Investment Strategies: Types of Competitors

January 9, 2019. Manila. Part of an investor´s Industry Analysis is looking at the Types of Competitors in the Industry. The following are Types of Competitors:

(A) Direct Competitor – a company or firm that sells the exact product or services as your company. Example: Grocery A and Grocery B.
(B) Indirect Competitor – a company or firm that sells almost the same product or services as your company. A company or firm that sells different product category and services but are in the same industry as yours. Example: A Cafe and Restaurant in the same neighborhood.
(C) Replacements or Substitutes – A company or firm that sells products or services that can be uses as a substitute for your product but in a different industry. Example: Restaurant and a Grocery Store
(D) Potential Competitor – A company or firm (Direct, Indirect, Replacement) who has no distribution in your market.
(E) Future Competitors – a company or firm that has business capabilities that will allow them to quickly take market share against your company.
(F) Compliments – A firm or Company that produces a product that can be considered an add on to your product: Example: mobile phone, it´s chip supplier, battery supplier, Headset makers, speaker maker.

Investment Strategies: Product Life Cycle

January 9, 2019. Manila. One of the factors that investors should take into consideration in making decisions in their portfolios is the Company´s Product Life Cycle. Understanding where the Product of a company is positioned in the Product Life Cycle will help investor understand where the company is heading. Not understanding the product life cycle for a company can bring disaster to a company and their investors. Companies that do not adjust their strategies to the change of the position of their product within the Life Cycle usually ends up with a stock price that is crashing or low. Companies should continue to do their Research and Develop new Products in order to survive.

Examples of Companies that used to have a high flying stock but end up at the bottom because they were not able to understand their product lifecycle: Lotus 123, Nokia, Motorola, Black Berry.

PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE:
There are four stages of the Product Life Cycle:
(1) QUESTIONMARK STAGE (Innovation/Introduction) – The question mark stage is when a new invention or product has just been invented. Why Question mark? Because at this stage we do not know if the product will be a success or a failure. At this stage there are no competition yet because the product has just been invented. Innovation Stages, Low Sales, Product can demand High Price per customer. Financial Losses to companies who enter the new market due to innovation costs. Competition is few.

(2) STAR STAGE (GROWTH) – at this stage of the product life cycle, the product´s market share starts to increase, the product is gaining recognition and acceptance of use from the consumer market. At this point of the lifecycle also, a small amount of competition is starting to enter the market and trying to play catch up with the leader. The leaders in the industry continue to profit at this stage of the product life cycle. Sales is increasing. Cost in making the product decreases. Number of customers are increasing. More competitors enter the market. This product life cycle should be clearly understood. Investors should make sure if they are at the EARLY STAR STAGE or at a LATER STAR STAGE.

(3) CASH COW (MATURITY STAGE) – As the product enters the maturity stage, the Demand of the product continues to be strong but competition starts to increase. The increase in competition starts to pressure the price of the product thus pushing the price of the product down. This in turn decreases profit margins of the companies. Because of the decrease in profit margin well run companies tend to be innovative with their products, develop their marketing strategies, and adapt to the competitive market. Sales Peek, Cost to customers is at it´s lowest. Mass production occurs. Stable Number of competitors. Why Cash Cow? You continue to feed the cow (Continue to put investment in) but you also continue to Milk the Cow (Still get some Returns on your investment).

(4) DOG STAGE (DECLINE) – As the product enters the Dog Stage, Sales starts to fall due to too much competition. There are too much company players in the industry. Or the product has become obsolete. Cost per customer is low. Profit of companies Fall. Some companies try to survive and might end up with customer base contracts. Some companies starts to exit the market, thus competition falls. NOTE: That if the product is not an obsolete product and still has ample demand, once competitors exit the market and competitors goes back at the proper sustainable level, the product might go back the CASH COW STAGE. Why do we call it the Dog Stage? It is because we continue to feed (Invest in the company) the dog, but the dog does not give back milk, unlike the Cow. At this stage investors should be attentive wether the product is obsolete. If the product is obsolete, make sure the company has a replacement product or new innovative inventions/product.

The PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE can be used by companies with multiple product portfolio. Understanding the position of a product in a Product Life Cycle, can help companies plan their product pipelines. Example of these companies that may be using this Product Life Cycle Analysis are Pharmaceutical Companies. Well Managed Pharmaceuticals continue to invent (add new products into their product line) and innovate (Finding new medical applications) their product portfolios so that they can continue to be competitive in the market.

Investors can use the Product Life Cycle when they are performing their Industry Analysis. Product Life Cycle is part of the Analysis when we maintain our portfolios.

Investment Strategies: Growth and Income Fund Criteria

January 3, 2019 – Manila. Each Portfolio Manager or Investor have their own Investment Criterias that they follow. Some may be more successful than others. Having a portfolio criteria or portfolio goal helps fund managers focus on their investment decisions and helps investors understand where their investments are going. The following criteria is used by the Maharlika Funds in Managing it´s portfolios:

  1. CONSISTENCY TEST on Dividend Payout – Companies that should be included in the portfolio should have a minimum of five years dividend payout history that is consistent. More than Ten to fifteen years of consistent dividend payout is preferred. The amount of dividend paid out should be lower than the Earnings Per Share each year.
  2. SUSTAINABILITY TEST Earnings Per Share (EPS) – EPS for each year should be higher than the dividend amount paid out each year. If the EPS is lower than the dividends paid out each year, the amount of dividends payout will not be sustainable in the long run. It maybe sustainable in the short term but not in the long term. The price of the stock tends to go down when this happens.
  3. RISK TESTBETA – Beta is one of the things we looked at since this measures risk and volatility (Standard Deviation). Companies with Betas between 0 to 1.5 are considered in our portfolios.
  4. EARNINGS TEST – Price Earnings Ratio (P/E)- The price of the Stock is compares with the earnings of the company. Companies with PE ratios from 10 to 50 times earnings are considered in our portfolios.
  5. TRADING VOLUME – Companies that have good average trading volumes are preferred since this is linked to the demand and volatility of the stock price. The lower the trading volume of the stock the less active the stock is thus easy to buy the stock but hard to disposed the stock on profit.
  6. GROWTH TEST – REVENUE GROWTH TEST – The higher the revenue of the company the better. Companies should atleast have a revenue growth of 10% each year. A period of 5 to ten year period growth should be looked at to see the stability of the company.
  7. GROWTH TEST – NET INCOME – a positive net income is is preferred. A period of 5 to 10 year growth period should also be looked at to see the stability of the company
  8. LIQUIDITY TEST – To test hos liquid the company is we look at the Current Ratio and the Debt to Equity Ratio. These are the ratios that looked at how the company is loaded with Debts and Liabilities. The higer the Debt is the higher the risk the company´s insolvency.

Using the above tests are some of the items we look at before adding a company to our portfolios.

Investment Strategies: Research Tools In Maintaining Our Investment Portfolios

Posted originally on: November 16, 2018. Manila. Revision Date: August 11, 2019

Analyst, financial planners, investment planners or a simple investor a like have their own personal preferences when in comes to their investment criterias.  Picking the investment criteria may be based on different factors such as age, economic situation of an individual, weather, risk tolerance of an individual, or even personal preferences to mention a few. Some investors just jump right in without thinking and others over analyze to the point they miss the opportunity of the market momentum.  Having a method in analyzing your portfolio is a good start in order to successfully manage it.

The following research method or process is a sample used in analyzing and making decisions in our portfolios:

  • Top Down Analysis
    • Economic Analysis
      • Market Indices (Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S& P, Russell and others)
      • Federal Rates and economic policies
      • Price of Gold,
      • Treasury Rates
      • payroll rates and unemployment
    • Industry Analysis –
      • Segmentation Analysis,
      • Competition Analysis,
      • Complimentary Product Analysis,
      • Business Cycle (Question Mark, Star, Cash Cow and Dogs)
  • Financial And Technical Analysis
    • Income Statement, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows
    • Ratio Analysis
    • Technical Analysis
    • Dividend Sustainability DIVIDEND PER SHARE SHOULD ALWAYS BE HIGHER THAN EARNINGS PER SHARE for long term sustainability
  • Research Materials from Financial Institution Brokers and Partners (Not Disclosed Due to Security Reasons) research materials
    • research materials
    • upgrades and downgrades
    • earnings release
    • ipo calendars
  • Newspapers and Media (make sure the news feeds are timely and reliable)
    • Bloomberg
    • WallStreet Journal
    • Forbes
    • Google
    • Yahoo
    • MSN
    • Dun and Bradstreet
    • Barrons
    • IBD – Investors Business Daily
    • CNNFN
    • BBC

Having an investment criteria or method in place allows investors and individuals to properly evaluate each investment opportunities and be able to decide properly and on a timely basis.

Investment Strategies: How Safe is the Company´s Dividend

There are two ways to earn in the stock market, Capital Appreciation (Capital Gains) and Dividend Payout.  Capital Appreciation or Capital Gains is the increase in the stock price since the stock was bought (current price of the stock mind purchase price).  Dividend Payout on the other hand is when the company elects to pay out a sum of money to the shareholders for each share an investor holds.  Not all companies payout dividends.

Investors should understand that the dividend payout can change at anytime and should be ready to make quick decisions when this happens because this could also affect the price of the stock and could affect the capital gains

Following are some of the things to look for in analyzing a company´s Dividend Payout Sustainability:

  1. High Dividend Yield – Watch out for high dividend yields.  Investors who are worried about dividends being cut or discontinued usually starts to sell their stock holdings in the company.  This pushes the dividend yield higher.
    • Dividend Yield Ratio
  2. Debt Load – Companies that are highly leverage compared to their peers in the industry in the long run may trigger the company to cut their dividend pay to their investors.
    • Debt to Equity Ratio
  3. Poor Fundamentals – Look if the revenue or net income is higher than the dividends being paid out.  Companies that are paying dividends higher than the companies earnings per share tend to cut dividends in the long run.
    • Earnings Per Share
    • Revenue Growth
    • Dividend Per Share

There are other fundamentals that should be considered but knowing the warning signs by using the above analysis should be a good start.

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