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Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. Message Board

syzygyzys 20 posts  |  Last Activity: Sep 10, 2014 8:54 AM Member since: Nov 11, 2002
  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Sep 10, 2014 8:54 AM Flag

    Yes, I did miss that. I get most of my tech news from places like Slashdot, and sometimes prime financial information slips through. Sorry. And it speaks to what I called the big question - obviously not a "must have". Not being an Apple supplier means they won't be using all that new capacity.

    Although, it is worth pointing out that Apple squeezes their suppliers pretty hard. It's always a tough business there.

    If you want a wild speculation, try AWLCF. Not a tech company, and no, I have no position in it, but I'm pretty sure that a year from now the price will be quite a bit different from what it is today.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Sep 9, 2014 2:50 PM Flag

    I'm not sure what news there was. As I said, with the unimpressive performance of other touchscreen suppliers like ATML and CY, it was pretty clear that the wind wasn't at their back. Whether their technology becomes a "must-have" is the big question, and I don't think that has been answered.

    As for SHLD, I've posted my opinion there. I can't imagine owning that.

    Good luck.

  • Reply to

    Sears: Game Over

    by toddlutzscience Aug 21, 2014 9:32 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Aug 22, 2014 4:17 PM Flag

    We'll have to agree to disagree, Beach. As for assets, I just don't see it. The asset side of the balance sheet has been shrinking steadily, and there haven't been any significant gains - only write-offs. Meanwhile the liability side of the balance sheet has barely budged, the biggest drop coming as a result of the Land's End spinoff. THere was real value in that spinoff, or appears to be, but it isn't enough.

    If the balance sheet is so good, why haven't there been some extraordinary gains on sales of assets? Unless there are some powerfully undervalued assets in there somewhere, investors are in trouble. Lampert has been selling assets fast enough to not have to borrow more, but that is it.

    And working capital is drying up. What happens when that LOC goes away?

    As for Berkowitz, well, he has made more money than I have, but lately he seems more interested in making it in the courtroom than in picking good investments. I don't know why he thought SHLD was the best use of his capital, but I'm not putting mine there.

    This is not an asset trap. This is a company with a poor asset base and a poor ongoing business.

  • Reply to

    Sears: Game Over

    by toddlutzscience Aug 21, 2014 9:32 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Aug 21, 2014 6:46 PM Flag

    For the life of me, I cannot see why anyone would want to own this stock. I suppose it might be a good stock to trade in the short term, but as a buy-and-hold for a year or more, I just don't get it.

    Look at the asset side of the ledger: based on the May statement, they have over $8.5B in current assets - probably no hidden assets there. Another more than $2.5 B in intangibles and goodwill. I admit names like Craftsman, Kenmore, and Die-Hard are worth something, but I don't want to get carried away paying for it, and whatever they are worth, they're not going to appreciate much.

    That leaves less than $6B in asstes that might be undervalued on the balance sheet, overwhelmingly real property and leasehold improvements. The leases and their improvements are getting less valuable, not more, and whatever hidden value the leases have is also deteriorating every quarter - this is not Vornado, Two Guys, Alexanders, etc. A lot of their real property is located in malls. Not exactly prime real estate in 2014. Near as I can tell, most of their owned stores are in malls, but either way, when a Sears or a K-Mart gives up its lease, in my experience the property satys vacant for a while and then a low end tenant occupies the space. The space that K-mart vacated in 2002 finally got a new store last year - it was vacant most of that time. It's a Gordmans. Not high rent. No hidden assets there.

    Meanwhile the liabilities are not going away - they are real. But the big question is their liquidity and whether the recent losses have dealt a fatal blow to their working capital. Their LOC is now down to less than this last quarter's loss. So unless the cut the hemhoragging cash withn a couple of months, Lampert will have relatively little to say about the future - it will be up to the banks. And I could easily see them doing things which are not friendly to shareholders.

    I have more to say, but I'm at Yahoo's character limit. I don't own SHLD, stay away.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Aug 19, 2014 8:29 AM Flag

    As I said, they are betting the company. If they can sell all their new production capacity coming on line, the shares will skyrocket. If not, they will plummet. Thus the high premiums. I'm too old for this sort of thing.

    The microcontroller companies (Atmel, Cypress) are not doing particularly well, which makes me cautious. I'm going to give tech a pass for a while.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Aug 18, 2014 7:57 PM Flag

    Hi HC,

    GT is selling to an oligospony, and that is always a tough business. Moreover, the new regime where you don't have to be the inventor to get a patent, and patents can be the most trivial in nature, mean that little companies like GT rarely if ever hold the only key to a promising technology. There are lots of people with their hands out, and some of them have no stake in the technology, just in maximizing cash flow from thier troll portfolio.

    So it has gotten tougher and tougher for upstream small tech companies like GT. Having said that, their techology is good, and they have gone all in with it - that may account for the insider sales, or some of them - they are betting the company, and want some hedge in their personal portfolio. I have no idea why all the short interest, though.

    These days, not for me. If I were younger, I might take a flyer on a few shares, but not much.

  • Reply to

    Anyone follow DEO?

    by axpkocop Aug 11, 2014 11:44 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Aug 12, 2014 8:01 AM Flag

    I don't follow it closely, but I like that sector. It is cheaper than BF-B, which I have wanted to own for a long time, but always found it too expensive. At this point, I would prefer an index fund to DEO, but DEO will do well in a recession.

  • Reply to

    Bullish Sign?

    by zescrowman Jul 20, 2014 10:00 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 20, 2014 12:22 PM Flag

    Trading based on politics can be very profitable, if you do it right. Historically, it means buying Democrats and selling Repubilicans. Especially, the market almost always goes down the calendar year after a Republican is elected president. Since 1970 there have been 10 down years, 8 of them during years when a Republican was president, or was inaugurated president. If you want to ignore this, fine. But explicitly betting against it seems to me like a bad idea.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 17, 2014 5:34 PM Flag

    Since you said you virtually all your net worth in SHLD, now you are broadcasting your net worth.

    We've had other people on this board go "all in", but never just one company - usually a concept or a small group of companies. Sometimes it works.

  • Reply to

    LO and RAI Deal

    by axpkocop Jul 15, 2014 3:17 PM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 16, 2014 6:11 PM Flag

    Yes, I'm not particularly sure I want to own ALB, even though I've always had a soft spot for specialty chemicals - lots of mini-moats there. Since I'm in sell mode anyway, I may just make this a part of that as I try to get myself below 80% invested.

  • Reply to

    LO and RAI Deal

    by axpkocop Jul 15, 2014 3:17 PM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 15, 2014 3:26 PM Flag

    Congratulations, axp. Also today, ROC announced that they were exploring being bought by Ablemarle, and ROC is up 10%. Not of much interest to most people, but I own ROC and have recommended it here, so we can raise a glass together.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 13, 2014 10:16 PM Flag

    Yes, although personally BRKs bank exposure doesn't worry me as much as their insurance does.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 13, 2014 9:23 AM Flag

    One of the main reasons I'm not in BRK is their big exposure to insurance. If you don't like financials, there must be a lot of things that would be better than BRK, like the dogs of the dow, or some small company index fund?

  • Reply to

    Target-Date Funds Take Over, barrons cover

    by hjclasvegas6969 Jul 7, 2014 8:00 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 7, 2014 10:52 PM Flag

    For what it's worth, Balt, most of what I have been selling lately has been reits. But I was already overweighted there, and I still am.

  • Reply to

    Target-Date Funds Take Over, barrons cover

    by hjclasvegas6969 Jul 7, 2014 8:00 AM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jul 7, 2014 4:53 PM Flag

    Hi HC,

    I posted in early June that I was embarking on another low-key selling spree, one sale a week, less than 1/2% of the portfolio each time. So far I've sold about 1 1/2% of the portfolio and it is all sitting in cash. I'm going to keep doing that either right through the summer or until there is a big drop in the market.

    Usually you get rewarded for buying whatever looks like the worst investment of the moment. Lately that has been bonds. Now it may be cash.

    I'm not going to buy any more Fairfax but they do have a big put on the market, and lately Blackberry, which is a big holding of theirs, has been doing well. Long term, vix investments like VXX are losers but maybe now is the time. I won't be buying any of htat. If you have nothing in emerging markets, then an emerging markets index fund might be a place for a very small investment

  • Reply to

    Buffett Hoped IBM Stock Would Drop

    by weenie_wonk Jun 25, 2014 3:05 PM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jun 27, 2014 8:10 AM Flag

    WIth its old business model, I could see the earnings doubling every 8-10 years, but I don't see it now. IBM's moat is growing smaller and smaller, it is now a wading pool with goldfish. Cloud services don't have a big barrier to entry.

    I hope it works out for you, axp, I like your posts and like most of your stocks. But I disagree on IBM. Please keep an eye on those profit margins - if I'm right, they will start to deteriorate very soon. I think this is a rare place where top line growth will not mean much.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jun 26, 2014 1:30 PM Flag

    Sorry, my error. 105% of net worth in SHLD still sounds frightening, but at least you have a way to keep the rent paid and the refrigerator filled.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jun 26, 2014 7:39 AM Flag

    But Rocket, didn't you post at one time that you didn't have a job, and lived off your investments? I may have that wrong, it's been a long time - although you do spend a lot of time posting, for someone with a job.

    If you are living off your investments and are 105% invested in SHLD, that doesn't leave much room for error.

  • Reply to

    Buffett Hoped IBM Stock Would Drop

    by weenie_wonk Jun 25, 2014 3:05 PM
    syzygyzys syzygyzys Jun 25, 2014 7:32 PM Flag

    IBM's IV. Now that's a scary thought. The company has negative tangible book value, all its book equity is goodwill.

  • syzygyzys syzygyzys Jun 25, 2014 7:23 PM Flag

    But he has also posted that he has all his net worth in SHLD, which would make it hard to take advantage of price declines.

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