Sunday, April 27, 2008

CROX revisited

I wrote awhile back about the background of Crocs' board, how several of them were at Flextronics when the stock (FLEX) went from 11 to 40 in just three years. Then, after they left, the stock plummeted back down to 11.

When CROX ran from 40 (where I got my first shares) to 75, I thought the run wasn't over. Even as insiders were selling shares left and right, I was blinded by optimism. I was wrong. The stock has cratered. A nightmare for longs who have held their shares all the way to the top and all the way to the bottom. What a nightmare. I had a big profit, lost it (bought at the top, even) and finished with a loss when I got out just under 40. At this point, I'm just glad I got out when I did.

DNDN revisited

Why post this chart? Just to remind myself (and maybe you) that fairy tales do not come true. You either have the goods or you don't.

You could try and believe otherwise, but most times, you'll lose your freaking shirt. Dendreon was a nightmare for me and whole lot of other people who lost money. I didn't lose a ton compared to them, but we all hurt the same. Too many games in the world of the FDA and too many other places -- better places -- to invest your hard-earned cash.

HOKU revisited

All doubters and believers are saying and thinking whatever they want, but until that plant is done in Pocatello, Idaho, nobody's right.

You're either a believer or not. In or out. There's no gray area unless you're playing options, straddling, whatever.

Marvel's Iron Mania

Old friend of mine, Peter, is thinking about grabbing MVL shares on the cusp of "Iron Man," which opens on Friday.

Reminds me of AOL, when "You've Got Mail" opened. I bought in that week and sold after the film was released for a nice profit. Does it happen here with Iron Man? Tough call. MVL has already soared. My guess is that it sells off before the weekend. Too much profit to be taken.

Visa now?

I think not. When the lockup period ends, insiders will bail and the stock will plummet.

Nothing wrong or unnatural about that. Google was $125 early, then slipped to $85 before climbing up that magnificent mountain. I still think MasterCard is the better stock for now, but a dip on Visa is going to be highly tempting.

XMSR revisited

I wrote a few months back about my friend Kyle, who has an unhealthy obsession with XM Satellite Radio. He got in fairly cheap -- at around $10, I think.

Looks like XMSR is just spinning its wheels, even with good news. I don't agree with Kyle about the potential of satellite radio, but if he makes a decent profit, who cares?

Yahoo revisited

I got rid of my YHOO shares a few months ago, unexcited but satisfied to escape with a small profit.

What a dud.

#1 Potash

The worlds wants to eat meat. To get meat, they need to grow corn and soybeans. To do that, they go to Potash and the other remarkable companies that produce fertilizer that can make plants grow on Mars.

Maybe not on Mars. But that's in the pipeline. Maybe not.

#2 Intuitive Surgical

Volatile, yes. But still in a league of their own.

No real competition, not yet, for ISRG.

#3 MasterCard

Sure, Visa is new and exciting ... and also validates what MA has done all along.

MasterCard still rules.

#4 First Solar

The King of Solar.

The gold rush doesn't really compare, does it?

#5 McDonald's

MCD is on a roll. Menu improvements. Renewed vigor. Global expansion. Inroads in China.

I don't see anyone really stopping or slowing Mickey D.

#6 International Business Machines

IBM en fuego? Who woulda thunk it a year ago?

Forget Yahoo and Excite and all those other hot new techs from the late 1990s. IBM still rules.

#7 PetroChina

This is a double bottom?

Like CNOOC, I don't see PTR floundering for much longer, not with Big Brother's protection.

#8 Disney

Are Disney's theme cruises still hot?

#9 Flowserve

Yes. Pipe and valves. Sexy.

Wish I'd gotten some at 77 when I had the chance. Both the first time and the second time.

#10 Apple

The imminent doom predicted by Apple naysayers ... just history now.

There is no greater brand in America. Steve Jobs could announce a line of Apple furniture and the Appleholics would gobble it all up. It's manic, cultish and ... cool.

#11 China Mobile

I sure didn't like the way the stock tanked in recent months, but I think there's no way to dislodge CHL as the monster of all cellphone companies.

In the U.S., we rely on computers for our Internet needs. In China, it's all about net access on cellphones. The best is yet to come.

#12 Nintendo

Still lovin' NTDOY.PK.

#13 Google

Time to move Google back into the Top 10. Maybe Top 5.

Sure it looked gloomy for GOOG longs when the stock got close to 400. But did you really doubt them? I didn't think so.

#14 Research in Motion

Just a matter of time before the magic of a CrackBerry becomes part of China.

Not cheap here. Worth watching.

#15 Goldman Sachs

Teflon. That's GS. The rest of the forest could burn down, but Goldman Sachs stands untouched.

Goldman Sachs is bulletproof.

#16 Focus Media

Someone has to become the advertising king in China. Right?

Or maybe it just isn't going to happen. After all. FMCN is about small-scale advertising. Where's the growth? Where are the profits in a quickly rising economy?


Oil and China. Joined at the brain.

Pattern of lower lows and lower highs ended recently. I still think Big Brother won't let CNOOC lose.

#18 Amazon

The stock that folks love or hate.

In Bezos you trust.

#19 Foster Wheeler

I like FWLT, but it ain't perfect. Once a year, a poor quarter followed (as the CEO says) by incredible strength.

Any takers here?

#20 Baidu

Holy roller, Batman. BIDU is on a tear.

I can't see buying shares here. The next bargain sale will come sooner or later.

#21 Nike

Nike and China. I can't avoid looking at those two together. Lovebirds!

#22 Microsoft

Frankly, I don't see keeping MSFT at #22 without a compelling reason.

Why would anyone rather own shares of MSFT than GOOG? Or even AAPL? I want to hear the argument.

#23 China Life Insurance

This was one helluva sucky suck stock from October to March. I proclaimed then and still do that life insurance in China will be fine. I didn't know LFC would dive from 105 to below 50 in that span of six months. Holy crap!

For now, the stock has seen a reprieve and has bounced from 55 to 67. Is the end over? Probably. Can LFC thrive?

My answer to that is another question: How many people live in China?

#24 Suntech Power

I've always believed that Suntech Power would ride a wave of alternative energy solutions in power-hungry China. So far, however, STP has proven to be nothing more than a short-term trading vehicle.

What will it take for China to put two feet in and commit fully to alt energy? Hard to say. It's not like there's going to be a public outcry in the Middle Kingdom for wise energy policy, not even with rampant air pollution. China seems more concerned, and rightfully so, with human rights issues.

It's all too choppy for me. But I keep watching STP.

#25 Chipotle Mexican Grill

A review of my Top 25 stocks. It's been awhile and the market has been happy. Recession? What recession? I can't pretend to understand a bit of it. But it's always interesting to look at the chart anyway.

If anyone doubts that the U.S. economy is in a recession, this chart says otherwise. I don't know Chipotle Mexican Grill from Chili's, but it doesn't matter. That gap down in the past week is very not good for longs.

Barron's was right

You could hate Barron's. I know I have. But they were right about the oil companies that have their toes in the Bakken Shale near the Canadian border. Since Barron's ran its story a few months back, four of the five stocks are up significantly.

then: 59
now: 77
+ 30%

then: 100
now: 135

then: 7.13
now: 9.22

then: 25
now: 45

then: 51
now: 46

The numbers don't lie.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Brew Review: Grape Pale Ale

Grape Pale Ale (Samuel Adams)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 3.5
Aroma: faint. 3.5
Flavor: subdued, slightly sweet. 3.5
Texture: smooth, 4.0
Drinkability: excellent, 3.5

Overall score: 18.0

Cost: $8.99 (sale) at Foodland for "LongShot" 6-pack

On the label: This is a very creative spin on a pale ale, As Lili describes it. "It's like you are drinking a pale ale after biting into a fresh green seedless grape." This delicate brew is light-bodied with unique sweet, yet dry flavors from the grapes. What a combination...

Summary: This "home brew" was concocted by Lili Hess of Hawaii. It brings me great pleasure to see a fellow Hawaii islander win the big prize (one of two winners) in Samuel Adams' LongShot contest. The box, which has become a norm for the company's special brews, stood out in the liquor section, and once I saw faces on the box, I was intrigued. (Good marketing tactic.)

Interestingly enough, Lili is also a Samuel Adams employee. Bottom line: her creation is masterful. Takes a woman to really do something this inventive. Grapes and beer? Amazing.