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  • Amazon Calls Out The iPad Mini: Is Apple Running Out Of Steam? [View article]
    Ashraf,

    Yours is a good article. You provide insightful observations for discussion. As a retired exec let me offer the following mission of a GREAT company:

    1. To optimize profits;
    2. Provide quality product and/or services;
    3. Lead in the markets served;
    4. Provide exceptional customer service;
    5. Create a collegial, respectful and collaborative workplace;
    6. Compensate all employees well and fairly;
    7. Maximize shareowner value via share price and/or dividends;
    8. Maintain a dynamic and creative mindset throughout the organization;
    9. Improve, add and change products, services and procedures for the marketplace;
    10. Prioritize your customer or client.

    Using the aforementioned mission as a template how would you rank the companies mentioned in your article?
    Oct 29 11:58 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In The Wake Of Annaly's Downgrade, It's Time To Consider Alternative Options [View article]
    Analysts bring little, if anything, to the table. They recommend buys AFTER stocks recently hit new highs and recommend sells AFTER stocks recently hit new lows. At best they serve as convenient references for brokers or financial columnists to motivate ignorant retail customers to act.

    Unless analyst recommendations and their personal or firm portfolios and positions are quantity, date and price detailed and open to the public, their recommendations are rubbish.
    Sep 13 04:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Case Against An Apple Stock Split [View article]
    Years ago stock splits were more common for a palpable reason. It was difficult and or costly to buy an odd-lot (less than 100 shares); therefore, the reason most often given for a split was to make a lower priced round lot more achievable. With the advent of discount brokerages, computerized trading and penny incremental pricing, odd lots are no longer an issue.

    Stock splits may provide some personal mathematical appeal and the allure of a possible runup in price but in realty a stock split maintains proportionate investor ownership. Nonetheless the split of a high-priced stock does allow odd-lot sellers the opportunity to dispose of a portion of a position instead of its entirety.
    Sep 6 05:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Supervalu (SVU) says it's successfully completed two debt financing transactions, totaling $2.5B. The debt is structured in a new five-year $1.65B asset-based revolving credit facility, secured by the Company’s inventory, credit card receivables and certain other assets, and a new six-year $850M term loan, secured by a portion of the Company’s real estate and equipment. [View news story]
    Wish them luck but you certainly do not build market share on higher prices and gimmickry. They are not the likes of Whole Foods or Costco nor can they compete with Wal-Mart, Target or ALDI. In Chicagoland, they compete more with Dominick's who have also lost their way. Grocery is a tough, hands-on business.
    One size does not fit all. Thus far upper management has been occupied with B-school notions instead of understanding their local markets and customers. Another round of financing is admirable if they can execute.
    Aug 30 07:06 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking a page from one of its top suppliers, AT&T (T) is opening a giant flagship retail store in downtown Chicago. The store, which is more than 3x bigger than a typical AT&T retail outlet, is notable for featuring a Microsoft PixelSense table. AT&T currently has 2,300 stores in the U.S. [View news story]
    But alas the number of cars in the lot could be a contrarian indicator. The customers may have been there as likely to complain about the poor customer service, wireless connectivity, the exorbitant and sneaky price increases, the lack of communication between AT&T retail, online and their vendors, their hold times, the times you have to repeat your case to poorly trained representives, and when online, sometimes in foreign countries who are awful communicators, the billing errors which take forever to resolve, the time it takes to have an independent contractor technician (formerly handled by employees) to resolve site issues, the inability to deliver the very services they inundate you with such as high speed Internet and U-verse and more.

    AT&T size has actually harmed their customers as top management focuses on quantitative instead of qualitative metrics. A bigger retail store does not matter as much as a bigger customer experience. Just ask an Apple customer.
    Aug 30 06:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Procter & Gamble (PG) paid CEO Bob McDonald 6.1% less in 2011 than 20120, according to a filing with the SEC. The exec took home $15.2M in overall pay, with his straight salary held flat at $1.6M. [View news story]
    Not impressed by the decline in pay. Public corporate CEOs are largely and widely overpaid, some of them grossly so, particularly those who cannot deliver consistent positive earnings growth and importantly a return for the owners of the company, the shareholders, in the form of share price or dividend increases.

    In fact executives and their lieutenants who cannot deliver results in a reasonable time should be dismissed including members of the Board of Directors who countenance those executives. The individual member of the Board should recall his or her fiduciary relationship to the shareholders trumps any political relationship to the executives.
    Aug 24 06:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chimera Sets Its Payout Through 2012, But Expands Its Accounting Snafu And Related Risks [View article]
    Financial restatements and reporting delays generally portend deteriorating conditions and results. When managements are not immediately forthright and are instead opaque concerning their finances investors beware.
    Aug 13 11:27 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Windows 8 and its dual interfaces represent a huge gamble, and some think it will backfire. Bronte Capital, worried the Metro UI won't function well with a keyboard and mouse: "This will wind up with a lower corporate take up rate than Vista." Valve CEO Gabe Newell, worried about Microsoft's (MSFT) proprietary approach: "Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." Matt Rosoff: "Windows 8 is for touch screens. Period." Developer Jeff Atwood is "cautiously optimistic." (also: I, II, III)  [View news story]
    Microsoft succeeding operating systems have done little for users in terms of ease of use and seamless integration with hardware and legacy applications. Over the years they have launched disparate upgrades prematurely replete with bugs while maintaining the consistently outrageous attitude that users overpay for the privilege. There is no reason to believe that this condescending and poor product management DNA or user-unfriendly track record will change.
    Jul 28 07:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Supervalu: Short-Term Challenges, Optimistic Long-Term [View article]
    If the CEO did indeed short his stock ahead of the dividend cut his gains should not only be clawed back he should be criminally prosecuted. How does this differ from insider trading?

    It is long overdue that regulatory agencies enforce and Congress pass new laws if necessary to protect the public trust. This nation cannot condone executives of public corporations placing themselves ahead of shareholders who own the company. Huge salaries and outlandish bonuses and perks particularly when awarded for poor sales, earnings and market share make these executives no more than educated thieves who should be fired and incarcerated and all the monies returned to the corporation.
    Jul 13 10:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. Supreme Cort agrees to hear an appeal by Comcast (CMCSA -1.5%) over a lower court ruling that allowed cable subscribers in Philadelphia to sue on a basis that the company monopolized the market and overcharged them. The case will be on the court's docket sometime this fall. [View news story]
    Competition is the lifeblood of fair pricing. The Supreme Court must rule against Comcast if they have acted in a predatory manner. In the same vein the DOJ must police the telcommunications and other highly concentrated industries such as banking, credit card, oil, and airlines to name but a few of a growing number to assure competition for the protection of the public. Those companies at the the top of the food chain cry foul and speak of the benefits of economies of scale and the resultant benefit to the public when in practice and experience precisely the opposite occurs.

    Not breeding competition results in too-big-to-fail companies, greedy executives and boards of directors who gorge themselves at the public's expense, reduction and outsourcing of jobs and job opportunities, a net reduction in tax revenues to the country, skimping in quality and service and over-pricing and the deterioration of net worth and standard of living to the average American.
    Jun 25 04:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Do Comcast (CMCSA +0.6%), Time Warner (TWC +0.5%), and other cable providers run their own private Internet when they offer lush on-demand video services at they same time they impose data usage caps on customers? That's the crux of the matter the DoJ is investigating at the behest of streaming firms such as Hulu and Netflix (NFLX +1.4%) - with their contention that the companies are unjustly rebranding the public Web as a private product. [View news story]
    The Internet should be unfettered with no artificial usage caps imposed by any of the providers. Despite their bellyaching the huge gross margins they enjoy for their publicly-granted oligopoly and monoply rights to deliver service are incentive enough for them to invest in the necessary equipment and manage their costs.

    It is time enough for the regulators to quit cowtowing to these profiteers and protect the public as they were so intended.
    Jun 22 01:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Top 10 Reasons Microsoft Surface Is DOA [View article]
    Interesting comments. MSFT will always have diehard supporters as AAPL. After many years using and owning both platforms the most salient differences for both business and personal use between the two are creativity, hardware and software execution, smooth and efficient upgrades, legacy compatibility and so importantly, user friendliness and customer support. These are the reasons that have driven Apple's success to-date and what Microsoft in its ad hoc marketing behavior has failed to copy.
    Jun 21 03:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) -1.2% premarket after shares are downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. COP "continue[s] to trade more like a defensive super major rather than a somewhat higher-beta domestic oil/E&P post the spin-off of its downstream assets," the firm says, as it sees greater upside elsewhere in the integrated/domestic oil and refiner sector.  [View news story]
    You are absolutely correct, jw! Would not be surprised if one of their "firewalled" divisions in the next cubicle went long at the close.
    Jun 20 05:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Has Microsoft Just Leapfrogged Apple? [View article]
    Another gusher? How about using the Surface first and getting some feedback from others before gratuitous gushing. Microsoft is a serial copycat with a horrible and frustrating customer service track record unlike Apple of making its users beta testers and paying for the privilege only to be frustrated by bugs, patches and inelegant updates not to mention failed OS releases. Now expanded hardware off of the Zune? Have they changed their DNA?
    Jun 19 07:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will The Microsoft Surface Tablet Redefine Mobile Computing? [View article]
    How about using the Surface first and getting some feedback from others before gratuitous gushing. Microsoft has a horrible track record of making its users beta testers and paying for the privilege only to be frustrated by bugs, patches and inelegant updates not to mention failed OS releases. The Zune did not fare well. Have they changed their DNA?
    Jun 19 07:38 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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