Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Earlier this month water utility Xylem, Inc. (XYL: NYSE) reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ending December 2019. Xlyem earns its way delivering potable water, transporting and treating waste water and dewatering industrial sites. The company’s residential and commercial customers circle the globe in 150 different countries. Revenue crept up to $5.25 billion from $5.21 billion in the previous year. Operating income increased slightly to $697 million after excluding one-time restructuring and impairment charges. Xylem is nothing if consistent in the delivery of earnings to shareholders.
Importantly, Xylem generates operating cash flow. In the year 2019, the company converted 16% of each sales dollar into operating cash flow. This was an impressive improvement over the prior year when only $0.11 from each sales dollar ended up as operating cash. Even at the lower sales-to-cash conversion rate Xylem’s cash machine powers through an ambitious capital budget and supports the company’s equally generous shareholder dividend.
Friday, February 14, 2020
Romans were the consummate romantics or at least lustful. In their heyday they celebrated fertility with the Lupercalia festival in mid-February. Ever efficient and democratic in their celebrations, women were reportedly paired off with men through a lottery. By the Century Five AD, the Roman’s had become sufficiently converted to Christianity to replace the licentious Lupercalia with a feast to honor a martyr named Valentine. We have a couple choices as to which ‘Val’. One historical account holds that a priest named Valentine secretly married couples so that the solider-groom could avoid going to war. Another speaks of a priest-healer named Valentine who commemorated through letters his great devotion to a young woman he helped cure of blindness.
|14th Century Cupid|
One way or another Valentine’s Day is associated with love. Even as commercial interests have co-opted the day, there is has been no erosion in its affectionate underpinnings. By the 14th Century artists put the Roman god of love, Cupid, to work as a mascot for Valentine’s Day. Printed cards started cropping up in the 18th Century depicting love birds as well as Cupid himself.
Our modern celebrations encompass the full gamut. The more adventuresome can reach back all the way to Lupercalia with gifts of intimate wear. Otherwise romantics can play it safe with gifts of jewelry, flowers and candy. The holiday can be celebrated by streaming a ‘romcom’ video at home or venturing out to a movie theater and capping off with dinner at a white table cloth restaurant.
Given the longevity of the Valentine's Day observance, it seems investors should get in the mood too with a clutch of ‘love stocks.’ A few suggestions are shown below.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
“The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore….”
It has been thirty years since the first geopositioning units were sold to map-challenged consumers. Appropriately named after the first mariner to circumnavigate the world, the Magellan navigation device paved the way to a robust market for location services. Now having conquered land and sea, the location and positioning industry has turned indoors for new worlds to explore and tame.
Self-described indoor data company Inpixon, Inc. (INPX: Nasdaq) is at the forefront of the endeavor. The company has crafted a unique service line based on a proprietary geopositioning network and data analytics program. The company was recently recognized as a ‘visionary’ in the indoor location services sector by Gartner Analytics, an industry research firm. However, what may make Inpixon even more interesting to investors is the multiplicity of use cases that provide the company with a wide addressable market to monetize its innovations.
Market Opportunity On Fire
The global indoor positioning and navigation (IPN) market was valued at $2.6 billion in 2017 by industry research firm Allied Market Research. However, Allied may be unduly conservative. Research and Markets, another market research firm, pegged the IPN market at $6.9 billion in the same year while analysis completed by yet a third firm, Market and Markets, determined a 2017 market size of $7.1 billion.
What the research analysts all seem to agree upon is that the IPN market is expanding. Allied projects that compound annual growth in the sector could reach an impressive 42% through the year 2025. Market and Markets is in complete agreement on that pace at least through 2022. Research and Markets calculated a lower compound annual growth rate of 25.8%, but has confidence that hyper growth can last well through 2026.
Friday, February 07, 2020
Intermittent power production had been the Achilles heel of solar and wind power systems. Nonetheless, renewable systems have been redeemed with ever more effective and efficient energy storage solutions. The proprietary energy storage system of upstart SimpliPhi Power is one of them, offering the versatility to meet a variety of use cases.
SimpliPhi has developed a battery that uses non-toxic lithium ferro phosphate chemistry for the cathode in a lithium ion battery. The capacity of this battery is higher than designs using cobalt oxide chemistry. Importantly the chemistry is more stable and therefore safer than conventional lithium ion batteries. SimliPhi has found a way to overcome the drawback of low electrical conductivity that has limited commercialization of ferro phosphate technology in the past.
SimpliPhi claims deployments across the United States and Britain, including businesses, schools, hospitals, and multi-family residences. The technology has even met the exacting requirements of the U.S. military.