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  • Canadian Oil Sands slashes dividend as lower oil prices hit Q4 results [View news story]
    The whole movement on this thing was a bit strange given the announcement and the volume of trades today. I'm wondering if someone knows how Obama might be voting on Keystone? What happens if he caves on his veto? Obviously good for the oil sands in general.
    Jan 30, 2015. 05:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Oil Sands slashes dividend as lower oil prices hit Q4 results [View news story]
    DRIPS are good with higher yields and depressed share prices. Even at a .05 1000 shares still gets you 6-7 new shares per quarter.
    Jan 30, 2015. 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It "just isn't true" that teens are leaving Facebook (FB), says Mark Zuckerberg during the Q2 call, citing company data and countering reports of teen fatigue. He adds "people on average are spending more time on Facebook than ever before," and that the company's main ad priority is to grow its advertiser count, rather than its ad count.  Gaming revenue was up an adjusted 11% Y/Y (good for ZNGA ... if it can halt share losses). Though capex fell in Q2, it's expected to grow 50% Y/Y in 2013. Time spent on Facebook averaged 20B/day in June, or 17 minutes/MAU. Ad prices +13% Y/Y, and spending by e-commerce firms rose significantly. Zuck again suggests Facebook is in no rush to monetize Instagram. FB +16.9% AH. (Q2: I, II) (live blogs: I, II[View news story]
    It's not without merit that the growth in advertising revenue is an accomplishment, however I don't think at this point it's an absolute that Facebook has figured this out and is about to watch the money roll in. This is a new medium and most companies will give it a shot in this early phase which will no doubt contribute to revenue growth.

    I think the true metric of how this will ultimately succeed is one that is very difficult to predict, and that is the return on investment that advertisers are going to get out of it. The more money marketers put into mobile ads, the more accountable they're going to be to their bosses to show a return. Search engine ads have proven themselves, however the success of mobile social media ads is far from proven.

    If advertisers can consistently get significant ROI from their social media ad budgets then I'm ready to call this a runaway hit. Until then "likes" are just like "eyeballs" were in the 90's.
    Jul 24, 2013. 10:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pitney Bowes - Avoid This Dividend Siren [View article]
    Reading their quarterly and annual statements, it's not as though the company thinks that the market for mail processing equipment isn't a sunsetting business, they've been acknowledging this for years as they are slowly growing their services and software business. Thanks to the tendency of businesses to continually rely on old businesses and technology (40% of companies still run Windows XP), they have been able to depend on the cash flow from the monthly income from mail processing equipment while this strategic change is occurring from within. The new CEO is helping with this. I like the fact that I'm getting paid to wait while this is happening, and I haven't seen anything that is setting my own alarm bells off on the continuation of the dividend pay out. I could be wrong, but I don't see it.

    I also don't see any problems yet with the interest payments, as they've been steady every year for the past five years at around $115 million a year. In addition, refinancing long term debt has never been better.

    I like your points, but at this stock price I like the upside more than the down side.
    Apr 10, 2013. 03:35 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Groupon (GRPN): Q3 EPS of $0.00 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $568.6M (+32% Y/Y) misses by $21.5M. Gross billings of $1.22B (+5% Y/Y). Expects Q4 revenue of $625M-$675M vs. $633.9M consensus. Expects Q4 operating income of $0-$20M. Shares -13.5% AH. (PR[View news story]
    They should run a Groupon for Pepto Bismol for the shareholders of this brutally run company.
    Nov 8, 2012. 04:38 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Groupon: The Valuations Will Improve As Operating Margins Expand [View article]
    I'd get out now if you're still in it. $3.73 and falling. Too many quality companies out there to lose money on this dog.
    Nov 2, 2012. 02:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Windows 8: No Effect On Tablet Market [View article]
    The expectations on Microsoft, judging by what most people are posting, is so low that any success with this re-launch will be seen as big. I'm looking forward myself at the prospect of having my work and play products available in one simple device. I'm impressed with the 1.2 billion hours that Windows 8 had in the testing environment, which is alot more than Apple Maps got. The refresh of all their major product lines was overdue. If Apple came out with the exact same "live tile" icons they'd be dubbed geniuses and ahead of their competitors, but because it's Microsoft its seen as a predetermined failure. As an investor, I can't help but be intrigued at the cash such a broad launch could generate for this "utility" company.
    Oct 31, 2012. 10:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Groupon: The Valuations Will Improve As Operating Margins Expand [View article]
    Looks more like having a daily deals company on your books is the equivalent of holding sub-prime mortgages on your balance sheet.
    Oct 25, 2012. 06:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Facebook: Mobile VP Vaughan Smith claims the company's mobile ad click rates are 10x higher than its PC click rates, which are below-average for display ads. Also, backing up the remarks of co-workers, Vaughan claims Facebook's mobile coding is now handled by its main product teams, rather than mobile-specific units. Wedbush recently touted Facebook's improving mobile monetization, which is necessary as U.S. PC use declines. Q3 results arrive on Tuesday. (also[View news story]
    If people are clicking these mobile ads, I doubt that it's on purpose. They're somewhat deceptive on your phone. The real test to the longevity of the ads will not be how many clicks they can trick you into, it will be the ROI for the advertisers. You can have all the clicks in the world, but unless the people are buying from you, it's pretty damn useless.
    Oct 19, 2012. 07:22 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Social Business: Facebook A Long-Term Growth Play In This New Trend [View article]
    If someone has a mobile phone with access to Facebook, they also have a phone with access to Google. Also, can you name the "experts" who see revenues trippling in four years? I'd be curious if they were telling people to buy at $38 because the stock price would tripple. Also, 750 million photo uploads on New Years Eve is impressive, but can you explain, in a non fluffy way, how this equates to higher revenue and profit? I have yet to have anyone elequently explain to me, without the typical "social" sunshine rosy glasses, how all these users equate to profits. I want proof.
    Oct 12, 2012. 02:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Groupon: The Valuations Will Improve As Operating Margins Expand [View article]
    What does Groupon know about restaurant POS? This is yet another example of a company desparately mining for money outside of their core business. Unless you know how restaurants work, getting them to replace their current POS with a new one is a daunting task at best. In addition, these POS systems are not simply cash registers your can skim processing fees off the top. These are complex communication software that facilitate communication between servers, kitchens, hostesses, bussers and the like. Restaurants need them to handle staff scheduling, customer purchase history, marketing, food inventory management and costing and online ordering, just to name a few things. To think that a business is going to dump software they've spent tens of thousands of dollars on to swith to a dumbed down version they can run on an iPad is a pipe dream. The fact that Groupon is trying to get into the POS business clearly shows how desparate they really are.
    Oct 11, 2012. 04:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook's Gifts And Collection Features Can Spur E-Commerce Growth [View article]
    As a retailer, selling gifts through Facebook is no different than selling through Groupon, it's terrible. Selling online merely through their own site, retailers must complete largely on price which means razor thin margins. If you add in another layer, in this case Facebook Gifts, that take a cut simply being the middle man, they're either having to sell at a higher cost to maintain their profit margin, or sell at a loss. Not terribly attractive if you ask me.

    Also, putting an entire catalog of products online throug Facebook is not that easy. The most successful e-commerce sites are well oiled machines that have the supply chain and order chain down to a science in order to keep themselves profitable.

    Retailers have had these social media guys blow sunshine up their arses already by Groupon and Living Social and countless other daily deals guys with the promise of massive exposure to millions of people. In the end they got burned, and this is no different. Some of the big guys will try it out, just for the sake of it but in the end my guess is that they'll find little if any ROI after factoring in all the additional costs associated with using Facebook Gifts with the low margins.

    Also, Amazon and others will do everything in their power to defend their turf against new players. If Apple is starting to dump Google because of competition, how long do you think it will be before companies like Amazon start removing the Facebook sharing buttons because Facebook has started selling against them?

    In my opinion, Facebook is entering a market for which there is far to much competition and they are not positioned well, under the Gifts model to succeed.
    Oct 11, 2012. 03:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Relying on its new "Want" and "Collect" buttons, Facebook (FB -2.4%) has begun testing Collections, a potential Pinterest rival that allows users to save pictures of products they like, and visit third-party sites to purchase them. Collections could be Facebook's second attempt to monetize e-commerce via referral traffic, following the recent launch of its Gifts feature. Testing partners include Pottery Barn and Neiman Marcus. [View news story]
    All of these initiatives to try and make money off of their users reaks of desparation. Alot of these seemed to have started this past quarter. I'm curious to see on thier next earnings report how much these initiatives and testing have actually cost them and how they'll affect the bottome line.
    Oct 9, 2012. 11:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Have Facebook Employees Learned From Yelp's Example? [View article]
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can see from insider trading reports, Stoppleman dumped about 591,000 shares on September 11th and 12th at $26 and $24 a share. How much stock does he have left? Looks to me like he may have cashed out.
    Oct 2, 2012. 03:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Facebook Make A Dent In The Online Shopping Space? [View article]
    I've seen this comparison to Amazon numerous times, and I can't see how Facebook is going to compete. To enter into this realm and step onto Amazon's turf of e-commerce will turn Amazon's sights straight onto Facebook and they would have the ability to crush any hope of getting this off the ground. Amazon has the infrastructure, logistics, pricing power and consumer trust that Facebook could only dream of achieving. Amazon has also demonstrated that it is willing to operate at a loss in order to protect or gain market share.
    The margins in e-commerce are razor thin, so when you add another layer, such as Facebook taking a cut, it becomes even more expensive for a retailer to participate and make money. They'll have to have higher pricing than Amazon in order to make the same amount of money. As a consumer shopping online, why buy it on Facebook when I can buy it on Amazon or direct from the retailer at a lesser cost? As a retailer, why would I sell the item for the same price on Facebook and make less money or even a loss when I can sell at the same price on my site and make a profit?

    In addition, it will cost an incredible amount of cash to get this off the ground. Given that Facebook's previous attempt with this was a flop this is not a wise use of cash. While you point out that this has tremendous opportunity, it also has the potential to be very damaging to the brand if it doesn't work and it turns them into an enemy of Amazon.
    Oct 1, 2012. 11:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment