One of the nice things about the value investing approach is that it leaves you sufficient time for both adequate research and outside activities. This weekend, in addition to reading various newspapers and running screens, I still had time to watch the hoops tournaments, make a killer corned beef dinner and do some recreational reading. The results of one of my screen searches may be of particular interest and use to investors and traders alike.
In his book,
The Intelligent Investor
, Ben Graham spilt investors into two camps: the enterprising investor and the defensive investor. While the vast majority of my activities fall into the enterprising investor classification, looking for stocks suited to the defensive investor is still worthwhile. I often find bargains I have overlooked and the results contain information about the condition of the stocks market itself.
Graham believed that defensive investors should look for stocks of decent size with long histories of profitability and dividends. As always, he wanted to pay a decent price for them, so he suggested not paying more than 15x earnings or 1.5x book value. He wanted a strong financial structure with a high current ratio.
This article originally appeared on March 18, 2013, on RealMoney. To read more content like this + see inside Jim Cramer's $3 Million portfolio for FREE Click Here NOW.
When I ran the defensive investors' screen, only four companies made the grade. While I do not make or use market calls as an investor, this does seem to suggest a sense of caution when approaching the markets right now. Graham was also an advocate of buying stocks when they were on sale, so it may be prudent to delay commitments even to defensive stocks in light of the recent run-up in the broader stock market.
Two of the stocks on the list are food and grocery related. The first,
, is the second largest publicly traded food distributor in the U.S. The company sells its product lines to retail grocery stores, as well as military commissary and exchanges in 36 states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The company also has operations in parts of Europe and as well as in Cuba, the Azores and Egypt to serve U.S. military bases. They also own 75 retail grocery store, primarily in the upper portion of the Midwestern United States.