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  • Quantifying Uncertainty In Yahoo! [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    Re Rach's comment:

    I have a rule not to reply to people who have no bio.

    But this one calls for a word. So, let me say that anyone who would compare WorldCom that had $40b in debt and practically no assets with YHOO that has a tiny amount of debt with a current ratio resting solidly at 5 is absolutely an unhelpable cynic who has not a nanometer of an idea of what's going on. Or is either a perennial carper who sits in line everyday waiting to knock any and everything, or perhaps is both.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jul 2, 2015. 06:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Quantifying Uncertainty In Yahoo! [View article]

    Evidently you don't respond to your comments. So, I'll just say this is about as reasonable piece as I've seen on YHOO.

    I'll give you a follow tap.

    I am, the ArtfulDodger
    Jul 2, 2015. 06:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Seagate Technology Is A Dividend Growth Bargain [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    This author wrote: "Last month, Seagate announced its intention to issue $700 million in long-term debt priced at 4.875%, allowing it to pay off its existing senior notes of 6.875%.

    .... but that Seagate is capable of saving 2% in this manner underscores the strong position the company is in."

    Comment: That is a 2 point difference in the payment, but a near 40% savings from 6.8% to 4.8% for STX.

    This is a common mistake I see quite often on SA (and other business forums), authors writing that the point difference in price change is the same as the new cost or savings, when it is the percentage of change that tells us the new cost or savings.

    This is, however, good news for STX's debt load, because it has gotten somewhat heavy. I it were as it is today, along with a 5 x book multiple, I would not have bought it when I did.

    Long STX from 12.50 — and standing.

    I am, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 28, 2015. 05:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft: Attractive Investment Despite Richer Valuation [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    I'm definitely in the don't tell me — show me state regarding MSFT.

    Besides what the company says it's going to do, 4 x book is not a price I'm going to toss leery dollars into.

    Another quantifiable problem I see is the huge gap between GPM (65) & NPM (21), which always indicates a serious inefficiency or even inefficiencies somewhere within the company.

    Last, I cannot yet qualify this management as investible. After years of Ballmer's bungling, I suppose there are a lot of us who are waiting to see what current management can and will do.

    For these reasons I have to pass on MSFT. But for those of you who are invested or are planning on buying MSFT, I wish you well. But I myself cannot tread those waters at this point.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 25, 2015. 10:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • JPMorgan's Layoffs Add Value Without Damaging The Business [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    I have not owned any US banks since a few years after the Cash-Credit-Crunch Crash, after having bought BAC on the cheap and selling it at 15.

    JPM does look quantifiable in several ways: good margins and reasonably low PTB, PTC, & PTCF.

    But qualifying the company is another matter, mainly because since the Crash US banks have become mere clerks for that invading monster residing in Washington.

    Mussolini's definition of fascism always comes to my mind when I see what's going on with US banks, utilities, and other businesses: Private ownership with total government control of businesses.

    That is now and has been a huge negative for all US banks. Will that brutal beast let up? Nope! Not as long as we have the same or similar people running the House, Senate, and Executive.

    That alone, no matter the metrical values, keeps me on the sidelines regarding US banks.

    Long SAN, however, which I believe is the best bank in the world, and is under such constraints only in the small amount of business it has in the US.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 24, 2015. 04:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Banco Santander: A Look Into The Divergence Between Earnings And Price Performance [View article]

    While we're at it, "as" is called for as in "a talented, well-educated, well-mannered professional as (or even better: such as you are) yourself."

    Discl: An old man trained in childhood by a strict, old-fashioned grammarian, whose teachings allowed him to skip two years of English Composition at college. What a break!

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 24, 2015. 04:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's Why I'm Buying Microsoft And Selling Apple [View article]
    Wow, ewmpsi, I had no idea such an animal existed who thought enough of Keynes to quote him as much as you did in your comment.

    Not sure whether you're an owner or buyer or seller of either stock, but this is some sagacious stuff here, from which I learned so much it has dizzied my little brain: "Stocks go up and down because of buying and selling. Buyers and sellers are moved buy sentiment. Sentiment is formed by fundamentals and hyperbole; both of which cause buyers and sellers to maintain or change their decision to buy, sell or hold. All other rhetoric is just pundits and market denizens earning a living."

    More interesting news from which I'm further dizzied: "Both companies seem well poised to be strong players in tech for the foreseeable future. However, they are both vulnerable to the newcomers and the forthcoming… but that’s just as it should be!"

    I can't take anymore dizzying information today. I think I'll go take a nap and see if I can stop my brain from swirling.

    I am, the ArtfulDodger

    Jun 24, 2015. 01:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Cisco Dividend Analysis Shows Overvaluation [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    I certainly would never attempt to value a stock in this manner. But it's not a bad overall piece, except for the technical jargon at the beginning: talking about resistance and such, all of which is less than bloviated filler.

    Moreover, as far as valuing CSCO, there is an intangible that is impossible to figure: CSCO's plan to digitize the world (slightly hyperbolic I might add, but certainly gets the point across). If the company can pull that one off, the income stands to be hundreds of billions. And I don't know of another company that can accomplish that feat other than CSCO.

    You therefore buy CSCO by qualifying it as a company that has the potential to carry out that plan — not necessarily on any traditional method of quantifying a company, though I did buy it on the cheap at under 15.

    I'd say, if you want to buy CSCO for the above reasons, catch it during a downturn in prices — and wait.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 23, 2015. 05:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's Why I'm Buying Microsoft And Selling Apple [View article]

    I've never understood how "facts" can be "wrong." Maybe you can explain that one.

    Jun 22, 2015. 04:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Book Review: Keynes's Way To Wealth [View article]
    Fellow Investors:

    Article: "Invest passively by placing most of your money in cheap index funds."

    I kindly doubt, imaginative as Keynes was, that he ever dreamed of an index fund.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 15, 2015. 09:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Words Of Warning! [View article]

    A lot of very good advice put in an interesting form. We need more writers who have a little pizazz, imagination, and a memory of history.

    In my view the Time for Equities began as soon as Reagan won election in 1980. We finally had a president who did not hate businesses and who did not blame the nation's problems on the people. Stocks took off in August 1982 — and are still running today with more power and force behind them than ever.

    Add the amazing changes in China, and Russia (if we would leave them alone), the world finally admitting there are tons of oil available, reasonably low interest rates for the first time in anyone's lives, and almost every nation (even Cuba) trying to make their economies grow by at least some capitalistic means, and you have the opportunity of a lifetime to invest.

    Moreover, investing in stocks is cheaper today than ever, and we can invest practically any where in the world. Young folks who did not live through the 1970s (and back) when there were no discount houses, no tax-deferred accounts for the average person, and capital gains rates were through the roof, cannot appreciate what they have today — and sadly, by their comments here and on other business sites, are extremely cynical.

    Not that there won't be downturns, but the Bull for Equities is extremely strong.

    Thank you for the piece, and thank you for being invested in some of the stocks you mention. That always adds credibility to an author's work in my view: having your stew where your tout is, as it were.

    I'm giving you a follow tap. Be well. And keep up the good work.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 14, 2015. 05:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Banco Santander: A Look Into The Divergence Between Earnings And Price Performance [View article]

    I want to add to my previous comment. Your being an accountant, you should know that single entry accounting is a no-no. But when you look at the scrip as only a negative, that's exactly what you're doing — at least in a kindred sense. It's similar to what I see so many authors doing on business sites when they write only about the quantifying side of a stock and completely ignore the qualifying side.

    Ask yourself this: What has SAN done with the cash it's saved over the last few years by paying its dividend in script? Answer: The script has been an interest free way of borrowing money to use for the company's benefit. And what has it done with that cash? Answer: Well, the company has bought (read: stolen) assets around the world that its management believes will aid the company. That will pay us off much more in the future than concerning ourselves with the dilution brought about by the script.

    Next, although I like and appreciate your article and many of the comments concerning it, you are an accountant. Accountants tend to make complex things even more complex. At least that's what the ones I know do. Not that we don't need some details and some complexity.

    I studied philosophy and linguistics — and still do. In linguistics I learned that we must transfer complex constructions from other languages into simple ones so that readers of our own language can easily understand them. In other words, Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!

    I've carried that over into my investing. Here's the way I look at SAN, in a simplified way. Forget about Greece, Brazil, politics, the script, and all else. SAN has been and most likely is the best bank in the world. At this point it's selling at about 1 X book any way you figure it. When the world economy finally turns upward after this long, drawn-out downturn, and it will as it always has, SAN can and will certainly sell for 2 to 3 X book.

    It's not a dividend stock; it's a return on capital stock. It may take a year or two more, but SAN will again sell for 2 to 3 X book. Those who can't wait on that, with very little risk, ought to sell (or not invest in SAN). Those of us who see the value in that will continue to hold SAN for a future payoff.

    SAN was my largest holding until NTES recently jumped 50% and took over SAN's spot. For investors in SAN, I tell you to trust this management and look forward to a future reward. It will come.

    Thanks again, Seven, for your work.

    I remain, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 13, 2015. 10:58 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Banco Santander: A Look Into The Divergence Between Earnings And Price Performance [View article]

    Very thoughtful and well-written piece.

    Thank you very much for the work. I enjoyed the read — and your comments. Very well done.

    I also like it that you're invested in the stock you're writing about. That adds value to the piece, in my view.

    I'm giving you a follow tap. Please keep up the good work.

    I am, the ArtfulDodger

    Long SAN
    Jun 13, 2015. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Warren Buffett A Value Investor? [View article]

    Very good points. I do want to say that the quotations I've paraphrased I have heard myself. I don't normally go out and look up people's quotations or ideas. I do most everything by memory. My purpose is to help young and new investors, but it's also a mental exercise.

    Agreed. We'll let it stand as is. I suppose we do need a little serenity at this point, eh?

    Overall, Seren, a very good piece. As far as Graham, I did not know that about his recommending all 30 Dow Stocks. I doubt, however, that he himself (or Dodd) would have ever done that. Don't you?

    Be well. Thanks again. And the best to your investing: AD
    Jun 7, 2015. 11:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Warren Buffett A Value Investor? [View article]

    Thank you much for your response.

    I understand your points. I understand the "cigar butts" concept. But Buffett has been bragging on Graham for eons, yet has not been following his methods.

    No matter what sector or type of risk stock Graham was writing about (or investing in) one thing he was far, far more of than the other was that he was a quantifier over a qualifier. He was, I think we can easily say, 90% numbers, numbers, metrics, metrics.

    Buffett was the same until Munger moved him the other way in the `60s. (By the way, I'm pretty sure it was 1967 when Buffett decided there was "no value to be found in stocks." His cynicism abounded at that point. At that time, he was already worth $100m.)

    After the older and wiser Munger moved into his brain, you hear him speaking much more about management qualifications than balance sheet ones. Or about concept investing along with plaudits, such as "I have no doubt that railroads will be here 100-years from now" over balance sheet talk. And there's this: "I love waking up in the morning looking in the mirror and thinking about how many millions of people are shaving right along with me, and I think Gillette." Or such lines as, "The people at See's Candies and Borsheim's Jewelers know what they're doing, so I don't worry about them and don't need to look over their shoulders."

    In fact, it's pretty well known that Buffett (at least this is the claim) rode Netjets once in `97, loved it, loved the concept, loved the people running it, and pretty much made an offer to buy it before he looked at the balance sheet. By `98 it was in BRK's satchel.

    Moreover, Seren, I would be willing to wager there's not a Graham/Dodd scholar out there who would say that either one would have paid the prices Buffett paid for Burlington Northern or IBM. And as far as Heinz goes, he damned sure didn't buy it because of its balance sheet. The man himself loves ketchup, and bought it as much for that reason as any, just as he did KO.

    This type of investing, no matter what area you're in, is miles away from Graham's investing style. It's my belief that Buffett, slick old owl that he is, applauds Graham/Dodd at every turn to put others on that path — while he himself is now and has been for years on an entirely different one: Buy High Quality Stocks and Businesses at reasonable prices (premium ones if necessary) and keep them from now on, or as long as deems feasible.

    How many times have I heard Munger say, I'd rather pay a premium price for high quality than a cheap price for low rung assets?

    That's where Buffett has been for over 45-years.

    Last, I promise you this: Graham at no time would have paid the prices from a lot of the stocks Buffett has bought over the last twenty-years — call them "Special Situations" or whatever. He would have never bitten.

    Thank you for the piece.

    I am, the ArtfulDodger
    Jun 6, 2015. 07:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment