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What’s a Grecian Urn?

April 21, 2010

With the Greek stock market down about 22% year-to-date, Rocky pondered the riddle, “What’s a Grecian Urn?” and poked around the Greek stock market for some values.

The ASE Index has 49 members and Rocky had three simple criteria:
(1) A strong balance sheet — (i.e. not a lot of debt).

(2) A reasonable return-on-equity over the past few years.

(3) Some evidence of earnings growth over the past 8 years.

Amazingly, out of 49 stocks (Hellenic Coca-Cola excluded,) only two stocks passed these pathetically undemanding tests:

Metka S.A. — a manufacturer of heavy equipment used in mining and ports. Unfortunately, this stock is actually up 3% year-to-date, so the market knows this is a decent company.

Jumbo S.A. — a chain of retail stores that sells toys and baby products. (Rocky rarely pays retail. He likes wholesale.)

Iaso, SA, a company that provides obstetrics and gynecological services did not make the cut, however, it might have been a pairs trade with Jumbo SA. (Short the OB/GYN, long the baby toys?)

[Disclosure: Rocky never gives investment advice. However he concludes that while the Greek stock market may rally on a resolution of their debt crisis, he doesn’t see any compelling investments…and the country seems to lack any listed world-class enterprises.  As to the question, “What’s a Grecian Urn?” the answer is around $30,000 per year. But that’s evidently tax free, with an early retirement too.]

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  1. Yarnman
    May 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Rocky–The stock market’s volatility is more like a Grecian Churn!–Yarnman

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