The Deipnosophist

Where the science of investing becomes an art of living

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Location: Summerlin, Nevada, United States

A private investor for 20+ years, I manage private portfolios and write about investing. You can read my market musings on three different sites: 1) The Deipnosophist, dedicated to teaching the market's processes and mechanics; 2) Investment Poetry, a subscription site dedicated to real time investment recommendations; and 3) Seeking Alpha, a combination of the other two sites with a mix of reprints from this site and all-original content. See you here, there, or the other site!

26 May 2007

Following the Money Trail Online

From David Pogue comes this referral to an interesting site.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist
The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that you have one.

That's what I keep telling myself, anyway, to avoid becoming depressed by

It's a new Web site with a very simple mission: to correlate lawmakers' voting records with the money they've accepted from special-interest groups.

All of this is public information. All of it has been available for decades. Other sites, including, expose who's giving how much to whom. But nobody has ever revealed the relationship between money given and votes cast to quite such a startling effect.

If you click the "Video Tour" button on the home page, you'll see a six-minute video that illustrates the point. You find out that on H.R.5684, the U. S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement, special interests in favor of this bill (including pharmaceutical companies and aircraft makers) gave each senator an average of $244,000. Lobbyists opposed to the bill (such as anti-poverty groups and consumer groups) coughed up only $38,000 per senator.

Surprise! The bill passed.

If you click "Timeline of Contributions," you find out that -- surprise again! -- contributions to the lawmakers surged during the six weeks leading up to the vote. On this same page, you can click the name of a particular member of Congress to see how much money that person collected.

Another mind-blowing example: from the home page, click "California." Click "Legislators," then click "Fabian Nunez." The resulting page shows you how much this guy has collected from each special-interest group -- $2.2 million so far -- and there, in black-and-white type, how often he voted their way.

Construction unions: 94 percent of the time. Casinos: 95 percent of the time. Law firms: 78 percent of the time. Seems as though if you're an industry lobbyist, giving this fellow money is a pretty good investment.

A little time spent clicking through to these California lawmakers' pages reveals a similar pattern in most of them.

(A few, on the other hand, appear to be deliciously contrary. Jim Brulte has accepted over $67,000 from the tobacco industry, but hasn't voted in their favor a single time. Is that even ethical -- I mean, by the standards of this whole sleazy business?)

For some reason, doesn't reveal these "percent of the time" figures for United States Congress, only for California. You can easily see how much money each member has taken, but the column that correlates those figures with their voting record is missing.

Now, not all bills exhibit the same money-to-outcome relationships. And it's not news that our lawmakers' campaigns accept money from special interests. What this site does, however, is to expose, often embarrassingly, how that money buys votes.

I probably sound absurdly naive here. But truth is, I can't quite figure out why these contributions are even legal. Let the various factions explain their points till they're blue in the face, sure -- but to cut checks for millions of dollars? isn't always easy to figure out, and not all of its data is complete. In fact, it's not even evident from the list of bills which ones have already been voted on -- a distinct disappointment, since the juicy patterns don't emerge until the vote is complete.

On the other hand, it's painstakingly non-partisan. And it uses very good data; for example, the information on contributions comes from the Center for Responsive Politics (the nonprofit, nonpartisan research group behind, and each special industry's interests (for or against each bill) are taken exclusively from public declarations of support or opposition (Web sites, news articles, Congressional hearings and so on).

Spend a few minutes poking around. Check out a couple of the people you voted for. Have a look at how often their votes align with the interests of the lobbyists who helped to get them elected.

And be glad makes it so easy to spot those correlations.


23 May 2007

Statistics as Art

One reader, David Gilbertsen, calls our attention to some phenomenal images... (Hey, Marty S, are you out there? What do you think...?)
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait

This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs.

The link takes the viewer to the images as described above by the artist. My favorite image (aesthetically speaking) was the “patchwork quilt” of shipping containers at the very bottom. Art aside, each image carries its own daunting message.

-David Gilbertsen


19 May 2007

Appeal to the Grammarians

Okay, even those readers who care little, if at all, for poetry, will enjoy this poem. It would surprise me if you did not chuckle, or at least smile, by poem's end. And no peeking!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

Appeal to the Grammarians
-- Paul Violi
We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it - here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."

© 2007 Hanging Loose Press
Reprinted with permission


A quickie update

... to my post, Signs of Change...

Among the handful of economists to whom I pay heed, Jim Griffin stands tall. He speaks plainly, abstains from flashy pronouncements, and makes eminent sense. It was a surprise when I read (only now, Friday evening) his thoughts from his firm's research weekly. (Download link below, if interested.)

Our thoughts as they pertain to the US$ and domestic interest rates mimic each other's. Jim reasons that, on a fundamental basis, US rates are heading higher, perhaps much higher. And that the $ will follow along (higher); what I see in the charts, Jim sees in the fundamentals. And already step #1 of the chart picture as I limned plays out: rates are moving higher.

So, I wonder: Where to from here?

-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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18 May 2007

Rehashing CMG

I have received some emails that indicate my recommendations to buy or sell to be insufficiently clear. (In fact, the writers are angry!) The (lost) opportunity mentioned most often is Chipotle Mexican Grill/CMG.

I checked the archives, and found many posts wherein I pound the table for you to buy. (Most clustered when CMG sold in the low-$50s.) The post that makes the argument especially clear - for the shares, as opposed to the company, which I had limned previous - is this one.

Of course, I wonder: is it possible to be any more clear than I was...?

And while I am it, allow me to update another recommendation, albeit not a Core 9 Opportunity, Triumph/TGI. Recommended in mid-January as it broke out above $55, and as an intermediate term speculation, I note the shares now sell for $65+ (+20%), and trend higher toward its primary objective, ~$85/share. For those of you who purchased (and still hold) TGI, please keep in mind that objective; we could discuss then possible secondary objectives, if any.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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16 May 2007

Signs of Change, noted asyndetonically

One reader queries...
Given the seeming weakness in retail this quarter, are you still as bullish on JCG? I'm not exactly sure what to qualitatively make of the retail and consumer data coming out recently. It seems to be the driving force in today's (5.10.2007) market sell off especially. I still like JCG from a management and technical standpoint but just looking for some other insight.

Also, got any opinions on the broad market?
Peridot Capitalist made an interesting point a few weeks ago about a 7 year double top in the S&P. Could we be seeing that? Or do you think we're just looking at a little bit of resistance at 1500 with an eventual breakout through the old 1527 mark?
Excellent questions, Dan. First, re J Crew/JCG, I remain powerfully bullish because the opportunity itself remains profoundly bullish. Oh, sure, there will always remain those damnable oscillations in the markets, but in the end the cream always rises to the top.

I choose instead to focus on two items you also note: the company's excellent management and the solid position of its chart. One could characterize my analysis as more bottom-up than top-down; yes, the sector and group analysis I perform is top down, but everything after that is bottom-up. Short term price oscillations aside, I like JCG -- a lot. So you will find me holding my investment lots during market declines, and even purchasing more at the appropriate price points (say, ~$35). Successful investing is all about patience -- sitting through the markets' periods of chaos, which trumps each time the frenetic in & out chaos of trading.

It is your second question that has me thrumming with resonance. First, re Chad's analysis of a double top in the S&P -- two peaks make for a potential double top; the confirmation would occur only with a breach beneath the interim low, in this instance, at ~768.63. That is quite some way down from here, which leaves ample room for sizable declines and lots of movement between the interim highs and lows, all without confirmation of a double top. Really, in any case, I do not perceive the markets as a monolith; i.e., if the market indices decline or rise, then it does not follow that all the publicly traded stocks decline or rise concurrently. Such an event is exceedingly rare.

However, change in the markets does seem afoot. I predicate my top down analysis, as it is, on the movements, both intermediate and secular, of the US$. Somewhat self-aggrandizingly, allow me to say my 'calls' re the direction of the US$ have been uncannily correct. But all to no avail; despite my fears, the decline of the US$ has been met with a barely stifled yawn by the markets. At least the markets as capitalized in US$, which have rallied resolutely. The brief snippet and chart below are each by Dorsey Wright...

A falling US Dollar can help American firms selling products overseas, as they can more easily gain market share as their products become cheaper to foreigners. But investor flows from overseas are hurt by a weak dollar, as those investors are entering a dollar-denominated investment at the expense of something that is likely denominated in their own currency. So, foreign investors have seen the purchasing power of their Euros and Pounds increase significantly over the past six years, but had they invested in various equity markets that were denominated in US Dollars during that time, the conversion back to their own currency becomes a sobering reality. Meanwhile, US investors have seen the Dow Industrials rocket to new all-time highs, but could nary afford a cappuccino if they were to travel to London, much less a place to stay. Our dollars are worth less (and less, and …), which means it takes more of them to buy just about anything, including our equity indices. A foreign investor that sold Euros to buy the Dow Diamonds [DIA] on the AMEX is yet to get back to even, despite the fact that we see the Dow breaking to new highs as denominated in US Dollars.

[click on each image to enlarge]

Commentary and chart courtesy (c) Dorsey Wright Analytics

A quick look at the price action of the US$ shows this all too clearly...

As ugly as it appears right here, right now -- as the US$ stands on the cliff's edge of its Mather Point, looking down and with one foot dangling -- what is the possibility for a double bottom for the US$? Regular readers know well my thoughts re patterns that are obvious to all viewers, so the surprise -- nee, the shocker -- would be a sizable move in the opposite direction.

But what could cause such a turn? I look around, and the first item I see is a bottom building in the interest rate markets...

Rising rates, as the bullish patterns in the chart above indicate, equal declining bond prices; this is a lock-step relationship. And rising rates manifest as support, if not a bullish prop, for the US$.

Are there, perhaps, anecdotal items of proof of the possibility of this change? I begin with the charts that mirror the decline of the US$; that is, powerful rallies. Task accomplished, easily enough: commodities and cyclical stocks, the Dow Jones Industrials themselves included, have rallied powerfully the past several years. What happens to them in a sudden environment of rising rates and a rising US$? And do they not already give signs of exhaustion? Although I have been wrong heretofore with the impact a falling US$ would have on US markets, I suggest that, at minimum, our markets stare into the face, and possibly the teeth, of rocky times dead ahead.

It seems clear that the markets do not expect an environment of rising yields; no, investors both believe and invest today on the basis that the FED instead must loosen its stifling hold on 'high' rates to "save the domestic housing market," etc. The surprise could be that instead the markets force the FED's hand by transforming a flattish yield curve to one positively sloped -- with the FED right behind, tightening at the short end of the yield curve in response to market action at the long end. Should this occur suddenly, price dislocations elsewhere could occur with tandem suddenness. Ouch.

So, once again, I batten down the hatches. I note the confirmed double top in Under Armour/UA, with its hoped for temporary breach beneath oft-argued crucial support at $43. I note that Starbucks/SBUX breachs beneath its major trend line and from a confirmed double top; its prospects suddenly pointing toward next support at ~$22-20. There is no way to know its need to plumb such depths, but I note the large-ish gap until that next level of support, decide I have no need to be along for that possible ride, and sell. I do not rationalize my hopes and fears for specific positions, and build those hopes or fears into my determination to buy, sell, or hold. And yet I note Google/GOOG's breach beneath its trend line, but maintain my holdings; in fact, I will purchase soon more shares because the stock sells at a fundamentally inexpensive, even cheap, valuation. And so it goes. Welcome to the continuum.

One 'trick' of successful investing is to acknowledge the dynamics of both the markets -- oscillations of price within a trend of a given proportion, or periodicity -- and your level of tolerance for risk (measured by magnitude and amplitude; or, respectively, distance traversed from high to low and the distance between peaks or lows). I acknowledge my tolerance to be nigh on nil; instead, I acknowledge that I prefer to invest during periods of price momentum, and thus align my investment interests with market trends. Call it momentum investing, if you must, but I purchase unfailingly during doldrum-like periods of base building for my favored investments, so it is not truly momentum (-based) investing. The analytical tools I use break down the patterns to discern appropriate trends within stipulated time frames; this particular moment seems rife with price risk for many of my favored opportunities.

I want to be clear: at this moment, this entire post is mere speculation. A trend in motion tends to remain in motion... until it ends. And that is this post's purpose: to find signs of (possible) change in trends. Should a reversal of the obvious trends occur -- rates and the US$ rise rather than decline, the equity markets, especially its leadership themes the past several years, decline rather than rally further and higher, will it all be merely intra-trend volatility... or something worse? Only time will tell.

Questions? Comments?
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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14 May 2007

Google/GOOG is cheap

As you regular readers know well, I have been a bull on Google/GOOG since long before its August 2004 IPO. Some even say that I qualify as the Original Google Bull, as I argued in favor of the company as an investment at a time when everyone else proclaimed discouraging words of 'analysis'. I viewed then, and continue to believe, my responsibility to encourage you to buy and hold the shares of Google/GOOG as a true long term investment. (Read the archives for edification, if interested.)

Other 'investors' could continue to buy and sell, but in fact they are traders selling early one of the great growth stocks of our generation. Their loss.

Well, guess what. Google the company has again become cheap, as has GOOG the stock. The company now sells at a forward PE of ~30, which might seem high but not for a growth company, and not for a company such as Google that posts the stunning numbers it does quarter after quarter. Of course, that rate of growth will slow due, if for no better reason, than the Law of Big Numbers. But that is the reason the shares have traded sideways for the past ~18 months!

And that is what makes the stock also cheap. Note in the chart below...

[click on chart to enlarge]

... that this sideways action results in a high level consolidation -- and as such it tags now its trend line of rising bottoms, its continuum. (NB: I tweak these trend lines as new data points emerge. The correlation is to daily volume at important inflection points. Thus, the line as drawn is mere speculation as it violates a cardinal rule of drawing trend lines correctly. I make the assumption - one that I perceive as a good 'bet - that GOOG shares ultimately will trade above its former all time high of $513, and then trend higher. And higher yet.)

This is one post that seems skimpy on the facts, but in truth I have articulated these points repeatedly, so I will not belabor the argument one more time. Why bore you? In fact, now is the time for action, not more deliberation. Now is the time to pound the table: Google is cheap and its shares can be bought at its current price and value for a low risk / high reward entry point.

The proceeding commentary does not equal an upside breakout; i.e, it is not event driven. I would be pleasantly surprised should a breakout occur prior to the company's Q3 earnings report due 5 months from now. This moment does represent, however, a moment to buy.

Argue negatively all you want. Find all the same bearish setups you found all the way up from $85... but note as well that GOOG sells only ~10% from its all time high trade.

I like the opportunity that Google/GOOG represents at this moment, as it trades near its long term rising trend line.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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10 May 2007

Requiem for an Assassin

Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler is the sixth and possibly concluding book in the sequence that features assassin, John Rain.

And as word choices go, "requiem" (a mass for a deceased person) is extraordinarily appropriate. John Rain, who paced across the pages of each novel as though a ghost, never belonging to any single society or culture (John, the half-breed: half-Japanese and half-American), never surrounding himself with friends for fear he must assassinate them (as he did his best friend during the Vietnam war, Crazy Jake), and never trusting anyone, but himself...
"Losing people, and not being able to properly grieve them, shrinks your world. You try to avoid attachments, anything that could hurt you if you lose it. You start to say don't mean nothing about everything, the important things especially. You learn that only a few people can be trusted, fewer and fewer, in fact. You feel used..."
"I lay in bed for a long time, thinking, trying to unwind. I wanted to see her, but at the same time I was afraid to. Afraid of what she'd make of me. Which was stupid, of course. Why should I even care what she thought, or anyone else? And if anyone could understand...

No one can understand. No one.

Lying in another anonymous bed in another random hotel room, back in the life as though I'd never left it, I thought I should just let Delilah go. Already my relationship with her felt improbable, inapplicable, absurd. What could I have with her, anyway? ... It didn't matter. Whatever we had, it was gone, another moment alchemized to memory. I should just accept that. I should just move on, alone. It was all I was ever good for. It was all I could really trust."
Yes, the same John Rain who had moved through his world as though a ghost -- observing but never truly participating -- now becomes a ghost as he senses his own imminent death.

Rain's thoughts become increasingly melancholy throughout these six books, but never more so than in this novel, as he considers versions of himself that never were and never could be. He realizes with a mixture of sadness and fondness that the two key people who remain in his life -- Dox and Delilah -- still make demands on his consciousness and talents, even though they themselves never do. Rain becomes utterly lost, with no direction to turn except the one in which he is forced, when his enemies abduct Dox and, arguably worse, Delilah confides she is in love with John. Thus, he confronts his most difficult enemy yet that he must kill... Himself. And so begins the requiem.

Requiem for an Assassin is Barry Eisler’s most tightly-plotted, tautly-written, finest novel yet. Difficult though it was, I slowed my reading pace to savor better all the included exposition; Barry really shines with these asides re relationships, politics, economics, and terrorism, etc. Not to forget the spy’s ‘tradecraft’. Barry is fully in charge of writing style, plot, themes, ideas, character, and setting. (What would be a Rain novel without setting as a character in and of itself?)

This novel abounds with many pleasures for its readers. Enjoy!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist


09 May 2007

Quick heads up

Today's low trade ($463.88) for Google/GOOG comes extraordinarily close to its crucial rising trend line (~$459). This, then, is the moment to buy: seemingly maximum risk and limited reward, but in fact precisely the opposite.

Embrace uncertainty!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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Thar she goes!

Although not one of my Core-9 opportunities, oft-recommended opportunity, Isis Pharmaceuticals/ISIS looks set to explode upwards through multiple levels of resistance when today's trading begins.

First, the news released ~30 minutes ago (at 423am pdt)...

Bristol Myers Squibb/BMY and Isis Pharmaceuticals/ISIS announced a collaboration to discover, develop and commercialize novel antisense drugs targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9, or PCSK9, for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. PCSK9 helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. As part of the collaboration, Isis licensed to Bristol-Myers Squibb exclusive access to its PCSK9 research program.

Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Isis a $15 million upfront licensing fee, and will provide at least $9 million in research funding over a period of three years.

Isis will also receive up to $168 million upon achievement of pre-specified development and regulatory milestones for the first drug in the collaboration, apart from royalties on sales of products.

Next, the lightly annotated chart...

[click on chart to enlarge]

The line of declining tops (shown) lies at $10.28, which also happens to be the intra-day high on 5.2.2007, a reversal day from the day prior. I have articulated the important resistance points in previous posts, so will not belabor those data points in this post.

No, what I hope to share here -- i.e., what I hope to teach and for you to learn (finally, the lesson) -- is that there are two ways of trading (not investing):
1) Purchase certainty in the form of buying breakouts. But if this is your methodology, what do you do when there is no (immediate) follow-through, and the share price declines from your purchase point?
2) Purchase uncertainty in the form of buying (short term) price declines. If this is your methodology (and it is mine), then when these moments of punctuated equilibrium occur, such as now for ISIS, you profit.

This argument is really about more than merely dueling methodologies. It touches upon your time frame -- trader or investor? -- and goes to the heart of what drives your investing patterns. And, in the end, your success. I admit this discussion is brief, barely touching upon the core truths, but I have articulated these points so often and in so many ways as to be blue in the face with bated breath. Will real time examples of consistent success using my methodology help you to achieve the same? I can only hope.

For ISIS, what remains is the chart pattern to fulfill itself in full, which appears likely at the time of this writing. It will be interesting to note the total number of shares that trade in pre-opening activity (adding Island and other ECNs to the mix), and then, most important, today's regular trading session... and closing price and total volume. (I emphasize regular hours activity because pre-open and after-hours trading are too thin, and thus subject to wild swings. And, yes, manipulation.)

I suspect it all will be quite bullish. But then I have thought so for some time. Today looks to be only one payday of many for this opportunity as its long term (years) chart pattern begins to align for much higher prices.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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04 May 2007

Personal request

Is there a reader here who works for the US Citizen and Immigration Services? Or know someone who does?

If yes, please contact me to help resolve a sudden and urgent problem.

Thank you.

03 May 2007

"I'm kicking myself"

"Wow, did I ever miss out on these picks. I'm kicking myself - especially regarding Chipotle Grill. Just call me dumb. As a matter of fact, just nuke me for not buying when you were recommending..."

Do not be too hard on yourself, "Luke." Yes, I was extraordinarily clear in my table-pounding for Chipotle Mexican Grill/CMG, but I was also for Google/GOOG, ad infinitum. The sad truth is most readers pay no heed to my recommendations.

Their loss. You could correct your own mis-step by finding the opportunity among my core 9 that looks especially sweet right now. I would tell you that opportunity would be J Crew/JCG under $40/share. We discussed this opportunity privately, and you had disparaging comments, or at least confusion... just as you did with Chipotle/CMG (at $55, and $60, etc).

Do not make again the same error! The trick with investing is not to avoid errors -- i.e., be correct always, or not do anything until you know with certainty -- but instead to embrace errors, learn from them, and not to make them again.

Success ensues. Trust me on that, if nothing else.

-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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02 May 2007

A two-edged sword

Well, the earnings report for Under Armour/UA was magnificent... and the market decided yesterday to spank the shares for the company's audacity to spend money growing the business. Imagine that!

However, yesterday's trading activity was all about traders exercising their might in the short term, but underneath the surface were investors quietly buying the shares. I agree with the investors. It should surprise noone, and certainly not me, were the share price to be back at its all time highs in as few as 3 months, when its next earnings report could cause the bullish breakout. All of which causes me to rate the shares a buy, right here, right now.

On the other hand are two big movers set to occur today from among my oft-recommended and core 9 opportunities.

1) Chipotle Mexican Grill/CMG
notes CMG reported 1Q07 EPS of $0.38, easily outpacing its and the Street's estimate of $0.31. SSS growth of 8.3% was well ahead of low single digit Street expectation, even more impressive considering CMG was lapping last year's19.7% comparison. Firm says unit development is picking up pace with CMG bumping '07 unit opening guidance range by 15 to 110-120. In addition, CMG also acquired all 8 of its franchise units. Firm raises their EPS estimatess to reflect continued top & bottom line momentum with '07 moving to $1.72 from $1.58 and '08 to $2.16 from $2.00. Firm raises their target to $82 from $76.

Today's activity should highlight a huge breakout from a massive base. I note minor, and ephemeral, resistance at ~$73+ (perhaps the inception of the handle of its cup & handle pattern?), with more meaningful resistance at ~$78.

So how many shares of this particular opportunity do you own...?

2) Master Card/MA
Also among my core 9 opportunities, MasterCard Inc., the #2 U.S. credit card company, said Q1 earnings were up 70% on a 19% jump in the number of transactions -- both profit and revenue were well in excess of analyst expectations. EPS were $1.57 ($215 million), vs. $0.94 ($126.7 million) a year ago; Wall Street estimated $1.16. It was the highest earnings quarter in the company's history. Revenue was $915.1 million, vs. $738.5 million last year; analyst estimates were $842 million. Gross dollar volume of transactions was up 16.4%. The company said growth in the South Asia/Middle East/Africa and Latin America regions was particularly strong. Total operating expenses climbed 8.2% as the company hired more staff to handle customers, while advertising and marketing expenses came down 2.3%. Timothy Willi of A.G. Edwards said, "We are bullish on the long-term prospects for MasterCard... Consumers, businesses and government are making cards their preferred method of payment... During the past 10 years, card-based payments have aggressively displaced paper."

The shares, which closed yesterday at $114.85, last traded in pre-opening activity at $123.

Despite today's price indications (each to new all time highs), there remain much higher prices yet to come. Which is why each company, and its stock (natch), qualifies as one of my 9 core opportunities.

And so it goes.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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01 May 2007

Imagine that!

At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May of this year, the time and date will be...

02:03:04 05/06/07

This will never happen again in our life time.

Really? Could the claim of that final sentence be correct...? Nonetheless, the date and time factoid is a fascinating oddity.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist


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