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Posts Tagged ‘PALM’

Palm Continues to Suffer (PALM, AAPL, GOOG, RIMM)

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Palm Inc. reported earnings after the close today, and what they reported wasn’t pretty.  Expectations were for a loss of $.42 per share on revenue of $316.19 mm.  Reported numbers were $366 mm, which was actually higher than expectation, and a loss of $.61 per share, which was not.  After being up by about 5% during the day on a lot of short covering, the stock tumbled on the news in after hours by over 13%.

Adding to the woes are increasing inventories at the carriers.  This is an issue because Palm records sales when the products are shipped to the carriers, not when they are actually sold to consumers.  Thus, large stocks of unsold inventory will prevent Palm from recording much in the way of sales until that backlog is cleared.  Thus, Palm issued revenue guidance for the upcoming quarter that is half of the $305.77 mm that analysts were expecting.

My Palm article in September hypothesized that the stock (then at 17.40) would drop as consumer adoption of the new operating system would lag.  Back then, Palm was shipping over 800,000 units per quarter, that number has since increased to over 900,000 but sell through to customers has decreased to 400,000 units.    The stock in after hours dropped to below $5 as the long term survivability of Palm remains in doubt while they try to compete against the mighty Apple, Google and RIMM.

-AH

Disclosure: Long GOOG, no position in any other stock mentioned

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Reviewing Our 2009 Trades (AAPL, RIMM, GS, JPM, MS, SHAW, BNI, BAGL, PALM, GRMN, VXX, SH)

January 7, 2010 Leave a comment

During the year Michael and I issue various opinions about stocks that we feel strongly about. We do this whether we have purchased/sold them in our personal accounts, or just because we feel strongly about the direction a stock will take but aren’t in a position to capitalize.  We have been writing this blog for a several months now and feel it would be instructive to analyze our picks and determine what worked and what didn’t, and provide our current insight on those stocks.  Current market prices will be taken from the close of market today, January 7th, 2010.

Some That Went Well:
B SHAW @ 28.20: I bought the Shaw Group (SHAW) on October 16, a day where they got hit hard by a number of events. Shaw just announced earnings which beat expectations, taking their stock to $32.36, for a return of about 16% in 3 months.  I saw them then, just as I do now, as an undervalued and under-appreciated infrastructure play with a nuclear energy kicker.

B BNI @ 79.20: I bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) on October 1.  I was looking at a cyclical play as the economy recovered, I figured that rail was going to see a huge rebound as the economy recovered.  What would be the chief driver of this? The efficiency of rail, as energy prices rise (another bet I am taking), rail will become more and more attractive relative to other methods of over-land material shipping.  Towards the end of last year, Warren Buffet announced that he was buying the rest of the BNI shares he didn’t already own for $100/share, and the stock rose to that level generating a return of 26% in 2 months.  I eventually sold that position instead of receiving the equivalent in BRK.B shares.

S PALM @ 17.40: I nailed this one.  I didn’t own the stock, so I couldn’t sell it, but had investors heeded my warning they would have saved themselves from 34% of downside given the current price of $11.45.  I wrote this as PALM was riding high on the prospects for the Pre smartphone, but I saw the dark clouds on the horizons.  With Google releasing their Nexis One yesterday, if puts another nail in the coffin of Palm’s WebOS, as the ability for manufacturers to customize Android, and the immense Apple App store, give massive advantages over Palm’s new system.

S GRMN @ 37.63: This is another one that I didn’t own and so couldn’t sell, but the stock is now 17% below the price at which I recommended selling.  Again, this is smartphone related as GRMN released their Nuvi to much hype, but little substance.  GRMN is losing marketshare to smartphone applications like on the iPhone, Motorola Droid and Google Nexis One, and this is a trend that will continue.  The Nuvi was supposed to help, but it was a confused hybrid between stand-alone GPS and a smartphone that made a mess of both functions.  Investors will do well to continue to stay clear.

B RIMM @ 56.60: Mike nailed this price for RIMM.  He used discounted cash flows analysis to determine that it was severely undervalued, and that turned out to be the case.  RIMM is currently trading at approximately $65, for an upside of about 16% in the 2 months since his article was published.  RIMM is the biggest player in the smartphone market, and their strength will likely continue as they release new products that are competitive with the other market leaders.

S RIMM @ 83.60: Again, Mike nailed this one.  With a current price of $65, Mike saved himself and any readers who heeded his warning from 28% of downside over the course of 3 months.  His hypothesis was that expectations for performance had outstripped actual results, and that was the case as RIMM reported earnings that disappointed.

There was also Mike’s December 17th post, on Meredith Whitney’s calls on Goldman Sachs & Co. (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) where he proposed that it would likely be profitable to ignore her calling considering that the stocks had already fallen quite a bit and that even with her lower earnings estimates, they still represented great values at their prices at the time. Mike has so far been proved correct, and all three are up by 10%, 13% and 11% respectively in the two weeks since his post.  All returns are more than doubling the 4% gain of the S&P 500.

And Some That Did Not Go So Well:
B VXX @ 48.30: The problem was not the argument, but the vehicle chosen to execute that argument.  VXX is an ETF that is designed to follow the short-term VIX futures contract price.  The problem is, it doesn’t.  Since my article was posted, this ETF is down 37%.  Luckily I got out pretty quickly (at $45.96), but in retrospect this was a horrible idea.

S AAPL @ 189.59-190.00: Our hypothesis on this article (which incidentally got us a note from Apple’s lawyers…check out the original post) was that AAPL had fully priced in any future good news, and was excluding the possibility of poor performance.  A week after our original article, Apple released record earnings, and the stock shot up to above $200.  It has shown volatility since then, but now stands at $210 for a missed upside of about 10%.  We stand by our convictions, but with the utmost respect for AAPL’s continued performance.

B RIMM @ 70.07 and 67.20: After RIMM missed earnings on September 25, the stock dropped by 15% in a day.  I bought that dip, and Mike bought a few days later.  I underestimated the investor disappointment concerning earnings, and bought way too early.  The fallout from earnings hadn’t happened yet, and the stock would eventually settle in the mid $50s before recovering.  At its current price of $65, the decline isn’t so painful but it definitely hurt for a while.

B BAGL @ 10.12: Mike found this one while searching through relatively unwatched industries for low-beta stocks that were severely undervalued on a cash flow basis to their peers. It is currently down only 4% but this is following a more than 11% gain off of where it fell in the mid-8’s. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group continues to trade at less than half a years revenue even though the company is still growing. Mike still feels it offers a very compelling value especially compared to it’s peers, however, he recognizes that it was probably a mistake to dive in until there was a potential catalyst to drive the stock higher considering that they don’t even pay a dividend.

I hope readers find this constructive.  I find it is helpful to go back and learn from both your mistakes and successes.  In general, I feel that we have done quite well in picking stocks on both sides of the trade.

-AH

Disclosure: Andrew is long RIMM and SHAW.  Michael is long BAGL, BAC and net long the market although currently building a position in SH.

S PALM @ 17.40

September 30, 2009 2 comments

005-palm-pre_mediumI have alluded to it in previous posts, but now I think I should make it official.  I rate PALM a sell.  Palm have put all their eggs in one basket with the Pre.  They have killed their previous operating system in favor of WebOS, discontinued the Treos and Centros, and currently have no other products on sale. In short, the Pre had better work or Palm is in a lot of trouble.

So is it? Well, Palm is reporting that sales are brisk, saying that they have sold about 823,000 units, with a sell-through of 810,000.  But, according to a new report by Town Hall research analyst David Eller, they haven’t actually sold that much.  Palm reports sales when Sprint sells to customers or ships to second-tier distributers.  He says that there may be 11 weeks of inventory on hand at these distributers, which is an uncomfortably long time (RIMM typically has 30 days, AAPL far less).

Recent price action on the Pre at these distributers does seem to support the idea of an inventory glut.  Best Buy currently lists the Pre at $150, Amazon at $100, and Walmart went as low as $80, albeit temporarily.  Bear in mind that neither the iPhone 3G, 3GS or the Blackberry Tour have received any discounts so far, and they were all released at the same time.

Of the pair, Sprint releases their earnings earliest, at the end of October.  Should definitely be on the calendar of any PALM investor.

Disclosure: No position in Palm, Long AAPL and RIMM

B RIMM @ 70.07

September 25, 2009 1 comment

They said never to try and catch a falling knife, but I just tried. Outcome TBD.

RIMM dropped 15% post-earnings, after missing revenue by 2% and beating EPS expectations (before one-time items) by .03 (Barrons).

I see the revenue miss, and my interpretation of it is as the product of a few items, chief among which is the iPhone. In this quarter, AAPL released the iPhone 3GS, and of course there was a lot of hype. People shopping for a new smartphone were probably overwhelming drawn to it being a new product, taking them away from RIMM. Not helping the case for the BlackBerry, they had no new compelling products. The tour was released, but it was essentially a Wi-Fi-less Bold warmed over for Verizon, nothing too compelling there.

I see a few catalysts for revenue growth in the future, that will help alleviate the symptoms from this quarter. First, new products, including the Storm 2, which is supposed to have a vastly improved screen over the older, much maligned version. Secondly, the next quarter will start to see the ramp up in Christmas sales, the strongest time for most retailers with RIMM being no exception, yet they are guiding for flat earnings! My read on that is they are trying to be conservative, taking a page out of AAPL’s book. Finally, the push for more presence in the consumer market will undoubtedly hurt their margins slightly. But in the market for smartphones that have a physical keyboard, RIMM is still the only big player. The rumor that came out yesterday that Verizon was no longer interested in carrying the Palm Pre further solidifies RIMM’s position in this sector.

Position Disclosure: Long RIMM at this price. Long AAPL over mid-to-long term, would not recommend a buy at this price. No position in PALM, but my opinion suggests a short.