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价值投资所面对的问题——SETH A. KLARMAN (三)

(2009-09-14 23:09:13)
标签:

价值投资

卡拉曼

巴菲特

股票

分类: 投资杂谈

问题篇:

 

Today’s investors still wrestle, as Graham and Dodd did in their day, with a number of important investment questions. One is whether to focus on relative or absolute value. Relative value involves the assessment that one security is cheaper than another, that Microsoft is a better bargain than IBM. Relative value is easier to determine than absolute value, the two-dimensional assessment of whether a security is cheaper than other securities and cheap enough to be worth purchasing. The most intrepid investors in relative value manage hedge funds where they purchase the relatively less expensive securities and sell short the relatively more expensive ones. This enables them potentially to profit on both sides of the ledger, long and short. Of course, it also exposes them to double-barreled losses if they are wrong.
 
如今的投资者同格雷厄姆和多德所处的时代一样需要面对许多重要的投资问题。其中之一是关注相对价值还是绝对价值。相对价值关心的是某一证券是否相对于其他的证券估价便宜,比如微软的股票相对IBM的股票被低估。相对价值比起绝对价值更容易确定。它是二维的估计一种证券是否比另一种更便宜以及是否为此买进。大多数激进的投资者是运用相对价值管理的套利基金,他们买进相对不太贵的证券同时卖空相对来说更贵的证券。这中操作有可能使他们在多空双边都能获利,当然同样也会遭受双头的打击,假如他们犯错的话。(许多套利基金还运用操作杠杆来增加盈利,当他们分析失误或判断出错时同样会适得其反)
 
It is harder to think about absolute value than relative value. When is a stock cheap enough to buy and hold without a short sale as a hedge? One standard is to buy when a security trades at an appreciable—say, 30%, 40%, or greater—discount from its underlying value, calculated either as its liquidation value, going-concern value, or private-market value (the value a knowledgeable third party would reasonably pay for the business). Another standard is to invest when a security offers an acceptably attractive return to a long-term holder, such as a low-risk bond priced to yield 10% or more, or a stock with an 8% to 10% or higher free cash flow yield at a time when “risk-free” U.S. government bonds deliver 4% to 5% nominal and 2% to 3% real returns. Such demanding standards virtually ensure that absolute value will be quite scarce.
 
相比相对价值绝对价值很难确定。什么时候一只股票足够便宜才值得购买并在没有套期卖空风险对冲的情况下持有它?一个标准是以低于可评估的潜在价值的30%到40%或者更低的价格购买,这种计算包括清算价值、经营价值或者私人股权市场价值(业内第三方愿意并购的出价)。第二个标准是当证券能够提供可接受的长期持有回报时才投资,例如无风险的美国政府国债利率为4%到5%的名义利率2%到3%的实际收益率时,一种低风险的债券价格处于可获得10%或更高收益,或者一支股票能获得8%到10%或更多的自由现金流。事实上能符合这种严格的标准的证券相当的稀少。
 
Another area where investors struggle is trying to define what consti¬tutes a good business. Someone once defined the best possible business as a post office box to which people send money. That idea has certainly been eclipsed by the creation of subscription Web sites that accept credit cards. Today’s most profitable businesses are those in which you sell a fixed amount of work product—say, a piece of software or a hit recording—millions and millions of times at very low marginal cost. Good businesses are generally considered those with strong barriers to entry, limited capital requirements, reliable customers, low risk of tech¬nological obsolescence, abundant growth possibilities, and thus signifi¬cant and growing free cash flow.
 
另一方面的挑战是投资者如何判断一个好的企业。某人曾经定义最好的生意就像是一台接收人们汇款的邮政信箱。这种想法当然被如今的刷卡网站模式取代。今日有利可图的商业模式是那些以固定工作量——比如软件或唱片——和相当低的边际成本销售成千上万的产品的生意。好的生意通常被认为是具有很高的进入壁垒,很少的资本需求,拥有忠诚的消费者,低的技术淘汰风险,很大的增长空间,以及大量的不断增加的自由现金流。
 
Businesses are also subject to changes in the technological and competitive landscape. Because of the Internet, the competitive moat surrounding the newspaper business—which was considered a very good business only a decade ago—has eroded faster than almost anyone anticipated. In an era of rapid technological change, investors must be ever vigilant, even with regard to companies that are not involved in technology but are simply affected by it. In short, today’s good busi-nesses may not be tomorrow’s.
 
企业经常随着技术和竞争环境的改变而变化。因为互联网的出现,曾经的具有很高竞争壁垒的报业——10年前被认为是很好的行业——被侵蚀的速度远超出预期。在这个科技进步很快的时代,投资者必须警觉,即使是不涉及科技的公司也会遭到冲击。一句话,今天的好生意不会是明天的。
 
Investors also expend considerable effort attempting to assess the quality of a company’s management. Some managers are more capable or scrupulous than others, and some may be able to manage certain businesses and environments better than others. Yet, as Graham and Dodd noted, “Objective tests of managerial ability are few and far from scientific.” (p. 84) Make no mistake about it: a management’s acumen, foresight, integrity, and motivation all make a huge difference in share¬holder returns. In the present era of aggressive corporate financial engi¬neering, managers have many levers at their disposal to positively impact returns, including share repurchases, prudent use of leverage, and a valuation-based approach to acquisitions. Managers who are unwilling to make shareholder-friendly decisions risk their companies becoming perceived as “value traps”: Inexpensively valued, but ulti¬mately poor investments, because the assets are underutilized. Such companies often attract activist investors seeking to unlock this trapped value. Even more difficult, investors must decide whether to take the risk of investing—at any price—with management teams that have not always done right by shareholders. Shares of such companies may sell at steeply discounted levels, but perhaps the discount is warranted; value that today belongs to the equity holders may tomorrow have been spir¬ited away or squandered.

 

投资者还需要花费大量的精力评估公司的治理品质。一些管理层会更加能干或谨慎,一些可能经营某一特定行业或适应环境的能力更强一些。当然就像格雷厄姆和多德所说“评估管理者的能力的客观标准很少或根本不具科学性。”不可否认:管理层的精明、远见、正直、激情会对股东的投资回报造成很大的差别。面对极具侵略性的公司财务工程时代,管理层在他们的经营中拥有很多控制方式影响经营利润,包括股权回购,谨慎的使用财务杠杆以及基于价值评估的并购。和善的股东不愿意因为管理层的决策风险而使他的公司看上去像“价值背囊”:便宜的宝贝,但他们基本不善于投资,因为资产没有被充分有效地利用。这类公司经常吸引激进投资者们寻求释放包里的价值。甚至更困难的是,任何价格下投资者要判断并不总是为股东利益考虑的管理层所造成的投资风险。此类公司的股票被以极大的折扣出售,但也许这种折扣是恰当的;价值今日可能属于股份持有人,但明天就可能被偷走或浪费。

 

An age-old difficulty for investors is ascertaining the value of future growth. In the preface to the first edition of Security Analysis, the authors said as much: “Some matters of vital significance, e.g., the determination of the future prospects of an enterprise, have received little space, because little of definite value can be said on the subject.” (p. xliii)


一个长久以来困扰投资者的难题是确定未来的增长价值。在第一版的《证券分析》的序言部分,作者这样写到:有些非常重要的内容,比如,如何判断一家企业的发展前景,在这涉及不多,因为关于这方面鲜有有价值的内容可言。


Clearly, a company that will earn (or have free cash flow of) $1 per share today and $2 per share in five years is worth considerably more than a company with identical current per share earnings and no growth. This is especially true if the growth of the first company is likely to continue and is not subject to great variability. Another complication is that companies can grow in many different ways—for example, selling the same number of units at higher prices; selling more units at the same (or even lower) prices; changing the product mix (selling propor¬tionately more of the higher-profit-margin products); or developing an entirely new product line. Obviously, some forms of growth are worth more than others.


很明显,一家公司今天赚取每股1美元(或者每股自由现金流)和今后5年赚到每股2美元要比同样的每股收益但不会增长的公司更值得考虑。假如第一家公司的状态能够持续并且有很高的确定性这尤其正确。另外的因素是公司能够通过不同的途径实现增长——例如,以更高的价格卖出同样数量的产品;以同样的价格卖更多的产品;改变产品组合(卖出更多高利润率的产品);或者开拓新的产品线。很明显,某些增长方式要比其他的方式更具价值。


There is a significant downside to paying up for growth or, worse, to obsessing over it. Graham and Dodd astutely observed that “analysis is concerned primarily with values which are supported by the facts and not with those which depend largely upon expectations.” (p. 86) Strongly preferring the actual to the possible, they regarded the “future as a haz¬ard which his [the analyst’s] conclusions must encounter rather than as the source of his vindication.” (p. 86) Investors should be especially vigilant against focusing on growth to the exclusion of all else, including the risk of overpaying. Again, Graham and Dodd were spot on, warning that “carried to its logical extreme, . . . [there is no price] too high for a good stock, and that such an issue was equally ‘safe’ after it had advanced to 200 as it had been at 25.” (p. 105) Precisely this mistake was made when stock prices surged skyward during the Nifty Fifty era of the early 1970s and the dot-com bubble of 1999 to 2000.


如今有为增长付钱过多的不良趋势,或者更糟,完全迷恋未来的增长。格雷厄姆和多德敏锐的指出:分析是基于事实支撑的价值而不是基于强烈的预期。投资者特别需要警惕将增长看成一切,包括为此付钱过多。再次,格雷厄姆和多德警示:他们依据逻辑极值,为一支好股出价太高,当它从25涨到200仍认为是同样的“安全”。这种错误正出现在股价冲天的70年代时漂亮50公司和1999-2000年的dotcom泡沫


The flaw in such a growth-at-any-price approach becomes obvious when the anticipated growth fails to materialize. When the future disap¬points, what should investors do? Hope growth resumes? Or give up and sell? Indeed, failed growth stocks are often so aggressively dumped by disappointed holders that their price falls to levels at which value investors, who stubbornly pay little or nothing for growth characteristics, become major holders. This was the case with many technology stocks that suffered huge declines after the dot-com bubble burst in the spring of 2000. By 2002, hundreds of fallen tech stocks traded for less than the cash on their balance sheets, a value investor’s dream. One such com¬pany was Radvision, an Israeli provider of voice, video, and data products whose stock subsequently rose from under $5 to the mid-$20s after the urgent selling abated and investors refocused on fundamentals.

这种为增长付任何价格的投资缺陷当预期的增长未能实现时表现地特别明显。当未来让人失望,投资者怎么办?期望增长继续?或认赔斩仓?事实上,失去增长的股票经常被失望的投资者大量的抛售,以至于达到价值投资者期望的水平,最终价值投资者成为主要的持有者,他们坚持为增长性支付很少甚至不愿支付。2000年春季,dotcom泡沫破灭后许多技术公司的股价经历了惨痛的下跌。到2002年,成百上千的技术公司股价甚至比他们资产负债表中的每股现金还低,这可是价值投资者梦寐以求的。其中一家叫Radvision,一家以色列的影音数据供应商。当恐慌过去后,投资者重新关注基本面的价值时,它的股价从低于5美元涨到了20块半。


Another conundrum for value investors is knowing when to sell. Buy¬ing bargains is the sweet spot of value investors, although how small a discount one might accept can be subject to debate. Selling is more dif¬ficult because it involves securities that are closer to fully priced. As with buying, investors need a discipline for selling. First, sell targets, once set, should be regularly adjusted to reflect all currently available information. Second, individual investors must consider tax consequences. Third, whether or not an investor is fully invested may influence the urgency of raising cash from a stockholding as it approaches full valuation. The availability of better bargains might also make one a more eager seller. Finally, value investors should completely exit a security by the time it reaches full value; owning overvalued securities is the realm of specula¬tors. Value investors typically begin selling at a 10% to 20% discount to their assessment of underlying value—based on the liquidity of the security, the possible presence of a catalyst for value realization, the quality of management, the riskiness and leverage of the underlying business, and the investors’ confidence level regarding the assumptions underlying the investment.

 

对于价值投资者来说的另一个难题是懂得何时卖出。低价购买是价值投资者的击球点,尽管应该多大的折扣买进还有争议。而卖出更加困难,因为这意味证券已经接近它的价值。如同买进一样,投资者也需要卖出的纪律性。首先,卖出的目标价设定需要有当期完备的信息。其次,个人投资者需要考虑税收因素。第三,无论投资者是否充分投资,当价格接近全部价值时都会感受到变现的紧迫性。更好交易的可行性通常使人更热心成为一个卖家。最后,价值投资者应当在证券价格达到全部价值时全部出清,只有投机者才会持有高估的股票。价值投资者典型的动作是基于对证券的流动性,可能的市场价值认识催化因素的实现,公司治理品质,潜在的商业风险程度,以及投资者对于优质投资的确信程度等方面的考虑,依据估算的潜在价值折价10%到20%开始出手卖出。
 
Finally, investors need to deal with the complex subject of risk. As mentioned earlier, academics and many professional investors have come to define risk in terms of the Greek letter beta, which they use as a measure of past share price volatility: a historically more volatile stock is seen as riskier. But value investors, who are inclined to think about risk as the probability and amount of potential loss, find such reasoning absurd. In fact, a volatile stock may become deeply undervalued, rendering it a very low risk investment.


最后,投资者需要处理好风险。如前所说,学院派和许多专业投资者将风险定义为希腊字母β,他们用它来衡量过去股价的变化:过往股价易变动的股票被视为风险更大。但价值投资者将风险视为潜在的可能损失的概率和金额,据此而言β对于他们来说是可笑的。事实上,一支价格易变的股票可能被极低地定价,而可视为风险很低的投资。


One of the most difficult questions for value investors is how much risk to incur. One facet of this question involves position size and its impact on portfolio diversification. How much can you comfortably own of even the most attractive opportunities? Naturally, investors desire to profit fully from their good ideas. Yet this tendency is tempered by the fear of being unlucky or wrong. Nonetheless, value investors should concentrate their holdings in their best ideas; if you can tell a good investment from a bad one, you can also distinguish a great one from a good one.


对于价值投资者来说最困难的问题之一是承担多大的风险。这个问题的一方面包括持有多大的头寸和投资组合的分散程度。你能够为你面对的最好的时机投注多少?很自然,投资者期望因他们的好点子获得最大利益。当然这种倾向会受到对坏运气和犯错的恐惧影响。尽管如此,价值投资者还是应该集中持有最好的证券组合。如果你能分辨出一个好的投资,你也能辨别一项更好的投资。


Investors must also ponder the risks of investing in politically unsta¬ble countries, as well as the uncertainties involving currency, interest rate, and economic fluctuations. How much of your capital do you want tied up in Argentina or Thailand, or even France or Australia, no matter how undervalued the stocks may be in those markets?


投资者同样必须要衡量在政治不稳定国家的投资风险,这种不确定性包括通货膨胀,利率和经济的波动。你需要考虑要投入多少资本到阿根廷或泰国,到法国或澳大利亚,无论这些国家的股市是如何的低迷。


Another risk consideration for value investors, as with all investors, is whether or not to use leverage. While some value-oriented hedge funds and even endowments use leverage to enhance their returns, I side with those who are unwilling to incur the added risks that come with margin debt. Just as leverage enhances the return of successful investments, it magnifies the losses from unsuccessful ones. More importantly, nonre¬course (margin) debt raises risk to unacceptable levels because it places one’s staying power in jeopardy. One risk-related consideration should be paramount above all others: the ability to sleep well at night, confi¬dent that your financial position is secure whatever the future may bring.


另一个需要价值投资者甚至是所有投资者关注的风险是是否使用杠杆。当某些价值导向的套利基金甚至捐赠基金使用财务杠杆来提高他们的收益,我倾向于不要因为保证金债务而增加风险。正如杠杆能够提高成功者的收益,它同样能放大投资失败的损失。更重要的是,这种债务将使任何人的承受能力处于危险的处境从而将风险增大到不可承受的水平。风险程度的考量应该被置于任何因素的考量之上:夜里能够睡的安稳,确定你的财务状况无论将来怎样都是安全的。


Final Thoughts
 


In a rising market, everyone makes money and a value philosophy is unnecessary. But because there is no certain way to predict what the market will do, one must follow a value philosophy at all times. By con¬trolling risk and limiting loss through extensive fundamental analysis, strict discipline, and endless patience, value investors can expect good results with limited downside. You may not get rich quick, but you will keep what you have, and if the future of value investing resembles its past, you are likely to get rich slowly. As investment strategies go, this is the most that any reasonable investor can hope for.


当处于牛市,任何人都可以赚钱,价值投资哲学显得没有必要。但是因为没有什么能够准确预测市场将会如何,任何人任何时候都应该遵循价值哲学。通过广泛的基本分析,严格的纪律性,不断的耐性来控制风险和限制损失,价值投资者能够在暂时的下跌时获得好的结果。你可能不会很快致富,但是你将保持你所拥有的,并且如果将来价值投资能够如以往一样,你将会逐渐富有。就投资策略而言,这是任何投资者可期望的最好的策略。


The real secret to investing is that there is no secret to investing. Every important aspect of value investing has been made available to the public many times over, beginning in 1934 with the first edition of Security Analysis. That so many people fail to follow this timeless and almost foolproof approach enables those who adopt it to remain suc¬cessful. The foibles of human nature that result in the mass pursuit of instant wealth and effortless gain seem certain to be with us forever. So long as people succumb to this aspect of their natures, value investing will remain, as it has been for 75 years, a sound and low-risk approach to successful long-term investing.


真正的投资秘诀就是没有秘诀。自从1934年第一版的《证券分析》出版以来,价值投资的每一个重要方面都多次接受检验。许多人未能采用这些永恒的和简单的方法而那些遵循者们获得了成功。人类的追求即期财富和期望不劳而获的天性弱点看来将永远伴随我们。只要人们仍然屈从与他们的天性,价值投资作为接近长期投资成功的可靠和低风险的方法将继续保持优势,就如同曾经历过的75年一样。

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