Friday File Begins: Catching up with some old “favorites”

Last week I promised that I would be writing a special note of some kind just for the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars each Friday — I’ll be calling this feature the Friday File, and it will include whatever I think might be interesting to share with you each week, whether it’s a new stock teaser unraveling that I don’t include on the main site, or some additional commentary, or news or analysis of the stocks I own or frequently write about … well, you get the idea: A hodgepodge.

And of course, one of those monthly Friday’s, somewhere in the middle of the month, will continue to be the “Idea of the Month” article, like the one I shared with you last week about Sprott Resource Corp.

Today, since I haven’t been including enough updated info on several of the stocks I’ve shared with you in prior “Idea of the Month” reports, I’m going to catch you up with my current feeling about a few of those stocks — particularly, the earlier picks, many of which have done much worse than the overall market to this point.

First, I should make clear for those who are new to the scene that there are some of those stocks I wouldn’t recommend today, or that I’ve already written negative things about since the initial “Idea of the Month” article where they were featured, so let’s look at those first.

General Steel Holdings (GSI) — this is a small Chinese steel company, and with divisions that focus on rebar and on pipeline steel it should be well positioned for Chinese infrastructure buildout. But it’s also a minnow in a sea of state-controlled companies, and steel in general is a troubled business with the wildly inconsistent international market making prices jump around like crazy, which has hurt profits and outlook for most of the big steel companies. Things may well be looking up for GSI since I wrote cautiously about them back in early January, but I would continue to stay away from GSI unless you’re confident in Chinese infrastructure demand … and in their ability to profit in an extremely competitive environment. I may be too cautious here, since the company was built on the promise of forcing efficiencies onto small old state-controlled firms and they may well succeed, but it’s too opaque for me right now.

Loews Corp (L) ...

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