Sean Dalton is a freelance financial writer and consultant who specializes on long/short domestic US equities. Sean graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2011 with a BBA in Finance and has since been working in the greater Washington DC area. His prior achievements include being Portfolio Manager for the Student Investment Fund at William and Mary, being a member of the state winning CFA IRC team 2011, Head Trader for the William and Mary CME Commodity Trading Challenge team and receiving Publication of the Year from The Monitor Journal of International Relations for his academic paper on Islamic Finance.
Sean is a Level 1 CFA Candidate ( and would appreciate any advice on study tips from charter holders).
You can follow Sean on Twitter @seansdalton or connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/seansdalton
I provide stock and bond analysis to a small cap specialist investor. For my own account I invest mainly in technology and biotechnology stocks. My technology and investment web site is openicon.com. I still enjoy IT consulting and always have some sort of R&D project going on.
I focus on the microcap space (market cap below $250 million) because it is one of the most inefficient and "alpha rich" areas of the global equity market, which provides the greatest opportunity to generate alpha through fundamental research.
I use a bottom up, investment decision making process. The ideal investment has an asymmetric risk/return profile with a limited downside (e.g. high net cash balance, strong cash flow) and significant upside (e.g. asset value extraction, overlooked business model transition).
Microcaps are particularly attractive to the following groups:
Activist investors. A small absolute investment (on a dollar basis) can be leveraged into a relatively large position (as a percentage of shares outstanding), which provides a greater ability to demand change.
Private equity firms. The persistent microcap discount can be “arbed away” via an LBO with the new owners accruing all of the gains for themselves. The small absolute size of many microcaps on an EV basis significantly expands the number of firms able to pursue this strategy.
This inefficiency exists for several reasons.
A lack of analyst coverage due to lower trading volume (less soft dollars from HF/MF), the global settlement that permanently severed the link between research/banking and the rise in electronic trading/decimalization. Moreover, none of these trends are likely to reverse for the foreseeable future (if ever).
A lack of institutional products given the natural capacity constraint for new/existing managers.
An inability to effectively implement a passive approach (e.g. ETFs, index funds) due to the lower liquidity and wider bid/ask spread. However, each of these obstacles can be overcome by using a combination of electronic trading tools (e.g. algos) and patience in building a positive size.
Inaccurate and persistent misconceptions about microcaps (e.g. they are riskier than larger cap stocks).
I currently trade for my personal account but would like to move into the investment management side of the industry.
Hale Stewart spent 5 years as a bond broker in the late 1990s before returning to law school in the early 2000s. He is currently a tax lawyer in Houston, Texas. He has an LLM from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in domestic and international taxation where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is also a Chartered Asset Manager, Chartered Wealth Manager and Chartered Trust and Estate Planner from the American Academy of Financial Management. He is the author of the book US Captive Insurance Law. You can read him daily at the XE.com currency blog (http://community.xe.com/blog/xe-market-analysis).
The Clinically Sound Investor is a pharmacist with a PharmD and a BA in psychology. He has worked across the spectrum from very small independent and hospital pharmacies to the some of the largest retail corporations and medical centers in the nation, as well as experience in specialty and mail order settings. Fascinated by watching the rise of Walmart and Apple after 2008, he now follows the advice "know thyself" and puts expertise of understaning scientific literature to research biotechnology stocks. His investments early on were driven by binary events such as FDA Advisory Committee meetings and PDUFA dates (approvals). Despite initial successes, there were too few of these events, so he expanded into predicting Phase II/III trial results. His writings should not be considered financial advice or the basis for investment decisions. While his interpretations of clinical trial results--which may be overlooked or even thoroughly misunderstood by Wall Street--could be helpful, they're only as good as the original reports they come from. Although written by scientists and doctors, there will always be a slant from the sponsoring company, or worse (like, say, missing data...).
Investor. Mission: Help people make money. Degree: Chemistry from NC State University. Featured author of Momentum Options Weekly Wrap (http://momentumoptionstrading.com/ )
Follow me on Motley Fool Caps at http://caps.fool.com/player/modestus1.aspx .
For short-term ideas about big movers, follow my StockTalks. But please note I am not the best short term stock picker. I am 7-0-1 in the long term, but 0-3 in the short term. If you want better short term pickers, I recommend Michael Filloon and Alfred Little.
Over the last 12 years, I am 7-4-1. I was up 130%, 29%, 15%, 3%, 19%, 25%, 56% from 2001-2007 respectively, and down 39%, 39%, 79% from 2008-2010 respectively. In 2011, I was flat, but some ill-timed trades (should have held AG) caused a loss of 17% and 14% in 2012 and 2013. Note: gains and losses include transaction costs. 2009 and 2010, I traded frequently, adding up transaction costs. That is why I favor longterm holding over shortterm trading.
I invest in all stocks. I don't agree that US stocks are the safest. Want a safe stock, try TEVA. It did not fall much, or at all, during the credit crisis. And generics are the future.
Being a chemistry graduate, I tend to focus of the drug, medical, biotech, and chemical industries. So far, I wrote about 5 medical companies (RPC, OREX, KV.A, PLX, & XOMA). OREX and KV.A were right on target, though KV.A has fallen back hard after reaching their highs, which surprised me. PLX was half right: it did get a negative letter from the FDA, but the options strategy was wrong. For RPC, so far, I have been wrong, and exited my position in mid-May. XOMA also has fallen since I wrote about it.
However, I also cover diverse stocks, from BIDU to NCT. Ignoring other industries is a big mistake. I look for stocks I find undervalued on both a value perspective and a growth perspective, but placing more emphasis on growth. I combine both fundamental and technical analysis. The fundamentals only tell you part of the story.
Anybody can make money. Don't let Wall Street analysts manipulate you. Their analysis is good, but don't take everything they say. Good luck investing, and I will do everything I can to make you money.
Oh, and I invest in rather risky stocks with high potentials. If you are nearing retirement, I don't recommend you copy my portfolio. I will label my stocks with the risk/reward factor. I am adding a watch list with some stocks for retirement investors that I like. All watch list stocks are long term holdings.
BRK.B (very low risk/medium reward)
NRZ (medium risk/medium reward)
EXK (medium risk/medium reward)
NCT (medium risk/high reward)
HOV (medium risk/high reward)
AMD (medium risk/high reward)
MCOA (high risk/very high reward)
RGSE (very high risk/high reward)
SUNE (extremely high risk/very high reward)
AG (medium risk/medium reward)
YRCW (very high risk/very high reward)
GTIM (medium risk/high reward)
BOJA (medium risk/high reward)CVRR (medium risk/high reward)SWKS (medium risk/high reward)JAZZ (medium risk/high reward)NFLX (medium risk/high reward)
LVS (medium risk/high reward)
SAM (medium risk/high reward)
CMG (medium risk/high reward)
ZNH (medium risk/high reward)
RDY (medium risk/high reward)
MNK (medium risk/high reward)
YZC (low risk/high reward)
AVGO (low risk/medium reward)
CF (low risk/high reward)TTM (low risk/high reward)
NVO (low risk/high reward)
BIDU (low risk/high reward)
PCLN (low risk/high reward)
CLF (low risk/medium reward)
AAPL (low risk/medium reward)
GOOG (low risk/medium reward)
TEVA (low risk/medium reward)
CIM (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
TNH (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
GOL (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Nils Bohr
Leading pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars each year in research and development with little or no guarantee of a return on their investment.
With the average cost of developing a new drug hitting the $800 million mark, accurately forecasting the market potential for new compounds is becoming an essential tool in long-term strategic planning.
Forecasting is also essential in understanding how the dynamics of a market are changing, evaluating licensing and acquisition opportunities for a particular therapeutic candidate, and raising the awareness of company executives of both current and potential future competitors.
Last, but not least, pharmaceutical product forecasting provides precious building blocks for modeling and simulation exercises that investment analysts need to conduct on a continuous bases to estimate return-on-investment decisions and fine tune their portfolios.
Pharma Reports specializes in modeling and publishing short and medium term event-impacted linear forecasts for both new and established drugs.
Since actual brand performance depends on how the marketing company allocates its resources and how the competition responds to changes in market shares, we revise our forecasts periodically as new data points become available.
I have been a professional writer for over 20 years. I also have enjoyed searching micro and nano cap companies looking for hidden gems. Having grown up around stock brokers and commodities traders I have seen the business from both sides. I have been an investor in the market for most of my life.
David Allen is a retired private investor located in Hutchinson, Minnesota. David holds a degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and has more than 30 years experience as a business executive, consultant and investor.
Active investor and trader since my teens. I retired early from my career in healthcare administration and have been a full time investor for 5 years.
I write about 3D Printing Stocks on my site @ 3DPrintingStocks.com, as well as small and microcap stocks (no pinks or junk!) at MicrocapResearch.com
James A. Kostohryz has accumulated over twenty years of experience investing and trading virtually every asset class across the globe.
Kostohryz started his investment career as an analyst at one of the US's largest asset management firms covering sectors as diverse as emerging markets, banking, energy, construction, real estate, metals and mining. Later, Kostohryz became Chief Global Strategist and Head of International Investments for a major investment bank. Kostohryz currently manages his own investment firm, specializing in proprietary trading and institutional portfolio management advisory.
Born in Mexico, Kostohryz grew up between south Texas and Colombia, has lived and worked in nine different countries, and has traveled extensively in more than 50 others. Kostohryz actively pursues various intellectual interests and is currently writing a book about the impact of culture on economic development. He is a former NCAA and world-class decathlete and has stayed active in a variety of sports.
Kostohryz graduated with honors from both Stanford University and Harvard Law School.
You can receive custom delivery of all of Mr. Kostohryz's published work on Seeking Alpha, The Street, and other media, as well as exclusive material, by following the link below. It is absolutely free:
You may connect with Mr. Kostohryz via the following social networks:
When connecting, be sure to identify yourself as a Seeking Alpha reader.
My name is Andrew Jarmon and I'm a consultant in Los Angeles. I am a long term investor that waits for very specific opportunities to arise for the 3+ year timeframe. I also really enjoy trying to spot bubbles and market inefficiencies.
Questions or comments? E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am an activist investor in US and Chinese stocks. I was previously an investment banker in New York Hong Kong and London for 9 years, focused on Equity Capital Markets. I look at both long ideas and short ideas and typically focus on a small number on names where I can spend the time to conduct very deep research. I spend my time living between Los Angeles and Beijing, China.
I spend most of my time reading through annual reports looking for a small-cap stock to feature in my monthly edition of "The Conservative Investor Digest." That is where you can find my best work, and that is where I focus my research. You can become a subscriber here: https://gumroad.com/l/HmqJx
I run the long-term investing website "The Conservative Income Investor" which can be found at: www.theconservativeincomeinvestor.com
Ashraf Eassa is a technology specialist with The Motley Fool. He writes mostly about technology stocks, but is especially interested in anything related to chips -- the semiconductor kind, that is.
Stephen Simpson, CFA, is a freelance financial writer and investor.
I have worked for both sell-side and buy-side firms (equities and fixed income), with the largest percentage of my working time spent in med-tech. At this point I am now effectively in a "working retirement".
I write because I find that the process helps me take better notes, be more disciplined about modeling, and come up with a more coherent investment view for my portfolio management needs. If I'm writing about a stock, it's generally because I'm interested in it as an investment prospect or I think there's an interesting story to tell.
I don't share my models, so please don't ask.
More of my writings can be found at my blog Kratisto Investing (kratistoinvesting.blogspot.com), or Twitter (@Kratisto_Invest).
Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for its investors and then Mr. DeMuth writes about them on StW.
Theodore J. Cohen, Ph.D., a research scientist, has been an investor for more than 50 years. Since 1980, he has focused his attention on investment research and investigative analyses of companies developing therapeutic drugs in the biotech sector. Dr. Cohen is a frequent contributor of Guest Opinions (op-ed pieces) to the Bucks County (PA) Courier Times (circulation: 80,000), where, since 2007, he has addressed such varied subjects as the conflicts of interest (COIs) associated with two members of the Provenge advisory committee (AC); the U.S. Senate’s Durbin Amendment, to tighten COI reviews of FDA AC members; and naked short selling. Cohen is the author of the award-winning novels Death by Wall Street: Rampage of the Bulls (AuthorHouse, 2010) and House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Outskirts Press, 2011), which were inspired by real events. The books are available from Amazon.com, B&N, and 26,000 online bookstores worldwide. For details, see http://www.theodore-cohen-novels.com.
Editor for The Biotech Forum (www.biotechforumsa.com), the #2 subscribed to Marketplace investment service offered through SeekingAlpha. Top 5% ranked analyst (TipRanks) 2013 through first half of 2015. Daily contributor for Real Money Pro. Hedge fund manager from 2008 to 2011. Previously technology executive at Fortune 100 firm for a decade. For Free weekly investment reports on small, attractive biotech stocks just register at www.bretjenseninvests.com
Adam Gefvert is the head researcher for White Diamond Research, a research firm for hedge funds and high net worth individuals. Primarily a short seller, he has saved investors millions of dollars by exposing highly overvalued small cap stocks. He has a 90%+ success rate with his Seeking Alpha short ideas. He specializes in technology, energy, and biotech stocks, because those are the sectors with the greatest valuation inefficiencies.
You can follow Adam on twitter @shiningboy
Follow @SmithOnStocks on Twitter for more updates (http://twitter.com/#SmithOnStocks
Please read this section carefully for some important disclosures.
Who Am I?
My name is Larry Smith. My career was spent on Wall Street as a biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst and also as Director of Research at Smith Barney and Hambrecht and Quist. On my website, SmithOnStocks, which can be addressed from this Seeking Alpha site, I publish articles on biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. I attempt to be objective and present a balanced view of negatives and positives. Readers should not rely on Seeking Alpha for my latest views and articles on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as informational only. The reports section of my website reflects my most current view on a stock.
How Do I Get Paid?
My only source of revenues from my articles is from subscription revenues from my website. I do not receive any compensation from companies or investor relations firms to write articles. I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity to write articles. I consider direct compensation to be cash compensation that is directly or indirectly tied to my writing articles.
I also do not receive compensation in the form of content. I believe that it is not uncommon for some writers to receive content from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity that are critical components of the articles that they write. I consider this as non-cash compensation. I do not receive advertising revenues from my website so there is no incentive to be sensational in order to create page hits. I only get paid if my subscribers believe that my articles are of value to them and they then decide to subscribe to my services.
You Should View Articles Published on Seeking Alpha as Informational Only
I want to make clear to readers that not all of the reports that I publish on my website are also published on Seeking Alpha. Also, I will sometimes make reports available on my website a significant period of time before publishing the same or a condensed version on Seeking Alpha. All of the articles that are published on Seeking Alpha and my website at the same time have consistent views and opinions. However, at a later data, it may be the case that my viewpoint and opinion may change and these changes in viewpoint and opinion may only be published in articles on my website.
For this reason, readers may want to check the reports section on my website for my current opinion on a stock and should not rely on the latest Seeking Alpha article as my viewpoint or opinion may have changed. The content on my website is intended only for subscribers, but non-subscribers can view the headlines in the reports section which in most cases but not all will announce a change in viewpoint or opinion. However, I emphasize that I undertake no obligation to update my articles on Seeking Alpha and the latest article on Seeking Alpha may not reflect my latest thinking. This is why I want to re-emphasize that any article published on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as information only.
What SmithOn Stocks is All About
SmithOnStocks is not registered as a securities broker-dealer or as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities regulatory authority. SOS relies solely on publicly disclosed and available information. While SOS makes all reasonable efforts to confirm the accuracy of its statements and opinions, all comments should be considered only as opinion and should not be considered to be absolute fact. Investors should carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Disclosures sections of my website. Investors should carefully perform their own due diligence, seek other points of view and consult with their broker or financial advisor.
Investing in equities includes considerable risk, and investors should be prepared for the possibility of capital loss. This is particularly the case with biotechnology stocks in which hard to predict clinical and commercial outcomes can often disappoint investors and lead to unusually large declines in price. Potential investors in biotechnology stocks must often be prepared to risk the loss of substantially all of their investment. These stocks are only suitable for investors willing and able to accept unusually high financial risk. Users of my information acknowledge that SOS and its owner are not liable to any person or entity for the accuracy, thoroughness, reliability, or timeliness of the information provided. Users further acknowledge that SOS is also not responsible for any direct or indirect losses that may arise from the use of information provided to any person or entity.
Employees of SmithOnStocks or SOS do buy and sell healthcare stocks, some of which may be the subject of written articles appearing on Seeking Alpha. In the event that employees have a stock investment in a company, that ownership is fully disclosed in notes on Seeking Alpha. On any new recommendation, I have a 48 hour waiting period before initiating a position in a stock. I trade in line with my recommendations.
In 1999 I made an ethical breach that resulted in a suspension from being a registered representative in the securities industry for a period of time. I believe that this measure was harsh beyond any reasonable measure and totally unwarranted. I have gone to great lengths in this report to give my side of the story and I hope that you will read the in-depth account that I have provided. This took place over 16 years ago and has long since ended. There has been no restriction from the NYSE for many years on my working as a registered representative if I choose to go through the required registration procedures.
Still, this NYSE action is like a Scarlett letter that I carry. I would urge you to read the full account of the events that led to this NYSE action and if you do so I believe you will agree that this in no way reflects on my integrity and the way I have always conducted myself, then and now. I strongly believe that the action taken was excessive and I think that if you read my full account you will agree.
People make mistakes. Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached and disbarred as a lawyer in Arkansas in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair. However, society has judged him on the body of work that he has done. Suspensions in the security industry can result from serious infractions in which investors are defrauded or swindled. In the events that led to my suspension no investors lost money and as I explain in this report investors who followed my advice made significant amounts of money. Before you rush to any conclusions, let me tell you my story.
I Am Proud in How I Have Conducted My Career
Before I go into the details of this ethical breach, I want to emphasize that I have had a distinguished career on Wall Street. My record from 1971 when I started on Wall Street until 1999 was unblemished. I came to New York from Indiana with no business connections and no money but through hard work I became a highly regarded Wall Street analyst and was selected to the Institutional Investor All Star team in pharmaceuticals for ten years in a row. Based on my record as being the top or one of the top analysts at Smith Barney, I was selected to be head of research from 1981 until 1989. I also served on the Board of Directors at Smith Barney.
Based on my strong reputation, Hambrecht and Quist approached me in 1989 to head their life sciences research effort and to run the annual H&Q (now JP Morgan) healthcare conference. I was a Managing Director and on the operating committee at H&Q. I left H&Q in the late 1990s because I disliked the bureaucracy that was such an integral part of being head of research. I had made enough money to be financially secure and I wanted to get back into doing what I loved, biotechnology research. I joined Tucker Anthony in 1997 as a biotechnology analyst.
Explaining the Events That Led to the NYSE Issue
Tucker Anthony had a sister firm called Sutro and a decision was made early in 1998 to move health care research from Tucker to Sutro. Tucker was an east coast based firm and Sutro was based in Los Angeles. Sutro leased a New York office to which I moved. It was here that an unfortunate train of events was set in motion that led to the NYSE action that put a stain on what I consider an outstanding career.
When I moved from Tucker to Sutro, I maintained my brokerage accounts at Tucker. I conducted normal trading in this account for some months. Then the research administrative research manager for Sutro contacted me and said that for regulatory purposes I would have to move my account from Tucker to Sutro. After some time spent in looking for a broker to handle my account at Sutro I became frustrated. At that time, I had over $5 million in my brokerage accounts. While I was sophisticated in health care investing which made up 10% of my portfolio, I needed help with other parts of the portfolio. I could find no retail broker at Sutro that I wanted to trust my portfolio to. I asked and received approval to look for a broker outside of Sutro and contacted Schwab about finding an investment advisor there to manage my account.
While this was in process, the research administrative manager at Sutro called again and said that Sutro was probably planning to shut down the New York office and I would have to move to Los Angeles or leave the firm. Moving to Los Angeles was not an option for me as my roots were deep in New York. I informed her that given this choice I would soon be leaving Sutro rather then moving to Los Angeles and began to think about what to do. I came to the preliminary conclusion that I would start a consulting firm dealing in biotechnology. I also concluded that I would have to carefully manage my investment portfolio.
It was here that I made a major mistake that I have regretted ever since. Frustrated that my money was tied up in Tucker and I was unable to trade in my account and unable to find a broker that I trusted, I decided to open an account at Schwab without a broker managing it. I indicated on the account transfer form that I was self-employed based on the assumption that I was going to be leaving Sutro imminently. This was my Bill Clinton moment and turned out to be a major mistake.
I continued to work at Sutro while I was waiting for the New York office to be closed which I thought would be in a matter of days or weeks and during this time, I began to execute trades in my account at Schwab. However, after some weeks the research administrative manager at Sutro called and informed me that based on the response they had gotten from clients and the work that I was doing that the firm had reversed itself and now wanted to keep the office in New York and they were also willing to hire two assistants to aid me. There was also the promise of a significant bonus in the upcoming review that based on my work could amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not surprisingly, I decided to stay on at Sutro instead of leaving and starting my own firm. I then looked for and finally found a Sutro broker that I could trust to help manage my portfolio. The brokerage accounts at Schwab were opened in February of 1999 and transferred to Sutro in April 1999. When I moved my accounts to Sutro the compliance department at Sutro saw that there was this hiatus when I had an unauthorized account at another firm. This was reported to NYSE.
NYSE Reviewed My Case and Took No Action for Three Years
Management at Sutro looked very closely at what had occurred and decided that while it was certainly not something they could condone, it was a minor infraction and they thought that given my stellar and unblemished record that NYSE would not take any meaningful action other than a wrist slap. Sutro decided to be pre-emptive in administering the wrist slap and fined me and suspended me for one month. They thought that this would satisfy NYSE based on their interpretation of what had occurred. They wanted me to continue with the firm, paid the sizable bonus I was due and committed to picki up all legal fees.
I then had a deposition with a lawyer from NYSE in early 2000. During a one day interview, he went over all of the details of the accounts that were held at Schwab and all of the trades that occurred in detail. He also looked at all of the reports that I had issued as an analyst during this time to compare to the trading in my account to the issuance of research reports. I then heard nothing more from the NYSE for three years.
Sutro concluded as did I that this issue was behind us. Three years later in mid-2003, I heard from NYSE to my shock that they were re-opening the case. Why after three years was the case being re-opened? In talking to the lawyers at NYSE, I came to understand that this was the result of Elliott Spitzer’s attack on Wall Street research. Remember the famous case of Henry Blodgett who recommended stocks of investment banking clients to clients that he thought were actually sales.
NYSE enforcement was under pressure because this unethical practice had been brought to light by Spitzer and they had missed it. They were under pressure to show how tough they could be as enforcers. They reviewed their records and came up with my case which they decided to reopen it in order to show that they were aggressive enforcers.
They went over the same information that had been gathered in early 2000, but came up with an entirely different interpretation. They said that I effected stock transactions shortly before issuance of research reports which I had prepared and this was a violation of Exchange Rule 472.40(2) (iii). They also said that I failed to disclose that I held securities in stocks recommended in a research report. They said that I opened accounts at a member firm that concealed fact of my employment at another member firm; violated Exchange Rule 407(b). They recommended a censure and two and one-half year suspension.
