Turnaround Investing Blog

George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, shares his timely insight on the economy and turnaround investing opportunities.

Whither this Election Year Market?

Excerpted from the May 2012 Issue

The Turnaround Letter's recap of historic election cycle market data offers insight on how the fight for the White House might impact Wall Street—and your wallet.


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Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

This headline could easily apply to Goldman Sachs today, as recently described by former employee Greg Smith. Actually, it is the title of a book written in 1940 by a former Wall Street employee named Fred Schwed, Jr. The title refers to a story about person admiring the yachts owned by bankers and brokers who asks where the customers' yachts were. Of course, the customers, who had dutifully followed the advice of the bankers and brokers, couldn’t afford yachts. This just goes to show that there is nothing new about the attitude that Goldman Sachs employees were purported (probably accurately) to have about their clients. It was just as true in 1940--and likely has been forever--as it is now.


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Beware of Trendy Turnaround Candidates - Even Green Ones

The stocks of a number of “green” companies have soared and then crashed and burned over the past year or two. This is particularly true in the solar energy field. For example, Energy Conversion Devices saw its stock climb above 80 in mid-2008. But the company’s results never justified the lofty valuation, and it ended up filing for bankruptcy on February 14 of this year. The stock has fallen to 0.16, and it is probably overpriced even at that level.
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Don't Chase the Headlines

The recent unfortunate accident involving the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which is owned by a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., raises an important investing question: Should you bail out of a stock if the company is affected by a serious negative event? Unless the event could be part of a series or trend, the answer is usually “no,” for two reasons.


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A Reader Asks, "In our normally quite efficient securities markets, why are there certain structural factors that make bankruptcy securities inefficient and therefore potentially unusually profitable?"

The structural factors relating to bankruptcy securities can be both legal and psychological. As an example of a legal factor, many institutional investors (such as insurance companies or mutual funds) are not allowed, either by law or by their charter, to hold bonds that have defaulted and no longer pay interest.
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A Reader Asks, "What is your opinion on investing in foreign turnaround companies?"

There are certainly good opportunities in foreign turnarounds, but also very significant risks as well. The market inefficiencies that provide unusually high return potential for turnarounds here in the U.S. are probably even greater in foreign markets. However, there may be special, local features that affect foreign companies that we may not understand when we view them from afar.
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A Reader Asks, "With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the U.S. economy, and even more fear of collapse overseas, do you ever recommend just getting out of the stock market all together and hunkering down with something safer like bonds?"

I never recommend getting out of the stock market entirely--or even making major changes to your allocation to stocks. The stock market is so unpredictable that if you bail out, the risk is very high that you will miss a significant upturn.
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Should You Buy Kodak Stock Now?

The argument in favor of buying Kodak stock goes something like this: Now that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy, its stock trades for about 30 cents; but since it traded for more than $30 just a few years ago, doesn’t that mean it has to be cheap? Unfortunately, there are two major fallacies with this argument.


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Identify & Profit from Distressed Investing

Free Report: Turnaround Investing Mistakes

Turnaround Investing Blog

Turnaround Investing Blog

Turnaround Investing Philosophy: 32 Years Later, Some Things Never Change

Recently I was asked how my investing perspective changed over the 32 years of publishing The Turnaround Letter. It's a fascinating question because change is constant, and often beneficial (although that's not a given) in the business world. If change is the norm, can investing principles stay constant? I firmly believe that they can. Read More.

EV/EBITDA: What Is It & Why Are We Using It More?

In reading recent editions of The Turnaround Letter, you have probably noticed that we are increasingly using EV/EBITDA as a valuation measure, rather than the better-known price/earnings multiple.  We thought it might be useful to describe this measure and why we like it.

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Turnaround Letter Stock Pick Named Top Performer of 2017

 

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What Last Year's Top Stock Pickers Are Buying in 2018

 

This Forbes write-up follows up on the recent Top Stock Tips report--naming The Turnaround Letter's Crocs recommendation the top performer of 2017: With 90% gains, CROX beat out 100 other investment ideas included in the report; and the stock continues to have value investing appeal, according to Putnam.

 

George notes, "We see additional upside for the stock in 2018 as management's efforts continue to bear fruit, though the gains will likely be more muted than we saw in 2017."