I love stock charts. Especially the minute-by-minute ones. I've always considered them to be far and away the best time scale for examining the movements of stock traders. I love them even though Foolish investors are practically invisible on minute-by-minute charts because we invest over such long time spans.
For example, scanning the financial news that came out near the end of last week, I came across the fiscal third-quarter 2005 earnings release for extreme-apparel maker Quiksilver
If you click that second link, you'll see a mini-buying frenzy in the minutes just before the release, followed by a panicked reversal into selling in the minutes just afterwards . followed, over the course of a few hours' worth of cooler heads prevailing, by a return of the stock's price to just about where it was before all this nonsense began.
So who stood to benefit from all that craziness? I suspect, mainly the good folks at Ameritrade
First and foremost, Quiksilver has completed its purchase of Skis Rossignol, about which my Foolish colleague Rich Duprey wrote back in March. As you may recall, the other Rich praised the acquisition and termed the subsequent sell-off of Quiksilver stock a "chance to make some quick silver of one's own."
Good call, Rich. Over the past six months, Quicksilver has already risen 8.1% from its March 24 price, outpacing the S&P 500's rise over that time period.
Nonetheless, I have come not to praise Quiksilver but to bury it -- under the mountain of inventory it inherited from Rossignol. Sure, the combined company grew its revenues by 11% and profits by 26% over the past year -- facts management was quick to point out. But management quickly shifted gears when describing how inventories rose only 19% "excluding the inventory acquired as part of the Rossignol acquisition." Similarly, Quiksilver described accounts receivable as rising 23% "excluding the inventory acquired as part of the Rossignol acquisition."
Why the sudden change of emphasis? Because if you don't brush aside the Rossignol part of the combined business, the fact is that combined inventories skyrocketed by 144%, and accounts receivable rose 59%. In this Fool's opinion, Quiksilver has bought itself a heap of trouble along with its new premium brand. And don't bother trading on that opinion. Disposing of $438 million in inventory is going to be a long-term story.
For bullish views on Quiksilver, skate on over to:
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.