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  • Eastern Virginia Bankshares, Undervalued And Growing  [View article]
    Hi Nate, I was wondering if you included the effective dilutive effects of the Series B Preferred when calculating the TBV of EVBS. Please look at Note 8 on the latest 10-Q. Also it appears they have issued more shares in the past couple of quarters. I would like to see them repurchase shares rather than pay a dividend especially if they are selling at a discount. Having said that, I own a few shares, but perhaps just not as excited. Thank you.
    May 14, 2015. 10:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AGCO: Cheap On Its Own Merits But The TAFE Stake Could Be Worth $665 Million  [View article]
    Bram, nicely written article. I enjoyed reading it and I am going to read it again, probably several times. Thank you for your insight.
    Nov 12, 2014. 09:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Casual Dining Dying?  [View article]

    There is nothing inherently wrong about tipping. However, it's been my observation that there is more pressure to tip more. I've noticed that some people even view it as charity because they know most waiters and waitresses make meager wages.

    It used to be that 15% pretax was the norm and nobody complained. But, somewhere in the past few years 20% has become customary. Maybe again this is due in some respect to the reason I mentioned above. Now all this is great, if you and/or your spouse are making a decent salary combined or otherwise and/or your spouse both decide to go out only on special or rare occasions. Then perhaps the extra 5% is not a big issue. You can afford to splurge, the food and service was outstanding and you were happy to have a good time. There is nothing wrong with that. Hat's off to the restaurant. They may have truly deserved it.

    The problem in recent years, perhaps even the last decade is we have had the anomaly of a low almost zero interest rate environment with lower trending hourly rates and salaries. An extra 5% is a big deal when you can't earn any of it back through savings. The problem is compounded even further for seniors on fixed incomes.

    So, I don't believe it's being miserly. I think it is the harsh reality of the situation the Casual Dining sector and restaurant's in general find themselves in.

    I hope this clarifies my perspective from my earlier response.

    Oct 29, 2014. 10:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Casual Dining Dying?  [View article]
    There could be some fairly simple reasons. 1.) Incomes are not keeping pace with rising food costs. 2.) Casual Dining Restaurants have responded by lowering the size of portions and raising prices. 3.) Hence, the consumer does not feel they are receiving value. 4.) Most casual restaurant still serve unhealthy fare. In many cases, as was cited with Olive Garden, there are no Gluten Free entries and/or lack of other healthy choices. 5.) Consumers view Chipotle as healthy, GMO free, Free Range Chicken and Beef w/out growth hormone and they get all this at an affordable price. Many restaurants in my view (for what it is worth) just don't get the consumer is becoming more educated and have seconds thoughts on how to budget their dollars. 6.) One more point. I believe consumers are also becoming tired of up selling. For instance the meal may appear cheap, but then the appetizers and the drinks are expensive. So the trick of selling an entree cheap but making it up on drinks, appetizers and desserts are losing their luster, especially in an environment where waiters and waitresses now feel scorned if they are left anything less than a 20% tip. 20% in a low interest rate environment hits the pockets of savers and tilts them towards take out or just eating at home.

    Thanks for the article. Good work. I hope you didn't mind the long winded response and please feel free to challenge my points. I hope you will get a lively discussion here.
    Oct 27, 2014. 09:38 AM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Buffett: Why Don't You Invest In REITs?  [View article]

    Mr. Buffett has invested in REIT's in the past. He once owned Tanger Outlet Stores, MGI Properities, Property Capital Trust and also Town & Country. I believe all but Tanger Outlet Stores were special situations, meaning they were going through liquidations (MGI & PCT) or merged. This happened nearly 15 ago years or more.

    I agree with the comments above that he would rather own the real estate directly, but it's also possible he or Berkshire would shift gears if they saw value or perhaps an arbitrage situation in a particular REIT.
    Oct 24, 2014. 11:21 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Now Is As Good A Time As Any To Start Buying Investors Bancorp  [View article]
    Thanks for your reply, PF. Yes Michael Price and few other noteworthy names took a position or added to holdings last quarter. So good work. You're in good company. I have a small position as well.
    Oct 23, 2014. 04:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Now Is As Good A Time As Any To Start Buying Investors Bancorp  [View article]
    Hi PF.... Do you think ISBC will make another acquisition or two? Perhaps that is why the market is not giving them their due. There are a couple of NJ banks that have passed their three year conversion anniversary and may be pressured by an activist to merge with another bank. Then again, Blue Harbor, has taken a stake here and may also temper ISBC's plans, if any (just conjecture on my part), in that direction. But that may be another way to increase deposits quickly without having to resort to promotional rates in a tight environment.
    Oct 20, 2014. 10:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Christopher's Coffee Corner  [View instapost]
    That's great! Look out Starbucks. Best of luck and success to your son.
    Sep 2, 2014. 12:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Recently Converted Waterstone Financial's Shares Cheap For A Reason  [View article]

    Excellent analysis Profit Fan. I have looked at this one, but haven't done anything. I always appreciate your insights. There are some well known Community Bank Investors who continue to hold and/or have acquire shares, but I also noticed a respected investor who appears to have sold their position. My guess is they saw many of the problems you are pointing out in this article.

    I hope you don't mind the question, but are there any particular books on bank stocks you would recommend? I am currently reading, Banking and Financial Institutions by Benton E. Gup, but it hasn't been particularly enlightening so far. Hopefully, it will get better.

    Take care and once again, nicely done.
    Jul 10, 2014. 09:16 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Happy Anniversary: End Of Moratorium Makes OBA Financial A Potential Deal Target  [View article]
    Nice work, Chris. You're definitely seeing a spillover effect in OSHC today.
    Apr 9, 2014. 01:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Book Club  [View instapost]
    Thanks Chris.
    Dec 4, 2013. 12:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Book Club  [View instapost]
    Hi Joshua, you have a valid point. Price is always important. However, I don't believe the book is advocating finding a CEO who has the uncanny ability to allocate capital and for anyone to buy his or hers company stock at any price (at least that wasn't my take). I think you should use patience as you should or would with any investment. That is what the Outsiders do as well. So, I would advocate following CEO's who you believe have these innate abilities and buy if and when the price makes sense invest. The trick will be to find the CEO's who have these traits and also stick with them long term. It's not as easy as it may sound, but I'm sure you're aware of that. I also don't believe it's a strategy most will follow because most people who call themselves investors are really traders. But of course, I could be wrong. P.S. Schultz is a good recommendation for a future Outsider. Do you think the track record is long enough yet for him to be considered? Does he allocate capital well enough? It wasn't that long ago when he was closing stores and the stock was below $10. I like Starbucks (the coffee and cafe's) but not the stock.
    Dec 4, 2013. 12:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Saga Communications: Situated To Benefit From Consolidation In Traditional Media - But Wait A Couple Of Weeks  [View article]
    Hi VA! Nice article. SGA went ex-div on 11/27, so I believe it's possible those who there for special dividend may have already exited. One question, didn't Saga once have two classes of stock?
    Dec 3, 2013. 12:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Book Club  [View instapost]
    Chris, did you consider adding POST to the list? I know it's a different company, but the CEO remains the same.

    On best CEO, I would have to say Warren Buffett. Given his longevity, and outstanding record and consistency of growing returns are remarkable. Plus he deserves credit for mentoring Katherine Graham. Graham deserves credit for embracing Warren Buffett from the get go.

    The book is inspiring on many levels. All took difficult situations and created masterpieces without a lot of fanfare. One main theme in the book reminds me of another book called "Quiet" which was written by Susan Cain. Warren Buffett is featured in her book too.
    Dec 3, 2013. 12:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Book Club  [View instapost]
    Hi Toddro, I would tend to agree with you. I also love to see a clean Balance Sheet. The CEO's in the Outsiders had the luxury of consistent cash flows. That being said, they certainly found themselves in situations where they were concerned. Their main strength was they were adaptable and did not allow preconceived ideas or conventional wisdom to lead them astray. Also good observation on General Cinema. I thought the same thing. I think they went to the well perhaps once to often, but it easy to criticize in hindsight. All in all, they are still a good case study. Using debt wisely, is a practice few do well over long periods of time. I would like to hear Chris's opinion on General Cinema.
    Dec 3, 2013. 12:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment