Motley Fool iPad Review : MF Disses The Apple iPad Mini

English: Apple iPad Event

English: Apple iPad Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oct .31

from the Motley Fool Review

The iPad mini reviews are arriving, and they’re not very flattering when it comes to the graphics of Apple‘s (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) new device.

  • “It’s disappointing to go non-retina after using the retina iPad for the last seven months,” Daring Fireball’s John Gruber writes. “All of the accolades and advantages of retina displays work in reverse.”
  • “I don’t think the lower resolution is a deal-breaker in this product, but it is a compromise you have to be aware of,” writes The Verge. “It simply doesn’t look as clear as other products on the market.”
  • “But oh, that screen,” concludes CNET. “It’s not bad, not at all, but it’s not Retina Display. It’s not even as high-res as other 7-inch tablets.”

You know what makes things worse? The other tablets that The Verge and CNET are referring to — Google‘s (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Nexus 7 and Amazon.com‘s (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire HD — sell for nearly 40% less.

Is Apple going to sell a ton of these things? Absolutely. Folks trying to buy them online now are being told to either try their luck at a local store or wait two to three weeks for shipping. Unlike the other new tablet maker using a similar tactic — Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) with its Surface now at a three-week delay for all of its models — Apple probably is the one that can’t really keep up with the initial demand.

iQuandary
Apple knew that it couldn’t pack all of the features of the fourth — or even the third — generation of its iPad into the $329 iPad mini. Too many consumers would simply trade down to the cheaper iOS tablet. the launch would be a cannibalization disaster.

Somewhere along the way, it was decided that the iPad mini would go with two features — the slower A5 chip and the 1024-by-768 resolution — of the $399 iPad 2. If the iPad mini would eat into sales, it would be preferable if it was the iPad 2 that’s $70 more than the new iPad that’s $170 more.

The chip isn’t much of a problem. Most consumers can’t tell the difference between the dual-core A5 and the dual-core A6X that raises the stakes with quad-core graphics. The same can’t be said for the display. Seeing truly is believing, and anyone walking into an Apple Store to see the two devices side by side will see the problem.

Apple has spent the last two iPad incarnations pitching consumers on the merits of Retina Display where individual pixels can’t be discerned. Now it doesn’t want the same consumers that it educated to notice the difference? It’s like taking someone on a fine wine tasting, only to wash it down with cooking wine. It’s like explaining the finer points of music on the way to a Justin Bieber concert.

They’re mocking you, Cupertino
The competition is starting to sense Apple as vulnerable.

You saw it last month when Samsung mocked the iPhone 5 early adopters. Ads made fun of those standing in line for Apple’s shiny new smartphone, just as Apple would ridicule PC users a few years earlier.

Over the weekend, it was Amazon going on the offensive on its magnetic website’s home page, pitting the iPad mini’s inferior specs against its much cheaper Kindle Fire HD.

Is Apple going to admit that it made a mistake, here? If Scott Forstall was let go as a result of Apple Maps, who will take the fall for Apple craps?

It’s not just me seeing this, right? The iPad mini’s refusal to go high-def is a call that undermines everything Apple has done to get to where it is today.

Junk in the trunk
Steve Jobs mocked the 7-inch gadgetry as tweeners. He also mocked the manufacturers that would sacrifice features for the sake of nailing a low price point.

“We just can’t ship junk,” he famously said five years ago. “There are thresholds that we can’t cross because of who we are.”

Well?

Apple won’t win with this strategy in the long run. It’s in the company’s best interest for it to fail here.

Why? Well, if consumers do accept the iPad mini with a display that is inferior to even the $199 tablets on the market, it will only encourage Apple to settle in the future. If shoppers are such lemmings that they’ll buy anything with a bitten Apple logo on it, the quality of the company’s products will decline in a hurry. In time, they’ll smarten up and stop trusting Apple.

The iPad mini needs to fail for Apple to succeed.

Wrap your head around that until it sinks in. You’ll probably agree.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Legacy Oil + Gas Inc. Strong Bakken Shale Operational Upgrade BUY

English: Manitoba Highway 5 route marker, with...

English: Manitoba Highway 5 route marker, with buffalo removed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oct . 31

Legacy Oil + Gas Inc.
LEG : TSX : C$6.85  BUY Target: C$11.25

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:

Legacy is a uniquely positioned, well-capitalized junior oil and natural gas company with a proven management team committed to aggressive, cost-effective growth of light oil reserves and production in the WCSB.

Event

Legacy provided an operational update characterized by incremental improvement in a number of core areas with respect to drilling time and drill costs, type-curve performance and initial production rates. A particular highlight included five Q3/12 Mississippian wells in the Alameda/Steelman area (targeting the Frobisher and Midale formations) that averaged IP30 rates of 440 BOE/d per well.

Well performance in the Bakken and Spearfish (both in Manitoba and North Dakota) continues to outperform management (and third-party engineer Sproule’s) type curves . 

In total, the company drilled a robust Q3/12 program with 46 gross (36.2 net) wells and 100% success. 

Impact

Positive  While the tone of the release alludes to a potential beat

on the forthcoming Q3/12 results (to be released November 8, 2012), we

await the actuals prior to altering our estimates. We have made some

tweaks to our risked upside scenarios in the Spearfish (primarily related

to the inclusion of long, rather than short wells in our long-term

Manitoba assumptions, and reduced average well costs), though this has

not impacted our target price.

Recommendation

We are reiterating our BUY recommendation on Legacy, with an unchanged C$11.25 target price. Our target remains based on a 6.0x 2013 EV/DACF multiple supplemented by $3.05 of risked Bakken and Spearfish upside. Legacy currently trades at a 5.3x 2013 EV/DACF multiple and $82,127 per forecast BOE/d.

Westport Innovations – Chuggin’ Along In Second Gear

 

Oct. 31

Tata/MDI CAT compressed air car

Tata/MDI CAT compressed air car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Westport Innovations  (WPT : TSX : $24.19

Management expects revenue growth for the year to be about 30%, down from its earlier expectations for 50% growth.

All in, revenue is expected to be between $340 million and $350 million, down from earlier guidance for revenue in the range $400- 425 million. Management cited a reduction in inventory by clients amidst economic worries and delays in the availability of liquefied natural gas infrastructure as reasons for the reduced guidance.

CEO David Demers said  ” We have a storong balance sheet and our asset-light business model allows us to remain competitively positioned. To help mitigate further contraction in overall transportation markets, we expect a number of key product launches in our automotive, trucking and off-road applications in 2013.”

Separately, the company also announced a deal with India’s largest auto company, Tata Motors to develop an engine for light- and medium-duty trucks and buses. Financial terms were not disclosed.

 

Steven Madden, Ltd. BUY Target $ 53

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: Raleene)

Steven Madden, Ltd.

Oct. 31

 

SHOO : NASDAQ : US$42.83  BUY Target: US$53.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:

Steven Madden, Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, designs, sources, markets and sells fashion-forward footwear for women, men and children. The company was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Long Island City, New York. SHOO has a portfolio of brands that reaches globally among all economic tiers. SHOO offers products through wholesale partners, an e-commerce platform and its own retail stores

Investment recommendation

We are anticipating a solid earnings report from SHOO when it reports on Thursday, November 1 BMO. We believe our EPS estimate of $0.87 (consensus of $0.90) could prove conservative by ~4c based on stronger wholesale sales and gross margin. We believe above-plan sell-through of booties drove solid footwear sales while handbags propelled accessories growth. Moreover, the studded trend is pushing ASPs higher. Retail comps (7% est.) likely also benefitted from similar trends; however, we believe that like with most retailers, traffic slowed in late September.

While we expect commentary to be relatively reserved on the conference call due to choppy traffic trends and Hurricane Sandy, we remain positive on SHOO’s prospects and thus reiterate our BUY.

Investment highlights  

Growth may suprise to the upside driven by solid sales of booties, casuals (Superga), and anything with studs. According to our checks, early fall boot reads have been better than plan, particularly short shaft boots (e.g. Troopa). In addition, we expect the strength in handbag sales to continue and drive wholesale accessories growth of 20%+.   Gross margin expansion in Q3 as the mix impact of TGT’s private label business lessens and direct sourcing efforts manifest. We are modeling margin expansion of ~80bps.

Valuation

We arrive at our $53 target by applying a blended average of 15x 2013 P/E, 9x EV/EBITDA, and DCF.

LifeLock BUY Target $ 11

 Oct. 31LifeLock

LOCK : NYSE : US$7.00  BUY  Target: US$11.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:leading brand with nearly 23 million

LifeLock provides identity theft protection services for consumers as well as identity risk assessment and fraud protection services for enterprises in the United States. As of June 30, 2012, the company served approximately 2.3 million paying members and more than 250 enterprise customers

Investment thesis

LifeLock is the identity theft protection market’s leading brand with nearly 23 million subscription members, $230M in trailing revenues, and mid-20% organic growth. The firm is attacking a large market the nearly 23 millioon reportde identity frauds per year – a budding opportunity in the enterprise market, adjacent areas of expansion in consumer, and seemingly attainable growth forecasts.

As LOCK  builds its track record of execution, we believe shares will see a gradual multiple expansion that drives the stock into the low double digits. BUY.

 Networks, online subscriptions and payments, and mobile devices all make identity information more readily accessible. On top of this, the number and sophistication of bad guys is rapidly growing. LifeLock puts all the technology and alert services together into a single subsscription. Starting at $10 per month and backed by a $1 million service guarantee, LifeLock helps consumers prevent identity theft and manage remediation should a breach occur. 

Increasing revenue per user and improving retention numbers validate the model- members are buying new premium services and LifeLock has seen eight consecutive quarters of improved retention.

We expect revenues to grow at least 20% for the next several years with EBITDA margins gradually expanding from today’s 7% into the mid 20 % range.

Valuation and price target

Our $11 price target is based on a 2.5x EV/revenue multiple applied to our C2014 revenue estimate of $382M and gives consideration for roughly $150M in prospective net cash.

U.S. Housing In Recovery : Wall Street Journal

English: Lennar Corporation's headquarters in ...

English: Lennar Corporation’s headquarters in Fountainbleau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oct. 30

Some investors are sticking to their bullish bets on home builders, despite a number of warnings from Wall Street analysts that the massive rally in the stocks is overdone.

The optimists say they believe the recovery of the U.S. housing market still is in its initial phase, leaving plenty of room for the stocks to keep rising.

Getty Images

New home sales jumped 5.7% in September. Above, workers build a Toll Brothers Inc. home in Boca Raton, Fla.

The gains so far have been startling.PulteGroup Inc., PHM +1.59% the largest U.S. home builder by revenue, is up 214% in the past 12 months, when new-home sales began rising consistently. It also is the best performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index over the past year. Lennar Corp.,LEN -1.31% the third-largest U.S. home builder by revenue, is up 117% in 12 months. In the same period, the S&P 500 is up 10%.

“Home sales tend to move higher over a five-year cycle, and this is year one,” says 

Kirk Mentzer, director of investment research with Huntington Asset Advisors, a $14 billion fund in Columbus, Ohio. “There’s still a ways to go, even if the rise from here is just half of the current rally.” The firm bought D.R. Horton Inc., DHI -1.66% a home builder in Fort Worth, Texas, at the end of 2011, and is hanging on even after a 71% run-up this year.

Data in recent months have indicated the pace of recovery has accelerated. New-home sales jumped 5.7% in September to their highest level in over two years. The Commerce Department said recently that housing starts had risen to 872,000, the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate in four years.

Investors are more optimistic about the housing sector than they are about the broader economy, in part because of the recent action by the Federal Reserve to further bolster the market by purchasing mortgage-backed securities. Both analysts and investors expect the housing market to continue to improve, though they note that if the recovery comes to a halt, shares of companies sensitive to the housing market—including those of builders—are likely to sell off.

Investors have poured $653.7 million into the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund so far in 2012, putting it in the top 5% of exchange-traded funds in terms of inflows, according to Morningstar.

And home builders have shown resilience during the recent swoon in the broader market. The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index has lost 0.5% over the past two weeks, compared with a 3.3% drop for the S&P 500.

Mr. Mentzer and other bullish investors point to history to bolster their position. During the housing upturn from 2001 through the end of 2005, shares of custom builder KB Home KBH -2.12% surged 357%. Since September 2011, they are up a relatively modest 145%. And because the housing-market slump of recent years was the most severe on record, there is more room for home-builder shares to rise this time around, investors say.

Sorin Roibu, a housing analyst for money manager Turner Investment Partners, which oversees nearly $12 billion, believes with the labor market in the U.S. still slack, home builders will have an easier time managing costs in the current upswing. He expects bigger margins as a result.

He also says investors shouldn’t underestimate the power of market sentiment, especially at a time when technology and other sectors are facing headwinds. “If you look at home-building stocks, they’re the best direct play on the U.S. housing recovery, and everybody wants to play it,” Mr. Roibu says.

