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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Something Big Brewing For Celsius (CSUH.OB)?

I just read an article from the South Florida Business journal about Carl DeSantis and his huge investment in Celsius. The link was posted on investor village (thanks, WG), and after reading the article, I'm quite a bit more upbeat about the stock than I was after the latest earnings release.

DeSantis and his various businesses have invested $2.75 million into Celsius, which is no shabby amount. This in itself is good news, it tells me that DeSantis is serious about his investment and his committment to making something out of this company. His inside connections in this industry should be huge for marketing and distributing the product, giving Celsius product the foothold that it's needed.

The following sentance is what really piqued my interest, taken directly from the article:

A national advertising campaign, package redesign and retail rollout are ahead.

This statement is huge, the biggest news that Celsius has released, up until now, in my opinion. A national advertising campaign is what we've needed and what we've wanted, but the distribution hasn't been there to support it. I have a feeling that, with a new retairl rollout, Celsius will fly off the shelves when the national advertising campaign begins, alleviating the worries that I have had about reorders.

The package redesign is also a good idea. The packaging now isn't bad, it looks quite 'new age', but the packaging shown in the article is more eye-catching. Celsius looks plain on the shelves or in the fridge; the bottle doesn't stand out from the crowd and that shouldn't be a factor any more.

Lastly, the retail rollout could only mean that they've got a few big distribution deals in the works. Good stuff.

With DeSantis on board and committed, I smell good things coming for Celsius holding, it's stock, and it's investors.

I'm glad I took advantage of this drop down to eight cents to buy a few more shares because VFC thinks it's only a matter of time before all our patience finally starts to pay off.

I'll be watching for the national ad campaign, wonder if it'll be TV ads (doubtfully) or magazine and newspaper ads (more likely, in my opinion).

If anyone can provide any insight, please comment.

It looks like the DeSantis move was a good one for the company.

ORDER CELSIUS HERE

Thursday, August 28, 2008

CEGE Revisited

After yesterday's surprising negative news sent shares of Cell Genesys' stock (CEGE) plummeting, VFC thought it would be a good time to double down, if only to have a handful of shares available to trade, as I believe we're in for a lot of short-term volatility with CEGE. I'm also determined to wait around until we find out the real reason for the high death rate of the Vital-2 trial. It's my belief that the GVAX vaccine in combination with Taxatore may have been too much for the patients with advanced prostate cancer, but the patients in the Vital-1 trial may show that GVAX works in less advanced prostate cancer. The Vital-1 trial passed muster on an interim look, so I'll keep a long position to go along with the trading shares.

On this morning's spike I was able to sell the shares for $1.07 that I bought at .74 cents yesterday. Not a bad trade, given the circumstances. I'll be looking to buy back in the .70s again. If the big boys can play these games, I want my cut.

More important than the trades is the effectiveness of the vaccine. We can only assume that GVAX used in combination with Taxatore is finito. That leaves the CEGE investment in the hands of Vital-1 and the less advanced trials for GVAX treatment in other indications. That's enough for me to keep a position in the stock, but certainly lowers my confidence in the investment.

These events should not affect Dendreon (DNDN) at all, as Dendreon's prostate cancer treatment Provenge has demonstrated safety and efficacy but has yet to be approved by the FDA. Interim results for the Provenge trials should be released within a couple of months, and if the results are positive, we could be looking at approval in 2009.

Cell Genesys' GVAX is the last major competition to Provenge that is still alive. Provenge may be the only treatment available that is combatible with Taxatore, which would serve well to Dendreon's market share for prostate cancer treatment.

We won't know the whole story until the conclusion of the company's investigation into the cause of the deaths and what they decide is the future course of action for GVAX.

Until then, the stock will be a good trading stock, but there's always the possibility of a buyout at these low levels.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CEGE; Cell Genesys Halts a Trial, Good Time to Trade?

Back in May we got a nice surprise from Cell Genesys Inc (CEGE) when the stock rose to the mid fours after an announcement that Cell Genesys had found a partner and financial backer in Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Things were looking for CEGE. They were in good financial shape and their two Phase III GVAX trials were progressing nicely. Although about a year behind Dendreon's (DNDN) Provenge, GVAX was poised to mount a battle with Provenge for market share of future prostate cancer treatment.

Today things just took a turn for the worse for GVAX and investors in CEGE (investors that were not short). Cell Genesys was forced to halt their VITAL-II trials of GVAX after their independent monitoring committee noted a higher rate of deaths among patients that received GVAX with Taxatore than those that received just Taxatore. The technical quote from the Press Release: The Committee "observed an imbalance in deaths between the two treatment arms of the study."

Shares of CEGE are trading in the seventy cent range after dropping a drastic 75% on the news.

Cell Genesys CEO Dr. Stephen A. Sherwin stated that these findings were, according to the Press Release, "very surprising to us, and we have therefore asked the IDMC to conduct a previously unplanned futility analysis of Vital-1 in order to determine the overall prospects for our ongoing development program for this product."

According to the company, they will know the possible cause of the increased deaths in the Taxatore-GVAX arm in approximately one month.

It's possible that the problem is the combination of the two treatments, and not GVAX alone, as GVAX has been well-tolerated on it's own, according to previous results. Vital-1 passed an interim look, and that trial is still ongoing.
We'll most certainly hear an update on Vital-1 after the independent committee revisits that trial.

Regardless of the outcome, GVAX will have this stigma attached to it forever, unless there is a completely unrelated cause for the increased deaths.

As for the CEGE stock, it's a sure bet that the big boy investors in the stock were tipped off about this news before today and had the chance to get out last week. Others would have taken the opportunity to short the stock, adding to the downward pressure we're seeing today. The stock is down roughly 75% on huge volume (over seven times average as I type).

While I would expect a huge drop on this news, I believe trading under a buck is overkill. GVAX has been well-tolerated before, and the Vital-1 trial is still ongoing. I'm going to wait this one out and see what comes of the investigation and the further look into Vital-1. I also expect some volatility in CEGE over the next month, to take advantage of so I've doubled down at 74 cents to have some trading shares.

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I'm not ready to call GVAX a complete failure just yet.

Cancer therapies are dropping like flies lately, but we still have the big interim results news expected from Dendreon within the next couple of months.

Investors and patients alike eagerly await the interim results of Dendreon's Phase III trials for Provenge. The FDA has indicated that they may grant approval of Provenge based on these interim results.

There'll be a few investors in CEGE that will want to get the stock back over a buck sometime soon in anticipation of more news. The stock may go lower in the short term, but I'm pretty confident we'll rebound as the shorts will need to cover. In my opinion, Cell Genesys and GVAX are in a lot better position right now than Vanda (VNDA), yet VNDA still trades over a buck after a similar drop when the bad news about Iloperidone was released.

You've got to have stomach to play with CEGE right now, but VFC likes the game. I'm playing the drop-rebound play here.

On days like today, shorts make a killing and the afeared little guys sell out!


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Monday, August 25, 2008

BVTI.OB Not Acting Like a Stock With Good News Pending....

It's almost September now, and ever since I sold my position in BVTI.OB, I've been keeping a close eye on the stock price for a possible chance to buy back in.

Earlier this year we expected Biovest (BVTI.OB), a subsidiary of Accentia Pharmaceuticals (ABPI), to release results on the Phase III trials conducted with their BiovaxID vaccine that treats Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. When the time came in April for expected results, we got a 'fluff' PR that did not give us the results of the trials as we expected, but we were informed that the results were reccommended to be unblinded in September. This PR sparked an increase in share price, but not to a point that I would have expected with positive results. Since my confidence in the stock was shaken (and stirred), I sold for a 60% profit (I missed selling higher since I was not around a computer earlier that day!). A 60% profit is good no matter what the situation, but I decided that I might buy back in at a lower price before September....just in case.

Just weeks before Biovest's PR stating that the results would be unblinded in September, Biovest's parent company, Accentia, had released a similar 'fluff' PR regarding it's Sinuphase trials that ultimately failed. That fluff by Accentia sent the share price up only to be shot down by the subsequent 'Well, it looked good, but the trial failed' PR weeks later. With the artificial rise in share price, the big boys could get out with a profit, leaving the bagholders to ride it down on bad news.

Another factor is that the FDA does not seem inclined to approve these new cancer treatments. Aside from the BiovaxID news, we await interim Phase III results for Dendreon's IMPACT trial with Provenge. The Biovest story is not quite as drawn-out as the Provenge story, but BiovaxID is another addition to the soap opera that is the FDA's relationship with cancer vaccines.

To date, Russia is the only country in the world that has approved a cancer vaccine; Antigenic's Oncophage to treat kidney cancer.
Russia is determined to become relevant again, and aside from huge oil influence and a military resurgence, alternative cancer treatment is another way they're taking the lead. These cancer vaccines have a huge following, from patients and investors alike, and it's quite possible that Russia could become a destination for cancer patients looking for alternative treatments.

But back to BiovaxID.


The stock has been hovering in the .35-.40 cent range for a while now, and as the unblinding of the results looms closer, I would think the stock would've started a move upward if anyone out there was suspecting good news. Today the stock dropped to .35 cents on large volume.


The possibility exists that good news may be forthcoming, but the stock remains low because of the previous failures of cancer vaccines both in trials and non-approvable letters from the FDA, but VFC doesn't smell that scenario, mostly due to the shady PRs released in April.


While BVTI.OB is definitely worth watching, unless we get some indication of positive news, I'll be sitting this one out.


Happy Trading!



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Sunday, August 24, 2008

CELSIUS Available on Amazon.com!!!

Celsius, the world's first calorie burning beverage is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Remember, Celsius comes in five great flavors, Cola, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Wild Berry and Ginger Ale. In September the Celsius Green Tea product will be available in two flavors.

VFC recently added to his share total, buying some more CSUH.OB shares at eight cents.


As I've noted here and here, the next two quarters are crucial for the company and it's shareholders.

While awaiting the future financials and share price increase, be sure to keep your supply of Celsius full by clicking on the links below to make your purchase.









Friday, August 22, 2008

Celsius is Not Blooming in Bloom, at Least Not Here.....

This past week I noticed that the Celsius website listed a local Bloom store as one of the locations that Celsius is currently being sold. I went to Bloom and inquired about the product, but the manager had never heard of Celsius and said it’s possible that the product may be coming in on a future delivery, but he wasn’t quite sure of that. I got the proverbial, “Keep checking back.”

I’ve ran into this before. When I travelled to Southern California earlier this year, I went to multiple Albertsons supermarkets, all listed on the Celsius, only to be told by the district manager that the Celsius product was discontinued.

My concern is that consumers looking to buy Celsius products will be turned off when they show up at a location where it’s advertised on the company website (www.celsius.com) as being sold, yet the product is not there when they show up to buy it. They may even end up choosing Enviga, or another competing product, if they can’t get their hands on Celsius.

In essence, if Celsius is advertised as being sold somewhere where it’s not being sold, we might as well be advertising for another product.

Even VFC, a fan of the Celsius product and a stockholder in the company, was tempted to take the easy way out and pick up some Enviga while I was in the Bloom looking for Celsius. I chose not to only because I remember how bad Enviga was when I tried it before, but a prospective new consumer of Celsius that doesn’t know any better may just pick up the Enviga and stick with it.

In previous Conference Calls, CEO Steve Haley has indicated that they will not advertise new distribution until the product is on the shelves. In VFC’s opinion, the same standard should be applied to the website, and the company should NOT advertise a location on the Celsius homepage until it’s confirmed that the product is on the shelf in that location.

I emailed the company about the specific Bloom location where I looked for the product and Mr. Haley stated in an emailed reply that the Bloom distribution was assumed to have been for the North Carolina area and that he was unaware that there were any Bloom locations in Maryland.

Someone from the company probably just looked up Bloom locations and typed them into the Celsius web page without actually following up to see if the distribution actually included the Maryland locations.

Celsius is not a well-known product because of the lack of an all-out advertising campaign, but the product sells itself when people find out about it. There are small time shareholders and supporters of the product out there spreading the word and drawing interest to the Celsius brand. A large part of word of mouth advertising is directing people to the Celsius website, and that’s why it’s imperative that the information contained on the website is correct.

USE THIS LINK TO PURCHASE CELSIUS!!!


As I’ve outlined above, sending someone into a store to buy Celsius that’s not there is almost an advertisement for the Enviga that IS there. I can see someone saying, “Well here’s another calorie-burner, it must be the same thing. I’ll try it out.” And at that point, we’ve just lost a customer (that can’t afford to be lost).

The last quarterly results were not too impressive, in VFC’s opinion. Although a large international order was included in the numbers, I didn’t feel there was enough proof inside the numbers that re-orders were taking place in any significant amount. Part of my concern is the fact that I’ve personally visited seven stores (five Albertons in SoCal, one Gelsen’s and one Bloom) where the Celsius website advertised the product as being sold only to find out that it was not.

In my opinion, whoever works the webpage and adds the new distribution needs to be on top of following up with the individual locations to see if the product is actually sold at each location. A pain in the booty that job just may be, but it’s a necessary step that needs to be taken, especially for a small company looking to grow it’s product and product awareness.

In the meantime, the little guy can still go out there and spread the Celsius awareness by word of mouth, but I suggest directing them to the website vice a specific store, with the exception of the Vitamin Shoppe locations, they always stock up. At least online a prospective customer will most certainly be able to order the product, and at better margins for the company, which is always a good thing.

VFC is still bullish on the product, and even with mass dilution, the stock is one of VFC’s longer term investments that I still think will pay off.

Part of my due diligence for the CSUH.OB stock is to eyeball the business plan, and for a company that cannot afford major advertising and does not have a huge distribution network in place, I like the methodical growing of the company. The management team is strong and committed, and has backed up their commitment with open-market share purchases.

Like I said before, the product will sell itself as consumers become aware of it, but for consumers to become aware of Celsius, Celsius needs to be selling where it’s advertised on the website as being sold.

That being said, VFC is doing his part, spreading the word and handing out some samples, having made Celsius fans out of quite a few people.

Vitamin Shoppe is still the best deal with the four-pack option, and the local managers of the Shoppes have informed me that the product is “Selling off the shelves.”

There’s a lot of potential for the brand name AND the stock, and VFC will be buying more CSUH.OB while we’re hanging on at eight cents.

The next two quarters are crucial, in my opinion, for giving us insight into how the re-orders are shaping up.

And still, I ask, where’s Jorge Hane?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sirius XM is Getting Mad (DOG)!

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Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Two decades ago I can remember listening to WFAN-NY when the new voices of Chris Russo and Mike Fransesa were in the early stages of a sports talk radio career that would dominate the New York Airwaves for years to come.

Controversial yet entertaining, these two personalities perfectly complimented each other to form a tag team tandem that could only compare to that of Dan and Keith on The Big Show.

Mike and the Mad Dog were staples of talk radio.

Until now.

Chris Russo would not accept a long term contract with the FAN and he' XM SatRad where he will have his own show and his own sports channel for about three million per year for at least three years.

Nice.

Not only is VFC anticipating the Dog's new show from two to seven PM weekdays on channel 123, but I think this deal is a better deal than Howard Stern, when all things are considered. At the time of the Stern deal, Sirius needed to make a splash, and a splash is what Sirius made when they threw half a billion dollars at the self proclaimed 'King of all media.'

This three million per year deal has already paid for itself (in VFC's humble opinion) with the publicity it's brought to SatRad. Lost in the headlines about the merger and little attention being paid to the superior content of Sirius XM, the Mad Dog has just made Sirius XM's content relevant once again. Let alone the fact that he will attract a slew of sports fans to SatRad.

Who knows if Russo can carry the success of the Mike and the Mad Dog show over to Sirius, especially since half of the dynamic duo will still be holding down a mic at the FAN, but Russo will be reaching a potential 18.5 million subscribers, which should bring in some good advertising dollars and more subs.

The only way Sirius has any chance of a stock price recovery in the short term is to show signs of significant growth while cutting costs and consolidating services between Sirius and XM.

Deals like the Mad Dog deal are perfect; premium talent for a relatively low price.

Stern could have been had for well less than what he signed for, in my opinion, but it's too late to save that cash.

The Russo deal is well worth it for the financial aspects, the added content, the buzz the signing has created and for the fact it gets our minds off the massive XM debt that Sirius just absorbed.

I'm a big fan of the Dog's signing, and I'll be looking forward to Russo's new show while the company gets it's shite together by building the radios that will take both signals and by synergizing the companies as has been advertised for over a year now. It's amazing these items are nine months away when they had a year and a half to plan. There's no excuse.

But the Mad Dog is a great distraction from the harsh realities of the post-merger life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cel-Sci Corp (CVM) Announced a Licensing Agreement Amid Stock Manipulation

VFC's long term cancer pick, Cel-Sci Corp (CVM), is back in the news after an encouraging Press Release, a letter to the shareholders and reports of stock manipulation.

On Tuesday the company issued a PR stating that the company has agreed to a licensing deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to market it's cancer drug Multikine in Israel and Turkey.

Multikine is thought to be useful to treat other tumor types aside from head and neck cancers, and Teva will reserve the right to market Multikine for other indications under the terms of the deal reported in the Press Release.

An excerpt from the PR follows:

"Pursuant to the agreement, Teva will participate in CEL-SCI's upcoming global Phase III clinical trial. Teva will fund a portion of the Phase III clinical study and Teva's clinical group will conduct part of the clinical study in Israel under the auspices of CEL-SCI and its Clinical Research Organization. Teva will also be responsible for registering the product in the Territory. Once Multikine has been approved, CEL-SCI will be responsible for manufacturing the product, while Teva will be responsible for sales in the Territory. Revenues will be split 50/50 between CEL-SCI and Teva."

This news sent the stock price up significantly on huge volume before retreating to close with a loss. The positive tone of the PR was lost after the negative trading, and most certainly scared away some squeamish stockholders.

The fact that Teva is willing to fund and take part in a portion of the Phase III trial is encouraging, as is the 50/50 split in revenues while Teva is responsible for sales in Israel and Turkey.

My Cash Resource - 125x125 - animated - v3

As I've mentioned before, Multikine is a potential blockbuster and the Phase III trial will commence in 3Q this year, upon the completion of the manufacturing plant outside of Baltimore, MD.

Today the CEO of Cel-Sci, Geert Kersten, sent a letter to the shareholders replying to an outcry of shareholder discontent following the poor stock action after the release of the good news.

The response from Geert implies illegal trading on the part of an unknown shareholder and requests that the shareholders contact their Senators and Congressmen so an official inquiry can be initiated.

It's no secret that stock manipulation is a common, yet often overlooked occurrence, and it's no secret that VFC doesn't like the big boys playing with stocks that may effect the well-being of a company that is developing a possibly lifesaving drug.

It's well-known that the Dendreon stock, DNDN, is being manipulated by naked-short-sellers and that the FDA's decision not to approve Provenge may have been made at the behest of dollars and not effectiveness of the drug. And now CVM is possibly the victim of a big boy looking out for his own bottom line and not thinking twice about the welfare of a company that's producing a possibly life-saving cancer medication.

In VFC's opinion, this particular short seller got caught by the surprise good news PR and had to manipulate the price back down to keep from taking a huge loss. It's also VFC's opinion that this guy is slowly covering his (or her) short position, judging by today's high-volumed, methodical rise in price.

I like the long-term prospects of CVM and I don't mind the low share price while I accumulate more shares.

It will be interesting to see how the accusations of stock manipulation play out, but in the meantime, my confidence is boosted by the Teva deal.

Still accumulatin' CVM!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Provenge Trials

It's been no secret since the first time Dendreon appeared on VFC's Stock House blog that I'm invested in Dendreon (DNDN) both as a stock investor and as an investor in hope for a breakthrough in the way we treat cancer today.

Although Dendreon has won small victories of late, since that rally to the mid-twenty-dollar range early last year, Dendreon's hope for Provenge approval hangs on the interim results of the ongoing IMPACT trial.

Those interim results are due in October, making DNDN a huge second half pick for shorts and longs alike.

There have been Shelf Offerings and nation-wide rallies, but for Dendreon, it all comes down to the interim results in October.

Last week, the company reported the initiation of two Phase II trials involving Provenge; Not to be confused with the IMPACT trial, these new trials will examine the effectiveness of Provenge at various dosage levels in various stages of prostate cancer. While all news regarding the effectiveness of Provenge is welcome, VFC is a tiny bit sceptical about the timing of the announcements of the initiation of these new trials.

There's a part of me that wonders why these trial are being initiated so close to the release of interim results from the IMPACT trial. That part of me wonders if Dendreon is initiating these trials because they have the inclination that interim IMPACT trials will not meet the results that will get Provenge approved, and they need to keep the investors interested and hanging on to something. In other words, these new trials may be the distraction needed to keep investors interested in the stock after failed interim October results. It's a thought; and definitely a plausible scenario - "These interim results have showed nothing, but LOOK! We're conducting more Provenge trials at different dosages at different points in the cancer's progression, so stay tuned to these trials for positive results!" Let's hope this scenario is NOT the case.

Another scenario is that the company is just conducting new trials at different dosages and different stages of progression because they are just that - different trials with no relevance to the IMPACT trial whatsoever. This scenario is definitely possible, but I'm not smelling it. There's a reason for this timing, whether it be positive or negative for IMPACT.

The last scenario in VFC's mind is that Dendreon is confident that the IMPACT trial will be a success and will ultimately lead to Provenge approval, so now they're willing to spend the money on these additional trials to continue to prove the Provenge success story. This way, the doctors will not have to prescribe Provenge off-label, there will be clinical trials to back it's effectiveness against less-advanced prostate cancer and the Doctors can prescribe at will. This scenario is also very likely, but I'm wondering if these trials would be necessary if Provenge was heading for approval in the near-term. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the brightest guy. At times in my life it took me an hour and a half to watch 60 minutes (before TiVo), so by no means do I have it all figured out. But I do know these companies have a reason for everything, and there is a reason for the latest Press Releases, and I'm willing to bet one of the above three scenarios is behind the current news release, I'm just not in the know enought to know which one is correct.

And since VFC cannot narrow down the probabilities of which scenario is the most likely, I certainly hope that the last one is the right one.

The truth is, I'm not confident enough in success that I am not holding all my investments in DNDN. I'm heavily loaded in Jan 2009 call options for DNDN at various strike prices, but I've been selling a few $20.00 calls for a bit of a profit lately just in case. The PRs on the new trials have me on edge, and as committed as I am to seeing IMPACT interim results succeed, I'm still a little nervous that the FDA will want more.

The FDA still needs to attempt to justify it's decision to counter the Advisory panel's decision to NOT approve Provenge last year.

Unfortunately the ball is in the FDA's court right now, and their court is not necessarily the court of what's best for the patient.

A hundred years ago, the most effective medications in the history of mankind were discovered by accident. Today, the FDA considers unplanned success as failure, failure that can only be made into successes with a billion dollar price tag; and their misguided judgement of failure leaves patients untreated. That's where we are right now with Provenge, a treatment that proved itself by accident (only because survivability was not a primary endpoint in initial trials), but one that worked - in my humble opinion, (and in the humble opinions of 13 members of the FDA's advisory committee.

I'm afraid that until the FDA gets new blood and a new look, we'll be stuck in the same stagnant, Big-Pharma-biased system that leaves no alternative from the status quo.

In a little over six weeks we'll know where Provenge stands, but for now, I have to be a little bit sceptical.

Sceptical, maybe, but still behind the ultimate approval of Provenge.

Adam Feurstein's Biotech Mailbag....You've Got to be Kidding!

I've got to admit, although hesitantly, that I was a reader of Adam Feurstein's Biotech Mailbag.

While scrolling through the Yahoo! Finance pages every weekend, I was sure to find a stock symbol (usually DNDN) with Feurstein's Mailbag linked to the recent news section of the page.

I'd always click on his link, mostly for entertainment value, as the guy tends to rely more on his hedge fund buddies' financial interests rather than actually taling fact, but sometimes there's been good nuggets of info.

I also enjoyed the fact that he'd always find a way to slip in a mention of the most popular stock at the time to attract clicks to his Mailbag. For the past year and a half, Adam always found a way to slip the word 'Dendreon' or the ticker 'DNDN' into his Mailbag articles to draw clicks to the site. Even though the majority of the time you had a DNDN mention, it was just that - a mention; nothing relevant, just a mention to get the symbol in the Yahoo! and Google worlds so that his Mailbag would pop up on the search engines. Pathetic.

You'd think the guy was desperate for clicks.

Tonight I clicked on the link to his Mailbag from the Yahoo! Finance page, as I normally do, and I got re-directed to a page asking for a subscription to his Mailbag! Of course, I'd get 14 free days, but I guess the Mailbag is now a pay-for privilege.

Are you kidding me? Pay for Feurstein's mailbag?

This was one of those situations that should be read about in Sports Illustrated's 'This Weeks Sign That The Apocolypse Is Coming'. Pay for the Mailbag? I don't think so.

Unfortunately my weekends won't be full of the humor that they once were; I actually enjoyed reading the Mailbag, but unfortunately I've never seen any research or analysis that was worth paying for.

For Adam, that's his living. I expect more than his obvious finacial bias.

VFC's Stock House can provide just as much entertainment for free! Except in the case of VFC, it's a hobby, not a job. And my only bias is my own opinion, not any hedge fund buddy's opinion or financial interest.

So for Adam Feurstein believing that people will pay for the mailbag? The man is kidding himself. But he ain't kiddin' me.

He'll have to slip in the symbol 'DNDN' every week just to draw any interest at all!

Friday, August 15, 2008

VFC Misses Out Again!

Back in July I took a look at my watch list and saw Zi Corp (ZICA) trading in the thirties (cents).
ZICA made my watch list about a year and a half ago when I had bought a handful of shares at around a buck and made some good dough when it spiked to over two bucks on some news, before dropping down again.

I've got a list of stocks that trade a high percentage up and down every so often, and I'm pretty sure the big boys manipulate these stocks to make some cash for themselves every so often. Avanex (AVNX) is another one of these. Although the revers split just undertaken by Avanex makes it less likely we'll get those high rises anymore. Anyway, I looked at ZICA in the thirties last month and thought I should buy in, but alas, VFC passed at the time, and today I'm kickin myself in the butt for it.

Zi Corp announced a takeover offer from Nuance and recent trading sent the stock price on a path to a nice double and there's nothing wrong with a double, unless you're on the sidelines like I was.

Those of you that were in, good on you.

The unsolicited buyout offer is for eighty cents, so there's still room and time to make money on the deal, but Zi Corp is non committal on what their decision will be. If they don't accept the deal, then a trip down into the thirties again should be expected.

At this point the risk-reward isn't there for me, but I'm not happy when a stock on the watch list does what I think it's gonna do; while I'm on the sidelines. That nice double would have been nice to counter the TTP and VNDA action of late!

Happy Trading!

Capstone Turbine (CPST), Again a Good Buy

It's been a while since Capstone Turbine, the world's leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems, hit some nice highs, but VFC is looking at buying some more shares at the current level.

The most recent quarterly report fell short of anaylst expectations, but once again the company reported a large amount of backlog. The backlog, according to the company's Press Release, was in the $42.7 million range.

The recent rise in energy cost sent VFC looking for something green to throw in the portfolio, and I found CPST down around a dollar. Since then the stock has had it's ups and downs, currently trading in the mid-two dollar range, where I'm buying more shares.

Capstone, I believe, was flying under the radar when it was down near a dollar, but now with more exposure and a recent run-up, it's a lot more known and not so much the hidden secret that I thought it was when I found it.

Luckily, with the demand for Capstone's microturbines and the growing backorders, I still have confidence that we still have a lot of reward to reap from CPST than the 68% total return I've gotten so far (my average in is at $1.50).

Capstone is still a company still looking to make a profit, but the losses are shrinking, the orders keep coming in and the market for 'green' is not going away.

To me, that's a recipe for success for both Capstone and for it's investors.

Veracity Credit Consultants

Camping World

A New Quarter For Celsius, CSUH.OB

Celsius Holdings finally got that million dollar quarter.

Exciting as is the news of a million dollar quarter for the company and it's investors, VFC was hoping for (and expecting) a little bit more.

A large chunk of the one million dollars came from that large, overseas order and will come off the books for next quarter.

I'm still long and strong in CSUH.OB, having confidence in the potential of the product and the company's future, but I'm also a little wary of how the re-orders are shaping up. I would have liked to see a $1.3 million quarter to show that the product was selling strong and that the re-orders were coming in. Signing large distributors is nice, but I'm not yet convinced that the product is selling strong and being re-ordered in all markets.

That being said, I am confident that the management team of Celsius is building this brand in the most efficient way possible, given their financial restraints, and many of the insiders have purchased shares, but the constant dilution is starting to raise some VFC concerns.

The next six months, in VFC's humble opinion, are crucial. The next six months should give us a real good idea how well the product is selling in the new distribution markets and how much is being re-ordered.

We also have the Celsius Green Tea product to look forward to. There's a good market out there for green tea, and we don't have to wait to much longer to try it out; launch will be in September.

There may also be future products under development by the company, but we need to start seeing some results now on the current products before I get too excited about anything else. Every day that passes is another day of wondering when they will announce more dilution.

Most recently the company brought on board Carl DeSantis, the former Chairman of Rexall Sundown, Inc. This guy is an excellent addition to the board, he built a billion-dollar nutrient supplement company from the ground up, but it took a whole lot of dilution and potential dilution to secure his presence on the board and some of his truckloads of cash. However, his appointment to the board could be a turning point for the company, as his pull in this industry should get the Celsius brand a foothold in places that it otherwise would not. I expect to start seeing some big-time distribution deals come as a result of his presence on the board. Anything less would be a let-down to the investors.

I'm standing with the shares I have and look forward to the next few quarters, especially September when the Green Tea product will be launched.

AND I'm still waiting on a Jorge Hane update. The Hane deal could be a great thing for product sales, but what gives?

Next quarter I'll be paying close attention to the re-orders, as I remember the Albertsons supermarket network in Southern California that never re-ordered the product. Maybe they have since I was last there months ago, but the area supervisor insisted that they had sold out of Celsius and were not going to re-order. My fear is that if the product doesn't sell too quickly, the retailer will not re-order and try something new in it's shelf space. A million dollar quarter without the large international order would quell my fear.

Now I wait til September to give that Green Tea a try. And I'll be waiting for that nice spike to twenty that we get every so often, most likely to let the big boys flip a few shares before they drop it down to ten cents again.

If the big boys can do it, so can I.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dendreon Gains a Small Victory, but the Big News is Still Pending...

While most investors and prostate cancer patients await interim results for Dendreon's (DNDN) ongoing trial for the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge, on a daily basis a group of activists continues the fight to get Provenge approved and to undo a possible injustice committed by the FDA.



As I've covered here before, last year the FDA denied to approve Provenge even though the FDA's advsory panel declared Provenge safe by a 17-0 vote and declared it effective in a 13-4 vote. The share price rose from around a four dollar level to the mid-twenties, sending the VFC family to a Dominican wedding and landing a windfall for those that were inclined to believe the FDA just might approve Provenge (and killed those who were short DNDN at the time).



Weeks later, the FDA issued an approvable letter to Dendreon, stating that they needed more proof that Provenge actually increases survivability, and further stated that Provenge could be approved with positive interim results due out later this year. This sent the stock price plummeting (making shorts happy, and making unhappy investors out of those that did not sell on the previous spike), and made thousands of prostate cancer patients unhappy, as Provenge was a new hope for those that did not want to suffer through chemo, Taxatore and it's horrible side effects.



Following the FDA's denial, conflicts of interest surfaced regarding two doctors that served on the advisory committee and they later became adamant in not approving Provenge. One of the two, Howard Scher had huge connections Novacea, who at the time was working on a competing product to Provenge, among a laundry list of other conflicts of interest (most of which were not declared when appointed to the panel).



Cancer patients and investors alike have waited for more than a year now, as Dendreon has been in and out of the news and another competing firm, Cell Genesys (CEGE) brought it's GVAX prostate cancer vaccine through Phase II trials. Care to live, a non profit organization dedicated to Provenge approval held a nationwide protest against the FDA's denial of Provenge and to raise awareness of the cause.



Although Provenge is still not on the market, small victories are starting to be won. The FDA has revised it's Advisory committee guidelines, and now any potential committee member must not play a 'crucial role' or have financial interests greater than $50,000 in companies that may be affected by the committee's actions.



It's safe to assume, this is a result of the Provenge aftermath.



Care to live is also moving along with several lawsuits while Congress has ignored the call to investigate the controversial actions of the FDA and it's advisory committee.



The small victories are nice, but they're just that...small. The real news will come on the IMPACT trial interim results, and ultimately, with the FDA (again).

And that FDA decision is why patients and investor alike will be on edge until the results are released.

Judging by options activity, bets are lining up on both sides of the fence. Here's to hoping the results are definitive and the FDA rejects conflicts of interest, for a change.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Exxon (XOM) Making Record Profits While We Pay At The Pump

It hits a nerve for the average American these days when we're paying four bucks-plus for a gallon of gas at the pump while Exxon (XOM) makes a habit out of breaking their own records for quarterly profits. Those profits are coming at the expense of the little guys like us.

We can listen to big oil tell us it's a story of supply and demand and a shortage of worldwide supply, but the truth is, oil prices are rising, but the profits for big oil are rising even more.

The rising price of gas isn't what gets to me. The manipulation behind the price increase is what bothers me.

In Europe, where VFC and family lived for a decade, gas is, and has been, roughly four times as expensive as it is here in the states. The price of gas out there has forced the Europeans to live in a culture that is quite the opposite of what we have here in America.
Europeans drive small, fuel-efficient cars while in America we drive large, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks.
Europeans also walk heck of a lot more than we do here in America, in part to avoid spending the money it costs to drive (not to mention the fact that they believe walking is healthy). That's directly oppositie to what we see here; someone sitting in their car waiting for that parking spot that is four spots closer to Wal-Mart even though there are 50 open spots just 20 feet away. By the time that person has got that closer spot, I've already showed up, parked in a spot 30 feet further up the row and made it in the store before that person waiting gets in the closer spot. Of course I can understand their plight, they can't stuff their face full of McDonald's french fries while they are walking, so the extra five minutes waiting for the closer spot gives them a chance to clog their arteries that much more.

But I digress, this is supposed to be about Exxon and their record quarterly profits, not about America's overindulgence or why people are afraid to walk and extra fifty feet to the entrance to Target. (my favorite is watching people do this outside Gold's gym. You're going to the freakin gym, but you won't walk an extra 40 feet to get to the gym). What's wrong with people?

Overindulgence and rising gas prices go hand in hand, I do believe. We overindulge in our vehicles, because we've always got to have the bigger and better vehicle. Our neighbor has an extended cab? I need a supercab. Who cares that half of the time it's not practical. I know couples with no children that drive an SUV each. Is that necessary? Do we really need to drive the cars that get 12 miles to the gallon, when it's just ONE PERSON that needs to be driven around? (Admittedly, I'm just as guilty driving a supercab F-150, but it's our family vehicle. Room for the kids. Our other vehicle is a small, economical VW).

Exxon and big oil knows that, in America, we need to drive. This manipulation of gas prices to the higher is a good thing fundamentally if it gets us to change our habits. Carpool; take mass transit; walk (hah! don't see that happening); ride a bike; buy an economical car.

But what I don't like, is that at the expense of us changing our habits, the big oil guys and their politician buddies are making a killing on profits.

We're prisoners of our own society. When gas prices rise, there's an uproar, but we have no choice but to drive because we've built a society that relies on us being in a car. God forbid there's a grocery store in a residential area. Zoning won't allow it. Our own zoning laws make it so you HAVE to get in a car and drive miles just to get a gallon of milk and some eggs. What's up with that?

The Europeans got it right; there's always everything you need within walking distance, unless you're really out there. They've got a society out there built around society; built around people.

Our society is built around overindulgence and having to get in a car and drive. That's why the gas prices hit us so hard, that's why we have no choice but to pay them and that's why Exxon can have record-breaking quarter after record-breaking quarter and there's nothing the little guy can do to counter-act those record profits.

What's more ridiculous? The fact that we have to live in our cars, the fact that gas is rising so high or the fact that when they break their own records the stock price drops because The Street actually thought they'd bring in MORE revenue than they did? Or is it ridiculous that The Street is OK with the fact that Exxon and big oil gets rich off the little guy, because the guys on The Street get rich by ripping off the little guy, too, don't they?

I've gone all over the place trying to make a point here.

No one is out there to look out for the little guy, we've got to look out for ourselves. Our way to do that is to counter-act the culture of overindulgence. We've got to drive the fuel-efficient cars. We've got to be willing to carpool, take a bus, a train or ride a bike. We've got to carpool to the supermarket if we have to, but we've got to do what we've got to do.

I, for one, am tired of watching us get ripped off by the big boys. The extra money that Exxon takes from the little guys is one or two less days at the movies for the kids. Or two less times a family eats out a month. (Which looking at the portions around here that may be a good thing for someone's health).

Exxon has done some good, being the only ones willing to fight Hugo Chavez, but these profits are getting ridiculous, only because it's the little guys that suffer. I'm all for a business doing what's best for the shareholder, but who's regulating these guys? Where's the ethics?

Exxon and big oil should spend some of that money fixing our infrastructure so that America is not so dependent on oil. It's fine to find alternatives to oil, but we wouldn't need the oil OR the alternative so bad if we'd just make it easier to live. Build a freakin grocery store within walking distance of a residential community. Build a restaraunt that a family can walk to.

These are the things we need to fix before we worry about prices at the pump.

For Celsius, This May Just Be The Beginning

Recently Celsius (CSUH.OB) came at us with Green Tea, the company's first non-carbonated beverage to accompany to the market the already popular five flavors of carbonated Celsius beverage.

When the Green Tea product was announced, I was curious as to whether or not the Green Tea was the 'new product' that CEO Steve Haley had promised us earlier in the year or if the Green Tea was considered just an extension of the existing product line.

My recent correspondence with Matt, another CSUH.OB investor and fan of the Celsius brand who I met through VFC's Stock House, shed some light on this subject for me.

Matt wrote the CEO of Celsius Holdings, Steve Haley, and posed the question directly to him.

Matt's question to Mr. Haley: "Are the green teas considered a ‘line extension’ of Celsius? Or are they considered the ‘new product’ that we are waiting for?"

And Mr. Haley's response: “The green teas are really more of a line extension. We are going to push our technology (Metaboost™) and the Celsius brand into more beverage formats. RTD teas were the best place to start for the non-carbonated variety since they are already in the healthier for you world. We have more planned.”

I like Steve Haley's response, as it proves this top-notch management team is still planning on bringing more product variety to market, but his answer doesn't quite clarify whether the 'new product' is actually just 'more of a line extension'. If it is 'more of a line extension', then is there still a new 'product' on the way?

Either way, I like the Green Tea idea, as Green Tea has cut out it's own niche in today's society as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.

I still drink Celsius, and I'm looking forward to trying the Green Tea flavors. The Celsius product is selling itself, and with earnings coming, we could be in store for some pleasant surprises.

I'm also a fan of the management team; they are building a business and a product slowly and smartly, not spending money on large-scale advertising campaigns until the distribution is in place. Now that the distribution is growing, the new line of Green Teas can hit the shelves that much quicker. I'm also confident that the advertising will come, but for now, word of mouth and localized advertising is doing the trick.

Another positive is that insiders own a lot of CSUH.OB shares, a positive indicator because these guys are putting their own money behind their product, such as Mel Karmazin did for SIRI when he recently purchased two million shares of SIRI stock.

VFC is still long and strong CSUH.OB and looking forward to the upcoming earnings release.

Thanks to Matt for his input and for corresponding with Mr. Haley to get us some answers!

Mel Karmazin Stocks Up On SIRI

The price of the SIRI stock has plummeted since the announcement of the Sirius/XM Satellite Radio merger, making the shorts look good and the longs wonder if there will be any end to the freefall.

It looks like Mel Karmazin, CEO of the combined company, put a bottom into the freefalling SIRI stock by making an open-market purchase for two million shares of SIRI at $1.37.

I'm always a fan of insider buying (although it didn't work too well for the insiders that bought into TTP), and Mel's big purchase here is no different. Although the stock placement at a buck fifty after the merger was approved was much needed to refinance XM debt, it killed any short-term upward potential of the SIRI stock, and Mel is now showing some confidence in the future of the company.

Short sellers have made a killing by shorting the SIRI stock, but now it may be time for them to start covering.

A ten cent move up is no consolation for the shareholders who've watched the stock drop down to the low one dollar range, but a ten cent move up in After Hour Trading was the result of the announcement of Mel's purchase.

VFC believes SIRI will now begin an uptrend, with some sideways trading mixed in, and I believe SIRI is a great buy trading in the one dollar range. A two billion dollar market cap seems too low for the combined SatRad company.

There's still a good chance that the stock price could rebound enough to make my January 2009 call options worth something, and that's a scenario I'd like to see. Valuable call options makes it easier for VFC and his family to live the good life that they love so much. I'll also be purchasing more shares while the price is this low.

Once the synergies start to take effect, worth $400 million according to Mel, and those synergies reflect on the bottom line, then confidence in SIRI will grow, and the price will react accordingly.

In the meantime, I'm still counting the days until I can get the Mets games on my Sirius radio.

VFC is still buying SIRI at these low levels. I haven't been shaken out, and I like this price.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Sirius XM Merger

Another big piece of news that took place while the VFC family sipped vodka-frescas on the beach of Los Cabos was the long overdue merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio companies.

A year and a half and mucho manipulation later, the merger was finally approved, but contrary to VFC's thinking that we'd get a pop to three bucks on the news, we got stuck with the new company completing a stock sale at a pretty hefty discount to raise money to finance XM's ridiculous debt. The discounted stock sale is something I did not factor in.

Another piece of disappointing news is the fact that XM is now a 'wholly owned subsidiary' of Sirius, so in actually, the merger never happened...yet. I do believe that as time goes on, all the synergies that Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius, promised us will play out and the long term stockholder will be rewarded. In the meantime, it doesn't look like the companies did much during the long wait to ensure a quick transition into making these synergies happen, but then what do I know?

Radios that are equipped to receive both signals are nine months away still? That's ridiculous, I was looking forward to enjoying some Mets games this season on a new receiver box.

And if XM continues operations as normal, just owned now by Sirius and not merged with Sirius, I think we've got thrown for a loop. I'll play the wait and see game on my final opinion of this merger. Initially, I'm inclined to believe that SIRI may have been better off without XM and XM's huge debtload, but if the cost-saving synergies are realized as Mel promised, SIRI will still be fine, and so will the investors.

I'm loaded on January '09 stock options, which just got cheaper to buy a little more, so I've got some time to wait for the bump. I'm also holding the stock waiting on longer-term gains.

VFC is happy that the 'merger' is finally completed, but I'll be happier when I can get the NY Mets games on my radio. What was Mel doing for a year and a half? I thought he'd have had this all planned out a little bit better, but the ones who did the correct planning are the short-sellers who've made a killing lately!

From these levels, VFC is looking for at least a double by years end. Again, what do I know, but I can see it happening.

For now, I'll have to settle for the static that comes with trying to listen to the Mets on WFAN in my current location.

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