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  • Why The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Conference Call Portends A Double Whammy For Lumber Liquidators [View article]
    This is an interesting tug of war between long and shorts. One thing I would like to understand better, is what about Home Depot and Lowes? Where are the test results for their floors compared to LL? Another poster said that he called the labs which did the testing for 60 minutes, and they claimed they did not test the others, only LL. Can someone point me to the comparative results which show LL is doing this and the others are not?
    Mar 26, 2015. 10:57 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    They are locked up for 1 day, and then available to everyone for 30 days after that. But after the 30 days they are locked up again. So the theory being that Pro subscribers get an early look, but also they retain access to the vast and growing archive of stocks being written about, many of which are small and obscure and don't have much research coverage, so even 6 months or 12 months later it could be valuable to retain access to the articles.
    Mar 26, 2015. 10:47 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sphere 3D: A Short So Fat, When I Yell 'Hey Kool-Aid!' It Comes Crashing Through The Wall [View article]
    I agree, fantastic write-up.... could be the longest SA article I've ever read (and one of the funniest!), and definitely convincing.
    I have written a bit in the past about the tape storage industry, which does still have its place in certain niches, especially for long term archiving. With that said most of the companies, including Overland and others you mention have gotten slammed the past decade. I'm actually long Qualstar (QBAK), as I like what their new management did to go with a bare bones operations and work on winning some new customers in this niche. Also high insider ownership and buying continuously. Very curious how the market reacts to your article on Sphere 3D.
    Mar 26, 2015. 08:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HMG Courtland Properties: A Hidden Asset Play With 35% Upside [View article]
    2 other points I would add to my update at the top of the article:
    1. HMG has a 49% equity interest in its affiliate "TGIF Texas". This is on the books as worth about $2.4m using the equity method. We don't know much about what this affiliate owns, but presumably it is rental property. HMG is receiving about $200k/year in dividend income with their 49% share, and using reasonable discount rates its not a stretch to value this perpetual stream of income at about $3.5m, so $1m more than it is currently on the books. As the company must subtract dividends received, the valuation disparity could even grow here.
    2. HMG owns 1 property for "office space", in Coconut Grove Miami which looks more like a very nice house with a swimming pool (1870 S Bayshore Dr, Miami). This is on the books for about $800k, but is likely worth more like $1.5m according to Zillow, and also seeing it sold for $570k nearly 20 years ago, and property is much higher since then.

    So in total I see another $1.5-$2m of "hidden" asset value, besides the very clear cut value of cash and marketable securities. Bottom line is that the company is trading for about 50% of its asset value and with increased income streams there should be minimal to no cash burn. Small investors need to be patient but could definitely see 80-100% upside over the course of a few years of waiting it out, not to mention some likely decent dividend payments along the way.
    Mar 26, 2015. 04:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Seeking Alpha [View article]
    Well seems Chris you are already generating a ton of interest and buzz around your yet to launch service, so congrats for that :) I enjoy your work, but unfortunately won't be a subscriber as its out of my league cost wise as I'm only investing with a personal account, and unfortunately not yet a large enough one. Anyways good luck on becoming a million dollar service, won't surprise me at all if you get the 1000 subs.
    Mar 26, 2015. 03:41 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bancolombia: Buy This Fast-Growing Bank At 5-Year Lows [View article]
    Congrats Ian on winning the investment contest. I have been reviewing your article in detail, and do like the pick. I'm not an expert by any means in financial stocks, but could consider nibbling a bit here as a diversifier. I suspect that the COP will mean-revert eventually against the USD, so there will be some upside just based on that. One thing that concerns me though is the general make-up of the Colombian stock market. Sometimes due to major market inefficiencies you can have really long periods of price vs. value disparity.

    For example I was reviewing this very good IMF report on Colombia from 2013:

