Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

News Feed Item

Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights: Berkshire Hathaway, Market Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat Research ETF, iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average ETF and SPDR S&P Insurance ETF

CHICAGO, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights Features: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), Market Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat Research ETF, (NYSE: MOAT), iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average ETF (NYSE: IYT) and SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (KIE)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

INVESTMENT IDEAS

Invest Like Warren Buffett with These ETFs

Warren Buffett is widely regarded as one of the greatest investors of all-time, and for good reason. The 'Oracle of Omaha' has built up the one time struggling textile manufacturer of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) into a global behemoth with investments in a variety of industries and sectors.

Buffett's incredible track record is best demonstrated by the rise of Berkshire Hathaway's stock price over the years; the security was trading around $340 in 1980 and is now well over $120,000/share today. Meanwhile, since mid-1990, an investment in BRK.A would have added about 1700% compared to an S&P 500 return of roughly 300% in the same time period (read Four ETFs up More Than 30% YTD).

Clearly, Warren Buffett has been able to perform quite well over a very long time period, further adding to his mystique and overall legend. This has led many investors to apply Buffett-like strategies to their own personal portfolios as well, hoping that the deep value strategies of Buffett would rub-off on their overall returns.

In order to tap into these techniques, investors can certainly buy up Berkshire Hathaway shares as a proxy for Buffett's methodology.  Yet one has to wonder if this is still the best strategy, given how large Berkshire has become. After all, it could be argued that Buffett, thanks to the size of his firm, can no longer apply his strategies as he once could when Berkshire was much more nimble.

Warren can now only make large bets in order to truly move the needle, a situation which has undoubtedly hurt the investor's impressive returns. In fact, a recent study suggested that in the 00's Buffett didn't add any alpha at all, a far cry from the nearly 19% alpha that he generated for Berkshire in 1956-1968 and the 'golden age' of Buffett's performance in the 1977-1981 period in which he added nearly 30% a year in excess gains (see Inside The Two ETFs Up More Than 140% YTD).

Given this trend, investors may be looking for another way to apply Buffett-like strategies to their portfolios without the clear issues that Berkshire is facing. Warren is no spring chicken at this point anyway, so why take on that added risk of his retirement (or worse) when it is very easy to apply his ideas to the broader stock market without Berkshire's help.

One easy way to do this could be by using a number of specialized ETFs in order to tap into the heart of Buffett's philosophy. These funds offer up Buffett-like exposure but at a fraction of the risk and overall cost as Berkshire, and furthermore, without the overhang of Warren's succession plans as well.

With this backdrop, any of the following three ETFs could make for excellent ways to invest like Buffett from a sector perspective. The Oracle has definitely developed a few favorite industries over the past few decades and we believe that the funds highlighted below offer excellent targeted exposure to some of Warren's favorite segments making them great ways for ETF investors to invest like Warren Buffett:

Wide Moat Investing

Arguably Buffett's most famous investing strategy is to go after so-called 'wide moat' businesses. This type of investing consists of targeting firms that have easily defendable positions thanks to their inherent businesses, strategies, or other market factors (see Time to Consider Wide Moat ETFs).

These companies generally have a huge advantage on one of the following five factors; intangible assets/brands, switching costs, network effects, cost advantages, or efficient scale. Any of these factors, or even a combination of them, generally can provide companies with a barrier against others, just like a moat.

Warren has definitely utilized this in his investing strategy over the years, targeting extremely wide moat companies for not only outright purchase, but investment as well.

In order to target a basket of wide moat firms, investors have a few choices at their disposal although the Market Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat Research ETF (MOAT) is arguably the best choice. 

This relatively new ETF tracks the Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index which is a benchmark of 20 companies that have sustainable competitive advantages. Furthermore, the index only looks at the most attractively priced ones, ensuring a focus on deep value securities (read The Wide Moat ETF Explained).

Currently, the basket consists of a number of firms in the tech, materials, industrials, and financials sectors, with firms that have an advantage on the cost front comprising much of the portfolio. MOAT also zeroes in on large caps for the most part—suggesting a low level of volatility—although mid caps also make up roughly one-fourth of the assets as well.

Volume and AUM are still pretty light for this product, as it is still less than a year old. Still, the product charges a reasonable 49 basis points a year in fees and it has handily outperformed the S&P 500 since its inception, suggesting that there may be something to the strategy in ETF form.

Transportation Stocks

Another wide moat business is that of the transportation sector. Competition is oligopolistic as barriers to entry are extremely high, both in the general delivery business and especially in the railroad sector.

After all, the building, buying, and maintenance of a massive railroad empire isn't something that anyone can start in a short period of time. It is a very capital intensive endeavor, especially if one is looking to build one that can traverse across vast distances of the American landscape.

Probably due to this, the railroad industry has always intrigued Buffett as he was a major investor of Burlington Northern Santa Fe for quite some time, and he had a modest holding in Union Pacific as well. Then, Warren went 'all in on the American economy' buying up the rest of BNSF in a $44 billion dollar deal that cemented Buffett's love of the train industry.

While there isn't a pure railroad ETF at this point in time, investors still have a popular transport ETF in the form of the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average ETF (IYT).

This ETF unsurprisingly tracks the Dow Jones Transportation Average, which is a broad benchmark of transport stocks based in the U.S. This includes all types of transportation stocks, including passenger, industrial, and general transportation service firms (see Is It Time to Buy the Transportation ETFs?).

Currently, the ETF consists of just 21 holdings overall with the biggest chunk going to railroads at roughly 31% of assets. Additionally it should be noted that railroads account for three of the top five holdings, including Buffett's own UNP at the top with 13% of assets.

The ETF isn't much of a yield destination, however, as it has a payout below 1.3%, although its beta is below one, suggesting that it is a lower volatility choice. Additionally, the product is reasonable from a fee perspective at 47 basis points a year; while volume and assets are relatively high, suggesting extremely tight bid ask spreads for this popular fund.

Insurance Industry

Another long-time favorite of the Oracle is the insurance industry, the segment that arguably gave Warren his real start in the investing world. That is because Warren is attracted to the 'float' that these companies have or the investable assets that firms have before they have to pay out claims on various insurance policies.

If these assets can be invested effectively, and if they can be easily paid out when claims eventually rise, they can be a huge asset for an insurance company that can greatly expand margins over the long term. Furthermore, Warren argues that these insurance premiums have a near-zero cost of capital that allows Warren to make acquisitions and various other investments, virtually interest-free (see Three Overlooked High Yield ETFs).

These companies currently form the backbone of Berkshire, providing the company with billions in float. Some of the more famous names in the Berkshire portfolio include GEICO and General RE, giving the firm exposure to both general insurance activities and reinsurance as well, both of which provide incredible amounts of cash premiums.

Obviously, this can be easily replicated by any other insurance company, suggesting that a broad look at the space, in order to diversify away risk if there is a catastrophe, could be the way to go. In order to do this, investors have a few insurance ETFs including the popular SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (KIE).

This ETF tracks the S&P Insurance Select Industry Index, which is a modified equal-weight benchmark. It includes companies in the American insurance industry including personal and commercial lines, property/casualty insurance, life insurance, reinsurance, insurance brokerage and financial guarantee.

With its equal weight methodology, the fund does a great job of spreading assets around its roughly 46 components, putting no more than 2.7% in any one security. Still, the product is somewhat concentrated in property and casualty insurance firms as these companies account for just under 40% of the fund (read Protect Your Portfolio with These Insurance ETFs).

The fund has a mediocre yield of just 1.7% though, but the P/E is under ten and the P/B is below 0.9. Investors should also note that the product charges a reasonable 35 basis points a year in fees, while its  AUM and volume—assets above $110 million—suggest a pretty low bid ask spread.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The company continually processes stock reports issued by analysts from numerous brokerage firms.  It monitors more than 200,000 earnings estimates, looking for changes. Then when changes are discovered, they're applied to help assign more than 4,400 stocks into five Zacks Rank categories:  #1 Strong Buy, #2 Buy, #3 Hold, #4 Sell, and #5 Strong Sell. This proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin.  The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time.  Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch

Join us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
[email protected]
http://www.zacks.com

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...