3 Things I’m Thankful For

The Tricky Business of Giving Thanks

Giving thanks is a tricky business. On the one hand, it’s easy. You just go down the list: I’m thankful for being alive, healthy, employed (or successfully retired), sound of mind, blessed with family and friends, well-housed, well-fed and having something enjoyable to do, watch or read. Check all that apply.

On the other hand, it’s easy to take good things for granted, and many people do. They assume that they somehow deserve the heaping plate of good fortune that life presents to them. It’s their birthright, and they deeply resent any blemish that mars the smooth surface of their perfectly satisfying existence.

For people like that (and many of us have a little streak of entitlement in our makeup), it’s difficult to be truly thankful. Even the good life can be stressful, good health can be undercut with a galaxy of conditions (see your Physicians’ Desk Reference for ideas), family and friends can sometimes be annoying and the Thanksgiving turkey breast can be a little dry. So it goes.

I know that having someone else tell you what you should be thankful for is a little creepy, and I wouldn’t think of doing that. It’s like being sad and having someone tell you to “Cheer up!” Or complaining about something and being told how much worse off people are in other parts of the world.

The question of thankfulness is especially interesting to me because I write a financial advisory on how to invest in emerging market stocks, and I know that being a growth investor requires a certain amount of optimism. Pessimists don’t buy growth stocks because they believe deeply that most things will turn out badly.

And pessimists aren’t big on giving thanks because they believe that all good things are just temporary, flawed in some way or insufficient to produce happiness.

Three Things I’m Thankful For

Fortunately, I’m an optimist. So, with all that philosophical maundering out of the way, I’d like to run down my optimistic list of things I’m thankful for. And if one of the things on it sounds a little frivolous, I can assure you that they are all sincere.

1) My subscribers. It is a humbling experience for me to enjoy the trust of people who value my advice on investing in emerging market stocks in Cabot Global Stocks Explorer. I appreciate it and I work hard to earn that trust. Thank you!

2) My family. Everyone from my parents’ generation is gone now, but I have my brother and brother-in-law and a fine group of cousins, all of whom seem to be on Facebook sharing stories about their interesting lives.

3) I’m allowing myself one silly one this year. I had been thinking about being thankful for chocolate or bacon, but my final choice came down to the people who make movies. I have been leading film discussions at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for over 23 years, and every year I have to wade through a river of mediocre movies in deciding what to discuss. And every year, I wind up with at least a dozen movies that have made me really glad I’m a film buff.

So here’s wishing you a bountiful Thanksgiving with just as much (or as little) turkey, football and family as you need for complete satisfaction.

Even though the Thanksgiving turkey is already flattened on the road to Christmas with Santa Claus’s bootprints on his back, I’m glad to have a holiday that’s about being aware of what we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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A Strong Stock That’s Seasonally Appropriate

Coming up with a stock pick that’s appropriate for Thanksgiving time is usually somewhere on the difficult-to-impossible end of the scale. The market doesn’t know it’s Thanksgiving, and wouldn’t give a rip if it did. But this year I have been given a lovely gift, a strong stock that’s about as seasonally appropriate as any you will ever find.

The company is Tyson Foods (TSN), a huge food producer (market cap is $23 billion) whose various subsidiaries put protein in the center of millions of plates all year long. In fact, about one of every five pounds of the chicken, beef and pork produced in the U.S. every year comes from a Tyson facility. And right there among the 45 chicken-raising facilities, the 12 devoted to beef and the nine committed to pigs is one single, solitary facility for producing turkeys.

That’s the seasonal part. But Tyson also boasts good growth numbers (11% gain in revenue in the most recent quarter with earnings up a sterling 49%. TSN boasts a reasonable P/E ratio of 15 and a useful annual dividend yield of 1.6%.

The chart of TSN is also looking good. After a breakdown from a high at 76 last September to a low of 55 a year ago, TSN spent just over six months rebuilding its base, culminating with a month-long flat patch last May, when the stock traded between 57 and 58. TSN stayed volatile, with significant pullbacks in July and August, but once the stock gapped up on volume in late September, it’s been off to the races. Here’s what the daily chart looks like. (Note especially how TSN gets on top of its 200-day moving average in July, then uses it for support in August. Since then, it has been riding its 25-day moving average higher.

Tyson Foods (TSN) isn't one of the three things I'm thankful for, but it's a close call with this chart.Tyson Foods isn’t often a stock to make a growth investor’s mouth water, but a rally from 57 in May to 78 today isn’t to be sneezed at.

So once again, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Cabot.


Paul Goodwin

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