    I found this assessment interesting, copied below:
    There are few signs of asset bubbles in equity or housing prices, but the lack of
    depth and liquidity in key asset markets call for continued vigilance. The equity market could be prone to excessive price volatility, as it is illiquid with low trading volumes and a small free float. The state petroleum company (Ecopetrol) accounts for 40 percent of market capitalization, adding to the sensitivity to world oil prices, and its shares are liquid and account for almost one-third of trading. Moreover, retail investors dominate holdings with over 1 million individual accounts, suggesting that equity price swings could have wealth effects on consumption. If sustained, the hike in housing prices could join with the reduction of the average debt-to-net wealth of households to 12 percent in 2011 (down from 19 percent in 2010) to fuel a
    consumption credit boom.
    Mar 26, 2015. 03:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Announcing Winners For Seeking Alpha's First-Ever Investment Pitch Contest [View article]
    Yeah I agree that there has been conflicting policies at least in reference to currency conversion. I thought it made enormous sense in the case of Philips to do everything in Euros, and just convert to USD for the NYSE listed PHG valuation. However I actually half expected someone at SA to ask me to convert all figures to $, because in the past they have done that to me twice on European stocks I wrote about. But as SA's audience is quite sophisticated, especially on the Pro platform, this actually would be more confusing in a case like Philips if one wanted to do their own due diligence and compare to the companies filings which are all readily available in english and listed in euros. Anyways the analysis from Ian on CIB is not really comparable to mine, as its a very different idea largely related to a macro thesis on the Colombian economy and also its emerging middle class. I agree that it was perhaps difficult to separate the currency play vs. CIB core investment in the article which generated some heated discussions in the comments, but actually I think Ian's point which he made fairly convincingly (at least in my view), was that yes the stock will pop up if the currency exchange reverts to mean levels, but also the long term expansion and growth potential was still very compelling. I'm not sure I would have gone so far as to say 20-50x myself, but even if it was much less, it could still be an interesting stock to consider. I think the fact he provided this case so persuasively, which generated so much discussion/debate especially as nobody else on SA wrote anything on the stock in 18 months, was quite impressive.
    Mar 26, 2015. 02:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Announcing Winners For Seeking Alpha's First-Ever Investment Pitch Contest [View article]
    That could be interesting, I'm all for allowing the crowd to decide instead of editors alone, but the only issue I see is that more popular stocks will get more viewers and hence by the law of numbers a lot more likes. The contest is not just about popularity but also about quality of analysis.
    Mar 25, 2015. 07:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Announcing Winners For Seeking Alpha's First-Ever Investment Pitch Contest [View article]
    One suggestion SA could consider for the next competition is to have a tiered prize pool instead of winner take all. Maybe take the same total of $5k available, but then make it 1st prize $2.5k for best long OR short idea, and then $1.5k for 2nd prize, and $1k for 3rd prize. This could motivate people further in my view. I felt really pleased with my own contribution, especially as it was a top idea selection, but looking at how there was 55 entries but only 2 serious money prizes I could see that be discouraging for some contributors to try and enter again. I especially like the idea of combining the long and short prize pool, because as this competition highlighted there tends to be a lot more long articles, so the direct competition seems much more (not to take away from the short winner John Zhang, as it was a very good article for sure!)
    Just a thought, I suppose there are lots of ways this could be done.
    Mar 24, 2015. 03:38 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Announcing Winners For Seeking Alpha's First-Ever Investment Pitch Contest [View article]
    Congrats to the winners!! Was a good contest with great entries.
    Mar 23, 2015. 05:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Looking At EMC Ex-VMWare [View article]
    thanks Vince. A few years ago I was quite bullish on EMC and wrote an article when it was in the low 20s - that has seemed to be a good buying level over the past 5 years, as it often then drifts up near 30, but doesn't seem to break out any higher. My dad used to tell me how in the 70s he bought $5k worth of EMC, this young computer company.... sold it for a nice profit a few years later, and then cried in the next 30 years as it split 6 times and grew into this behemoth.... he could have had his pension on the 1 stock alone :) haha, I guess this happens to many of us.

    As far as my recent knowledge I need to catch up on their latest market positioning, but I always like the storage market because in my experience in IT in big enterprises, this is one area that most companies really treat carefully, and they don't fool around with different vendors or open source alternatives when it comes to safeguarding their corporate data/knowledge. So in that sense I think the big guys like EMC are well entrenched and the moat is very strong in their reoccurring business. Serious growth however will really only come now from good acquisitions, otherwise we're looking at single digits continuously. I do think though if they were to sell even part of the VMware stake, this could be big because they would then have a ton of financial flexibility for shareholder friendly actions. EBITDA multiple is now about 9x, which isn't bad, past few years it often jumped up to about 11x after that.
    Mar 23, 2015. 04:41 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Railcar Makers: Deep Value In An Overbought Market [View article]
    Ah OK, it was early in my day to be fair :) My first read on it was that market was implying just this industry.
    Mar 20, 2015. 08:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Railcar Makers: Deep Value In An Overbought Market [View article]
    Don't know anything about these companies, but just was looking at insider activity on GBX. Interesting how they sold like there was no tomorrow between July and Nov 2014, around $65/share. Since no sales or buys. It appears the real great opportunity was in December when the shares dipped into the 40s. But at 7x EBITDA, if prospects are really so good the next few years then it probably is still pretty cheap. I see shorts are still jumping on this, 30% of float is short.
    Mar 20, 2015. 03:30 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Railcar Makers: Deep Value In An Overbought Market [View article]
    Not sure if I read this correctly... shouldn't the title be "oversold" and not "overbought"...?
    Mar 20, 2015. 03:25 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bloomberg: Philips close to selling 80% of lighting components unit [View news story]
    Within Lighting, there are higher growth areas, like professional solutions, as well as more conventional legacy products (old fashioned light bulbs). LEDs are growing well, but also under a lot of margin pressures. The spin-off of the components business was a move announced before the larger break-up to try and get more value out of the business. In my opinion, this spin-off and breakup will unlock a lot of value for shareholders, and the stock has upside potential of 30-40% in the next 1 to 2 years. For more detail on Philips you can read my recent top idea article here:
    Mar 20, 2015. 02:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment