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  • Enviable Demographics And The Baby Boomer Retirement Myth [View article]
    Noticing the number of working young people in your particular office milieu is not invalid. Anecdotal evidence can be a sign of, among other things, an approaching market peak, and should not be dismissed out of hand. E.g., Dr. Alexander Elder writes in "Sell and Sell Short" about the "shoeshine boy indicator" --

    "Bernard Baruch was a famous stock operator in the first half
    of the twentieth century. He managed to sidestep the crash
    of 1929, which ruined so many of his peers. He described
    how one day in 1929 he stepped out of his office,
    and the man who polished his shoes gave him a stock tip.
    Baruch recognized the sign -- if people at the lowest level
    of society were buying stocks, there was no one left to buy.
    He began selling his stocks."

    Why? Because the markets do not exist to put money in the pockets of amateurs like shoeshine boys. When they are making money, it's because of momentum, not knowledge, and that likely means the market is reaching a peak, and will crash soon.

    People have also sold stock in hardware stores because they
    saw too many empty parking spaces outside those stores... That too is anecdotal evidence.

    I myself am more worried about the number of people who should be retired that are instead working in low-paying jobs because they CAN'T retire. The first time this dawned on me was in my university years, when I worked alongside a woman in her sixties who was a cashier at TWO different establishments -- a movie theater and a fast food restaurant. This doesn't bode well for those of us in our forties....
    Mar 30 07:03 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Million Phone Order Isn't What It Used To Be [View article]
    Take away apple and Samsung and this is a big number.

    ...which brings us back to a pertinent question: in order to succeed, does (BBRY) absolutely HAVE to defeat either Apple or Samsung, or can it carve out enough of a niche without displacing the two giants in order to survive?
    Mar 18 07:44 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dissecting Tesla's ZEV Mythology [View article]
    In that case, God help us all:

    Jury indicts former Calpers CEO for fraud scheme

    Former Calpers CEO Federico Buenrostro was indicted by a San Francisco grand jury, as was Alfred Villalobos, a former member of the pension fund's board. They were charged in connection with the scheme involving fraudulent documents related to a $3 billion investment by the retirement system in funds managed by Apollo Global Management.
    Nov 18 05:48 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Motors' Full Analysis, Its Only Mistake, Outlook And Elon Musk [View article]
    We live in a world where many people (or as I call them sheeple) blindly follow "smart" people.

    Seeking the advice of professionals is called "looking for expertise," "doing research," "due diligence" and a variety of other things. From the research I've done, the debt and losses and exaggerated cash flow of (TSLA) makes it a disaster waiting to happen.

    Normally I shouldn't care, but someone might be swayed by all this EV agitprop and put all their money into Tesla just before the Big Short hits it.

    (Will be short (TSLA) in the near future. And when it goes up, some of the EV "sheeple" might be handing me their resumes...)
    Apr 29 10:38 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Q1 Earnings, An Epic April Fools Prank [View article]
    Well... the panic is thick in this thread.

    I've never seen so many critiques of John Petersen's work with so many "likes." Six likes... 12 likes... 16 likes... 20 LIKES!... That gives me the impression that a whole bunch of fanboys in Tesla shirts -- not unlike the boy geniuses at Apple's "genius bars" -- are gathered around their laptops furiously clicking away to generate the illusion that all is well at (TSLA)... just like this accounting trick of Elon Musk's has generated the illusion of actual profitability. Does this mean that Elon Musk is out of tricks?

    So far, among the stocks I follow, there are two stocks where the short-sellers are openly dismissed with such contempt in the comment threads -- (TSLA) and (BBRY). In other threads, they talk about pros and cons and investment prospects, but there is no animosity towards short-sellers. No one compulsively *insists* that shorts are doomed in those threads ... and I think that's the surest sign that Tesla employees, who are "LONG TSLA" because they had no say in the matter when they were hired, want to pump and dump their shares on unsuspecting investors.

    (If my company were on solid ground and gaining in sales, I wouldn't *care* if anyone shorted it, nor would I write articles insisting that short sellers were foolish and on the verge of doom. If that were the case, I would let them burn their money without comment.)

    It's high time that people like John Petersen came in and refocused the debate on such crucial matters as a company's debt-to-cash flow. Now *THAT* is a metric we should be focusing on, rather than the coveted "Car of the Year" award.
    Apr 26 08:28 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power: A Battery Manufacturer Charging Forward [View article]
    Why do people insist on saying vehicles that use electric power run on coal, are we suppose to assume this makes them bad, why don't you also point out they run on sunshine, water, wind, gas, nuclear energy or any other way you can make electricity. The fact that they could use human hair or coal to run does not make them inherently bad.

    It has to do with how much pollution is generated by using an electric car, given that the big selling point is that it doesn't create an exhaust like an old Dodge Coronet. (Anyone here remember those...?)

    As the reigning skeptic John Petersen has pointed out,

    As a staunch critic of electric drive, I was particularly pleased
    with the OECD's admission that electric cars are
    “displaced emission” rather than zero emission vehicles, ...

    That's a significant change in description. A "zero emission"
    vehicle creates NO pollution; but a "displaced emission"
    vehicle is one that merely HIDES the pollution from view.

    The pollution is not generated from the tail end of the car;
    it is generated at the coal-powered power plant... but the
    BEV LOOKS to be completely non-polluting. It is gaining
    a reputation for being eco-friendly which is largely fraudulent.

    If the Model S (or other such cars) are "displaced emission
    vehicles" then they are fraudulent and don't help the
    environment nearly as much as we're being told.

    It's nice to finally see an honest acknowledgement that moving pollution from a tail pipe to a power plant doesn't solve the problem. It merely shifts the suffering from the polluter to somebody else.

    The source for these quotes:

    You may not like Mr. Petersen, but those at the OECD are
    presumably "not on his payroll," as it were. The Tesla Model S
    has undeservedly acquired a reputation as an eco-friendly
    alternative to ICE vehicles, when they pollute as much or
    more than the average ICE, and these lithium-ion
    batteries are impossible to recycle into anything useful.

    THAT'S what makes these vehicles
    inherently bad.

    Your thoughts?
    Jan 24 02:42 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Investing Options in Indonesia [View article]
    <<Corruption is perceived to be very high, as evidenced by Indonesia’s performance in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.>>

    It may seem absurd to criticize other countries for corruption when most of the western world has been robbed by pension fund managers wielding CDOs, but the problem of KKN ((korupsi, kolusi dan nepotisme -- corruption, collusion and nepotism) is not only pervasive in Indonesia, its effects are largely lost on the citizenry at large.

    My friend is a teacher who speaks fluent Indonesian (he has an Indonesian wife and children). He occasionally talks to people about government officials who make the headlines for corruption.

    "He is a great man!" they say, because the man is "rich."

    "He's not great! He's a thief!"

    "He is not a thief!" they insist.

    "He's taking money that belongs to you!" insists my friend.

    (shrug) "I have no money. What are you talking about," they say. They simply don't get the idea of public funds -- money that "belongs to the people." So the people in power can continue to rob the public piggy bank and the public doesn't even know that the piggy bank is there, or that they own it.
    Jul 25 07:41 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Barron's Just Pull A Forbes On BlackBerry? [View article]
    Really paranoid fantasy.

    You may think that Mr. Collins' concerns are overblown, but market manipulation is no fantasy. I can cite two examples of market manipulation that occurred well before the age of Quants and HFT.

    1. In "The New Market Wizards," a former trader from Salomon brothers reports that occasionally, traders conspired to drive the prices *down* when they should have been going up, SOLELY to take out stop loss orders. They could not be held accountable due to the "fast action" rules that govern pit trading.

    2. Michael Lewis describes how traders drove prices down with huge selling pressure, causing a cascade of short orders, before doing a 180 and buying them all back at favorable, dirt-cheap prices. He made it seem like common practice. (The book in which this is described is called "Liar's Poker.")

    a rather small and insignificant Canadian company

    I suppose every company is small and insignificant compared to the likes of (AAPL), but $7.8B in market capitalization is nothing to sneeze at. Shareholders' retirement funds are at stake here.

    Now about 70% of all analyst ae negative about the future of Rimm.

    SA contributor George Kesarios notes that those shorts are currently in the red.
    Source: (April 26, 2013)
    Apr 26 10:25 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Barron's Just Pull A Forbes On BlackBerry? [View article]
    Two things:

    1. First, I am truly relieved that someone on SA had the insight to observe this comment from Bloomberg:

    "The company may have cut 4 million to 6 million units, Brian Blair, a Wedge Partners analyst, said today in a note, ++++without saying where he got the information."++++

    That triggered a big red flag that maybe some journo at Barron's had checked their integrity at the door.

    2. This just proves once again that there is a difference between a broken company and a broken stock. Between its Q10 and its licensing agreements in emerging markets, it appears clear to me that (BBRY) is developing a clear business strategy to secure a third-place position in the cellphone market.

    Thank you Mr. Collins, for doing us fence-sitters a service. I just might pursue a long position in BBRY this quarter.

    /no current positions.
    Apr 26 10:12 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Turning Point For Tesla [View article]
    I would not invest any money in this company, and I would advise my friends not to put their savings into it. Here are three reasons off the top of my head:

    1. Its strength is overrated. The notion that TSLA has had its first profitable quarter is due to creative accounting:

    Apr. 1st
    10:26 EDT

    Tesla strength overdone, says Pacific Crest

    Pacific Crest said most of Tesla's earnings upside
    was from a one time reversal of warrant liability renegotiated
    from the Department of Energy loan. The firm said this
    was ***not mentioned in the press release*** and that
    strength is overdone.

    (emphasis mine)
    That information is for subscribers only now, but here's
    the link where I found it

    2. It has a rendez-vous with the Gartner Hype Cycle, which means that demand for the Model S will decline if this is indeed its peak:

    3. Tesla's math regarding the subject of leasing is questionable.
    The people at (TSLA) are confused between the "effective" cost of a car and the actual amount of money that one has to fork over NOW to actually start driving it:

    Our favorite conclusion, tweeted by Automotive News reporter Nick Bunkley: "According to Tesla website, if you live in Calif. and make $2 million/year, driving a Model S has an effective monthly cost of minus-$2,000."

    The whole affair leads us to wonder why Tesla continues to push the boundaries of its communications when ***actual facts so often cast their assertions in a different light.***

    We've noted before that CEO Musk sometimes says things that prove not to be exactly true, or haven't yet happened, or need major asterisks to explain the context.

    He's hardly alone in that regard among CEOs. ....

    ***We've long criticized the pathetic practice of "net pricing"--quoting a price that doesn't reflect the cash a buyer must spend out-of-pocket, *** but instead nets out a Federal income-tax credit that not all buyers qualify for and that can take up to 15 months to be realized.

    At least in that case, Tesla is no more guilty than any other plug-in electric carmaker; they're all culpable.

    But the financing announcement would have gone off smoothly and met with widespread acclaim if the bizarre financial gyrations of the "cost calculator" hadn't largely overshadowed them.

    In spite of the much-vaunted lease plan, the car will not be as affordable as Tesla Motors has claimed.

    Disclosure: I hold no short positions in this stock yet, but hope to do so before the end of Q2.
    Apr 12 08:46 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Enviable Demographics And The Baby Boomer Retirement Myth [View article]
    Thank you for your prompt reply. (The different time zones are no doubt a factor, as I live and work in Tokyo.)

    I am in fact Canadian, and as such our demographic pyramid (as you mention in the article) is fatter at higher ages. At least one SA writer had this to say:

    Many of my fellow uni grads in 1992 were firmly convinced that they would never be able to afford a new home due to their student debt burdens...This will no doubt be a contributing factor, as student debt burdens generally cannot be nullified by bankruptcy proceedings. The debts will remain in force.
    Mar 30 07:23 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Homeowners’ Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof? [View article]
    Doesn't this mean that the banks and surviving fat cats can't appoint themselves our post-modern feudal landlords? Correct me if I'm wrong, of course...
    Aug 21 07:51 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Long-Range BEVs Are An Economic, Energy And Emissions Abomination [View article]
    Not that it matters,
    but my first flip-phone looked suspiciously like a
    Star Trek communicator from The Original Series.
    And Google Glass is no doubt someone's attempt to
    make us all dress up like Commander LaForge (actor
    LeVar Burton):

    Star Trek is ALWAYS ahead of the curve... ;D
    Nov 14 09:46 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dark Side Of Tesla's Masterful Short Squeeze [View article]
    even after all your great analysis, Elon Musk builds a good business.

    Um, not with Tesla he hasn't.

    I must give him credit for taking a failing business and turning it into Paypal, because that company is practically a household name and a thriving concern.

    But with Tesla, he has built a business that has never actually made a recurring profit at its core function of making and selling cars.

    This was made quite plain in Mr. Petersen's article, and now the greens (like you, I presume) are starting to admit it:

    Tesla Didn't Make A Profit On Its Cars In Q1: Let's Be Clear
    John Voelcker
    May 29, 2013

    Tesla was profitable because it earned $68 million from selling Zero-Emission Vehicle credits (which it earns under California state laws governing vehicle emissions) to other automakers, and a further $17 million from selling Greenhouse Gas emission credits.

    It also logged $11 million in warrant liability reversals, along with $7 million in foreign currency adjustments.

    Take away the revenue sources that are a byproduct of Model S sales--both enabled by legislation, as a testy OpEd in the Wall Street Journal points out--and the financial adjustments, and the company lost $91 million on building and selling its cars (along with building and selling powertrains for so-called compliance cars to other automakers as well).

    On the Q1 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CFO Deepak Ahuja said that its financial planning assumes that ***revenue from selling emission credits would fall to zero by the end of the year***, although it was possible that the number could be higher.

    So, without those one-off credits and the currency adjustment,
    "the company lost $91 million on building and selling its cars (along with building and selling powertrains for so-called compliance cars to other automakers as well)."

    How, exactly, is that a "good business"?

    Say what you will about Ford and GM -- they *have* been known to make a profit by manufacturing and selling cars.
    May 31 06:33 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Q1 Earnings, An Epic April Fools Prank [View article]
    I read all comments here and nobody agrees with JP, did I miss something or is it really 0% agree/support rate? I don't recal any article where that rate would be similarly low.

    Firstly, I would remind you of a very important quote:

    "If fifty million people say a foolish thing,
    it is still a foolish thing." -- Anatole France.

    This is something we potential short-sellers gladly console
    ourselves with in the face of the ongoing pump-and-dump.

    However, I agree with JP that +++they are going to post GAAP profit this quarter.+++ This is what matters this quarter and 3 months later we'll see if they can repeat it.

    If you are sick of JP's opinions,
    I suggest you read Randy Carlson's article, "Foam On Tesla's Wave."

    Repeat this excerpt until it sinks in:
    One-time items and income streams that cannot be sustained over time contribute many times more to Tesla's bottom line than their reported non-GAAP or GAAP profits. +++Tesla is not yet, in fact, making money making cars.+++

    Tesla's gain from ZEV credits and foreign exchange was five TIMES their reported non-GAAP income. And with employee stock compensation essentially equal to their entire non-GAAP earnings, it is fair to say Tesla's profit last quarter was made not by selling cars, but rather by selling stock to their employees.

    I like that last part about St. Elon making money by selling stock to his genius-bar showroom clerks. It completely validates my theory (ludicrous, of course!) about the pump-and-dump campaign.

    +++Tesla is not yet, in fact, making money making cars.+++

    That's a nice way to put it. This is another way: Tesla's car-making operations lost over $70 MILLION in the last quarter. Instead of leaping to his defense on SA, you should be updating your resumes.

    DISCLOSURE: One guess...
    May 12 09:22 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment