October 4, 2011
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: When all was said and done, a day that began deeply in the red turned out to be a "green" day for the markets Tuesday. So ... sighs of relief all around ... and one shout of elation, from the shareholders of Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD ) , which gained 12% on the day.
So what: What turned a belated relief rally into a stampede of buyers at Sears Holdings? It's hard to say, exactly. Tuesday did see a mildly bullish article on the company published on SeekingAlpha.com, in which it was pointed out that famed Fairholme fund manager Bruce Berkowitz is bullish on Sears stock, and despite seeing the value of his investment decline, he still owns a good $1.1 billion chunk of the retailer -- about a 16% stake at today's prices.
Now what: But while I commend Berkowitz's stick-to-it-iveness, I can't endorse his choice of stocks. Despite having fond hopes for Sears in the early days of Eddie Lampert's tenure as chairman, I've been continually disappointed by the company's poor results. Today, Sears bears many of the traits I hate in a stock -- negative profit margins, declining sales, and no prospects for a positive P/E in the foreseeable future -- while lacking the one trait I value most: free cash flow. If a company can't generate cash from its business, it's not going to get any of mine as an investment. Today's 12% rally at Sears doesn't change my opinion of the stock a whit.
Disagree? Think Sears Holdings still has a future? Add it to your Fool Watchlist and see if you're right.