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Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns Paperback – February 18, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Instead of focusing on the short term--earnings per share, price-earnings multiples--Rappaport (Creating Shareholder Value), formerly a professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, and Mauboussin, chief investment strategist at Credit Suisse First Boston, recommend "expectations investing," which "starts with the current stock price and uses the discounted cash-flow model to `read' what the market implies about a company's future performance." They discuss sample companies (Gateway), historical patterns, competitive strategies and share value. Though they expertly simplify a complex topic, beginners may find the book overly technical. However, the authors' credentials, a national interview campaign and author appearances should attract deserved attention. Tables.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alfred Rappaport directs Shareholder Value Research for L.E.K. Consulting and is a Professor Emeritus at Northwestern's Kellogg School. Michael Mauboussin is Credit Suisse First Boston's Chief U.S. Investment Strategist. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and runs the New Economic Forum at the Santa Fe Institute.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (February 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159139127X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591391272
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I started working on Wall Street ten years ago, I thought my colleagues would be fantastic stockpickers who used intelligence, foresight, and brilliant paradigms to pick great stocks.
The last decade has taught me that most Wall Street analysts are very intelligent. However, I must report that as a whole, they have *no idea* what they're doing. I'm not sure how it happened, but most investors have come to believe in a hodge-podge of rules-of-thumb that "everyone knows" but nobody can explain. Arbitarily, "growth" investors tell us to "Buy stocks that grow their earnings faster than their P/E multiples!" Just as randomly, "value" investors tell us to "Only buy stocks with low P/E's with lots of book value!" If you try to integrate all these rules of thumbs into a single mental model, you have to make so many exceptions to every rule that your mind feels like Swiss cheese.
In contrast, this book offers a clean, intelligent FRAMEWORK for thinking about investing in anything that produces a stream of future cash flows (including stocks, of course). It's the investing Bible I wish I had when I started my career. It would have shaved years from my investing education, and saved me from numerous migraines.
The book starts with the same first principles you read in your Corporate Finance textbook, makes relevant the practical arcana you learned in Accounting class, and incorporates Porter's and other strategy frameworks into valuation. The book presents a CLEAN and FLEXIBLE way of thinking about stocks. For example, you can apply their approach to Dell from its IPO to today -- and get useful data that would help with a Buy/Sell decision.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
You can read this book in a number of ways:
1. TAKE JUST WHAT YOU NEED. Even though I'm a valuation expert, I thought some chapters of this book stood out as just plain useful. Chapters with great standalone value include: (A) Chapter 8 on Real Options, which develops the only framework for applying real options that I've seen that's intuitive; (B) Chapter 10 on M&A analysis which gives a solid treatment of all deals including often-ignored fixed-value stock deals; and (C) Chapter 5 Appendix on Employee Stock Options which explains how ESOs affect valuation (this is ignored by every other book on valuation). Moreover, I found the tutorials and spreadsheets at the web site made it easy to apply these ideas without hours of tedious spreadsheet work.
Some chapters may be more or less applicable to various readers. For example, investors may find Chapter 11 on incentive compensation to be more applicable to managers. Also, Chapter 4 is most beneficial to those who haven't read the strategy frameworks of Michael Porter, Clayton Christensen of INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA, and Varian/Shapiro of INFORMATION RULES.
2. USE "EI" TO PICK STOCKS. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 lay out the "EI approach" to investing. Namely, the authors suggest that investors use a DCF approach to reverse engineer consensus expectations from a company's current stock price. Then, the authors suggest you compare YOUR expectations to CONSENSUS/MARKET expectations. If you think market expectations are low, buy the stock. If you think market expectations are too high, sell or short the stock.
At first glance, it might seem that this material has already been covered in McKinsey's VALUATION or Damodaran's valuation library.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Befragt VINE VOICE on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting read for the serious investor. The central tenet of the book might be stated as "investors do not earn superior rates of return on stocks that are priced fully to reflect future performance - even for the best value-creating companies - which is why great companies are not great stocks." This book posits that investors can read market expectations contained in a stock's price and anticipate revisions in those expectations to achieve superior returns. It book provides a detailed, step-by-step way to accomplish this process.

"Expectations Investing" is divided into three parts. Part I details how to determine the expectations for a stock based upon its current market price. Interestingly, rather than determine a "fair price" based upon a company's free cash flow, the book turns this process upside down, using a company's stock price to determine the market's expectations for free cash flow going forward. Next, the book helps identify "expectations opportunities" - places where revisions in the stock market's expectations are likely to take place. By focusing on key areas where expectations opportunities may take place (so-called "turbo triggers"), the skilled investor can modify their discounted cash flow projections to determine the appropriate price. This section further provides a framework to determine when to apply buy, sell, and hold decisions. Lastly, Part III of the book explains how certain, specific corporate events (mergers, share buybacks, and incentive compensation) may signal that expectations revisions are in order.

Within the book itself, I found the chapter on "Analyzing Competitive Strategy" to be an outstanding, investor-focused distillation of many of the points contained in Porter's "Competitive Strategy.
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