Acme United Battles the Headwinds

2018 was a rough year for investors in Acme United Corporation’s (ACU) stock, including CEO Walter Johnsen who owns 15% of the outstanding shares.  ACU’s 2018 total return was -38%, worse than the Zack’s Micro Cap Index’s 17% decline.  The significant underperformance was due to market-, macro- and company-specific factors.

Continue reading
Posted in ACU, Consumer Discretionary, Industrials | Tagged | Leave a comment

Despite Progress, HPE’s Shares Struggle

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) has reported solid progress on its strategic initiatives, including streamlining its worldwide operations (under its HPE Next program), emphasizing value vs. volume and targeting high growth market segments, such as the intelligent edge and high performance computing. The company posted fiscal 2018 revenue growth of 6.9%, GAAP EPS of $1.23 (up nearly six-fold) and non-GAAP EPS of $1.56, up 10.6%. It also bought back $3.6 billion of its shares and raised its dividend by 50%.

Continue reading
Posted in HPE, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

SJI Outlines Its Vision

At its recent investor conference (held on Oct. 22), the management of South Jersey Industries outlined its vision for integrating its recent acquisitions of Elizabethtown Gas (ETG) and Elkton Gas (EGC), reducing the debt taken on in those acquisitions in part by selling non-core (non-regulated) assets and delivering additional value to shareholders by growing its earnings base in its core regulated businesses.

Continue reading
Posted in SJI, Utilities | Tagged | Leave a comment

StoneMor Likely Nears End of SEC Filing Delays

In an 8-K filing dated November 29, 2018, StoneMor disclosed that it had ended its relationship with Deloitte and hired Grant Thornton as its auditor.  With this move, the partnership is closer to catching up on its SEC filings after more than two years of delays in filing its financial statements on time.  If so, much of the anxiety expressed by the market in STON’s low share price will subside; but the stock’s recovery potential is still difficult to measure because of the uncertainty of the partnership’s future profit potential.

Continue reading
Posted in STON | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Star Heads Toward a Restructuring

In an 8K filing dated October 23, Five Star Senior Living (FVE) reported that it had received a delisting notice from NASDAQ because its share price had remained below $1 for 30 consecutive days.  On its 2018 third quarter conference call, Five Star disclosed that based upon its cash balance as of Sept. 30 and its expectations of future earnings and cash flows, there is now substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Continue reading
Posted in FVE, Real Estate, SNH | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Pause that Refreshes the Homebuilders?

It has certainly been a rough year for homebuilding stocks, but not nearly so bad for the housing market.  The Lark Research Homebuilder Stock Price Index, an equal weighted average of eleven publicly-traded homebuilder stocks, was down 29.2% year-to-date through December 7.  By comparison, the S&P 500 has declined 1.5% and the Russell 2000 has declined 5.7%.

Continue reading
Posted in Housing, Real Estate | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Notes and Observations from the MIT CFO Forum

This year’s forum, held on November 15, was the seventeenth in the series.  It kicked off with Co-Chairman Jeremy Seidman highlighting the planning process for the event.  Each year, about a month after the current forum, Mr. Seidman, Co-Chair Jack McCullough and team begin exploring what is top of mind for CFOs.  For this year’s version, the team recognized that CFO’s are stronger, more powerful than ever within their organizations.  The team also saw that while being different works, being bold is better: it often leads to greater success.  Smart strategic decisions are important.  M&A can have a big impact.  But most important of all, CFOs should not let doubts and fears get in the way or compromise their opportunities.  More than ever, he asserts, CFOs need to take risks. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

BXG 2018 Third Quarter Update

Since floating the IPO in November 2017, Bluegreen Vacations Corporation’s (BXG) share price has come full circle.  The stock opened its first day of trading at $13.55, rallied to a high of $25.91 in July and has since fallen back to $11.85 (as of 11/9).  Although there are company-specific factors that precipitated the sell-off, the shares of nearly all publicly-traded timeshare companies have experienced similar losses so far in 2018. Continue reading

Posted in BXG, Real Estate | Tagged | Leave a comment

After Earnings, GE’s Stock Hits a 9-Year Low

General Electric (GE) reported 2018 third quarter results on Tuesday, October 30.  This was the first conference call for newly-installed Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence (Larry) Culp, Jr. Continue reading

Posted in GE, Industrials | Tagged | 1 Comment

Thoughts and Observations on Campbell Soup’s Upcoming Proxy Fight.

On May 18, 2018, in conjunction with the release of fiscal 2018 third quarter earnings report, Campbell Soup Company (CPB) announced a “CEO transition.”  Denise M. Morrison, who had served as Campbell’s President and CEO since August 2011, was retiring and Keith R. McLoughlin, a member of Campbell’s Board of Directors, was named Interim CEO. Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Staples, CPB | Tagged , | Leave a comment