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Bill Maurer
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Bill Maurer, in addition to writing for Seeking Alpha, is currently a part-time trader. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lehigh University, where he double majored in Finance and Accounting, with a focus on Investments and Financial Analysis. While at Lehigh, he was a Head Portfolio... More
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  • Apple Q3 Estimates Starting To Fall

    For those that have followed my writing on Apple (AAPL), you know that recently I have discussed how Apple's fiscal Q3 estimates, for the June ending quarter, may be too high. Well, recently, we've seen those estimates start to trickle down. Here were my three latest Apple articles that discussed this issue:

    With major product launches not expected to come until August or September at the earliest, the June ending quarter is at risk. The following table shows how Q3 estimates have come down lately. You can see current estimates here.

    So what's the takeaway here today? Well, for those that are long Apple, it's probably a good thing that estimates are coming down. The lower estimates are, the better chance Apple has of meeting them with its Q3 guidance. Also, if Apple issues weak guidance, falling estimates mean guidance won't miss as much. It would not surprise me if Apple's guidance misses for Q3, and if that sends the stock down, it might be a good opportunity to buy. Just like most years, the second half of the calendar year is when investors get excited about Apple. I'll be back early next week with my official Apple earnings preview article.

    Apr 15 9:56 AM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Who's In Your Bracket?

    Okay people, March Madness time again. Let's take a few minutes away from the markets to have some fun. I want to see what everyone thinks for the tournament, so share your thoughts below. Fill in the teams you have for the questions below. Do this only once, and do it based on your MAIN bracket. Yes, everyone usually does multiple brackets, so do it on the one either you have the most faith in, or the one you have the most riding on. Post by Thursday at 12 noon Eastern, and I'll have mine in by then as well.

    Questions - just leave a team name:

    1. Who is your lowest seeded Final Four team (if you have two or more with the same seed, pick the one you have least faith in)?

    2. Who is your biggest sleeper (i.e. they would have the most upsets over a higher seeded team)?

    3. Who is your least confident Elite Eight pick?

    4. Who do you have losing the National Championship game?

    5. Who is your first #1 or #2 seed to lose, and who do they lose to?

    Mar 17 11:00 AM | Link | 1 Comment
  • My Editor's Picks

    I've heard some requests from readers looking to find past Editor's Picks articles easier. On this page, I will provide a link to all of my Editor's Picks, as well as a list of them with a brief summary.

    Link to All articles - Bill Maurer's Editor's Picks List

    Article titles and summaries:

    Intel: The Worst Case Scenario - Examines the worst possible scenario for Intel investors in 2014. Discusses revenues, EPS, and the company's capital return plan.

    Dendreon: The Time Is Now - Discusses what the biotech company was about to report with its Q4 report. Highlighted the major numbers investors should be looking at.

    Crocs: Missing The Big Picture - Discusses the Crocs deal to raise $200 million from the sale of preferred shares. While the company did announce a much larger buyback, Crocs also warned on Q4 and said it would not be focusing on revenue growth in the short term as it goes through a transition period with its CEO stepping aside. Important Note: This article was selected for Seeking Alpha Small Cap Insight and will be only available to Pro subscribers after a certain date.

    Apple: Please Quit Your Whining - Talks about the new iPhone launch and how Apple is criticized for everything it does. Discusses the double standard Apple was held to when it came to the iPhone 5C and several other matters.

    Apple: Analyzing the Icahn Buyback Potential - Discusses the progression of Apple's buyback. Article takes a look at the company's cash pile and foreign/domestic cash breakdown. Carl Icahn's proposal is discussed, and I talk about how much EPS improvement could be seen.

    Green Mountain Has A Revenue Problem - Discusses the slowing revenues at one of the most prominent momentum names. Revenue growth has fallen off a cliff. Also dives into the fiscal 2013 inflated cash flow numbers.

    Has Dendreon's Window Of Opportunity Closed? - Analyzes the latest quarterly report from the maker of Provenge. Shows why another sales disappointment and terrible guidance makes a capital raise even more likely, and why investors may need to bail. Discusses potential items that could send the stock higher as well.

    Boston Beer Continues To Deliver - Discusses how the beer maker's growth story continues to dazzle, sending shares to new all-time highs. Compares the names to others in the space, showing how further growth is still possible. Important Note: This article was selected for Seeking Alpha Small Cap Insight and will be only available to Pro subscribers after a certain date.

    Deckers: Potential Remains Despite Questionable Guidance - Discusses the latest quarterly report from the UGG maker. Analyzes why the pullback may be a good opportunity. Discusses the guidance raise and the true math behind it.

    Crocs: $20 Possible On Asia-Pacific Growth - Discusses the footwear retailer's potential upside on strong growth in the Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) region. Shows how the company is striving to be a four quarter retailer, and why the valuation is reasonable. Important Note: This article was selected for Seeking Alpha Small Cap Insight and will be only available to Pro subscribers after a certain date.

    First Solar: Now Comes the Hard Part -Discusses the solar giant's recent stock sale and how it impacts the balance sheet. Discusses the timing of the event, and shows why the company needs to prove that the large dilution was worth it to shareholders.

    SodaStream: When Will The Madness End? - Discusses the recent round of events that have SodaStream shares up 48% in a month. Explains why this is a company with tremendous growth potential and opportunities, and why that would be the reason to invest, not because of buyout rumors.

    Green Mountain: Starbucks Deal Hides Poor Report - Explains why an expanded partnership with Starbucks (SBUX) led to a pop in Green Mountain shares. This, despite the company's extremely disappointing revenue quarter and revenue guidance for the next quarter.

    Deckers Pullback Could Present Opportunity - Examines the UGG maker's Q1 results. Discusses the Q1 beat, weak Q2 guidance, and why despite poor results, this stock could continue higher.

    Apple Earnings Preview: Playing The Analyst Game - Previews Apple's fiscal Q2 earnings report. Discusses why it doesn't matter what Apple reports, rather what the "analysts" think for the company.

    Philip Morris Pulls Back on Currency, Debt Worries - Examines the Q1 results from Philip Morris. Focuses on the company's earnings miss due to currency fluctuations, and discusses the ever increasing debt load. Shows why this may be the pullback investors were waiting for.

    Netflix: Why 4 Billion Hours Is Not An Investment Thesis - Explains why the Netflix announcement that 4 billion hours viewed in Q1 is not a reason to buy. An increase of 30% or so in viewing hours over the past three quarters is meaningless when Netflix is guiding to subscriber growth of 30% or so. Also, last time they announced something like this, they set the stock up to get crushed when earnings came out.

    Why lululemon Can Certainly Recover - Explains why the yoga and apparel maker can recover from their "pants problem". Discusses the company's growth potential and conservative guidance, plus an amazing balance sheet.

    Coinstar's Debt Raise A Problem For Netflix - Explains why Coinstar's debt raise will help the kiosk maker increase content spending for Redbox Instant, while also allowing Coinstar to buy back more shares. Discusses the launch of Redbox Instant and threats from Amazon Prime.

    Deckers: Not Good Enough Means Short Case Returns - Details the poor 4th quarter performance of the UGG retailer, and why continued underperformance means the stock is a short again. Important Note: This article was selected for Seeking Alpha Pro and will be only available to Pro subscribers after a certain date.

    SodaStream Is Here To Stay - Analyzes the soda maker's fourth quarter results. Previews what the company has in the pipeline going forward, and shows why the valuation is quite reasonable.

    Intuitive Surgical Remains Best of Breed - Analyzes the da Vinci Surgical maker's fourth quarter results. Shows why this growth company which has pleased investors in the past continued to do so, and why this is a great growth name to be in for the long term.

    Amazon's Circus: Good, Bad, and Ugly - Breaks down Amazon's fourth quarter results. Shows why despite missing estimates and providing poor guidance, Amazon's stock rallied higher on the news.

    Apple Earnings Preview: Can Shares Rebound? - A preview of Apple's Q1 earnings report. Breaks down the expected numbers by product, and figures out a base line for where Apple needs to report. Also analyzes themes between Q1 in comparison to past quarters.

    Why lululemon's Pre-Announcement Is Good News - Examines the early Q4 announcement from Canadian apparel maker lululemon. This was not a warning. They guided to the upper end of their revenue range and higher than range for earnings. Stock sold off because again, analysts expected way too much, providing a good buy opportunity.

    Netflix Gives Reed Hastings Huge Raise: Why? - Examines the latest folly from Netflix. Despite a dismal year with profits plunging 95% plus, margins falling off a cliff, and the company killing off its profitable DVD segment, the company gave CEO Reed Hastings a huge raise, which I feel is extremely undeserved.

    Should you Sell Cisco like CEO John Chambers Is? - Analyzes the under the radar announcement that Cisco CEO John Chambers plans to sell about a third of his position in the name over the next year or two. With Cisco trading near the high end of its range, is now the time to take some profits and look for a better entry point?

    Amazon's Smoke And Mirrors Are Fading - Discusses why a company that continues to not make money and decrease its margins cannot rally forever. Amazon is trading at 52-week highs, despite now losing money and a huge debt raise recently, a large part of which was to fund their new headquarters.

    Lululemon Perhaps The Best Buy In Retail - Explains why retailer lululemon's (LULU) third quarter results prove it is a great company. Blowout results, a great balance sheet, and plenty of growth ahead are discussed, as well as a valuation analysis to peers.

    Netflix Bulls Don't Get It - Explains why Netflix is still overpriced, as shrinking margins will lead to depressed profits for many years, and how the Disney (DIS) deal isn't all its cracked up to be.

    Netflix Competitive Battle Heats Up - Discusses the new competition Netflix faces in Mexico, along with a widely anticipated US competitor getting closer to launch. Analyzes the impact of several smaller competitors eating away, instead of one large competitor.

    Apple's Valuation Is Very Reasonable - Shows how Apple's stock is fairly valued, perhaps even cheap. Uses two metrics to discuss. A backward looking price to earnings calculation, subtracting out the massive cash pile, and a forward looking price to sales number versus other names in the space.

    Green Mountain Remains A Short Candidate - Explains why coffee name Green Mountain still has several issues involved that make the potential for a short position likely. Items include an extra week throwing off growth numbers, a buyback vastly skewing numbers, and a stock rising 160% while expectations have decreased.

    Google Looking For Margin Rebound - Discusses the impact of Google's falling margins. Shows why it's not just about the cost of sales, and how the Motorola Mobility acquisition has changed things. Shows why Google's margin problem needs to turn around, given that shares traded at a significant premium to Apple currently.

    Amazon And The Issue of Debt - Explains why Amazon's recent decision to issue debt isn't the best one. Discusses the worsening balance sheet as well as poor profitability. Article also questions issuing debt versus equity.

    Deckers Headwinds And Potential Opportunities - Explains the tough conditions Deckers still faces and why the company is not out of the woods yet. Also discusses how the company can turn things around.

    Investors Don't Understand Apple's Math - A Mistake - Explains why Apple's recent fall could be related to the company's confusing guidance. Discussed are the impacts of a 13 week period versus a 14 week one, and low gross margin guidance.

    Zillow Fall Could Present Opportunity - Analyzes why real estate information site Zillow may be a buy after the recent fall post-earnings. While guidance was disappointing, it may be part of the company's long term strategy in shifting businesses.

    Dendreon Still Not There Yet - Analyzes why the post-earnings pop in biotech Dendreon was short lived. Provenge sales have fallen two quarters in a row. With the balance sheet getting worse, the company is having a hard time getting to the magic $100 million revenue mark.

    Philip Morris Pulls Back Again - Discusses the cigarette maker's Q3 results, which didn't meet expectations. Shows how the premium to the industry has come down, and on another $6 pullback, the name might be a good buy again.

    Microsoft Gets A Pass - Analyzes Microsoft's fiscal Q1 results that missed due to Windows 8 deferred revenues. Explains why the stock still is a great value, and the company should get a pass as we wait for the new product launch, like Apple always gets one.

    Sprint: Don't Forget The Fundamentals - Shows why Sprint has the ability to become profitable over the next few years after a fresh shot of capital could help them pay down debt to reduce interest costs. Also discussed is the possibility that Sprint gets the iPad.

    Netflix: Don't Buy Into A 40% Rally - Shows investors why buying into Netflix after a 40% pop on two analyst upgrades is unwise. Analyzes the contribution profit issue, competitive fears, and Amazon Prime.

    Cisco: Is Now The Time To Buy? - With Cisco at post-earnings levels again, should investors buy into the tech giant. Analyzes the dividend, buyback, and growth prospects in relation to other top tier techs.

    Research in Motion's Positive Surprise - Analyzes the second quarter report from the Blackberry maker. RIMM shares jumped after the company beat on both the top and bottom line. Although expectations were really low, the results weren't as bad as expected, and they even increased their cash position in the quarter.

    Intel Could Be The Next Dow Dog - Analyzes how Intel estimates have come down since the company's Q3 revenue warning. Describes how net income has been falling in recent quarters, which leads to lower operating cash flow, which will have a negative impact on the company's buyback plans, hindering EPS growth going forward.

    The Apple iPhone Frenzy Is Here - Talks about the upcoming launch of Apple's new iPhone. Analyzes the impact that unit sales will have on fiscal Q4 for the company, and shows how the stock could react after the announcement hits.

    QE3 Now Could Mean QE4 Later - Talks about the impact of the Federal Reserve launching QE3 during the September meeting, and how it might be too early for such a program. With the economy not in terrible shape, and the upcoming fiscal cliff, it is possible that QE3 now could lead to QE4 sooner than you think.

    Intel's Warning: Priced In Or Going Lower? - Analyzes the latest revenue warning for Intel (INTC), and figures out the impact on the PC industry at a whole. Shows why there could still be downside for shares.

    Apple's Q4 Depends on iPhone Release - Examines why Apple's fiscal Q4 and Q1 results will be heavily dependent on the timing of the iPhone release. Also, how will Apple fend off the growing competition in the tablet space.

    Cisco's Dividend Hiding Larger Issues? - Analyzes why a huge jump in Cisco's dividend may be hiding some red flags in terms of growth and declining margins. Also, with shares up nearly $4 off the recent low, investors might not want to jump in at current levels.

    Sprint: Bold iPhone Move, Fitch Affirms Rating, Outlook Negative - Examines Sprint's (S) move to cut the iPhone 4S price ahead of the new phone launch. Also, discusses the recent report from Fitch, which affirmed the company's debt rating, but left the outlook at negative due to several legitimate risk factors.

    Microsoft: Profiting From Windows 8 Launch - Examines how to make money in Microsoft (MSFT), from both shares and options, through the Windows 8 launch period over the next few months.

    Philip Morris Still Going Strong - Examines the strength of the cigarette maker and discusses how to find a decent entry point.

    Google Remains Quite Unimpresive - Explains why Google's (GOOG) internal metrics are breaking down and that it is in the prime trading range for a short opportunity.

    Netflix Continues To Stagnate - Details the continued troubles Netflix (NFLX) has after reporting Q2 earnings.

    Deckers Will Rally If Guidance Is Good - Details how Deckers could jump after Q2 if they can assure investors that the second half of the year will be better.

    Research in Motion: By The Numbers - Analyzes how struggling Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIMM) is doing. This time, it's all about some key numbers.

    Is Philip Morris Still Best of Breed - Examines Philip Morris (PM), the cigarette maker, to see if it still is the best name in the space.

    Research in Motion: It Only Gets Worse - Examines the Blackberry maker after its terrible Q1 earnings report and BB10 delay.

    Facebook: The Real Fun Is About To Start - Why upcoming quiet periods ending, earnings reports, and lock up expirations will provide the true craziness in this name.

    Skeptical of Amazon At These Levels - Why Amazon (AMZN) is a good short candidate after its Q1 earnings report and subsequent rally.

    Deckers: The Latest High-Growth Stock to Collapse - Analyzes how Deckers (DECK), the company behind UGGs, has fallen after a warm winter, and how the problems may be more than just short-term.

    Will Apple Be Helped Or Hurt By Facebook? - Analyzes the impact on holding Apple (AAPL) stock through Facebook's (FB) IPO, expected sometime during 2012.

    Boston Beer: Flavor and Growth Make For a Winning Investment - Analyzes the Boston Beer (SAM) company, producer of the flagship Samuel Adams brand.

    Apple: P/E Debate Rages, But Sales Growth Will Fuel Next Rally - Analyzes why Apple's sales have a bigger impact on stock price than earnings do.

    End of Crocs, Or Great Buying Opportunity? - Analyzes the position of footwear retailer Crocs (CROX), after a bad earnings report and guidance sent shares down 35%.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Additional disclosure: See Individual Articles for most updated disclosure(s). Investors are always reminded that before making any investment, you should do your own proper due diligence on any name directly or indirectly mentioned in this article. Investors should also consider seeking advice from a broker or financial adviser before making any investment decisions. Any material in this article should be considered general information, and not relied on as a formal investment recommendation.

    Dec 21 9:21 AM | Link | 4 Comments
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