It pays to know people. 

This Is What I Do

Ya just can't take the research analyst out of some people, those some people being yours truly. One of the hallmarks of any great analyst is access -- access to the people running the companies under coverage, access to the people creating the best models. Access, whenever you want it. Knowing what others don't know is how you make money in a stock (legally, of course), or prevent from getting blown up. Navigate those things successfully and the clients show up at your doorstep.

Access is still something I view as very important to what I do now, it separates me from another person only reading SEC filings to prepare for an interview. Case in point is my video chat today with well-regarded P.F. Chang's CEO Michael Osanloo. Although P.F. Chang's was taken private in a PE deal back in 2012, Osanloo served up a ton of valuable insight on the state of restaurants. More importantly, perhaps, was his view that valuations for casual dining restaurants remain attractive even after the pop in the wake of Arby's buying Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) .

So if you aren't building positions in possible restaurant takeover plays now may be a good time to consider it. Oh and before you ask...Osanloo hinted P.F. Chang's could consider going public again in 18 months or so. 

Way to Go, Walmart

Hottest story on TheStreet today is Walmart (WMT) changing its name to Walmart Inc. from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The change is the latest attempt by Walmart to show that it's more than simply hulking supercenters. Instead, it's also a digital beast readying to tear the face off Amazon (AMZN) .

For someone who has covered Walmart for 14 years in different capacities, the change is another signal this isn't your mom's Walmart. It's a Walmart that still has founder Sam Walton's retail principles at its core, but also new waves of people across the company with a desire to win quickly on digital. That could prove lethal to Amazon over time.

In case you missed my interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon...

 

Rapid Fire

Stellar investing insight from TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer on this month's Action Alerts PLUS member call. One tidbit among 100s that stood out to me was this on investing: when a company says it's an "investing year", don't necessarily view that as a bad thing. In order for a company to grow and outperform rivals, it has to invest in systems, processes, and new technology. Doing this may impact short-term earnings, but it's often wealth creating over time. 

Since the Nasdaq 100 Index hit an all-time high on Nov. 28, the FANG stock group (Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) , Alphabet (GOOGL) ) have cratered 5.3% according to Bloomberg data. The race to correction territory is on.

TheStreet's Annie Palmer hit up a vocal shareholder of Tesla (TSLA) . Read this piece and tweet it at @ElonMusk.  

Alphabet and Facebook are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells GOOGL or FB? Learn more now.

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