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  • In a foregone conclusion, Freeport McMoRan (FCX +1%) completes the final step of its three-way combination with Plains Exploration and McMoRan Exploration (MMR +0.6%), as MMR shareholders vote to approve the $2.2B part of the deal between the two companies. [View news story]
    As in most other market situations today, most of us have little to say.
    The cross currents are too strong, the machine domination of the markets is too powerful, the economic outlook is too murky. In most cases calling for comment, the answer is, "What can we say?"
    Jun 3 06:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on the Goldman downgrade of Apple (AAPL): Believing an imminent dividend hike/share repurchase could set a floor under the stock price, Goldman is less optimistic about the "timing and impact" of the next product cycle - needed if the stock is going to be an outperformer over the coming year. "The stock's upside potential should be more limited than we previously anticipated." Shares +0.25% premarket. [View news story]
    Goldman's history re: AAPL reminds me of a quote from Lenin at the height of the Russian revolution: "I must find where the people are going, so I can lead them."
    Apr 2 09:11 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar's (CAT -1.5%) retail sales of machines -13% Y/Y in three months to February vs -12% in three months to January, with AsiaPacific -26% in Dec-Feb, North America -12%, EMEA -9%, Latin America +3%. Power Systems sales -7% in February period, as in January period; electric power -8%, industrial -25%, transport +15%, petroleum -8%. (PR[View news story]
    What bothers me about CAT results and outlook is the implication for the world economy. Is CAT telling us that world growth is seriously in decline? I think the message is clear: the bullishness of investment advisors and brokers is self-serving and not reflective of the real situation.
    Mar 20 10:03 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Molycorp's (MCP) Q4 results: Revenues rose 1.1% Y/Y to $134M vs. $161M analyst consensus. Sees H1 financial performance slightly weaker than H2 2012, but expects global supply and demand for rare earth oxides will approach a healthier balance during 2013, and pricing within many key applications of rare earths will be beneficial to both customers and suppliers. MCP +1.8% AH. [View news story]
    Molycorp suffers from the opacity of its future. No sooner do rare earth prices go up than they go down. The outlook for rare earths is not bad in the macro, but the China factor messes it up. Molycorp is a total crap shoot. Having lost a lot of money on it, I feel a certain degree of qualification for my opinions. Let someone else fool around with it.
    Mar 14 08:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mobile app stores will generate $25B in revenue this year and 35% of this total ($8.8B) will involve tablet apps, predicts ABI. iOS (AAPL), whose monetization edge over Android (GOOG) is well-documented, is expected to account for 65% of sales - assuming  a 30% cut, that translates into $4.88B in revenue for Apple. Android is seen accounting for 27% of revenue ($2B for Google), and all other platforms 8%. ABI predicts iOS will make up 33% of smartphone downloads and 75% of tablet downloads, and Android 58% and 17%. [View news story]
    Whatever the details of APPL operations and outlook, this kind of Alpha comment is among the few that reflect on the actual value of AAPL. Morgan Stanley's explanation that growth mutual funds have been shucking out AAPL as no longer being a growth stock makes sense, but its severe devaluation is more a market phenomenon that a reflection of value.
    Everyone is throwing darts at AAPL, but they will over time have to admit that it is one of the greatest companies of our era.
    Mar 14 07:07 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bio-Reference Labs (BRLI -0.6%) slips on a negative article from short-seller The Street Sweeper. The gist of the article says that the company is likely to be faced with a flood of denials from some of the largest health insurance companies in the country, and that growth projections are overly optimistic. [View news story]
    BRLI's broad geographic coverage and focus on difficult lab solutions differentiates them from most other labs. Their growth outlook, in my opinion, is promising, and the valuation, low.
    Taking the advice of short sellers is usually counterproductive.
    Feb 27 04:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This morning's spike in shares of Westport Innovations (WPRT +7.6%) on takeover speculation gains momentum into the close. Chatter centers around potential interest from Cummins (CMI +0.3%), already involved in a JV that accounts for much of WPRT's medium-term profits. [View news story]
    Westport has a broader line of nat gas engines than does Cummins and has close ties with several OEMs. They are already joined at the hip and Cummins can easily afford to make it 100 percent, benefiting shareholders of both companies.
    Feb 15 04:10 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Street showed no mercy to Nuance (NUAN -18.5%) in response to its EPS miss and forecast for multiple quarters of weakness in healthcare and EMEA sales. Goldman thinks Nuance's goal of $1B in FY13 healthcare sales is now at risk, and Needham (downgrading to Hold) is concerned about guidance for a 200-250 bps FY13 gross margin drop, worse than a prior forecast. Management suggested on the earnings call it's counting on clinical documentation software sales and PC/mobile OEM deals to drive future growth. [View news story]
    When NUAN fell more than eighteen percent, it more than took into account the outlook for the company, reflecting the fragile psychology of traders in this market. It is still the same company, dominant in its field and with a bright long term future.
    Feb 9 10:39 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Xerox Be Liked Again By Investors? [View article]
    Patience is not a prominent feature of the current market, and XRX may suffer from that characteristic for a long time. When long term investment was popular, XRX would have been doing much better in the market. As it is, the company is not part of the casino.
    Dec 18 02:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Diamond Foods (DMND): FQ1 EPS of $0.24 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $258.5M (-10.5% Y/Y) misses by $16M. Shares +2.1% AH. (PR[View news story]
    DMND is all about the odds of whether the company can revive its past successes based its attractive brands. The earnings report suggests that the company will have the opportunity to do that. If, as I think, the brands have considerable upside potential, the stock is a sound value at the current price.
    Dec 17 04:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Topeka's Brian White says the Apple-dependent Taiwanese suppliers in his "Apple Monitor" collectively saw a 15% M/M sales increase in November. That's well above the 4% averaged over the last 7 years, something White attributes to the strength of Apple's (AAPL -0.6%) fall product refresh. The Apple uber-bull reiterates a Buy and $1,111 PT. (previous[View news story]
    The main problems for AAPL are a bad image cultivated by bears and the media, and the immense profits stored up by many investors. With capital gains tax likely to go up, holders are encouraged to sell. With the end of the year or modestly before, the tax issue will go away, and the news that AAPL sales and profits continue on a strong upward path will restore AAPL to its former highly respected position.
    Even the Jefferies downgrade was with a target price of 800 dollars!
    Dec 10 06:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp (MCP +15.7%) soars, taking the rest of the rare earth sector with it (AVL +6.2%, REE +11%, REMX +1.7%). Traders describe the move as the continuation of a short squeeze in Molycorp - whose shares dropped below 6 in mid-November after being in the mid-30s 7 months earlier. Adding fuel is a report Interactive Brokers has said there is insufficient stock available for short sales. [View news story]
    Thank you, Manxbuilder, for laying out the charges against the system. You should add high frequency trading to the list, which distorts the market and hurts average investors. If regulators and Congress were capable of independent action, these abuses would have been long ago remedied.
    Dec 10 02:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Freeport's (FCX) mega-deal for McMoRan (MMR) and Plains (PXP) looks "incestuous" to Jim Mueller: Just for starters, PXP owns 31.5% of MMR and CEO James Flores sits on its board; MMR CEO Jim Bob Moffett is chairman of FCX; B.M. Rankin, a co-founder of FCX with Moffett, sits on MMR’s board. With such a web of relationships, how much independent due diligence was done in reaching the deal? [View news story]
    The deal has a dubious smell. Somebody, tell us why it is worthwhile for FCX shareholders.
    Dec 5 05:36 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In its conference call on the purchase of McMoRan (MMR +82.2%) and Plains Exploration (PXP +26.1%), Freeport McMoRan's (FCX -13.5%) Richard Adkerson says the deal is an add-on to its mining business and not a diversion from current strategy, and FCX will continue to look for new mining opportunities. With margins and cash flows strong, FCX anticipates continuing its current dividend. [View news story]
    When a company pays the average target price for companies that are not doing well, there has to be a loss of value to the acquirer, which will hopefully be made up over the next year, but a markdown of the acquirer is called for. For patient investors, FCX is promising, but this will not be a near-term, or even medium-term winner. I would stand aside and look to buy when the timing may be more favorable.
    Dec 5 12:59 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Diamond Foods (DMND) -18.7% AH after restating results for FY10 and FY11, and reporting results for the first 3 quarters of FY12 (ended in July). Sales for the first 3 quarters totaled $757.4M (+3.5% Y/Y) and EPS amounted to $0.53, down from a restated $1.54 for the year-ago period. Gross margin fell 480 bps Y/Y to 18.1% thanks to (surprise, surprise) a drop in walnut crop deliveries and higher walnut costs. Diamond expects to report FY12 sales of $950M-$975M vs. FY11's $966.7M. Also, two board members are stepping down, and walnut grower Bill Tos is joining. [View news story]
    DMND is a case of confusing indicators. The brands have value.
    The management seems to have been reformed. Question: how can the brands be converted to net income that supports the stock price.
    In light of all that has happened to DMND, it is difficult for the average investor to estimate where the variables will end up. At this moment, it may be best to stay away.
    Nov 14 05:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment