If Dixie Could Whistle
My son works for Century Management, Inc. (CMI) in Austin, Texas.
Like so many private money managers, CMI is a big lover of Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE), believing them to be vastly undervalued.
During their 2005 client review, the CMI principals went on and on about how wonderful Pfizer was, and how the company was doing this and the company was doing that and how all of that was moving in a manner that would increase the company’s value, and blah blah blah blah blah.
In 1999 I did a nickel’s worth of research on Pfizer thinking I might add the stock to my portfolio as a way of offsetting some of the risk I felt I had because of all of the tech stocks I owned. I remember coming away from research with a sense that Pfizer was a company to steer clear off.
You know how you just get a sense, a gut feeling, that something isn’t right? That’s what I got with Pfizer. Oh they had good numbers as I recall, it was just something that didn’t feel right.
At any rate I passed on the stock and went on to loose 75% of the value of my portfolio when the markets came apart in 2000.
Several years later an article in Time or Newsweek or some such publication, I came across an article on Pfizer. I remember thinking as I scanned through the article, that even though I had literally lost more than $500K when the bubble burst, I was very glad I had passed on Pfizer…that I had listened to what I had to say.
It wasn’t until I sat listening to Arnold Van Den Berg talking about how wonderful Pfizer was, and how cheap the stock was, and on and on, that I finally realized what it was about the company that I didn’t like…management.
It was the intangible that had sent my read flag up, something I didn’t pay attention to when I was buying all of those tech stocks seven years before.
So as I listened to first one Century Management CFA, and then another, and then another, tell me why Pfizer was such a great company, and all the rest that goes with it. It wasn’t lost on me that it felt like 1999, all over again.
Only this time...I was listening, paying attention, considering.
And based on what I can’t seem to get away from this morning, I’m very glad I was.