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  • Orders, Revenue, And Margins Continue To Expand At Hurco
     • Mon, Jan. 12 HURC 4 Comments

    Summary

    • Hurco delivers double-digit growth in revenue and orders, complemented by good margin leverage.
    • U.S. manufacturing activity appears to be improving, but the health of the German manufacturing sector is looking less robust.
    • Mid-single digit revenue growth and modest FCF leverage can support a fair value in the mid-$40s.
  • AngioDynamics Still Looking For Inflection
     • Sat, Jan. 10 ANGO Comment!

    Summary

    • AngioDynamics posted a respectable fiscal second quarter, but overall revenue growth still needs to accelerate from here.
    • BioFlo and AngioVac are the company's best opportunities for driving incremental growth, but it is going to take time to build the businesses in the face of large competitors.
    • AngioDynamics doesn't really work from a DCF perspective without high single-digit revenue growth, but an EV/revenue approach is more forgiving and supports a fair value above $21.
  • Strong Soy And A Deep Pipeline Supports Monsanto
     • Sat, Jan. 10 MON 1 Comment

    Summary

    • Monsanto started the fiscal year off strong, but concerns remain that weak pricing will reduce corn and soy acreage.
    • Looking past the next couple of years, Monsanto has a deep pipeline that should generate the yield/productivity improvements necessary to maintain strong pricing.
    • Competition is a risk in Latin America, but 6% long-term revenue growth can support a fair value in the mid-$120's.
  • Amidst Macro Worries, MTN Group Can Still Outperform
     • Fri, Jan. 9 MTNOY 4 Comments

    Summary

    • MTN Group shares have underperformed on worries about regulation in Nigeria, competition in South Africa, and more general concerns about currency, macroeconomics, and politics.
    • MTN Group is responding with more intelligent pricing/promotion activity in South Africa, patience in Nigeria and Iran, and a more concerted effort to cut costs and promote value-added services.
    • Long-term revenue growth of 7% can support a fair value of $21 with forex movements a key unknown.
  • Neurocrine Biosciences Starts A Data-Rich Year On The Right Foot
     • Fri, Jan. 9 NBIX Comment!

    Summary

    • AbbVie announces positive efficacy data from Neurocrine's Elagolix in a Phase III study of endometriosis-related pain.
    • Investors will have to wait a bit, but additional data releases in 2015 on Elagolix in uterine fibroids and the SOLSTICE endometriosis study are coming.
    • Additional data on '854 in tardive dyskinesia and Tourettes can add meaningful per-share value.
    • Neurocrine isn't cheap on the basis of my current assumptions, but additional positive news could add over $10/share to the fair value.
  • MSC Industrial Continues To Skid
     • Fri, Jan. 9 MSM 3 Comments

    Summary

    • MSC Industrial underwhelms with fiscal first quarter results and disappoints with guidance for the next quarter.
    • With executive departures, ongoing downward revisions, and unimpressive results from the large CCSG acquisition, management needs to reestablish credibility and restore faith in the long-term growth strategy.
    • MSC Industrial shares do still appear to be undervalued, but that value cannot withstand ongoing "miss and lower" quarters.
  • Turkcell: Twists And Turns Continue
     • Wed, Jan. 7 TKC Comment!

    Summary

    • Two large shareholders continue to butt heads, increasing the odds that the Turkish government will have to step in to declare an annual meeting (where dividends can be declared).
    • Actual operating results have been better than expected, with gains in higher value postpaid mobile service and mobile and fixed line broadband.
    • Turkcell doesn't seem to get its full and fair due from the market, but the behind the scenes drama means these shares aren't suitable for all investors.
  • Execution And Purchasing Increasingly Important To PRA Group
     • Tue, Jan. 6 PRAA 1 Comment

    Summary

    • PRA Group has seen its collections and purchasing activity remain lackluster, as major sellers of charged-off receivables haven't returned to the market yet.
    • PRA continues to improve its collections efficiency and credit scoring and the acquisition of Aktiv gives the company a chance to deploy capital on a much wider scale.
    • A fair value in the low $70's is still reasonable, but PRA must pick up its purchasing activity for long-term growth and ROE targets to remain credible.
  • Summer Infant Looking To Transition Back To Growth
     • Tue, Jan. 6 SUMR 6 Comments

    Summary

    • Summer Infant has reorganized its management team, its product development, and its sales approach and is looking to drive improved revenue growth and margins.
    • Summer Infant competes with large rivals that enjoy strong brand recognition, but birth rate trends appear to be improving and Summer Infant is refocusing around innovative product development.
    • A standalone value around $4 may not seem compelling, but there is the potential for financial outperformance and Summer Infant could be worth closer to $5 to a buyer.
  • 3M Is Good As Gold ... And Priced Like It
    Mon, Jan. 5 MMM 11 Comments

    Summary

    • Management remains committed to a policy of innovation-centric product development, ROIC maximization, and counter-cyclical long-term investments.
    • 3M has already plucked much of the low-hanging fruit, making it more challenging to see how management can deliver performance that is consistently above present expectations.
    • It is challenging to argue that 3M shares should trade any higher than they do, suggesting underwhelming return potential, albeit with higher-than-average quality and security.
  • Tiny Aptose Biosciences Looks Worth A Closer Look
     • Dec. 30, 2014 APTO 2 Comments

    Summary

    • Aptose has cleaned up its act and is looking to develop its lead drug APTO-253 for the underserved AML market.
    • APTO-253's mechanism of action targets a gene expressed in 90% of AML cases and is linked to a transcription factor believed to regulate cell death.
    • A safe and effective AML drug could address a market worth over $3 billion a year, but Aptose has much to prove in terms of efficacy and safety.
  • Roche Loses A Little Luster Before Year-End
       • Dec. 22, 2014 RHHBY Comment!

    Summary

    • The Phase III MARIANNE study of Kadcyla delivered a major disappointment as this would-be successor to Herceptin failed to show superior efficacy alone or in combination with Perjeta.
    • Roche also announced the end of another Alzheimer's program, casting further doubt on the company's ability to develop new drugs outside of its oncology franchise.
    • Loss of Kadcyla upside suggests Roche is fairly valued today; a decent hold for investors looking for long-term exposure to oncology, but perhaps not as compelling for new investments.
  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Continues To Post Encouraging Results
       • Dec. 22, 2014 ALNY 2 Comments

    Summary

    • Good safety data on revusiran and encouraging early efficacy data on AT3 add more value to the Alnylam pipeline.
    • Alnylam now has over 10 identified clinical and preclinical programs treating a range of metabolic, infectious, and rare genetic diseases.
    • Alnylam may be in the early days of establishing a technology platform on par with past biotech success stories and the shares hold value below $110.
  • Economic Worries Weigh On FEMSA
       • Dec. 20, 2014 FMX 1 Comment

    Summary

    • Weak consumer traffic has kept a lid on enthusiasm for FEMSA's OXXO convenience stores, while ongoing worries about Argentina and Venezuela weigh on Coca-Cola FEMSA.
    • FEMSA continues to manage for long-term growth, including adding more services to OXXO stores, expanding the OXXO store footprint, and bulking up new ventures like its pharmacy operations.
    • FEMSA shares look undervalued below $100, but management needs to deliver better traffic numbers from OXXO to get Wall Street's enthusiasm going again.
  • Despite A Reminder Of The Risks, Senomyx Still Has Appealing Potential
       • Dec. 20, 2014 SNMX 9 Comments

    Summary

    • PepsiCo's delay of its commercial launch of products containing Senomyx's sweetness modifier is a reminder of the challenges of transitioning from a research company to a revenue-producing company.
    • Senomyx's self-directed commercialization efforts have gotten off to a slow start, but it can take years for new products to hit the shelves.
    • 2015 will be an important year for Senomyx, as a strong Pepsi launch is vital to the prospects of the stock.
  • The Going's Getting Tougher, But ABB Is Still Going
       • Dec. 19, 2014 ABB 4 Comments

    Summary

    • Sluggish economic trends in Europe and falling oil prices have the sell-side fretting about ABB's ability to meet expectations in 2015.
    • Strong order growth would seem to support management's growth outlook and expectations for the Power Products and Power Systems businesses look pretty washed out.
    • With sentiment against the stock, ABB management is in "show me" mode, but the stock's price today doesn't seem to fairly value relatively modest growth and margin improvement assumptions.
  • Despite A Share Price Slide, Commercial Vehicle's Plan Remains On Track
       • Dec. 19, 2014 CVGI Comment!

    Summary

    • Investors have sold CVGI shares since the summer, as larger concerns about commercial vehicle suppliers intermingle with disappointments from the company's mid-September Analyst Day.
    • Investors seem to be disappointed in guidance calling for 2015 and 2016 to be years of investment and self-improvement rather than years of significant margin improvement and growth.
    • Tying a meaningful portion of the growth plan to agriculture may seem risky, but CVGI's market share targets are actually not so ambitious.
    • CVGI is liable to remain a volatile name given its ongoing turnaround/restructuring efforts and its reliance on cyclical markets, but the shares have value past $9.
  • Philips Looks To Long-Time Laggard Volcano To Perk Up Its Healthcare Biz
       • Dec. 19, 2014 VOLC, PHG 2 Comments

    Summary

    • Philips is paying 3.0x sales to add a procedure-driven seller of cardiology disposables that should offer logical synergies with Philips' existing cardiology imaging and navigation business.
    • Volcano has seen sales growth stagnate on weaker procedure volumes, intensifying competition, and management's strategic missteps.
    • Philips' offer is a fair balance between the potential of the integration businesses and the challenges Volcano was facing as a standalone entity.
  • Better Priorities Leading To Better Outcomes For Broadcom
       • Dec. 18, 2014 BRCM 10 Comments

    Summary

    • Broadcom is turning away from a focus on revenue growth and toward a focus on profitable growth that earns a premium on the cost of capital.
    • New networking products should preserve the company's lead in switching and supply good growth, while handset connectivity risks may be overstated.
    • Turning away from M&A may lead to lower growth expectations and competition will remain fierce but low-to-mid single-digit FCF growth can support a target in the mid-$40s.
  • Lundbeck Continues To Fight To Stand Out
       • Dec. 18, 2014 HLUYY Comment!

    Summary

    • Positive data on drugs like Brintellix and brexpiprazole have been overshadowed by slow marketing ramps and the departure of the CEO for an ethics violation.
    • 2015 will be a critical year for Lundbeck in establishing the viability of Brintellix and other drugs like Northera, as well as getting brexpiprazole to market.
    • The loss of the CEO and significant expecting marketing spending in 2015 ups the risk, but Lundbeck shares could still return 25% to 40% if the launches gain traction.
  • Cyclacel Now An Exercise In Futility
       • Dec. 18, 2014 CYCC 12 Comments

    Summary

    • The data and safety monitoring board for the Phase III SEAMLESS study has informed the company that sapacitabine is unlikely to show an efficacy benefit in treating elderly AML patients.
    • Continuing the SEAMLESS study is a questionable use of capital and Cyclacel's remaining pipeline doesn't inspire confidence.
    • The slim chances of sapacitabine in AML and MDS are outweighed by the prospects that immuno-oncology drugs will prove more effective.
    • At this point, Cyclacel is just a low-quality broken biotech with only speculative trading value.
  • Ghosts Of Business Problems Past Visit Accuray Again
       • Dec. 17, 2014 ARAY 6 Comments

    Summary

    • Lack of communication with the Street set Accuray up for a very disappointing order report, as older orders age out of the book.
    • Management has made meaningful progress with the sales effort, including an exclusive relationship with Premier, and the introduction of a multi-leaf collimator should spur orders in fiscal 2H'15.
    • SBRT appears to offer meaningful advantages over IMRT/IGRT in certain cancer cases, and harnessing increased adoption of SBRT could take Accuray to $1 billion in revenue down the line.
  • Manitex Still Hopes To Grow Past The Crane Wreck
       • Dec. 17, 2014 MNTX Comment!

    Summary

    • Weak crane demand has sapped large OEMs like Terex and Manitowoc, as well as smaller OEMs like Manitex.
    • Manitex continues to build out the business, with the most recent transaction adding Terex's struggling ASV operations.
    • Weak oil prices threaten a major Manitex end market, but internal integration/improvement efforts can still generate value, as can a recovery in infrastructure, construction, utility, and transportation markets.
  • Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Fights On
       • Nov. 21, 2014 LXRX 4 Comments

    Summary

    • Lexicon dilutes its shareholders once again, but may have enough cash to get itself through the Phase III development of its two lead drugs.
    • A partnership for the carcinoid drug telotristat was nice to see and this drug may be overlooked by the Street, but it is unlikely to have blockbuster potential.
    • Lexicon seems undervalued, but has long struggled to reach business and clinical development milestones.
  • Microsemi Chugging Along
       • Nov. 21, 2014 MSCC Comment!

    Summary

    • Microsemi continues to generate solid financial performance at a time when many chip companies seem to be on shakier ground.
    • Exposure to recovering markets like aerospace and satellites, plus an increased focus on organic growth prospects in FPGA and timing, should serve Microsemi well in the coming years.
    • Microsemi shares still look undervalued below $30, with both revenue growth and margin improvement drivers in sight.
  • Multi-Color's One-Two Growth And Margin Punch
       • Nov. 20, 2014 LABL Comment!

    Summary

    • Multi-Color not only beat expectations again at the gross margin line, but acquisitions and organic growth are coming in better as well.
    • With modest underlying market growth and balance sheet limitations on the amount of growth to be brought in through M&A, ongoing margin improvement is key to growth and value.
    • Multi-Color shares aren't nearly the bargain they once were, but expectations are not excessive yet.
  • Short-Term Concerns Stacking Up At MSC Industrial
       • Nov. 20, 2014 MSM Comment!

    Summary

    • MSC Industrial is seeing revenue pressure from pricing and margin pressure from a slower integration of CCSG.
    • Executive departures raise questions as the company still has a lot left to do with the CCSG integration and implementation of its long-term growth initiatives.
    • Less near-term margin leverage reduces the fair value a bit, but MSC still holds significant long-term market share growth potential and solid long-term share price prospects.
  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Staying Ridiculously Busy
       • Nov. 7, 2014 ALNY 4 Comments

    Summary

    • Alnylam has introduced more than a half-dozen promising clinical compounds that address serious underserved diseases.
    • The open label extension study of patisiran was small, but the surprisingly strong clinical effect (reducing disease symptoms instead of merely slowing the progress) is very encouraging.
    • Alnylam shares look undervalued below $100 and future clinical data announcements can add even more value in 2015.
  • Neurocrine Biosciences Looking Forward To A Big Year
       • Nov. 6, 2014 NBIX 2 Comments

    Summary

    • Neurocrine has more than enough cash to develop its existing clinical compounds, as well as bring new ones into the clinic.
    • Positive Elagolix data in endometriosis is a key item for late this year/early next, while data in uterine fibroids and progress in Tourette's are also important for the shares.
    • Even with conservative expectations for the VMAT2 program, Neurocrine shares remain undervalued and could offer more than $10 of upside with positive data on Elagolix and '854 in 2015.
  • BRF's Operational Improvements Shining Through
       • Nov. 6, 2014 BRFS Comment!

    Summary

    • BRF beats again as management efforts to drive improved margins appear to be taking hold.
    • Selling the dairy business monetizes a serially underperforming asset, while Russia's food import ban against the West could lead to some long-term market development potential.
    • BRF shares don't look like a particular bargain today, but it is a well-run company with considerable long-term growth potential.
  • First Cash Continues To Invest For The Long Term
       • Nov. 5, 2014 FCFS Comment!

    Summary

    • First Cash's U.S. store performance is still lackluster, hurt by weak gold prices, but Mexico is showing signs of steady improvement.
    • First Cash continues to leverage its healthy balance sheet and cash flows, acquiring stores in both the U.S. and Mexico.
    • This pawn lender should be capable of many years of double-digit free cash flow growth, supporting a fair value in the low $60's today.
  • Did Wright Medical Make The Right Move?
       • Oct. 30, 2014 WMGI 1 Comment

    Summary

    • Wright Medical Group announced a merger with Tornier to create a major player in the higher-growth extremities segment of orthopedics.
    • Wright Medical also announced the receipt of an approvable letter from the FDA for its much-harried orthobiologic product Augment.
    • With the potential for Wright Medical and Tornier to become a $2 billion company with leading share in upper and lower extremities, Wright Medical looks undervalued below the high $30s.