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Michael Shulman

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  • The Idiot's Guide To Why Questcor Is Suspicious [View article]
    I have sold QCOR puts so maybe I am biased. I have a simple investment thesis for QCOR. Uncle Sam (Medicaid) and health insurance companies do not let babies die or become permanently brain damaged. Strip out the noise and QCOR sales to other markets, just look at this business and the company's revenue and profit streams are solid. The recession reduced birth rates. this situation will probably reverse itself, possibly this year, and that means more Acthar sales.
    Jan 7 10:08 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Compugen: Not Enough Information On Bayer Deal, Investors Should Stay Away [View article]
    My apologies, too much biotech on my desk, on my post I said Curis, which I do own, not Compugen, the subject of the post! Time for coffee.
    Sep 11 02:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Compugen: Not Enough Information On Bayer Deal, Investors Should Stay Away [View article]
    For full disclosure, I own shares in Curis. No responsible management team would ever reveal the milestones for these in turn reveal the trial and marketing strategy for the drugs. Anyone investing in Curis needs to invest in their technology and approach, not one specific deal. And to try to value a biotech like Curis using any traditional metrics is laughable - they are going to succeed, and go up ten fold, stay stagnant with their one drug approved, and go sideways or slide or all their new trials blow up and so does the stock.
    Sep 11 02:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With Apple, What A Difference A Week Makes [View article]
    Someone wrote a tech company is only as good as its next product. Not true -- and Apple is a consumer product company, not a tech product company. Apple's success is based on the superiority of the ergonomics and integration of its product line - no competitor comes close - and the superiority of individual products. And reviewers say the iPhone 5 is the best smartphone, the iPad is the best tablet, the Mac is the best computer. Unlike "tech" companies, the integration across platforms and iTunes and iCloud guarantees ongoing demand from audiences already captured - something not guaranteed in any fashion for any other their competitors. Wall Street has always confused Apple with a tech company, no tragedy there, means you can get a company with $137 billion in cash and at least 20% growth this year at a 16% discount to the S+P 500.
    Jan 24 08:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Nexus 7: A Threat To Apple's Current Business Model? [View article]
    Provocative headline, flawed view of the world, sorry. There is room in the world for two models in computers, phones and tablets -- a closed, high margin system providing superior integration, superior security and the best ergonomic experience and an open, low margin, commodity based system using the Android operating system. Google will have much lower margins than Apple on its hardware since it must complete against other Android tablets. Apple has never worried too much - publicly - about market share and uses new devices and features to naturally take market share from other products based on functionality related to price, not price alone. Last point - I am the only one who thinks this but if the iPad does come out in a seven inch form factor, I believe it will be for China and perhaps other developing markets, not the US or Europe.
    Jul 23 10:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Earnings Preview: iPhone Down, iPad Up [View article]
    According to ChangeWave Research (part of the 451 Group), and they do the absolutely best surveys on Apple products -- what was bought, was will be bought and so on - iPhone sales will be stronger in Q2 and Q3 than at any other time there has been an expectation of a new iPhone coming out within a set period of time. This not only reinforces what was written here, this demand, in this quarter and next, will supplement incremental demand from China.
    Jul 23 10:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retail: Is It Different This Time? [View article]
    Wishful thinking does not a rebound make. Staples has several parts and faces several kinds of consumer demand. The company sells core commodities -- paper, pens and so on. Amazon's selection is better and cheaper - my favorite disposable fountain pens are no longer available st Staples, I get them online. Specialty products are available -- again through Amazon - from third parties using Amazon as a storefront. Specialty services other than bulk copying are flat out better on the Web, a business dominated by Vistaprint. And bulk copying services are inferior to Kinkos. Then there is electronics - SPLS is suffering, like Best Buy, from AMZN, Costco and AAPL competition. There is not solution to any of these competitve problemls when you may low salaries and have relatively untrained employees.

    About demand -- new business formation is flat to negative as is overall employee growth, the two drivers of core demand. A flurry of new itty bitty companies -- consultants -- the unemployed gong out on their own -- has ebbed. Core demand facing SPLS is going to grow in low single digits.

    Does this mean SPLS is going out of business? No. Does it mean the stock is fairly valued? Maybe. Does this mean there is a greater chance the business will decline than a chance it will be able to resume meaningful growth? Absolutely.
    Jul 18 11:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Lost Decade For Microsoft Investors [View article]
    Microsoft - the company and the stock - elicits strong, emotional reactions from almost everyone. The reality is is less emotional - the company, long ago, became captive to its customer base and code base, and given the size of both, has been unable to innovate and stay abreast or ahead of both technology and consumer preferences. MSFT was never an innovation machine - it bought MS-DOS, it was more than three year later with Windows (I worked for the first ever declared hardware vendor to sign up for Windows 1.0, we went bankrupt years before it shipped), most of its dominant applications were bought and its use of monopoly power combined with the bundling of applications brought it to its current size. This lack of innovation was mitigated by the innovation of applications developers -- and now, in the consumer market and increasingly in the business market, that is a problem. There is increasing demand for a seamless experience among devices and apps and the open system that is at the heart of Windows development obviates attempts to make Windows devices and apps work together as well as they do in the Apple world. The solution? Break up the company, something that should have been done long ago. In my opinion, today's MSFT is worth $20-$25 a share and will see average annual growth of no more than 5%-7%. Break up the company and it is worth $60 or more and each of three units -- apps, operating systems and gaming - could grow in double digits. This will never happen with current management.
    Jul 16 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Questcor Pharmaceuticals And Citron Research: Who Is Correct? [View article]
    The Citron research, if I read this column correctly, was an academic exercise with little relevance to the real world performance of QCOR. Underlying QCOR's performance is a simple reality -- while some audience members at Republican debates may want patients to die if they do not have health insurance physicians and insurance companies do not want to let patients die, especially babies. Because physicians do not want babies suffering from infantile spasms suffer brain damage or die, they will never participate in a clinical trial for a competing product to Acthar and would not allowed to do so as they must use the existing standard of care. Second, insurance companies do not want the publicity or the tort liability of having a baby die due to a lack of coverage. The Citron analysis is so flawed -- again, if what I read her6e and elsewhere no the Web is what they actually wrote - it is laughable. One last point -- the big growth for Acthar has been for on label use with MS patients, once doctors find something that works on MS patients they rarely move off it and when thy do it takes years to see a change in the marketplace. Just look at the time it has take Tysabri to gain market share.
    Jul 13 10:29 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Finds A Survival Strategy [View article]
    Solar installations are only competitive -- even with 50% reductions in costs - against the incremental cost of generating electricity. They are now competing against sub $3 natural gas that will be available for generations due to fracking. Sub $3 natural gas is similar to sub $1.25 per gallon gasoline. I worked on solar energy back in the 1970s - I published my first paper in 1978 on industrial uses of solar energy - and the issues are the same. It is too expensive and when traditional fossil fuel generated electricity is expensive enough to justify solar, alternative fuels pop up. Bottom line - your vision of a solar future is laudable but wishful thinking.
    Jul 10 11:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple PC Sales Increasing, But Their Revenue Impact Is Down [View article]
    Sorry, but, well,you are dead wrong. The MAC has outsized importance has a hub inside a home that cements the consumer's relationship to Apple. Every sale of a Mac that replaces a Windows system in a home that has yet to buy an iPhone or iPad is the foundation for those sales. And when Macs gain a certain critical mass in a business environment, a mass large enough for the IT& department or consultants to provide Mac support, data show iPads and iPhones soon follow. That7 is on the revenue side. Your analysis did not include an analysis of margins and Macs contribute much more to margin than iPads and even at 20% off revenue are critical to Apple maintaining margins and profit growth. Again, my regrets for being so blunt, but the revenue side tells less than half the story.
    Jan 17 10:28 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'm Selling Apple [View article]
    Two comments. First, no company in the last century as a) this market cap and b) this little market share. The company has enormous headroom to expand share, especially in computers. Second, sell calls. If you sell a combination of weekly and monthly options you get a yield of 20% per annum, assuming you are active, or 8%-12% per annum if you are not all that active. Spend the money or average down. The author should know better.
    Jun 24 01:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Rare and Important Test for Apple's Recently Underperforming Stock [View article]
    Real issue? The market cap and its role in the QQQs. I am never brief but there is little more to say -- the stock is trading at a ridiculously low multiple and may stay that way for a while. I own it and write calls every week, every month...
    Jun 13 09:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Picking Its Battles Wisely [View article]
    Bestill my quaking heart - someone who does fundamental research,understands Amazon and Apple and also recommends trades! You nailed this analysis -- of course I am an Apple and Amazon devotee, get everything from toilet paper to dog biscuits from Amazon, although they are not delivered to my kindle, they are delivered free - and I thank you for this piece. Yes, toilet paper.
    Jun 13 09:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia and Apple Demonstrate the Importance of Downside Protection [View article]
    In the real world, the downside protection for Nokia is the Finnish government. Apple needs none. Barring a market crash, owners of Apple can own the stock, not worry about the price five years from now and sell calls all day long. If you sell the monthlies twelve times a year you can create your own 8%-12% dividend to spend to average down.
    Jun 13 09:11 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment