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  • 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
  • Apple: The Patriots Couldn't Even Deflate This Quarterly Result [View article]
    Bill, I think analysts were heavily trained by Maestri's predecessor that Apple would hit their range. After two blowouts in a row, and especially considering the FX effect, analyst estimates will go way above the top end, just like they used to do. I also think Maestri guides very conservatively, so 57-59 are about the real numbers. I come up with ~2.25. Also, they bought back a lot of shares and should keep that up. A lot of people mistakenly use the weighted average for last quarter, rather than the ending share count. That is the starting point for the new weighted average. I figure Apple will be sitting on ~$30-31Bn, and ~$5.25 after two quarters of FY 15! They only made a total of $5.48/sh in all of FY 13! EPS are exploding higher. And this year, for the first in many years, will have new products before the fall, indeed new categories. Great call on the ASPs, BTW. The currencies drug it down. GLTA.
    Jan 29, 2015. 08:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: The Perfect Storm - With Tailwinds - For American Airlines [View article]
    ctrav, why just $38? AAL should only make about $12 a share this year. 3 times earnings is pretty rich, don't you think? That multiple would also put Apple down to $27, Boeing down to $25, the S&P 500 should drop to 330 with that multiple, or less than half the price it was selling for at the 2009 lows. Makes perfect sense.
    Jan 29, 2015. 08:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, We're Not Worthy [View article]
    Rumors are that Samsung will use a quad core A57 setup for the S6 in 14nm Finfet. We'll see. Should be very similar to QCOM's chip, only faster. It should outperform the A8, as it will be a node ahead. The big problems for Samsung have seldom included hardware specs, and it won't this summer either. Apple's integration of their software and customer service via their stores and warranties make the difference. If you have problems with an iPhone, you can take it to a store and they fix it for free during your two year contract if you have AppleCare. Samsung doensn't have that capability. Android is a fragmented nightmare. Samsung needs to come up with their own OS imo.
    Jan 28, 2015. 09:46 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Longer-Term Headwinds Make Blowout Quarter A Tough Act To Follow [View article]
    rich, I love these proclamations. Do you remember proclaiming, with the same authority, that Apple's profits would be flat for three more years? You said it right after the rollout of the 6/6+ about four months ago, among other times. So, how did you do? EPS were up 50%! A small part of that was the buyback. But, they also guided way up this quarter. I am dialing up $2.25 for this quarter, but that is probably low. They should be over 30Bn for the first two quarters alone! Lots of new iStuff on the way. That doesn't include any new products, like the Watch, which rolls next qtr. Good luck with your predictions. I would throw in an occasional imho....
    Jan 28, 2015. 09:10 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: American Airlines Q4 2014 Earnings [View article]
    mur, at the very least, it is another object lesson on the dangers of left wing, socialist politicians. Venezuela may never recover. They all sound so good when they are talking about helping poor people and taxing the rich. Kind of like when a duck gets called into decoys--the next thing he knows...
    Jan 28, 2015. 08:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple beats estimates, guides in-line [View news story]
    >>So over time "doing it all" will prove to be a disadvantage for Apple.
    PS: Nobody has contradicted my claim that the BlackBerry Passport is more innovative than the iPhone6. I take that as silent agreement.<<

    TS, You could be right, but right now you appear to be very wrong; Apple's vertical integration and engineering seem to be working very well--nobody can compete with them, not even Samsung. I've never seen a Passport or read a good review. How many did they sell last quarter? We can compare how customers around the world voted on the matter.
    Jan 28, 2015. 08:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple beats estimates, guides in-line [View news story]
    >> Apple's stellar earnings are the result of many factors that are unlikely to occur again,<<

    TS, actually phones are a necessary and repetitive business, as are tablets and computers. How you come up with the sweeping proclamation that Apple will never sell this many computers again is bizarre, to borrow from Gregg. But then I saw why: the dreaded BBRY connection. BTW, 777s are replaced on a 30-40 year cycle. Maybe you are new to this stuff, but Apple actually designs most of their own CPUs and they design systems and they design programs and OS's. Intel does chips, but they don't do too many systems. MSFT does software, but not too many systems, outside of a few tablets and gaming systems. HP does systems, but not a lot of processors. Apple is one of the few that can do it all. On the BA comparison, if you will look back it was in the context of how much the market is paying for the earnings. A lot of people value stocks based on their earnings stream. Apple's earnings stream and cash are very, very cheap.
    Jan 28, 2015. 04:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment