Railways Pool

The railways pool is one of the three pools of investment with this site’s value investment fund. The railways pool has all six publicly Class I North American railroads as potential investments.

Value Investment Fund – Status on March 31, 2021

Value Investment Fund

The Club’s Value Investment Fund grew dramatically during March 2021. The Fund grew 10.1% driven by increases across the board for all investments. Total actual gain during March was $13,143 as illustrated in the report below.

As stated multiple times throughout the lessons and tutorials, high quality stocks have less risk and thus react remarkably well when the market goes down and recover quickly upon market rebound. Furthermore, high quality stocks provide many opportunities to earn good rewards if properly purchased at less than intrinsic value and sold upon market price recovery. Here is the Value Investment Fund’s status report for the end of March 2021.

Sold 104.712 PUTs on Norfolk Southern Railroad

Norfolk Southern Railroad

Within the railways pool of investments for the Club’s Value Investment Fund, Norfolk Southern Railroad is considered one of the better investments of the six existing railroads in the pool (soon to be five with the merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern). It is a highly stable company and rarely performs poorly, either financially or via key performance indicators. Thus, the sale of PUTs on Norfolk Southern Corporation are a safe and relatively low risk options investment.

A PUT is the sale of an insurance policy to an existing holder of stock. The idea is that IF the market price for the stock should suddenly depress to a particular price, ‘Strike Price’, the current holder of the stock can force the seller of the PUT to buy the stock from the current owner of the PUT at that strike price. In effect, the PUT acts as a floor price for the stockholder.

Value Investing – Monitoring Performance (Lesson 17)

Monitoring Performance

Monitoring performance is the single best tool to ensure success with value investing. Comparing results against expectations provides the basis for good decisions. In business, this is known as the feedback loop. In effect, a variable input is changed, results are recorded, compiled and reported in a understandable format. Any unexpected results are analyzed and input changes are implemented. The pattern is repeated. The end goal is to generate continuous improvement. With business, improvement is stated in the form of profit; with investment funds, it is stated in the form of  percentage of return on the overall invested capital. Thus, managing an investment fund is just like operating a business; the goal is to improve overall performance.

Throughout this series of lessons in Phase One of the program, it has been stated and reiterated several times. The goal of value investing is to generate returns that far exceed the returns of several indices. A value investor should expect at least a return on their investment in the mid-twenties as a percentage per year. The real goal is to generate 30% plus with returns. If the investor does their research properly and adheres to the four principles of value investing, achieving 30% plus per year on average is doable. But without monitoring performance of the fund, an investor cannot make the necessary timely adjustments to achieve the annual goal.

Sold Union Pacific PUTs

Union Pacific

Union Pacific is a high quality stock. Over the last twenty years, this company has  never failed to earn a profit. During this time period, there have been two recessions. The simple fact is that Union Pacific is a solid investment. The company has paid a dividend for the last thirty years. Its current yield at $210 per share is 1.83%. 

Union Pacific’s intrinsic value is estimated at $185 per share. Thus, any opportunity to own Union Pacific for less than $185 per share is considered an excellent buy.

From the Lessons Learned article for the Value Investment Fund’s 2020 performance, one of the additional tools to leverage higher the Fund’s annual return is to sell PUTs. A PUT is an option for the holder of the PUT to sell an asset, in this case stock, for a preset price referred to as ‘Strike Price’. The seller of the PUT is basically selling an insurance policy that if the market price drops to the strike price, the seller of the PUT is willing to buy the stock at that price. PUTs are a viable alternative to owning stock at less than intrinsic value. 

Value Investing – Setting Buy and Sell Points (Lesson 16)

Setting Buy and Sell Points

Setting buy and sell points for any investment security determines the investment’s final return. If the buy is made too early while the security is falling in price, the value investor loses out on not only additional margin upon the sale of that security, but also reduces their margin of safety associated with the intrinsic value point. It is similar on the other side of intrinsic value. If sold too soon, the value investor leaves money on the table. Thus, setting the buy and sell points are important decisions for every investment.

There are tools available to determine these two values. In the simplest of statements, the easiest rule to follow is the Pareto Principle, the old 80/20 rule. This rule basically states that roughly 80% of all outcomes are within 20% of of the value. With security pricing, this principle is simply that 80% of the value change will occur within 20% of the starting point. Thus, if a security’s intrinsic value is $80, then the probability is that 80% of the maximum change in value will happen within 20% points of the price shift. Therefore, the buy is approximately $64 and the sell point is $96. Almost certainly, this rule isn’t pure with security investing. The conception is that if the end results are beyond this 20 percent under and over the intrinsic value point, the value investor must have additional financial support and a lot of history with the security to validate expanding the buy and sell points beyond 20% fluctuation.

This lesson first introduces a basic model to illustrate and reinforce setting the respective buy and sell points. This model emphasizes an important aspect of price change. The angle of change affects the return on the investment. The steeper the price change, the shorter the time period for the change. The shorter the holding period for any investment, the greater the return on the investment. This is illustrated with a chart in this section of the lesson.

Sold Union Pacific – 23.66% Return in 72 Days


Value investing is about buying low and selling high. The investor creates a model to set buy/sell triggers and exercises this program with investmetns. Back on October 29, 2020, the Railways Pool of the club’s Value Investment Fund purchased 114.9557 shares of Union Pacific at $173.98 each including a $1 per share transaction cost. In that post, the sell point was set at $215.17 which occurred this morning in the market. Union Pacific actually cleared $221 at one point this morning. 

The fund’s preset sell, automatically sold when the price hit $215.17. The fund netted $214.17 per share after paying a $1 per share transaction fee.

The return on the investment is $40.19 per share as follows:

Value Investment Fund – Fund Status 11/21/2020

This is Week 4 of the 2nd year of the fund’s existence and it has already increased $16,123.95 of the $30,000 goal for the entire year. The $359 (.3%) increase over Week 3’s ending balance reflects the stagnant activity in the market as a whole. During this past week, the DOW Jones decreased by 1.37%. The difference between the DOW and the Investment Funds’ change is insignificant to make any value claim against the market as a whole. Suffice it to say, it held steady during this past week. 

Value Investing – Primary Tenet of Business (Lesson 5)

Value Investing

With the stock market, buying low and selling high is the goal for any investor. But the real problem, and it is depicted well in the illustration above, is knowing when the lows and highs exist. If you purchase the stock at its absolute lowest point in a cycle and then sold it at the highest point in the cycle, well you are either God or lucky. The simple truth is that nobody can predict either extreme. Value investors are not trying to predict either extreme; value investors only wish to identify acceptable lows (good value points) and reasonable highs to dispose of the investment. In effect, value investors merely take advantage of a good portion of this volatility with stock.

13.85% Return in 13 Days!

Norfolk Southern Railroad

Value investing allows investors to earn outstanding returns with a much lower risk. This is another example of excellent returns on a high quality stock. The example value investment fund purchased Norfolk Southern 13 days ago while the share price was 10% discounted from a prior market peak price. The sell trigger was preset at 103% of the prior peak. The only action that needed to occur is market recovery which happened this morning. The buy/sell frequency was extremely quick for this transaction which accelerates the return on the investment.

Purchased 114.9557 Shares of Union Pacific


From the Lessons Learned article posted a few days ago, in order to gain higher returns, the investment model needs to have greater dispersion with my buy/sell trigger points in its model. Last year, the buy/sell triggers for Union Pacific were a 17% market price decrease from the prior peak and to sell at 100% of prior peak.

This purchase point is driven by the model update whereby market price decreases must hit 18% decrease and the sell point increases to 102% of the prior peak price. This post covers the model update and the associated dollar amounts tied to Union Pacific.

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