Archive for April, 2015

Closing A (Very) Bad Trade on Travelzoo ($TZOO)

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 04.17.2015 (5:26 am)

Well, it’s bound to happen once in a while. When shorting a stock, the two terrible things that I always fear are the company being purchased or having a breakthrough in  earnings. Yesterday, that second scenario happened as Travelzoo (TZOO) announced solid numbers which I will be digging into this weekend if all goes well. In the meantime, that trade easily reached my stop loss and I’ll be closing the trade which stands at -56%! That actually brings me slightly into negative territory for the year, unfortunately.

FB Chart

FB data by YCharts

Facebook ($FB) Crushing Google ($GOOG) – Is Zuck Just Getting Started?

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 04.10.2015 (3:00 am)

$googA couple of weeks ago, I updated this blog with my latest thoughts about the ecosystem play. I followed that up with a more detailed analysis of Apple (AAPL) and why I think it remain a screaming buy.  This week, I spent more time looking at the other plays and in an unexpected way, I ended up seeing the need to write about both Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) together. As you can imagine from my previous writings, I’m much more convinced about Facebook’s long term growth potential but I think both companies compete much more than most would imagine. Both companies are convinced that the most important factor in growing their businesses is growing the online audience. Facebook has its initiative and has been working hard on helping several emerging countries connect to the web. Google has several such initiatives both in emerging countries such as Loon but also through what looks like an increasingly serious effort to become an ISP (Google Fiber). They are making great progress in connecting more and more people online. The big question of course is.. what is the web?


Phase #1 – The Search Era

When Google became a major online player, it offered a unique way to search the web and thanks to its innovative Pagerank algorithm, Google quickly became the best search engine out there and the only search engine that was able to index (most of) the entire web and deliver quick and solid search results. That is mostly how internet users discovered content. They’d open a browser, go to Google and find whatever they were looking for. At this point, Facebook was a non-factor. I won’t go on and on but search has obviously been the biggest battle on the web to date and Google emerged as the very clear winner.

Winner of Search Era: Google

$FBPhase #2 – The Social Era

After years of having users searching the web through search engines, a transformation started happening thanks in large part to Facebook and Twitter as most users started spending time on social websites to share thoughts, photos, videos and more. Google certainly tried with several different efforts (Blogger, Orkut, Google Wave, Google Buzz and Google+). There are many different theories as to why Google has failed so badly over and over and my personal opinion is that Google started by underestimating the impact of social and was simply too much of an algorithmic company. In contrast, Facebook not only launched the most successful social network in history with over 1 billion users but also was able to buy what is possibly its biggest competition in Instragram. This is proving a bigger and bigger problem for Google as Facebook is not only hosting content from users and businesses but now moving to a phase where it will be hosting content within its walls. The web is moving outside of Google’s reach both in social networks but also inside of mobile apps.

Winner of Search Era: Facebook

Phase #3 – The Mobile Web (apps,o/s)

A couple of years ago, Google looked like the clear winner in mobile. Not only was it dominating in terms of market share with Android but Google remains the biggest player in mobile search and owns one of the major app stores (Google Play). That has however been more and more contested as mobile moves to an “app world”. With most users now spending most of their time inside of apps rather than searching the web, the battle has turned to apps and in that world, Facebook is the clear winner. Not only does it have the top app in terms of usage (Facebook) but it also ranks very high with other apps such as Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. It will be interesting to see how Google will try to turn this around.

Winner of Search Era: Facebook but Google is obviously still in the run

Phase #4 – Video

As video continues to gain in importance, most big players are making some kind of play. Some such as Twitter have several different angles including the recently launched Periscope. Clearly though, the top video player is Youtube which Google purchased for $1.65B back in 2006 (what a bargain!). Youtube remains the dominant player but Facebook seems to be emerging as a credible threat and its recent changes to allow embeddable videos will make it an even stronger one. Some metrics including the number of videos viewed tell a story of Facebook overtaking Youtube which seems like a stretch given how Facebook has enabled the autoplay function. But the trend remains clear:


Winner of Video Era: Google so far but it’s clearly still in play


Phase #5 – Messenging

I wish I could call this a battle but for some reason Google has barely even tried to compete in messenger services. I 100% agree with this quote: I wish I could call this a battle but for some reason Google has barely even tried to compete in messenger services. I 100% agree with this quote:

— dustin curtis (@dcurtis) March 25, 2015

Yes, messenger has only one basic use – sending messages to friends and family but as has been displayed in Asia already, it can become a platform in itself as messenger services gain the ability to be used to send payments, used by businesses, etc. Facebook displayed its clear intentions at its last F8 developers conference and with 2 of the dominant messenging services (messenger and WhatsApp), it is clearly in a great position. Yes, messenger has only one basic use – sending messages to friends and family but as has been displayed in Asia already, it can become a platform in itself as messenger services gain the ability to be used to send payments, used by businesses, etc. Facebook displayed its clear intentions at its last F8 developers conference and with 2 of the dominant messenging services (messenger and WhatsApp), it is clearly in a great position.
Internet-top-mobile-messenger-apps (1)

Phase #6 – VR/AR

It is very early but it certainly looks like at some point the big battle will be somewhere between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) players. It’s very early to call winners and I’d have to give Google the edge here given its massive investments in things like artificial intelligence, etc. That being said, Google’s first actual product, Google Glass was quite a failure given the hopes that Google’s Larry Page had for it. Facebook bought one of the leading players, Oculus which is one if not the biggest name out there.

Winner of VR/AR: Google slightly although it’s very early to tell

In The End

As I look at things, it becomes increasingly clear why Facebook has been doing so well. Yes, Facebook remains a non player in online search but that is just one of 6 phases and in all phases it is either leading or quickly gaining ground. As a Facebook investor, I’m confident that the company will continue to grow extremely quickly as it leverages its app, messenger, social and video platforms.  I’m much more concerned about Google though. Search is a decreasing part of the online experience and apart from video, where Google’s Youtube is dominant but losing ground to Facebook and others, Google has yet to establish its presence in other phases. Yes, Android remains dominant but it’s less and less clear how Google will be able to use that in a world where forked versions of Android can now exclude Google’s core services.

Disclosure: Long Facebook (FB)

Top 100 Dividend Stocks – April 2015 Edition – DSR score

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 04.01.2015 (4:01 am)

Today, I’m back with a look at the top dividend stocks (in terms of yield) in the S&P500. Today I also decided to add a metric that my biz partner and I have been working on, the DSR score. It is a score that includes all kind of data including the dividend yield, the growth in dividends (short and long term), revenues, earnings, debt and payout ratios, etc. We’ve been using it for some time and the results have been very solid. It’s one of many features that we offer on DividendStocksRock. No surprise at all that most of the top dividend payers on this month’s list do not have a great DSR score. Paying a high yield is great but it’s only one metric.

Here is the full list!

TickerNamePriceDividend YieldPayout RatioEx-DvdDSR score
NENoble Corp plc14.2810.51N/A05/07/201524
MATMattel Inc22.856.65104.035/18/201529
CTLCenturyLink Inc34.556.26159.4606/04/20158
FTRFrontier Communications Corp7.055.96308.7306/09/20157
TAT&T Inc32.655.76154.7107/08/201525
PMPhilip Morris International Inc75.335.3181.616/23/201553
HCPHCP Inc43.215.23113.3105/07/201563.5
IRMIron Mountain Inc36.485.21321.436/24/201536
OKEONEOK Inc48.245.02139.174/29/201534
CNPCenterPoint Energy Inc20.414.8566.785/15/201565
WYNNWynn Resorts Ltd125.884.7786.235/21/201555
SOSouthern Co/The44.284.7495.044/30/201548.5
TETECO Energy Inc19.44.6496.515/14/20152.5
WMBWilliams Cos Inc/The50.594.5966.7306/10/201543
VZVerizon Communications Inc48.634.5289.1807/08/201545
PPLPPL Corp33.664.4361.8606/10/201562
PBCTPeople's United Financial Inc15.24.3477.864/29/201567.5
VTRVentas Inc73.024.33191.4106/08/201540
GRMNGarmin Ltd47.524.29101.86/13/201634.5
ETREntergy Corp77.494.2863.3505/12/201533.5
KMIKinder Morgan Inc/DE42.064.28194.914/29/201542.5
HCNHealth Care REIT Inc77.364.26221.5505/07/201546
EDConsolidated Edison Inc614.2667.595/18/201537
MOAltria Group Inc50.024.1677.946/15/201557.5
STXSeagate Technology PLC52.034.1535.8505/01/201555
DUKDuke Energy Corp76.784.1490.575/20/201545
FEFirstEnergy Corp35.064.11283.9408/05/20154
GASAGL Resources Inc49.654.1141.465/13/201577.5
SESpectra Energy Corp36.174.0985.2705/06/201560
RIGTransocean Ltd14.674.09#VALUE!5/27/201517
CVXChevron Corp104.984.0841.25/13/201576
PCLPlum Creek Timber Co Inc43.454.05145.795/20/201516
LOLorillard Inc65.354.0474.8906/03/201572
HPHelmerich & Payne Inc68.074.0437.525/13/201592.5
POMPepco Holdings Inc26.834.03112.406/10/2015-7.5
SCGSCANA Corp54.993.9655.3906/11/201563
HSTHost Hotels & Resorts Inc20.183.9677.46/29/201559
OXYOccidental Petroleum Corp733.94#VALUE!06/10/201545.5
RAIReynolds American Inc68.913.8999.3806/11/201547.5
AEEAmeren Corp42.23.8966.5406/08/201528.5
GMGeneral Motors Co37.53.8468.7606/12/201553
GMEGameStop Corp37.963.7937.855/29/201574.5
TEGIntegrys Energy Group Inc72.023.7878.635/29/20151
AEPAmerican Electric Power Co Inc56.253.7761.0805/08/201556
PNWPinnacle West Capital Corp63.753.7364.594/30/201549.5
PEGPublic Service Enterprise Group Inc41.923.7249.3306/08/201545
FFord Motor Co16.143.7261.254/28/201540
GEGeneral Electric Co24.813.7158.326/18/201561.5
EXCExelon Corp33.613.6966.525/15/201522
NOVNational Oilwell Varco Inc49.993.6828.6906/10/201589
XELXcel Energy Inc34.813.6859.566/16/201574
DDominion Resources Inc/VA70.873.65106.755/27/201522
KIMKimco Realty Corp26.853.58118.946/29/201536
WINWindstream Holdings Inc7.43.56#VALUE!6/26/20154
CATCaterpillar Inc80.033.545.14/16/201573
WYWeyerhaeuser Co33.153.572.4306/03/201560.5
DOWDow Chemical Co/The47.983.552.196/29/201575
MCDMcDonald's Corp97.443.4967.65/30/201546.5
ABBVAbbVie Inc58.543.49157.344/13/201528.5
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp53.283.4554.866/15/201572
KLACKLA-Tencor Corp58.293.4351.295/14/201528
PCGPG&E Corp53.073.4360.036/29/201546.5
DTEDTE Energy Co80.693.4252.496/18/201581
WECWisconsin Energy Corp49.53.4159.825/13/201569
CMSCMS Energy Corp34.913.3261.3605/06/201558.5
EMREmerson Electric Co56.623.3256.365/13/201570
ESEversource Energy50.523.3160.595/29/201583
PLDPrologis Inc43.563.31107.406/08/201547
KMBKimberly-Clark Corp107.113.2985.2506/10/201520
CVCCablevision Systems Corp18.33.2851.455/14/201541
COHCoach Inc41.433.2647.8806/04/201557
KOCoca-Cola Co/The40.553.2676.086/17/201549.5
XOMExxon Mobil Corp853.2535.5705/07/201576
ETNEaton Corp PLC67.943.2451.8305/07/201589.5
PFEPfizer Inc34.793.2273.6305/06/201539.5
MROMarathon Oil Corp26.113.2256.145/18/201541
PBIPitney Bowes Inc23.323.2250.5305/06/2015-6
LYBLyondellBasell Industries NV87.83.1933.575/19/201556
SYYSysco Corp37.733.1872.3107/01/201538.5
DRIDarden Restaurants Inc69.343.17157.3707/06/201536
NAVINavient Corp20.333.1521.7806/03/2015N/A
PGProcter & Gamble Co/The81.943.14614/22/201541
MRKMerck & Co Inc57.483.1343.2606/11/201556.5
NUENucor Corp47.533.13706/26/201555
GISGeneral Mills Inc56.63.1153.4107/06/201556.5
MACMacerich Co/The84.333.0823.9705/06/201561
INTCIntel Corp31.273.0737.6708/03/201580
CACA Inc32.613.0750.395/26/201556
PAYXPaychex Inc49.6153.0681.3705/08/201549.5
CSCOCisco Systems Inc27.5253.0547.856/30/201580
MSFTMicrosoft Corp40.6553.05425/19/201584
BAXBaxter International Inc68.53.0457.106/03/201574
UPSUnited Parcel Service Inc96.943.0182.035/14/201556.5
MURMurphy Oil Corp46.6323.065/15/201557
KKellogg Co65.952.97107.635/29/201520
NEENextEra Energy Inc104.052.9651.1106/04/201572
LMTLockheed Martin Corp202.962.9648.125/28/201559
SPLSStaples Inc16.2852.95228.626/24/201510
MCHPMicrochip Technology Inc48.92.9271.145/18/201554

Other DSR Top Scores

Of course, you might be curious about finding out what the top DSR scores are that could be missing on this list, I’d love you to give us a try here🙂