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  • Remain Cautiously Optimistic On Infosys


    Infosys (NYSE:INFY) is among the largest IT services providing companies in India and has been a value creator in the past. However, the last 12-months have not be great for Infosys from a stock price perspective with the stock down by 12.8% when the S&P 500 index has trended higher by nearly 21%. This article discusses the challenges that Infosys has faced in the recent past and my view on investing in the stock for 2017 and beyond.


  • GT Capital's Dominance in the Philippine Car Industry

    About a week ago, Nikkei Asian Review, reported significant increase, 24.6%, in car unit sales in 2016 compared to 2015. In addition, the paper stated that both market leaders Toyota (ticker TM) and Mitsubishi (ticker 7211:Tokyo) plans to begin domestic car production of their Vios and Mirages car units in the ensuing years.

    In 2016, Toyota had 44.14% market share of the Philippine car industry, while Mitsubishi had 17.08%. Ford Motor Philippines had 9.37% market share. Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Ford grew their car units sales by 26.95%, 13.52%, and 32.77%, respectively.


  • Five Companies Reach Yearly Highs

    According to GuruFocus list of 52-week highs, these Guru stocks have reached their 52-Week Highs.

    Bank of America Corporation (BAC) Reached the 52-Week High of $23.01


  • Be Careful Learning From Your Own Mistakes

    Someone emailed me this question:

    “My other big initiative lately is collecting a list of investment mistakes (both my own and investors I admire) and implementing them into my research process. So, if you ever find the time, I’d be really curious to hear how you implement learnings into your investment process and whether you use a checklist or set template?”


  • T Rowe Price Equity Income Fund Buys Adient PLC, Equity Residential, Wells Fargo & Co, Sells Entergy Corp, Deere & Co, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd

  • A Valuation of Johnson & Johnson

    Benjamin Graham taught that intelligent investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine the intrinsic value and inherent risk. This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company or by reviewing the 10 Stocks for Using a Benjamin Graham Value Investing Strategy. By using the ModernGraham method, one can review a company's historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries. What follows is a stock analysis showing a specific look at how Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

    Company profile


  • T. Rowe Price Japan Fund Buys , , , Sells Nabtesco Corp

  • Adient Stock: Still Undervalued After Johnson Controls Spinoff

    (Updated Jan. 16 by The Financial Canadian)

    Occasionally, investors are faced with the unique scenario in which one of their holdings spins off selected assets as new securities.


  • Company Poised to Benefit From Rising Commodity Prices

    (Published Jan. 16 by the Financial Canadian)

    In recent years, commodity prices have experienced a tremendous amount of volatility. In particular, oil prices have declined significantly from their 2014 highs.


  • Mawer Canada Comments on PC Jeweller

    Another detractor was PC Jeweller (BOM:534809), an Indian jewelry company. The stock suffered along with the rest of the Indian market following Narendra Modi’s announcement to take 500 and 1,000 rupee notes out of circulation for ones with better counterfeit measures. PC Jeweller suffered as a large portion of its transactions are cash based which has affected sales in the short-term.

    From Mawer Canada's fourth-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • Mawer Canada Comments on NCC Group

    The Global Small Cap Fund had a tough quarter. A significant underweight exposure to domestically-oriented U.S. companies was one factor, but there were a few stocks that also weighed heavily on the portfolio. The biggest contributor to the Fund’s underperformance compared to the benchmark was NCC Group (LSE:NCC), a UK-based cyber-security company. During the quarter, it announced three unrelated but significant cancellations in its assurance division (where NCC is hired to test a client’s system to identify any potential breaches) and one contract deferral. The stock reacted quite negatively to this announcement and ended the quarter down 50%. What have we done in response? Nothing. Or at least that’s what it may look like on the surface. However, rest assured that not selling down our position (although we had been trimming it ahead of the quarter) or adding to it has very much been a conscious, active decision. Though we’re obviously not thrilled with the news, we have spoken to management at length; our interpretation is that the underlying business is healthy and that the issues appear temporary. However, we recognize that it is a competitive industry and these cancellations may be a sign of additional issues.

    From Mawer Canada's fourth-quarter 2016 commentary.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Visa

    Visa (NYSE:V)'s valuation came under pressure following the election early November as the market saw a rotation out of higher-multiple tech and financial securities and into more cyclical names. We used this opportunity to increase weightings across accounts as valuation levels became more attractive.

    Visa has consistently grown its revenue, EBITDA, and earnings double digits as it has played a key role in facilitating commerce’s multi-decade move away from paper-based transactions. The Company effectively represents the collective economic bargaining power of many of the United States’ and, more recently Europe’s, credit and debit card issuers – particularly banks. Visa has tremendous scale in card transaction processing, as they facilitated over $5.7 trillion in credit and debit volume across more than 120 billion transactions, during their fiscal 2016 - well above 2015 levels. Going forward, we fully expect to see this growth trajectory continue, with added help from the integration of Visa Europe which, as we've discussed previously, should help drive double digit accretion.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Tractor Supply Company

    Like Fastenal, Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) is a company we have long admired. Management has executed a disciplined retailing strategy where they have carved out a niche, serving rural land owners with higher than average incomes. The Company has very deliberately positioned itself to be distinct from its competitors, namely Home Depot, Lowe’s, and, to a lesser extent, Wal-Mart, primarily by locating itself in more rural locations and focusing on merchandise that caters to the maintenance needs of a rural lifestyle, in a one-stop shop format (i.e. all-terrain vehicle replacement parts and feed for livestock as pets).

    We think the Company's profitability and value proposition will be insulated over time as they have made key tradeoffs to avoid competing with big box retailers, without necessarily impairing returns. As an example, we found evidence that the company’s real estate strategy, on average, has been to simultaneously locate Tractor Supply Company stores further from “big box” competitors, while getting into more densely populated markets. Meanwhile, the Company has managed to lower the build-out and rental costs of their new stores as they have continued to expand the store base aggressively, leading to improved returns - something that is particularly difficult in the brick-and-mortar retail world, where typically new store openings generate a lower level of sales and profitability than mature stores (naturally pressuring return on investment as the company grows). We assume the Company’s continuing store base expansion, as well as a conservative assumption on same store sales, should enable the Company to grow revenues in the mid-to-high single digits over the next several years, with earnings per share growth in the double digits, driven by a combination of flat to modest margin expansion as well as stock buybacks.


  • David Rolfe Comments on TreeHouse Foods

    TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) was a relative detractor from performance during the quarter after a confluence of a few unfortunate, though we think transient, events. The Company unexpectedly missed its quarterly earnings estimates and reduced 2016 guidance, despite having had a few wins earlier in the year not long after closing the Private Brands acquisition in January. The Company reiterated, however, its long-term accretion guidance for Private Brands. From the time the merger was announced (late 2015), we had seen multiple areas where we think this longer-term guidance is still understated. Because of our belief in this cushion management built into their original guidance, we remain comfortable that they will be able to hit their long-term growth expectations, despite these shorter-term issues.

    On the same day the Company announced its disappointing Q3, the company also announced that their COO, Chris Sliva, was leaving the company. He turned up as the new CEO of a small food company a few days later. Fortunately - the only bit of good news on the day - Dennis Riordan, the retiring CFO, reversed his retirement on this news, announcing that he would stay on as President/COO for as long as he was needed.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Stericycle

    We liquidated Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL) from portfolios after we determined that the Company's competitive advantage in its core regulated medical waste (RMW) business was not as robust as we had seen during the past five years of our holding period. Prior to the erosion in the economics of their core RMW business, we remained optimistic about Stericycle’s business. Despite recent stumbles in their non-core hazardous waste business and slower than expected integration of newly acquired Shred-it, the RMW business continued to serve as the engine to double-digit growth in free cash flow. We previously believed that Stericycle's unrivaled scale had served to insulate its RMW profitability from competitive pressures, including customer push-back associated with consolidating end-markets, as many of Stericycle’s most profitable customers - particularly individual physician practices

    • have been consolidated by managed care organizations over the past several years. However, over the past few quarters, management began disclosing that the long-term contracts associated with these newly consolidated customers were coming up for renewal at significantly lower prices. It is not clear to us why the Company gave up this pricing, given that the market has few large-scale alternatives to Stericycle. Suffice it to say, these contracts are in place for several years (sometimes five years or more), and while the Company can spend this time recovering economics through more cross selling, this strategy is unproven and potentially dilutive. As such we lost conviction in Stericycle’s ability to defend its excess profitability in RMW, and subsequently liquidated our positions.

  • David Rolfe Comments on Charles Schwab

    Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) was a top performer in the quarter as the company stands to benefit from the continued normalization of U.S. monetary policy. Despite a single federal funds rate hike during calendar year 2016, market expectations for further rate hikes have dramatically risen in the face of potential fiscal stimulus and higher inflation expectations.

    While we understand the market’s desire to discount the near-term “embedded option” of money market fee waiver relief at Schwab, we continue to invest in the Company for its industry-leading pretax profit margins and asset gathering capabilities, which we think are a byproduct of their consistent productivity investments made over the past few decades. We think this positions Schwab well in the increasingly commodified financial services industry, as the Company’s low-cost model and scale allows them to pass savings on to advisors and clients in the form of competitively lower fees, in exchange for mid-single digit platform asset growth. Combined with modest rate relief and continued productivity gains, we expect Schwab to continue posting earnings per share growth in the mid-teens.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Fastenal

    Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) is a company we have followed and admired for many years. The Company is a distributor of manufacturing and construction supplies - generally consumable parts and products such as fasteners (i.e., screws, nuts/bolts) and various items used in the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) of customers’ plants. The company has established a differentiated position in its industry by investing heavily to get itself as close as possible to a generally smaller, less urban customer base than its competitors. This is most evident in its extensive network of more than 2,500 branch locations, which the company effectively uses as selling and distribution outposts to serve its customer base. We contrast this with Fastenal’s largest competitor, Grainger, for example, which has only 300-odd branch locations (and shrinking) despite having twice the revenues as Fastenal. We believe this has led to a fairly healthy segmentation between the Company and its competitors: Fastenal has specialized in smaller, geographically dispersed clients who are more heavily reliant on the Company’s local distribution capabilities, sales expertise, and somewhat more specialized, locally tailored product lines; Grainger and other competitors specialize in larger, more urban clients who have more distribution and service requirements, so these distributors generally focus on more standardized products, in large quantities at the lowest cost. When we observe the healthy, and remarkably steady, returns on investment across the major competitors in the space, we view this as confirmation that the major players, for the most part, have managed to carve out profitable segments of an attractive industry without tripping over each other.

    Fastenal has extended its differentiation in recent years through three other initiatives designed to get closer to its customers. First, the Company has installed over 60,000 vending machines in customers’ plants, in which they constantly replenish products customers use regularly in their manufacturing processes. Second, the Company has accelerated the expansion of its Onsite program, in which it basically opens a small Fastenal store within a larger customer’s plant. Fastenal staffs and stocks this mini-location, effectively taking control of a portion of the customer’s supply chain. It is important to note that both the Vending and (especially) Onsite initiatives further integrate the Company into a customer’s operations, helping to make these customers stickier. Third, Fastenal has invested in additional inventories over the past several quarters, while also shifting a higher percentage of its inventory from its distribution centers into its branch locations. This once again is designed to get Fastenal as close to its customers as possible - if the Company has the products its customers need, already waiting in their market, available for same-day delivery, at an attractive price, there is no need for those customers to take their business elsewhere, whether that be to a larger, out-of-market competitor such as Grainger or to an online competitor such as Amazon.


  • David Rolfe Comments on Berkshire Hathaway

    Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) continues to carry an outsized weighting in portfolios – in fact, the stock continues to be one of our largest holdings. We believe the Company maintains a long-term competitive advantage, evidenced in its below-average cost of capital, which should become more valuable in an environment of both heightened equity market volatility and/or higher cost of borrowing. 2016 operating results were quite impressive given the headwinds in the bull market-laden, over crowded reinsurance business, plus the stagnant growth at Burlington Northern. The stock did enjoy a post -Trump election pop of nearly 15%. Mr. Market's early enthusiasm for Trump's fiscal proposals of lower corporate tax rates, if enacted, would certainly benefit Berkshire's bottom line. The Company could potentially be a huge beneficiary of meaningfully lower corporate tax rates. If enacted, lower corporate tax rates would have an out-sized impact by reducing Berkshire’s deferred tax liability by boosting the Company’s book value. The Company currently has amassed a massive $65 billion deferred tax liability that Buffett himself has equated to an interest-free loan from the U.S. government. If Trump, and the Republican controlled Congress are successful in lowering corporate tax rates to 15% from the current statutory rate of 35%, the Company’s book value could rise double digits. In addition, given the terrific year-end rally in bank and financial stocks, the nice pop in the Company's multibillion-dollar holdings, including American Express, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, M&T Bank, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. Bank of America and Wells Fargo enjoyed outsized gains during the quarter of 42% and 25%, respectively. Berkshire's bank and financial stock holdings have now reached a cumulative market value of over $57 billion.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s fourth quarter 2016 Wedgewood Partners investor letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Kraft Heinz

    Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) is a rare example of a company that has issued sizable debt with the goal of increasing sales and earnings - particularly earnings, in the case of Kraft Heinz. The unique, hard-to-copy management style of 3G (entrepreneurial, zero-base budgeting), coupled with low-cost debt, has proven to be quite a powerful combination for driving higher profitability well beyond industry peers.

    From David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio)'s fourth quarter 2016 Wedgewood Partners investor letter.   

  • David Rolfe Comments on Apple Inc.

    We should note successful examples of the use of outsized debt by our own invested companies. Consider Apple. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) generates enough cash ($65 billion in operating cash TTM) that even after spending $10 billion in R&D in fiscal 2016, the Company’s balance sheet liquidity grew almost $10 billion, to over $250 billion. This trove is trapped overseas awaiting a change in U.S. repatriation laws - a potentially significant bullish event for shareholders. In the meantime, in order to return this cash back to shareholders, the Company has issued over $75 billion in debt.

    Further, and often left unremarked by Wall Street’s finest, is the rapid, and accelerating growth in Apple’s R&D spending over the past few years. Clearly the Company does not need to spend $10-$15 billion per year to sustain the evolutionary upgrades to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and/or new video streaming services. Apple’s nascent automotive program Project Titan may not be at all about creating a complete autonomous driving car (Apple Car), but rather the creation of software that makes existing cars smarter – or even autonomous. Now that is a huge, creatively disruptive opportunity.


  • 8 Cheap Stocks With Low P/E Ratios

    Here are eight stocks gurus are buying that are trading with low price-earnings (P/E) ratios. Most of them are greatly undervalued, according to the DCF calculator.

    Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGO) with a market cap of $5.09 billion is trading with a P/E ratio of 4.9 and a price-sales (P/S) ratio of 2.75. According to the DCF calculator the stock has a fair value of $86.36 while trading at about $39 with a margin of safety of 55%. The price has risen 61% during the last 12 months and is now 1.14% below its 52-week high and 79.26% above its 52-week low.


  • Buyback ETF Could Be Worth Following

    Generally speaking, I tend to stay away from the ETF space as an investor. There are thousands of ETF products, which makes it difficult to choose the one that best fits my investing goals, and the product itself is not without its drawbacks. Personally, I will either choose a tracker fund or individual stocks.

    However, the one ETF that recently caught my eye is the Dhandho Junoon ETF, which is interesting because it is managed by the same firm that is owned by well-known and respected value investor Mohnish Pabrai (Trades, Portfolio).


  • Largest Insider Trades of the Week

    The GuruFocus All-in-One Screener can be used to find insider trades from the past week. Under the Insiders tab, change the settings for All Insider Buying to “$5,0000,000+” and the duration to “January 2016” and All Insider Sales to “$5,000,000+.”

    According to the above filters, the following are trades from company insiders this week.


  • Why Shipping Stocks Are the Worst-Performing Stocks Ever

    During the first decade of the new millennium, the shipping sector was what can only be described as a goldmine. The rise of China as a global trading superpower, an aging fleet and easy access to credit allowed shipping companies around the world to expand rapidly, plowing billions into new vessels that were quickly snapped up on trading routes. The rising demand for transportation capacity also sent spot rates for vessel charters skyrocketing, improving the economics of shippers and making it look as if their rapid expansion was the right course of action. However, the financial crisis exposed these companies for what they were: overleveraged, inefficient, capital-hungry disasters.

    Since the financial crisis, the shipping industry has struggled to turn a profit consistently. In fact, most of the industry has struggled to remain alive as charter rates have collapsed, extra capacity ordered in the boom years is no longer needed and debt falls due. Even with rock-bottom interest rates, many shipping companies have struggled to service their growing debts.


  • Dodge & Cox's Stock Fund 4th Quarter Commentary

    The Dodge & Cox Stock Fund had a total return of 10.7% for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 3.8% for the S&P 500 Index. For 2016, the Fund had a total return of 21.3%, compared to 12.0% for the S&P 500.


  • Endeavour Mining Explores Merger With Acacia

    Endeavour Mining Corp. (TSX:EDV) and Acacia Mining PLC (LSE:ACA) are discussing a merger, according to Bloomberg.

    The merger negotiations also concern Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:ABX) since the world’s largest gold producer holds a 64% stake in Acacia.


  • Mawer Canada's 4th Quarter Investment Newsletter

    President’s Message

    You may have heard us say, on more than one occasion, that market volatility and unpredictability are entirely normal. Our experiences over the last 40+ years have certainly reinforced that lesson. Yet even for us, 2016 felt unusual, with significant political game changers occurring such as Brexit and the election of Trump. But such a year serves to remind us that the best approach to investing in this unpredictable and rapidly changing world is to focus on the things we can control.


  • Hennessy Japan Fund Divests Sumitomo in 4th Quarter

    The Hennessy Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) sold its holding of Sumitomo Corp. (TSE:8053) in the final quarter of 2016.

    The fund was established in 2003 and is managed by Masakazu Takeda and Yu Shimizu. The fund invests in Japanese companies with strong businesses and management that trade at an appealing price in order to meet the goal of long-term capital appreciation. The managers employ in-depth analysis in order to identify stocks with a significant value gap. They manage a concentrated portfolio of 20 stocks valued at $119 million.


  • Amazon Delights Trump

    Donald Trump's press conference on Wednesday was the most talked about event last week but the most significant story in my view was the announcement from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) that it plans to create 100,000 new full-time jobs in the U.S. over the next 18 months.

    That's a huge commitment by a single company and it puts an exclamation point to the sea change that is taking place in U.S. retailing. Only a few days before, Macy's (NYSE:M) and Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) both announced nationwide store closures and layoffs after a disappointing Christmas season. Macy's will close 68 stores and shed 10,000 jobs while Sears will shutter 150 stores (most of which operate under the Kmart brand).


  • David Rolfe's Wedgewood Partners 4th Quarter Letter: Changing of the Guard

    Review and Outlook


  • General Motors Records Another Solid Year in China

    General Motors (NYSE:GM) and its joint venture partners in China sold 3.87 million vehicles in the mainland in 2016, registering yet another fantastic year for the automaker. This is an improvement of more than 7% despite witnessing a 2.3% fall in December sales. General Motors sold 434,799 vehicles in the last month of the year. The decline, however, could not stop the Detroit carmaker from posting impressive results for the year in the world’s hottest car market.

    A look at the year


  • BlackRock: A Stock for Defensive Investors

    I was looking for quality stocks that meet the criteria for the defensive investor, that is stocks with a market cap greater than $2 billion, with a current ratio higher than 2, with a long track of dividends paid; with earnings generated every year over the last 10 years; with an earnings growth of at least 33%, and I came across BlackRock, Inc.

    The company has a market capitalization of $62.16 billion and has a long history of earnings generated annually and dividend paid every year over the last decade as shown by the table below.


  • How Donald Trump's Tweets Could Make Day Trading Great Again

    Day traders love volatility, and it looks like there is going to be some action in the markets with Donald Trump taking office in just a matter of days. Now, whether you like him or not, Trump is making day trading great again and already creating opportunities.

    Active traders and investors are always on the hunt for market-moving catalysts. Traders such as Dennis Dick, a proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC, and Jason Bond know that Trump’s tweets and comments are market-moving catalysts and algorithms could be trading off Trump’s tweets.


  • Valero Energy: Undervalued Dividend Stock With Significant Upside Potential

    Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) is one of the few energy sector companies that has the ability to outperform in fiscal 2017 along with providing increased shareholder returns. With oil prices expected to trend higher, I believe Valero could be a good value pick.

    Company overview


  • 15 Best Stocks for Value Investors This Week

    I evaluated 53 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, which is based on Benjamin Graham's value investing formulas, in order to determine an intrinsic value for each. Out of those 53 companies, only 15 were found to be undervalued or fairly valued and suitable for either Defensive or Enterprising Investors. Therefore, these 15 companies are the best undervalued stocks of the week.

    The elite


  • Why Nike Got Punished in 2016

    Nike (NKE) is a leading footwear brand, but you might be surprised to know that throughout 2016, shares of Nike kept on dropping, and the estimated drop was 19%. This drop gave Nike the reputation of worst-performing stock in 2016.

    On the other hand, the behemoth athletic wear company also faced difficulties because of decreasing sales, but as it has been making serious attempts to improve its sales, it really got a positive response from Wall Street.



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  • Beating the Market With 20% Returns

    2016 was the first year the Old School Value stock grading system we call the “Action Score” on our stock analysis software took to the streets.

    What is an Action Score?


  • Rowan Companies: A Likely Long-Term Value Creator

    I discussed Rowan Companies (NYSE:RDC) as one of the quality names in the offshore drilling industry when sentiments were bearish for the stock and industry. The stock has delivered 53% returns in the last four months and has been marginally lower to sideways recently.

    There is significant long-term upside potential that remains in the stock.



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  • Weekly CFO Sells Highlight

    According to GuruFocus Insider Data, the recent chief financial officer (CFO) sells were FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS) and CarMax Inc. (NYSE:KMX).

    FactSet Research Systems CFO sold 20,429 shares


  • Consider Ensco – Even After 70% Upside

    With sentiments improving for the oil and gas industry, few offshore drilling stocks have given stellar returns in the last few months. Ensco (NYSE:ESV), which was trading at depressed levels of $6.6 on Sept. 20, 2016, has surged by 70% to current levels of $11.3. Is it still worth considering after the big recent upside?

    Oil will continue to trend higher. The past few instances of production cut by OPEC have been followed by a 12- to 24-month rally for oil prices. With steady economic recovery globally and with prospects for further OPEC review in 2017, I am bullish on oil; there are reasons to believe the rally for offshore drilling stocks can be sustained.


  • Weekly CEO Buys Highlight

    According to GuruFocus’ Insider Data, these are the largest CEO buys during the past week. The overall trend of CEOs is illustrated in the chart below:

    Dell Technologies CEO bought 254,545 shares


  • Should You Always Keep Stocks for a Full 5 Years?

    Someone emailed me this question:


  • The 6 Best Dividend Paying Insurance Stocks for 2017

    Published Jan. 15 by Bob Ciura

    Insurers enjoy a high level of profitability, because they make money in two ways.


  • Will 2017 Be Another Great Year for Qualcomm?

    Qualcomm’s (NASDAQ:QCOM) downturn started in 2014 after reaching a value of $81 per share, but the company successfully reversed its fortune in 2016, as the stock was up over 50% from its 52-week low. On the other hand, the company also managed to beat analyst estimates in terms of earnings and revenue in each of the four quarters of the previous year.

    The primary reason behind the company’s turnaround in 2016 was the robust performance of its most significant mobile chip as well as patent licensing businesses. As a matter of fact, the company’s mobile chip business came under pressure when Samsung excluded it from its flagship Galaxy S6 models.


  • The Past and Future of Cloud Computing

    2016 was a great year for the cloud industry as the top three companies - Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) combined - raced past $30 billion dollars in annual revenues from their respective cloud services. Quarterly revenues for all these top cloud service providers have grown in strong double-digit rates in the last four quarters, often crossing the 50% year-over-year growth levels. To put that number in perspective, let’s take a closer look at the most recent quarterly cloud revenue numbers provided by the top three providers.

    Amazon Web Services reported sales of $3.231 billion during the third quarter of 2016 compared to $2.05 billion a year earlier, a growth of 57.5%. Microsoft’s annualized cloud revenue run rate exceeded $13 billion during the first quarter 2017 compared to $8.2 billion a year earlier, a growth of 58.5%. IBM’s cloud as-a-service segment annual run rate reached $7.5 billion during the third quarter of 2016, a growth of 65% compared to last year.


  • Oracle’s Strategy to Hit $10 Billion in SaaS Revenues

    Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) was very late to the cloud party, but the company has gotten aggressive with its strategy as it tries to beat Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) to reach the $10 billion in annual sales mark with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.

    There is a lot of competition in the SaaS segment, especially in the business management software area that Oracle wants to win over. Salesforce, Oracle, SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are the top four companies vying for the lead position in the enterprise software segment. Salesforce has a solid lead when it comes to the CRM sub-segment, while Oracle has a wide range of products spanning Customer Relationship Management (NYSE:CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).


  • Should You Go Against the Trend on Fitbit?

    On Friday, Business Insider reported that there has been an increase in short interest in Fitbit (NYSE:FIT). The article indicated that short interest was already close to 50% of the total amount of shares on loan. Nonetheless, Fitbit shares closed flat, down 0.2% that day. Fitbit shares lost 62.52% of its value one year ago up until Friday, according to Morningstar data.

    Albeit the company’s historical performance suggested there must be something terribly wrong on the company, betting against this short- or long-term bearish sentiment by going long on Fitbit shares should be fruitful if grounded on simple investment decision brought by deeper knowledge about the company.


  • Gilead, Buy HIV, Get Hepatitis C for Free

    A few months ago I wrote a long article about Gilead that I wanted to title “Gilead: Buy Hepatitis C, Get AIDS for free”. Today I want to flip that title backwards and call it “Gilead, Buy HIV, Get Hepatitis C for Free.”

    We spent a lot of time this quarter talking to our colleagues in the investment industry, soliciting “the other side” argument for Gilead, trying to understand what we are missing about this stock. As we suspected most people cannot overcome the confluence of two business models inside one company: Gilead’s growing, annuity-like HIV business and the shrinking and ultimately finite Hep C business.


  • The Benefits of Boring: Investing in Parcel Delivery

    To begin with, United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) is an extremely boring transportation and logistics company that gets a little news time during the holiday season and then once again vanishes into the background. That being said, the transportation industry, which has been around for centuries, is more relevant today than ever, and the segment’s best years are yet to come as the world’s trade is taken over by e-commerce.

    Worldwide, the e-commerce trade has grown at a rapid pace over the years, and it will continue to do so. As more and more people start ordering their goods online, the need for a proper shipping partner is extremely important. There will be no e-commerce if there is no proper delivery mechanism, and that is not something that companies would be able to do on their own. The case is very much the same for big companies as well, because the bulk of their resources have to go into procurement, warehousing and technology.


  • Gold Stocks and Futures Have a Positive Week

    On Jan. 13, gold for immediate delivery closed down per troy ounce on the London Bullion Market, breaking the uptrend that was characterizing week two of the new year.

    Gold for immediate delivery closed at $1,190.35 per troy ounce, on Jan. 13 on the London Bullion Market, down $14.70 per troy ounce from the previous day’s close ($1,205.05 per troy ounce).


  • Coca-Cola Still Has Growth Potential Despite Size

    Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is the gold standard in the beverage industry. The company is the largest seller of non-alcoholic beverages in the world.

    Coca-Cola operates a tremendously strong business model. This is evident in their dividend history. With 54 years of consecutive dividend increases and counting, Coca-Cola is a Dividend Aristocrat (25+ years of rising dividends) and a Dividend King (50+ years of rising dividends).


  • 5 Stocks to Avoid - January 2017

    The market is filled with companies with a lot of hype that are touted as great investments, but Benjamin Graham taught that intelligent investors must look past the hype and avoid speculating about a company's future. By using the ModernGraham Valuation Model, I've selected five of the most overvalued companies reviewed by ModernGraham.

    Each company has been determined to not be suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor according to the ModernGraham approach. Defensive Investors are defined as investors who are not able or willing to do substantial research into individual investments, and therefore need to select only the companies that present the least amount of risk. Enterprising Investors, on the other hand, are able to do substantial research and can select companies that present a moderate (though still low) amount of risk. Each company suitable for the Defensive Investor is also suitable for Enterprising Investors.


  • Asanko Gold Exceeds Gold Production Expectations

    Asanko Gold Inc. (AKG) reported operating results for the fourth quarter of 2016 last Wednesday. From the Ghanaian Asanko Gold Mine’s Phase 1, the company produced 57,178 ounces of gold that exceeded the guidance that was set by the company, which was between 52,000 and 57,000 ounces.

    The company sold 58,483 ounces of gold at an average realized price per ounce of $1,199, generating revenue of approximately $70.1 million during the quarter.


  • How Vending Machine Technology Can Boost Fastenal’s Growth

    Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) is emerging to be one of the most promising companies involved in the vending machine industry. While it sees itself as an industrial supplies company, Fastenal has over the last eight years encroached in the technology sector with a key focus on vending machine technologies.

    Founded in 1967 and incorporated a year later, Fastenal begun by selling mostly fasteners such as screws, threaded rods and nuts, which are used in construction and manufacturing.


  • Perrigo, Ralph Lauren Reach 3-Year Low Prices

    Perrigo Co. PLC (NYSE:PRGO) reached $77.80

    The prices of Perrigo Co. PLC (NYSE:PRGO) shares have declined to $77.80, which is only 2.2% above the three-year low of $76.08.


  • Insider Buys Highlight for Week of Jan. 13 Inc. (NYSE:CRM): Director Susan Wojcicki bought 1,353 shares

    Wojcicki bought 1,353 shares of CRM stock on Jan. 9 at the average price of $73.86 per share. The price of the stock has increased by 2.41% since.


  • Royce Funds: 4 Small-Cap Specialists on 2017

    Small-caps had a great run in 2016, but what should investors expect from 2017? Four veteran small-cap portfolio managers share how key developments in 2016 are shaping their 2017 outlook and portfolio positioning.

    Strong Results for Small-Caps in 2017 and Beyond


  • Brown Trout Management, LLC Buys Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd, Harman International Industries Inc, Linear Technology Corp, Sells LinkedIn Corp, KLA-Tencor Corp, Parkway Inc

  • Atria Investments Llc Buys SPDR S&P 500, iShares S&P 500 Value, iShares S&P 500 Growth, Sells Vanguard REIT ETF - DNQ, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond, iShares JP. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond

  • P.R. Herzig & Co. Inc. Buys Kansas City Southern, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, General Electric Co, Sells United Rentals Inc, Yum Brands Inc, Cloud Peak Energy Inc

  • Terra Nova Asset Management LLC Buys Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Sells Bank of America Corporation, Inc, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd

  • Univest Corp Of Pennsylvania Buys BB&T Corp, Harris Corp, AMETEK Inc, Sells Wells Fargo & Co, Apple Inc, Aqua America Inc

  • The 7 Best Undervalued Retail Stocks for Dividends

    (Published Jan. 13 by Bob Ciura)

    Physical retailers took it on the chin last year. The retail industry is being disrupted at a rapid pace due to a shift in consumer buying preferences.


  • An Undervalued, Recession-Resistant, Shareholder-Friendly REIT

    (Published Jan. 13 by The Financial Canadian)

    When thinking of conservative investments with strong dividend prospects, one might not immediately be drawn to the retail industry.


  • US Market Indexes Mixed With Banks Reporting Earnings on Friday

    U.S. market indexes were mixed on Friday and the Nasdaq Composite reached a new high. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19885.73 for a loss of -5.27 points or -0.03%. The S&P 500 closed at 2274.64 for a gain of 4.20 points or 0.18%. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 5574.12 for a gain of 26.63 points or 0.48%. The VIX Volatility Index was lower for the day at 11.23 for a loss of -0.31 points or -2.69%.

    Friday’s market movers


  • Tweedy Browne Global Value Buys and Adds to 5 Stocks

    Tweedy Browne (Trades, Portfolio) Global Value Fund follows Ben Graham-style investment principles and had low portfolio turnover of 1% in the fourth quarter, it reported Friday.

    The fund invests primarily in developed non-U.S. stocks from diverse sectors. Stocks are selected based on their discounts from managers’ assessments of their intrinsic worth. The $9 billion fund ended the quarter with its largest portfolio allocations as 25% in financial services, 17.9% in consumer defensive and 13.5% in consumer cyclical stocks.  

  • Sunnymeath Asset Management, Inc. Buys State Street Corp, PNC Financial Services Group Inc, Pinnacle Foods Inc, Sells Eli Lilly and Co, Chubb Ltd, Ross Stores Inc

  • Vigilant Capital Management, LLC Buys SPDR S&P Bank, Martin Marietta Materials Inc, Starbucks Corp, Sells First Solar Inc, Guggenheim BulletShares 2016 Corporate Bond, Medtronic PLC

  • Family Run Companies Have a Huge Advantage

    Investing is all about picking a style with which you feel comfortable and sticking to it.

    There are many different styles out there, all of which involve different levels of research and different perspectives on the market as well as a different temperament. But according to Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) there’s one particular trait the best-performing stocks have in common.


  • Long-Term Returns Are Almost Guaranteed

    The idea of long-term investing is a foreign concept to most investors. Even though almost all of the investors participating in markets today will have heard of long-term investing, most of the time investors consider a long-term investment something they hold for a year or more.

    In the grand scheme of things, holding a stock for a year is not a long-term investment; in fact, it is quite the opposite. If you are investing for retirement and have 30 years to go, one year isn’t going to make any real difference to your long-term wealth (unless you lose everything).


  • Bremer Trust National Association Buys SPDR S&P 500, SPDR S&P 500, Citizens Financial Group Inc, Sells Honeywell International Inc, Honeywell International Inc, ITC Holdings Corp

  • Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Sells JPMorgan Chase Capital XVI JP Morgan Alerian MLP E, Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity

  • Costco Wholesale: A Berkshire Hathaway Holding and Superb Dividend Growth Stock

    Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) has proven itself to be one of the best dividend growth stocks of the last two decades, nearly doubling the S&P 500’s annualized return.

    With founder James Sinegal retired from the CEO position (he remains on the board) and the rise of major disruptive rivals such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) however, the company’s business model faces potential threats from numerous directions.


  • Orrstown Financial Services Inc Buys Ecolab Inc, Whirlpool Corp, Abbott Laboratories, Sells Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co, Cigna Corp

  • Boyd Watterson Asset Management Llc Buys SPDR S&P 500, iShares National Muni Bond, iShares US Preferred Stock, Sells Keyence Corp, Daito Trust Construction Co Ltd, Experian PLC

  • Bremer Trust National Association Buys SPDR S&P 500, Citizens Financial Group Inc, iShares Core MSCI EAFE, Sells Honeywell International Inc, ITC Holdings Corp, Comcast Corp

  • John Rogers Muses on Risk in Ariel Funds December Commentary

    Happy New Year to you and Happy Birthday to our global portfolios! Two years ago we celebrated their three-year records and first set of Morningstar Ratings, so it makes sense to do so again as they turn five. We think we have reason to be proud of Ariel International Fund and Ariel Global Fund’s performance and hope you agree.


  • Fis Group, Inc. Buys PowerShares KBW Bank Portfolio, iShares MSCI Spain Capped Index Fund, WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund, Sells iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, Vanguard REIT ETF - DNQ, iShares MSCI Japan Sm Cap

  • North Star Investment Management Corp. Buys Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond, Sells Eaton Vance Enhance Equity Income Fundd Equity Inc, SPDR Select Sector Fund - Industrial, Psychemedics Corp

  • The Pros and Cons of Buying Bed Bath & Beyond

    It’s a major retail brand, but its share price has had dramatic ups and downs over the past few years. Lately, though, the direction of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) has been mostly down. That makes for an interesting Peter Lynch chart:

    BBBY Peter Lynch chart


  • Wells Fargo Misses 4th Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) reported net income of $5.3 billion and diluted earnings per share of 96 cents during fourth-quarter 2016. These values slightly underperform comparable figures during fourth-quarter 2015. Heavy losses in the company’s net hedging ineffectiveness contributed to weaker earnings performance.

    Brief summary of earnings report


  • Colony Capital Closes Merger With NorthStar Asset Management

    Colony Capital Inc. (CLNY) announced the close of its merger with NorthStar Asset Management Group Inc. (NYSE:NSAM) and NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. (NYSE:NRF) on Jan. 10.

    The merger, which is the largest commercial real estate merger of 2016, was announced at the beginning of June and approved by all three companies’ shareholders on Dec. 20. The newly combined REIT is called Colony NorthStar Inc. (NYSE:CLNS), and it is now the fifth-largest global real estate management company with a market cap of around $9 billion and $58 billion worth of assets under management.


  • French Wolf & Farr, Inc. Buys Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets, Service Corp International, SunTrust Banks Inc, Sells AT&T Inc, iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond, Genuine Parts Co

  • Lgt Capital Partners Ltd. Buys Dell Technologies Inc, Affiliated Managers Group Inc, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp, Sells Shaw Communications Inc, Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co LP

  • Is the Sugar High Wearing Off?

    By Chief Investment Officer Terri Spath

    Anticipation of lower taxes and higher infrastructure spending initially pushed investor enthusiasm and stock prices higher for several weeks following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. At the same time, a sea of change from central bank dominated markets to a focus on fiscal policy sparked inflationary fears, a stronger dollar prompted a melt-up in interest rates. As the Dow inches closer towards the historic 20,000 level, the sharp runs in stocks have begun to consolidate while rates have retreated. The sugar high is wearing off.


  • Goldcorp Sells Los Filos Mine to Leagold

    Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE:GG) announced yesterday it agreed to sell its Los Filos mine in Mexico to Leagold Mining Corp. (TSXV:LMC.H). 

    According to the terms of the deal, Goldcorp will receive $279 million in cash and $71 million in ordinary shares of Leagold, plus approximately $88 million in retained tax receivables. The total value of the transaction is $438 million.


  • Bank of America Reports Strong 4th-Quarter Results

    Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) reported revenues (net of interest expense) of $20 billion and net interest income of $10.3 billion during fourth-quarter 2016, both outperforming comparative values from fourth-quarter 2015. As the company produced solid fourth-quarter financial highlights, Bank of America increased its common stock repurchases for first-half 2017.

    Brief earnings summary


  • Rhenman & Partners Asset Management AB Buys Gilead Sciences Inc, Medtronic PLC, Pfizer Inc, Sells Shire PLC, Celgene Corp, Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc

  • Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co Buys Prudential Financial Inc, GameStop Corp, NetScout Systems Inc, Sells Thor Industries Inc, TrueBlue Inc, Halliburton Co

  • Kessler Investment Group, LLC Buys Noble Corp PLC, Regions Financial Corp, Caterpillar Inc, Sells Newmont Mining Corp, Helmerich & Payne Inc, Coach Inc

  • Smith, Graham & Co., Investment Advisors, LP Buys Banc of California Inc, Matrix Service Co, Tower International Inc, Sells TrueBlue Inc, Mentor Graphics Corp, Jack Henry & Associates Inc

  • Long-Term Charter and FSRUs to Drive GasLog's Growth

    GasLog (NYSE:GLOG) is an international owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers that provides support to international energy companies. As of Sept. 30, 2016, the company had consolidated fleet of 28 vessels of which nine vessels are contracted to its subsidiary GasLog Partners (NYSE:GLOP).

    Industry dynamics and the company’s long-term charter provide attractive upside for GasLog.


  • Chipotle Could Be a 4-Bagger in 10 Years

    Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has been among the most successful fast food chains in recent years by providing differentiated high quality food served quickly in a good environment.

    The company claims that it uses naturally grown ingredients and serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain. Customers liked it. The number of stores grew from over 500 locations in 2006 to about 2,200 locations. But the company suffered significantly starting in November 2015 when E. coli outbreaks were linked directly to its restaurants. Comparable sales were in the negative 20%-plus range in 2016. Earnings dropped to close to zero.


  • Ray Dalio's Best Investments of 2016

    Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio) founded Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates in 1975. The following are the best performers of his investments.

    Vale SA ADR. (NYSE:VALE) with a market cap of $48.65 billion gained 300.4% in 2016. The guru's holding represents 0.08% of his total assets.


  • Asset Sales Provide Growth Catalyst for Anadarko Petroleum

    Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) announced yesterday the sale of its Eagle Ford Shale asset in South Texas for approximately $2.3 billion to Sanchez Energy Corp. (NYSE:SN) and Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX).

    The sale of this asset, along with the previous sale of its Marcellus Shale asset, will greatly benefit the company. As of Sept. 30, 2016, Anadarko had cash and equivalents of $4 billion. With the sale of its Marcellus Shale and Eagle Ford Shale assets, the company’s cash buffer is likely to swell to $7.5 billion. In addition, Anadarko has $5 billion in undrawn credit facility. Considering a total liquidity buffer of $12.5 billion and that operating cash flows will provide additional liquidity, Anadarko is fully funded for aggressive capital expenditure for the next 24 months.


  • Reliance Trust Co of Delaware Buys Bank of America Corporation, Allergan PLC, SPDR S&P International Dividend, Sells iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond, SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond, Shire PLC

  • Gemmer Asset Management LLC Buys WisdomTree MidCap Dividend Fund, PowerShares Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, Schwab U.S. Small-Cap, Sells iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund, Vanguard FTSEEuropean

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