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  • 3 Dividend Growth Stocks Ready to Profit from Higher Infrastructure Spending

    Published December 10th, 2016 by Bob Ciura

    The U.S. stock market is reaching new highs, and a select group is responsible for a bulk of the gains. The rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is being led in large part by industrials.


  • Best Investment Strategy: Buy Stocks Blind

    This article appeared first on The Stock Market Blueprint Blog.

    Many value investors are using the wrong investment strategy. Individuals wanting to profit from the stock market are consistently trying to become the next Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio).


  • 8 Best Stocks for Value Investors

    I evaluated 42 different companies this week to determine whether they are suitable for Defensive Investors, those unwilling to do substantial research, or Enterprising Investors, those who are willing to do such research. I also put each company through the ModernGraham valuation model based on Benjamin Graham's value investing formulas in order to determine an intrinsic value for each. Out of those 42 companies, only eight were found to be undervalued or fairly valued and suitable for either Defensive or Enterprising Investors. Therefore, these eight companies are the best undervalued stocks of the week.

    The Elite


  • Barrick Gold's Rally May Resume Soon

    Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:ABX) fell over 30% in 2015, as the gold price moved from $1,294.40 per ounce to a low of $1,062 per ounce. However, 2016 reveals a different kind of story, as the stock is up more than 100% year to date on the back of improving gold prices.

    After missing revenue estimates in the first and second quarter this year, the company shared healthy third quarter results. In the third quarter of FY 2016, the company detailed earnings per share of 24 cents, exceeding the analyst estimates by 4 cents, whereas revenue came in at $2.30 billion, $70 million greater than the consensus estimates.


  • Big Alzheimer Flop Creates Buying Opportunity for Eli Lilly

    Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) made the news for the wrong reasons on Nov. 23 after announcing that its experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s drug, Solanezumab, had failed. If it had been successful, Eli Lilly would have the distinction of researching the first effective disease modifying drug in the world.

    Big reward and big flop


  • ExxonMobil's Future Growth May Surprise Stockholders

    Since 2013, oil price per barrel has continued to slide down at a rapid pace. Oil prices have reached an average of $43.30 per barrel this year, a drop of approximately $61 compared to 2013. Because of this, most of the oil stocks faced severe problems over the past two years.

    Throughout the past two years, ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) lost almost 22% of its overall value, but the stock has displayed some positive signs this year, which has been a transition year for ExxonMobil, as the stock is up almost 15% year to date. Moreover, according to, oil price is projected to reach $65.60 per barrel by 2020.



    Researchers at the University of Miami , Florida, in the United States and the University of Bologna in Italy, say that the problems caused by Follinique this practice are much more common than believed.

    The study indicates that even women who have no visible signs of hair loss after using extensions can be considerable damage to the scalp that can be seen when examined closely.


  • Apple Finds Its Second Wind in Apple Pay and Apple Music

    With more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of the world’s largest companies but also one of the cheapest, trading at 13.6 times earnings and 2.85 times sales. The company that revolutionized the smartphone world saw its revenues slide due to a slowdown in worldwide smartphone sales this past year. With forecasts for smartphone sales from IDC and Gartner not looking rosy at all for the next few years, Apple will be looking at new product launches and emerging markets to keep smartphone sales moving. Unfortunately, even that may not be enough to match the pace of its growth in the last five to 10 years.

    As Apple enters the slower growth pace stage for its number one product, the company has rapidly moved to improve its services portfolio - the only bright growth spot for the company last year. Apple services revenue grew 22% last year from $19.9 billion in 2015 to $24.34 billion in 2016. Though services only accounted for a mere 11.2% of its total revenue, Apple’s services revenue still has plenty of room to grow and help stabilize its product-based sales numbers in the future.


  • Top Insider Buys Highlight for Week of Dec. 5

    The largest insider buys for this week were for Inc. (NYSE:CRM), Clorox Co. (NYSE:CLX), TransDigm Group Inc. (NYSE:TDG) and Buckeye Partners LP (NYSE:BPL). Inc. (NYSE:CRM): Director Susan Wojcicki bought 1,443 shares


  • Gurus Shop in Robust Consumer Cyclical and Technology Sectors

    During the third quarter, gurus invested primarily in consumer cyclical and technology companies. Such companies have strong financial strength and high profitability. Several of these companies, including Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE:BABA), The Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ:PCLN), Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS), have a predictability rank of at least three stars. High guru ownership and number of guru buys suggest good value potential in the consumer cyclical and technology sectors.

    Tracking “favorite” gurus with Personalized Guru Lists


  • Searching for Value in the REIT Rubble

    Leave it to the stock market to do the exact opposite of what you expect it to do. Following Donald Trump’s surprise win, stocks have spent the past three weeks pushing higher.

    Ironically, given that the President-Elect is a world-renown real estate developer, real estate investment trusts (REITS) have gotten clobbered. REITs as a sector peaked in July, but the selling has continued well past the presidential election.


  • UCB's Vimpat Patent

    UCB (XBRU:UCB) is a Belgium-based biopharmaceutical and specialty chemical company that specialises in two therapeutic areas: diseases of the central nervous system and immunology. The main central nervous system speciality is epilepsy and the main drug in this area is Vimpat. (UCB revenue mostly comes from four drugs of which Vimpat is one.)


  • The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

    I continue to be on fire with the book selections as of late, this time with the gem, The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

    This is the fascinating story of a couple of baseball stats guys who persuade the GM of an independent league baseball team to let them run things for a season. They are always experimenting and trying to find talent in what they perceive to be an inefficient market in order to take their team to the top, and they chronicle this journey in their book.

    This story hit home for me in two ways. First, I've seen my favourite sports team piss away a decade outside of the playoffs thanks to a closed-minded management group that does not understand stats. When a hobbyist like me can tell they are doing stupid things, they are truly beyond repair. The challenges these guys in the book faced from the conventional-minded former-players-turned-managers-because-they-got-too-old-to-play rang very familiar to me.


  • US Market Indexes End the Week Higher

    U.S. market indexes were higher on Friday with all three major indexes reaching new highs.

    For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19,756.85 for a gain of 142.04 points or 0.72%. The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at 2,259.53 for a gain of 13.34 points or 0.59%. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 5,444.50 for a gain of 27.14 points or 0.50%. The VIX Volatility Index was lower for the day at 11.75 for a loss of 0.89 points or 7.04%.


  • David Winters Buys Israeli Defense Company

    Israel’s largest publicly traded arms and defense company, Elbit Systems Ltd. (XTAE:ESLT), singularly caught the eye of a manager who focuses on fundamental research but who has also tangled with public companies’ boards of late, David Winters (Trades, Portfolio).

    Winters’ global Wintergreen Fund (Trades, Portfolio) had $580 million in assets as of June 30, with 76% invested in common stocks concentrated in the U.S., Switzerland and U.K. He described the fund, started in 2005, in a recent shareholder letter as embracing companies with pristine balance sheets and shunning modish market favorites, with cigarette companies Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE:RAI), British American Tobacco (LSE:BATS) and Altria Group (NYSE:MO) among its largest four holdings as of Sept. 30.


  • Abbott Laboratories Announces Quarterly Dividend

    The board of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) declared through PR Newswire Friday a dividend increase for the last quarter of the year.

    The U.S.-based global health care company headquartered in Lake Bluff, Illinois, will pay 26.5 cents per ordinary share to shareholders of record as of Jan. 13, 2017. The dividend, which represents a 1.9% increase from the prior dividend of 26 cents, will be paid by the company to the shareholders on Feb. 15, 2017.


  • Steven Cohen Hikes Bunge Holding by Nearly 1,500%

    Guru Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio), founder of Point72 Asset Management, increased his position in Bunge (NYSE:BG) by nearly 1,500% adding 2,717,200 shares to his portfolio in the third quarter. The trade had a 1.13% impact on Cohen’s portfolio; he now owns 2,901,800 shares of Bunge.

    Bunge was founded in the Netherlands in 1818 by Johann Peter Gottlieb Bunge as an importing/exporting trading firm. Nearly two centuries later, Bunge is a leading agribusiness and food company with the goal of ensuring sustainable food security for a growing population.


  • A 3.5% Dividend Yield and Emerging Market Growth

    (Published Dec. 9 by Bob Ciura)

    U.K.-based stocks have sold off over the past few months. The British pound has declined significantly against the U.S. dollar. And there is elevated geopolitical risk facing the U.K. in the aftermath of this year’s Brexit vote.


  • Hershey Has a Sweet Dividend, but Valuation Could Be Too Rich

    (Published Dec. 9 by Bob Ciura)

    The Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) is one of the great examples of determination in the history of American business.


  • 4 Gurus Invest in Hilton Worldwide

    Gurus Steve Mandel (Trades, Portfolio), Richard Pzena (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio) and Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio) all purchased positions in Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:HLT) during the third quarter.

    Mandel purchased the largest stake of 19,597,829 shares followed by Pzena with 9,804,419 shares. Cohen invested in 838,300 shares, and Greenblatt purchased 28,234 shares.


  • Osisko Gold Royalties Gaining Among Investors

    Gold continues its downturn.

    The precious metal closed at $1,168.90 per troy ounce on the London Bullion Market Friday and reported a 0.18% decline, or down $2.15 per troy ounce from the previous close at 3 p.m. London time.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Herbalife

    On November 1, 2016, Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) reported its third quarter financial results. Modest financial performance in the quarter, disappointing 2017 guidance and the unexpected announcement of a CEO transition caused the stock to decline. HLF stock has traded down more than 33% since the announcement of the company’s settlement with the FTC on July 15th, 2016, a 15% year-to-date decline, as investors have come to increasingly ignore the company’s fraudulent characterization of the FTC settlement. At its December 2, 2016, price of $47.99 per share, HLF currently trades at approximately the price at which we shorted the shares in 2012.

    On a consolidated basis the company reported net sales of $1.1 billion for the quarter, up 1.7% year-over-year. Headline adjusted net income of $105 million for the quarter (down 3% YoY) translated into adjusted EPS of $1.21 (down 4% YoY). On a constant currency basis the company reported net sales growth of 5%, driven by EMEA (+15%), Mexico (+14%) and North America (+10%).


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Nomad

    Nomad (NYSE:NOMD) reported Q3 results in late November.

    Third quarter like-for-like sales declined 3.3%, which marked the fourth straight quarter of sequential improvement in like-for-like sales trends. This sequential improvement in trends is consistent with management’s guidance and driven by the company’s shift in its strategy to refocus its resources on its core product offerings.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Platform Specialty Products Corp

    In September, Platform (NYSE:PAH) hosted an investor day where it provided a detailed explanation of the secular growth drivers and unique competitive positioning of each of its Performance and Agricultural Solutions businesses, along with long-term guidance of 4% annual organic revenue growth and high-single digit annual EBITDA growth.

    The company also announced that it had reached a revised agreement with Permira to settle its $600 million preferred stock liability related to the Arysta acquisition. Under the revised agreement, Platform has the option to pay Permira $450 million in cash and 5.5 million shares, which equates to $500 million at the current market prices and represents a savings of $100 million relative to the original agreement. To finance the cash portion of the agreement, the company raised $400 million of equity and, as a result, was able to refinance $2 billion of its debt, reducing the rate on this debt by 50 basis points and extending the maturities by three years to 2023.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International

    Since our last update in August, Valeant (NYSE:VRX) has bolstered its management ranks, improved dermatology average selling prices (ASPs), stabilized its salesforces, and experienced acceleration in Salix script trends. Despite these positive developments, financial results continue to be challenged as certain unexpected events impacted Valeant in Q3 and weakness in Valeant’s U.S. Diversified Products segment continues to weigh on near- to medium-term earnings.

    Valeant reported quarterly revenue of $2.48 billion, Adjusted EBITDA of $1.16 billion and Adjusted EPS of $1.55. This represented sequential improvement of 2%, 7% and 11%, respectively, as the business continues to stabilize following the disruption of recent quarters.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

    Fannie (FNMA) and Freddie (FMCC)’s underlying earnings continue to progress modestly in the core mortgage guarantee business, while the non-core investment portfolio continues to shrink to a smaller and appropriate level, resulting in a more profitable and lower-risk business model. The strength in underlying earnings growth reflects two factors: (1) an increase in guarantee fees as the fees on new mortgages exceed the average fees on the existing portfolio, and (2) lower credit losses as the portfolio’s credit quality has meaningfully improved since the financial crisis.

    There were a number of legal developments this quarter. In the Federal Court of Claims case, Judge Sweeney granted the plaintiffs access to 56 documents the government had claimed were privileged, many of which were contemporaneous with the period just prior to the Net Worth Sweep and involved high level government officials. The plaintiffs have not yet had access to the privileged documents as the government has appealed Judge Sweeney’s ruling. We find it interesting that the government is fighting so hard against this ruling, as it has previously complied with the judge’s prior motions to turn over documents.


  • A Dividend King Poised for Faster Growth

    Many investors think that the only way to build truly substantial long-term wealth is to buy the next high-flying tech stock such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL).

    However, as you can see below, boring but slow and steady growing blue chip dividend stocks, especially the dividend aristocrats and dividend kings such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), are also great ways to meet your financial goals over the long run.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on The Howard Hughes Corp

    Net Operating Income (NOI) from HHC (NYSE:HHC)’s operating assets (consolidated and owned) decreased sequentially from $35.2 million to $31.3 million (and year-over-year from $31.9 million), largely due to headwinds in Houston that continue to negatively impact HHC’s owned hotels in Houston ($3.5 million sequential decline in hospitality NOI). HHC held steady its projected stabilized annual NOI estimate (which excludes the South Street Seaport) of $215 million and kept constant its estimated stabilized hospitality NOI levels. Land sales in its Master Planned Community (MPC) segment decreased from $59 million to $32 million year-over-year in Q3 and sequentially from $34 million due primarily to a $27 million reduction in commercial sales from Q3 2015.

    In Hawaii, at its Ward Village property, construction of the Waiea, HHC’s first residential tower, is nearing completion. HHC has started collecting the proceeds from the sale of these units. HHC’s second tower (Anaha) recently topped out and is on schedule to be completed by mid-summer 2017. The company now has five condominium projects for sale, four of which are under construction (see status of each one below). HHC executed 35 new sales contracts since the end of Q2, representing 11% of the remaining inventory under construction (reducing the number of unsold units to 280 from a total inventory of 1400 units).


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Restaurant Brands International

    QSR (NYSE:QSR) reported strong results by executing on its three key growth drivers: same store sales, net unit growth, and operational efficiency. In the third quarter, the company generated 2% same store sales growth in its Burger King and Tim Hortons concepts. While same store sales growth has decelerated over the last few quarters, it is still at a healthy overall level. Strong international growth was partially offset by weaker U.S. performance at Burger King where same store sales declined 0.5%. The decline in the U.S. is partially due to a tough comparison with last year’s quarter’s 5% growth, but also reflects a more difficult industry environment as the recent decline in food costs has widened the price gap between restaurant and grocery to historically high levels, resulting in lower restaurant traffic.

    QSR achieved net unit growth of 3% which management expects will accelerate in the fourth quarter. In addition, Tim Hortons recently announced two master franchise agreements in the U.K. and the Philippines, which should accelerate future growth.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Air Products

    Air Products’ (NYSE:APD) fiscal year fourth quarter earnings per share of $2.01 increased 10% over the prior year. This strong performance was driven by a 260 basis point increase in operating margins. This quarter marked the ninth straight quarter of double-digit EPS growth since Seifi Ghasemi joined Air Products as its CEO.

    Sales increased 1% as 3% underlying growth was offset by a 2% drag from foreign exchange rates and the pass-through of lower energy prices. The 3% underlying growth was driven by increased volumes as pricing remained flat. Growth capex contributed to volume growth in Asia, while global economic weakness led to weak volumes elsewhere around the globe.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Mondelez

    On October 26, Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) reported third quarter 2016 results. Underlying organic growth was generally in-line with the company’s categories at nearly 2%, including volume growth of 1.3%. This was the third straight quarter of positive underlying volume growth and a sequential acceleration from the second quarter. We note that Mondelez is one of the few large cap packaged food companies that is demonstrating any underlying volume growth, however modest. While the global growth rate of Mondelez’s snacking categories has moderated over the course of the year primarily due to macroeconomic headwinds, we continue to believe that the long-term outlook for these categories remains robust, especially in the emerging markets where Mondelez has large market shares and robust routes to market.

    Operating profit margins expanded by 220 basis points to 15.8% in the quarter, driven primarily by a reduction in overhead costs as a percentage of sales reflecting the implementation of zero-based budgeting and the rollout of global shared services, as well as an increase in gross margin reflecting the company’s supply chain transformation. Year-to-date, the company continues to show progress with its significant cost savings opportunity and productivity initiatives, and remains on track to reach its 2018 margin target of 17% to 18% with further upside beyond 2018.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Chipotle Mexican Grill

    On September 6th, we announced a 9.9% stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) which we purchased at an average price of $405 per share. Chipotle has built a superb brand pioneering the “fast casual” restaurant industry with the success of its outstanding product offering, unique culture and powerful economic model. We have followed the business for years, noting how it has disrupted the fast food industry with its high quality, delicious and customizable hot meals that are prepared quickly and sold at affordable prices. The company has been significantly negatively impacted by food safety issues beginning in the fourth quarter of 2015 which caused a peak decline in average unit sales of 36%. In response, the company has implemented best-in-class food safety protocols over the past year, and worked to win back lost customers. While traffic and sales have begun to recover, average unit volumes are still 19% below peak levels.

    We have always believed that a good time to buy a great business is when it is in temporary trouble. While Chipotle’s reputation has been bruised, we think that with the passage of time and improved marketing, technology and governance initiatives, the business will not only recover but become much stronger. Chipotle’s sales recovery will be neither smooth nor predictable over the next few quarters; yet, we believe that all of the key drivers of Chipotle’s powerful economic moat and long-term success remain intact. These drivers include:


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Zoetis

    On November 9th we sold our last shares of Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS), about two years after we publicly announced an 8.5% ownership stake. Despite the high quality nature of the business and its strong management team, we sold to redeploy the capital in certain new investments.

    We purchased our stake in Zoetis at an average cost of approximately $37 per share. Shortly thereafter, we met with the Zoetis management to learn more about the company and to discuss our views on potential initiatives to create shareholder value. On February 4, 2015, Zoetis agreed to add then-Pershing Square investment team member (and healthcare industry veteran) Bill Doyle and Actavis Executive Chairman Paul Bisaro to the board on April 13, 2015.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Canadian Pacific Railway

    In our August 26, 2016 Investor letter we reported the sale of our remaining 9.8 million shares of CP (NYSE:CP) on August 4, 2016, approximately five years from the inception of the investment. During the course of our investment, CP’s share price increased nearly four times, its operating performance went from worst to nearly tied for first with Canadian National, and its credit rating improved from a weak Baa-/BBB- to a strong Baa+/BBB+. While critics often accuse activists of being short-term investors focused primarily on stock buybacks and dividends, CP is a paradigmatic example of the long-term sustainable business performance enhancements and shareholder value creation we have achieved in our core activist holdings.

    From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Pershing Square third-quarter shareholder letter.   

  • Trade Me: The Craigslist of New Zealand

    New Zealand-based Trade Me (TRMEF) is a combination of Craigslist and eBay. Profit margins are high and the company has put up decent growth. The stock is trading at a reasonable price level.

    There are 397 million shares, the stock trades at 4.66 New Zealand dollars ($3.33) and the market cap is NZ$1.85 billion. Earnings per share were 18.87 cents and the stock trades at a price-earnings ratio of 24.7. The dividend was nine cents and the dividend yield is 1.93%. The stock seems reasonably priced.


  • Causeway International Value’s Top 3 New Holdings

    Sarah Ketterer (Trades, Portfolio)’s Causeway International Value (Trades, Portfolio) Fund acquired seven new holdings in the third quarter. The top three new positions are Basf SE (XTER:BAS), Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) and ABB Ltd. (XSWX:ABBN).

    Ketterer founded Causeway Capital Management in 2001. The International Value Fund was established that same year. The fund seeks long-term growth of capital and income. The investment team looks for international companies that generally have market caps greater than $750 million. The investment philosophy is value-driven and uses a bottom-up approach.


  • Michael Burry Likes Coty Inc., but Should You?

    Previously, I looked at Dr. Michael Burry’s Scion Capital’s most recent 13F Filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which detailed the fund’s four equity positions. The largest of the holdings, coming in at just over one-third of the investment portfolio (13Fs exclude cash), is Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY). Should investors follow him into the stock?

    A good business to buy?


  • Michael Burry: Current Holdings and a Change of Style

    Dr. Michael Burry is one of the financial world’s most closely followed hedge fund managers. He shot to fame last year after being portrayed in the movie “The Big Short,” which profiled his bet against the housing market in 2008. However, even in the run-up to the housing crisis, Burry was building his reputation as a respected value investor. His hedge fund, Scion Capital, was one of the best performing funds in the industry in the run-up to 2007. It was Burry’s ingenuity and attention to detail that helped the fund shoot to fame.

    Unfortunately, running Scion Capital turned out to be too much for Burry to handle and he closed the fund down only a few months after his record bet on the housing market paid off. Since then, Burry has kept his investment movements close to his chest. However, at the beginning of this year, Scion restarted filing 13F forms with the SEC detailing positions.


  • John Rogers' Ariel Fund November Commentary

    As you know, we have been commemorating the 30th anniversary of our flagship Ariel Fund throughout 2016. And while we have been able to describe how many U.S. equity funds have 30 years of history (207), and how many in that group have had the same manager (just 19), we had to wait for a very important number: the 30-year return figure. At long last, a week into November 2016 we received the 30-year since inception number, which we discuss below.


  • Olstein Funds Shareholder Letter: Reflecting on the Past 10 Years

    December 1, 2016


  • 10 Stocks for Using a Benjamin Graham Value Investing Strategy

    Out of the multitude of companies, which ones would legendary value investor Benjamin Graham buy today? These ten great companies fit the ModernGraham criteria, based on Benjamin Graham's methods. The companies in this list pass the rigorous requirements of either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor and are undervalued by the market.

    10 Ben Graham Companies


  • Amazon's Innovations Make It a Buy

    It was a highly profitable year for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) in 2015, as the stock was up over 100%. Moreover, the stock is up approximately 14% this year also. In the most recent quarter, the company missed the earnings estimates by a huge difference, reporting earnings per share of 56 cents.

    However, the company’s revenue was $32.70 billion, surpassing the consensus estimates by $10 million. That figure represents an increase of 29% year over year, which is a great achievement for a company of its massive size.


  • Disney: A Golden Opportunity

    Escalating concerns over ESPN's declining subscriptions and revenue have weighed down Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock. The stock is down almost 3% year to date. For Disney, ESPN plays a very significant role and enduring concerns over the channel and the extensive media networks division poses a threat moving onward. But the challenges could also present an opportunity.

    In the fourth quarter, Disney shared earnings per share of $1.10, 6 cents less than the estimates, whereas revenue came in at $13.14 billion, missing the consensus estimates by $380 million. That figure also represents a drop of 2.7%. The company’s disappointing performance was mainly due to the ongoing concerns regarding its ESPN platform.


  • Starbucks Does Not Need to Meet Its Ambitious Growth Goal

    Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) stunned the market this month with the announcement its iconic CEO, Howard Schultz, will be stepping down from his post, elevating president and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson to the position. In line with the leadership change, Starbucks this week also unveiled a 5-year plan that outlined their worldwide growth roadmap. Let’s take a closer look at Starbuck’s plan and its feasibility.

  • 5 Reasons You Are Not Making Financial Headway

    There is always a time in business when you hit the plateau and business growth starts to slow. We have all been there. We have seen multinational companies going moribund and otherwise leading industries grinding to a halt.

    When a similar thing happens to your business, you might think that the market forces, harsh economic policies and stiff competition are all working against you. Sometimes all these do not count. It could be because you are not taking care of the little details.


  • Denny’s Has Upside Potential

    Denny’s Corp. (NASDAQ:DENN) franchises one of America's largest full-service restaurant chains. It recently reported strong third-quarter results and raised its guidance. It ended the quarter with decent free cash flow.

    It is embarking on making a successful global brand by consistently growing same-store sales and expanding both its domestic and international footprints. It has been known to cater to guests for 60 years now and provides high-quality, moderately priced products – burgers, sandwiches, salads, beverages, appetizers and desserts in addition to its all-day breakfast items.


  • The Tsunami OPEC Cannot Hold Back

    I wrote an article two years ago titled “Oil and Gas: USA 1, OPEC 0.” I began that earlier article with these words:


  • H&R Block Share Price Recovering but Unappealing

    H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), the $5 billion tax preparer, reported its second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017 results this week, delivering -3.61% sales growth to $256.5 million and a profit loss of $269.9 million during its first six months of operations in fiscal 2016.

    As it turned out, H&R Block recorded lower year-on-year operating expenses (-3.7%) but still struggled to achieve a higher bottom-line figure than the first half of last year’s loss of $244.7 million.


  • Transplant Patients Show Improvement With Imbruvica

    AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) announced Tuesday through PR Newswire that results indicate ibrutinib (trade name Imbruvica), a type of chemotherapy drug for the treatment of patients suffering from “chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD),” is effective and safe.

    Previously, these patients underwent a “systemic therapy” based on “high dose glucocorticoids” that were unsuccessful, the company said.


  • The Bank of Montreal: Canada’s Oldest Dividend Payer

    Finding companies with 3%-plus dividend yields, sustainable payouts ratios and long histories of raising their dividend payments is difficult. Companies with one of these traits is easy – but it is the combination of factors that makes these investments rare.

    Now what if I told you there was an entire group of companies that satisfied these criteria? The group of companies I am referring to is the ‘Big 5’ Canadian banks, which consist of:


  • US Market Indexes Continue to Reach New Highs

    U.S. market indexes continued their momentum on Thursday with new highs from all three of the major indexes. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19614.81 for a gain of 65.19 points or 0.33%. The S&P 500 closed at 2246.19 for a gain of 4.84 points or 0.22%. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 5417.36 for a gain of 23.59 points or 0.44%. The VIX Volatility Index was higher for the day at 12.45 for a gain of 0.23 points or 1.88%.

    Thursday’s market movers


  • Buffett’s Yield on Cost for Coca-Cola

    (Published Dec. 8 by Bob Ciura)

    Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is one of the world's largest companies. Its products are consumed by millions of people every day.


  • Southern Company: Dividend Achiever Nearing a 5% Yield

    Investors who buy utility stocks are typically looking for stability and income. There is arguably no stock that better epitomizes these qualities than Southern Company (NYSE:SO).

    Southern has a solid 4.8% current dividend yield and a consistent track record of dividend growth. It has gone 276 consecutive quarters, going all the way back to 1948, paying a dividend to its shareholders that is equal to or greater than the previous quarter.


  • Royce Funds: What's the Outlook for U.S. Small-Caps?

    Portfolio Manager Bill Hench's outlook for U.S. small-caps, why he thinks the asset class has performed well in 2016, and what sectors he's bullish on.

    Watch video here.


  • Tractors Selling at a Discount a Bad Sign for Farming Equipment Companies

    I wanted to revisit several articles I wrote regarding weakness in the used farming equipment industry. I wrote about how I sold John Deere (NYSE:DE), Case (NYSE:CNHI) and Agco (NYSE:AGCO). Together, these three manufacturers control 90% of the tractor market in the United States. My research still sells "sell" but the stock prices have not taken my advice.

    The premise is that farmers can go to auction and buy slightly used tractors and combines for about half off. Usage is measured in hours. I use a simple rule of thumb to equate to used cars: take hours times two and add a zero. So if a tractor has 600 hours, it is about like a car with 12,000 miles. I was looking at the heavy equipment auction house Ritchie Brothers (RB).


  • Big Insider Sell at Apple, Buy at Acushnet

    Eduardo Cue, known as Eddy, is a big man at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

    He is in charge of the iTunes store, the iBooks store, and Apple Music, among other things. As senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, he reports directly to CEO Tim Cook.


  • Mason Hawkins Adds to FedEx

    Guru Mason Hawkins (Trades, Portfolio) added 241,024 shares of FedEX (NYSE:FDX) for an average price of $163.73 per share during the third quarter. The trade had a 0.4% impact on Southeastern Asset Management’s portfolio, a global investment firm Hawkins manages and founded in 1975.

    FedEx’s market price has climbed an estimated 19% since the third quarter. Since the first quarter of 2010, Hawkins has gained an estimated 77% with his investment in FedEx.


  • Bill Ackman Releases Pershing Square 3rd-Quarter Letter

    Dear Shareholder:

    The performance of Pershing Square Holdings, Ltd. is set forth below1.


  • Altria Group Announces Quarterly Dividend

    The board of directors of Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) yesterday declared through Business Wire the dividend for the last quarter of 2016. The tobacco giant headquartered in Henrico County, Virginia, will pay 61 cents per ordinary share to shareholders of record as of Dec. 22.

    Altria is one of the biggest producers and vendors of tobacco and cigarettes, holding well-known brands in its portfolio such as Marlboro, Chesterfield and Merit.


  • Jim Chanos Adds to Starz

    Guru Jim Chanos (Trades, Portfolio) of Kynikos Associates added 21,542 shares of Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) to his portfolio during the third quarter for an estimated price of $30.82 per share. The trade had a 0.22% impact on the portfolio. He now owns 166,666 shares of the company.

    Chanos is a short-seller and is known for shorting Baldwin United and Enron. 


  • 10 Low P/E Stocks for the Defensive Investor

    There are a number of great companies in the market today. Using the ModernGraham Valuation Model, these are the 10 lowest PEmg (price / normalized earnings) companies. Each company has been determined to be undervalued and suitable for the Defensive Investor, according to the ModernGraham approach.

    Copy of defensive low PE


  • Lam Research Increases Dividend by a Solid 50%

    Lam Research’s (NASDAQ:LRCX) dividend was increased by a solid 50% last week. Its overall yield is 1.76%. The company started paying a dividend in 2014.

    Lam is primarily focused on the etch semiconductor market, which is a key element in fabricating semiconductors. It designs and manufactures utilized production of semiconductors. Its major products include Vector and Kiyo. The company is global in nature and sells it products to major technology companies like Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM) and Samsung (SSNLF). Lam Research was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Fremont, California.


  • Avoid Advanced Micro Devices

    Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) was almost flat in 2015, but the company has performed well this year. The stock is up over 230% year to date. The company faced many problems last year because NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) crushed its GPU business and its CPU business was hurt by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

    However, the company has successfully turned around this year on the back of its new GPU architecture, Polaris. Moreover, the strong demand for gaming consoles -- Xbox One and PS4- allowed the company to move upward, as chips manufactured by Advanced Micro Devices were used in both consoles.


  • Lululemon Is a Buy

    Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) posted strong third-quarter results on Dec. 7. The company beat on revenue and has updated its guidance. Its top-line momentum is strong and it increased its margins.

    The company has taken several steps to enhance profitability. The athletic apparel industry is dynamic, making competition tough. The industry is affected by seasonality as well. Sales tend to soar during the holiday season. So, we can expect a spike in sales during the end of the fourth quarter.


  • Netflix's Offline Option Is Part of a Larger Growth Initiative

    Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) announced last week that users can now download shows and movies using their account, a move the company resisted for so many years because they believed streaming is the future.

    Downloads make a lot of difference from a user’s perspective.


  • Which Sportswear Manufacturer Is the Best Investment?

    Nike (NYSE:NKE), Adidas (XTER:ADS) and Under Armour (NYSE:UA) are the top three footwear and apparel companies in the world. Even though these companies have been around for years, they hold a very small portion of the global market.

    In fact, the footwear and apparel markets are so fragmented that, rather than being able to create a duopoly or even triopoly, they have to share space with the myriad of regional players in the mix. In all likelihood, it will remain this way for a really long time because all three of these players intend to stay at the high end of both the footwear and the apparel segments, where revenue potential and margins are much higher.


  • Trading Lessons From the Great Stanley Druckenmiller

    The “greatest money-making machine in history,” a man with “Jim Roger’s analytical ability, George Soros (Trades, Portfolio)’ trading ability and the stomach of a riverboat gambler” is how fund manager Scott Bessent describes Stanley Druckenmiller (Trades, Portfolio). That is high praise, but if you look at Druckenmiller’s track record, you will find it is well deserved.

    Druckenmiller averaged over 30% returns the last three decades — impressive. But what’s even more astonishing is the lack of volatility-- he almost never loses.


  • How to Value an Insurer Using the S&P 500 as a Yardstick

    Someone who reads my blog emailed me this question:


  • Talking to Competitors Is More Useful Than Talking to Management

    Someone who reads my blog emailed me this question:


  • Facebook Is a Pass

    Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), not so long ago, reported another blunder with its advertising metrics. To resolve this concern, the $333 billion social media giant initiated several procedures, including cooperating with Nielsen, a renowned advertising agency. Although market reaction seems to be negligible, reviewing Facebook’s figures should be worthwhile.



  • 23 Questions With David Merkel of Aleph Investments

    1. How and why did you get started investing? What is your background?

    I learned investing from my mother and business from my father. Both were good influences in my life. Both took prudent risks to take care of the economic life of our family.


  • Trump's Policies Should Fuel Renewable Energy Contrarian Investors

    The clean energy contrarian trade is coming. Coal, natural gas and crude oil producers are gaining traction relative to their competitors within the renewable space.

    Compare three ETFs: iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ:ICLN), VanECK Vectors Coal ETF (KOL) and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP).


  • 52-Week Company Lows

    According to GuruFocus’ list, these stocks have reached their 52-week lows.

    Coca-Cola Co. reached the 52-week low of $41.29


  • MS Global Franchise Fund Boosts Holdings in 3rd Quarter

    MS Global Franchise Fund (Trades, Portfolio) added to more than two dozen positions in its portfolio in the third quarter. The fund’s top eight additions were as follows:

    The fund added to its position of Pernod Ricard SA (XPAR:RI), a Paris-based beverage company, by more than 40%, buying 68,398 shares for an average price of 102.98 euros ($110.66) per share. The transaction had a 1.05% impact on the portfolio.


  • Data Show Same ETF Indexes Luring Value Gurus and All Large Funds Regardless of Approach

    Investors prided on their individual stock picking strategy sometimes cast their bets on lists of stocks others picked out, called ETFs. In the third quarter, the rare event that noted investors with a value slant agreed with large U.S. funds of all stripes occurred. The majority of both groups signaled that certain sector ETFs deserved their money more than the vast universe of all others.

    Index investing’s big moment has been fueled by lackluster active management returns, high fees, regulation and a buoyant market. ETFs treat entire sectors like a stock but in a competition between the two leaders in each, a U.S. company trading on the S&P 500, itself an ETF of the broad market, would have won this year. NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA), the highest returning stock year to date, soared 184.8%. The best-performing ETF, PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ), followed on its heels with a 169.3% gain.


  • How Will Higher Construction Spending Impact the Sherwin-Williams-Valspar Merger?

    The Census Bureau last week announced that construction spending rose in the month of October by 3.4% over last October’s figure. For the first 10 months of 2016, the seasonally adjusted annual construction spending estimate came in at $1.173 trillion, a 4.5% increase over the same 10-month period in 2015. Of this amount, spending on private construction came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $885.9 billion. Construction spending in the public sector came in at just under $287 billion.

    With construction spending on the rise, one wonders how the pending acquisition of Valspar (NYSE:VAL) by Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW) may be affected.


  • PepsiCo: A Top Dividend Growth Stock for Long-Term Investors

    PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) is one of the best dividend growth stocks in the market and a core holding in our Top 20 Dividend Stocks portfolio.

    The company has paid dividends for more than 50 years while rewarding shareholders with 44 consecutive dividend increases, making it a member of the exclusive Dividend Aristocrats list.


  • Large-Cap Stocks Reach New Highs on Wednesday

    U.S. market indexes were higher Wednesday, continuing gains for the week. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 reached new highs. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19549.62 for a gain of 297.84 points or 1.55%. The S&P 500 closed at 2241.35 for a gain of 29.12 points or 1.32%. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 5393.76 for a gain of 60.76 points or 1.14%. The VIX Volatility Index was higher for the day at 12.15 for a gain of 0.36 points or 3.05%.

    Wednesday’s market movers


  • 8.5% Yield Makes This 1 of the Highest-Yielding Dividend Achievers

    (Published Dec. 7)

    AmeriGas Partners (NYSE:APU) is in the utility sector. Investors typically associate utility stocks with high yields, and AmeriGas is certainly no exception.


  • Mawer: 3 Investing Lessons from 2016

    In a year that has kept everyone guessing and at times defied common sense, here are a few tried and true pearls of wisdom that can help take the guesswork out of investing in uncertain times.

    1. Put the odds in your favour by knowing what you don’t know


  • Pioneer Investments Continues to Buy Alibaba, 8 Others

    Pioneer Investments operates in wide areas of investment vehicles: mutual funds, single manager hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, structured products, segregated and managed accounts, institutional funds. In both the second and third quarters the guru bought shares in the following stocks:

    Targa Resources Corp. (TRGP)


  • Royce Funds: Small-Caps Enjoy Their Best November Yet

    The stock market went on quite a tear in the 3+ weeks immediately following the election, with the month of November especially beneficial for small-cap stocks.

    Before delving into what it all might mean for small-cap investors, here's a quick rundown to help contextualize just how dynamic a month it was:


  • Julian Robertson Sells Delta Air Lines, Alphabet

    Julian Robertson (Trades, Portfolio) is considered the father of the hedge fund. He launched his firm Tiger Management in 1980 with $8 million and turned it into over $22 billion in the late 1990s. During the third quarter the guru’s largest sells were the following:

    He reduced his stake in Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) by 82.11% with an impact of -5.58% on the portfolio.


  • Aon: A Stock for Risky and Uncertain Times

    Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) is an insurance brokerage company and a consulting company. When the world gets riskier, other companies turn to insurance to offload some of that risk. When the world gets more uncertain, other companies turn to consultants for advice and solutions.

    The current environment suggests these should be good times for Aon, but its share price has dipped lately. Looking at a year-to-date chart indicates this is just another blip on the upward journey of the share price, or is it?


  • Diamond Offshore Is Worth Buying

    Even though oil has been depressed in the recent past, I am bullish on oil for the long term. I therefore see this period as excellent for buying good stocks in the energy sector. Today, I will discuss one oil and gas drilling services company that looks interesting at current levels. Throughout the crisis, Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) has been managing its debt and liquidity well. The company also has sufficient contract backlog for sustained cash inflow.

    Diamond Offshore is a contract drilling service provider to the energy industry worldwide. The company currently has a fleet of 28 offshore drilling rigs, of which 19 are semi-submersibles, four are drillships and five are jack-ups. 


  • Watch Ferragamo for Italian Woes

    Salvatore Ferragamo (SFRGF) is an Italian high-end leather and clothing company. The stock is not badly priced given its growth and strong brand name. It could even get cheaper with the turmoil in Italy.

    The company has 168.79 million shares, the stock trades at 21.21 euros ($22.82) and the market cap is 3.58 billion euros. The trailing dividend is 0.46 euros and the dividend yield is 2.17%. Trailing 12-month earnings per share are 1.02 euros. The price-earnings ratio is 20.8.


  • AbbVie's Imbruvica Has Favorable Response Rate Among Marginal Zone Lymphoma Patients

    On Dec. 5, AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) announced through PR Newswire the results regarding whether ibrutinib (Imbruvica), a type of chemotherapy drug for the treatment of patients suffering from relapsed / refractory marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), is effective and safe.

    Marginal zone lymphoma belongs to the family of slow-growing non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Extranodal MZLs generally occur outside the lymph nodes and involve the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue of some organs, such as the stomach, the ocular adnexal (eyelid, orbital tissues), gut, salivary glands, bronchial tubes, skin and thyroid. Nodal marginal zone lymphomas involve the lymph nodes direcltly.


  • What Happens to Berkshire Hathaway After Buffett?

    Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio)’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) is arguably one of the safest investments there is. The company holds over $80 billion in cash and is well diversified across many different industries. All the cash generated from operations is reinvested into the company. Over the years, Berkshire has compounded book value at a double-digit rate per annum. Unlike bonds, which are considered safe but lack any potential for capital gains (when brought at issue), an investment in Berkshire is safe with upside optionality.

    However, the single biggest issue stopping investors from buying Berkshire today appears to be the company’s key man risk. Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) is not a young man, it is likely that at some point within the next decade he will be forced to step down as Berkshire’s leader. What happens to Berkshire after Buffett leaves the business is difficult to predict. It is widely believed that, for the most part, the business will continue as normal.


  • How to Value Invest Like a Pro

    At first glance, value investing looks like an easy strategy to replicate. All you need to do is buy stocks trading at a discount to book value. It is as easy as that. Or is it?

    Buying cheap is not easy


  • Will Online Retailers Defeat Costco?

    Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is definitely an amazing retailer with a robust business model. On the back of this business model, the company has grown every year. The company managed to remain in the green during the previous year, but it is down almost 7% year to date.

    In the most recent quarter, the company detailed bottom-line of $1.77, beating the analyst estimates by four cents. But, in terms of revenue, the company missed the consensus estimates by $1.08 billion. However, despite its massive size, Costco’s revenue is still increasing at an average of approximately 3%.


  • Mr. Market and a Valuation of the Dow for Value Investors


    Mr. Market's mental state


  • Hess Corp. Has Upside Potential

    As oil trends higher on the back of a production cut announced by OPEC, there is high likelihood that the upside will sustain. With this view, I have renewed focus on some quality names in the energy sector that can trend higher in the coming quarters. I discussed Occidental (NYSE:OXY) previously and today will discuss Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), which has trended higher by 23% for the year to date. In my view, Hess is worth holding for the medium to long term for several reasons.

    When discussing Occidental, the focus was on the company’s liquidity and cash flow visibility for the next 12 to 36 months. As oil trends higher, companies with high financial flexibility can accelerate capital spending, and that is the reason to discuss this factor upfront.


  • Franco-Nevada Corp. Is a Hold as Gold Prices Decline

    Gold for immediate delivery continues to decline. On the London Bullion Market, the precious metal closed at $1171.25 per troy ounce at 10:30 a.m. (Greenwich Mean Time) and decreased 0.10%, or $1.25 per troy ounce, from the closing price of $1,172.500 per troy ounce yesterday.

    November was a difficult month for the gold industry, as shown in the graph below. Two of the most important gold stock indexes, representing the gold industry as a whole, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) fell by 9% and 16%:


  • Will Himax Benefit From the Rise of Virtual Reality?

    The virtual reality and augmented reality markets are growing at a rapid pace and are projected to reach $120 billion by 2020, according to The augmented reality market could account for $90 billion, leaving the remaining $30 billion for virtual reality. As per the latest research from Greenlight VR, customer interest in VR is inching higher. Apart from gaming, users are likely to use VR for entertainment, education, travel, events, etc.

    Although there are several companies that are betting big on virtual reality, Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX) is one of my favorite picks because the company has been working on this particular technology for quite some time. It was almost a flat year for the company in 2015, but it has performed well this year, beating top-line and bottom-line estimates for the past three quarters.


  • 22 Questions With Rich Shaner

    1. How and why did you get started investing? What is your background?

    My dad is the whole reason I have gotten involved with investing. My earliest television memories are of Louis Rukeyser on "Wall Street Week." That was high entertainment on a Friday night, much to my chagrin at the time. In addition to that, my dad and I have been very close and have been doing extended road trips together since I was in Kindergarten. The two topics that surfaced the most frequently were investing and vintage race cars. Not surprisingly, both of those topics are things that I am highly passionate about to this day.


  • Investors Should Stay Away From NVIDIA for Now

    NVIDIA’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) growth has accelerated so much that the company kept beating estimates and its own guidances on a regular basis.

    The company guided second-quarter revenue to be near $1.35 billion while the actual result was $1.43 billion; third-quarter guidance was for $1.68 billion while the actual result was a record $2.00 billion, which also beat Wall Street estimates by a huge margin.


  • The Strategy Behind Amazon Web Services’ Growing Margins

    Amazon Web Services has been cutting prices whenever it gets a chance. Amazon EC2, its on-demand reserve instances, has gone through 53 price cuts since launching in 2006 while S3, its store service which cost 15 cents per GB in 2006, now costs 80% less. To call Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) relentless in its pursuit to reduce prices would be an understatement, but with such aggressive cuts, it’s a wonder how the company managed to push its margins upward with each quarter.



  • Jamba Insider Purchases Shares

    Jamba Inc. (NASDAQ:JMBA) Director and 10% owner Glenn W. Welling purchased 135,000 shares of the company between Dec. 1 and Dec. 5, according to a Form 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commision.

    The trades occurred in seven transactions for an average price of $10.12 per share. After the purchases Welling now owns 1,984,785 shares of Jamba.


  • The 8 Levels of Value Investing

    “Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.” – Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio)


  • A Quick Review of Thermo Fisher

    Thermo Fisher (NYSE:TMO) delivered its third quarter results on Oct. 27. The $56 billion diagnostics and research giant delivered an 8.19% sales growth to $13.3 billion and 1.42% profit growth to $1.39 billion. Thermo Fisher closed 0.8% that day while the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed -0.30%.


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