"If you were to study the shareholder returns for the top 1,000 U.S. companies over the past five years, you would discover something very interesting. Look at Figure I.1.
This is derived from the annual Wall Street Journal “Shareholder Scoreboard.” It reports on shareholder returns for 1,000 of the leading companies listed on U.S. exchanges. In Figure I.1 we show for a range of sectors both the average return for the sector (the shaded bar) and the return for the best and worst company in the sector (the two ends of the I-beam). There is some variation across sectors, but not nearly as much as the variation in company performance within each sector. In fact, in almost every sector, the top-performing company is not 5 or 10 percent better than the worst performer; it’s more like 200, 300, or even 1,000 percent better! So if you accept my premise that value is “hiding” somewhere out there on the competitive landscape—waiting to be discovered and appropriated by the skilled manager—then you either have to make the case that some companies are simply much luckier than others (up to 1,000 percent luckier), or you have to agree with me that those top performers are far better than their competitors at sniffing out value.
Let me make that same point again in slightly different words. As I do so, keep in mind that I’m not comparing companies in a hot sector with companies in a cool one. I’m comparing apples to apples, mining companies to mining companies, and computer companies to computer companies. Within each industry, there’s an enormous range of performance over a five-year period. Some companies turn in stellar performances. Others go bankrupt."
Trecho retirado de "Where Value Hides" de Stuart Jackson.