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  • Facebook's Fall [View article]
    This author does FB investors the credit of taking them seriously... I however think you'd have to be an absolute blundering fool to look at any of these numbers and say "Yeah, I want to invest..."

    Take a look at AOL's valuation during the stupid years, and you will see the same impossible projections.
    Aug 6 11:16 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dramatic Decoupling Of U.S. Stocks From Global Equities To End [View article]
    I hear you regarding US budget hypocrisy; listen to conventional wisdom and you'd think the Bush tax cuts were a benefit to the deficit, not a cause.
    Jul 23 09:57 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Super Committee's Lowest Hanging Fruit [View article]
    People love to hate Congress, but then make exceptions for their own elected officials. The current re-election rate in the US is around 85%, the lowest its been in years, but still amazingly high considering the political/economic situation; in 1980 the US Senate re-election rate dropped to 55%. Now that must have been a year of real outrage...

    In a democracy, people get the elected officials they deserve. Where was all of this concern about the deficit when we lowered taxes and then started two wars? McCain called it 'irresponsible' and worse, but then suddenly it became passe, and I can't think of a single elected official except Ron Paul - who is fairly extreme in some of his opinions - that made it a continued topic of discussion.

    How ironic that now when the US and most of the developed world needs deficit spending to stimulate economic growth, we find that there is outrage over debt and the very same policy that previously was applauded... Brilliant.

    Its like trying trying to ween a crack addict off drugs only when he comes into the hospital with a heart attack. The US deserves this economic crisis. We are so incredibly inept in our thinking and understanding of economics that I sometimes can barely believe we continue to exist.
    Nov 2 05:06 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Individual Investors Not Buying Into the Rally [View article]
    Zero percent of Harvard grads going to work on Wall Street... Funny.

    I can't stand the incompetence, nepotism and self-regard of this 'type' either, and therefore, completely agree. I do take some joy, however, knowing that Harvard employed this same type to manage their own endowment, and as a result have nearly decimated their holdings - last year they were even forced to turn the heat down in the dorms as part of a scrimping measure (the horror), all of which I find very amusing.
    Sep 30 12:03 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thursday: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble [View article]
    I briefly considered buying Netflix in 2008 when it was around $25 or so (today I see its reached $162), but at the time I was put off by what I imagined was too high a valuation. Ha!

    Of course its a small thorn in my side to see that huge gain in the last year, but at least I can comfort myself knowing that "Its only money I didn't make, rather than money I might have lost... which is MUCH worse."

    That, in a nutshell is why I generally refuse to short stocks like Netflix. Unless you are absolutely-freakin-sure the thing is going down (think General Motors in 2008), I'd say there is just too much downside risk to justify the gains you might make. The weirdness you get in prices when new stocks become household names - like Crocs or Amazon - is just too unmanageable.
    Sep 23 01:38 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thursday: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble [View article]
    Netflix has a P/E ratio of 64... Which naturally sounds crazy, but I'd wager the company has now morphed into a very junior Google, whereby a majority of investors simply envision massive potential and pretty much ignore the current financials...

    Personally, I'd just steer clear of the whole mess, as it seems you'd have to be an absolute master-investor to second guess when (or if) the fundamentals will catch up.
    Sep 23 11:36 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Top 10 Best and Worst S&P 500 Stocks by Analyst Ratings [View article]
    Not sure how many SA readers or contributors have actually been part of an analyst visit to a company (where they are doing their 'research') or have met any of these people in private life...

    I have, and I can assure you that anyone with half a brain can do as good a job - or better - than the best the industry offers... It's not all the analysts' fault, as they are forced into certain corners by external expectations, regarding overall health of the economy, or industry outlook... and of course, you wouldn't dare call into question safety, environmental, or ethical concerns in your report (any analysts note that BP had 100+ times the willful safety violations of its closest competitor, and therefor rate it a 'sell'? I didn't think so.)

    My point is that I would use analysts research only to determine conventional opinion. Analysts' opinions are the reasons the vast majority of funds, endowments, etc don't keep pace with the markets in general, and in fact over the last several years have shown don't even mitigate risk... In other words, the evidence is in regarding analyst opinions, and it is time for a huge re-think on their credibility.
    Aug 10 10:54 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Goldman Agrees to Carry On as Usual [View article]
    The father of one of my best friends was an SEC lawyer, back in the 1970's. I remember he said that he never lost a case in court because the SEC only went after the REALLY guilty people, and there were plenty of those around...

    Although he was proud of his 'no loss' record, it pretty much sounded like they had their choice of cases because there was so much fraud around, and a lot of the bad guys were never prosecuted.... I remembered thinking - 'Maybe you never lose, because you're not really doing your job.'

    Even as a kid listening to this, it was obvious the SEC just skimmed the cream, so to speak, and wasn't interested in pursuing those tough but honest fights that we all expect of our law enforcement types. I guess this latest SEC deal is just more evidence that they do the bare minimum necessary, and then go home and pat themselves on the back.

    PS Where all of those seekingalpha commentators and authors that claimed GS would be vindicated of all charges?
    Jul 16 10:06 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Most Undervalued High Frequency Traded Stocks [View article]
    Remember that PE ratios tend to make high-debt companies look like better values that they actually are - Alcoa, for instance, has roughly 50% of its capital structure in debt, not equity... Thus, if we consider it's so-called enterprise value (debt + equity, and if we're really being complete, add long term lease agreements) this is much greater, and its share price far less desirable.

    Generally, low PE's are meaningful when accompanied with low debt... always check debt!
    Jun 23 10:59 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Never Believe a 'Real Estate Economist' [View article]
    How qualified is Gaines to offer economic insight?

    Take a look at this article published a few years ago, titled 'High-Risk mortgages are actually needed argues economist'.... texasrealestatemagazin...

    Yes, Gaines proposes that subprime loans are actually "needed"...

    Clearly, he is completely oblivious to the waiting disaster, and has no idea how to investigate the basic risk / reward balance that conversations on public policy demand...

    In other words, yes, he is a charlatan, huckster, etc...
    Jun 15 03:11 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hungary: Europe's Latest Bailout Target [View article]
    Part of the issue with central / eastern European nations (particularly Lithuania) is that large amounts of debt were financed in Euros, rather than in the local currency... Thus, when the exchange rates move unfavorably, a population can be hit with a double whammy - the underlying problem causing the devaluation along with the relative increase in the amount of debt.

    Imagine if your home loan was also payable in Euros... great if the dollar gains value, horrible of it moves against you. Complete madness, in other words... might as well just go Vegas and bet the family farm on black and spin the wheel.

    Once again, part of the issue centers on the idiotic banks that made these loans in the first place. Really, I think these are the places that need to simply be gutted and returned to sanity.
    Jun 4 02:00 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Help the Borrowers, Punish the Savers [View article]
    The moment we 'financed' the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - and simultaneously cut taxes for the super-rich - was the moment America went off the deep end (in my opinion).

    I am still incredibly offended by the AIG, etc., bailouts (particularly Ginther's idea that we pay 100 cents on the dollar for their bad debt), but without the record deficits since 2000, the 'optional' wars in the mid-east, the huge increases in energy costs, and the overall sloppy stewardship of the SEC and other government agencies, I think our situation would be completely different.

    Six years ago, we were being told the biggest threat to the US was gay marriage - a Constitutional Amendment - for that? How about a Balanced Budget Amendment, instead? Any support for that?

    I hate to be a cynic, but in a democracy, people get the government they deserve, and I think we absolutely deserve the government we have created. And unfortunately, we also get the resulting economic and cultural values... what a disaster.
    May 20 12:04 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • No Chance of a 'V' Recovery [View article]
    Some funny and completely adhoc interpretations of a what a sucessful market economy actually is...

    People would do well to open a political economy book once in a while and understand that all modern ecomomies owe their existence to interventionist state policies. There is no such thing as a pure market economy, and the most successful are typical of the German variety, whereby socialism mingles with capitalism. All of the bemoaning about our loss of manufacturing ability should be underlined with the fact that it has generally moved to the Far East, and that region has some of the most state-controled economies ever imagined. Early industrialization was in fact led by governments (via banking) in most countires, with the notable exceptions of the US and England, and has continued as such... I can't help but notice the irony that uncontroled markets and short-term profit making got into this mess, and now there are arguments that - if we let it - the invisible hand will simply steer us to prosperity, no higher-level or inter-industry strategy needed...

    GM shareholders had every opportunity to kick the incompetent management to the curb, but instead did nothing. There should have been an upheveal from within or a hostile takeover, or something... This represents a huge high-level failure of our model of corporate governance. Its time to admit just how broken our system is...
    Oct 2 01:32 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CIT's Failure Could Threaten Financial Sector's Overall Recovery [View article]
    I apologize in advance for being so blunt, but who are you kidding that the financial sector is 'recovering'?

    In my humble opinion the whole sector has yet to even pull its head out of the sand and count its losses.

    There has been little reckoning with its past dealings, as evidenced by the bad debt that is STILL carried on the balance sheets by all major players. And then there's the fact that the only reason it is breathing is due to gov't subsidization, which simply can't last...

    My point? A recovery only begins when the industry can stand on its own two feet without gov't training wheels... That has yet to happen.
    Oct 1 07:38 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'd Avoid Toyota, The #1 Automaker in the U.S. [View article]
    Yes, and Toyata's financials are nothing to brag about recently...

    They have huge exchange rate risk because of arrogant decisions regarding where they built factories, their profit margins are low even for the car industry, and their product line is absolutely stalled in Europe - the market where quality and character of product matter more than anywhere else. The decreases in volumes for the market are going to slam them for years to come.
    Jun 22 10:32 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment