Monthly Archives: February 2015

What’s ‘Dr. Copper’s’ Next Move?

This post was originally published on this site

In my last copper update in November 2014, I warned that copper could plunge in tandem with oil after it sliced beneath its long-term psychological support level of $3 per pound. Since then, copper fell from $2.84 per pound to just over $2.40 before rebounding to $2.69. China’s economic bubble and related risk of a hard landing, the U.S. dollar’s powerful surge, and the ending of the overall commodities bubble are all reasons why I have been warning about downside risks for copper in recent years. Copper is often called “Dr. Copper – the metal with a PhD. in economics” because it tends to be an accurate barometer of global economic activity, which is why I pay close attention to it.

From a technical perspective, copper is still underneath its important $3 per pound resistance level, which creates a downside bias for the metal unless it can negate the bearish signal by decisively breaking back above this level. Copper’s recent rebound appears to have formed a channel pattern that may be helpful for determining its next immediate move. A breakdown from this channel could foreshadow a correction back to the January lows or even lower.

CopperShortTermSource: Finviz.com

The longer-term chart shows how important the $3 per pound level is for copper. If copper’s bearish breakdown signal is not negated and the recent rebound channel is broken to the downside, it is conceivable that copper may fall to levels last seen in early-2009 during the Global Financial Crisis. It is worth noting, however, that commercial copper futures hedgers (often considered the “smart money”) have a sizable long position, though they have been paring it back as copper rebounded this month. One possible scenario is that copper will re-test its $3 resistance level or just below it, the commercial hedgers will cut back their long position even further, and then copper will begin the next leg of its descent.

CopperLongTermSource: Finviz.com The U.S. dollar has a significant influence on commodities such as copper, so traders should watch it closely. The U.S. dollar trades inversely with commodities, so dollar strength is typically bearish for copper, and vice versa. As I discussed in another piece today, the U.S. Dollar Index has formed a possible pennant pattern that may indicate further gains ahead if Thursday’s bullish breakout is sustained. If the U.S. dollar rallies after its breakout, it could lead to further weakness in copper. If the dollar’s breakout fails and leads to a correction, on the other hand, copper may continue to rebound.

DollarIndexSource: Finviz.com

If you are interested in learning more about trading and profiting from the global currency market, I am teaching a free webinar on Friday, March 6th at 4:00 PM EST. In this webinar, I will be addressing the points made in this piece and will have a Q & A session where you can ask me questions about global financial markets, economic bubbles, and much more. Please click here to register for this free webinar.

Please follow or add me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn to stay informed about the most important trading and bubble news as well as my related commentary.

(Disclaimer: All information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on for making any investment decisions. These chart analysis blog posts are simply market “play by plays” and color commentaries, not hard predictions, as the author is an agnostic on short-term market movements.)

 





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CopperShortTerm

What’s ‘Dr. Copper’s’ Next Move?

This post was originally published on this site

In my last copper update in November 2014, I warned that copper could plunge in tandem with oil after it sliced beneath its long-term psychological support level of $3 per pound. Since then, copper fell from $2.84 per pound to just over $2.40 before rebounding to $2.69. China’s economic bubble and related risk of a hard landing, the U.S. dollar’s powerful surge, and the ending of the overall commodities bubble are all reasons why I have been warning about downside risks for copper in recent years. Copper is often called “Dr. Copper – the metal with a PhD. in economics” because it tends to be an accurate barometer of global economic activity, which is why I pay close attention to it.

From a technical perspective, copper is still underneath its important $3 per pound resistance level, which creates a downside bias for the metal unless it can negate the bearish signal by decisively breaking back above this level. Copper’s recent rebound appears to have formed a channel pattern that may be helpful for determining its next immediate move. A breakdown from this channel could foreshadow a correction back to the January lows or even lower.

CopperShortTermSource: Finviz.com

The longer-term chart shows how important the $3 per pound level is for copper. If copper’s bearish breakdown signal is not negated and the recent rebound channel is broken to the downside, it is conceivable that copper may fall to levels last seen in early-2009 during the Global Financial Crisis. It is worth noting, however, that commercial copper futures hedgers (often considered the “smart money”) have a sizable long position, though they have been paring it back as copper rebounded this month. One possible scenario is that copper will re-test its $3 resistance level or just below it, the commercial hedgers will cut back their long position even further, and then copper will begin the next leg of its descent.

CopperLongTermSource: Finviz.com The U.S. dollar has a significant influence on commodities such as copper, so traders should watch it closely. The U.S. dollar trades inversely with commodities, so dollar strength is typically bearish for copper, and vice versa. As I discussed in another piece today, the U.S. Dollar Index has formed a possible pennant pattern that may indicate further gains ahead if Thursday’s bullish breakout is sustained. If the U.S. dollar rallies after its breakout, it could lead to further weakness in copper. If the dollar’s breakout fails and leads to a correction, on the other hand, copper may continue to rebound.

DollarIndexSource: Finviz.com

If you are interested in learning more about trading and profiting from the global currency market, I am teaching a free webinar on Friday, March 6th at 4:00 PM EST. In this webinar, I will be addressing the points made in this piece and will have a Q & A session where you can ask me questions about global financial markets, economic bubbles, and much more. Please click here to register for this free webinar.

Please follow or add me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn to stay informed about the most important trading and bubble news as well as my related commentary.

(Disclaimer: All information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on for making any investment decisions. These chart analysis blog posts are simply market “play by plays” and color commentaries, not hard predictions, as the author is an agnostic on short-term market movements.)

 





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My Favorite Buffett Letter Quotes

This post was originally published on this site



My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

5 Value Growth Stocks I Am Buying Now

Some Classic Quotes From the Letter via my full thoughts from Real Money Pro.

Every year the Berkshire letter is populated by some great lines. Here are some of my favorites from this year:

  • “My successor will need one other particular strength: the ability to fight off the ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency.” (Buffett)
  • “Berkshire’s net worth would be at least $50 billion higher had it seized some opportunities it didn’t recognize as virtually sure things.” (Munger)
  • “The “weirdly intense, contagious devotion” of shareholders, admirers and press played into why Berkshire did so well under Buffett.” (Munger)
  • My leisurely pace in making sales (of Tesco) would prove expensive…Charlie calls this sort of behavior ‘thumb-sucking’…Considering what my delay cost us, he is being kind.” (Buffett)
  • Buffett became so good at what he does because of an early “decision to limit his activities to a few kinds and to maximize his attention to them… A lot like Roger Federer has done at tennis.” (Munger)
  • “Though marginal businesses purchased at cheap prices may be attractive as short-term investments, they are the wrong foundation on which to build a large and enduring enterprise. Selecting a marriage partner clearly requires more demanding criteria than does dating.” (Buffett)






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Bing Director’s Secrets from the New World of Search

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

I know I’m not the only person in the world frustrated with Google these days. In a much-reported move, it has moved away from keywords into a more sophisticated kind of search, semantic search, which supposedly feeds me things that I want

Except that I’m always looking at search screens full of information that I don’t want, or at least that aren’t good for me, or at least are time wasters. If I feel a little bit lazy in the morning and decide to look at the red carpet dresses from the Oscars before I start work, I find myself a half hour later staring at the greatest Disney princess dresses of all time on Buzzfeed. (No. 1 was Cinderella).

Nor do the advanced searches seem to produce anything great. If I type in “really insightful piece on Tennyson,” I get homes for rent in Colorado.

I’m sure somehow I’m doing this wrong, but honestly, I prefer clunky keyword search to creepy semantic search.

A few weeks ago I went to hear a talk about Stefan Weitz’s new book, Search: How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter. Weitz, the director of search at Bing, talked about the book with Christopher Schroeder, a former Internet executive and the author of Startup Rising, which is about entrepreneurs in the Middle East. They spoke in Washington, D.C. at 1776, a collaborative workspace.

Schroeder and Weitz talked about the future of search, the implications and lessons for entrepreneurs. One of the most fun parts of the evening was when I noticed that while Schroeder and Weitz were talking, a group of teen-agers at the back were flipping through Tinder pages. Long live search.

Here are my takeaways from the talk and the book.

The new world of search is categorically different. I came away convinced of that. Weitz explains in his book how the amount of information stored has grown exponentially, and the ability of computer systems to draw connections between the information has exploded too. So while the old world of search relied on language and a little bit on video,the new world will be built around connections and synthesis. If you type in “bag of chips” we get everything from an ad for Doritos to a Wikipedia page about computer chips. In the future, Weitz says, what we get will change from a simple web page to information about who likes the product, lists of local stores that carry it, opinions from people about their taste, and the demographics of the other people buying it — among other things. Further, whatever the search shows you will be determined by what the search knows about you. So that if you are dieting, it will bring you right away to a page that enables you to buy low-cal chip alternatives like dried pears.

And the query of the future won’t be a keyword or even a keyword that triggers a semantic search. Instead, your search engine will recognize your “change in state,” Weitz writes. If it knows you are hungry, and that you often crave chips at 3 p.m. and that you are dieting, it will send you a link to buy a bag of pears at 3 p.m. and help you buy them.

Schroeder asked Weitz about how entrepreneurs can benefit from the categorical web. Young people who grow up in the new world of search, and especially those in emerging markets where the technology systems will be built from the ground up in the new environment, will likely have an edge when it comes to building businesses.

The health implications are incredible. While there are plenty of things about the new world of search that could give us pause — all that information in the hands of an evil actor — my single biggest takeaway from the night was when Weitz suggested that search might one day serve as a kind of functional memory for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Or, perhaps search could help recognize patterns that would calculate risks. “It’s not your genes that tell us you’re likely to get Alzheimer’s, the fact that you live next to an aluminum smelter and eat lots of fish loaded with mercury will also increase your likelihood.”

Weitz identified health care as one of the key places an entrepreneur looking for opportunity from the new search technology could work.

Here’s another potential: educational platforms that identify when a student’s attention is wandering and automatically flag the teacher or adjust the learning material. Some, like the Khan Academy, are already working in this vein, Weitz writes.

I should check out Wolfram Alpha. I remember when this debuted and lots of people I knew were pointing me toward it. It’s worth taking another look — I did as I was writing this blog — to see how much it has advanced. It still seems rudimentary compared with what is discussed in the book, but it gives you a sense of the potential.

It’s going to be complicated. For instance, in this new world of search, who owns the data? Is it you, if the data is about your buying habits or health risks? A company that gathers it? Should it be in the public domain? What about privacy concerns? With very little imagination, you can think of plenty more dangers. “The only thing we can really agree on is that we must work on these issues now. Ignoring them and hoping they will simply resolve themselves through continual technical advancement is a recipe for disaster.”

We need both humans and computers. Weitz gives computing systems and humans equal weight in the beginning of the book, outlining the ways in which each is superior. In addition to speed, computers follows rule without deviating and never requires a break, among other things. Humans, on the other hand, are superior in that they can rationalize their way through problems they have never seen, learn and connect with others. Weitz argues that search is the hinge between the two worlds. “Search has great power to alert us to things we don’t even know we need to know, and to generally enable us to be better versions of ourselves.”

We need process. My fundamental conclusion from the book and the talk, though, was a reminder of how much we need process. I don’t know about you, but most of the best experiences in my life were things that happened when I wasn’t searching for them, or even things that happened when I was stuck doing something I really didn’t want to do. Like when I haul a pile of laundry to the dry cleaner along with my two-year-old, and the nice lady behind the counter tells me about where to find the highest-class buttons to replace the ones on my old coat and then gives my daughter a lollipop.

In short, I like the process.

I know what you’re thinking: I could go anyway, right? But I probably wouldn’t. Without the necessity of the goal, I would skip the process. People are like that.

Or, there’s the time that I was riding to New York on an Amtrak train on a very hot day. The train stopped functioning, and we all piled off the platform, milling around. In Weitz’s capable web world, I think my phone would have identified available cars, buses or planes, and I would have jumped right on one. I would have made my cocktail hour in New York.

Instead, what happened is that I made friends with a vice president of sales, and we bonded together and jumped in rental car with two other strangers and drove to New York together. I missed the cocktail hour, but it was a lovely experience. I’m still in touch with one of my fellow travelers, executive coach Charles Presbury, and if I bumped into any of the others, I’d give any of them a hug.

So the question is, if search is always there, what will happen to serendipity?






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SK Telecom Participates in Mobile World Congress 2015

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BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — SK Telecom (SKM) announced its participation in the 2015 GSMA Mobile World Congress to be held from March 2 to 5, at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain.

Under the theme of “Journey to the New World of Innovation,” SK Telecom will showcase advanced network technologies aimed at accelerating the evolution towards 5G; introduce 5G platforms in five different areas, namely IoT, location-based service, intelligence, commerce and Big Data; and unveil new consumer-centric IoT devices, or Lifeware, developed to bring innovative changes to people’s daily lives. 

Advanced Technologies to Accelerate Evolution to 5G

SK Telecom will demonstrate 7.5Gbps data transmission through 3D Beamforming technology using millimeter wave (mmWave)* frequency bands. Due to saturation and fragmentation of frequency resources in bands below 6GHz being used today for mobile telecommunications, technologies that enable the utilization of mmWave frequency bands will play an important part in realizing early commercialization of 5G.
*Millimeter-wave (mmWave) refers to electromagnetic waves with a frequency of 30GHz to 300GHz, and wavelength between 1mm to 10mm.

The company will also showcase new telecommunications technologies, including Fast Data Platform for Network, T Oven and Quantum Cryptography System to enhance the completeness of the 5G network system.

Fast Data Platform is an innovative platform that prevents service quality degradation by collecting and analyzing Big Data generated by the network, and T OVEN is a technology capable of orchestrating a virtualized network.

Quantum Cryptography System is by far the best data security technology as it uses quantum mechanics to prevent hacking of data in transit unlike the traditional data security technology that uses a cryptography algorithm based on prime factorization. The system, once commercialized, will open a new paradigm in security of national backbone network, financial network and medical information network.

Five Different 5G Platforms in Areas of IoT, Location-based Service, Intelligence, Commerce and Big Data

At this year’s MWC exhibition, SK Telecom will also suggest how people’s lives will be transformed in the 5G era through innovative platforms designed to maximize the value of the 5G network.

Mobius, an open IoT platform based on oneM2M standards, offers advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M). SK Telecom will demonstrate SK Planet’s Weather Pong, a real-time weather information system that provides weather updates and forecasts through sensors installed in SK Telecom base stations.

The company will also showcase Beacon-based LBS Platform, a platform that utilizes beacons and highly accurate indoor positioning technologies to provide optimal location-based solutions. At its booth, SK Telecom will use Google Glass to allow visitors to gain first-hand experience of a beacon-based indoor location service that shows work manuals on Google Glass by identifying the accurate location of the user. Moreover, it will also unveil Connected Beacon, a mesh network created by beacons that can be remotely controlled via Internet connection, and Smart Beacon Light, an LED lighting control feature realized by applying the BLE Mesh feature to lighting.

Be-Me Platform is an intelligence platform that provides smart personalized services by analyzing information collected through various sensors embedded in user’s smart devices, location information and network access information. Built with an integrated algorithm, the platform can determine the user’s current situation and predict future actions. At MWC, SK Telecom will display Eggo-Mate, a personal assistant service that writes diaries, schedule meetings and sends messages on behalf of the user.

Smart Shopper is a commerce platform built with IoT-based telecommunications technologies to allow users to enjoy cartless shopping at retail stores. It makes shopping more convenient for customers by allowing them to use a designated device to scan barcodes on products and have them delivered to their homes.

T Hadoop DW is a Big Data Platform that can analyze unstructured data and flexibly scale up server resources depending on the amount of data that needs to be analyzed. SK Telecom has improved the performance of the platform by utilizing its extensive knowhow in real-time data traffic management.

‘Lifeware,’ Consumer-Centric IoT Devices Designed to Innovate People’s Lives

SK Telecom will suggest a new Mobile Life through Lifeware, IoT devices developed to enhance customers’ convenience and well-being.

At this year’s MWC, SK Telecom will introduce for the first time Smart Band, a stylish wearable device, which not only notifies users’ of incoming calls, SMS-MMS, emails and SNS updates, but also promotes their health through activity tracking and motivation-enhancing features; and Smart Hearing Aid, a Bluetooth earset developed to better serve customers with hearing loss. It comes with a specialized app that enables users to fit the hearing aid to their specific hearing loss and hearing needs, after which they can enjoy high-definition voice calling and listen to music stored in their smartphones.

Furthermore, SK Telecom will also display Smart Beam HD, a laser pico projector; Linkage, a smart Wi-Fi audio; SolarSkin, a solar-charging smartphone case; and T Kids Phone JooN, a wearable phone for kids.

Attachment 1: List of Exhibition Items

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM, KSE: 017670), established in 1984, is Korea’s largest telecommunications company with more than 28 million mobile subscribers, accounting for over 50% of the market. The company reached KRW 17.164 trillion in revenue in 2014. As the world’s first company to commercialize CDMA, CDMA 2000 1x, CDMA EV-DO and HSDPA networks, SK Telecom launched the nation’s first LTE service in July 2011. SK Telecom also became the world’s first mobile carrier to commercialize 150Mbps LTE-Advanced in June 2013 and 225Mbps LTE-Advanced in June 2014 through Carrier Aggregation(CA). In line with its efforts to swiftly move towards the next-generation mobile network system, or 5G, it successfully commercialized 300Mbps tri-band LTE-A CA. As of December 2014, the company has over 16.7 million LTE and LTE-Advanced subscribers. Based on its strength in network operations business, SK Telecom is seeking new growth engines in areas of platform, Big Data and convergence business. For more information, please visit www.sktelecom.com or email to press@sktelecom.com.

Media Contact
Cindy Kang
SK Telecom Co. Ltd.
(822) 6100-3834
(8210) 9113-2344
psyche@sk.com

Jee-soo Lee
Edelman Korea
(822) 2022-8263
(8210) 4198-6009
Jeesoo.lee@edelman.com

Attachment 1: List of Exhibition Items at MWC2015

Next-Generation Network

3D Beamforming for mmWAVE 

“Key 5G network technology using ultra high frequency band”

SK Telecom demonstrates 7.55Gbps transmission speeds through 3D Beamforming technology that enables the utilization of mmWave* frequency bands.

T OVEN

“Uses a wide variety of virtualized telecommunications equipment as ingredients to cook a well-made telecommunications service”

T OVEN is not only capable of orchestrating virtualized network equipment, including vRAN, vEPC, vIMS, vVAS, but can also manage the total life-cycle of the service, including deployment, monitoring, scaling, healing, migration, upgrade and termination.

Fast Data Platform for Network Intelligence

“Innovative platform that enhances both customer experience and network operational efficiency through real-time analysis of Big Data”

Fast Data Platform for Network Intelligence prevents service quality degradation by collecting and analyzing system/customer/service related Big Data generated by the network.

Quantum Cryptography System

“The best data security technology available today”

Quantum Cryptography System uses quantum mechanics to prevent hacking of data in transit unlike the traditional data security technology that uses a cryptography algorithm based on prime factorization. The system, scheduled to be commercialized as early as the second half of 2015, will ensure strengthened security in areas of national defense, finance and medical service.

IoT Platform

Mobius

“Open IoT platform based on international standards”

Mobius offers standard-based open interface along with many features required for M2M services including device control. It enables diverse players to provide end-users with value-added, customized services by combining their ideas and technologies, regardless of device.

LBS

Platform

Beacon-based LBS Platform

“Indoor LBS platform based on beacons and sensors”

The platform utilizes beacons and highly accurate indoor positioning technologies to provide optimal location-based solutions like indoor route guidance, tracking and map to be used in exhibition centers, sports stadiums, shopping malls and factories.

At MWC 2015, SK Telecom also unveils Connected Beacon, a mesh network created by beacons that can be remotely controlled via Internet connection, and Smart Beacon Light, a lighting control feature realized by applying the BLE Mesh feature to lighting.

Intelligence Platform

Be-Me Platform

“Intelligence platform that offers smart assistant services”

An intelligence platform that provides users with an appropriate service for each situation by collecting and analyzing users’ diverse situation information. The platform is realized through the application of an integrated intelligence algorithm that thinks likes the user to predict his/her current situation and future action.

Big Data Platform

T Hadoop DW

“Big Data platform capable of analyzing unstructured data”

T Hadoop DW can analyze unstructured data and flexibly scale up server resources depending on the amount of data that needs to be analyzed. SK Telecom has improved the performance of the platform by utilizing its extensive knowhow in real-time data traffic management.

Communication Platform

T Phone 

“All-IP-based communication platform designed to deliver innovative call experience”

As the world’s first dialer platform developed by a mobile operator, T Phone offers both voice and data services unlike the traditional dial application. It provides features like Visual ARS, smart phone directory search, spam call filtering and group calling. SK Telecom plans to open up its platform to enable businesses to use it as a means to promote their business.

UX Platform

T Action

“Sensor-based platform offering a more convenient way to control smartphone features”

Based on SK Telecom’s home-grown gesture sensing algorithm and gesture recognition engine, T Action allows users to control smartphone features and even activate certain features of apps through their gestures.  

Commerce Platform

Smart Shopper

“An omni-channel commerce platform designed to improve consumers’ experience through cartless shopping”

Built with barcode scanning and NFC technologies, Smart Shopper allows customers to use a designated device to scan barcodes on products to add them to virtual carts, purchase the products and have them delivered to their homes.

Smart Stamp

“An electronic stamp service platform developed to replace conventional ink stamps”

Smart Stamp is an electronic stamp service that allows retailers to stamp directly on the customer’s smartphone to reward repeat visits. Enabled via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the smart stamp app is activated automatically when the stamp device is placed over the smartphone. Retailers can benefit from this innovative marketing tool by either using SK Telecom’s smart stamp app or developing an app of their own based on the company’s SDK.

Smart Credit Card

“Next-generation card platform that integrates multiple plastic cards into one electronic card embedded with BLE”

Smart Credit Card allows users to integrate diverse cards, including credit cards, membership cards and transportation cards into one smart card, and manage the card through their smartphone. 

Shopkick

“Location-based personal shopping assistant”

Based on BLE beacons, Shopkick recognizes customers’ location and movements to provide optimal and customized shopping-related information, coupons and points to their smartphones.

Lifeware

Smart Band

“Stylish and smart wearable watch”

Smart Band, a chic looking yet highly functional wearable device designed for the fashion conscious, not only notifies the user of incoming calls, SMS•MMS, emails and SNS updates, but also promotes the user’s health through activity tracking and motivation-enhancing features.

Smart Hearing Aid

“Bluetooth earset with a hearing aid feature”

Smart Hearing Aid is a wireless earset developed to enable people with hearing loss to use hearing aids more conveniently at affordable cost. It offers a specialized hearing aid fitting procedure through a smartphone app, after which users can enjoy high-definition voice calling and listen to music stored in their music library.

Smart Beam HD

“HD laser pico projector”

The Smart Beam HD, is a laser pico projector that can be wirelessly connected to a variety of smart devices. Built with laser technology, Smart Beam HD offers three times better image quality than its former version and even provides a focus-free feature.

Linkage

“The smallest network audio in the world”

Linkage is a Wi-Fi audio capable of providing features and quality that are incomparable to the existing speakers: It plays Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) music files by accessing diverse sources including the user’s phone SD card, Internet radio stations and music streaming services; can be connected with up to 9 more units to offer surround sound feature

SolarSkin

“Solar-charging smartphone case”

SolarSkin is a smartphone case that also acts as a solar-powered battery charger. Current generated by the solar panel is supplied to the smartphone to support seamless service even in emergencies.

T Kids Phone JooN

“A Total Solution for Children’s Safety”

T Kids Phone JooN is a standalone, wearable 3G phone for children that can be worn as a wristwatch or necklace. It offers diverse features including voice calling, SOS notification, real-time location tracking and Safe Zone settings.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sk-telecom-participates-in-mobile-world-congress-2015-300043199.html

  • Technology & Electronics
  • Internet & Networking Technology
  • SK Telecom
  • IoT

 





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Buffett looks to succession, signals future growth problem

This post was originally published on this site



My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

5 Value Growth Stocks I Am Buying Now

(Recasts headline)

By Luciana Lopez, Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) – In his 50 years at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Warren Buffett has transformed a failing textile company into a sprawling conglomerate that has vastly outperformed most of the rest of corporate America.

But he now says: Do not expect a repeat of that outperformance in the next 50.

In the 84-year-old’s annual shareholder letter released on Saturday, Buffett said Berkshire has grown so large – 751,000 times its original net worth per share – that the future pace of gains “will not come close” to those of the past.

“The numbers have become too big,” Buffett wrote. “I think Berkshire will outperform the average American company, but our advantage, if any, won’t be great.”

Within 10 to 20 years, Buffett said, Berkshire’s girth could require whoever then runs the Omaha, Nebraska-based company to consider steps he has resisted, such as paying dividends or conducting “massive” share repurchases.

Buffett, also addressing one of the more pressing topics at Berkshire, said he and his board of directors “believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO,” likely for a decade or more, and who in some respects “will do a better job than I am doing.”

While Buffett did not name that person, Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 91, said Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, two top Buffett lieutenants, would be prime candidates.

Abel, 52, runs Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Jain, 63, has been Buffett’s top insurance executive for three decades.

A successor could also be female: Buffett said “gender should never decide who becomes CEO.”

And Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who run some Berkshire investments, “can be of particular help to the CEO in evaluating acquisitions,” he added.

“You’ve got such good candidates,” said Thomas Russo, a principal at Gardner, Russo & Gardner, which invests 12 percent of its $10 billion of assets in Berkshire. “I think they’ll adopt a different capital structure approach, which will include a healthy, healthy large dividend.”

OPERATING RESULTS MISS ESTIMATES

Buffett is preparing in May to celebrate 50 years of running Berkshire, whose market value is now $363 billion.

On Saturday, Berkshire also reported a 17 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, to $4.16 billion, or $2,529 per Class A share, from $4.99 billion, or $3,035, a year ago, as investment gains and results from insurance underwriting declined.

Operating profit rose 5 percent to $3.96 billion, or $2,412 per share, from $3.78 billion, or $2,297.

For all of 2014, profit rose 2 percent to $19.87 billion, while operating profit increased 9 percent to $16.55 billion. Revenue rose 7 percent $194.67 billion.

Book value per share, which Buffett considers a good measure of Berkshire’s worth, rose 8.3 percent to $146,186 but lagged gains in the Standard & Poor’s 500 for the fifth time in six years.

Despite the big numbers, Berkshire had some problems.

Buffett lamented the performance of the BNSF railroad, saying it “disappointed many of its customers” with congestion on its rail lines caused by bad weather, amid rising oil shipments and a bumper grain harvest.

He also said he was “embarrassed” by taking too long to exit a $2.3 billion investment in Tesco Plc, a British retailer that became mired in an accounting scandal.

Berkshire lost $444 million on Tesco, but Buffett said that’s just 0.2 percent of its net worth.

MOTHER LODE OF OPPORTUNITIES

Berkshire owns more than 80 companies, such as Geico insurance and Dairy Queen ice cream, and $117.5 billion of equity investments in such companies as Wells Fargo & Co , Coca-Cola Co, American Express Co and IBM Corp.

Buffett remains on the prowl for acquisitions, and with $63.27 billion of cash could make big purchases, which he calls “elephants,” while preserving a $20 billion cash cushion.

Despite spending $7.8 billion on 31 acquisitions in 2014, Berkshire has not bought an elephant since paying $12.25 billion to buy half of ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co in 2013.

And while Buffett has said he may shop more in Germany, after on Feb. 20 agreeing to buy a German motorcycle accessories retailer, Berkshire’s main focus will remain at home.

“Though we will always invest abroad as well, the mother lode of opportunities runs through America,” he wrote.

Buffett’s letter retained the folksy tone that have helped make him popular among investors.

Talking about his See’s Candies business, which requires little capital investment, Buffett compared the company’s profits to “rabbits breeding.”

And Buffett said that at Berkshire’s annual meeting last year, part of a weekend he calls “Woodstock for Capitalists,” shareholders bought 10,000 bottles of Heinz ketchup with Buffett or Munger on the labels. (Buffett’s cost $2, Munger’s $1.50.)

This year, Buffett said Heinz will also be selling mustard as well as ketchup. “Buy both!” he exhorted.

(Reporting by Jennifer Ablan, Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

  • Finance
  • Business
  • Warren Buffett
  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc






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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Which Stock Do Investors Like Best?

This post was originally published on this site



Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

After Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) went public at the end of September 2014, it quickly gained the popularity of both big money managers and smaller investors. However, as the data for the last quarter of 2014 show, the atmosphere of excitement started to cool down and Alibaba saw a withdrawal of capital during the last three months of 2014. Among 737 funds that we track, at the end of 2014, 90 funds reported holding shares of Alibaba, the aggregate value of their stakes amounting to $7.11 billion. This number represents a decrease from 110 funds holding some $7.69 billion worth of the company’s stock that we saw as at the end of September. On the other hand, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also lost some popularity but still remained the top choice among investors, the company being included in the equity portfolio of 149 funds that held in aggregate some $20.88 billion, versus 154 funds with $22.51 billion worth of stock in the previous quarter.

Apple, is AAPL a good stock to buy, David Kirkpatrick, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs,

After analyzing the data for the third quarter, we noticed that many investors that initiated stakes in newly public Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), cut their positions in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). For example, Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global dumped its entire stake in Apple and initiated a $1.01 billion stake in Alibaba. George Soros sold some 693,800 shares of Apple and disclosed ownership of 4.40 million shares of Alibaba. David E. Shaw’s D.E. Shaw & Co. held 4.05 million shares of Alibaba at the end of September and some 11.66 million shares of Apple, down by 233,500 shares. So let’s take a look how this trend developed throughout the last three months of 2014.

At first glance we can see that investors have not been switching from Apple to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA). While the former still remained to be the most popular stock among investors, Alibaba has seen a significant decrease in popularity moving down a couple of positions in our ranking. It seems to have been the right call because since its IPO on September 19 and up until now, Alibaba’s stock lost around 9.3%, while at the end of the year it closed up by around 10.70%. Meanwhile, between September and February, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stock gained 26% but it appreciated only by 8.40%. During this period, Apple has released two new smartphones, announced the Apple Watch and Apple Pay and provided stellar results for the last quarter of 2014. On the other hand, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), even though announced record-breaking sales of $9.0 billion during the “Singles Day” in China, posted revenue below the expectations in its last financial report. The fact that the revenue has actually grown in year-on-year terms and EPS came above the estimates also didn’t help and Alibaba’s stock lost over 8% on the day the report was released and led to several analysts reducing their price targets on the stock.






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Microsoft plans to revamp Silicon Valley campus

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

By /

As the media salivated Friday over Google’s unveiling of space-age campus expansion plans, Microsoft had already quietly submitted its own big office development project to Mountain View City Hall.

Renderings of Microsoft’s plans shown to us on Friday illustrate a far more conventional and modest project than what Google has in store a few blocks away. The tech rivals have been neighbors for more than 15 years in Mountain View’s North Bayshore office district.

Of Microsoft’s five current buildings between La Avenida Street and Highway 101, three will be torn down and two will be renovated. Microsoft will then erect a brand-new 5-story structure, plus three smaller “link” buildings to connect the campus around a courtyard. Its stated goal is to create a “cohesive, vibrant campus” that will “enhance our presence in Mountain View,” believed to be its largest tech workplace outside its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft employs about 1,700 workers in Mountain View, making it the city’s 6th largest employer after Google, Symantec, LinkedIn, El Camino Hospital and Intuit, according to city records.

The plans call for adding about 128,000 square feet of office space to the 515,000 the company already occupies.

There are a few reasons why Mountain View leaders might like this. Microsoft wants to build a multistory parking garage, pull out most of its surface parking lots, and use the extra space to restore the native habitat of adjacent Stevens Creek. Unlike office development projects submitted Friday by Google, LinkedIn and three other developers, Microsoft’s plans also don’t seek exemptions from the city’s new plan for North Bayshore development.

Above: Microsoft recently submitted this office development plan to Mountain View City Hall.

 
 
 
 






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Microsoft Adds New Features With Latest Updates To Its Band Wearable Device

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

I wrote about my initial thoughts on the Microsoft Band, right here. I’ve been using the Band daily since Christmas of last year and am a fan of the device. I had noticed a couple of quirks with the Band early on, like the heart rate monitor taking too long to lock in and Bluetooth syncs occasionally failing, but updates to the Microsoft Fitness app, the band’s firmware, and potentially Windows Phone 8.1 itself, seem to have taken care of those issues.  For the last few weeks, the Band has been behaving perfectly for me.

When the Band launched last year, Microsoft claimed that they’d be continually updating the device and its companion software in response to user feedback. It seems they are making good on that promise. “For the last three months, we’ve monitored feedback carefully from customers, partners and media.  While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, we are continuing to listen to our customers and make improvements based on their feedback,” said Matt Barlow, General Manager of New Devices Marketing. “This feedback is at the heart of the decisions we make, and today we’re pleased to take our first steps in launching new features and functionality for Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health that address what we’re hearing.”

This past week, Microsoft released new firmware for the Band, updated the Microsoft Fitness app, and launched a web dashboard that enables a number of new features for the Band. Along with the new web dashboard, biking functionality has been added, additional ways to scan and respond to incoming notifications is available, and your data can now be integrated with Microsoft HealthVault and MapMyFitness. Microsoft also launched the Microsoft Band SDK Developer Preview for third party developers interested in creating application for the Band.

Microsoft Band Web Portal

The Microsoft Band Web Portal Has A Clean, Easy To Navigate Interface.

I have found the new web portal to be somewhat limited, but still quite handy compared to the Microsoft Fitness app alone.  The web dashboard offers new observations, extended data views and more detailed charts than what is available via the mobile app—all good things. And the interface is very clean and easy to navigate in my opinion.  Microsoft should offer the ability to customize the device via the web portable and perhaps pull data down off the site for the hardcore geeks out there what would like to more deeply analyze it.

The Biking feature is similar to the Running feature that’s been available on the Band since launch. It has the ability to map rides, track elevation, do speed analysis, track calories burned, etc. There are also some new guided workouts available. But the new virtual keyboard and voice replies available for Windows Phone 8.1 users have been the best additions for me.  You can now respond to texts and other notices right from the band, provided you’re within range of your smartphone. There were a few canned responses available before, but now you can actually type on or dictate to the band. The virtual keyboard is obviously quite small, but I’ve found its predictive capabilities to be good. Answering quick text messages without having to pull out my phone is very handy.

Some early reviews of the Microsoft Band called it buggy and complained that it lacked some features that are now available with the device.  If you’re in the market for a wearable like the Microsoft Band, don’t put too much stock in any reviews written around the launch—the device is a different beast today.






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