The magnitude of the stock gains has elicited heavy skepticism on Wall Street, where analysts typically are seen as cheerleaders for stocks.

Megan McGrath, executive director and home-building analyst at brokerage MKM Partners, this month downgraded Ryland GroupRYL -0.88% a major builder on the West Coast, to sell, and cut her ratings on D.R. Horton and Lennar to neutral.

“You can still be bullish on housing but not necessarily the home-builder stocks,” Ms. McGrath says. “We’re still in the early stages of recovery, but these stocks are up around 150% in a year, so we thought, look, if you’ve made the trade and you’ve made some money, maybe it’s time to take some profits.”

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Jack Micenko believes shares have become too expensive. Mr. Micenko says that for shares to warrant their current valuations, the U.S. will need to build an average of 2.6 million new single-family homes a year from 2013 through 2016. During the peak of new-home construction in 2006, the U.S. built 1.6 million new single-family homes. He has a negative outlook on the group.

But today’s annual rate of 872,000 homes is still well short of the norm over the past half century. On average, builders have started construction on about 1.5 million new homes a year since 1959.

Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, argues that the current level of new-home sales is so low that there still is nowhere for home builders to go but up. “At the end of the day, homes are being sold at an appallingly low rate.…That still bodes well for home builders,” he said. The firm, which oversees $55 billion in its Parker/Hunter Asset Management arm, is keeping its position in the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index steady.

Trans-Canada – New Oilsands Pipeline Planned

Looking north on Highway 63 in Fort McMurray, ...

Looking north on Highway 63 in Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TransCanada  (TRP : TSX : $44.72)

Oct 30

From Fort McMurray to Edmonton to you!

 

Trans – Canada announced a 50/50 JV with privately-held Phoenix Energy Holdings to develop a $3-billion oil pipeline from northwest of Fort McMurray to Edmonton. The line will have 900,000 bpd of crude oil capacity as well as 330,000 bpd of condensate capacity. Phoenix Energy has underpinned the project with a long-term contract to ship crude and diluent on the line.

The project is expected to be in service in 2017 with construction beginning in 2014. Canaccord Genuity Power & Pipeline Analyst Juan Plessis estimated that the pipeline could add up to ~$0.05 per share to earnings once in service, depending on financing.

This is the second Alberta oil pipeline project TransCanada has announced in the past few months ($660 million 90 km Northern Courier Pipeline between the Fort Hills mine site and the Voyageur Upgrader near Fort McMurray).

Commenting on the deal, Russ Girling, TransCanada’s President and CEO, said,  ” .. it is crucial to have infrastructure in place to move oil to market from emerging developments west of the Athabasca River.”

Finning International BUY Target $ 36 The Year Of The CAT

Oct. 30 Finning International Inc.

FTT : TSX : $23.36  BUY Target: C$36.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:

Finning International Inc. is the world’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealer. Finning sells, rents and provides customer support services for Caterpillar equipment and engines in western Canada, the United Kingdom and parts of South America.

Investment recommendation

We reiterate our BUY rating and C$36.00 target price on Finning ahead of Q3/12 results scheduled for release 8 Nov.A  more cautious capex spending outlook on behalf of many of Finning’s clients, we see LTM EPS of $1.48 increasing to $1.94 by year-end 2012 and to $2.55 in 2013.

This bottom up derived forecast assumes:

(1) a 120bps y/y increase in EBIT margin to 8.7% in 2013 on the absence of $0.53 in ERP implementation costs, as well as operational efficiencies in Finning Canada,

(2) product support market share gains in Bucyrus mining equipment, which we estimate could add $0.35 in EPS, and

(3) continued product support revenue growth.

Macro headline risk is weighing heavily on Finning shares. Finning trades at 9.2x 2013E EPS, a 3.7 multiple point discount to Toromont (TIH:TSX/HOLD) compared to its historical half point discount. Our one year C$36.00 target is based on 14x 2013E EPS.

Investment highlights

Our Q3/12 forecast calls for $1.75 billion in revenue, a 7.5% EBIT margin, and $0.49 in EPS vs. the Street at $0.48. This will be the first full quarter to include the former Bucyrus distribution business in South America and the UK. ERP costs in the quarter should be <$0.05. We expect management to sound incrementally more cautious while nevertheless reiterating 2012 guidance of 12-15% y/y revenue growth.

We forecast revenue of $887 million at Finning Canada and an EBIT margin of 8.5%, a 100bps q/q increase on lower ERP costs. FINSA should generate revenue of $640 million, a 21% y/y increase on the back of the Bucyrus acquisition, and a 9.5% EBIT margin (flat q/q). In the UK, we forecast $222 million in revenue and a 6.7% EBIT margin (flat q/q). FCF should be $50 million and debt-to-total cap. should end the quarter at 54%.

 

 

PetroBakken Energy BUY Target $20

Oct. 300PetroBakken Energy Ltd.

PBN : TSX : C$12.38  BUY Target: C$20.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:

PetroBakken is an intermediate E&P company focused on the Bakken resource play (light oil) in southeast Saskatchewan.

Event

PetroBakken announced its intention to participate in a corporate reorganization that will see shareholders of Petrobank Energy and Resources receive Petrobank’s 57% interest in PetroBakken. The transaction is expected to be non-taxable to PetroBakken and its shareholders and is scheduled to be effective December 31, 2012, following shareholder approvals in mid-December.

The mechanics of the deal will see existing Petrobank shareholders receiving their proportionate share of Petrobakken shares and a share of New Petrobank (which holds the existing Petrobank assets). Through the machinations PetroBakken shareholders will essentially be in an identical position poststructuring.

Impact

Positive. We had previously cited this potential event as a positive near-term catalyst for the stock as it materially increases the company’s float and liquididtywhile removing the perceived overhang of a control block owned by a parent company.

Recommendation

We are reiterating our BUY recommendation and C$20.00 target price, which remains based on a 6.0x 2013 EV/DACF multiple supplemented by $3.54 of risked Bakken and Cardium upside. No changes have been made to our estimates at this time, though our forecast DRIP participation rate is likely to fluctuate in the future.

PetroBakken remains a favourite oil-weighted intermediate in our coverage universe, given our 2012/2013 forecast production per share growth of 14%/20% and healthy dividend yield of 7.8%. PetroBakken is hosting an Investor Day on Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Calgary. The company also plans to release its Q3/12 results on the same day. We are currently forecasting average production of 38,400 BOE/d (which was press released on October 11, 2012) and associated CFPS, f.d. of $0.64 (Bloomberg consensus has $0.67).

Apple iPhone Sales Checks – Sold Out ?

from Cannacord

Oct 29

Apple (AAPL : NASDAQ : US$604.81)

Consistent with Canaccord – Walkley’s monthly checks indicating solid iPhone 4 and 4S sales ahead of the iPhone 5 launch and very strong initial iPhone 5 sales, Apple reported Q4/F12 results in  line with his estimates, though slightly below consensus.

Apple also provided Q1/F13 guidance that was well below Walkley’s estimates and consensus. He believes the soft December quarter guidance was primarily due to lower gross margins given Apple anticipates new and re-priced products will comprise 80% of December quarter sales and new products tend to have lower gross margins during the early stages of production. Walkley believes Apple’s aggressive global launch plans and very strong demand for the iPhone 5, strong legacy iPhone 4S/4 sales at reduced price points, new product introductions including the iPad Mini and recent refreshes of iPod and iMac lineup position Apple for extremely strong December quarter sales.

Despite lower gross margin, Walkley thinks guidance could prove conservative. Given his reduced gross margin assumptions, he lowered his F2013 EPS estimate from $57.20 to $53.13 and introduced his F2014 EPS estimate of $61.50. Walkley continues to see Apple as well positioned for strong F2013/14 growth driven by new product launches across its portfolio.

from Bloomberg

English: The iPad on a table in the Apple case

English: The iPad on a table in the Apple case (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple Inc.’s iPad Mini will now take about two weeks to ship to customers who order it from the company’s online store, suggesting the product may be temporarily sold out.

Models with Wi-Fi only are available to ship in two weeks, while versions with wireless-network connections will be sent to customers in mid-November, according to delivery information on Apple’s website. When the company introduced the iPad Mini on Oct. 23, the company said that Wi-Fi only models would be available Nov. 2, with wireless versions to start shipping “a couple of weeks” later.

The 7.9-inch iPad Mini, which costs US$329 to US$659, is entering a tablet market crowded with cheaper alternatives from Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. With the debut of a smaller iPad, Apple will help double the size of the market for 7-inch tablets this year, to about 34 million units, according to a report from IHS ISuppli

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