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  • Gold: Where It's Going Next [View article]
    Before anyone says it, I'll go ahead and point out that my price forecast seems a bit 'tacked on' to the end of the article. The reason is that I'm required to provide a forecast in the article. Obviously, the few topics I covered don't entirely support my forecast; indeed, these topics are probably of lesser significance than many of the other factors I alluded to. My original purpose in posting the article was to discuss some of the less-observed indicators that factor into gold prices. So I apologies in advance if the factors I discussed don't logically track into the conclusion offered. All issues that impact gold prices would need to be covered in a much, much longer article. I merely wanted to touch on a few of the factors and provide my opinion on how those have influence gold prices.
    Aug 14 03:22 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mobile Ad Market Giants [View article]
    Sure, I'll shamelessly use Wikipedia's definition as it's simple and easiest to understand:

    Click-through rate (CTR) is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of an email campaign by the number of users that clicked on a specific link. The click-through rate is the number of times a click is made on the advertisement divided by the total impressions (the times an advertisement was served)
    Sep 4 12:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: A Comeback Or Speculation? [View article]
    I understand the confusion, the graphic wasn't intended to compare two similar investment options. Rather, it was to highlight that as the U.S. economy and S&P have continued to recover, Apple has seen sharp declines. It's the nature of their business; products have a relatively short period of intense profitability before competitors crowd in. From there I noted that, due to this decline, the current share price seems to undervalue Apple's growth potential; a priced-in 7% 10-year growth rate versus an analyst consensus 13%+ (granted, the analyst consensus is for the 5-year time frame).

    I think we're probably closer in opinion than my article apparently let on. My intention was to highlight that Apple has the resources (both capital and intellectual) to continue their history of releasing innovative products that result in the aforementioned periods of high-profitability; and that I wouldn't bet against them doing so in the future.
    Aug 8 03:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rough Road Ahead For U.S. Met Coal Producers [View article]
    Australian met coal has proven very sticky, which is driving much of the problem for U.S. producers. As global seaborne demand has slackened almost no Australian production has come offline, so the first to take the hit is the more expensive U.S. coal.
    Jul 17 01:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of U.S. Coal Exports [View article]
    I agree that China and India would prefer to produce enough coal to eliminate their need for imports. However, I doubt they will reach that point by 2017. Year-over-year, for at least the last five years, they've been importing more and more coal. A good chunk of their southern coal is extremely high in sulfur and ash - which severely limits its use. On a $/Btu basis, cheap coal from the PRB with reduced transport costs would be able to compete with some domestic production and could displace some Australian/Indonesian imports.
    Apr 10 10:33 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Iron Ore [View article]
    James, great point - I probably didn't make myself as clear as I should have. I agree that Cliffs US operations, along with all US iron ore producers, have a obvious advantage in shipping to US customers. In fact, nearly all US production is consumed domestically. My concerns with Cliffs are the Canadian mines, which account for roughly 1/3 of their North American production. The recent announcement of cost reductions at the Wabush mine to $95-100/tonne is a clear indication of how far off-base they are in regards to the export market. In addition, some of their other projects/mines concern me (e.g. App coal, the level of investment required for the Ring of Fire - on which I'm currently writing a joint article).
    Mar 27 12:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM - Continued Struggles In The Cloud [View article]
    Aug 30 01:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM - Continued Struggles In The Cloud [View article]
    I won't have access to my personal computer until tonight, but I'll pull the data from my IBM research folder and will post ASAP.
    Aug 29 03:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wells Fargo: A Big 'Yes' From The Investment Guru [View article]
    They acquired an additional 1.1%, I believe the total ownership stake is 8.7%.
    Aug 27 05:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: A Comeback Or Speculation? [View article]
    Not trying to prophesize doom - just took the graphic directly from Apple's investor site which displays 1-year rolling numbers.

    I would agree that Apple has a fair chance at increasing back to $600. I did, after all, state that I wouldn't bet against them. Then again, the same can be said for any individual stock's growth potential relative to a portfolio of 500 stocks.
    Aug 8 02:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: A Comeback Or Speculation? [View article]
    Ever-thinning margins tend to be the name of the game in tech products as competitor products play catch up. The key is whether Apple can deliver a new product with high margins to repeat the cycle. I wouldn't be surprised to see something interesting come out in the wearable tech area, as mentioned by Scott Trader. Will this be a game changing product? I have my doubts; however, as mentioned, I won't be betting against them.
    Aug 8 12:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Rough Road Ahead For U.S. Met Coal Producers [View article]
    The main reason is the shorter shipping distance. Once coal from App reaches an export terminal, it has a roughly 3+ week journey to Asia (from the East Coast, slightly less from the Gulf Coast terminals).
    Jul 17 07:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Natural Gas Prices Are Impacting Coal [View article]
    I read some data from the American Association of Railroads that in early April year-over-year weekly coal shipments have finally started to increase - the first time in 37 straight weeks.
    Apr 18 10:05 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Utilities Done Switching From Coal-To-Gas? [View article]
    The difficulty with controlling natural gas production has been twofold. Initially, rapid technological advancements meant that the industry had to scramble to adjust (see my article from last week on NG). More recently, control of production is hampered due to wet producers still bringing in volumes while dry producers must produce in order to have continued cash flows. That's a bit of an oversimplification but gives a good idea of why gas went from $13/MMBtu in 2008 to under $2/MMBtu last year.

    I agree that coal will remain the base load supply for a long time; hence, why I wrote, "overzealousness of coal-to-gas switching has, in my opinion, been somewhat overblown". The EIA graph at the top shows coal with the majority of generation into 2040. Of course, export terminals (for either LNG or coal) could change the playing field significantly. Additionally, as others have mentioned, environmental impacts will play an increasing role.
    Apr 5 10:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Powder River Basin Coal - 2013 Forecasts [View article]
    skelly73 made some excellent points. In regards to ILB coal keeping PRB west of the Mississippi, this could happen but only in degrees. ILB mine plans and project forecasts show some significant underground growth (a slight decline in surface); so yes, those producers will pick up some of the plants previously supplied from App and possibly some supplied by PRB (the far eastern ones; as I mentioned, PRB coal has been shipped to plants all the way to Florida). However, PRB coal is still cheaper in terms of $/MMBtu. In addition, it's lower in sulfur (any ILB coal going to Europe is typically blended with PRB to get below 1%).

    There's no doubt, the risk/reward is long-term. If an LNG export terminal comes on line we could see a 8% pop in PRB prices (Navigant Consulting forecast from a few months ago). If a Northwest terminal comes on line, we'd see a much larger jump. In the meantime, Cloud Peak has a lot of cash on hand and no major debt to roll over until 2017/2019 - so it's a relatively safe place to park some money if you're interested in a potential long-term payoff.
    Mar 28 11:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment