Ken Johnson

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  • You Won't Believe How Easy It Is to Earn a 500% Return From Starbucks

    By Ken Johnson - January 15, 2013 | Tickers: DNKN, GMCR, MCD, SBUX

    Valuing investments can be an exceptionally complicated endeavor. Creating a valuation model is a herculean task and then filling in the data in the model is a process in educated guess work. Figuring out the correct data takes hours and the result is, more often than not, “Garbage In – Garbage Out” (GIGO). Instead of diving into garbage numbers or burying my head in the sand, I take a blended approach more »

  • You Should Be Outraged By Hasbro's $35 Million Executive Compensation Scheme

    By Ken Johnson - October 25, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, BRK-B, BRK-A, HAS, NFLX | Editor's Choice

    Instead of encouraging Mr. Goldner to goose Hasbro's ticker price, the board should consider alternative approaches. For example, Goldner's pay might be linked to improving fundamental business metrics. Paying down debt, improving Return on Invested Capital, and turning around flagging sales are good starting points for alternative compensation schemes.

  • 3 Stocks to Profitably Play the Furby Frenzy of 2012

    By Ken Johnson - October 8, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, EBAY, HAS, WMT

    In 1998, Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) released Furby. The colorful creature instantly became an iconic must-have toy. Over the ensuing three years, over 40 million bug-eyed babbling Furbys were sold. A short 14 years later, it is time once again for investors to prepare their portfolio to profit from the coming Furby Frenzy. The lovable owl/bat is back for 2012 and it is on the top toy lists for the holiday season.

  • 1 Stock to Sell and 2 to Buy for Post-Election Armageddon

    By Ken Johnson - September 20, 2012 | Tickers: HRS, LQDT, NFLX

    Election season is here and red blooded American political wonks are glued to cable news. While most viewers wait to witness the spectacle that is sure to emerge during the homestretch of our democratic system's most dramatic event, I see an even more important political story emerging. As the elections enter their final stage, only a debate gaffe or October surprise can upset the apple cart. Investors are wise more »

  • Size Doesn’t Matter: How a Middle Income Newbie Investor Rolled Up a 350% Return with Chipotle

    By Ken Johnson - July 15, 2012 | Tickers: AAPL, CMG, NTDOY.PK, UA, WFM | Editor's Choice

    When it comes to investing, I have a major pet peeve -- I cannot stand actively managed mutual funds. Research shows time and again, the majority of active funds underperform the S&P 500 while charging a fee to do so.

    Once upon a time, I was a victim of the funds. I thought investing was a dark art that was best left to Harvard MBAs with insider access and a super computer that could sort out the head-and-shoulders patterns from double-tops. I thought a (then) 20-something kid with a modest income and a couple spare nickels rattling around in his pocket would do best by trying to save in a 401(k) and select funds with growthy or old-money sounding names (Yes – “Growthy” is an official investing term). Something like “The Vanderbilt Ivory Emerging Growth Strategic Wealth Strategy Science Fund” would light my investing fire. That old Burton Malkiel analogy about a monkey throwing darts at the Wall St. Journal to pick ticker symbols – well, that about summed up my investing skill. Needless to say, my returns were less than inspiring. 

  • Netflix's Global Opportunity is Bigger than You Think

    By Ken Johnson - July 6, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, NFLX, WMT

    Motley Fool analyst Rick Munarriz recently wrote that “Netflix is Cheaper Than You Might Think.” Munarriz’s argument is that investor’s are short sighted to punish companies like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) that are willing to show a loss in exchange for future earnings. I absolutely agree with this perspective – investors should get behind companies that are more concerned about managing their long term viability than their stock ticker.

  • Buy Insurance For Your Activision Shares and Sleep Better Tonight

    By Ken Johnson - July 3, 2012 | Tickers: ATVI, EA, TTWO, ZNGA | Editor's Choice

    The only people who truly know Vivendi’s plans for Activision are sitting in a boardroom in Paris. The world will know soon enough, but I want to cover my assets before the fire sale and/or debt party begins. One strategy is to sell before the announcement. Ditching your shares is a sure way to avoid potential pain. The problem with selling out now is that you miss the upside to owning Activision over the next 5 years.

    In my estimation, a better strategy for long-term Activision bulls who are nervous about the impending Vivendi announcement is to purchase a little insurance for your shares in the form of put options.

  • 72 Million Reasons to Care About Socially Responsible Investing

    By Ken Johnson - June 26, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, CAT, HPQ, MSI

    If you don’t think Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) matters to your portfolio’s returns, think again. Sometime between May 1 and June 21, mutual fund giant TIAA-CREF divested $72,943,861 worth of Caterpillar, Inc. (NYSE: CAT) shares from its Social Choice Fund.

  • This Catalyst Could Make Perfect World's Price Soar

    By Ken Johnson - June 19, 2012 | Tickers: ATVI, EA, HAS, PWRD, ZNGA

    Perfect World's dividend policy and new MMO title make it an apetizing investment for contrarian thinkers.

  • Google is a Buy if You Can See Beyond the Storm

    By Ken Johnson - June 19, 2012 | Tickers: AAPL, BBRY, FB, GOOG, MSFT | Editor's Choice

    Long-term investors who use both quantitative and qualitative analysis should understand how to exploit Mr. Market's short-term hysterics.

  • Is an Investment in Westport Innovations Socially Responsible?

    By Ken Johnson - June 14, 2012 | Tickers: BHI, CMI, HAL, WM, WPRT

    Westport Innovations GRI disclosures make it seem like a sure winner for socially minded Investors. But does the company stand up to a deeper SRI dive?

  • Should Mobile Mini be the Prince Charming of Your Portfolio?

    By Ken Johnson - June 11, 2012 | Tickers: UHAL, MINI, XHB, XRT

    Mobile Mini sold off after its last earnings report, but there is value on its books for patient investors.