I am the owner of Flowers Farm Equipment, Inc., a manufacturer's rep agency based in Indiana and representing non-major farm equipment manufacturers. My clientle are major-line farm equipment dealers, and I have been in business since 1983. I've always been interested in investments of all types, and Seeking Alpha is a rich resource of knowledge of many subjects. I am an expert on very little, but seek to learn until my last day here.
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*** Hi readers, I will be away this Memorial Day weekend. As such, all pubic and private correspondence will likely have a delayed response. Thanks for your understanding in advance. ***
I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) (currently do not have a private practice). I have also been a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for 17 years (CFF as well). I am currently employed with a global accounting firm in the Northeast area (partner). I have a masters degree in accounting + legal studies. I have audit, tax, and consulting experience with entities in the following sectors: closed-end funds, energy, financials, healthcare, homebuilders, pharmaceuticals, private equity, REITs, and telecoms. I've also have experience with C-corps., estates, high net worth individuals, LLCs, LLPs, S-corps., and trusts. I am a casual individual investor. My investing fundamentals are based on both qualitative and quantitative information. By using my analytical skills, I create specific investing ideas/strategies. I am more of a longer-term investor as opposed to day-trading.
Disclaimer: I cannot own and will not give an opinion on any investments my current employer has any direct or indirect professional services with (accounting, audit, tax, consulting, etc.). This mainly consists of various mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETF's). This includes all stocks held within these particular investment vehicles. This specified list is updated monthly. As such, most large-cap stocks are "off the table" regarding my articles. All accounting insight, analysis, and opinions stated within any articles I write (in regards to a specified stock) are entirely from my own personal research and analysis. I believe my articles are both informative and in some cases educational.
NOTE: A growing number of readers/investors, analysts, and representatives of firms have requested to be provided with my "spreadsheets/models" to help better understand certain companies/sectors. My researched data is several files of 100+ spreadsheets/models containing both stocks I write about on S.A. and stocks I choose to not write about on S.A. To reduce the repeated requests to provide such data, these spreadsheets/models are ALL linked together. As such, all current and future requests to "share" my data/models will be politely declined. Thanks for your understanding regarding this subject.
I appreciate my loyal readers and I’ll continue to try to provide high quality, in-depth articles.
Previous Quarterly Projection Article’s Performance vs. Actual Results:
# of Projections Stated Within All Articles: 158
# of Projections PENDING: 2
# of Projections 100% Accurate or Within Range: 147
# of Projections Inaccurate or Outside of Range: 11
Projection “Within Range” Success Rate: 147 / 158 = 93.0%
Please see the list at the bottom of this profile for the details of my past projections.
Commonly Asked Questions:
Question 1): If you are only paid per article, why make your articles so long / detailed?
- I like to provide the “nuts and bolts” of a company. As such, I strive for my articles to have some sort of “hard to obtain” facts / figures. From this data, I like to fully discuss / analyze specific topics within a particular stock. This mainly consists of a quarterly projection article and a series of articles on a company’s dividend sustainability. In certain instances, I also write articles in regards to specific, material events that occur during a quarter.
- I believe a company’s quarterly results and upcoming dividend declarations are two of the most important topics readers are requesting information on. My analysis takes the “average” article several steps further to allow readers to have access to information that is rare to public viewership. In doing so, I believe my articles are both beneficial and educational for most readers.
Question 2): How come you only write 1-2 articles a week (would like to see more)?
- As stated in my profile above, I have a full-time professional career. I write / analyze stocks in my “free time”. To provide these types of high quality / in-depth articles, I can’t see writing more than 2 articles a week. I believe “quality” should always be a higher priority versus “quantity”.
- As many readers should know by now (if you’ve followed me for a while), I not here for the monetary rewards. If that was the case, I’d write 5+ weekly articles and provide little to no engagement in each article’s comment section. I believe the comments section is as important as the article themselves b/c readers have a wide range of questions in relation to each article or the sector in general.
Question 3): What do you personally gain from writing these articles?
- I am not here trying to promote a company, book, or website. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, that’s just not what I’m about. I’m here for the “average Joe”.
- When I decided to write these articles, I based it on the notion I am filling a “special niche” per se. Using skills that have been built up over my professional career, my articles usually provide unique information that most writers either a) don’t have the technical expertise to provide or b) don’t bother providing due to the time it takes to compile such data. As such, I believe the S.A. community benefits from my articles. I solely do this b/c it’s a passion of mine and I like helping readers have accurate, reliable data that is not readily available. Yes, I understand this may seem “hard to believe” in this day and age. However, I believe some of my more “seasoned” followers know this aspect of my generosity / personality. Also, in the past there were numerous misstated “facts / notions” in various articles I saw being written by the stocks I currently cover. Since I began to write my articles here, these misstatements / misnomers have decreased which is good for this forum.
Question 4): How come you do not write about more stocks?
- To give readers the level of detail that I provide in my articles, I amass large amounts of data every quarter (or even weekly). As a direct result, a large amount of time is consumed by obtaining / analyzing this data. This would only increase if I expanded my researched portfolio of stocks.
- If I expanded the stocks I research, it would most likely take away the quality of other articles I currently am writing about. Again, this gets back to the “quality vs. quantity” metric.
- There is a fairly large range of stocks / investment vehicles I cannot write about / provide an opinion on due to various conflicts of interests (regarding my professional career). This is a topic I take VERY seriously. As such, I take all necessary precautions to avoid any remote possibility of a conflict of interest occurring.
NOTE: Below are the stocks I currently cover as of May 2016:
Stocks Covered In Great Detail (11 mREITs; 11 BDCs; 11 Other Sectors): ACAP (Proposed Spin-Off), ACAS, ACSF, AGNC, AINV, ANH, ARCC, ARR, CMO, CYS, FSAM, FSC, FSFR, GBDC, GOOG, GPRO, HTS, MAIN, MCC, MO, MTGE, NEWT (New) NLY, NVS, NYMT, ORC, PFAM (Proposed Spin-Off) PSEC, PM, PRIT (Proposed Spin-Off) PYLD (Proposed Spin-Off), SLRC TRP, and WMC.
Stocks Covered In Modest Detail (9 mREITs; 3 Other Sectors): AI, AMTG, BABA, EFC, IVR, JMI, MFA, MITT, PHM, PMT, SLRC, TOL, TWO
Detailed Past Projection List:
NAV as of 3/31/2014: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($10.67 projected vs. $10.68 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2014: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($10.56 projected vs. $10.56 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2014: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($10.48 projected vs. $10.47 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2014: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($10.34 projected vs. $10.35 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2015: $0.03 per share variance; within range ($10.27 projected vs. $10.30 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2015: $0.06 per share variance; within range ($10.25 projected vs. $10.31 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2015: $0.17 per share variance; within range but at the higher end ($10.00 projected vs. $10.17 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2015: $0.25 per share variance; slightly outside range; lower end ($9.90 projected vs. $9.65 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2016: $0.11 per share variance; within range ($9.50 projected vs. $9.61 actual)
Fiscal Q3 2016 NII: $0.00 per share variance; within range ($0.25 projected vs. $0.25 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q4 2014: Stated dividend was currently safe (no specific dividend declarations) which turned out to be correct for April 2014 – June 2014 dividends declared
Dividends for Fiscal Q1 2015: 100% accuracy (July. 2014 $0.110475 projected vs. $0.110475 actual) (Aug. 2014 $0.110500 projected vs. $0.110500 actual) (Sept. 2014 $0.110525 projected vs. $0.110525 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q2 2015: 100% accuracy (Oct. 2014 $0.110550 projected vs. $0.110550 actual) (Nov. 2014 $0.110575 projected vs. $0.110575 actual) (Dec. 2014 $0.110600 projected vs. $0.110600 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q3 2015^: (Jan. 2015 $0.110625 projected vs. $0.110625 actual) (Feb. 2015 $0.110650 projected vs. $0.0833 actual OUTSIDE RANGE) (Mar. 2015 $0.110675 projected vs. $0.0833 actual OUTSIDE RANGE)
^ = Correctly stated dividend would be cut. However, PSEC reduced dividends beginning in February 2015 and I projected the dividend decrease would occur in April 2015 (2 months earlier than projected)
Dividends for Fiscal Q4 2015: (April. 2015 was declared in December 2014 prior to my analysis for this quarter) 100% accuracy (May 2015 - June 2015 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q1 2016: 100% accuracy (July 2015 - September 2015 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q2 2016: 100% accuracy (October 2015 - December 2015 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q3 2016: 100% accuracy (January 2016 - March 2016 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q4 2016: 100% accuracy (April 2016 - June 2016 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual)
Dividends for Fiscal Q1 2017: 100% accuracy (July 2016 - August 2016 $0.0833 projected vs. $0.0833 actual) (September 2016 = PENDING)
BV as of 6/30/2013: $0.11 per share variance; within range ($25.40 projected vs. $25.51 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2013: $1.36 per share variance; MATERIALLY OUTSIDE RANGE ($26.63 projected vs. $25.27 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2013: $0.58 per share variance; within range lower end ($24.51 projected vs. $23.93 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2014: $0.04 per share variance; within range ($24.45 projected vs. $24.49 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2014: $0.66 per share variance; within range higher end ($25.60 projected vs. $26.26 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2014: $0.35 per share variance; within range ($25.19 projected vs. $25.54 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2014: $0.29 per share variance; within range ($25.45 projected vs. $25.74 actual)
Comprehensive Income for Q1 2015: $0.02 per share variance; within range ($0.48 per share projected vs. $0.46 per share actual)
BV as of 3/31/2015: $0.11 per share variance; within range ($25.64 projected vs. $25.53 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2015: $0.24 per share variance; within range ($24.24 projected vs. $24.00 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2015: $0.44 per share variance; within range lower end ($23.44 projected vs. $23.00 actual)
BV as of 10/31/2015: $0.06 per share variance; within my monthly $0.30 per share range ($22.98 projected vs. $23.04 actual)
BV as of 11/30/2015: $0.27 per share variance; within my monthly $0.30 per share range ($22.25 projected vs. $22.52 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2015: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($22.60 projected vs. $22.59 actual)
BV as of 1/31/2016: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($22.39 projected vs. $22.40 actual)
BV as of 2/29/2016: $0.09 per share variance; within range ($22.82 projected vs. $22.73 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2016: $0.16 per share variance; within range ($22.25 projected vs. $22.09 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2013: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($1.25 projected vs. $1.25 actual)
Dividend for Q2 2013: Correctly stated dividend cut would occur; $0.15 per share variance; within range higher end ($0.90 projected vs. $1.05 actual)
Dividend for Q3 2013: Correctly stated another dividend cut would occur; $0.10 per share variance; within range ($0.90 projected vs. $0.80 actual)
Dividend for Q4 2013: Correctly stated another dividend cut would occur; $0.05 per share variance; within range ($0.60 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2014: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q2 2014: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q3 2014: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for November 2014 - April 2015: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; 100% accuracy ($0.22 projected vs. $0.22 actual)
Dividend for May 2015: Company declared dividend several weeks ahead of schedule; prior to my quarterly dividend sustainability analysis. As such, no dividend projection was provided for May 2015:
Dividend for June 2015 - August 2015: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; 100% accuracy ($0.20 projected vs. $0.20 actual)
Dividend for September 2015*: INCORRECTLY stated dividend would modestly reduced; ($0.18 projected vs. $0.20 actual)
Dividend for October and November 2015: Not provided but stated increased risk to reduction by end of 2015 / early 2016.
Dividend for December 2015**: Stated dividend would be stable; highest probability ($0.20 projected vs. $0.20 actual)
Dividend Declaration for January 2016: Not provided due to time constraints.
Dividend for February 2016 - March 2016: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; 100% accuracy ($0.20 projected vs. $0.20 actual)
Dividend for May 2016: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; 100% accuracy ($0.20 projected vs. $0.20 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2013***: $0.40 per share variance; within range lower end ($21.87 projected vs. $21.47 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2014***: $0.16 per share variance; within range ($21.94 projected vs. $21.78 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2014***: $0.13 per share variance; within range ($22.60 projected vs. $22.73 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2014***: $0.29 per share variance; within range ($21.95 projected vs. $22.24 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2014***: $0.19 per share variance; within range ($22.10 projected vs. $21.91 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2015***: $0.20 per share variance; within range ($21.80 projected vs. $22.00 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2015***: $0.30 per share variance; within range ($22.00 projected vs. $21.70 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2015***: $0.17 per share variance; within range ($20.10 projected vs. $19.93 actual); excluding "one-time" ($0.20) per share impairment charge related to RCS; $0.03 per share variance ($20.10 projected vs. $20.13 actual; excluding impairment charge).
BV as of 12/31/2015***: $0.16 per share variance; within range ($19.50 projected vs. $19.66 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2016***: $0.22 per share variance; within range ($19.25 projected vs. $19.03 actual)
Dividend for Q3 2013***: Correctly stated dividend would be modestly cut; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.70 projected vs. $0.70 actual)
Dividend for Q4 2013***: Correctly stated dividend would be slightly cut; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2014***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q2 2014 - Q4 2014***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.65 projected vs. $0.65 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2015***: INCORRECTLY stated dividend would be stable; ($0.15) per share variance; ($0.65 projected vs. $0.50 actual) In my opinion, the severity of this cut was very disappointing.
Dividend for Q2 2015***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.50 projected vs. $0.50 actual)
Dividend for Q3 2015***: INCORRECTLY stated dividend would be stable; ($0.10) per share variance; ($0.50 projected vs. $0.40 actual) In my opinion, the severity of this cut was very disappointing once again.
Dividend for Q4 2015 - Q1 2015***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.40 projected vs. $0.40 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2014***: $0.10 per share variance; within range ($12.40 projected vs. $12.30 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2014***: $0.43 per share variance; SLIGHTLY OUTSIDE RANGE higher end ($12.80 projected vs. $13.23 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2014***: $0.07 per share variance; within range ($12.95 projected vs. $12.88 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2014***: $0.15 per share variance; within range ($12.95 projected vs. $13.10 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2015***: $0.32 per share variance; SLIGHTLY OUTSIDE RANGE; lower end ($13.20 projected vs. $12.88 actual)
BV as of 6/30/2015***: $0.17 per share variance; within range ($12.15 projected vs. $12.32 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2015***: $0.16 per share variance; within range ($12.15 projected vs. $11.99 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2015***: $0.13 per share variance; within range ($12.60 projected vs. $12.73 actual) (most of the variance was in relation to the accretive effect of Q4 2015 share repurchases)
BV as of 3/31/2016***: $0.04 per share variance; within range ($11.65 projected vs. $11.61 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2014 - Q1 2015***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.30 projected vs. $0.30 actual)
Dividend for Q2 2015***: INCORRECTLY stated dividend would be reduced; $0.05 per share variance; ($0.25 projected vs. $0.30 actual)
Dividend for Q3 2015 - Q1 2016***: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.30 projected vs. $0.30 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2013: $0.03 per share variance; within range ($9.87 projected vs. $9.90 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2013: $0.04 per share variance; within range ($9.94 projected vs. $9.90 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2013: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($9.86 projected vs. $9.85 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2013: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($9.85 projected vs. $9.85 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2014: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($9.81 projected vs. $9.81 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2014: $0.06 per share variance; within range lower end ($9.77 projected vs. $9.71 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2014: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($9.65 projected vs. $9.64 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2014: $0.37 per share variance; MATERIALLY OUTSIDE RANGE ($9.54 projected vs. $9.17 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2015: $0.21 per share variance; OUTSIDE RANGE ($8.97 projected vs. $9.18 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2015: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($9.13 projected vs. $9.13 actual) (projections + article were provided to certain interested parties outside S.A.)
NAV as of 9/30/2015: $0.05 per share variance; within range ($8.95 projected vs. $9.00 actual) (projections + analysis were provided to certain interested parties; did not have enough time to provide an article)
FSC’s Dividend Sustainability Analysis Through Fiscal Q3 2013: Stated moderate to material dividend cut is needed; 100% accurate because company cut dividend beginning in December 2013
Dividend for Fiscal Q3 2015****: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (April 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (May 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (June 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual)
Dividend for September - February 2016****: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (September 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (October 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (November 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (December 2015 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (January 2016 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual) (February 2016 $0.06 projected vs. $0.06 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2013: $0.12 per share variance; within range lower end (wider range b/c first full quarter of operations) ($15.22 projected vs. $15.10 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2014: $0.03 per share variance; within range ($15.13 projected vs. $15.10 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2014: $0.01 per share variance; within range ($15.14 projected vs. $15.13 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2014: $0.02 per share variance; within range ($12.63 projected vs. $12.65 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2014: $0.10 per share variance; within range (at lowest end) ($12.635 projected vs. $12.534 actual)
NAV as of 3/31/2015: $0.08 per share variance; within range ($12.38 projected vs. $12.46 actual)
NAV as of 6/30/2015: $0.15 per share variance; within range (at lowest end) ($12.38 projected vs. $12.23 actual)
NAV as of 9/30/2015: $0.18 per share variance; within range (at higher end) ($11.93 projected vs. $12.11 actual)
NAV as of 12/31/2015: Not provided to readers due to the fact the company "pre-announced" NAV prior to my quarterly projection analysis (due to a material reduction)
NAV as of 3/31/2016: $0.17 per share variance; within range (at higher end) ($11.01 projected vs. $11.18 actual)
Dividend Declaration for December 2015 - February 2016: Correctly stated very low probability (10%) for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (December 2015 $0.075 projected vs. $0.075 actual) (January 2016 $0.075 projected vs. $0.075 actual) (February 2016 $0.075 projected vs. $0.075 actual)
Dividend Sustainability Analysis Through Q4 2013: Stated material dividend cut was needed as soon as the next quarter; 100% accurate because company cut dividend in Q1 2014 from $0.80 per share (regular dividend portion) to $0.67 per share.
Dividend for Q4 2014*****: Stated dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.70 projected vs. $0.70 actual)
Dividend for Q1 2015***: Stated dividend would be "relatively" stable; accurate because company only cut its dividend by ($0.03) per share which, when calculated, was only a "minor" (< 5%) reduction
Dividend for Q2 2015***: Stated heightened risk for another minor - modest dividend reduction; accurate because company cut its dividend by ($0.03) per share which, when calculated, was another "minor" (< 5%) reduction
Dividend for Q3 2015: Correctly stated dividend would be modestly cut; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.60 projected vs. $0.60 actual
Dividend for Q3 2015*****: Stated dividend had a modest to high probability (50% - 75%) of being reduced; 100% accurate because company reduced monthly dividends from $0.18 per share to $0.14 per share beginning in July 2015.
Dividend for August 2015 - May 2016: Correctly stated dividend would be stable; 100% accuracy ($0.14 projected vs. $0.14 actual)
BV as of 9/30/2015: $0.05 per share variance; within range ($11.63 projected vs. $11.69 actual)
BV as of 12/31/2015: $0.09 per share variance; within range ($11.74 projected vs. $11.65 actual)
BV as of 3/31/2016: $0.09 per share variance; within range ($11.10 projected vs. $11.01 actual)
Dividend Declaration for Calendar Q2 2015****: Correctly stated low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (April 2015 $0.175 projected vs. $0.175 actual) (May 2015 $0.175 projected vs. $0.175 actual) (June 2015 $0.175 projected vs. $0.175 actual).
Dividend Declaration for September - November 2015: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (September 2015 $0.175 - $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (October 2015 $0.175 - $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (November 2015 $0.175 - $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual).
Special Periodic Dividend Declaration for 2015: Correctly stated high probability of a special periodic dividend paid in December 2015; exactly at my projected mean: ($0.25 - $0.30 projected vs. $0.275 actual).
Dividend Declaration for December 2015 - February 2016: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (December 2015 $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (January 2016 $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (February 2016 $0.18 projected vs. $0.180 actual).
Dividend Declaration for March 2016 - May 2016: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (March 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (April 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (May 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual).
Dividend Declaration for June 2016 - August 2016: Correctly stated very low risk for a dividend reduction; dividend would be stable; $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy (June 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (July 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual) (August 2016 $0.18 - $0.185 projected vs. $0.180 actual).
Special Periodic Dividend Declaration for First-Half 2016: Correctly stated high probability of a special periodic dividend paid in June 2016; exactly at my projected mean: ($0.25 - $0.30 projected vs. $0.275 actual).
Q4 2015 Adjusted Diluted EPS: $0.00 per share variance; 100% accuracy ($0.67 projected vs. $0.67 per share actual)
* = Stated there was a 60% probability dividend would be reduced to $0.18 per share; a 30% probability dividend would remain stable at $0.20 per share
** = Stated there was a 45% probability dividend would be reduced to $0.16 - $0.19 per share
*** = Provided within an AGNC article
**** = Provided within a PSEC article
***** = Provided within a NLY article
I am a dividend investor and look for undervalued investments in the stock market. I identify misunderstood and undervalued equity investments and hold those securities until their price approximates my estimate of intrinsic value. I am a long-term investor only.
I am building a $100,000 high-yield income portfolio. I am running this portfolio as an experiment to see if long-term sustainable income can be generated from a diversified pool of high-risk, high-yield securities. I am willing to accept high risk in order to meet my performance goals.
Scott has been involved in the financial services profession for more than 18 years. He has enjoyed studying market gurus as well as non-traditional newsletter writers and bloggers while benefiting from extensive and varied reading. He has worked both as a retail broker and as a representative of investment advisers and also has an extensive background in insurance products and annuities. His primary focus is on high-yielding income strategies.
My investment approach is primarily that of a "contrarian value investor," finding temporarily undervalued value and growth stocks, especially among small-cap and even micro-cap companies, and within the "socially responsible investor" context (no junk food, animal cruelty, heavily polluting, alcoholic beverages, gambling, tobacco, or weaponry-oriented companies).
As every savvy investor knows, markets in the short-term are often not at all efficient at pricing equities—except in the lamest sense that a stock’s price is what buyers and sellers agree upon at a particular moment of the day. Exploiting inefficiencies in stock-valuations is one secret to making big gains over time when a company’s shares re-set to a higher price to more accurately reflect significant changes in fundamentals, financials, and/or economic trends.
I'm a psychologist, author, spiritual counselor, with strong progressive values, living with my wife in Santa Barbara, CA, USA. See my websites: www.rare-leadership.org and a really huge, multi-faceted website, www.enlightened-spirituality.org
I hold a PhD in the field of epidemiology a masters degree in public health. My undergraduate training is in policy, economics and the sciences. I have utilized my training in employment with government, academia, private industry and to further analyze the fundamentals and technicals of all manner of companies in different sectors. Specifically, I like to trade growth companies, REITS, biotechnology/ pharmaceuticals, precious metals, blue chips and small-cap companies.
Each market day I get up at 530 am and begin working/analyzing data before my day job. I focus much on current events, earnings, and developments. I also work after market hours to cover after hours developments or interesting action during the day. I aim to conduct 2 analysis per business day, which helps me stay focused on my own finances.
I have been investing for about 10 years. I also enjoy trading short expiration options, and investing in stocks with 3-20 year horizons. I enjoy writing with Seeking Alpha to share my opinion and analyses. I am a large believer in the crowd source model championed by Seeking Alpha and believe every ounce of analysis and opinion should be considered when you invest your personal finances.
Karl Guttag has over 34 years of experience in integrated circuit architecture related to Graphics and Image Processors Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and memory architecture. For the last 12 years he has worked on integrated circuit backplanes for Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) displays. Over the last 34 years he has identified new market opportunities and integrated circuit architectures to serve those markets.
He is named inventor on about 145 issued U.S. Patents including key patents related graphics and imaging processors, graphics interface circuits, microprocessors, signal processing (DSP), Synchronous DRAMs, and Video Rams. Billions of dollars of yearly revenue have been attributed to products using these inventions. Mr. Guttag is the youngest person elected to The Fellow of Texas Instruments.
2013-Present Navdy, CTO; a start-up working on automotive displays
2012-Present KGOnTech, President; Patent Litigation Technical Expert
2003-2011 Syndiant, CTO and Founder; a maker of LCOS Microdisplays
2001-2002 Kagutech, President; Inventor and Patent Litigation Technical Expert
1998-2001 Silicon Display, CTO; Maker of LCOS devices for Head Mount Displays
1977-1999 Texas Instruments; TI Fellow (elected 1982)
Theodore J. Cohen, Ph.D., a research scientist, has been an investor for more than 50 years. Since 1980, he has focused his attention on investment research and investigative analyses of companies developing therapeutic drugs in the biotech sector. Dr. Cohen is a frequent contributor of Guest Opinions (op-ed pieces) to the Bucks County (PA) Courier Times (circulation: 80,000), where, since 2007, he has addressed such varied subjects as the conflicts of interest (COIs) associated with two members of the Provenge advisory committee (AC); the U.S. Senate’s Durbin Amendment, to tighten COI reviews of FDA AC members; and naked short selling. Cohen is the author of the award-winning novels Death by Wall Street: Rampage of the Bulls (AuthorHouse, 2010) and House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Outskirts Press, 2011), which were inspired by real events. The books are available from Amazon.com, B&N, and 26,000 online bookstores worldwide. For details, see http://www.theodore-cohen-novels.com.
Author of the critically acclaimed book, "Taking Charge With Value Investing (McGraw-Hill, 2013)" and the premium subscription service "Tipping The Scale" (as seen below). An analyst that ranks in the top 4% on both tipranks.com and Motley Fool CAPS for stock picking performance.
Tipping the Scale members gain access to the TTS Portfolio Tracker. Here, members see what I am buying and selling the minute it happens, along with what I have owned, bought, and sold historically. These are just a few of the features on the TTS Portfolio Tracker.
Tipping The Scale is an equity research platform that uses a numeric scale instead of the traditional "Buy, Hold, Sell" to identify the best investment opportunities in the market. Stock coverage is determined by market catalyst, and every company goes through a vigorous test in 10 different categories. The higher the total score, the bigger the upside. In addition, Tipping the Scale also provides a number of portfolio strategies to hedge the volatility of the market and protect from downside.
Check out my instablog for more information on the popular research service Tipping the Scale, including performance information, benefits, and how it all works.
Author of the value investing newsletter detailing the formation of the "Punch Card Portfolio" (http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/). Devon Shire is an accountant and an investor with 15 years experience managing a private portfolio. Devon Shire's preferred portfolio management style is a concentrated approach, investing only when finding opportunities that offer a sufficient discount to the intrinsic value of a business. Devon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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QTR's ARTICLES ARE BOUND BY SA'S CONTRIBUTOR POLICY IN ADDITION TO THIS ENTIRE LENGTHY, YET EXTREMELY PERTINENT ADD ON DISCLOSURE, WHICH SERVES AS BOTH A STANDALONE DISCLOSURE AND AN AMENDMENT TO ANY AND ALL DISCLOSURES ALREADY PRESIDING OVER SEEKING ALPHA:
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QTR most always holds a position in any of the securities profiled in his pieces and he constructs his SA disclosures in accordance with SA's Contributor Policy, to the best of his knowledge in order to maintain transparency and also to uphold and respect pertinent securities laws. QTR may or may not report when a position is initiated or covered. Each investor must make that decision based on his/her judgment of the market.
I am not a stockbroker or financial adviser. I am a casual investor making casual observations for the purpose of discussion and open communication and analysis of companies and stocks. All articles are my opinion only and are not suggestions to buy or sell any equity, bond, option or other financial instrument. QTR may have long or short positions in any tickers mentioned at any time and reserves the right to open, close, or modify positions at all time without notice. My conclusions are the result of my personal due diligence and have been wrong in the past. There are tons of unqualified people out there offering up financial advice and its your responsibility to sort through the BS. You don't hit the button to fill my orders and I don't hit yours, so no whining or praising over stocks covered by me.
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Sharon di Stefano has spent 20 years as an analyst, beginning her career at Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. specializing in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, healthcare information technology, and biopharmacology. Ms. di Stefano had also served as Senior Venture Officer for the Edison Innovation Fund, implemented through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority that provided funding for early-stage life sciences companies. Industry experience includes laboratory research for Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Department of Defense.
Ms. di Stefano received a Masters of Science degree, in Business, from Johns Hopkins University in 1986, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware in 1984 with a minor in biology.
It’s a shame, really, that much of what is offered here – at no charge – is not taught in the public schools. Why is it that you can graduate in the top of your high school class and know next to nothing about credit card debt, adjustable-rate mortgages, or 401(k)s?
Founded in 1999, the goal of Investment U is to give you impartial, no-nonsense advice on how to build long-lasting wealth.
Our mission is to analyze and discuss all the important financial tools at your disposal. And to make sure, too, that you use them effectively to jump-start your net worth, cut your investment costs dramatically, reduce your risk profile and, most importantly, achieve and maintain total financial independence.
It’s the latter point that is truly our goal here at Investment U. Because no one has the opportunity to live his life fully if he’s a slave to his job, his financial obligations, or his overhead. Or, worse, if he’s worried he won’t be able to maintain a comfortable retirement… or leave behind some kind of legacy.
The essential truth of modern economic life is that money gives you choices. Chief among these is the opportunity to do what you want, where you want, with whom you want. That’s what financial freedom is all about.
It’s too bad we don’t discover this at a younger age. But then, it’s never too late to start learning… or to finish our investment education.
Over time, the insights and analyses offered by Investment U – delivered daily in our e-letter – can make a dramatic difference in any investor’s net worth and financial security. And you can hardly beat the price…
After all, it’s free and you’ll receive this Free report: Why It’s “Mayday” For the Euro… And What You Should Do. Please visit: www.investmentu.com.
Disclaimer: Money Morning and Stansberry & Associates Investment Research are separate companies, and entirely distinct. Their only common thread is a shared parent company, Agora Inc. Agora Inc. was named in the suit by the SEC and was exonerated by the court, and thus dropped from the case. Stansberry & Associates was found civilly liable for a matter that dealt with one writer’s report on a company. The action was not a criminal matter. The case is still on appeal, and no final decision has been made.
Ray Dirks has been a respected analyst on Wall Street for decades. Ray has written two books,” The Great Wall Street Scandal” and “Heads You Win, Tails You Win”, published by McGraw-Hill and Bantam Books respectively.
Dirks opened his own securities analysis firm after gaining much attention in the financial press during the 1970s and 1980s.
Ray earned his place in the history books while working as a securities research analyst. He got a tip from a disgruntled employee of a company called Equity Funding that this firm had built its business model upon massive commercial and accounting fraud. Most research analysts on Wall Street took Equity Funding's numbers at face value, and recommended the stock.
Dirks, however, began his own investigation, found the tip credible, then warned both his firm's top institutional clients (who sold out their positions) and the SEC. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to interest The Wall Street Journal in the story. It turned out that the tip was right, and Equity Funding eventually collapsed in a manner that would prefigure some of the scandals that have been seen on the Street today.
I have been a technology investor for over twenty-five years. My investing style includes a combination of Fundamental Analysis with Technical Analysis used for entry and exit points. I have followed several stocks involved in patent litigations including Rambus (RMBS), Interdigital (IDCC), Tessera (TSRA) and Star Scientific (STSI). I follow the actual trials, read the transcripts and the briefs and attempt to handicap the outcomes. I attend various hearings, trials, and oral arguments whenever possible, including appeals to the CAFC, and occasionally attend hearings/trials at various District Courts and the ITC. I have attended over 30 oral arguments at the CAFC and I have a good feel for the various judges.
Star Scientific (STSI) is my favorite stock for 2014. STSI has transformed themselves from a tobacco company to a Biopharma company in 2012 and 2013, and this year we will see the true value of the company now that scientific researchers are running the company. Star Scientific will also probably be changing their name in 2014, and may choose to become known as Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals (their division that produces Anatabloc). Although STSI has exited the tobacco manufacturing business (and settled with RJR for a paltry $5 Million), they still own key tobacco curing patents that have been validated by both the USPTO and the CAFC, and these patents don't expire until 2018. Star's new TSNA BDL patent (granted in 2012 by the USPTO) doesn't expire until 2030. I expect STSI (Rock Creek) to have a banner year in 2014 as the world starts to learn the miraculous ability of Anatabloc to treat a variety of auto immune diseases and other conditions associated with NF-kB inflammation (including MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Asthma, Crohn's, Parkinson's, Traumatic Brain Injury, Alzheimer's, and various types of cancer, etc). Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals should have more and more peer reviewed medical journal articles on the efficacy of Anatabloc coming out in 2014. I also expect that Rock Creek will file several drug applications (IND's) with the FDA in 2014. In addition, I expect Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals to team or partner with one or more Big Pharma companies for various human ailments as they pursue these IND's. For all these reasons, I expect Star Scientific to be at least a $10 stock before the end of the 2014, and possibly much higher than that.
QualityStocks (www.qualitystocks.net) assists publicly traded companies by getting their story out to the investment community while helping investors discover emerging companies with plenty of growth potential. Our name, QualityStocks, emphasizes our commitment to connect subscribers with companies that have huge potential to succeed in the short and long-term future.
QualityStocks provides investor relations services to publicly traded companies in exchange for compensation. The content we provide via Seeking Alpha may be part of our efforts to widen a client’s exposure. To read our full disclaimer, visit http://disclaimer.qualitystocks.net.
Renaissance Capital is an IPO investment advisory firm providing pre-IPO institutional research and management of IPO-focused funds including the Renaissance IPO ETF (NYSE ticker: IPO), the Renaissance International IPO ETF (NYSE ticker: IPOS) and the Global IPO Mutual Fund (ticker: IPOSX). Through Renaissance Capital’s pre-IPO research service, investors get a hard-nosed, independent opinion, in-depth fundamental analysis and customizable financial models on all IPOs. The Firm's clients also gain access to the premier IPO knowledge base with deal calendars, market commentary, fundamental data on over 5,000 past IPOs and more.
StockMatusow.com Writers are:
Scott Matusow; Team Leader, owner and founder of StockMatusow.com.
Scott is an independent investor/writer/trader and team leader of StockMatusow.com.
He has have about fifteen years of stock market experience which include trading, investing, and managing his family’s trust as well as his personal account.
Scott has had the most success in trading/investing in smaller cap growth companies. Because Scott is not 'officially trained' in the markets, he see things 'outside the box.' Scott uses his ability to read situations and emotion, charts, times and sales, historical data, and macroeconomic and other market forces to predict stock price movements. Using these allowed for him to completely divest his own and family's money near the top of the market before the 2008 financial crisis.
Scott has his own online talk show which can be heard at www.scottmatusow.com/radio .
During market hours, we engage in talk about Stocks and Politics. After hours, Scott engages in a variety of talk issues from Poker, Sports, Politics, Current Events and whatever the chat room people wish to talk about.
Other places you can follow Scott are:
Kyle Dennis; writer, analyst, trader, website design, and team member of Stockmatusow.com.
Kyle has a Biology degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and specializes in trading the biotechnology sector.
Kyle has extensive experience in researching, writing, and editing articles that have been published in scientific journals. He uses these experiences to write and comment about the potential of various biotechnology companies. Kyle specializes in evaluating trial success, drug potential, and market valuations.
As an investor/trader, Kyle likes to focus on chart analysis and investor/trader sentiment to identify good entry and exit points.
Kyle can also be followed at www.twitter.com/kylewdennis @kylewdennis
Michael Kovar; writer, editor, investor, trader and team member of stockmatusow.com
Michael has spent over ten years in financial roles with companies large and small. Recently, he spent time in a consulting role with Thomson Reuters legal headquarters in Eagan, MN. He currently works in an analyst position with a healthcare organization. Since 2011, Michael has worked with Scott Matusow to help research and edit articles for Stockmatusow.com.
Michael can be followed at www.twitter.com/MMK_3399 @MMK_3399
Andrew McDonald is a healthcare investment professional with expertise in identifying transformative medicines as well as in forecasting clinical trial, regulatory, and sales outcomes. Prior to co-founding LifeSci Advisors, Andrew most recently served as senior biotechnology analyst at Great Point Partners, a dedicated life science hedge fund. From 2004-2006, Andrew was Co-head of Healthcare Research and Biotechnology Analyst at ThinkEquity Partners, a boutique investment bank. Prior to entering the financial services industry, Andrew was a medicinal chemist at Cytokinetics from 2001-2004, where he discovered and developed a promising anti-cancer agent now in clinical trials. Andrew began his pharmaceutical career as a medicinal chemist at Pfizer from 2000-2001. Andrew received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Irvine and completed his B.S. in chemistry at UC Berkeley.
Follow @SmithOnStocks on Twitter for more updates (http://twitter.com/#SmithOnStocks
Please read this section carefully for some important disclosures.
Who Am I?
My name is Larry Smith. My career was spent on Wall Street as a biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst and also as Director of Research at Smith Barney and Hambrecht and Quist. On my website, SmithOnStocks, which can be addressed from this Seeking Alpha site, I publish articles on biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. I attempt to be objective and present a balanced view of negatives and positives. Readers should not rely on Seeking Alpha for my latest views and articles on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as informational only. The reports section of my website reflects my most current view on a stock.
How Do I Get Paid?
My only source of revenues from my articles is from subscription revenues from my website. I do not receive any compensation from companies or investor relations firms to write articles. I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity to write articles. I consider direct compensation to be cash compensation that is directly or indirectly tied to my writing articles.
I also do not receive compensation in the form of content. I believe that it is not uncommon for some writers to receive content from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity that are critical components of the articles that they write. I consider this as non-cash compensation. I do not receive advertising revenues from my website so there is no incentive to be sensational in order to create page hits. I only get paid if my subscribers believe that my articles are of value to them and they then decide to subscribe to my services.
You Should View Articles Published on Seeking Alpha as Informational Only
I want to make clear to readers that not all of the reports that I publish on my website are also published on Seeking Alpha. Also, I will sometimes make reports available on my website a significant period of time before publishing the same or a condensed version on Seeking Alpha. All of the articles that are published on Seeking Alpha and my website at the same time have consistent views and opinions. However, at a later data, it may be the case that my viewpoint and opinion may change and these changes in viewpoint and opinion may only be published in articles on my website.
For this reason, readers may want to check the reports section on my website for my current opinion on a stock and should not rely on the latest Seeking Alpha article as my viewpoint or opinion may have changed. The content on my website is intended only for subscribers, but non-subscribers can view the headlines in the reports section which in most cases but not all will announce a change in viewpoint or opinion. However, I emphasize that I undertake no obligation to update my articles on Seeking Alpha and the latest article on Seeking Alpha may not reflect my latest thinking. This is why I want to re-emphasize that any article published on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as information only.
