[DOOR – Masonite Intl] Reasonable Valuation, So-So Moat

[DOOR – Masonite Intl] This stock got smoked last week post-earnings.  DOOR is now back to where it was at the start of 2014, when the company was generating less than half the pre-tax cash profits it does today. If you’re unfamiliar, Masonite and Jen-Weld (JELD) are vertically integrated duopolists in the US residential interior door manufacturing […]
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Quick Blurbs [SAP, Tripadvisor]

[TRIP – Tripadvisor] This stock had a few crazy trading days last week, opening down 8% before closing up 2.5% on the first full trading day post-earning and then rallying again days later, apparently sparked by rustlings of a take-out [TRIP’s chairman Greg Maffei stoked such hopes a few months ago].  At least one investor already […]
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[TRIP – Tripadvisor] Good Asset, Fumbled Monetization Strategy

For many years prior to 2012, Tripadvisor was accused of “over-monetizing” its site, bombarding visitors with “pop-up” windows that redirected visitors to the sites of its OTA and hotel ad partners.  In late 2012/early 2013, TRIP began replacing the antiquated pop-up model with in-line meta (so visitors could compare rates across different OTA and hotel […]
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Quick Blurbs [Equity Commonwealth, Oaktree, PPG Industries, United Continental]

[EQC – Equity Commonwealth] A few weeks ago I read Am I Being Too Subtle, authored by real estate maven Sam Zell and infused with the unquavering bluster I’ve come to expect in these business autobiographies.  I thought it was great.  I think he’s great.  Inspired by the book, I briefly revisited EQC, a US office […]
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Quick Blurbs [Ashtead, Fastenal, MSC Industrial, United Rentals, Zion Oil & Gas]

[ZN – Zion Oil and Gas] Heard about this stock on a podcast; I doubt you can find borrow.  What is it?  Oh, just your run-of-the-mill $240mn+ market cap Nasdaq-listed oil and gas concern whose drilling activity is guided, nay, “inspired” by the Old Testament.  Here’s an excerpt from the company’s 2016 10K: Zion’s vision, […]
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[ASHG – Ash Grove Cement] Cheap Stock or Value Trap?

“People always think more about how new ground can be broken than they think about how existing institutions can be sustained or existing facilities can be maintained.  It leads to a constant trap where we underinvest in old things, then old things disappoint us, then we feel a need for new things, then to satisfy […]
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[AMZN – Amazon] Explanations Matter

 “Theories are nets cast to catch what we call ‘the world’: to rationalize, to explain, and to master it.” The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper I wrote about AMZN on the scuttleblurb blog earlier this year (I get deeper into the weeds in that post.  Check it out).  Mounting saccharine coverage on Google, Amazon, […]

[INTU – Intuit] Kind of Into It

(4,382 words) It seems not too long ago, business arrangements between application providers were called partnerships….now they carry distended labels like platforms or ecosystems.  Platforms come in various guises.  Some, like eBay or AirBnB, don’t create products for direct consumption, but instead provide the connective tissue for various constituents of the platform to connect, taking a […]
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