Monthly Archives: November 2016

Is The Copper Rally Sustainable?

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Apple Watch Rival Fitbit Reportedly Buying Pebble

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Fitness tracker Fitbit (FIT), which faces the Apple Watch and other challenges, will buy struggling smartwatch maker Pebble, according to a late Wednesday report.

Fitbit will pay an undisclosed amount that’s likely small, The Information said, citing source Fitbit wants Pebble’s intellectual property and software and will shut down the company and its products over time.

Pebble was one of the first wearable makers, getting funding via Kickstarter, and it has largely stuck to its simple design and no-touch functionality.

Pebble launched its latest model, Pebble 2, in October after reportedly laying off one-quarter of its staff earlier in the year.


IBD’S TAKE: Smartwatches are the only gadgets short-circuiting with consumers. Action camera maker GoPro gave a weak holiday outlook and days later recalled its just-launched Karma drone.


Fitbit also has been struggling, reporting a deeper-than-expected earnings decline and a weak holiday outlook on Nov. 2. Fitbit shares crashed 34% the next day to an all-time low.

The Apple Watch, including the all-new Apple Watch 2, could be one problem. Samsung, Lenovo, Garmin (GRMN) and many others have entered the market. Alphabet (GOOG)L-unit Google will release two smartwatches in Q1 and has its Android Wear software.

But there are also signs that smartwatch sales have waned as initial interest tapers off, though the shipment drop may reflect product cycles.






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Nokia brand ready for smartphone comeback in 2017

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

[AFP] – Nokia, once the world’s top mobile phone maker, will make a comeback on the smartphone market in the first half of 2017, the company and its licensee said Thursday. Nokia, which is now a leading telecom equipment maker, has licenced its brand to HMD Global which is to launch its first Nokia smartphone products early next year. The Finnish company said HMD had received the green light to proceed with production after completing all necessary transactions with its Taiwanese manufacturing partner, FIH Mobile of FoxConn Technology Group, and with US tech giant Microsoft which had bought the unprofitable phone business from Nokia in 2014.






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Microsoft: Cloud Is Platform for Digital Transformation

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

[at Bloomberg] – Ralph Haupter, Asia president for Microsoft, discusses the digital transformation in Asia and how the company is helping customers utilize cloud technology. He speaks to Bloomberg’s Haslinda Amin on “Bloomberg …






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Five Dow Jones Stocks That Can Outperform The Market

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015






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The 10 Richest Companies in the U.S.

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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

Richest Companies Getty
Image source: Getty Images.

There are multiple ways that one could value how “rich” a company is. The most obvious is to rank companies by market capitalization, which is the total market value of all shares outstanding. We can also look at the companies with the most cash and then speculate on what they might do with the hoard they are sitting on. 

10 biggest companies by market cap

By market cap, it’s no surprise that the biggest company in the world is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). What is surprising is that half of the top 10 are tech companies. Also, the oldest company on the list, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), (which has been around for 120 years) is still less valuable than the youngest company on the list, Facebook, which is barely 12 years old.

Company Ticker Symbol Market Cap (Billions) % Change Over Last 12 Months
Apple  NASDAQ: AAPL $596.1 (5.3%)
Alphabet  NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL $537.8 1.4%
Microsoft  NASDAQ: MSFT $470.6 12.7%
Berkshire Hathaway  NYSE: BRK-A, BRK-B $390.4 17.2%
Amazon.com  NASDAQ: AMZN $370.8 15.6%
ExxonMobil  NYSE: XOM $361.3 7.2%
Facebook NASDAQ: FB $347 14.2%
Johnson & Johnson NYSE: JNJ $310.5 11.9%
JPMorgan Chase
NYSE: JPM $282 17.9%
General Electric  NYSE: GE $278.1 3.6%

Data source: Dogs of the Dow, as of Nov. 25, 2016.

Other than tech companies and the consumer goods behemoth Johnson and Johnson, a big bank and an energy company — both of which dominate their respective industries — have good reason to be on this list. One exception is Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett’s iconic holding and investment company is unusual because it’s the only one of its kind, an investing firm. Berkshire Hathaway has no products of its own other than the companies it has acquired and yet shares have ballooned in its 50-year history making Buffett the second wealthiest person in the country. 

The richest companies in the U.S.

While market cap makes sense to calculate the most valuable companies in the U.S., most of these companies can’t actually do much with market cap since they usually own only a small percentage of shares. Instead, it might be more valuable to look at companies that have the largest cash hoards, and speculate what they might do with it.

By far the wealthiest company in the U.S. by total cash value is Apple, which has a record of nearly $238 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in its most recent quarter. While some investors want more dividends, Apple is likely to use some of its money to get more aggressive in going after the connected-car market, artificial intelligence, or other long-term investments. Or as Salesforce.com Chief Digital Evangelist Vala Afshar points out, perhaps they could buy a few small sports franchises.  

Image source: Twitter.

Other than Apple, Microsoft also has a massive cash load, though at $117 billion, it is just half the size of Apple’s. We’ve seen from the recent LinkedIn acquisition that Microsoft is not shy about using its cash to acquire new segments. Rounding out the wealthiest companies is Alphabet with around $88 billion. 

However, one important note is that most of these ultra-rich companies are holding a substantial amount of funds overseas. Apple has more than $200 billion of its cash load stashed in foreign accounts and short-term investments. The companies are holding cash outside the U.S. because they do not want to pay the standard 35% repatriation tax rate to bring cash that it has earned overseas into the U.S.

Things could start to get very interesting under President-elect Donald Trump, who has signaled that he will seek to lower this corporate tax percentage and could even provide a special 10% tax for companies that are seeking to repatriate a huge chunk of cash back to the States. There’s no telling when this might happen, how much each company would bring back, or what the companies will do with the money. However, many have already made claims that they plan to repatriate cash if those campaign promises come true.  

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Seth McNew owns shares of Apple and Johnson and Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon.com, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil, General Electric, and Microsoft and has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson and Johnson and Salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.






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Microsoft holds annual shareholder meeting

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My 2014 Best Performers, Looking Ahead To 2015

[PR Newswire] – REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Speaking to shareholders at Microsoft Corp.’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella highlighted how digital technology is transforming …






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Carrier gets state incentives, Trump pledge for keeping U.S. jobs

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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

(Rewrites, adds lawyer, Apple, Mondelez comment)

By David Shepardson and Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – United Technologies Corp’s Carrier unit said on Wednesday it got financial incentives from Indiana and a pledge from President-elect Donald Trump to improve the climate for business in the United States in exchange for keeping more than 1,000 jobs in the state rather than moving them overseas.

The heating and air-conditioning unit of the industrial and military conglomerate did not give a value for the financial incentives, but a source briefed on the matter said it was a fraction of the $65 million that Carrier planned to save by moving production to Mexico.

The deal, an outline of which was announced late on Tuesday, is a win for Trump as he seeks to make good on his popular campaign message of persuading companies to keep jobs in the United States. More details are expected on Thursday when Trump visits the Carrier plant in Indianapolis.

Hammered out by United Technologies CEO Gregory Hayes, Trump and Vice President-elect and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the deal lets the incoming administration claim an early victory before it takes office on Jan. 20. It allows the company to dodge some public backlash and avoid a drawn-out fight with Trump, who vowed to punish U.S. companies that shifted jobs abroad.

Perhaps more importantly for both, it helps set the tone of a business-friendly administration ready to ease regulations and cut U.S. corporate taxes.

“Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate,” Carrier said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the incentives offered by the state were an “important consideration.”

TAX SLASH?

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for U.S. Treasury secretary and co-author of the president-elect’s tax plan, and Wilbur Ross, Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary, on Wednesday reinforced the sweeping proposals Trump put forward in September to simplify the tax code and slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, cutting the top rate for all businesses from the present 35 percent.

“Our first priority is going to be the tax plan… lowering corporate taxes so we make U.S. companies the most competitive in the world, making sure we repatriate trillions of dollars back to the United States,” Mnuchin told reporters at the Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday.

He said the deal with Carrier showed that the incoming administration will have “open communications with business leaders.”

The deal will save only about half of the 2,100 jobs that Carrier said in February it would cut in closing two Indiana plants.

The manufacturer said the “forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. and of American workers moving forward.”

Trump’s intervention in the Carrier case raises the question of whether he will step in whenever manufacturing jobs are lost. By negotiating a deal with one company, Trump could come under pressure to do similar deals with other companies, said Alex Major, a partner at law firm McCarter & English.

That could result in what he called “a revolving door of trick or treaters at the White House,” looking for handouts as they threaten to move jobs overseas.

Aside from Carrier, Indiana businesses have outsourced at least 3,660 jobs since the middle of last year, Labor Department figures show.

Senator Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, noted that there are two other companies closing two Indiana factories, including one a mile from the Carrier plant in Indianapolis that is expected to move to Mexico.

OTHER COMPANIES IN CROSSHAIRS

Oreo cookie maker Mondelez International, another company Trump has accused of shipping jobs overseas, told Reuters it has not heard from Trump since the election.

Apple Inc, another Trump target on the campaign trail, which makes the vast bulk of its electronics in Asia, has made an attempt to reach out to the president-elect.

Trump told the New York Times he had received a call from Apple CEO Tim Cook. He said he told Cook he would like to see Apple build “a big plant in the United States,” according to the Times report, with the help of incentives and a “very large tax cut for corporations.”

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Apple did not answer questions about the call between Trump and Cook, but it did note that it employs 80,000 people directly in the United States.

Carrier declined to disclose the exact size of the incentives for keeping jobs in the state.

“It’s a modest state tax credit utilizing existing state tax tools; nothing new,” an Indiana state official told Reuters. “It would be the same kind of package that would be considered for any other company that would come in,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incentives have not yet been made public.

Carrier still plans to close a factory in Huntington, Indiana, that employs 700 people making controls for heating, cooling and refrigeration and move the jobs to Mexico by 2018.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Ginger Gibson and Mike Stone in Washington; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski, Karen Pierog and Renita Young in Chicago; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Bill Rigby)






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Visa Delays Deadline for Upgrade of Gas Pumps After Complaints

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