Author Archives: scuttleblurb

[EFX – Equifax] Investment Implications of Breach Fiasco

When an apparently moaty company eagerly renders itself the object of public opprobrium, my greed gene gets activated.  I was helplessly compelled to at least sniff this wet tar-and-feathered turd. [I think this stock is too expensive (more on this) and don’t own it, but thought I’d quickly share a crude rule I use for […]
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Podcast Blurbs [Chinese internet, Consciousness, Passive investing]

Planet Money, Ep. #647 (Hard Work Is Irrelevant) “To get a job [at Netflix] and to keep it, you have to accomplish great things.  Here’s another slide [from Netflix’s presentation on its principles]…’We are a team, not a family.  And we are a Pro sports team, not a kid’s recreational team.’  In other words, if […]

[CB – Chubb Ltd] A Port in the Storm

[Re: Harvey/Irma disaster relief efforts, here are three charities that have been given top marks by charitynavigator.org: Helping Hand for Relief and Development, GlobalGiving Foundation, and ShelterBox USA.] When referring to the insurance industry, folks often talk about “hard” and “soft” markets – periods of strengthening and weakening premium prices, respectively – as though they […]
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Podcast Blurbs [Snap-On short, Amazon black hole, Illusory self, LP incentives]

Invest Like the Best, Ep. 53 (Meb Faber – Factors, Dividends, and Angel Investing) Meb Faber: “I saw a stat the other day that the average Robin Hood account checks his balance ten times a day…and so, all that does is create horrific behavior.” “There’s a lot of [fintech companies] getting funded that have great […]

[FAST – Fastenal] Notes from CFO Convo; [ASHG – Ash Grove] Constructive Cement Pricing, Stock Is Cheap

[FAST – Fastenal] Fastenal’s dense branch network affords scale advantages in distribution and service relative to Grainger, which has 2.5x Fastenal’s sales but only ~1/10 its branches and ~1/7 its field employees.  Local market density is especially important because fasteners, which comprise nearly 40% of the company’s sales and a greater proportion of gross profits, is […]
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[ELLI – Ellie Mae] SaaS With Class…But Still Too Expensive

Several weeks ago, the stock of Ellie Mae, a SaaS that automates the grueling task of underwriting residential mortgages, got hammered when the company reported revenue weakness on lower than expected industry refinancing volumes and longer than expected ramp times for larger enterprise customers, prompting management to dramatically cut its full year revenue growth guidance […]
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[MCO – Moody’s] The Self-Reinforcing Standards Moat

Moody’s is one of the big 3 Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs), a title bestowed by the SEC on a handful of credit rating agencies, the top 3 of whom act as an oligopoly in the US debt ratings gambit.  As you well know, Moody’s (and S&P and Fitch) fell into disrepute during the […]

[GBX – Greenbrier] Valuation Update

Greenbrier and Trinity (TRN) act as a duopoly in the North American railcar industry, together accounting for nearly 80% of total backlog, with both players taking market share over the last decade (GBX: 13% in September 2006 -> 33% today; TRN: 36% -> 44%; ARII: 21% -> 6%).  Needless to say, the railcar manufacturing and […]
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