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  • Whole Foods, Wal-Mart And The Coming Commoditization Of Organic Grocers [View article]
    Good article overall. There are definitely those organic and natural shoppers who are looking for a certain setting and experience that simply won't transition to major discount retailers like $WMT. However, with mainstream retailers piling more and more into organics, they are certainly converting their own traditional shoppers into organic ones faster than $WFM is acquiring new ones. That said I believe $WFM has taken too much of a beating and will bounce back. I personally would be interested to see Whole Foods maybe take a shot at being something closer to the Costco model but for organic foods. They have the infrastructure, space and power to expand in this manner, soaking up the organic supply and lowering prices for dedicated and prospective shoppers -- prices that seem to be their biggest hurdle to increasing market share.

    For a solid and interesting organic and natural product play, take a look at $UNFI. They're a huge distributor to WFM but also to other large mainstream retailers like $SWY and more.
    Jul 14, 2014. 08:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell, Don't Buy, Floating-Rate Note Funds [View article]
    Just read "Larry Swedroe Positions For 2014: Risky Equities Always Trump Chasing Yield" -- good read. I see that you only stick to high quality bonds and the adjustments you make are mostly tenor/maturity related and based on how the yield curve looks at any moment in time.
    Dec 31, 2013. 06:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell, Don't Buy, Floating-Rate Note Funds [View article]
    Thanks for the article Larry. I agree with your statements but feel that you may be demonizing bank loans (or at least loan funds) a little too much. What is your alternative to FRN funds for a retail bond investor, whether they're simply (equities) risk averse, or maybe approaching retirement in the rising interest rate environment that we're facing? Don’t you think that investors should allocate at least a portion of their fixed income dollars to bank loan funds in order to capture yield and avoid some of the sting of rising rates on bond prices, over the paltry returns of short term treasuries and investment grade corporates, of course keeping in mind increased credit risk? As you point out, these funds do carry higher fees but that is largely a result of active management ensuring that credit risk is well managed for investors, drastically changing the risk profile of a loan fund versus individual loans. Just wondering if you have a good alternative for bond investors, especially as the equity markets continue to climb which may soon lead to investors looking to bail out before the big pull back that we’ve been hearing about happens.
    Dec 31, 2013. 06:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deltic Timber Corp., A Second Look [View article]
    Nice catch on the land management -- but as you say it definitely seems that they are trending to plantation.
    The premise of my article actually wasn't that housing (alone) would drive DEL higher, in fact I believe I go so far as to actually say that a recovering housing market would drive most if not all timberland/lumber companies higher. My premise was around what Deltic does differently than the rest of the industry -- the valuable ability to vertically integrate, which has cut costs and led to market leading margins, in addition to the generation of incremental revenue from turning waste material into another product (MDF). Their ability (and what seems like a strong desire) to leverage the same type of vertical integration in order to take advantage of a rapidly expanding biomass energy market as a result of their industry leading debt/equity ratio is another example of DEL’s differentiation. As for the dividend, it’s definitely on the lower end of the industry, however the company does have a capital program which I mentioned, through which the company recently raised the dividend substantially (33% I believe), in addition to buying back a couple of million dollars in stock, and paying off about 6% of LTD. The dividend could see continued growth as a result of DEL’s increasing cash flow (mostly from increased lumber prices and the Del Tin integration), but even if it doesn’t see immediate growth, Deltic also has top of the industry ROE and ROA, so investors should be okay with the company putting its cash to back to work for them. Lastly on the point of price appreciation, as the poster mentioned above, your thoughts do seem a bit counter-intuitive, unless you’re looking from a momentum perspective. However, I personally would rather invest in the undervalued company that hasn’t already run up 10, 20 or 30% - rather than possibly buying at the top.
    Dec 10, 2013. 08:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan Guidance Is Troublesome [View article]
    Been selling them on KMR @ 75 for the last few months
    Dec 5, 2013. 01:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan Guidance Is Troublesome [View article]
    I have a pretty sizable position in KMP. Didn't buy today but have added to my position during the similar dips that we've seen over the past 6 months. I'm not adding at these levels, only because I think we may end up with slightly better prices in a couple of weeks -- 1) after the jobs report which I believe is Dec 6th (possibly a precursor to QE decision) and 2) after the Fed meeting on Dec 17th/18th -- a slowdown in the Fed's bond buying (and ultimately a rise in rates) will hurt the high-yielders and MLP's, equating to what could be an even better buying opportunity.
    Dec 4, 2013. 08:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Alaska Communications: Overselling Has Led To Minimal Downside Risk, 35% Upside [View article]
    Thanks! There is definitely some risk here given the thus far short term nature of the balance sheet clean-up and the sheer volatility given the market cap of the company. However, at these levels and with some of the recent changes, it's definitely worth monitoring if you have some room in your portfolio or an appetite for a speculative play.
    As for the heavyweight analysts, it's just so small it's tough for the company to draw that kind of attention and there isn't a lot in the relationship for the bigger guys -- but that being said a little attention definitely wouldn't hurt ALSK.
    Nov 27, 2013. 04:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lindsay Corp.: Irrigating The Emerging Markets With A Modest Valuation [View article]
    Zacks downgraded to underperform. A shame given LNN had just crossed 80. I picked some up at 73.50 just before this article was published. A great stock and should be back there soon.
    Nov 22, 2013. 11:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hooker Furniture Is On Sale: 20% Off While Supplies Last [View article]
    Hooker hits price target of $17.50 today
    Nov 20, 2013. 08:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Terra Nitrogen: Long-Term Holders Face Considerable Downside [View article]
    TNH breaks below $160 over the last couple of days, hitting my price target.
    Nov 19, 2013. 08:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Valmont: Economic Growth Concerns Create Substantial Buying Opportunity, 30% Upside [View article]
    The short answer is that that’s a ridiculous question. You seem like the type that prefers more detail so I’ll elaborate. You can be a global player in an industry without having a market cap of $100 billion, or whatever arbitrary personal threshold you’ve set for companies to reach in order to be considered global dominators of their industry. As an example, I would say that a company that owns 30-35% of a $10 billion market is a major player within its industry, but will have a market cap of just a few billion since that is what the industry allows for. These types of companies find a niche and dominate it for years, scaling their business and strengthening their industry leading positions in many cases. They may not be the Intel’s or Exxon’s of the world, leading industries that are worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are the clear leaders of their own, niche industries.
    Between Valmont (VMI) and Lindsey (LNN), it's estimated that these two companies own about 75% of the US irrigation market. And while that percentage falls considerably when you look globally as a result of the sheer number of other countries involved and potential competitors, the fact that so many local competitors in these countries exists represents opportunity of both companies. Companies like VMI that are able to expand both organically, and often more importantly through acquisitions in highly fragmented, niche markets such as the ones VMI operates in are the ones who ultimately dominate. These companies use their larger balance sheets and expanding footprints to scoop up smaller local operators, adding incremental revenue and more importantly a geographical and cultural connection to new markets.
    I’ve written about several companies that are great examples of this, both domestically and internationally, and I’m sure there are many other examples out there. These are companies that have expanded in a similar fashion, as a result of a fragmented industry and are leaders in their industry despite valuations in the few billion dollar range.
    Look at Universal Corp (UVV), the global leader in tobacco processing. This company provides an incredible amount of the tobacco to cigarette makers around the world, the top supplier to many of the US based companies that you’ve heard of, and many international ones that you probably haven’t come across. I’ll let you read the stats from my article, but one of Universal’s main clients is China Tobacco, a company that represents over 40% of the cigarette market. As you know China presents similar challenges as India with respect for foreign operators, but UVV managed to secure this business by getting their foot in the door. It’s pretty clear that Universal dominates their tobacco processing market, yet they only have a paltry market cap of $1.2 billion, so I guess not a true global player according to the rob ram standards for company performance. United Natural Foods (UNFI) another company I wrote about is another great North American example with a $3.5 billion market cap, dominating a niche industry through acquisitions in a highly fragmented market. I would recommend that article as well.

    I’m not going to respond directly to your other “devil’s advocate” questions but I will add this one last bit since it ties in nicely with the above. You won’t find a lot of financial reporting for VMI at a level as granular as country, as they typically refer to their businesses by region; i.e. Americas, Europe, Asia. However in the 2012 annual report starting on page 27 you can find a list of all of the cities (and countries) where VMI has a presence. You can also do some quick "googling" and find news on VMI’s most recent expansions, many in Asia. Now I understand that a big part of some of this “presence” is simply cheaper manufacturing and not direct sales, so don’t bother trying to explain that to me. However, many of these locations do represent both direct and indirect business opportunities. As highlighted above, sometimes just getting your foot in the door and establishing a local presence is a first step in much bigger things to come. Also as I’m sure you are aware, many of the world’s fastest growing countries in Asia, the Middle East and South America require at least some of your manufacturing to take place in their countries if you want to even consider tapping into their market, which highlights the need and potential value for the “leg up” and “foot in the door” approach of local manufacturing, if nothing else. Positioning for acquisitions and expansion within that highly fragmented local market you speak so highly of.
    Nov 13, 2013. 10:53 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Capital Agency Investors Could Get Crushed, Again [View article]
    Safe Harbor statements are the generic comments you see at the end of every earnings release that protects management from liability when making best effort projections or forecasts regarding their company.
    Nov 10, 2013. 08:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • HSN: On Sale For 30% Off Heading Into The Busy Holiday Season [View article]
    Ha you're right -- took the 14 over 50 rather than 64 and carried it through. I remember thinking that seemed higher than my initial findings -- thanks for the detailed reading!
    Nov 10, 2013. 06:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HSN: On Sale For 30% Off Heading Into The Busy Holiday Season [View article]
    You're right, LINTA does have some other businesses (as does HSN). That being said, QVC makes up about 90% of LINTA's revenue (1.9 billion of 2.2 billion in Q3). You will also notice that throughout the article I eventually refer to QVC rather than LINTA, using that segment's specific growth rates, average prices, etc.
    Lastly, if you look at LINTA's Q3 release, the first three data points revolve around QVC US, which highlights the importance of not only QVC to LINTA, but more specifically QVC US. This makes for a fairly good comparison to the US driven HSN.
    Thank you for reading and for your questions.
    Nov 8, 2013. 11:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deere Is As Cheap As In December 2009 [View article]
    Thanks for the article. I'm a big fan of DE, think it's undervalued here and am long at current levels. Looking for a solid quarter at the end of November and expect some considerable price appreciation over the next 12-24 months.
    Nov 6, 2013. 09:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment