Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko

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  • The Good Idea, Horrible Investment Paradox

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - December 3, 2012 | Tickers: DDD, AMRS, FSLR, JCI, SSYS

    One sobering reality of investing is that not every company with the potential to change the world is a great investment. All good investors realize this at some point, some through costly mistakes of their own (my hand is raised). Initially, it is difficult to rationalize how this can possibly be true. A company that makes it to the public market has surely survived the “big” problems in product development more »

  • Special Dividends Can Be Especially Destructive

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - December 3, 2012 | Tickers: COST, DDS, LVS, WMT, WLK | Editor's Choice

    The Bush Tax Cuts, which began in 2003, are due to expire at the end of 2012. It’s not really as apocalyptic as the mainstream media makes it sound; several taxes are simply returning to pre-2003 levels (Reminder: investors with sound strategies still made money before 2003). That hasn’t given pause to the 173 companies that are offering special dividends to shareholders (up 137% from 4Q11). You have more »

  • The Future Contains Lots of Pulp

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 29, 2012 | Tickers: UFS, ECL, IBM, IP, LMT | Editor's Choice

    “Ben, just one word. Are you listening? Plastics.”

                                                                                        -Mr. McGuire in The Graduate (1967)

    The infamous movie quote came after Ben was asked what he planned to do with his future. He wasn’t very upbeat about the lack of direction in his life, but you should have a much clearer investment strategy. And it should probably include the next game-changing, world-transforming material: nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC).

    What?

    Yes, NCC should more »

  • What the Bioeconomy Means for Investors

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 27, 2012 | Tickers: AMRS, CERE, LIFE, MON, MYGN, SZYM | Editor's Choice

    On April 1, the White House released the National Bioeconomy Blueprint (opens PDF) that outlined the importance of transitioning health/life science, chemical production, agriculture, and other industries into the 21st century. Yes, it was April Fool’s Day. No, the White House wasn’t joking.

    Despite being lost in the midst of an election year the message was clear: an American bioeconomy can transform the world. The report more »

  • When Scaling up Brings You Down

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 26, 2012 | Tickers: AMRS, CDXS, GEVO, KIOR, SZYM

    Despite sky-high hype before their IPOs and the honeymoon periods shortly thereafter, nearly all sustainable chemical producers trading on the public market are deep in the red today. The capital intensive and headache-filled task of scaling up has been met by Mr. Market’s valuation catapult with a one-way ticket back to reality. Investors who fell to the Siren Song of these greentech IPOs are now (wrongly) questioning the viability more »

  • Can Raytheon Turn Iron Into Gold?

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 26, 2012 | Tickers: LMT, RTN | Editor's Choice

    You may not realize it from the storybook views of the profession, but the fabled alchemists of history gave rise to modern-day chemistry and the scientific model we still use today. Sure, the millions of attempts at creating the Philospher’s Stone – which was believed to have the power to turn base metals into gold and silver – came up empty-handed. But perhaps we were looking in the wrong place all more »

  • The Number That Should Really Worry You About 3D Systems

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 18, 2012 | Tickers: DDD, SSYS

    I have played the role of devil’s advocate for valuations in the sustainable chemicals industry numerous times in my first year with The Motley Fool Blogging Network. It is impossible to come up with a concrete future value – much less a discounted cash flow (DCF) – for companies such as Solazyme or Amyris, which are still hammering out their production capacity. As a basic investment rule, I like to take more »

  • Pinned on Paradise

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 18, 2012 | Tickers: AMRS, SNY, SZYM, TOT

    Once upon a time Amyris (NASDAQ: AMRS) was the darling of the sustainable chemicals industry. It was championed by legendary VCs Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Vinod Khosla, who individually suggested they transition from malaria wonder-drug artemisinin to impurity-free, drop-in diesel fuel. That suggestion catapulted the company into the center of the biofuels conversation just a few short years ago and created a vision that, through investor’s eyes, remains more »

  • Take a SWOT at Mercury Systems

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 18, 2012 | Tickers: KTOS, MRCY

    It is easy to get overwhelmed when researching a potential investment. What is the noise? What really matters to the long term prospects of an investment? Remember, when you buy shares in a company you own a piece of that company – not just a three to five-letter ticker on the other end of your login page. A great way to organize your research is to perform a SWOT analysis. Today more »

  • Take a SWOT at Renewable Energy Group

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 14, 2012 | Tickers: AMRS, REGI, SZYM

    It is easy to get overwhelmed by a sea of information when researching a potential investment. What is noise? What really matters to the long term prospects for an investment? Remember, when you buy shares in a company you own a piece of that company – not just a three to five-letter ticker on the other end of your login page. A great way to organize your research is to perform more »

  • UAN-a Grow Your Portfolio?

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 13, 2012 | Tickers: AGU, CF, CVI, UAN, TNH

    The world population is expected to rise to 7.5 billion by 2020. The United Nations predicts those extra 500 million mouths – plus larger appetites in emerging markets – will increase food prices up to 40%. While that figure may be disputed, one thing is certain: the world’s farms will need to plant and harvest increasing numbers of crops to keep pace. The industry that has the most to gain more »

  • The Best Place to Waste Your Energy

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 13, 2012 | Tickers: CPN, CVA, NRG, WM

    Traditional sources of energy – coal, natural gas, nuclear – are always in the headlines. They have ample government policies and regulatory frameworks that govern their use and guide investment. The market of energy-from-waste (EfW) does not have the same amount of fanfare or oversight, but don’t throw the industry into your waste bin of investing ideas just yet. EfW technologies have one important thing in common with those of traditional more »

  • It's the Efficiency, Stupid

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 13, 2012 | Tickers: ANR, ACI, GEN, NRG | Editor's Choice

    I find it a bit comical that an election that virtually neglected energy – in the debates, on the campaign trail, at the voting booths – is now being blamed for a “War on Coal.” Privately-held Murray Energy, citing the Electoral College’s final tally, has thrown a public temper tantrum by firing 163 workers. Murray isn’t alone. In the last year the entire coal industry has been shaken up by more »

  • Take a SWOT at Air Lease

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 8, 2012 | Tickers: AER, AL, FLY, BA

    It is easy to get overwhelmed when researching a potential investment. What really matters to the long term prospects for an investment, and what's just noise?  Remember, when you buy shares in a company you own a piece of that company – not just a three to five-letter ticker on the other end of your brokerage account login page. A great way to organize your research is to perform a more »

  • Solazyme: A Lesson in Patience

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 6, 2012 | Tickers: AMRS, BG, CVX, KIOR, SZYM

    I have given the investment community targeted warnings about Solazyme’s (NASDAQ: SZYM) valuation in February ($14.34 per share), March ($15.13 per share), May ($9.71 per share), and August ($13.50 per share). Despite these words of caution I have been constantly drowned out in a sea of overconfidence and opinions that shift to fit the situation at the moment. Now I know how Kyle Metivier feels more »

  • The Only CAFE That Makes You Lose Weight

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 6, 2012 | Tickers: AA, F, GM, MGA, ZOLT | Editor's Choice

    In late August the White House and EPA announced that new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards had been finalized. The new laws will bind automakers to flaunt fleets with an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The average for 2011 model years was just 28.6 mpg. In English: this will be no easy (or inexpensive) feat. 

    Yo car so fat it wishes it was made more »

  • Attack of the Bakken Strippers

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - November 6, 2012 | Tickers: HES, MRO, STO

    Dirty, low-output strippers. Oil companies racing to pump dinosaur sauce out of shale reserves are spending millions (that’s a lot of singles!) to defeat them. The inevitable fate of oil wells is easy to overlook in the early stages of a domestic oil production renaissance, but all investors should familiarize themselves with strippers. According to Art Berman, a geologist and industry consultant, shale oil well production declines at an more »

  • Repeat After Me: My Genes are Patentable and That's Alright

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - September 12, 2012 | Tickers: BMY, INCY, MYGN, PFE

    The recent Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics patent dispute involving two genes for breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, has been widely followed by the media over the last several years. According to some the case highlights a potentially devastating future where humans have no control over their very own genetic code. Even worse, they say, patenting sequences of human DNA limits academic research and more »

  • The Fallacy of Energy Independence

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - August 29, 2012 | Tickers: FSLR, HES, MRO, STO

    It's election time again in the United States, which means politicians from both sides of the aisle are strengthening their arguments about important issues (those deemed important by the media, anyway). Undoubtedly, when politicians can find time in their busy mudslinging-filled schedules they find a camera and talk about “energy independence.” These sound bites yield variations of the following phrases:

    • “We need to lessen our dependence on foreign oil more »
  • Why Renewable Energy Group is a Buy

    By Maxxwell A.R. Chatsko - August 29, 2012 | Tickers: ADM, FF, REGI, WFM

    It is no secret that the fuel industry goes hand-in-hand with low margins, but that doesn’t mean investing opportunities don’t exist. After all, low margins never stopped anyone from investing in supermarket companies such as Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) with its whopping 3.85% profit margin over the last year.

    Now what if those low margins were coupled with an industry that was reliant on a combination more »

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