Last week , I wrote about
, which is in the very explosive RFID space with
. I said that Alien was going to make its IPO debut this past week, and it didn't.
I contacted a representative of Alien, who was very nice. But due to the quiet period, the company couldn't comment on what was going on any further than to say that the IPO was pulled due to market conditions and that it is on a day-to-day basis.
I don't believe that. Alien and its underwriter,
, were the ones that chose to debut in August, a very bad month. They chose to go ahead with the IPO despite a lawsuit by Intermec that still needs to be settled. I can understand why they blamed it on the market; I wouldn't want to debut right now, either. But I don't believe it.
I am a late-stage investor in Alien, I believe in the technology and I like the company. However, being a professional wrestler my whole life who made a living out of entertaining (hopefully) through storyline, bait-and-switch and crowd psychology, I have my doubts. Don't work a worker, as they say.
I still like Intermec, and I still like Alien. I just don't buy the excuse Alien stated this week.
Keep On Drillin'
, a company I have profiled many times, reported second-quarter earnings on Thursday.
The company earned $171.7 million, or $1 a share, in the quarter, compared with $74 million, or 43 cents a share, a year ago. Second-quarter revenue rose 63.3% from a year ago to $636.8 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 95 cents and revenues of $607 million.
The company, which has already completed a $200 million buyback, also said that its board has authorized a share buyback of up to $250 million.
Revenues per day increased $940 to a record $19,780, and daily operating margins increased by $800 to $10,980, according to Cloyce Talbot, Patterson-UTI's CEO and president.
Patterson-UTI is also continuing its refurbishing of 30 drilling rigs, with 17 completed so far.
Patterson-UTI is a land driller that I own along with
( BRNC), and I still like them both, despite their recent poor share-price performance. I believe there is a disconnect between value and share price here for both companies. They are seeing an increase in rig utilization and day rates, and pricing pressure remains on their side.
Natural gas storage was an issue at the beginning of the summer due to an unusually mild winter and, until recently, a mild summer. However, due to global warming, or the fact that it just got hot, storage for natural gas is being drawn down. This, and tension in the Middle East, all bodes well for the land drillers.
The Iranian foreign minister claimed that sanctions on his country would cause oil to go to $200 per barrel. I believe he overstates Iran's importance. It produces about 5% of world supply, and while sanctions would roil the oil markets a bit, it would not produce $200 oil.
In fact, myriad factors have contributed to oil and gas being at their current levels. These include the problems in the Middle East, which have created a premium, the ethanol shortage created by our inept politicians abruptly cutting out MTBE instead of graduall phasing it out, and the increase in demand. Remember, historically, oil prices peak before Labor Day.
I believe, and hope, that the Middle East tensions will ease. At the very least, I don't think they will worsen, and with the end of driving season coming up, I think demand will ease. Ethanol will start to catch up to demand, as well, which will help gas prices.
All this being said, I don't think now is a time to buy the major oil-integrated companies. I own
. If I had to sell a stock in my portfolio, I would probably sell one of these; however, I plan on holding them for now, but wouldn't recommend adding shares.
I believe natural gas is a different story. With natural gas rigs getting better day rates elsewhere in the world and a hot summer still ahead of us -- and most likely a normal winter -- we could see natural gas prices continue to rise. I plan on keeping my natural gas play
being poor is bad, staying that way is stupid.
At the time of publication Layfield was long Patterson-UTI, Bronco Drilling, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and is a pre-IPO investor in Alien, although holdings can change at any time.
A former All-American offensive lineman at Abilene Christian University, John Layfield played professional football for the then-Los Angeles Raiders and later in the World League. After wrestling in Japan, Mexico and Europe, Layfield arrived in the WWE in the mid-1990's. A former WWE champion, JBL was a featured wrester at WrestleMania 21 and can also be seen on Friday Night SmackDown! on UPN. Outside of the ring, JBL is a self-taught investor who was recruited to write a personal finance book, Have More Money Now, which was released in the summer of 2003. He has appeared on finance shows on CNN and Fox News Network. He is co-chairman of the Smackdown Your Vote! Campaign and he has joined both the USO and Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) for tours through Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries. He regularly visits the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda naval hospital to meet with wounded troops.