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Finding Undervalued Stocks 2 - Revisiting Graham's Rules Finance Articles | March 25 Larry Doby Jersey , 2005

In a previous article, we discussed Ben Graham's Net Current Asset Value
(NCAV) strategy and how it works. Here we will revisit Graham's rules, which
were fairly severe in their original form in that they required the price of the
stocks under consideration to be trading at less than two-thirds of their NCAV
or Graham's Number. These he considered to be "Bargain Issues", and to
quote him: "Our purchases were made typically at two-thirds or less of such
stripped-down asset value. In most years we carried a wide diversification here--
at least 100 different issues."

Such a wide diversification may seem excessive for most investors Omar Vizquel Jersey , but
with such low-priced stock there were evidently going to be a few bankruptcy
candidates. Graham considered this strategy to be suitable for what he called
"defensive" investors. He did acknowledge, however, that there were some
"enterprising" investors who could afford to be more aggressive from the point
of view of risk. To this end, he suggested a series of less onerous criteria
for selecting stocks which is outlined below.

First Carlos Baerga Jersey , list all stocks with PriceEarnings ratios below 9. Note: Graham was
writing in 1970 when PE's as a whole were not as elevated by technology
stocks as they are today. Readers who are less risk-averse or who just want
to consider a wider range of stocks may wish to vary the PE in order to see
what comes up -- perhaps up to 80 percent of the average PE of the S&P 500
would be a good start. Currently the operating average is around 18 and 85
percent of that figure is just over 15. Graham did not state if he was using a
Trailing or Forward PE ratio, but most likely he was using Trailing PEs. I
personally prefer to use Forward PE ratios, especially if they are significantly
lower than the Trailing PE as this implies expected earnings growth and
therefore possible increase in the stock price.

Once we have a list of stocks meeting the PE criterion, we consider the financial
condition of each stock Kenny Lofton Jersey , referring to the most recent balance sheet:
Initially, Current Assets must be at least 1.5 times Current Liabilities. This can
also be gleaned via a stock screener by displaying stocks with "Current Ratio"
>= 1.5. Total Debt must not be greater than 110% of Net Current Assets (i.e.
the sum of Cash & Cash Equivalents, Inventory, Accounts Receivable).

Looking further back Brad Hand Jersey , we need to find evidence of Earnings Stability, with no
deficit in the last five years, i.e. no evidence of an annual loss. Additionally,
evidence of earnings growth over a five-year period is a must. This can simply
be the consideration Corey Kluber Jersey , for example, that 2004 earnings were greater than 2000

There should be some current dividend payout. Finally, the current price of the
stock should be less than 120% of the NCAV per share or Graham's Number.
Where to find this number? From the balance sheet, subtract Total Liabilities
from Current Assets Carlos Gonzalez Jersey , and divide the result by the number of shares outstanding.
Assuming you have a positive number that is greater than zero, the stock's price
should not be greater than 120% of this number.

At grahaminvestor, we list stocks that are trading within 120% of the NCAV
per share. Since this was an important measure for Graham, you can start there
and work your way backwards through the other criteria.

Graham did not set any lower limit on market capitalization. "Small companies
may afford enough safety if bought carefully and on a group basis." He meant
that a well diversified portfolio with a fair number of such companies stock would
protect the enterprising investor from the bankruptcy of one or two companies.

(c) 2005 The Graham Investor
You may use this article Jason Kipnis Jersey , as-is, provided this copyright notice is kept intact.

Article Tags: Current Assets

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