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Paul Wagner

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  • E-Commerce Giant eBay Is An Attractive Investment [View article]
    Thanks, nofear, for the clarification. I wouldn't buy from Chinese sellers, reflection on them, just a sense that issues would be more likely to arise than if buying from sellers located in the U.S.
    Aug 21 07:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stock Screen: Bargain Basement Stocks [View article]
    1137176. (clever name, btw. :=)>)BGFV's most recent 10k showed they had 414 stores. Three states, Califorinia, Washington and Arizona accounted for 296 of them. California alone had 210. The rest were scattered among Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and perhaps a couple more. You are correct: those states didn't experience the polar vortex. I spent the winter in Arizona: nice the whole time!
    Aug 21 05:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • E-Commerce Giant eBay Is An Attractive Investment [View article]
    nofearforreal: This is not argumentative, and perhaps you have singled out only Chinese-made goods and not other imports. But have you ever consider what a tee shirt or a computer or a TV or a wrist watch would cost you if they had to be sourced in the U.S? As far back as the early 1980's I had a Cincinnati client whose company made nice ladies blouses right there in Cincinnati. He finally had to give in and have his blouses made in Hong Kong. Two reasons: one, was cost but the other, major reason was that because the blouses had a fair amount of "fanciness" (for lack of a better word) it had become no longer possible for him to find sewers who could produce the garments. But they were plentiful in Hong Kong. Since then, Hong Kong has been subjected to even less expensive labor on the mainland and in other Asian areas like Viet Nam.
    Aug 21 05:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Consumers Are Not Buying, Where Is Their Money Hiding? [View article]
    kevinconway: "America will be like the Waltons". You do know what the "Wal-" in Walmart stands for, don't you?
    Aug 19 11:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • E-Commerce Giant eBay Is An Attractive Investment [View article]
    Seeker137..I read the description of the court case that you linked to. I don't think this alone is a big issue for Ebay. Paypal has some similarity to factoring of invoices at the business to business level. My career was spent in the commercial factoring business so maybe I can shed some light on the way Paypal handles disputed purchases.

    Our agreements stated that we purchased accounts receivable (this is essentially what Paypal is doing) from our clients "free of any claims and disputation". Since we were not involved in the transaction we were not in a position to judge the merits of either party to the dispute. We "charged back" the receivable to the client without making any judgment who was right. Our client was free to deal with the customer outside of our involvement, taking whatever legal action the client felt appropriate.

    Like the plaintiff in the Ebay case, some of our clients felt our policy was not in their best interest, because it meant we could be "played' by an unscrupulous buyer. The plaintiff has a point, but, like our company, Ebay/Paypal is a facilitator of her sales, not her partner. Imagine if Ebay/Papyal's policy was to force collection of a disputed receivable, even going so far as to sue the customer. That would discourage customers to buy through Ebay, because they could be victims of unscrupulous sellers. Thus, it is possible that there would not even be an Ebay to facilitate the plaintiff's business.

    As I said, it's unlikely the litigation you refer to will have a major effect on Ebay.
    Aug 19 11:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article]
    mjwrona...well thank you very much for buying the book and for this nice, public recommendation. I hope the book is helpful to you.

    Good point about Sears. Mediocre management top to bottom, but the tower is impressive. I lived and worked in Chicago for most of my career and watched the tower being built. I was working across the street for Dun & Bradstreet at the time. Sears and Monkey Wards, both Chicago based, were retailing icons; one is history and the other dying a slow death.

    Recently, it hit me that Sears and Penney's got out of the catalog business just in time for the "email order" industry to be born. What crummy timing. If they had had decent management, imagine the online business they could have done with their fulfillment infrastructure already in place; it should have been relatively simple to transition from mail and phone order to etailing.

    Good luck..and thanks again.
    Aug 17 01:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article]
    kevinconway..Did you read my article on TGT? TGT could tank at some point, of course. You made a point that " a once solid company can turn very quickly". My point is that they don't. Even JCP has taken a long time to die and it didn't go from a $60 stock to a $5 stock over night.

    TGT has sold its receivables, borrowed money and suspended buybacks, while preserving the dividend. They are hemorrhaging in Canada, but unlike governments, there is a point when they will say "no mas". Meanwhile, the stock price hasn't gone to JCP levels and any investor in TGT has had plenty of time to know that there is more risk in TGT than they might have suspected and to have positioned herself accordingly. I think that's the normal dynamic -- precipitous falls by investment grade credits are very rare.

