Finding Profitable Opportunities: Exploring an Innovative Investment Method

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In the world of investing, discovering profitable opportunities often requires more than basic financial knowledge. 

Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

Success hinges on an innovative approach, a keen understanding of market trends, and the ability to identify undervalued assets. 

Introduction to Innovative Investment Methods

Innovative investment methods veer away from traditional strategies, offering a fresh perspective on asset allocation, risk management, and investment selection. By using new technologies, theories, and models, these methods help investors identify untapped opportunities, reduce risk, and potentially increase returns.

The Magic Formula: Exploring Joel Greenblatt’s Investment Philosophy

Among these innovative methods, Joel Greenblatt’s Magic Formula stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness. Greenblatt, a successful hedge fund manager and a professor at Columbia Business School, introduced this formula in his best-selling book, “The Little Book That Beats The Market.”

The Magic Formula: A Deep Dive into its Components and Implementation

Greenblatt’s Magic Formula revolves around two key financial metrics—Return on Capital (ROC) and Earnings Yield (EY). These measures play a critical role in identifying profitable, undervalued companies. 

Here’s a deeper exploration of these components and the steps involved in implementing this investment strategy.

Return on Capital (ROC)

ROC measures a company’s efficiency in converting its capital into profits. It is a ratio that compares a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to its capital employed. A high ROC indicates a company that effectively uses its capital to generate profits, suggesting a well-managed and potentially profitable investment.

Earnings Yield (EY)

EY, on the other hand, is a financial ratio that describes a company’s earnings per share (EPS) for the most recent 12-month period divided by its current market price per share. 

It essentially illustrates how much an investor can expect to earn for each dollar invested in a company’s stock, providing a measure of the company’s profitability. A higher EY indicates better value, as it means an investor can purchase a larger amount of earnings for a lower price.

Greenblatt suggests ranking companies based on these two metrics and investing in those that score the highest. The Magic Formula’s crux lies in buying shares of good, profitable companies at bargain prices.

Implementing the Magic Formula

Implementing the Magic Formula involves a series of steps:

  • Ranking Companies: The first step requires ranking all the companies in the market based on their ROC and EY. This task requires access to a comprehensive database of company financials or a reliable financial service that can provide the necessary data.
  • Creating a Shortlist: After ranking the companies, create a shortlist of the top 20-30 companies based on their combined ranking. These are the companies that have the highest return on capital and the best earnings yield, suggesting they are profitable and undervalued.
  • Investing: Once the shortlist is ready, the next step involves investing in these companies. Greenblatt recommends investing an equal amount in each company, regardless of their size or the industry they belong to. This practice ensures that the investment is spread evenly across all selected companies.
  • Rebalancing: This strategy requires an annual rebalancing of the portfolio. This process involves selling off companies that no longer meet the Magic Formula’s criteria and purchasing new ones that do. Rebalancing helps ensure that your portfolio continues to hold the most profitable and undervalued companies.

Although the Magic Formula simplifies the investment selection process, it doesn’t entirely remove the need for due diligence. 

Each shortlisted company should undergo a thorough analysis to understand its business model, the industry it operates in, its financial health, and growth potential. This additional scrutiny is crucial in confirming whether a company is truly a valuable investment.

Unpacking the Advantages and Limitations of The Magic Formula

While the Magic Formula offers a unique approach to investing, it’s essential to understand both its benefits and shortcomings. Being aware of these can help you leverage its strengths and navigate its limitations effectively.



One of the standout benefits of the Magic Formula is its simplicity. The method uses only two metrics—Return on Capital and Earnings Yield—to identify potential investment opportunities. 

Even for those relatively new to investing, these metrics are straightforward and easy to comprehend. This simplicity enables investors to understand the rationale behind their investment decisions, adding a layer of comfort and confidence to the process.


The Magic Formula emphasizes identifying companies with high profitability. By focusing on Return on Capital, it helps to spot businesses that generate significant earnings relative to the capital they deploy. 

This focus on profitability tends to spotlight efficient, high-quality companies that could potentially yield robust returns over time.

Value Identification

The Earnings Yield factor assists in revealing undervalued stocks. By targeting companies with a high EY, the Magic Formula is designed to uncover companies whose earnings are high relative to their current stock price. This approach aligns with a value investing philosophy, offering a potentially rewarding avenue for those seeking investment bargains.


Time Horizon

The Magic Formula typically requires a long-term investment horizon for investors to realize potential returns. Short-term market volatility can affect the performance of the selected stocks, and these companies may take time to reach their potential. As such, investors who need quick returns or those who cannot commit capital for extended periods may find this method less suitable.

Market Fluctuations

The formula does not account for broader market trends or economic conditions. It’s focused purely on company-level metrics, which means it might overlook external factors that could impact a company’s performance. As such, there may be periods when the method’s selections underperform compared to the broader market.

Lack of Diversification

The Magic Formula’s approach could lead to a lack of diversification if the top-ranked companies are clustered within the same industry. Overconcentration in one sector can expose the portfolio to industry-specific risks and may adversely impact performance if that particular sector experiences a downturn.

While these strengths and weaknesses are inherent to the Magic Formula, they should not deter investors from considering this method. 

Instead, understanding these attributes can guide investors in effectively incorporating this strategy into their broader investment plan. Always remember, every investment strategy should be tailored to fit individual financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment time horizons.

Final Considerations

Innovation is essential in the dynamic world of investing. Novel strategies like Greenblatt’s Magic Formula can provide valuable insights and pave the way to profitable investment opportunities. However, always remember that no single strategy can guarantee success. Consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon when choosing the most suitable approach. With careful planning and informed decisions, you can navigate the investment landscape to grow your wealth effectively.

Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at

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