How to destroy a competitive moat

Steve Johnson

Too many companies are milking, not nurturing, their competitive advantage. That might help this year’s profits, but the long term impact can be damaging. Show More

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Animal Spirits to the Fore

Steve Johnson

In March this year, copper miner MMG announced that it had sold its Century zinc mine in Queensland for the grand total of $1. That $1 didn’t go far though. MMG agreed to pay the purchaser $34.5m to cover the costs of rehabilitating the depleted mine site over the subsequent... Show More

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Why We've Sold Reckon

Steve Johnson

A few investors have noticed Forager’s recent sale of our substantial holding in Reckon (RKN). We will provide more details in our September Quarterly Report, but to head off a few questions we have been receiving, our rationale can be summarised into four reasons. Show More

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Macmahon's Indonesian Adventure

Steve Johnson

Mining services company Macmahon has been in the wars for most of the past decade. As the largest holding in Forager's Australian Shares Fund, we are anticipating the next decade being better. In this video we discuss our recent trip to Indonesia, new contract wins and the importance of Macmahon's... Show More

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How to avoid becoming a market casualty

Livewire Exclusive

We asked a panel of portfolio managers how they are thinking about investing in today's richly valued market. Specifically: what attributes they are seeking, and how they are avoiding biases. Steve Johnson offers some essential reading, Tim Kelley focuses on capital preservation, and Alex Pollak cites four key characteristics. Show More

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How to Assess a Successful Investment

Steve Johnson

I presented a webinar for Netwealth last week on value investing in small and mid cap stocks. Even after a couple of decades practising value investing, going back to basics gets me thinking about the fundamentals of what we do. And it helps, a lot. Show More

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Lessons for All in Bellamy's Troubles

Steve Johnson

Six months ago, organic baby-food company Bellamy’s was flying the flag for a new Australian economy. Australia’s reputation for healthy, clean food was going to pick up the commodities slack as China’s growth transitioned from infrastructure to consumption. Yet just a few weeks after the company’s first profit downgrade caused... Show More

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Blip, Bump or Block for Bellamy's?

Steve Johnson

Market darling Bellamy's has fallen 35% this morning. It joins a growing list of priced-to-perfection growth stocks that have disappointed investors late in 2016 (APN Outdoor, TPG, Vocus etc etc). It still trades at 20 times last year's earnings. Show More

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Leah Zell on Small Cap Investing

Steve Johnson

Fortunately, my job is to pick stocks, not fund managers. It is notoriously difficult to separate luck from skill, and even harder to work out whether someone who has been skillful in the past is going to be skillful in the future. Show More

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How Jeff Bezos Thinks Longer Term Than Anyone

Steve Johnson

Ask any ‘rational’ industry insider or McKinsey consultant where AmazonFresh should open next, and the answer is likely to be ‘anywhere but the UK’. Try Holland. Or Sweden? Australia? Anywhere that offers at least a remote chance of earning decent profit margins in the medium term. But Amazon founder Jeff... Show More

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Four steps to finding a great investing idea

Steve Johnson

The idea generation part of an investment process is something that get's a lot less attention than it deserves. At Forager, we have a clearly defined process for researching an idea and working out whether the idea is a good one or not. But how do you come up with... Show More

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Getting it wrong on RNY

Steve Johnson

I read an interesting article in the Fin earlier in the week about professional investors worst mistakes. There were some great insights into what can go wrong. And all highlighted the benefits of recognising your mistakes early. Most fascinating to me, though, was that the worst mistakes seemed to be... Show More

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Good, bad and lucky

Steve Johnson

This morning the Livewire team gave us a gong for one of this year's top performing stock ideas (Whitehaven Coal). While the sentiment is much appreciated, it is completely undeserved. Show More

Master Your emotions to Master the Market

Steve Johnson

Analysing stocks and valuing companies is one thing. Having the right psychological makeup to buy and sell at the right times is a more important (and unique) skill set for the successful investor. In this video, Forager provides an introduction to this most important of topics - The Psychology Pittfalls... Show More

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Avoiding mistakes like SGH is at least as important as picking winners

Steve Johnson

In the two years after we launched our Australian Shares Fund in October 2009, the cumulative return was zero. In the four years since, we've notched up 120%. Obviously the market has been friendlier, but I was sitting watching Slater + Gordon (SGH) plummet today and thinking about how important... Show More

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The problem with index funds, especially in Australia

Steve Johnson

It is a simple and irrefutable fact that, once you subtract their often hefty fees, the average of all actively managed funds’ returns must be less than the market return. Keep your fees low, then, and you will inevitably do better than average. Show More

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Dick Smith is the Greatest Private Equity Heist of All Time

Steve Johnson

Want to know how to turn $10m into $520m in less than two years? Just ask Anchorage Capital. The private equity group has pulled off one of the great heists of all time, using all the tricks in the book, to turn Dick Smith from a $10m piece of mutton... Show More

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There's money to be made in oil, if you've got the psychology to wait it out

Steve Johnson

Forager made a lot of money in mining services over the past couple of months. We came to the space after share prices had been hammered, with a cool, calm and rational view of the sector's many problems and the value on offer. Some days we couldn't understand why others... Show More

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Coffey Takeover Provides First Big Mining Services Win

Steve Johnson

Just three months ago, in our June Quarterly Report, we were lamenting the lack of a big winner in our basket of mining services companies. That changed this afternoon with a takeover offer for Coffey Group (ASX:COF) by US company Tetra Tech (NASDAQ:TTEK). The board recommended offer price, $0.425, is... Show More

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Booming Asia more important than it looks for Blackmores

Steve Johnson

I followed up yesterday's post with another this morning on Blackmores. The full year results numbers surprised me somewhat. The official numbers suggest sales grew more in Australia than Asia, whereas I had thought Asia was driving the renaissance. One of our blog readers, however, tells me the official numbers... Show More

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