    TGT's financial condition does matter: an investment grade rating communicates to creditors a company's financial solvency and liquidity. The balance sheet, the profitability and cash flow are the ingredients that allow a company the time to confront problems and overcome them.

    I've never owned TGT and am not inclined to buy any now or in the near future.
    Aug 17 09:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article]
    kevinconway. "This is about making money NOT being humble".

    Well, you admit it took you 50 years to learn how to make money. So, I guess you are kinda sorta humble already.
    Aug 17 08:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article]
    David..." I try to always purchase stocks that go up in price...."

    I do hope you run things by kevinconway before you buy anything. Good luck.
    Aug 17 08:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article]
    kevinconway.. "Paul does not seem to understand......". You're probably just a whole lot smarter than me and coupled with your job as a merchandise manager you probably have reached the highest echelon of mastery of retail analysis. Good for you.

    I had a job,too. While you were being a merchandise manager I was senior credit officer responsible for over $4 billion of accounts receivable due from retailers. I have forgotten more major retail bankruptcy stories than many people have ever heard of. Can you say Unishops?

    It's not that my resume is that important and, unlike you, there is still a lot I can learn about retail and everything else about investing and character. So, I keep working at it and do appreciate your valuable help.
    Aug 17 08:12 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Matter, But Not For The Reason You Think [View article] make a point that "a once solid business can turn very quickly" and then you use TGT as "a current example". Trouble with your argument is 1). TGT hasn't been doing so great for 7 years now -- hardly "very quickly" if one is paying attention and 2) as bad as TGT might be doing, its free cash flow still amply covers the dividend. In other words, any stockholder paying attention has had years to see the trends. As to your belief that TGT "paid off" shareholders with the most recent dividend in order to "keep everyone sidetracked" -- well that's just an insult to "everyone" (but kevinconway, of course) and since the dividend raise occurred after the CEO had been fired, it seems that "everyone" was in on the board's "secret" for awhile already.

    The truth is that investment grade credits very, very rarely "turn quickly".
    Aug 16 10:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Key Tests For The True Dividend Growth Investor [View article] standby cash is currently 5% of my liquid assets. My investable cash is 23% of my liquid assets; that is historically high for me. It's the lazy man's way to hedge. My only risk is the opportunity cost of holding so much and I'm okay with that at this stage of my life. I no longer have anything to prove and figure we could do just fine from here on out if it were all cash.
    Aug 16 02:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Weight Your Dividend Growth Stocks [View article]
    With all due respect to the author, debt to equity as a weighting factor seems ill-conceived. (I'm agreeing with Craig Lehman).

    Particularly when comparing different kinds of businesses, reasonable leverage does not tell much. For example, ADP is asset light and so it would require almost no debt -- and has none. Wal-mart on the other hand owns more real estate than many REITs, plus it has a major investment in inventory. Should we penalize Wal-mart for being in a totally different business from ADP? I think not.

    I don't have any letters after my name, but I like to think. And I think this exercise is a little to "esoteric" to be useful.
    Aug 15 11:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fossil Group - No Big Surprises, Appeal Remains [View article]'re 100% right about Michael Kors having been a key contributor to Fossil's growth over the past few years. A point the author should have been aware of and emphasized, rather than suggest that Kors has had an inhibiting effect on FOSL's growth.
    Aug 15 10:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Key Tests For The True Dividend Growth Investor [View article]
    Right on, Robert. Standby cash and investments are two different things. Many people never reach a point of having sufficient standby cash.

    Everybody who has flown the nest Mommy and Daddy made for them needs to immediately start to accumulate a stash o' cash and that stash is there to keep them from having to break a promise to pay or to roll over dollar one on a credit card. The amount of the stash depends a lot on one's job security, marketability of one's skills if one should lose his job, one's health and one's fixed expenses relative to his income. A good rule of thumb for a young, healthy person with job security would be six months of fixed expenses. A relatively bigger stash would be appropriate for a self-employed person with a family.

    Accumulating and maintaining the stash is what you do first. Step two is learning how businesses work. Step three, learning how to do due diligence and finally, you start investing conservatively in Chowder-esque companies. A little in one company, and then a little in another company until you have a portfolio of 8-15 companies, setting up with your broker to reinvest the divvies. For me, that's enough companies, but having more is fine, too, as long as you can stay close to each of them. Then keep adding to your portfolio, maintaining your cash reserves all the while.
    Aug 15 08:29 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment