Daniel Sparks

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  • The Dot-Com Bubble Metaphor is Getting Old

    By Daniel Sparks - February 7, 2013 | Tickers: EBAY, FB, LNKD

    LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) shares popped as much as 10% in after-market trading hours when the company reported better than expected results. The numbers on the release and the comments in the earnings call painted the picture of a growth company still charging forward full speed. With free cash flow more than tripling for the full year to 142 million from 44 million, maybe the media will subtly phase out dot-com more »

  • Is Apple Really Losing Ground in Tablets?

    By Daniel Sparks - February 7, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, GOOG

    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) made headlines yet again with another market share landmark. According to research from firm Canalys, Apple grabbed over 20% of the worldwide PC market (data includes tablet sales). Helped by tablet sales, Apple was able to push through a whopping 27 million units during the quarter. In fact, Apple would have sold even more if it wasn't limited by supply constraints.

    But buried in the report more »

  • Mobile Strategy: 2 Losers and 5 Winners

    By Daniel Sparks - February 6, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, DELL, EBAY, FB, GOOG, HPQ, LNKD

    Amidst the challenging PC environment, Dell finally announced an official deal to go private yesterday. HP felt it necessary to weigh in: "Dell has a very tough road ahead" – thanks captain obvious.

    HP and Dell face the same enemy: mobile devices. Mobile devices continue to play increasingly important roles in our lives. This disruptive trend works both ways: some companies are ruined, others are enhanced. For investors, recognizing these trends more »

  • Buy Baidu on a 10% Spineless Sell-Off

    By Daniel Sparks - February 5, 2013 | Tickers: BIDU, GOOG, QIHU

    When a 10% sell-off slaps a market leader in the face, my ears perk up. In this case, Wall Street has overreacted to Baidu's (NASDAQ: BIDU) fourth quarter earnings report. Worries represent a shortsighted view, missing the big picture. At today's price I see the sell-off as an opportunity for patient investors to pick up shares of China's leader in search and online advertising at a great more »

  • Android's Fragmentation Is Apple's Opportunity

    By Daniel Sparks - February 5, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, CMGE, GOOG

    In a previous article I took an objective look at Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) smartphone growth in China. While Apple's triple digit growth was impressive, it wasn't enough to keep up with Android. In fact, Apple only holds about 5% of China's handset market. Going forward, however, I see Apple's minority marketshare as an enormous opportunity–particularly in light of Android's fragmentation.

    China's bolstering more »

  • Google: A Segment-by-Segment Overview

    By Daniel Sparks - February 4, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    2012 marked a highly successful year for Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). While revenues increased across the board, a few noteworthy highlights include:

    • Staggering growth in Android with approximately half a billion Android OS devices activated through September 2012
    • The launch of Google's own tablet, the Nexus 7 – a powerful tablet at a compelling price point
    • Growing users across Google properties. The company now boasts 235 active users across properties such more »
  • Apple's Growth in China Pales to Android's

    By Daniel Sparks - February 4, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, CMGE, GOOG

    In Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) prepared portion of its FQ1 earnings call, Oppenheimer noted that the company established a new operating segment called Greater China in an effort to "provide greater transparency." The segment is made up of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This is now Apple's second largest region. Going forward, Greater China will be a key metric, given the region's large population and growth.

    Due more »

  • How to Value Amazon: An Unconventional Approach

    By Daniel Sparks - February 2, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, WMT, WSM

    Warning. This article takes a completely unconventional approach to stock valuation. I think it's time we approach Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) from another angle.

    The unconventional approach

    What exactly is my unconventional approach to valuing Amazon? The model itself is nothing out of the ordinary. I project future cash flows and discount them by the time value of money to estimate the fair value of the business. What I do more »

  • 3 Expensive Stocks You Shouldn't Sell

    By Daniel Sparks - January 31, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, ISRG, NKE | Editor's Choice

    There are three types of value investors:

    1. Cigar-butt investors
    2. Fair value investors
    3. Business owners

    Cigar-butt investors look for liquid-able assets selling on the cheap. This is often referred to as net-net investing, popularized by Benjamin Graham.

    Fair value investors are those who buy stocks when they are trading at a discount to fair value and they sell them when they become overvalued.

    Finally, business owners are the investors that treat more »

  • David Gardner: I Don't Like These Stocks

    By Daniel Sparks - January 31, 2013 | Tickers: MSFT, WMT, ZNGA

    Motley Fool's David Gardner has made some outstanding picks over the years. His Rule Breakers service has more than doubled the returns of the S&P 500 since its inception. Though I'm keenly interested in his stock picks, I'm also interested to hear what stocks he doesn't like. As shown in the video below, Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) are three more »

  • This Disruptive Start-Up May Trash Your Thesis

    By Daniel Sparks - January 31, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A, RST, WFC

    Warren Buffett is well known for avoiding technology investments. Though it could be argued that there are a few exceptions in the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) portfolio, it's mostly made up of boring businesses that change very little over the years.

    This, of course, is part of Buffett's strategy. Buffett once said, "we see change as the enemy of investments ... so we look for the absence more »

  • Apple is Oversold. Thank You, Mr. Market

    By Daniel Sparks - January 29, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, GOOG | Editor's Choice

    Over the past 12 months, investors could have bought Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares for $450 in January 2012, $700 in September 2012, and again for $450 in the past week. These enormous fluctuations, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, are a stark reminder that Ben Graham's favorite allegory – Mr. Market – lives on. As Graham explains him, this colorful character shows up every day to buy or more »

  • Apple: The Ultimate Dividend Stock?

    By Daniel Sparks - January 14, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, BAGL, ESV, MSFT, STX | Editor's Choice

    I get it. "Shares Slide on Demand Worries... Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Dips Below $500." I woke up this morning to repetitive, bearish Apple headlines. But thanks to Wall Street's shortsightedness, there is a deeper story here. At these levels, Apple is turning into the ultimate dividend stock.

    There are three things income investors look for to identify solid dividend investments:

    1. A nice yield
    2. Pricing power
    3. A relatively low payout more »
  • Don't Overpay for the Swoosh

    By Daniel Sparks - January 14, 2013 | Tickers: COH, NKE, TJX, TIF, UA

    Nike's (NYSE: NKE) stock has taken quite a ride lately, appreciating over 15% in just two months.

    <img src="http://g.fool.com/editorial/images/12723/nike-stock-price-2012_large.png" />

    After the recent rise, it's time to return to the fundamentals and value the stock.

    Discounted cash flow valuation: A brief background

    The value of any business is ultimately the present value of future cash flows discounted by the time value of money. Using a discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation model more »

  • Are the 5 Greatest Places to Work Good Investments?

    By Daniel Sparks - January 11, 2013 | Tickers: CPT, CHK, DWA, GOOG, NS

    Fortune's 2012 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For produced some interesting results. If sifted correctly, Fortune's lists can often reveal some interesting investment opportunities. In this article I'll take a look at the top five on the list and examine their investment prospects.

    Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)

    Market Cap P/E Price/Free Cash Flow Average Analyst Recommendation Industry
    $242.34B 23.1  19.2  Outperform more »
  • PetSmart's 2 Unusual yet Powerful Growth Drivers

    By Daniel Sparks - January 10, 2013 | Tickers: PETM, WMT, WFM

    Have consumers really tightened their budgets? If so, PetSmart's (NASDAQ: PETM) 1,269 stores haven't noticed. The company continues to thrive. In fact, its stock rose 33% this year, handily crushing the S&P 500. The company has beat and raised guidance in nine of the last eleven quarters. Going forward, both analysts and management have high expectations. What's driving this growth? Two unusual yet powerful growth more »

  • Is This New CEO A Game Changer?

    By Daniel Sparks - January 10, 2013 | Tickers: COLM, NKE, ZQK, UA

    Six years of annual losses have left Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) investors eager for a CEO changeup. Though losses have significantly narrowed, the stock has never returned to its highs above $15.00 per share. After a year of searching, Quiksilver's board and a leading executive search firm have finally found the best possible candidate to replace McKnight: Disney's Andy Mooney. 

    Investors responded quite enthusiastically to the change, with more »

  • A Low-Priced iPhone? The Pros & Cons

    By Daniel Sparks - January 10, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    Steve Jobs was well-known for his relentless pursuit of quality. One of his famous quotes reads: "Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles." This philosophy has been ingrained into Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) brand-image. But if there is any credibility to Wall Street Journal's report that Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone that could launch as early as this year more »

  • Intuitive Surgical Q4 Earnings Preview: All Eyes On Japan

    By Daniel Sparks - January 9, 2013 | Tickers: ISRG, MAKO, MDT, SYK, ZMH

    In all of the last five quarters Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) has topped estimates, with a surprise factor of about 5%. In four out of five of these quarters, Intuitive Surgical's stock price rose in the two days following the earnings announcement. So you can bet the pressure is on for Intuitive Surgical when it announces its fourth quarter earnings after the market closes on January 22. This quarter more »

  • Western Union is Grossly Misunderstood

    By Daniel Sparks - January 9, 2013 | Tickers: EEFT, MGI, WU

    Western Union (NYSE: WU) is the undeniable leader in money transfers through its global network of more than 5,000 agents.  Despite the company's evident competitive advantage as the world's leader in money transfers, Western Union is priced for decline, trading at just 6.7 times forward earnings estimates. Fortunately for long-term investors, this conservative valuation has little merit.

    Western Union and Immigrants

    Many U.S. citizens rarely more »

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