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  • Microsoft hikes dividend 11%, adds two new directors [View news story]
    Agreed on hike - below expectations.

    Interesting quote in the release ("board continues to evaluate capital strategy options") - almost makes it sounds as if a special dividend or boosted repurchase is under consideration; time will tell what MSFT does with their more than $80B in excess cash...
    Sep 16 10:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft - A Dividend Growth Machine, But Valuation Is No Longer Compelling [View article]
    All of the metrics used make no adjustment for the company's ~$100 billion in cash and investments (or ~$85B net); is it your belief that there is no need to adjust for the fact that this is equal to 20-25% of the current market cap?
    Sep 11 03:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Estimates lowered on McDonald's [View news story]
    Anytime I see the "guess those earnings" game being played, I think of James Montier (quote):

    "My colleague, Rui Antunes, has examined the accuracy of analysts. In the US, the average 24-month forecast error is 93%, and the average 12-month forecast error is 47% over the period 2001-06. The data for Europe are no less disconcerting. The average 24-month forecast error is 95%, and the average 12- month forecast error is 43%."

    http://bit.ly/VrX8L0
    Sep 11 08:26 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft reportedly in $2B talks to buy Minecraft maker [View news story]
    According to the WSJ article linked, the company earned ~$100M in profit last year from the game and merchandise; if this is true and MSFT only pays ~$2B, that would be just fine - much better than that $2B is doing trapped overseas...
    Sep 9 08:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rulers For $0.25! Markers For $0.97! Honey, Get The Kids, Lets Go To Staples! [View article]
    Yet another article on Staples with no mention of the Commercial / Delivery business, which accounted for 35% of revenue and 45% of operating income in the most recent fiscal year...
    Aug 29 01:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Outlook Choppy For Staples [View article]
    "In the bigger picture, Staples may be able to grab market share away from OfficeMax or an even more debilitated Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) but the overall direction in the office supply market is still downward."

    Yes - as they've done in a big way over the past 10+ years, particularly in the Commercial business.

    As always, investors must consider price versus value. Everybody knows the retail office supply business (at least in its current state) will be tough going forward; thinking about how it changes in the coming 3-5 years, and what that means for the remaining stores (and new 12K formats that are retaining ~95% of sales on average) is critical.
    Aug 26 09:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Buffett's "First Business Love" spends, but also spins off cash [View news story]
    Outstanding business with a clear competitive advantage; $1.1 billion in underwriting gains last year, before considering investment gains on $12.5 billion in float.
    Aug 25 12:23 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Staples: Is A Meltdown Coming? [View article]
    All I was simply asking was whether or not you thought the stock was cheap; that seems like a fairly straightforward question on an investment blog. For some odd reason, you won't answer the question.

    Didn't know that was trolling; this will be my last comment Sophocles.
    Aug 22 12:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Staples: Is A Meltdown Coming? [View article]
    So stated differently, would you buy / own SPLS if you thought it was overvalued?
    Aug 22 11:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Staples: Is A Meltdown Coming? [View article]
    Is your investing methodology focused on buying undervalued securities?

    I'm not clear why it would take hours to explain whether or not you think SPLS is cheap - I think the only choices are "yes", "no", and "I don't know"...
    Aug 22 11:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Staples: Is A Meltdown Coming? [View article]
    What does that mean - "open mind"? Does that mean you think the stock is undervalued, despite the issues mentioned above?
    Aug 22 10:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Staples: Is A Meltdown Coming? [View article]
    "Did this happen only in NY....? I am surprised not even one analyst asked management about this."

    You don't need to ask - you can look at the results for the North American Commercial business: sales were up 2.6% in the quarter to ~$2 billion, with operating profit up 1.8% to $130 million; margins contracted 5 basis points.

    "I see a company that is constantly deteriorating, is facing severe competition, is desperately trying to make sales regardless of profits and is run by a self serving management who couldn't care less if they meet their targets."

    And you remain a shareholder?
    Aug 22 09:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM's Problems May Be Fatal [View article]
    "The best evidence that Cringely may be right is the relative success of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), a company once dead on its feet, which came in over estimates on revenues this quarter and has been modestly successful in making a transition to cloud. This could not have happened had IBM been running on all cylinders - there just isn't that much new business in this niche for that to be possible."

    As it relates to this quarter, all of HP's sales growth came from the Personal Systems segment; as one analyst noted on the call, the rest of the company was down ~3%.

    Unless the "niche" you're discussing is PC's, I don't think this argument makes much sense.
    Aug 21 11:06 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Staples Earnings - Beats By $0.006 On Lower Sales, Profits And Expectations [View article]
    Yes, you would be looking good on a trade if it had been
    Aug 20 09:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Staples Earnings - Beats By $0.006 On Lower Sales, Profits And Expectations [View article]
    I own a bit, but not much; I sold 1/3 of my position when it crossed $16 a while back and haven't added since (5-10% below my cost here).

    The Commercial business is a good business (solid ROA), though I must admit I've been disappointed with the growth rates as of late (that's the one big positive I see today). What's happening at retail isn't surprising, though it is still painful. I'm hopeful that closures at SPLS and ODP can help the per store economics going forward; time will tell if my math is right.

    I think it's a tough short at a small premium to book value and a low multiple of FCF - though that might change if FCF keeps on going the wrong direction.

    Retail has proven to be a tough place to invest in my experience.
    Aug 20 09:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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