Two Stock Trades at Question
The information on opening an account at another firm is something that I just discussed at length. This was not in dispute. However, NYSE focused on two stock trades that I made and explained the suspension largely on the basis of these two trades. I believe that they were clearly wrong in their conclusions. Let me discuss those trades in detail.
The first trade was in Stericycle, a medical waste disposal company. I had been following the company for some time with a neutral rating. In my reports, I noted that the Company wanted to buy the medical waste disposal business of Waste Management and if they were successful, I would immediately go to a strong buy.
This acquisition was announced on April 14, 2009 after the close at 4 PM EST. Because it was 1 PM in Los Angeles I held a conference call with Sutro’s traders and the salesforce and told them I was going to a strong buy on the stock. It was the practice of Sutro to initiate new ideas with a conference call in this manner. The traders and sales force would then go out to the clients with the idea. After this, the analyst would follow-up by publishing a note on First Call (an electronic distribution network) and this was done on April 15 This was then followed up by a written research report on April 16. On April 16, I bought 2500 shares of the stock at a price of $12. This was accepted practice at Sutro for research analysts buying stocks that they recommended. There was no requirement to wait for a period of time to buy the stock. The analyst was allowed to buy the stock at the same time as other Sutro employees and clients
The NYSE judged my conduct on standards that were different from those that were accepted practices at Sutro. By today’s standards, the Sutro practices seem very loose but they were common at the time. This is why Sutro did not view this trade as a breach of conduct and kept me as an analyst. The NYSE also said that I did not disclose that I owned Stericycle in my written report. However, none of the analysts at Sutro were required at the time to do so. This was also standard operating procedure.
Stericycle was a major success for investors. Adjusting for stock splits the stock traded at about $3.00 when I first recommended it. Fifteen years later, the stock is trading at about $119. This was one of my best recommendations ever. I held the Stericycle stock for many years and only sold it recently.
The NYSE did not accept that my actions were in line with the practices of Sutro even though I produced a letter to that effect from the research administrative officer. I also argued that a $30,000 investment in a portfolio that amounted to $5 million at the time was de minimus. I argued that the stock was bought and maintained as a long term investment. I argued that it was an excellent money making idea for investors. The NYSE dismissed all of these arguments and maintained that I traded ahead of my recommendation.
The second trade that the NYSE emphasized was a trade in Schering Plough. On April 18, the stock had traded down by 5%. I had an accumulate rating on the stock essentially telling investors to buy the stock for the long term, but connoting less emphasis than a buy. In the morning call to traders and salesmen, I alerted them to the price weakness, but told them there was no change in the fundamental outlook and there was no change in my price target. I was not intending to issue a report, but the research administrative manager told me that the price drop in Schering Plough based on my price target indicated 25% upside that was the accepted criteria for a buy recommendation. Hence, I needed to put out a report in which I upgraded my opinion from accumulate to buy.
I bought the stock on April 20 at the same time as the written report was issued. I previously owned 500 shares and this increased my position to 1000 shares for a total investment of about $35,000 which again was within a $5 million portfolio. The NYSE again accused me of the same things as in the Stericycle situation. They said that I traded ahead of my recommendation and did not disclose that I owned the stock. My responses were the same as for Stericycle and were once again rejected.
Was The NYSE Action Justified?
I think that the NYSE action was out of all proportion to what actually transpired. I think the enforcement officers applied new standards in overturning the prior decision to take no action on this case that had been in effect for three years. They were under pressure to make a big splash in the Elliot Spitzer era to show how tough they were. My recommendations were solid recommendations and indeed the Stericycle recommendation was outstanding.
I fully recognize that my decision to open the brokerage account at Schwab prior to resigning from Sutro was an ethical breach on my part even if I was planning to resign from Sutro. When I decided to stay with Sutro, I transferred my accounts immediately. I strongly and absolutely maintain that my trading in Schering-Plough and Stericycle was in accordance with policies in place at Sutro at the time. By today’s standards these seem loose, but this was common industry practice at the time.
The NYSE review was conducted by a mediator and it was he that determined the punishment. He had spent his entire career as an enforcement officer for the NYSE. He was also friends with the NYSE lawyers on my case and sent out to lunch with them during the hearing. He was the judge, jury and executioner of my fate. As I look back, I question his objectivity and motives. In writing his opinion, he did not acknowledge documents from Sutro that showed that my stock trading disclosures were in-line with their internal procedures. I had no opportunity to review or correct his opinion in the opinion he wrote. In a country in which, guilt or innocence is established by one’s peers, mine was determined by a hanging judge with no experience in the securities business and an apparent pre-determined view on my actions.
BS in Economics, MA in Public Policy (International Economic Policy). J is a well-known voice in the global shipping community, with unparalleled investment results and a penchant for activist investing.
Mintzmyer founded Value Investor's Edge, a top-ranked deep value research service in May 2015, with the goal of establishing a top-tier community of deep value investors and activists. Value Investor's Edge subscribers leverage exclusive in-depth analytic reports and community investment experience to discover disconnects in global shipping and a variety of other beaten down sectors.
TipRanks.com ranked Mintzmyer’s performance in the top 3% of all global analysts at the end of 2015 for his 2-year investment performance. While compiling his research, Mintzmyer has interviewed numerous management teams at public maritime firms, and has worked with a multitude of investors. His exclusive analysis has received numerous 'Top Idea,' 'Must Read,' and 'Small Cap Insight' awards.
J is a CFA candidate and investment enthusiast who utilizes Seeking Alpha to provide an open exchange of both trading and investment ideas. Masters in Public Policy, with focus on International Security & Economic Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Economics. President of Mintzmyer Investments LLC, a financial services company specializing in equity research and hedge fund advisory.
Extensive background in financial analysis, equity research, accounting, portfolio management, and customized asset allocation through nearly a decade of formalized education, personal studies, and practical experience. Avid reader of business/investments and biographies.
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My premium service is a research and opinion subscription. No personalized investment advice will ever be given. I am not registered as an investment adviser, nor do I have any plans to pursue this path. No statements should be construed as anything but opinion, and the liability of all investment decisions reside with the individual. Although I do my utmost to procure high quality information, investors should always do their own due diligence and fact check all research prior to making any investment decisions. Any direct engagements with readers should always be viewed as hypothetical examples or simple exchanges of opinion as nothing is ever classified as “advice” in any sense of the word.
Brian Marckx, CFA is the Senior Medical Device / Diagnostics Analyst with Zacks Investment Research. I cover small and micro-cap medical device and diagnostic companies. Focus is development-stage companies with novel and emerging technologies as well as already established names still flying under the radar.
Prior to joining Zacks, Brian worked as a high-yield bond analyst on Wachovia Securities’ institutional trading desks where he specialized in the healthcare and industrials industries. Prior to that he was an analyst in corporate finance at First Union National Bank. Brian has covered the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries since joining Zacks.
Brian has been quoted in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Bloomberg-Businessweek and Kiplinger. His work has also been cited in various market studies and working papers including those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Deloitte & Touche, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Brian graduated with a B.S. in Finance from St. John Fisher College and received his MBA from Wake Forest University. Brian is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.
During the IPO season Francis Gaskins, editor of IPOdesktop.com & director of research for Equities.com, regularly appears on CNBC TV, Bloomberg, thestreet.com & other financial cable channels. On the day of the Visa IPO he appeared on four cable TV financial shows including Bloomberg & CNBC.
Over the past five years he has been quoted over 500 times by such financial media as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, USA Today among others. Those quotes are available at IPOdesktop.com.
His varied personal interests include violin playing. For example, he is concertmaster of the Palisades Symphony. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School (finance) and an AB from Princeton University (economics).
I have retired from a 35 years career in the semiconductor industry. I now have the time to do the deep research necessary for successful investing.
I freely provide investment information for friends and family.
I am a member of MENSA, which means precisely nothing except I wake up in the middle of the night doing pointless math problems in my head:)