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Hodges Bradberry
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Investing entry:
Sold 23% of my holdings in IPGP due to the increased risk from the secondary offering announced last week. While the company could invest in their business which has historically high returns on capital I don't know management very well and must trust that they aren't going to waste the secondary proceeds on a value destroying acquisition. I don't know so decided to lighten my position.

The sale was within my Roth IRA so I'm likely to buy the following:

1) MELI - online auctioneer for Latin America with eBay as a 18% shareholder. This area of the world is home to some of the largest increases in middle class (Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador). Internet penetration is still low (37%) relative to more advanced economies (77% in USA) so growth is ahead. Compared with ebay MELI has plenty of growth ahead in revenue and EPS

2) ARCO - very similar story to MELI as the MCD franchisee for Latin America. This is a play on the Latin America story as well. Very good management that have been with the company for many years. Comp sales increased by double digits and sales increased by 17.7% last year in native currency terms. They continue to invest in store openings so expenses have been high but the opportunity is there.
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I haven't shared in awhile. I found the news that Warren Buffett put $23.9 billion to work in equities in the third quarter very interesting. He doesn't appear concerned in the least in macro economic factors--never has and never will.

I'm looking into KMT, GLW, YONG

KMT--industrial play on increased factory activity going forward. They supply cutting tools and related expendables. Cheap historically. Razor and blades model makes the cash flows very dependable. I may buy some this week.

GLW--bought some last month. It is extremely cheap historically and I believe Gorilla Glass will be a huge driver going forward.

YONG--this is fairly speculative as it is a Chinese company but Morgan Stanley has taken an equity position and has board membership. I think it is less risky than most Chinese small cap companies. If the reports are to be believed this one is very cheap. They make additives for the soil to increase production per square acre--a real need for China.
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Another interesting message from +james altucher. I particularly like the practical application of N) Don't drink. It is difficult to do in western culture but good advice.
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A follow up from DARPA says the test flight of the Hypersonic Test Vevhicle-2 wasn't a complete failure and they will be able to cobble together data from 20 different collection points to learn more about flight at Mach 20.
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The news of a large part of the Kenyan population now having Android smart phones is wonderful to hear. Land lines are now superfluous for that society. How else might African countries develop differently than we are led to believe?
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Just bought another slice of ITRN at 12.47 per share. Last week's quarterly report showed nice top and bottom line growth. They continue to grow in South America with Israel holding steady. I think the unrest from Middle East headlines will continue to cause volatility for the company even though most of their operations are outside the region.

Based on the cash flow I think management will pay another nice dividend next March (last March a $1/share div was paid). At today's price the div yield is around 8%. After foreign taxes on the dividend I'm still getting around 6.5%. Nice for a growing company.
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The traffic on Peachtree Road in Atlanta sucks too but I think this is more to do with the construction on a median than economic progress. Good indicator of economic activity though.
Why I'm optimistic about the economy

The media implies that the stock market is a reliable leading indicator of economic health (no, not me -- the other media).

I have my own leading indicator: Silicon Valley traffic.

Over the years, I've noticed that growth and slowdowns in the US economy are always predicted by traffic here. When the traffic gets better, that means the economy is about to get worse. And vice versa.

The same goes for housing and office space. In general, if you can easily drive, rent an apartment, buy a house or lease office space in Silicon Valley, recession is coming.

So I've got good news for the global economy: The traffic here SUCKS.

More good news: It's getting very hard to rent an apartment. And all the office space is being gobbled up. I know someone who went to see a ho-hum apartment for rent in Santa Clara, and found 40 other people also trying to rent the same place. Friends tell me the price of office space is way up, and good space is getting very hard to find.

So break out the cigars and champagne, folks. Silicon Valley's first-world problems are getting worse.
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This excellent piece was brought to my attention by Bill Mann, fund manager at The Motley Fool via Twitter. N. Korea will surprise all in 2012 with their affluence. Bill doesn't think this is code for "can feed own people" but we will see in 2012. Can't wait.
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From Chip Towers at the AJC covering UGA sports:
'BSmith on sharing No. 1 with Crowell: “. . The number doesn’t make me. I make the number.” '

Love it.
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