Archive for the ‘Technology and Business’ Category

We have a LOT of problems in the United States.  All of them are important… but, realistically, if we can’t PRIORITIZE correctly, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot… and maybe the head.

It’s this prioritization that has strangled the Republican party… or should I say “hijacked.”

The greatest example of this is pro-life and pro-choice.  Clearly this is a hugely important issue… but it’s a hugely important PERSONAL issue… and as such should actually stay out of politics. 

Practically speaking, the Republican party has alienated large numbers of Americans on this single issue… meaning, no matter how intelligent the rest of the republican agenda may be, regulating right-to-choose is a complete and utter deal-breaker for many voters.

I would hope the Republican party would have learned this lesson by now.

But — unbelievably — Trump just created a SECOND complete and utter deal-breaker:  Climate change.

From Business Insider this morning:

The US officially tells the UN it is quitting the Paris climate change deal

Are you kidding me?

Whether you agree there’s people-made climate change or not… whether you agree this is good for business or not… Trump has just created YET ANOTHER deal-breaking issue for a mass of voters.

How stupid.

P.S.  My take on climate change?  Go live in Beijing for a couple months — A COUPLE OF DAYS — and then give me your opinion.

In 2014, China launched a war on pollution, vowing to cut down on hazardous emissions of PM 2.5. It's hard to do that amid a growing economy, but so far, Beijing has been able to shut down coal plants within city limits, and has tried to curb car emissions by limiting the number of license plates.

CNBC did a fascinating analysis of who’s better for the stock market, a Democrat or Republican.

Below are the visuals.

While the initial conclusion here is, “Democrats are better for the stock market”… I believe what these charts actually show is what happens when the Republican party abandons its long-standing partyline of being fiscally responsible.

That is to say, while it may have been helpful to the military complex, dragging us into needless and endless and massively expensive military action is simply bad for business.

I think the charts below prove that in spades.

 

OPEC just announced some “kinda” agreement about production levels and freeze.

Oil just skyrocketed on the potential “news” (up 5.3% @ $47.05 for the Nov ’16 contract).

Everyone has been waiting for this moment… a signal from OPEC that the strategy it’s employed the last few years is changing.

Everyone — 100% of all analysts — have come out saying this will put a floor under oil prices now.

The contrarian in me says when everyone thinks one way, the opposite usually happens.

What could possibly go wrong?

Maybe this inspires more U.S. shale oil to be produced… that was one of the reasons oil dropped from the triple digits not so long ago.

Maybe the “cuts” aren’t real cuts, just natural scale-back given the time of year (between summer driving and winter heating)… so any temporary euphoria in the market will soon get replaced with the commonsense observation that everyone is still pumping at near-record levels.

Maybe it’s just all of the OPEC members playing games with each other — and the world — again.

Who knows, but it will be interesting to see!

 

This is a big day.

For almost 40 years I’ve been a Republican. Most of it as a not-very-proud Republican.

It would be easy to say I became a Republican because my dad was a Republican. But it is better to say that my dad was a businessman and a fiercely-proud Greek immigrant / naturalized American citizen. Back when I first registered to vote… and my dad before me… the Republican party was the party of business and opportunity.

Not any more.

Today it’s the party of whatever-you-want-to-be-extreme-about… and most concerningly, about stuff that simply hijacks the important governing issues of the day.

Yes, I know, some of these issues are actually important.

But, as we’re fiddling, Rome is burning. There has to be perspective and priorities. We want the patient to live. So, air first. Then water. And so on. This appears to be lost on the collective we call the Republican Party these last few elections.

I wish there was a “Moderate” Party (coined by my friend Mike Rubin). Not too far to the right… or left… mostly inspired by down-the-middle common sense.

And trust.

Given the candidates the Republican Party has presented in the last few years — ahem, decades — I simply don’t trust the Republican Party to represent what I believe any longer: That we should run ourselves responsibly. That we should live and let live.

Fiscally conservative. Socially liberal.

In the past, I was able to look past a candidate — a party — I didn’t agree with.  I simply withheld my Republican vote.

Sadly I’ve been doing that for a long time.

I can’t do that any longer.

Not when I have ideological issues AND now also feel like I have to fact-check every word coming out of the best-the-Republican-Party-can-do candidate’s mouth… that is, when I’m not cringing from his immature mud-slinging.

So, because there isn’t a Moderate Party…

… today I became an independent.

I will now vote for what I think is best.

Maybe that will, in fact, be a Republican. Maybe not. But I am making a conscious decision not to vote along party lines… because I no longer agree with a lot of the party lines… nor trust the candidate chosen to represent those lines.

40 years of political affiliation… changed in about three minutes online.

It doesn’t feel normal or comfortable.

I guess the start of every revolution feels like that.

 

P.S. To go to the Government’s Voter Registration website, click here.

All we’ve been hearing about is that our oil reserves are near an all-time high… which I think is a good thing… since it puts a downward pressure on the price of oil… which means we consumers pay less for everything… which means greater corporate profits… etc., etc.

The “near an all-time high” has been an important investment theme, too, since it signals a glut of oil on the market.

I just read something, though, that scares the hell out of me.

Our “all-time high” is 3 billion barrels of crude… which sounds like a lot..

… but according to CNBC it’s only one month of global consumption… ?

That’s it?  That’s our big cushion?

Yikes.

I think we’re a ways away from the bull case… but given that statistic… and unless alternative energy sources become much more prevalent… you can see how the bull case will eventually (sadly) run rampant.

This will change at some point — and when it does, there will be a big pop — but right now YHOO can’t win a free kitten.

With a completely inferior position, Yahoo absolutely smashed the competition.

That is, they streamed the first live, free NFL game on Sunday.

It was between two small market teams.

It was also between two inferior teams… the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) and the Buffalo Bills (3-3).

It was also at 6:30am on the west coast, hardly what you would call “prime time.”

And it was also in London, England… where travel time and sparse crowds have translated into lethargic play in the past.

In other words, this game had all the exciting build up of a wet rag.

And yet, YHOO SMASHED results… 15 million unique viewers… vs. the 1 million viewers a region game like this normally gets on TV (source: Julia Boorstin, CNBC).

And yet — unbelievably — most of the press this morning had a negative bend.

Maybe Marissa Mayer needs to take a tip from Elon Musk:  If you can’t trust the press to get your story straight… TWEET!

A report out from Drexel Hamilton this morning about AAPL… his rationale sounds familar!

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Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White (formerly at Cantor Fitzgerald) initiates coverage on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with a Buy rating and a price target of $200.00 (Street High)

White highlighted:

  • The sharp correction in Apple’s stock this summer represents an attractive entry point as we believe fears surrounding China are overblown, concerns around difficult iPhone comparisons are short-sighted and the appreciation for the implications of this transformational super cycle is surprisingly muted.
  • Trading at just 8.2x our CY:16 EPS projection (ex-cash) and well below the 14.7x for the S&P 500 Index, Apple remains one of the most undervalued technology stocks in the world.
  • In our view, Apple’s successful transition to a larger form factor iPhone with the iPhone 6/6 Plus is the start of a sustainable upgrade cycle that has already catapulted the company to the #1 position in China’s smartphone market for the first time ever during 1Q:15 and we estimate the company will gain share in the global smartphone market in 2015.
  • Despite a slowing economic backdrop, our recent trip to China further supports our view that Apple fever is alive and well across the country. For example, we believe Apple is planning a bigger push into Tier 3-5 cities (80-90% of China’s households) across Mainland China over the next 12-24 months and the country’s 4G network is only 12% penetrated.
  • We expect the next big iPhone market that could open up for Apple is India and we view the country at a similar stage as China was for Apple in 2010. With a population of 1.25 billion, India is similar in size to China’s 1.36 billion and enjoys a wireless subscriber base of 980.8 million users as of the end of June (source: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India).
  • For the first time in five years, Apple entered into a new product category this year with the launch of Apple Watch in April, marking company’s initial push into the wearable technology market. We believe Apple Watch will be a major hit this holiday season.
  • In our view, Apple is innovating like never before with entry into the first new product category in five years with Apple Watch, the launch of new services such as Apple Pay, an expanded effort in the TV market with the all-new Apple TV and investment in big, new industries such as the auto market that we believe could eventually lead to an “Apple Car”.