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  • Market Strategy - Why I Sold INTC 42 comments
    Jul 26, 2013 7:08 AM

    If one wants to be successful at anything they do in life, it usually involves a series of setting goals, whether it's our education level, losing weight, job achievement, or investing. In fact, when I go out into the yard every day to work in the garden or in the flower beds, I set a daily goal of what it is I wish to achieve.

    As an investor, I established some goals with regard to the amount of money I would contribute monthly and even the style of investor I wished to be.

    The first question I asked myself was, what is the purpose behind my investing. I decided I wanted to invest in order to replace the income I earned in my working years in order to take care of our needs in retirement. I thought the best way to do that was to become a dividend growth investor. So I established a "Mission Statement."

    My "Mission Statement" is to earn an income that is reliable, predictable and increasing.

    I decided the best tactics to use to achieve the "Mission Statement" was to follow a step by step process which can be summed up in one simple formula:

    High Quality + High Current Yield + High Growth of Yield = High Total Return.

    With this in hand, each dividend growth position I purchase and/or hold, must support my objectives.

    I purchased INTC with these objectives in mind. My attraction to INTC was their double digit dividend growth.

    I knew the company was losing revenue due to the decline in the PC market, and I knew INTC was slow to react to the mobile chip market, but I thought they had the resources and an excellent research and development team to eventually catch up in the mobile chip market. I still believe that today.

    I also knew it was going to take a couple of years for INTC to develop, market and earn a profit from any mobile chips they come up with, but I was only willing to wait as long as the dividend grew. It didn't have to grow at a double digit rate, but it did have to support my objective of increasing the income flow and it needed to be predictable.

    Morningstar provided an analysis last week that stated they didn't think INTC would raise the dividend this year. INTC was a big loser in the earnings department this past quarter. Total revenues were down 5.1% from the same quarter a year ago, but what disturbed me the most was that management lowered their guidance going forward. INTC is now a company in transition. With worse than expected results, and with the company lowering those results going forward, it wasn't a surprise that INTC did not raise the dividend this week as most of us had hoped they would.

    Morningstar is lowering fair value for INTC. Value Line is not only lowering fair value and their numbers for INTC the rest of this year, they are lowering expectations for 2014 as well.

    As I look at my "Mission Statement," I see that INTC's contribution to increasing my income is no longer in the predictable stage even if they raise it in the next quarter or two. I don't want an irregular dividend growth performance, I want to see my dividend grow as expected, on time.

    As I look at the Success Formula above, INTC no longer meets the High Growth of Yield part of the formula. If INTC doesn't support the criteria above, it's time for me to sell, and I did.

    It wasn't just the dividend freeze that determined my sale of INTC. I had to look at the broader picture. First, there is my age. I'm in my 60's and I'm not willing to wait 3-5 years to find out if I was right or not in owning INTC.

    Then, with the worse than expected earnings, lower guidance going forward, confirmed by management, the dividend freeze, the fact my gains in INTC were small (which I didn't want to put at risk), and the fact that INTC is a cyclical, all came together to tell me I should move on. So, I sold and ended up with a 9.6% gain on my position.

    On the other side of the coin, if others are willing to switch from a dividend growth story to a speculation or turn around story, then INTC might be a good company to show some patience with. If I were in my 30's or 40's I think I would have taken that risk. I might have taken that risk in my early 50's as well, but being 3 years from the distribution phase of my investing, it's a risk that I don't think is prudent.

    My objectives were established for a purpose, and that purpose is to keep me on track. INTC no longer supported my objectives.

    I took the proceeds from the INTC sale and dividend them among SO, JNJ and MCD.

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Comments (42)
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  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I'll be heading out of Dodge tomorrow and won't be back until after August 3rd. So if you direct a comment to me and you don't get a response, I'm not ignoring you. ... Ha!


    I'll get back to you when I return.
    26 Jul 2013, 07:13 AM Reply Like
  • Big Thunder
    , contributor
    Comments (1268) | Send Message
    chowder, thanks for posting this. I'm in my 40s and am selling half of my INTC position. I might sell all; I haven't decided on that yet. Like you, I was content to wait for Intel as long as the dividend growth story remained intact. (As I mentioned elsewhere, I find it very satisfying that the conclusions I came to as to where to put the proceeds matched yours!) Now that they've frozen, the patience is definitely harder to justify.


    Have a great time being out of Dodge. :-)
    26 Jul 2013, 07:52 AM Reply Like
  • MintyFresh32
    , contributor
    Comments (411) | Send Message
    As you've stated it, a dividend freeze is pure speculation, yes? Or has intc made an official announcement? If you fear it may happen, I guess getting out early is the right idea. But Inwouldn't trust morningstar on this. Intc's payout ratio is low enough to provide a raise this year, even if modest.
    26 Jul 2013, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • Big Thunder
    , contributor
    Comments (1268) | Send Message
    Minty, they announced their next div and it's identical to the previous 4. Whether they increase it in time not to be removed from the CCC list, that's an unknown. This is from their Investor Relations site:

    26 Jul 2013, 08:16 AM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » INTC announced the September dividend and it wasn't raised. So, this makes 5 quarters. That's enough for me to sell because I want consistency. Others may choose to ignore that and that's okay too. It all boils down to what your expectations are and INTC didn't meet mine.


    INTC can wait another couple of quarters, then raise the dividend, and keep their consecutive year string intact, but that's not a game I want to play, especially when I take the company fundamentals into consideration.


    Again, it doesn't meet my expectations but I can see why others are willing to be patient with them.
    26 Jul 2013, 08:19 AM Reply Like
  • tuliptown
    , contributor
    Comments (1561) | Send Message
    thanks for the color on your move.


    being in my 40's and far from time to take distribution I will remain for awhile to see if this cow can calve successfully (reference to Miller).


    In the meantime, I keep learning and will eventually have the discipline in place to have better reasoning or confidence in my actions. Until then, I thank you for providing your insights and teachings which have helped a lot.
    26 Jul 2013, 08:56 AM Reply Like
  • jrpah
    , contributor
    Comments (235) | Send Message
    Thanks for the article Chowder. Like you, I have a small gain with INTC (~3.5%). I think your right. Time to take it before it is a loss. I keep watching the Fastgraphs for the turn up, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.
    26 Jul 2013, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • Contraria2
    , contributor
    Comments (552) | Send Message


    Thanks for the explanation (again :))


    I bought INTC a few times last year. The *only* reason I bought it was because I wanted a tech stock with dividend-increases etc.


    But all along I wasn't really happy with the purchase. INTC is a "story" stock, and requires too many articles (explaining the story) and hand holding. There are many better (read: more reliable) stocks out there with higher yields (SO AVA RDS.B COP MO etc.), so I figured, why bother?


    Also, I own LNCO BAC and GE. That's enough adventure for me.


    Disclosure: I did keep a small position in INTC just incase there's some substance to this "story."
    26 Jul 2013, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • Sir Duke
    , contributor
    Comments (166) | Send Message
    Thanks for the post. I sold INTC as well while the position was in the green. I already considered it the weakest DG stock out of a 30-stock portfolio due to the uncertainty and cyclical nature of the business. I also can't analyze who makes better computer chips or predict which ones will be used in the future... the technicalities are beyond me.


    So it is kind of a relief to let them go. I prefer to put my wages towards investments that people eat, drink, smoke or use up and need to replace. Simple products that are predictable in nature. Personally, I feel like it is less stress monitoring those kinds of stocks.
    26 Jul 2013, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • Eric Landis
    , contributor
    Comments (3283) | Send Message
    Followed your advice and sold my INTC today. Cyclical industry with high costs and uncertain future keeps it from being a SWAN holding.


    I bought IBM with the proceeds. I lowered my yield a bit but IBM's track record is much more stable and predictable IMO.
    26 Jul 2013, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • Eternal
    , contributor
    Comments (60) | Send Message
    yesterday upon hearing the declared dividend, i sold half my position for the family funds i manage. my family is in a similar situation with you, less than a decade until retirement and distribution. i loved INTC when the story was the dividend growth. i loved that their management at the time, was committed to raising the dividend. i bought in the high teens & 20s, thus had a 10-15% gain. with the latest freeze, i'm left wondering if Otellini's retirement had something to do with this, and perhaps the new guy is not as committed to the rising dividend


    at this point, within the tech sector, i feel MSFT looks more attractive than INTC. its revenue & profits growth is more predictable, stable, and diversified. MSFT sentiment is somewhat in the dumps after their earnings miss, but over several years, they're still showing solid growth.


    i will also sell INTC in my own account soon, and leaning towards diverting funds towards a mix of MSFT, SO, KMI, and HCP or O. im in my 20s still (turning 30 this year) but it seems i think like a 50 yr old :P


    i enjoy reading your instablog posts. very enlightening! thank you
    26 Jul 2013, 01:49 PM Reply Like
  • Dividend Math Guy
    , contributor
    Comments (555) | Send Message
    >>> If I were in my 30's or 40's I think I would have taken that risk.<<<


    I'm in my 30's and I'm not touching the stock until I see the start of a turnaround. I think INTC can pull it off, but I'm happy to wait until they show me the evidence. Until then, I have 30 or more other stocks with better growth prospects on my wishlist, so I will go with one of those for now instead.


    INTC wouldn't be a core position for me. A core position is one I expect to draw a consistent and growing income from as I hold it forever. For non-core positions total return is important, because you might need to sell someday, and ideally you'd like to be able to use your profits to buy more of something else than you would have ended up with than if you'd just bought the other thing to begin with. I don't see INTC's total return being great until they turn things around. Sure it yields 4% right now, but if it just trades sideways for the next year then you're looking at a 4% gain from this year to next. No thanks! I can get a better gain with something else, and then if I'm determined to own INTC and I need to fund it somehow I can probably roll the profits from the other thing into INTC and end up with more of it than I would have had if I'd bought INTC today.


    I also look at future yield on cost when evaluating my potential purchases. Yield and dividend growth are what drive the yield on cost formula. Without going into the details, 4% yield and 0% growth is bad! 4% yield and 5% growth would be much better, so I will want until the growth is positive again.


    To sum it up, INTC doesn't pass my total returns test and it doesn't pass my yield on cost test, so it is disqualified from purchase for me right now.
    26 Jul 2013, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • maybenot
    , contributor
    Comments (6719) | Send Message
    chowder - thanks for that.


    Sold INTC when I heard. Did not meet my expectations too.


    I bought looking to the double digit DGR for a bit of safety.


    Double digit DGR gone? I am too.


    Had a ~8% gain for a bit of comfort.


    Reinvested in CVX, BP, PG, & RCI. Life is good with choices.
    26 Jul 2013, 06:21 PM Reply Like
  • Smarty_Pants
    , contributor
    Comments (3240) | Send Message
    Thanks for the article Chowder. You made me think a bit and I decided I was close enough to retirement that my other adventurous stocks were sufficient "fun" and I too sold my INTC.


    I put the money into DRI which will provide adventure enough, though they are raising the dividend faster than INTC and with a higher yield to boot. Maybe it's not precisely the right move, but you have to go with what you know at the moment you decide, then keep an eye on things to see how it goes.
    26 Jul 2013, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • OntheRock
    , contributor
    Comments (274) | Send Message
    I appreciate the article. I was on the fence when I heard about the dividend freeze but would rather put the money into something less speculative. You laid it out pretty clear.
    26 Jul 2013, 11:24 PM Reply Like
  • 7820771
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    Appreciate the clarity, knowledge, and honesty.
    28 Jul 2013, 06:28 AM Reply Like
  • drwerewolf
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
    I think it's important to note that Intel was NOT scheduled to raise their dividend this quarter. According to Value Line, they raised during the September quarter during 2011 and 2012, NOT the June quarter.


    When I read through this instablog post, I had thought that I understood that INTC had failed to raise the dividend and that this was a clear miss based on previous dividend history.


    I'm not saying you mis-stated anything, chowder, just that I mis-read it. But I figure if I mis-read it, others may as well.


    So just for the record: if INTC does not raise its dividends during the SEPTEMBER quarter, they will have gone more than one full year since the previous dividend hike. That, to me, would be an indication that it's likely time to sell and move on. (Just because morningstar says they don't expect a dividend increase doesn't mean much IMO: morningstar isn't running INTC.)


    for the record, intel's history of dividends, per Value Line:


    2001-03 .08
    04 .16
    05 .32
    06 .41
    07 .45
    08 .55
    09 .56
    10 .63
    11 .78
    12 .87


    My guess is, if they found a way to raise it a penny during 2009 they will find a way to raise it at least a bit this year as well.


    Just food for thought. Not investment recommendations etc etc etc. Good luck to all.


    Value Line's guidance lower is very modest, for what it's worth, taking a nickel off the 2013 projected earnings, a decline of about 2%.


    For me, a solid tech company with an A++ financial rating per Value Line, a dividend yield just under 4%, a P/E around 11, and the potential for real growth going forward ... doesn't come around every day. I am holding and will look to add more on weakness.
    28 Jul 2013, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • Eternal
    , contributor
    Comments (60) | Send Message
    wrong. both google finance and Intel corp website indicates in their past 2 years, the annual raise has been declared shortly after Q2 earnings in July & scheduled for payout in August
    28 Jul 2013, 11:03 PM Reply Like
  • drwerewolf
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message


    you're clearly right and i was clearly wrong. sigh.
    now i have to do some more thinking.


    it occurred to me last night that intc will get credit for continuing their string of annual dividend raises even without a raise this year, because 2013's year-long divs will be higher than 2012's, due to the raise *partway through* 2012. so maybe they won't raise.


    what does one do with a company one is clear is undervalued and that pays a good dividend and that clearly has the *capacity* to raise the dividend, but they miss a beat with the dividend raise?


    anyway, thanks to chowder for the post.
    29 Jul 2013, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • Eternal
    , contributor
    Comments (60) | Send Message
    you can put it on a "naughty list" and keep closer eye on it :)


    personally, i sold mine already, as i was already keeping INTC on a short leash. i mean, its not like this is a JNJ or KO which has raised consecutively for 50+ years & in a relatively stable business. INTC's dividend history is not as long, and its industry is volatile.
    29 Jul 2013, 10:27 AM Reply Like
  • drwerewolf
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
    Obviously JNJ and KO are more likely to raise divs from the current levels over time. But the full percentage point higher current div on INTC is just a huge difference. For JNJ and KO to get to INTC's current yield, they'll have to raise their actual div payouts by 35%-40% +/-.


    Not that I'm not saying KO & JNJ can't get there! But it'll take a while.


    Anyway, I own KO and INTC both and am kicking myself I didn't buy JNJ when it only seemed "a bit" overvalued a couple months ago.
    1 Aug 2013, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • ScottU
    , contributor
    Comments (2232) | Send Message


    I appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into this, as well as our back and forth with INTC over the couple days ending last week. After looking into things, over the next couple days I will be selling half my position in INTC and moving that to another company on my wish list. the other half I'll maintain with eyes wide open. I have a lot of time on my side, I'm reducing the risk factor on the table. I'm happy with the choice I've made. Thanks again.


    29 Jul 2013, 02:07 AM Reply Like
  • scubastevo80
    , contributor
    Comments (440) | Send Message
    Thanks for the reminder to keep on top of one's plan, even if it means selling a company such as Intel. I was watching INTC and MSFT earlier this year, and finally attempted to purchase MSFT in mid-Apr when it was trading around 29. My "employee trading" compliance shot that down, so I looked at INTC and QCOM.


    I ultimately ended up going with QCOM based on their story - gaining market share, beat and raise on guidance, aggressive buybacks, just increased dividend 40% this year, etc. Fastgraphs has them undervalued based on their recent pullback. I wouldn't say this a dividend stalwart, but being that I'm 32, it is a name I can watch closely and hope for continued high DGRs.
    29 Jul 2013, 08:54 AM Reply Like
  • Big Island Bum
    , contributor
    Comments (545) | Send Message
    The dividend history for INTC is there for all to see. To expect it to raise the dividend consistently like KO or JNJ is more of an oversight on purchase due diligence than a red flag imho.
    29 Jul 2013, 10:49 PM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » >>> To expect it to raise the dividend consistently like KO or JNJ is more of an oversight on purchase due diligence than a red flag imho. <<<


    It wasn't an oversight of their dividend history. I did expect them to stay on track as they did the last couple of years though, but it's more of me purging the portfolio of companies who don't have the reliable and predictable dividend increases of a KO and JNJ.


    In fact, I've even sold foreign companies off like NGG and DEO because their dividends are erratic and unpredictable. It doesn't make them bad companies, it simply means they don't meet my "Mission Statement" of building an income stream that is reliable ... predictable ... and increasing.
    3 Aug 2013, 09:34 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (20922) | Send Message
    "I've even sold foreign companies off like NGG and DEO because their dividends are erratic and unpredictable."


    As chowder knows, many non-American companies pay dividends once or twice per year, rather than 4 times per year; and they pay an "interim" dividend followed by a "final" one, based on profits, which they cannot predict in advance. This means there is no reliable regular increase in the dividend, as is common for American companies.


    As David Fish has pointed out, even if a foreign company's dividends are always increasing in their home currency, once you factor in currency exchange, the dividend might appear to decrease when measured in US dollars.
    4 Aug 2013, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • Penny Lane
    , contributor
    Comments (78) | Send Message
    An unbelievable interesting article chowder, thank you! Please keep on sharing your thoughts! Good comments, too.
    31 Jul 2013, 06:11 AM Reply Like
  • cheryl1028
    , contributor
    Comments (156) | Send Message
    I wish I could claim my decision to sell INTC was as clear as you've just described....however, I did sell about 6 weeks ago. Had a stop loss which triggered & provided me with ~9% profit.... I was just not comfortable with their lack of anticipating the mobile market.


    On the other hand, I did sell my position in WM about the same time and entered positions in WMT & EMR & O....also sold out of LINE when the accounting irregularities came up and I couldn't explain their business model in a thumb nail "elevator summary"... So again, thank you for helping me grow financially...intellec... & literally!!!


    Have a great trip!!!
    31 Jul 2013, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » This past week I met up with one of the SA contributors and we shared a few cold ones together. Well, Percy and I drank most of his share. ... Ha!


    One of the things we discussed was that when we share information in these comment streams one of the things that don't come across is our age. Often times age determines what sorts of risk one can take due to the length of time some positions need in order to work out.


    I'm in my 60's and very close to the distribution phase. During this phase I need more consistency from my holdings, more predictability in order for me to have peace of mind. Others my age may enjoy taking on more risk and that's okay.


    I share my actions and explain my thoughts so others can see where I'm coming from. If I say or do something that helps determine what others may wish to do, then I think that's great. If what I say doesn't fit with other's plans, that doesn't mean I think they are wrong or are a knucklehead. We all have different objectives and various risk tolerances.


    If I were a young person, I would agree with dewerewolf above and focus on the financial stability of INTC and I might have hung on to INTC. I think it's going to take 3-5 years for INTC to reward their share owners with decent price appreciation and solidify their dividend stream.


    In my case, due to my age, I'm not willing to wait 3-5 years to see if I'm right or not. If I'm wrong, and I must take that into consideration, I've wasted valuable compounding time. If I were a young man, time would be on my side.


    Again, I would have held on to INTC if they would have simply been more consistent in their dividend increases. I thought they were going to establish that steady dividend growth pattern and I was wrong about that. INTC may raise the dividend next quarter and if they do, their annual dividend growth string will stay alive.


    In my case, Ole chowder just needs more consistency to provide peace for his feeble mind and that's why I invested the INTC proceeds into SO, MCD and JNJ. ... Ha!
    4 Aug 2013, 09:47 AM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (20922) | Send Message
    "This past week I met up with one of the SA contributors and we shared a few cold ones together. Well, Percy and I drank most of his share. ... Ha!"


    That was me! Chowder and I had a delightful lunch in a seafood restaurant near Boston.


    "Ole chowder just needs more consistency to provide peace for his feeble mind"


    Let me tell you, everyone, "old chowder"'s mind is not as feeble as he makes out. :-)
    4 Aug 2013, 04:58 PM Reply Like
  • Erik Sorensen
    , contributor
    Comments (70) | Send Message


    What would have you done/did do (not sure if it's his portfolio) with INTC in your son's portfolio?
    6 Aug 2013, 04:54 PM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Erik, INTC has never been a part of his portfolio. If it was, I might have held on to it.


    I sold DEO and SYY in my portfolio for various reasons, but since both of them are the best of breed in their sector, he still owns them. He has a lot more time on his side. ... Ha!
    6 Aug 2013, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • Realto
    , contributor
    Comments (675) | Send Message
    Now that's a Mission Statement driven report... I'm pickin up what youre puttin down, quickly! Great Saturday morning reading. Thank you, sir!
    10 Aug 2013, 07:30 AM Reply Like
  • RoseNose
    , contributor
    Comments (10192) | Send Message
    Agree. The dividend hold and an uneasy feeling , along with just retiring made me take the last dividend , sell with a small profit and put it into IBM ( I needed a tech stock and it seemed fair value).. don't see it on the CCC list but it looks solid to me. Thank You for your insights into this stock. Rose
    11 Aug 2013, 08:34 AM Reply Like
  • Big Thunder
    , contributor
    Comments (1268) | Send Message
    Rose, IBM is on the CCC list -- it's a Contender with 18 years of dividend increases.
    12 Aug 2013, 07:59 AM Reply Like
  • kolpin
    , contributor
    Comments (1378) | Send Message
    i also sold 1/3 of my position via a limit order this morning--I booked a minuscule profit. the upper end of its current trading range seemed to be around the $24/25 area, so I wanted to wait to see if it could hit that trigger again. now if my remaining 2/3 position wants to shoot past that, great!
    19 Sep 2013, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I haven't looked at INTC since I sold it. I have no idea what it is doing. I hope it works out for you though.
    19 Sep 2013, 12:21 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (20922) | Send Message
    I had a limit sell at $24.00, which hit today.
    19 Sep 2013, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • Dividend Math Guy
    , contributor
    Comments (555) | Send Message
    Were you (kolpin and RAS) selling calls to exit your positions? I would think that if you're determined to exit the position at a certain price, selling covered calls with that strike price would be the right way to do that (assuming you have enough shares to do that).
    20 Sep 2013, 12:43 AM Reply Like
  • Chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (15145) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I don't use options, calls or puts. I see nothing wrong with others that do, but I have no desire to use them as part of my business plan.


    When I want out of a position, I'm out of a position and that money is going to work elsewhere immediately.
    20 Sep 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (20922) | Send Message
    I do not do options.
    20 Sep 2013, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • Sun Rising
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
    Same here, makes total sense. Thank you for your work, instablogs and articles. They are great help.
    27 Nov 2013, 08:40 PM Reply Like
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