Dave Canal's blog

Frank Thoughts: The World of Make Believe

From the moment I entered the building I knew that I was in another world.  The building was the Burbank headquarters of Warner Brothers Studios.  My host, Joe Smith, was President of Warner Brothers Records and our meeting had been arranged by a mutual friend from Boston.  Joe was a major figure in the music business and was eager to show me some movie lots before we had lunch at the studio commissary.  We were an odd couple as we walked the studio grounds!  I was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit, button down shirt, and striped tie.

Frank Thoughts: The Jockey or the Horse?

“Which do you think is more important, the jockey or the horse?” a friend asked years ago.  Now I have friends who have become clients and clients that have become friends.  This man was one of the latter.    At the time, my friend was the senior executive of a major corporation.  So I surmised that this was a metaphoric question and that he was postulating a company’s business was the horse and the “jockey” was the CEO.  If so, it was a provocative and moot question!

Frank Thoughts: The Retailing Genius

To recall a lunch from 37 years ago, it has to have had an emotional impact.  This one certainly did.  I remember feeling somewhat despondent as the lunch began.  The guest speaker was the Chief Financial Officer of Toys R Us.  At that time, the toy retailing industry was an eight billion dollar business.  Toys R Us with $250 million in sales was the largest company.  I had bought the stock at ten dollars and as I sat at the lunch … it was at five dollars.  That reality would have made anyone despondent.

Contravisory Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity

The Contravisory staff donned their hard hats and tool belts to help our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  Our team spent the day working on Habitat's latest site build in Hanover, MA doing a host of activities including painting, hanging drywall, and cleanup.  It was a long day of hard work but filled with lots of fun, team-building, and a sense of accomplishment.  "It's always nice to take some time out to help a great cause like Habitat for Humanity", said Contravisory Bill Noonan.  "We are thrilled to have played a part in what will undoubtedly be a life changing event for a worth

Frank Thoughts: The Forecasters

It’s interesting to hear “experts” in the oil industry expound on the future price direction of oil.  Often these interviewed experts are the CEOs of major oil companies.  Many say the current price of oil ($50 a barrel) is temporary and will eventually trade back toward $100.  But not one was prescient in forecasting the recent 50% decline.  So what qualifies them to now predict a rise?

Facebook IPO

“In seeking to avoid the dangers of crowd action, remember that a majority opinion can be sustained.  Unanimity of opinion is more vulnerable to a contrary surprise.”

The quote above is from Contravisory founder Ed Noonan’s 10 Rules for Investing.  Considering the record amount of anticipation and speculation surrounding the recent Facebook IPO and the subsequent disappointment, this seems like a particularly good time to revisit this rule. 

Contravisory Q1 Letter to Investors

Today we share with you an excerpt from our Q1 letter to investors, recapping the first quarter and providing some insight to our current market thinking for Q2 and beyond.

The equity markets continued their winning ways in the 1st quarter as all major indices pushed higher during the period.  In fact, this was the strongest opening quarter for U.S. stocks in 14 years.  The S&P 500 Index rallied 11.8% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 8.1%.  

Contravisory Q4 Letter to Investors

Today we share with you some commentary from our Q4 letter to investors as we recap 2011 and look forward to 2012.

The year 2011 was a challenging one for your equity investors as most market indices underperformed their historical averages.  Fortunately, U.S. stocks ended the quarter on a positive note as most major indices posted double digit gains for the period. 

Contravisory Q3 Letter to Investors

Today we share an excerpt from our recent Q3 letter to investors to provide some insight on our current bullish market perspective despite a turbulent and uncertain economic environment.  


As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.

– Andrew Carnegie