tony curti

tony curti
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  • Why You Should Sell Shares Of Sprint Nextel  [View article]
    I stand corrected, gjasicksan...... :)
    Apr 3, 2013. 11:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why You Should Sell Shares Of Sprint Nextel  [View article]
    Sprint also has something of a white knight in Softbank. IT seems they are committed to backing their investment in Sprint over (the proverbial) long haul. Thus, Sprint's balance sheet and income statements have to be viewed with the idea that alarger, stronger brother is in the immediate and foreseeable future. Their cost of borrowing is down, and the stock price, while not ripping the sky apart, recently was at new 52 weeks highs. (I am not currently a stockholder in any of the companies you mentioned above.) Also, Sprint continues to expand it's customer base and buy bandwith to secure its abiity to compete with the data plans of T & Vz.

    In addition to your remarks about T above (which appear well thought out ) someone recently noted that within the past month or two that "somebody(s)" have sold short about 90 million shares of T. THat's pretty gutsy, considering just the dividend cost, and further makes it seem that a lot of money agrees with your perspective.
    Apr 2, 2013. 12:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Opko Health, Sell-Off, And Prostate Cancer Test  [View article]
    The main reason for screening for any cancer is to hopefully establish early diagnosis and intervention, as the assumption is that the earlier an accurate diagnosis is implemented the greater the chances of reducing both mortality AND morbidity. That said, the most important charcteristic of ANY screening test is it's sensitivity; the reason a confirmation test should be run subsequent to a positive screen (i.e., a biopsy after an elevated PSA) is to establish a a positive diagnosis (thereby improving specificity).

    As someone who had experience practicing both anatomical & clinical pathology as well as clinical medicine I would want to see the original journal publication of the OPKO test assment. IF Barron's was correct in saying that the test missed 14% of HIGH GRADE tumors I would be loathe to rely on it if something more reliable is available and is in use in customary medical practice. Missing 14-15% (let's say 1 in 7) of such tumors is unacceptable performance for a screening test, as this is the subset of prostatic cancer patients who need the most rapid intervention. Lower grade prostatic lesions (as defined by Gleason) are most commonly indolent, rarely causing serious morbidity or mortality. The euphemism used to be that if a male lives long enough he'll probably develop prostate lesion, but becuase most lesions are low grade, he would also go on to ultimately pass from something completely unrelated to the prostate lesion. However, higher grade tumors being much more aggressive warrant rapid intervention to attempt to improve morbidity and survival. If OPKO has improved the sensitivity of its assay then re-evaluation should be provided independently.
    Regarding the comment that urologists would be able to bill for the testing if they used the OPKO assay I'll offer this: during my practice period many clinicians wrongly assumed that they would add to their bottom lines if they performed lab tests in their own offfices. Unless a large group practice was involved, it was rarely cost efficient to begin any lab testing in an average clinical pracitce, as CLIA and virtually all state law mandates that the testing be performed by qualified med tech's and be overseen by a pathologist. Those costs, when added to equipment and reagents, were usually, sufficent to make it an unprofitable investment. IF the OPKO test somehow by obviates these reg's, then perhaps urologists will be able to supplement their income by using it.

    No screening test - by itself - will alter morbidity or mortality. If no effective treatments are available for any particular cancer then just knowing you have it won't improve your outcome. That being said, we know that sensittive screening improves survival in breast, colon and cervical cancers as long as proper treament is offered promptly and lesions are diagnosed before local or distant metastasis develops. I think it safe to assume the same will apply to prostate lesions.
    Feb 15, 2013. 07:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Alcoa: No Serious Investment Opportunity Amidst Weak Operating Profitability, Massive Debt  [View article]
    Not being an aluminum expert, it seems to me that AA's most important markets - the commercial jet production (also military transports/jets) - are under siege. While the new Boeing dreamliner has not yet had all the bugs worked out of it, it appears liekly that they wil be able to successfully correct and ultimately produce the plane to meet demand. Those liners use significantly less Al than predecessors, offering concomitant fuel economy as a dividend. If successful, the dreamliner would only be the first of many such planes, leaving a large hole in aluminum demand (which would be all the more distressful if the construction market remains slow).

    Moreover, AA is the high cost producer of Al in the world, and will be at a disadvantage going forward. Also, China has ACH and bought large Canadian Al producers years ago. Even when China resumes faster economic expansion, AA may not participate much in that resurgence.

    With that perspective, it is difficult to see how a few pennies either way on their future earnings reports will change some of the fundamental headwinds it faces in the Al market.
    Oct 9, 2012. 11:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This won't help get rid of those iPhone 5 shortages: China Labor Watch claims 3K-4K Foxconn workers at a plant in the city of Zhengzhou went on strike this afternoon, protesting over a lack of quality control training needed to meet the iPhone 5's (AAPL -2.1%) exceptional requirements, and demands to work during a holiday. Multiple iPhone 5 production lines were reportedly put into a "state of paralysis." Two weeks ago, Foxconn had to shut down another Chinese plant due to a riot. Update: Foxconn denies a strike occurred, and claims production remains on schedule.  [View news story]
    Obama convened a meeting of Silicon Valley "big wigs" soon after he was elected, and asked those present when the jobs "sent" to China would return to the USA. Steve Jobs came him a two word answer : "They're NOT". Then, he described the type of production efficiencies the Chinese routinely provided, all of which would be laughed at by US labor leaders.

    When you consider that US-based UAW assembly line workers for GM really make their salaries and benefits from the backs of Chinese GM workers making $400/month, you can get an idea of the size and scope of the adjustment that US labor market would have to accept to be competitive with the Chinese. Don't hold your breath. BTW - An iPhone manufactured in the US would probably cost around $1,000, after all was said and done.
    Oct 6, 2012. 03:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators are net long $51B in major equity index futures contracts, according to the latest CFTC data. By comparison - ahead of a major rally - they were net short $58B worth one year ago. (h/t Jason Goepfert)  [View news story]
    The question is whether or not a company that has been able to earn roughly $1 billion/week (or more) for several quarters can continue to grow that figure at the rate they have in the past. LONG TERM, I bet that they do.

    However, the short term weakness in AAPL was noted as something that might effect the general market tone, and was NOT meant to imply that AAPL is about to crumble, which it will not. It would make some sense to me that portfolio managers might want to book some of the profits they have earned holding AAPL stock, and thus ensure a profitable year. IF that's the case, that selling will not last forever, and may not even last very long. For sure, there will be buyers in the wings.

    BTW- the puts I had on AAPL were closed out when the stock price was around $655/share.
    Oct 4, 2012. 09:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators are net long $51B in major equity index futures contracts, according to the latest CFTC data. By comparison - ahead of a major rally - they were net short $58B worth one year ago. (h/t Jason Goepfert)  [View news story]
    Today's action was a little disconcerting, and AAPL was downright poor. Got under minor support around 660 and couldn't even reclaim in the aftermarket. Perhaps managers are booking significant gains before the end of 2012. IT's a little difficult to imagine a strong continuing rally without AAPL in the mix.

    "Euphoria" (read: relief) over Spain/Eurodebt didn't last too long; they were marching in Paris yesterday because the elected socialist (Hollande) is negotiating an austerity plan with the right. As I recall, he was elected on the "promise" of, in essence, printing money. Trouble in French sovereign debt can't help matters.

    Be interesting to see if we match trading patterns tomorrow (strong open/weak close).
    Oct 1, 2012. 10:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators are net long $51B in major equity index futures contracts, according to the latest CFTC data. By comparison - ahead of a major rally - they were net short $58B worth one year ago. (h/t Jason Goepfert)  [View news story]
    Beware Mondays during October.................. kind of like the markets "Friday the 13th" (although the more horrific ones were usually later in the month).

    The stochastics on weekly and monthly charts of the DJIA and SPX have been overbought for roughly 3-4 months and appear to be rolling over. RSI and ROC while still positive, appear to be diminishing, and the markets seem to be getting more "Bad" news from Europe than before the QE's announced this summer by Draghi and Bernancke, and seem to be moderately reacting to it into convergently. Coincident with this, the Euro is re-tracing some of the rebound it made since mid-July, amidst riots in Spain and Greece (again), rebounding Spanish sovereign rates, and even some questioning of France's financial health. The media is constantly reinforcing the notion of Obama's "assured" re-election success, and the latest Chicago PMI was under 50. LAstly, AAPL did not act well this week, falling below it's 20-day MA for the first time in about 2 months, while the upper Bollinger band has flattened.

    In short, t'is the "traditional" season for pullbacks, there is no shortage of "reasons" for one to occur, and markets seems to be stimulated to the down side by bad news more than they were in the immediate past. Regarding the question of "How far how fast" (if at all) well, my crystal ball went on strike many, many years ago, and I refuse to cave in to demands for reinstatement without a performance clause in the contract.

    Disclosure: I'm long AAPL puts and FB calls at the moment, with intentions to close out (win or lose) next week.
    Sep 28, 2012. 05:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint (S) CEO Dan Hesse says he welcomes mobile consolidation in the U.S. ... as long as it doesn't involve AT&T and Verizon, whom (like co-workers) he accuses of being duopolists. Hesse also claims once more he has no regrets about committing to $15B worth of iPhone purchases, and boasts Sprint has been able to shut down call centers by offering better customer service. Hesse struck a deal to acquire MetroPCS (PCS) in February, but was shot down by his board.  [View news story]
    @bosco: If they (AT&T) had charged that price originally we probably would have never left, but our bills were H-U-G-E. Now, Sprint provides comparable service at a nice savings (over previous AT&T) for us.

    One other comment - I think the market was almost pricing in extinction for Sprint; if S only comes out of this closer to "breakeven" (let alone if they manage to turn a small profit) they could see another significant pop in their stock price. At this point, having the words "going concern" and "Sprint" in the same sentence would represent a complete turn around in perspective for a lot of investors, and it is that change in perspective which I think could provide the basis another leg up for S' share price. BUT (and this is a "big" BUT [no pun intended]) - this is speculative. Nothing is carved in stone here; however, if T & V continue to vig for data & penalize for overuse, they will continue to give Sprint a vantage point. I think anyone would have to admit: Sprint has been routinely growing its customer base Q/Q for roughly the past two years, and the "data plan 'thing' " will only add to that trend.
    Sep 12, 2012. 09:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint's (S) marketing department continues promoting the carrier's cost advantage relative to AT&T and Verizon. Having long taken aim at Ma Bell and Big Red's data caps, Sprint's latest ad (video) skewers their expensive shared data plans. Sprint's Q2 subscriber data suggests its marketing efforts are starting to bear fruit, but it now has to contend with T-Mobile's revival of its unlimited data plan, and a price cut from MetroPCS.  [View news story]
    Free data or not, I've never heard anyone say anything good about T-mobile. The fact that they don't have the iPhone at the moment doesn't help them, and the fact that they were forced to abandon a potential source of revenue by revoking their data plan charges means they will continue on as the weakest link in the chain. Sprint may be #3, but it is far ahead of T-mobile.

    I have a little trouble imagining just what it is that folks do with their smart phones that require that extra few seconds of speed in data transmission afforded by 4G. I sense that it's more a question of "I want and must have" as opposed to "I need something that's good enough". Are we all trading over-leveraged investment accounts via smart phones ?? Doubtful. Sprint is offering competent and price favorable services to customers at a time when the economy is only marginally performing. Not a bad strategy, and maintaining free data plans (when all of us are used to free internet access) is a smart thing to do to acquire potential smart phone customers. If Sprint's balance sheet and income statements improve as a result, they will be able to make another pass at Metro PCS (or another carrier). We'll see.

    I closed out my long positions in S calls/shares about three weeks ago, and am currently looking for an opportunity for buy-side re-entry. However, if the story changes, so will my trading.
    Sep 1, 2012. 12:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bulls should take little comfort from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney lifting its view of the market from severe doom and gloom to neutral. The change in view is prompted by, what else, the idea central banks are about to throw a whole lot of money at the system. MSSB was last seen throwing in the towel on the markets last October - just as the stock rocket ship was about to take off.  [View news story]
    Isn't there a cruise ship named the QE III, or did it sink ??
    Aug 27, 2012. 08:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • MetroPCS (PCS -5.2%) and Leap Wireless (LEAP -3.5%) slide after T-Mobile decides to revive its unlimited data plans. Sprint (S -1.5%) is off slightly. Low-end carriers have clearly decided to challenge market leaders AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD) on price, hoping the latter's de facto price hikes will leave them vulnerable. Will the AT&T/Verizon "duopoly" continue gaining share, or are their latest pricing moves an act of hubris that will backfire?  [View news story]

    I've never used their service, so I can't speak from personal experience, but I've NEVER HEARD ANYONE speak well of T-Mobile's service. I don't think it will matter what they do at this point. Sprint doesn't need them and T and VZ can't have them. Anyone leaving them will probably end up at Sprint by default, with T and VZ currently charging for data.
    Aug 23, 2012. 02:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Sprint Near 52 Week Highs  [View article]
    @Headcoach - I appreciate your presentation. @Dougmalden: S's capital ratios have been known for a long time and if things were destined to be static and unchanging, your arguments could have a lot of weight. I reiterate what I posted previously: when a company begins to emerge from a difficult period in its history, investors don't wait to see the balance sheet changes that will derive from the changes underway. If you wait, your late. This has been documented time and time again through history.
    Aug 12, 2012. 10:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Sprint Near 52 Week Highs  [View article]
    This is the same type of action seen when either a company turns itself around or comes up with something revolutionary in its field. The same thing that happened with Lockheed back in the 70's, Chrysler in the 80's, Enzo Biochem and National Semiconductor in the 90's. Get on the train or get out of the way. One of the yet-to-be biggest boons for Sprint will materialize when AT&T and VZ start charging for data usage AND IMPOSING HUUUUGE PENALTIES FOR GOING OVER THE THE ALLOTTED USAGE. Sprint doesn't charge extra for data plans at all. Sprint is still adding 3-400,000 customers per quarter; when the data usage fees hit at T and VZ, I'll bet that increases like a wild fire in a dry lake bed. Add the fact that they are starting to use their own towers and will be paying less and less in the form of rental fees to T and VZ as a result, and you have a picture of a business which has virtually totally righted itself. It is in the right segment of the market at the right time, with the right array of products and services at costs consumers will largely favor. Here comes Casey Jones...........
    Aug 11, 2012. 12:52 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint (S) CEO Dan Hesse says he welcomes mobile consolidation in the U.S. ... as long as it doesn't involve AT&T and Verizon, whom (like co-workers) he accuses of being duopolists. Hesse also claims once more he has no regrets about committing to $15B worth of iPhone purchases, and boasts Sprint has been able to shut down call centers by offering better customer service. Hesse struck a deal to acquire MetroPCS (PCS) in February, but was shot down by his board.  [View news story]
    Why pay $100/month for I phone service ? When we left AT&T our monthly bill for two smart phones averaged $350-400/month. We argued almost every month and finally moved over to Sprint. At the time Sprint had not yet signed on to the iPhone, but who cares ? The Android platform works just as well and our current monthly is around $180. And I don't worry about the coming vig Verizon and AT&T will likely impose for internet data usage. (Note: Obviously, as of now, S does carry iPhones -and at pretty reasonable prices with good trade in terms).

    Regarding your characterization of me as "Insane" - I only consider that "real" unemployment is 15-16%, there are more people out of work now than there were during the Great Depression, and their are 40 million people on food stamps in Obamaland. If you choose to buy into the figures that the talking heads like to bandy about go ahead; to me, it's just more of the same main course that they always feed the American public. Buon' Appetito !! Same goes for GDP figures. Don't forget, both Bernanke and Obama would like to avoid unemployment as of January.
    Aug 9, 2012. 10:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment