Friday, December 31, 2010

Chipotle Sales Growth Ain't No Jive


Since opening its first restaurant in 1993, Chipotle (CMG-$214.00) has elevated a simple menu of burritos, tacos, and salads into meals that legions of loyal customers find zesty and more sophisticated in flavor.

By not straying from chairman and founder Steve Ells‘ original vision of making good, affordable Mexican food, Chipotle has emerged the market leader in the $4 billion Mexican-themed, fast-casual, dining segment, with 1,023 units opened in 33 states and Toronto, Canada (2) as of September 30.

Moving forward, can the national burrito chain continue its impressive store and sales-comp growth rates as competitors, such as Taco Bell, aggressively pursue discount pricing strategies to grab traffic gains at expense of the Denver-based Mexican food-operator? Read More at CBSi....

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time for Nokia to Read Smartphone Marketing Manual?


According to Nokia’s (NOK-$9.86) internal estimates, overall industry cellphone volumes in third-quarter 2010 grew 14 percent year-on-year and eight percent sequentially to 364 million units. The company’s aggregate market share declined 400 basis points from last year to 30 percent, as aggressive price discounting from low-cost Asian competitors, and surging worldwide popularity for Apple (AAPL-$320.36) iPhones and smartphone devices equipped with Google’s (GOOG-$590.30) Android operating system continue to muscle in on the Finnish handset maker’s markets.

Will handsets equipped with Nokia’s Symbian operating system, such as the new N-8 smartphone, help to turn the tide?

Read More at CBSi ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Americans For Truth About Homosexualty: Don't Ask, Don't Tell For TSA Agents?

Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) founder and president Peter LaBarbera asks: “Isn’t it just as inappropriate for a ‘gay’ male TSA agent to pat down male travelers as it is for a normal, heterosexual male TSA agent to pat down female travelers?”

“The reality is, most traveling men would not want Barney Frank to pat them down at the airport security checkpoint,” says LaBarbera. “Neither would it be fair to assign Ellen DeGeneres to pat down female travelers.”

Rather than worry about sexual orientation, should “Americans for Truth” organization devote more of its attention to other lies being spun on Capitol Hill to American airline travelers?
Read More at CBSi….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

First Solar Looks to Secure Tellurium Supplies

The global leader in sales of thin-film solar panels, First Solar (FSLR-$133.05) had to delay panel shipments last quarter due to capacity constraints. Complicating production problems, the utility-scale PV market is anticipated to surge next year, growing five-times faster than the rest of the industry, according to a recent analysis from IMS Research. With a growing backlog — 2.2 GW in North America alone — this new demand supports management’s recent decision to nearly double production, from 1.4 GW to more than 2.7 GW come 2012.

In a related development, Apollo Solar Energy (ASOE-$3.70) will provide an estimated $110 million of 5N (”five-nines,” or 99.999%) ultra-high purity tellurium — feedstock for cadmium telluride (CdTe), the semiconducting compound coating First Solar’s thin-film PV panels.

Tellurium is a relatively rare element, with more than 90 percent of global production recovered as a byproduct of copper mining and processing. Will the contract with Apollo Solar address First Solar’s need to secure forward supplies of its core photovoltaic?
Read more at CBS Interactive ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is TSA Our New Big Brother?



Don’t wait for founder Julian Assange to publish confidential documents on Wikileaks.org for confirmation. But more and more people are becoming convinced that deployment of naked body scanners at our nation’s airports have nothing at all to do about protection from terrorists.

Is TSA the New Gestapo? Read More at BNET >>

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MS Community Welcomes Ampyra -- Or Does It?



As of September 30, some 31,000 folks with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the U.S. have tried the oral MS drug Ampyra, representing almost eight percent of all MS patients in this country, according to drug maker Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR-$26.25). In addition, the rate of “first refill” was 67 percent, based on weighted prescription trends going back to March.

“This is a significant penetration only seven months after commercial availability,” said Lauren Sabella, vice-president of commercial operations.

Ampyra (dalfampridine) is the first oral treatment prescribed to improve walking in patients with MS.

Are neurologists and patients readily embracing Ampyra, as claimed by management claim?
Read More at BNET….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bigger Problems For Solyndra Than Chinese Challengers

Just weeks after opening the first phase of a new fabrication plant, called Fab-2, Solyndra said it was shuttering an older and less-efficient facility, Fab-1. Mostly built with a $535 million loan-guarantee from the Department of Energy, the thin-film solar panel maker is counting on the new plant to help it to reduce fixed costs and improve operating margins.

Headquartered in Fremont, Calif., the privately-held company manufactures cylindrical modules, incorporating copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology, for the commercial rooftop market.

With average selling prices falling faster than it can cut expenses, Chief executive Brian Harrison said the company would adjust “plans to be more in line with where the market is and where business was at the moment.”

Read More at BNET….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

EnCana Gasing Up For Its Future With Haynesville Play


To date, EnCana Corp. (ECA-$29.52) has demonstrated success in offsetting the estimated 8 percent rise in oilfield services costs through operational efficiencies that have lowered year-on-year upstream spud and administrative costs by 17 percent (to $0.99 - $1.10 per Mcfe).

U.S. shale well-development and completion costs have fallen anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent, depending on location. For example, in the Haynesville Shale play, well cost expenses dropped from $15.6 million in 2008 to $8.0 - $9.0 million per well during third-quarter 2010!

Could steep depletion rates typical of recent Haynesville wells topple the Canadian-based natural gas producer’s plans to grow its net recoverable gas reserves?

Read More at BNET


Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Next -Generation 737 Grounded From Boeing 787 Turmoils

Mounting development costs at Boeing (BA-$70.48) for its oft-delayed wide-body 787 passenger jet threaten not only profitability but distract and delay needed R&D for either enhancements to — or replacement of — its best-selling, single-aisle B737. Asset growth will require more than the $10 billion in liquidity on the balance sheet. Ergo, expect 737 development to be financed not from earnings but from illusionary inventory build (”deferred production costs”) and borrowings (more debt).

Read More at BNET ….


Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Expect More 787 Dreamliner Delays From Boeing


The Boeing Company ($70.38) is telling suppliers to halt deliveries of sections for its 787 Dreamliner for two weeks because of delays at the company that makes a key part for the tail of the plane. Management insists this latest delay won’t change first launch come February 2011. Do not believe it.

The cumulative financial effect of six prior delays, pre-production cost over runs, technical fixes, and penalties to airlines and suppliers – could the Dreamliner jet could turn to a nightmare for Boeing?

Read More at BNET….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, October 01, 2010

First Solar Still Dominates U.S. Utility-Scale Space

A key provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA 2009), which subsidized up to 30 percent of construction costs for PV plants (through Investment Tax and Production Credits), will no longer be available for pipeline projects that don’t start construction by year-end 2010. Consequently, First Solar’s (FSLR-$145.29) Topaz and Desert Sunlight won’t be eligible for these tax incentives, as both initiatives are still hung up in Dante-like circles of regulatory hell.

First Solar spokesperson Alan Bernheimer confirmed in an e-mail response “groundbreaking isn’t likely for either Sunlight or Topaz before 2010 year-end.” However, Bernheimer insisted both irradiation projects may still qualify for Treasury grants (instead of ITC) — if “certain expenditures are made before the year-end deadline.”

Absent stimulus extensions, First Solar will likely need to scale-back its solar park construction schedule, likely leading to inventory write-downs next year as module selling prices continue to decline. Still the Tempe-based PV module maker remains well-positioned to capitalize on an eventual grow out for domestic utility-scale developers. >READ MORE …..

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Sunny First Solar's Future in China?

First Solar’s (FSLR-$143.55) CEO Rob Gillette told investors on the quarterly earnings call the thin-film, PV module maker expected to begin construction of an oft-delayed 2-gigawatt solar generation facility in Inner Mongolia, China early next year.

The project is to be built in multiple phases, with one GW of power to come online by 2014, and the second GW scheduled for completion by 2019, according to the “Cooperation Framework Agreement” signed last November.

Doing business in China would require “sharing of technology” with its local partner(s), according to regulatory filings. Instead, should Gillette and his staff scrub the entire mission?
Read More….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Message to President Obama on September 11: "Never Forget" - Voters Won't

Obama told a White House news conference yesterday: "If you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on a site."

The U.S. president’s support for a controversial plan to build a mosque and Islamic center just blocks from Ground Zero – contrary to the almost 70 percent of Americans who oppose construction – is trumpeted as a defense of religious freedom. Talk about a political “tin ear.”

"Sean, it's me. I just wanted to let you know I love you and I am stuck in this building in New York. A plane hit, or a bomb went off - We don't know. But there's a lot of smoke and I just wanted you to know I love you." Melissa Harrington Hughes, 31, trapped on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center, Tower One, after the first plane hit.

Flight 93 flight attendant Ceecee Lyles, 33 years old, in an answering-machine message to her husband: "Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could see your face again."

Why is it that the trade of lying seems to come more naturally to politicians? Shame on you, Mr. President!

Friday, September 03, 2010

LDK Solar Swimming Against Downstream Profit Currents

LDK Solar (LDK-$7.87) said module shipments more than doubled in second-quarter 2010 to 74 megawatts. However, chief financial officer Jack Lai has yet to deliver on his promise that moving downstream into module production would position the company to improve profitability across the solar supply chain.

Although average selling prices for modules increased 3 cents sequentially to $1.77 per watt, selling margins fell 70 basis points quarter-to-quarter to 7.6 percent, mostly due to increases in non-production costs.

With other Chinese-based competitors aggressively ramping up production capacity, control over pricing will likely become more demand-dependent -- and short-lived. Ergo, successfully executing on the profitability objective could prove even more elusive.

Continue Reading ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Can Obama Keep Union Support for GM Until Feds Bail Out?

Is General Motors on the recovery road? In July 2009, the “new GM” emerged from bankruptcy after a short 39 days. One-year later, it’s reporting impressive profits of $2.2 billion for first-half 2010….

Although collective bargaining agreements with the International Union and UAW don’t expire until September 2011, continued job cuts and replacement of union with nonunion labor could force union leadership to threaten walkouts at GM — even though the UAW had previously agreed in principal not to authorize any strike prior to 2015.

Continue Reading ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Will Obama Catch a Cold if GM IPO Sneezes?

Retail buyers participating in General Motors’ public offering should be aware that there exists a strong likelihood that their ownership stake could be subject to immediate dilution, depending on how the share price trades in the secondary market: upon the exercise of warrants held by current stakeholders, at strike prices ranging from $30 to $126.92 per share, up to 106 million additional shares could hit the outstanding stock float, according to GM’s preliminary prospectus.

Buried deep in the more than 700 pages of the automaker's ’s prospectus was a warning, too:

the bankruptcy court could issue more than $37 billion in third-party claims pending – probably in the form of stock and warrants (for additional stock payable in the future at a pre-set price). In other words, buyers of the common stock in the initial offering would face even more dilution.

Are officials in the Obama administration pushing to unload some of its 60.8% share in the "new GM" to show taxpayers before the November mid-term elections that the $50 billion of their monies invested in the venerable automaker (to stave of liquidation) was a wise decision from the “anointed” one? Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

BP Looks To Sink Transocean in Fed Hearings

Transocean (RIG-$51.62), the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, warned in its earnings filing that British Petroleum (BP-$36.34) had reservations and would likely seek to avoid its contractual responsibilities, including protection from financial penalties and liabilities resulting from the Macondo well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP’s conviction that it doesn’t have to honor terms of the Deepwater Horizon drilling contract is motivated by the least noble of all great actions — greed:

Prior to the capping of the well on July 15, a federal task force estimated up to 173 million gallons escaped from the damaged well into Gulf waters, less captured or contained crude. Under the Clean Water Act, BP could be fined $4.5 billion, or as much as $17.6 billion (if found guilty of committing gross negligence).
Continue Reading ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Byetta Safety Data To Benefit Challengers Januvia and Victoza

Looking to rebuild physician confidence in Byetta injection, Amylin (AMLN-$19.69) and Lilly (LLY-$35.70) directed much of their lecture and lobbying time at the 2010 ADA conference addressing safety and tolerability issues that have dogged their type-2 diabetes treatment since soon after its June 2005 launch.

Presentations at the Orlando meeting showed Byetta-treated patients were at no higher risk for renal or pancreatic problems than existing treatments — including, Merck’s oral Januvia and Novo Nordisk’s in-kind Victoza injection therapy. Ergo, with no new sense of urgency for Byetta use – all Amylin and Lilly accomplished was to provide additional motivation for physicians to prescribe challengers Januvia and Victoza….

Continue Reading ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Byetta Losing Out To Novo's Victoza

Clinical data supporting the ability of type-2 diabetes drug Byetta to address the unmet need of glucose control with potential weight loss quickly became a winning narrative for Amylin Pharmaceutical (AMLN-$$20.08) and its marketing partner Eli Lilly (LLY-$37.77). The GLP-1 agonist became the fourth most-prescribed branded product for type 2-diabetes — after Actos, Avandia and Lantus — within 18 months of its June 2005 launch.

Prescription momentum swung away from the injection med after reports began to surface of a link between Byetta use and altered kidney function. Throw in concerns of pancreatic inflammation - U.S. sales for the GLP-1 agonist peaked in 2008 at $678.5 million.

The number of patients treated worldwide with Byetta dropped from 470,000 in 2007 to 440,000 in 2009, according to data obtained by Wolters Kluwer.

Launched in early 2010, Novo Nordisk’s (NVO-$90.37) GLP-1 agonist Victoza, has already passed Byetta in new patient starts …. Why? Continue Reading ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Food and Water Watch Looking to Shutter BP's Atlantis Field in Gulf

Food & Water Watch has accused BP (BP-$40.00) and its minority partner, Melbourne-based BHP Billiton (44% working interest), of operating the Atlantis platform in the Gulf of Mexico without proper documentation required by law – and necessary for safe operation (including maintenance).

In addition, the group claims that the Interior Department and Secretary Ken Salazar have done almost nothing to “protect the Gulf from another potential calamity,” and it’s urged members of Congress to either legislate — or formally request President Obama to issue an executive order — shuttering BP Atlantis until legally required safety documentation is presented for public review.

Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Qnexa FDA Committee Rejection Focuses Attention on Vivus' Survival

So confident was Vivus (VVUS-$5.75) in the efficacy of Qnexa across a range of overweight or obese patients (with or without co-morbid conditions, from diabetes to hypertension), management deferred entering into any clinical and marketing partnership(s) until after the July 15 meeting of the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee.

Big Mistake! Although acknowledging an unmet need in obesity treatment - and Qnexa's impressive efficacy, average weight loss was 14.7 percent (37 lbs) - panel members voted 10 - 6 against approval, voicing concerns about Qnexa’s risk of birth defects, increases in adverse psychiatric events, and a dearth of long-term data on cardiovascular outcomes (more than 56 weeks).

What now for Vivus and its anti-obesity drug Qnexa? http://www.bnet.com/blog/sec-filings

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bookmakers Predict Firing of BP CEO Hayward

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has joined other congrssman calling for an investigation into whether BP (BP-$35.75) helped to secure the early release of Lockerbie terrorist, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber freed by Scottish authorities last year.

Was there a quid pro quo — Did BP broker the early release of Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer convicted back in January 2001 for his role in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, in exchange for lucrative Libyan offshore exploration contracts?

Chief executive when the alleged influence peddling went down – Tony Hayward. An Irish bookmaker is taking bets Hayward won’t last the year running BP…. http://www.bnet.com/blog/sec-filings

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Algae Farmers Behind BP Oil Spill in Gulf -- Or Was it Armed Dolphins?

What’s happening off the Louisiana coast wasn’t from incompetence, but from a purposeful desire – from the Obama administration and an industrial consortium ranging from BP ($38.92) to Goldman Sachs (GS-$145.22) – to spark growth in a nascent alt-renewable industry: algae farming, according to one online conspiratorialist.

Did Illuminati-types press the Coast Guard to restrict media access in affected spill zones of the Gulf of Mexico? Was the Deepwater Horizon explosion really an accident?

http://www.bnet.com/blog/sec-filings

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Obama Drilling Plan Could Cripple Noble Drilling's U.S. Operations


Should the Obama administration win its bid to impliment a new deepwater drilling ban in Gulf waters — Noble Drilling (NE-$31.87) could find itself with idled rigs, with limited options for favorable contract renewal terms.

Noble had six rigs operating in U.S. Gulf waters, prior to the initial deepwater drilling ban. A win in the courts for the Obama administration — i.e., a reinstated moratorium — could have immediate negative financial implications for Noble, as approximately 30 percent of its approximately $7.5 billion in contracted drilling backlog comes from U.S. Gulf of Mexico operations.

Need further convincing that an offshore drilling moratorium could cripple U.S. exploration activities: After a force majeure declaration, Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO-$64.24) is moving the Ocean Endeavor rig, which had been contracted at about $290,000 per day from Devon Energy (DVN-$63.31) in the Gulf of Mexico, to Egypt under a new deal with Burullus Gas Co. The new day rate is only $225,000, said a spokesman for Diamond, the second-largest drilling contractor by market value.

As the Endeavor rig is contracted overseas through mid-2011, don't expect to see this – or other rigs looking to leave U.S. waters – drilling for oil here at home anytime soon.

http://www.bnet.com/blog/sec-filings

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, July 09, 2010

'Friends of Obama' Profit From BP Oil Spill in Gulf -- No Accident?

BP plc (BP-$33.90) has removed, on average, only about 60 percent of the amount of oil - it promised federal regulators - spilling daily into the Gulf of Mexico. Throw in reports that the Coast Guard has prevented public access to spill zones, and a conspiracy dimension emerges that the April 20 explosion onboard Deepwater Horizon was no accident.

In a March report that was not questioned by federal officials, BP said it had
the capacity to skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil each day in the event of a major spill. As of Monday, with about 2 million barrels released into the Gulf, the skimming operations have averaged less than 900 barrels a day, according to a CBS News report.

Feeding online speculation of a conspiracy - or cover-up - are
published stories from affected Gulf Coast regions that federal officials are restricting the public - including news photographers and reporters - toward approaching within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.

Internet discussion boards are buzzing with speculation that the federal government's supposed slow response in accepting foreign help - in addition to blocking state and local attempts at clean-up - was timed to coincide with the start of hurricane season, which runs through November. Notwithstanding dearth of hard evidence, word is spreading virally online that sinister design motivated the current crisis and subsequent inaction - one just has to "connect the dots."

Irrespective of whether or not Barack Obama's henchmen sunk the Transocean (RIG-$51.95) - leased semi-submersible rig, accusatory fingers point to the White House for
manufacturing a crisis to advance an unpopular climate agenda, according to the Economic Collapse blog:

Never one to to allow a "good crisis" to go to waste, Barack Obama is pledging to use the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to push the U.S. Congress to pass his controversial climate bill.

Prior to the oil spill, polls showed Americans weren't particularly enamored with issues like carbon dioxide emissions or global warming. A March 2010 Gallup survey, for example, found that 48 percent of Americans believed the seriousness of global warming claims were exaggerated.

Against the backdrop of the oil spill, Democratic Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman
released the first draft of the American Power Act on May 12, without support from any Republican senators. The American Power Act would establish a nationwide cap-and-trade system that would regulate the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by big businesses.

It would be useless to perceive how things ‘actually look' as it would be to watch the random dots on untuned television screens. ~ Artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky

With oil recovery efforts coming up short, could Professor Minsky be wrong in thinking "how things look" can't be inferred from connecting seemingly isolated events?

Carbon emission (offset) credits would be traded on the
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only legally binding (and recognized) greenhouse gas exchange in North America. The CCX derivatives market could be worth an estimated $10 trillion to its owners, according to principal founder Richard Sandor.

As detailed by Victor Thorn in an intriguing online post "
Was BP Oil Spill an Inside Job?", most - if not all - holding CCX investment stakes are ‘friends' of the Obama administration, including: erstwhile VP Al Gore, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen (retired chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs), and President Obama's favorite Chicago-based charity Joyce Foundation, (which has a donor relationship with John Ayers (brother of the president's (alleged) friend and 1960's Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers).

Beltway insiders aren't the only ones who stand to benefit in the wake of the oil spill. President Obama has publicly vilified Goldman Sachs (GS-$138.00) as exemplifying all things "bad" about Wall Street. For example, the company's senior executives earned millions apiece in bonuses from the mortgage-backed securities scandal. Could there be a rhyme to the investment banking firm's reason for being Obama's whipping post? Goldman Sachs owns 10 percent of CCX, worth an estimated $1 trillion.

Goldman Sachs' proprietary trading unit profited from the spill, too, earning upwards of $266 million from a short-sale position held in BP stock, according to regulatory filings reviewed by RawStory.com.

It's not just politics that makes for "strange bedfellows" (to paraphrase essayist Charles Dudley Warner). Dots are being connected that show gains to be had by energy-related concerns too. In a recent posting, I mentioned that investigators were examining the role of Dick Cheney and his former employer Halliburton (HAL-$28.70) in the undersea spill, as
the oil-service company was responsible for cementing the blown-out drill hole. Suspicious Internet minds believed Halliburton intentionally triggered the catastrophic blowout (using substandard concrete slurry when cementing the spaces around the piping in the wellbore casing) to adversely affect U.S. oil production - looking to boost oil prices (and profits).

RawStory.com judiciously noted in a posting last month
how Halliburton stood to make money from the spill through another venue - the clean-up itself: on April 9, just 11 days before the Deepwater rig explosion, Halliburton bought oil-services company Boots & Coots for $240 million. A provider of equipment and services for well fires (and inspiration for a 1968 film called Hellfighters, starring John Wayne), the acquired company also has noted global expertise in well integrity design and spill containment. And, yes, Boots & Coots has a contract with BP for the Gulf oil spill.

Unfortunately for conspiracy buffs, circumstantial evidence alone isn't enough to convict. Nonetheless, a perverse sense of justice could still be had for those "who believe." As predicted by the "law of unintended consequences," drilling moratoriums and mangled reputations were not what the key protagonists (BP and Pres. Barack Obama, respectively) envisioned for their roles in this tragicomedy playing out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Related:

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Image Source: Cap & Trade photo courtesy of "C3 (Climate Cycles Change) Headlines"

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Did Wrath of God Befall BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in Gulf?


Has President Obama’s poor treatment toward Israel contributed to BP’s (BP-$33.19) catastrophe in the Gulf?

As if President Obama didn’t already have enough on his plate to worry about, now comes word from the socially conservative WorldNetDaily promulgating a spiritual connection. In a video narrative, Florida-based Baptist preacher Carl Gallups warned the wrath of God befell upon Obama. Pastor Carl recounted from the Book of Genesis an ancient promise God made to Abraham, the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel…

For more on this spiritual wrath and other conspiracy theories, click through to http://www.bnet.com/blog/sec-filings

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, July 02, 2010

No Relief for British Petroleum in Sight

BP plc's (BP-$28.50) first relief well has detected metal casing from the Macondo wellbore in the Gulf of Mexico. A scheduled attempt to intersect and plug the damaged well come August, however, could be delayed if the U.K.-oil major fails to address the concerns of a congressional subcommittee investigating the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, is growing impatient with BP's remarked lack of preparedness for all things "oil spill." For example, at a House hearing held yesterday, Markey and other committee members heard BP America CEO Lamar McKay confess the company has no response plan in place, should a hurricane or tropical storm pass over the oil spill zone.

The well reached a depth of 16,275 feet on June 23 before a ‘ranging' run spotted the approximate locale of the MC (Macondo) 252 well. As explained by Kent Wells, BP senior vice president in charge of subsea spillzone efforts, electromagnetic range testing isn't an exact process. It requires:
  • Placing a cable into the end of the wellbore;
  • Sending out an electric current; and,
  • Picking up the subsequent magnetic field signature around the wellbore.
Although the first well has closed to within about 20 feet horizontally of MC-252, drilling in rock several miles down to determine the exact location of 6-inch piping in the damaged wellbore is worse than stumbling in a darkened gymnasium -- limited to using only one hand, walking along the four walls -- to find the light switch. Nonetheless, the company remains ahead of schedule. Subsequent drilling and ranging runs will continue over the next few weeks, steered toward a target intercept depth of approximately 18,000 feet, said Wells.

Video feeds from the sea floor are showing hydrocarbon columns bubbling up from fissures removed from the drill site. There are worries the original methane gas explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig has compromised the structural integrity of the well and pipe casings. Echoing this concern, Markey forwarded a letter of inquiry to BP's Tony Hayward dated June 23, demanding the chief executive provide documentation on wellbore condition and relief well efforts, including answers to:
  • Likelihood that filling the relief wells with drilling mud will result in fractures and a subsequent loss of pressure;
  • Measurements, images, and other documents related to the condition of the casing inside the wellbore, as well as any future plans for such measurements going forward;
  • Any survey(s) to identify hydrocarbon leakage from the sea floor; and,
  • All documents related to the geologic formation in which the Macondo well is located, including reserve estimates of the total amount of oil and gas contained in the target reservoir.
The goal is to drill the first relief in parallel with the damaged piping -- to within five feet horizontally and 200 feet vertically of the intercept point.

During one of his daily briefings with the press last week, incident commander Admiral Thad Allen, said "kill" operations were expected to begin the second week of August, when BP will try plugging the old well with heavy drilling mud and cement.


Given its pathetic record of transparency, whether Hayward and the board can provide assurances that hydrocarbons flowing directly into the ocean from the wellbore or the sea floor won't complicate plug activities is doubtful. Efforts to stop the spill in the Gulf are being described as "chaotic." But it's the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (erstwhile Minerals Management Service) charged with approval and oversight of BP's contingency plans.

Whether President Obama chooses to heed the cautions of Markey or the Ocean Bureau is entirely his call -- after all, he is the boss of the regulatory agency. This being a mid-term election year, in my opinion, the president might just err on the side of caution and request BP management to delay the intersect of the first relief well with the damaged wellbore until BP starts acting like a more responsible partner in this cleanup fiasco.

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hurricane Alex Isn't BP's Only Worry These Days in Gulf Waters

BP plc (BP-$28.88) spokesperson Toby Odone acknowledged to reporters last week that the 45-ton blow-out preventer sitting atop the damaged Macondo wellbore was leaning, up to 15 degrees by some accounts.

We know little about the underlying geology of the spill site in the Gulf of Mexico, as BP has held that information close, claiming that it’s “proprietary” data. Scientists are clamoring for BP to publicly release geological survey data on the underlying “Lower Teriary” formations (rock layer formed 65 million to 250 million years ago). Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are streaming video feeds of high pressure columns of oil and gas bubbling up from fissures in the sea floor — which outside scientists fear could be flowing from stress fractures in the underground piping.

Could an already weakened sea bottom beyond the wellbore (eroded by up to 100,000 pounds per square inch of corrosive fluid pressure seeking escape upward from the leaks in the undersea piping) crack wide open like ice on a pond, spewing millions of additional barrels of oil into Gulf waters?
Read More …

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

U.S. Drill Plan Impacts Transocean's Drilling Worldwide


Transocean’s (RIG - $52.00) ‘at-risk’ contract backlog from U.S. offshore Gulf operations was a nominal 6.4 percent, or $1.8 billion out of total company backlog of $27.9 billion as of June 1. However, should the Obama administration gain the upper hand in reinstating its deepwater drilling ban in offshore U.S. waters, profit-performance could be impacted on a global scale.

Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BP's Oil Spill Costs in Gulf Accelerating -- Next Stop: $3.0 Billion


British oil major BP (BP-$29.68) said response efforts toward the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – including containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, and payment claims – had soared to approximately $2 billion so far, up from $450 million on May 13.

Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. expects the bill to rise to $3.5 billion by the time relief wells are scheduled to stop the flow of oil and gas from the sea floor in August.

Will BP bankruptcy talks resurface if the company can't turn the corner - and capture more oil than what's spilling into Gulf waters?
Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

BP Walking Plank to Insolvency?

As of June 14, BP (BP-$31.71) has paid out approximately $1.6 billion – spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to affected Gulf states, claims paid, and federal — in costs related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, BP is financially vulnerable to substantial putative penalties, even without a showing of wrongdoing on its part.

BP shares have lost approximately $90 billion in value, or 51 percent, since the Deepwater Horizon accident touched off the Macondo field blowout in late April.

Cost to bond traders for five-year insurance protection against nonpayment (per contract covers $10 million in face value), better known as credit default swaps (CDSes) is soaring: the price to insure $10M in BP debt this morning was $575,000, up from $43,200 on April 22, the day the Transocean -leased semi-submersible drilling rig sank.

Insurance on BP’s one-year swaps is more expensive than for its five-year debt, another sign of the company’s alleged “short-term credit distress” risk. Is the U.K.-based oil major walking the plank to bankruptcy?
Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Do Supermodel Gisele Bündchen, Suntech Power, and Yingli Green Energy Have in Common?

Does anyone remember the good old days – back in 2007 and 2008 – when über-supermodel Gisele Bündchen demanded to be paid in euros? So keen was she on avoiding the US currency because of uncertainty over its strength…. Flash forward to 2010.

Suntech Power Holdings (STP-9.33) could see a 79 percent drop in profits if the euro establishes U.S$1.25 as a new ceiling – even with hedging efforts – according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Barclays analysts.

That the falling euro has been difficult to manage is further underscored by recent efforts at solar-cell rival, Baoding-based Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE-$9.67):

Continue Reading at BNET ENERGY….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

BP Acting Like Three Stooges -- Why Not Learn From Them, Too?

For weeks BP and the White House had confidently told the American public that the oil spewing out of the busted wellbore from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig was 5,000 barrels per day (210,000 gallons). An internal BP document, dated April 27, showed that number to be misleading. Rep. Ed Markey said at a House Natural Resources Committee meeting on May 26 that BP scientists actually thought the leak to be upwards of 14,000 bpd. Outside analysts estimate the daily spill rate could be much higher — up to 95,000 barrels, or nearly 4 million gallons!

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' til ya do suck seed!" ~ Curly

Is President Obama just "a victim of coicumstance?" With his poll numbers sinking — and no tangible evidence that BP is even close to plugging the spill — the Obama administration has turned to friends in Hollywood for help. Word has leaked that Avatar director James Cameron is now consulting with U.S. officials on possible solutions to the spill.

Instead of Cameron, maybe its time to call in Moe, Larry, and Curly: “At yer service, day or night, we do the job and do it right...”


Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

LDK Solar Forecasting Profitable 2010

LDK Solar (LDK-$5.10) believes firmer selling prices and falling production costs will help the wafer and module maker repair compressed margins in the next few quarters.

Despite market fears that demand would drop off after incentive cutbacks in essential European markets, such as Germany and Italy, come second-half 2010, chairman and CEO Xiaofeng Peng is calling for wafer and module shipments of 1.7 GW to 1.8 GW and 200 MW to 300 MW, up from 2009 year-ending estimates of 1.1 GW and 34 MW, respectively.

“The improvement in ASP trends throughout the year should allow us to expand our gross margin in the next few quarters,” said chief financial officer Jack Lai on the recent earnings call with investors. “Recent polysilicon feedstock prices reportedly below inventoried first-quarter costs of $65 per kilogram should help to boost gross margins in the next few quarters by as much as 300 basis points, up from the 15.7 percent posted in the first quarter.”

Will innovative manufacturing gains, such as increased throughput and conversion efficiency yields, help LDK avoid the commodity cliff being predicted for solar wafer makers by many semiconductor industry pundits?
Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Eurozone Currency Weakness is Latest Problem for Trina Solar and Other Chinese Module Makers


China-based Trina Solar (TSL-$15.73) is a module maker whose currency mismatches are overshadowing planned shipments of 750 MW to 800 MW for the whole of 2010 (year-on-year growth of 88 percent to 100 percent). The company has significant exposure to Europe, where it derives more than 80 percent of sales. Unfortunately, even active hedging efforts won’t shield its financials: approximately 60 percent of second-quarter euro exposure is covered at contract rates of $1.30-$1.40, according to chief financial officer Terry Wang.

Total earnings for 2010 could fall more than 84 percent, if the Euro averages less than $1.25, according to Barclays Capital analysts.

The company’s guidance for gross margin in second-quarter 2010 is in the high 20 percentages. With the euro settling below $1.20 in Monday’s trading, could Trina Solar and a host of other China-based solar manufacturers face margin compressions worse than even those forecasted by Barclays Capital? Read More ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Pivotal Meeting for Novartis' MS Drug Gilenia Next Week


The FDA has extended the review period for Novartis AG’s (NVS-$45.97) investigational multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Gilenia by three months.

Efficacy, however, is unlikely the point of contention. Regulators and physicians alike are likely concerned on scaling the balance of efficacy and the drug’s long-term safety profile. Similar to Merck KgaA’s cladribine, Gilenia interferes with the proliferation of certain white blood cells, particularly circulating lymphocytes (T cells and B-cells), which are thought to be involved in the immune-mediated and inflammatory pathological process of MS. The immune suppression activities of both experimental drugs theoretically could leave MS-treated patients vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancers.

The Advisory Committee meeting is still planned for June 10 to discuss the benefit/risk profile of Gilenia. Assuming no new evidentiary surprises with safety, will the drug hit U.S. pharmacy shelves by year end?
Read More….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Financial Transparency and Change Coming to LDK Solar? Thing Again.

That LDK Solar (LDK-$5.55), the world’s largest producer of multicrystalline solar wafers, kept up with most of its peers and blew past consensus sales and earnings estimates for first-quarter 2010 wasn’t too much of a surprise. The anticipated reduction of Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) in Germany come July prompted customers to accelerate photovoltaic (PV) installations before that solar subsidy became financially less attractive.

Quarterly revenue rose 22.7 percent year-on-year to $347.6 million and reported net income was $7.2 million, or six cents a share, handily beating forecasts of $325.8 million and share-net of a penny, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Given an improving revenue and earnings picture, will the integrated solar cell maker finally move to improve its balance sheet health – as it had repeatedly promised to do numerous times in quarters past?
Read More > ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Worried About Man-Made Disasters? Avoid Draw Muhammad Day

May 20 is being celebrated around the globe -- by infidels -- as "Draw Muhammad Day."





In honor of Draw Muhammad Day, we offer up this humble quote attributed to he who the fanatically devoted kill -- in his name -- and a shot at martyrdom and 72 virgins: "Worship God as though you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, then indeed He sees you." This quote is attributed to which religious leader:

Moses ___

Muhamad ___

Jesus ___


Monday, May 17, 2010

BP Finger-Points Blame on Transocean

Although the investigation into the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is still in the early stages, standard industry practice is such that unless BP can prove gross negligence by Transocean (RIG-$66.10), it and minority interest-holder Anadarko Petroleum bear ultimate liability for clean-up and recovery costs for the environmental damage resulting from the spill, not to mention likely punitive damage payments to all affected parties, such as fishery and tourism industries.

In predictable fashion, the finger pointing has already begun.
Read More > ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

National Enquirer Offers Million Dollar Bounty For Alleged Obama Love Tryst Video


In March 2010, average weekly print circulation — newsstand and subscription — of the National Enquirer declined year-over-year 16.1 percent to 732,000 copies. By comparison, total paid and verified weekly circulation averaged about one million in 2007, according to media observer Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

Declining circulation isn't just endemic to the Enquirer. Overall average paid daily circulation for the top 25 dailies fell 8.7 percent year-over-year for the six months through March, according to ABC. Weekday sales at the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WPO) fell 8.5 percent and 13.1 percent to 951,063 and 578,482 copies, respectively. In fact, only the The Wall Street Journal managed to eke out a gain, of about 0.5 percent.

What the Enquirer needs to pump up weekly tabloid sales is a good scandal – say, on the order of John Edwards and his love child. The Enquirer’s latest investigative controversy is a rehash of an alleged presidential cheating scandal between then Senator Barack Obama and a former campaign aide, Vera Baker (circa. 2004). The paper has offered a $1 million reward for alleged security video footage of the two entering a Wahington DC hotel together.

Can the Enquirer survive in the age of media-savvy competitors like TMZ and Perez Hilton? "Enquirering Minds Want to Know!"

Post Update: An "open-minded" reader -- (after looking at his blogroll links I suspect he probably thinks that the grand social experiments engineered by the likes of Chairman Mao and Stalin - in which millions were either slaughtered outright or starved to death very slowly -- were wonderful attempts towards the utopian plain of equality) -- had this assessment of my Nat'l Enquirer blog posting:

Ted K: I'm ashamed to say I had you on my blogroll. Not after this trash. Good luck keeping your blog going with this type "fair."

Me: Hey, Ted! What do you call a Muslim woman who previously favored western-style clothing, but after having an arm chopped off by the Iranian religious police only wears a burqa?

Answer: "Educated!

There you go -- How's that for transparency and fairness? Oh, my mistake -- only President Obama has a lock on those virtues.

Read More at BNET MEDIA > ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Calls For CEO Blankenship's Resignation at Massey Energy


It has become a ritual at Massey Energy’s (MEE-$35.77) annual shareholder meeting for interest groups to stage protests and call for the resignation of chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship. Environmentalists and union activists have long alleged that Blankenship habitually fights against needed regulation of strip mining (gutting mountain tops for coal removal) and enforcement of safety rules that protect the miners – a disdain motivated by his desire to maximize the coal operator’s profits, according to his detractors.

An explosion at a West Virginia coal mine last month killed 29 miners and is expected to interrupt metallurgical coal shipments and sales through year-end 2010. Could Blankenship face additional calls to resign – this time from members of the board of directors?

Read More at BNET ENERGY > ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Friday, May 07, 2010

"Spill, Baby, Spill" - Or Not, Says BP


British energy giant BP ($49.78) initially accepted responsibility for the April 5 explosion aboard the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. However, with efforts to shut down the well failing, and more than 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of oil per day still spewing out of the broken pipe – and recovery costs climbing to $6 million a day and beyond – the British energy giant might be having second thoughts about paying all “legitimate and objectively verifiable claims.” In television interviews this week, BP executives noted that the disaster, in which 11 workers died, wasn’t directly BP’s fault, as drilling contractor Transocean was operating the rig on its behalf.

The spill is disastrous to the locals in coastal towns. The fishing industry in Louisiana could be impacted to the tune of $2.5 billion, and Florida’s tourism losses are expected to total around $3 billion, according to Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

How much will this spreading oil slick – potentially rivaling the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill into Prince Edward Sound, Alaska – ultimately cost BP, less insurance?
Read More > ….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Can Bristol Myers' Drug Pipeline Save Company?

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY-$25.31) derives almost 47 percent of its revenue from two key products: Plavix (sales of $6.1 billion in 2009), a platelet aggregation inhibitor for the prevention of stroke, heart attack and vascular disease, and the anti-hypertension drug Avapro ($1.3 billion). Chief executive officer Lamberto Andreotti says the company’s ambitious go-to-market model will mitigate expected erosion in sales and share-net earnings from the lost marketing exclusivity of these cardiovascular drugs come 2012. Read More >….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

Forget Fed Loans -- Think Cool Cup Holders at GM


General Motors (GM) denies a deliberate intent to mislead the American public with recent televised advertisements, countering that terms of its accelerated repayment of government loans terms had been fully disclosed. To the contrary, having forfeited the confidence of the American public when it relied on taxpayer funding for its long-term survival, the company is desperate to improve its image — and sell more cars. Read More >….

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.