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  • Has Apple Found The Holy Grail Of Electric Vehicles?  [View article]
    Hi Chris,

    Whether they develop a car 100% independently or with an already existing - likely large volume (GM, VW, etc.) or "appealing" consumer brand (BMW, Audi, Toyota, etc.) - auto manufacturing partner, the only thing that changes, IMO, is how much money will eventually be lost on the project (should Apple indeed pursue it).

    As for Tesla, IMO, all of my auto media friends - especially the engineering editors - love the Tesla cars (I've never driven a Tesla, but I'm sure they're great cars). I think Elon Musk is an absolutely remarkable entrepreneur and visionary. Having said that, in the coming years, I think that it is much more likely that Tesla eventually goes out of business - with the "bigs" (GM, Toyota, VW, etc.) buying the tech and recruiting the key engineers from the rubble - than it becomes a large-volume mainstream auto manufacturer. Who knows? maybe Musk can pull it off. What's it been, about a century or so since the last Henry Ford...
    Aug 25, 2015. 01:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Has Apple Found The Holy Grail Of Electric Vehicles?  [View article]
    As someone who has worked in the auto industry at the corporate and media levels for 20+ years, if I owned shares in Apple (I used to) I would sell them if they indeed announce that they are entering the auto manufacturing business.

    The auto industry is a horrible business - extreme competition, mind-numbingly large capital costs/expenditure, etc. I don't care what fancy new tech they could be potentially using, its a horrible idea for them to become car manufacturers.

    More on the tech side: Everybody seems to be awed/fascinated by Google's self-driving car. Do you really think Google is ahead of the game when compared to the major auto manufacturers?

    There is one major auto manufacturer that I've been consulting with for years now...they've had self-driving cars running around their test grounds for years...and they don't hit/bump into anything!!! They are likely WAAAY AHEAD of Google when it comes to self-driving (autonomous) vehicles.
    Aug 25, 2015. 11:36 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tracking Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio - Q2 2015 Update  [View article]
    I'm with you, Scoot.

    I have been working in the auto industry for 20+ years now, and IMO the downturn in the oil industry is a golden opportunity (of course, with everything in investing, I could be wrong).

    I consult with several large global auto manufacturers and, even factoring in things like increased car sharing services, Millennial's apprehension of car ownership (some auto manufacturers say this is true, others say it is not so), etc., that could potentially reduce the number of vehicles sold worldwide, the projections I'm seeing for global car sales numbers are quite encouraging.

    Depending upon which car company's future sales projections I work with, there will likely be something like 500 million +/- all-new drivers globally - particularly from large population centers like India, China, SE Asia, etc. - by 2025 or so. Huge numbers...with the vast majority of cars they will be able to afford being powered by conventional internal combustion engines (this includes gas or diesel/battery-powered hybrids).
    Aug 15, 2015. 11:56 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron And Exxon Mobil: Swirling Near The Drain?  [View article]
    If ExxonMobil is circling the drain...please, flush me now!
    Aug 14, 2015. 03:59 PM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil closing out week on the lows  [View news story]
    "So let me get this straight: A perceived oversupply of 700,000 bbls/day (on a total demand basis of 92.5mil bbls/day) has led to 45% decline in the price of crude oil?"

    Oil's pretty much always been like this. A supply that's 1-2% +/- (oversupply/scarcity) has always amounted to large drops/increases in the price of a barrel of oil.

    I was a kid when the oil embargo of the early/mid 70s occurred. It was crazy - long lines at the pump (wasn't uncommon to wait 2+ hours in a giant line at the gas station to fill up) and fistfights/near riots if you were waiting in line and the gas station ran out of gas! My understanding was that the oil embargo in the US was the result of something like only a 2-3% reduction in fuel supplies. Crazy!

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, I was a high school senior (I think) in California in the late 80's when there was a glut of oil when the larger oil producing members of OPEC refused to honor the specified quota for oil production and just decided to pump at will. Can't remember what the price of a barrel of oil fell to, but it was crazy cheap. At the pump, a gallon of gas was only $0.70-ish cents!!! Minimum wage was around $3.25/hour (I think), so a high school kid like myself could still pay for 4+ gallons of gas on 1 hour's wages. Road trip!
    Dec 12, 2014. 06:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • No Longer Posting At Seeking Alpha  [View instapost]
    Thank you for your contributions, Tom. I had you in my "feed" and I always enjoyed your insightful commentary.

    Best of luck to you.
    Mar 27, 2014. 11:52 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Airline misery continues as snow storms pound on  [View news story]
    Good points, 7576Captain.

    That's why I'm (finally) working on my Private Certificate ;-)
    Feb 18, 2014. 05:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire Should Buy BlackRock  [View article]
    I like your premise, but I doubt very much that PNC Bank would want to liquidate their 20-plus percent ownership anytime soon in such a lucrative and growing entity as BLK.

    After doing some research a few years back into PNC (and learning about the Blackrock ownership stake) I was very fortunate to load up on a bunch of PNC TARP warrants that I still own today. I have received a "more than adequate" return on this investment to date ;-)
    Jan 31, 2014. 02:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Buy REITs Like Sir John Templeton  [View article]
    Hi Brad,

    Another excellent article, as usual. Looking forward to reading your book on Trump.

    I know that you've been in the real estate game for a long time now, and at one time I believe you were a developer. Have you thought about maybe writing a book about how individual investors can either get into property development and/or invest in commercial real estate? I've always been an investor in companies (stocks), but would really like to diversify by getting into commercial real estate and/or property development, but I don't have a clue where to start, how to learn about it, etc. (BTW - if you have any suggestions or sources, I would love to hear about them :-) Thanks!
    Jan 28, 2014. 01:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Carpe Diem, 5 Blue Chip REITs On Sale  [View article]
    Great advice, Archman!

    I try to do the same thing: I bought a chunk of BP when it got much lower after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; I also buy chunks of Intel over the last several years whenever it dips <$20/share.

    I buy these with my IRA, where I can let them DRIP away for the next 20-plus years ;-)
    Jan 7, 2014. 03:54 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jardine Matheson: High Quality At A Low Price  [View article]
    Hello Mr. Stevenson,

    Thank you for the informative article on JM. I discovered this wonderful business a couple of years ago and bought a chunk. Planning to hold onto this (hopefully like a lot of my other "babies") for the rest of my life, save for the company's business prospects souring. I will likely buy another chunk with the next market meltdown.

    I haven't heard of Swire, so I will have to check them out.

    Thanks again.
    Oct 29, 2013. 01:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's American Dream Can Turn Into A Speculator's Nightmare  [View article]
    For what it's worth, I have worked in the automotive industry (auto & motorsports PR) for nearly 20 years now...and I have NEVER invested in car companies:

    Tremendous competition
    Enormous expenditures (something simple along the line of redesigning a particular model's fenders, etc.? Try a quarter BILLION dollars or so)
    A plethora of difficult-to-control costs
    And on and on...

    I remember talking to a high-ranking GM executive in the late-90s. At that time, he told me that GM "was spending more on prescription drugs FOR RETIREES - not even current employees - than they were spending on steel" for crying out loud!!!

    I would rather invest my money in what I consider simple/solid things. Things like BRK.B, NOV, IBM, PCP, WF, etc. ;-)

    Of note, I knew the late, great automotive journalist, Jerry Flint. Some of you may be familiar with his automotive industry musings in Forbes for many years. I remember the first time I met him many years ago, he told me that he used to load up on shares of Ford, GM or Chrysler whenever each company was considered to be down and out, on death's door, etc. over the previous several decades; I believe he did quite well with this "strategy."

    As for Tesla...I'm staying as far as hell away from it as I can.
    Sep 3, 2013. 04:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wells Fargo: Compounding At Double Digits  [View article]
    Excellent analysis (as usual). Thanks for the article.
    I bought a chunk of WFC for my IRA a little more than a year ago. Hopefully it will DRIP away for the next 20-plus years.
    Also bought a bunch of WFC TARP warrants several months back, so hopefully these will also do well over time.
    Apr 15, 2013. 03:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wells Fargo: Doubling An Already Juicy Dividend  [View article]
    Agree with you and RonB. I have bought a bunch of WF TARP warrants (as well as for PNC) in the past...and plan to buy many more when the market inevitably "adjusts" itself.
    Mar 6, 2013. 01:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Value Investor's Perspective On The Opportunity In Priceline  [View article]
    Nice article, Tim.

    I agree with your analysis and rationale wholeheartedly. I'm not a big believer in tech companies as investments, save for a handful of ones I've made in the past, mainly because:

    1) I'm not a tech-savvy person (to say the least), but it seems to me that some ones that I've invested in the past - IBM, GOOG, AAPL - had, for various reasons, clear and easily comprehended "moats".

    2) A big one for me - when I read the annual reports for IBM, GOOG, AAPL, the info and what they "do" was clearly and easily understood by me, the non "techie".

    Position-wise, still own IBM and AAPL...and probably will until I don't think they are good at doing what made them great anymore.

    GOOG is long gone from my protfolio. Once I (kinda) got a handle on what they did and why I thought they were on their way to building a good "moat" some years back, I bought in around $200 and sold a little more than a year later (I think) for over $400. No regrets - Google essentially paid for the down payment on my first house :)
    Feb 27, 2013. 10:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment