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Investment Ideas / Re: COST - Costco
« Last post by globalfinancepartners on Today at 06:18:29 AM »
Besides having inexpensive gasoline, they negotiated hard with Citi to provide 4% cash back on gas purchases with their Costco Visa card, which is a very attractive rate for cash rewards on gas purchases.  They also designed their pumps to be able to service cars with fuel filler openings on either side of the vehicle.  A lot of folks haven't realized this, but I wonder why other service stations haven't adopted this design.  Perhaps it is due only to the one-way nature of the costco stations, vs a traditional station where you can pull in from either direction.
Investment Ideas / Re: LXFT - Luxoft
« Last post by Broeb22 on Today at 06:14:57 AM »
I agree. I've followed these companies for a few years, and I believe they are competitively advantaged relative to India-based outsourcers, who are facing pressures in various lower-end parts of their business which are being automated away. One example is the increasing use of the cloud (i.e. AWS) to reduce on-premise server testing and maintenance, which often leverages outsourced labor.

So, I think the growth path for these businesses is much clearer than other competitors (ex-EPAM which is similar).

Valuation also looks compelling if you buy management's argument that they will improve margins from their current depressed levels over time. This seems more likely than not given the long-term margin improvement businesses like CTSH experienced over time as they were growing at 30% rates.
So far, the response to Trump trade war has been smart- hit the red base where it hurts, Agriculture, Whiskey, Motorcycles etc. Easily identifiable US goods made in Red states.

When China runs out of headroom for tariff retaliation, expect them to make life difficult for US companies trying to sell in China’s home market. Again, GM, Ford, Boring but possibly consumer good companies as well.
Investment Ideas / Re: COST - Costco
« Last post by ScottHall on Today at 05:42:14 AM »
So Costco is an amazing business... but what about the stock as an investment at current prices? Anyone a buyer at these levels?

Dispatch from Wisconsin, where I ate all the cheese. Trump’s trade war shuts cheesemakers out of foreign markets via @NYTimes

General Discussion / Re: Interview with Tony Deden (Edelweiss Holdings)
« Last post by Artha158 on Today at 05:25:53 AM »
Excellent.Thanks for sharing.
Investment Ideas / Re: LRE.L - Lancashire Holdings Ltd
« Last post by Cigarbutt on Today at 05:03:30 AM »
Does anyone know why the share price has been off recently?

As far as I'm aware there is no news specific to Lancashire.  More sellers than buyers.

Industry pricing continues to disappoint, which is quite a hit given the losses incurred last year.  Who knows exactly what's going on there, but cheap money accepting mispriced risk could explain part of it.

The one bright spot is that since the 2017 losses, many traditional insurers have been exiting loss-making lines of business, indicating point of max pain has probably been reached.  Lancashire hasn't had much portfolio trimming to do as it never over-expanded and indeed it is able to pick up the odd good underwriter and round out its offering.  There's no doubt that the group needs to have a wider portfolio offering in time, but now's not the time to aggressively do this.  I really admire the Group for its patience.  Hats off to the board and CEO Alex Maloney for resisting the siren call of growth.  The path they've chosen certainly doesn't win the hearts and minds of "story" investors

Lancashire is a company I respect a lot too. Lagging market performance is understandable given the general short term orientation mindset. If you look at their pattern of exposure (direct exposure and level of reinsurance purchased) concurrent to the last January renewal period, they are still protecting from the downside. Even if 2017 had material insured events, it was not a true stress test.

As far as the underlying cycle, in my humble opinion, this cycle has been incredibly unusual. It must be awfully hard to maintain discipline and to walk away from most “opportunities” when competitors use malleable assumptions and statistical extrapolation of the recent past in order to evaluate the price of downside risk, a price that is “discovered” after the fact and which has, historically, often differed materially from the original estimate.

Of course now, they look too conservative and irrelevant. That perception too may change.

Something I find interesting is that there may be reasons for the incredible softness (suppressed interest rates, abundance of cheap capital etc) but a firm does not need to identify and define those factors, it simply needs to show discipline and walk away when the price does not make sense. Simple but not easy.

Never bought a stock on the London Exchange but Lancashire may eventually be one.
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