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Frontier Communications Corporation Message Board

skiplarson98 29 posts  |  Last Activity: Jul 24, 2015 1:13 PM Member since: May 12, 1998
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  • Reply to

    i'm back at it skip

    by greendog03 Jul 24, 2015 12:47 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 24, 2015 1:13 PM Flag

    It is easily possible, of course. But I don't worry much about you since I think you are well aware of the possibility without being afraid of it. Most of my wins in the market have been when prices were going down or were even more down than I could have predicted. I must also admit that many bad buys were made too early in a down cycle and that could be the situation today.

    There was something important I wanted to say about that special promotion and I made a post which apparently Yahoo deleted because I put an e*mail address in it. The special promotion is with the same retailer which for several years sold the bedding product of SPAN's on a regular contract. SPAN also had the special promotion a couple of years. They are not the same and I don't know if one or the other was more profitable. At the point when I visited in February, SPAN was providing about half of the basic contract though they were not the prime contractor. Now they've picked up this special promotion as well. I assume they know their costs and will make a profit, but I don't know that they can be as profitable as they were from 2008 and most years after that (about $1.70 a share).

    Most of my expectation for improving profit lies with higher margin sales from Greenville and with the bed frame line which may bring those sales along with their own.

    I have a routine order in for more as well, though it hasn't popped yet and no special effort to grab shares as I have my budget filled through early August already. L.

  • Reply to


    by incy201 May 27, 2015 11:22 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 16, 2015 12:38 PM Flag

    Your time frames are too short IMO. HI stock has not been flat for 2 years and certainly not for 3 years. KTronics was acquired in 4/10 and other companies since. It takes a lot of work and risk to meld companies like these so I don't expect much real earnings growth for the years when they are being integrated. Still, HI stock has gone from $20 to $30 since 2012 which is a average growth rate of at least 10% plus a dividend of 2 or 3%. That's a pretty decent growth rate for a company moving into a new business while their legacy business is languishing.

    I'd prefer another QCOM or AAPL, but really never did expect that from an industrial manufacturer like HI.

  • Reply to


    by incy201 May 27, 2015 11:22 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 16, 2015 12:18 PM Flag

    I disagree with your prescription. My opinion is that HI has wisely decided they must diversify from the casket business. Though the choice of industries to enter I feel was quite a stretch, they probably made a couple of pretty good buys while assuming they were smarter than existing management. I doubt that.

    My prescription would be to continue learning how to manage the businesses they have for profitability and, at most, add some "bolt on" type horizontal businesses if they can find them. At nearly 1 to 1 debt to equity, they have leveraged themselves plenty trying to get the materials handling business profitable and predictable.

    I would be very leery of them if they were to try to enter yet another line of business and become a real conglomerate of 70's style. (that was the idea of the former CEO I think). Yes, there are accounting tricks which make it possible to jack EPS through acquisition of lower PE companies. But HI would need a high PE itself in order to do that very effectively. And I personally do not respect managements which take advantage of those accounting tricks to jack earnings reports. I want a long term investment.

    You probably want something else.

    best, L.

  • Reply to

    back in the 17s

    by greendog03 Jul 16, 2015 10:28 AM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 16, 2015 11:15 AM Flag

    me too.

  • skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 9, 2015 3:50 PM Flag

    I guess what you say is true though I have a small cap growth fund which seems to be doing quite well. And from my perspective, the price and variation in price of SPAN is nearly ideal. Regular chances to buy at less than $18 and chances to sell above $19 with confidence that only a major market melt down is apt to affect the price to less than $15 or so.
    I have been buying and would sell some if the price got too high; say $24 or so, 15 times what I consider normal earnings and likely earnings for this year. On a company which pays about 5% a year dividend at it's median price. To me that is an excellent investment and I hope to buy more under $18 soon. Unfortunately, this week has provided a bunch of other opportunities and I wound up buying a couple batches of DCI.

  • skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 9, 2015 1:58 PM Flag

    They say the world is divided into two kinds of people; those who pee in the shower and those who don't. I might add that the world is also divided into free trade exponents and people who think it wise to restrict trade so as to benefit various economic groups internal to the country. The oil lobby seems to be primarily composed of the latter and I am one of the former. Usually when people modify economic activity politically they wind up with numerous unintended consequences such as we see in these arguments.

    I suspect that if we had not had the restriction on export of crude recently, the differential between brent and WTI would have been negligible and related to costs, for example. And we often wind up teeing off economies which tend to retaliate. Unimpeded capitalism will win in the end--far more powerful than most people appreciate. At least I invest based upon that assumption.

  • Reply to

    Fidelity Utah Oil Production

    by dkwilk Jun 25, 2015 4:10 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 6, 2015 1:23 AM Flag

    Yes. In fact I described the upgrade of an 8 inch through Terry scheduled to go on to Fargo to a 10 inch about 2 years ago. That line was for diesel and gasoline as I recall. But that is what I mean by local. Well, I guess it dumps into the larger pipeline through Minnesota and Chicago so clearly their price would have to be competitive there, so I can see your point. Yet, it is entirely possible that they would be selling at or below cost there while making money closer to home.
    Though I can't be sure my information is accurate, when I was in Minneapolis in the 60's and 70's, they had regular price wars. As I understand it, they would regularly wind up with excess production from the Conoco Ponca City refinery in Oklahoma. I was aware of the facility south of there (in fact the son of the superintendent was a close friend) but had no idea it might be as large as it now has become. What the heck is the name? North and pine come to mind but can't say the word.
    I think I also reported on this board the recently learned fact that NE Montana was populated with many little refineries in the early 1900's located very near producing fields. One in Winnett was fed by a pipeline from NE of there which was described as being upgraded to a 2 inch after some time. The year they found oil on the Musselshell river, they built a dam and sequestered it but farmers were allowed to go down and fill up straight out of the ground.

  • Reply to

    Fidelity Utah Oil Production

    by dkwilk Jun 25, 2015 4:10 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jul 2, 2015 10:40 AM Flag

    I guess that's what was expected industry wide; gradual reduction in output due to lower prices. Noting that storage is up for the last month, is it possible that refineries simply can't handle the lighter crude of North Dakota so that most of the additions to storage is that type of crude? If so, we can predict the continued differentials between Brent and WTI prices. Or perhaps become even more pronounced.

    I am hoping to see at least a bit of profit at WLL and Oasis with the price around $60 since I have shares in both. And if they are able to eke out a profit, Fidelity ought to be somewhere around breakeven also though their adventures in Utah are probably more costly than those of the other two companies.

    The refinery is selling product presumably. I really think we should not be calling it a refinery except that it is refining part of a crude oil input. But it is a very limited and specialized type of refinery better described as a topping plant IMO. As far as I know, a real refinery will not become profitable unless it gets to 100,000 BPD minimum--that was true in 1965 and I'd expect the numbers to be higher now. Last I checked the 3 refineries in Billings were all up to about 75,000 BPD--isn't the one in Mandan about the same? They get by on local distribution I think, but really can't compete with the large gulf coast refineries or the Rosemont area refinery in Minnesota head to head.

  • Reply to

    very strange price action the last few months

    by greendog03 May 18, 2015 11:24 AM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 30, 2015 6:53 AM Flag

    I had one of my orders filled today, at 17.84 . Had another in my Roth account which was at $17.70 and that did not fill despite Yahoo reporting some sales at that price.

  • Reply to

    very strange price action the last few months

    by greendog03 May 18, 2015 11:24 AM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 1:32 PM Flag

    Today I placed a couple of limit orders. A few hundred shares at $17.80. When I looked back at my order status, someone had offered to buy 100 at $17.81. I wondered if that was a teaser or whether I was actually seeing a little bidding war going on. So I moved my bid up to $17.82 and, sure enough, a few minutes later there was a bid at $17.83. I'm tempted to try it one more time, but really I think the point is made.

    No big computer driven program is going to be offering to buy 100 shares, and I doubt whether even a market maker would fool around with such an order--but maybe he would. So I suspect it's just another guy like me to whom a few dollars are important on any trade. Guess I'll let him go first and perhaps were can both get a fill. Interesting anyway and one of the reasons I really like owning stock in small companies.

  • Reply to

    seasonal promotion;

    by skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 12:54 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 1:05 PM Flag

    That cut and paste did not work out very well.

    I completely missed this announcement. Easy to do with such a small company, but it is a very significant announcement. This means the factory will be fully employed--actually stuffed--for several months this winter if all goes according to plan. There will be little room for other higher margin business, but the promotion is short enough that I suspect other deals could be signed but delivery not immediate. And the bed frame business should be able to grow significantly without much effect from this deal.

    I'd expect a good EPS result ( $.50 in Q4), and even a much better EPS as enthusiasm grows, orders get pushed up, in the current quarter coming to completion in a week.

    I was surprised to see the price below $18 today and have entered some orders down here as I think the better EPS will result in a price well over $20 by next spring. If not, the company remains stable and responsible, so I can afford to wait while holding shares--getting to be a fair sized part of my portfolio now.

  • skiplarson98 by skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 12:54 PM Flag

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    Span-America’s Consumer Bedding Products Selected for Major Retailer’s Seasonal Promotion
    Business Wire Span-America Medical Systems, Inc.
    June 9, 2015 4:15 PM



    Span-America Medical Systems, Inc. (SPAN) announced that it was notified by a major retail customer that the Company has been selected as a supplier of consumer bedding products for the retailer’s seasonal promotion in the fall of 2015. The Company expects that the promotion will be comparable in size to the promotions in which Span-America participated during the fall seasons of fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Span-America did not participate in a seasonal promotion in fiscal year 2014.

    “We are pleased that Span-America has been notified that we will likely be a supplier of consumer bedding products for one of our customer’s seasonal promotions,” stated Jim Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Span-America. “We expect to begin building inventory for the promotion in our fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 and to ship the promotional products in October and November of 2015, which will be in the first quarter of our 2016 fiscal year.

    “We are encouraged that our consumer bedding products have been picked for this promotion and believe it will have a positive impact on our sales and earnings performance for the first quarter of fiscal 2016. As with prior sales promotions that we participated in with this customer, we do not have a written agreement at this time and cannot give complete assurance that we will be awarded the business, but we expect to receive a written purchase order by approximately September 2015 based on past experience,” concluded Mr. Ferguson.

  • Reply to


    by bottomsupinvestor May 28, 2015 1:50 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 12:41 PM Flag

    I'm sorry I did not see this invitation till now. I'll go to that board to become familiar with the contest.

    Thanks for the heads up. L.

  • Reply to

    minor indication of Bakken activity;

    by skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 11:38 AM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 25, 2015 11:49 AM Flag

    Among the interesting facts I learned in speaking with my source is that most of the frac jobs use pressure of 10,000 pounds. This company has gone as high as 14,000 pounds apparently and when one sees those banks of trucks (20 or more) around a site completion, the more there are apparently the higher the pressure. Apparently drivers stay with their rigs and that is why there is so much overtime I suspect. It must be more expensive then, for each driver to go all the way back to a more remote home base like Miles City as well as going to the well from here. At least an extra 2 hours on both ends of a job.

    I am doing a lot of guessing in making these statements so don't treat them as gospel. Just clues as to what might determine how fast or how much activity might recover with higher prices. My guess today would be that MDU will be presenting a rather poor quarterly result as activity tightens up around their areas of operation. And that conclusion just came off the top of my head--so nothing to bank on. I'm still thinking our CEO is the right man for the job though. Not so sure about the board of directors.

  • I have learned that there used to be 5 Frac crews working out of Miles City's Sanjel office. They had dropped to three as of a few weeks ago, and sent a full complement of trucks down to Oklahoma a couple weeks ago bringing them down to 2 crews out of here.

    Of course, Miles City is outside the active area of oil drilling, so there might well be a tendency to concentrate more on resources in the Buffalo, WY or Williston yards with drivers available there. So such a report really does not mean very much.

    I also learned that at least two office administrators have been sent back to truck driving (from whence they came originally) here in Miles City. I'm told they still get their 100 hour weeks and another source tells me he was paid over $100,000 in each of the last 4 years (and I'd guess many get considerably more) for driving trucks for Sanjel, so they are still doing completions. But this office might shut down and already is specializing in cementing operations.

    Bike ride across S. Dakota was good early in June with not a single well apparent from Spearfish to Millette. Drove to Faith on HWY 12 and back the same way, so in your neighborhood, Don. I expect to do the N. Dakota ride again in August and may ride my bike out there as well as on the organized tour so that I'd actually be riding around the outskirts of activity for a couple days. But little to compare with so not apt to be very productive regarding activity. Drilling rigs active from the N. Dakota site is probably the best indicator I have of current conditions.

    Watching MDU crews working around here is like watching paint dry. They have hired good people IMO, but the guaranteed profitability of utility operations inevitably leads to featherbedding one way or another. I just cannot imagine how MDU can be a strong competitor in aggregate or construction with the utility division forming the backbone of the company.

  • Reply to

    Raven Industries in Barron's this week

    by steve_382n Jun 21, 2015 1:18 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 23, 2015 3:38 PM Flag

    And I do respect the small regional brokerage of Dougherty more than most of the more famous outfits--I think it possible that they would publish promising developments to authors from Barrons as quasi representatives of management. A dangerous practice but possible. I'm sure Dan would like to have a more comfortably upbeat year---finally.

    Yet I don't expect to buy shares at the current elevated price even though there is room for them in my portfolio.

  • Reply to

    Raven Industries in Barron's this week

    by steve_382n Jun 21, 2015 1:18 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 23, 2015 3:33 PM Flag

    It is possible, I suppose, that Dan said something to Dougherty reps which would give a clue that Raven has turned a corner. Of course, such information is supposed to be distributed to all concurrently, but, no matter how careful, such information can be determined. In fact, one of the things I've done in driving past Raven's various plants would be like that--and I've reported it to you though theoretically the information is available to anyone who wishes to look at it.

    If the price keeps going up for another couple of days, I might conclude that there really has been some sort of promising development of which I'm not aware.

  • Reply to

    Raven Industries in Barron's this week

    by steve_382n Jun 21, 2015 1:18 PM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 22, 2015 11:45 AM Flag

    I am regularly amazed by the temporary effect of such an article or a brokerage recommendation has on the stock price. I have virtually no confidence in those recommendations, so any stock effect seems to me to be silly but valuable for efficient buys or sales. Of course there is also the probability that some bodies will take advantage of those blips while also providing the promotional material. I doubt that is the case for Dougherty though.

  • skiplarson98 skiplarson98 Jun 18, 2015 10:39 AM Flag

    That is really getting back to the core of Raven--initially formed to produce balloons in 1956. One of the 4 original Gen. Mills engineers who came to Sioux Falls from Mpls was at the annual meeting a few years ago. Raven withdrew from the hot air recreational balloon business a few years ago while offering to provide support for balloons still in service. Largely, I think, for liability reasons, but I suspect it was also a difficult market to service due to many individual buyers.

    The Aerostar division holds some investment potential IMO, despite being old and usually unexciting. Loon could provide a bit more pzaaz to the business. Great story you posted about the launch cage you posted on IV, Steve. That picture of the single guy holding a little balloon in the wind looked almost like a joke--surely that cannot be an actual early LOON launch. Can it?

  • Reply to

    Insiders options prices

    by steve_382n Apr 8, 2015 11:29 AM
    skiplarson98 skiplarson98 May 26, 2015 3:50 PM Flag

    I have no authoritative information about his position today. I did see him at the first annual meeting after he had retired but would have assumed he would not dispose of all his stock in that first year anyway. He must have disposed of some since I believe he was required to inform the SEC of his over 5% holdings which he had upon retirement and he no longer reported them.

    I did ask him where he was living and he said both Sioux Falls and Minneapolis areas. I always felt he was like a father figure to me and trusted him implicitly. But I never knew him well enough to get any special information--and I wonder if anyone really knew him much better. He just did his job professionally and consistently, IMO. One time I commented in passing that I was skiplarson98 who posted on yahoo, and his response was "interesting!". And into the board meeting he went.

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