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Warren Buffett’s ‘Secret Holy Grail’ to Successful Investing

We discussed the importance of reading annual reports in the past two posts.

We also briefly discussed the importance of reading financial statements that convey the language of business.

Now here is a small quiz for you – What is that one thing you look for in a company’s financial statements?

Is it to know how much a company is leveraged? Is it to know how profitable the company is? Or is it something else?

The only rule for this quiz is that you must watch the video below only after you first write your answer to – “What do I look for in a company’s financial statements?” – in a piece of paper or in a word file.

Then watch the video below to find what Warren Buffett looks for in financial statements, compare the same with your notes…and then write your views in the Comment section below.


If you are not able to see the video above, click here to see.

What’s the prize for winning the quiz?

Well, the reader who thinks the closest to what I discuss in the video, will get a pat on the back from all other Safal Niveshak tribesmen. What could be a better gift than this? 🙂

So let’s see who is thinking like Buffett. 🙂

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Sanjeev Bhatia says:

    Great Insight into the mind of Wizard of Omaha, Vishal.

    Well, I was torn between FCF and Moat since Buffet puts lots of emphasis on these besides other factors. Since the topic covered facts covered in “Balance Sheet or Financial Statement”, I went in for FCF. Moat or Durable Competitive advantage, I thought, is not visible from Balance Sheet but from keeping your ears to ground. So finally selected Free Cash 🙁

    Still don’t know how to get idea about Durable Competitive advantage from Financial Statements. Will wait for the rest of video series before proceeding further.

    This series is doing great and filling a much, much impprtant Vacuum. Great work.

  2. Manish Sharma says:

    I would try a brief answer:
    One thing I would look in is Free Cash Flow or Owner’s Earnings, as Buffett put it. FCF is Net cash from operations minus maintenance capital expenditure.

  3. R K Chandrashekar says:

    Hi
    What is interesting in the video, is the bible of Value investing was refined by the Wizard of Omaha.
    Now regarding the Financial Statement: I look for how the capital and the Equity has been employed in the business. That is the Return on Equity ( ROE ) and Return on Capital Employed ( ROCE). The higher the better. Also as a value investor, my holding period is lifelong. So Capital appreciation is mostly on paper; I am more interested in Dividends that I receive from my company which is tax free. So the Dividend Payout ratio is important. I also look for Bonus (which is Reserves converted to Equity capital ). This if I have selected my company right, increases my dividend over time and with more shares in my kitty means capital appreciation when the time comes to sell .
    Mukesh Ambani’s salary of 37 Crores, goes away mostly in taxes, but his 50% holding in Reliance fetched him 650 Crores by way of Dividends tax free! Premji 75% Equity=850 Crores Dividends. Even the promoters of Infy who drew less salary than the VP, get for their 2-4 % Equity 150-200 Crores by Dividends.
    Well I am not in that league, but I maintain myself mostly with Dividends. Do I need to say more.

    • Manish Sharma says:

      Very valuable insights there, Mr. Chandrasekhar!

      Yup, how the capital and equity being employed is very important. And, nice take on Dividend too. Although I don’t think too many investors these days prefer dividends or focus upon dividend payout ratio.

    • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

      Great details, Sir.

      The only problem – how can you be sure that the company will continue to grow and hence able to maintain its dividend payout ratio in vastly changing financial and economic scenario? I think, purely dividend play can serve for some sectors like say FMCG or Pharma where more or less market share is maintained and consumption is sort of guaranteed ( We all have to brush our teeth, shave and consume medicines if required, no?) Then there is the phase company concerned is in. If it is still growing at a reasonable pace, it makes better sense to utilize the profits to expand the business rather than give out dividend. I remember Bharti give its first dividend about 10 years into operation, but it led to tremendous wealth creation by way of capital appreciation.

      You are much more experienced than all of us here, But I feel there has to be some judicious mix of both dividend plays as well as growth stories for better optimization.

      Regards.

      • R K Chandrashekar says:

        Hi Sanjeev
        You have hit the nail on the head! People have to drink cola, shave, read the newspaper and buy insurance- Think of Buffet businesses-Cocoa Cola, Gillette, Washington Post, Wells Fargo, etc!! In the Indian context, look at stable businesses with market leadership, brand and pricing power- think Nestle, Asian Paints, Hero Honda, HUL, Marico, Bosch, CRISIL, Pidilite, Titan. HDFC
        You are right companies in the growth phase have to retain earnings rather than pay dividends and you need to strike a balance- Bharti is a good example. It also boils down to your risk profile, age , goals and expectations. The irony is stable business like the ones I have mentioned are not cheap and you need to pay a price, unless you identified it many years ago.!

        • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

          And you have directly hit me where it hurts the most 🙁

          Have been waiting for quite some time for some big correction to occur to buy some of these companies at far more attractive valuations. Valuations at this time are at too absurd levels. Titan I was lucky to get some at almost free. Not so lucky with others. For some like Asian Paints, Gillette, Nestle, TTK, Hawkins etc. have been kept waiting forever.

          Still hopeful though 😀 , Betting more on others irrationality rather than my own wisdom.

          • Reni George says:

            Dear Sanjeev
            Sooner or Later,you will stumble upon your stock,at your price,the irrationality of the market is never going to be over,because human being by nature is irrational and the market moves due to the irrational activities done by the human being.Look at Infosys,now available at 52 week low,what is more great then that its now available below a pe of 15 the graham number for the first time since 2002-2003.We should not forget that it still throws up a net profit in the range of 6000 to 8000 crore per year.The quality of the management cannot be questioned.Well there may be years,when everything becomes stagnant,then someone comes and the growth starts again.Remember in a marathon run,you run at a steady pace, it does not mean that the race is over for the runner,then in the middle you sprint for some kms after refreshment.So you will get you asian paints,gillete,nestle etc.Remember Sanjeev, the world is round and everything is round,what goes,comes back.Its like the irrationality of Pi.So Wait for your turn,it will surely come,and we will make the kill together.Al Aham dul allah.

            Thanks and Regards
            Happy Investing
            Reni George

            • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

              Agree completely Reni. That’s why still waiting. The core essence of being a value investor is being greedy when others are fearful and vice versa. Again and again, it has been proved that what goes around, comes back again as you have pointed out.

              Markets being irrational at times is given, that’s why I mentioned that I am betting more on other’s irrationality.. 😛

              As far as Infosys is concerned, I am little bit skeptical on two counts. One – very high attrition rate. Infosys has been hiring from so many low level engg colleges around my area and still people are not sticking there. It was covered in ET also recently. Secondly, the current management has also started “Blame Game” citing depressed global scenario for their poor results, which is a no-no as per Vishal’s last post, though I am yet to hear his views on this. What’s more intriguing is that another company of the same sector, TCS, posted good numbers on the very same day. Mangement, yes I agree to their integrity part but here again the visa scandal has put doubts on an otherwise unblemished company. Will wait for Vishal’s comment before going further on this.

              Thanks & Regards.

          • karthik says:

            Sanjeev,
            Almost so called all the market leaders, the price is too high..
            Search any good pharma/fmcg stock .. all are near their 52 weeks high..
            And all these companies have taken a good number of years to achieve this pole position..
            We have been a very early investor in Ponds india .. then taken over by HUL.. (almost 20 years we r share holders)..
            But in this juncture , iam finding very very few such stocks…
            Even such stocks they are no where near my margin of safety..

            Ex:Page , Zydus wellness …

  4. Sanjeev Bhatia says:

    I am racking my brain (whatever limited I have 🙁 ) , but still don’t know how you can track durable competitive advantage “from Financial Statements”. The closest I can come to is :-

    1. If I see the cost of Raw Materials going up but margins also either being maintained or improving, thereby implying that the company was able to pass on the increase to customers due to Brand/Moat, does this indicate DCA?

    2. The company is maintaining its market share in the segment it operates in without reducing margins.

    3. There is either decrease, status quo or not significant increase in debtors (meaning company does not need to sell on credit).

    4. Inventory Turnover ratio is being maintained.

    5. RoA is being maintained.

    Pls confirm.

    Thanks

    • Sanjeev, the points you raised above give indication about a company’s competitive advantage. And if your analysis suggests that the company can carry on like this for long, the advantages would become durable. While this is a difficult call to make – whether the company would be able to convert its advantages into something that’s durable, that is a call the past financials can help us make.

      Anyways, thanks for the amazing discussion you had with Mr. Chandrashekar and Manish! Regards.

  5. Manish Sharma says:

    Sanjeev, you have elaborated upon some good point here.

    I think, that if a company is constantly increasing its profitability by maintaining high margins without fretting over working capital needs then that’s some indication of durable competitive advantage.

    Vishal, i think you should make your grand entry by now, or do you want to wait for some more ?? :p

  6. Manish Sharma says:

    Vishal, I would like to ask you something over here as you have out the pictures of both Warren Buffett and Ben Graham in the video. I have been reading about them and other stuff on value investing for the past few months and I am facing some fundamental questions.

    The primary issue is to how to utilise knowledge into practice. While Graham and Buffet are two prominent proponents of value investing, but their approach is a bit different from each other.
    Graham in his writings has had focussed more on net-nets, liquidation value and margin of safety (in terms of intrinsic value) and had emphasised on diversification. His stock holding period is around 3-4 years. In my opinion, Graham’s writings had been focussed on valuing a stock and not on valuing a business. On the other hand, Buffet, ever since he acquired Berkshire Hathaway, has tweaked his strategy successfully under the influence of Munger. Their approach is based more on valuing a business and their focus is on concentration of portfolio.
    Meanwhile, I have read a bit of Fisher as he is known to be champion of value investing. His scuttlebutt approach made a lot of sense but then I think for a small investor it is not possible to get access to management, competitors, get inside information or pay factory visits. Thus, my mind is getting a bit cluttered about the way forward for a conservative individual investor.
    This may sound like a quintessential growth vs value dilemma. But to paraphrase Buffet: Growth and value are joined at hip, therefore do you think a suitable strategy is to read and follow Buffett, while keeping in mind the philosophy of Mr. Market and Margin of Safety as mentioned in the Chapter 8 of The Intelligent Investor.

    • You’ve raised a great point, Manish! I will try and answer it somewhat, though I am yet to cover a lot of ground on both Graham and Fisher and their respective influences on Buffett.

      Buffett is known to have once said, “I’m 15% Fisher and 85% Benjamin Graham.” So what did he mean by that? In common with Graham, Buffett is a big believer in having a “margin of safety”, as you rightly pointed out. So he buys stocks when they’re trading below their true value, typically when they’re out of favour with Graham’s fickle and impatient “Mr. Market”. In fact, Buffett believes the margin of safety principle, so strongly emphasized by Graham, to be the “cornerstone of investment success”.

      As far as Fisher’s influence is concerned, Buffett learned from him about appreciating the importance of strong management in a company, and of what Fisher referred to as “management of unquestionable integrity”.

      Also like Fisher, Buffett advocates investing with a long-term horizon, as he so often says, “If you aren’t willing to own a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

      Finally, again as you mentioned above, Buffett is in accord with Fisher on portfolio concentration, going as far as to say – “If you are a know-something investor, able to understand business economics and to find 5 to 10 sensibly priced companies that possess important long-term competitive advantages, conventional diversification makes no sense for you. It is apt simply to hurt your results and increase your risk.”

      Now the question you have raised is – How does a small investor go about following a mix of Buffett, Fisher, and Graham strategy, and especially with respect to accessing managements, competitors, getting inside information and paying factory visits.

      In fact, I won’t worry much about these aspects. This is simply because when Fisher formulated his scuttlebutt approach, he was looking into a period where corporate disclosures were far and few in between, plus the media wasn’t active. Compare this to today, and you can get so much information about a company, its future plans, competitors and future strategy simply by reading through its annual report and competitors’ annual reports, plus of course doing some outside groundwork if possible.

      It is here where the classic Buffett approach of “circle of competence” comes into picture. As I’ve learnt over the years, your circle of competence isn’t just the sectors/industries you know about. Instead, your “circle of competence” can, say be researching small cap stocks, or deep value themes, or cash bargains.

      So once you know your “circle of competence” and then work on companies from inside that circle, you don’t need to do a lot of scuttlebutt except reading whatever you can about the company (and its annual reports are a great place to start).

      Now the question is – does the small investor has time, knowledge to do all this?

      As for knowledge, yes you must know what has worked and not worked in investing (Buffett, Fisher, Graham, and Lynch are readily and happily available 24×7 for this).

      As far as the “time” factor is concerned, first your restricted circle of competence will help you save a lot of time that you would have otherwise wasted on looking at companies from outside your circle.

      Second, as Buffett says to investors, “I could improve your ultimate financial welfare by giving you a ticket with only twenty slots in it so that you had twenty punches – representing all the investments that you got to make in a lifetime. And once you’d punched through the card, you couldn’t make any more investments at all. Under those rules, you’d really think carefully about what you did, and you’d be forced to load up on what you’d really thought about. So you’d do so much better.”

      So, if you focus on making only a “few” great investments throughout your life, you only need time to select these few investments…instead wasting time chasing so many other worthless investments.

      I believe a serious small investor at least has so much time to devote to wealth creation – both to gain knowledge about sensible investing, and then implementing that knowledge to his advantage.

      So, the gist is – look for superstar companies within your circle of competence, do your own due diligence on them, look for signals from Mr. Market, and then buy into the opportunity at the right margin of safety.

      At this point, I also remember what Charlie Munger said, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I won’t go there.” Any place outside your circle of competence is the place where you can die, so stay within it.

      Do I make sense?

      • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

        Wow, I saw your reply AFTER I posted mine to Manish’s comment. You really have the gift of explaining the things in a simple, lay man kind of language which one can easily understand instead of using the jargon analysts employ. That’s why I feel like using the “M” word, that you have prohibited me from using… 🙂

        The confusion, as pointed out by Manish, is because that all the stalwarts that have been pretty much successful in the past have had different approaches. While Buffet promotes concentration (BTW, the 20 slot ticket thing was wonderful), another great Lynch, the best Mutual Fund Manager in the history(more than 20% CAGR for 20 years), had at one time more than 300 shares in his portfolio and he himself says (One up on wall street) ” The common joke in MF industry is that Lynch has still to find a stock he doesnot like”. With so much difference in views, is it surprising that there is confusion or action paralysis?

        Then the issue about management integrity. Just a month ago, who would have thought our showpiece of management integrity, Infosys, will be involved in Visagate? You told us how to analyse a balance sheet in 5 minutes in last post and the first point was use of Blame Game. Now Infosys is doing the same to justify its poor results (Today ETs cover page). Does that mean Infosys becomes a sell now? How can you envisage that for 10 long years if we don’t know what is going to happen just 2 months into future?

        Agree to your points about circle of competence, although to be honest, I can’t define that for myself. Yet to do more introspection and come out with my SWOT anaylsis, I guess. Most of my multibaagers till date have either been through gut feel, little analysis or plain luck. Don’t know about others, but you have put me on a wonderful path of self realisation. I am enjoying each and every moment of being here. Thanks.

        Another great post where the comments section has contributed as much as the original post itself. Great participation by everyone.

        • Manish Sharma says:

          Sanjeev, even I think about being illiterate when I read anything written by Vishal or some other bloggers out there like Basant maheshwari, Rohit Chauhan, Neeraj Marathe, Kiran, Kunder etc. forget about Prof. Bakshi 😛

          Yes, ‘circle of competence’ is one of the core idea and one of the fulcrum of any value investor’s strategy, and like you and many others even I am grappling to find what works for me..

          Here’s what the Sage of Omaha had to say –
          “Everybody’s got a different circle of competence. The important thing is not how big the circle is. The important thing is staying inside the circle.”

          Thus, although I don’t know what i know, i can safely say what I don’t know of – Special Situation, derivatives, Risk Arbitrage etc. And that’s because Buffett once said that if you don’t understand anything in first half an hour then may be you won’t understand that ever and in in investing “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”.

          However, when I read 15 point checklist as Vishal mentioned in his Stock Talk i realised that here is something I can be comfortable with 🙂

          To wind up, I would like to use another favourite quote of Buffett – “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” 😀

          • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

            Welcome to the Illiterate Club, Manish , the founder member welcomes you…. 😛

            The problem is more of action rather than information. Many a times, we spend so much time on theorising that action eludes us. All talk leads to nothing if not followed by concrete action. The 15 point checklist is wonderful in the sense that it brings actionability (I don’t know if this word exists, but you get the point 😉 ) simply because it lies within our competence. Kudos to Vishal for that.

            Well, we have some wonderful people here too. Always have enjoyed discussions with Reni, Mansoor, Mr. Chandrashekhar, you and others. This is a great learning mechanism and we all gain in the process.

            Thanks.

        • Reni George says:

          Dear Sanjeev
          You should read the book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb”Fooled By Randomness”.Being lucky is very necessary.There are numerous examples in real life to validate this point.Only hard work does not give the desired results,there is something known in hindi”Takdeer”.Futures are always assumptions,but what our research throws us is what we can know,is utter dustbin,where the concentration of risk is far higher for us to lose money.For Eg.the A.Ambani Group…etc.etc….Would you believe this scrip R.com was a darling in 2007 and now no one wants to touch it with a stick.Now with the veritas report,we even doubt its book value.This brings on one more idea,if you can discuss it with vishal,let us give ratings of stocks exclusively for our members on various parameters starting from management quality,books of account,business visibility for the next ten year,growth chances,debt problems.We will maintain that data,any changes if needed can be done with permission.

          • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

            That’s a great idea. About the implementation part, Vishal would be a better judge. The only hitch, as I see, is the vast number of stocks. Alternatively, we can start with just Nifty 50 stocks to begin with and discuss which would merit a buy, or rate them, as you have pointed out. Vishal, as an analyst, has worked on rating system (Equitymaster does that in its research reports) and will be more comfortable with the idea.

            Alternatively, we can put up a schedule, say one stock per week or 15 days. It would work like this. One of the member puts up the stock on blog. And all members discuss and rate on this. This will further hone our analysis process and provide different perspective. The next week, another member puts up another stock he is interested in and so on.
            This will provide great synergy ( uh oh, Vishal, I used the danger word 😉 ) as all of us have varying circles of competence and we will be building an enhanced pool of knowledge.

            Let Vishal think over it and decide.

            Thanks.

            • Manish Sharma says:

              Sanjeev and Reni that’s the way to go 🙂 That’s what even I was having in mind when I asked Sanjeev to exchange mails about our analysis of stocks, balance sheet etc. the other day. To create a forum for that is a wonderful idea.. Of course, Vishal is the final judge to decide the merit of it and other modalities.

              And, yes Sanjeev, you are right about the analysis paralysis part. Even I am guilty of it 😛

              But then Buffett said ” I am open to several errors of omission even while sitting with huge piles of cash but want to avoid errors of commission at any cost.” 😉

              • Thank you Sanjeev, Manish, and Reni for such an amazing discussion!

                As a “thank you” from me :-), I’ve created a “Forum” page where we all can bring together our thoughts on value investing and particular stock ideas that we are researching (plus some other topics).

                The link to this page is – https://www.safalniveshak.com/forum/. A small registration is required to access this forum.

                Can you guys please test it once to see that you are able to register, add a topic, log out, and log in again properly? That would be really helpful. I can then open the Forum to the entire tribe.

                The discussion on Safal Niveshak is getting more amazing than I’d ever imagined. Thank you all for your support! Regards.

                • sanjeevbhatia says:

                  Was able to register and post a topic “Lets Discuss Infosys”, able to log out and log in again. Topic is not visible yet as it is awaiting moderation.

                  Great Initiative.

                  • Thanks for testing, Sanjeev. I’ve moderated your post. Please check if you can see that, and also a “test” reply from me and Manish? Thanks!

                    • I have added my reply to the post. I managed to log in and log out, but still needs some time to get accustomed to this..:)

                    • karthik says:

                      Thanks Guys and Vishal.. Me too have registered for the forum…
                      Its great to see such ideas and discussions going on..
                      As we share more of our knowledge, We learn more…

                • Reni George says:

                  Dear Vishal

                  Was able to register,the forum is a good start,hey you were pretty fast at that,thanks vishal for the same.Really the discussions on safal niveshak is getting awesome.

    • Sanjeev Bhatia says:

      Nice discussion points Manish. I seem to be the only illiterate person over here and everyone else seems to be so well-read and with a sane mind on his (yet to see a Her here) shoulders. 🙁

      My two cents – Is there really a difference between Valuing a stock and a business? Yes, if you are thinking only short term (trading) perspective but I think if you are thinking long term (as we all like to believe), it really gets down to the same thing. The only difference can be that we take some other factors into consideration in the latter case. As itself, the world is divided in so many camps on the “Valuation” process itself, even people like Damodaran have been criticized at some point on another. Many people swear by DCF method and some just abhor it. Going by our own Value Investor – Prof. Bakshi’s account, DCF doesnot serve the purpose in valuation completely. Mr. Ajay Pirmal’s refrain from DCF method too has adequately been covered in his article. I personally, in my limited wisdom, am not comfortable with liquidation value and “sum of parts” theory, because these valuations are in -principle. What if the company is NEVER going to be liquidated / not broken down into its various components, as generally happens? That can be the reason a holding company is never given the PE ratios of the company whose stake it holds. So there can be many perspectives / approaches to the same process. We have to use what WE are comfortable with.

      Yes, I feel the same dilemma as you have mentioned in small retail investor’s regarding in-depth information, management views etc. It is very easy for WB, P. Lynch , R Jhunjhunwla, Prof Bakshi or even Mr. Vishal Khandelwal to pick up the phone and call management, and they are bound to sit-up and take notice. This is outside the domain of investors like us. We sometimes even don’t know what court cases a particular company is involved into, until the shares tanks or shoots 10-15% in a day and we come to know of the reason. Then there is the issue of rating agencies. One co. casts doubts on JSW Steel’s accounting practices, the share tanks 12%, then company issues clarification, the agency accepts it, the shares gains 15% all in 2 days flat – Fundamentals be damned. The situation is getting tough and tough Mate. 🙁 So for us “conservative individual investors” – the best way is to do do our homework to the best of our knowledge, diversify and pray….. 🙂 . WB can afford to be concentrated bcoz he can influence the management and in any case, the amount of diligence they go into, their chances of being wrong and earning a loss are quite low.

      The way forward ..? Keep on learning and honing your stock picking and valuation skills, use a combination of methods that suit YOU like Vishal propagates, monitor regularly and Pray. 🙂

      Wow, I am beginning to sound like an intellectual 😛

  7. Shankar Patil says:

    Such a wondeful post Vishal….:) Can’t wait for your upcoming videos!! Keep posting…:)

  8. Manish Sharma says:

    Thanks, for the post Vishal! It’s really great of you to take some time out and elaborated on my query.

    //”So, the gist is – look for superstar companies within your circle of competence, do your own due diligence on them, look for signals from Mr. Market, and then buy into the opportunity at the right margin of safety.”//

    I have also been thinking it is feasible for an average investor to follow a strategy like this that combines key aspects of all the great investors.

    Now the key point is to find the ‘circle of competence’ and detect companies with ‘competitive advantage/Moats’ and buy stakes in them at the ‘right time’, i.e. when Mr. Market is in a mood to oblige me. And, following your posts and videos is slowly but surely helping me in all three aspects of investing. Thanks Vishal!

  9. In my opinion ‘Free cash flows’ for financials and MD&A for the subjective evaluation. That would be the thing to look for.

  10. Gaurav Bhagwat says:

    My 2 cents… I believe durable competitive advantage can be assessed through looking at small bits forming overall picture. E.g. in case of tobacco & liquor companies, trend in quantity-wise sale gives us a decent idea of relative moat despite hike in excise duty by government. E.g. you can have a look at VST Industries. Some companies have such a strong brand reflected in extremely favourable working capital cycle – better payment terms with creditors & receivables. If the company is able to use such OPM (other peoples’ money) consistently (despite economic slowdown), I will look into it as some sign of moat.

    If we look at last 10 years financial statements & annual reports, we can form a guesstimate on the strength of the moat. E.g. strong FMCG brands kept steady margins even during economic slowdown. Buffet says that a strong franchise has little reinvestment needs & a high cash churning ability. I will assess the reinvestment needs of the company vis-a-vis competitors. What is the most recent trend? Is company under significant pricing pressure owing to new entrants? If yes, then can this be the early signs of waning moats? What is management doing to counter this? Are they intensifying branding efforts (deferred or operating selling & marketing costs), developing new products (product development or R&D costs)? How is the industry faring in itself?

    I am a total newbie of all you. :).. Hence correct me if I am wrong.

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