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In Search of Two-Cent Pennies

Farm products company Bunge (BG - Get Report) and semiconductor companies Vishay Intertechnology (VSH - Get Report) and Benchmark Electronics (BHE) also made the list. And rounding out the 11 qualifiers is conglomerate Leucadia National (LUK), a name that was featured in a May column I wrote, "In Search of the Next Berkshire Hathaway."

Lest you think that you can get rich simply by going to the bank and buying thousands of rolls of pennies, I did a little experiment several years back when I realized that copper pennies were, at that time, worth 1.5 cents.

I purchased $10 worth of pennies at our local bank and, with the help of my childen, unrolled them, inspected them and separated the copper variety. Unfortunately, there were just 10 copper pennies out of 1,000, a miserable 1% hit rate. Complicating matters as copper continued to move higher, was the fact that a law was passed in late 2006, making it illegal to melt pennies (and nickels, too).

So much for get-rich-quick schemes. Value investing is not easy, but it's easier than that.

At the time of publication, the author was long IM.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Jonathan Heller, CFA, is president of KEJ Financial Advisors, his fee-only financial planning company. Jon spent 17 years at Bloomberg Financial Markets in various roles, from 1989 until 2005. He ran Bloomberg's Equity Fundamental Research Department from 1994 until 1998, when he assumed responsibility for Bloomberg's Equity Data Research Department. In 2001, he joined Bloomberg's Publishing group as senior markets editor and writer for Bloomberg Personal Finance Magazine, and an associate editor and contributor for Bloomberg Markets Magazine. In 2005, he joined SEI Investments as director of investment communications within SEI's Investment Management Unit.

Jon is also the founder of the Cheap Stocks Web site, a site dedicated to deep-value investing. He has an undergraduate degree from Grove City College and an MBA from Rider University, where he has also served on the adjunct faculty; he is also a CFA charter holder.
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BG $66.44 -0.85%
HES $59.06 -0.05%
GLW $18.82 0.32%
IM $30.89 0.10%
VSH $11.92 0.25%


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