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  • Apple Update: A $2 Billion Currency Hit? [View article]
    I "feel" Apple investors would be well advised to consider the following:
    a) the swoon on the EUR has been happening over some 2+ years, and the "shock factor" from the Greek elections were well advertised;
    b) Apple's current share price may already reflect the currency risk, and therefore, the "news" of such a huge hit may have less of an impact than it has had on Microsoft;
    c) I suspect Microsoft runs a highly profitable business in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and consequently, its sheer size there will mandate that it will take a huge hit from currency headwinds. Apple on the other hand, has, I suspect a much lower %age of its business in EMEA, which should help lower its associated FX hits;
    d) X'mas, New Year and upcoming Chinese New Year festive seasons have and will have a much bigger tailwind effect on Apple that Microsoft can only dream about. This tailwind effect is likely to be particularly strong for its newer products;
    e) very few companies have the size and sophistication of the "Apple Bank" inside its HQ and in key places such as Ireland, Singapore and elsewhere. I'd wager that one of the very reasons the EUR went down is because some of the MNC such as Apple were selling into the swoon, so the "heat" on Apple may well be behind it, esp with respect to its BS.

    In short, I do not expect Apple to make such a big deal on currency as Microsoft's an exciting "watch"!
    Jan 27, 2015. 07:58 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dollar Softer, Consolidating Recent Gains [View article]
    To a layman, the most overpriced FX rate today is the CHF, vs practically all other currencies. Therefore, one cannot blame the SNB for doing anything and everything to devalue the CHF as this time around, the speed and level of appreciation will hurt practically every sector of the Swiss economy, potentially doing permanent damage to the very financial structure of the country.

    To me, the logical level of the exchange rates should be, when all this "heat" blows over, EUR and USD at parity, and CHF 1.20 = EUR 1 = USD 1.
    Jan 27, 2015. 07:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel: A One-Stop Shopping Center For Apple [View article]
    Re: "All major foundries are good at keeping the IP of their customers separate and well protected...."

    Apple's experience with using Samsung for AX chip fabbing proved to be, I think, exactly the opposite. In short, Samsung could not possibly have become a major threat to Apple over the past 5 years if the "Chinese wall" between their fab and internal design shops were made of real concrete. Instead, I suspect it was of the feeblest bamboo, and who knows, with few understanding the Korean language, all manner of IP could have been transferred.

    Apple's "fear factor", rationally speaking, has to be, with Intel's declaration in the strongest of terms recently that it "has" to be in mobile, that there is no way to stop Intel from somehow lifting the best IP ideas from the AX to its mobile product designs. Even if the "core" X86 ISA is the best of breed there is out there, I feel the mobile phone and tablets these days carry so much of adjacency software, from graphics, screen technology, power management, "interconnects", and communications-specific IP that Intel would surely gain a lot from have Apple make its AX products for them.

    In short, I see Apple continuing to dive deep into its own AX design, and incorporate everything and everything that can be innovated into it so it can keep its IP forever from Intel.

    One always "fears" dissenting with that giant among men, but it is what I feel.
    Jan 27, 2015. 07:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel: A One-Stop Shopping Center For Apple [View article]
    Excellent article, Russ, and once again, explores the unexplorable.

    But isn't the Apple fear factor that if Intel were to fab for them, they'd be effectively giving Intel much of their hard worked IP, which in turn could be used to "tune" X86 ISA and then Apple's technology advantage is available to all those "Chinese players"?

    And wouldn't Intel GM hurt if they took on Apple's iPhone and iPad biz?
    Jan 26, 2015. 04:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Post-Saudi Succession, Oil Markets Still Seeking An Elusive Equilibrium [View article]
    Great article from a recognised expert who lays the facts out clearly.

    Still, it seems that the demand environment is not well enough understood, as China is slowing, India just signed on to increase non-renewable energy sources with US help, along with nuclear energy.

    As for supply, there is no comment about Iraq, which I suspect can pump a lot more if there is demand for it.
    Jan 26, 2015. 09:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Asia Points To Blockbuster Q1 And Q2 [View article]
    It is just possible that the "good fortuned" upcoming Year of the Sheep per the Chinese calendar which falls on 19 Feb 2015 could well help both Q1 and Q2 results, as bonuses paid in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan, HK, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam will eventually result in, delayed gratification, as purchases will be made after the cash has moved around as 'hóngbāo' several times among family, friends and of course, work associates. All in all, it is going to be great for Apple for the next 6 months.

    It is noteworthy that stock markets in several countries have had a good year, and prospects are looking good (per the geomancy charts), so people are quite likely to go easy on holding on firmly to their wallets!
    Jan 25, 2015. 03:09 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ECB, Euro, USD, Interest Rates [View article]
    For all the bidirectional volatility you refer to, it seems, somehow, in the following logical order:
    a) the EUR has declined too far too fast;
    b) oil price' precipitous decline should benefit Europe somewhat more than US, as the former is an almost 100% importer;
    c) the European economies were already at pretty depressed levels from some 5 years, without so much as any recovery post-crisis.

    Put this together, I "feel", logically at least, the bidirectional volatility to have a clear upward bias, both for the EUR as well as the European financial markets. This could well result in a sharp upward trajectoried hockey stick movement within the next few weeks.
    Jan 25, 2015. 10:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Oil Plays Strength, Prices And Potential [View article]

    After so much that has taken place over the past 3 weeks, do you now have a new view of the oil price over the next few weeks, and perhaps over 3-6 months?

    Grateful for your views.....
    Jan 25, 2015. 05:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Hot SSD Market Will Favor SanDisk More Than Micron [View article]
    The excellent article does not cover adequately the fact that both companies have many moving parts, and most of these parts are not common to both companies.

    My principal concern on SNDK is actually over its core strength: its overwhelming presence in high margin, consumer business and its domination of use in all manner of consumer devices. During the past quarter, I feel sure the massive appreciation of the USD vs practically all currencies must have seriously dented their end prices, which would have affected their top and bottom line.

    Micron is somehow shielded from this problem, but if the FX world were to stabilise one day, its lack of a substantial retail market will prove to a weakness.

    Having said that, on balance, MU's high vertical integration and natural symbiosis with Intel means it has fewer weaknesses, esp vs SNDK, and esp going forward 5-10 years.
    Jan 25, 2015. 05:07 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Hot SSD Market Will Favor SanDisk More Than Micron [View article]
    I suppose it takes a lot at the end of writing a complex article to make sure the numerator remains such and the denominator stays at the bottom. Sadly, the lowly calculator would not have helped.....
    Jan 25, 2015. 05:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Near-Term Forex Views And More [View article]
    Based on the little I know and "feel", and in spite of knowing that I don't know and certainly have no "feel" for most aspects of FX, esp since it is well known that it is dangerous territory, the one sure bet would "seem" to be to go short the CHF in equal parts vs the USD, EUR, GBP and JPY!

    Such play, it might seem, should be just a 1 month bet.
    Jan 25, 2015. 04:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Super Micro Computer Has The Potential To Become The Next IBM Or HP [View article]
    To the best of my knowledge, the only Chinese diaspora company to have made it big in the global scale is Lenovo, and they would never have risen to where they have if not for:
    - IBM dumping their precious PC business on them, including key personnel, brands, R&D facilities, etc;
    - key disgruntled people from Dell and Gateway who left in hordes taking along with them incredible expertise in brand management, product design and critically for Lenovo, logistics & distribution; and now
    - Google dumping Motorola phone biz and X86 server business of IBM, both of which are likely to become crown jewels.

    As none of this has happened to SMCI, one could logically ask "what if they eventually become just another has been, such as ASUS or Acer"?
    Jan 24, 2015. 10:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials: Little Steam Left, Take Profits Off The Table [View article]
    Any update on exactly when the Eteris merger will take place? The news is so long ago.
    Jan 24, 2015. 10:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Super Micro Computer Has The Potential To Become The Next IBM Or HP [View article]
    Excellent article on a "flying fast, but flying low" stock. I would like to add the following comments:
    a) is there any indication of who the >10% customer. I suspect it could be FB, but it would be useful to know this;
    b) SMCI seems to be neither a Dell (a la Michael Dell) or a Lenovo (ex Legend Hodlings) where the respective CEOs successfully managed to grow their companies against all odds, in spite of many obstacles. This is clearly a risk;
    c) Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's X86 server biz means it will try to do to SMCI what it did to the likes of Acer, etc, i.e. cannibalise other Chinese or Taiwanese players, by taking market share from them directly;
    d) Intel's launch of Grantley chips is likely to give SMCI a larger than normal boost, esp as it seems to be a faster swimmer than its CA and Texas based rivals;
    e) its small business in EMEA must also have great potential, it is time they poached disgruntled competitor employees (esp, for e.g. X86 IBM server sales guys) and moved in to "attack and then defend";
    f) as computer company names go, SMCI and its product brand names are likely seen to be "boring", even by IT geeks. The company should seriously consider changing names to make it "exciting"!
    Jan 24, 2015. 09:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The India Story Is Finally Taking Off [View article]
    Your comments made me "wake" up and reflect....and reflect carefully. While the comparison of India vs France is indeed apt, esp wrt to the latter's continued permanent seat on the Security Council, it is useful to reflect on the following:
    a) France has fought long and hard battles both outside and more importantly, within its borders on what makes sense politically, socially and even economically for the continuing miseries of the human condition. It is useful to spend some time reading up on the complex, but rich history of France;
    b) painted with a simple brush, India has just been one big open door to foreigners, with hardly a single battle, let alone war staged against preventing foreigners from coming in willy nilly, manipulating Indians against Indians, and in relatively short order, have them fight against each other so that the foreign force takes over, and yes, rules for centuries;
    c) at no time in history, to the best of my recollection, has France allowed mediocrity to be the mainstream "way of life" of the majority of its peoples, whatever their religious, political beliefs. Instead, its peoples have always thrived to improve the human condition continuously, with a deep penchant to impose a better "solution/way" through domination if ncessary, as was the case with Mr. Bonaparte;
    d) the timeless Indian struggles have mainly focused on improving himself, herself or for want of a better description, a self-centred view of the world. It is perhaps this characteristic that most distinguishes how rapidly the Chinese have developed their country vs India, despite the latter being endowed with the "British rule" +ve legacies.

    We will have to still wait for some time for India to have
    - clean streets, train stations, trains,
    - used, working toilets (esp when/where you need them),
    - people walking around who are generally healthy, properly clothed, law abiding and reasonably well fed before it can feel justified to claim its rightful place in the Security Council's "inner sanctum". For me, I would still like France to remain there, even if it seems, for now at least, such a "mediocre country".....but beware I say, look inside the hood carefully, and as they say, be careful what you wish for.
    Jan 24, 2015. 12:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment