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  • Team Alpha Portfolios: Dumping Cisco As It Continues To Lag [View article]
    Great article and great discussion. Totally independently, I have closed out 80% of my Cisco positions (keeping a few shares in the retirement account) at the end of last week as I believe also that there are better places to put my money. As I have mentioned previously, I am fed up with management and the fact that there are endless discussions of "will it or won't it" on this and many other investor forums (while the stock languishes) is an indication of the overall malaise of uncertainty that permeates this company. Will be looking to the wise heads in this column for suggestions on where to invest the cash I have taken out of Cisco.
    Jan 6 05:16 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Best Way To Invest In This $50 Billion Tech Trend [View article]
    As a (very) amateur investor it is articles like these, which clearly define the value propositions and the potential market shifts that will accompany them, which are enormously helpful. My operating principle in investing my carefully hoarded dollars is that if I cannot understand it I shouldn't buy it. This article makes it clear that I should stick with my CSCO position, start to follow BRCM and VMW, and rethink my current strategies in the telcom market. Many thanks for an informative and well-written article.
    Oct 3 09:16 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan Suffers A Setback [View article]
    Useful article, thank you. I am long KMP and am considering buying a little more if there is more of a price dip on this news.
    Jul 16 10:12 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell Cisco And Buy Nokia [View article]
    Many years ago I was given advice by a man who handicapped horse races and made a good living out of it. The secret of his success was a broad and deep knowledge of bloodlines and racing form--the result of constant and diligent research. What he told me was that whenever he felt that determining the potential winner of a race was too difficult to call based on form, he would "bet the jockey" not the horse. I am long on Cisco but to me, a far less sophisticated investor than all of you writing here, going into 2014 I no longer feel confident in Mr, Chambers' leadership. I have stuck with him for a decade now, but will be unloading my position in Cisco at a loss and find a better place to put my money. Microsoft is finally pushing Mr. Ballmer out to pasture and I hope that Cisco comes to its senses and does the same with Mr. Chambers. Investing is not horse racing, but management is one of my key criteria in deciding what to sell and buy. I wish everyone a profitable and happy 2014.
    Dec 31 10:34 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Moves By Pfizer Management: No Big Deal Or Telegraphing A Sell-Off? [View article]
    Most of the latest analysis by various financial publications (WSJ etc.) conclude that insider buying is not the harbinger of steep stock price increases as many had believed. Management, dividend consistency and portfolio aside, Mr. Davis' point about steady insider selling (particularly the fact that Mr. Read decreased his holdings by 25%) can only be interpreted as a worthwhile reality check on a company whose stock is one of my major portfolio holdings. Whether or not Sonny and Cher "break up", and despite the talent of new management, when top officers sell it is never a very positive sign about the immediate future. Thanks for a good article. I do not interpret you as saying "sell before it is too late", but rather, a worthwhile suggestion to pause and look more closely at the movements over the next few months on the hiring, promoting, acquiring and strategic "shifts" (a.k.a. divestiture) fronts.
    Dec 17 05:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pres. Obama's re-election doesn't bode well for the odds of a tax holiday on overseas cash, notes Eric Savitz. That's problematic for large-cap tech names such as Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Cisco (CSCO), which respectively have $83B, $54B, and $42.5B stashed overseas (per their most recent financials). As Savitz observes, there's a good chance some of that cash will be used on foreign acquisitions, especially in light of recent deals such as Microsoft/Skype and Cisco/NDS. [View news story]
    I happen to think that moving quickly to develop a policy which allows reduced taxes on overseas profits/cash if the money is invested in proven job-creating businesses in the U.S. is a no-brainer. I also agree that the money has been taxed already where it was earned so this kind of solution would be a win/win. Then again, I am a proponent of legalizing marijuana and imposing a hefty tax on it (think cigarettes) as a way of opening a new revenue stream for the government and eliminating a profit source for organized crime. But then again, I am the first to admit I don't know much about nothin'!
    Nov 8 12:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Building A Portfolio, One Wish-List Stock At A Time [View article]
    This was an easy to understand and easy to follow article. Many thanks. I suppose I also liked it as many of your picks and wishes reflect some of the stocks I am looking at carefully, so I feel both justified and secretly happy that if I make a mistake, there is someone else out there ready to suffer also! Good insightful summary.
