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Sunday, May 29, 2011

some thoughts... Memorial Day, ITRI and AAPL

1. Happy Memorial Day weekend.
2. ITRI - On May 9th I posted a heads up on ITRI. The post links a nice interview with management as to when they foresee growth.  Their perception also correlates with anticipated date of standardization. Progress is being made (via communication, security component and vehicle standards), but until the standardization is completed, the real growth in the smart-grid will not take hold. We should have late stage progress by the end of this year or early next year. A recent report suggest $108B by 2020, or nearly $16B annually, for the smart grid.  Since ITRI is global, they will be a player in this.

In 2010, Itron's revenue was $2.25B. Currently the market is expecting a stagnant growth or contraction, which makes sense as Itron benefited from the US gov's stimulus package is no longer present. With out the stimulus their revenue was 1.6B in 2009 and 1.9B in 2010. So we should be expecting around 1.9-2B this year, with out the smart-grid spending kicking in.

So we know there will be support a year out, now we just have to figure out how to catch the knife :) Originally I indicated around 49, then wanted to dust to settle.  The intra-day chart on Friday showed some interesting strength.

Obviously, one day does not make a trend, but if anyone is looking to play this for the longer-term smart-grid trend, the intra-day strength along with the potential spending numbers, would suggest an initial entry is merited.

Stepping back from the intra-day charts, and trying to contemplate the current market's power to exaggerate compressed multiples, ITRI potentially could see the 45 area, if not lower.

I am a fan of the smart-grid, and think ITRI will be a major player.  Based on the above information, I will look to enter near 45. (But I am looking to actively trade this trend. If I was a buy-and-hold type, I would start averaging in at current levels, and would not sell until 2014.) I will be entering via the common, as the options are not appealing to me. Maybe in a year or two the options will be more liquid, and interesting to play.

3. AAPL - Apple is by far one of the best retailers out there. I had some iPhone drama this weekend. My home button stopped working properly. It took almost 10 hits to get the thing to function (each time). Looking at discussion boards I saw a small thread that highlighted the issue. Because the boards indicated a hardware issue, I brought it to the Apple Store (in Garden State Plaza mall) Sat morning. I was in at 10:15am (the store was relatively busy considering the mall just opened), set up my appointment for the Genius bar (at 10:40am, at this time the store was literally packed) and was out of the store with a new iPhone (no extra cost) by 11am.

The employees were super friendly, and accommodating. While I was waiting for the techie I was playing with their new iPad information system. It was really interesting to watch the current dynamic. When an individual approached a store representative, the employee would direct him/her to the table of the desired product and to look up the info on the iPad.  If they had more questions or wanted to talk to a representative they can request one from the iPad, and someone will come to them. I witnessed it work beautifully. I was impressed.

Basically, for me, my home button started loosing sensitivity so they gave me a new iPhone. (I consider myself a power user as I have 8 pages worth of apps, and use it quite a bit through out the day. And the discussion thread is quite small, so I can not imagine this being a big problem.)

Took me about an hour and a half to restore my phone settings from the iTunes back up. (It took me an extra half hour because the apps re-installed on my phone alphabetically instead of the organized structure I previously had it in. 8 pages worth of apps takes a half hour to organize :).

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