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  • Apple: The Best Of Both Worlds Awaits Savvy Investors [View article]
    I meant what I wrote about this being a solid article. I had intended the second sentence to be more tongue-in-cheek, but I understand that it did not come across that way.
    Further, I apologize for using your article as a means to promote myself and I appreciate you calling me out on that.
    I had actually read your article back in January recommending Apple at the time and was not trying to insinuate that you were just now jumping on the bandwagon; merely that it seemed as though others were.
    Epic Comment Fail...
    May 20, 2014. 02:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The Best Of Both Worlds Awaits Savvy Investors [View article]
    Solid article. Where was your analysis last year when Apple was trading at 33% of its current value?
    I'm glad to see the market is turning back to favorable on Apple. It is so interesting to me that so many articles were slamming the company last year when it had 'fallen from grace' down to about $400. Now that it has soared 50% in the past year, I'm happy to see all of the postiive reviews coming back out!
    I recommended Apple on my blog last year, and while the value is certainly not as good today as it was then, I'm still bullish. Check it out:
    May 19, 2014. 01:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deere Is No Longer 'Dear' To Investors... [View article]
    I am always eager to read articles that have a negative outlook on any of my favored stocks. Unfortunately, despite your handle, I think that your piece is anything but ‘balanced’. It appears that your analysis has fallen into the modern investor trap of foregoing past history and performance in favor of a myopic view of the present.

    The facts of Deere’s financials are clear and indisputable: the company has consistently increased EPS, income, and dividends over the past 10 years while simultaneously maintaining an alluring return on equity (ROE) north of 20% and repurchasing 24.5% of its outstanding shares. Slice those numbers any way that you like…they’re still impressive.

    “So what?” you’ll ask. “They’ve had a good run…but commodity prices are dropping!”, you’ll claim. No doubt about it. But you didn’t take the time to analyze the prices of wheat, corn, and cotton over the same 10 year period in which DE has done so well. Below are just a few examples of John Deere not only weathering drops in commodity prices, but increasing shareholder value at the same time:

    - The price of wheat peaked in Jan 2008 around $430/metric ton. That price plummeted to around $150 by Jun 2010 and has never fully recovered, sitting near $300 today. During that same time period, DE has increased its revenues from $28B to $38B, again with increased EPS and dividend payouts.
    - Cotton peaked in the spring of 2010 above $220/metric ton and has been down since to around $85. During that same period, DE increased its revenues from about $30B to $38B. And, you guessed it, increased EPS and dividend payouts.
    - Between Jun 2008 and Jun 2010, corn prices dropped from $280/metric ton down to $150. Despite this drop in half and an economic recession, DE only saw a revenue loss of around 9%. And, of course, the company still found the cash laying around to increase its dividend and continue its long tradition of buying back shares.

    It is a huge mistake to underestimate a firm like John Deere’s ability to adapt and overcome to its changing environment and the ever-changing needs of its consumers. When looking for a long-term investment (a redundant phrase, I believe), it is critical to find one that has a proven record of consistent profits and shareholder value growth. This type of historical performance provides a strong baseline for the average investor to rely on when predicting future performance.

    A balanced investment strategy should focus on long-term sustainable growth and time and again, John Deere has proven it can do this better than most. Couple all of the above data with a P/E below 10, well below many of its competitors, and there is still plenty of room for this company to grow its value. If you really believe that the company’s “major contributor in net sales…will not be able to support the company in the future”, than I think you’re caveat statement should read: “I am short John Deere.”

    It’s easy to ‘mainstream-invest’. It’s much harder to dig deep and find value and opportunity when others can’t seem to see the profit through the wheat fields.

    Happy Hunting.
    -Agent Alpha

    * I am long John Deere.
    Jan 7, 2014. 12:07 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Aflac: Insure Your Portfolio With Value [View article]

    As a Value Guy, I love the kind of long-term sentiment you describe. My only counter would be that I want Mr. Market to eventually recognize what is so obvious to us. Then I want him to start offering crazy valuations with a P/E of 25 or more. And then I want to sell my stake and find a new undervalued bargain with the same fundamentals and durable competitive advantage as Aflac today. I'm sure there is some pun in here about cooking a duck to perfection...but I'll let it lie.

    Now to both our points, it is my intention to keep looking for companies that I think match this type of investment. And I plan to keep sharing my analysis as long as there is at least one person left willing to read it.

    Thanks for sharing your comment.
    Jun 18, 2013. 04:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Aflac: Insure Your Portfolio With Value [View article]
    Thanks for the comment. It is much appreciated. As I find more, I will try and publish more.
    Jun 18, 2013. 04:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Aflac: Insure Your Portfolio With Value [View article]

    I appreciate your feedback. I've found the SA community incredibly knowledgeable and supportive; a solid combination.

    You are spot in about Aflac's IR staff. This is one of the first companies that I've done a deep level of due diligence on and I was actually surprised that they took my call and my questions seriously. It was a great experience and one that I will look to replicate.

    Finally, while I think AFL is a great buy today (not withstanding the 52-week high), I am hopeful that continued skepticism about 'Abe-nomics' in Japan coupled with natural volatility will yield a much better bargain in the next 12 months. If we see a sub-8 P/E again, I will be adding a considerable amount more to my position.

    Thanks for the comment.
    Jun 18, 2013. 04:31 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Aflac: Insure Your Portfolio With Value [View article]
    That is a great question and one that I will definitely pose to AFL Investor Relations the next time I call. I do know that long-time CEO, Dan Amos, has made references in the past to the size/scope of the US and Japanese life insurance market. He made the point that, at the time, Japan and the US were the top two consumers of life insurance policies and that, together, amounted to more than the rest of the world combined. Considering the still sizable room for growth in the two largest markets, I do not see AFL in any hurry to enter new markets. Though I am sure they are always considering their options!
    Jun 17, 2013. 06:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment