How Ben Graham Is Still Beating the Market Today

While Benjamin Graham’s classic The Intelligent Investor was written over six decades ago, the Defensive Investor strategy he laid out in it remains a winner, Validea CEO John Reese writes in his latest column.

“The investment world is no stranger to apparent greatness that doesn’t last,” Reese writes. “Every year, a number of fund managers will post stellar returns, catching the eye of the media and the public. Then many, if not most, of their funds disappoint the following year — and over the long term. That’s why I try to focus on investors with truly long-term track records, those whose greatness is, in fact, lasting.”

In terms of lasting greatness, “no investor fits the description better than the late Benjamin Graham,” says Reese. That’s because Graham didn’t just post exceptional returns during his own career in the middle of the 20th century — Graham also provided a blueprint for beating the market that Reese has used for the past decade. Reese has been tracking a portfolio of stocks picked using his Graham-based “Guru Strategy” since mid-2003, and since then it has returned more than 13% annualized, while the S&P 500 has returned less than 4% per year. It’s had a particularly good 2012, more than doubling the S&P despite the many concerns hovering over stocks.

Reese looks at how the Graham-based model works, and offers a handful of picks that have recently caught the strategy’s eye. Among them: Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo.