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  • Tough read on golf [View news story]
    Like all sports, golf needs big time global stars that transcend the game to inspire recreational interest and participation. Tiger Woods was that but unfortunately he is that no more and there are no other players that spark interest outside of existing golf die-hards. On top of that, golf has the exorbitant cost to play working against it. Point being, I don't think any downtick in golf-related spending is a reflection of broader economic trends/developments.
    Jul 31 01:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why IBM Lacks Upside In The Near Term [View article]
    While declining revenue is a concern for growth oriented investors, why is it necessarily an issue for value investors? Investing is about gauging expectations. It is already known that revenues are declining, there is no investment value in making that observation that is not already embedded in the current stock price. If revenues end up declining at a lesser rate than expected that alone will be a catalyst for upside. Or if IBM were to decide to split up into separate hardware, enterprise software, consulting/services, and cloud stand-alones and recapitalize each accordingly the company could see meaningful upside on a sum-of-the-parts basis and such a valuation potential would be extremely appealing to a true value investor. Usually an investor is either one or the other, not both growth and value at the same time, with the exception of GARP, which is still really a growth approach with a greater sensitivity to valuation than traditional growth.
    Jul 18 11:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why IBM Lacks Upside In The Near Term [View article]
    The title of the this research piece was "Why IBM lacks near-term upside." Just in the last week, the company has moved up on the announcement of a new collaboration with Apple. Best to publish research on stocks that you feel strongly about from a buying interest point of view as I have seen the vast majority of the "you can do better with something else" recommendations blow up in people's faces, including my own. Everything you pointed out about IBM is true but it is also fully reflected in the current valuation while the "unknowns" are not, such as the Apple deal. Last year MSFT looked equally challenged to IBM with a mature Windows/Office platform, lack of a strong position in mobile/tablets, analysts reducing expectations, etc. Fans of MSFT pointed out that the stock was cheap and the company was sitting on a ton of cash that it could return to shareholders. I did not find that particularly attractive relative to other tech opportunities and when people asked me about MSFT, I would say "it's fine for what it is but I don't see the catalyst for it to be anything better than a market performer". Then CEO Steve Ballmer announced he was stepping down and despite the fact that Surface and Windows 8 were both turds relative to expectations, the stock took off on speculation a new CEO would break up the company and/or aggressively return cash shareholders via stock buyback. Once the stock got going, it has been a meaningful outperformer despite the fact that operationally things have not reaccelerated. The technical took over once the stock broke out of a multi-year trading range and the rather low P/E on a stock that is a major index component and institutional investors cannot afford to not own when it is working has provided steady fuel for further gains. From a price of $31 is Sept of last year, MSFT is now at 44.53, up 43.5% over that time and greatly outpacing the market. As the year began, if people asked about MSFT I would answer I don't see how the stock goes any higher after moving from $31 to $36 on the Ballmer news yet YTD in 2014 MSFT is up well north of 15% vs. an S&P 500 up 7% and a NASDAQ (much more tech intensive) up 3%. In the short run, fundamentals and operating metric-derived targets are seldom the main driver of stock performance.
    Jul 17 04:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why IBM Lacks Upside In The Near Term [View article]
    Let's double back and see where things stand on 7/11/2015. IBM Total Return (appreciation + dividends) vs. S&P 500 (appreciation + dividends). Big difference between keeping rates low for another 12 months and billions of dollars worth of monthly asset purchases coming to an end. I personally don't think a few more quarters of low rates alone will be enough to keep the risk-on trade in place. I don't think the market is going to deliver negative returns but I do think we are due for a rotation into higher quality, sleepier names vs. the momentum leadership we have seen over the past several quarters and a much more muted advance in the market over the next 12 months. I think the beginning of this is already evident in the underperformance of small cap stocks (R2000) vs. large cap stocks thus far in 2014.
    Jul 11 10:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why IBM Lacks Upside In The Near Term [View article]
    If the Fed easing cycle truly comes to an end and the the market normalizes, I would not be surprised to see IBM outperforming the broader market on a relative basis over the next 12 months. If investors move down the risk spectrum (highly likely as Fed gets out of the way), the low P/E multiple, healthy dividend yield, steady share buybacks, and globally diversified revenue stream (even if not growing) will make this stock rather compelling especially in light of its underperformance the past couple of years and the easier comps presented by the lackluster operating results over the past 4 quarters. If you think the market is still off to the races and market multiples will continue to expand, this is not the stock for you. But if market multiples hold steady or God-forbid even contract a bit over the next 12 months, IBM will outperform on a relative basis even if it is no longer the growth stock that it once was (and honestly, it has not been a true growth story for well over 20 years).
    Jul 11 06:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Barge operator Kirby faces long legal haul over Galveston spill [View news story]
    Kirby has a $1Billion dollar accident insurance policy with I believe a $1M deductible so this will likely be headline noise much more than it will ever be a bottom line impact. Particularly considering we are only talking about a few thousand barrels of oil contained to Galveston Bay/Houston Ship Channel not a massive spill.
    Mar 27 04:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Yum Brands (YUM) warns on China, expecting same-store sales there to be off 6% in Q4 vs. an earlier forecast of -4% thanks to the effect on KFC sales in late December from the poultry contamination issue. The company continues to expect full-year EPS of $3.24. Shares -3% AH. [View news story]
    Nothing to do with cannibalizaiton, everything to do with fears of tainted chicken in China. Bigger concern is what it does to 2013 expectations, particularly Q1 guidance given that the issue really hit consumer awareness during the last 2 weeks of Q4 and it still caused them to lower SSS guidance from -4% to -6%.
    Jan 7 06:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Tower (AMT -4.5%) is diving on a downgrade to Neutral from Citi. The firm cites a high valuation following a strong run-up over the last 12 months, and a lack of "meaningful upside" to Street estimates. Other wireless tower owners are lower in sympathy. SBAC -2%. CCI -2.7%.  [View news story]
    In an overal market environment that is less certain, the consistency of AMT's annuity stream rental revenues and growing dividend overtime as NOLs runoff and payout increases under new status as REIT, I don't think that "meaningful upside" to estimates is necessary for the stock to continue working higher. Sell-off today seems rather overdone.
    Jul 18 02:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Adding pressure to the slide in CF Industries (CF -11.8%) - in addition to falling corn prices - is a report from England-based Profercy research saying that Ukraine gas prices may be set for a "major cut." This will reduce the cost advantage for North American nitrogen-based crop nutrient producers.  [View news story]
    The issue isn't the low price of nat gas, it is the fact that the contracted price between suppliers in Russia and fertilzer producers in the Ukraine looks to be cut from $12 per mbtu to 6 per mbtu. This compare to the US price of $3.40 per mbtu (or whatever the appropriate unit is called). So the US producers still have a cost advantage (nat gas is a major input to nitrogen production) but it will be no where near the advantage they have now and may result in greater capacity coming to the global market and depressed selling prices for nitrogen.
    Nov 17 04:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) resumes trading, currently -6.5% at $352 AH.  [View news story]
    The stock is down in line w market today, so much for downside over-reaction buying opportunity. Will stick with the position I have.
    Aug 25 12:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) resumes trading, currently -6.5% at $352 AH.  [View news story]
    If this stock gets slammed over this, it will prove out to be a great opportunity to snap up shares. Jobs is a visionary and an amazing CEO but the company has alot going for it beyond Steve. If I didn't already have a big position, I would add more fact, I may go ahead and do it anyway.
    Aug 24 07:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Linear Technology (LLTC): FQ2 EPS of $0.62 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $384M (+50% Y/Y) beats by $5M. Shares -3.8% AH. (PR)  [View news story]
    The degree of beat does not matter. They guided down expectations for the coming quarter and that is going to weigh on the stock. Expectations were for revenues to decline next quarter but the guidance was for a much bigger decline than analysts are expecting. Earnings call tomorrow at 11:30 am eastern time.
    Jan 18 05:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. economy is poised to surprise very strongly to the upside, and investors have not fully priced in the dramatic turnaround ahead, James Kostohryz believes. Or this type of rising bullishness despite so many looming troubles could set us up for a fall, with any type of shock sending the market reeling.  [View news story]
    The outlets that keep citing how "bullish" investors have become obviously don't pay enough attention to you guys on Seeking Alpha and the doomsday-bears over at Zero Hedge. As long as these two blogs stay so negatively slanted on the markets/the economy/the deficit/the national debt, I will continue to view sentiment as no worse than neutral. When you guys start feeling good about the world, that's when I am going to take my profits and move to the sideline.
    Jan 3 10:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nike (NKE): FQ2 EPS of $0.94 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $4.8B (+9.9%) in-line. Shares -4.1% AH. (PR)  [View news story]
    Inventories higher than expected? Let's see what they say on the earnings call.
    Dec 21 04:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Whole Foods (WFMI) bulls should double up with call options, UBS says, as analysts think its rally will continue without near-term catalysts. Analyst Neil Currie upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral on increased growth prospects due to reduced costs, smaller store openings, lower prices and increasing store productivity.  [View news story]
    The wealthy and the healthy will keep trafficking and spending at WFMI regardless of the rest of the population's financial woes. Plus it still has synergy benefits playing out from Wild Oats acquisition. Stock likely to hold up relative to retail peers and probably broader market in tough economic environment. Ready to nibble at the 200-day.
    Aug 11 01:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment