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Michael Blair
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I retired as CEO of an Automotive Parts supplier, and manage an investment portfolio for myself and family. I have a BA in History from Royal Military College of Canada and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. My first career was as a fighter pilot in the RCAF, and, following my MBA I... More
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  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
     
    Wow you successfully shorted CRM ! First time I have seen someone actually get that one right.
    23 Apr 2014, 01:53 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Derek - Mostly I have gotten it wrong, but today . . .
    23 Apr 2014, 02:02 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Maurer
    , contributor
    Comments (7256) | Send Message
     
    I hope you covered that $AAPL short before the close...
    23 Apr 2014, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • marzette
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    If not, OUCH!
    23 Apr 2014, 09:32 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Bill Maurer - nope, but I did hedge by selling puts short. Nonetheless, it looks like a loss on the trade at this point. The only segment higher was iPhones and we have yet to see how many went to channel inventory and how many to end users.
    23 Apr 2014, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Maurer
    , contributor
    Comments (7256) | Send Message
     
    Only segment higher? Mac was up year over year and beat analyst estimates, in a market where PC sales were down.
    23 Apr 2014, 05:20 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Bill Maurer - Sorry, you are right Mac sales were up 1% year over year. I note Intel reported 1% unit volume increase in PC's as well, so perhaps the PC industry was not down. The IDC and Gartner data differed and at best are estimates.
    23 Apr 2014, 06:21 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Maurer
    , contributor
    Comments (7256) | Send Message
     
    Unit sales were up 5%, revenues were up 1%. I think that's about as expected, as the ASP was about $6 less than I thought it would be. Still, the unit growth is impressive since IDC said Apple in the US was down 7% in calendar Q1 (fiscal Q2).
    23 Apr 2014, 06:23 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Bill Maurer - have you figured out why ASPs for iPhone declined with what must have been a very rich mix of iPhone 5S sales? It seems the strong sales were in Japan and greater China with the rest of Asia in decline and developed markets fairly flat. But only 100,000 units added to channel inventory so sales to end users up impressively.
    23 Apr 2014, 10:41 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Maurer
    , contributor
    Comments (7256) | Send Message
     
    Well, first, a decline was expected as they get further away from launch.

     

    On the call, they said half was due to normal post-launch decline, half was due to strong sales of the 4S.

     

    In the end though, I think that they will take the minus 1% or 2% of ASP when they blowout by 5 million plus phones.
    23 Apr 2014, 10:48 PM Reply Like
  • samuel_liu
    , contributor
    Comments (2753) | Send Message
     
    melgross,
    User Rank: Ninja
    5/29/2014 | 4:23:14 PM
    Mac growth
    These days, where the Windows PC business contracted 9% last year, the year before, and so far this year, 5% Mac growth isn't "marginal", it's significant.
    http://ubm.io/RJNK6f...
    30 May 2014, 07:33 AM Reply Like
  • Get a Dog
    , contributor
    Comments (210) | Send Message
     
    Glad to see a reply from you post ER Michael. I was thinking of calling in a wellness check when I saw the results.

     

    But I'm sure you kept the position size within reasonable limits. How much long term gain due to the increased liquidity brought on by the split do you foresee? Hopefully $GOOG will soon follow suit.
    23 Apr 2014, 05:23 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @John Foley - certainly the retail following should grow with a stock split. Longer term stock splits rarely have much effect on share price.
    23 Apr 2014, 06:22 PM Reply Like
  • Zipper0
    , contributor
    Comments (1594) | Send Message
     
    Blair, Apple is up 41% since you started shorting the stock last April/May near the $400 bottom, per the disclosures in your articles. I looked up your old company Automodular and it looks like it dropped 50% in value over the time you served as CEO. It's better to just fade away than to keep up this perpetual clown show.
    23 Apr 2014, 06:06 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Zippero - so nice of you to follow Automodular.
    23 Apr 2014, 06:19 PM Reply Like
  • Zipper0
    , contributor
    Comments (1594) | Send Message
     
    You're welcome. How about put up AM.TO's long-term chart vs. AAPL as your profile pic?
    23 Apr 2014, 06:29 PM Reply Like
  • scott trader
    , contributor
    Comments (7019) | Send Message
     
    Bill has been pretty right on on apple... Kudos Bill....it is very hard to predict...who saw a stock split coming I certainly didn't....didn't think iPads would take a shot either , pretty much knew China would be a boon sooner or later...

     

    Santos has been short nflx tsla and amazon some of my best holdings.. Sometimes you have to give fundamentals a little leniency. ...kinda like your teenage son and the first time he drives a car all on his own.....

     

    ..trainer and Blair always picking on Aapl.so far no one I know has gone short on Disney my second largest holding next to apple...

     

    Blair comparing Bbry to apple is ridiculous though not even in the same league anymore...I remember in 2007 that both stocks trades at 85 dollars that was then this is now...enough gloating for one day....

     

    .now if apple buys pixelworks I will be on a sunny southern beach for my senior years....I went thru the dot com bubble and I bought amazon and Cisco the pair on 9/11 2001....thirty bux...buffet has it right , buy when others are fearful and sell when greedy...

     

    Preservation of profits is my main goal......I do play with the houses money. Even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while..
    23 Apr 2014, 06:38 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Zippero - sure, just adjust it for the approximately $80 million it paid out in dividends since I became CEO and for the spin off of its subsidiary and the chart will make a great profile picture. A lot of that $80 million came to me so maybe I could add my share as a footnote for anyone interested. Apparently, you are.
    23 Apr 2014, 06:43 PM Reply Like
  • Zipper0
    , contributor
    Comments (1594) | Send Message
     
    You're saying you ran the company to enrich yourself? Maybe that's why the stock dropped 50% while you were at the helm.
    23 Apr 2014, 07:05 PM Reply Like
  • Rose_Colored_Glasses
    , contributor
    Comments (1110) | Send Message
     
    A very small % of the folks reach CEO status - so I will not throw stones on that one.
    29 May 2014, 11:20 PM Reply Like
  • Zipper0
    , contributor
    Comments (1594) | Send Message
     
    What's the point of collecting all those dividends if you're just gonna turn around and lose them on your Apple shorts? What would all those Automodular workers say?
    23 Apr 2014, 07:16 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Zippero - all shareholders received their dividends. And, yes, it did enrich me. It will take a lot more than a short position on 1,000 Apple shares to lose me the dividends I received.

     

    The stock dropped 50% because we paid out its earnings as dividends and spun off a subsidiary. Shareholders did just fine. I was the largest of them and have sold all my stock now.

     

    Automodular's excellent workforce would say well done.

     

    Too bad you didn't own any.
    23 Apr 2014, 07:52 PM Reply Like
  • User 26717943
    , contributor
    Comments (33) | Send Message
     
    Since that screenshot on April 23rd you've lost over $100,000 on Apple. The data suggest it could be another $100,000 before the end of the year.

     

    Price right now: $633.95 - 528.74 = 105.21 + 3.29 (Div paid) = $108.50 * (-1000) = - $108,500.

     

    I commend you for sticking to such a dog in your portfolio; but more analysts are upgrading the stock and more are predicting a price over $700. I use Options House to trade and they have 15 buy ratings, 26 outperforms and 14 holds.

     

    Yes; something like this happened in 2012 and it fell flat; but the big difference is that we are at the beginning of a new product cycle now (large screen iPhone and a potential iWatch) not at the end of one as in 2012.

     

    Yes; Standpoint Research has a sell rating; but it was initiated on Jan 6th when the stock closed at $543.93. Not their best call so far.

     

    It's the only position you hold that I also hold (but mine is Long AAPL). So, it's the only stock I hope you are wrong on.
    29 May 2014, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @User 26717943 - be fearful when others are greedy. A larger screen? Really? Will innovation never end? What next, a round one or a triangular one? There is just no limit to geometry.
    29 May 2014, 05:31 PM Reply Like
  • User 26717943
    , contributor
    Comments (33) | Send Message
     
    Sarcasm? That's your come back? Since Apple has 0% of the large screen market share they have a lot of room to grow with or without innovation. Plus, I didn't say innovation; I said new product cycle. In your articles you've pointed out that large screen phones are where the growth is; Apple seems posed to gain significantly just by getting into that arena. Same thing with a smart watch.

     

    Greedy? Book value; P/E; Forward P/E; Debt to Income ... what financial ratio of Apple's is overblown? Apple is a value stock with growth opportunities.

     

    And FYI ... I have a stop loss on my Apple longs at $575; so I'll walk away with at least 30% gains. Based on the screenshot you need to see $528 to break even.

     

    Oh, and Apple went up another $11.37 today. Where's your screenshot showing your $11,370 single day loss?

     

    By the way those 6,000 shares of CP you have short; they're up $12.34 since the screen shot. Another $74,000 flushed away. Is that even a real account or one of those Monopoly money accounts? I can't imagine losing $182,000 on two positions.
    30 May 2014, 12:50 AM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @user 26717943 - well done on your Apple trade and the stop loss is a solid move. I have lost a lot more than $182,000 on two positions at various times. I think in 1990-91 I lost over $40 million on one holding. I did close out my CP short although I do believe the company is overvalued by half.

     

    You are right the new product cycle will help but the bar is pretty high and the competition strengthening.

     

    I hope it all works out for you. Best.
    30 May 2014, 06:58 AM Reply Like
  • User 26717943
    , contributor
    Comments (33) | Send Message
     
    Thank-you, a much more respectful tone this time around.

     

    One final thought. If you can afford to lose $40 million then why buy your daughter (Grace?) a Moto G if she wants another iPhone? (This refers to a separate post of yours.) To teach her a lesson? It's an extra $300. That's 0.00075% of what you lost. She would have to lose an iPhone every single day for almost 200 years to lose $40 million.

     

    I'd get her the iPhone.
    30 May 2014, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @User26717943 - she can have any phone she wants. She found the iPhone had a short battery life; dropped connections frequently; and, had limited storage with no expansion possible. She likes her Moto G a great deal. You should try one - you will be surprised at how good it is and likely join her by tossing your iPhone in the bin of past mistakes.

     

    I mentioned the loss. I had even greater gains leading up to that point.
    30 May 2014, 12:34 PM Reply Like
  • Bradmeister
    , contributor
    Comments (1365) | Send Message
     
    @Michael Blair - Once again, you reveal your ignorance and bias. The Moto G LTE that your daughter apparently "likes a great deal" comes with only 8 GB of internal storage and has a microSD slot that can support an additional 32GB of internal storage. By contrast an iPhone 5S comes with up to 64GB of internal storage, far more than even a fully loaded Moto G provides.

     

    It should also be noted that the Moto G's primitive 5-megapixel camera does not even remotely compare to the advanced 8-megapixel, F2.2 lens, CMOS sensor-based camera found in the iPhone 5S.

     

    Aside from your daughter, few if any people are going to be tossing away their iPhones in favor of the lackluster Moto G.
    30 May 2014, 01:37 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (5097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » @Bradmeister - that "few if any" includes about 6% of the market in the U.K. http://bit.ly/1psyJVk

     

    As far as the storage comment goes she can buy two Moto G's rather than one iPhone 5S 64GB version and she has a Canon SLR and does not need a better camera on her phone. She would have about $250 left from the iPhone 5S price which she would find some interesting use for.
    30 May 2014, 03:49 PM Reply Like
  • Bradmeister
    , contributor
    Comments (1365) | Send Message
     
    @Michael Blair - As usual, you've misrepresented the facts. The Moto G may have accounted for 6 percent of UK smartphone sales during one particular quarter, but the Moto G does not represent anything remotely close to 6 percent of the total smartphone market in the United Kingdom.

     

    Second, the notion that anyone would buy two fully loaded Moto G's to obtain the storage capacity of a single 64GB iPhone 5S is beyond ludicrous. If it's true that your daughter was concerned about storage capacity and "can have any phone she wants," as you claim, then it would make no sense for her to choose the limited storage of the Moto G over the much higher capacity of the 64GB iPhone 5S. Finally, most people (including your daughter, I would venture to guess) do care about the quality of their smartphone cameras because they're not in the habit of lugging around a separate bulky DSLR camera wherever they go. And when it comes to camera quality, the iPhone 5S bests the Moto G by a country mile.

     

    According to a May 13th review of the Moto G by respected TechRadar writer John McCann, "the majority of my Moto G photos were a pixelated mess. The Moto G struggled to focus properly and even with the focus & exposure setting turned on things didn't improve. It's a real shame that the Moto G doesn't have even a slightly better camera offering."
    31 May 2014, 03:16 AM Reply Like
  • samuel_liu
    , contributor
    Comments (2753) | Send Message
     
    Hey the G-Moto never caught on in the time allocated by Page. Google got its best from Motorola even if it created that intermediary.

     

    Personally I treasure my Moto X 32gb at 3/5 ($374/$650) the price of a basic 5s.

     

    I love Apple, in fact i was at the SF Apple Store main a few hours ago telling the store manager how much I treasure its wares. And looked forward to Wednesday to purchase what Apple introduces at WWDC on Monday (hopefully a Mac, but at less, I upgrade my ITouch at a minimal discounting).

     

    Where has Microsoft been sleeping?

     

    Too slow and lethargic on Nokia, hopefully Nadella has the insight to bring enterprise strength and win consumer favortism. I dread Best Buy urge me to buy another defective Windows.

     

    Long: MSFT
    31 May 2014, 03:35 AM Reply Like
  • User 7963041
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    I oftentimes wonder if some of the aapl shorters are shorting because they have some deep-seated and irrational hatred of Apple, rather than because they truly believe Apple can't continue to be this monster cash cow.

     

    What troubles me is some folks may have read Mr. Blair's post back in April and decided, "Boy, I'm going to follow this smart Michael guy and short aapl! I'll be rich!"

     

    And, you know, maybe these people can't afford to lose $10K per day like Mr. Blair can.

     

    I'm not an investment guru or anything, but if I ever start shorting stocks, I'll probably pick dumb companies like Sears, rather than smart companies like Apple.

     

    But that's just me.
    30 May 2014, 01:23 PM Reply Like
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