What SmithOn Stocks is All About
SmithOnStocks is not registered as a securities broker-dealer or as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities regulatory authority. SOS relies solely on publicly disclosed and available information. While SOS makes all reasonable efforts to confirm the accuracy of its statements and opinions, all comments should be considered only as opinion and should not be considered to be absolute fact. Investors should carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Disclosures sections of my website. Investors should carefully perform their own due diligence, seek other points of view and consult with their broker or financial advisor.
Investing in equities includes considerable risk, and investors should be prepared for the possibility of capital loss. This is particularly the case with biotechnology stocks in which hard to predict clinical and commercial outcomes can often disappoint investors and lead to unusually large declines in price. Potential investors in biotechnology stocks must often be prepared to risk the loss of substantially all of their investment. These stocks are only suitable for investors willing and able to accept unusually high financial risk. Users of my information acknowledge that SOS and its owner are not liable to any person or entity for the accuracy, thoroughness, reliability, or timeliness of the information provided. Users further acknowledge that SOS is also not responsible for any direct or indirect losses that may arise from the use of information provided to any person or entity.
Employees of SmithOnStocks or SOS do buy and sell healthcare stocks, some of which may be the subject of written articles appearing on Seeking Alpha. In the event that employees have a stock investment in a company, that ownership is fully disclosed in notes on Seeking Alpha. On any new recommendation, I have a 48 hour waiting period before initiating a position in a stock. I trade in line with my recommendations.
In 1999 I made an ethical breach that resulted in a suspension from being a registered representative in the securities industry for a period of time. I believe that this measure was harsh beyond any reasonable measure and totally unwarranted. I have gone to great lengths in this report to give my side of the story and I hope that you will read the in-depth account that I have provided. This took place over 16 years ago and has long since ended. There has been no restriction from the NYSE for many years on my working as a registered representative if I choose to go through the required registration procedures.
Still, this NYSE action is like a Scarlett letter that I carry. I would urge you to read the full account of the events that led to this NYSE action and if you do so I believe you will agree that this in no way reflects on my integrity and the way I have always conducted myself, then and now. I strongly believe that the action taken was excessive and I think that if you read my full account you will agree.
People make mistakes. Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached and disbarred as a lawyer in Arkansas in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair. However, society has judged him on the body of work that he has done. Suspensions in the security industry can result from serious infractions in which investors are defrauded or swindled. In the events that led to my suspension no investors lost money and as I explain in this report investors who followed my advice made significant amounts of money. Before you rush to any conclusions, let me tell you my story.
I Am Proud in How I Have Conducted My Career
Before I go into the details of this ethical breach, I want to emphasize that I have had a distinguished career on Wall Street. My record from 1971 when I started on Wall Street until 1999 was unblemished. I came to New York from Indiana with no business connections and no money but through hard work I became a highly regarded Wall Street analyst and was selected to the Institutional Investor All Star team in pharmaceuticals for ten years in a row. Based on my record as being the top or one of the top analysts at Smith Barney, I was selected to be head of research from 1981 until 1989. I also served on the Board of Directors at Smith Barney.
Based on my strong reputation, Hambrecht and Quist approached me in 1989 to head their life sciences research effort and to run the annual H&Q (now JP Morgan) healthcare conference. I was a Managing Director and on the operating committee at H&Q. I left H&Q in the late 1990s because I disliked the bureaucracy that was such an integral part of being head of research. I had made enough money to be financially secure and I wanted to get back into doing what I loved, biotechnology research. I joined Tucker Anthony in 1997 as a biotechnology analyst.
Explaining the Events That Led to the NYSE Issue
Tucker Anthony had a sister firm called Sutro and a decision was made early in 1998 to move health care research from Tucker to Sutro. Tucker was an east coast based firm and Sutro was based in Los Angeles. Sutro leased a New York office to which I moved. It was here that an unfortunate train of events was set in motion that led to the NYSE action that put a stain on what I consider an outstanding career.
When I moved from Tucker to Sutro, I maintained my brokerage accounts at Tucker. I conducted normal trading in this account for some months. Then the research administrative research manager for Sutro contacted me and said that for regulatory purposes I would have to move my account from Tucker to Sutro. After some time spent in looking for a broker to handle my account at Sutro I became frustrated. At that time, I had over $5 million in my brokerage accounts. While I was sophisticated in health care investing which made up 10% of my portfolio, I needed help with other parts of the portfolio. I could find no retail broker at Sutro that I wanted to trust my portfolio to. I asked and received approval to look for a broker outside of Sutro and contacted Schwab about finding an investment advisor there to manage my account.
While this was in process, the research administrative manager at Sutro called again and said that Sutro was probably planning to shut down the New York office and I would have to move to Los Angeles or leave the firm. Moving to Los Angeles was not an option for me as my roots were deep in New York. I informed her that given this choice I would soon be leaving Sutro rather then moving to Los Angeles and began to think about what to do. I came to the preliminary conclusion that I would start a consulting firm dealing in biotechnology. I also concluded that I would have to carefully manage my investment portfolio.
It was here that I made a major mistake that I have regretted ever since. Frustrated that my money was tied up in Tucker and I was unable to trade in my account and unable to find a broker that I trusted, I decided to open an account at Schwab without a broker managing it. I indicated on the account transfer form that I was self-employed based on the assumption that I was going to be leaving Sutro imminently. This was my Bill Clinton moment and turned out to be a major mistake.
I continued to work at Sutro while I was waiting for the New York office to be closed which I thought would be in a matter of days or weeks and during this time, I began to execute trades in my account at Schwab. However, after some weeks the research administrative manager at Sutro called and informed me that based on the response they had gotten from clients and the work that I was doing that the firm had reversed itself and now wanted to keep the office in New York and they were also willing to hire two assistants to aid me. There was also the promise of a significant bonus in the upcoming review that based on my work could amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not surprisingly, I decided to stay on at Sutro instead of leaving and starting my own firm. I then looked for and finally found a Sutro broker that I could trust to help manage my portfolio. The brokerage accounts at Schwab were opened in February of 1999 and transferred to Sutro in April 1999. When I moved my accounts to Sutro the compliance department at Sutro saw that there was this hiatus when I had an unauthorized account at another firm. This was reported to NYSE.
NYSE Reviewed My Case and Took No Action for Three Years
Management at Sutro looked very closely at what had occurred and decided that while it was certainly not something they could condone, it was a minor infraction and they thought that given my stellar and unblemished record that NYSE would not take any meaningful action other than a wrist slap. Sutro decided to be pre-emptive in administering the wrist slap and fined me and suspended me for one month. They thought that this would satisfy NYSE based on their interpretation of what had occurred. They wanted me to continue with the firm, paid the sizable bonus I was due and committed to picki up all legal fees.
I then had a deposition with a lawyer from NYSE in early 2000. During a one day interview, he went over all of the details of the accounts that were held at Schwab and all of the trades that occurred in detail. He also looked at all of the reports that I had issued as an analyst during this time to compare to the trading in my account to the issuance of research reports. I then heard nothing more from the NYSE for three years.
Sutro concluded as did I that this issue was behind us. Three years later in mid-2003, I heard from NYSE to my shock that they were re-opening the case. Why after three years was the case being re-opened? In talking to the lawyers at NYSE, I came to understand that this was the result of Elliott Spitzer’s attack on Wall Street research. Remember the famous case of Henry Blodgett who recommended stocks of investment banking clients to clients that he thought were actually sales.
NYSE enforcement was under pressure because this unethical practice had been brought to light by Spitzer and they had missed it. They were under pressure to show how tough they could be as enforcers. They reviewed their records and came up with my case which they decided to reopen it in order to show that they were aggressive enforcers.
They went over the same information that had been gathered in early 2000, but came up with an entirely different interpretation. They said that I effected stock transactions shortly before issuance of research reports which I had prepared and this was a violation of Exchange Rule 472.40(2) (iii). They also said that I failed to disclose that I held securities in stocks recommended in a research report. They said that I opened accounts at a member firm that concealed fact of my employment at another member firm; violated Exchange Rule 407(b). They recommended a censure and two and one-half year suspension.
Two Stock Trades at Question
The information on opening an account at another firm is something that I just discussed at length. This was not in dispute. However, NYSE focused on two stock trades that I made and explained the suspension largely on the basis of these two trades. I believe that they were clearly wrong in their conclusions. Let me discuss those trades in detail.
The first trade was in Stericycle, a medical waste disposal company. I had been following the company for some time with a neutral rating. In my reports, I noted that the Company wanted to buy the medical waste disposal business of Waste Management and if they were successful, I would immediately go to a strong buy.
This acquisition was announced on April 14, 2009 after the close at 4 PM EST. Because it was 1 PM in Los Angeles I held a conference call with Sutro’s traders and the salesforce and told them I was going to a strong buy on the stock. It was the practice of Sutro to initiate new ideas with a conference call in this manner. The traders and sales force would then go out to the clients with the idea. After this, the analyst would follow-up by publishing a note on First Call (an electronic distribution network) and this was done on April 15 This was then followed up by a written research report on April 16. On April 16, I bought 2500 shares of the stock at a price of $12. This was accepted practice at Sutro for research analysts buying stocks that they recommended. There was no requirement to wait for a period of time to buy the stock. The analyst was allowed to buy the stock at the same time as other Sutro employees and clients
The NYSE judged my conduct on standards that were different from those that were accepted practices at Sutro. By today’s standards, the Sutro practices seem very loose but they were common at the time. This is why Sutro did not view this trade as a breach of conduct and kept me as an analyst. The NYSE also said that I did not disclose that I owned Stericycle in my written report. However, none of the analysts at Sutro were required at the time to do so. This was also standard operating procedure.
Stericycle was a major success for investors. Adjusting for stock splits the stock traded at about $3.00 when I first recommended it. Fifteen years later, the stock is trading at about $119. This was one of my best recommendations ever. I held the Stericycle stock for many years and only sold it recently.
The NYSE did not accept that my actions were in line with the practices of Sutro even though I produced a letter to that effect from the research administrative officer. I also argued that a $30,000 investment in a portfolio that amounted to $5 million at the time was de minimus. I argued that the stock was bought and maintained as a long term investment. I argued that it was an excellent money making idea for investors. The NYSE dismissed all of these arguments and maintained that I traded ahead of my recommendation.
The second trade that the NYSE emphasized was a trade in Schering Plough. On April 18, the stock had traded down by 5%. I had an accumulate rating on the stock essentially telling investors to buy the stock for the long term, but connoting less emphasis than a buy. In the morning call to traders and salesmen, I alerted them to the price weakness, but told them there was no change in the fundamental outlook and there was no change in my price target. I was not intending to issue a report, but the research administrative manager told me that the price drop in Schering Plough based on my price target indicated 25% upside that was the accepted criteria for a buy recommendation. Hence, I needed to put out a report in which I upgraded my opinion from accumulate to buy.
I bought the stock on April 20 at the same time as the written report was issued. I previously owned 500 shares and this increased my position to 1000 shares for a total investment of about $35,000 which again was within a $5 million portfolio. The NYSE again accused me of the same things as in the Stericycle situation. They said that I traded ahead of my recommendation and did not disclose that I owned the stock. My responses were the same as for Stericycle and were once again rejected.
Was The NYSE Action Justified?
I think that the NYSE action was out of all proportion to what actually transpired. I think the enforcement officers applied new standards in overturning the prior decision to take no action on this case that had been in effect for three years. They were under pressure to make a big splash in the Elliot Spitzer era to show how tough they were. My recommendations were solid recommendations and indeed the Stericycle recommendation was outstanding.
I fully recognize that my decision to open the brokerage account at Schwab prior to resigning from Sutro was an ethical breach on my part even if I was planning to resign from Sutro. When I decided to stay with Sutro, I transferred my accounts immediately. I strongly and absolutely maintain that my trading in Schering-Plough and Stericycle was in accordance with policies in place at Sutro at the time. By today’s standards these seem loose, but this was common industry practice at the time.
The NYSE review was conducted by a mediator and it was he that determined the punishment. He had spent his entire career as an enforcement officer for the NYSE. He was also friends with the NYSE lawyers on my case and sent out to lunch with them during the hearing. He was the judge, jury and executioner of my fate. As I look back, I question his objectivity and motives. In writing his opinion, he did not acknowledge documents from Sutro that showed that my stock trading disclosures were in-line with their internal procedures. I had no opportunity to review or correct his opinion in the opinion he wrote. In a country in which, guilt or innocence is established by one’s peers, mine was determined by a hanging judge with no experience in the securities business and an apparent pre-determined view on my actions.
Editor for The Biotech Forum, the #2 subscribed to Marketplace investment service offered through SeekingAlpha. Top 5% ranked analyst (TipRanks) 2013 through first half of 2015. Daily contributor for Real Money Pro. Hedge fund manager from 2008 to 2011. Previously technology executive at Fortune 100 firm for a decade.
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