From the Desk of Irwin Michael – March 6, 2015

Over the last six months we have focused our purchases on free cash flowing equities. It is our view that companies which are free cash flowing are in a great position to add value through share buybacks, initiating or increasing dividends, paying down debt, and making opportunistic acquisitions. Based on our free cash flow bias, we added some attractively priced common shares with excellent prospective catalysts. A few of these purchases, and their recent results include:

Big Lots, an Ohio-based retailer that just reported improved earnings and revenue growth above expectations with a dividend increase;

Regal-Beloit, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of electric motors and generators which acquired a power transmissions solutions business;

Foot Locker, a sporting goods retailer which is benefiting from the growth in active wear and just reported a very large earnings beat helped by its line of Michael Jordan’s athletic shoes;

Activision-Blizzard, a leader in interactive gaming and entertainment which recently increased its dividend and share buyback program; and

Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company specializing in the treatment of Hepatitis C and HIV. Gilead will be returning its free cash flow to shareholders through a recently initiated dividend and an extended buyback program.

In summation, we expect free cash flowing common stocks to add considerable value to our ABC portfolios over time. Consequently, we are continuing to patiently search for new additions which we believe will add improved portfolio liquidity, positive earnings, dividend growth and potential accretive acquisitions.

Irwin A. Michael Signature

Irwin A. Michael, President
I.A. Michael Investment Counsel Ltd.

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