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Saturday, 13 December 2003
"How are we doing?" A look back on the week of October 20, 2003
It has been about 7 weeks since we made our posts on the week of October 20, 2003. As I like to do on this website, I like to look back about this period of time and see how our "picks" are doing at least in the short-run. As we have also started doing, I will try to post this weekend on our 6 month follow-up as well. If I don't look and check what I have posted, I really won't have any idea and neither will you on how these selections are working out. Eventually, we will need to add a one year follow-up! As always, remember to discuss these ideas with your investment advisor as they may or may not lead to profits and may or may not be suitable for you!

The week of October 20 was a busy week posting new ideas. Nine stocks were listed and they consisted of Varian Medical Systems (VAR), Renal Care Group (RCI), and SFBC Int'l. (SFCC) on October 20, 2003. AirTran Holdings (AAI) and Exponent (EXPO) were listed on October 21, 2003. Headwaters (HDWR) was posted on 10/22/03. SM&A (WINS) and Shenandoah Telecom. (SHEN) were listed on October 23, 2003. On 10/24/03, Business Objects S.A. (BOBJ) was posted.
Of these stocks, I currently only own Exponent (EXPO) in my trading account. I was in and out of SFBC (SFCC) but took a quick loss and sold it!

VAR was picked on 10/20/03 at $60.78. It closed Friday, 12/12/03 at $69.29, for a gain of $8.51 or 14%.

RCI was selected on 10/20/03 at $36.31. It closed Friday, 12/12/03 at $40.67 for a gain of $4.36 or 12%.

SFCC was selected on 10/20/03 at $34.60. It closed Friday, 12/12/03 at $26.21. This was a LOSS of ($8.39) or (24.2%).

AirTran Holdings (AAI) was selected on 10/21/03 at $19.56. It closed Friday, 12/12/03 at $12.25 for a LOSS of ($7.31) or (37.4%).

Exponent (EXPO) was posted on 10/21/03 at $20.04. EXPO closed Friday, 12/12/03, at $21.35 for a gain of $1.31 or 6.5%.

HDWR was selected on 10/22/03 at $17.41. It closed on 12/12/03 at $19.35 $1.94 or 11.1%.

SM&A was selected on 10/23/03 at $13.248. It closed on 12/12/03 at $12.20 for a LOSS of ($1.048) or (7.9%).

Shenandoah Telecom was selected on 10/23/03 at $43.50. SHEN closed 12/12/03 at $50.26 for a gain of $6.76 or 15.5%.

Finally Business Objects (BOBJ) was picked on 10/24/03 at $32.15. BOBJ closed Friday, 12/12/03 at $33.25 for a gain of $1.10 or 3.4%.

The nine selections had an average LOSS of (.78%). Not a very exciting group of selections, but that WAS their performance! We will need to see how these perform long-term!

Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 9:53 AM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 12 December 2003
December 12, 2003 Polymedica (PLMD) revisited
Hello Friends! I scanned the lists of % movers again today and frankly am having a hard time finding any new stocks I like. I did see that Polymedica made the list today...and decided maybe we should take another brief look at this stock. PLMD was first posted in my BLOG on 8/18/03 when it was trading for $46.05 on 8/18/03. PLMD had a 2:1 split on 9/29/03 so the adjusted price for this pick is $23.03. PLMD had a nice day today and closed at $24.40 up $2.28 on the day.

On October 28, 2003, PLMD announced their second quarter results. This was reported on Yahoo.com as picked up from BUSINESS WIRE. Second quarter net revenues were $105 million, up 20% from the prior year, Net income was $12.1 million, up 23% year over year, and diluted Earnings/share were $.47 up 21% from the prior year. These were very nice results.

Morningstar.com shows the steady growth in revenue from $156.9 million in 2000, $220.0 million in 2001, $279.7 million in 2002, $356.2 million in 2003 and $373.5 million in the trailing twelve months.

Earnings/share have climbed from $.39 in 1999 to $1.19 in 2002, dipped to $1.02 and is $1.69 in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow is still excellent at $6 million reported in 2001, $8 million in 2002, $7 million in 2003 and $14 million in the trailing twelve months.

Assets/liabilities look very nice also with $32.6 million in cash and $88.3 million in other current assets easily covering BOTH the $22.4 million in current liabilities and $22.7 million in long-term debt.

By the way, I do not own any shares of this stock...but it DOES look attractive. According to money.cnn.com, PLMD "...is a nationwide provider of direct-to-consumer specialty medical products and services, primarily focused on the diabetes suppply and consumer healthcare markets."

Looking at Yahoo.com, at "key statistics" from the finance section, we find that the trailing p/e is a very reasonable 13.92, the forward p/e (fye 31 Mar 05), is even nicer at 10.79, the PEG ratio is BEAUTIFUL at 0.51...one of the lowest on this site!!!...and the price/sales nice at 1.45.

The market cap is $623.57 Million and there are 25.56 million shares outstanding with 19.80 million of them that float. Perhaps interesting statistic is the outstanding short position which is LARGE at 4.20 million shares as of 11/10/03 (per Yahoo.com), this IS down from the prior month of 4.79 Million shares. The current short interest amounts to 12.552 trading days of volume. We may be witnessing a SHORT SQUEEZE in here??? Now get this, on top of everything else, this stock PAYS a dividend! According to Yahoo, they pay $.60/share for a dividend yield of 2.71%.

The last stock split, as I have already mentioned, was according to Yahoo.com a 2:1 split on 9/30/03.

I really DO like this stock. Now of course I want you all to promise to discuss any stock idea with your investment advisor before acting on it. This stock may or may not be suitable for you and there sure ARE a lot of investors out there who are betting AGAINST this company. I just don't see why....Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to drop me a line at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Have a GREAT weekend!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 4:27 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 11 December 2003
"Trading Transparency" PPDI
PPDI announced revenue projections for next year with growth in the mid-teens and the Market was disappointed. With the stock trading down early today at $24.407, I passed my 8% loss limit and sold the stock...200 shares at $24.407. I had purchased the shares on 10/16/03 for $29.26...so had over a 15% loss at that point. The stock rebounded later in the day as the entire market moved higher...but it was no longer in my portfolio. That is one rule I try very hard to stick with. Thanks again for stopping by!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 10:29 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 10 December 2003
"Trading Transparency" RSTI
I have really taken it on the chin in the latest round of profit-taking. One of the main problems with margin is that leverage works both with you and against you. Rofin-Sinar Tech. (RSTI) closed today at $27.70 down $1.64 or (5.59%) today. This hit about a 9% loss from our recent purchase so I sold
my 200 shares at $27.261. I purchased the 200 shares on 11/6/03 for an average cost of $30.24. Easy come and easy go I guess. However, the market is telling me to avoid adding positions to our portfolio and to continue to sell losing ones. It is slow, but it works to reduce margin exposure at least in a small way!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 4:20 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 10 December 2003 4:22 PM CST
Tuesday, 9 December 2003
December 9, 2003 Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL)
Hello Friends! I was in a Yahoo chatroom yesterday drumming up stock market ideas and was chastised about using "friends". O.K., I really don't know you but if you are stopping by and reading my posts you ARE my friends! Anyhow, please remember to consult with your own investment advisor before taking any action on my posts, because since you are a friend, you should know that I am an amateur investor, and that the stocks I discuss may or may not lead to profits or losses and may or may not be suitable for you!

Anyway, I came across Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL) while checking the list of largest gainers today. CMTL is trading as I write at $30.89 up $3.72 or 13.69% on the day. I do not own any shares of CMTL but am tempted to jump in and buy a few...
According to money.cnn.com, CMTL "...designs, produces and markets sophisticated components & systems that are used by telecommunications, defense systems and service providers in a broad range of applications."

Yesterday, December 8, 2003, after the close of the market, CMTL announced results for their first quarter of fiscal 2004. Sales for the three months ended October 31, 2003, were $56.3 million vs $31.3 million for the three months ended October 31, 2002. This is about a 60% increase in sales!

This was all reported on Yahoo.com as picked up from a BUSINESS WIRE story. Net income for the quarter was $5.7 million or $.37/share vs $.8 million or $.07/share last year.

Looking at Morningstar.com, we find that revenue has grown (almost uninterrupted except in 2002), from $37.9 million in 1999, $66.4 million in 2000, $135.9 million in 2001, $119.4 million in 2002 (the hiccup), $174.0 million in 2003, and based on the first quarter, they are currently doing over a $200 million rate for 2004.

Earnings, unfortunately, have been quite inconsistent with $.77/share in 1999, a loss of ($.46)/share in 2000, and $.80 in 2003. The $.37 in the first quarter of 2004, if this continues, we should see over $1.20 in 2004.

Free cash flow has increased recently from $2 million in 2001, $6 million in 2002, $22 million in 2003. The balance sheet as reported on Morningstar also looks quite healthy with $48.6 million in cash comparted to $46.3 million in current liabilities and $0.4 milion in long-term debt. In addition CMTL has $72.5 million in other current assets.

Looking at "key statistics" on the Yahoo.com website, we find that the market cap is a small $331.72 million with a trailing p/e of 39.39 and a forward p/e of 23.83 (fye 31-Jul-05). The PEG ratio isn't cheap at 2.03, and the price/sales is reasonable at 2.18.

There are 13.95 million shares outstanding with 11.70 million of them that float. As of 11/10/03, there were only 632,000 shares out short representing 1.785 trading days...so not a lot of negativity on this stock. No cash dividend is paid but the stock recently split 3:2 on 7/15/03.

Maybe I haven't met a stock I don't like, but this is the kind of stock worth my attention. In fact may add to my trading portfolio...at only 24 issues...but will wait and see. The p/e isn't too cheap, the PEG is at 2.0, but the free cash flow is nice, the balance sheet is perfect, and the latest quarter was spectacular. So maybe this IS a good investment?

Anyway, I hope I have given you some food for thought. Or at least for discussion! Thanks again for stopping by, and 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 2:18 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 2:29 PM CST
Monday, 8 December 2003
December 8, 2003 Armor Holdings, Inc. (AH)
Hello Friends! Thanks for stopping by. Remember, as long as you consult with your investment advisor, you are more than welcome to any of my ideas here. The other night I was on a Yahoo chat for stock chat and mentioned I had a blog. (Always looking for hits lol)...somebody said they hated blogs because they were so boring. I will need to make sure I am more entertaining....but no jokes right now.

I came across this stock today and it is a timely theme. We have one other Armor type stock on this site which has also done quite well, Ceradyne (CRDN). In the news today, Armor Holdings announced a $40 million department of defense order for body armor insert plates. This news was enough to get the stock moving, with 15 minutes prior to the close of trading Armor Holdings (AH) is trading at $26.35, up $1.28 on the day or 5.11%.

According to money.cnn.com, Armor Holdings (AH) "...is a global provider of security risk management services to multinational corporations and governmental agencies.
AH also manufactures security products for law enforcement personnel around the world."

On November 4, 2003, as reported by Yahoo.com and picked up from PRNewswire-First Call, Armor Holdings reported their third quarter results. Revenue from continuing operations increased 12.8% to $90.9 million from $80.6 million the prior year. Net income was $6.1 million or $.22/share compared to a loss of ($14.7) million or ($.49)/share the prior year.

Looking at Morningstar.com, we find a nice pattern of revenue growth from $45.6 million in 1998, $96.7 million in 1999, $139.9 million in 2000, $197.1 million in 2001, $305.1 million in 2002 and $326.0 million in the trailing twelve months.

Unfortunately, earnings per share were positive at $.50 in 1998 and turned negative in 2002 at ($.57), and ($.54) in the trailing twelve months. The latest quarter is positive so this appears to be addressed (imho).

Free cash flow has been improving with ($6) million reported in 2000, $11 million in 2001, $10 million in 2002 and $25 million in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet looks nice with $10.8 million in cash and $164.5 million in other current assets as opposed to $74.0 million in current liabilities and only $20.0 million in long-term liabilities.

Looking at Yahoo.com for "key statistics", we find that the Market Cap for AH is $740.16 million with a trailing p/e of 33.25 and a forward p/e (fye 31-Dec-04) at 21.80. The PEG ratio is 1.67 and price/sales at 1.67 so this is NOT a screaming bargain but not too steeply priced.

By the way, I do NOT own any shares of this company. There are 28.18 million shares outstanding with 24.00 million of them that float. Currently, as of 11/10/03 per Yahoo, there are 1.20 million shares out short, up from 1.04 million last month. This represents 6.641 trading days...so there is some short pressure on this stock!

Overall, I like this stock. I am convinced that this "armor" segment is an area that is under great demand at this time with our military involved in a difficult situation in Afghanistan and Iraq....and the Department of Defense is in search of greater protective gear for soldiers and their equipment and vehicles. So this MIGHT be a great stock for you to discuss with your investment advisor!

Thanks again 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 4:00 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
December 8, 2003
Fair Isaac (FIC) was sold this morning (100 shares) at a (7.61%) loss. This has been acting very weak the last month and we have seen our original gain disappear. Now down to 24 stocks in the trading portfolio. Our latest purchase PPP, Pogo Producing, has been doing adequately well and is in the black for us. Thanks again for stopping by!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 11:14 AM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2003 11:15 AM CST
Sunday, 7 December 2003
"Six Months Ago" A longer term view from the week of May 26, 2003
Hello Friends! I hope everyone is having a great Sunday. Last week was hard on our trading portfolio. I suspect there was a lot of 'profit taking' as the experts say...but then again the market never moves just in one direction! As always, please remember to consult with your own investment advisor as stocks mentioned here may or may not be suitable for you and may in fact result in losses.

This is the third post looking at six months out. In awhile, if I have the stamina (!), we will start posting a year out (!) but that is still a few months away. During the week of May 26, 2003, I "picked" eight stocks: Westcorp (WES) at $24.41 on 5/27/03, Dearborn Bancorp (DEAR) at $22.50 on 5/27/03, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) at $29.07 on 5/28/03, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) at $34.35 on 5/28/03, Medical Staffing Network (MRN) at $7.52 on 5/29/03, Dollar General (DG) at $17.80 on 4/29/03, Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) at $56.29 on 5/29/03, and Eon Labs (ELAB) at $29.55 on 5/30/03.

As always, you can refer to the 'original' posts, by clicking on the appropriate date on the calendar at the left of this column of posts...and by clicking on the months to get to May, 2003. Of these stocks, I currently only own shares of Eon Labs (ELAB) which has been very good to me. I was in and out of Krispy Kreme (KKD) and actually hit my 8% loss or so, and sold my shares.

Let's see how these stocks are doing as of close of business on Friday, 12/5/03. Westcorp closed Friday at $36.95. This was a gain of $12.54 or 51.4%. Looking at Yahoo for news, we find that WES reported net income of $29.3 million for the third quarter ended 9/30/03. This was a 35% gain from the prior year or $.64/diluted share this year vs $.55/diluted share last year. It appears they are right on track!

Dearborn closed on 12/5/03 at $19.35. This is a loss of ($3.15) or (14%). On October 21, 2003, as picked up by Yahoo.com, DEAR reported earnings for the third quarter ended 9/30/03. Earnings per share were up at $.36/share vs $.32/share last year. However, the stock price has not appreciated like some of our other stocks!

Abercrombie & Fitch has also struggled since our 'selection'. Currently ANF closed at $25.30 on 12/50/03. This is a loss of ($3.77) or (13%). In November, as reported by Motley Fool on Yahoo.com, ANF had same store sales DECLINES of 13%. As I have always emphasized, same store sales figures are key to future performance. We can see what is holding back this stock!

Krispy Kreme closed 12/5/03 at $38.66. This represents a gain of $4.31 or 12.5%. While there ARE concerns posted in the advisories on KKD, KKD did report results on 11/21/03 for the third quarter, as reported by Yahoo: net income was $14.5 million or $.23/share vs $10.1 million or $.17/share last year. Revenue was up 31% to $169.6 million from $129.1 million. So while some analysts may be correct in questioning the future performance of KKD, thus far, they are bringing in the "dough".

Medical Staffing Network closed 12/5/03 at $9.33. This is a gain of $1.81 or 24.1%. On 11/6/03, MRN reported thid quarter results: revenue was $123.7 million, a DECREASE of 2.0% from $126.3 million for the third quarter of 2002. Net income was $1.1 million or $.04/diluted share vs. $6.1 million or $.19/diluted share last year. These are NOT exciting results, and although can be explained, would qualify us to sell this stock as the growth in revenues/earnings are not continuing.

Dollar General closed 12/5/03 at $19.00. This is a gain of $1.20 or 6.7%. On December 4, 2003, per Yahoo.com from PRNewswire, DG reported same store sales growth of 1.7%, overall sales growth of 10.1%. Again, positive is better than negative, and this is not much to write home about. Would also put this on my watch-list to consider selling on any additional questionable developments.

Hovnanian has been a big winner for us (although I do not personally own any shares shucks). HOV closed Friday 12/5/03 at $95.16. This is a gain of $38.87 or 69.1%. On November 5, 2003, as reported on Yahoo.com, HOV reported net contracts were up 36% to 3,274 homes and that contract backlog had increased 49% to 5,764 homes compared to the same period in 2002. Again, I am but an amateur, but it appears that HOV is on track continuing its superb performance.

Finally Eon Labs (ELAB) has been a big winner for this website, and for my trading portfolio. ELAB closed Friday 12/5/03 at $52.99. This is a gain of $23.44 or 79.3%.

For our eight stocks that week over the six month period we have an average performance of a gain of 27.01%. Not too shabby for six months! But then again, the market was most cooperative!

Thanks again 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 11:53 AM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 6 December 2003
"How are we doing?" A look back on the week of October 13, 2003
Hello Friends! Thanks for dropping by. Please feel free to browse and make yourself at home on this website. Remember, as always, please discuss any investment ideas you may pick up on this website with your investment advisor before taking action on them as they may or may not be suitable for you!

I posted just five stocks on the week of October 13th: International Game Technology (IGT) at $30.17 on 10/13/03, aQuantive (AQNT) at $13.34 on 10/14/03, BioLase (BLTI) at $13.47 on 10/14/03, Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI) at $29.16 on 10/16/03 (PPDI and IGT are the only stocks of the group that I purchased and which I still own shares), and Image Sensing Systems (ISNS) at $10.00 on 10/17/03.

IGT closed Friday, 12/5/03, at $34.10 for a gain of $3.93 or 13%. AQNT closed Friday at $9.96 for a loss of ($3.38) or (25.3%). BLTI closed Friday at $12.68 for a loss of ($.79) or (5.9%). PPDI closed Friday at $29.94 for a gain of $.78 or 2.7%. Finally, ISNS closed Friday at $10.40 for a gain of $.40 or 4%.

Averaging the group, we find that we had an average LOSS of (2.3%) during the past 7 weeks on these five stocks. Not an exciting performance, but we will continue to call them as they turn out. It will be interesting to see how they do long turn, and it does help to hold losses to 8% which would have been a great help if we had stopped out of AQNT at (8%) instead of (25.3%)!

If you have any comments, questions, or words of encouragement, please feel free to contact me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 10:05 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 5 December 2003
December 5, 2003 ResMed Inc. (RMD)
Hello Friends! I don't usually post twice in a morning....except when I do. And I could have sworn that I already had posted this one on my BLOG. I had to go over to the list of past picks...that you can link to on the main webpage...and scan them. How does that Santa Claus song go..."He's making a list and checking it twice...gonna find out which stock is naughty or nice?"...or something like that. Anyhow, I cannot find ResMed on the list so here goes. Further, always remember to consult with your investment advisor befoe taking any investment action on anything listed here. It may or may not be suitable or profitable for you!

ResMed (RMD) is having a nice day today trading at $41.76, up $1.56 or 3.88% on the day. According to money.cnn.com, ResMed "...designs, manufactures and distributes medical equipment for treating and diagnosing sleep disordered breathing, primarily obstructive sleep apnea." Personally, I know about this sleep apnea thing...and wear a mask each night (!)...I think there are a LOT of other snorers out there (schnorers?)...and this sleep apnea thing is going to grow unless we all go on a diet and lose a few of those extra pounds.

The latest quarter results were reported on October 28, 2003, and carried by PRNewswire-FirstCall and reported by Yahoo.com. Revenue for the first quarter ended September 30, 2003, was $72.9 million, an increase of 24% over the same quarter last year. Net income for the quarter increased 28% from the prior year to $12.2 million, and earnings per share for the quarter was $.35, an increase of 25% from last year's results.

Reviewing the Morningstar.com website, we find that revenue was $89 million in 1999, $116 million in 2000, $155 million in 2001, $204 million in 2002, and $274 million in 2003.

Earnings per share have increased from $.52/share in 1999 to $1.33/share in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow has also improved recently with $2 million reported in 2001, $7 million reported in 2002, and $34 million reported in 2003.

Morningstar.com reports that RMD has $121.0 million in cash and this combined with their $120.9 million in other current assets is WAY more than enough to cover both their current liabilities of $50.6 milllion and the long-term liabilities of $122.6 million.

Checking "key statistics" on the Yahoo site for RMD we find that the Market Cap is currently $1.42 Billion, the trailing p/e is 29.96, forward p/e is 20.94 (fye 30-June-05), and the PEG ratio is nice at only 1.16. However price/sales a bit steeper at 4.74.

Yahoo reports that there are 33.96 million shares outstanding with 32.50 million of them that float. Currently there are a LOT of shares out short, in my opinion, at 1.94 million as of 11/10/03. This represents 7.007 trading days of volume to cover.

No dividend is paid and the last stock split was in April, 2000.

In conclusion, I do like this stock a lot. I guess that is why I am posting it! The growth is steady, there is growing free cash, the balance sheet is excellent, the p/e is still in the 20's, the PEG is just a bit over 1.0...and I know the problem they are treating first hand. (That is the Peter Lynch portion of the analysis). The ONLY thing stopping me from buying this stock is MONEY (lol).

Thanks again for stopping by. If you are a repeat visitor, I sure appreciate your loyalty and if you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to drop me a note at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 10:53 AM CST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 5 December 2003 10:54 AM CST

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