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  • Mondel─ôz International, Inc. misses by $0.02, misses on revenue [View news story]
    The board of directors should do something, but since se appointed them before the split with Kraft they will be slow to act. I bought this stock soon after they spun out of Kraft based mostly on the quality of the assets, the merging market exposure, and the presumed ability of management to increase the margins. When I listened to MDLZ's first results conference call as a publically traded company I was worried. As Sittingcrow points out above, she is full of excuses. And every conference call since has been the same. Warren Buffett wanted nothing to do with her, and actively tried to stop some of her strategic moves, but to no avail. Having heard her present I can imagine how painful Buffet found his conversations with her. I don't believe he surrounds himself with people who constantly make excuses for their failures. I still own the stock and still hoping for the original investment thesis to play out. Patience is wearing thin. New management soon please.
    Feb 12 08:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • FCC wants carriers to allow unlocking, pushing ahead with H-Block auction [View news story]
    What is the timing on Dish's need to use it or lose it?
    Nov 17 06:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More from McDonald's Investor Meeting [View news story]
    DNKN does it and it seems to work for them, in New England anyway.
    Nov 14 05:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: If I Could Buy And Hold Only One Stock, This Is It... 2nd Anniversary [View article]
    I find the comparison between Apple and Google interesting and respectfully take issue with your preference for Apple.

    Every search that Is done on Google makes the next search better. I.e every search provides new information to the algorisms that informs and refines subsequent searches. Because Google has well over 50% of the search market they do more searches than their next biggest competitor. Assuming that users go to the search engine that gives them the most relevant results Google's position is unassailable. They own their market.

    That is not the case with Apple. Every great consumer product becomes commoditized. The iPhone is the best product out there, but instead of pulling away from the pack, like Google in search, they are seeing the pack close in. The difference between the iPhone and the Galaxy is shrinking. At some point smart phones become a commodity. Don't know when this happens but Apple cannot live on the iPhone forever. I can't buy these shares because I don't know what is next for Apple in terms of new products. It's not enough for me just to hear that they have great R&D, culture, name brand, ecosystem, etc. I've seen this all before with (pick your consumer electronics company) Nokia, Palm, Sony, Nintendo, Atari, Zenith, etc.

    I don't see Apple owning more of the cell phone market in 3 years. And I would place a better than 50% probability that Samsung , or somebody else, will have closed the gap even more with the iPhone. Market growth will also slow even more. Apple needs a new product, and they may in fact defy history and pull it off with another revolutionary product. But I'm not comfortable putting money behind that bet. I actually hope they do pull it off. On the other hand I am fairly confident that Google will still own the search market in 2015.

    Thus if I was putting money in one of these two stocks for 5 years it would have to be the one has a monopoly on its market
    Oct 28 06:19 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dunkin' Brands Vs. Starbucks: A Cup To Cup Comparison [View article]
    Nathaniel, how do you measure best of breed? DNKN has operating margins that are 3X what SBUX sports, 1.5X MCD's.

    No doubt DNKN is well behind in the international arena vs SBUX, YUM, MCD, etc. But that is part of the appeal. To them anything west of the Mississippi is a "frontier" market, yet the have laws and a language that are the same. Taste may be a different matter. It's hard to say if DNKN will work in Cali, but they are lining up franchisees and will start rolling out there soon.

    Btw, DNKN has 7,000 units outside of the US, but more Baskin Robbins than DDs. Baskin's is #1 in Japan and South Korea in their category, and is popular in the Middle east as well for some reason.

    I'd prefer to be looking for growth in California than China right now. I'm not against owning SBUX, I don't, but it has its appeal.
    Though both sell coffee but there are a lot of differences, in particular in their customer demographics and business model. It's not one or the other.
    Jun 6 10:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dunkin' Brands Vs. Starbucks: A Cup To Cup Comparison [View article]
    Erica, you are missing a few key points in the DNKN story. First op margins of 49% vs SBUX's 15%. Capex to sales is 6% vs SBUX's 27%. The DNKN business model is all about being asset light. They own almost zero stores and they don't even own their distribution centers. This means almost every $ they generate is free cash flow. Yes, they have a lot of debt which reduces ROCE, but that is coming down sharply at about $120 mn a year. ROE is rising from mid teens to mid 30s. One of the things I like about DNKN is that what they call "frontier" markets includes California. Investing in an established brand that has growth opportunities in their own back yard is comforting.
    May 30 07:02 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Volumes in Brazil in March, in particular, were more challenging than expected," Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD) says, impacted by high food inflation and a slowdown in the growth of disposable income. "We expect these factors to continue to put pressure on volumes in the short term. We are therefore revising our outlook for volume growth in Brazil and now expect that beer industry volumes in FY13 will be either flat or down low single-digits compared to FY12." [View news story]
    Don't get Bud the brand confused with BUD, the ticker symbol. BUD is the ADR for Anheuser Busch InBev, based in Belgium where the ordinary shares trade under the ABI symbol. AmBev is controlled by BUD/ABI and sells mostly in Latin America (they also own Labatt's in Canada).Their brands in Brazil include Brahma and Antarctica, but they also sell Budweiser and Stella, two of their parent company's brands.

    Budweiser accounts for almost zero of their sales in Latin America. Beer volumes are down in Brazil because prices are way up. Costs have risen and they have passed that on to the consumers with a 7% increase in prices. Q1 numbers released today were, I think worse than expected, but shares are up almost 6%. There had been significant selling pressure on the shares since the start of the year, so bad news may have been reflected in the share price.
    Apr 30 02:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The rise of AT&T and Verizon in the TV/Internet market at the expense of DirecTV (DTV -0.2%) and Dish Network (DISH +0.8%) increases the odds the two satellite players merge. Not only does a DISH-DTV deal appear more likely to clear regulatory hurdles now, by the numbers it makes more sense than ever. Another point to consider, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen wasn't exactly shy about the topic on his company's earnings call[View news story]
    I'm curios. Aren't CATV broad band speeds significantly faster than DSL, and T's U verse service? Only VZ's FiOS service, which is fiber to the home, vs T's fiber to the node, is equal to what CATV offers. And since it does not make economic sense to for VZ to roll out FiOS across its entire footprint, then in the end telcos will lose out to CATV. I see DTV and Dish surviving separately, or as one, in this environment because eventually CATV companies may start selling more aggressively, I think a couple already do, stand alone broadband services. I believe that the broadband piece of the triple play bundle has the highest margin. So I'm seeing a world where telcos slowly shrink, CATV grows, and satellite has place.
    Nov 9 04:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Real Reason Apple Keeps Going Down [View article]
    Apple's growth over the next few quarters will be very strong, however in another quarter or two you will begin to see sequentail, quarter/ quarter growth turn negative. Year/ year growth will remain strong into fiscal 2014 but then it too turns neagtive. You want to get out of growth stocks, no matter what the valaution, well in adavnce of this happening. I had a client ask me why I sold the stock when all the research report he could find were positive on it. My response - " exactly". We've seen this with Nokia and RIM, and other hot product stocks. To own Apple right now is to bet on some futue product (TV maybe), but that comes closer to speculation than investing. I only sold half the position however, so waiting/ hoping for a rebound to complete the exit.
    Nov 9 02:36 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alerian MLP Makes Tax Payment, Raises Expense Ratio [View article]
    I have used AMJ as well in all of my tax defered accounts, while owning MLPs directly in my taxable accounts. The extra burden of the K-1s is not that great if you have a tax preparer do your returns. given the growth in the MLP market K-1 filings are becoming standard fair. AMJ has done better than AMLP, but not by that much which makes me want to back and see what is going on there.
    Apr 23 05:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Closer Look At El Paso Pipeline Partners' 2011 Distributable Cash Flow [View article]
    Ron, the declining throughput volumes may be an area of concern. Unlike many of the other nat gas MLPs EPB is not really a play on NGLS. It is all about being a toll road for natural gas. With all of the new shale plays being connected into the country's natural gas grid the flows of gas are changing. Could they be changing in a way that disadvantages EPB? Parent EP owns the TNG pipeline which brings gas into Pennsylvania from the Gulf Coast, and Spectra owns a pipeline that does as well. Both would be appear to be hurt longer term by the Marcellus/ Utica. Not sure how EPBs pipes are impacted, if at all.

    Mar 6 04:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Letting It Ride: The ECB's Long-Term Refinancing [View article]
    Marc, yes another good article. However, I am unsure what policies thatGermany could undertake to replicate a currency appreciation. A higher VAT in Greece makes all good more expensive, not just imported ones, si it has a powerful impact on domestic demand. Would a lower VAT in Germany have as powerful a positive impact on consumption.?

    Also, if the weaker European countries leave the Euro does that not make the Euro a stronger currency and move it back in the direction of the DM?
    Feb 16 12:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correlation Grows Between MLP Returns, Oil Price [View article]
    Ron, I bleive that over the last couple of years the correlation has diminished. When I first started buying MLPs in ealry 2009 there appeared to be a strong correlation between oil and the sector, and I rmember certain research reports and articles in the press suggesting why there should not be. The sector was smaller back then as a number of new MLPs have been listed and of course the older MLPs have accessed the capital markets seemingly on an annual basis. I believe the investor base has grown and changed. it's much less retail. Also shale-gas has become a real story over the last two years and many MLPs are a play on that. I appreciate your work by the way.
    Feb 1 04:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clough Capital: 3 Interesting Closed-End Funds Are Quasi Hedge Funds [View article]
    Robert, I am looking in the review mirror and see nothing that suggests these funds will outperform in the future. Clough has underperformed in all market environments. He was an equity strategist at Merrill, and like most equity strategist, when it comes to managing real money he has failed. The best thing that could happen to these funds is that an activist shareholder gets involved and either takes over the management of them or opens them up so that the discount can be eliminated. Your suggestion that they are worth a "shot" is not how I, or anyone should invest.
    Dec 17 12:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clough Capital: 3 Interesting Closed-End Funds Are Quasi Hedge Funds [View article]
    These funds have underperformed over any time frame you can find. Has something changed at Clough Investments that would make you think that the performance of these funds will change?
    Dec 14 01:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment