Mike Steele

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  • Investing Lessons from Star Trek's Ferengi

    By Mike Steele - April 1, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, CMG, KO, COST, WFM | Editor's Choice

    No race of aliens has taught us so much about finance, markets, and economics as Star Trek's Ferengi. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, a personal and financial code of ethics, offers a buffet of aphorisms on making money by any means necessary. Greed is the number one virtue for the Ferengi, and they use the word "ethics" only in its loosest form. But some of their rules may have more »

  • 6 Quotes From Buffett's Annual Letter That Nobody Else Is Talking About

    By Mike Steele - March 19, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A

    With another installment of Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) shareholders hitting the Internet recently, plenty of stories have been published highlighting the most quotable passages from the letter. News articles abounded with the best examples of Buffett's traditional wisdom and wit (Here's a good example).  But now, let's take a look at six other quotes from the letter that didn more »

  • Can This Small-Cap Government Contractor Weather the Storm?

    By Mike Steele - November 21, 2012 | Tickers: CUB, LLL, LMT, RTN, SAI | Editor's Choice

    Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) had a summer full of foul weather.  The dark clouds formed in June with the death of their founder and CEO, Walter J. Zable at the age of 97.  The heavy rain swept in as accounting problems surfaced in August.  Still, the sun is peeking out this fall and the company's share price is up slightly since the start of 2012, as the federal and more »

  • Stop Vampires from Sucking your Portfolio Dry

    By Mike Steele - October 31, 2012 | Tickers: BAX, CMXHY.PK, GRFS, MKC, NKE, WY | Editor's Choice

    If there's one thing I have learned from watching too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's that a plucky band of teenagers is the only thing standing between civilization and a dark future in which humanity becomes a weak all-you-can-eat buffet for a legion of vampires. And while you may have already put some thought into how to survive a vampire apocalypse, few if any people consider how more »

  • Five Companies for a Baltimore Portfolio

    By Mike Steele - October 24, 2012 | Tickers: JOSB, LM, MKC, TROW, UA | Editor's Choice

    Are Tom Clancy and Edgar Allen Poe your favorite authors?  Are "The Star Spangled Banner" and songs from the musical "Hairspray" both in your MP3 playlist?  Do you drink Natty Boh with your soft shell crabs?  Are your favorite birds Ravens and Orioles?  If you answered yes to these questions, you might be from Baltimore. 

    Individual investors are most successful when they buy into the idea that they are owning more »

  • Understanding Government Contracts Part 3

    By Mike Steele - July 16, 2012 | Tickers: CACI, CUB, SAI | Editor's Choice

    If you invest invest in companies that earn their income as government contractors, you need to understand the basics of federal contracting.  In the third and final part of the series, we will talk about multiple awards, government-wide awards and schedules, and how contractors can spin their inclusion in one of these big awards into something that sounds more impressive than it really is, using examples of recent contract wins by Cubic, CACI, and SAIC.

  • Understanding Government Contracts Part 2

    By Mike Steele - July 16, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, LMT

    If you invest invest in companies that earn their income as government contractors, you need to understand the basics of federal contracting.  In part two of the series, we will look at the how the Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract can be confusing if you're not paying attention, and we talk about how companies can take credit for the same contract twice by issuing press releases about contract modifications, using examples of recent contract wins from Lockheed Martin and Amazon.com.

  • Understanding Government Contracts Part 1

    By Mike Steele - July 12, 2012 | Tickers: BAH, LMT, SAI

    If you invest invest in companies that earn their income as federal government contractors, you need to understand the basics of federal contracting.  When companies put out press releases touting their latest contract win, you should understand the terminology they are using to describe the contract in order to better understand what the company has actually won and what the risks of the contract may be.  In part one of this three part series, we will look at the three simplest federal government contract types: Fixed Price, Cost Plus, and Time & Materials using examples of recent contract wins by Lockheed Martin, Booz-Allen Hamilton, and SAIC.

  • Supernova Inspired Investing

    By Mike Steele - April 27, 2012 | Tickers: ADM, CELG, MEA

    Recently, The Motley Fool launched a new newsletter service called Supernova.  As someone with an interest in science and astronomy, I was intrigued by what insights about interstellar destruction Fool founder David Gardner was bringing to the new service, and in honor of its recent launch I have set out to bring you my own list of three stocks that you'll want to have in your portfolio in the more »

  • Invest Like a Supervillain

    By Mike Steele - April 13, 2012 | Tickers: CX, DISCA, IIVI, ILMN, TIE.DL

    A neer-do-well without any money is just a common criminal.  But if you clicked on the headline link for this story, that's not you.  No, you aspire to something greater: Supervillainy.  What separates the Supervillain from the petty thief is a base of wealth to carry out your wide-ranging schemes for world domination.  Secret lairs, doomsday devices, legions of minions; those things don't come cheap. 

    But what if more »

  • Profiting from the Coming Robot Uprising

    By Mike Steele - April 1, 2012 | Tickers: DDD, ISRG, IRBT, OII, DIS

    As investors, we must always keep an eye on risks: risks to the companies we invest in, risks to the markets as a whole, and macro risks like natural disasters and wars.  Today, I will examine portfolio management with an eye towards mitigating the risk of the very likely, future robot uprising.  There are a number of companies on my radar which will probably experience exponential growth leading up to more »