Saturday, February 7, 2009

Richard Pzena's Picks For 2008

Hat tip to GuruFocus poster Abeck for this Barron's interview with Richard Pzena dated December 31st, 2007: "Opportunity Amid the Ruins". Excerpt:

Barron's: What is your downside risk [of holding Citigroup]?

Richard Pzena: There is some short-term downside risk. Looking out three years-plus, you have a really spectacular risk/reward trade. The odds that Citigroup sells for less than 30 in three years are very low, and the odds of it selling for substantially above that are very high.

Barron's: Do you feel the same about other banks?

RP: Bank of America [BAC] is the same story. They are going through a downturn, so they're going to have losses and provisions. We're estimating earnings of $3.70 a share for 2007 and $4.10 for '08. Right now, people aren't buying banks because the next quarter might be bad. Whenever investors become hypersensitive to the next piece of information, value opportunities arise.

You have to have a strong stomach to do this. I always joke about it, but the most common question we get from clients in any market environment is "don't you read the paper? How could you possibly do this, given what is going on?" And the response is, these shares don't trade at these valuations unless this kind of stuff is going on. If this proves to be fatal to Citi or Fannie or Freddie, we'll get killed. If it proves not to be fatal, as we suspect, then over the long term we're going to make a lot of money.

The article included this table listing Pzena's six stock picks (Fannie, Freddie, Citi, BofA, Alcatel-Lucent, and Capital One) and their prices as of the end of 2007.

The photo above, of Richard Pzena, is from the Barron's article linked to in this post.

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