Holding Stocks You Would Not Buy

One of the mistakes that I frequently make, and I am working to fix, is that I tend to only analyze assets as they are at the moment rather than taking into account what they will be–specifically, the invisible aspect of a corporation’s deal-making potential.

You may remember earlier this summer when I voiced disagreement with the professional analysts covering Anheuser-Busch that were projecting 9% annual growth at the giant brewmaker. I looked at the amount of costs already wrung out of the company, saw the anemic revenue growth, and figured there was no way earnings could grow at a rate of 9%.

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How Many General Electric Shares Should You Exchange For Synchrony Financial?

The reason why stock split-offs are generally unpopular with investors is that it requires the measurement of figuring out how much of a company you’re familiar with (the parent company) to exchange for a company that is relatively unknown. And because stock split-offs usually occur in prosperous economies, you tend to receive a misleading set of figures–the truly long-term investors want to know how a company performs in the worst of times, and that information is not usually available at the time you have to make your decision.

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How Does The General Electric-Synchrony Exchange Work?

Stock spinoffs are one of my favorite corporate events. If you are a shareholder of a company that is undergoing some kind of divestment, it is usually wise to pay attention. It is almost certain that the spun-off company has a different growth profile, earnings quality, and overall debt picture than the parent. Sometimes, a spinoff is done to pass off liability–like when Arch Coal and Peabody Energy shed assets to create Patriot Coal which was destined for immediate bankruptcy (a matter that is still being litigated to this day.)

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Why Disney’s ESPN Cut 300 Jobs and Shut Down Grantland

ESPN, the sprawling cable TV company that has become the ubiquitous source of sports news across the country, has recently gained attention for its new eye towards cost-cutting. Bill Simmons is gone. Colin Cowherd is gone. Keith Olbermann is gone (again). Two weeks ago, ESPN announced that it is reducing its work force by 4% by terminating 300 current employees. And today, the contraction continued with the announcement that ESPN would soon be shutting the long-form website Grantland.com–the baby of Bill Simmons that matured into a collection of pop culture articles mixed with detailed 3,000+ word sports analysis articles.

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The Next Stock Market Bubble

In December of 2001, the Journal of Finance published a study titled “A Rose.com by Any Other Name” by Michael J. Cooper, Orlin Dimitrov, and P. Raghavendra Rau that studied the bubblicious effects of companies renaming themselves something with dot.com in the name. The price of stocks adding .com gained an average of 53% above companies without the dot.com in the corporate name, and the authors concluded the following: “We argue that our results are driven by a degree of investor mania–investors seem to be eager to be associated with the Internet at all costs.” The fact that the Nasdaq took fifteen years to return to its 2000 high is a shorthand way of describing the bubble conditions that existed at the turn of the millennium.

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