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.

Lessons from the 1st Turnaround Letter of 32 Years ago

In July, 1986, exactly 32 years ago, George Putnam sent the first Turnaround Letter to subscribers. It looked like this (click here to download a copy):

The Turnaround Letter: Volume 1, Number 1

Back then, in what seems like the Stone Age compared to today, George created the first Turnaround Letter on an IBM PC that had two floppy drives and no hard drive. He uncovered most of his ideas through research found in hard copy documents at the library as the public internet was still a decade away. Primitive electronic communication was based on a Hayes modem that chattered away at 2400 bits/second, using the early dial-up service CompuServe. (Ironically, Hayes went bankrupt as it couldn’t keep up with the rapidly changing technology – a useful lesson for tech investing).

Stock prices were quoted in 1/8ths, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the year at 1896 and the 10-year Treasury yielded 7.3%.

The technology clearly has changed since the “olden days”. Today, Turnaround Letter subscribers around the globe receive the letter and other commentary instantly by email that is often read on mobile phones, along with social media posts and (coming soon) podcasts and (eventually) videos on Instagram.

What hasn’t changed in 32 years? Our investment philosophy of selecting out-of-favor companies with real value and imminent changes that can significantly improve the companies’ prospects.

As George wrote in that first letter:

Over the coming months we will bring you news and recommendations on the potential big winners that most of Wall Street ignores -- troubled companies on the verge of turning around.

Decades after those words were written, Wall Street still ignores turnaround stocks. We believe that even in a world where academics and commentators proclaim that the stock market is efficient and that these opportunities don’t exist, Wall Street will continue to ignore these types of stocks.

Our timeless investing process, consistently applied, has helped drive The Turnaround Letter’s market-beating investment returns (please see our independently-verified performance by Hulbert Ratings). We hope to continue providing these kinds of returns to you over the next 32 years.

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Turnaround Investing Blog

Turnaround Investing Blog

Lessons from the 1st Turnaround Letter of 32 Years ago

In July, 1986, exactly 32 years ago, George Putnam sent the first Turnaround Letter to subscribers. Technology back then seems like the Stone Age, with hard copy research and primitive CompuServe dial-up service. Wall Street ignored turnaround stocks back then and continues to ignore them today. While technology has changed immensely in 32 years, The Turnaround Letter’s philosophy of selecting out-of-favor companies on the verge of turning around hasn’t changed. Our timeless process helped driven The Turnaround Letter’s independently-verified market-beating returns. Read More.

Comparing Stocks Vs. Bonds

While the common stock of a turnaround candidate usually has the greatest upside potential, other classes of securities, such as bonds or preferred stock, may offer attractive profit possibilities with less risk. Many turnaround companies have only one class of securities available to investors but where there are different classes to choose from, it can pay to do a little extra analysis of the various options.

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."