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  • Visa, MasterCard Suffer From Interchange Fees Slashing [View article]
    The actual cost of moving the money from bank A to bank B is about 2 cents, not twenty. However, there is risk associated with debit transactions. To gauge this fairly the amount of losses along with who absorbs them must be take into account. Along with that is the fact their is a near monopoly between the two carriers. Granted, there are other networks but none have the penetration or market share these two have.

    As the one poster mentioned, the small retailer loses the most. The average convenience store sale is in the $2.00 to $10.00 range where the .40 charged eats up a substantial amount of the profit. The option to refuse the card isn't realistic since it would guarantee most customers vacating the store. Aside that, the likes of Sams or other mega retailers have substantial bargaining power when it comes to negotiating it's rates and fess. Something the mom & pop shops do not have. With them, it's usually a take it or leave it proposition.

    We have gone cashless. There should be 'some' controls in place to minimize abuses by those moving the money. A 12 cent cap may be too far in the opposite direction but a .40+ cent charge isn't justified either when their isn't an equally viable alternative..

    Other outrageous fees that should be looked at are overdrafts. How do banks justify charging us $35-$50 to not pay a check or a debit transaction when funds aren't available? Again, it's about 2 cents or so to process a non-paying item. That's obscene and a genuine ripoff. Whats more, many banks run their debit and credit entries in a specific order to maximize the number of times this can happen.
    Dec 20, 2010. 04:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Short of 2010-2011? [View article]
    Nice post Shane. One item got my attention and is worth sharing.

    "...Broadband server fees in China are extremely high, as are copyright fees due to the country's strict Web regulations on pirated material. The content delivery network service offered by a domestic provider in China was about 50,000 yuan ($7,460) per gigabyte per month last year. The price offered by Akamai, a US information technology content delivery company, is about $0.015 per gigabyte flow. ..."

    Over $7 k per gigabyte? That's obscene by any standard. Didn't anyone check into this stuff before they jumped in and bought these losers? Why is it so high. I'm guessing they have lots of people employed keeping an eye on what their comrades might be looking at.
    Dec 19, 2010. 07:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Post-Recession High for Oil Prices [View article]
    Oil inventory is high but it's coming down. Demand from other countries has picked up putting upward pressure on crude prices.
    Dec 18, 2010. 11:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The First Stage of Inflation Has Already Hit, Next Up Is the Currency Collapse [View article]
    Some of the authors points are well made. There is the appearance of inflation/deflation running simultaneously. I disagree with the notion of impending inflation to the degree implied. As easily as monetary supply was increased, it can be taken back out.

    To have real inflation requires increased demand. That requires an overheating economy. There would be robust consumerism and high monetary velocity rates. Those velocity rates result in a swelling currency supply. What the fed has done is manufacture the result to simulate the cause. A high supply. What is absent is the velocity due to sluggish demand.

    The benefit to this is those reserves can be drawn down without a negative impact. The idea was to provoke some inflation. Or more aptly put, the better economy that leads to inflation. Inflation will be held in check but the normal cause of it still eludes us. A vibrant economy. Normally the velocity is stifled which enables a draw down in supply. Velocity is what we're lacking.

    The issue isn't so much the currency collecting dust in our local banks. It's the high accumulated debt on depreciated assets. Debt that is being serviced with a higher percentage of reduced income. The velocity attributed to pay downs does little to promote growth. With less discretionary funds to spur recovery the pivotal moment will be the paid in full notice. Until then, inflation is an illusion.
    Dec 18, 2010. 01:41 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Chinese Buzzword IPOs: Too Sexy? [View article]
    If investors are counting on rapid average income increase, what historical reference is cited? In China the economic classes are distinct by a wide gulf. For every high income earner there are 100+ at or near poverty. I suspect a lot of fluff being dolled out to a willing audience with money to burn and an IPO agreeable to take it.
    Dec 15, 2010. 11:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Short of 2010-2011? [View article]
    Glenn, you're a smart guy. These Chinese internet companies are a train wreck waiting to happen.
    Dec 13, 2010. 11:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chinese Buzzword IPOs: Too Sexy? [View article]
    What about their customers? Are these internet companies being mistakenly measured by U.S. consumer standards? Examining the income circumstance alone it begs the question. How much does your average Chinese worker bring home each year that can be used on frivolous internet purchases? A quick search listed it around 5k a year. Compared to ours at over 50k, that's a huge difference. In the end, the customer will ultimately determine what the company is worth.
    Dec 13, 2010. 11:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Economic Recovery Rolls on as America Turns to Food Stamps [View article]
    So, which came first? Greed or laziness? I'd say both are equal partners in the demise of an economy.
    Dec 13, 2010. 01:52 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • S&P's Most Overbought Close in More Than a Year [View article]
    In my opinion we're about due for a correction, albeit a small one. The time is right based on the span between each of the last several. We're at new highs, another predicate. Uncertainty is rearing it's head again as given by the put call ratios. The economic news coming out this week will either provoke it or delay it until after the new year. However, if we get more rays of sunshine we could be in the beginning stages of a break out. It could be said the displayed chart is catching up to reality and losing fear. Either guess has equal footing.
    Dec 12, 2010. 04:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Economic Recovery Rolls on as America Turns to Food Stamps [View article]
    The unquantified cost of entitlements is the eroding of that element of character which built this country. Self reliance. Incrementally people are becoming comfortable with the notion that someone else is obligated to pay for their necessities while that other human element, pride, gradually becomes absent. This mindset has crept through the individual and reached the boardroom no less.
    Dec 10, 2010. 05:32 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Economic Recovery Rolls on as America Turns to Food Stamps [View article]
    We have a society where economic Darwinism runs head on into a government supported denial via entitlements. The chasm grows by the day with the middle falling in.
    Dec 9, 2010. 12:09 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    I thought I've seen it all. FNM & FRE to reduce balances. Simply amazing. If that plan puts to stone the new property values you can bet states will protest over lost tax revenue. As if they needed more financial strain.

    Undoubtedly there will be provisions obligating the owner to a claw back on the next closing date. Assuming of course the home sells and acquires appreciation down the road. Banks were already doing this so it stands to reason it will be implemented here. The moral hazard that existed with big dollar investment firms and banks is now sitting on the sofa watching Oprah. What motivation is there to ensure full remuneration to the tax payer when it's time to move? None. It's a softening of the loss over time so that it goes unnoticed.
    Dec 9, 2010. 02:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 7 Stocks Insiders Are Buying Like Crazy [View article]
    The numbers posted for Citi and BAC are trivial at best. Quite frankly it makes me nervous that the insiders are buying in such small denominations. When those in the know buy, it's in the hundreds of thousands at a time, not a few. Both I believe will have their day. Soon I suspect as they are beginning their crawl back to respectability.
    Dec 8, 2010. 10:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Economic Recovery Rolls on as America Turns to Food Stamps [View article]
    One is seven is nearly incomprehensible. It is truly a sad and scary state with that many potential castle burning individuals in our midst. This might be one time where it would be wise to disclaim any association with the top 2,5 or 10%, depending on who's listening.

    Does anyone dare do the math on how long we can support food stamp programs before the well runs dry?
    Dec 8, 2010. 10:36 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Positive Housing News [View article]
    The purchase index shows a decided trend upward. With various sectors of the economy beginning to improve this movement serves to substantiate upbeat opinion. A positive sign but by no means an indicator we're back to normal.

    Wages are still depressed and monetary policy has taken some of the wind from the almighty dollar's sail further diminishing purchasing power.

    On a positive note the cost of housing has dropped keeping pace with or perhaps even out stepping monetary dilution making the home mortgage somewhat of a bargain as compared to a few years ago. I'll take this as a welcome sign provided rates adjust to the benefit and health of the overall market.
    Dec 8, 2010. 02:31 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment