Different Makes a Difference

The Odlum Brown Research Blog

  • Safety Matters

    By Stephen Boland CFA Equity Analyst
    Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    As investors, we like highly profitable companies and management teams that are focused on improving efficiency. A reasonable question is whether the pursuit of profits and efficiency may result in larger problems down the road, including major safety issues.
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  • Lessons From "God"

    By Fai Lee CGA, CFA, Equity Analyst
    Monday, August 21, 2017
    It’s not every day one learns about the demise of “God.” No, we’re not referring to a religious deity; we’re talking about Andy Hall, an oil trader recognized for his ability to successfully predict the direction of oil prices. While his career spans four decades, many people had never heard of Mr. Hall until the global financial crisis when Citigroup Inc. disclosed that he made $100 million trading oil in 2008. Given his trading success and background, Mr. Hall was nicknamed “God” of the oil markets.
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  • When to Sell

    By Murray Leith CFA, Executive Vice President & Director, Investment Research
    Tuesday, August 01, 2017
    There is a lot of literature about when to buy a stock, but little about when to sell. This is odd, because for every buyer there is a seller and selling a stock at the right time can have significant influence on portfolio returns.
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  • We Are More Alike Than We Are Unalike

    By Stephen Boland CFA Equity Analyst
    Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    One of my favourite TV commercials is an Apple iPhone advertisement that aired during the 2016 Summer Olympics. It featured iPhone photos of individuals from all around the world. The late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou provides a voiceover, delivering part of her poem “Human Family”. In closing she twice recites the verse, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” This is a powerful social statement. Interestingly, it can also be thought of in the context of investing.
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  • Trump Victory Reinforces Conservative Stance

    By Murray Leith CFA, Executive Vice President & Director, Investment Research
    Wednesday, November 09, 2016
    We caution investors from fearing the worst. Trump will likely be forced to moderate his positions on many fronts, given that the president doesn’t have much autonomous power and needs to work with Congress to get things done. In other words, what Trump said to get elected and what he does or is able to do will likely be very different. Indeed, markets were recovering from their worst levels as Trump talked about bringing the country together during his acceptance speech.
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  • Excuses – A Saviour of Mediocrity

    By Stephen Boland CFA Equity Analyst
    Thursday, September 22, 2016
    “Structural differences” is a commonly used phrase to help explain underperformance, and the rationale usually sounds reasonable. However, it is worth approaching “structural difference” arguments with a hint of skepticism. Such defences can be an excuse by underperforming management to protect their jobs, which can leave a company and its shareholders mired in mediocrity.
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