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  • Sirius XM: Deal Or No Deal? You Win, But You May Be Waiting [View article]
    This is fabulous analysis of Siri. Were it not for Malone, it's a buy. With Malone in the picture, who wants the intricacy when there are so many less complicated opportunities? I was ready to pull the trigger until reading this extremely well-reasoned article, and thanks to the author. I love my Sirius, but not Siri.
    Mar 5 01:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Retire At 30! [View article]
    And one other thing about being "self-funded." Let's ignore for a second that they got born in the right place, in a system that others created.

    At the $25,000 income level, this couple gets a subsidy of approximately $4,618 towards a $5,747 silver health plan under the ACA.

    They may not want to be federal parasites, but I doubt they will turn that down.

    The powers in Washington are doing their best, for votes, to create parasites. Self-respecting Americans should fight this, and certainly not admire the ones who are takers.
    Jan 29 07:45 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Retire At 30! [View article]
    This country makes it possible for citizens (with less talent and language skills than the average overseas person) to prosper.

    Anyone blessed with that fortunate circumstance, to be born here, and who does not contribute to make this country more prosperous, has dropped out.

    They should not be condemned, but are hardly role models. A country populated with people like this would not survive very long.

    Bring on the immigrants if this is the best we can produce.
    Jan 29 07:35 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Retire At 30! [View article]
    Anyone with a smattering of history in their belt knows that thousands lived this way in England in the 19th century. As parasites, they benefited from a strong currency and the dominance of the British Empire, paid for with the blood and money of others.

    It was a clean life to be a non-working Brit in the 19th century with a bit of capital. Some just destroyed their livers. Others wrote great books.

    Nothing has changed too much. History repeats. Folks like this current hippy couple in the USA are fortunate enough to live in a country which dominates the world economy, and to have a safety net in case things go wrong.

    It's just the 19th century (Britain) redux, before the collapse. I don't condemn them for dropping out. However, they are not part of the country's future, just sweet parasites.

    Let them be. There's tolerance for indolence in a prosperous country.
    For others of us who believe that you should not devolve to a state of vegetable dependency, abjure this and be part of the future. Fortunately, we have immigrants (and many young people who are not on the media charts) who have huge ambitions.

    This is still the best country for ambitious people. We just need to observe the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, the "liberal" who understood things: "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
    Jan 29 06:29 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NCR Management Discusses Q3 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    Almost 6 million shares and it's not yet 1 PM. Lots of profit taking. Maybe these sellers thought that NCR would announce the cure for cancer.

    I hate to see some of the short term profits evaporate, but the long term story is so good, and the price seems so reasonable, it makes no sense to sell.
    Oct 25 12:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NCR Management Discusses Q3 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    It's an excellent report. I'm also pleased with the explanations for slightly lower volume this quarter: mixed execution on one or more sales and seasonality.

    As an accrual taxpayer, it sounds like not quite enough paperwork was done to bring a pending large sale into this quarter; I'm glad they are not accrual cowboys and it sounds like this just shifts into next quarter. The explanation that the last quarter will get a bunching of revenue also makes sense, because customers put off purchases until they know they have room in budgets, and salesmen hustle to make their bonuses.

    I'm concerned a bit about the reluctance to discuss the WalMart relationship. Maybe Walmart is not using NCR for the 600 new stores? If so, the announcement of two new deals for check-out technology, each of them bigger than the 10,000 unit sale to Walmart this year, will overcome that. WalMart is so tough to deal with, I'm amazed anyone can make a profit with them anyway. I'm also a litle concerned with lower US ATM volume, but that may reflect the nature of the banking industry and the continued strong competition from Diebold.

    Bottom line: the revenue sources are more balanced, higher margin sources (software and servicing) are predominate and are growing, and the dollar (which hurt the currency translation) won't be strong forever. With all the froth about NCR prospects, the stock won't take off, but it's still a good investment at this price.
    Oct 25 09:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Nobel Prize Winner On Alpha [View article]

    As a fellow horse-player who also enjoys Andy Beyer's books, I could not agree more. I pick companies, not markets, and the idea of owning shares of 50 companies, or even 10, seems imprudent. How can anyone really pretend to know the details of that many companies, read all their issued public reports, and also follow the industry in which they compete or (ideally) do not compete because of a dominant position?

    Oct 16 06:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Nobel Prize Winner On Alpha [View article]
    The open end mutual fund model is so outdated, it's hard to see why anyone with a brain buys the things. The manager of an open end mutual fund carries heavy weight:

    1. liquidity concerns, because investors move in and out with a phone call, and require unanticipated sales and purchases;

    2. tax concerns, because of the bizarre tax rules which pass through realized gains to taxable investors when profitable positions are sold, even if the investor never benefited from those gains. Frenetic tax balancing activity is a drag on returns, even for tax exempt investors (like 401(k) participants);

    3. compensation bonuses, and year end manipulation by managers which has nothing to do with performance, and everything to do with getting paid for beating peers in their short term compensation models. Translation: managers, who rarely invest where they eat, will lock in early winners due to calendar year compensation models and will put it all on red if they are behind as the year end approaches;

    4. and fees. They add up over the years.

    Oct 15 07:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Leveraged Buyout Of America [View article]
    It is obscene to hear these banks declare they paid off their federal assistance.

    My mother and the nation's savers paid off the banks' federal assistance, with forced devaluation of their savings. Less than 1% interest rate on a lifetime of savings that were planned for retirement, and not even a thank you from the CEOs or Congress. Greedy B#@s&ds took the money without even a thank you.

    When a middle class of savers lose their life's work through manipulation, it used to be the starting point for revolution. But these folks are too old. And, with the competing demands of CEOs who make big contributions, and the yells from the gimee gang that would not dream of saving for the future, the old-time savers, from the former middle class, have no one representing their interests.

    Nations decline with the corruption of middle class morals. An enlightened aristocrat like Montesquieu knew that. An evil opportunist like Hitler knew that. The gang that controls this great country could care less.
    Aug 26 02:39 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Financial Crisis Over For Financial Stocks? [View article]
    Chuck and fellow investors,

    Look at small cap Cambridge Bancorp (CATC). It's the owner of Cambridge Trust Company.

    Facts at a glance at this link:

    4% dividend, branches in the best suburbs of Boston, trust operation here and in So. NH. Over 100 years in business and loved by its customers.

    It's not for sale to my knowledge. Disclosure: I have a lot of shares accumulated patiently over the years. I never worry about this bank's management, nor do I expect an overnight triple. This is just a good solid bank that doesn't roll the dice with owners' money.
    Aug 3 11:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cambridge Bancorp: Nice Dividend With Long-Term Catalysts [View article]
    Darn it, Jacob. (<:

    I already own 5,000 + of this little gem and was hoping to pick up more on the cheap. The float is so thin, you can only nibble when buying.

    This is a very well run and diversified operation for which there is a lot of customer loyalty. Its branches are in some of the best locations in prosperous suburban Boston (which includes So. NH).

    I am hoping they stay independent, but I am sure there would be interest from buyers if they ever decided to go that route.
    Jul 26 12:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What iPhone 5 Discounts Could Mean [View article]
    Who knows ? I hated the stock at 25 and just bought some at $400.
    Jun 25 05:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold Sector-Focused Funds Selling Barrick And Other Top Gold Mining Stocks [View article]
    A reader's first reaction is to assume that redemptions made it necessary for gold sector managers to sell their most liquid holdings. Naturally, the big miners were the first to go.

    What's missing from your article? Information on where the managers redeployed their funds. Due to the requirement that they stay invested in the sector, their choices were not easy.

    Incidentally, this is a great reason not to own mutual funds. Managers need to invest (and sell) to accommodate short term swings in sentiment.
    Jun 22 06:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Arne Alsin's #1 Pick: [View article]

    What about NCR ? It's doing well, and was a 2 out of 10 pick not so long ago ?
    May 19 04:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This New Budget Proposal May Limit Your Annual Retirement Income [View article]
    This sounds like a revival of IRC 4980A, which was enacted in 1986, to pay for some of the Reagan Tax reforms, and repealed by Clinton in 1997.

    Under 4980A, there was a 15% excise tax on "excess distributions" during lifetime and a 15% excise tax on "excess accumulations" at death. It applied to all tax-favored accounts - qualified plans and IRAs - and, of course, exempted government plans.

    The 4980A annual threshhold for determining "excess" was the greater of $150,000 or $112,500 (indexed). A lump sum of 5 x that amount was allowed. At death, the present value was determined by actuarial tables, and surviving spouses could elect not to pay if they assumed the liability for their inherited accounts.

    There were no ROTHs in 1986, but after-tax contributions (not earnings on them) were exempt from the 4980A penalty.

    Again, the above is just a description of the Ronald Reagan law that was repealed by Clinton. My guess is that the Obama proposal is going to be close to that old law, with higher limits ($205,000 annually instead of $112,500).

    Having done a partial ROTH conversion in 2012 I'll be looking at this closely. If the Roth counts as "excess" for the new penalty, I'll be undoing it and taking back those taxes I paid.
    Apr 8 07:23 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment