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  • AmEx down 6% on scrapping of Costco exclusivity [View news story]
    Funny, I think COST is the buy now. I quit my Costco membership a few years back because of the way I was treated by AXP, and because Costco wouldn't take action. It wasn't their fault, but forcing the monopoly on customers was; I will likely go back to Costco now that my one family boycott is no longer necessary.
    Feb 12, 2015. 02:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Apple's Stock, Not Apple's Bonds [View article]
    bjn, I agree, but I am just posting trading comments. Likely to be downward pressure for the rest of Feb if Apple is quiet, as expected. There will be a ton of phone news from everybody else and that tends to dampen expectations. Also, Ming-Chi Kuo put out a note predicting a 50% drop in iPads this quarter! He is very well connected. Net result is that we may get some pullback until Apple puts another spark into the mix. GLTA.
    Feb 6, 2015. 01:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Apple's Stock, Not Apple's Bonds [View article]
    The next month could well provide some great buying opps for Apple: MWC is less than a month, and we will see the best of what everybody not named Apple has to offer. The new Galaxy, Intel's latest ideas, HTC, LG, etc. I had read that Apple would have a media event this month, possibly rolling out a number of new products, but as of yesterday the best guessers were saying some sort of promo event for the watch prior to April, and maybe a new laptop. That probably won't move the needle. Apple is very cheap, but Mr. Market may be afraid of what Samsung/other companies will roll out. I would be careful, as this is the traditional time for Apple to sell off--going into Summer. Didn't happen last year and GLTA.
    Feb 5, 2015. 10:23 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Bears Resurrect The Commodity Bogeyman [View article]
    Great points, Matt! In a nutshell--and as good an explanation as I have seen--why Android will always be badly fragmented and Apple will be uniform--it is in the economic interest of the companies making the phones. And, Apple has the profits to invest in IOS and hardware. The Andys don't have that profit. Some companies can do it out of other profits, but many (Sony) see the foolishness in chasing a profitless and broken ecosystem like Android.
    Feb 4, 2015. 01:53 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Bears Resurrect The Commodity Bogeyman [View article]
    Mark, I might add that Apple has a huge customer service advantage. We get a lot of very proficient techies commenting here, but most people don't want to spend *any* time debugging their phone or laptop. Apple's warranty and Genius Bar techs enable the average baby boomer or milllenial to avoid having to ever waste their time on reading tech help articles again. Until somebody can offer something competitive (and nobody even gets it yet), Apple is untouchable.
    Feb 4, 2015. 01:13 PM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Bears Resurrect The Commodity Bogeyman [View article]
    Paulo, your article pointed out that Apple's 4th CY QTR growth was ~twice that of the combined top four Android makers (~24% Android; ~46% Apple). That was the first full quarter of big phones from Apple and a startling reversal in the previous trend (top four Androids growing faster). I think you are arguing for the opposite of the real trend. The Android usage growth is likely at the low end.
    Feb 4, 2015. 01:11 PM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IDC 2014 Smartphone Data: Apple Catches Up On Samsung; The Chinese Aren't Too Far Behind [View article]
    The larger phones are replacing some of the smaller tablet sales, but who wouldn't take 50% growth with an ASP of almost $700 in phones for a few million mini sales? Tablets are in their infancy, much like laptops in the 90s. We will likely see ups and downs moving forward, but my personal opinion is that tablets are down with laptops on the funding priority chain. Phones come in first place for most. People can't afford to update everything at once and the huge surge in iPhone dollars has to come from somewhere. Obviously, it has utterly crushed Windows and BBRY in the past, but this is the first quarter where iPhone crushed premium Andys, and it has even put a dent in iPad sales. Apple doesn't need to worry, though; everybody else does need to worry.
    Feb 4, 2015. 09:29 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IDC 2014 Smartphone Data: Apple Catches Up On Samsung; The Chinese Aren't Too Far Behind [View article]
    Michael, what is impressive is that Apple's growth exploded in the last quarter of the CY, the first full qtr Apple has ever offered big phones. Factor that in and the trend is devastating to Android premium phones. Windows is about dead, and Blackberry no longer has a pulse. If you want to be negative, slam Apple for taking until late 2014 to deliver bigger phones. One of the nasty, big flaws at Cupertino is that they get into collective denial over what customers want because they don't listen to customers and, hey, they are proud of it! Small tablets were DOA. Remember? Phablets were too big for customers to manipulate. Remember? I always thought it was funny that Jobs would argue out of one side of his mouth that a 7 inch tablet was too small to work, and out of the other side of his mouth he would argue that anything bigger than a four inch phone was too big for the same exact customers to handle! Hilarious. Samsung and the Andys are actually really, really lucky Apple didn't come out with a big phone in 2011. They are in serious trouble now. The premium space is now locked as tight as a drum, and the padlock only has one key, and Tim Cook has the key. Here is another article pointing out that the Xiaomi Mi4 also got whacked--it isn't just Samsung. The high end died for Android.
    Feb 3, 2015. 08:10 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IDC 2014 Smartphone Data: Apple Catches Up On Samsung; The Chinese Aren't Too Far Behind [View article]
    Lichan, I am amazed by how well and how fast my 5 still works. I put it beside the 6 at the store and they are still close on most of the stuff I do (I don't game on it). Interestingly, the one feature on the 6 that I really would like to have is Apple Pay. Also interestingly, I believe the Watch will enable Apple Pay with an older phone! So, I may have to eat a large serving of crow and take a hard look at the watch. I have been around fitbit bands recently, and they do have some interesting features, all of which the watch will have. One could just keep the 5, add the watch, and wait for the next model or two. You have Apple pay via the watch.
    Feb 3, 2015. 07:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • IDC 2014 Smartphone Data: Apple Catches Up On Samsung; The Chinese Aren't Too Far Behind [View article]
    Westend, are you joking? The top 5 handset makers, ex-Apple, are growing at 24% and Apple is growing at 46%. That is a huge difference in growth rates. What is most alarming, though, is ASPs. Samsung was the one company that was making money and selling their phones for a higher price. Apple's improvement in all areas is utterly crushing premium competitors. Apple could mark their prices down and sell as many as they want to sell. The Andys are forced to move their phones at deep discounts. Like so many, I'm afraid you don't understand the dynamics here. Apple has a huge advantage in customer service, integration, software bundling and updating, as well as performance. It is much, much deeper than features and price. Just ask yourself why iPhone sales were up ~50%. 50% growth isn't an anomaly; there are reasons for the growth. Apple is selling at a deep discount to the indexes and major averages and a steal at current prices imo.
    Feb 3, 2015. 04:54 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: More Data On The iOS/Android Struggle [View article]
    >>There is a major difference between the iOS/Android era and the Mac/PC era<<
    I agree that this is a terrible analogy on many different levels, and the normally sharp Paulo needs to awaken from his Android induced slumber. ;)! Phones have a much quicker replacement cycle, and are more necessary than PCs or tablets. Apple is much larger in the premium category. Competitive Android phones aren't much cheaper. Android is badly fragmented, and not updated by Google; you are dependent on the phone maker. Unlike Apple, they don't want to spend anything on updating older phones. But, the biggest problem with his logic is that he doesn't mention Apple's customer service advantage. In the US, with the high number of Apple Stores, Apple is the only company with on site warranty work. I've owned almost every brand of computer through the years and both major phone OSs--Samsungs, LGs, Motorolas, and now Apples. The real advantage of Apple is that for $100 extra you get free and instant warranty work. If the kids drop the phone, or software issues arise, you get it fixed at the Apple store, free and nearly instantly. True on Macs, too. The Android and PC worlds have nothing comparable. They have a lot more problems, too. Folks you need to wake up: Apple just sold 74MM phones in one quarter and they guided very high for this quarter also! The new CFO is very conservative and prefers blowing the numbers out. This quarter will be another huge record, likely bigger than any Apple quarter ever, except the last. Bigger than any Apple holiday quarter, except the last. Apple isn't just booming with growth, it is exploding higher. Apple is crushing everybody in the premium space. Somebody has to come up with a comparable warranty servicing plan, or Apple is untouchable. Nobody even gets it, much less are they doing anything. They are still trying to sell their phones based on features alone, a game they will lose anyway. On the AAPL trade, ex-cash, Apple is selling for about 30 times the last quarter's earnings. The TTM PE for the Nasdaq 100 is almost 24!! Apple is almost valued at the 12 month PE of the NDQ 100 with only one quarter's earnings to compete! Insanely cheap. Still a no-brainer buy at this price--AAPL is a steal. GLTA.
    Jan 31, 2015. 12:41 PM | 24 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Airlines Is On Track To Save $5 Billion Fuel Costs In 2015 [View article]
    gold, thx for the comments and I will try to give you my thoughts on all of these issues. First, I think extraordinarily low rates are an opportunity. They don't come along often. The total debt does have to be reasonable. Airline fleets typically last 20-30 years, so being able to update and pay for it is a bonanza imo. Second, I see 16.1Bn on LT debt. I guess you are talking about new debt for the incoming fleet? I think they said they planned to pay down everything above 6%. I think the old debt would be about 15Bn after they do that. Assuming they are producing 800-900MM a month in earnings plus depreciation, they should have plenty of cash to do everything. If we get oil in the 30s, they may hit 1Bn/mo. If we back up on oil, it will come down, obviously. But, AAL should have plenty of cash in any case, assuming we don't get a disaster of some sort. If the valuation stays extremely low, cash is close to a Bn a month, and the debt is around 4%, I don't have a problem with them buying back stock. The market cap is only ~37Bn. That would be ~3.5 years to buy the whole company back. I realize that ain't happening, but I am just using hyperbole to make a point--the buyback would be very powerful if the stock stays at a PE of 5. Very, very low PEs=extremely powerful buybacks. I would say this--the 4% debt needs to be very long term. But, as I said, these long term rates are a lifetime opportunity. For instance, when has the government been able to sell 30 year bonds for 2.25%? I would be moving as much 2.25% debt as the market could handle if I were the Treasury. If AAL can roll over all of their debt to very long term and 4%, I would be comfortable with 20-25Bn. 1Bn in interest is very doable, and many would say smart--cheap leverage can boost returns. Assuming they have 15Bn in cash and 5Bn in new debt piling up over the next couple of years, I would think they could do everything--buy all of the planes, fix up the house, adjust the debt to LT and low rate, pay a divvy, and buy back plenty of stock. I am sure they are working that problem as we speak. IMO, AAL has made the best decisions of any airline wrt fuel, fleet upgrades, and being opportunistic on buybacks. I am a big believer in sticking with the winners. If they start making stupid decisions I will reconsider, but AAL's mgmt team deserves the Manager of the Year award in their league, imo.
    Jan 30, 2015. 09:49 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Airlines Is On Track To Save $5 Billion Fuel Costs In 2015 [View article]
    I agree seeker. If you understand why companies can't stay at 4-5 X earnings for too long, you are happy to buy and wait. Either earnings will come down, or the stock will go up. I was making this argument loudly on Apple when it was in the equivalent of the 50s in '13. There is so much cash, relative to the market cap, that you could buy all of the shares back in a few years. AAL does have a number of risks, so anything can happen. But, if oil stays close to the current level, they are probably going to have a 7-9Bn dollar windfall this year. I personally think oil will stabilize in the 60-90 range in a couple of years, but AAL made $5.70 after specials last year and oil averaged close to 100. Mr. Market hates airlines too much to even listen to what mgmt said: they are managing AAL for oil at $100. IOW, even if oil goes back up to 100, they will still be very profitable. One of the interesting things about airlines that own their planes is that they have a fantastic amount of depreciation. So, assuming they can grab a 15-20Bn dollar windfall over the next few years, along with the low financing rates, they won't pay much tax on their cash flow. I never liked renting planes. Owning their equipment at 4% and cash will produce billions for many, many years.
    Jan 29, 2015. 04:34 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, We're Not Worthy [View article]
    dezee, why do you think Apple commands the loyalty they do? Sheeple and iDrones are always fun answers, but it is really about two things no other tech company even offers: customer service and head-to-toe seamless integration. When the typical customer types in her grocery list on her Mac, it automatically shows up on her phone and mini. Messages and phone calls show up on all three. If you are doing work on your laptop you don't have to get up and grab your phone. They do a whole bunch of other useful tricks, too. Should you drop your phone or just need help, you can hop online and go see one of the scruffy fellows in the tee shirts at the Apple store. They don't look you in the eye, they are sloppy, they have close to zero people skills, but they know those phones better than Tom Brady knows the psi in his footballs. Apple has good customer service; I would grade them out at 85, a solid B. MSFT gets a 7--F. Dell gets a 30--F. Google gets a 4--F-. HP gets a 40--solid F. Samsung gets a 57--F. The truth is that tech companies never really had customer service. It was the ultimate business to be in, as they just hooked you up to Sam or Susie in India for a four hour chat. But, Sam and Susie were there to *prevent* returns. If they fixed your PC, great, but it usually didn't help. The Apple stores are key. When Samsung offers real customer service, they might win back some share. The guy at the ATT or Sprint store will quickly tell you it is not his specialty. Android is a fragmented mess. Samsung does a great job of trying to fix that mess, but even Samsung has limits. The apps have to be written for 50 different versions. They are buggy and there are lot of security issues. My point? Even though Apple has great hardware, that is just a small part of why they are so far ahead.
    Jan 29, 2015. 04:21 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Airlines Is On Track To Save $5 Billion Fuel Costs In 2015 [View article]
    Very well written summation, Carly! Even Julie's numbers should leave any disinterested investor scratching his or her head. 10.80 a share this year, the stock is selling for less than 5 times that amount and you downgrade it? Bob's numbers are perfect in my view. Conservative, at less than 10X earnings, but not afraid to call the sea change in airlines. They are now, and have been, perhaps the best investment of any sector in the US markets. BTW, Mr. Market hates airlines. It is so bad, they can't even support an ETF! If we don't get a disaster, air transpo should remain at the top of my list. GLTA.
    Jan 29, 2015. 02:57 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment