March “Idea of the Month”

Checking out a "maybe" before I head out to the Value Investing Congress

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, March 28, 2014

I don’t have a compelling and urgent new stock in mind that I think should be bought right now — there are plenty of interesting ideas, of course, but nothing jumped out from recent teasers this year that had me rushing to my broker, and most of the stocks I’ve been nibbling on I’ve already written to you about in some detail. So we’re going to take a look at something that might be near an inflection point, but that is quite risky: Spark Networks (LOV).

Since I last shared one of these monthly ideas I’ve done a little biotech nibbling, but I don’t really understand those stocks so I won’t be writing to you about them (we’ll save the science-y stuff for Dr. KSS and Doc Gumshoe), and I’ve bought and sold a few shares (I sold Vodafone (VOD) this month, sold Golar LNG (GLNG), and sold a quarter of my Africa Oil (AOI.V, AOIFF) position; and bought more Medical Properties Trust (MPW) and more Altius (ALS.TO, ATUSF), and opened a small National Oilwell Varco (NOV) position), but you know that already and none of those are new ideas.

If I were putting a few more dollars to work today I might add incrementally to my MPW, Coresite (COR) or Retail Opportunity Investment Corp (ROIC) holdings because I think the REITs have gotten beaten down too much and those are a few of my growth favorites in that sector… and we’re getting down to a price that makes me think it’s not crazy to nibble at Ligand (LGND) some more (I do have a small limit buy order for LGND that might trigger if it drops to the low $60s, perhaps even as I’m finishing this note), but I’m really not in a rush and I’d prefer to build up some cash right now.

So what to write about? Well, I’ll be at the Value Investing Congress most of next week and will be reporting exclusively for the Irregulars from that conference, sharing my notes from the presentations and, at the end, looking at some of the best ones in more detail. So in honor of that, I thought I’d cover one of the ideas I heard about at this same conference last year — at the time, it seemed a bit too pricey, and, frankly, it’s still quite speculative … but I think ...

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