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Weekend Edition

The Best of The S&A Digest
Saturday, December 15, 2007

12% Letter pick McDonald's (MCD) hit an all-time high this week. It increased same-store sales 8.2% on cappuccinos and $1 double cheeseburgers in the U.S. and chicken in Europe and Asia... Analysts estimated 5% sales growth. McDonald's has increased its sales for 55 consecutive months. Tom's readers are up 50% on the recommendation in a year.
 
Right now, Tom is bullish on several high-yield oil & gas plays.
 
Homebuilder D.R. Horton joins the ranks of the desperate... The company sold a 7,000-acre plot of residential land outside of Phoenix at $10,000 an acre. The sale was a 60% discount from the land's peak price... but D.R. Horton was still able to book a profit. It purchased the land for $7,000 an acre in 2004.
 
As of last week, Virgin Mobile was the most shorted stock in the United States, with 136% of its float shorted.
 
Goldman Sachs has been buying Japanese real estate for a decade, but the bank recently raised $2 billion to invest in real estate across Asia. The money will come from the bank's balance sheet – no leverage. Steve Sjuggerud has been hot on Asian real estate for years. In fact, his Sjuggerud Confidential Japanese real estate play is currently his No. 1 pick for subscribers. To read more, click here...
 
Why is Google capturing less than half as much market share as Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine? Because locals can't pronounce the name. "G-O-O-G-L-E is not a normal Chinese spelling and people don't pronounce it right," Kai-fu Lee, Google's president of Chinese operations, said in a November 30 Beijing interview. "Most people call us 'go go.'"
 
As I write, Berkshire shares passed $150,000... the highest per-share price in the history of the markets. Extreme Value readers are up almost 80%.
 
In yesterday's issue, Extreme Value editor Dan Ferris told readers his No. 1 stock pick for the next five years, calling it "one of the greatest businesses on earth."
 
From a recent 13D filing... Clinton Group, a New York hedge fund with billions under management, recently purchased 1,092,270 shares, 7.2%, of electronics retailer Sharper Image. Sharper Image shares are down 79% to $3 from a 52-week high of $14.
 
Most investors assume this is a bullish sign for the stock. But many times, we've seen a control-seeking investor, like Clinton, buy a token amount of stock in addition to a big position in a company's bonds just before the business files for bankruptcy. This gives them a better chance at controlling the company when it's reorganized.
 
Signs of a top in metal prices... The world's biggest waste-management companies, SUEZ and Veolia, are dismantling airplanes and selling the scraps. More than 10,000 airplanes will reach the end of their lives by 2025, and close to a third of them are already grounded in deserts and tarmacs. SUEZ and Veolia expect the business to generate billions in revenues... Both see recycling as their fastest-growing sector.
 
Signs of a top for Goldman... After yet another record year, the average bonus for Goldman Sachs employees will be $360,000. CEO Lloyd Blankfein is set to earn $70 million, a 30% increase from last year.
 
Signs of a top in oil... Singapore Airlines today announced the first nonstop, 22-hour flight from Houston to Moscow. The inaugural flight will be March 20.
 
It's no surprise, but Chris Weber is bullish on gold... And he knows what he's talking about. Twenty-five years ago, Chris helped write the Minority Report for the U.S. Gold Commission with current presidential candidate Ron Paul. The book explains the relationship between gold and the U.S. dollar and gives ideas for reintroducing the gold standard. You can access a free online version here. To read more from Chris Weber, click here.
 
How to measure the extent of the China bubble? Let us count the ways. Here's one: Ping An Insurance is close behind American Insurance Group in the race to be the world's second-biggest insurer in terms of market capitalization. Ping An's shares trade for 41 times earnings. AIG trades for 9.2 times earnings. And AIG collects nearly as much in premiums per month as Ping An does all year.
 
More than half of mainland China's investment managers have less than two years' experience, according to Beijing-based research firm TX Investment Consulting. A third have been running money for less than a year. They're about to learn an important lesson...
 
Regards,
 
Porter Stansberry




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Date Range:12/6/2007 to 12/13/2007
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Date Range:12/6/2007 to 12/13/2007
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