It's a quiet day newswise and thus the market is deader than the Cleveland Cavaliers as it awaits the start of earnings season next week. Dominating the news today are non-financial matters like LeBron James betraying his home town team (and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is said to have slept with his johnson in a freezer as he has promised revenge and literally believes in the old adage that it is a dish best served cold), the US and Russia are trading captured spies (and it's a good thing Money McBags never ran in to accused spy Anna Chapman because he would have spilled his state secrets right to her face, and her chest), and as always, Hannah Hilton remains retired.
The only US macro data released today was slightly positive (unless you actually read the release and not just the headline) as wholesale inventories rose by .5%, though that will likely be revised downward like last month's number (and every other data point released in the past two years) which was revised down from .4% to .2%. The good news is that the inventory to sales ratio is only 1.14 which is near a record low, the bad news is that people aren't buying shit because they don't have jobs and their money is becoming more worthless by the day. While the headlines tout the increase in wholesale inventories (which is mildly positive), they bury the part about wholesale sales decreasing by .3%, and yes Money McBags understands the difference between a leading indicator and a lagging indicator, but this is the first decline in over a year so is likely the reason why inventories to sales remain so low (ie. the people in charge of stocking up see sales slumping in the future and thus are keeping inventories thinner than OJ's alibi or an Olsen twin) .
Internationally, other than a sumo wrestling gambling scandal throwing Japan in to a tizzy (and Money McBags would hate to be the officer in charge of the cavity searches in that case), news remains light. Jean-Claude Trichet was out talking again about the EU's financial crisis and he said that it is too early to claim the crisis is over, that bank stress tests should help the recovery process (wink, wink), and that there needs to be stricter penalties for countries who ignore the EU's deficit limits such as having to move to Latvia, having to hand copy the entire novel Pride and Prejudice while listening to the melodic soul singing of Celine Dion, and having all pictures of Zita Gorog taken away. Most interestingly, Monsieur Trichet maintained that austerity measures and cutting government spending will not hinder economic growth thereby figuratively pissing on John Maynard Keynes' ashes and Paul Krugman's soul (though Krugman clearly sold his soul to Mephistopheles years ago as it is the only way to explain his ascent to NYTimes columnist).
In the market, China renewed Google's license to operate in the country instead of revoking it or simply giving it to Sum Dum Gai. Google could have been forced to shut down their chinese operations but instead they will continue to allow users to opt-in to receive either censored or NSFW uncensored search results. In other news, RIMM is rocketing up today as NTP has filed a lawsuit against AAPL, GOOG, and others claiming their wireless handsets infringe on NTP's patent of awesomeness. RIMM had settled previously with NTP for $612MM so they are free from this round of lawsuits and thus, for a day at least, can enjoy their declining market share and substandard product in peace.
In small cap news, two ridiculously cheap stocks that Money McBags has written about before have started rallying proving the old value investor theory that what goes down, must go up (unless it's ZAGG). One of those is NTZ which a month ago and 20% above its open today, Money McBags said:
"buying shares of NTZ is dumber than jumping in to a Hot Tub Time Machine set for the 1980s and then going Lucky Pierre between Magic Johnson and Rock Hudson. You might as well have bought shares of Amercian Home Mortgage right as the subprime mortgage market was melting down, invested in Daguerreotypes in the mid 19th century, or hired Bernie Madoff to manage your assets."
As Money McBags explained before, NTZ (or more commonly known to longterm holders as NTZero) sells high end furniture, mainly in Europe, and seeing as how Europe is instituting a little something called austerity measures and high end furniture is a more expensive and discretionary purchase than caviar infused lobster tails or a night with Heather Vandeven, that doesn't bode well for the company. That said, NTZ is trading at <3.5x EV/EBITDA and has 1/3 of their market cap in cash (even though they burned some last Q). The point remains that this company is either going to blow through their cash and go out of business (5% chance), is eventually going to come out of this and be worth a fuckload more than it is today (70% chance), or is a total fraud since Italy's version of the SEC is likely more hands off than Richard Simmons at a Rick's Cabaret (25% chance). Money McBags will wager a couple of Vietnamese dongs (as always, his currency of choice) that this is a real company and while he has absolutely no idea when it will turn around, has no faith in the global economy rebounding, and still thinks owning a high end furniture maker in a global recession/depression is as wise as covering yourself in chocolate and shouting "fire" while standing in the doorway of a crowded theatre filled with overweight arsonphobia sufferers, at some point this stock should trade for at least 7x EV/EBITDA which makes it a double from here (unless the EBITDA falls off a cliff, though if it does, there is more of a cusion right now than in Jessica Biel's pants) but that may not happen until 2025, so act accordingly.
The other name that is runnning now is TSYS and Money McBags first wrote about them in February and since then they have done nothing but go down like they were auditioning for a role in The Curious Taste of Benjamin's Button. Their last quarter was decent enough and their guidance has been fine but margins have been compressing, there has been concern about government spending drying up, and it is harder to get one's arms around their business than it is for a young lass to get her arms around Whitezilla's "business" (and you can google that at your own risk). They have a number of sort of related yet disparate businesses including a mobile location based software business, a text message enabling license selling business, and a government satellite communications software business. The company announced a new deal with the Army last night that could pay them as much as $9.8MM through 8/2011. TSYS's EV is ~$325MM and their guidance remains for $80MM-$85MM EBITDA, so it is currently trading at ~4x EV/EBIDTA and oh by the way, they just grew EBITDA by 45% last Q and revenue was up by 30% (though most of it was driven by acquisitions in the commercial segment). Again, this is a bit of a confusing company and portfolio managers just don't want to spend the time learning the different businesses and the complicated way in which results are reported (honestly, try reading one of their quarterly earnings releases, it makes Thomas Pynchon seem like Dr. fucking Seuss). That said, it is ridiculously cheap and with the new contract, perhaps there is more faith that government spending for their technology will continue. The stock has pretty much spent all of 2010 dropping but it may finally have bottomed out (because how much lower can it really go?) so this might make a nice short term trade.
With the market rallying, if you're itching to go long it's best to pick up these already beaten down names than ones that can still fall when the rally ends next week. So if Money McBags were you, the first thing he would do is empty your bank account and take one hella long trip to Vegas, but the second thing he would do is spend some time this weekend trying to get a better handle on TSYS because there is a very good chance of a solid return at these levels.
So enjoy your weekend and remember to follow WGP on Facebook and Twitter.