Monday, December 28, 2015

Top Holdings of Billionaire Carl Icahn

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn's top holdings,according to SEC Form 13F and InsiderSense, include:
1.Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP) 27.54%
2.Apple Inc (AAPL) 20.87%
3.CVR Energy (CVI) 10.48%
4.Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL) 5.15%
5.Cheniere Energy Inc (LNG) 4.94%
6.Hologic Inc (HOLX) 3.95%
7.Nuance Communications (NUAN) 3.56
8.Freeport McMorAn (FCX) 3.47%*
Mr.Icahn's two nominees are to become members of Freeport McMorAn's board of directors.The company has been hit hard by the global decline of core commodity prices.It is the leading publicly traded miner of copper and the leading miner of molybdenum,with significant gold,oil and natural gas projects as well.Based in Phoenix,Arizona,Freeport has a global workforce of about 80,000 in North and South America,Africa and Indonesia.It has exploration targets in the Americas and Morocco.*
Carl Icahn,79,was educated at Princeton University,New York University and NYU School of Medicine.His New York-based firm,Icahn Enterprises,is a diversified holding company.Mr.Icahn,who sometimes appears on business television,has a net worth of 22.5 billion dollars.He is married to Gail Icahn and the father of Brett and Michele Icahn.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Oil Prices Drop To Milestone Lows - when will this end?

Brent crude bottomed out at 36.05 in early trading Monday,its lowest level in 11 years,before recovering slightly.In the US,the energy sector is the worst performer in the S&P 500 Index,down more than 20% year to date.A perfect storm of ample supply,a mild autumn and mild early winter outlook,and the coming back to market of Iranian,Libyan and US oil exports is driving oil prices down to bedrock levels.In parts of the US,this has allowed the price of gasoline to slip to 1.53 a gallon in Owasso,Oklahoma.*
Mid-term,however,Lukoil CEO Vagit Aleperov told CNBC,prices may rise to 40-50 dollars a barrel in 2016 as exploration cutbacks during the downturn take hold and start to reduce supply.Near term,we would need OPEC to move in order to support prices.The US lifting its ban on oil exports will simply lead to US prices equalling Brent prices.
Lukoil stock rose 11.60 rubles,up 0.50% in Monday trading.*
LKOH:PJSC Lukoil (MICEX)

Space Station - Unplanned Spacewalk Completed - all objectives achieved

Space Station

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Warning To High Yield Investors From Billionaire Carl Icahn

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn tweeted that a meltdown in high yield was just beginning.For example,Third Avenue Management is liquidating its Focused Credit Fund and preventing withdrawals,promising to distribute the bulk of investors' money on 16 December,and put the rest in a trust that will pay them interest and make distributions to them until its liquidation costs are covered.The fund was liquidated because so many investors were redeeming their shares at once,Third Avenue said in a letter to the fund's investors.*
We did have that Seeking Alpha conference,Mr.Icahn told CNBC.I warned then it's simple and self-evident that the high yield market is just a keg of dynamite that sooner or later will blow up.The etfs of BlackRock and other companies are very dangerous because there's no liquidity behind these etfs.I think that any person that goes into this should basically be warned.You're starting to see the danger that is manifest now that there is no liquidity for these high yield bonds.They were sold at very low interest rates.Because it's BlackRock,everybody believes there's going to be liquidity.
It's just beginning to be a major problem.The SEC sees danger because these companies that really should have had to pay higher interest rates borrowed a great deal of money,and I'd like to know how they're going to pay that back,or even how they're going to restructure the finances,Mr.Icahn explained.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Echosmith Perform 'Let's Love' Live on Today Show

Ellie Goulding - Army (Official Audio) - new album song

Phil Collins - You Can't Hurry Love (Prince's Trust 1988)

Rush - Tom Sawyer

The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (Audio)

The Beatles - Hey Jude - newly restored

Remember - John Lennon (Remastered 2010)

Shop Talk:Year End Thoughts

Dear Readers,
The end of the year and the winter holidays have come to our hearth and home.Time to look back as well as celebrate,give thanks,and do all we can to get back in the black in every way,spritually as well as financially.It's been a pleasure to provide you with many written posts and videos all year long here at the flagship blog.Now won't you please spare a moment to click on an advertisement to ensure that this continues?And thank you in advance.
Have a blessed holiday season,dear readers near and far,from America to Europe and beyond,all the way to the Far East.


Andrew Taylor,publisher
The Taylor Star

Monday, December 7, 2015

Impressive Cygnus Launch Reassures Orbital ATK and NASA

More than a year since the failed launch attempt of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft,Orbital ATK and NASA could relax yesterday with the flawless ULA Atlas V launch of an enlarged version of Cygnus,which unfurled its new solar panels and was pointed in the right direction to reach the ISS 250 miles above Earth.On 28 October 2014,the Antares rocket had exploded in a spectacular fireball,incinerating the company's spacecraft and the NASA cargo it was to carry to the ISS.Since then,Orbital has ascertained that it was probably the Antares' AJ-26 refurbished Russian engine that was responsible for the explosion in the form of a faulty turbopump;it is working to select and test a replacement for the AJ-26,while at the same time moving to United Launch Alliance,a Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture,for the rockets it needs to meet its eight-mission NASA contract obligations.Yesterday's successful Atlas V launch of the Cygnus SS Deke Slayton II,named for the NASA Mercury program astronaut and director of flight operations who died in 1993,was its fourth ISS resupply mission,the midpoint of the contract.It also marked the return of ISS resupply launches to US soil and Orbital's first launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,Florida.Besides launching from Cape Canaveral,Orbital is now utilising Kennedy Space Center's spacecraft processing facilities and services for the ISS missions.
Cygnus,which contains the Thales Alenia Space Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM),is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Wednesday,when US astronauts Scott Kelly,currently on a one-year mission with Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko,and Kjell Lindgren grab the spacecraft with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and attach it to the earth-facing ISS Unity Module.It will be docked for two months while the astronauts unload the Cygnus of such cargo as the SAFER jetpack,which is a self-contained maneouvering unit mainly for emergency use during spacewalks,as well as such items as science experiments,gases for breathing and a microsatellite launcher with the first ever microsatellite.*
Orbital ATK is a leading aerospace and defence technologies company with over 12,000 employees in 20 US states and several international locations.Its products range from small caliber ammunition all the way up to commercial aerostructures,commercial and government satellites,rockets,missile propulsion systems and advanced space systems for human exploration.*
Orbital ATK Inc (OA),Lockheed Martin (LMT),Boeing (BA)

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Complex Landscape of Holiday Shopping

It's clear that holiday shopping is no longer greatly concentrated on specific days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday;but is rather a rolling phenomenon beginning after Halloween,with surge points to be sure,but not as pronounced as in the past.A lot of this is due to the proliferation of mobile devices and the ascendance of digital commerce in general.
Over Thanksgiving weekend,103 million consumers shopped online versus 102 million at brick-and-mortar stores,Prosper Insights&Analytics reported to the National Retail Federation.ComScore reported that digital sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday totaled four billion dollars,up 20% on the year,and with desktop and mobile bringing in 25% of all sales.Brick-and-mortar sales for the same two days fell a bit on the year to 12.1 billion.
Hudson's Bay Co. CEO Gerald Storch told CNBC that the Thanksgiving period was a pretty good weekend.In North America,Hudson's Bay owns upscale department stores such as Lord&Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue,as well as their associated outlet stores.
On the negative side of digital,online glitches,especially on mobile,are common bugbears and can devastate a retailer's sales figures as impatient consumers bolt for the exits.A lack of enough machines to handle unexpectedly high traffic or new and complex site construction can lead to this pitfall.
Much of the Internet sales was by retailers practicing omnichannel retailing,coordinating their online and in-store business,Mr.Storch said.Although mobile is growing rapidly,many consumers either do not own appropriate phones or just enjoy the Black Friday in-store experience,keeping brick-and-mortar stores relevant even as online purchases grow.*
Macy's (M),Nordstrom Inc (JWN),Hudson's Bay Co (TSX:HBC),(PINX:HBAYF),Amazon (AMZN)

St Andrews Day - Official greeting


Monday, November 23, 2015

Hudson's Bay Co. Reduces Debt - a good investment now?

On 18 November,the Hudson's Bay Company sold 533 million dollars of equity in its stake of HBS Global Properties Joint Venture (properties in the US and Germany) to three third party investors:real estate investment trusts Ivanhoe Cambridge (250 million) and Madison International Realty (150 million);plus a large US pension fund (133 million).Ivanhoe will have a seat on the Hudson's Bay board of directors.Proceeds of the sale will pay down Hudson's Bay's 1.085 billion dollar loan to 500 million.The company will retain a 63% stake in HBS Global Properties,which it said it may sell more of for further deleveraging or acquisitions.*
Hudson's Bay,of Toronto,Canada,began as a fur trader in 1670,and is the oldest North American company.It evolved into a department store titan with more than 460 stores and 65,000 employees worldwide.Its major banners include Hudson's Bay,Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in North America;GALERIA Kaufhof in Germany;and Galeria INNO in Belgium.Hudson's Bay other retail holdings are FIND@Lord & Taylor,Home Outfitters and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH in North America;and SPORTARENA in Germany.*
In addition to retail,the midcap growth company has acquired a substantial real estate portfolio consisting of its remaining stake in the aforementioned HBS Global Properties Joint Venture and the RioCan - HBC Joint Venture (Canadian properties).*
Keeping pace with change in the industry,Hudson's Bay has increased its digital sales by a substantial 30% as it increasingly invests in online sales.It will also benefit from the synergies generated by its acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue,which are expected to appear in this quarter.This synergy,coupled with the weakness of the Canadian dollar,should result in better returns through 2016.Hudson's Bay is looking to be a retail momentum story backed by large real estate holdings.*
Hudson's Bay Co (TSX:HBC),(PINX:HBAYF)

Monday, November 16, 2015

McDonald's Catches Up With Consumer,Industry Trends

We serve the vast majority of the population in all our markets,McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook,who is British,told CNBC.There are some who come in for a burger,but we can also innovate at the premium end of the menu.What we're seeing is,incremental purchase of all day breakfast food.It's growing margins and generating a lot of enthusiasm amongst our customers and out team.We have very ambitious plans in tech and across the whole area of helping to make consumers' lives more convenient and more fun.*
In relation to McDonald's as a company,we made the conscious decision to go one dollar above the minimum wage.With health care inflation,it's tough.That's why we've got to increase the bottom line.We're seeing a reduction in crew turnover.That improves the customer experience.*
We're going to cage-free eggs in the US.It's going to take us 10 years to get there because of supply.We use two billion eggs a year.*
Our owner-operators are wonderful,an animated bunch that helps us make the decisions,and we help them make their decisions.When we took the all day breakfast,we got a 98% approval by the owner-operators.Traditional industries are being transformed,and we should not be blind to that.We have a 1+ billion dollar delivery business in Asia.We are building up our digital programme to offer more ordering and payment options and customer loyalty programmes.A number of our regions have been selling mozzarella sticks and they do sell well,Mr.Easterbrook observed.*
McDonald's (MCD)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Visa Inc. Acquiring Long Lost Visa Europe

Visa Inc. announced in a press release today that it is acquiring privately held Visa Europe Ltd. for up to 23.4 billion dollars,depending on how many benchmarks are achieved.The deal will add to Visa Inc. about 3,000 European issuers and more than 500 million accounts that pay more than 1.5 trillion euros.The transaction reunites the two companies that had been one until 2004.Subject to regulatory approval,the cash and stock deal is expected to close in Visa's fiscal third quarter of 2016.
The move will result in a more seamless experience for Visa's global customers,with those in Europe getting access to the innovative technology,products and services of Visa Inc.European transactions are still 37% cash or check,so Visa Inc. will be able to grow substantially there.*
Visa Inc. is a global payments technology company connecting consumers,businesses,financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast,secure and reliable electronic payments,Visa Inc. said.Visa Europe is also a payments technology company,but is owned and operated by member banks and other payment services in 38 countries,rather than shareholders.It services the more than 500 million cardholders in Europe.Benefits from revenue synergies,cost savings and increased repurchases of Class A common stock will begin to accrue in fiscal full-year 2017,Visa Inc. projected.*
Visa Inc (V)

Monday, October 26, 2015

BlueScope Steel Acquires North Star Stake - worth it or not?

Australia's largest steelmaker,BlueScope Steel,is buying the remaining 50% of North Star BlueScope Steel from Cargill for 742 million dollars US,having previously bought a 50% stake in North Star.BlueScope,of Melbourne,Victoria,will assume North Star's net debt of 40 million.The transaction will amount to a fiscal 2015 multiple of 7.1 and cash flow of 0.26 per share for BlueScope.*
North Star has delivered consistent financial performance and strong returns on investment capital to BlueScope,said BlueScope Managing Director and CEO Paul O'Malley.The asset is highly regarded within the US steel sector.Full ownership enhances BlueScope's portfolio value and optionality and improves business flexibility.The North Star business delivers on our strategy of being cost competitive on steelmaking and is best in class.It is anticipated the transaction will be funded through a combination of US capital markets issuance and longer term bank debt,Mr.O'Malley added.
North Star is a high quality,structurally advantaged asset;centrally located within a large scrap pool;operates close to its core markets;has low conversion costs;and benefits from a highly motivated and focused workforce,he pointed out.*
North Star has 380 employees.They produce 2.0 million tonnes of hot rolled coil a year at its mini-mill in Delta,Ohio.BlueScope plans to bring the debt down through targeted divestments and operational cash flow.*
BlueScope Steel Ltd (PINX:BLSFF),(BSL:ASE)

Monday, October 5, 2015

MedImmune and 3M Partner in Cancer Drug Research

MedImmune,the biotech subsidiary of British pharma titan AstraZeneca,and 3M Drug Delivery Systems announced a research collaboration on 25 September 2015.It is focused on developing nextgen toll-like receptor agonists,which are agents that activate innate immune cells and enhance the visibility of cancer tumours.MedImmune has licensed MEDI9197 from 3M,which the US FDA recently accepted for an investigational drug application,allowing a Phase I study on its safety and tolerability as a potential treatment for solid tumour patients.*
Such TLR agonists activate antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells,enhancing the visibility of a tumour to the immune system.MEDI9197 has been designed to activate a broad range of innate immune cells,leading to a more robust adaptive immune response.
Preclinial studies show MEDI9197 may inhibit tumour growth of both the injected and distant lesions in multiple types of cancer,including melanoma skin cancer.It is designed for intratumoural injection,allowing the compound to be retained in the tumour and provide specific immune activation,enhancing its safety and tolerability.*
MEDI9197 adds a unique mechanism to our growing portfolio,and supports our strategy of maximising anti-tumour immunity through scientifically rational combinations,said MedImmune Sr. Vice President and Head of Research Yong-Jun Liu,PhD.*
Everyone here at 3M's Drug Delivery Systems is very excited to collaborate with MedImmune,a world leader in cancer immunotherapy,according to Cindy Kent,President and General Manager of 3M DDS.We're very pleased with the progression of MEDI9197 to the clinic.*
Under the deal,MedImmune will be responsible for the clinical development and strategy for MEDI9197.3M will continue to develop more TLR agonists in oncology and other therapy areas,with MedImmune holding exclusive rights to conduct research on new molecules resulting from the collaboration,and to determine which to progress to clinical development.
MedImmune will make an upfront payment to 3M and must make developmental milestone payments for MEDI9197,as well as provide research funding to 3M.*
MedImmune is based in Gaithersburg,Maryland and is best known for its Flu-Mist influenza vaccines and its pediatric vaccine Synagis,which prevents the serious respiratory disease RSV.3M is a Saint Paul,Minnesota-based multinational corporation with 11 lines of business.It is famous for products such as the iconic Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes.*
AstraZeneca (AZN),3M (MMM)

Monday, September 28, 2015

NASA's Revolutionary Discoveries On Mars and What They Mean for Manned Exploration

In the past,Mars was basically regarded as a vast red desert with little likelihood of ever having hosted life,let alone presently harbouring it.Now,though,recent observations of Mars by the HiRISE,or High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment,aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,have changed the picture drastically.A number of scientists gave a press briefing Monday morning on the epochal findings,including Jim Green,Director of Planetary Science at NASA headquarters in Washington;Michael Meyer,Lead Scientist,NASA Mars Exploratory Program;Lujendra Ojha,Georgia Institute of Technology,Atlanta;Mary Beth Wilhelm,NASA Ames Research Center,Moffett Field,California and Georgia Tech;and Alfred McEwen,Principal Investigator,HiRISE,Univrsity of Arizona,Tucson.Also contributing to the NASA Science Update was John Grunsfeld,5-time NASA Astronaut and Associate Administrator.
The scientists indicated that we're starting to put together a much more interesting,dynamic and complex picture of Mars.Our journey to Mars is a science-led mission right now,but it's even more important to send planetary biologists and geologists to Mars.It really is a fascinating planet that once had salty seas,freshwater lakes and snowy peaks,with a water cycle like earth's.Did life arise on Mars once,and can we find out did any survive?Is there life on Mars today?The new data suggests it would be possible there is life today on Mars.Three billion years ago,Mars had an extensive atmosphere;a huge ocean up to a mile deep;but something happened.Mars suffered a major climate change and lost its surface water,yet Mars soils are moist and hydrated,full of water,and there is much more humidity in its atmosphere than was previously believed.Mars is not the dry,arid planet that we thought.Under certain circumstances,liquid water has been found on Mars,the HiRISE data show,in a feature known as Recurring Slope Lineae,which are dark streaks that form in late spring,grow through the summer and disappear in the fall.The broader distribution and more expansive latitudes of the RSL than expected are evidence of flowing water on Mars,as revealed by multiple spacecraft and observations,as set forth in the new article "RSL:Spectral Evidence for Hydrated Salts in RSL on Mars" in Nature Geoscience 28 September 2015.*
An animated sequence of the RSL cycle was shown at the update.HiRISE has observed this in the last four years or so.The RSL form at different times and temperatures and latitudes on Mars.They are seeps of water and seep through the surface layer and darken it.The seeps have been noted in three regions:
1.the southern mid-latitudes;
2.Valles Marineris;
3.Acidalia Planitia.
They occur in craters.The key evidence was missing until now:their chemical identity.This has been ascertained by the CRISM instrument on the MRO.It can observe the surface in various wavelengths;the interaction of light with the surface material indicates if there is any evidence of flowing water.We found that salt crystals composed of salt and chlorine when hydrated show the presence of molecular water in their crystal structure;molecular water is trapped inside the salt structure.The source of the water is either RSLs or some other processes-regardless,these crystals are formed by contemporary flowing water on Mars.These hydrated salts in the slopes means contemporary flowing water is forming them.Pure liquid water is highly unstable on the surface of Mars;but salty water doesn't evaporate as quickly until there is a higher temperature.*
RSLs are formed by flowing liquid briny water on the surface of Mars.The broader implications are:
more habitable conditions on the surface of Mars than previously thought.Further astrobiological and chemical analysis may show the water to be an important resource for human explorers on Mars,decreasing the cost of manned expeditions as a source of drinking water and oxygen.In principal,you could even make solid rocket fuel from the hydrated salt.
On earth,everywhere we find water,there is life.We now have great opportunities to be in the right locations to investigate that.We now are at a point technologically to go there,ask the question,and answer it.With HiRISE,we can make a better,more methodical search for life.Is there an aquifer network on Mars?It's very likely there is life in the Martian subsurface,microbial life.A number of upcoming NASA and ESA/Russia missions will help with our search.*
Mars is looking more and more habitable;the resources are there.A very methodical approach and rigorous scientific program will enable the setting of parameters and the design of manned missions.It is more feasible for missions than ever before.These are huge steps for us to plan the right resources to support human explorers in the future,NASA believes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Some Fed Members Still Think 2015 Rate Increase Is Best

At its September meeting,the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee declined to raise interest rates and left a sense of uncertainty over investors.Just after the meeting,three Fed members advocated raising rates this year.
I argued against the decision,St.Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said.Holding rates steady yet again seems to have created rather than reduced global macroeconomic uncertainty.*
San Francisco FRB President John Williams and Richmond FRB President Jeffrey Lacker also called for a near term rate hike.*
If 2015 is the year the Fed will raise rates,it will have to be in December,since there is no press conference scheduled for the October meeting,suggested Tony Nash,chief economist and managing partner at Complete Intelligence,who focuses on Asia.
In the US,you have a lot of people checking out of the work force between 30-55 years of age,those peak earning years,which limits the consumer.We do see opportunities in the emerging markets short term;in the longer term,debt issues are more troubling.
If we see a very small rate rise and a very slow pace,the emerging markets will suffer,but the magnitude of the suffering will be very shallow.Among the emerging markets,India has a very weak portfolio of ministers.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to have to change it up,if he wants to improve the economy.*
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Will the Fed Move This Week - and what should investors do?

Can the economy deal with a Federal Reserve interest rate hike at this week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting?Yes,the economy can support an 0.25% increase,but we don't think there will be one,Andrew Burkly of Oppenheimer&Co. told CNBC.To me,the risk is essentially longer,not sooner.We're leaning more to a rate increase in the latter part of the year.The sector I like for investing in from all this is the financials.*
The options market suggests that this week's FOMC meeting could be potentially one of the most volatile that we've seen in years,added Stacy Gilbert of Susquehanna Capital Group.We have seen an increase in what I call "crash protection,"and we haven't seen this increase of crash protection over the last couple of years.This is one of the biggest increases that we've seen.
The S&P 500 options are pricing in a stock market move of about 2.25% for a one day move,which prior to the past couple of weeks would have been a notable move in the S&P 500,and something that we haven't seen relative to the Fed in quite a while.So I think there's a lot of uncertainty out there.The markets are pricing this in as a notable event,and portfolio managers and investors are looking at their portfolios saying "What if?I want to be able to sleep at night."*
The Fed's decision will be released on Thursday.Whenever the rate increase comes,it will be the first one since 2006.The US economics team at Morgan Stanley thinks a hawkish pass by the Fed is a 60% probability.In other words,the Fed would pass on a September rate liftoff,citing the recent tightening in financial conditions;while leaving open the possibility of an increase at the October or December FOMC meetings.*
Morgan Stanley (MS),Oppenheimer Holdings Inc (OPY),Susquehanna Bancshares Inc (SUSQ)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Boeing Names Spacecraft,Builds Access Tower

Boeing is building a commercial spaceflight crew access tower at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,Florida.It is for Boeing's new Crew Space Transportation-100 Starliner spacecraft.The tower will be a 7-tiered,permanent metal latticework structure at Space Launch Complex 41.More than 200 feet tall,the tower will take astronauts to the top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and level with the Starliner capsule.
In the end,we are going to have a very safe,very cost effective and very cost efficient way of getting astronauts back and forth to low earth orbit,according to former astronaut Chris Ferguson,director of Boeing Crew and Mission Operations.*
Boeing is under contract to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station in the recently-named Starliner spacecraft.Similarly,SpaceX is under contract to complete the same task with its Dragon spacecraft.The companies are scheduled to begin the ISS astronaut ferry service in 2017.*
Boeing (BA).

Monday, August 31, 2015

Investing in Volatile Times

When you see this level of volatility,you don't get confident;you get nervous,said CNBC host and master investor Jim Cramer.I think oil's going to be lower longer.It isn't going to be positive.*
Do you like something more because billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn's in it?Yes,you do.He's taken a stake in miner Freeport-McMoran.Freeport's run more like a private company.*
One billion users logged into Facebook on Monday 24 August.Social media is the way to go.Who is social media?Google and Facebook.Link with someone who has a lot of followers,and your business goes up.It just works.I look at Facebook and I think,what an unbelievable business.Do thy have to pay the NBA for rights?What a marvelous business model.*
I'm a believer in Disney and its CEO Bob Iger.You do have "Star Wars,"which is very big.You do have theme parks.I'm still a believer in what Bob Iger's doing,Mr.Cramer repeated.*
Freeport-McMoRan (FPT),Facebook (FB),Google (GOOG),Walt Disney (DIS)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Leading Banking Analyst Cautions Investors During Downtrend

Unless buying materialises,says Richard X. Bove,vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital,LLC in a note to investors,there is nothing to stop a massive move to the downside due to the lack of liquidity in the markets.At this moment,I would strongly caution to remain on the sidelines until a definable source of new funding is determined to maintain or bolster stock prices.
At its base,the key problem is that the historic protections that once existed in the markets to prevent massive downslides have been removed.This country's claim that it has deep and liquid markets is being put to the test.*
Mr.Bove is bitterly critical of the plethora of new regulations that have been imposed on the banking industry post-financial crisis.These include the US Congress passing the Dodd-Frank Act;Basel III,Supplementary Leverage Ratio;Liquidity Coverage Ratio;and the Orderly Liquidation Authority;and the Total Loss-Absorbing Capital Regulation.The impact of these regulations,rules and pieces of legislation has been the complete takeover of the banking industry by the government.In my view,the industry has been effectively nationalised,Dick Bove said in a December 2014 interview,in which he also predicted that banking industry regulations would limit the earnings of banks in the long term.It is these regulations that have also ultimately restricted the flow of funds to the point of making the markets vulnerable to collapse.

Richard X. Bove | Rafferty Capital Markets, LLC | Equity Research Analyst Profile

Richard X. Bove | Rafferty Capital Markets, LLC

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tesla Motors;Toyota Motors;Cambia Portland Classic

Morgan Stanley has raised the price target for Tesla Motors stock to 465.00 from 280.00.They believe Tesla may triple its revenue by 2029.*
I think that Morgan Stanley,did you need to be that excessive?asked CNBC host and master investor Jim Cramer.It's cynical to use these price targets,telling the shorts they need to cover like that.
The Empire State manufacturing report-it's terrible,Cramer noted.The factories are doing not that well.*
Meanwhile,Toyota Motors is taking a hit from the chemical blast tragedy in Tianjin,China,which killed at least 117 and injured untold others,including 50 Toyota workers.Three of Toyota's production lines will be idled through at least 19 August because of the Tianjin evacuation.
Tianjin is the company's biggest production hub in China,and more than a three-day delay could have a material affect on the business.*
Canadian Brooke Henderson,17,won her first LPGA tournament at the Cambia Portland Classic in Oregon Sunday.She mastered the Columbia Edgewater Country Club course with an eight-stroke victory,providing relief to fans disappointed by Canadian golfers' scarce wins in recent years.*
Tesla Motors (TSLA),Toyota Motors (TM)

Monday, August 10, 2015

21st Century Fox:A New Generation of Leaders

Media and entertainment titan 21st Century Fox has reported a mixed earnings picture for Q2 2015.The company earned 0.39 a share versus the 0.37 estimate,but missed on revenue,reporting 6.21 billion dollars versus the 6.46 billion estimate on currency fluctuations.21st Century Fox owns the most-watched Fox News,Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox studios.The studios' revenue was down because they sold their pay-tv businesses in Italy and Germany to British Sky Broadcasting Group.Even minus that transaction,revenue was still down by 635 million.
Fox cable operating income rose 1% to 1.22 billion on higher affiliate and ad revenue,but the film division suffered when 2015's "Spy" and "Poltergeist" didn't do as well as 2014's "X-Men:Days of Future Past" and "Rio 2."The TV business dropped by 32 million down to 113 million on lower ad revenue as "American Idol" and "The Following" lost viewers.So the company lost some battles in the content wars.*
Lachlan Murdoch,son of Fox's Australian founder Rupert Murdoch,and now executive co-chairman of the firm along with his father,summed the situation up in the earnings conference call:
My brother James and I have been immersed in 21st Century Fox in all its iterations for at least the last 25 years,Mr.Murdoch said.This background and context will serve us well as we partner to lead 21st Century Fox through a time of accelerated industry change.Every aspect of our business is being affected by increasingly rapid change from how we develop content,to delivery,to consumer engagement,and of course,to how we monetise it all.The scale and speed of this change will,to some,be overwhelming.But a key underlying trend is important to all of them:More people are now watching more quality story telling than ever.They are just consuming it differently,given the growing array of options available to them.This is a key and positive trend.
Empowered by new technologies,our customers are demanding distinct and better ways to consume our content,personalised to them in a variety of new non-linear environments.One thing is very clear to us.In this environment,it is not enough to simply adapt to change.To succeed in this environment,we must lead change.*
The company,now under Lachlan's brother,CEO James Murdoch,is going ahead with its planned five billion-dollar buyback over 12 months and will pay investors a dividend of 0.15 a share.*
21st Century Fox (FOXA)

Monday, August 3, 2015

HSBC,Changing With the World

HSBC,Europe's largest bank,has reported first half pretax profits of 13.6 billion dollars on a strong Hong Kong performance,up from 12.3 billion a year ago.The bank was helped by its brokerage customers using the Stock Connect link to the Shanghai stock exchange earlier in the year,when Chinese shares were still hot.Indeed,HSBC may move its headquarters from London to Hong Kong,pending completion of a review of the matter by year's end.
By contrast,its businesses slowed in Europe,the US and other emerging markets apart from Hong Kong.HSBC is selling its underperforming Brazilian operations to Banco Bradesco SA for 5.2 billion.It is also considering selling its lagging Turkish business to the Netherlands' ING Group.
HSBC set aside 1.3 billion to cover legal costs stemming from regulatory investigations into the rigging of foreign exchange markets by banks worldwide.On the plus side,its investment bank saw a 21% rise in FX trading revenue.The British retail bank also did well.You should work on the assumption that it is a bank we would like to keep,said chief executive Stuart Thomson Gulliver,because it's got excellent returns from what we see going forward and the UK is a profitable banking market.*
HSBC is in the process of moving its UK retail operations headquarters to Birmingham within three years.This British bank will be renamed and have a staff of 22,000.*
We don't see anything alarming coming from what has happened recently in China,Mr.Gulliver added,but there will be some muted impact on our business both from the sell-off in the stock market and from the more reduced economic activity we have seen.Now it's less than two months since our investor update where we unveiled our actions to capture the value of our international network in the changed world.Executing these actions is our number one priority.Work is proceeding in all of these areas,in particular those aimed at reducing risk-weighted assets,cutting cost,and turning around or disposing of underperforming parts of the business.
In order to maintain broad-based growth and a diversified profile,we expect around half of incremental risk-weighted assets to be redeployed to Asia,with the rest spread across Europe,the Middle East,and North America including Mexico,Mr.Gulliver noted in a conference call following the earnings release.*
HSBC wants to boost its growth in Asia by expanding its insurance business in the Pearl River Delta region of China,and seeks to return its global banking and markets division to profitability.Overall,it wants to save 4.5-5 billion dollars annually by the end of 2017,shedding 8,000 jobs in the UK and 25,000 worldwide,although it has added 2,200 compliance staff.
HSBC has increased shareholder value by initiating a five billion dollar buyback and raising its dividend by 124% to 0.28 a share.*
HSBC Holdings PLC ADR (HBC)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Commodity Price Slump;Biogen Idec;RBC Canadian Open

Oil production is running sky high.Chinese growth is less than optimal and the grain growing season has been ideal,pointed out Dennis Gartman,editor of The Gartman Letter.You have the makings of a protracted commodity downturn.The dollar is so strong,it's cast a pall on all commodities.Everything is under pressure because of the strong dollar.*
Michael Yee of RBC Capital Markets likes Biogen Idec stock.We're telling people to buy the dip,he said.The stock will go higher and we continue to be positive here.The data on their candidate Alzheimer's drug will be out two years from now.The drug will hit the market in 2018.It looks like a very good risk-reward to us.The Biogen data looks very positive.*
The RBC Canadian Open was held before large and supportive crowds at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville,Ontario over the weekend.Jason Day of Australia won his fourth PGA title,with American Bubba Watson taking second and Canadian David Hearn coming in third on the leader board.Canada's Graham DeLaet had to withdraw from the tournament because of a thumb injury.*
Biogen Idec (BIIB)