Paula Pant

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  • Why I'm Not Buying Facebook Stock

    By Paula Pant - August 7, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, FB, GOOG

    What’s going on with Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) stock?

    As we all know, Facebook opened at $38 a share on its ill-fated IPO day, only to tumble in one of the most high-profile stock plunges in recent memory. It slumped as low as $17.73 in September. "Facebook stock" became almost synonymous with "terrible idea."

    Now, we’re seeing this amazing return to its IPO value. Facebook has reclaimed the more »

  • Should You Buy Shares of Marin Software?

    By Paula Pant - March 26, 2013 | Tickers: GOOG, GRPN, MRIN

    Remember the days when most of the advertising took place on billboards, in printed newspaper ads, and on TV and radio commercials? As we all know, those days are long-gone.

    Consumers are spending more time online, and the websites they visit are often niche sites that reflect their tastes and interests, such as running or photography. Companies, as you might expect, are able to place more targeted ads on those more »

  • Why Apple is Still a Great Company

    By Paula Pant - January 22, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    Once upon a time, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) seemed unstoppable. But it wasn't always that way. If we pause to examine the past a bit, we’re reminded that Apple's history has been bumpy (to say the least).

    Apple flourished for a moment in the 1980's, until Steve Jobs was fired from the company he co-founded. While he moved on with his life, creating companies like NeXT and more »

  • Credit Card Issuers, Have No Fear!

    By Paula Pant - August 7, 2012 | Tickers: BAC, C, JPM, MA, V

    Last month Visa (NYSE: V), MasterCard (NYSE: MA), and roughly a dozen U.S. card-issuing banks offered to pay a combined $7.25 billion to settle a price-fixing lawsuit.

    If a judge approves the offer, it will be the largest antitrust settlement in history.

    The lawsuit, filed in 2005, claims that credit card issuers violated anti-trust laws by forcing high swipe-fees on retailers. The suit notes that card issuers forbid more »

  • Why Knight Is a Great Value, If You Can Stomach It

    By Paula Pant - August 6, 2012 | Tickers: JPM, KCG, AMTD

    By now you’ve certainly heard the news: Knight Capital Group’s (NYSE: KCG) computerized trading system spun into a frenzy, issuing erratic orders without actual buyers or sellers.

    The chaos ensued for roughly 30 long minutes. For a company like Knight – which earns fractions of a cent in fractions of a second – 30 minutes is an eternity.  Knight lost $440 million in that fateful half-hour, and company stock plummeted more »

  • Housing Uptick May Not be Sustainable

    By Paula Pant - August 4, 2012 | Tickers: LEN, PHM, RYL

    Many signs indicate that housing has entered a seller’s market. Most pundits point to record-low home prices and mortgage interest rates to show that economic incentives are in place for buyers to flood the market.

    That’s true, but it’s only a side point. Demand for housing hinges on one key ratio: the number of new households being formed relative to the glut of empty homes that exist more »

  • Should Contrarians Buy Facebook? Heck No!

    By Paula Pant - August 4, 2012 | Tickers: FB, GOOG | Editor's Choice

    I’m a contrarian investor. If a stock plummets, my knee-jerk response is: “Should I buy it?”

    When Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) IPO’ed, my level of interest in the stock was zero. As a general rule, I’m suspicious of IPOs, which represent a stock price that hasn’t been tested on the open market. I’m wary when a large group of company insiders decide they want to unload more »

  • This Time, it's Different

    By Paula Pant - August 3, 2012 | Tickers: GOOG, GRPN, VZ

    I’ve been holding Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock since – oh, geez, I’ve lost count of the years.

    A quick check of my trading records shows me that I’ve held on since spring 2008. Four and a half years. I could have started and finished a Ph.D. program in the time that I’ve been holding Google stock. And I can promise you, the stock has done nothing more »

  • Is Lowes Underperforming?

    By Paula Pant - August 3, 2012 | Tickers: BLDR, HD, LOW, LL

    Housing is back.

    Housing starts are up 23 percent over last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New-construction permits are up 19 percent over last year.

    Builders are reporting positive news all around: higher sales volume, higher closing prices, fewer concessions, more bidding wars among buyers. The stock prices for all the major homebuilders, including PulteGroup, Ryland Homes, and Lennar Corp., have more than doubled in the past more »

  • Berkshire Bets on the Northwest, Southeast

    By Paula Pant - June 28, 2012 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A, FIG, LUK, WFC

    Two months ago Warren Buffet announced that distressed real estate is a great deal for mom-and-pop investors who are “handy,” an announcement that conjures images of investors squatting under kitchen sink plumbing lines, wrench in hand.

    Since Buffet himself is not the handyman-type, he opted to approach real estate in the way he knows best, by trying to buy the assets of a distressed company.

    This week, Buffet’s firm more »

  • Sick of Volatility? Have Some McDonalds.

    By Paula Pant - June 21, 2012 | Tickers: FDO, MCD, SBUX, YUM

    Market volatility is high again. The Dow’s recent roller-coaster from above 13,000 to 12,000 and back up to 12,700 has investors scratching their heads and wondering what’s next. Meanwhile, the S&P volatility index (the "fear" index), stands at a three-month high, up nearly 33% since March.

    This volatility is causing many investors to look at large-cap dividend stocks as a relative safe haven within more »

  • Is It Time to Buy SunTrust?

    By Paula Pant - April 25, 2012 | Tickers: FITB, STI, WFC

    SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI), a regional bank with a strong presence in the Southeastern U.S., just announced its quarterly earnings, and the news was sweeter than southern sweet tea. It’s first quarter 2012 net income stood at $245 million, a massive leap above its same-quarter income of $180 million in 2011.

    SunTrust’s Woes

    This comes as great news for SunTrust, which has been struggling since the southeastern more »

  • Berkshire Hathaway: Does it Still Need Warren?

    By Paula Pant - April 18, 2012 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A

    Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) shares have slipped at the news that its beloved and famous leader, 81-year-old Warren Buffet, has prostrate cancer. At the time of this writing, it’s unclear whether this is a tiny dip that will only last for a day, or the first sign of a bigger sell-off.

    A sell-off would be justified if and only if “the Warren factor” is heavily priced into Berkshire’s more »

  • Why I’m Not Buying Netflix

    By Paula Pant - April 11, 2012 | Tickers: NFLX

    I know, I know: Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the most overblown story in the last year of financial writing. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows the background: Last year the movie rental company hiked its prices by 60 percent for its core customers, the streaming- and mail-order subscribers. It promptly lost 2.7 million subscribers and its stock plummeted 75 percent from July through December 2011 more »

  • Verizon Competes on Quality, Not Price

    By Paula Pant - March 28, 2012 | Tickers: T, NFLX, TMUS, VZ

    The market is rallying. Why is Verizon falling?

    Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is the only member of the 30-strong Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall, rather than rise, in stock price at closing time on Monday, according to CNN Money, and that poor performance was not a one-day fluke: its stock is down 3 percent this year, despite the overall market being on an upward tear.

    But the company's financials more »

  • Step Away From the NASDAQ

    By Paula Pant - March 28, 2012 | Tickers: EMC, HPQ, HTHIY.PK, INTC, NVLS, QCOM, RHT, TSM

    I'm spotting a pattern among little-known technology companies: many hit 52-week lows around the same time (August 18/19 or October 4 of the previous year) and are hitting 52-week highs right now.

    To illustrate this pattern, I've made a little chart. Notice anything unusual? ("Now" refers to within the past 3 days).

    Name Low High
    QualComm (NASDAQ: QCOM) Aug 18 Now
    Taiwan Semiconductor Aug 18 Now
    Red more »
  • The Icing on the Cupcake

    By Paula Pant - March 26, 2012 | Tickers: CRMB, DNKN, SBUX

    The announcement one year ago sounded delicious: my favorite New York cupcake bakery, Crumbs, was going public.

    Crumbs (NASDAQ: CRMB) had been the underdog of New York bakeries. Its rival, Magnolia Bakery, basked in attention thanks to an iconic episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie and Miranda discuss their love lives while eating cupcakes at Magnolia. The bakery catapulted to fame, particularly among 18-to-35 year old women more »

  • I Demand A Better Plan!

    By Paula Pant - March 16, 2012 | Tickers: DMD, GOOG, YHOO

    Have you ever typed an ultra-specific search criteria into a search engine? Try searching for “How to restore fruit trees after they've been exposed to cold weather” or “How to remove scratches from vinyl flooring.” The top search results, as of the time of this writing, are articles from eHow.com.

    eHow.com is owned by Demand Media (NYSE: DMD), an online media company with a business strategy of more »

  • The Other Dow ... Dow Chemical

    By Paula Pant - March 12, 2012 | Tickers: HUN, PHM, DOW

    Most people have been marveling at the Dow Jones breaking 13,000 recently, but I’ve been eying a different Dow: Dow Chemical.

    Dow Chemical's (NYSE: DOW) stock has spent most of the past year hovering in the twenty-something dollar region, trading at almost half the value it held last spring. The diversified manufacturing company’s stock price has plunged from the $38 - $42 trading range it enjoyed one more »

  • Would a Netflix-Time Warner Partnership Be a Good Idea?

    By Paula Pant - March 8, 2012 | Tickers: NFLX, TWX

    Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) has a problem: it’s lagging behind its competitors in providing streaming movies. Dish Network is partnering with Blockbuster to stream movies to its cable subscribers. Verizon is partnering with Redbox. Comcast developed its own in-house streaming service. But Time Warner? They got nothin’.

    Meanwhile, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) also has a problem. Shipping DVDs is costly. It requires them to process, mail, collect and repair DVDs more »

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