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  • The Future Of Apple Pay [View article]
    Glen, Fair comment, which I accept. I am not a fan of banks myself. I a glad your experience worked well with Apple. Still, I'll sit this one out for awhile, but I do take your point, and enjoy and respect your optimism based on experience. Apple has changed so many things for the better for everyone - hard to even finish the list. Also, I take your point about phone centers. Everyone hates being shunted overseas for service calls, or for service for that matter. We finally dropped our accountant about the time we realized they were processing our income tax in India. cheers.
    Nov 18, 2014. 09:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Rerating Whole Foods - The Stock Is Now Fairly Valued [View article]
    Ha Ha, Gary J. Aren't analysts helpful? Two days after the numbers appear, this analyst revisits expectations. Stupid people are such fun to make money from. Only on wall street does driving while looking in the rear view mirror appear to make money for somebody - at least for the people who can't think about companies any other way. Cha-ching! Gotta run to the bank now, then to Whole Foods to buy some fresh bread and untainted sea food.
    Nov 8, 2014. 11:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coca-Cola Has Become Interesting Again [View article]
    Glenn, I like your comment very much. Analysts can alert you to subtle problems in financials, but "boots on the ground" is still a very powerful tool. A single data point (store, for example) can tell you a lot about how things are working, and often far in advance of official numbers. That being noted, perhaps I could add to your observation the thought that quality of senior management is also very a important investment parameter. A greedy, or obtuse management can run down even a great company like Coke. The judgment call the investor must make is, can incompetent management be fixed/replaced within a reasonable time frame. In the case of KO, the question might be as follows: can Warren Buffett fix coke, since it's clear that management is basically a greedy version of the three stooges. Despite the long and glorious history of KO, I'm a hold now, and maybe a person who is going to exit KO and acquire shares in an outfit such as UNFI that not only participates fully in secular trends you have described, but also has enlightened management that considers the interests of all stakeholder.
    Nov 8, 2014. 10:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Apple Pay [View article]
    This all sounds hyped. I'm not willing to be one of millions of a lab-rats for Apple Inc. Who do I call when there's a problem? We'll see what happens when somebody cracks open the I-universe of spendable digits. I like the European system of a chip in the card (pin and chip in Holland). That's basically a debit card, but has a lot of simplicity. Oh, well, you go, lab rats. Munch munch.
    Nov 7, 2014. 06:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whole Foods - Don't Ignore This Metric [View article]
    I note in this thread, that followers of WFM are catching on to the issue of store size. A merger/acquisition simply HAS to be on the radar at WFM. cheers
    Nov 5, 2014. 10:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whole Foods - Don't Ignore This Metric [View article]
    Maybe there are always barbarians at the gate when one sells overall the highest quality products on the market, or are best in class in terms of stakeholder performance. Long term-WFM is pointing the way to the future of food choice by educated consumers. Food trend factoid: in Holland, McDonald's serves organic milk.
    One aspect of WFM that could use a fix is store size. The OBVIOUS fix is simply to buy Sprouts lock stock and barrel. Would you perhaps agree that If WFM decodes the move of it's ethic to small stores, growth is going will be impressive? All the best
    Nov 5, 2014. 10:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Should You Buy Whole Foods Before Its Q4 Earnings Release? [View article]
    It's only a yesterday growth story to some folks. To other people who watch trends in nutrition, WFM is an icon of the broader future of food, as is UNFI. In general, lots of folks may buy cheap socks or underwear (actually, not sure about that - under armour?), but with food? There may be some elasticity of choice there, that is, willingness to pay more for certifiable quality this is the bird-in-hand as opposed to far-away "global warming" sacrifices. In any event, for long term owners, that 24x earnings can be nibbled down rather rapidly by earnings growth at debt-free Whole Foods. Whole Foods looks a lot better than most dot-coms to me. But, admittedly, in the case of Whole Foods one must pay for quality. Not all growing companies are cigar butts. And, for the pure dividend investor living on those dividends, WFM is probably not the ticket. cheers
    Nov 5, 2014. 10:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coca-Cola Has Become Interesting Again [View article]
    If you feel comfortable with smaller cap outfits, Timmies, you might consider UNFI, which delivers organic and natural foods. They are like the healthy version of Sysco, one supposes. I dislike the stupid management of Coke so much, that I'm waiting to sell. Hey, the great thing about being your own "CEO" or "wealth advisor" is you can fire management at the click of a mouse. It's the only way to live, baby.
    Nov 2, 2014. 07:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Apple And Google Crushed Windows Phone [View article]
    MSFT can raise prices, someday, by sorting out the bugs in WP 8.1, and of course, finding (someone!?) to write key apps, and also developing a true service culture. Service is the key. The dumb-heads in Seattle just can seem to see this, I guess. Penny-wise, pound foolish. Wierd. At least on the website at they do have an online chat. That's a start. However, I'm not a buyer of MSFT until I see that they get what consumers need. Stupid company. Drives me crazy. What might have been. So sad.
    Nov 2, 2014. 07:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Starbucks' Earnings Guidance Weak, But Be Skeptical [View article]
    In Oman, somehow, Starbucks always had the best people behind the counter. The barista knew our names and knew our drinks; and in Oman anyway, served fresh- squeezed orange juice. Here in the USA, I guess lawyers have made most fresh juice go away? Anyway, SBUX has always had the ability to attract and hold great people, regardless of race or color or creed. Seen it all over the world.
    Nov 2, 2014. 07:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should You Buy Whole Foods Before Its Q4 Earnings Release? [View article]
    I dunno about the logic of assuming that attempts to hawk "organic" foods at places like Kroger signify doom for WFM. Kroger can stack fruit in clever pyramids, and shine spotlights on those pyramids, but it can't really replicate the tight controls on quality (certified free of crap) that Whole Foods maintains. Shoppers at Kroger may not have to sort through tons of junk ALL the time, because organics there will be labelled, maybe with "environmental green" cards, one assumes. However, I suspect that it will be remain quite challenging for most shoppers to quickly identify foods without, for example, high-fructose corn syrup, nitrites, flavor enhancers, preservatives, gluten, GMO etc etc etc artificial colors and flavors that are controversial etc. This is especially true in myriad beverages and sweetened foods (seems sometimes like half the food in America) where all the junky stuff is commonly hidden. I get fuzzy eyes trying read all the fine print on labels at conventional stores like Kroger, which appears to have replaced the old Safeway as the long term money-waster for investors in grocery stores. Anyway, (slight digression) Starbucks has done alright within the market for good coffee that it actually created and defined, despite the rise of numerous competitors such as Costa, and independent small coffeehouses everywhere.

    The recent drop in share price of WFM may be attributed, perhaps rightly, to the stock split - at least a portion of it. After all, even with increasing earnings, some adjustment in price of shares may be warranted, because more shares were suddenly added about a year ago.

    What most "analysts" overlook, time and time again, because they are bean counters, is the value of the high class of people in organizations like Whole Foods and Starbucks, and the ability of enlightened management to free employees to contribute creatively to the organization. We have made a lot of money investing in companies that treat employees well, and that listen to their ideas - that consider all stakeholders in the corporation-not for example like the (Halloween theme!) the ghouls in Bentonville who would rather have their people on food stamps or welfare than give them a living wage. Here's a bit of advice to all you "young-professional" investors: always buy the best quality company you can find, and visit the place of business if possible. WFM is the best quality company in the grocery business (best in class). It makes money, has no debt, has tons of room to grow, treats it's people very well, cares about the community, and doesn't sell crap. It's the Mercedes Benz of grocery stores. Hey, what's not to like?
    Nov 2, 2014. 07:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Starbucks' Earnings Guidance Weak, But Be Skeptical [View article]
    As long as Schulz is at the helm, I'm sticking with Starbucks, or adding on pullbacks.
    When Schulz leaves, that's time to pay more attention.
    I'm not a big fan of the new food, however it has global scale and consistency of product.
    Nov 1, 2014. 08:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Key Reasons Why Microsoft Is Leaving IBM And Hewlett-Packard Behind [View article]
    Even without much marketing sensitivity, MSFT still lurches ahead. I'm about to start buying. Have been watching a long time. Nadella, despite gaffs duly noted in the past, is learning fast, and MSFT is finally beginning to leave that dud Balmer behind. It's a big boat to turn. This is probably the time for investors to get aboard. Just one person's opinion.
    Oct 27, 2014. 09:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Do Banks Want Our Deposits? Hint: It's Not To Make Loans [View article]
    Actually, local and most national banks collect money from you and your friends, than loan it back to you so you can buy your car. And the bankers play golf or hang out at country clubs pontificating about "fiscal discipline" for the masses and the government. And they all offer useless "investment advice" and "vacation opportunities" at chump rates. So, if you are going to get shafted, might as well go with the bigger banks. At least they can transfer money with swift codes. . . .
    Oct 27, 2014. 08:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coca-Cola Has Become Interesting Again [View article]
    Well, was it Buffett himself who noted that a monkey or some other creature could run Coca-Cola. Maybe not. This management is the dumbest, greediest bunch of turkeys I could imagine. If Warren doesn't get rid of this inept, tone-deaf management, I'm selling.
    Here is obvious stuff, courtesy of my wife, who does the shopping:

    Everybody who isn't dead in the head recognizes that real sugar as opposed to "high fructose corn syrup" is best for human beings. And, whether the science is right or wrong, that's the decision of learned, opinion-influencing folks we know. With the right modifications, Cola-Cola might actually get into organic and natural stores such as Whole Foods? Dunno about that last one.
    Coke needs to be /offered and sold in smaller portions and smaller packs, and re-sealable containers.
    Carbonation levels could be lowered.
    Natural sweeteners might help? Maybe Coke already does this somewhere.
    Money might be saved by reducing the obscene shelf space held in conventional stores.
    and so on . . . . .
    Oct 27, 2014. 08:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment