portfolio management team of the Hennessy Japan Fund and Hennessy Japan Small Cap Fund (Trades, Portfolio) addresses the country’s economic progress and potential prospects over the coming year.

    1. Would you please summarize the accomplishments from the implementation of the first two arrows?  


  • Hennessy Japan Fund Q4 2014 Comments and Opinions (Q&A)

    In December 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was reelected by a landslide, securing up to four more years of a stable political environment and giving the government time to implement the “Three Arrows” program. In the discussion below, the portfolio management team of the Hennessy Japan Fund and Hennessy Japan Small Cap Fund (Trades, Portfolio) addresses the country’s economic progress and potential prospects over the coming year.

    1. Would you please summarize the accomplishments from the implementation of the first two arrows?  


  • Francis Chou Comments on Sears Holdings Corp

    As we have indicated before, we believe that Sears Holdings (SHLD) is a misunderstood story. There are many moving parts but we believe Sears Holdings’ intrinsic value lies in its real estate assets. It also has other valuable assets such as Kenmore, Craftsman and Diehard. Being a traditional department store has become a tough business during the last decade but, according to management, Sears is transitioning its historic focus on running a brick and mortar department store into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, at home or through digital devices.


    The value of its real estate allows Eddie Lampert, the controlling shareholder and CEO, the time and money to effect the changes. What Lampert is doing is the right thing to do, considering the possible outcomes – if it works, it’ll be a multi-bagger; if the transformation does not work out as expected, we believe the real estate values are high enough that we would not lose money in our investment at current prices after netting out all liabilities. If real estate was the only play from Lampert’s viewpoint, it seems that he would have liquidated the company a long time ago.

      


  • Louis Moore Bacon Adds this Micro Cap That Has a Solid Price Appreciation

    Louis Moore Bacon (Trades, Portfolio) is an American hedge fund manager and trader who uses a global macro strategy to invest in the markets. Bacon has been in the top 20 of Top 100 money earners since the 1990s, and he is considered one of the top 100 traders of the 20th century.


    He is the manager of a leading New York City-based hedge fund, Moore Capital Management, which had $3.17 billion under management at Dec. 31, 2014. The investor reported increasing his stake in Levy Acquisition Corp. (LEVY), a $252.5 million market cap, according to GuruFocus Real Time Picks. So in this article, we are going to try to find an explanation for this long position.

      


  • Chou RRSP Fund 2014 Annual Shareholder Letter

    Dear Unitholders of Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio),

    The net asset value per unit (“NAVPU”) of a Series A unit of Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio) at December 31, 2014 was $35.33 compared to $30.94 at December 31, 2013, an increase of 14.2%; during the same period, the S&P/TSX Total Return Index increased 10.6% in Canadian dollars. In $U.S., a Series A unit of Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio) was up 4.6% while the S&P/TSX Total Return Index returned 1.2%.  


  • Mawer New Canada Fund Buys Birchcliff Energy in Q4

    The Mawer New Canada Fund (Trades, Portfolio) is a five-star rated fund by Morningstar that invests primarily in smaller Canadian companies. Its investment strategy is a research-driven, bottom-up approach aimed at long-term holding.


    Martin Ferguson serves as the fund’s portfolio manager and, in 2011, was awarded the Morningstar Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year award at the Canadian Investment Awards.

      


  • Leith Wheeler Canadian Equity Fund Buys 3 New Stocks

    Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel is a $16 billion value investing fund based in Canada, where investment firms are required to disclose holdings every six months. Managers at Leith Wheeler invest in companies that have a good business model and management team, looking for a margin of safety and holding for the long term.


    Leith Wheeler Canadian Equity Fund’s portfolio contained 44 stocks, valued at $2.2 billion in total and the end of the fourth quarter. The top sector represented in the portfolio was Financial Services 38.4%, Industrials at 14.7% and Energy at 14.2%.

      


  • Warren Buffett Discusses His New Foray Into Auto Dealerships and The 3G Kraft Acquisition

    Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio)'s latest purchase of a family built business was a large automobile dealership business. With it comes 78 auto dealerships and an operation built by an owner manager.


    Buffett expects that business to grow, and he also expects his partnership with 3G to expand.

      


  • Aetna: Solid Prospects in a Volatile Environment

    With the health care industry in all sorts of turmoil, we might well ask why any sane investor would buy in. After all, it’s filled with legislative uncertainties, regulatory and litigation certainties, not to mention technological change and more.


    Yet, investors looking for capital appreciation should give some attention to Aetna Inc. (AET), the long-lived health insurance company. It has delivered strong, consistent earnings in the past and appears capable of continuing along that path for at the least the next few years. It carries with it a storied history and enough mass to survive in a turbulent environment.

      


  • Mairs & Power Growth Fund Q4 2014 Commentary

    Investors could be forgiven if they looked back on 2014 as a year of mixed signals. Concerns about slowing growth in China, a possible recession across Europe and increasing tensions with Russia over their aggressive moves against Ukraine all contributed to market uncertainty. On the other hand, earnings continued to exceed expectations and the rapid decline in energy prices put a tailwind behind the U.S. economy, rewarding investors with the sixth year in a row of positive returns and the longest run since the bull market of the 1990s.


    With crude oil down more than 40 percent for 2014 (and continuing to fall in the first weeks of the New Year), we believe this will be the biggest driver of the U.S. markets and economy over the next several quarters. GDP growth in Q3 was revised upward to a healthy five percent annual rate, even before the stimulus of lower gas prices had fully kicked in, revealing continued momentum to the domestic economy as we enter 2015.

      


  • Granite Creek Initiates Check Sampling Program on Niaouleni Gold Concession


  • John Griffin Acquires Stake in Mobileye

    Mobileye (MBLY), a technology company that is based in the Netherlands with a research and development center in Jerusalem, is something of an enigma for investors.


    Mobileye specializes in cutting-edge automotive technology. Its products are designed to help prevent auto collisions or lessen their severity when they can’t be avoided. The nature of the business means the products it chooses to promote tend to be big hits or big misses. Sometimes they pay off. Sometimes they don’t. The stock price fluctuates – it is up one quarter, down the next.

      


  • McDonald’s Latest Breakfast Strategy to Revive U.S. Sales

    McDonald’s (MCD) will begin providing an all-day breakfast menu. Presently the Big Mac maker serves breakfast until 10:30 a.m. According to Business Insider, the company will first start offering consumers all-day breakfast menu at various locations in San Diego in April. If the test receives a positive response and turns out to be successful, the company shall start implementing the program in other restaurants locations as well. Let’s dig in to know the reason behind this move and the challenges that lie ahead.


    What made McDonald’s to extend breakfast hours?

      


  • Carl Icahn Increases Stake in a Small Cap Which Has Experienced a Steep Decline in EPS

    Undoubtedly Carl Icahn is one of the best investors in the world and one of my favorite hedge fund gurus. He founded Icahn Capital LP, which had $31.89 billion under management at Dec. 31, 2014. The investor reported increasing his stake in Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (FDML), a $2.01 billion market cap, according to GuruFocus Real Time Picks.


    Icahn's move

      


  • Duration: To Hedge Or Not To Hedge – PIMCO


    • Because duration tends to be an important component of the return profile in a bond portfolio, adjusting exposure rather than hedging it away may make sense for many investors.
    • Low duration strategies may provide a level of interest-rate duration that provides a better trade-off between a full market beta (with interest-rate duration) and a fully duration-hedged beta.
    •   


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Donaldson

    Minneapolis-based Donaldson (DCI) is a long time Mairs and Power holding, familiar to the firm but new to the Small Cap Fund. The manufacturer of filtration systems and replacement parts in a variety of industries was affected by recent weakness in off-highway vehicle (and Donaldson filters) sales creating an attractive opportunity for the Small Cap Fund to initiate a position in the stock.


    From Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Commentary.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Oasis Petroleum

    Oasis Petroleum (OAS) (oil exploration and production) was the worst performing stock for the year. While the company was able to earn phenomenal returns on wells drilled in North Dakota’s Bakken at $100+/barrel oil prices, the economics significantly degrade when oil is less than $50 a barrel.


    From Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Commentary.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Gentherm

    Gentherm (THRM) (heating and cooling technology primarily utilized in automobile seats) was also a top performer for the year, though the stock was among the lowest performers in the fourth quarter as some of its business is tied to energy efficiency. Longer term, the company still appears well positioned regardless of what happens with oil prices.


    From Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Commentary.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Vasco Data Security

    Vasco Data Security (VDSI) (password authentication hardware and software) led Fund performance for both the quarter and the year. While the company derives most of its revenue outside the U.S., headlines of data breaches at major U.S. corporations are driving consumer demand for better protection of their private information, and Vasco’s data security products are helping the company penetrate the U.S. market.


    From Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Commentary.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Q4 2014 Commentary

    Investors could be forgiven if they looked back on 2014 as a year of mixed signals. Concerns about slowing growth in China, a possible recession across Europe and increasing tensions with Russia over their aggressive moves against Ukraine all contributed to market uncertainty. On the other hand, earnings continued to exceed expectations and the rapid decline in energy prices put a tailwind behind the U.S. economy, rewarding investors with the sixth year in a row of positive returns and the longest run since the bull market of the 1990s.


    With crude oil down more than 40 percent for 2014 (and continuing to fall in the first weeks of the New Year), we believe this will be the biggest driver of the U.S. markets and economy over the next several quarters. GDP growth in Q3 was revised upward to a healthy five percent annual rate, even before the stimulus of lower gas prices had fully kicked in, revealing continued momentum to the domestic economy as we enter 2015.

      


  • A Look at Mario Gabelli's Latest Stake Increases

    Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio) has continued to use the same formula for success since 1976 when he founded GAMCO Investors. The firm has continued to use a bottom-up research strategy with a consistent investment process.


    Gabelli currently owns 861 stocks in his portfolio with a total value of $19.19 billion and a quarter-over-quarter turnover at 3%.

      


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