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  • Paul Singer Buys Stake in Interpublic Group, Calls Shares 'Undervalued'

    Paul Singer (Trades, Portfolio), founder of New York hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, purchased a 2.45% stake in Interpublic Group Companies, according to GuruFocus Real Time Picks.

    In total Singer purchased 10,367,502 shares of the company on July 14, when its price closed at $19.41 per share. The stock price then hit a 10-year high of $20.64 on July 29, before falling back to close at $19.71 on Friday. Overall Interpublic is up 24% for the past year.  


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  • Mairs & Power Balanced Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary



  • Matthews Japan Fund's Top Second Quarter Holdings

    Matthews Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) is a fund which focuses on gaining long-term capital appreciation by investing at least 80% of its total assets in the common and preferred stocks of companies located in Japan. According to the fund’s website, Matthews Japan seeks to invest in companies capable of sustainable growth based on the fundamental characteristics of the companies, including balance sheet information, number of employees, size and stability of cash flow, management’s depth and financial health. The portfolio managers of the Matthews Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) are Taizo Ishida and Kenichi Amaki.


    Over the duration of the second quarter the fund added five new stocks to their holdings, bringing the Matthews Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) portfolio to 60 stocks valued at $445 million. The following five stocks represent the fund’s top five largest holdings as of the close of the second quarter.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on United Fire Group

    Portfolio additions during the second quarter included United Fire Group (UFCS), a company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that writes property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and offers annuities. With a strong history of conservative underwriting, this steady performer grew its Return on Equity (ROE) 10% last year, while its stock traded at a discount to book value – considered a rare event at current valuations. Another aspect we like about this company is that its management goes out of its way to tell potential investors that, while they must report their results quarterly, they manage their company for the much longer term; music to our ears.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Landauer

    In contrast, the radiation detection firm Landauer (LDR) proved to be the biggest laggard in the first half of the year. However, a number of recent regulatory changes that address shortfalls in U.S. hospital radiation monitoring appear likely to provide the company with an opportunity to turn their stock performance around.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Vasco Data Security

    The password authentication hardware and software firm, Vasco Data Security (VDSI) also contributed heavily to performance for both the six-month and second-quarter periods, returning 50.06% and 53.85%, respectively. Having an already strong European consumer banking presence, Vasco has now started to make inroads into the U.S. market. Every day, new headlines trumpeting widespread data vulnerabilities help to drive up greater demand for this firm’s products.

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Comments on Gentherm

    Gentherm (THRM), a manufacturer of automobile seat heating and cooling equipment, contributed the most to outperformance for the six-month and second-quarter periods, through June 30, returning 65.80% and 28.02%, respectively. Gentherm continues to benefit from increased inclusion of its products on Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) auto platforms as well as from other applications of its proprietary technology (consider how welcome heated seats would have been during Minnesota’s brush with the Polar Vortex last winter).

      


  • Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary

    While the pace of the economic recovery was somewhat better than expected during the quarter, we continued to keep our primary focus on the long-term fundamental attributes that make companies profitable. While attentive, we are not swayed by the macro-economic details underpinning global market events. By emphasizing the long-term view, we can make the subtle, opportunistic adjustments to company positions over time that keep portfolio turnover low and tax consequences in check. Our first mutual fund, the Mairs & Power Growth Fund, founded in 1958, provides a good illustration of this approach, which is employed by the Mairs & Power Balanced and Mairs & Power Small Cap Funds as well. Portfolio turnover for the Growth Fund, compared to its peers, the Morningstar U.S. Large Cap Blend category, was substantially lower for each of the past 10 years. As a result, the Fund’s annual realized taxable capital gains exceeded $1.00 in only two of the past 10 years.


    As measured by the Standard and Poor’s Total Return (TR) Index, the stock market advanced 5.23% for the quarter ending June 30, 2014. The market’s strength occurred against a mixed backdrop characterized by a downbeat adjustment to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (a key barometer of economic health), a rekindling of the War in Iraq, and hints that higher inflation and rising yields might be just around the corner.

      


  • Eagle Bancorp Inc: A Fast Growing Community Bank

    Banking, we're told, will get back to its good ol' days when interest rates begin to rise, and inflation peeks its head out again. But, this bank has been on a fast-track since the first quarter of 2009. It is Eagle Bancorp Inc (EGBN); it's a community, or regional bank if you prefer, in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, with a market cap of under $1-billion: $866.2-million. The following chart shows that growth, in ETITDA (blue) and share price (green):


    EGBN Price-EBITDA

      


  • Amidst Whirlwind Of Opinions From Tourbillon MannKind Shareholders Remain Strong

    Published on 360 Biotech: Thursday, 31 July 2014 03:44 by Doctor Hung V. Tran, MD, MS. Disclosure: I am long on MNKD.


    As the next earnings report is approaching for MannKind Corporation, loyal shareholders are anxiously waiting for the management's announcement regarding Afrezza commercialization. MannKind Corporation is a small company based in Valencia, California, with its FDA approved lead drug Afrezza indicated for diabetes mellitus treatment.

      


  • Bill Frels Comments on Toro Co

    A number of other industrial companies in our portfolio detracted from performance, including Toro Company (TTC), a major provider of landscape maintenance equipment. Due, in part, to last winter’s unseasonably cold weather, the firm lowered earnings expectations. Prior to the disappointing earnings report, we had scaled back our position somewhat, while retaining the firm as a top 10 holding based on our conviction that Toro’s strong product lineup is likely to deliver revenue growth later in the year.

    From Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio)’ Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary.  


  • Bill Frels Comments on Cray Inc

    The largest detractor from performance during the quarter was Cray Inc. (CRAY), a major super computer manufacturer. However, given our long-term view of the company, we took advantage of this attractive valuation to increase our position.

    From Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio)’ Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary.  


  • Bill Frels Comments on Medtronic Inc

    Healthcare company Medtronic, Inc. (MDT) also contributed to performance, gaining 3.61% and 11.10% for the second quarter and first six months, respectively. Pending a shareholder vote later this year or in 2015, however, Medtronic is expected to merge with medical device supplier Covidien Plc and change its legal domicile to Ireland. Once completed, the merger will create a taxable event for Fund shareholders who will realize a long-term capital gain estimated at $60 million or $1.50 a share.

    From Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio)’ Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary.  


  • Bill Frels Comments on CH Robinson Worldwide Inc

    Freight shipper and global supply chain consultant C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW) gained 21.76% and 9.34% respectively for the second quarter and first six months, and was a strong contributor to Fund performance. The firm’s efforts to better service high-end customers resulted in a favorable report in the first quarter and helped reverse a lackluster, two-year performance trend. As the requirement for “just-in-time” freight delivery becomes increasingly important to a company’s profitability, customers will turn to third-party logistics firms like C.H. Robinson to coordinate shipments and generate the information customers need in real time to manage their inventories and deliveries.

    From Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio)’ Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary.  


  • Bill Frels Comments on Schlumberger

    The world’s leading supplier of energy industry technology solutions, Schlumberger (SLB) was a top contributor to performance for both the past quarter and the past six months through June 30, gaining 20.97% and 30.90%, respectively. America’s move to greater energy independence that began more than a decade ago has continued to benefit firms like Schlumberger whose businesses are concentrated in the area of oil and gas exploration. Many factors, however, like global economics and shifting political allegiances can affect both energy prices and exploration budgets. Since 2008, Schlumberger has endeavored to temper the impact of such cyclical influences through major investments in technology innovations, product reliability and better processes. As it gains market share, Schlumberger continues to hold leading market positions in proprietary software, patents, and major equipment.

    From Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio)’ Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary.  


  • Bill Frels' Mairs & Power Growth Fund Second Quarter 2014 Commentary

    While the pace of the economic recovery was somewhat better than expected during the quarter, we continued to keep our primary focus on the long-term fundamental attributes that make companies profitable. While attentive, we are not swayed by the macro-economic details underpinning global market events. By emphasizing the long-term view, we can make the subtle, opportunistic adjustments to company positions over time that keep portfolio turnover low and tax consequences in check. Our first mutual fund, the Mairs & Power Growth Fund, founded in 1958, provides a good illustration of this approach, which is employed by the Mairs & Power Balanced and Mairs & Power Small Cap Funds as well. Portfolio turnover for the Growth Fund, compared to its peers, the Morningstar U.S. Large Cap Blend category, was substantially lower for each of the past 10 years. As a result, the Fund’s annual realized taxable capital gains exceeded $1.00 in only two of the past 10 years.


    As measured by the Standard and Poor’s Total Return (TR) Index, the stock market advanced 5.23% for the quarter ending June 30, 2014. The market’s strength occurred against a mixed backdrop characterized by a downbeat adjustment to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (a key barometer of economic health), a rekindling of the War in Iraq, and hints that higher inflation and rising yields might be just around the corner.

      


  • Bursting Bubbles

    As the overall markets decline, some people are panicking and calling it a bursting of the bubble, while others are justifying that stock can still climb higher. I think it would be premature to call this 1-2% decline a sure sign that the bubble is going to pop soon. But I also wouldn't say that stocks still have room to run. The market is due for a correction, and it should be welcomed because stocks have been overvalued. I also think it would be interesting to see how the next couple of weeks and months affect the overall market. The Fed's policy to continue to keep interest rates low could mean disaster when interest rates are finally raised. I'd welcome a correction, and will keep adding to my portfolio when the market declines a little, even if it's just 1-2%.


      


  • Hedge Fund Legend Leon Cooperman's Full Interview At Delivering Alpha

    Leon Cooperman (Trades, Portfolio) is known as the hardest working man on Wall Street.

    In the video below he discusses the current investing environment for 45 minutes with fellow respected investors Larry Robbins (Trades, Portfolio) and Michael Novogratz:  


  • Housing Guru Robert Shiller Thinks The Bull Run In Housing Prices Has Run Out of Steam

    If you had listened to Robert Shiller in 2006 and 2007 you may not have only avoided the fallout from the housing bubble, but instead profited from it.


    Today Shiller sees a weakening housing market. He isn't sure whether we are seeing a downward blip or the start of a major correction.

      


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