Sunday, October 29, 2017

Stock Musings

Two stocks catch my eye as of October 27, 2017: Freds, Inc. (FRED) and General Electric (GE).

I've never set foot in a Fred's. The stock closed at a meager $4.77/sh on Friday, breaking the psychologically important $5/sh mark. Its inventory numbers seem high, and it's not doing a good job calling in receivables as quickly as possible. While Dollar General (DG) and similar stores have prospered, especially in America's Midwest, Fred's never seemed to capture the magic formula. Nevertheless, at below $5/sh, Fred's seems like a value play. Alden Global Capital has made a substantial investment and appears to be holding major losses, but its presence could spur activism and perhaps break Fred's out of its complacency.

General Electric stock closed at $20.79/sh on Friday. The last time GE's stock saw such levels was in 2012. With a new CEO determined to turn the company around and already in cost-cutting mode, GE seems like a potential buy on weakness. 


Disclosure: I own GE and FRED stock. My positions may change at any time. Nothing herein constitutes investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. You are responsible for your own due diligence. 

Update on November 30, 2017: after a month, GE has declined 11.1%; FRED has increased 8.4%. The S&P 500 increased around 2% during the same time period. I am curious to see the comparative performance in 3 and 5 years.

Update on December 6, 2017: FRED released earnings before the market open, and the stock declined over 20% to 4.02/share. When I started buying the stock, I felt as if two options existed: 1) bankruptcy; or 2) a buyout. Seeing Alden Global Capital continue its involvement concerned me because of Alden's history with companies post-bankruptcy re-organization. In this case, despite its declining revenues and stock price, FRED has openly and consistently stated its desire to increase its footprint. Given recent developments, I speculate a buyout seems more likely now than bankruptcy. 


More specifically, the writedown for inventory is significant and addresses my primary concern of financial misstatements due to overinflated inventory. The dividend cancellation is harsh but also indicates neither the company nor Alden is steering Fred's into bankruptcy in order to cash in on its bonds (whether by going short and/or by buying secured or first-in-line bonds at a steep discount). As such, I have bought more FRED shares today. As always, my positions may change at any time. Nothing herein constitutes investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. You are responsible for your own due diligence. 

Update on February 8, 2018: I have been averaging down on both FRED and GE in liquid and retirement accounts. FRED closed at 3.02/sh. GE closed at 14.45/sh. My positions may change at any time. Nothing herein constitutes investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. You are responsible for your own due diligence. 

No comments: