Meridian Funds

Meridian Funds

Last Update: 08-31-2013

Number of Stocks: 149
Number of New Stocks: 15

Total Value: $2,681 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 13%

Countries: USA
Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

Meridian Funds' s Profile & Performance

Profile

Aster is the founder of Aster Investment Management Company. He manages both Meridian Value Fund (MVALX) and Meridian Growth Fund (MERDX). Mr. Aster received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Web Page:http://www.meridianfund.com/mvalx_fundadvisor.cfm

Investing Philosophy

Richard Aster invests in both growth and value stocks. His Meridian Value Fund seeks to achieve long-term capital growth. In this fund, Aster invests primarily in equities that are undervalued in relation to the company’s long-term earning power or asset value, or the stock market in general.

Historical Allocation of Stock, Bonds, Cash

Total Holding History

Performance of Meridian Value Fund

YearReturn (%)S&P500 (%)Excess Gain (%)
201616.5911.964.6
2015-3.421.38-4.8
20146.1513.69-7.5
3-Year Cumulative19.5 (6.1%/year)29 (8.9%/year)-9.5 (-2.8%/year)
201334.7832.392.4
201217.42161.4
5-Year Cumulative89.2 (13.6%/year)98.2 (14.7%/year)-9 (-1.1%/year)
2011-2.392.11-4.5
201018.2315.063.2
200921.3926.46-5.1
2008-31.95-375.0
20077.765.492.3
10-Year Cumulative94.3 (6.9%/year)95.7 (6.9%/year)-1.4 (0%/year)
200618.6715.792.9
20052.924.91-2.0
200415.110.884.2
200334.7128.686.0
2002-13.36-22.18.7
15-Year Cumulative218.8 (8%/year)164.2 (6.7%/year)54.6 (1.3%/year)
200111.7-11.8923.6
200037.14-9.146.2
199938.2821.0417.2
199818.9428.58-9.6
199721.3733.36-12.0
20-Year Cumulative874.9 (12.1%/year)339.2 (7.7%/year)535.7 (4.4%/year)
199632.2922.969.3
199523.837.58-13.8

Top Ranked Articles

AutoZone: Debt Is a Dragging Brake on This Muscle Car This auto parts retailer has loads of earning power and an outstanding record for earnings predictability, but also has a load of long-term debt
On Thursday, Sept. 22, AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO), one of the big four auto parts retailers, will release its fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 earnings. Read more...
Meridian Funds Comments on Cadence Design Systems Guru stock highlight
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDNS) provides “mission critical” electronic design automation (EDA) software to the semiconductor industry. Our investment in the company is based on its predictable and recurring revenue base as well as its ability to consistently raise prices, a rarity in the semiconductor space. The company reported a strong quarter highlighted by market share gains in both its digital and emulation segments. Cadence also finalized a $1.2 billion stock buyback program and announced a second program in the amount of $525 million. Though the news was positively received, we trimmed our position as the company’s share price appreciated towards our target price. We still remain invested due to Cadence’s shareholder-friendly practices and attractive risk-reward profile. Read more...
Meridian Funds Comments on Sally Beauty Holdings Guru stock highlight
Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SBH) is a specialty distributor and retailer of beauty products to salons and consumers worldwide. We own the company because of its history of consistent earnings growth and promising international opportunities. Management cut forward guidance during the quarter as lighter retail traffic to the company’s strip mall locations led to negative same-store sales growth in its Sally Beauty Supply segment. Its Beauty Systems Group segment, which distributes directly to beauty salons and is more structurally insulated from broader retail weakness, made up for that decline as the company posted positive same-store sales growth overall. Efforts to broaden its reach through a revised loyalty program and enhanced social media activities should help combat some of the structural headwinds. We continue to hold our position. Read more...
Meridian Funds Comments on INC Research Holdings Guru stock highlight
INC Research Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:INCR) is a global contract research organization (CRO) that operates primarily in the clinical development market. With a broader market that is 50% outsourced today, we are encouraged by INC’s single-digit market share and competitive global network. The stock declined following Q4 bookings that came in lighter than expected as two larger awards within their pipeline did not materialize. Although near-term bookings were impacted, we believe the company’s long-term prospects remain intact. Of particular strategic value is INC’s global network, which enables its comprehensive suite of consultative and operational services to be that much more effective. Thus, we maintained our position. Read more...
Meridian Funds Comments on CEB Inc. Guru stock highlight
CEB, Inc. (NYSE:CEB) is a business services company that provides best-practice and technology insights to businesses in a wide range of industries. We were first attracted to CEB for its recurring revenue business model and its low market penetration. IT research firm, Gartner, Inc., also found value in CEB’s platform and acquired the company during the first quarter in a cash and stock deal worth roughly $2.6 billion. By combining CEB’s existing client partnerships with Gartner’s operational expertise and distinct sales network, we believe the acquisition should be accretive. Read more...
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Commentaries and Stories

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Meridian Funds Comments on National CineMedia Guru stock highlight
National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI) displays advertisements to U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online, and through mobile devices. Among the many things we like about this company is its healthy dividend yield, strong EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margins, low capital intensity, and long-duration contracts with leading theater groups. Although the company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue and EBITDA for its fourth quarter, guidance for 2017 was below expectations. Additionally, AMC Entertainment, one of National CineMedia’s largest shareholders, announced plans to divest the majority of its stake in the company in order to comply with the Department of Justice’s Final Order on AMC’s acquisition of Carmike Cinemas. We believe business fundamentals remain intact and therefore continue to hold a position in the stock. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on INC Research Holdings Guru stock highlight
INC Research Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:INCR) is a global contract research organization (CRO) that operates primarily in the clinical development market. With a broader market that is 50% outsourced today, we are encouraged by INC’s single-digit market share and competitive global network. The stock declined following Q4 bookings that came in lighter than expected as two larger awards within their pipeline did not materialize. Although near-term bookings were impacted, we believe the company’s long-term prospects remain intact. Of particular strategic value is INC’s global network, which enables its comprehensive suite of consultative and operational services to be that much more effective. Thus, we maintained our position. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Sally Beauty Holdings Guru stock highlight
Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SBH) is a specialty distributor and retailer of beauty products to salons and consumers worldwide. We own the company because of its history of consistent earnings growth and promising international opportunities. Management cut forward guidance during the quarter as lighter retail traffic to the company’s strip mall locations led to negative same-store sales growth in its Sally Beauty Supply segment. Its Beauty Systems Group segment, which distributes directly to beauty salons and is more structurally insulated from broader retail weakness, made up for that decline as the company posted positive same-store sales growth overall. Efforts to broaden its reach through a revised loyalty program and enhanced social media activities should help combat some of the structural headwinds. We continue to hold our position. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Cadence Design Systems Guru stock highlight
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDNS) provides “mission critical” electronic design automation (EDA) software to the semiconductor industry. Our investment in the company is based on its predictable and recurring revenue base as well as its ability to consistently raise prices, a rarity in the semiconductor space. The company reported a strong quarter highlighted by market share gains in both its digital and emulation segments. Cadence also finalized a $1.2 billion stock buyback program and announced a second program in the amount of $525 million. Though the news was positively received, we trimmed our position as the company’s share price appreciated towards our target price. We still remain invested due to Cadence’s shareholder-friendly practices and attractive risk-reward profile. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Exact Sciences Corp Guru stock highlight
Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:EXAS) develops noninvasive molecular screening tests for the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. We originally invested in the company because Cologuard, its revolutionary product, exhibited low market penetration and significant opportunity for continued adoption. Test accuracy versus other non-invasive tests has led to improved adoption rates and recent annual revenue growth in excess of 150%. Large commercial insurer, Aetna, recently announced its decision to cover the screening for qualified members. In this positive environment, Exact Sciences raised its test volume expectations to 415,000 for the year and noted meaningful gross margin improvement as its business model continues to scale faster than expected. As such, we are maintaining our position. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on CEB Inc. Guru stock highlight
CEB, Inc. (NYSE:CEB) is a business services company that provides best-practice and technology insights to businesses in a wide range of industries. We were first attracted to CEB for its recurring revenue business model and its low market penetration. IT research firm, Gartner, Inc., also found value in CEB’s platform and acquired the company during the first quarter in a cash and stock deal worth roughly $2.6 billion. By combining CEB’s existing client partnerships with Gartner’s operational expertise and distinct sales network, we believe the acquisition should be accretive. More...

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Meridian Growth Fund 1Q 2017 Commentary Analysis of holdings and markets Meridian Funds - Meridian Growth Fund 1Q 2017 Commentary
MARKET SUMMARY U.S. stock markets posted strong gains in the first quarter, largely on the belief that a combination of tax reform, infrastructure spending, and a lighter regulatory environment would positively impact domestic growth. Though such policy moves have not yet taken shape, the broader market climbed and volatility was scarce. Other notable events capturing investors’ attention included the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase and the House of Representatives’ failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. As tracked by the Russell indices, stocks in all capitalization ranges climbed higher, with large cap stocks readily in front. Mid caps and small caps followed the upward trend. After a strong fourth-quarter performance, value-oriented stocks of all capitalizations lagged their growth counterparts. FUND PERFORMANCE For the first quarter of 2017, The Meridian Growth Fund (the “Fund”) returned 7.04% (net) during the quarter, outperforming its benchmark, the Russell 2500 Growth Index, which gained 6.25%. Our investment process prioritizes the management of risk over the opportunity for return. Our goal is to build an all-weather portfolio that can perform in a variety of market conditions. We look to build a portfolio that can mitigate capital losses on the downside and, secondarily, provide 100% upside participation. While our risk-first approach is particularly effective during heightened volatility, Q1 was characterized by scarce volatility. From a sector perspective, leading drivers of outperformance included industrials and information technology, where strong stock selection drove gains. Particularly positive were selections in the commercial & professional services industry group. Investments in consumer discretionary held back relative performance as the retailing industry group faced notable headwinds. Another detractor was our lack of exposure to the materials sector, which posted strong gains during the period. Given that materials names tend to exhibit levered balance sheets and are more influenced by commodity price swings, we typically avoid this sector. TOP THREE The three largest contributors to the Fund’s performance during the period were CEB, Inc. (NYSE:CEB), Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:EXAS), and Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDNS). CEB, Inc. (NYSE:CEB) is a business services company that provides best-practice and technology insights to businesses in a wide range of industries. We were first attracted to CEB for its recurring revenue business model and its low market penetration. IT research firm, Gartner, Inc., also found value in CEB’s platform and acquired the company during the first quarter in a cash and stock deal worth roughly $2.6 billion. By combining CEB’s existing client partnerships with Gartner’s operational expertise and distinct sales network, we believe the acquisition should be accretive. Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:EXAS) develops noninvasive molecular screening tests for the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. We originally invested in the company because Cologuard, its revolutionary product, exhibited low market penetration and significant opportunity for continued adoption. Test accuracy versus other non-invasive tests has led to improved adoption rates and recent annual revenue growth in excess of 150%. Large commercial insurer, Aetna, recently announced its decision to cover the screening for qualified members. In this positive environment, Exact Sciences raised its test volume expectations to 415,000 for the year and noted meaningful gross margin improvement as its business model continues to scale faster than expected. As such, we are maintaining our position. Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDNS) provides “mission critical” electronic design automation (EDA) software to the semiconductor industry. Our investment in the company is based on its predictable and recurring revenue base as well as its ability to consistently raise prices, a rarity in the semiconductor space. The company reported a strong quarter highlighted by market share gains in both its digital and emulation segments. Cadence also finalized a $1.2 billion stock buyback program and announced a second program in the amount of $525 million. Though the news was positively received, we trimmed our position as the company’s share price appreciated towards our target price. We still remain invested due to Cadence’s shareholder-friendly practices and attractive risk-reward profile. BOTTOM THREE The three largest detractors from the Fund’s performance during the quarter were Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SBH), INC Research Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:INCR), and National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI). Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SBH) is a specialty distributor and retailer of beauty products to salons and consumers worldwide. We own the company because of its history of consistent earnings growth and promising international opportunities. Management cut forward guidance during the quarter as lighter retail traffic to the company’s strip mall locations led to negative same-store sales growth in its Sally Beauty Supply segment. Its Beauty Systems Group segment, which distributes directly to beauty salons and is more structurally insulated from broader retail weakness, made up for that decline as the company posted positive same-store sales growth overall. Efforts to broaden its reach through a revised loyalty program and enhanced social media activities should help combat some of the structural headwinds. We continue to hold our position. INC Research Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:INCR) is a global contract research organization (CRO) that operates primarily in the clinical development market. With a broader market that is 50% outsourced today, we are encouraged by INC’s single-digit market share and competitive global network. The stock declined following Q4 bookings that came in lighter than expected as two larger awards within their pipeline did not materialize. Although near-term bookings were impacted, we believe the company’s long-term prospects remain intact. Of particular strategic value is INC’s global network, which enables its comprehensive suite of consultative and operational services to be that much more effective. Thus, we maintained our position. National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI) displays advertisements to U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online, and through mobile devices. Among the many things we like about this company is its healthy dividend yield, strong EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margins, low capital intensity, and long-duration contracts with leading theater groups. Although the company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue and EBITDA for its fourth quarter, guidance for 2017 was below expectations. Additionally, AMC Entertainment, one of National CineMedia’s largest shareholders, announced plans to divest the majority of its stake in the company in order to comply with the Department of Justice’s Final Order on AMC’s acquisition of Carmike Cinemas. We believe business fundamentals remain intact and therefore continue to hold a position in the stock. OUTLOOK During the first quarter, we were surprised by the lack of volatility. In fact, there was only one day during the period in which the Russell 2500 Growth Index sold off more than 2%; and, prior to this, the previous day with a 2% or greater sell-off occurred over six months ago on September 9, 2016. While broader economic data has been positive, climbing interest rates, apparent gridlock in Washington, D.C., and rising geopolitical concerns may soon disrupt the complacency. We will aim to take advantage of opportunities if volatility picks up and will continue to look for companies with predictable and recurring revenue streams, strong competitive advantages, and increasingly large market opportunities. 2Listed holdings are presented to illustrate examples of the securities the Fund has bought and do not represent all of the Fund’s holdings or future investments. Information about the Fund’s holdings should not be considered investment advice. There is no guarantee that the Fund will continue to hold any one particular security or stay invested in any one particular sector. Holdings are subject to change at any time and are as of the date shown above. More...

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Meridian Growth Fund 4th Quarter Commentary Review of markets and holdings Meridian Funds - Meridian Growth Fund 4th Quarter Commentary
MARKET SUMMARY More...

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AutoZone: Debt Is a Dragging Brake on This Muscle Car This auto parts retailer has loads of earning power and an outstanding record for earnings predictability, but also has a load of long-term debt Jim Simons,Meridian Funds - AutoZone: Debt Is A Dragging Brake On This Muscle Car
On Thursday, Sept. 22, AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO), one of the big four auto parts retailers, will release its fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 earnings. More...

RETAIL, AUTO PARTS, SPECIALTY RETAIL, UNDERVALUED, PREDICTABLE, PULLBACK, LONG


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Meridian Funds Comments on Heritage-Crystal Clean Guru stock highlight
Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCCI) has been a solid, long-term performer, but pulled back during the period in response to declining oil prices. One of the reasons we were originally attracted to this environmental services company is the recurring revenue stream generated by its parts cleaning business. However, Heritage-Crystal Clean also provides a used oil collection service and operates an oil re-refinery. The company is successfully lowering input costs in this business, recently transitioning from paying customers to collect and dispose of used oil to charging for this service. Heritage then re-processes the used oil it collects and sells it as new motor oil. We believe this segment of the business shows considerable promise, and have been adding to the position. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Roadrunner Transportation Systems Guru stock highlight
Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Inc. (NYSE:RRTS), a leading transportation and logistics service provider, declined along with other transportation service providers. Weak freight markets, a more competitive pricing environment, and an increase in accidents worked against Roadrunner, causing it to miss third-quarter earnings expectations. The company also took a one-time charge after discontinuing a lease-guarantee program designed to attract owner-operators. We believe Roadrunner’s position as the low-cost provider in this space will enable it to successfully weather the competitive pricing environment, which we expect will be short-lived. In addition, the company is gaining market share and enjoying double-digit returns on acquisitions. We opted to hold onto this stock while closely monitoring fundamentals. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. Guru stock highlight
Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. (NASDAQ:PACB) is a leader in the field of next-generation gene sequencing technology. In October, the company unveiled the Sequel™ System, a gene-sequencing platform that is smaller and less expensive than the Pacific Bioscience’s former gene sequencer. This groundbreaking technology enables longer and more accurate reads of genomes, and is the result of collaboration with Roche, a health care company with interests in human in vitro diagnostics. Late in the period, Pacific Biosciences received a $20 million milestone payment from Roche for completing the project. We believe this new platform will enable the company to penetrate a larger portion of the broader sequencing market. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Solera Holdings Inc. Guru stock highlight
Solera Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SLH) is a company we’ve followed for several years but were unable to purchase due to the fact that it remained just above the portfolio’s market-capitalization range. However, in July the company’s market cap declined, making it a viable investment for the portfolio. As a provider of risk and asset management software and services to the global automotive industry, Solera is a stable business that is both predictable and defensive in nature. The majority of the company’s revenues are recurring, and it has a strong competitive position, particularly outside of the U.S. where it generates over half of its revenue. In August, Solera’s management announced the sale of the company to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $6.5 billion, causing the stock to appreciate. We viewed the increase in Solera’s share price as an opportunity to take profits and trimmed our position. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on SolarWinds Inc. Guru stock highlight
SolarWinds, Inc. (NYSE:SWI) accepted a $4.5 billion offer to be acquired by two private equity firms, turning it into a homerun for investors. In October, the developer of IT infrastructure management software agreed to be purchased at nearly a 20% premium by Silver Lake Partners and Thoma Bravo. We initiated a position in SolarWinds in 2013 based on our belief that the company would benefit from an increasingly large market opportunity created by a pervasiveness of performance-driven IT infrastructures. We opportunistically added to the position when the stock pulled back and were rewarded by the takeout. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Royal Gold Inc. Guru stock highlight
Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD) is a precious metals company with royalty claims on gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc at mines in over 20 countries. While gold performed better than other commodities during the period, the precious metal declined as U.S. monetary policy tightened and the dollar appreciated. Another setback for the company was the deferral of gold from a mine in Chile operated by Barrick Gold, which temporarily stopped construction at the mine. However, we believe Royal Gold has an exceptional business model and we view our investment in the company as a great way to get exposure to gold. The company essentially pays miners upfront for the right to buy their metals later at reduced prices. It has no operational risk because it owns no mines, is a beneficiary of ounces growth, has pricing power, and typically earns an 8% return on a flat price. We have decided to be patient with Royal Gold and maintained a position in the stock. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Exact Sciences Corp Guru stock highlight
Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:EXAC) declined after an independent panel of health care experts excluded the company’s colon cancer-screening test from a list of recommended tests in the U.S. Instead, the panel defined the product as “alternative testing that may be useful in select clinical circumstances.” Marketed as Cologuard, the product is a non-invasive, FDA-approved colorectal cancer-screening test covered by Medicare. It has proven effective at detecting early-stage colon cancer as well as precancerous lesions. When detected early, colon cancer is highly curable. However, Cologuard’s exclusion from the panel’s list of recommended tests may make it more difficult to win favorable reimbursement from private insurers. We consequently liquidated our position in Exact Sciences and used proceeds from the sale to invest in other, more attractive investment opportunities. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on California Resources Corp Guru stock highlight
California Resources Corp. (NYSE:CRC) is focused solely on oil and natural gas exploration and drilling in California. Our investment in this stock was based on the expectation that U.S. production would soon taper off, resulting in higher domestic oil prices. However, production continued to increase for much longer than we anticipated, forcing management to make production cutbacks, slash capital spending plans, and reduce the number of wells it plans to operate. Another negative for the company was its elevated debt load, which tends to fuel greater volatility in the stock when oil prices fall. We continue to believe California Resources Group is positioned for a rebound when U.S. oil production slows and therefore maintained a position in the stock. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Amazon.com Inc. Guru stock highlight
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to move the needle on many fronts, including cloud computing. Amazon Web Services (AWS), which rents computing power and storage for corporate customers, is the leader in this space and continues to strengthen its competitive advantage through major feature releases, more data centers, and price cuts for several of its services. Although AWS recently announced annual revenue growth of approximately 60% and a profit margin of greater than 50%, we believe this segment of the business has much more room to grow. Another positive development for the stock was a significant shift in consumer buying trends during the holiday season as more people chose to do their shopping in the e-commerce marketplace rather than in bricks-and-mortar stores. This shift helped Amazon exceed earning expectations during the third quarter. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Clean Harbors Inc. Guru stock highlight
Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE:CLH) is a provider of environmental, energy, and industrial services, including hazardous waste disposal for companies. The rapid deterioration of oil prices during the period caused Clean Harbors’ re-refining business to suffer. However, we believe the company’s hazardous waste disposal business is its greatest asset. It is extremely difficult for companies to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements and to obtain permitting for new hazardous waste incinerators, giving Clean Harbors a competitive advantage. This business has benefitted from a steady increase in the types of waste classified by the EPA as hazardous. Given the industry’s limited capacity and Clean Harbors’ dominant position in this space, the company has been able to consistently raise prices. We believe investors are too focused on the short-term movement of crude oil prices and not focused enough on the long-term growth potential of this company. We consequently increased our position in the stock. More...

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Meridian Funds Comments on Wolverine Worldwide Guru stock highlight
Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW) is the leading manufacturer of non-athletic footwear in the U.S. Like many other retail companies during the period, Wolverine struggled against a bleak consumer backdrop. The company announced an 18% decline in third-quarter earnings due to inconsistent retail traffic and disappointing re-order patterns from its retail partners. Wolverine owns a broad portfolio of footwear brands including Sperry, Merrell, Keds, and Saucony and manufactures work boots for the military and construction workers. We believe an unusually warm winter and exposure to the oil and gas industry will create headwinds for Wolverine’s winter and work boots. Although we maintain a position in the stock, we are continuing to closely monitor fundamentals. More...

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