Posts Tagged ‘Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference’

Consumer confidence abounds at Burkenroad Reports Conference

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference attracted a record attendance, and according to conference organizer Peter Ricchiuti, that’s a good sign for the economy.

Peter Ricchiuti

Peter Ricchiuti, right, says the best-performing Burkenroad Reports stocks this year were tied to consumer products and consumer confidence. (Photo by Stephen Daigle)

“I think investors are starting to get a little bit of their mojo back, and that really showed up in terms of how many people came,” says Ricchiuti, professor of practice and research director of Burkenroad Reports. “The other reason is people are really sick of getting 0 percent on their CDs and money markets. I think that was a driving force, too.”

The conference, which took place on Friday (April 27) at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place, is an annual showcase for the small- and mid-cap companies covered by the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports equities research program, but it also serves as a barometer of sorts for the economy, and judging by this year’s results, consumer confidence is back with a vengeance. Of the 40 companies followed by the program’s student analysts, the best performers this year were all consumer-oriented firms.

Leading the pack was Conn’s Inc., a Texas-based electronics retailer, whose stock boasted a total return of 229 percent in the last 12 months. Conn’s was followed by Susser Holdings Corp., an operator of convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana, which returned 98 percent, and Pool Corp., a wholesale distributor of pool and pool-related products, which returned 56 percent.

Perhaps an even bigger story at the conference this year was the disaster in natural gas prices. A boom in production coupled with an unusually warm winter has had a devastating effect on prices, and that drop has hit some Burkenroad companies hard. RPC Inc., an oilfield services company that does a lot of work with natural gas projects, has seen its share price fall from $18 to $9 in the last year.

The short-term picture may look bleak, but Ricchiuti says the long-term outlook for natural gas—an abundant domestic source of clean-burning fuel—remains bright.

“Sometimes, the stocks that are least loved turn out the best,” Ricchiuti says. “Last year at this time, everybody was worried if consumers would come back, and consumer stocks led the way this year. Now everybody’s fearing that natural gas will be swallowed up alive, so this is probably the time to be buying those stocks.”

This year’s conference attracted more than 700 attendees hailing from 18 states and three foreign countries, and in keeping with tradition, Ricchiuti says that number was almost equally divided between pinstriped professionals and so-called retail investors, the amateurs and hobbyists who attend the conference each year to help them better manage their IRAs and 401(k)s.

“We had some big-name professional people from some big firms, but you still had the housewives from Marrero, ” Ricchiuti laughs. “That was fun too.”


Burkenroad conference attracts biggest crowd in history

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It might not be obvious from the standing-room-only crowds, but investment professionals still regard the Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference, which took place on April 15 at the downtown Sheraton, as one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.

Peter Ricchiuti

Peter Ricchiuti, center, with James Harp, left, and Todd Hornbeck of Hornbeck Offshore Services, says this year's conference attracted more retail investors than in recent years.

“It’s not as visited yet by a lot of institutional investors or analysts, so you have the opportunity to get a lot of face time with the company executives,” says Richard Tullis (MBA ’97), senior analyst, energy exploration and production, with Capital One Southcoast. “You’re not really in competition with a ton of other investors, so you have a little bit of an advantage.”

For 15 years, the conference has served a showcase for the regional small- and mid-cap companies followed by Burkenroad Reports, the Freeman School’s acclaimed equities research program, but unlike most investor events, the Burkenroad conference caters equally to investment professionals and retail investors, the individuals who use information gathered at the conference to make decisions about their personal portfolios and retirement accounts. Nearly 600 people attended this year’s conference, making it the biggest in the event’s history, and conference organizer Peter Ricchiuti attributes much of that increase to renewed interest among retail investors.

“We got many more retail investors this year,” says Ricchiuti, research director of Burkenroad Reports. “The stock market has doubled in the last two years and they’ve been reluctant to get in. It seems like they’re finally ready to stick a toe in the water.”

Ricchiuti says some of companies drawing the biggest crowds this year were Cyberonics, Evolution Petroleum, Rollins and Iberia Bank, which has emerged as a major player in Florida by purchasing the assets of banks closed by the FDIC.

“The feds close them on Friday and want a vinyl banner in front on Monday and it can’t say ‘U.S. Government,’” Ricchiuti says. “I guess Iberia is just quick on their feet and knows somebody in the sign business, because they get all the good ones.”

To see photos from the conference, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/freemanschool.


Burkenroad Conference spotlights recovery

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

What a difference a year makes.

At last year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference, 33 of the 34 companies that participated posted negative returns for the preceding 12 months. This year, 28 of 33 companies posted positive returns, including top performer Stone Energy, which returned a spectacular 337.89 percent for the year.

Peter Ricchiuti, left, with Cyberonics CFO Greg Browne, said investors are starting to bid up stocks in anticipation of a sustained economic recovery.

“The market is up 83 percent in the last 13 months, which is the best 13 months in history,” says Peter Ricchiuti, research director of Burkenroad Reports and organizer of the annual conference. “I think the people in attendance were looking back at last year and the bargains that had been presented and kicking themselves for not buying them.”

The conference, which took place on April 23 at the New Orleans Sheraton, was established to serve as an annual showcase for the small- and mid-cap companies followed by the student analysts of Freeman’s Burkenroad Reports equities research program, but in its 14-year history it’s also become a barometer of the regional economy.

Ricchiuti says the central message of this year’s conference was that—despite what you might hear on Fox News—the nation’s economy is rebounding in a really big way.

(more…)


Energy firms highlight Burkenroad Conference

Monday, April 28th, 2008

With oil prices hovering around $120 a barrel, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what the hot ticket was at this year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference.

“Energy stocks were white hot,” says Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean and organizer of the event. “Everybody was interested in energy. There were some presentations where I couldn’t even get into the room.”

Energy companies, banks, offshore service providers, a chicken processor and a manufacturer of products for infants were among the 34 regional small- and mid-cap companies to participate in this year’s conference, an annual event that brings investors together with top management at companies followed by the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports equities research program. More than 400 investors attended this year’s program, which took place on April 25 at the New Orleans Sheraton.

According to Ricchiuti, energy companies generating a buzz this year included Hornbeck Offshore Services, Energy Partners, Omni Energy Services, Callon Petroleum and McMoRan Exploration, a pioneer in deeper-pool exploration.

“Everybody else drills for oil at 10,000 to 12,000 feet, but McMoRan believes there’s oil at 35,000 feet,” explains Ricchiuti. “They hit a good-sized well off of Lafayette, and they have a new well just off the mouth of the river that they’re waiting to find the results on. It’s very exciting. There might be a whole other layer of dead dinosaurs under Louisiana.”

Burkenroad Reports Investment ConferenceBank stocks – including Teche Holdings, Iberia Bank and First M&F Corp. – also had an interesting story to tell. “People are running away from banks because of what happened to Citigroup, but these guys have little or no subprime lending, they were not involved in those really complicated derivative securities that blew up, and the housing market here is completely different from the rest of the country,” Ricchiuti says. “With the Fed having lowered interest rates so much, they’re in a better position to make money on loans. There just seems to be a real misperception about these stocks and these companies, and it’s probably an opportunity for investors.”

Despite the market’s poor performance in the wake of the subprime mortgage bust, local stocks have actually done relatively well. The S&P 500 is down 5 percent since January, but the Burkenroad Fund, a mutual fund that invests in many of the stocks followed by Burkenroad Reports, is up 5 percent. “I think people are starting to realize this part of the country is a good place to hide in a downturn,” Ricchiuti says. “We’re big in oil and gas, the weakness of the dollar has created a huge surge in exports coming through the port, and we’re just starting to get all this insurance money. Whereas the rest of the country has come to a screeching halt in housing, there’s still so much to do here.”

Burkenroad Reports was founded in 1993 to give students practical experience as research analysts while at the same time highlighting Louisiana companies often overlooked by Wall Street. Today, the program has grown to include 200 student analysts covering more than 40 small- and mid-cap “stocks under rocks” in six states.



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