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.

Mutual Funds

Turnaround Mutual Funds: The Few, the Brave & the Potentially Profitable

Excerpted from March 2014 Issue

While we normally focus on individual stocks, from time to time The Turnaround Letter likes to look at mutual funds that focus on turnarounds. Mutual funds can be attractive because a single fund can provide fairly broad diversification. Unfortunately, there are very few mutual funds that really focus on turnaround investing. In fact, out of the thousands of mutual funds out there, we could only find a dozen, all of which are detailed in our contrarian investing newsletter. Even in those funds, turnaround investing is usually not their principal objective: In most cases, it is just one of several strategies that the fund manager pursues.

In some ways the scarcity of turnaround-oriented funds just validates our investment philosophy that turnarounds represent an inefficient--and therefore potentially very profitable--niche in the securities markets. Even professional investors tend to shy away from turnarounds because they require a somewhat different analytical approach from more mainstream stocks.

Another reason why there are very few turnaround mutual funds today is that there is no index of turnarounds. Today, most mutual funds (and the people who sell the funds) want to compare their returns to a certain benchmark, usually a well-known index like the S&P 500. As a result, most fund managers tend to hug their benchmarks fairly closely. These fund managers are risk averse. They want to keep their jobs, after all; and they give up the opportunity to outperform their benchmark in exchange for reducing the risk of underperforming. Since turnaround stocks are underrepresented in the major benchmarks, fund managers are hesitant to buy them. The managers of these mutual funds discussed are brave enough to put at least a portion of their portfolios in turnaround situations, and many of them have posted strong returns over the years because of that.

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Amazon = US GDP 1970

Amazon joined Apple in reaching a $1 trillion market capitalization. $1 trillion is about the same as the total value of New York City property and the total value of loans at JP Morgan, the nation’s largest bank in terms of assets. Jeff Bezos’ $160 billion stake would place him (personally) as the #33 largest company in the S&P 500 in terms of market cap, next to Coca-Cola, Disney and Netflix. We aren’t bold enough to predict whether the shares will continue upwards or if they are in a bubble reaching maximum inflation. Setting aside for a moment their investment prospects, let’s admire the truly remarkable milestone that these two companies have reached. 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.

Read More.

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."