Chairman: One other question and I will desist. When you find a special situation and you decide, just for illustration, that you can buy for 10 and it is worth 30, and you take a position, and then you cannot realize it until a lot of other people decide it is worth 30, how is that process brought about – by advertising, or what happens? (Rephrasing) What causes a cheap stock to find its value?
Graham: That is one of the mysteries of our business, and it is a mystery to me as well as to everybody else. [But] we know from experience that eventually the market catches up with value.
Benjamin Graham, Testimony to the Committee on Banking and Commerce (11 March 1955)
The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.
Sir John Templeton
You can see the importance of earnings on any chart that has an earnings line running alongside the stock price. On chart after chart the two lines will move in tandem, or if the stock price strays away from the earnings line, sooner or later it will come back to the earnings.
The objective of our company is to increase the intrinsic value of our common stock. We are not in business to grow bigger for the sake of size, nor to become more diversified, nor to make the most or best of anything, nor to provide jobs, have the most modern plants, the happiest customers, lead in new product development, or to achieve any other status which has no relation to the economic use of capital. Any or all of these may be, from time to time, a means to our objective, but means and ends must never be confused. We are in business solely to improve the inherent value of the common stockholders’ equity in the company.
CEO of Indian Head Mills - 30 years ago