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Michael L. Boyer  

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  • Berkshire Hathaway's General Motors Test Drive [View article]

    Big 3 US Sales Roar:

    Chrysler up 30%

    F up 13%

    GM up 11%
    Jun 1, 2012. 01:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Denny's Poised To Overcome Demographic Headwinds [View article]
    Still a rock-bottom P/E and a major current holder is Avenir Corporation/DC, an investment firm very heavy on Buffett value principles, according to their letters.
    Jun 1, 2012. 12:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire Hathaway's General Motors Test Drive [View article]
    Yes, much more open to technology today. Could be an interesting part of the trend with the new personnel investing.

    Generally, media/TV broadly speaking is pretty well established (Cap Cities ABC).

    Check the General Dynamics. The Warren Buffet Way (by Hagstrom) describes that pick (191-198) in the early 1990's for investment purposes.
    May 31, 2012. 04:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire Hathaway's General Motors Test Drive [View article]
    My disclosure: I went through a similar process; after looking at them all, we went with the CRV--substantially less than other similar vehicles and had the best 3rd party reviews (especially on cost of ownership, safety, etc.).

    But it is a very competitive marketplace.

    Good points on BRK's other car related companies--also probably shipping the raw materials via rail, often giving them a good look at demand.
    May 31, 2012. 04:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ford: Berkshire Hathaway Likes 'Government Motors,' We Like Ford Instead [View article]
    Like the Ford stock ownership data, margins info; good GM versus F comparison for those looking to buy a US automaker.

    But not sure if the 1980's GM info or the naming rights info is as relevant unless you can really link it up to current outlook.

    More analysis on the caving to China assertion might be interesting. And the terms used for the government ownership and GM leadership could be more neutral.

    Also, check how the ownership/voting of the classes of Ford stock could work against your overall thesis.
    May 31, 2012. 02:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire Hathaway's General Motors Test Drive [View article]
    Good news!

    And let us know what you find at the car lot tshoe58--some of the best ground level research for this type of company.

    See if you find GM competitive on price and quality to the other US, Asian, and Japanese makers. That may be telling.

    I had not car shopped in about a decade and was surprised by the sticker prices of GM SUVs and Trucks. I did not remember the Tahoe as a $55,000 vehicle like one at the dealer or that a full size truck could run 40-50K plus. Even the attractive Traverse was in the 40K range. So maybe there is some pricing power in those segments.

    At this very small dealer, these GM vehicles were not moving in the volume of the Tacoma/Tundra,Pilots, RAV4's, Highlanders, and CRV.
    May 31, 2012. 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire Hathaway's General Motors Test Drive [View article]
    Great comments.

    The first two typify the variant views on GM. But not sure any auto (even Ford) fits the profile of typical Buffett stocks--just so capital intensive, cyclical and (especially with some automakers) subject to union issues.

    The second two comments bring up an issue I thought about a good deal in trying to understand GM's place in the Berkshire holdings--partisanship in investments.

    There has been some interaction with politics in his career trajectory: congressman's son; extensive network of powerful people; the Salomon Bros hearings and the "opportunity to provide a great service to taxpayers" (395 of the Lowenstein bio); certainly there are some personal moves in the bios related to political issues (against the exclusion of Jewish members in local country club; ample planned parenthood support; population control support); and lately, Buffett has sounded off repeatedly on the millionaire (and high net worth/estate) tax issues, even allowing the secretary to be used in the President's speech. As noted by comments, those would place him more squarely with one candidate than another.

    I just could not find anything linking the GM purchase directly to partisanship, no smoking gun to warrant it going into the article (so I looked at everything else). A piece 12/16/2010 " Why Warren Buffett is Everywhere" with Buffett and the President pictured together asks some pointed questions about his politics and his nomination for a Presidential Medal of Freedom (PMOF) but also concludes he has gone high profile all around--both in politics and business promotion (appearing in the companies advertisements, sometimes in funny situations).

    But to be fair in the run up to an election, the fact one candidate was pro bail out and the other against the bail about does lead to reasonable questions (a growing issue in the election), especially when the incumbent shares tax views and is well disclosed friendly terms with Buffett.

    Using Berkshire resources for partisanship would be a troubling event (on par with Lubrizol issues) for shareholders and could mar the Buffett mystique.

    So GM will have to perform better than the market to alleviate those questions. Time will tell.
    May 30, 2012. 07:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kraft Foods - A Forgotten Dog Of The Dow [View article]
    Not sure if any of the two successor companies of Kraft will be in the Dow post split.
    May 25, 2012. 05:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cash Rich Companies Choosing Stock Repurchases Rather Than Dividend Hikes - Part XIV [View article]
    The DENN story is worth following--new management (from Brinker, Dunkin, etc), paying down debt (fairly recently got covenants against dividends/buybacks removed), buying back stock, opening some key locations (travel centers and near college campuses), shifting to a franchise model.

    A bit of a turn-around and possible growth and demographics story.

    At 4 bucks and change and a relatively decent P/E, the value seems to be in the buyback and not the dividend; next to plowing back money into the company, buyback is probably the best use of retained earnings.

    The firm is still constrained by lagging economies in Denny's heavy sand/sun belt states (like California, Florida, Arizona). Look for the pop when those underlying economies improve and the buybacks are done and prime locations open.
    May 25, 2012. 12:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Denny's: A 'Grand Slam' For Investors? [View article]
    Yes, a compelling turn-around story that is just awaiting some demographic help (especially from Denny's heavy California, which just announced staggering 16 billion budget deficit and potentially massive cuts across the social sector).

    When the sun/sand states rebound, the top (and bottom) line for Denny's should see strong improvement, especially with lower debt, better management, etc.
    May 18, 2012. 05:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • These Companies May Be Habit Forming [View article]
    Yes, PDT is right.

    I have CL in my handwritten draft but somehow typed CP (which seems to be the Canadian Pacific Railway, probably only habit forming for shipping).

    Thanks for catching that one.
    May 14, 2012. 07:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • These Companies May Be Habit Forming [View article]
    Thanks! PG seems to dominate the US bathroom cabinets (especially in the US).

    There is also some comfort and connection in the companies making the things we use daily--especially with markets reeling from issues with complex synthetic financial instruments that are hard to understand...
    May 14, 2012. 07:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Procter & Gamble's Problems Go Beyond Costs [View article]
    Good news-- the problems seem to be mostly (according to some analysts) the management (and hence unlike the economy or industry, leadership is a problem that can be changed).

    Bad news--the problems seem to be mostly management (and it may take some real efforts from shareholders and the board to make the changes--not always fast or easy).
    May 14, 2012. 05:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ford: A Hot Buy At $11 On Stable Dividend [View article]
    And on the cons, I would add the precipitous drop in consumer reports ratings year over year (from overall 5th overall as a brand to 10th).

    The F-Series franchise is strong, but Ford (and GM and Chrysler/Fiat) still need to up the scores on reliability and cost of ownership across the board, in my opinion. Still to many defects and recalls.

    The press gets into the financial management (dividends, margins, etc) labor relations, and leadership too much for autos. The quality and engineering of the cars should be at the forefront.
    May 13, 2012. 01:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 7 Summer Sports Stocks To Consider [View article]
    The seasonal KFT struck me looking at the coupons in the Sunday paper: full page on drinks (Country Time, Kool Aid, Capri Sun, Crystal Light) and a page on bbq sauces &desserts (A-1, KFT BBQ sauce, Jello, Cool Whip, and Jet Puffed Marshmallows).

    Also, we have the Honey Grahams and Cadbury Chocolate for Smores.

    The list goes on...

    Both North American Foods & Global Snacks will have good summer exposure post split.
    May 11, 2012. 01:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment