It has been a little over one month since our last blog post. I wish I could say we were busy working on world peace or helping feed the poor, but we weren’t. Instead we were just caught up living a typical, albeit obnoxiously busy life. Far too busy for my liking, that’s for sure. Personally, I lost a little over a week getting over a flu bug and corresponding sinus infection. I only missed a few days of work, but I sure didn’t get much done outside of work. We also have had a couple rounds of company, and of course our very busy toddler always keeps us on our toes.
Work (my day job) has also been very busy. I hired two new field guys and a new project manager. I also was directed to fire someone on my team. So much for not being able to fire government employees. Apparently, if you really annoy and piss off your boss’s boss……you will get fired. The downside is that my group will be two people down again. The upside is that I should be able to hire a better candidate, who will be more self reliant. Time will tell.
Additionally, I’ve become involved in two real estate deals. One, has an 80% probability of happening and my broker and I will be paid a commission for putting the deal together. The other I was asked to partner on, but I think I will decline because I don’t entirely know/trust the other partner. This one has a lower probability of going through, but I should be able to negotiate a very nice commission if it does. So, all things considered February has been a pretty good month so far.
The best news for stock investors like ourselves is that our investments have continued working for us. Even when while we have other things to address. In the last month we’ve received dividends from numerous companies including: General Electric (GE), Kraft (KRFT), Procter & Gamble (PG), and McDonalds (MCD). Better yet, some of our best investments including Visa (V) and National Western Life Insurance (NWLI), have produced solid returns as they have continued to grow both revenue and profits. Unfortunately, Mattel (MAT) has continued to struggle as a company…….and it’s stock has been hammered. I still feel that the most recent 10% of price decline is an over reaction, based on a 6% decline in gross sales and the mess at the west coast ports. Time will tell, but at $25, we’re a buyer again.
I have also been pleased to see the yield on US Treasuries climb slightly and the price of bond proxy investments (like REITs and Utilities) decline accordingly. In my opinion all three groups are still grossly overpriced, but this is a step in the right direction. We also continue to think that emerging market economies and agriculture will be the next broad themes in which we invest. We have identified another small US based insurance company which, if our research pans out, will be our next “Cigar Butt Investment”. We’ll keep you all in the loop.
We own GE, KRFT, PG, V, NWLI, and MCD. This update is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation for anyone to buy, sell, or hold any equities. I am not a financial professional. Please do your own research and seek the advice of a licensed professional before investing.