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  • IPG Photonics: Double-Digit Growth On High Tech Lasers [View article]
    You were doing pretty well with the analysis until you included a stock price chart from a completely different company. IPGP trades at about $69 per share. Still a good deal with excellent prospects as a long term investment. I own shares now and expect to continue to own in the future.
    Aug 15 08:48 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Highlights From Solazyme's Q2 2014 Conference Call [View article]
    Hotpkwiki: There was discussion of expansion in both the discussion and in the associated presentation. No specific plan was announced but I thought it was positive that the management has this on the list of near term objectives. I would have beeen disappointed however if they got too far ahead of themselves. I think the short term emphasis on operational ramp-ups, optimizing the predictability of production, and continuing to expand the customer base is exactly right.

    As you might expect from my comment, I am long SZYM in a big way as a large percentage of my retirement account. It gets harder all the time to envision sequences of events that could keep Solazyme from being worth $50 to $100 per share in the next 5 years. It's difficult to understand why anyone would sell a ticket they could cash in for $50 in 5 years for a $10 bill today. They must know of some really great investment alternatives. There are risks that can't be wished away, but the moves made by management continue to increase the odds of success. I found the quarterly report very positive.
    Aug 1 09:36 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Beware Of Cash Bloat: More Is Not Always Better [View article]
    I have found a couple of tools that help me evaluate this issue. The first is to look at the return on total assets over at least the past two years. If it's declining over time, I usually pass on the investment unless it's caused by a very specific incident which is being actively and effectively addressed. This eliminates serial cash hoarders because by itself, cash doesn't create value.

    The second is to look more deeply into what the company does with profits or cash flow. I usually think about this in 4 catagories; Maintain or improve the current business, growth, return to shareholders, or burn it on the front lawn. You have done an excellent job of describing some of the ways cash is burned on the front lawn. A combination of the wrong acquisitions and overpaying is always a popular standard. Outrageous salary structures and dilutive stock awards are also favorites. The notes in quarterly reports are usually very helpful to quickly get a feel for the companies use of cash.

    On the positive side capital allocation decisions provide a great way to access the character of the management team. Mistakes and contained strategic errors are one thing. If there are none, the approach is probably too conservative to be successful in the long run. A habit of immature, impatient, self serving decisions however is a strong warning sign to not invest.
    Jul 12 09:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Advanced Semiconductor Engineering: Integrated Solutions And Technology Leadership Keep It Ahead Of The Competition [View article]
    The whole article lacks some credibility due to your comparison. IPGP is a vertically integrated laser company specializing in high power lasers for material processesing. Although they have a broader product base, their filings don't discuss any contract semi-conductor packaging done commercially. They appear to be in the semi-conductor business only to support thier own product lines.
    May 28 11:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I Shorted InvenSense Inc. [View article]
    When evaluating the decrease in cash, and the drop in earnings from expectations, you might want to consider the deliberate build of standard module inventory and the increased spending over the last two quarters on sales for expanding the customer base. Both of these actions are consistent with the expecation of dramatically increased sales over the coming year. You can argue about the appropriateness of the actions but they have clearly been considered and deliberate. I believe that this is reasonable risk and will continue to accumulate shares.
    May 21 03:27 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Looks To Strengthen Its Balance Sheet And Finds A Solution For Big Oil And Gas [View article]
    I am not a fan of having my ownership interest diluted, but I also don't think it's the last time we'll see it. The growth opportunities are simply too compelling to wait for internal cash generation. It will take some management judgement to keep from getting overextended but so far, so good.

    SZYM seems to be a good vehicle to illustrate different investment strategies. Toasty54 made a couple of statements that caught my eye. "Own it with money you can afford to lose" is one way to go. I prefer to operate with money I am confident I won't need within the initial growth cycle of the business. I try not to invest unless I can find a convincing argument for increased value within my potential need for cash.

    The other main difference is concentration. Toasty54 advocates a small position in unproven companies. I am confident enough of the risk reduction done over the past two years to have made this company over 30% of my investment portfolio. At 62, if I'm careful crossing the street, I'll still need investment growth for the next 20 years. The promise of the technology, partnerships, and the management team makes me comfortable with SZYM as the largest position out of the 10 stocks held.

    This is not written to challenge Toasty54, but simply to point out that there are strategic investing options to diversity. (Long SZYM, hopefully for a long time.)
    Mar 30 02:50 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Seeking Alpha Is Doing To Prevent Paid Stock Promotion [View article]
    I applaud and appreciate the continuing effort to maintain the integrity of this site. This does however need to be combined by us as users, with the recognized need to use the information and articles as starting points for further investigation and thought, rather than immediately usable investment advice. This is still a shared responsibility. thanks for an informative and interesting site.
    Mar 30 01:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies Is Still A Buy [View article]
    As an investor who has been accumulating GTAT for the past two years, and has no interest in selling, I am in agreement with the general conclusions. However, some of the details on Merlin technology are not quite correct. GTAT does not make solar panels so Merlin will not decrease GTAT costs. It's much more valuable than that. Merlin can be used by existing panel makers to more efficiently make higher efficiency panels. This ability to help customers operate at lower cost, without large capital investments, while producing a higher value product is really powerful. It has the potential to drive outstanding results for GTAT, and speaks very well to the general strategy with which the management team is approaching potential markets. I would highly recommend that interested investors watch the webcast on new technology currently available on the GTAT website. It's very informative on both product opportunities and more important to me, the strategic thinking of the management team.
    Mar 20 05:26 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stocks 2014: Investing For Growth - The Power And Protection Of High Compounding Earnings Growth - Part 2 [View article]
    Your company analysis was interesting as always but you included a significant error in your explaination of compounding. "$1 invested at 20% doubles in the 4th year and then again in the 8th year" is wrong. The dollar doubles in the first four years but in the next four years the $2 doubles. After 8 years, the original dollar has quadrupled. You made the same error in the 30% explaination. Please be more careful. This doesn't help beginning investors.
    Jan 16 04:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Biofuels defenders blast EPA plan to cut ethanol mandate [View news story]
    I'm all in favor of enthusiasm and an open exchange of ideas (read heated disagreement) but the Solazyme discussion is academic. Solazyme has not had bio-fuels in its near to mid term strategy for almost 2 years now. That was one of the contributing reasons I have taken a strong long position in the company. The company has recognized that targeting the highest value/high margin portion of the tailored oils market is a much stronger business plan than going after the commodity segment. Now I am all for this continued misrepresentation as it keeps the stock price artificially depressed from where the progress of the company would put it, and provides me with additional opportunities to accumulate a larger stake. However, none of you are really contributing to the Seekingalpha followers understanding of the investment opportunities and real risks.
    Nov 17 12:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Top 3 Useless Stock Metrics That Investors Use [View article]
    The value of ROA is that it provides a clear answer to the question; if you give this company a dollar, what can that dollar earn? This only makes sense if you use real net income after all expenses have been subtracted including depreciation, taxes, and interest. This in combination with the compound average growth rate (CAGR) of the shareholders equity, provides a very good indication of the value of retained earnings to future income.

    The worst metric to use is anything related to so called EBITA. This is a complete scam since it is miss-named. This is actually earnings that have benefited in sales and profitability from infrastructure, an educated work force, political stability, leverage, past capital investments, and real market value of any acquisitions but before paying any of the costs (taxes, interest, depreciation, amortization) of these benefits. Until anyone can do a fair job of subtracting the benefits, we should avoid the confidence game of ignoring the costs.
    Sep 25 09:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 30% Upside As This Highly Shorted Tech Stock Benefits From The Apple Product Refresh Cycle [View article]
    The illustration of emotion driven investment is the best I've seen. Thanks.

    The other aspect of CRUS that I think will make a big long term difference is that they are completely dependent on highly skilled and experienced technical staff for continuing success. The fact that they are consistently near the top of the 'best places to work' lists demonstrates a real and valuable organizational moat for their business.
    Aug 27 07:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment