Going Green and Saving Green
I spent most of Wednesday between the computer repair shop, the Doubletree hotel where an investor day was being held by one of our recommended companies, and Bloomberg's offices and mine, all a short walking distance from each other. It was bitter cold. But given the weather in Buffalo, I figure I got off lightly. However, I refused an invitation to bundle up again so we could be treated to dinner by our son, who is visiting. I preferred to simply cook.
A week from today is the heaviest traffic day of the year, when US families gather together to feast on turkey and give thanks. What makes it worse for us is that we will head north to New England, just as a gazillion college students hit the road to head home. So we are taking a train.
In both cases we are saving greenbacks plus going green by not using an auto, probably contrary to the trend—which is both to cite the ghastly cold weather as a sign that global warming is a myth, and to burn lots of gasoline as it has become much cheaper.
Today we consider a way to play cheap fuel prices which directly offsets one of our oil plays. It is a new buy-and-hold pick. I am proceeding with it despite objections from our Latin expert who is being superstitious.
Today's truncated brief blog is about ethics.
We wrote yesterday about how foreign companies with a lot of US shareholders often mess up their investor relations because they are not as PR savvy as American corporate executives. They also often fall down on morality as well.
I was turned off owning Chilean fertilizer and lithium miner SoQuiMich by the clearly shareholder-unfriendly and probably unethical behavior of its board. Among other offenses, they nullified the votes against an insider share buyback, not only from small investors, but from large non-Chilean ones.
So we sold over protests from among others the writer who tipped the share after trekking across the Atacama Desert. I did not bother retracing her footsteps before pulling the recommendation over disgust at its shenanigans. Today SQM reported that its sales and profits had fallen sharply. The fiddled board (made up of insiders from the Pinochet regime) could not continue to fiddle the company accounts to meet its whisper numbers. SQM Q3 EPS of 25 cents/sh missed by 4 cents and revenues at $466.4 mn, off 11% from last year's Q3, missed by 9%.
Another major American Depositary Receipt stock we own from India has a new CEO who has opted to get rid of bad hat executives. Their offense was not specified but probably included sexual harrassment, given the company's reputation.
One of the results of listing your ADR is that US behavior standards are required even if your firm is from an emerging market with macho traditions or dictatorial links.
More for paid subscribers:
Wednesday Blog Cancelled
There will be a truncated blog on Weds. Nov. 19 as I have been given the possibility of attending a conference with analysts by one of the stocks we cover about which there is a certain amount of controversy. So I am going there rather than to my office. Then I have more to do in the afternoon so I will be the soul of wit, for once, because of my brevity.
Bad IR Opportunities
Today's blog is late because of too many conference calls, but at least most of the news was good. My round-the-world summary yesterday was mostly gloomy. The problems of at least two of our shares turn out to be related to poor handling of news by their executives. While US company brass get early experience in massaging news, this is not instinctive among foreign companies with American Depositary Receipts listed in this country. More on this for paid subscribers below along with hot news from Ireland, Spain, Israel, Germany, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Jordan, Angola, and Portugal.
Visit our website
I got some feedback from readers showing that the blog written today on a different computer lost some copy about the Raich report. Please visit the website www.global-investing.com to view the full issue with the missing quotation from Earningscout.com as well as to see our tables.
A day late, our performance tables have been posted. Although dated today, they show the situation as of close of trading on Friday.
Everyone is allowed to view the closed positions table but our current advice is only for paid subscribers who, as over the past two days, can make money from our tips. To view the tables, please click the "printer-friendly" button to view spreadsheets on a laptop or cellphone.
More for paid subscribers follows. This is the note I would have written Sunday with a few updates: Read more »
The Bad News Bears
Today we hear from bad news bears around the world.
Reuters writes on the financial sector:
“Market volatility increased trading revenue at major banks in Q3, but not enough to make up for a decrease in [H1]2014, according to an industry survey. [But] revenue for the top 10 international investment banks reached $36.5 bn in Q3, up 11% [over] Q3 of 2013.” But not enough to offset H1 lag or to pay all those fines I guess. What this means for our subscribers is discussed below.