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  • My First Quarter 2015 Portfolio Review [View article]
    This is the first time I have come across your quarterly review of positions. Though I have missed at least a dozeon or so of your quarterly reviews, I am nevertheless impressed with what I just read and with what you are doing. Though retired, I am too lazy to spend much time on investment matters. I read, somewhere, that one needs to limit one's investments to no more than 20 issues -- which suits me just fine. Clearly, my results are not as impressive as yours. Now that I have some guidance, such as your writeup and your references to works by other Seeking Alpha authors, I'll try to work a little bit harder. Again, many thanks for your frank disclosure. omooc
    May 1, 2015. 08:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Report: China sets 2015 growth target at ~7% [View news story]
    From the western media, China can never be right. Here, China's 2015 growth will be "only 7%." On the other hand, China's 2014 growth was "the slowest in 24 years," -- never mind that China's growth rate in the last three decades has set world record repeatedly. So, presumably, Reuters would prefer the EU's "negative growth rate" or USA's 2.8% or so growth rate to 7% by other countries. Beautiful new math -- or, as it would be spelled in Britain, new mathe. omooc
    Jan 28, 2015. 09:08 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold sector’s bad bets wiping out retained earnings, investor confidence [View news story]
    For diversification purpose, I have some shares of ABX. I have two questions. One, it seems that ABX has declared a dividend less than a year ago. Presumably, a negative retained earnings balance would prevent it from declaring further dividends -- even with current-year earnings. Is this correct?
    Two, from previous commentators, I got the impression that gold miners can write up (or down) valuations of gold reserves. How frequent can a company do this? Thanks.
    Jan 15, 2015. 11:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Does Tesla Have In Common With Commodore International? [View article]
    The many comments to Paulo Santos's well thought out article, both pro and con, are most interesting. When Paulo compared TSLA to Commadore 64, perhaps one reason is that both are in the high-tech domain. Other than that, there are too many differences. No one seemed to offer another product for comparison -- until toward the very end when "I need a bailout" introduced RIMM for comparison. Permit me to introduce still another product as the basis for comparison: women's handbag, specifically, say, Coach.
    Why Coach? One reason is that, in my view, buying TSLA is to show off -- at least for some of the very well-to-do. Coach, or other similar handbags, very much in demand among middle-class Chinese women, has this very same reason -- to show off. Paulo introduced two key considerations that would affect competition: ease of entry and sustainability of technical advantage. For handbags, the ease of entry is not an issue; sustainability of advantage (not technical advantage, but just simple competitive advantage) is by means of advertising. Both are just the reverse of what TSLA is doing or will be facing -- ease of entry is not an issue, sustainability of technical advantage is mainly proprietary. But the key issue, in my view, is to show off. In an earlier comment, I mentioned that, among Chinese buyers of TSLA cars, some became tired of it and sold as used cars in favor another show-off car, such as Ferarri. The same may be said of handbags. After a while, Coach is no longer attractive; attention is paid to another brand, say Channel. A related issue to showing off must be mentioned -- sooner or later, people may not want to advertise their well-offness in favor of privacy. This is quite evident in China: why buy an expensive TSLA when a much more reasonably priced car is equally serviceable. Indeed, in a telecast over the BON (Blue Ocean Network, specializing in news from China), about two weeks ago, it reported that Chinese manufacturers are initiating research on EV in the $20,000 range. Re handbags, this is quite obvious among Chinese women in the US -- for safety's sake, they are using run-of-the-mill handbags just to avoid showing off. (My younger sister in Los Angeles, with quite a few expensive handbags, had, on two occasions, her handbag being forcibly taken away from her, one in an elevator in a store, and another time on the street in LA. She now simply uses the non-descript varieties.) What's the net effect of all this? In Coach's case, as I read in the papers, its 3Q sales and earnings were down. Of course, Coach handbags may not be a good candidate for comparison with TSLA; still, showing-off might be a factor worthy of consideration.
    Dec 3, 2014. 09:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • SLV Is Recovering, But Will This Rally Last? [View article]
    The author said that the Swiss rejection of gold issue was "as expected." I have not read any prediction, whether yes or no, before the referendum. Any link to read?
    Dec 2, 2014. 08:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Trina Solar beats by $0.19, misses on revenue [View news story]
    This article begins by saying that TSL's "3Q EPS of 0.34 beats estimate by 0.19" This means that the estimated earnings were at 0.15 -- so the actual earnings are more than double the estimate. It is true that the revenue was below estimate by some 4 percent -- suggesting that the management has improved upon operational efficiency. Still, I am surprised that the stock was down by some 5 percent today (11-24-2014). What accounts for that?
    Nov 24, 2014. 10:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This A Bear Trap In GLD? [View article]
    Many commentators in this thread question the author's basis for his projection. Being a novice in this game (in part persuaded by a piece in an investment letter saying that July 1, 2014, would be a critical date for the market, and advising taking refuge in precious metals), I find the author's analysis valuable. Clearly, he is basing his opinions on technical analysis. Assuming this is so, his citing examples of triple bottom in other investment vehicles (S&P500 and real estate) is commendable. Keep up the good work.
    Nov 24, 2014. 10:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Trina Solar And Its Competitive Advantage [View article]
    I have been long on TSL for quite a while; I hope I'll be patient enough to see TSL's coming back. The author, IAEResearch, gave us a succinct review of the industry and you, EysteinH, added valuable info on TSL's leadership role. Thank you to both.
    Nov 23, 2014. 10:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GLD - Why Gold Won't Guard Portfolios Against Russia [View article]
    While I appreciate the inverse relationship between the dollar and gold, I am puzzled why the dollar is so strong. With the growth rate at +/- 2 percent, what are the underlying reasons for the dollar's strength. One investment service to which I subscribed (now cancelled) stated tirelessly that the dollar would be in trouble beginning in July 2014. July 2014 came and gone, but nothing happened. It would be interesting to know the reasons for the dollar's continuing strength in the face of US's growing trade deficit and such.
    Nov 20, 2014. 10:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Volkswagen Evaluates Batteries To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    Anton, thanks for sharing your valuable VW plant-visit observations with us. I always have a very high regard for VW. I once owned a Beattle, and it (along with seat belt added by me) saved my life, when I fell from a freeway in Orange County CA by 16 feet -- and survived (only a scratch in the head; even my eyeglasses were intact). The car was drivable after repair.
    In your article, you mentioned that there is an attempt to standardize EV batteries, with VW and quite a few other mfrs on one side and with Tesla on the other side, alone. This reminds me of a similar situation, a couple of decades ago, when there were two groups, each attempting to be the standard in video format. Eventually, the group with a larger number of mfrs (as opposed to Sony by itself in the other group) prevailed.
    In your article, you also relayed VW management's low opinion of BMW and GM (and another Japanese car). Over the weekend, I read that BMW has a new EV, priced at USD 110,000 and up, to be on the market this week. I thought that the Tsla stock might be in the negative today; in the premarket (when I began to read your article and type this), it was down a couple of dollars.
    Again, thanks for your valuable contribution. Very much appreciated.
    Nov 10, 2014. 09:52 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Moving Gold Today [View article]
    If my memory serves, at about 2 P.M. EST Friday, I heard some news over the radio that suggested to me that the US dollar is weakening -- (I forgot what that news was; it could not be higher employment figure, since it was released at 8:30 a.m.; could it be from the release of monthly import-export data?, I cannot recall; but I am reasonably sure that the news did not relate to Ukraine). In any case, in the after hours Friday, when I looked at the candle-stick chart for gold, the price shot up by at least a couple of dollars at 2 p.m. that day (and continued with small upward moves) -- and about the same percentage increase for silver at 2 p.m. that day (as well as subsequent incremental up-moves). I am not sure about the cause of this sudden increase. Comments will be appreciated. Thanks.
    Nov 9, 2014. 09:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Report : Drop in U.S. sales for Tesla Motors in September [View news story]
    The difference between a "sale" and a "delivery," as it relates to a car mfr and a car dealer, is, in my layman's understanding, none. But, when a car mfr does not make use of car dealers (or any intermediaries), a delivery becomes a sale only after the intended recipient agrees to accept, in my layman's view. Perhaps I am wrong.
    Nov 4, 2014. 09:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Barrick Gold Recorded Higher Than Expected Earnings Per Share [View article]
    I am surprised that ABX's all-in sustaining cost for gold dropped, in percentage terms, more than the drop in revenue. However, the regular pattern still exists for copper (lower sales, higher AISC per unit of production). What factors contributed to the gold side of ABX's performance in 2014's Q3?
    Nov 4, 2014. 04:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Report : Drop in U.S. sales for Tesla Motors in September [View news story]
    In the current (10-25-2014) issue of Washington Chinese Post (a weekly, published every Saturday, in Chinese), there is a half-page article, complete with a lovely image of a sports car, with the headline of "Tesla in China enters an 'Out of Favor' period, with owners planning to sell Model S after having driven only three months." The article quotes a reporter (affiliated with "Economics News Daily", which seems to be a mainland China publication, in Chinese) interviewing a Mr. Zhang in southern China; the interviewee stated that he bought a Model S five months ago, and had driven for less than 1,000 km. His current "new love" is a Boxster, and plans to sell the Model S for 900,000 yuan, some 40,000 yuan less than his purchase price. This reporter also interviewed a Mr. Lai in northern China, who said that he had purchased a new sports car a fortnight ago, and planned on selling his Model S, which he owned for less than three months. He also said: "Model S accelerates very quickly; its noise level is also low; but it is not a long-distance car. After driving it for a while, I do not feel that it means much." The article then said that the reporter, on the internet, saw 19 Model S cars offered for sale, all with mileage less than 3000 km, some even almost-new, showing only several hundred km on the odometer. The reporter then interviewed the owner of a used-car dealer, who stated that, because of Tesla's high visibility, its second-hand cars' turnover is also relatively fast. A second-hand Tesla his dealership owned was sold after a few weeks.

    The article continued by saying that, due to China's immature EV market, as well as a lack of agencies providing support/endorsement to second-hand EV, there is considerable risk in buying second-hand EV. The article then said that Tesla's major competitors are BMW and MB, against which Tesla does not have any advantage. The article continued by saying that, in 2013, after 10 years of loss, Tesla reported a net profit of 11.2 million USD. Out of this figure, there was income of 68 million USD from selling carbon-emission allowances, leaving its main business still at a loss. After saying that competitors are now pricing their EV to less than 300,000 yuan to Tesla's lowest price of 648,000 yuan, the article concluded by saying that, in the foreseeable future, the market for second-hand EV is rather limited.
    Oct 27, 2014. 11:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • NYC doctor tests positive for Ebola; futures slip [View news story]
    Over BON (Blue Ocean Network, a TV channel specializing in reporting news on China) I saw, about 3 days ago, that the medical profession in China has developed a vaccine for Ebola, that the vaccine has been shipped to African countries with Ebola problems, and that a delegation of medical personnel has also been sent to Africa. This morning (10-23-2014) I saw, as reported by BON, that the Chinese government has sent a donation of $5 million to affected African countries, and another $2 million to nonprofit health agencies. But no other news media had reported any of these. Any comments?
    Oct 23, 2014. 10:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment