Getting Quilled

By |2019-01-04T05:33:00-04:00January 4th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Uh oh. American Porcupine. Photo: Chuck Holmer. Source: Wikimedia That’s what we thought the other night when our dog came rushing back to the house from the nearby woods. She was acting a little strange, so we took a closer look. Sure enough, she had a mouth full of porcupine quills. What followed was about an hour of holding her still while one of us used a pliers to latch onto each quill and pull it out. Our dog was a good girl and [...]

Successful Failure

By |2018-08-27T07:09:14-04:00August 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

We like to celebrate market winners. But what it really allows is failure. Illustration: Naobim. Source: Pixabay Centuries ago, if you couldn’t pay your debts, you were thrown into debtor’s prison where you wrote letters imploring family and friends to bail you out. In ancient Rome, if you pledged yourself as loan collateral and couldn’t pay the loan, you became your creditor’s slave. Colonial Virginia was settled by thousands of indentured (i.e. indebted) servants working off their debts via labor. In the US we [...]

A Mature Orchard

By |2018-02-07T07:03:17-04:00February 7th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is the Apple tree getting old? Photo: Sita Magnuson. Source: Morguefile Companies have life cycles. They get started, expand, mature, and get old. Different life stages have different needs. Start-ups need to prove that their business model works; growing firms have to find the right people and markets for their products; mature companies maximize their profitability and may use excess cash to make targeted acquisitions; and older companies have to either re-invent themselves or prepare for a shrinking annuity business. The question for investors [...]

Golden Delicious

By |2017-07-17T12:21:28-04:00February 16th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Golden Delicious Is Apple the greatest cash machine in history? Photo: Leeroy Source: Life of Pix Apple recently reported its 2016 financial performance. Last year the company sold $215 billion worth of products and earned – after expenses, amortization, and taxes – over $45 billion. By contrast, conglomerate GE sold $120 billion and earned $10 billion. Smaller companies may have larger margins, but nothing has ever come close to Apple’s scale. The company has amassed a cash reserve of $250 billion. Enough, if they [...]

Smart Growth

By |2017-07-17T12:21:36-04:00November 30th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What’s happening to demand for smart phones? Photo: Alexandre Vanier. Source: Pixabay Once, it seemed like smartphones would reach everywhere and do everything. But even Apple seems to be running out of room to grow. People will buy around 1.4 billion smartphones this year. That’s up less than 1% from 2015, when sales grew by over 10%. And it’s way down from the earlier part of the decade, when sales were growing by almost 50% per year. Android phones are still growing. The free [...]

The Law of the Apple

By |2017-07-17T12:22:58-04:00May 5th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Is Apple (AAPL) too big to grow? Source: Apple Apple is a $740 billion stock. Its revenues over the past 12 months are equal to the entire New Zealand economy. Over the past 15 years the stock has been what Peter Lynch calls a 100-bagger. All you had to do was predict that they would invent the iPhone, and you’d be rich. […]

Slicing Apples

By |2017-07-17T12:22:58-04:00April 28th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What’s behind Apple’s monster first quarter? Source: Pixabay In a word: China. iPhone sales now constitute over 60% of Apple’s revenues, and Apple’s smartphone market share in greater China (Hong Kong and Taiwan included) went from 5% to 12%. That growth contributed to what was by any account a truly gargantuan report: $58 billion in sales; $13.5 billion in profit; 27% annual revenue growth. They plan to distribute $200 billion in cash to shareholders over the next 2 years. If present trends were to [...]

Apple’s Shine

By |2017-07-17T12:23:06-04:00January 28th, 2015|Global Market Update|

How well did Apple do last quarter? Source: Yesterday Apple reported they earned $18 billion on $75 billion in sales. Earnings were up 50% from a year ago, and sales up 30%. They sold almost 75 million iPhones—34,000 every hour, every day, all quarter long. There clearly was a lot of pent-up demand for a larger phone. Well done Tim Cook. […]

Both Sides Now

By |2017-07-17T12:23:14-04:00November 4th, 2014|Global Market Update|

What is security? Security makes sure that your stuff remains your stuff, and no one else takes or copies it. Most people feel a little insecure about all that we’re putting up in the “cloud.” Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton thought their photos were secure. News stories tell us about government agencies that use “back doors” in the latest security systems so they can look out for bad guys. It creeps us out that someone might be going through our stuff. Source: Wikipedia [...]

Hardening Microsoft?

By |2017-07-17T12:34:38-04:00July 17th, 2013|Global Market Update|

What’s up with Microsoft? A couple weeks ago Steve Ballmer sent The Memo, a periodic ritual at the software giant laying out his vision for the company and outlining a massive organizational restructuring. Entitled “One Microsoft,” Ballmer changes the org chart from looking like GM’s—with dueling divisions, brands, and fiefdoms—to that of Apple’s. There’s a lot to be said about Apple’s structure. Essentially, it’s a bicycle wheel. Everything used to revolve around Steve Jobs, as it now does around Tim Cook. If something goes [...]