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  • Mortgage REITs eye sliding interest rates [View news story]
    I think I've about had it with the mREITS. We got killed last year because everyone was afraid interest rates would go up with the tapering. Now we're getting hammered because interest rates are going DOWN. Screw this - I'm buying more blue chip dividend payers and sticking my head in the sand.
    May 28, 2014. 05:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 9.6%-Yielding Memorial Production Partners Enters Enhanced Oil Recovery [View article]
    Any comments about the pros and cons of having a parent providing drop-downs?

    So many private equity firms (like NGP) made bad investments in 2005-2007 before gas prices crashed, and then wound up holding the bag on uneconomic assets. I don't think a single upstream private equity firm escaped without at least a few outright losers in their portfolio. It has been no surprise when these same PE firms form an MLP sub, and then slowly feed their low-end, marginal gas properties down to them.

    Every time I hear that MEMP is making another acquisition I quickly scan the press release to see if they bought it on the open market or if it was a drop-down. I feel much better about the open market deals, even though it does mean they may have beaten out other aggressive purchasers in a usually competitive process.

    So, drop downs - yeah, a nice steady supply, and can be layered in slowly and easily, but consider the source and ask yourself if that's a good thing. Just my thoughts, I'd be interested in yours.
    May 8, 2014. 04:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Danger Zone: Workday [View article]
    I smell disaster on all these high-tech momentum stocks that are built on concepts and not fundamentals. You don't have to be very old to remember what happened in 2000. Once the market loses its enthusiasm for any sector then basic fundamental financial analysis becomes the only thing that its stock prices are based on. That is a scary thought with these high-concept/no profit darlings.

    I'm out.
    Apr 16, 2014. 02:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Halcon Resources: Will The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Be The Final Nail In The Coffin? [View article]
    I take a far more simple approach to HK. Look at what Floyd Wilson did at Petrohawk. The company was maligned, downgraded and kicked to the curb for a series of failures but kept searching for the next big thing and wound up being very early to the Eagle Ford. That poor, badly managed company sold to BHP Billiton for $15 Billion and its management and shareholders laughed all the way to the bank. HK's story reminds me exactly of Petrohawk's - stumbles here and there, general disrespect for the company and its management, significant declines, then left in the scrap heap...
    Of course, it remains to be seen if HK can "pull a Petrohawk" and finally find a way to be in the right place at the right time. The way new plays are being developed and new technology is making previously forgotten areas into hot ones, there seems to be a lot of opportunity for the HKs of the world that swing for the fences and have the resources to do it more than a few times.
    I like HK at $3.50. It may go lower, of course, but probably not much, and it may go higher, of course, and when it does, probably by a lot. That's a reasonable risk/reward scenario for any stock, but especially one with a management team that's been down this road before.
    Mar 21, 2014. 01:51 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Not Easy Being GreenHunter [View article]
    Short but sweet, a fair analysis that hits all the high spots without slogging through the details. I've been in GRH from the beginning, thinking that the business plan was solid and knowing the need for SWD in Appalachia. What I hadn't counted on was what basically comes down to mismanagement of the company's finances. As noted, that issue now clouds out the operational advantages the company has.

    Yet I hold on. As larger players expand into SWD in the region, my hopes are that GRH will be an attractive acquisition candidate. I'm not sure what the premium might be in such a case, but it's not unusual to see 25-50% premiums above current stock prices being paid.

    Can this happen here? I've no idea, and would appreciate any feedback. Without this hope, there's little reason to hold the stock.
    Jan 24, 2014. 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Memorial Production Partners: 9.9% Yield, Good But Expensive [View article]
    Depends on what you consider "long term". As a 35-year employee of the oil patch and a somewhat knowledgeable investor, I spotted MEMP a mile away when NGP announced its plans. I have always had tremendous respect for the management of both companies, and so I jumped on MEMP when it opened almost two years ago. I don't reinvest dividends because I hate the randomness, but I do buy on dips and have built MEMP up to almost 10% of my portfolio. So, for almost two years now I've been raking in the +/- 10% distribution and am up over 20% on stock appreciation. That feels like long-term to me.

    I don't keep a lot of stocks for two years but this one's been special. To be able to make money on gassy assets in this market takes that "laser focus" and they've proved themselves again and again. On top of their ability to make money in this $3.70/MCF world, just imagine the potential if gas ever gets back to the $5-6 that many feel is inevitable.

    There's a lot to like here.
    Sep 21, 2013. 05:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Stocks Set To Profit From Tougher Fracking Laws [View article]
    There's actually another factor that can and should impact the waste-water recycling business even more than state regulations: drought. Especially in Oklahoma (Mississippi Lime) and South Texas (Eagle Ford), there's barely enough water to do all the fracking that's lined up and waiting on the equipment. This situation continues to deteriorate as the drought reaches well into its third year, and there are signs that this water shortage is here to stay. Recycling frac water is certainly environmentally responsible, and that's great, but it just may be the only source of frac water at all. Talk about a business being in the right place at the right time!
    Note: I've been long GRH for a long time. It has been painful but I firmly believe in the basics behind the business plan.
    Jul 29, 2013. 03:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Promising Times for Green Hunter Energy [View article]
    Anyone have anything new to add on GRH? Making a big move today and not sure the catalyst. I hope it's not a delayed reaction to replacing their CFO, announced a week ago. I've never thought that replacing a CFO was a good sign for a public company.
    Jul 19, 2013. 01:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Southern Copper (SCCO) is considering closing its foundry and refinery in southern Peru because it doesn't think it can comply with limits on sulfur dioxide emissions that will take effect next year, an internal document says. It's unclear how such a closure would affect SCCO's annual copper output, estimated at 650K metric tons this year. [View news story]
    I take this as nothing more then SCCO letting the Peruvian government know that harsher regulations will hurt business. It's clear from the press release that they've been arguing this with the regulators for some time now and this is the next logical step in the negotiations. Releasing the information via a memo to the staff is a time-honored way to let the world know what could happen if the regulations aren't loosened or delayed.
    Jul 5, 2013. 06:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: It's Panic Time [View article]
    On a micro level, where some of the best data is found: my 21 year-old daughter, a former sorority president and center of her social circle, just traded in her Android for an iPhone last week. It was her birthday and we told her she could get any phone she wanted and all she could talk about was finally getting an iPhone: "It's so much cooler than my HTC - it fits in my hand, the apps are ridiculous, and all my friends have them - now I can be in their message group!". She went to Best Buy to get it and they furiously attempted to convince her to buy the new Samsung, "Look at this screen", "Can you believe how big this screen is?", "Have you seen this screen?". My daughter said that it was as if the whole mobile phone section at BB worked for Samsung. She stuck to her guns, got her iPhone, and before the end of the day got a group message for a party that night and had downloaded an Apple app she'd always wanted, plus was able to sync it with her Mac.

    Oh yeah, you know she's a Mac user - like every kid at her college, by the time she was a sophomore she was left out of all the new software, apps and other cool stuff because she was one of the few kids who didn't have a Mac notebook. Needless to say dumped her Dell for a Mac, emptying her bank account for it, and has never looked back. Her 25 year-old brother did the same thing when he was in school - used his own money to trade in the Sony we gave him for graduation and upgraded to the Mac. I don't know about the rest of the world, but on most college campuses and for anyone under 35, you either go Apple or go home.
    Part 2 of my micro-level story: I got one of the first Samsung S3s and it was the worst phone I've ever had. It had lots of bells and whistles and I sure loved that big screen, but I've never had a worse phone for getting and keeping a signal. Standing side-by-side with any other phone user using the same cell service, they'd have four bars and I'd have 2, or they'd have 2 and I'd have no signal. Everyone I called complained I sounded like I was in a tunnel or underwater. After three trips to Best Buy and one complete replacement to no benefit, their "no lemons" warranty policy kicked in and I picked out a new HTC, which I have loved ever since.
    I'm long Apple, having dived in around $560. Hurts right now but I believe in this company and its almost creepy way of insinuating itself into the lives of its users. It's like tech crack, once you're into Apple you'll never get out, and it's viral - from the iPhone to the Mac to iTunes to the iPad.
    The virus may be sleeping for now, but like all real viruses it only takes a fresh outbreak to infect another large portion of the population. In the meantime, it's still in people's blood, and they're still adding to their Apple collection of devices. This is just a brief period of dormancy. As noted in comments above, this has happed 3-4 times in the past whenever Apple was in a brief inter-release lull, and each time it led to much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. It may not be Apple TV this time but it'll be something. Few saw the iPad coming either.
    Jul 1, 2013. 01:15 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Evaluating Southern Copper's Intrinsic Value [View article]
    Excellent analysis - I'm a Follower from now on.

    Can anyone explain the highly erratic dividends on SCCO? I haven't been following it long enough to figure this out, but the $2.75 paid in November really distorts my calculations.

    Anybody know what's going on there?
    May 20, 2013. 12:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Going All-In On SandRidge Energy [View article]
    I've weighed in on SD before. I know the company, the assets, the history and the man. I never touched this stock and I never will.
    Jan 8, 2013. 06:36 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I Believe Swisher Hygiene Will Decline Dramatically [View article]
    Excellent article. As one who has taken a "high risk, high reward, what the hell" approach to SWSH, I truly appreciate the first comprehensive summary and analysis I've seen on this stock in the months that I've owned it.

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Whoa, he's absolutely right, I'll sell tomorrow". Then I remember the rules of investing, and that I must always at least consider arguing that we're not really dealing with an investment here, simply a trading vehicle. As such, a rational analysis of the true value is less relevant financially than a qualitative analysis of the markets, the sector and the stock.

    So, if the markets are off to a bang for 2013, as they are, and the stock is up 25+% since the beginning of Q4 2012, which it is ... naah. Makes me feel dirty just thinking about it (aggravated by the nature of the business itself).

    By comparison I'll mention CHK, which had infinitely more supporters and believers than SWSH. When the weaknesses in its business plan and the questionable activities of its chairman were revealed in early 2012 the stock took a dive. There was considerable discourse over whether shady dealings meant that one should exit the stock, or whether it was a great opportunity to buy at distressed prices.

    I sold my CHK stock then and never looked back, and will do the same with SWSH. I like to make money, but I like to sleep well at night and feel good about myself, too.
    Jan 4, 2013. 06:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • USA Graphite Inc: Set Up For Insider Enrichment? [View article]
    This is simply financial Darwinism. Anyone that falls for spam emails touting penny stocks loading up their inbox is going to lose their money anyways, or already has. I only wish that these pump-and-dump scum weren't making any money from the poor idiots that fall for it.

    I do wonder where the SEC is. I submitted my complaint to them a few days after getting the first email. True, a government organization will never move quickly, especially over the holidays, but shouldn't they have the capacity to freeze trading pending an investigation? No one could have any doubt that this is a pump-and-dump, yet the stock continues to trade every day.

    And what about the stock exchanges where it's available? Are they blind to the situation or do they have such strict laissez-faire policies that they don't mess with things like this?

    Clearly I don't understand how a system as regulated and policed as the public markets can let something like this go on. I do know that anything we can do to expose the people involved is a good thing, whether it's the attorneys, the spammers or especially the USGT principals. It's far more than anyone else is doing.
    Dec 27, 2012. 04:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Closed-End Muni Investors See Dividend Cuts Or Raises In 2013? [View article]
    NQM is my single largest holdings and we've lost 7% since December 7th. I believe that's the largest/fastest decline in this stock ever, so I'm alarmed. Can anyone give me a quick summary of the factors that might have led to this unprecedented decline?
    Dec 17, 2012. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment