Saturday, January 26, 2013

FOREX-Euro up for 4th day on hopes of official action – Reuters

Trading PointFOREX-Euro up for 4th day on hopes of official action
Central banks' liquidity pledge reassures investors * Soft U.S. data keeps speculation of Fed easing alive * Options reflect high level of euro uncertainty * Yen …
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The Men and Women Who Run Marks & Spencer Group

LONDON -- Management can make all the difference to a company's success and thus its share price.

In this series, I'm assessing the boardrooms of companies within the FTSE 100. I hope to separate the management teams that are worth following from those that are not. Today I am looking at�Marks and Spencer� (LSE: MKS  ) , the retailer that�suffered from poor Christmas trading.

Here are the key directors.



Robert Swannell

(non-exec) Chairman

Marc Bolland

Chief executive

Alan Stewart

Finance director

John Dixon

Executive director, general merchandise

Steve Rowe

Executive director, food

Steven Sharp

Executive director, marketing

Laura Wade-Gery

Executive director, multichannel e-commerce

Phew! What a list. I like it when boards include some functional executives, but M&S goes the whole nine yards, with Chairman Robert Swannell umpiring six executives and seven non-execs. I wonder if they line up on opposite sides of the table.

4 pounds a share
Swannell became chairman in January 2011, but his association with the company goes back much further. A former investment banker who spent 30 years with Schroders and Citigroup, he was brought in as an advisor to M&S by its former controversial executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose. He advised the company in its rejection of Sir Philip Green's 4-pound-a-share offer in 2004. They're worth 3.80 pounds today, though a bidder would have to offer nearer 5 pounds.

Swannell's earlier FTSE chairmanship was uninspiring. He chaired HMV from 2009 to 2011, during which time its profits collapsed, it broke its banking covenants, and its share price dropped from 133 pence to 16 pence.

Turnaround team
CEO Marc Bolland had been in the job a year before Swannell became chairman. After a career rising through the ranks of Heineken, Dutchman Mr Bolland was appointed CEO of�William Morrison�in 2006 and was credited with turning the chain around after it had issued five profits warnings.

At M&S he immediately set about introducing a new strategy, substantially reversing that of Stuart Rose. During his tenure, M&S's food segment -- Bolland's background -- has prospered, but general merchandise has performed poorly and there's no doubt Bolland is now on probation.�He's staked his future on the group's autumn fashion collection.

He's shaken up the management in general merchandise, bringing in a new fashion team and moving John Dixon from food to head the division. A candidate for CEO when Marc Bolland was appointed, the broadening of Dixon's experience will count in spades if the incumbent gets the chop.

Finance director Alan Stewart joined shortly after Marc Bolland. He was FD at�WH Smith�from 2005 to 2008 when the company turned around its performance, and was described as a "cost-cutting supremo."

How to sack the CEO
An impressive bunch of non-execs are led by senior independent director Jan du Plessis, the chairman of Rio Tinto, who this month�abruptly sacked its CEO. He could no doubt advise Robert Swannell on how to do the deed or, perhaps, might be best placed to step in if the City loses patience with the chairman as well.

I analyze management teams from five different angles to help work out a verdict. Here's my assessment:

1. Reputation.�Management CVs and track record.

Track record was mostly good.

Score 3/5

2. Performance.�Success at the company.

... until they joined the company.

Score 2/5

3. Board Composition.�Skills, experience, balance

Overall good.

Score 3/5

4. Remuneration.�Fairness of pay, link to performance.

Repeatedly criticised.

Score 1/5

5. Directors' Holdings,�compared to their pay.

Fairly low compared to pay.

Score 2/5

Overall, M&S scores 11 out of 25, a poor result. Unless Bolland can pull a rabbit out of the hat soon, there'll be some changes.

I've collated�all my FTSE 100 boardroom verdicts on this summary page.

Buffett's favorite FTSE share
Let me finish by adding that legendary investor�Warren Buffett�has always looked for impressive management teams when pinpointing which shares to buy. So I think it's important to tell you that the billionaire stock picker has recently acquired a substantial stake in a prominent FTSE 100 company.

A special free report from The Motley Fool -- "The One U.K. Share Warren Buffett Loves" -- explains Buffett's purchase and investing logic in full.

And Buffett, don't forget, rarely invests outside his native United States, which to my mind makes this British blue chip -- and its management -- all the more attractive. So why not�download the report today? It's totally free and comes with no further obligation.

More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool

Citigroup's stock looks tantalizingly cheap. Yet the bank's balance sheet is still in need of more repair, and there's a considerable amount of uncertainty after a shocking management shakeup. Should investors be treading carefully, or jumping on an opportunity to buy? To help figure out whether Citigroup is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the bank today. Click here now for instant access to our best expert's take on Citigroup.

This Morning: How Do You Like Them AAPLs? Nokia Sinks, Netflix Soars

Here are some things going on this morning in your world of tech:

Shares of Apple (AAPL) are down $53.75, or almost 11%, at $459.26, in early trading, following the company’s Q4 report last night for revenue that missed analysts’ estimates slightly and profit that beat slightly, on sales of slightly fewer iPhones than expected.

The Street this morning has come to the conclusion that Apple is a no-growth company: Pretty much every analyst is projecting no growth in EPS this year, at best, with many seeing a decline in EPS.

More than that, analysts were left rather befuddled by the change in Apple’s forecasting approach, discussed extensively on the conference call last night,�which now offers a range of revenue values, instead of a single number, for the quarter, and no profit projection. Price targets are going down across the board.

There are at least two downgrades, that I can see, one from Scotia Capital’s Gus Papageorgiou, who cut his rating to Sector Perform from Outperform, and one from Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek, who cut the stock to Hold from Buy.

Nomura Equity Research’s Stuart Jeffrey reiterates a Neutral rating, writing that the company is “Starting the ex-growth era.”�However, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, while cutting his price target to $888 from $1,111, reiterates a Buy rating, writing that he still expects EPS growth this year, projecting $56.99 per share, versus a prior $58.92, which is still quite a bit above the average estimates now around $42 or so.

As if the report wasn’t humbling enough, Gartner late yesterday reported that Samsung Electronics (005930KS) has surpassed Apple as the top buyer of semiconductors in the world, purchasing $23.9 billion in components last year, ahead of Apple’s $21.4 billion, versus prior-year purchases of $18.6 billion for Samsung and $18.8 billion for Apple.

Shares of Nokia (NOK) are down 40 cents, or 8.7%, at $4.24, after the company this morning reported Q4 results roughly in line with its pre-announcement from two weeks ago, but said it will do away with its 2012 dividend, which had been 20 cents a share the prior year, in order to “ensure strategic flexibility.”

Shares of Netflix (NFLX) continue the amazing surge begun after the company last night reported better-than-expected Q4 results. The stock is currently up $44.91, or 43%, at $148.17. Price targets are going up all around, and the stock received multiple upgrades this morning, from JP Morgan, Lazard Capital, Morgan Stanley, Raymond James and Macquarie, though Credit Suisse cut its rating on the shares to Neutral. Price targets and estimates are going up all around.

Shares of electronics distributor Avnet (AVT) are up $1.23, or almost 4%, at $33.40, after the company this morning reported fiscal Q2 revenue and earnings per share that topped analysts’ estimates, and forecast this quarter’s revenue and profit higher as well.

CEO Rick Hamada remarked that, “our served markets continue to reflect an uneven recovery as questions around global growth trends persist.”

Obama defends entitlements in speech


President Barack Obama uses his inaugural address to put Republicans on notice that he�ll fight for robust entitlement programs and against climate change, digging in ahead of what will prove to be a blistering fight over U.S. government spending and deficits. See full story.

Buffett: U.S. debt on its own �not a problem�

Billionaire Warren Buffett believes the federal deficit should be stabilized in relation to U.S. economic growth, but that the nation�s debt is not a problem. See full story.

Gold steady as Citi cuts its price forecast

Gold futures were little changed Monday as analysts at Citigroup took a slight bearish turn on the precious metal, cutting their forecasts for this year and next. See full story.

Ford F-150 next generation: The Atlas

Ford revealed its Atlas concept pickup truck at the Detroit auto show recently. The concept truck is powered by a next-generation EcoBoost engine that uses technologies such as engine start-stop to help improve fuel economy. The concept previews the next generation of the F-150 pickup. See full story.

5 earnings reports to watch Tuesday

As the wave of earnings results crests, here�s a look at five financial reports to look out for when U.S. markets reopen. See full story.


Strategies for luxury buyers whose mortgages don�t meet the CFPB�s new standards. See full story.

Veeco Seeing Strong LED Tool Orders In China, Lazard Says

Veeco (VECO) shares appear to be getting a boost today from positive comments on the provider of LED manufacturing equipment this morning by Lazard Capital analyst Daniel Amir.

In a research note, Amir writes that recent checks from China “suggest that tool orders continue to accelerate.” He adds that “not a month goes by without new players popping up in China that order LED tools.” He says the situation at some point could overheat in terms tool orders, but that for the near-term, the strong demand is good news for Veeco, which he says has about 60% of the market for LED manufacturing tools in China.

Amir maintains a Buy rating on the shares.

VECO is up $2.02, or 6%, to $35.73.

Why Silicon Graphics Shares Skyrocketed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Silicon Graphics (NASDAQ: SGI  ) have skyrocketed today by as much as 11% after receiving an analyst upgrade.

So what: Sterne Agee boosted its rating on the stock from hold to buy while assigning a price target of $19. That's over 50% upside from even today's high. Analyst Alex Kurtz said the next 12 months should see upside from efficiency gains in operations and gross margin.

Now what: Kurtz expects the company to beat consensus estimates for the foreseeable future thanks to growth in big-data trends and near-term catalysts. Silicon Graphics may also be able to exercise leverage during the next year for additional gains. Earlier this week, the company said it would release second-quarter results on Jan. 30, so shareholders won't have to wait long to hear how the business is performing.

Interested in more info on Silicon Graphics? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

2013 and beyond
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock it is in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just�click here�to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Big U.S. Banks Unprepared for Growing Wave of Cyber Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Better known as DDoS attacks. That's geek speak for the kind of cyber assault that hits a web server with so many requests for service that the site becomes unavailable for use by anyone else. Quite literally information overload.

A new study shows DDoS attacks are happening more and more at the nation's banks�. The study's unsettling conclusion? They're not as prepared as you might expect, not even the big ones.

New kinds of attacks, old kinds of defenses
The study was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and was reported on by Financial Times. Ponemon Institute is a U.S.-based research center that looks at privacy, data protection, and information-security policy issues.

The study's primary findings are that "more than two-thirds of banks have suffered at least one DDoS attack in the past 12 months," and also that "almost half of respondents ... said their banks had suffered multiple DDoS attacks in the past 12 months."�

And while it would be reasonable to assume that DDoS attacks are mainly a problem for small banks -- which presumably can't afford the most up-to-date experts or the latest and greatest counter-technology -- this is actually a problem for some of the country's biggest banks. Over the past year, so-called "hacktivist" groups have hit Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) with DDoS attacks.�

IT staff responding to the study cited shortages of personnel, expertise, and proper technology as continuing issues in dealing with these events. Most frighteningly, according to the study, is that many banks still rely on old-fashioned firewalls to protect against DDoS attacks.�The problem is, that's not what firewalls were designed for: Firewalls are old-style defenses for old-style attacks. As such, relying on them leaves banks vulnerable to these debilitating DDoS assaults.

Sorry, please try again later
Imagine hackers bombing's servers with so much fake traffic you can't log on to buy that toaster you need, or that movie on Blu-Ray you just have to have. That's a bummer. Incredibly frustrating maybe, but still just a bummer.

Now imagine hackers doing the same to Bank of America servers, and you can't log on to your bank account to transfer the money your son or daughter is waiting on at college, or you're a CFO who's trying to move some absurdly large amount of cash from one account to another, and instead all you get is a "please try again later" message from your bank. That's more than a bummer. That's completely unacceptable.

Whether you're that anxious parent or anxious CFO, who wants to keep their money where they're not sure it can be accessed when they need it? In this 24/7 online world, that's a more relevant question than ever. We all expect instant, unfettered access to any of our online services, and when we don't get it, we may decide to take our business elsewhere.

Don't just sit there, do something
So as banks suffer more and more of these DDoS attacks, and consumers and CFOs find themselves more and more frighteningly unable to access their accounts, banks may find themselves losing more and more business.

And banks like JPMorgan, B of A, and Citigroup rely heavily on deposits and other non-exotic assets to help keep the lights on and share prices up. Who will they lose the business to? Naturally, the banks that recognize the problem, and spend the requisite time and money fixing it.

The technology and expertise to handle this increasing wave of DDoS attacks is out there -- it just takes time, money, and awareness of the problem to begin addressing it. One expert quoted in Financial Times cited the need for so-called "first line of defense" security systems, which deal with DDoS attacks at the "perimeter of the system," before they hit the network and cause a company the most trouble.�

With any luck, this study by the Ponemon Institute -- or at the very least the story in Financial Times�-- is right now making the rounds of top management at America's banks, both big and small. As consumers and businesspeople, we need to know our money is secure and that we can get at it when we want or need to.�As investors, we need to know that the banks we own shares in are taking care of the people they depend on to stay in business.

And if JPMorgan, Citi, B of A, or Wells Fargo can't give us proper peace of mind, we'll find some company that can.�

Big banks on the brain? Check out this new Motley Fool report on the bank that was 2012's best performing financial stock: Bank of America. Smarties who bought at the beginning of last year found that their share price had doubled by the end of the year. But there's more to the B of A story than meets the eye. Let our Foolish analysts give you a thorough detailing of the superbank's prospects along with three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. For full access, just�click here now.�

Starbucks Dazzles With More of the Same

It's the same old story at Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) . The coffee giant just announced results on a quarter that looked a lot like the results it posted each quarter for the past few years.

Impressive comparable sales growth? Check.

Margin expansion? Check.

Reaffirmed aggressive growth targets? Check.

For investors who followed along as Starbucks has booked 12 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth north of 5%, consistency isn't a bad thing at all. What's surprising is that, despite the tough retail environment, Starbucks did it again this past holiday season, turning in results that most consumer-facing companies would kill for.

Coffee is king
The key driver was sales growth, particularly in the U.S. Comparable stores clocked in at 6% higher globally, led by a scorching 7% rise in the U.S. region. The increase was mostly due to rising transaction volumes, but a boost in the average check helped too.

That result puts Starbucks near the top of the retail heap this past holiday. Consumers cut back on purchases from luxury brands like Tiffany and Coach, and even dialed down the spending at ultra-affordable McDonald's. But there was one area that they refused to skimp on, and Starbucks delivered it by the cupful.

Selling products, too
Starbucks also got some help from its retail division, home of packaged products like Tazo-branded K-Cups. That the company sold more K-Cups isn't a surprise, given the popularity of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (NASDAQ: GMCR  ) Keurig machine. Still, this holiday season saw Starbucks launch its competing product, called Verismo. Initial sales of about 150,000 Verismo brewers contributed to a 13% jump in retail segment revenue, to nearly $400 million. The company called it a "successful" launch, and the numbers seem to back up that bullish reading.

Looking ahead
Solid results on both the retail side and in U.S. locations are important for another reason: They add confidence to Starbucks' aggressive growth forecast.

The coffee titan plans to open 600 new stores in its Americas region this year, mostly in the U.S. And that's just the start.�Management's strategy calls for�1,500 new locations in the U.S. over the next five years. Sales growth at the pace Starbucks has been booking suggests that's possible, that the market isn't nearly saturated yet.

And Starbucks' ambitious plans for its retail channel also look more achievable in light of this quarter's success. Expectations are for the division to eventually rival Starbucks' stores in terms of size and profitability. With the company calling for retail to post double-digit revenue increases for the year, that long-term forecast seems to be on track.

It's steady as she goes for Starbucks, one solid quarter at a time.

What's brewing now?
With Green Mountain as cheap as it's ever been, many investors are wondering whether this is the end of the former market darling, or the perfect entry point for an enormous rebound. You can find our recommendation for how to play the company in our new premium research report. In it you'll find everything you need to know about Green Mountain, including whether it's a buy at today's prices. Click here for instant access.

Why Rambus Shares Took Off

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of IP licensor Rambus (NASDAQ: RMBS  ) are up by about 7% today after topping out at nearly 11% in the morning. Investors are ignoring weakened revenue and are instead keying in on the company's bottom-line beat.

So what: Rambus posted revenue of $57.4 million and reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.07 for the quarter. Analysts were looking for $60.3 million on the top line, but expected a loss of $0.12 per share. The sizable EPS beat was more than enough to make up for gradually declining revenue, particularly as it reversed a gruesome trend of sagging EPS over the past several quarters. CFO Satish Ron sounded a hopeful note that the company would be positioned for improved profitability for 2013, but we expect such things in conference calls, so guidance is more important.

Now what: Speaking of guidance, Rambus projects first-quarter revenue in the range of $58 million to $63 million, with pro forma net income clocking in in a rather wide range of $4 million to $10 million. The top line is a bit higher than this quarter's number, but with non-GAAP net income from the current quarter clocking in at $8.3 million, the bottom-line projections don't offer much space for growth. Rambus has been stuck in a rut for a while, and despite today's beat on an adjusted basis, there doesn't seem to be a lot of forward momentum yet in store.

Want more news and updates? Add Rambus to your Watchlist now.

2013 and beyond
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock it is in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just�click here�to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Big Banks: Know Where the Money Comes From

"Complexity" is the rallying cry for banking bears these days. But are banks as complex as they seem? In the video below, Motley Fool banking analyst Matt Koppenheffer discusses the importance of digging in to figure out where the profit is actually coming from in the banks you invest in.

To learn more about the most lked-about bank out there, check out our�in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just�click here�to get access.

Jones Lang LaSalle Earnings Are on Deck

Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL  ) is expected to report Q4 earnings on Jan. 29. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Jones Lang LaSalle's revenues will expand 5.4% and EPS will grow 5.2%.

The average estimate for revenue is $1.21 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $2.61.

Revenue details
Last quarter, Jones Lang LaSalle chalked up revenue of $949.5 million. GAAP reported sales were 5.1% higher than the prior-year quarter's $903.2 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Last quarter, non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.23. GAAP EPS of $1.10 for Q3 were 45% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.76 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Recent performance
For the preceding quarter, gross margin was 75.2%, 180 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 7.7%, 10 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 5.2%, 140 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead

The full year's average estimate for revenue is $3.90 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.47.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 698 members out of 732 rating the stock outperform, and 34 members rating it underperform. Among 285 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 280 give Jones Lang LaSalle a green thumbs-up, and five give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Jones Lang LaSalle is outperform, with an average price target of $94.33.

Looking for alternatives to Jones Lang LaSalle? It takes more than great companies to build a fortune for the future. Learn the basic financial habits of millionaires next door and get focused stock ideas in our free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich." Click here for instant access to this free report.

  • Add Jones Lang LaSalle to My Watchlist.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Top Stocks For 3/4/2012-11

Dr Stock Pick HOT News & Alerts!


FREE Daily Stock Alerts From


Thursday October 8, 2009 Stock Report!

Stocks Upgraded Today

CompanyTickerBrokerage FirmRatings ChangePrice Target
Gardner DenverGDIKeyBanc Capital MktsHold � Buy$42
California PizzaCPKIKeyBanc Capital MktsHold � Buy$18
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, SABBVCitigroupHold � Buy
SyngentaSYTJP MorganNeutral � Overweight
Monster WorldwideMWWJP MorganNeutral � Overweight$12 � $24
ABB LtdABBUBSNeutral � Buy
eBayEBAYKaufman BrosHold � Buy$22 � $29
Adobe SystemsADBERobert W. BairdNeutral � Outperform$35 � $40
ZumiezZUMZRoth CapitalHold � Buy$16 � $22
CloroxCLXDeutsche SecuritiesHold � Buy$65 � $66
ANSYSANSSDeutsche SecuritiesHold � Buy$34 � $45

Stocks Downgraded Today

CompanyTickerBrokerage FirmRatings ChangePrice Target
ComericaCMACredit SuisseOutperform � Neutral$27 � $30
NCR CorpNCRKeyBanc Capital MktsBuy � Hold
EdisonEIXBernsteinOutperform � Mkt Perform
MATAV, Hungarian TelMTACitigroupBuy � Hold
ENI S.p.A.ECredit SuisseNeutral � Underperform
BroadcomBRCMRobert W. BairdOutperform � Neutral$30
Tata MotorsTTMDeutsche SecuritiesBuy � Hold

Transocean Shares Tumble on Stock Sale

Shares of Transocean(RIG) fell sharply Tuesday after the Swiss offshore driller announced a dilutive stock offering.

Before the opening bell, Transocean said it's selling 26 million newly issued shares, in part to help refinance its acquisition of Aker Drilling, which was completed in early October. The company currently has roughly 320 million common shares so the issuance represents about 8% of its outstanding stock.

See if (RIG) is in our portfolio

The news sent Transocean shares down more than 9% to close at $41.63, and the session low of $41.28 is the stock's worst intraday level since June 2010 when it ran as low as $41.88. Tuesday's volume of 23.1 million was more than three times the issue's trailing three-month daily average of 6.3 million. The issuance of the new stock has some analysts wondering if Transocean will be able to keep its dividend payout intact. The company's forward annual dividend is $3.16 a share, giving it a yield of 7.6% at current levels. "Though RIG will pay its remaining installments of the currently planned dividend of $1 billion, it is unlikely that the company will renew the dividend at its current level, in our view," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note on Tuesday. Wells Fargo estimated the quarterly dividend could be cut down to between 20-to-40 cents a share vs. the current payout of 79 cents a share.A Transocean spokesman asked about the dividend said the company doesn't comment on "market speculation." --. >To submit a news tip, send an email to:

>To order reprints of this article, click here: Reprints

Recently Bankrupt Delphi Holds IPO Anyway

Delphi Automotive (NYSE: DLPH) is in its first day of trading today after the auto parts maker’s initial public offering was priced at $22 a share on Wednesday, at the low end of its expected $22 to $24 range. The former General Motors (NYSE: GM) spin-off raised $530 million by selling 24.1 million shares in its IPO.

But Delphi won’t see a dime of its IPO haul. All of Delphi’s shares are coming from private investors in the company. A group of debt holders including General Motors, Silver Point Capital LP and Elliott Management took control of Delphi two years ago after the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. Delphi filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

The biggest beneficiary in Delphi’s IPO, however, is maligned hedge-fund manager John Paulson. He was listed as the seller of 20.6 million of Delphi’s 24.1 million IPO shares.

Delphi’s stock was already down more than 2 percent in mid-day trading, selling at $21.40 a share.

So let’s see: Bankruptcy, a falling share price and John Paulson. That hasn't exactly been a recipe for a successful stock of late. Earlier this year Paulson & Co. lost $468 million on its investment in disgraced Chinese forestry company Sino-Forest Corp. (SNOFF.PK).

However, Delphi is a much different company than Sino-Forest, and has made some positive strides since coming out of bankruptcy. Its net sales rose 19.1 percent to $12.1 billion in the first nine months of this year. Delphi’s third-quarter earnings of $266 million were more than double what they were during the same quarter in 2010.

The company became profitable again last year after cutting costs and expanding its business in emerging markets such as China. Nearly a quarter of its 2010 net sales came from emerging markets in Asia and South America. Delphi has shifted 91 percent of its work force to those markets – a major contributor to its cost-cutting efforts.

Delphi professes to sell its products to the 25 largest auto makers in the world.

The company plans to use the money raised in its IPO to pay off debts and improve capital. Delphi’s mere presence in the stock market speaks volumes about the recent IPO boom and to some extent the recovery of the U.S. auto industry.

If a business so closely removed from bankruptcy can go public, it shows that the market is at least stable enough to convince more and more companies to dip their toe in the public pool.

Disclosure: None

This Year Was a Bloodbath for Motricity

With the year quickly coming to an end, it's always a good idea to check in on how some of our most-watched stocks are doing. By continually doing our due diligence, we're able to get a sense for where a business is coming from -- and where it's going.

Today, we'll be examining Motricity (Nasdaq: MOTR  ) . Things haven't been pretty for this mobile marketing specialist. Imagine you started the year with $100 -- hoping to grow it -- but by year's end, you had just a $5 bill left.

Sound like a raw deal? Now you know how Motricity shareholders feel. Take a look at the numbers:

Stats on Motricity

Year-to-Date Stock Return (95.1%)
Market Cap $41 million
1-Year Revenue Growth 8.5%
1-Year Profit Growth NM
Short Interest (% of float) 25%
CAPS Rating (out of 5) ***

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, and E*TRADE. NM = not measurable; company has posted net losses over past two quarters.

Why such a party pooper?
To truly appreciate why Motricity has struggled, you need to understand what they do. Their core business is in delivering targeted marketing and advertising to mobile phone carriers. The company counts Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) among its customers. All that sounds pretty good; it even got one Fool to buy in a year ago.

Well, here's the problem: When it comes to smartphones, Motricity was way too late to the party. All of their business was tailored to the feature phone market -- which is just a fancy way of saying "any phone that's not a smartphone."

The company was hoping that the smartphone craze was just a North American thing, but signs are increasingly pointing toward that not being the case. Motricity isn't finding a whole lot of business internationally now either, and that's left investors to ponder: Where will growth come from?

Clearly, you're probably better off leaving this stock alone. Without meaningful headwinds in the smartphone market, this stock's as good as dead. You'd be much better off focusing on the three hidden winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android revolution. We've created a special free report that zeroes in on the three hidden players in the mobile revolution that are underappreciated by the market right now. Get the names of those three companies in your report today -- it's absolutely free!

Click here to add Motricity to My Watchlist, which tracks all of our Foolish analysis and all your other stocks.

I Was Wrong About Starbucks

Ah, remember 2008...?

George W. Bush was still in the White House; the New England Patriots blew a perfect season; the global economy went into a tailspin; and the Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) empire was crumbling.

From a high of $40.01 in November 2006, the stock had tumbled to single-digit range by the end of 2008. I thought for sure this was its comeuppance and it wouldn't recover. Little did I know.

Spoiled milk
Up until that peak, Starbucks had been not only an amazing success story as a retailer, but also as a stock, giving investors who bought in at the 1992 IPO more than a 50-bagger. By 2006, though, Starbucks had become the butt of jokes in pop culture for its ubiquity and commoditization. The satirical newspaper The Onion, for example, once joked that a new Starbucks had opened in the restroom of an existing Starbucks.

It seemed the coffee purveyor's moment in the sun had finally faded. Brand fatigue and saturation had set in across the country. In a February 2007 memo, founder Howard Schultz expressed how the company had lost it way, diluting the brand in the process. He claimed decisions to move to automatic espresso machines and flavor-locked packaging had taken away from the customer experience, removing the "theater" of watching your drink being made and the coffee aroma from its stores.

In January 2008, Howard Schultz replaced Jim Donald as CEO, which I interpreted as a sign of desperation, and later in the year the company would close 600 stores. Finally, I thought, Starbucks' rapacious expansion had done it in.

Just the bathroom key, thanks
Personally, I was never a big fan of Starbucks. I disliked its ubiquity, and saw it as emblematic of a national landscape that's losing its small businesses and looks more and more like a strip mall every day. Did we really need 171 Starbucks in Manhattan?

�I had worked at an independent coffee shop earlier, and felt part of a culture that saw Starbucks as a corporate bogeyman that insisted on obnoxious vagaries like inventing its own words for cup sizes.

My feelings as a consumer colored my perspective as an investor as well. When the stock started to tank in 2007, I thought for sure shares would stay mired at its June 2008 price of $15 or lower. And once the financial crisis hit, I felt certain Starbucks had lost its luster. The glory days of the company seemed behind it, and the stock was destined to hum along with the economy, no longer the growth story it had been in its early years.

My wake-up call
These days, Starbucks is percolating once again. Its share price reached an all-time high on Nov. 7 this year, and the company beat estimates in its last quarterly report, posting 28.5% growth in earnings.

So where did I go wrong?

There are a number of lessons I can take from my misjudgment of Starbucks.

The importance of leadership
�I interpreted the return of Schultz as a sign of weakness and desperation. However, he was the founder; it was his vision that brought the company such success to begin with. If anyone could put Starbucks on the right track again, it was Schultz. Closing down stores and refocusing on the customer experience was the right thing to do, and it brought shareholders value in the long term.

Don't discount brand equity
Starbucks is one of the most visible and well-known brands in the country, not to mention other parts of the world. Though it may have run out of room to expand domestically, Starbucks has found an incredible opportunity in foreign markets. Starbucks has 300 store openings planned next year in the Asia-Pacific region, and expects to have 1,500 locations in China by 2015. Although domestic revenue grew 9.38% from 2007 to 2011, international store sales have surged, increasing by 54.83% over the same period.

Be wary of personal bias
While it's helpful to observe and make judgments on potential investments, you can't let your personal experience cloud investment judgment. Though I wasn't a frequent customer of Starbucks, thousands of other people obviously were. I should've realized the importance of that. It's hard to walk down a city street in the morning without seeing a Starbucks cup in a few hands.

One more cup
Another reason I'm feeling bullish on Starbucks these days: I can't even think of who would be second place in that space.

My first guess is Dunkin' Brands (Nasdaq: DNKN  ) , parent of Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkies might be known for its coffee, but its revenue and market cap aren't even a tenth of Starbucks', and it's clearly targeting a less upscale customer.

Then there's McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) , which followed Starbucks into the coffee market with its McCafe rollout. Though McDonald's might now be a place where you'd go for a sugary fix like a mocha, I can't see anybody behind the counter making a dry cappuccino or telling me about the daily roast.

Finally, there are Caribou Coffee (Nasdaq: CBOU  ) and Peet's Coffee & Tea (Nasdaq: PEET  ) , probably the closest you'll find to a Starbucks clone. But they're even smaller than Dunkin' Donuts, and Caribou recently closed stores.

I've decided to take my final act of penance by making a CAPScall on Starbucks. I'll be giving a green thumb to the green siren. I like their international growth opportunities, and it is clearly the preeminent coffee chain in the world. If you like the Starbucks story, and you're interested in another company with serious growth potential overseas, check out this free report on a stock our newsletters are calling the hottest IPO of 2011. You can access it by clicking here.

Top Stocks For 2012-2-2-18



SCOTTSDALE, AZ–(CRWENEWSWIRE)– EGPI Firecreek, Inc. (OTCBB:EFIR.OB) (�EGPI�) announced it is in the final stages of negotiations for a binding agreement to acquire multiple leases for oil and gas production currently servicing East Texas and Louisiana through the current leaseholder (”The Company”).

The Company has been in business for over 15 years as an oil and gas production company with approximately 10 to 12 producing wells at depths of 2,200 to 2,400 feet. They currently employ approximately 18 people and own all servicing equipment to maintain its well operations.

Negotiations for the acquisition have been ongoing and are estimated to include acquiring 100% working interests and 80% of the corresponding net revenues of the properties which encompass approximately 2000 acres in East Texas and Louisiana.

EGPI�s Board of Directors have given permission to move into the final stages of negotiations in order to execute a formal binding agreement.

Dennis Alexander, EGPI’s CEO, stated, “We believe this target acquisition meets our criteria in assisting EGPI�s continued growth plans for the integration of assets and revenue stream for our Oil & Gas division. We are working diligently in order to finalize this agreement within a reasonably short period of time.�

About EGPI Firecreek, Inc.

EGPI Firecreek, Inc.’s business and acquisition strategy is focused on oil and gas production with an emphasis on acquiring existing fields with proven reserves, the rehabilitation of potentially high throughput oilfields, resource properties and inventories, through its wholly owned subsidiary Energy Producers, Inc. (Energy Producers) and for oil and gas servicing business through its wholly owned subsidiary Chanwest Resources, LLC. EGPI Firecreek, Inc. is also looking to expand into alternative energy sources as well as industries in the energy field.

Safe Harbor

This release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements appear in a number of places in this release and include all statements that are not statements of historical fact regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of EGPI Firecreek, Inc., its directors or its officers with respect to, among other things: (i) financing plans; (ii) trends affecting its financial condition or results of operations; (iii) growth strategy and operating strategy. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “can,” “believe,” “potential” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond EGPI Firecreek, Inc.’s ability to control, and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. More information about the potential factors that could affect the business and financial results is and will be included in EGPI Firecreek, Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: EGPI Firecreek, Inc.


EGPI Firecreek, Inc.
Public Relations and Shareholder Information
Joe Vazquez, 754-204-4549







Jobs report was bad. But not QE3 bad.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- There was nothing good about the Good Friday jobs report. But was the slowdown in hiring in March bad enough for the Federal Reserve to once again consider more stimulus for the economy?

No. It's important to look beyond the one disappointing month, and at the broader trend. Even though only 120,000 jobs were added in March, the average number of payroll gains for the first three months of the year (factoring in revisions for January and February) is about 212,000.

"The Fed is not going to be happy about the jobs report but it's not going to overreact to any one number either. There is a lot of volatility month to month in the jobs report," said Steve Blitz, senior economist for ITG Investment Research in New York.

The Fed's next policy meeting is a two-day session that concludes on April 25. That means there will be two-and-a-half more weeks of data about the overall economy (not just the labor market) for the Fed to digest before then.

And even if those numbers are universally weak, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke should still not be in a rush to announce plans for a third round of bond buying, or quantitative easing.

The numbers behind the jobs recovery

After all, the Fed is still purchasing long-term Treasuries through its Operation Twist program. Through Twist, the Fed is simply swapping short-term bonds for ones with longer maturity dates in order to not add more assets to the central bank's already-bloated balance sheet.

Twist does not expire until the end of June. The Fed has another two-day meeting that month. It concludes on June 20. So it would be reckless for the Fed to make any announcements about new stimulus plans until that meeting since it will be much closer to finishing its current round of bond buying.

Blitz said that the Fed has to hope that the economy can skate by for the next few months. But he added that it should not be a significant surprise to anyone (especially central bankers) that growth in the U.S. will be weaker during the second quarter. He said manufacturing may suffer due to the recession in Europe and concerns about a hard landing in China.

"The U.S. economy lately has been driven by manufacturing and industrial activity and a large part of that has been from selling to the rest of the world. This could be a difficult second quarter," he said. "But unless there is another crisis, the economy should eventually be okay."

Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Fla., added that the recent spike in gas prices may also hurt the economy in the second quarter. If consumers pull back on spending, employees could use that as an excuse to delay hiring more workers.

That said, Brown thinks gas prices would have to rise much further to put a big enough dent in the economy to justify more easing by the Fed.

"The impact of higher gas prices is not in full force yet. But QE3 is still not likely at this point," Brown said. "The recovery would have to falter more significantly."

Still, investors may clamor for QE3. The U.S. stock market was closed for regular trading Friday for the Good Friday holiday. But futures were open and they point to an ugly start Monday. The Dow futures fell more than 100 points.

Stocks dipped this week and one reason for that was comments in the minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting suggested that the central bank is not in favor of QE3. Of course, those minutes -- from the meeting in mid-March -- did not take into account the recent jobs slump.

The jobs numbers could help serve as a catalyst for a bigger pullback in stocks. And while some (including me) have argued that a correction is sorely needed, Bernanke may act sooner rather than later if stocks plunge too quickly.

Obama's jobs countdown

"Bernanke is a student of the Depression so he may err on the side of being too aggressive. That has been the pattern," said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector research for Charles Schwab in Denver.

The bond market, which was open for abbreviated trading Friday, seemed to be raising the odds for more Fed easing. Treasury prices surged following the jobs report, a potential sign that fixed-income investors expect the Fed to step up its bond purchases.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 2.05% late Friday morning from 2.18% before the jobs numbers came out. (Bond rates and prices move in opposite directions.)

Nonetheless, several experts expressed the hope that Bernanke does not cater to the whims of Wall Street.

While you could argue that QE, QE2 and Operation Twist helped boost the stock markets and that, in turn, led more companies to feel confident to hire more, it's debatable if more easing would help.

If anything, the Fed could be doing the economy a disservice by continuing to give investors an artificial excuse to buy stocks. More easing could weaken the dollar and create the risk of inflation.

"There is little the Fed can do for the job market. Pumping up the market further could be counterproductive," Blitz said.

It's not the Fed's job to make sure the Dow can stay above 13,000. And bond rates can't get much lower than where they are either without raising more concerns of Japan-style economic stagnation.

"We would not be advocates of QE3. A lack of liquidity is not a problem for the economy," Sorensen said.

Try telling that to traders though.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, and Abbott Laboratories, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blue Coat Systems Earnings Preview

Investors hope Blue Coat Systems (Nasdaq: BCSI  ) will top analyst estimates once again after beating predictions by $0.07 in the previous quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Blue Coat Systems designs, develops, and sells products and services that secure and optimize the delivery of business applications and other information to distributed users over a wide area network or the public Internet.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on Blue Coat Systems with analysts unanimously rating it hold. Analysts don't like Blue Coat Systems as much as competitor NetScout Systems overall. Five out of 12 analysts rate NetScout Systems a buy compared to zero of 12 for Blue Coat Systems.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $116.5 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a decline of 5.2% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.17 per share. Estimates range from $0.16 to $0.18.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock, with 94% assigning it an "outperform" rating. The greater community concurs with the All-Stars, as 92% give it a rating of "outperform." Fools are gung-ho about Blue Coat Systems and haven't been shy with their opinions lately, logging 144 posts in the past 30 days. Blue Coat Systems' bearish CAPS rating of two out of five stars falls short of the Fool community sentiment.

Blue Coat Systems' income has fallen year-over-year by an average of 32.4% over the past five quarters. Revenue has fallen for the past three quarters. The company's gross margin shrank by 2.2 percentage points in the last quarter. Revenue fell 5.8% while cost of sales rose 3.7% to $27 million from a year earlier.

Now, a look at how efficient management has been at running the business. Margins illustrate how efficiently a company captures portions of sales dollars. Blue Coat Systems' net margins, which reflect what percentage of revenue becomes profit, have dropped year over year for the last three quarters. See how Blue Coat Systems has been doing for the last four quarters:






Gross Margin





Operating Margin





Net Margin





For all our Blue Coat Systems-specific analysis, including earnings and beyond, add Blue Coat Systems to My Watchlist.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Earnings estimates provided by Zacks.

Bearish Call Offers Attractive Entry For RenRen

Earlier this week Macquarie initiated coverage on China’s leading real-name SNS, Renren (RENN), with an “Underperform” and a $5.25 price target. The stock fell approximately 20% over the two days after the report came out, and is now trading close to its 52-week low of $5.48.

At this price, the company could be attractive due to its market leading position in China’s social networking space, strong network effect similar to that of Facebook, robust advertising sales, and attractive growth into online gaming and group-buying. The company currently has a market cap of approximately $2.5 billion, and is trading at approximately 141x FY2012.

RENN is one of China’s leading SNS with over 124 million activated users, compared to 33 million in 2008. Over the same period, monthly unique log-in users climbed to 34 million from 17 million. Approximately 2 million users are added to RENN per month.

Within the SNS market, RENN is the leader in real-name SNS with approximately 52% market share, which is significantly higher than Tencent Pengyou (33%), and Kaixin001 (10%). According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), RENN ranks first among user satisfaction, followed by Sohu Bai She Hui (SOHU), and Kaixin001. RENN also ranks first in traffic among real-name Chinese SNS sites and 15th among all Chinese sites, well ahead of second place Tencent Pengyou and Kaixin001, which rank 23rd and 33rd in traffic among all Chinese sites, respectively, according to Alexa.

The underlying building block behind RENN’s strong network effect is its strong user stickiness. Every RENN user has at least 120 friends. User-generated-contents (UGC) such as photos and status updates, number around 51 million pieces per day and the large number of UGC creates strong bonding among users. As a result, daily time spent and number of page view by RENN users is twice that of Tencent Pengyou's user. To enhance its user stickiness, RENN leverages its large user base by offering additional products such as open platform applications, currently numbering over 1,200 ranging from news to games. The applications solidify user loyalty and allow RENN to retain existing users and attract additional users through word of mouth.

The company also enjoys strong advertising sales (56% of total revenue), which quadrupled to $32m from 2008 to 2010. To leverage its brand equity and large user base, RENN commands pricing power as indicated by its periodical price increase of approximately 25% every six months since 2009. RENN’s white-collar user base could also attract additional ad spending as companies rely on its real-name and profile database to target their consumers. Currently, RENN generates a large amount of ad sales from branded companies such as Nike (NKE), HP (HPQ), L’Oreal (LRLCY.PK), and LG. Going forward, RENN is likely to attract additional advertisers as large domestic brand name companies, such as Anta Sports, China Mobile, and Master Kong Noodles, begin to accept social media advertising as a means of communicating messages to their consumers.

RENN has experienced tremendous success after venturing into social network gaming and group-buying. The company has the potential to become a leading social internet game operator, similar to Tencent, whose QQ-based games are ubiquitous among Chinese internet users. Currently there are over 900 titles that attract over 11 million users per month. The games are free-to-play, but users need to pay for in-game virtual items to enjoy the full gaming experience. For example, Renren Party operates in similar fashion to the iTunes App “Club Story.” Social network games not only generate gaming revenue but also advertising revenue. For example, Budweiser looks to embed “Bud Bar” into the Renren Party application to improve its brand awareness.

Another growth driver behind RENN is its group-buying site, Nuomi, which is modeled after Groupon. A year after its start, Nuomi has generated over 15m monthly visitors to become the 9th widely-used group-buying site in China. Currently Nuomi provides local deals for 45 cities and has over 2 million paying users with over 8 million cumulative transactions. In addition, the unit has over 500 sales staff to promote Nuomi in key cities.

During 2Q11, RENN’s sales surged 53% y/y to $30m, driven by strong ad sales, which accelerated 94% y/y and now account for 56% of total sales. Online game sales grew 18% y/y and the company has enjoyed some success with some of its titles, such as Plants vs Zombies, that generated over 300,000 download on iTunes App Store within 9 days of launch. Nuomi generated $1.1m in sales compare to only $29,000 a year ago. RENN’s EPS is technically $0 per share due to large amounts of shares, but the company did make $0.8m in net income, compared to a net loss of $25.5m a year ago.

The company also saw improving gross margin-- 81% from 76% a year ago. However, operating margin increased 86% during the quarter due to heavy investment in Nuomi. Excluding the Nuomi unit, operating expense only increased 44%.

The total user base grew 28% to 124m.

Financially, RENN is the third most cash-rich U.S.-listed Chinese internet company with $1.2B in cash, behind NetEase (NTES) ($1.6B) and Baidu (BIDU) ($1.57B).

Going forward, RENN is expected to maintain its market leading position in China’s SNS market. The key is to expand user volume and produce new services to capture and maintain users, and so far CEO Joseph Chen has indicated that he is capable of transforming an overhyped and unprofitable website into a successful brand in China’s SNS market.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Investing Tips From Buffett & Munger

APListen carefully…

Via Pragmatic Capitalism is this fascinating post at Market Folly (itself cribbed from Motley Fool…ah, blogs) which outlines the lessons�Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett imparted to value investor Mohnish Pabrai.�Pabrai, you may recall, won an auction to have lunch with the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB) honchos.

The lessons he learned, as distilled by Market Folly, are thus:

  • Carefully watch what other investors are doing
  • “Look at the cannibals” – look at businesses buying back huge amounts of stock
  • Carefully study spin-offs
  • Avoid Leverage
  • Be patient

Head over to Market Folly to read more about each point; as with much of how Berkshire invests, the advice seems fairly obvious and common-sense…maybe Munger and Buffett’s ultimate secret is simply how disciplined they are?

Update: Apple Seeks To Overturn Mirror Worlds Patent Verdict

Apple (AAPL) has filed an emerging motion seeking a stay of a Texas federal jury finding that the company violates three patents held by Mirror Worlds, a company created by Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter. The jury ruled that Apple should pay $208.5 million for each of the three alleged violations, or up to $625.5 million in total.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the case would rank among the largest patent awards on record.

The suit, filed in 2008, alleges that the iPod, iPhone and Mac all violate Mirror Worlds patents on how data is organized in streams and displayed. The Journal notes that Apple technologies cited in the case include Cover Flow, which is used to surf through album art; Spotlight, which is used to conduct system-wide searches on computers; and Time Machine, software that backs up files.

AMD Rising: Q4 Rev, EPS Beat; Q1 Rev View Light

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are up a penny at $2.46 in late trading after the company this afternoon reported Q4 revenue that slightly exceeded analysts’ estimates and reported a smaller-than-expected net loss, and forecast this quarter’s revenue slightly below consensus.

Revenue in the three months ended in December fell 32%, year over year, and 9%, quarter to quarter, to $1.16 billion, yielding a net loss per share of 14 cents.

Analysts had been modeling $1.15 billion and a 21-cent net loss.

For the current quarter, AMD projected revenue to be in a range of down 6% to down 12%, quarter to quarter, which is below the consensus for revenue to decline 4% to $1.11 billion.

AMD management will host a conference call with analysts at 5 pm, Eastern time, and you can catch the webcast of it here.

Markets Rise Despite GDP Miss

Markets are higher�have slipped broadly following this morning’s release of preliminary GDP estimates below expectations for Q1.

The Dow Industrials are up 20 points at 11,187, after a flat futures reading in pre-market trading, while the S&P 500 is up almost a point at 1,207 after futures dropped a point, pre-market.

The folks at RDQ Economics view this morning’s 3.2% annualized GDP increase as containing “no major surprises,” writing that final demand for goods and services just has not picked up, noting “the problem is a slow recovery pace of final sales, which has averaged only 1.6% since the second quarter of last year.”

The Conference Board issued a statement on GDP, stating that it “confirms that the U.S. economy continues to recover but the growth path ahead will remain bumpy.”

The “underlying dynamic” of the GDP report is actually “better balanced,” writes the Board, than the 5.6% rise in Q4, with “More of the rise in GDP came from domestic demand and less from an inventory correction.” However, the downturn in residential spending is concerning, and unless employment picks up, consumer spending will cool.

DAVOS: Ads Are Adding Up for WPP

Advertising and media giant WPP is on a hot streak and there�s no sign it will slow down any time soon.

Chief Executive Martin Sorrell remains cautious, but the London-listed company (WPPGY) put in a robust performance in 2012 in a challenging environment that is likely to extend through 2013.

�The fourth quarter (of 2012) was a little better than we anticipated,� says Sorrell on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

�I think we reached our targets last year � but we got there ugly,� he adds. �We didn�t manage the business in the way we did in 2011.

�I think 2013 will be a difficult; it will be tough, it will be scrappy.�

The company is due to report preliminary earnings for 2012 in March, according to its website.

WPP is growing steadily due to its exposure to digital channels and its global reach, which includes market-leading positions in China and India.

The stock was tipped in Barron�s last month to perform well in 2013. It has added almost 9% in value since then, closing Tuesday at 9.66 British pounds ($15.33). At 12.4 times estimated 2013 earnings of 78 pence per share, it is still a long way from its historical average of 15 to 16 times.

As we said last month, the advertising industry traditionally has grown through acquisitions, but consolidation looks to be slowing, potentially freeing up more cash for dividends and share buybacks. WPP, which offers a dividend yield of 2.7%, can continue to do well for investors in 2013. We�re just advertising that.

CREE Jumps 13%: FYQ2 Rev, EPS Beat; Q3 View Beats

LED technology maker Cree (CREE) this afternoon reported fiscal Q2 revenue and profit per share that topped analysts’ estimates.

Revenue in the three months ended in December rose to $346 million, yielding ESP of 32 cents, excluding some costs.

Analysts had been modeling $331 million and 29 cents.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue in a range of $325 million to $345 million, and EPS of 30 cents to 35 cents. That is above the average estimate for $323 million and 28 cents.

Cree management will host a conference call with analysts at 5 pm, Eastern time, and you can catch the webcast of it here.

Cree shares are up $4.51, or 13.5%, at $37.98 in late trading. I would note that while not a direct comparable, shares of organic LED technology maker Universal Display (PANL) are up 15 cents, or 0.6%, at $27.20 in late trading.

Top Stocks For 2011-12-4-5

EXOU, Exousia Advanced Materials Inc, EXOU.OB

Dr Stock Pick HOT News & Alerts!

“Exousia to be Cash Flow Positive in China by the end of July, 2009″


Friday July 17, 2009

DrStockPick Stock Report!

EXOU, Exousia Advanced Materials Inc, EXOU.OB

Advanced Materials Help Small Businesses Keep On Truckin�

Using improved manufacturing materials is a good way for companies to help improve their bottom lines. This is especially true of the trucking and maritime industries, where vehicle and machinery weight directly impacts fuel expenditures.

�Reducing the weight of trucks by just 10% translates into potential savings of about $37 billion each year,� says Wayne Rodrigue, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Texas-based Exousia Advanced Materials. �If we are able to make truck bodies and cargo boxes lighter, our economy will experience enormous freight-load savings along with huge reductions in fuel consumption.�

Exousia to be Cash Flow Positive in China by the end of July, 2009

Exousia Advanced Materials, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: EXOU), a manufacturer of advanced industrial coatings for worldwide infrastructure applications and engineered composites for eco-friendly wood substitutes, announced recently that the company’s wholly owned foreign entity (WOFE), Tianjin Exousia Advanced Materials Company Ltd., expects to be cash flow positive in China by the end of July, 2009.

“Based on the cumulative effect of the additional orders from China United Engineering Corporation, as recently announced, and predicated upon servicing the pending orders for our PowerShield brand coatings from Bohai Shipbuilding and other China based customers, we expect that Exousia will be cash flow positive in China by the end of this month,” explained Mr. Bob Roddie, Exousia’s Senior Vice President and CFO

“We have kept operating costs low while building a solid infrastructure for significant growth. Keeping our overhead under control while securing business relationships with these major Chinese companies has allowed us to achieve this milestone quickly,” continued Mr. Roddie. “We are excited to see our efforts materialize in a substantive way.”

“While it has taken a little longer than we originally planned, we have successfully navigated the company towards increasing revenues that will result in our achieving a positive cash flow from China operations in the very near future,” stated Exousia CEO, J. Wayne Rodrigue.

Keep a close eye on EXOU today, do your homework, and like always BE READY for the ACTION!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Bird In The Hand: Time To Take Profits On 7 Stocks

In this article, we will discuss the following stocks: Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM), CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF), Capital One Financial Corporation (COF), Marriott International (MAR), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, (FCX) and Monsanto Company (MON).

These stocks are some of 2012's S&P 500 mid cap or better highest fliers. I believe the stocks covered have major upside potential once the geopolitical and macroeconomic issues of the Eurozone, U.S. and the world fade from the forefront of investors' minds and a renewed focus on fundamentals and company specific catalysts emerges. What's more, most of these stocks are trading well below consensus analysts' estimates, have recent upgrades, positive analyst comments and some pay dividends. Nevertheless, they have run up quickly in the New Year. With the recent downgrades of European sovereigns and the lackluster report from JPMorgan (JPM), I have taken profits and I'm going to the sidelines for now. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

I wrote a couple articles at the end of last year stating several of these stocks have significant upside and it looks like a majority of them are already well on their way. The seven stocks are up an average of 17% 13 days into 2012. This significant move in such a short time leads me to believe they may be setting up for a sell off.

2012 Performance Chart (Click to enlarge)

Table provided by

Topping the list is Netflix, with a 36% gain since the start of the year, followed by Putle Homes at 20%. Both stocks were down significantly in 2011. Marriott and Freeport-McMoRan were down in 2011 meaningfully as well, and are already up 14% for 2012. This may be due to a phenomenon known as the January effect. The most common theory explaining this phenomenon is that individual investors, who are income tax-sensitive, sell stocks for tax reasons at year-end (such as to claim a capital loss) and reinvest after the first of the year. Another cause is the payment of year-end bonuses in January. Some of this bonus money is used to purchase stocks, driving up prices. CF Industries, Capital One and Monsanto were up in 2011 with gains from 5 to 22% and have continued their run into 2012 with gains of 19, 15 and 14% respectively.

The market seems to have taken the European downgrades in stride, but this was a similar reaction to the downgrade of the U.S. by the S&P. Rumors were swirling on Friday an imminent downgrade was coming but it was Monday when the markets took a huge tumble following the European severally negative reaction. What's more, the Euro is sure to start selling off and dropping lower, driving the dollar higher which is a huge negative for U.S. multinationals, acting as a tax on profits. On top of all this, here comes Greece again. Recent reports are stating Greece may not agree to the most recent austerity package and may have a hard default after all. The prospects of a debacle of this nature have not been priced in. The Greece issue was supposedly wrapped up.


I am not sure what will transpire but I do believe the Eurozone crisis will maintain its number one spot as the biggest risk for these stocks 2012. The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) will start incurring additional interest expenses once the downgrades are implemented. If Greece does not get a deal done by next week the EU will be out seven billion euros more than the seven they already negotiated away. This will cause the European markets to sell off steeply in the near term.

The recent downgrades may provide an opportunity to buy back in on the dip. We have already seen several examples this year where the U.S, market's reaction to Eurozone issue headlines has been somewhat mooted, underpinning the thesis that the U.S. market is decoupling from European markets. Nevertheless, the world markets are comparable to ships sailing on the same sea and a storm of sufficient magnitude will sink all vessels. It is time to take a defensive stance for the short term. At the very least place a tight stop loss order.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Get Smart With This Undervalued Stock

Sixties television superspy Maxwell Smart famously had a shoe phone. While there's no word Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) has anything that cool in development, management is taking some bold moves, including bringing on a dynamic new leader, that I believe will pay off for the company and for investors.

An industry shaken and stirred
In the 1990s, Finland-based Nokia, and Europe generally, ruled the cellular world. Europe was one of the world's largest cell-phone markets, and since its major telecoms had settled on a single network standard, all Nokia had to do was sit back and crank out handsets en masse.

At the time, software was relatively primitive and hardware was the name of the game. For a company that grew up making rubber boots and paper, there was continuity in skills that worked to their advantage. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 changed all that. Now software was what counted, something neither Nokia nor Europe did particularly well.

Symbian is not enough
In its attempt to catch up, Nokia took full ownership of Symbian, a smartphone operating system that had been developed by a consortium of companies that included Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC  ) , Samsung, and Nokia. Before the coming of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Symbian actually led the smartphone market by share.

But once the iPhone arrived, it was game over for Symbian. The iPhone was just in a different league technologically. Another nail in Symbian's coffin, if it really needed one, was the fact that application developers didn't support the platform the way they did Apple's. In the end, consumers overwhelmingly went with Apple or Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android operating system for their smartphones.

The company that came in from the cold
Nokia's new boss, Stephen Elop, arrived in late 2010 and brought with him sweeping organizational, strategic, and motivational changes (in a February memo to employees, he compared the company's situation to that of being on "a burning oil platform").

Elop himself represents sweeping change, being the first non-Finn to run the organization. And with a former Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) senior executive now at the helm, Nokia may be hoping some of that New World software magic will rub off.

More change for Nokia came in the form of Elop's decision to ditch Symbian and use Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system. Microsoft's products don't have Apple's or Google's sex appeal, but Microsoft is still the 800-pound gorilla on the software block. Microsoft could be the software yin to Nokia's manufacturing yang.

From Finland with love
Yes, revenue is down for the third year in a row. Yes, share price has fallen nearly 40% percent in the past year. But Nokia is still the world's biggest handset maker by volume. It has more than $2.5 billion in cash reserves and no long-term debt. And sales in the world's fastest-growing market -- China -- were up 35% in 2010 from the year before.

It also helps that Microsoft is reportedly paying Nokia more than $1 billion as part of the deal to use its smartphone operating system. In the end, Microsoft needs Nokia as much as Nokia needs Microsoft.

Don't count these Finns out yet, Fools. There are plenty of people left in the world to sell smartphones to, and I think there's plenty of room left in the market for a third major player. And if first reviews are any indication, Microsoft's new operating system will positively distinguish itself from both Apple's and Google's.

Who knows, maybe shoe phones will be the next big thing and Nokia will lead the way. I know I'll get one.

Click here to add Nokia to My Watchlist, a FREE service of The Motley Fool that's an easy way to keep up with the stocks on your radar.

Conflict of Interest: Fed Gave Their Own Banks $4 Trillion!

A report recently conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and officially released by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has a lot of Americans angry about the problematic functioning of the Fed. Despite the fiscal struggles plaguing America, the Fed has been handing out trillions of dollars companies with CEOs also working for the Fed.

The cases involve some serious conflicts of interest and strong bias to say the least.

Shortly after the 2008 financial meltdown, the Fed allocated more than $4 trillion in near zero-interest loans to banks and businesses whose executives also served as directors for the national bank. The report reveals that at least 18 Fed regional bank directors, both current and former, “had a direct stake in the trillion-dollar bailout given to teetering institutions.”

Senator Sanders had a provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act which required the GAO to investigate the Fed for any possible conflicts of interest regarding bailout money. Three days ago, Sanders exposed the names of those who received special treatment when it came to Fed hand-outs...

Sanders seeks to end this irresponsible behavior once and for all. Regarding the report findings, he said:

"This report reveals the inherent conflicts of interest that exist at the Federal Reserve.  At a time when small businesses could not get affordable loans to create jobs, the Fed was providing trillions in secret loans to some of the largest banks and corporations in America that were well represented on the boards of the Federal Reserve Banks.  These conflicts must end.” 

In May, Sanders initiated legislation that would deny the banking industry and business executives the ability to hold directors positions within the Fed's 12 regional banks.

In attempt to get his proposal approved, Sanders shed light on this perfect example of a major conflict of interest. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase and a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since 2007. He played a significant role in the Fed's leadership team when it voted on a $391 billion emergency fund for JPMorgan Chase in order to help it manage the mayhem on Wall Street.

But the Dimon example stands far from alone...

The CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, participated in a similar situation. Immelt was part of the New York Federal Reserve when it began the Commercial Paper Funding Facility – that funding facility conveniently lent $16 billion to General Electric.

To repeat the same full-length story with slightly altered dollar-amounts each time becomes tedious, but let it be known that the examples don't end there. Current and former CEOs of SunTrustBanks, Citigroup, Popular Inc., Webster Bank, Wilmington Trust, PNC, Texas Capital Bank, CitiBank, Marshall & Ilsley, Old National Bancorp., KeyCorp, State Street Corporation, Lehman Brothers, and a Goldman Sach board of directors member all engaged in behavior mimicking that of the examples listed above.

-SunTrustBanks received $7.5 billion

-Citigroup received $2.5 trillion

-Popular Inc. received $1.2 billion

-Webster Bank received $550 million

-Wilmington Trust received $3.2 billion

-PNC received $6.5 billion

-Texas Capital Bank received $2.3 billion

-CitiBank received $21 billion

-Marshall & Ilsley received $21 billion

-Old National Bancorp. received $550 million

-KeyCorp received $40 billion

-State Street Corporation received $42 billion

-Lehman Brothers received $183 billion 

It's nice to know someone is taking action to crack down on sleazy Fed behavior, especially during these turbulent economic times where small businesses are dying because they can't afford loans and the employment rate is plummeting in consequence.

Bailout money shouldn't be based on bias, especially when it's taxpayer money paying for those big banks' failures.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vistaprint Slumps As FY Q4 Guidance Falls Short Of Estimates

Vistaprint (VPRT) shares are trading lower after hours on weaker-than-expected June quarter guidance.

For the fiscal third quarter ended March 31, the online provider of personalized products for small businesses posted revenue of $166 million, a bit shy of the Street at $169.1 million;but non-GAAP profits of 46 cents a share were ahead of the Street at 42 cents.

For FY Q4, VPRT sees revenue of $169 million to $174 million, with non-GAAP EPS of 35-38 cents; the Street has been expecting $174 million and 44 cents.

VPRT in late trading is down $4.90, or 8.4%, to $53.70.

2 Stocks for the Next Revolution in Smartphone Technology

We are on the brink of a revolution. But let me tell you, this revolution doesn't involve explosive growth in Asia, the collapse of the euro, or the end of the world as we know it (although some may be wondering about that in light of today's market). The revolution I'm speaking of deals with something more near and dear to our hearts: Money, and more specifically, how we spend it. Going back to the Romans, there have only been two major revolutions in money -- the switch from coins to paper bills and the switch from paper bills to plastic cards. Think about it -- when you get paid, how much cash actually makes it to your wallet? Do you ever physically see your money, or are you like most Americans who simply swipe a plastic card and keep track of a digital number out in cyberspace? We've arrived at the point in this nation where it is possible to live without cash or checks. Transactions have moved to plastic, electronic transfers, direct deposits. I do, however, need my cell phone. And the ubiquitous search giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is onto an idea that will put these two things together. Google's innovation, known as Google Wallet, combines the convenience of a debit card with the popularity of a smartphone. The idea is that instead of swiping a plastic card at the checkout line, consumers will simply tap their phones on a special device that will automatically bill them for the purchase. It may sound a little crazy. But as far as I'm concerned, this could be the next step in the payment revolution. Here's how it works… The system has three parts: There's a special microchip in the phone that stores account data, there's an electronic reader attached to the cash register, and, lastly, there's a customer account. The special chip in the phone emits a highly-specialized radio signal that the reader can detect. This radio signal provides secure account information to the register. Instead of reading your account number off the magnetic strip on the back of your card by swiping it through a special terminal, the device picks up the number wirelessly. The bank account at the center of this wireless phone transaction -- so far -- can be one of two things: either a prepaid account directly administered by Google, or a certain special MasterCard (NYSE: MA) account administered by Citigroup (NYSE: C). So... you pull in to the gas station to fill up, tap your phone to a special reader on the pump, fill your tank -- and go. The receipt is emailed to you. Now if you're thinking this idea sounds familiar, then you're right. Lots of companies have had access-card readers in lieu of door locks that use the same technology. Mobil also implemented its "Speedpass" in 1997 using the same system. But don't let this alter your vision of the effect that Google Wallet will have going forward. It's important to remember most breakthrough products don't just come out of nowhere. They arise from innovation and continue to be refined until they find an early adopter. From there, they begin to grow -- a process that takes, even in the digital age, a relatively long time. In July, Wired magazine's Clive Thompson quoted Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton as saying "Anything that's going to have an impact over the next decade -- that's going to be a billion-dollar industry -- has already been around for 10 years." That being said, I believe the time for this technology has come. It's been predicted that a half-billion people will be using the technology within the next three years. Clearly the market is large, the technology is available and a big-name Google-branded roll-out is imminent. What's most compelling about this impending change is the scale. This isn't one major change, it's billions of the same minor change happening again and again. At first, the usual corps of affluent early adopters will gravitate toward it, but after that, the entire population is going to want in. And the demand will be such that they will get in, one way or another. Ok, so Google Wallet will be huge. What's the investment angle? After all, I'm on the hunt for game-changing stocks... and I think Google is far too large at this point to see the sort of gains I'm looking for. There are a couple of different ways to invest. The two main components of this system, and the two areas that could experience rapid growth, are in the hardware and software businesses. On the hardware side, Zebra (Nasdaq: ZBRA) might make a good choice. Zebra makes RFID chips, which is one of the technologies on which contactless payment systems can be based. If you have a toll tag on your car, it likely uses RFID technology. As a leader in this field, Zebra could do well if Google Wallet becomes popular. If you're interest is in software, then a company like Elephant Talk (OTC: ETAK) could be a smart play. Elephant Talk, based in the Netherlands, owns some unique elements of the mobile-phone business in Europe. Because it controls the operating system, it has the ability to integrate mobile-payment systems. Because Europe is already ahead of the United States in some mobile functionality and Elephant Talk is one of the companies that made this possible, its international footprint ensures it will be part of the future. Tips>> Now, keep in mind these are both growth-oriented plays. In a rocky market, their share prices will swing.

Top Stocks For 2011-12-24-5

SoundBite Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:SDBT) announced its support for the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 (H.R. 3035). This legislation will modernize the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by enacting revisions to facilitate the delivery of time-sensitive consumer information to mobile devices, while continuing to protect wireless consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls.

SoundBite Communications, Inc. provides on-demand, multi-channel proactive customer communications services enabling organizations to design, execute, and measure communication campaigns for various marketing, customer care, payment, and collection processes.

Crown Equity Holdings, Inc. (CRWE)

One of the most obvious benefits of using Voice over Internet Protocol technology in business is the Internet provided telecommunications. These results in no fees related to long distance calling. All calls are placed through the LAN, or Local Area Network, ultimately taking the costly nature of analog toll calling out of the mix. For companies who rely on phone communication domestically or internationally, this serves as an incredible, cost-effective benefit.

Crown Equity Holdings Inc. (CRWE) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a joint venture to deploy VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology delivering voice, video and data services to residential and commercial customers. The joint venture company is Crown Tele Services Inc. which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crown Equity Holdings Inc. Crown Equity Holdings Inc. will own fifty percent (50%) interest in the joint venture.

Commenting on the joint venture, Kenneth Bosket, President of Crown Equity Holdings Inc., said: “We are excited to deliver VoIP communications solutions specifically designed to meet the business and residential market needs in this fast-growing global market.”

Crown Equity Holdings Inc’s selection of Core Link reflects recent diversification beyond CRWE’s original charter as a provider of services and knowledge to small business owners taking their own companies public. In addition to these services, Crown Equity Holdings Inc has transitioned into a multifaceted media organization that publishes clients’ news online; sells advertising adjacent with its digital network targeted at a high-income audience; designs, hosts and maintains websites; produces marketing videos from concept to final product; crafts press releases and articles for maximum SEO; develops email campaigns; and forges branding campaigns to bolster client company images.

Crown Equity Holdings Inc. together with its digital network currently provides electronic media services specializing in online publishing, which brings together targeted audiences and advertisers. Crown Equity Holdings Inc. offers internet media-driven advertising services, which covers and connects a range of marketing specialties, as well as search engine optimization for clients interested in online media awareness.

For more information, visit

Navarre Corp. (Nasdaq:NAVR) announced that it will report its financial results for the second quarter of its 2012 fiscal year, ended September 30, 2011, following the close of the U.S. financial markets on Monday, October 31, 2011.

Navarre Corporation distributes and provides complete logistics solutions to traditional and Internet-based retailers; and publishes computer software in the United States and Canada.

Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Nasdaq:DVAX) announced that it plans to present at the NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference in New York on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. EDT (7:00 a.m. PDT).

Dynavax Technologies Corporation, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, discovers and develops novel products to prevent and treat infectious diseases. The company’s lead product candidate includes HEPLISAV, a Phase 3 investigational adult hepatitis B vaccine designed to provide protection with fewer doses than current licensed vaccines.

Gold And Silver: A Simple Tool All Investors Should Use

My success at calling tops in the gold and silver markets is well documented. Those not familiar with my work may want to start out by reading the following: ·

The Arora Report Blog
Gold: What To Do Now
Gold And Silver: What To Do Now Redux
Silver Demand Theory Debunked
Debt Ceiling Agreement: Short Selling Silver Again

The chart on the gold illustrates the call.

The charts on the silver also illustrates the call.

My long time readers know that I use the ZYX Change Method. The markets are complex and in our research, simple methods do not work under all market conditions.

Einstein said, “Make it as simple as possible but not any simpler.”

We have followed Einstein in making the ZYX Change Method as simple as possible but no simpler than it needs to be. It still takes time to learn the method. However, there is a simple tool that we have incorporated in the method that every investor should consider using.

The tool is the CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index (GVZ). GVZ measures the market's expectation of 30-day volatility of gold prices by applying the VIX methodology to options on SPDR Gold Shares (GLD). Like other VIX benchmarks, GVZ uses options spanning a wide range of strike prices.

A similar tool on silver, iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV), is not readily available, but it is easy to calculate.

The chart shows recent action of GVZ. When GVZ spikes in the red zone it is time to short sell. When GVZ is in the green zone it is time to buy.

Some investors attribute the recent decline of gold prices to an increase in exchange margins. Is there a good way to predict increases in margin requirements? The answer is an unqualified "yes." Simply look for volatility to increase beyond what was used in setting the previous exchange margins and you have an early prediction.

For guidance on where gold and silver prices may be headed in the short-term, please read Gold: What To Do Now. For updates please read my blog.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

TTM Technologies Beats Estimates but Has a Big Earnings Drop

TTM Technologies (Nasdaq: TTMI  ) reported earnings on Feb. 7. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), TTM Technologies beat expectations on revenue and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue dropped and GAAP earnings per share dropped significantly.

Margins shrank across the board.

Revenue details
TTM Technologies recorded revenue of $361.5 million. The five analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see revenue of $351.8 million. Sales were 3.2% lower than the prior-year quarter's $377.9 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.26. The three earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated $0.25 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.10 for Q4 were 76% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.41 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 19.7%, 440 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 9.1%, 500 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 2.3%, 650 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $322.5 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.23.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.44 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.18.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 594 members out of 610 rating the stock outperform, and 16 members rating it underperform. Among 166 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 163 give TTM Technologies a green thumbs-up, and three give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on TTM Technologies is buy, with an average price target of $15.50.

Over the decades, small-cap stocks like TTM Technologies have provided market-beating returns, provided they're value-priced and have solid businesses. Read about a pair of companies with a lock on their markets in "Too Small to Fail: Two Small Caps the Government Won't Let Go Broke." Click here for instant access to this free report.

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