Google’s big keynote at its I/O developers conference this week wore me out.
Not because it lasted a grueling three hours and fifty minutes, but because of what was announced. With every new product update, every new feature, every new virtual service, it became more and more clear that Google isn’t just a search company that makes loads of cash by showing you ads. It’s creeping into every aspect of our digital, physical, and private lives at an exponential rate.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.
Google isn’t just the backbone of the Internet anymore. It’s rapidly becoming the backbone of your entire life, all thanks to data you’re voluntarily giving up to a private company based on your Web searches, photos, Gmail messages, and more.
After spending three days at I/O this week, it became more apparent than ever that unless millions (billions?) of people suddenly change their mind and start using alternative tech tools, or unless the government steps in waving the anti-trust banner, our lives, our history, and our personal wealth could be managed by one company –– Google. >> Read More
Luxembourg is ready to share currently confidential information about multinationals’ bank accounts as part of efforts to shed the Grand Duchy’s image as a leading tax haven.
Under pressure amid a renewed global crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, Luc Frieden, finance minister, said Luxembourg was willing to expand the number of accounts covered by new information-sharing agreements with the US and the EU to include global companies. The accords, agreed this month, currently only cover individual taxpayers.
The latest move demonstrates Luxembourg’s determination to shed its reputation as the EU’s capital for international tax evaders.
The Grand Duchy’s banking sector has nearly €3tn in assets – a figure 22 times greater than the tiny country’s gross domestic product. >> Read More
20 February 2013 - 2:07 am
Forget looking for spare change in your couch cushions. More than half of Americans are sitting on $171 and they don’t even know it.
The extra cash comes in the form of unused cell phones, which, according data released by SellCell.com and OnePoll, adds up to $33.8 billion nationwide.
That’s a lot of cash to leave lying around the house.
“Many Americans are looking for ways to earn some extra cash, especially in a sluggish economy and following the expensive holiday season,” SellCell.com managing director Colin White said.
“So, it is very surprising that consumers are literally sitting on billions of potential dollars in their unused smartphones and feature phones, often stashed away in boxes at home.”
About 20 percent of people reported not selling their old phones because “they’re lazy,” and another 20 percent said they’re hanging on to the devices out of fear of jeopardizing their personal data by recycling them.
Neither of these are valid enough reasons to leave that much cash lying around. >> Read More
30 January 2013 - 5:40 am
The most cartoonish stock of all time just came out with results that can only be characterized as WTF. To wit:
- Q4 revenue of $21.27 billion missed expectations of $22.23 billion
- Q1 EPS of $0.21 missed expectations of $0.27;
- The firm guided top-line lower, seeing Q1 sales of $15-$16 billion, below the estimate of $16.5 billion
- The firm guided operating income much lower, seeing Q1 op income of ($285)-$65 Million on expectations of $261.4 MM
- The firm said the its physical books sales had the lowest growth in 17 years
- Total employees grew by 7,000 in the quarter and 32,200 Y/Y to a record 88,400
- Worldwide net sales Y/Y growth was the slowest in years at 23%, down from 30% in Q3 and 34% a year ago
- And, last and certainly least, LTM Net Income is now officially negative, or ($49) meaning as of this moment the firm with the idiotically high PE has an even more idiotic N/M PE.
… And the stock is soaring in the after hours. Thank you DE Shaw, or actually that is Mr. Bezos who should thank you for the latest AH favor where accelerated HFT buying creates the impression that the numbers were good. They weren’t.
Some of the charts accompanying this farce. >> Read More
28 January 2013 - 12:41 pm
Record Christmas takings have swollen Amazon’s cash pile to as much as $9bn (£5.7bn), the online retailer is expected to declare on Tuesday in results that will inflame the debate over its tax contributions around the world.
In just 13 weeks, Amazon’s savings, which are held in cash and investments, have ballooned to between $7bn and $9bn, from $5.2bn in September, say analysts. The group’s performance helped topple a number of its UK high street competitors, with the camera shop Jessops and music store HMV going into administration earlier this month.
The UK generates an estimated 10% of Amazon’s revenues, pushing the proportion of the cash pile collected in the British Isles to an estimated $900m.
The retailer is under fire for paying low levels of corporation tax in the UK and other markets. With politicians across Europe casting about for ways to restore public finances, the sums are eye-catching. The issue will be forefront this week as parliament’s influential public accounts committee resumes its inquiry into tax avoidance by taking evidence on Thursday from the four largest accounting firms. >> Read More
15 December 2012 - 13:35 pm
This is a tough book to review, because I generally respect the author, but there are many things I don’t like about the book. Let’s start with the main one:
My friend Alice Schroeder came to speak to the Baltimore CFA Society early in November. It was a great talk, and afterward, I took her back to the Amtrak station. What was our main topic of conversation? The many authors with limited or no dealings with Warren Buffett who invoke his name in order to get better sales. I won’t name names. I have relationships with a number of them.
I will review “The Snowball” soon. Alice Schroeder spent around five years creating that lengthy book, and I can see why she would be upset over those that use Buffett for their own personal gain.
This book is another example of that. Only chapters 1 and 2 have anything to do with Buffett, and there he is quoted extensively to the point where he should be listed as a secondary author, and get a cut of the royalties. But in the next nine sections have almost nothing from Buffett; it is all the philosophy of Larry Swedroe. >> Read More
11 December 2012 - 19:37 pm
As Jesse Livermore said: “Trading is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance, or for the get-rich-quick adventurer.” In other words, to excel in the stock market, you have to work hard, have emotional control, and develop confidence in your strategy. I constantly get asked to recommend books that can help with these areas of trading. There are so many good ones out there, but here are a few that I suggest.
(If you click on the titles, you can get a more detailed description from Amazon.com).
How to Make Money in Stocks (4th Edition), William O’Neil
How to Trade in Stocks, Jesse Livermore
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, Edwin Lefevre
The Disciplined Trader, Mark Douglas
Trading in the Zone, Mark Douglas
Trader Vic-Methods of a Wall Street Master, Victor Sperandeo
Trader Vic II-Principles of Professional Speculation, Victor Sperandeo
How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market, Nicolas Darvas
The Battle for Investment Survival, Gerald Loeb
Confessions of a Street Addict, James Cramer
There are 3 Market Wizards books all written by Jack Schwager:
The New Market Wizards
Stock Market Wizards
Confidence and emotional control are extremely important in order to become a successful trader. I believe the ideas taught in the following “self-help” books can help develop that “mental toughness” that’s needed. The concepts learned can also be applied to many areas of our lives:
Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
You’ll See It When You Believe It, Dr. Wayne Dyer
The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale
The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz
Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins
26 October 2012 - 7:30 am
After defying gravity for months on end, on what we quarter after quarter warned were ever declining margins and revenue growth, the Amazon bubble (just about 300x P/E at last check) has finally popped, and investors no longer believe that the company can offset collapsing profit margins with increasing volume. And yes, the Kindle is proving to be nothing more than yet another fad rather than the latest and greatest razor-razorblade ecosystem paradigm.
Highlights from the release:
- AMZN 3Q LOSS PER SHR 60C ON 37C LIVINGSOCIAL LOSS; EST. LOSS 8C
- AMAZON.COM 3Q REV. $13.81B, EST. $13.92B
- AMZN SEES 4Q OPER LOSS $490M-PROFIT $310M, EST.PROFIT $354.1M
- AMZN SEES 4Q SALES $20.25B-$22.75B, EST. $22.82B
- AMAZON $299 KINDLE FIRE HD 8.9” SHIPS NOV. 20
15 September 2012 - 9:14 am
Airport security scanners, the bane of travellers and a bugbear of libertarians, may be the consumer’s best friend after all. Rival entrepreneurs have adapted the technology along with the secrets of Microsoft’s Xbox to help online shoppers find clothes that will fit by digitising their bodies.
While internet shopping for everything from food to furniture has become commonplace, few dare to buy clothes online because they do not want to purchase, and risk having to return, an item they have not tried on.
Now a wave of new businesses are competing to overcome that barrier by matching body scans to clothes measurements online. They argue that the technology will revolutionise fashion retail in the same way that Amazon has transformed the business of book selling.
Most US clothes shopping – 89 per cent according to Forrester Research – still happens in bricks-and-mortar stores because shoppers are not confident they can find the right size and fit from onscreen product specifications and 2D images. >> Read More
UPDATE: FB -17%, AMZN -0.5%, SBUX -5.3%
A quick run-down of this evening’s catastrophe among the sweetheart hope stocks. From Facebook, Amazon, and Starbucks – not pretty. Top line misses, earnings misses, and outlook guides down… FB -13%, AMZN -2% (was -6%), SBUX (-6%). Via Bloomberg…
- *FACEBOOK 2Q COSTS/EXPENSES $1.93B MOSTLY ON SHR BASED COMP
- *FACEBOOK 2Q ADJ. EPS 12C, GAAP LOSS 8C-SHR
- *AMAZON.COM 2Q EPS 1C, EST. 3C
- *AMAZON.COM 2Q SALES $12.83B, EST. $12.90B
- *AMZN SEES 3Q NET SALES $12.9B-$14.3B, EST. $14.11B
- *STARBUCKS 3Q EPS 43C, EST. 45C; FORECAST CUT, SHARES FALL
- *STARBUCKS TARGETS FY13 EPS $2.04-$2.14, EST. $2.28
- *STARBUCKS SEES 4Q EPS 44C-45C, SAW 46C-48C, EST. 48C