John Ransom

Welcome to stocks in the news where the headline meets the trendline.

Stock Number One: Symantec Corporation (SYMBOL: SYMC)

And the headline says: Symantec Plunges As CEO Tells Of Tough Q2 Revamp --Investor's Business Daily

“CEO Steve Bennett told IBD that the "tough quarter" involved more than 90% of salespeople having new territory assignments amid the security software maker's corporate strategic realignment. Earnings beat, but Symantec cut its guidance. And revenue for its fiscal Q2 2014 ended Sept. 27 fell 3% from the year-earlier quarter to $1.64 billion on a currency-adjusted basis, where analysts were looking for $1.69 billion.”

The company is already trading at 20 times earnings, a premium to the market right now.Analysts will likely be downgrading their estimates over the coming weeks, even with this upside surprise on earnings.

Well the companies participated in the recent rally in the stock market, it’s chart remains fairly unimpressive. And on a personal note I don’t find their products all that impressive either.

Our Ransom Notes Trendline says: Avoid Symantec

STMP Chart

STMP data by YCharts

Stock number two: Potash of Saskatchewan (SYMBOL: POT)

And the headline says: Potash falls after lowering FY13 earnings guidance – Fly on the Wall

“Shares of fertilizer and feed products company Potash (POT) are sinking after the company reported quarterly results that missed estimates, and lowered its 2013 profit outlook,” writes FOTW, “WHAT'S NEW: This morning, Potash reported third quarter earnings per share of 41c and revenue of $1.52B, compared to analysts’ consensus estimates of 43c and $1.53B.”

The company also slashed estimate guidance between about 5% to 20%, depending on actual performance and estimates used.

The company has missed earnings estimates in three of the last four quarters, with some analysts slashing estimates as much as 40% in the last 90 days.

Well it’s trading at a low PE of about 12 times trailing earnings, that’s likely because it’s performance sucks and will get worse before it gets better.

Our Ransom Note Trendline says: Sell Potash

POT Chart

POT data by YCharts

Stock Number Three: (SYMBOL: STMP)

And the headline says:'s CEO Discusses Q3 2013 Results – Seeking Alpha

“During the third quarter, we achieved several record non-GAAP results,” says Ken McBride Chairman and CEO of, “including record operating income of $10.1 million, which is up 21% year-over-year; record operating margin of 32.3%; record net income of $10.1 million, up 22% year-over-year; record earnings per fully diluted share of $0.62, which was up 24% year-over-year; and we also achieved year-over-year growth of 11% in paid customers in our core PC Postage business; record paid customers in our enterprise business, and strong total postage printed by our customer base, which was up 25% year-over-year.”

What I find interesting about this story is that several companies including have figured out a way to profit from the revolution in the letter and package delivery business. Question: Why can’t the United States Post Office do the same thing?

Now imagine if the United States did the same thing with others industries, like for example banking, or healthcare how bad they’d be. Oh, that’s right, they have Federal Reserve Bank, Fannie and Freddie, etc. etc.

No wonder they don’t want to audit the Fed.

But you have to just LOVE what they are doing with Obamacare, right?

Right? is too darned expensive.

Our Ransom Note Trendline says: Avoid

STMP Chart

STMP data by YCharts

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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