May 4, 2014 Comments

The latest version of our free newsletter was sent out yesterday. You should have received it but note that it is a separate email mailing list.

On Friday the S&P 500 fell 0.1% while Toronto rose 0.7%.

Notable gainers included Constellation Software up 3.6%, Element Financial up 4.3% and Toll Brothers up 2.0%

After the close on Thursday it was announced that a unit of Berkshire Hathaway was buying AltaLink and electricity transmission company in Alberta from SNC Lavalin. SNC’s stock jumped 5.1% on the news.

It now appears that SNC was a buying opportunity at prices in the $35 to $40 range back in 2012 when major problems with bribery were identified at the company. Back on June 20, 2012 I commented on SNC and said that I would stay away from it. It seemed to me that the corruption was probably well entrenched in the company. Subsequent to that I was not very impressed how it was handling the issue. It seemed to blame it on a few bad apples as opposed to doing a major house cleaning. But perhaps in fact the problem has been well taken care of. Buying a wounded company after its price falls can be a good strategy. The difficulty is to determine how the serious the wounds are. In the case of SNC it was well known that it had two valuable assets in AltaLink and in its 407 Toll road that it could sell. I have not looked at SNC and so I really have no idea if it is still a good investment at this point.

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