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  • StatOil: A Window of Opportunity? [View article]
    An ironic comment, obviously. I should have held on to it, I would have made more money than the stock I bought instead.

    Logic (and real world experience) demonstrates that folks running giant companies have higher salaries than those running smaller ones. In my view its very possible that BOTH examples in this case are being over-paid, in relation to their responsibilities and performance. As a stockholder I often rail at the round heels demonstated by boards, particularly when it comes to compensation for high corporate executives. Most of the time I vote against these actions, then grump about the passivity of most stockholders, who meekly follow the board recommendations.

    Hard for anyone to complain about CEO compensation when all they do is rubber stamp the board of directors.

    One could analyze all sorts of numbers, comparing them against a CEO's take, and come up similar results. Profits would be another metric which could be constructed. Drawing attention to the topic of executive compensation (and hopefully the role that some valid type of performance component plays) would be healthy for the investing community. For one thing, it would get stockholders focused on an important topic, and perhaps more aware of what they (as the owners of the company) are paying to CEOs and other key employees.

    But to be fair, and particularly when comparing such things among companies within the same market sector, some effort to drop some sort of measuring stick into the scene should be made. Frankly when I ran those numbers, I had no idea how they would turn out, and at first I listed the top 5 STO executives (whose aggregate salaries are a good bit more than the Exxon Ceo makes) with the intention of comparing them en mass to Exxon...

    Needless to say, that would have made it a more lopsided ratio than it already was.
    Feb 6, 2011. 12:21 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, Feb. 5, 2011 [View instapost]
    Short term, Lynas is likely to be the closest thing to a "mine to market" company ex-China. MCP has announced some aggressive intentions, but their mine remains mothballed, their old processing plant (which they have announced will be replaced with new equipment with a far higher capacity, a project not yet started) is barely idling along from ore stockpiled a decade or more ago. If all that is required are good intentions, then I suppose one could term MCP a "potential mine to market" company, assuming they intend to direct market all the different oxides they plan to produce.

    Until they build their own AMP, MCP won't be a operation, either. This is something hinted at but not yet actually disclosed as to any details, and which presumably will fall downwind of building a processing plant at Mountain Pass capable of hitting the high 40,000kmt/year production goal they recently splashed around.

    Of course Lynas has their LAMP far along and scheduled for a startup later this year, long before MCP will even have their new processing plant done, much less any AMP facilities of their own.

    Tossing rocks at the Australian government's rules doesn't make much sense, and particularly in light of the fact that Lynas has made few friends among the metallurgical set with their intensive secrecy over the proprietory technology they are building at their Mount Weld processing plant. Questioning the lack of data with which to reach conclusions (or more accurately, vet the conclusions published by Lynas), must be irritating for people like Kaiser. The fact that they would recoil from endorsing an operation which is being constructed under this sort of secrecy is quite understandable...

    In light of this, his neutral conclusion is both logical and fair. In fact, its hard to see how he could say otherwise, until he knows more. Otherwise he is reduced to echoing Lynas' press releases, and that must rankle. Dismissing the LAMP as being a Mine to Market example is odd, though...

    I agree with his take on Stans Energy (LOL, though I will continue to make money from the stock, trading in and out), and disagree as regards GWM, mainly because it is such an odd duck to include in the group. Like comparing 3 apples and 1 green pea.
    Feb 6, 2011. 12:05 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ossen Innovation: Newly Profitable IPO With Competitive Advantage in Rare Earth Metals Space [View article]
    Buying this stock as an REE play would be like buying Toyota because they use REEs to make a Prius. The investment might have merits based upon other criteria, but NOT because the company is a customer for and consumer of REEs.
    Feb 6, 2011. 09:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ossen Innovation: Newly Profitable IPO With Competitive Advantage in Rare Earth Metals Space [View article]
    OSN is not a rare earth play. I would not touch it, given the circumstances, even if it were.

    Strikes me there are many alternatives to coating prestressed concrete forms with costly REEs, too. I would dig a lot deeper into the tech and likely pricing before investing.
    Feb 6, 2011. 09:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Part 3: We all know the Gulf blow out is a disaster….  [View instapost]
    Its insane to think that a massive ecological event will not have ANY immediate consequences (regardless how politically inconvenient).

    The behavior of Voldemort and his Death Eaters (and my whimsical names for him and his minions) makes their titles darkly ironic given the topic...

    But the political cowardace has risen to the level of true evil now.

    Truly these people deserve our contempt.
    Feb 6, 2011. 08:37 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quick Chat Number 148. Beginning 02/05/2011, Saturday [View instapost]
    Looking over several articles about greatly increased insider selling this month, I am struck by the lack of critical thinking in them. I read a number, in various venues (including here on SA) and they all were beating the same alarming, 2 dimensional drum: Insiders are selling a lot more this month than buying, and they are selling a lot more than last month...

    Any nod to the age-old duties of the reporter, ie, to answer as best they can the questions "Who, what, where, when, how..." was pretty much not there. "Who", the insiders, was of course portrayed, and "What" they were doing (trading stock in their own company) was also present, but the KEY information was just not explored, ie...


    The underlying assumption was obviously something alarming which the authors expected the reader to infer, ie, that those company's leadership saw rocky shoals ahead, but IS that true, or is this little herd of pundits missing something obvious?

    January has a special role not shared by all the other months - it starts a new year, including a new TAX year...

    Anyway, my takeaway from the articles so far has been that companies (particularly in the tech industry) are populated with insiders rapidly selling their stock positions in their own companies... This month. The ratio of sales to buys in one article (which focused exclusively upon tech companies) was over 60:1.

    I put the concept forward (with my reservations) for the crew to absorb.

    On the other side of the question, I also am tracking treasury yields, which have shown a pronounced spike recently, and have broken out above their 3.0 - 3.5% trading range for the first time since last spring. I view this as a mildly bullish macro indicator...
    Feb 6, 2011. 08:26 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is there life in the Nano Patch page 2 [View instapost]
    I'll look it over. Interesting physical proximity to the researchers, that...
    Feb 5, 2011. 06:38 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is there life in the Nano Patch page 2 [View instapost]
    Yes, that would be an indirect path. Direct would be if they are the first to adopt the new technology.
    Feb 5, 2011. 05:28 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is there life in the Nano Patch page 2 [View instapost]

    Some really cool developments regarding LED manufacturing from NCSU (North Carolina State U.). I don't see how its directly actionable, but it could be depending on how it progresses from here...
    Feb 5, 2011. 04:23 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quick Chat Number 147. Beginning 02/03/2011 BMO (Before Market Open) [View instapost]
    Maybe he meant mid-August...
    Feb 5, 2011. 02:10 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • StatOil: A Window of Opportunity? [View article]
    I always find the CEO compensation legends interesting. In this case, Mr. Tillerson earned $21.7m last year, running a company with a market cap of about $420billion. Mr. Lund ran STO, a company with a market cap of about $79.7billion for $8m.

    One way to look at who is being overpaid, seems to me, is to see how many dollars of market cap (something the CEO might well be held accountable for, imo) each executive is representing with his compensation...

    In this case, the stockholders of Exxon are getting $19,350 of coverage for every dollar of CEO compensation, while the StatOil shareholders are only getting $9,962.50, yielding a relative advantage to Exxon of about 2:1.

    Looks like the STO stockholders need to demand that either Lund cut his salary in half, or double the market cap of the company.

    LOL, having said all this, I have to admit to having owned STO stock in the past, and I am seriously considering buying some very soon. Thanks for the insight, Old Trader.
    Feb 5, 2011. 01:33 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, Feb. 5, 2011 [View instapost]
    Title is "The Narrator". Character from a book I have been working on.
    Feb 5, 2011. 12:59 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: A Fundamental, Psychological and Quantitative Response to Rare Earth Bears [View article]
    You saved me having to dig out that story and post it here, rbtbob, many thanks. And that's just one of a myriad of similar stories. This entire narrative is forward-looking, the history will once day settle down and be quite a valuable fundamental tool, but right now it is a blunt instrument when a scalpel is needed.
    Feb 5, 2011. 11:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, February 3, 2011 [View instapost]

    Chinese New Year is one of those investment themes that has languished of late. I believe it has a true impact on sino-centric issues like the REE/Strat. sector, in particular...

    True, they published their initial REE export quotas and tarrif revisions to coincide with Western ideas of when the new year starts, BUT...

    I expect that with what THEY consider a new year now engaged, planning which still synchronizes with their own calendar will begin to fall into place, and it might well be quite out of phase with what we have seen earlier.

    I guess what I'm saying is that, just as there is a renewal of purpose (and fresh fiscal plans) at the beginning of our Western new year, China does the same... And bears closer watching than usual while its moves become manifest.
    Feb 5, 2011. 11:36 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, February 3, 2011 [View instapost]

    Australian update, ending with an interesting Austrian lithium play.
    Feb 5, 2011. 11:29 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment