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  • FHFA demands $6B from BofA over mortgage bonds [View news story]
    This is classic "no good deed goes unpunished". The banks in question (JPM BAC as the two largest) made quick decisions (with government prodding) to buy these troubled failing banks to help stop the growing panic in financial markets.

    Why is DOJ doing this? I believe this administration is anti-business and their true colors are now showing since they no longer face re-election and will not need the funds usually obtained form business. These lawsuits/settlements they believe plays (likely correct) well to the their base of very left liberals and anyone new to entitlements this clueless administration hands out.

    Sadly, they miss the larger issue, which is a healthy financial sector lending and growing (not focused on building reserves for lawsuits/write offs etc..) will help generate more tax revenue in the economy on a sustainable basis rather then these onetime shakedowns could ever achieve.

    Oct 21, 2013. 09:20 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stay Away From This Sinking Ship [View article]
    As stated above, the VLCC rate is not applicable for NAT. The suezmax rate is the meaningful spot rate for NAT.

    NAT, as are all oil tanker shippers, are in difficult times, but they continue to show access to financing so it seems likely they will be a survivor. Real recovery in tanker rates still seems distant and according to John Fredriksen (likely the best investor/operator in this industry) probably won't occur until 2015 (link below).
    Sep 27, 2013. 11:46 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Chinese demand for coal is cooling [View news story]
    I believe the trillions is a typo or just showing that this article is an attempt to attack coal stocks, again.

    The U.S. I believe has the largest coal reserves in the world, estimated at 483 billion short tons (link below).

    Also, Germany is burning more coal as they attempt to move away from nuclear power after the Japanese disaster. I believe their coal consumption will not be replaced that quickly (if at all) since their natgas supply is almost exclusively from Russia and always a problem with regard to price and politics.
    Sep 24, 2013. 09:05 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Nokia Acquisition: Too Early, Too Cheap [View article]

    Very good observation regarding branded versus unbranded phones for the lock-up period. Bringing back former Nokia employees, especially for design, to produce an adroid phone manufactured by a third party would keep them in the game as a niche player. This would keep them somewhat current in smartphones and potentially set-up a return of the Nokia brand in ~2.5 years. However, not sure they could ever return to be a major player again in the mobile phone market via this strategy.

    I like the observation mentioned earlier that Nokia, minus the phone division sold to MSFT, would be an ideal target for Samsung. After that acquisition, Samsung could buy ALU and really consolidate the network industry.

    Finally, I agree with the author that a lot remains to be seen how Nokia develops after this deal and the phone division was sold way too cheap, although further risk was removed from Nokia by the sale as evidenced by their bond price performance yesterday.
    Sep 4, 2013. 08:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia estimated to have 87% of WP8 base; Bernstein downbeat about Q3 [View news story]
    This dependency should increase leverage for Nokia when dealing with Microsoft. Would still like to see Nokia manufacture some android phones to take some market share from Samsung. However, I believe the WP8 is a better operating system then android.

    Finally, I don't believe anyone really cares what Bernstein's analyst thinks, since he doesn't see the forest through the trees and seems to be one sided and closed minded. As more carriers sell lumia devices, market share for WP8 will continue to increase, albeit slowly it seems. Europe needs to recover more fully for Nokia to benefit with quicker market share growth..
    Aug 20, 2013. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia Mugs Siemens [View article]
    They don't need to buy Nokia, but it would be a smart move to prevent a buyer from taking away MSFT's mobile smart phone manufacturer. It als0o really wouldn't cost MSFT all that much since the parts they don't want can be sold to trade buyers or via an IPO. I described how MSFT could buy them over a year ago below.

    Obviously, the numbers have changed and will change after the NSN buyout from when I wrote this, but, IMHO, the logic of the buy is still the same.

    From last June:

    Will Nokia Recover Or Be Bought? [View article] Below is my take on Nokia, I responded to an article on Seeking Alpha last week which discussed the recent MSFT announcement (and the lack of mentioning Nokia prominently during the presentation other than using Nokia Maps and pureview/ both indicating cooperation) on their tablet and rumor they may make their own WP8.

    If MSFT is considering buying NOK, I doubt they would be issuing statements that would help drive up the price. If they are in current negotiations to buy NOK they would be restricted in what they can say publicly.

    MSFT buying NOK would be a classic buy vs build decision for entry onto a global platform giving them critical mass immediately to compete with AAPL and Samsung. MFST clearly has staying power and brand recognition, a new Microsoft/Nokia brand in mobile phones would be a strong competitor.

    If MSFT bid $5.0 per share for NOK (~$18.5bil) they get ~$13.0bil in cash/liquid investments, assume ~$6.25bil debt (which they service and call as soon as possible to retire or refinance at their credit rating) and the patent portfolio's cash flow of ~$625mil per year. Therefore, the bid will cost MSFT ~$5.5bil cash net (actually less if you consider the $1.0bil they are paying NOK under the current partnership and patent portfolio income which could be viewed, in essence, as financing the acquisition), less than 10% of their cash position and probably be further reduced if they sold patents they didn’t view as necessary or desirable as well as NSN.

    NOK's restructuring to stop the cash burn only makes the company more attractive to MSFT, although the price they would need to pay will rise once the cash burn is halted.

    The recent announcement that they will produce their own tablet shows they will be more involved with hardware production, therefore how can they not be looking at this as an alternative?
    Jul 1, 2013. 01:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia Mugs Siemens [View article]
    This deal may well be a reason why recent MSFT NOK talks on D&S and /or acquisition by MSFT ended. Any future talks between the two would now present different scenarios.

    Q2 earnings report will now be a little overshadowed by this deal since adjustments to cash flow and earnings will be adjusted by analysts to show 100% ownership of NSN going forward.

    MSFT should buy NOK soon or risk paying much more later.
    Jul 1, 2013. 09:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A huge bet on Bank of America (BAC +1.8%) has either been initiated or covered, writes Steven Sears as an unnamed investor purchased 50K January $11 puts today. Only a check of tomorrow's open interest numbers will tell if the trade was to offset a previous bullish short put position or to open a new bearish stance. Today's open interest is about 67K contracts - check back in the morning to see whether it's higher or lower by about 50K. [View news story]
    $22k not so expensive to an institution or option fund given the premium cost less than a half of a penny move on the 5,000,000 share position. That is, if the position was established as a hedge However, it could be a punt on the outcome of the hearing and the risk is $22k with six months to expiration and the likely cover this summer when and if the trial is decided, therefore avoiding most of the time decay for a buyer (gain for the seller of the put).

    Open interest is now ~117k contracts, so it looks like it is a new position.
    Jun 29, 2013. 10:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia's (NOK -2.6%) is likely to issue a Q2 warning in the next few weeks, writes RBC in a note that's pressuring shares. In addition to tough smartphone competition, the firm is worried about declining feature phone sales. Nokia's feature phone unit shipments fell 21% Y/Y in Q1 thanks to Android's low-end momentum, and its feature phone ASP fell 10% Q/Q and 15% Y/Y to just €28 ($36). [View news story]
    This forecast/speculation is a joke, RBC should concentrate on analysis of research they may or should do first hand. This seems like they a voicing an opinion based on headlines that may or may not be completely factual. Maybe, RBC should focus on Canada and try to add value for their clients in areas they are likely more informed.
    May 30, 2013. 10:52 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia's New Phone Announcement Leads To A Sell-Off [View article]
    The important point here is Nokia increasing distribution channels and carriers. While not exactly exciting, slow and steady increases in sales of Lumia phones will likely follow. The result should be a share price trending higher in a more sustainable move, rather than the sharp increase/correction volatility seen late last year and earlier this year.
    May 16, 2013. 09:20 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Hecla Mining Now A Buy? [View article]
    I think the price of silver is more important to Hecla than gold. A chart against the silver price would be more interesting.

    If you believe central bank printing of money eventually leads to inflation, all the miners are too cheap. HL is definitely a value at these levels and can double fairly quickly if sentiment in the sector turns.
    May 16, 2013. 08:20 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A VirnetX Short Squeeze May Be Setting Up [View article]
    Institutions like Wellington and Fidelity do trade around their positions. The 7.5mil shares you highlight are tradable float. Therefore, the shorts in the stock you mentioned are likely hoping for a fundamental breakdown in the metrics for the stock and a panic selling by the big institutions, which was commonly referred to in the institutional trading business as "bid wanted". If this were to occur, the liquidity to cover would be ample for the shorts.
    May 13, 2013. 04:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia: Dispelling Attacks And Myths [View article]
    I would reverse he observation in that the bearish Nokia bullish Blackberry comparison article with Nokia being the Audi and Blackberry the Kia.

    Audi is owned by Volkswagen the giant with multiple brands and is more similar to Nokia then Blackberry the small player with, as described above, with less diversification. I remember when it took VW a while to turnaround Audi's perception in the market (remember the so called acceleration problems many years ago) and now Audi is considered one of the premier luxury brands in automobiles and selling very well. Kia as far as I know has no premier status in the upper end car market and likely will not be there in many years (if ever).

    Finally, the author of that article is likely unhappy with NOK price action starting to trend higher again and is trying (in vain) to halt next up move in NOK shares.
    May 9, 2013. 08:48 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A new twist in the legal battle between AIG and BAC as a judge rules the insurer did not give up its right to sue BofA over $7B in MBS-related losses even though it unloaded the paper as part of its bailout. The FRBNY has already settled with BofA over MBS its Maiden Lane II took in from AIG as part of the rescue. [View news story]
    AIG should concentrate on re-building a very tarnished brand and stay out of litigation that reminds everyone of the idiotic mistakes they made writing CDSs for regulatory arbitrage that turned out didn't really exist.

    I also agree with a previous post about the right to sue being very different from the ability to really have a chance of winning and a case that will be heard.
    May 7, 2013. 03:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • New Lumia Ad: Outrageous But Brilliant At The Same Time [View article]
    It is about time Microsoft takes the gloves off and starts aggressive advertising for WP8/Lumia. An aggressive ad campaign should indicate any supply issues regarding Lumia are now gone.

    I will point out that I would have not seen the ad yet, but it was shown to me by my teenage son on YouTube. This is also an excellent development for Lumia phones since it indicates the younger market is being made aware of this phone and could help win converts in that demographic segment.
    May 1, 2013. 10:29 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment