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A Q&A with Portfolio Manager Craig Inman
Craig, happy 11-year Artisan anniversary. To commemorate your time at Artisan Partners and with the U.S. Value team, we have a few questions to better get to know you personally and professionally. To break the ice, please tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in South Carolina and have lived in the southern US my entire life. One thing that is interesting about my childhood is my dad was a professional golfer on the PGA Tour (he also played the Senior PGA Tour later in life).
Researchers, investors, the occasional interviewees and even the CEO of Artisan are often incredulous when I say my undergraduate anthropology major is a cornerstone of my daily investment process. Occasionally I get feisty and defend myself, but I often defuse the situation with what passes for humor in the investment world and move on. No more! Gillian Tett’s 2021 book Anthro-Vision: A New Way to See in Business and Life will be my public defender.
Boring Is Beautiful
I was recently asked to speak about investing to a group of undergraduate students at the University of Florida who manage a university student fund. I was initially stumped regarding what we would discuss, but upon speaking with one of the students, it became clear they were eager to discuss a real-world example in relation to our approach to investment research.
The Folly of Forecasting
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”
Given it’s that time of year when Wall Street’s market strategists trot out their year ahead outlooks, we thought we might share our thoughts on the value of forecasting or perhaps the lack thereof. If the following sampling of prior year outlooks for CY2022 are any gauge, we doubt next year’s predictions are worth the paper they’re printed on.
Intelligent Investing: Looking beyond Interest Rates
Low interest rates have been a defining feature of the investing landscape in recent years. The rate on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury Note has been in a 40-year downtrend (Exhibit 1), leading to sub-3.0% yields for the better part of the past decade.
If you’re of a certain age you’ll probably recall those Got Milk? commercials that were omnipresent in the mid-1990s. It was one of the all-time greatest ad campaigns, becoming a cultural touchstone. Seeing as milk consumption per capita in the US has been decreasing for at least 20 years, the milk producing industry might want to consider dusting off its old playbook. Though not entirely clear why Americans are drinking less milk, the decline is at least partially explained by an aging population.
Demographics might be hurting milk consumption, but aging populations in the US and other major economies are a distinct tailwind for income-producing securities, including dividend-paying stocks.
The Fed Cures Bird Flu
**FED HIKES 75BPS, INITIATES QT, TARGETS FOOD INFLATION. FED CURES BIRD FLU, LIFTS FOOD EXPORT RESTRICTIONS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, SHIFTS WATER TABLE FROM FLOODED FARM AREAS TO DROUGHT AREAS, RELEASES WHEAT FROM STRATEGIC GRAIN RESERVE, INCREASES BABY FORMULA PRODUCTION.
Laser-Eyed Focus on Value
This recent ransomware attack on America’s energy infrastructure has me concerned. Imagine the chaos if the clandestine cyberweapons market shutters America’s electrical power grid. I mean, how would Americans access their trillion dollars of crypto?!? How will I know if my friends have laser-eyed avatars and will get offended when I don’t accept bitcoin as barter for my backup generator?
Finding Value in Disruption
Disrupted. Is there a better word to describe the past 12 months? Disrupted lives. Disrupted routines. Disrupted travel. Disrupted work. Disrupted education. Disrupted supply chains. Disrupted markets.
Was Sisyphus a Value Investor?
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” —Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942
The plight of Sisyphus is not wholly unfamiliar to value investors. And so it’s reasonable for these investors to ask themselves: Are we like Sisyphus?