    Jul 17 02:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Ratio Indicates An Alpha Opportunity At GE [View article]
    I bought in at the low 20's on the basis of sum of the parts=more than the whole and the price/dividend seemed right. Frankly, for me the future depends on how they work the partnership with the French (if this becomes a time and money sinkhole then it could have a negative effect on the success of the other parts of the business). Continuing to hold long term.
    Jul 16 10:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Kellogg Is Heading To $70 [View article]
    I have picked up grumblings about Buffett and Kellogg--most recently in the latest issue of Financial Times. Is this rumor unfounded, or have there been more solid reports of a potential play by Buffett? Have owned the stock for years, and love the boring way it continues to keep costs down, turn in a profit and raise the dividend...Yawn!
    Apr 30 05:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Buyback Paves The Way For High Dividend Growth [View article]
    Nice, easy to comprehend overview. As far as the negatives moving forward, I am taking a rather Pollyanna-ish view on new management bringing a breath of fresh air to expansion into new markets and changing the entrenched silo corporate culture. I did like your pointing out that there are three conditions one looks for in dividend payout potential and the fact they create "fertile soul" for increasing payouts. Adds a mystical quasi-religious note to the bullish future of MSFT. I am long and staying that way.
    Mar 29 12:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ACAS Is On Cruise Control [View article]
    I am a sucker for anyone who uses the art of Carl Barks to illustrate a financial point...nicely done and sorry I have nothing insightful on an investing basis to add. I am long ACAS, love the strategy of share buyback but would feel a lot better if they paid a dividend sooner than later (sadly, a great many of my shares were bought before ACAS cratered and where I could I have used the losses to offset gains, but the shares in my IRA are waiting for the "second coming"--a.k.a. dividend.)
    Dec 1 07:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Cisco's Acquisition Of BlackBerry: To Be Or Not To Be? [View article]
    Hmmm. All good points and interesting arguments. Seems to me, that the real question is the value of the Blackberry brand. How much damage has it inflicted upon itself and to what extent has this sucked out all the intangibles (loyalty, technology trustworthiness etc.) that commanded such a loyal (mostly enterprise but some consumer) user base. Interbrand's annual ranking of top global brands demonstrates how the power of a brand franchise adds financial benefits, and conversely, how loss of credibility detracts from this. All the companies mentioned as potential buyers could probably have the finances and technological know-how to take on the challenge of resurrecting Blackberry in some form or another, but if the brand itself has suffered irreparable damage then I submit it would be an unwise investment of financial resources. I suspect that opportunistic picking over of the company carcass for bargain prices on existing patents etc. is the only scenario that makes sense.
    Oct 14 09:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • REITs To Hold Forever, Most Likely [View article]
    Very good article. I hold HCN in my little IRA and would love to know your reasons for not having it on your list as you seem to know your stuff and I would value your opinion/analysis. Many thanks, P
    Oct 23 10:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Company Could Pay An Enormous Dividend [View article]
    When it comes to investing knowledge and insights, I position myself as strictly at the beginning of an apprenticeship. That said, in my innocence my comment on Cisco (whose shares I have owned since 1999) is whether current management has earned the confidence of the investing community on both strategic and value added parameters. I cannot help but think that in other companies, Chambers would be long gone as none of his "investments" seem to have done much for the overall value of the company. And, as others have commented, having so much of this wonderful pile of cash sitting overseas (where it is worth a lot less if it were to find itself back in the U.S. where the taxman waiteth) is a great talking and sell point, but doesn't seem to have much leverage beyond this. I will continue to avidly read this string as I find the debate and dialogue on Cisco enlightening. Many thanks.
    Jun 19 11:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • General Mills Is An Attractive Investment [View article]
    Great brands, great management, great new product development, uninterrupted history of dividends, strong representation across multiple food categories...I have been long GIS since the late 70's and if I had tripled the amount of money I have invested in the stock over the years I could retire now. As far as cost-cutting goes, I get worried when management at companies in which I am a stock holder don't periodically make a point of announcing a renewed focus on this key aspect of running a company. Markets and technology change and therefore there are always new ways to pare costs and increase margins. I am not ashamed to admit that when it comes to General Mills I consistently commit the worst investment error...I am still in love with the stock.
    Jul 9 03:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment