I took the advice of a former CEO (of another company) and started buying WEC several years back. Despite carrying the lowest rating at a popular broker's (you're supposed to dump all shares and replace them with something else when it receives an F), WEC simply kept rising, soon out-gaining the "sure-thing" bets I'd placed on companiess like Walgreen's, Coke and Hershey. And the div is still over 3% (which means that I'm automatically accumulating another 20 shares each year). What does it prove? perhaps that if some "expert" places an A or F rating on a stock, he's bound to be right at some point in the next 10, 15 or 20 years. In the meantime, you stand to make out big by ignoring the "expert's" rating or, better yet, reading it as a contrary indicator.
Common sense would tell you that Apple, which once featured Harman products like the H-K iSub and Sound Sticks, would have been a logical suitor. But they may regret shooting their wad (4 Billion) on Dr. Dre's Beats and not wish to chance making the same mistake again. On the other hand, Apple could acknowledge their mistake--following trends in pop music of dubious cultural value and importance--and go after a great venerable, respected name like Harman. Harman has taken the low road with some of its BT speakers that come with an energy-sapping "light show" (pathetic when compared with the digital colors of any screen.) The company would do well to learn from the example of Bose and its incomparable $200 Soundlink speaker, which is specially tuned to bring out both dialog and bass while suppressing undesirable frequencies..
What happened to this company? Was it the Cloud, Streaming, and the flood of Bluetooth speakers (and, for all the smartphone people, earphones?). The company's cap makes it affordable to a company like Apple, which spent almost 4 billion on a trendy headphones maker and its mascot. But HK iSubs were there in the 1990's. Somebody seriously missed a most logical, complementary alliance. If Steve Jobs were here, he'd see the sense of state of the art equipment at the receiving the end of the iPods and its successors--at home and on the road.
Mondelez may be a favorite holding of the big fund managers, representing a disproportionately large percentage of many portfolios. But it's a corporation overseeing the management and distribution of numerous "snack foods," none of them approaching the widespread recognition and high consumer regard of Hershey candies. Hershey is, like Coke, an American "brand,"-- a symbol of the personal past in the consciousness of millions of consumers of every generation.
In the hit TV series, "Mad Men" (about Madison Avenue in the '60s) , Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a once respected but disgraced creative director of the ad agency Sterling Cooper, gives a climactic, emotional speech so powerful it not only wins the account but restores him to favor. He holds up a Hershey Bar and proceeds to narrate the story of a young boy who goes to bed each night unloved, desperately lonely, feeling unwanted and unneeded. The only thing left him is the anticipation and excitement of consuming a Hershey Bar, which he could purchase after collecting spare change from the employees in the brothel where his mother worked. The "pitch" sounds perhaps silly in the retelling, but as told by Don (who, of course, IS the boy in this autobiographical, personal story) it comes across as sincere, even compelling drama, joining the attraction to the sweetness, soft warmth and deep satisfaction of a Hershey Bar with the spiritual / emotional needs of a "motherless child."
Again, Hershey should not take lightly the importance of their Hershey Bar, Kisses, and Twizzlers Peel-n-Pull candy (perhaps the most sensual of all). Notice that the word "chocolate" is gratuitous when referring to this universally beloved brand. Even apart from the prospects of bigger profits, it would be a sad day to see the Hershey tradition destroyed by the inevitable appearance of administrators who come up with the "New Coke", or a cheaper and faster way to brew Schlitz Beer, or a Hershey Bar that tastes like a Nestle product.
This fund receives 5 stars yet its been an unmoving pet rock in the years I've owned it. So why is the U.S. whining under Obama's prosperous years when the rest of the world is so bad off that simply "not losing" as much money as the next guy earns you a blue ribbon? If on Feb. 1, 2009, Donald Trump had simply taken all of his assets (he's a small-time, petty, marginal millionaire, at best) and put them in an ordinary index fund, he could have TRIPLED his gains after 6 years. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer--business as usual. Apparently Trump is such a humanitarian, so keen on helping the poor (like John Edwards was), that he thinks calling the U.S. a "looozer" and its president "terrrrable" enuff times will bring an awakening toward properity for the disproportionately disenfranchised. (Face it. He just wants attention, even if that means trashing the Pope and his own mom. A pathological narcissist among many, but the most notable (let's hope) of our lifetimes.
After losing my shirt last summer on just 2 long-held positions--1. the cashing out of my most successful stock (Home Depot) because of the Aug. 24 flash-crash; 2. an overnight inversion play (among other costly injuries inflicted upon shareholders by the CEO of Mylan Labs)--I was overdo for a winner. But I didn't expected it from a conservative, small-dividend energy stock which I didn't even purchase--at least not intentionally. (I thought I was buying the spun-off partner of OKE, with the symbols OKS. My spell-checker changed it to OGS, which I didn't recognize until now--when the stock price is close to doubling.
What's the expected white knight that's driving this unlikely non-contender to the winner's circle? I'm afraid the "truth" will emerge at any instant, and that I'll miss the mad dash for the exits. What's the explosive catalyst that's built into this particular stock?
Somehow I got chuted into this 2-star fund, which is one of the biggest in the world, no doubt leading to the spin-off of this new "baby." But I'm curious about the original fund to get a better sense of the direction of the present fund.
Apple was drowning in money, so Tim Cook throws 4 Billion at trendy headphones maker Beats and its hip-hopper mascot, Dr. Dré. Meanwhile, Google makes a deal with the venerable (7 decades old), influential industry leader (JBL, Harman-Kardon, etc. etc.). If Apple had as much concern for how their audio files are being heard at the receiving end as at the transmission stage, they might have a chance at sustaining interest in a future product, even laying claim to the automotive space or the home TV network. But in prioritizing Dr. Dré over Harman, Apple has thrown the dice if not surrendered the high road. No, I'm not being suckered by Apple's latest attempt to sell an iPhone by including a Beats headphone or BT speaker (there's presently a glut).Time to bet on Google.
But aren't we lucky to benefit from all of the extra income produced by a pro-active CEO who managed to do a tax inversion financed on the backs of the shareholders. And she did it just ahead of legislation to stop this penny-pinching unpatriotic pratice.
Suddenly I'm seeing ads pop up in the middle of my cable programs that are so exaggerated and disruptive (with the familiar gonzo camera shaking like 3 simultaneous reality shows and kids running about in panic mode) that I can't help wonder if I'm seeing a SNL parody of "48 Hours." The crisis is soon identified as a potentially fatal allergy (to peanut butter), after which we see the word "Mylan." I guess if you're the parent of a college student who attends parties, you can rest assured now that Mylan has your precious one's back.
That doesn't begin to register the pain of the shareholder who, before chasing the stock up to its high pre-Teva, had been subjected to a tax inversion, paying for all of his capital gains on the "American" company before its reclassification as "foreign.".