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Author Archives: scuttleblurb

[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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[INTU] Intuit

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 cut […]

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[VRSK – Verisk] High Quality Cash Flow, Limited Reinvestment Opportunities

When evaluating the competitive advantage of a data-based analytics business, three important questions come to mind: 1) Is the data proprietary? 2) Are the insights from the data critical? and 3) Does the data fuel a product feedback loop? Verisk began its operations in 1971 as Insurance Services Offices (ISO), a non-profit enterprise started by P&C […]

[SHW – Sherwin-Williams] Valuation Looks Stretched

If you’re unfamiliar with the architectural coatings sector, you might be surprised to know that selling paint can be a good business…and no one sells it more profitably in North America than SHW, whose market share gains have come from both the multi-decade shift from “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) to professional paint jobs and a leading position […]

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Quick Blurbs [CF Industries, Signet Jewelers, Amerco]

(2,536 words) [SIG – Signet Jewelers] I have zero interest in this stock, but sometimes it’s fun to reminisce on missed calls.  About a year ago, a friend who manages a long/short fund was considering shorting SIG and asked for my opinion.  I said I thought it was a bad idea.  At the time, the […]

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[CBG – CBRE Group] Expensive on Normalized Earnings

CBG is a fine company but to claim that it is reasonably cycle-resilient post-GWS acquisition is an exaggeration.  Deriving 70% of fee revenue from contractual and purportedly recurring sources will not meaningfully cushion profits in the event of a commercial real estate swoon. From its roots as a regional commercial real estate broker founded in the aftermath of the 1906 […]

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[GNRC – Generac] Value Come, Value Go

I finally got around to looking at GNRC this past week. Given the stock’s ostensibly low earnings multiple and a share price that has gotten hammered over the last several years on what appears to be mostly cyclical reasons, I wanted to like the company but couldn’t get there.  Disclosure is spotty, management seems slippery, […]

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[ESRX – Express Scripts] Post-ANTM Thoughts

(2,410 words) [ESRX] After more than a year of acrimonious public squabbling, it appears ANTM will be terminating its relationship with ESRX: The Company’s current long-term PBM contract with Anthem expires on December 31, 2019, and Anthem is currently engaged in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for a PBM service provider following the end of its […]

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