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  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    "Trader Joes on the other hand has firmly entrenched itself as the perfect compromise of price and quality."

    Trader Joe's has had so many recalls that I have lost trust with it. Conceptually it's great and the stores are very nice, but at the very least I will not buy anything perishable again there.

    "Its not uncommon for people to check out with fewer than 6 items. The average ticket size is not impressive. People buy items they can justify over spending on at whole foods and supplement the rest of their families needs at Kroeger. I would dare say that a very very small minority of Whole Foods clients buy everything their household consumes at Whole Foods."

    I think that's the concern that I have as well, especially if things turn South. People still shop at WF, but less and pick up things elsewhere. I haven't seemed to have seen this yet at WF, but it would not surprise me if there is a downturn and/or if competition gets particularly aggressive.
    Mar 12, 2015. 08:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • VeriFone: Trading At A Significant Discount Vs. Its Main Peer [View article]
    I'll also note/clarify that I think Ingenico will continue to have an edge as long as they offer a dividend. It becomes, I suppose, does the valuation difference become considerable enough to factor that in at some point?
    Mar 12, 2015. 05:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    "I have some better alternatives: WWAV ($7 billion) and HAIN ($6 billion).
    they are smaller than WFM, they are fast-growing, quality companies,
    AND they are both prime takeover targets."

    Solid companies but very richly valued. UNFI is my WF alternative suggestion but that's not cheap, either. I don't like the grocery industry in terms of the stores themselves, the competition and other factors. I do like things higher up the ladder (UNFI, WWAV, HAIN, etc) that aren't store-specific, but those things are not reasonably valued, either.

    Either WWAV or HAIN will likely be taken out by Nestle. I've suggested in the past that Coke buying HAIN would be interesting, too - while Pepsi has Frito Lay, Coke could have HAIN and spin-off/sell/get rid of the skincare line. They'd get teas/drinks, snacks (Terra Chips) and a lot more.
    Mar 11, 2015. 08:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    Mar 11, 2015. 08:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    I suppose the issue becomes can you invest in each and every one of the stocks that you like? If so, must be nice. I *do* like seeing authors invested in what they're pushing, but I do think that it's not always possible.
    Mar 11, 2015. 06:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Natural Resources: A Dividend Grower With A Future [View article]
    It's cheap and has been largely wrecked over the last several months. That said, no one should expect a quick turnaround to the situation. The potential spin-off of the royalty land is immensely appealing, especially if done in a similar manner to Encana/Prairie Sky.
    Mar 11, 2015. 04:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    "Whole Foods, unlike most grocery stores, has strong brand loyalty, which will help insulate them from competition."

    They do to some degree. As competition increases, some customers may prove not "sticky" when offered other options. Or, if things turn South WF may lose some customers.

    Or, the other issue becomes some people who did do all of their shopping at WF start to do part of it there and part of it somewhere else.

    Again, this is nothing against WF, which is a very fine company, I just think that WF may not have the moat that some think given the nature of the industry.
    Mar 11, 2015. 03:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • VeriFone: Trading At A Significant Discount Vs. Its Main Peer [View article]
    Ingenico has traded at a premium for a while I think largely because it was absolutely a more well-run company vs Verifone's terrible previous management. Also, Ingenico has offered a steady dividend that I believe has grown at least mildly. Verifone certainly may be able to turn things around and achieve the valuation that you're talking about, but I think it's still acting as if prior management is there. It's an interesting industry - it's largely dominated by two players and the product is everywhere.
    Mar 11, 2015. 02:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Everyone Is Wrong About Whole Foods Market (Again) [View article]
    I saw the title and wanted to stop in to see the fanboy/fangirl-fest.

    WFM is a well-run company in a lousy, overcrowded industry. Whole Foods has a lot of optimism behind it, but it also has an increasing amount of competition and attempts to fend off the competition may cause the bottom line to decline.

    That said, for those who have mentioned 365, it's ridiculous they don't promote it more and it's almost as if they don't want to.

    The idea that I've always had is that WF opens WF Express in urban/suburban areas. Coffee, pastries, salad bar, pre-made food and other "to go" things with a cafe area. It would do huge business in major cities for people on the go who would stop there in the morning and at night for pre-made meals.

    WF isn't going anywhere, but it has challenges that have not gone away. Personally, I'd rather look at United Foods (UNFI), which was down after earnings. Rather than invest in WF, invest in the largest distributor of organic foods, so you're not betting on something "store-specific".
    Mar 11, 2015. 12:46 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Blackstone Group LP: A Stock With Your Best Interests In Mind [View article]
    I do think that Blackstone appears to have taken some lessons from its 2008 debacle, where it purchased a number of large things effectively at the top. They ultimately did well on Hilton which was the largest purchase (and effectively a 'top tick'), but the timing was not good.
    Mar 10, 2015. 03:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Blackstone Group LP: A Stock With Your Best Interests In Mind [View article]
    The dividend is not going to be consistent, either. Anyone expecting a *consistent* 7% is going to be disappointed.
    Mar 10, 2015. 03:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jardine Matheson Is A Great Way To Invest In Asia [View article]
    "Cheung Kong Holdings is also a good Asia play in my opinion..."

    It and Hutchison Whampoa get restructured, I believe first half of this year.
    Mar 8, 2015. 05:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T: Buy The Dip? [View article]
    Thank you, exactly. How long ago was the taper tantrum?
    Mar 6, 2015. 07:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pricing Pressure Will Not Hinder Archer Daniels Performance [View article]
    Basically you have an unparalleled logistics network for grain and a company diversifying its business in an attempt to be a one stop shop for customers and have less volatile earnings (including the terrific buy of Wild Flavors.)

    It's far from sexy, but it has a significant moat, terrific hard assets (as many railcars as a class 1 railway) and is the kind of thing that will likely be around for another 100 years. There's nothing public in the same industry that can really begin to compete with ADM and its global scale.
    Mar 6, 2015. 01:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan: Don't Be Fooled By The Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism [View article]
    KMI has an unparalleled collection of assets. It's a world class company. That said, it's remarkable how large general partner Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) has screamed higher over the last few years while KMI hasn't moved that much. I definitely like Kinder Morgan and the dividend in the meantime is certainly terrific, but would love to see a catalyst that finally leads it even moderately higher.
    Mar 6, 2015. 08:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment