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  • Herbalife, Nutrition Clubs, And End Consumers: A Look At The Company's Rules  [View article]
    Warren Buffett said that numbers don't lie.

    HLF's average ratio of FCF/net income has been slightly over 1.0x for the past several years (even counting options as a cash expense) and ROIC has been in the 28-46% range even during the great recession.

    Unlike Enron which was a fraud, HLF is bringing in strong FCF and is very efficient. Can you explain how a "Ponzi scheme" does that over many years - is the auditing firm in on this scheme?
    Aug 6, 2012. 02:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft And Apple Did Build 'That'  [View article]
    My guess is that Mitt bought equity shares (private investment) in the IRA and marked them as some absurdly low value and then sold them later at true value.

    Sounds like potential fraud to me.
    Aug 5, 2012. 09:17 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft And Apple Did Build 'That'  [View article]
    Excaliber - please read the full Obama quote in context.

    The fact you called Obama "Tyrant in Chief" shows you are biased and don't care what Obama really said.

    Politifact judged Romney's characterization of Obama's quote as "False".

    It's sad that you're so easily fooled by right wing propaganda.
    Aug 5, 2012. 08:22 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife, Nutrition Clubs, And End Consumers: A Look At The Company's Rules  [View article]
    Let's not be too hard on the author. He clearly doesn't understand HLF and it's business model and has now received reader feedback about it. Maybe he will do the right thing and ask SA to remove his poorly researched article.

    (disclosure: long HLF since 2008)
    Aug 5, 2012. 08:09 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft And Apple Did Build 'That'  [View article]
    Given the vast majority of SELF-MADE top billionaires are democrats (Gates, Ballmer, Buffett, Jobs etc.) and the billionaires who inherited (Koch, Waltons etc.) are republicans, I think Obama's policies are not bad for the nation and the economy.

    The billionaires who inherited only want to keep their money while the builders know the Dem policies expand the economy.

    Don't believe me? Bloomberg had a great article showing job growth, stock market returns and GDP growth was higher under Dems vs. Repubs over the past 50 years.

    We all saw how job growth and stock market has gone up under Obama and the Bloomberg data showed this is no fluke. But some just hate reality.

    Furthermore, those who claim the market will drop if Obama is re-elected are also ignorant as Bloomberg's survey of global investors say they favor Obama over Romney (49% to 38%), probably because Romney's policies are the same as those that got us into this mess.

    I hate to talk politics on an investment site, but the facts must be expressed.
    Aug 5, 2012. 07:56 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds: A Surprising Analysis  [View article]
    Generally, mutual funds have a style box which they adhere to and there are few funds who actively move between categories, such as FAIRX and YAFFX.

    That being said, to beat one's specific benchmark, you need good bottom up stockpickers.

    Given the massive volatility over the past 5 years, one would think hedge funds would have crushed the market, but this has not been the case despite being able to go to cash, use leverage, options, shorting etc. Most equity hedge funds have been a disappointment over this period, lagging the S&P500 by an annualized 9.3% and 1.8% over the past 3 and 5 years, respectively (per your link). And these numbers exclude the many hedge funds that were shuttered over the past few years!
    Aug 4, 2012. 05:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds: A Surprising Analysis  [View article]
    Nice responses.

    However, I disagree with your assertion that in the past 5 years, managers have found it extremely hard to beat an index. Rather, it seems that the financial crisis really showed which managers were truly talented. As Buffett said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked”. Plus, the volatility provided opportunities for the best managers to snap up bargains (e.g. Yacktman).

    When a market goes straight up like in 2003-7, one assumes better performing managers have skill (e.g. Janus in the late 1990s) while it's hard to see how they do in difficult environments. 2008-2012 manager performance seems to be a good indicator of true skill. In this regard, most equity hedge funds have been an apparent failure as these markets are supposed to allow them to shine.
    Aug 4, 2012. 03:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds: A Surprising Analysis  [View article]
    A lot of it is a manager having the right approach at the right time.

    Janus was good at momentum in the 1990s and has yet to recover. Wasatch Ultra Growth fund (WAMCX) had the best 10-year record through 2003 based on it's heavy focus on healthcare and the manager was replaced after a poor 3 years.

    Even top former analysts at Fairholme are not doing well with their new clean-sheet GOODX fund.

    As I said, it really is a crapshoot. That being said, I'm always willing to listen - what 3 mutual funds do you think will do best on a risk-adjusted basis over the next five years?
    Aug 4, 2012. 12:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds: A Surprising Analysis  [View article]
    Yes, some managers outperform the benchmark over 5 or 10 years, but guessing which ones beforehand is a crap shoot.

    Look at previously hot funds like Janus, CGMFX, LMVTX, FAIRX, MXXIX etc. After nice multi-year runs, investors pile in right before the performance dropoff.

    After fees and taxes, you are probably better off in index funds 80%+ of the time over a 10-year period.
    Aug 3, 2012. 11:17 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Problem With Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg Is Unfixable  [View article]
    In addition, it was clear that Zuckerberg has control given his voting shares.

    I believe he has voting control of 57% of Class B shares (10x voting rights vs. A shares) through a chain of agreements with other shareholders. Zuckerberg bought voting control shares from multiple parties for $100 apiece.

    IMHO, Zuckerberg is a liability and FB shareholders are stuck with him.
    Aug 1, 2012. 12:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Chance To Make 50% On Apple With Little Downside Risk  [View article]
    @sjdenver, have you considered maybe rolling down the 635 call to a 600 to reduce downside risk?

    As I mentioned in my post above, the slow time decay for the author's strategy doesn't allow one to achieve a large portion of the profit early in the time horizon as you have. By rolling down, you can protect against a modest decline through the expiration date.
    Jul 31, 2012. 11:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jeremy Siegel fires back at Bill Gross, saying the bond guru is totally wrong about stocks. "The cult of equity" is not dying, Siegel says. "I will grant that the last 10-12 years have been poor years," Siegel says. But we started from "the most overvalued market that we had in the last century." (video)   [View news story]
    If I remember correctly, Siegel was saying the market was just slightly overvalued in late 1999. Of course, at the March 2009 lows PIMCO's El-Erien was predicting a "new normal" and moderate stock appreciation even from those low levels.

    Just like the dot com era, there are overvalued and undervalued stocks, but it seems that stocks overall are a little overvalued IMHO. I know some people use the Fed model, but that model has not worked prior to 1980 (I think) and today's artificially low rates are not a good proxy for stock's absolute attractiveness.
    Jul 31, 2012. 06:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife (HLF): Q2 EPS of $0.10 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $1.03B (+17% Y/Y) beats by $23M. Guides FY12 higher, and announces new $1B share buyback. Shares +6.3% AH. (PR)   [View news story]
    I'm not into conspiracies but if there was one it probably went something like this...

    With a simple benign question on the conf call, Einhorn crashed the stock to benefit himself and his hedge fund buddies, then they covered their shorts and bought below $50 and will now enjoy the ride up.
    Jul 30, 2012. 06:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More from Starbucks' FQ3 miss: The firm lowers guidance for FQ4 to EPS of $0.44-$0.45 (vs. $0.48) and revenue growth of 10-12% to "reflect the difficult economic environment all global retailers are confronting today," but affirms earnings growth of 15-20% in fiscal 2013. U.S. same-store sales up 7%; global up 6%. SBUX now -8% AH.   [View news story]
    Funny part is that the clowns on CNBC's Fast Money lunchtime show recommended viewers buy before the report. Ouch!
    Jul 26, 2012. 04:40 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell-side reports pour in on Apple (AAPL -4.9%): most defend the company, and suggest investors look ahead to the next-gen iPhone and iPad Mini. William Blair notes Apple trades at just 9x its FY13 EPS estimate (exc. cash). Sterne Agee maintains a $780 PT, but is worried the new iPad's retina display is affecting margins. JMP, which maintains a rare Neutral rating, thinks "compelling Android alternatives" are as much of a problem as next-gen iPhone anticipation. (more) (transcript)   [View news story]
    The market isn't manipulated, it's simply that investors and analysts vacillate between fear and greed - basic behavioral science.

    If you can control your emotions, you can take advantage of these sentiment swings.

    "In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine."
    -- Benjamin Graham
    Jul 26, 2012. 04:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment