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Focusing on fundamentals

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, I was living in the United States. At that time I remember developers and other people saying that it was going to take at least 20 years before the country would build another commercial office building. It felt that bad.

Job opportunities had certainly dried up — especially for Canadians like me who were focused on real estate development. But of course, things eventually got better. New office buildings got built well inside of two decades, and the US went on to see its longest ever economic expansion.

This past Monday we saw the financial markets suffer one of, if not the, biggest selloffs since the financial crisis. If you haven’t yet checked your portfolio and/or retirement savings, I suggest you hold off until the Fed “prints” some more money. The time to sell is not right now. (Not actual financial advice.)

Now is, of course, the time to remain rational and disciplined, and focus on the relationship between price and value. Fred Wilson’s recent blog post on “market meltdowns” is a good reminder of this. So here are a couple of excerpts that I really liked:

I’ve seen this movie before. I had just started working in the venture capital business in 1987 when the stock market crashed 23% on “black monday.” There was the Internet stock meltdown in 2000 when the internet sector went down something like 80% over that bear market. And then there was the financial crisis in 2008.

Capital markets sometimes put out the for sale sign and if you are patient and wait for bargains to emerge, they will do that.

But I do know that good companies with resilient businesses and strong balance sheets will survive these occasional crises and that they can be bought with confidence at the right time.


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