Friday, July 4, 2008

Security Analysis: Chapters 3 and 4

Security Analysis by Ben Graham and David Dodd is a must read for anyone serious about value investing.

In Chapter 3, Graham and Dodd delve into the informational sources that are available to the analyst. Annual reports, interim reports, trade journals, and company filings with regulatory authorities are all sources of various kinds of relevant information.

The authors also encourage investors to ask management for information they feel they are entitled. It's important for the investor to recognize that he is after all the owner, and management should be providing him with the information he needs. The authors reveal from experience that even the most tight-lipped of management are willing to divulge of information that their competition readily provides.

In Chapter 4, the authors attempt to define the differences between investment and speculation. They argue against some conventional definitions: specifically, that investments cannot be made on margin, require immediate income, and are in safe securities. For example, they argue that buying a wide array of unsafe securities below liquidation value can be sound investment practice, but nevertheless involve unsafe securities.

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