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Sunday, 25 April 2004
"Seven Months Ago" A longer term view examining the week of September 29, 2003

Hello Friends! Well from the previous post, you can see that the past seven weeks were NOT very kind to my picks...but seven months ago, especially with one selection, our picks were on fire! Remember, to PLEASE do your own homework on all stocks selected, use your investment advisors before making any decisions, and always remember that past performance is NO GUARANTEE of future performance!

The week of September 29, 2003, was a week when I posted six selections. Of these stocks, I purchased only one in my "Current Trading Portfolio": AnnTaylor, a stock which I still own and have sold a portion for a gain already.

On 9/29/03 I posted SFBC International (SFCC) on Stock Picks at $30.25. SFCC closed on 4/23/04 at $31.90 for a gain of $1.65 or 5.5%.

Looking at the news for recent earnings to see if the company is STILL performing, SFCC should be reporting their earnings in just a day or two, but the last earnings report was their Fourth Quarter 2003 results which were posted on 2/17/04. Revenue came in at $33.6 million, a 46.5% increase over the $23.0 million the prior year. Net earnings for the fourth quarter increased 40.1% to $4.2 million compared to $3.0 million the prior year. On a fully diluted basis they came in a little less impressive at $.43/share vs. $.40/share the prior year. This less impressive result reflects an increase of 29.3% of average shares due to a November, 2003, share offering. Overall, this company appears to be doing just fine but I would watch closely at future share offerings to make sure their is no continued dilution of earnings.

On 9/30/03, I picked AnnTaylor (ANN) for Stock Picks at $32.14/share. (I also purchased some shares for my trading account shortly thereafter). ANN closed at $42.00 on 4/23/04, for a gain of $9.86 or 30.7%.

As I always like to emphasize, one of the BEST ways of assessing a retail stock in addition to the usual methods of revenue growth and earnings is to look at the "same store sales numbers". These numbers adjust for new outlets to examine the sales of existing stores compared to the prior year. Anything positive is always healthy and anything over 8 or 9% is great. On 4/8/04, ANN announced March Sales results which showed that for the five week period ended April 3, 2004, net sales increased 23.6% (!) to $170.8 million from $138.2 million the prior year. Comparable store sales were up 12.0%. These are great numbers. In addition, ANN went ahead and RAISED first quarter earnings guidance to $.54-$.56 from a range of $.47-$.49 previously estimated. It is almost ALWAYS bullish for a stock to have the company raising earnings expectations!

How about earnings for ANN? Last month, on March 9, 2004, ANN announced 4th quarter 2003 results. Total net sales were $448.7 million, up 27.4% from the $352.2 million the prior year. Net income came in at $31.5 million or $.65/share compared to net income of $16.1 million or $.35/share the prior year. These are GREAT results, in my humble opinion.

O.K. here was the STAR of the week. And the STAR of the entire blog. And I DID NOT BUY A SINGLE SHARE!....oh well, even a genius (lol) can make a mistake. TASER International (TASR) was posted on Stock Picks at $29.25. TASR had a 3:1 split on 2/11/04, making our posted price, adjusted for the split, now get this....drum roll please.......$9.75. TASR closed at $81.15 on 4/23/04 for a gain of...now get this....$71.40 or.....drum roll again.....732.3%. And I did NOT BUY A SINGLE SHARE. Yikes.

How about earnings? On April 20, 2004, TASR reported 1st quarter 2004 results. Revenues came in at $13.1 million, a 286% increase over 1st quarter 2003 results, and diluted earnings per share came in at $.24/share, an 700% increase over the $.03 reported the prior year. Hmmm, a tiny stock with great numbers. If you read the original post, you will see that everything was in line for a 'rocket' with great numbers and a LARGE short position at the time of the post....I am kicking myself now....and I DID NOT BUY A SHARE. oh well.

On 10/2/03, I posted UTStarcom (UTSI) on my blog at $35.23. UTSI closed on 4/23/04 at $29.15, for a loss of $(6.08) or (17.3)%.

How about earnings? On January 22, 2004, UTSI announced 4th quarter 2003 results. Net sales came in at $643.6 million, a 114% increase over net sales of $301.1 million the prior year. Net income came in at $66.4 million or $.52/share compared to $33.9 million or $.30/share, a 96% year-over-year increase in net income. These were great numbers! So even though the stock price has declined since the selection, I would still be interested in reading the upcoming earnings result for the first quarter 2004.

On October 3, 2003, I posted Genesis Microchip (GNSS) On Stock Picks at a price of $13.28. GNSS closed on 4/24/04 at a price of $19.72 for a gain of $6.44 or 48.5%.

On January 22, 2004, GNSS announced 3rd quarter 2004 results. Revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2003, came in at $56.5 million up from $51.7 million the prior year. Diluted eps came in at $.01/share up from a loss of $(.22)/share the prior year. These were nice, if not impressive results. I would again await the soon to be announced 4th quarter 2004 results before endorsing this stock!

Finally, on October 3, 2003, I posted Bentley Pharmaceutical (BNT) on the blog at $15.69. BNT closed at $13.03 on 4/23/04 for a loss of $(2.66) or (17.0)%.

On February 26, 2004, BNT reported 4th quarter 2003 results. For the quarter ended December 31, 2003, total revenues increased 57% (29% adjusted for currency changes) to a record $18.1 million from $11.5 million the prior year. Net income came in at $.08/diluted share, compared to $.03/diluted share the prior year. These were nice results.

In summary, I posted six stocks during the week of September 29, 2003. Two stocks declined in price: UTSI (17.3)%, and BNT (17.0)%. Four stocks had nice gains: SFCC 5.5%, ANN 30.7%, GNSS 48.5%, and TASR 732.3%. The average performance, greatly influenced by TASR came in at a gain of 130.45%. This is a performance I cannot EVER hope to duplicate...well I can HOPE but I cannot, nor should you expect!

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Regards and have a great Sunday!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 11:35 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
"How are we doing?" A look back on the week of February 9, 2004

Hello Friends! As ALWAYS, I am delighted that you took the time and decided to visit. Someday I should write a book about blogging. Well, first of all I suppose I should learn how to do HTML instead of all of this "fill in the blanks" posting....but there is always time tomorrow. Now REMEMBER to PLEASE do all of your own due diligence on ALL stocks discussed on this blog and consult with your financial advisors because I am an amateur investor just writing some ideas about investing and all decisions regarding YOUR financial situation should be made by qualified individuals who know your particular situation. Enough said!

Anyhow, it is Sunday, and I really need to get these reviews in so let's get on with it! One of the things I noticed about my postings on the blog the week of 2/9/04 was that I was getting SLOPPY. I mean can you believe it? I posted four stocks: Thor Industries (THO), Giant Industries (GI), Netsmart Technologies (NTST), and Cyberguard (CGFW). On TWO of them, check it out yourself (!), I forgot to post the price of the pick...well fortunately, I can look this up through Fidelity.com, so that's how I got the prices. I used the HIGHEST prices I could see for that day, so that would be the most conservative approach, without the risk of overstating our performance.

O.K. back to the blackboard..."I will write the prices on the posts, I will write the prices on the posts"....Honest, I will try harder!

So how did these stocks do these past ten weeks? Well on 2/10/04, I posted Thor Industries (THO) on the blog at $33.86. THO closed at $29.29 on 4/23/04 for a loss of $(4.57) or (13.5)%.

Next, I posted Giant Industries (GI) at $16.50 on 2/11/04. (This was one of the two stocks I needed to reconstruct prices). GI closed on 4/23/04 at $20.31 for a gain of $3.81 or 23.1%.

On 2/11/04, I posted Netsmart Technologies (NTST) on the blog at $17.60. NTST has been a weak performer and closed at $12.24 on 4/23/04 for a loss of (55.24)% (yikes).

Finally, on 2/12/04, I posted Cyberguard (CGFW) at $11.96. This was the other stock I needed to reconstruct the selection price. CGFW has also been fairly week since the post at $9.58 on 4/23/04. This represents a loss of $(2.38) or (19.9)%.

Quite frankly, this was NOT a great week or a 10 week period for my stock picks! We had since their selections, performance of losses of (13.5)%, (55.24)%, (19.9)%, and a gain of 23.1%. The average of these was a loss of (16.4)%. This was a mediocre week at best and you can see two things from this: #1) No stock selection is a guarantee of success over every type of market, #2)Why it is so important to avoid buying into weak markets over the short-term, #3)Why it is important to have sell points on stocks to limit your losses, and try to avoid selling stocks that are winners.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I will try to do the longer-term view, about 7 months out I believe, a little later today! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com Unless otherwise directed, I will try to answer your letters online in the blog so that I can share my response with our other readers!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 9:00 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 23 April 2004
April 23, 2004 Synaptics (SYNA) and "A reader responds"

Hello Friends! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my BLOG. I almost get the feeling that I am getting to know some of you. I mean MAYBE there is something to what I am writing! As always, PLEASE remember that I am an AMATEUR investor...honestly...so do your own investigations of all of the stocks I discuss on my blog, and consult with your financial advisors regarding the timeliness and suitability of all investments discussed!

Jason M. responded to my post with:

here is another question.

i often feel overwhelmed by just the sheer amount of
stox out there to pick from. how do you go about
looking for the stox you choose?

J.


Well Jason, let me use an example from a stock today and see if I can walk you through my thought processes. Basically there are two methods of picking stocks...I will refer to them as a "top-down" as opposed to a "bottom-up" approach. Top-down investment decisions are made after you read something or heard somebody mention a stock, or even read a BLOG where a stock was described...and you decided that you were convinced about that stock and decided to invest in it. Bottom-up approaches are what I would call "screening" techniques. That is you first set up parameters, or characteristics of the kind of stock you would like to invest in then go to the market to see if any stocks out there fit you criteria. I hope you are following me.

My approach, I hope, is a "bottom-up" approach. I am looking for stocks with certain criteria. What are they? If you read through the Bob's Advice for Stocks homepage, you will see some of my criteria listed.

The first place I look for a stock to "pick" is the "Price % Gainers" which can be found on different online services. I like to use the Money.cnn.com site...but sometimes use the USA Today "% increase in Price" information.

Why do I start there? I have found in my experience, and I have NOT verified this statistically but this is my belief, that stocks that make large percentage gains in a particular day, MAY be stocks which later on go on to appreciate greatly. This also reduces my need to screen ALL of the stocks a given day. I restrict myself to the stocks on the lists of largest % gainers.

Today, I came across SYNA on the NASDAQ % gainers lists. Currently, as I am writing this note, SYNA is trading at $17.69, up $2.77 or 18.57% on the day. It does turn out that I do own some shares of SYNA, I am not sure how many quite frankly, in a managed account that I do NOT make decisions in regarding which equities should be purchased or sold. It is my policy, as much as I can remember, to point out whether I own shares in a stock or not. I really do wish to have full disclosure on this website, and that is why I also post my trading portfolio...and let you know about my brilliant trades and my flubs.

What is my next step? Well, first, I tend to start with the stocks over $10. Especially with my 8% sell point, a low-priced stock just has too much volatility and I tend to hit sell points quickly. Just my preference. Anyhow, I check with Yahoo.com to see if I can find a recent earnings report. I demand of my selections that the latest quarter earnings be a positive results AND that revenue has GROWN from the prior year. I believe that the BEST stocks, the HIGHEST QUALITY stocks, are the ones that growth their revenue each and every year (as much as possible) and ALSO grow their earnings.

Above all, this is NOT the only or even necessarily the BEST way to pick stocks. I do not know if this method even works long term (!). This is just the method that I am currently using. I believe it makes sense and I am trying to use it to make investment decisions.

One of the first things I look for is WHAT the company does. For this I find the "Profile" on Yahoo.com, which for SYNA, the Yahoo "Profile" for SYNA shows that they are "...a worldwide developer of custom-designed user interface solutions for notebook computers." Further down, they note that they are the ones that manufacture the "TouchPad" I believe for the IBM notebooks.

So back to SYNA. Yesterday, after the close of trading, SYNA reported 3rd quarter earnings. Over and over again I have found that if a company reports good earnings the stock price JUMPS. And that is what happened with SYNA. First what about revenue? Net revenue for the third quarter was $34.3 million a 31% increase over the $26.1 million the prior year. And earnings? They came in at $3.5 million or $.13/share, a 69% increase over $2.1 million or $.08/diluted share the prior year. These are GREAT results.

Next, I like to look a little longer term. I make these possible investment ideas "jump through hoops" before I post them! I have found that Morningstar.com is a WONDERFUL free service (the basic service) that provides me with a lot of information that I incorporate into this BLOG. On this site, the most helpful for me has been the "5-Yr Restated Financials"...which for SYNA is found here. (I assume you are sophisticated enough to know that all of these different color words are LINKS to other sites that I am referring to.)

The Morningstar site shows that first, the company has had great revenue growth more than just the most recent quarter. In fact, they have increased revenue fairly steadily from $29.8 million in 1999 to $118.2 million the trailing twelve months.

How about earnings? This is something I also like to check. Since data starts in 2003, I assume that SYNA started reporting these results as a public corporation since that date and in fact increased from $.31/share in 2003 to $.41/share the trailing twelve months (the TTM).

And Free Cash Flow. Why do I think that is important? I am old enough to remember the many dot.com investments that had LOTS of cash received in an IPO and didn't have any real earnings. They (analysts) used to talk about the "burn rate", that is how fast companies were USING UP their cash. I just want to make sure that a company I suggest, or invest in, is CREATING cash and not BURNING it up!

For SYNA, we can see the row of figures under "free cash flow" which shows NEGATIVE cash flow in 2001 of $(3) million improving to positive cash flow of $12 million in 2002 and $10 million in 2003, and $12 million in the trailing twelve months. This also gets a passing grade! Cash flow is positive and at least steady. It is even NICER if cash flow, in my opinion, is GROWING!

The next thing I look at is the Morningstar.com "Balance Sheet" figures. Simply put, does the company have a lot more ASSETS than LIABILITIES? And how about CASH? For SYNA, we can see that Morningstar is reporting $84.1 million in cash and $25.2 million in other current assets. But this is only significant when we contrast this with their liabilities, things they have to PAY out! For SYNA, their current liabilities are only $17.7 million (things they need to pay in the next twelve months) and the long-term liabilities are a nominal $2.3 million. The balance sheet looks GREAT!

Next place I like to look is VALUATION. That is, is the price REASONABLE, are you getting a good deal by buying this stock? For this I look under "Key Statistics" on Yahoo Finance section for stocks. I think if you explore Yahoo, you will see this along the left hand page of the quoe section. For SYNA, this is located here. And WHAT do I look for? I like to see what kind of Market Cap the company has...which is the value of the entire company found by multiplying the # of shares by the stock price. For SYNA, the market cap is $438.76 million.

Next, what is the p/e of the stock? That is how much price to you have to pay for a given earnings amount. For SYNA, this is 39.64, with a forward p/e of 30.10. This indeed sounds pricey, but a better indicator is what kind of price/earnings "multiplier" are you paying...when adjusted for growth. The closer the PEG or price/earnings/growth is to 1.0 the better. For SYNA, this PEG is at 0.99 which is GREAT. The price/sales is another ratio some people review, I do not find it as helpful but for SYNA, this is at 3.12. Usually, this is more helpful for "retail" stocks...like BBY, or COH, etc.

Finally, how many shares are outstanding? And what is the float...gives you an idea of the liquidity of the shares....for SYNA, there are 24.70 million shares outstanding and 17.50 million of them that float. And the Short Interest, which for SYNA is 1.34 million shares which represents 2.902 trading days as of 3/8/04....tells me how many people, traders, have sold the stock short...that is BORROWED shares speculating that the price would DROP. These shares need to be re-purchased at some point, and if the short interest is HIGH, then the possibility exists that a short "squeeze" could occur. That is, a RUSH to purchase stocks by speculators who borrowed shares to sell first...on the heels of GOOD news driving the stock higher. Do you follow?

Next, I like to see if the stock pays a dividend (NO)...this is an added bonus if present and see if any stock splits have occurred recently (again NO) for SYNA.

Lastly, I have started looking at some technicals, by checking the free charts on Stockcharts.com. I like the Point and Figure charts which give a feeling for the "ebb and tide" of the stock price. (did I say that right?)...For SYNA, this is found here. We can see that this stock, which was trading lower, broke through the red line we call the "resistance line" (the blue line is the "support line"), about June, 2003 at about a price of $12.5 and has traded higher since, although it appeared to be possibly breaking down in early March 2004. Overall the graph looks fine.

So this is what I do. PHEW....and do it quickly! When I have found a stock I like, I gather together the online pages, and start writing. Thank goodness I do not have writer's cramp! But I might get carpal tunnel instead! lolol. This stock looks GREAT. As I pointed out, I do happen to have a few shares elsewhere. I do not purchase any additional shares for my trading account until I sell a portion of an existing position at a gain...just one of my rules, and I plan on a maximum of 25 positions...I believe I am up to 22.

I hope this long-winded answer was helpful to you! If you or anyone else has any other comments, questions, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Regards!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 1:20 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 22 April 2004
"A reader writes" What about WNC?

Hello Friends! It sure was a breath of fresh air having a great rally in the market today. Hopefully, this will not be a short-term rally but more the start of something bigger...As always, please remember to always do your own investigation of all stocks discussed on this blog, and be sure to discuss your decisions with your investment advisor as I am just a fellow AMATEUR investor, and do not know what your personal situation is and whether stocks discussed will be timely or appropriate for you.

I always like to receive email, even when I was a kid, I found it exciting to check the mailbox and find out what had arrived! Around these parts, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Today, I got a nice note from Jason M. who wrote:

hey bob

thnx again for all the great info and adivce.

i was wondering what you think of WNC. they are a
local company in the city i live in. the recently
have recieved a grant from our town to educate thier
employees. they claim that they are selling mroe
trailers than they ever have and they announced the
other night that they have a plan in place to be out
of debt in the next 18 months. these all seem like
good signs to me, but then again i am the newb.

what sort of things do you look for in the stock that
you like?


First of all, let me repeat that I am not qualified to determine whether WNC is a good investment for YOU or not. That you will need to figure out. All I can do is let you know how it fits into the parameters I use to assess an investment...and I would be happy to do just that.

First of all WNC is Wabash National Corporation. They closed today at $28.50 up $.20 on the day or 0.71%. According to the Yahoo "Profile", Wabash "...designs, manufactures and markets standard and customized truck trailers and intermodal equipment under the Wabash, FreightPro, Articlite and RoadRailer trademarks."

You asked me about "what sort of things" do I look at in analyzing stocks. Well, the FIRST thing I like to do is find out how the company is doing right now. The best place in my mind is the latest quarterly report. Now if you can believe it, (I was surprised myself), WNC just released earnings a few moments ago! For the three months ended March 31, 2004, net sales for the first quarter were $222 million compared to $223 million for the same period last year. So this was OFF a bit. The good news is that Net Income was up strongly at $6.9 million compared to $1.4 million last year or diluted net income was $.23/share vs $.05/share the prior year. So the revenue was FLAT but the earnings were up nicely.

How about longer-term? The place I like to go for this is the free part of Morningstar.com. On this site, I like to check what is called "5-Yr Restated" financials. For WNC this is posted here. One of the things I see right away, is that revenue was $1.3 billion in 1998, peaked at $1.5 billion in 1999, and has dropped to $.9 billion in the trailing twelve months. The latest quarterly report has done NOTHING to convince me that this 'shrinkage' of revenue has turned around.

Earnings-wise, the company lost money in both 2001 and 2002, and is shown to have lost money in 2003. At least in the latest report, they are 'turning around'. Free cash flow which was $(76) million in 2000, improved to $0 in 2001, $99 million in 2002 and $34 million in the trailing twelve months. The balance sheet shows adequate if not excessive assets with $2.6 million in cash and $214 million in other current assets. There is a good amount of debt with $144.9 million in current liabilities and $283.2 million in long-term debt.

How about Valuation? For this I like to go to "Key Statistics" on Yahoo. Here we find that the market cap is at $767.08 million and that the forward p/e (fye 31-Dec-05) is only 12.45. Even with this low p/e the PEG is still high at 3.17. The price/sales is nice though at 0.86.

There are 26.92 million shares outstanding with 26.70 million of them that float. A lot of shares are out short; Yahoo reports 3.38 million shares as of 4/7/04, representing 12.65% of the float or 6.494 trading days.

No dividend is paid and the last stock split was a 3:2 in July 1994.

What about technicals? Well this stock was trading lower throughout 2000, 2001, and much of 2002, but the "Point and Figure" Chart for WNC shows it breaking through the resistance level in November, 2003, at about $7.5 and then trading strongly higher since that time.

Well what do I think? Thinking about all of the things I have writte, the recent quarter is a mixed report with flat revenue growth and a strong earnings report. Morningstar.com shows that the revenue peaked several years ago, and is still not recovering. Valuation-wise, the P/E is nice..at least going forward, but the PEG is steep at over 3.0. Technically the graph looks nice.

So where are we? This is not a stock that I would be picking for this BLOG. That does not mean it is not a good investment, and I would encourage you to make your own decision on this matter. However, I am looking for revenue growth, earnings growth, excellent balance sheet, and a nice graph. I hope that is not TOO much to ask!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope that was useful for you and that you feel free to email me with any questions you may have at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 5:49 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
"Trading Transparency" COH, VIVO
O.K. so I have NO self-control. I mean when you fall for a stock, I mean I am falling for stocks one after the other! Scanning through my stocks I saw that my COH was doing quite well, and near a selling point. So I entered a sale of 30 shares of COH (out of 120...leaving 90), at a price of $44.81. Now get this, I had purchased these 120 shares at a cost of $16.66/share on 2/25/03 so this was a GAIN of $28.15/share or 169% appreciation on these shares...I jumped the gun a little because this was my FIFTH partial sale of COH and by plan, should have been waiting for a 180% sell point (first three sales at 30, 60, 90, then 120, 180, and 240% gains....and then every 60% thereafter! But you got to admit, that was a nice performance for COH!

As far as Meridian (VIVO) is concerned, I purchased 400 shares a few moments ago (AFTER the post), at $11.44/share. Will have to see how THAT goes!

Thanks again for stopping by. I will TEAR MYSELF AWAY from my computer....lol...and get some lunch! I mean a guy just has to have something to eat once in a while...can build up an appetite doing all of this blogging!

Again, email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com if you have any comments, questions, or words of encouragement!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 12:55 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 22 April 2004 12:56 PM CDT
April 22, 2004 Meridian Bioscience (VIVO)

Hello Friends! As ALWAYS, thanks so much for stopping by! Please think about emailing me if you have any questions or comments so that I can know whether the work I do is helpful to you! You can reach me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com . Also, please remember that I am an AMATEUR investor and not a professional Investment Advisor so PLEASE do your own investigations on all stocks discussed on this website and discuss these investments further with your investment advisors.

I have a small stock to share with you today. Meridian Diagnostics (VIVO) is having a nice day trading at $11.22, up $.83 or 7.99% as I write. Meridian did ALL of the things I like a stock to do...announced great earnings, declared an INCREASED dividend, and INCREASED guidance for the rest of the year. And NATURALLY, the stock moved up nicely today after the announcement this morning. According to the Yahoo "Profile", Meridian "...is a fully integrated life science company engaged in the development, manufacture, sale and distribution of diagnostic test kits, primarily for certain respiratory, gastrointestinal, viral and parasitic infectious diseases."

And what about those earnings? Well, sales for the quarter ended March 31, 2004, came in at $20.9 million, a 24% increase over the same period the prior year. Diluted earnings per share came in at $.15, a 15% increase over the prior year's same quarter. And they declared a cash dividend of $.10/share, an 11% increase over the $.09/share declared during fiscal 2003. In addition, they RAISED guidance from sales between $71 and $75 million, with earnings between $.47 and $.53 to net sales between $73 and $77 million, and earnings between $.50 and $.55 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2004.

Hey I really kind of like this stock and NO I do not own any shares, but this is tempting!

Looking at a "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com, we see that Meridian has been fairly steadily growing its revenue from $54 million in 1999 to $68 million in the trailing twelve months. Earnings have been a little less steady dropping from $.14/share in 1999 to a loss of $(.70)/share in 2001, then steadily improving to the current level of $.49/share in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow has been fairly steady and positive per Morningstar.com with $7 million in 2001, $8 million in 2002, $11 million in 2003 and $9 million in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet looks just fine, with $3.7 million in cash and $30 million in other current assets, plenty to cover the current liabilities of $15.0 million and enough actually to make a big dent in the $22.9 million in long-term liabilities.

How about valuation? Looking at "Key Statistics" on Yahoo, we see that this is a SMALL cap stock with a market cap of $166.79 million. The trailing p/e isn't bad at 22.9 and the forward p/e (fye 30-Sep-05) is better at 19.02. The PEG is at 1.89, making it a bit richer than dirt cheap, and the price/sales is also not bad at 2.27 but not cheap either. With the upping of estimates and current performance, we should see the PEG dropping based on current valuations.

VIVO has 14.86 million shares outstanding with 10.50 million of them that float. There are 143,000 shares out short as of 3/8/04, representing 5.5 trading days...or 1.36% of the float. And get this, with the $.40/share dividend, the stock is yielding 3.85%. Hey I think I am in love! The last stock split was a 3:2 in October, 1995.

What about a graph? Looking at a "Point & Figure" chart from Stockcharts.com, we can see that VIVO was actually trading lower until about October, 2002, when it broke through a resistance level at about $4.75 and has traded higher along its support line ever since! The graph looks great to me :).

O.K. I am finding it HARD to find anything I do not like about this stock. Well, there is the question of the price...I like stocks that are priced a bit higher...and also the small capitalization makes the stock relatively illiquid. But what the hey, otherwise looks great to me....now I DID promise to sit on my hands until I could sell something at a gain....so will try to maintain my self-discipline...but WOULD be interested in buying if that was available to me!

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any comments, questions, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Regards!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 12:43 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 21 April 2004
April 21, 2004 J&J Snack Foods Corp (JJSF)

Hello Friends! You can tell that it is earnings season because our kind of stocks are showing up on the list of movers....first the GREAT earnings and then the BIG move...that is the premise that this entire site operates under...that earnings will eventually drive stock price! As always, I need to repeat the disclaimer you will find throught this website, PLEASE do your own investigation (due diligence) of all stock investment ideas suggested here, and PLEASE consult with your investment advisor as to the suitability and advisability of any investment here as they are PROFESSIONAL investment advisors and I am but an AMATEUR! Sigh. Just a BLOGGER.

Came across this one this afternoon while perusing the lists of movers...J&J Snack Foods Corp (JJSF). This is definitely NOT one of those hi-tech dot.com's! J&J is having a nice day today after posting earnings yesterday. As I write, JJSF is trading at $44.07, up $4.78 or 12.17% on the day. According to the Yahoo "Profile", J&J "...manufactures nutritional snack foods and distributes frozen beverages, which it markets throught the United States to the foodservice and retail supermarket industries. Its principal snack food products are soft pretzels marketed primarily under the brand name Superpretzel and frozen juice treats and desserts marketed primarily under the Luigi's, ICEE, Barq's, Chill and Minute Maid brand names." O.K. aren't you glad I wrote this AFTER lunch, I mean just writing about all that JUNK could give me a very bad case of the Munchies :).

Yesterday, after the close of trading, JJSF announced 2nd quarter 2004 results. For the quarter ended March 27, 2004, sales increased 17% to $95.2 million from $81.4 million the prior year. Earnings per share came in at $.36/diluted share vs $.33/diluted share last year.

What about longer-term? Checking "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com, we can see the steady improvement in revenue from $288.4 million in 1999 to $367.3 million in the trailing twelve months. Earnings/share, after taking a dip to $1.10 in 2000, have improved steadily to the current $2.27 in the trailing twelve months.

How about free cash flow? This has been solidly positive, with $32 million reported in 2001, and $28 million reported in the trailing twelve months.

And the balance sheet? Per Morningstar.com, JJSF has $40.2 million in cash and $58.8 million in other current assets. This is PLENTY to cover BOTH the $34.8 million in current liabilities, and the $14.0 million in long-term liabilities.

How about Valuation? If we check "Key Statistics" on Yahoo we can see that this is a small cap company with a market cap of $382.05 million. The trailing p/e is very reasonable at 18.73 (imho), with a forward p/e (fye 27-Sep-05) at 14.82. Thus, the PEG is nice at 1.22, and the price/sales also nice at 0.94.

Yahoo reports only 8.80 million shares outstanding with 6.50 million of them that float. Currently, as of 3/8/04, there are 77,000 shares out short, which due to the low trading volume represents 2.567 trading days of short coverage. This represents only 1.18% of the float.

No cash dividends are paid and the last stock dividend reported on Yahoo is a 2:1 split last paid out on 8/15/89.

And how about Technicals? Looking at a "Point and Figure" chart on Stockcharts.com, we can see that the stock has been trading relatively sideways until early 2003 when it broke through a resistance level at $33 and has traded higher since. Recently the stock actually broke down through a support level of $45 in March, 2004. Today's move to $44 plus, gets it back to the previous support level.

What do I think. I love ICEE's. I love those big pretzels. And come to think of it, I love this stock. The valuation is beautiful with a moderate p/e and wonderful PEG and Price/Sales ratios. The balance sheet looks nice. Well what is stopping ME from buying some (I do not own ANY shares.)...do I need to REPEAT myself...but yikes, I am up to my ears in Margin and better wait, until, as planned, I sell a portion of one of my holdings at a gain...so I can add a new position! Ultimately, as you may recall, my goal is 25 stocks. You can view my current trading porfolio and see my current investments and past performance!

Thanks so much for stopping by. PLEASE feel free to email me if you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement. Please let me know if you know of other similar investment BLOGS...I have linked to a few I know about...would be happy to share links with YOU if you have an investment blog..anyhow, email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com if you have anything you would like to tell me!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 2:36 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
April 21, 2004 FLIR Systems Inc (FLIR)

Hello Friends! Well Greenspan is still apparently not doing the trick today as the Dow is down as I write but the NASDAQ is up a bit. Overall the earnings appear to be coming in nicely this quarter. That was a nice note from Motorola that is helping the Tech stocks today. As always, please remember to do your own due diligence, and investigations, on all of the stocks discussed on this website. Please discuss all investment decisions with your own investment advisor prior to making any decisions based on information on this website to make sure they are appropriate and timely for you.

FLIR Systems (FLIR) came out with earnings today and the stock is responding nicely. I do not own any shares or have any leveraged positions in this equity. Currently, as I write, FLIR is trading at $43.13, up $4.73 on the day or 12.32%. According to the Yahoo "Profile", FLIR "...designs, manufactures and markets thermal imaging and stabilized airborne camera systems for a wide variety of applications in the commercial, industrial and government markets." I suspect they are doing well in this increased defense-spending environment.

What really bumped the stock up this morning was the announcement of 1st quarter 2004 results. FLIR reported that total revenue increased 57% to $108.9 million from $69.2 million for the same quarter last year. Net earnings for the quarter jumped 39% to $12.7 million or $.36/diluted share compared to last year's $9.2 million or $.25/diluted share.

Looking at the "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com, we see that revenue growth which was a bit anemic between 1998 to 2000 increasing from $177.3 million to $186.4 million, picked up strongly after that with $289.5 million in the trailing twelve months. Extrapolating the current quarter gets us closer to $400 million for 2004.

Earnings, which dropped to a loss of $(.90) in 2000, have also picked up and are up to $1.20 in the trailing twelve months, and extrapolating the current $.36/share, would get us about $1.44 without any additional growth in 2004.

Again, from Morningstar, free cash flow which was a negative $(3) million in 2000, has improved significantly and is up to $36 million in the trailing twelve months.

What about the balance sheet? According to Morningstar, FLIR is flush with cash with $202.9 million in cash reported AND $160.5 million in other current assets, as compared to only $65.7 million in current liabilities and $214.8 million in long-term liabilities, so this department looks just fine.

How about valuation? Looking at "Key Statistics" on Yahoo, we can see that the Market Cap is a mid-cap $1.4 Billion with a trailing p/e of 33.23, and a forward p/e (fye 31-Dec-05) of 21.97...so the p/e is dropping fast based on strong growth. Thus the PEG is at 1.39 which isn't bad although price/sales a little rich at 4.08.

Yahoo reports 33.13 million shares outstanding with 28.20 million of them that float. Currently, as of 3/8/04, there are 2.58 million shares out short...which is a LOT for this company representing 9.16% of the float or 8.581 trading days of volume to cover. We may be in the midst (?) or the beginning of a short squeeze.

No cash dividend is paid, and the last stock split was as recently as May, 2003, when FLIR split 2:1.

How about technicals? Looking at a "Point & Figure Chart" from Stockcharts.com, we can see that FLIR broke through a resistance level at about $18 in October, 2002, and has traded steadily higher since.

Overall, I like this stock. Why don't I buy some then? Well, you know my rule about not overextending myself...I mean I am at about 42% equity now!! And what I am waiting for is to sell a portion of one my positions at one of our targeted prices...and am just not there yet! I do like the recent quarterly report, the consistent earnings growth in fact accelerating recently...and the PEG isn't bad a bit over 1.3...oh well. Will register this on the blog and follow for now...may have another entry point.

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 11:58 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 19 April 2004
April 19, 2004 Carbo Ceramics Inc (CRR)

Hello Friends! Well it is about 5 pm here and I really need to wrap it up for the day! I came across Carbo Ceramics which had a pretty nice day today and what's more than that looks like it has the numbers to fit well into our scheme here. As always PLEASE remember to do your own investigation on all of these stocks before making any investment decisions and PLEASE consult with your own investment advisors as to the timeliness and appropriateness of all investments discussed as I am just a fellow amateur investor sharing his ideas with all of you!

When I first saw Carbo Ceramics (CRR) on the list I suspected it was a company like Ceradyne (CRDN) that we have posted earlier...and must be making ceramic armor or something. No, I do not own any shares. But actually, according to the Yahoo "Profile", CRR is a "...producer and supplier of ceramic proppants for use in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells." So I guess we have EXAC, an orthopedic company that TREATS fractures, and now we have CRR, a company that goes around fracturing things! (yuck yuck). ANYHOW, (am I getting too verbose?), CRR closed today at $68.75, up $2.14 on the day or 3.21%.

On February 4, 2004, CARBO reported 4th quarter 2003 results. CRR reported revenue of $48.7 million, a 53% increase over 2002 revenues, and net income of $9.3 million or $.59/share for the quarter ended December 31, 2003. This was a 139% increase over the $3.9 million in revenue or $.25/share reported in the same quarter in 2002.

Checking the "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com, we can see the slightly erratic but growing revenues with $84.1 million reported in 1998, increasing to $126.3 million in 2002 and $153.1 million in trailing twelve month revenue.

Earnings/share have been less impressive ranging from $1.40 in 1998 to a peak of $1.74 in 2001, and dropping to $1.28/share in 2002, and increasing to $1.53 in the trailing twelve months. Free cash flow has stayed positive but has ranged from $20 million in 2000, $23 million in 2001, dropping to $2 million in 2002, and increasing to $7 million in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet as reported on Morningstar.com looks nice with $27.5 million in cash and $49.2 million in other current assets, more than enough to cover both the $15.2 million in current liabilities and $14.6 million in long-term liabilities combined.

Looking at "Key Statistics" on Yahoo we can see that the market cap is a mid-cap $1.09 Billion. The trailing p/e is a bit rich at 36.49, but the forward p/e isn't bad at 28.18. No PEG ratio is reported...probably no analysts have estimates for five years out!...The price/sales is rich at 6.22.

There are 15.88 million shares outstanding with 10.70 million of them that float. Of these shares, only 394,000 shares are out short, but due to the relative low volume of trades, this still represents 4.427 trading days or 3.427% of the float as of 3/8/04.

The company DOES pay a small dividend of $.40/share yielding 0.60%. No stock dividend is reported.

Looking at a "Point and Figure" chart on Stockcharts.com, we can see that CRR has been trading sideways since 2000 and in April, 2003, broke out through a resistance level of about $34, to trade higher at its current level.

What do I think? I like this stock. It does represent a natural gas and energy play, but has great revenue growth, earnings growth, reasonable valuation (imho), and I like the recent quarterly report where they just blew out the numbers. Now that isn't a very scientific description, but what the heck, those were GREAT numbers. Unfortunately, I am TRYING hard to sit on my hands and will try NOT to buy anything until I can sell a portion of one of my stocks at a profit as scheduled.

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Regards!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 5:22 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
April 19, 2004 Misonix (MSON)

Hello Friends! Well do you have the Monday morning blues? Well maybe I can find something to change that a bit...help everyone think happy thoughts :). O.K. enough of the Polyanna stuff, remember to ALWAYS do your own homework and investigation on all of the stocks that are mentioned here, remember that I am an AMATEUR investor and you must check with your financial advisor before making any decisions based on information on this website to make sure they are appropriate and timely for you!

That being said, I came across Misonix (MSON) this morning which had a nice move. As I am writing, MSON is trading at $11.35, up just $.45 or 4.13% on the day. Honestly, it WAS trading a little higher a moment ago!

According to the Yahoo "Profile", Misonix "...operates in two business segments organized by product types: industrial products and medical devices."

On January 29th, 2004, MSON announced 2nd quarter 2004 earnings results. Revenues for the quarter were up 14% to $9.3 million from the prior year. Net income of $389,000 was up 244% from the prior year for the same period. On a per share basis this came in at $.06/diluted share vs. $.02/diluted share the prior year.

If we review the "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com, we find that revenue has grown nicely from $24.8 million in 1999 to $37.6 million in the trailing twelve months. Earnings have been a little erratic dropping from $.30/share in 1999 to a loss of $(.75)/share in 2001, and then improving steadily to the current level of $.24/share in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow, as reported on Morningstar.com, shows '0' in 2001, decreasing to $(4) million in 2002, and then improving to $2 million in 2003 and $4 million in the trailing twelve months.

How about the balance sheet? Per Morningstar, MSON has $4.9 million in cash and $17.1 million in other current assets balanced against $6.7 million in current liabilities and $2.0 million in long-term liabilities. This bias towards assets looks nice to me!

What about valuation questions? Looking at "Key Statistics" on Yahoo, we can see that MSON is a SMALL company with a market cap of $75.75 million. The trailing p/e is a bit rich at 48.22, but the forward p/e is at 30.76. And thus the PEG isn't bad at 1.55. Price/sales also reasonable at 1.93.

There are only 6.66 million shares of this company outstanding with only 5.70 million of them that float. Currently only 1,000 shares, as of 3/8/04, are out short representing 0.02 trading days or 0.02% of the float.

No dividend is paid, and the last stock split reported by Yahoo was October, 1997, when a 3:2 stock split was paid out.

Looking at a "Point and Figure" chart, in my basic understanding, it appears that the stock price broke out through a resistance level at about $4.25 in August, 2003, and has headed higher since.

Overall, this is an interesting, if small cap, stock investment. I do not own any shares but IF I were in the market, remember I am supposed to SIT ON MY HANDS UNTIL I SELL A PORTION OF AN INVESTMENT, I might consider buying a few shares :).

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any comments, questions, or words of encouragemnet, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Regards!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 10:35 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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