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  • Argumentum Ad Absurdum: What If Herbalife Made Coca-Cola? [View article]
    Interesting. You make several good points. However, you and Ackman fail to make the most important point of all, namely, the buyer's right to make the bet. In the course of making the bet, the buyer becomes educated in many constructive ways.The buyer learns about direct selling, product mark ups, distribution, pricing and incentives hierarchies, shipping, customer service, product quality and manufacturing, branding, communication among many other aspects of managing a business. Economic arguments aside, it's a great education. I applaud HLF, Mary Kay, so many others. So what if some supposed "poor little guy" supposedly looses a few hundred bucks buying supposed overvalued inventory? Why should it be the business of policy makers to interfere with that person's hope and inspiration?
    Apr 23 11:53 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Argumentum Ad Absurdum: What If Herbalife Made Coca-Cola? [View article]
    I was once a distributor of a company like this in the 1970's. there were > 100 people at the presentation. I bought ~ $200 worth of inventory and ended up using it myself or giving it away. So what? It was informative. It was an experience. Yes. Very few people will make it. So what? The product is real and not toxic. Consumers can judge for themselves. I just ate a bag of peanut M&M's instead of a so called legitimate "protein bar." So what? It's my choice. Ackman's 300 page mass-market analysis fails to address a citizen's right to choose. Legal remedies already exist. Ackman himself publicly admitted that he initially failed to persuade a major law firm to his point of view. He apparently went back several times and finally the firm relented. Of course, this is just about paying the law firm enough money to lobby ambitious and zealous regulators with a straight face. Yes. His arguments seem valid, but they also negate at least some of the brand proposition, the inspiration the distributor feels. It's not a "con" because a real product is exchanged. Preacher's con their flock. Wall Street con's each other and Main Street too. Ackman doesn't really care about the little guy. That's not his job. His job is make money through any legal means for his investors. Apparently in his mind that includes manipulating the media, legally of course. -- I fail to understand the importance of distribution methods of "health bars" and "protein shakes" as a matter warranting Ackman's attention or any regulatory official's attention in the face of other consumer or industrial products with real toxicity like tobacco, alcohol, drugs, carbon and financial services among which include OTC derivatives that Ackman widely uses and in this case to "own" OTM puts in HLF. I think Ackman has crossed the line, has no public policy interest, is net wrong on balance, and should not be using his PR clout to destroy employment, consumer choice and an individual's dreams and opportunity. Overreaching government does a good enough job at that. If Ackman is concerned about social welfare, why not tackle coal, or fracking? ...Let the free market decide.
    Apr 23 08:31 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Liquidation in mortgage REITs picks up where it left off on Friday, with nearly the entire sector lit up bright red. Leading today's decline is CYS Investments (CYS -4.6%) after being cut to hold at Wunderlich. No details are available, but presumably the analysts there read the papers: interest margins are declining and mortgage refinance activity (prepays) is on the rise. [View news story]
    This sell off is utterly idiotic. So what if NIM and refi's on on the rise? Look at the yeilds vs any other fixed income or preferred alternative!! So what if yeilds are even cut in half? The credit quality is high and increasing...this isn't a bad sign.
    Oct 15 10:16 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Big Elephants Afraid Of A Mouse: What Apple Is Not Telling You About BlackBerry [View article]
    Well said.
    Jul 29 06:08 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There Is A Lot Of Misinformation About American Capital Agency's Q3 Earnings - They're Decent [View article]
    Good points. Frankly, I was disappointed and I expected strong improvement in BV. I think them overshot. But, this exemplifies the challenges in the core business model.Humans make the marginal re-balancing decisions. I hope they're not being shaken by a need to please. They're very solid, successful and competent managers. As investors we need to let them exercise their discretion. That said, I'm a bit disappointed with last quarter's performance and see real value in the space.
    Oct 30 01:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: You Hate It At $5, But You Love It At $10? [View article]
    Excellent comments. Now is the time to buy more having bought stock at 5, 6, 7, and 8 per share. JCP represents the best value in apparel retailing.
    Aug 15 01:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J. C. Penney And The Earl Of Omnichannel [View article]
    LOL...definitely...lower stocking levels...deeper brand connection...more sales, greater pricing all translates into greater margins and greater revenue. The bricks and mortar store is not dead at all. It just has lower in store stocking levels. M
    Mar 3 04:46 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There Is A Lot Of Misinformation About American Capital Agency's Q3 Earnings - They're Decent [View article]
    If you ever wondered what goes on inside a larger hedge fund, the mReit space provides such a view. I'm attracted to this space because the asset trades at a big discount to BV now an throws off cash. Good luck.
    Oct 30 01:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Rates go down you get killed, rates go up you get killed," says hedge fund manager Brad Golding, summing up the situation for mortgage REITs. The days of double-digit yields are over - at least at Annaly (NLY) - where new co-CEO Wellington Denahan-Norris calls it "fantasy" to think the company can just jack up leverage to replicate the returns of the past. [View news story]
    Are NLY, ARR, AGNC, MTGE, TWO...and so on, "bad" deals at 50% of the current dividend when HYD, HYG, PFF and the like average ~ 6%? I don't think so...I also don't expect a 50% cut is mREIT dividends...I've been long mREITS for a long time. I bought more yday. I'm buying today... I reserve the right to change my mind.
    Oct 16 04:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CBOE Is A Long-Term Buy With One Heck Of Moat [View article]

    1) No real moat but for retail options users. The real market for any derivative product is the OTC market.

    2) No real most because other exchanges can launch other products. Franchise hinges on SPX complex and VIX only -- which are formidable. But, these are just a sideshow when compared to the OTC market.

    3) CBOE lacks investment opportunities. It produces lots of profit, but, has no real investment opportunities. It's a real cash cow. Why pay ~25 X earnings for that?

    4) This is an expensive stock. PS = > 7.5, PB > 16.7, PE ~26, Earning Yield: ~ 4%...buybacks and dividends keep the stock juiced up.

    5) Commentators want this stock to be a growth darling, but it's not. This is not a bad company, but why the goosed up multiples. It could easily trade 50% off as it simply does not offer explosive organic growth. If you're a fan of "growth" CBOE is no TSLA, NFLX, CPM...wish it were...

    6) BD number down huge. BD formation non-existent. There are a handful of listed options dealers - the 2 Big to Fail crew and a few others. Prices are not competitively determined.

    7) Me -- former CBOE member and market maker for > 20 years. Sold 100% one year ago...YTD - ~ 2%...YoY + ~ 7%...

    Good luck. Many better choices IMO.
    Aug 25 02:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 24 Ways Herbalife Is Mocking The Regulators [View article]
    ...he's just long out of the money puts...
    Jul 25 10:30 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM: 3 Different Insiders Have Sold Shares During The Last 30 Days [View article]
    Dude, 2/3 sold ~ $1 Million in MV. 1/3 sold $5M. Each still holds ~ $5 M in MV... So what. How many IBM executives have comparable holdings? Probably hundreds if no thousands. IBM employs > 431,000 people.
    May 7 10:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • CBOE's (CBOE) CEO Ed Tilly on Q1 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    PB = > 16, PS = > 8, PE = > 26, PEG = > 2. vs. broad market multiples = EXPENSIVE...Here are some questions that were not asked. 1) How big is the market for VIX really in terms of numbers and AUM? 2) What is the true organic growth of each product line?....3) Special dividends. Why? Can't reinvest the cash?...4) How much does the regulatory division contribute to earnings?...5) What is the growth in exchange permit holders / members?...Probably net negative...6) Who are the top 5 clients? Not end users - CBOE direct clients?...This means broker-dealers. 7) What is the market share of the top 5 CBOE direct clients? (These are CBOE's real clients...) 8) How do CBOE market-makers price to end-user BD's like TD Ameritrade, Schwab and E-Trade? 9) In a nano or microsecond world, how does a 500 ms standard serve consumers? 10) The SEC views itself as a law enforcement agency according to its web site. By extension, CBOE Regulatory Division must also view itself as such. Yet, CBOE is a "public" - "profit maximizing enterprise" who provides incentives to its own investigators. Connecting the dots, this means CBOE is the first profit maximizing law enforcement agency. Wow. How do consumers benefit as a consequence? 10) What proportion of CBOE earnings growth comes from growth in regulatory fines on CBOE's direct clients, its own distributors? 11) How does CBOE plan to grow its distribution franchise or does it actually prefer to shrink it further? 12) How much capital could CBOE save if it were to pitch the regulatory division to FINRA?...All I see is hyper focus on VIX, the milking of expense for lack of investment opportunities, and the increasing concentration of product use into fewer and fewer products by fewer real investors. IMHO, CBOE is no "growth" stock, but rather a "cash cow" and its multiples should reflect this economic reality. I see 50% downside risk.
    May 6 02:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Cramer Sells Linn Energy, So You Can Be Sure I Am Going To Buy [View article]
    Cramer loved SD at > $13.
    Mar 14 03:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • There Is A Lot Of Misinformation About American Capital Agency's Q3 Earnings - They're Decent [View article]
    Agreed. It's so called smart money engaged in panic trading that drove prices. The Fed was testing the waters, tactically. When it actually begins tapering in > 6 months the effect will bee far less pronounced all else equal.
    Oct 30 01:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment