Irving Kahn has made a career of finding solid but beaten-down stocks by poring over annual reports and studying balance sheets looking for companies that have lots of cash, not much debt and good long-term growth prospects. He has seen it all, bull markets, bear markets, recessions, recoveries and, unlike most of us, he’s also seen the Great Depression. Born on December 19, 1905, Kahn worked as a stock analyst and brokerage clerk on Wall Street in the 1930s.
Kahn learned from the best. He served as the second teaching assistant to Benjamin Graham at the Columbia Business School. When asked about the Great Depression, he noted that the problem after the Depression was not so much the lack of money to invest but rather “knowing how to use it without losing it. There were too many bargains.” A bargain isn’t a sure thing, and Kahn will only buy investments he deemed “riskless.” Kahn hasn’t deviated from that philosophy over the decades.
Since 1978, Kahn has served as Chairman of The Kahn Brothers Group Inc. The company is a money manager and Registered Investment Advisor. It's principals manage over $550 million of institutional and private funds. The firm provides money management and brokerage services through its affiliated broker-dealer, Kahn Brothers LLC, which is a member of the New York Stock Exchange. At 103 years old he still shows up five days a week to hunt for overlooked companies with good businesses and little debt that are trading for less than the value of their assets. He is quoted as saying: "I'm at the stage in life where I get a lot of pleasure out of finding a cheap stock," adding that his research still pushes him to work evenings and weekends.
Kahn does not believe we are headed for a repeat of the 1930s when people “felt so helpless.” As an investor who has seen dozens of economic downturns, Kahn plainly says this is just part of the natural cycle of the market. “Investors have no reason to feel bearish. True value investors are glad the markets are down.”
Then, like now, there will be companies that survive and eventually thrive. Consider these stocks that not only survived the 1929 crash, but went on to reach new highs within two years:
- Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM) - Yield: 2.18%
- Coca-Cola (KO) - Yield: 3.71% - [Recent Analysis]
- U.S. Steel (X) - Yield: 2.18%
- Deere and Co. (DE) - Yield: 3.03%
- Macy's (M) (Formerly Federated Department Stores) - Yield: 4.38%
Full Disclosure: Long KO
- Stock Pros Who Survived the Depression
- Kahn Brothers Group, Inc.
- The Stocks That Survived 1929
Tags: [ADM] [DE] [KO] [M] [X]