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  • Cablevision Is In Decline [View article]
    Solid recommendation, Seeking Profits. CVC is family owned and it shows. They serve a densely populated area and with wires in so many homes you would think they would be much more successful. But they have not kept up with innovation and industry change. Their lack of modernization has given the green light to competing services and gives Google and Apple the confidence to completely reinvent the television experience, which is long overdue. A high percentage of younger people don't even purchase cable services preferring to use internet based on-demand programming. Strategically, CVC has been a failure, avoiding the major capital investment which could have made them viable for the next 10 years and a desirable takeover candidate. Although a good partnership agreement is still possible and if I were them, I would be knocking on their high tech competitor's doors. Rumors have it that Apple is readying their first television for sale sometime in 2014. This is the future ("the disruptor") and it's almost here. Advertising is the driver of television and advertisers are starting to make moves towards mobile and on-demand. Cablevision services are slow, poorly integrated, has a clunky interface, and pricing keeps rising. Soon, I will be a former customer as well. CVC could be a good takeover candidate simply to get at their customer base, but I would not bet on it's future as a growing, standalone profitable business.
    Oct 24, 2013. 09:16 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insiders Are Selling Autodesk [View article]
    Options allow the grantee the right to purchase shares at a set price during a set time period. Options are granted to executives throughout their tenure as a way to align their compensation with the performance of the company. They are usually awarded to executives at a discount or at times when the stock price is low to provide a gain. It is common practice for banks to finance options purchases for executives at favorable rates. Therefore, the CEO could have exercised his options and held the shares. If he had confidence in his company that the shares would be increasing and he could make a profit, he would have held onto the shares instead of selling them.

    It doesn't matter whether shares are acquired directly or with options. Either the executive thinks his stock is going higher and he is going to hold the shares and reap the associated gains, or he sells them because he has little faith in the company's future performance and he would rather take the gains today to avoid a downdraft in the stock in the future.
    Oct 23, 2013. 09:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insiders Are Selling Autodesk [View article]
    When the CEO dumps half his position in the very company he controls, It would appear that he is not that confident about the future of the company or its stock price. He didn't sell $16 million worth of stock to buy a house or even to diversify his holdings, which would have been done over time. He's bailing out. Probably also rules out an acquisition of the company as well. Not a good sign.
    Oct 17, 2013. 07:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (SYLD) launches - an actively managed fund led by The Ivy Portfolio author Mebane Faber. Income's nice, but don't focus too much on dividends, says Faber, who also adds in share buybacks and debt repayment to create "shareholder yield." Competing dividend ETFs include: VIG, DVY, SDY, VIG, HDV, and DLN[View news story]
    Nice concept, but would like to see some historical performance or even better a back test of the algorithm that will pick the 100 stocks they will have in the portfolio. The other fund this group manages, GTAA, has high expenses and poor performance.
    May 14, 2013. 02:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: How To Admit You're Out Of Ideas [View article]
    Karl - Unlike most of the comments, I mostly agree with what you have said here. I do like the iPhone a lot and will probably buy another when my contract is up. A user like me will keep the company in business, but not like the company they were or like the company may people fantasize they can be.

    Why isn't Apple able to innovate like Samsung has? Why didn't Steve Jobs have the next 5 years set up with new products? He had plenty of time to do this. If Apple ever came out with that eyeball tracking feature that Samsung did, it would have been major news and they would have patted themselves on the back and talked about how great they are. Instead, they are coming out with the 5S, another iteration of the 5 and another unexciting product. Does any one remember how disappointing the 4S release was? Huge screens were already out there and Apple made small changes seem important and kept the same screen! Apple is a legend in its own mind and has lost the fight to innovate and be the best. Not just believe they are the best, but to BE the best. Samsung is kicking them around and out-innovating despite what all the Apple cult think. If I were a shareholder, I would be angry at the huge R&D spending that results in little more than iterative products.

    As far as the stock buyback and the dividend increase, it's a shameful relent to shareholders. No good CEO wants to give up that much cash if he sees potential into the future. As you point out, they are giving back cash that may very well become very precious in the not too distant future due to low margins, boring, expensive products, and no innovation. Even though interest rates are low, I agree that taking on debt is a potential risk and a mistake. If the company was doing well the stock would take care of itself -- you wouldn't have to try and engineer a higher price. Good CEOs don't get involved in where the stock is, they run a better business if they want the stock to increase. Apple's lost it. Tim Cook is a nice guy and is a good supply chain executive, but as CEO he's lacking in vision.

    While all of Google's R&D doesn't always generate a return, they do innovate. They create new ideas (a self-driving car, those glasses, and countless others). The idea people at Apple have been lulled into complacency with too many stock options. I would rather see Apple try and fail than to be Microsoft - changing the same old stuff and touting that it's such an innovation. Emperor's new clothes.

    I got out of Apple in the 600s and won't be buying again soon. They made the smartphone category, the pad computer household items. Their stock hit 700 as a result of their greatness in those areas, deservedly so. But like many technology companies they are probably doomed to mediocrity of financial results. In defense of them, it's not easy to do what they have already done again. They will keep making money, but unless their is another category killer on their drawing board, their greatness is in the past and so is the big money to be made on the stock.
    Apr 24, 2013. 12:07 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Freeport-McMoRan: Risks Already Baked In [View article]
    Thanks, NL, just saw your comment. For the record, I did go back into FCX in the low 30s after the acquisition announcement and am long now with stock and short puts. I still like the stock even though there is some uncertainty surrounding the acquisitions. But I look at it this way -- if the merger goes away, the stock will increase due to market reaction. If the merger goes through, they become a cash cow and can aggressively pay down the debt they took on with the new earnings. The nice dividend is the kicker while you wait. All this said, I am watching economic activity closely to ensure that the commodities don't cause a reason to sell out.
    Mar 19, 2013. 06:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Broken Product Count Jumps To 39 With Deutsche Bank ETN Creation Suspensions [View article]
    Thanks Ron. Very interesting. So if the TVIX's share/note creation is halted, then does this mean that if many traders wanted to trade TVIX that it might cause a large premium in the price or conversely a loss or zero if selling, because the underlying entity no longer will create shares for the demand? This may explain why the shares which are described as a 2X VIX really trades at significantly higher multiples than 2X? Why is this happening?
    Mar 19, 2013. 05:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Apple: Berenberg's Adnaan Ahmad has downgraded shares to Sell from Buy, while also cutting his rating on Samsung (SSNLF.PK). With smartphone growth now fueled by emerging markets, "Apple and Samsung margins are peaking and growth is going to be driven by the margin-dilutive mid-to-low-end segment," he argues. Also, Citi has cut its PT to $480, citing weaker iPhone 5 and regular iPad demand. Citi, which cut Apple to Neutral in December, now expects March and June quarter iPhone sales of 34M and 25M, below a consensus of 37M and 32M. AAPL -0.2%[View news story]
    If Apple had a dime for every word every written about it. . . . .

    There are many headwinds and an unknown upside in Apple. The smartphone market has peaked, China's real estate bubble will burst soon causing mass chaos, especially for companies like Apple. They won't go out of business, but it's going to be difficult to rally consumers or stock buyers to buy their shares. I don't think a gee whiz watch or an expensive TV is going to make a difference for them. Buy it now if you like the dividend (I think it's still too low), buy at $350-375 if you like a bargain or a good value stock or sell puts if you think it can't go much lower. Otherwise, doesn't seem to be a reason to initiate or increase positions as the upside is unclear. When it becomes clear, reevaluate and consider going long. (Disclosure: I don't hold any positions in Apple at this time.)
    Mar 6, 2013. 01:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Goldman Sachs maintains its Buy rating on Crocs (CROX +4.4%) following the retailer's solid Q4 report. The firm thinks the spring season could be positive for the company with its track record of good execution during the period. [View news story]
    Crocs CEO discussed how they now feel they are in the right position to increase marketing expenses by 33% in 2013. This should bode well. They are well diversified geographically with impressive growing sales overseas, they have plenty of cash in the bank, already great margins improved further over this last quarter, they have added more stores and they have a new spring line that should do very well. In short, this company is positioned for good things. Given their outstanding balance sheet, global reach, high margins, efficient operations, and low stock price, they could also make a fine acquisition in the next few years. This is why I am long Crocs.
    Feb 21, 2013. 11:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Coach - An Attractive Investment Opportunity [View article]
    Here's the most important information from AsianInvestors article -- "Approximately 71% of Coach's total net sales are generated from newly introduced products, with no sales in the same quarter previous year."

    What this means is that the company can reinvent itself very quickly each quarter when new styles are introduced. They can catch up to competition, keep up with market trends, or move in new directions. This is why temporary drops in stock price are a buying opportunity, assuming the luxury market is strong. The company can only do so much if consumers are not buying in the industry overall. This is the only risk since COH fundamentals are stellar.

    AsianInvestor -- would you be willing to buy the stock if you could get a 9% discount today? Sell the August 17, 2013 $48 puts to bring in $4.30 per share with COH selling at 48.09. If the stock gets put to you between now and August, you own it at $43.70. If not, then you pocket the $4.30.
    Feb 19, 2013. 12:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Shares of Crocs (CROX -0.7%) spike higher from negative territory after a SEC filing (13F) reveals that Leon Cooperman has taken a new position of 2.149M shares. [View news story]
    Go Leon! He also bought FCX after it got pummeled. Seems like he's looking for value with potential for growth. In Crox and FCX he gets that. I own both.
    Feb 14, 2013. 05:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Tax Man's Piece Of The Apple Pie [View article]
    Glad to see someone deal with the tax issues of Apple. I'm tired of seeing everyone use their cash pile in calculations as if all that money is already taxed. There is a liability to being able to use that money and until it's paid, the taxes should be discounted as the author points out. Nice article. Thanks.
    Jan 29, 2013. 04:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Freeport-McMoRan: Risks Already Baked In [View article]
    Good article, however, I disagree that the risks are baked into the current price. At 38.5, the stock is running 18% below the 2012 high of 47.44 and 23.8% above the 2012 low of 31.08. I like this company but I won't be a buyer until the stock gets back to the low 30's. There's talk that their royalties are increasing and that could nip profits. Strikes are always a risk as we have seen in the past, and China demand is not as certain as it may appear. This is one that you need a low basis in to ride out the volatility and de-risk the investment.
    Nov 12, 2012. 01:52 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Look To Hi-Crush For A 9% Yield With Limited Downside [View article]
    From the information I looked at HCLP has long term debt of almost $90 million.
    Nov 8, 2012. 02:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reiterating My Investment Theme For Apple [View article]
    I think the point that George is making, and while we don't like to think about Apple in these terms, is that the stock will be range bound and that the big growth in the stock is over. Compare Microsoft to Apple. In 2002, Microsoft had $28.37 billion in revenue and the stock was $25.85 on 12/31/02. Customers loved the company, PC penetration was still growing, Microsoft had lots of cash, and prospects looked good. They were good. Over the ten years, the revenue grew over 2.5 times to $72 billion for the TTM ending Sept 2012. The stock today is at a split adjusted $56. Microsoft matured, and even though it brought in over 2.5 times more revenue and cash, shareholders had little incentive to push the stock higher. Not a growth stock, more like widows and orphans. And if you bought the stock after the Feb 2003 2:1 split, you are sitting almost at dead even after 9 years except for dividends. MSFT sits on $51 Billion in cash now. Ballmer has done a poor job on so many levels. We know that Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs but it remains to be seen how he compares to the job Steve Ballmer's done at MSFT. (I used to own both stocks but no longer have holdings in either).
    Oct 26, 2012. 03:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment