Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review of Barron's, Dated 24 October

With the Cover Story being about their Top 10 Picks in techland, I thought, OK, I'll buy the Barron's.

Since Groupon is about to IPO itself (next week I believe), their picks of tech stocks to look at is timely.  Author Mark Veverka notes that tech is cheap now and yet looks like it will outgrow our economy's 1% - 2% per year.  Also, he notes that there has been a reasonable amount of acquisitions in the space, as many tech companies now have $$$ sitting on their balance sheets.

Veverka worked with Walter Price, Jr., Daniel Niles and Mike Stark to come up with the below list of 10 top picks (my remarks at end of each in blue):

1)  Fusion-io (FIO)  "Fusion-io does for storage what former stock-market favorite VMWare does for computer servers."  Price $25.17, 12-month target: $52 (+107%).  I have never even heard of this company.


2)  Oracle (ORCL)  Rephrasing Veverka, Oracle has now almost attained a similar stature as IBM, they expect revenue of 15% this year and next.  Price: $31.53, 12-month target: $40 (+27%).  Yeah, OK, maybe so.


3)  Tibco Softward (TIBX)  They specialize in middleware, and "They're well positioned to be the bridge company between existing applications that you don't want to change and new applications that are more flexible and built in the cloud", Price explains.  Price: $26.64, 12-month target: $35 (+31%).   Built in the cloud..., other than that no comment.


4)  Electronic Arts (ERTS)  "Mobile social-interactive gaming is a big opportunity for the company..."  They have a game on Facebook that is the No. 2 game there.  Price $23.41, 12-month target: $40 (+71%).  OK, maybe so, there sure seem to be a LOT of people much younger then me who play these games, whether on Facebook or not.


5)  Nuance Coomunications (NUAN)  Niles thinks that speech recognition technology will rival touch-screen tech.  They already make Dragon speech-recognition software for PCs and they may capture wireless makers like HTC, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung (among others).  Price: $23.99, 12-month target: $30 (+25%)  Who knows?  Not me!


6)  Ancestry.com (ACOM)  "Ancestry.com is the social-media company for dead people." [Ha ha, line fo the day]  The stock has gotten whacked because of a bungled (like NFLX) because of a badly done pricing change, but they think this company will do well.  Price: $22.21, 12-month target: $44 (+98%).  I do not have a feel for these guys...


7)  Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)  They note that the shares change hands at 5 x earnings, the lowest ever for any large-cap tech. Yes, ever.  Niles and Price have high hopes for new CEO Meg Whitman.  Price: $24.74, 12-month target: $30 (+21%).  Maybe.


8)  eBay (EBAY)  They are tinkering with their model (over 50% of their sales are now fixed-price) and are placing a bet on PayPal for their future.  Price: $32.15, 12-month target: $40 (+24%).  I do not have a feel for these guys either...


9)  Fortinet (FTNT)  They make security hardware and software that apparently is fast, useful for cloud computing and also have subscription & maintenance fees trickling in every month.  Price: $18.22, 3-year target: $25.65 (+41%).  Who?


10)  Apple (AAPL)  They like Apple.  Apple has just 6% global handset market (No. 1 Nokia has 25%).  New boss Tim Cook might make some changes with their $28 billion in cash, like maybe a dividend...  I wouldn't know about the future, but Apple has executed very well for YEARS now.


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Alan Abelson, the resident bear at Barron's, does not think either Europe or China (referring to ALbert Edwards re China) will work out their problems anytime soon.

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There were two BULLISH articles on individual companies: Freeport-McMoRan and Teradata.  I know that one of my readers is interested in FCX...

Jim McTague goes after the regulators of the Fed for sloppiness during the financial crisis (two recent reports from .gov came out recently with all the no bid contracts on "fixing" the problems arguably caused by the Banksters themselves).  Hey, welcome to the club, Jim!

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I usually do not bother reading the relatively new weekly column "CEO Spotlight", but this week's article captured me...  Lawrence Strauss does a nice job doing a bio on EOG Resources boss Mark Papa.  EOG came out from Enron, and has now ditched their NatGas operations to focus in on horizontal drilling plays like the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale plays of getting oil...  Mr. Papa has had an interesting life, I recommend the article!

"Economic Beat" author Gene Epstein says chances for4 a recession may be ebbing...  He also revealed that he was a street demonstrator in 1968 Chicago!  Well, who knew that?    He passed along a link of Peter Schiff out-debating some OWS-ers, and then saying that Schiff should have put them on a bus to Capitol Hill.  The link is here

In the Market Week section ("European Trader")we find that Europe will likely NOT work out a deal re Greece (etc.) anytime soon.

Your ever watchful Junior Blogger never misses reading "Commodities Corner", this week about about the sorry state of natural gas (prices).  Warm weather, lots of supply (and more coming) look like NatGas will not be going up anytime soon [R. Mix note:  Hey, you there at .gov: we are missing an opportunity here to convert some of our fleets to NatGas!  PERU ferchrissakes has done that!]

As mentioned earlier, Groupon expects to IPO this week, 34.5 million shares at about $10 each (expected DOWN from earlier, hey great timing guys!).

Nothing new or interesting at the Federal Reserve Data Bank re the Total nor changes in the Monetary Base or M1 or M2 money supply.

Verdict: If you like tech stocks definitely buy this edition!

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