As a fundamental investor I always try to keep in mind that I'm investing in companies, not pieces of paper. Or, these days, fast-moving blips on a computer screen.
It can be a tough thing to remember when you hear so much about short-covering rallies, movements in the VIX, and options strategies. But they're still companies. So as a little experiment, I added a new tab in the spreadsheet that I use to track my own portfolio. In that tab I pasted in the logos of all of the companies that I own.
The new tab had an interesting and immediate effect. As compared to the main page of my spreadsheet that's populated by tickers, expected returns, dividend yields, current position size, and the like, the new page was starkly simple and immediately made me think about the companies from a broader perspective.
Suddenly, it was less of "What do my calculations tell me based on the numbers?" and more of "Is this a company that I want to own and whose business model I respect?"
And I got to thinking …
There are many companies that I own that I'm very happy owning from both a numbers and business perspective. But there are a few that I look at on my logo page and feel lukewarm -- at best -- about owning them.
Philip Morris International
At the same time, I felt like there are a lot of companies that I'd love to admire on my logo page (sort of like hunting trophies?) that aren't there.
So what I did was pull up a very broad screen -- looking simply for companies that have a Buffett ratio (a measure of profitability and efficiency) above 12% -- and painstakingly pulled up the logos for one company after the next. What follows are some of the companies that aren't currently on my logo page, but that I'd like to see there.
A one-two punch
Just as a tunnel-vision focus on the numbers isn't ideal, relying simply on your personal views of a business and brand isn't the best way to go either. However, combine the two, and you've got one heck of a plan. That is, focus your stock search on companies with businesses that you understand, admire, and want to own, and then narrow down your buy decisions to the companies where the fundamentals are sound and you can buy the stock at an attractive price.
And what of those that have the admirable business, but don't cut the mustard from a valuation perspective? That's what a watchlist is for. Just because a stock is too expensive today doesn't mean it will be tomorrow. I've held off buying most of the stocks from the list above because of valuation concerns, but some of them -- including Visa
Others -- like Nike
You can do the same by starting a Foolish watchlist of your own. Click on the "+" icon next to any of the stocks above to add them to your watchlist, or start a new list and add whatever stocks you want.
Visa is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple, Amazon.com, and Nike are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Philip Morris International, Under Armour, and United Parcel Service. Motley Fool Alpha LLC owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Philip Morris International, but does not have a financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool’s disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.