Last Update: 12-31-1969

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  • IBM is Nearing the End of the “Return to Growth” Journey

    IBM reported its third quarter earnings this week, which showed that the company’s painful transition period may be coming to an end. IBM’s revenues have steadily declined over the years, which resulted in the company regularly reporting sales declines quarter after quarter. In the third quarter IBM’s total revenues reached $19.226 billion compared to $19.280 billion in the prior period.

    One of the key reasons for IBM’s transition was that the company wanted to wean itself away from low margin legacy business lines. To that end IBM created a group called strategic imperatives, which included Analytics, Cloud, Mobile, Social and Security. This segment, clearly a forward-looking one, was growing fast while other parts of the businesses were declining. But until now, the growing parts of IBM were not good enough to compensate for the losing parts of their business, resulting in revenue declines.


  • Intel’s CCG Getting Firmer Support from Other Segments

    Intel has reported stronger than expected third quarter results with revenues growing by 9% year over year. All the three important segments, Client Computing Group, Data Center Group and Internet of Things Group reported strong numbers, helping Intel’s third quarter top line numbers.

    The big surprise this quarter was the growth in Client Computing Group and an even bigger surprise was the expansion of operating margins for the segment. Client Computing Group’s fortune is directly tied to the PC market, which has been declining for the last few years. The expectation was, therefore, low for this segment. But Intel’s move to put its weight behind improving processes and reducing costs seems to have helped the group immensely.


  • Of Milk Cows and Moats

    It’s become fashionable to talk about moats in investing as an analogy for sustainable competitive advantages. Buffett popularized it, and many use it in investment analysis today. Morningstar has made a lot out of it.

    I’d like to talk about the concept from a broader societal angle. This may look like a divergence from talk on investing, but it does have a significant influence on some investing.


  • Verizon Reports Mixed Q3 Results

    Verizon (NYSE:VZ) released its third quarter earnings on Thursday which beat analysts’ estimation. The national telecom player reported earnings per share of $1.01 as compared with median estimate of $0.99. However, the company disappointed investors with operating revenue of $30.94 billion which came in below expectations of $31.1 billion.

    The result is also a reflection of the intensifying competition in the wireless and telecommunication industry from rivals such as T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE:S). Verizon’s shares trended lower in pre-market trading post the announcement of the results. Here’s a brief look at Verizon’s performance during the quarter.


  • Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW) President and CEO Walter W Bettinger Sold $19.4 million of Shares

  • Netflix Inc (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings Sold $9.7 million of Shares

  • Vantiv Inc (VNTV) President & CEO Charles Drucker Sold $5.7 million of Shares

  • Papa John's International Inc (PZZA) CEO John H Schnatter Sold $6.9 million of Shares

  • Dynagas LNG Partners LP Declares Cash Distribution on Its Series A Preferred Units

  • Openserve and Huawei Join Forces for Seven-Fold Increase in Fibre Network Provision across South Africa

  • Telefonica and Huawei Win Best Innovation in Virtualization Award at Broadband World Forum 2016

  • Weekly Top Insider Buys Highlight Week of Oct. 21

    Weekly Top Insider Buys Highlight Week of Oct. 21

    Top insider buys of the week, including Genuine Parts Co, Cree Inc, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, and AquaVenture Holdings Ltd.


  • U.S. Stock Market After the Last Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump Debate

    The stock market in the States has been watching closely the presidential debate. The markets seem to be favoring Mrs. Clinton for the presidential race, though Mr. Trump could win anyway. The healthcare sector was a strong winner yesterday, while the financial sector dropped a little bit. Read on to find out more about the way markets behave yesterday.

    No One


  • Could Troubled Auto Maker Peugeot Be Turning a Corner?

    Troubled auto maker Peugeot (PUGOY) has had many problems over the last few years. A share offering pretty much killed the stock price, but the company seems to be doing better.

    Shares trade at 13.19 euros ($14.36), there are 857.86 million shares, and the market cap is 11.315 billion euros. Earnings per share were 1.04 euros last year and the stock trades at a price to earnings ratio of 12.68. The stock does not pay a dividend. Sales shrank from 58.51 billion euros in 2011 to 54.68 billion euros in 2015.


  • Regional US Banks Offer Strong Predictable Value

    Three regional banks, Bank of the Ozarks Inc. (NASDAQ:OZRK), Prosperity Bancshares Inc. (NYSE:PB)  and Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY), have high predictability and trade below their 10-year median price-earnings ratio. With high profitability and strong upside potential, these companies offer strong value potential in the short term.

    Regional US banks have high number of undervalued companies based on P/E (ttm)


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on Vista Outdoor

    Vista Outdoor (NYSE:VSTO), which designs, manufactures and markets outdoor sports and recreation products, also was a detractor this quarter. The stock declined over 17% and cost the Fund 23 basis points in performance following weak first quarter earnings. Customers shifted their spending to handguns and away from Vista’s core shooting accessories given fears of increased gun control laws. The company expects these delayed purchases to occur later this year and did not lower full-year guidance.


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on Tribune Media Co.

    Tribune Media Co. (NYSE:TRCO) was also a leading detractor this quarter, dropping over 6% and costing the Fund 26 basis points in performance. The market is overly concerned with potentially weaker election advertising spending and cord-cutting customers, but we believe the large discount to net asset value will close as management executes on its plan to monetize non-core assets.


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on NRG Energy

    NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) was the Fund’s leading detractor this quarter, dropping over 25% and costing 82 basis points in performance. The stock was strong in the first half of this year and was the Fund’s leading contributor last quarter, but the price has been in decline despite beating second quarter estimates and maintaining guidance. Its peers lowered guidance due to a warmer 2015 winter, thus lowering power pricing, yet NRG is hedged for the year and continues to execute its turnaround plan.


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on Kennedy-Wilson Holdings

    Kennedy-Wilson Holdings (NYSE:KW) was another leading contributor this quarter, rising over 19% and contributing 72 basis points in performance. This real estate investment company, which focuses primarily on multi-family and commercial properties, also sold off late in the second quarter post-Brexit given its U.K. exposure through its 17% stake in Kennedy-Wilson Europe. The company’s stock has since rebounded as the management team took advantage of the price weakness to purchase more stock in Kennedy-Wilson Europe.


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on Nexstar Broadcasting Group

    Another strong performer this quarter was Nexstar Broadcasting Group (NASDAQ:NXST), a television broadcasting and digital company that focuses on acquiring, developing and operating television stations and social media websites. The company reported second quarter earnings that were in-line with expectations. Management noted that they are on pace to meet or exceed guidance and are optimistic the FCC will allow them to close the acquisition of Media General this year. The stock rose over 21% and contributed 81 basis points of performance in the third quarter.


  • Keeley Asset Management Comments on Wright Medical Group

    One of the Fund’s main drivers this quarter was Wright Medical Group (NASDAQ:WMGI), which gained nearly 40% and contributed 141 basis points in performance. The company provides surgical solutions for the foot and ankle market and its products include joint implants for hip and knee replacements. The company reported a strong second quarter and raised guidance, proving the benefit of the Tornier acquisition.

    From Keeley All Cap Value Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • The Moat Stays Strong, Even If the Listing Is Gone

    In mid-September, Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ:CERN) was removed from a prestigious list: The Morningstar Wide Moat Focus IndexSM.

    morningstar logo


  • David Rolfe Comments on TreeHouse Foods Inc.

    We initiated positions in TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE:THS) during the third quarter. TreeHouse is the largest private label food manufacturer and distributor in North America. An aphorism in the private label industry is that “a grocer is only as good as their private label.” As such, private label food has been growing its share of the North American food industry over the past several years, as consumers have sought value in comparison with branded food, and as grocery retailers and other food vendors have pursued the greater profitability to themselves of private label products. This trend primarily began in national-brand equivalents, in which TreeHouse and other private label manufacturers offer products of comparable quality to brand names but at better prices. However, much of TreeHouse’s growth in recent years has come from premium products, which often might be natural/organic/healthy choices and possibly of even greater quality or featuring greater innovation (flavors/recipes) than competing branded products. Having evolved from simply offering retail customers a "good/better/best" option of national brand equivalents, the Company has begun to offer deeper category segmentation and insights, while developing and manufacturing multi-tiered pricing assortments, so their retail customers can better compete under the pricing umbrella typically created by higher priced national brands. Many of TreeHouse’s best customers, including large, growing retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, Amazon, and Kroger, have embraced this more complete portfolio strategy of private label products, which offers the retailers not only improved profitability but also better sales opportunities, as well. In addition, TreeHouse’s scale and presence in over 20 food categories, enhances its value proposition, which is to help grocery customers hone in on this secular trend towards customized store brands.

    The Company has been growing successfully through acquisition since its formation in 2005. TreeHouse has driven value in its acquired businesses by bringing to bear greater operational capabilities and expertise, greater resources behind innovation and customer research, much greater scale and buying power, and an extensive existing customer list into which the acquired businesses could sell. In early 2016, TreeHouse completed the transformational acquisition of the Private Brands business of ConAgra Foods, effectively doubling TreeHouse’s revenue base and operating footprint while removing its only private label competitor of any meaningful size, all at what we view as an attractive purchase price. The acquired business had struggled under the ownership of ConAgra, which historically had been a branded player and which had not understood the different skill set required to operate a private label business. We believe that TreeHouse comprehensively understands these operational issues and already has begun to remedy them. Better execution at the acquired business, which will drive improving revenue growth and margins, combined with significant cost savings opportunities as a result of the combined companies’ greatly enhanced scale, will allow TreeHouse to deliver roughly 70% earnings growth from the time of the acquisition to the completion of its integration in 2018. During this integration, we likely will see smaller tuck-in acquisitions, as the company’s capital structure still allows it to be active in consolidating the industry. We estimate that the company has less than 10% market share in North America, with plenty of room to expand organically and through acquisition, both within its current 20+ product categories and in adjacent and new categories.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Cognizant

    Cognizant (NASDAQ:CTSH) also detracted from overall performance during the quarter, due to management’s cautious commentary related to the demand environment in two of their core customer verticals. Management’s caution about IT spend in Cognizant’s BFS (Banking and Financial Services) segment trace back to the prolonged low interest rate environment along with increased uncertainty in the macro environment—particularly attributed to the “Brexit” vote, which was relatively fresh news at the time of management’s comments. We do not think this weakness has materialized in the near-term, at least to the extent that management was implying. In addition, but not necessarily new, Cognizant has four clients in the HMO (health-maintenance organization) industry, all attempting to merge with or acquire the other. Though the extended timeline of these M&A deals likely pushes out the timing of expected work for Cognizant at each of these four clients, we think Cognizant’s longer-term positioning as a key partner at all four HMOs will continue to allow them to capture wallet share, regardless of M&A outcomes. Near-term, we expect investors to remain skittish around the shares, if only because the investor base has been skittish for years, with the NTM P/E multiple of Cognizant typically vacillating 20%-30% per year. Despite these recent headwinds to topline growth, we think Cognizant maintains a long- term runway for generating attractive organic growth, as the company benefits from the secular shift of IT spend towards digital solutions. The Company maintains excellent financial strength, with nearly $8 billion in borrowing capacity before reaching the average net debt to operating income leverage of the S&P 500—close to 25% of the current market cap.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s Wedgewood Partners third-quarter 2016 shareholder letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Core Labs

    Core Labs (NYSE:CLB) was the third largest detractor from our relative performance during the third quarter. While “energy” continues to be a four-letter word at this point in the cycle of U.S. growth investing,5 we continue to think that Core Labs’ value proposition is worthy of multi-cycle consideration. We estimate that roughly 85% of the Company’s revenues are generated by providing equipment and services for the upkeep of their customers’ existing carbon producing fields. As such, the majority of the value that Core Labs provides its customers is not directly predicated on the activity of drillings rigs, or even on the short-term price of oil. For instance, the Company’s Reservoir Description business generated over 60% of consolidated revenues during the trailing 12 months. Reservoir Description revenues have declined just -16% from their trailing 12-month peak (set during late 2013 through mid 2014 – when oil traded at twice today’s levels). A significant portion of Core Labs’ revenues are generated outside the United States, so we estimate revenues in Reservoir Description have probably fallen by a high single digit percent, constant currency – despite the E&P industry (Core Labs’ customers) drastically cutting budgets by between - 30% and -75% during that timeframe. Thus, a significant portion of Core Labs’ business is very well insulated from the vagaries of short-term oil price fluctuations. Although the margins of this segment have suffered more than revenues, we expect that margins have bottomed and should rapidly rebound with E&P spending budgets, as Core Labs’ management has prudently balanced costs without sacrificing personnel capacity.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s Wedgewood Partners third-quarter 2016 shareholder letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Stericycle

    Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL) underperformed during the quarter as headwinds related to their core, regulated medical waste (RMW) segment began to emerge. Prior headwinds to the Company were limited to non-core businesses or are short-term issues that should be remedied over the next few quarters. While the stock has become cheap, historically and relatively, we did not add to positions during the quarter, as we continue to evaluate the extent of the pressure the Company is seeing in its RMW business.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s Wedgewood Partners third-quarter 2016 shareholder letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Qualcomm

    Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) was also a top contributor to performance over the past three months. We saw Qualcomm make meaningful progress on its technology licensing (QTL) front after several quarters of patiently waiting for the Company to capture unpaid royalties in China. Although Qualcomm’s chipset franchise (QCT) usually garners most of the attention for the Company, its high-margin QTL segment actually generates two-thirds to three-quarters of consolidated profitability. So while revenues at Qualcomm grew 4%, operating income grew almost 30%, year-over-year. Although it has taken several quarters to eventually materialize, we think that the “lumpy” nature of QTL revenues does not make Qualcomm’s long-term prospects for monetizing its prolific research and development spend (cumulative $16 billion over the past three years), any less attractive. In our opinion, Qualcomm shares remain underappreciated by the market, trading at just 14X next 12 month earnings. In addition, the Company maintains a fortress-like balance sheet with about $20 billion in net cash. As a valuation thought-experiment, if Qualcomm levered its balance sheet to be at parity with the average S&P 500 company's (excluding financials) net debt-to-operating earnings ratio4, the Company would have close to 35% of its market cap available for redeployment. We continue to expect that the long-term growth of the business will drive the stock higher and help close that gap, but our conviction in the stock is reinforced by the Company’s excellent financial health, which is a byproduct of their superior profitability.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s Wedgewood Partners third-quarter 2016 shareholder letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Priceline

    Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) was another top contributor to performance during the quarter. Despite its strong performance, in our view, Priceline’s stock has underperformed its corporate fundamentals. Over the past three years, earnings per share are up a cumulative +60%, while the P/E multiple has contracted about 15%, to around 19X the next 12-month earnings. Further, if we assume that all stocks receive some kind of multiple expansion benefits due to currently low interest rates, 3 then Priceline’s multiple contraction looks all the more stark. Thus, although Priceline has executed torrid value creation relative to the benchmark, the stock has posted a fraction of the outperformance. We continue to think Priceline’s competitive advantage consists of scale on both the supply and demand side of the hospitality industry. With over 90% of the Company’s profitability coming from non-US markets, particularly from Europe, we believe their strategy of foregoing low-margin US bookings in favor of bookings in higher-margin, fragmented markets is a sensible one.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Apple

    During the quarter, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was a top contributor to relative performance. Apple has been in portfolios for nearly a decade. Even though Apple is one of the most visible and widely followed businesses in our investment universe, we believe it has long suffered from the incorrect market perception that its customer relationships are largely transactional in nature. We see evidence of these "hit-driven" fears embedded in the systematic contraction of Apple's forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple. Apple's P/E multiple peaked in the fall of 2007 at about 38X (not long after the iPhone launched and the S&P 500 P/E peaked for that cycle) and has contracted to around 12.7X, albeit up from the 9X and 10x multiples seen earlier this year and in 2013. We earnestly admit that Apple probably does not deserve to trade at the 38X forward earnings2, yet we believe that Apple’s iOS franchise and “annuity-like” ecosystem has demonstrated an exceptional ability to retain and obtain repeat customers, while commanding over 90% of the profitability generated by smartphone manufacturers—qualities we think should help the stock generate extremely attractive returns at the current multiple.


  • John Rogers Comments on Contango Oil & Gas Co.

    In addition, natural resources firm Contango Oil & Gas Co. (MCF) dropped -16.50% due to a significant earnings miss. Analysts were expecting the company to lose $0.33 per share, but Contango lost $0.67. Revenues were down significantly versus the previous year, largely due to the slide in the price of oil. Despite the miss, the company has managed to reduce its debt balance to $111 million—a 4% decrease—this year. We think the company is better positioned than most of its peers, and as such believe the stock is positioned to outperform going forward.


  • John Rogers Comments on J.M. Smucker Co.

    Other holdings fell back a bit. Jam, peanut butter and coffee company J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM) retreated -10.64% due to a recent acquisition that has not met expectations. In 2015, the company moved into pet food as a part of its “center of the store” strategy with the purchase of Big Heart Pet Brands. That unit did not deliver the revenues or profits analysts expected. We believe the shortfall is mainly due to pet food cost deflation and a price war from its chief competitors. We think the management team will get things moving in the right direction and are content to own the stock at a cheaper multiple in the meantime.


  • John Rogers Comments on Zebra Technologies Corp

    Also, thermal printer maker Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:ZBRA) rose +38.94% due to a strong quarter. After adjusting for a tax benefit, its earnings per share were $1.34, crushing the $1.05 expectation. The company held its flat full year guidance. Wall Street had not previously believed in the company’s turnaround, but is clearly waking up. We think these numbers are just the beginning of the company’s good news.


  • John Rogers Comments on Kennametal Inc.

    Some of our holdings rose nicely during the quarter. Cutting tools maker Kennametal Inc. (NYSE:KMT) jumped +32.19% as its modernization efforts started to gain traction. To a large extent this means more automation, which increases efficiency and slashes costs. The company is also focusing on its more profitable, large customers and shedding smaller ones. We see these moves as an essential part of making its moat wider and better; we think the financial benefits will be significant and long lasting.


  • John Rogers Comments on BOK Financial Corp.

    In the third quarter, we added new firm-wide holding BOK Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:BOKF) to Ariel Appreciation Fund. BOK Financial is a leading bank holding company that provides services to businesses and individuals located in the middle-south. Skilled underwriting capabilities and an experienced management differentiate BOK Financial from its competitors. Recent macroeconomic headwinds in the energy industry caused by depressed oil and natural gas prices have created significant pressure on the stock price. As a result, we see this as an opportunity to own a conservatively managed bank with a geographic niche.


  • John Rogers Comments on Viacom Inc.

    In addition, media firm Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) declined -7.61% amidst its management shuffle. As you may know, the company ousted CEO Philippe Dauman in August and temporarily replaced him with Chief Operations Officer Tom Dooley. In late September, Dooley announced he was resigning, effective mid-November. Amidst the turbulence, the company declared a 50% cut in its quarterly dividend—a move we felt was prudent. Clearly in the short term the news from Viacom is unsettling, but we continue to believe in the company’s assets and competitive positioning long term.


  • John Rogers Comments on J.M. Smucker Co.

    Other holdings fell back a bit. Jam, peanut butter and coffee company J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM) retreated -10.64% due to a recent acquisition that has not met expectations. In 2015, the company moved into pet food as a part of its “center of the store” strategy with the purchase of Big Heart Pet Brands. That unit did not deliver the revenues or profits analysts expected. We believe the shortfall is mainly due to pet food cost deflation and a price war from its chief competitors. We think the management team will get things moving in the right direction and are content to own the stock at a cheaper multiple in the meantime.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Rollins Inc.

    Rollins, Inc. (NYSE:ROL) is a leading provider of pest and termite control services for more than two million residential and commercial customers, primarily located in North America. We believe that Rollins operates in an industry with high barriers to entry and a fragmented competitive landscape, and we believe Rollins should be able to consistently increase its market share over time. In North America, Rollins is the number one player in commercial and residential pest control and wildlife control, and the number two player in termite control. Developing a well-regarded national brand requires meaningful investment in sales, marketing, employee training and technology, which smaller players simply cannot afford.

    Pests are a major headache for residential customers, and they can lead to meaningful business issues for commercial customers, like restaurants and hotels. Thus, customers are typically willing to pay for these services, regardless of how the economy is performing. As a result, Rollins has demonstrated impressive operating performance across all market conditions, including positive revenue growth during the 2008 and 2009 recession. Furthermore, Rollins has focused significant effort to improve its retention of employees and customers, which has led recurring revenues to represent approximately 80% of the company’s total.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Inovalon Holdings Inc.

    Shares of health care data and analytics vendor, Inovalon Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:INOV), detracted from performance, as its financial results fell short of investor expectations and the company reduced its guidance for the remainder of 2016. Management attributed the shortfall to two issues: price reductions in its retrospective risk adjustment unit, and a margin shortfall stemming from investments designed to drive long-term growth. We are hopeful that the company’s latent earnings power will soon become apparent.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Henry Schein Inc.

    Shares of Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSIC), a global distributor of dental, medical, and animal health products, declined after reporting an unexpected slowdown in its North American dental and equipment sales. No specific reasons for the slowdown have emerged, and we believe that it is too early to extrapolate a trend. While performance in other divisions was solid, Schein’s earnings guidance was revised downward for the first time in several years. We are monitoring events but remain positive given, in our opinion, the company’s strong management, consistent performance, and large market opportunities.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Verisign Inc.

    Shares of internet infrastructure services provider Verisign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN) fell over concerns that it might face difficulties extending its contract to administer the ‘.com’ domain registry with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as the result of some U.S. senators’ objections. We believe this concern has been overblown and that Verisign will successfully extend this contract on favorable terms.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Tractor Supply Co.

    Tractor Supply Co. (NASDAQ:TSCO) is a chain of more than 1,500 stores that sell equipment, tools, feed, and clothing to a largely rural customer base of farmers and ranchers. The company’s shares declined after it reported weak results, partly influenced by depressed farm incomes due to unusually low crop prices and some stores’ exposure to deflated energy-related markets. Although we reduced our position, we believe these factors will prove largely transitory. We believe Tractor Supply offers the potential for ongoing earnings growth based on its ability to meaningfully expand its store base, while also growing its assortment of higher-margin private label goods and increasing its sales mix of consumable goods.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Gartner Inc.

    Shares of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT), a provider of syndicated information technology research, fell after reporting results that were challenged by tougher annual comparisons and slightly more challenging macroeconomic conditions. We believe that Gartner’s key revenue metrics remain solid. The company has significant financial flexibility, and we believe it will aggressively deploy capital for ongoing share repurchases or accretive acquisitions. We believe that over time Gartner will demonstrate accelerating revenue growth, faster growth in its earnings and free cash flow, and persistent returns of capital to shareholders.

    From Baron Funds' Barron Asset Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Vail Resorts

    Shares of Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN), the largest operator of ski resorts, increased principally on news that Vail had entered into an agreement to acquire Whistler Blackcomb, a major Canadian ski resort operator. After this transaction closes, Vail will own several of the leading ski resorts in North America, including, of course, Vail, Beaver Creek, Park City, and now Whistler. The acquisition affords Vail not only greater scale to leverage its corporate infrastructure, but also the chance to expand its successful Epic Pass season ticket offering (which allows ticket holders to ski at all of the company’s resorts) to a larger group of skiers.

    From Baron Funds' Barron Asset Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Baron Funds Comments on FleetCor Technologies

    FleetCor Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:FLT) issues commercial charge cards that allow the employees of primarily small- and mid-sized businesses to buy fuel and maintenance at participating gasoline retailers. Fleetcor also manages commercial fleet card programs for major oil companies (such as BP, Arco, Chevron, and Citgo), which themselves maintain a great many end-customer relationships. Its shares performed well after the company reported good quarterly results and raised its full-year earnings guidance. FleetCor also benefited from its recent acquisition of STP, the leading electronic toll company in Brazil. We believe that improved results at its Comdata division, the likelihood of further acquisitions, rising fuel prices, and stabilizing foreign exchange rates could lead to an ongoing acceleration in FleetCor’s earnings.

    From Baron Funds' Barron Asset Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Baron Funds Comments on The Charles Schwab Corp

    Shares of brokerage firm The Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE:SCHW) appreciated as rising equity markets led to growth in its client assets and the revenue streams stemming from those assets. The firm also continued to grow its percentage of assets that charge for fee-based advice, a move that we believe creates greater revenue visibility and the potential for increased profitability. In addition, ongoing speculation of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve was a positive for Schwab, which we believe would experience significant, rapid profit growth should interest rates increase to higher historical levels.

    From Baron Funds' Barron Asset Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Baron Funds Comments on Illumina

    Shares of Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN), the leading provider of DNA sequencing technology to academic and commercial laboratories, gained after the company reported financial results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. The results confirmed strong demand both for the company’s sequencing instruments in the Americas and China, as well as for its products in clinical applications, such as oncology screening and diagnosis. Management also demonstrated its ability to rein in expenses, which helped lead to accelerating EPS growth. We continue to believe Illumina has a long runway for growth, driven by increasing adoption of DNA sequencing technologies, particularly in clinical markets.

    From Baron Funds' Barron Asset Fund third-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Baron Funds Comments on IDEXX Laboratories Inc.

    Shares of veterinary diagnostics leader IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDXX) increased after the company reported impressive financial results, which led to a meaningful expansion in its trading multiple. We believe the company’s competitive position is strong and improving, as evidenced by its accelerating organic revenue growth, the robust placements of its diagnostic instruments into veterinary clinics, and the higher prices it is capturing across its product portfolio. In addition, IDEXX’s results demonstrated operating margin expansion, which is finally being recognized after several years of intensive investment into its business. Looking forward, we expect to witness sustained double-digit organic revenue growth during the next several years, driven by productivity benefits from its move to a direct sales model in the U.S., the company’s persistent innovation pipeline, and returns on its intensive investment into international markets.


  • Ray Dalio's Best-Performing Investments of the Year

    Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio) founded Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates in 1975. Now it has more than $165 billion under management. The firm claims 13% annual returns after fees.

    Dalio owns 341 stocks with a total value of $7.977 billion. The following are his best-performing investments of the year.


  • Royce Funds: The Strong Small-Cap Rally Will Keep Rolling

    In a recent Royce Funds webcast, small-cap pioneer Chuck Royce, Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus, Co-CIO Francis Gannon, and Senior Investment Strategist Steve Lipper discussed their outlook for small-cap stocks and offered their thoughts on what's driving the current rally, market leadership for value, and the prospects for active management.


  • Insiders Sell Netflix, Facebook, Papa John's

    The All-in-One Screener can be used to find insider buys and sells over the last week by clicking on the Insiders tab and changing the settings for All Insider Buying to “$200,000+” duration to " October 2016” and “October 2016” and All Insider Sales to “$5,000,000+”.

    According to the above filters, the following are recent buys and sells from company insiders in the past week.


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