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Steve Birenberg, CFA
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Steve Birenberg is founder and President of Northlake Capital Management, LLC. Northlake specializes in managing portfolios for high net worth individuals using a unique strategy combining monthly ETF rotation based on major market themes supplemented by carefully selected media and telecom... More
My company:
Northlake Capital Management, LLC
My blog:
Media Talk
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  • Trouble in Canadian Wireless?

    Telus (NYSE:TU) reported disappointing subscriber metrics for 1Q this morning.  Net adds of 48,000 fell short of estimates of 75,000 to 100,000.  Even worse, ARPU declines accelerated falling to $58.39, down 5.6% vs. a year ago.  Nott surprisingly, the shares are taking a hard hit, down more than 10%.  The news is dragging all Canadian telecom lower including BCE and Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI).  The big risk ahead is for RCI's 1Q.  RCI gets over half of revenue and EBITDA from wireless.  RCI is particularly strong in smartphones whereas TU has a low end bias so it is possible that RCI holds up if Canada ends up looking like the U.S. where smartphones remain healthy.  RCI still has a premium multiple despite the shares finally succumbing.  I'd be careful on the long side ahead of earnings.

    Apr 09 11:00 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Trimming Discovery Communications: Position Management Only

    Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) has been one Northlake's best performing stocks. The stock was purchased in mid-September prior to the market crash at $16.50. Today, I trimmed the position across most client accounts at $17.83. Pretty amazing that any stock, let alone a media stock, is above its pre-crash level. With most all other holdings down sharply since the DISCA purchase, the position size had swelled to north of 4% in many accounts. Obviously, I still like DISCA as I did not sell the entire position. However, I still see the market and advertising environment as fragile so I want to avoid concentrated positions. DISCA has less margin for error due to its well-earned premium multiple of earnings and cash flow. 1Q earnings are due later this month and I do not think there will be a disappointment. The last two quarters were positive surprises. The key metric will be domestic advertising advertising growth. Expectations are for flat growth (that is excellent compared to -5% to -10% for most media companies). Here's hoping that my sale proves wrong so Northlake clients make more money on their remaining DISCA positions.

    Apr 09 10:41 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Apple iPhone Rumors Heating Up

    Pretty much everyone is now expecting a June introduction of a new iPhone model.  Most people expect an upgrade to the 3G but a few hold out for a second form factor that would have a lower price and allow cheaper data plans.  Rumors are rampant about upgraded prodcution schedules in the Far East.  Most of these articles indicate that the production increases are dedicated to building inventory for the new product.  That is most surley the case but I have been wondering lately about demand trends for the current version.  Anecdotally, I see iPhones everywhere.  I have to admit I look for them and I own one myself.  I am also long Apple.  I also live in the north suburbs of Chicago where Macs are hugely popular and every kid has an iPod.  Apple reports 2Q09 shortly.  As usual, gudiance is what will drive the stock.  But the quarter itself hinges on demand for iPhones and Macs.  No doubt now that iPods are saturated and will suffer a significant sales decline (possibly next quarter due to new shuffle pipeline fill but ASP will be down).  Many analysts have been expecting a weak quarter for iPhones and Macs.  Could it be that iPhone 3G demand is strong and some of that production is to meet current demand? RIMM certainly indicates that smartphone demand is good.  I believe smartphones are a rising tide lifts all boats story for 2009.  Could Apple be in for beat and rasie?  Ok, that is asking too much but how about a beat and guidance that matches analyst estimates?

    Apr 09 9:10 AM | Link | Comment!
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