NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Even though he's becoming more cautious about stocks, as any value investor would, Dan Ferris, the editor of Extreme Value, hasn't stopped looking for "safe, cheap stocks that are priced right."
In an interview with Ferris on Friday, Feb. 15, I asked him his secret for uncovering the "world-dominating dividend-grower" companies that are still fairly priced. "Ask a better set of questions," was his modest answer. He and his research team have been doing just that, and the results are impressive.
That's why many well-known money managers follow his recommendations. He watches sentiment surveys and balance sheets, not what the masses are chasing. Ferris also wants to catch the massive shifts as they're happening and identify the most powerful corporate beneficiaries.
There are many opportunities to benefit from what Ferris calls "The Pillars of Hyper-Innovation" that are happening now in the world of technology. As an example, Ferris pointed to the phenomenon of "Moore's Law," which had correctly predicted that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double every two years."During that time, the computer industry jammed more transistors onto computer chips every two years, just like Moore said they would, using thinner materials packed closer together. The first chips had a few thousand transistors on them. By 2007, they contained more than 600 million," he explained. Then came 2007 and researchers hit the physical limits of silicon dioxide, a key material in chip-building. Manufacturers literally had no way to shrink the material a single nanometer more. That's when the "world dominator" of semi-conductor manufacturing stepped to the plate and showed the world what hyper-innovation was all about. Intel (INTC - Get Report) realized that a global tipping point had arrived, and in 2008, introduced its Core i7 processor chip with 731 million transistors. These new chips had 2.5 times more transistors than the 291 million transistors in its earlier Core 2 Duo chips, which were introduced in 2006. "It took the leadership of Intel to see the challenge and to meet it head on," Ferris explains. "Intel had the deep financial resources and has been dictating the pace of innovation for decades. Today it employs the biggest concentration of chip-engineering talent in the world."