Saturday, October 21, 2006

Well... the market is at a 52 week high and up about 12% for the past twelve months (depending on which market qualifies as "the market" to you. For the past 2-3 months, a lot of stock I have been following are up 15-20%, with very few of the decent-quality companies trading near their lows.

The only recent market overreaction has been in the energy sector, with many drillers and oil service companies getting clobbered due to oil price declines. I bought HYDL at $50.50, which has rallied up about 7-8 points in about a week. I only bought 1/3rd of a position, as I was buying into it as a falling knife. I like management, company has >10% of market cap in cash, no debt, and dominant market position in premium connections (deep sea oil drilling). I should have bought more exposure in this sector, possibly including GRP (grant prideco) below $35. Recent buyouts of NSS and MVK (steel tubing for drill pipe) bode favorably for this sector, possibly affording buyout interest in either GRP or HYDL longer-term.

Recent strong performers for me have been GTRC, CPWR. AGYS, FRK, CCRT, DEBS, IUSA,JBHT, YUM, HYDL, DRI, EAT, and several others. Am debating buying some WSM in the low 30s due to strong insider buying and decent niche retail concept. JLG is a solid trucking company (aerial lifts) that was oversold and had just hit my low-debt/valuation screen....prior to receiving a buyout offer more than 25% above its prior closing price. Ironically, even after the huge jump in stock price it is still on my low-valuation screen! Deluxe Corp (check printer) is also up nearly 50% from its $14-15 bottom of a few months ago. I hated this company and their extremely weak former management, however new CEO Lee Schram appears to have the right stuff and has made some tough decisions to preserve cashflow. Based on their high debt leverage and strong current cashflow, DLX is LBO bait if the stock price fell below $20/share, although I am less excited about it at $22/share (upside to $30?) Am not excited about a lot of names and am waiting for some opportunities to develop. Will continue waiting for some exciting names to go on sale....

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