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George Acs

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  • Herbalife: Who's Consuming All Those Shakes? And Why... [View article]
    I dare say that I likely understand the importance and functions of capital markets more than most, but you clearly have mis-interpreted its role in the current Herbalife saga and in general.

    That's the problem with being pedantic. You tend to lose sight of a bigger picture and focus on minutae, while believing that you have a proprietary right to an understanding of not only the situation at hand but the building blocks that constitute the myriad of issues under consideration

    As you have described yourself as a "forensic nut" I can understand how that is consistent with some of the zealotry expressed by others that also serves to diminish credibility.

    Zealots may be well intentioned, but history demonstrates that such zealotry begins to eclipse an objective grasp of reality and the deeper one gets the less likely they will be receptive to alternative points of view.

    In my case, my point of view shouldn't be terribly controversial. It has to do with attempting to manipulate markets. Opinion pieces can and do move markets. That is undeniable and it is reasonable to believe that on days where a stock moves significantly higher or lower in the absence of news, especially opposite in direction to its sector or the broader market, that opinion pieces, such as analyst ratings or even articles in Seeking Alpha may be the reason for the movement.

    When someone writes about 85 articles on the same topic over the course of 12 months, it is natural to question the motivation and not to so readily dismiss the impact of such actions, as you did in the follow-up comment.

    Insofar as Herbalife is not actively or currently competing for capital, after all, the capital allocate done in the secondary market at best has only an indirect impact upon the company, it isn't subject to the demands of those that do the allocations. At that point that Herbalife does find itself competing for such capital the market will decide whether there is sufficient opportunity to offset real or perceived risk.

    Further, you create many suppositions, that consistent with your positions are grounded in fact. Yes, capital must be finite, but it can also be growing and entirely adequate for the demand that greets it. However, even fraudulent enterprises may be productive and inject capital into the system. You, however, presume the opposite, that they are by definition "unproductive."

    Where in the world did you get that definition? It must be nice to live in a world where you get to define and then interpret. Self-fulfillment in such a manner is how people get to "bat 1.000."

    I hate to tell you this, but many productive enterprises are themselves funded by fraudulent enterprises and they create both demand for capital as well as introduce capital into the markets. That doesn't excuse the root actions, but it is a reality that you fail to recognize, because it undermines your faulty supposition.

    Unfortunately, you have assigned yourself the role of judge, jury and executioner, as typically is the case when zealotry is involved, as there is little use for due process and it gets in the way of the self-fulfillment that is so very important.

    So much more to discuss, but so little interest in doing so.
    Sep 16 11:12 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife: Who's Consuming All Those Shakes? And Why... [View article]
    I believe that your comment further down in the thread, may give some valuable insight:

    "HLF -1.4% -28.0% -34.5% -42.3%

    see those minus signs... that is bad..."

    It is bad, unless you are a short seller. And then if you are a short seller and authoring an article every third business day for a year and making unsubstantiated statements, such as "earnings are the result of criminal activity," your credibility should rightfully be called into question.

    A reasonable person might wonder if those efforts are an attempt to manipulate share price. Credibility is not damaged solely by the quantity of articles written, as you suggest I had claimed and then further suggesting a vacuous analogy. It is further compromised by content, motivation, exaggeration and use of non-substantiated allegations.

    By the way, perhaps you might want to use a word other than "claims," then, to describe the position that Ackman et al have taken, as "claims:" are defined as:

    "stating or asserting that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof."

    Perhaps you intended the use of that specific word, knowing full well that evidence and proof of such assertions is still lacking.

    Sadly, that is at the crux of the issue and once again, you have unknowingly provided the insight.

    But, as you have pointed out, those "claims" have caused damage.

    My assertion is simply that unsubstantiated claims are a detriment to the market and are done for clear purposes that when proffered in a financial site have nothing to do with bringing benefit to a portion of society other than those short the stock.
    Sep 15 02:34 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife: Who's Consuming All Those Shakes? And Why... [View article]
    There can be a difference between speaking "the Truth" and speaking your book.

    When there is a clear profit motive involved one has to question the motivation, particularly when the need to "speak the Truth" appears unusually fierce. Complicate that a bit by the notion that even reasonable people may disagree about what constitutes the truth and that other people are still waiting to make their judgment, but would prefer to do so on the basis of fact and not opinion.

    What you say has merit on the surface, except that you predicate it all by the conviction that Herbalife is a fraud. It may very well be, but it also may not be and I'm certain that far more capable people than most would imagine are investigating the issues that have been alleged.

    I absolutely don't disparage the need for the market to have short sellers. They are critical in the markets maintaining their liquidity, but I strongly oppose anyone's attempt to manipulate the market, whether on the short or long side.

    Whether you want to believe so or not, publishing an article every third business day that disparages or promotes any company with which you are not employed, but do have a long or a short position in, is nothing more than an attempt to manipulate share price. Hiding under the guise of protecting society, especially while writing on a financial website, is about as superficially transparent as one can get.
    Sep 12 08:02 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife: Who's Consuming All Those Shakes? And Why... [View article]
    I certainly don't mind someone taking a position, long or short, but I do mind someone attempting to alter the landscape for their own benefit and potentially to the detriment of others, rather than allowing the market to function.

    Herbalife may in fact be a hideous company, but its fate shouldn't be altered by someone who has no information other than access to a modern day versions of a mimeograph machine, a bullhorn and a street corner.
    Sep 9 06:35 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Investor's Remorse [View article]
    A few months ago when Cheney was asked whether he had any regrets or would have done anything differently during his tenure as Vice President his response was fairly straightforward.

    Whether you agree or disagree with someone's political positions, stances or decisions, it's very difficult to understand how someone can think of absolutely nothing that they would do differently. No one should be so perfect as to not question the path that they selected.

    Since remorse was the weekly theme, there may have been reasonable reason to include a mention of Dick Cheney and at least one egregious example of an inability to find a means to accept responsibility for an entirely non-political action.
    Aug 9 10:20 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spinning Your Wheels [View article]
    The more you watch the more clear that people are spinning all the time. Whatever their hypothesis happens to be the facts are made to conform.

    Luck is every bit as important as anything else, except people continually take credit when things go their way and then spin when it doesn't.
    May 18 08:20 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Of The Same [View article]
    Thank you, but don't forget to hunt for the hidden message contained within the first three letters of the mid-point of each sentence and then assembled in reverse order.
    May 4 08:43 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Will Apple's Stock Split Impact Its Shareholders? [View article]
    Typically after the split date you trade a "when issued" version of the shares, so no one will be able to buy those full priced pre-split shares after the split and no one will get stuck with full priced shares that aren't eligible for the split.

    Otherwise, most everyone in the world would be trying to game the split and take advantage of some one who may be less aware.
    Apr 25 08:17 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rolling The Dice With Earnings [View article]
    Click on the link earlier in the article. It will take you to an article that discusses implied volatility. Basically, using a short term option is best, such as a weekly option, take the call and ask premiums at the nearest at the money or in the money strike price, add them together and then divide by the strike price. That is the implied volatility. That defines the range, up and down, from that strike level, that the option market believes the price of shares may move.

    Sorry about the headache. The article was supposed to give you projectile vomiting.
    Apr 16 10:43 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reality Can Be Cruel [View article]
    One really long paragraph?
    Jan 19 10:04 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cisco Was A Friend Of Mine [View article]
    Investigative journalism? As they say, "that's above my pay grade." I'll stick to rabble rousing.
    Nov 14 04:33 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cisco Was A Friend Of Mine [View article]
    At this point of my life everything is just a trade. The constellation of online access to information and cheap trading is the investing world's equivalent of Viagra. Who ever thought you would be capable of such things without the need for a long term commitment or cuddling?
    Nov 14 03:24 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Before Earnings [View article]
    It's not my target. It's the target that is implied by the option market and it is the target expected for trading during the reminder of this week. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Based upon the definition of implied price movement it is correct. Whether it ends up being accurate is another question that will be resolved during the remaining 3 days of the option contract.

    However, with regard to advertising, as they say in the financial business "past performance is not a guarantee of future performance." The fact that advertisers are currently utilizing the platform shouldn't be construed as a guarantee that any particular company will always continue to do so.

    The suggestion over the past few days that some major advertisers are dissatisfied with the Facebook platform and particularly mobile results, could be poorly received by the market if that disappointment found its way into the ad revenues or simply showed a slowing of mobile ad revenue growth.

    I mentioned that I'm not a big advocate of metrics. I might add the one that you've cited. Somehow, I don't think there's a strong model to suggest that the list of current advertisers will be worth double the IPO.

    Your emotion is matched only by those who felt exactly the opposite a year ago. The greater and more widespread the fervor the more concern I would have.
    Oct 29 08:17 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Before Earnings [View article]
    The use of data accurate to two significant figures just compounds my embarrassment. Some, however, would interpret it as compounding pride.
    Oct 29 06:10 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Finding Someone To Blame [View article]

    It is a little hard to believe how poorly orchestrated this project was, but it was likely hampered by continually changing specifications despite the hard deadline. It was also a little laughable listening to congressional questioners using Amazon as a comparison.

    I wonder how many web sites through the history of the web have received as many visitors the first day and were tied to so many different databases, including the need for valifdation. I have a feeling that on day one Amazon was not quite as busy as the ACA web site and certainly nowhere near as complex.

    It probably also didn't help that the complexity was increased by so many states selecting not to create their own sites and instead relying on the Federal site.

    What struck me the most during the congressional testimony was hearing consultants say that it wasn't their role or responsibility to tell the government that the product was not ready for prime time. If not them, then who? How in the world can any consultant turn over a job to a client with knowledge or significant suspicion that it will not stand up to real stresses?

    If my consultant believed that it wasn't his responsibility to act as a consultant I would have some serious concern about their understanding of their role.
    Oct 27 11:26 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment