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  • Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) is -0.6% to $20.32 after Goldman Sachs downgraded it to Neutral. Marvell's HDD controller business faces 'gradual erosion' from other storage media, Goldman warns. And Marvell supplies chips for the BlackBerry (RIMM -0.6%), and bets against RIMM sound good these days.  [View news story]
    I don't know about the second part, it seems RIM's new Playbook is using an ARM processor so it may not be as much a bet against RIM as it is a bet against RIM continuing to use Marvell processors.

    ARM arguably has the market momentum in the smartphone space and it could be RIM may be initiating a relationship, starting with Playbook, that will expand to using ARM products in its smartphones, as opposed to Marvell units.
    Dec 3, 2010. 01:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A U.S.-South Korea trade deal - delayed from high-profile G-20 talks in Seoul last month (and for three years before that) - looks clinched, with an agreement to phase out tariffs on Korean car imports over the next five years. (WSJ)  [View news story]
    Ok I am going to make up a conspiracy theory on this one!

    US asks Kim Jong to shoot up the S Koreans so they can come in like the cavalry so S Korea gets all jubilant and says "OK U.S.A., let's do this deal!"

    Yeah that's exactly what must have happened...
    Dec 3, 2010. 01:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why You Should Be Getting Into Real Estate [View article]
    Not bad advice but I have a few thoughts.

    I want to think it through more but haven't fit all the pieces together but here is my two cents:

    Loans are about interest rates and this is the biggest risk in purchasing real estate. My opinion is that interest rates are destined to rise. If they do not, you lose nothing. Interest rates on Real Estate will not decrease (they can't). So again, you lose nothing. There is of course a deflation risk, but I think we are 80-20 inflation-deflation right now. There's your risk.

    That said, how does that effect real estate. An inflationary future means rising interest rates, period. Therefore cost of onwership will rise. but an inflationary future also means the dollar's value decreases. So today's loan is worth less, so you want loans on real estate to take advantage. In terms of pricing? Prices will go up as the dollar weakens. VALUES will not. This is an opinion. My opinion is that prices will track inflation but values will not increase i.e. outpace inflation.

    So directly investing in real estate depends on your costs versus your return, which in real estate is triway - appreciation, principal payoff, and income. In an inflationary future, rents will increase, so you will benefit from this. Price appreciation will increase the value of your loan (as dollar loses value). Even if inflation adjusted value doesnt change, dollar for dollar you win. And you have principal paydown to boot.

    The question is here:

    The period of 2008-2009 I saw huge amounts rental unit movement. It continues to an extent through today. Basically, lots of downsizing, lots of folks doubling up, lots of folks moving back in with their parents etc. The question is, in an inflationary envrionment with high unemployment and increasing commodity costs, will folks BUY houses? Or will they buy Condos/co-ops? Or will they Rent?

    I don't believe the "people will always buy houses" thing at all. If the trend moves towards renting, houses may not even track inflation, and values may indeed fall. I also believe that baby boomers were raised to want houses, and younger generations prefer higher density housing. In general, I expect a protracted weakening in residential single family housing that won't go away with the recession, won't go away with inflation, and won't go away with appreciation.

    So, where is the value in real estate? High density. condos, co-op, rentals, multifamily. Long term I would shy away from single family no matter where the prices fall. I am thinking there is going to be a generational shift in ome ownersip which will last for an extended period of at least 10 years and as long as 15-20.

    We are now in our third year of the real estate collapse, and people have been bullish for two, sure if you stay bullish long enough sooner or later you will be right, but I'd definitely be very careful of where I put my money if I were not a professional real estate investor.
    Dec 3, 2010. 01:13 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama administration's new lending fund aimed at helping small businesses may not be enough to overcome banks' reluctance to make loans. Community bankers cite an "unprecedented" level of toughness from regulators, rendering them unwilling to underwrite loans they would normally make since they "could cost [the bank] dearly" in setting aside extra capital.  [View news story]
    Underwriting and the market are completely out of whack. I've both bought and sold real estate since 2007 and things just keep getting worse.

    Banks are torpedoing lots of deals. Some banks (the big guys) have standards that don't apply to anyone but like the top 0.001% of the population (doing something with Chase right now and its jaw dropping what they ask for) and the smaller community guys are trying to lend (doing something with one of those right now as well) but few deals fit in their programs.

    What the market wants or is willing to do and what bank underwriters want or are willing to do are two completely different animals and its hard to get any deals done.
    Dec 3, 2010. 12:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Demand for the Galaxy Tab exceeds Samsung's (SSNLF.PK) initial 1M unit sales prediction, with the device on track to hit 1.5M units shipped by 2011. The surge may be company, OS, or device specific, but in any case, it may let Samsung and rivals expand even after iPad 2 (AAPL) ships in Q1.  [View news story]
    When you say "company or device specific" I'd suggest you rephrase that to "device or OS specific".

    Specifically, this can be seen as a win for either the 7" form factor which Jobs absolutely hates, or for the Android OS. Clearly, the quality of the device is meaningful as well, but I think this is less of a consideration.

    I don't feel Samsung has the brand identity in the US of companies like RIM and Apple, but the quality of the goods is definitely good. Both their Android based phones and their recent WM phones are awesome. Things are looking good for Samsung, and I suspect that they will continue to improve.

    Sammy bringing in some very nice tech looking forward to mobile computing too, there is stuff in the pipeline, looking much better than a MOTO or LG or SE...
    Dec 3, 2010. 12:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The dollar slides after today's weak payrolls, but gold's back in nominal-record territory, +1.3% to $1,408, and oil is floating around near a two-year high, +0.5% to $88.45. Against the dollar: euro +1.2%, yen +1.4%, pound +0.9%, Swiss franc +1.7%. Copper: headed for its best week in four months, though just +0.1% today.  [View news story]
    Oil up on what...?

    Gold makes sense, dollar move makes sense...
    Dec 3, 2010. 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Struggling Spanish wind-turbine maker Gamesa (GCTAF.PK) could be the first target for Chinese manufacturers looking to gain entry into Europe. Gamesa has been the victim of slowing orders in Spain and eroding profit margins from Chinese competition.  [View news story]
    Just the first. Spain has huge wind/solar subsidies and it looks like they are drying up. I wouldn't say this is a win for the traditional industries but it is definitely a loss for companies whose business model can't survive the loss of gov't subsidies. And there are going to be a few of them.

    Germany's solar under pressure too.
    Dec 3, 2010. 08:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's the term for a legislative proposal that has less of a chance than "dead on arrival?" It could probably be applied to the deficit commission's idea of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Bob Toll puts the odds of passage at "about zero to negative 5."  [View news story]
    Poor people vote, and there's more of them than rich people for one.

    And secondly, the country is founded on middle class ideology.

    And third, crushing those who can least afford it is something I don't think people would go for once it gets real. The reality is that a lot of the 'middle class' is one debilitating illness, one lawsuit, one extended unemployment, one bad venture away from being 'poor' as you put it, so I doubt most folks would like to make social mobility even harder than it is now.

    Sure when you turn it into the abstract numbers you use it 'makes sense' but sometimes there's more to it than that.
    Dec 3, 2010. 08:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Theatrics were on display in Congress today, as Democrats in the House passed a tax-cut extension for the middle class but not the rich - knowing the bill would die in the Senate. Both parties face pressure from their hard-line flanks to make no concessions, but lawmakers fear the anger that would erupt if they do nothing - so who blinks first?  [View news story]
    The Dems want the Reps to crush this so they can point to it at the next election.

    In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Dems do exactly what the Reps did over the last two years and block anything meaningful from happening in hopes they can win next election. They'll just say 'see the Reps had control and got nothing done!'

    If anything does make it through our half-assed political system it will be watered down, neutered and barely meaningful, just like everything that made it past the Reps in the last two years.

    Great.
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's the term for a legislative proposal that has less of a chance than "dead on arrival?" It could probably be applied to the deficit commission's idea of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Bob Toll puts the odds of passage at "about zero to negative 5."  [View news story]
    Hilarious comment I like it!
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's the term for a legislative proposal that has less of a chance than "dead on arrival?" It could probably be applied to the deficit commission's idea of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Bob Toll puts the odds of passage at "about zero to negative 5."  [View news story]
    If you are waiting for 96/98 prices, you are going to be waiting a long time. There is a significant difference in interest rates, inflation, lending, and dollar from then.
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's the term for a legislative proposal that has less of a chance than "dead on arrival?" It could probably be applied to the deficit commission's idea of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Bob Toll puts the odds of passage at "about zero to negative 5."  [View news story]
    I wonder. It seems like a lot of folks think that the de facto standard of savings, should, must, and can't be anything other than investing in stocks and bonds.

    By what metric do you assume it is fair or reasonable for folks to only invest in what you think is appropriate?

    I posit that for some folks, owning a home as a retirement vehicle makes far more sense than attempting to navigate the markets.

    Cap gains not taxed under $250,000 on a primary residence is hardly the giveaway that the dividend tax rate adjustment was. And if this is about fixing the economy, revenue generated from taxing those cap gains will hardly be as significant as looking elsewhere, like for example, at the 1031 real estate exchange aspect of the tax code.

    .
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's the term for a legislative proposal that has less of a chance than "dead on arrival?" It could probably be applied to the deficit commission's idea of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Bob Toll puts the odds of passage at "about zero to negative 5."  [View news story]
    The proposal is for mortgages over 500,000 to lose the tax beneft. I don't think this is unreasonable nor do I think it has zero chance of passing.

    But I do know that every Toll Brothers house in my area would require more than a $500,000 mtg after 20% down.
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The FCC has a sensible plan to oversee the internet: Broadband providers need ground rules for treating traffic to and from the web. No, keep your hands off the internet: There's no problem to solve. The web is open to all, and we don't need the FCC to decide what and whose ideas get heard.  [View news story]
    That's a load of crap. Net neutrality is an attempt to maintain the status quo. If it is blocked by the Comcasts of the world you can bet your experience of the internet, your freedom to choose how you consume and how much you consume, will be adjusted to what the monopolies think is fair.

    And by the way, Goggle and Verizon have both come out in favor of Net Neutrality for hardline connections - which is great, but they have also agreed that Cellular broadband because it is bandwidth limited should not be. That's a crock too, the tech to bring massive bandwidth to the consumer - more than consumers can use - is being developed daily - bandwidth restricting is red herring based on TODAY's tech, and the FCC knows it.
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The FCC has a sensible plan to oversee the internet: Broadband providers need ground rules for treating traffic to and from the web. No, keep your hands off the internet: There's no problem to solve. The web is open to all, and we don't need the FCC to decide what and whose ideas get heard.  [View news story]
    Actually the US has what is likely the -least- regulated internet experience worldwide.

    And this attempt by the FCC is meant to keep it that way.

    It is Comcast and ATT and suchlike who are attempting to change the game to make it more profitable to themselves, not the government.
    Dec 3, 2010. 07:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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