Friday, June 12, 2009

National Semi Has Nothing to Say

National Semiconductor (NYSE:NSM) today reported sales of $281 million and a net loss of $64 million for Q4. They issued guidance for Q1 in the range of 2% to 9% increase sequentially. They included some comments about restructuring costs which means they closed several facilities and 850 people lost their jobs. The only qualitative comment about the future was

"Business conditions improved through the quarter. We saw increasing orders from our wireless handset customers as they began ramping production of new smartphone models," said Brian L. Halla, National's chairman and CEO. "We are well positioned to enable greater energy efficiency in a wide range of products with our analog and power management circuits."

No other comments, substantive insights or executive commentary was made available. Basically they threw some numbers up on the wall and are letting everyone else fend for themselves. Poor communications certainly. When the executive suite shuts down this much, they usually have a lot to say, but do not want to say it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Marvell Technologies Settles Speeding Ticket.

Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) reached a settlement in it’s shareholder class action lawsuit. They have made some changes to their previously reported G&A account for Q1 earnings of about $0.12 per share. The lawsuit revolves around stock option granting. It is interesting to note that the press release did not mention one word about changes to corporate governance, censure of corporate executives or board members who allowed and or condoned the practice. Is this just a speeding ticket and will they screw shareholders again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nathans- Too Famous To Discussion

Nathans Famous (NASDAQ:NATH) reported results representing Nathan’s sixth consecutive year of increased revenues and profits from continuing operations. I know it’s a very small company. Market cap approximately $80 million. But all the press release dealt with was some elevator analysis of the financials and then a few words about the stock buy back program. No critical evaluation of operating results was provided. Looks to me that management is just there for the short term share maximization, issue some stock options, exercise stock options and then pump it up again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

China Sky One Medical Controversial 10K

China Sky One Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSKI) filed its 10-K stating , the Sumei Slim Patch, a weight loss patch is "believed to foster weight loss and prevent weight gain." The Sumei Slim Patch makes up 22% of China Sky's total sales in 2008, according to the company's Q4 earnings conference call.

FTC says "Products worn or rubbed on the skin do not cause weight loss.” What's Behind China Sky's Weight-Loss Patch revenue and gross margin claims. The company has been censured by the FTC in the past. Thanks to for shining the light on this one.

GM Hires a Deal Maker

General Motors (GMGMQ ) announced that they will get a new chairman when they come out of bankruptcy. Former AT&T Corp. Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. got the nod. Mr. Whitacre, 67, was chairman and CEO of AT&T and predecessor companies from 1990 to 2007, when he retired with a $158 million package. Mr. Whitacre led the company through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

This is not a car guy. It can, may and should be argued that America does not have a good car guy. So they go for a retired telephone guy who has a strong and successful track record in deal making. Is that the signal that GM will become a deal-making entity. What about becoming a great car company? The selection of leaders says a lot about the future.

Monday, June 08, 2009

How To Fix Financial Television

Barry Ritholtz just posted an interesting topic "How to fix Financial Television" cut and paste the link for a full read

The major points he made were

1. Stop Yelling. Stop interrupting. Stop Talking Over Each Other:
2. Bring us People We Don’t Have Access to.
3. S - L - O - W D - O - W - N
4. Risk:
5. Lose the Octobox.
6. Separate the Signal from the Noise.
7. Fact Check:
8. Accountability is important:
9. Bring Back Louis Rukeyser
10. Sound FX:
11. Embed your video (on your own website or YouTube) instead of using WMP.
12. Investigative Pieces
13. Most stock picks are losers.
14. Stop the Bull/Bear Debate:
15. Partisanship
16. Respect the Audience:

General Mills Financial Strip Tease

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) did the financial strip tease this week. They expect to announce year end results on July 1. They have a European investors conference hosted by Deutsche Bank on June 9 which will be webcast. So today they announce that a mere twenty days before the official announcement but seven days after the actual year end they are prepared to share with investors that “Preliminary year-end estimates exceed the company’s prior 2009 EPS guidance by several cents, reflecting good operating performance and a lower fourth-quarter tax rate.”

General Mills is scheduled to appear at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer and Food Retail Conference in Paris, France on June 9, 2009. The company’s presentation will be webcast, beginning at 12:00 noon Paris time. That webcast can be accessed from the company’s website:

What is several cents? If you walked into the CEO’s office and could only articulate several cents the CEO would not have confidence in you. Why should investors have confidence in several cents?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

48 companies targeted by 51 shareholder activists during May

This information was extracted from Hedge Fund Solutions' Catalyst Equity Research Report, a free in-depth weekly research on activist investments. Cut and past this link to subscribe to a free report

Ticker Company Investor
ABTL Autobytel Inc Trilogy Inc
ADF ACM Managed Dollar Income Fund Bulldog Investors
ARIA Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc Biotechnology Value Fund
ASUR Asure Software Inc Red Oak Partners
ATGN AltiGen Wanger Investment Management
AVCA Advocat Inc Bristol Investment Fund
AXC Advanced Technology Acquisition Corp Bulldog Investors
BASI Bioanalytical Systems Thomas Harenburg
BBEP BreitBurn Energy Partners, L.P. Quicksilver Resources
BVF Biovail Corp Eugene Melnyk
CAV Cavalier Homes Inc GAMCO Investors
CAV Cavalier Homes Inc Legacy Housing
CITZ CFS Bancorp Financial Edge Fund
DITC Ditech Networks Inc Lamassu Holdings
DVD Dover Motorsports Inc. Marathon Capital
ELGX Endologix Inc Elliott Associates
FEP Franklin Electronic Publishers inc Saunders Acquisition Corp
GCS DWS Global Commodities Stock Fund Western Investment
HBRF.OB Highbury Financial Peerless Systems
HWK Hawk Corp GAMCO Investors
JOUT Johnson Outdoors Inc Dolphin Ltd
JTX Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Shamrock Activist Value Fund
JTX Jackson Hewitt Tax Service JTH Tax
KANA Kana Software KVO Capital Management
KONA Kona Grill Mill Road Capital
MATH.PK Mathstar, Inc Salvatore Muoio
MEG Media General Inc GAMCO Investors
MOVE Move Inc. Nierenberg Investment Management
NDD Neuberger Berman Dividend Advantage Fund Western Investment
ORCC Online Resources Corp Tennenbaum Capital Partners
PCBC Pacific Capital Bancorp Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
PFBI Premier Financial Bancorp Hot Creek Capital
PLCE Children's Place Retail Stores Ezra Dabah
PRLS Peerless Systems Corp. Bandera Partners
PRSC Providence Sevice Corp 73114 Investments
PTSG.OB Petrosearch Energy Group Tiberius Capital
RPT Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust Equity One
SKS Saks Incorporated P Schoenfeld
SNG Canadian Superior Energy Palo Alto Investors
SRO DWS Rreef Real Estate Fund II, Inc Bulldog Investors
SUMT SumTotal Systems Vista Equity Partners
TDS Telephone & Data Systems Southeastern Asset Management
TDS Telephone & Data Systems Inc. Weitz & Co
TOMO TomoTherapy Incorporated Avalon Capital
TUC Mac-Gray Corp Fairview Capital Investment Management
TXCC Transwitch Corp Brener International Group
TXI Texas Industries Shamrock Activist Value Fund
UAHC United American Healthcare Corp Strategic Turnaround Equity Partners
ULU Uluru Inc. Brencourt Advisors
VNDA Vanda Pharmaceuticals Tang Capital

Bank of America Hires 4 Guys Who Know What They are Doing

Bank of America (BAC) announced that four new guys were going on the board who knew what they were doing. That does sound good. Unfortunately it also sounds very new. The new board members are Donald E. Powell, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Susan Bies, a former member of the board of governors in the Federal Reserve System; D. Paul Jones Jr., a former CEO of Compass Bancshares, and William Boardman, a former executive at Bank One, which is now a part of JPMorgan Chase.(JPM)

What no one seems to be discussing is just what are the qualifications for becoming a board member in general and of a financial institution in particular. Everyone wants the grey hair wisdom. Few companies got it. Next question is what are the qualifications to keep your seat on the board. Everyone looks to the CEO but barely knows the board. Those guys are the ones truly in charge. There is too much back room closed door dynamics that shareholders cannot assess.