New Trade: Long Priceline ($PCLN) & Short IAC Interactive ($IACI)

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 01.13.2015 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Things are looking better than even 48 hours ago as the AOL rumours seem to be calming down so my 2 current trades are basically flat. Hopefully the recovery keeps up. Today, I’m opening a new trade on two of the “older” stocks among the tech stocks that I follow, I’ve had good success trading both in the past so hopefully this will keep up.

You can see my long & short trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

PE Ratio
PE Next Year
Return YTD
Sales Growth
Analyst rating
Book Value
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
PCLNPriceline Group Inc/The1039.9823.3416.9-8.7929.134.62166.821.23133.431.5130.83N/AN/A

Here is a chart that I always like considering, especially for 2 stocks that are trading at very comparable P/E ratios (in fact IACI is trading at a more expensive forward P/E):

ycharts_chart (2)


$PCLNLong Priceline (PCLN)

As much as a believer as I am in TripAdvisor as the top online travel play, there is little doubt that the past 10 years has been all about Priceline. Thanks to an incredible focus on offering an incredible service, and a dedication to its core product, Priceline has been one of the best performing stocks out there for a decade. I continue to believe it is a strong pick at these levels and that limited moves such as buying Kayak are the right ones to keep up the growth. I would not say that Priceline is very cheap at these levels but I think it’s a great play against IAC when you compare they trade at comparable P/E ratios despite vastly different growth in recent years. I do expect that trend to continue.



Next earnings release: February 20th 2015

$IACIShort IAC Interactive (IACI)

IAC Interactive is an interesting “old style” internet company in a way similar to AOL and Yahoo. I do think hey have several very interesting properties such as TheDailyBeast & Vimeo but in the end it’s not a model I believe in. I’d much rather hold a company whose sole focus is online travel booking and while Priceline has done well over the years and has been very good at spinning out some of the bigger, better performing assets, that is not enough for me to justify IACI’s current valuation, especially when compared with Priceline.

ycharts_chart (1)


Next earnings release: February 5th 2015

Disclaimer: No positions on either IACI or PCLN but I will initiate this trade on the open today

New Trade: Long Tripadvisor ($TRIP) & Short Blue Nile ($NILE)

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 01.09.2015 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Wow… So on Monday I opened my first long & short trade of the year. I mentioned in that post that I was shorting AOL despite having a hard time reading the company in recent years mostly because those takeover rumours seemed blown over. Then, the next day, news comes out that Verizon (VZ) has/is considering taking over AOL. Then yesterday activist investor Starboard asks Yahoo to more seriously consider buying AOL. Are you kidding me? Ah well. Win some and lose some but this is not the start I was looking for obviously. That trade is down almost 10% which is certainly bad news but I guess given all the news and speculation, it could have been worse. Oh well, here I am with a second trade. I certainly aim on doing well over a larger set of trades as has happened in the past few years.

You can also see my long & short trades here:

Today,  I’m opening my second trade and am once again shorting a stock that I’ve liked to bet against over the years. I’ve had a lot more success shorting this one though. Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

PE Ratio
PE Next Year
Return YTD
Sales Growth
Analyst rating
Book Value
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
NILEBlue Nile Inc35.1144.5131.31-3.5812.493.910.730.7435.899.751.360.65N/A
TRIPTripAdvisor Inc73.2648.8927.69-5.1223.813.527.61.576.6129.99N/A14.2N/A

Here is a chart that I always like considering, especially for 2 stocks that are trading at very comparable P/E ratios:

ycharts_chart (3)

$TRIPLong Tripadvisor (TRIP)

I’ve done extremely well with my high conviction long term speculative picks but last year’s only bet, on TripAdvisor, has not paid off so far. I paid fairly close to TRIP’s high and the recently difficult market conditions have had a big impact on TRIP. That being said, I’m very much considering adding to that position. I have a tremendous level of confidence in TRIP because in my opinion it is the clear leader in a very important market. Yes, other players may have bigger revenues but TRIP has the traffic, the community and the brand that will help it outperform in the long term. I have no doubt that revenues will continue to climb and perhaps even accelerate which makes it a good buy at these levels. That being said, the stock had a very tough earnings report and call a few months ago and I’ll certainly pay close attention to what they come out with a month from now.

ycharts_chart (1)


Next earnings release: February 11th 2015

$NILEShort Blue Nile (NILE)

Blue Nile is a great company that I actually like and have used. That does not however make it a good investment and when I look at the growth in revenues and earnings, they still do not justify what I’m seeing out of NILE. A few years ago that was even more obvious but I still feel confident in saying that the upside vs. downside involved in shorting Blue Nile is very good. Just look at the difference in growth between the two companies and consider that they are trading at very comparable forward P/E ratios.

ycharts_chart (2)

Next earnings release: February 6th 2015

Disclaimer: Long Tripadvisor (TRIP)

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New Trade: Long Apple ($AAPL) & Short AOL Inc. ($AOL)

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 01.05.2015 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Very exciting to be back with my long & short stock picks as I have not made such a pick since August!! Last year was phenomenal in terms of results (over 40%) and there is certainly a lot of pressure. A reader asked me if given the results I was going to increase the amount of money into these trades. The answer is yes but only very slightly. I currently have 10-15% of my portfolio in these picks and know too well that these picks can be extremely volatile. I`d be more than happy with a 10% return,especially given how little correlation this portfolio has with the overall portfolio. In the end though, the vast majority of my investments are in more plain vanilla ETF & passive income investments with the next big part in my longer term speculative picks and I don’t see that changing in the near future. Any thoughts?

You can also see my long & short trades here:

Today,  I’m opening my first long & short trade of the year, hoping it’ll be a good one. Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

PE Ratio
PE Next Year
Sales Growth
Analyst rating
Book Value
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
Sales 5Y Avg Growth
EPS 5Y Avg Growth
AAPLApple Inc109.3317.1612.896.954.2719.020.7930.0429.8931.32N/AN/A
AOLAOL Inc45.4930.4619.475.854.0929.761.229.9-2.93N/A4.8633.55

$AAPLLong Apple (AAPL)

I know, I know. Many of you had guessed that my first pick of the year would be Apple. I wish I could be more “original” but even after all this time, I continue to think that Apple is an incredible play in terms of upside potential vs. downside risk. At its current valuation, Apple is by far the cheapest stock on my radar in terms of forward P/E despite generating a lot of top and bottom line growth. A lot of this is driven by major doubts regarding Apple’s ability to keep up the growth. I get it to some extent but I think that fear is overblown. There are so many different reasons to be optimistic about Apple and I’ll certainly write a more in-depth article with those thoughts later this month but the executive summary  is that there is still a lot of growth left for Apple.


Next earnings release: January 27th 2015

$AOLShort AOL Inc. (AOL)

Ah I was about to write about having a love/hate relationship with AOL but the reality is that there’s been very little good about it. AOL is one of the stocks that I’ve had the most trouble getting right. It has had very little going for it in terms of products, but has continued to deliver great performance for shareholders thanks to one-off sales of patents and other items but also continued M&A speculation. I simply can’t see that keeping up in 2015. Yes, Adap.TV, AOL’s video advertising play has been delivering growth but that is hardly enough to justify its current valuation in my opinion, especially when I compare it with a name like Apple.

ycharts_chart (1)


Next earnings release: February 6th 2015

Disclaimer: Long Apple (AAPL)

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Top 100 Dividend Stocks – 2015 Edition

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 01.02.2015 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Ah! I have been rather quiet on this blog in the past few weeks haven’t I? A big part of it was being incredibly busy but also having little trading to do. That is about to change as we get ready for the New Year. First off, I’d like to wish all of you a very Happy New 2015 Year. To start off the New Year, before opening a few new long & short trades next week, I wanted to publish a recent edition of the top dividend payers in the S&P500. In my next Ultimate Sustainable Dividend Portfolio update, I’ll certainly start looking for new names to be added and I always find this list to be very useful as a starting point.

Again, I can’t stress enough how this list is only a starting point. Usually, the top players on this list are here because the company is doing poorly, resulting in a declining stock price, but the company has not (yet!) adjusted its dividend payout. Just take a look at TransOcean’s stock chart:


Why is it declining so quickly?

Just take a quick look at these numbers:

ycharts_chart (1)

Here is the full list!

Dividend Yield
Payout Ratio
RIGTransocean Ltd18.3316.3763.792/18/2015
WINWindstream Holdings Inc8.2412.14250.773/27/2015
ESVEnsco PLC29.9510.0236.903/12/2015
DODiamond Offshore Drilling Inc36.719.5388.6902/12/2015
NENoble Corp plc16.579.0525.202/12/2015
FTRFrontier Communications Corp6.676.3362.4203/09/2015
TAT&T Inc33.595.653.1301/07/2015
CTLCenturyLink Inc39.585.46#VALUE!2/27/2015
FCXFreeport-McMoRan Inc23.365.3584.821/13/2015
WMBWilliams Cos Inc/The44.945.07222.6203/11/2015
HCPHCP Inc44.034.95106.9202/05/2015
IRMIron Mountain Inc38.664.91213.913/18/2015
MATMattel Inc30.9454.9155.22/17/2015
PMPhilip Morris International Inc81.454.9168.073/24/2015
OKEONEOK Inc49.794.74117.51/28/2015
VZVerizon Communications Inc46.784.751.7301/07/2015
VTRVentas Inc71.74.41164.0603/06/2015
HCNHealth Care REIT Inc75.674.363110.7702/05/2015
PBCTPeople's United Financial Inc15.184.3587.671/28/2015
TETECO Energy Inc20.494.2996.662/13/2015
SOSouthern Co/The49.114.28107.3602/05/2015
MOAltria Group Inc49.274.2281.213/13/2015
RAIReynolds American Inc64.274.1779.103/06/2015
CCICrown Castle International Corp78.74.17#VALUE!3/17/2015
KMIKinder Morgan Inc/DE42.314.16138.481/30/2015
PCLPlum Creek Timber Co Inc42.794.11135.5102/11/2015
PPLPPL Corp36.334.179.7903/09/2015
HPHelmerich & Payne Inc67.424.0837.5202/11/2015
SESpectra Energy Corp36.34.0880.5602/04/2015
CNPCenterPoint Energy Inc23.434.05114.152/17/2015
WYNNWynn Resorts Ltd148.764.0396.592/13/2015
POMPepco Holdings Inc26.934.01245.4503/06/2015
GMEGameStop Corp33.83.9137.2103/05/2015
LOLorillard Inc62.943.9169.922/25/2015
EDConsolidated Edison Inc66.013.8267.8902/09/2015
CVXChevron Corp112.183.8234.892/18/2015
KIMKimco Realty Corp25.143.82174.483/30/2015
DUKDuke Energy Corp83.543.8182.3802/11/2015
ETREntergy Corp87.483.883.1102/09/2015
DRIDarden Restaurants Inc58.633.75157.3701/07/2015
FEFirstEnergy Corp38.993.69245.2302/04/2015
DOWDow Chemical Co/The45.613.6934.143/30/2015
GEGeneral Electric Co25.273.6453.112/19/2015
GRMNGarmin Ltd52.833.6357.4403/12/2015
MCDMcDonald's Corp93.73.6355.762/27/2015
COHCoach Inc37.563.647.8803/06/2015
GASAGL Resources Inc54.513.670.9302/12/2015
PFEPfizer Inc31.153.657.6802/04/2015
PEGPublic Service Enterprise Group Inc41.413.5858.5703/06/2015
OXYOccidental Petroleum Corp80.613.5734.8403/09/2015
AEEAmeren Corp46.133.5675.8103/09/2015
LYBLyondellBasell Industries NV79.393.5329.303/05/2015
KRFTKraft Foods Group Inc62.663.5145.053/30/2015
TEGIntegrys Energy Group Inc77.853.561.842/27/2015
AEPAmerican Electric Power Co Inc60.723.4964.4602/10/2015
SCGSCANA Corp60.43.4860.303/11/2015
PNWPinnacle West Capital Corp68.313.4860.311/29/2015
GMGeneral Motors Co34.913.4403/13/2015
PCGPG&E Corp53.243.42100.613/30/2015
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp51.833.452.223/16/2015
HSTHost Hotels & Resorts Inc23.773.36169.523/27/2015
EXCExelon Corp37.083.3473.552/17/2015
XELXcel Energy Inc35.923.3458.433/17/2015
PAYXPaychex Inc46.173.2981.371/30/2015
CACA Inc30.453.2850.392/17/2015
STXSeagate Technology PLC66.53.2535.852/13/2015
FFord Motor Co15.53.23221/28/2015
WYWeyerhaeuser Co35.893.2384.952/25/2015
WECWisconsin Energy Corp52.743.2156.9602/11/2015
DTEDTE Energy Co86.373.268.533/19/2015
MRKMerck & Co Inc56.793.17116.5303/12/2015
MCHPMicrochip Technology Inc45.113.1671.142/18/2015
HASHasbro Inc54.993.1372.881/30/2015
MACMacerich Co/The83.413.12252.352/18/2015
DDominion Resources Inc/VA76.93.1272.8803/04/2015
LMTLockheed Martin Corp192.573.12522/25/2015
CMSCMS Energy Corp34.753.1159.6902/11/2015
GISGeneral Mills Inc53.333.0853.4101/08/2015
PBIPitney Bowes Inc24.373.0862.6402/11/2015
DNRDenbury Resources Inc8.133.0702/20/2015
PLDPrologis Inc43.033.07288.8203/09/2015
CATCaterpillar Inc91.533.0639.511/15/2015
EMREmerson Electric Co61.733.0556.362/18/2015
NUENucor Corp49.053.0496.743/27/2015
PSAPublic Storage184.853.03105.0203/12/2015
SYYSysco Corp39.693.0272.3104/01/2015
ABBVAbbVie Inc65.44376.991/13/2015
KKellogg Co65.44336.162/27/2015
XOMExxon Mobil Corp92.452.9934.3102/05/2015
IPInternational Paper Co53.582.9941.052/13/2015
MROMarathon Oil Corp28.292.9731.862/17/2015
NUNortheast Utilities53.522.9358.872/27/2015
WMWaste Management Inc51.322.92696.9403/09/2015
KMBKimberly-Clark Corp115.542.9158.0803/04/2015
LEGLeggett & Platt Inc42.612.9189.993/13/2015
CVCCablevision Systems Corp20.642.91122.8603/12/2015
LLYEli Lilly & Co68.992.944.8902/11/2015
AESAES Corp/VA13.772.943.111/30/2015
KOCoca-Cola Co/The42.222.8957.8503/11/2015


Are there names on this list that you like or that you are currently considering?



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Closing My Final 2014 Long & Short Tech Stock Pick

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 12.29.2014 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

$msftAs has been the case in past years, I’m now going to close existing long & short tech stock picks. Why? Mostly because for tracking purposes, I prefer starting from scratch every year and evaluating my returns by year. Many of you know that I only have 1 remaining trade to close:

-Long Microsoft (MSFT) & Short AOL Inc (AOL)

As of my writing this, that trade is down 8% or so which is not great but given the year, I won’t complain. More on that in a second. But first, let’s take a quick look at how both stocks performed since opening the trade on May 27th.


I remain a believer in Microsoft and do still like this trade even though it’s very challenging to short AOL as I’ve learned over the years. The company doesn’t have that much going on for it in terms of actual business but is able to do well through sales of assets, rumors of being taken over, etc. By the way, that Yahoo to buy AOL rumor sounds ridiculous to me. Am I crazy? Yes, buying AOL would make pitches for advertisers more compelling but doesn’t Yahoo have more than enough on its plate in terms of underperforming/outdated web assets? I’ll be VERY disappointed in Marissa Mayer if ever she pulls off something like this. Having a ton of cash to spend is not a problem and doesn’t need to be solved by buying crappy assets.

The Year In Review

No matter how I look at it, 2014 was an incredible year in terms of my long & short stock picks. As I wait to close out the final trade, the average trade has returned around 13% resulting in a 39.82% portfolio return. Too good to be true? I guess in a way it will be difficult to do better next year but I do think I’m getting better at playing my risk vs. reward on these trades which is helping a lot. Look at the returns by trade:


The big number here of course is the “losing trades”. In this type of trading, getting 60% of trades right is more than enough but this year I got 15/21 trades with positive returns. That is one stat I’d really like to either match or surpass next year.

I know several of you replicate some of the trades so hopefully if that was the case you picked among the 75% that I did well on:)

I don’t expect to make too many changes for next year and will be doing several stock picks in the coming weeks as I get my portfolio back. I can’t wait as it’s been a few months now that I’ve been holding back.

With all of that being said, I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 year and I wish you all the best for next year in terms of stock picks. I’ll be back and more active starting in January:)

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Top 101 Dividend Stocks – December 2014 Edition

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 12.01.2014 (4:57 am) | Write a Comment

Saint_Basil_Moscow_cropEvery month I take a universe of stocks (typically the S&P500) and look at the top dividend paying stocks. I’m the first one to admit that yield is (just) one criteria among many others that should be considered but it is a good starting point. It is often among this universe that I’ll start my research when I’m making changes to my Ultimate Sustainable dividend portfolio.

Here is the list!

Dividend Yield
Payout Ratio
RIGTransocean Ltd21.0114.2863.792/18/2015
DODiamond Offshore Drilling Inc29.3711.9288.6902/12/2015
WINWindstream Holdings Inc10.119.89250.7712/29/2014
ESVEnsco PLC33.88.8836.912/04/2014
NENoble Corp plc17.998.3425.202/12/2015
FTRFrontier Communications Corp7.055.67362.4212/10/2014
CTLCenturyLink Inc40.775.3N/A2/27/2015
TAT&T Inc35.385.253.1301/07/2015
IRMIron Mountain Inc38.015213.9112/03/2014
HCPHCP Inc44.84.87106.9202/05/2015
MATMattel Inc31.554.8255.22/17/2015
FCXFreeport-McMoRan Inc26.854.6684.821/15/2015
PMPhilip Morris International Inc86.934.668.0712/23/2014
HCNHealth Care REIT Inc73.664.483110.7702/05/2015
PBCTPeople's United Financial Inc14.784.4787.671/28/2015
TETECO Energy Inc19.834.4496.662/13/2015
SOSouthern Co/The47.434.43107.3602/05/2015
WMBWilliams Cos Inc/The51.754.41222.6212/10/2014
OKEONEOK Inc54.164.36117.51/28/2015
VZVerizon Communications Inc50.594.3551.7301/07/2015
KMIKinder Morgan Inc/DE41.354.26138.481/30/2015
PCLPlum Creek Timber Co Inc41.684.22135.5102/11/2015
PPLPPL Corp35.534.1979.7912/08/2014
MOAltria Group Inc50.264.1481.2112/22/2014
RAIReynolds American Inc65.914.0679.112/10/2014
VTRVentas Inc71.554.05164.0612/17/2014
EDConsolidated Edison Inc63.153.9967.8902/09/2015
CNPCenterPoint Energy Inc23.943.97114.152/17/2015
ETREntergy Corp83.93.9683.1102/09/2015
HPHelmerich & Payne Inc69.553.9537.522/13/2015
DUKDuke Energy Corp80.93.9382.3802/11/2015
CVXChevron Corp108.873.9334.892/18/2015
POMPepco Holdings Inc27.53.93245.4512/08/2014
SESpectra Energy Corp37.883.9180.5602/04/2015
FEFirstEnergy Corp36.883.9245.2302/04/2015
LOLorillard Inc63.143.969.922/25/2015
DRIDarden Restaurants Inc56.993.86157.3701/09/2015
AEEAmeren Corp43.113.875.8112/08/2014
KIMKimco Realty Corp25.453.77174.4812/30/2014
PNWPinnacle West Capital Corp63.233.7660.311/29/2015
GASAGL Resources Inc52.313.7570.9302/12/2015
TEGIntegrys Energy Group Inc72.843.7361.842/27/2015
AEPAmerican Electric Power Co Inc57.553.6864.4602/10/2015
SCGSCANA Corp57.033.6860.312/08/2014
COHCoach Inc37.123.6447.8812/03/2014
PCGPG&E Corp50.53.6100.6112/30/2014
OXYOccidental Petroleum Corp79.773.634.8412/08/2014
LYBLyondellBasell Industries NV78.863.5529.303/05/2015
XELXcel Energy Inc33.943.5458.4312/23/2014
PEGPublic Service Enterprise Group Inc41.783.5458.5712/08/2014
MCDMcDonald's Corp96.813.5155.762/27/2015
GMEGameStop Corp37.813.4937.2103/05/2015
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp50.953.4552.2212/15/2014
DOWDow Chemical Co/The48.673.4534.1412/29/2014
EXCExelon Corp36.173.4373.552/17/2015
SPLSStaples Inc14.063.4144.2612/24/2014
DTEDTE Energy Co81.463.3968.5312/18/2014
WYNNWynn Resorts Ltd178.613.3696.592/13/2015
GRMNGarmin Ltd57.33.3557.4412/11/2014
PFEPfizer Inc31.153.3457.6802/04/2015
GEGeneral Electric Co26.493.3253.1112/24/2014
DDominion Resources Inc/VA72.553.3172.8803/04/2015
MACMacerich Co/The79.083.29252.352/18/2015
CMSCMS Energy Corp33.13.2659.6902/11/2015
PAYXPaychex Inc47.413.2181.371/30/2015
CACA Inc31.153.2150.392/17/2015
FFord Motor Co15.733.18221/28/2015
WECWisconsin Energy Corp49.43.1656.9602/11/2015
MCHPMicrochip Technology Inc45.153.1671.142/18/2015
LMTLockheed Martin Corp191.563.13522/25/2015
PLDPrologis Inc42.283.12288.8212/18/2014
GISGeneral Mills Inc52.753.1153.4101/09/2015
NUNortheast Utilities50.643.158.8712/09/2014
WMWaste Management Inc48.733.08696.9412/03/2014
XOMExxon Mobil Corp90.543.0534.3102/05/2015
PBIPitney Bowes Inc24.623.0562.6402/11/2015
PSAPublic Storage187.632.98105.0212/11/2014
MRKMerck & Co Inc60.42.98116.5312/11/2014
SYYSysco Corp40.262.9872.3112/30/2014
KKellogg Co66.252.9636.162/27/2015
EMREmerson Electric Co63.752.9556.362/18/2015
CVCCablevision Systems Corp20.322.95122.8603/12/2015
LEGLeggett & Platt Inc42.092.9489.9912/11/2014
HASHasbro Inc59.22.9172.881/30/2015
CLXClorox Co/The101.622.9166.161/26/2015
MROMarathon Oil Corp28.922.931.862/17/2015
MURMurphy Oil Corp48.422.8926.472/13/2015
AVBAvalonBay Communities Inc160.792.89932.9412/29/2014
LLYEli Lilly & Co68.122.8844.892/13/2015
SPGSimon Property Group Inc180.82.88111.9602/11/2015
KMBKimberly-Clark Corp116.592.8858.0812/03/2014
PGProcter & Gamble Co/The90.432.85611/21/2015
BAXBaxter International Inc732.8549.712/03/2014
EQREquity Residential70.842.82N/A12/18/2014
AIVApartment Investment & Management Co37.252.7931414.2702/11/2015
NEENextEra Energy Inc104.392.7865.112/25/2015
NUENucor Corp53.632.7696.7412/30/2014
CPBCampbell Soup Co45.282.7650.8801/08/2015
CAGConAgra Foods Inc36.522.74140.91/28/2015

TransOcean sinking fast….

I often mention that looking at dividend yield only provides a starting point. Imagine being someone who owned RIG a year ago and now holds the top paying spot in our monthly ranking. You’d still have a tough time to find a shareholder that’s been happy with holding the stock over the past year.



What do you think about RIG?



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