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11. On 1/3/2000 would you have rather bought Apple or NVR (a homebuilder) through today? A bold message



January 31, 2011 – Comments (32) | RELATED TICKERS: AAPL , NVR

Chimpcontest and Conspiracies..... shhhhh

The Chimpcontest ends this Thursday and it looks like our friend from Canton, MI holding MEE will be the winner barring any unforseen event.  I will be announcing another contest later this month.

Who would have thought a dirty industry stock like Coal would win the contest?  I was betting on a doom and gloom stock like SVU (Supervalue) which is in DEAD LAST in the Chimpcontest.

So how is it that an S&P 500 company that sells low cost food/goods in the worst economy EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Is in last place?  Unemployment is so high and no one can feed their family, yet SVU is in last place?  Oh sure.......  It's because their mismanaged.  Yet even if your mismanaged, aren't you the perfect company to invest in during the worst economy EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want you to dwell on that.  I want you think about how common sense tells you to buy a doom in gloom stock that sells value to all the poor unemployed people could perform so bad?

The stock winning the contest is a coal stock?  You know the industry that Obama and the world want to eliminate.  It's soooo dirty.  Killing the fish and the sea otter.  Children covered in soot with black lung.  cough cough.  How could this stock in an industry the world hates especially the left in the US be winning the Chimpcontest?

This is why I have the chimpcontest.  To make your lazy, weak, soft, and hypnotized brain wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does it seem like a conspiracy that what seems like common sense to a retail investor does the exact opposite?

Cigarettes ae supposed to make you look cool, but now you can't go to the best clubs because they are smoke free?  Fast food allows you to get more done in life, a real time saver.... yet the more fast food you eat, the unhealthier you are and the shorter your life?  That expensive car and house make you the envy of your friends.  Everyone wants to know why you are so successful, yet you have no savings and lots of debt on that Escalade.

Do you ever ponder these things after a heavy night of drinking, or while your wife is nagging you, or while your rating CAPs picks at work?

I don't know if many of you have watched Seinfeld, but have you ever seen the episode where George, the perennial loser, decides to do the opposite of every action that comes to his mind.  After all, every thought and action he has made in his life has resulted in failure.

The wealthiest corporations and people bombard you with messages every day.  To better you or better their bottom line?  If you program people over their lifetime eventually they stop thinking and just follow the herd.  They follow what they consider common sense.

I used to be in the herd, working for the man, aspiring to marry a stripper, doing pushups in the men's room at work and leasing an expensive vehicle.  Now I am self-employed, drinking the most vile healthy green drink on the planet, and working in the worst industry in the US... homebuilding.

Oh that's right, this blog is about AAPL and NVR



Is there anyone who doesn't like Apple?  Maybe the Egyptian govt?  I know I like Apples.  They taste good, they can be used as a projectile weapon when needed, and they act as currency in many parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.  Why an Apple is like the Swiss Army Knife of foods.

However, I'm not talking Apples.  I'm talking Apple computers (AAPL).  Did any of you see the consumer technology breakthrough that this company had in the past decade?  I bet everybody on CAPs (the smartest investors in the world outside of Goldman) ran out and bought as much Apple stock as they could when the Ipod came out!!!!

Seriously, all your music on one small device!!!  I always thought teleportation would happen before the ability to put all your music on one small electronic device!!!  Boy, do I feel stupid. 

Only a total idiot wouldn't have bought Apple when that breakthrough happened.  Sure, you didn't buy it at $10, but of course you bought at $20, or $40?  At some point you bought Apple and rode this 10 bagger because it was staring you in the face every day.  At the gym while you worked out, at work while you surfed porn, in your car as everyone is pulling over for the ambulance you can't here.  Your Ipod made you feel like a Doctor with a stethoscope walking around the hood. 

 Every day you wish you had bought Apple don't you?

On 1/3/2000 Apple could be bought for $27.99 and today it is at $336.10 for a 1,100% gain!!!!  What a decade for Apple.  Is there any name that has been bigger than Apple this decade and had a run like Apple?

Can you imagine if you bought a stupid homebuilding stock like NVR on 1/3/2000?  Even worse.............  If you held it through the housing collapse


On 1/3/2000 you could buy NVR for a whopping $46.58.  Sure we had a bubble run for the first 6 years but the last 4 years has amounted into a complete collapse of the housing market.

If you bought NVR instead of Apple you would only be 1,590% instead of 1,100%.  As it closed at $787.31 on Friday.

Here is something more interesting than that.  In the late 80's NVR stock collapsed from $5 a share to 25cents to $1 a share for an 80% plus loss in stock price.  If you remember that was a housing bust period along with the S&L crisis with Commercial real estate.  So NVR from 1990 to 1993 could have been bought for a price of under $1 all day long.  Today it is $787?  What is the math on that?

I know what you're thinking, NVR is one of the biggest homebuilders in the US, maybe even the world today!!!!!  Why only a company that has massive market share in homebuilding could generate those kind of stock returns.  Today, I would say NVR has 0.5% market share.  Which is less than 1% for those of you who struggle with decimal points.

So NVR in the past 2 decades has built up to 0.5% market share and that has resulted in a 787 bagger from the previous collapse in housing in the early 90s.  Remember, the previous housing bust was not as bad as the hole builder stocks dug for themselves today.

Other examples

MDC was trading under a $1 a share during the early 90's so that is a 30 bagger in two decades after the biggest collapse in housing EVER.  You still get a 30 bagger.

You could have bought MTH for $1 in 1995 and today it is $22 after THE BIGGEST COLLAPSE IN HOUSING EVER.  After the recent housing collapse in 15 years it is still a 22 bagger.

Am I cherry picking?  There aren't that many builder stocks.  None of the S&P 500 builder stocks will achieve these outsized returns (KBH, PHM, DHI, LEN - S&P 500 builder stocks).

Homebuilding vs. Land Companies 

NVR, MTH, and MDC are more pure play builder stocks.  LEN, PHM, and TOL are more land companies.  The latter buy large land positions, they make tons of money, their stock prices from bust to bubble perform like Japanese whalers at a Sea World facility......... then they give it all back in the next bust.  Like clockwork

The bigger builders become nothing more than cyclical companies that can achieve 5x to 7x baggers then give it all back.

The smaller a public builder is and the more it focuses on building homes vs. buying longer term land positions the greater the odds it will return massive gains over a decade.  Especially if the public builder is focusing on gaining market share and only building homes not investing in land.   

Meritage at its peak was $60 plus in 2005 making it a 60 bagger in one decade from 1995 to 2005.  Am I cherry picking timing?  NO

Because you don't have to catch THE bottom only the bottoming process.  We have bottoming for a year now in housing.  Remember, Apple was $20, then $30, then $40, before it got to the $300's.

Beazer homes is at $5.33 and in early 2009 you had multiple months to buy it under $1.  As low as 25cents.  Making Beazer homes today anywhere from a 5 bagger to a 20 bagger in two years and we still are in a housing depression.

FYI, builders are short term overextended.  I would only buy an initial builder position or add a position when the SPY corrects 7%.

Investing Math

I'm not trying to convince you to buy a builder stock and hold it for 15 years.  Your either a long term investor or not  I think most people would become fatigued at 5 years and that is why I have made that the target hold period. 

I'm pointing out how investing math makes bold, ridiculous claims like KBH is an 8 bagger seem very much plausible.  I'm also pointing out how conventional wisdom is usually wrong in life.

In the next 4 years if KBH goes up 300% then it is a 3 bagger (original investment of 1 plus 3 = 4 for your new value).  In the 5th year KBH goes up only 100%.  Yet 100% of your new value of 4 means that your value is now 8.  You are already at a 700% return.  You only need the stock to go up another 14% to get an 800% return or an 8 bagger.

14% = 100% of your original investment.


If you see a girl you are afraid to ask out... stalk her

If your boss is badgering you in front of co-workers.......... punch him in the gut..... hard

If everyone is having fun at a party.......... ruin it

If everyone hates an industry and the stocks are at 7 year lows...... research the space

Be bold!

Don't let the Man keep you down



32 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 31, 2011 at 1:49 AM, kurtkalamar (< 20) wrote:

You're drinking the most vile healthy green drink on the planet?  Green barley mayhaps?

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#2) On January 31, 2011 at 2:24 AM, Valyooo (34.75) wrote:

Excellent blog, +1

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#3) On January 31, 2011 at 4:48 AM, AltData (32.08) wrote:

+1 rec

Looking for a SPY correction of 7% eh?

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#4) On January 31, 2011 at 9:26 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Awesome, thanks FB!

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#5) On January 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM, anchak (99.90) wrote:

Keep it up my friend!

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#6) On January 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:

#1 kurt,

My dog is always drinking the greenish water out of the pond we walk by and her coat looks so healthy.  Does she really need bottled water?  Do I?  I have no idea what I am drinking, it is just vile and no one drinks it

#2 Valyoo, Blesto, Binve,

Thanks.  Not looking for a SPY correction, I just think people should only add to stock positions after a 7% then 15% correction.  They happen pretty much every year at least once.  If your buying small cap stocks it translates into a fairly large pullback.

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#7) On January 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:


Got a question and a chart for you. You have stated before (just like above) that NVR is a smart and profitable builder. Would you still say that they are the best in class with respect to the pure play builders?

I took a stab at an EW count on NVR a year and a half ago, if you recall that post: I have recounted the corrective move, and there is a valid ending to it. And based on the recent strength, a 38% pullback, and then a move sharply to a higher high, and how it has manifested, I am thinking it could be much more bullish.

As in, new all time highs within a year bullish. Is that crazy, are the fundamentals of NVR supporting a near term move like that? Because the chart could be interpreted that way:


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#8) On January 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM, falang1 (< 20) wrote:

Yay MEE.  Looks like a runaway much like Desmond on the cover of SI for the Heisman....

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#9) On January 31, 2011 at 10:53 AM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:


sorry I had to take all those floridabuilder posts down, but I was treading in dangerous territory having some of my content up there last year.

NVR is still best in class because they are the purest builder with no land risk.  So their stock price grows as the company gains market share.  However, the upside becomes more and more limited the larger you become.

SPF is heavily diluted, but they are now adopting a super aggressive land buying strategy.  This will cause the stock to outperform in years 3-5 (2013-2015).  SPF is building their company through the boom and bust land business.

Common sense tells me that a pure homebuilder like NVR will outperform a land buying pig like SPF because that is what has worked in the past.  So the opposite will happen.  Land buying pigs will outperform the purest builders and as an expert in this field I can tell you that is probably what will happen.

It is another reason why life is so frustrating.  I don't make upside calls outside of a 5x to 10x in 5-7 years because it is speculation on strategic excellence.

Any homebuilder that wants to be a land pig vs. pure homebuilder must start buying large amounts of land today and the next 18 months.  Otherwise they will underperform.  No one has entitled raw land in 5 years.  No one has developed raw land in 5 years.  So land prices are going to explode in the best areas.

If you listen to DR Horton's recent conference call they are telling you exactly what is happening in the underlying market today.  It is not good for builders that are not executing a viable strategic plan

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#10) On January 31, 2011 at 11:09 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Hey FB,

No worries about the old posts, I understand completely why you took them down.

>>NVR is still best in class because they are the purest builder with no land risk.  So their stock price grows as the company gains market share.  However, the upside becomes more and more limited the larger you become.

Right, I get that. But like you mentioned in the original post above, NVR accounts for only 0.5% of the market share. So a smart builder with smart management seems like there is still a lot of room to grow before they get bloated with respect to the size of the market.

>>It is another reason why life is so frustrating.  I don't make upside calls outside of a 5x to 10x in 5-7 years because it is speculation on strategic excellence.

I hear what you are saying.

>>Any homebuilder that wants to be a land pig vs. pure homebuilder must start buying large amounts of land today and the next 18 months.  Otherwise they will underperform.  No one has entitled raw land in 5 years.  No one has developed raw land in 5 years.  So land prices are going to explode in the best areas.

Right. And NVR is not playing that game (like you mention SPF doing) as you point out. In your last post, you were talking about hot submarkets even in larger bad markets. It seems like if anybody can navigate those, NVR will.



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#11) On January 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM, dragonLZ (86.52) wrote:

FB, I understand your point, and I agree with you - one should buy when there is blood running in the streets of a particular industry. Waiting for "things to improve" won't get you anywhere (there will always be something wrong with the world).

However, I don't like your comparison of NVR and AAPL as its misleading. Yes, your numbers are right, but you arbitrarily picking a date (11 years and 1 month?) it's not really objecive way of comparing things.

For example, one can pick a date (like 3/9/2009) and show that equities have outperformed gold during a certain time frame, but it's no secret to anyone which of the two was a better investment for the last 10, 5, or 3 years.

If you look at the last 10 years for NVR and AAPL, NVR's return is around 500% (very impressive), but AAPL's return is about 3200%.


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#12) On January 31, 2011 at 1:42 PM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:


NVR owns Washington DC.  That is an MSA that is exploding.  Also, if you look at the revenues of public builders in 2000 they are actually comparable or lower today.  You don't need a bubble, just normalized margins, normalized macro homes being built and a gain in market share.


Why 1/3/2000.  The first trading day of the new millenium.  Additionally, if you remember correctly the tech bubble popped on March 2000.  So this is a tech company 3 months prior to the popping of the bubble.  Everyone was buying tech, otherwise it wouldn't have been a bubble.  Thus proving you can't join the herd. 

In the late 90s oil was trading in the low teens (1/8th of the current price).  That was the time to buy oil stocks.  The time to buy tech stocks was several years after the peak of the tech bubble when everyone lost their arse and no one wanted tech companies.

I could pick any date prior to the tech peak of 3/2000 and NVR outperforms Apple.  Utilizing a start date 10 months after the massive tech crash is proving the same point in the sense that buying Apple was smart a year to two years after everyone is wiped out.

That is why I don't focus on absolute bottoms such as Beazer's stock price in early 2009, but instead utilize generalizations that buying after a bursting bubble or when an industry is totally out of favor usually results in long term outsized gains.

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#13) On January 31, 2011 at 1:47 PM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:


I should also point out that what I was stating in this post is now that you have a crystal ball and could go back in time to buy Apple, you wouldn't be looking up what NVR's stock price was on that date because you have the knowledge of the biggest housing crash ever.  In other words, the reader is provided the knowledge of Apple's technology and Homebuilding's collapse then given an arbitrary date at the start of the millenium. 

How many retail investors off the street if given this knowledge and the 1/3/2000 date would pick an undisclosed and unknown homebuilder stock (NVR) over Apple with their current knowledge.  I think the answer is zero percent.

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#14) On January 31, 2011 at 2:03 PM, dragonLZ (86.52) wrote:

Thanks for the explanation, FB.

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#15) On January 31, 2011 at 3:49 PM, ikkyu2 (98.16) wrote:

CHK is making a pretty good push today but it will never touch MEE!  Still after your snarky comment about being dead last I am happy to finish off somewhere near respectability.  Especially because this was the logic I used:

"Everyone is talking about macro trends.. even FB... hmmm.. energy is big on the blogs lately.. what energy stock do I know in the S+P 500 that's small enough to show an outsize gain.. hmm.. here's one I've heard of, CHK, their chairman Massey had to sell stock to make a margin call in March 2009 but Cramer still likes him"  That's FB logic for the little guy if I've ever heard it.

I've caught god only knows how many dozens of handles in AAPL since 1989.  The difference between AAPL and NVR to me, the little guy on the street, is that it was apparent to me then (and now) that AAPL has no meaningful competition due to its durable competitive advantages.  I know about 20 guys who work there too - they *are* the competitive advantage.

NVR I know their sector, basically understand their balance sheet (what they choose to put on it), but know nothing about their micro-markets or their positions in those markets.  It's harder to understand what they do given I don't know 20 guys who work in that field.


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#16) On January 31, 2011 at 4:27 PM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:


I hope you are telling me that you made boatloads in Apple then.  I for one didn't.  Because I listened to people tell me Apple sucks (niche player) and that anyone and everyone would be making these products.  So I didn't see much upside following this obvious common sense advice. 

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#17) On January 31, 2011 at 4:37 PM, Valyooo (34.75) wrote:


Email me at when you have a chance...I am not going to take up much of your time, I have something you may want, and I have a few quick questions.

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#18) On January 31, 2011 at 4:48 PM, jsneesby (98.31) wrote:

Season 5, Episode 22 (Disc 4)

I think I missed the rerun but I'll rent the DVD.  When Seinfeld was popular, I was delivering pizzas while going to college.  Thursday nights were good money.

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#19) On January 31, 2011 at 5:46 PM, Turfscape (< 20) wrote:

Love the Chimp contest!

Looks like I'm ending in 12th place out of 100...I'm fairly proud of that. Traditional wisdom would have said that HOG was a toxic stock and shouldn't be touched. Their riders are all dying off, it's a terrible economy, young people only ride sport bikes, blah-blah-blah.

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#20) On January 31, 2011 at 6:08 PM, MegaEurope (< 20) wrote:

SVU was a pretty dumb pick huh?  Thank God I didn't put any real money into it.

Ironically, in the middle of the contest Supervalu closed the Farm Fresh where I shopped weekly.  It was built in a nice downtown location 2 years ago.  Not a good sign...

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#21) On January 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM, Option1307 (30.58) wrote:

+1 like always.

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#22) On January 31, 2011 at 8:02 PM, Bays (29.14) wrote:

haha nice post...

What the hell happened to NRG!  lol ahh well.

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#23) On January 31, 2011 at 8:39 PM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:

#17 Valyoo,

sent you an email 830pm/eastern time

#18 Jsneesby,

Thanks for the link

#19 Turfscape,

Exactly I wouldn't have bet on HOG.  The key to making a stock pick is understanding the stock to a 2nd level.  The first level of thinking is the constant chatter everyone hears every day about the economy, oil, Egypt, politics, spring color look (if you are a girl), etc...  This is the herd mentality crowding everyone in the same trade and same line of thinking.

The 2nd level of thinking is understanding an industry better than others, knowing people in an industry, understanding the opposite effect of a crowded trade/idea, understanding that things always overshoot on the upside and the downside, etc...

I know very little about cycles, so I can't make that call, but someone who goes the extra mile in anything can.

#20 megaeurope,

No MegaEurope, SVU was the smart pick.  The herd pick.  However, it is a smart pick when the economy is under 5% unemployment, when people order rounds of shots, buy the latest designer jeans, and drink lots of Starbucks.  Then it is a buy and hold long term.

#21 option1307 and Bays,

Thanks for stopping by

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#24) On January 31, 2011 at 9:23 PM, ultrapaz (30.12) wrote:



Do you have an opinion on JOE (St Joe Company)???


I've been researching the heck out of the company including the short thesis by David Einhorn. According to him they are carrying their entitled land and developments much higher than market value. But, do you have any idea of the value of the raw land they own, which is 550,000 acres or so? Just the timber has got to fetch at least 1,500 or 2,000 an acre???? I love to hear your opinion


 if you could shoot me an email, I would appreciate it apaslawsky @ 

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#25) On January 31, 2011 at 9:38 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (88.03) wrote:

Bummer, I was hoping to at least end this contest in the green, after the shares got hammered, but that does'nt look like it's happening.

As of now it looks like I fought the Gobernment and the Gobernment is winning. I'll update you in 2020.

Thanks for the contest.

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#26) On January 31, 2011 at 10:47 PM, Valyooo (34.75) wrote:

Since I don't know how to analyze builders, I have a question...should I buy XHB?  Is XHB going to outperform when housing is still horrible in most peoples minds, or will it outperform when the economy is booming?

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#27) On February 01, 2011 at 9:42 AM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:

#24 ultrapaz,

in the mail

 #26 valyooo,

ITB is better public builder trade vs. XHB.  If you go to Yahoo there is a link that says holdings.  It shows the holdings within the particular ETF.  You are better off buying a mid cap builder.  HOV and BZH is a little more gambling.  MDC, MTH, MHO are safer bets with more potential.  In the big caps LEN is the best long term buy followed by DHI, PHM, and KBH.  You can flip DHI and PHM in order.  Although I said KBH an 8 bagger, that is more to show what normalized earnings, homebuilding, etc... could produce.  KBH hasn't executed well in the last 2 years, so they are still an underperform vs. the other builders

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#28) On February 01, 2011 at 8:25 PM, dragonLZ (86.52) wrote:

FB, I wonder why are you not mentioning BHS at all. You don't like them or something?

BHS is up 141% since I picked it for my value portfolio less than 6 months ago.

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#29) On February 02, 2011 at 9:51 AM, MKArch (99.81) wrote:

Another outstanding post F.B., now you have me thinking builder land company. I'm playing housing for the long term. Do the land owners have more mid term upside? Would it make some sense to buy a land owner right now and then trade off to a pure builder as the cycle peaks? I'm still holding my JOE figuring Berkowitz is either going to buy them out for some premium or engineer a short squeeze. My plan once I do cash in is to move to some other housing stock. If you think the pure builders have similar mid term upside it might make sense to just go directly that route.

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#30) On February 03, 2011 at 2:00 AM, ikkyu2 (98.16) wrote:

I did buy a lot of AAPL, FB and I did pretty well with it!  My favorite was when I pestered my mom into buying some shares in 1997 at around 13 or so.  I was too young to have any money of my own then.  She bought a couple hundred shares and literally forgot about them.  They are worth more than my whole portfolio today.

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#31) On February 03, 2011 at 11:36 AM, chimpcontest (< 20) wrote:

#28 dragonLZ,

BHS is more of a land company and a California one at that.  So I have zero visibility in there company.  With the others I monitor all their activity in Florida and I know at least one VP or higher.  BHS is a great cyclical play, but my advice on them would go nowhere beyond understanding their SEC filings and giving a guestimate on how their corporate strategy would play out.


From a stock standpoint I would buy a builder first then a landowner second.  A pure builder will be able to put money to work faster on building homes and adding communities today..  By the time you get to transitioning into year 3 then a land owner is sitting on cheap land, he has started developing it on large scale and is reaping a land profit plus a big explosion in community count.

I heard Berkowitz yesterday and if you note he did not disagree with Einhorn's argument.  This is why I don't like JOE.  Because people look at their assets and get visions of gumdrops and sugar plumbs based on fantasy.  I prefer reality and history in places like Phoenix, Orlando, Riverside, Houston, etc... where one can make better forecasts.


I'm still peeved I didn't buy any Apple.  Just the stigma of them never doing anything for several decades was hard to shake.

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#32) On February 07, 2011 at 10:55 AM, MKArch (99.81) wrote:

I agree with you on JOE as far as business prospects F.B. but I'm taking a bit of a gamble that with all shares not held by institutions short right now or ~33% of all shares outstanding there is likely a squeeze coming. I suspect Berkowitz might even be hoping to help it along a bit although I don't think he would admit it. I'm sure his plan announced today is sincere but it wouldn't shock me to learn that putting a scare into the shorts might not have been a little bit of his motivation. Einhorn did make it somewhat personal announcing after his presentation that he tried to get Berkowitz to sit down with him so that he could save him.

 I'd say at this point I'm holding JOE for reasons similar to you trading the more volatile builders even if they are not your favorite operators. I'm not usually a trader but this one fell in my lap so why not. What ever happens to JOE I'm eventually going to roll it over into a home builder. Thanks for you help differentiating the builders it's useful information.

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