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Floatin' Down the Stream of Thought


"He tried to take a nap under a truck?!"


The problem with taking brief Mental Health and Infant Bonding semi-vacations during the summer is how hard it is to get back on track during the low-energy dog days. I'm staggering around, half focused today. It's a feeling roughly akin to how you feel after a four hour nap. You should be sharp and refreshed but you're mostly counting down the hours until you can go to bed.

With nine hours and countless miles to go before I can sleep, not to mention a week which includes the comeback of snarky Retail Roundups, let's take a quick review of news, notes and items on the radar...

Today's Shocking News...

  • King Fahd dies and oil spikes. The King had been "ailing" for over a decade, after a debilitating stroke.

  • Ford (F) extends Employee discount through September 6th. The old discounts expired yesterday. In retrospect, this morning was a bad time to buy that F-150.

  • Tivo (TIVO) downgraded; DirecTV (DTV) said to be moving to NDS Group (NNDS) DVR.

I'm not doing anything about the last shock. DirecTV reports on Thursday. I fully expect DTV to speak lovingly about their new NDS DRV's and the promotional push they will be given (at the expense of the likely-to-be-yanked TiVO boxes).

I'm not loving what Sanders-Morris' downgrade says about the sales of TiVO's free-standing boxes... mostly because I'm quite sure the analyst is correct about sales there being weak. I don't own the stock because I'm optimistic about the free-standing product.

I've been here before on TiVO, which is why I always yammer about "trading around" the position. I bought more last week, satisfying my Stage 1: Way too early trade. If I make another add to the position it'll be on the Stage 2: It's going to zero trade theory, when it feels so absolutely horrible to get long that it must be right.

Other Analyst News...

Hot Topic (HOTT) is shaking off an estimate cut by JP Morgan today, after getting hammered for $1 on Friday, ostensibly by negative comments from Smith Barney.

I'm not long the stock anymore, after fighting through considerable disappointment on the long side. My buy had been based on a personal rule of thumb in specialty retail: Bet on the CEO. Elizabeth McLaughlin, the CEO of HOTT, is one of the best in the business. I'm sure she'll right the ship. However...

An inviolate rule of mine in specialty retail is "sales lead turnarounds". The SSS data for Hot Topic has been lousy for months and are expected to have been pre-released at -5% for July.

Whatever broke at HOTT, it's not fixed yet.

The daily over-share...

As Todd-O alluded to last week, our family Labrador, Duncan Nathaniel Snoop-Dogg, celebrated the birth of our son by taking a nap beneath the wheels of a pick-up truck. This was decidedly "not smart" behavior, even for a 9-month old Lab, and resulted in young Duncan becoming a squirming yellow speed bump in short order.

By some miracle of dog fate, Duncan emerged with relatively minor broken bones. He got patched up at UC Davis (who I am happy to plug as simply the best vets I know of) and I'm driving up to bring him home today.

Thanks to those who inquired.

Position in TIVO

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