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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214643  
Subject: Re: Influence on ROE in Investing returns Date: 10/6/2012 6:57 AM
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Results are indeed killer for the one month hold from 1997 onward, but
something bad was happening prior to that ... underperforms the S&P from 1986 to 1996 .... 8% vs. 15%.


The "enw" field at backtest.org doesn't mean the same thing 1986-1996 as it has since then.
Value Line changed their lineup of fields in December 1996 and that was one of the big changes.
"enw" stands for "earnings on net worth". It is derived from the field
called "% Return Net Worth" prior to 1997 and from the field called
"% Earned Net Worth" thereafter, which sounds plausible (which is why it
was done) but it may in fact match the 1997-and-later field called "% Earned Common Equity".

Maybe the discontinuity in results is a result of the known discontinuity
of the data going into it, maybe not.

The main lesson is that high ROE (preferably without undo leverage) makes good
sense from the point of understanding how a good business makes its money from a moat,
and is generally confirmed by quantitative studies across all firms.
Though it isn't enough to make you an investing genius and it might let
through some duds, on average a nice steady high ROE is a very good sign.
A monkey with a dartboard full of high ROE firms will almost certainly
outperform a monkey armed with a dartboard of all firms.

As an aside, the more a firm is growing the more important the ROE.
A growing firm with an uninteresting ROE is worth nothing extra due to
its growth rate, and even a slowly growing high ROE firm is potentially worth a lot.
The PEG ratio is misleading, as it conflates growth with worthwhile growth.
Rather than growth/PE it should be something more like
(1+ growth rate above inflation times amount by which ROE exceeds the long run median) times
(the amount by which the cyclically adjusted earnings yield exceeds Siegel's constant of 6.5%).
As a fun exercise, try this calculation for both Amazon and Walmart.

Jim
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