With 10 days to go until the 2012 Presidential election, the country stands divided about nearly everything political. Big government vs small government, big business vs unions, pro-choice vs right to life, foreign policy strength vs apology tour, and on and on it goes. However, the reality is one side will win, and one side will lose. The country will still be divided after it has a winner, and the process of governing will be very difficult. In so many ways, every part of the election has become sadly pathetic. From the unbelievable reality each side will raise nearly 1 billion dollars to run, to the farce that is the debates and how little time is spent on them. Throw in a dash of media malpractice and moderator meddling and you just have to shake your head. To top it off, we have the United Nations telling us they are going to check the fairness of our voting process. If I wanted to, I could not make this up. Still, every 4 years our grand country has an election, and we are oh so close to having one, for better or for worse.
Turning to another realm where hearts get broken on a daily basis, the stock market continues to be concerned about poor corporate earnings. Quite a few companies have announced more layoffs, like Kimberly Clark, and Dupont, just to name a few examples. All is rosy in the world, uh huh, which is why these companies are laying off workers. The market is just punishing as any company must prove it is worthy of investment dollars. If not, it gets sold off in a big way. For example, I own a company which had revenues up 38% and profits up 45%, but one small division gave guidance which indicated it would not be operationally profitable. The stock fell 11% that day because of the confusion. I have seen companies raise the dividend 50% and get sold off. Others have profits up 30% and raise guidance, and again they get sold off. Things are tough all over, and the stock market is another place where only the strong survive.
On a personal note, regardless of what happens in the election, I think it is important to focus on the great things about daily life. If you have a loving family and you have your health, you are blessed with a great deal. Neither of the presidential contestants are going to call you to ask you what to do if they win, I would bet on that. Consequently, the results of the election are going to be important, but life will go on, and it is important to maintain a realistic perspective about what really matters. Now, who are you going to vote for?
Money transfers are a huge business, and here is a startup trying to help inform consumers-http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-26/a-startup-that-aims-to-be-the-kayak-for-money-wiring
Apple is planning a new music service for 2013-http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/26/watch-out-pandora-apples-streaming-radio-service-could-launch-in-early-2013/?icid=wym1&grcc2=9cd03ed9f064903720ea82e6acfa2acf~1351270797765~
Capital allocation decisions are crucial for corporations. Take a look at how B of A is still paying for the Countrywide acquisition-http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/tallying-the-costs-of-bank-of-americas-countrywide-nightmare/?ref=business
Finally, I hope everyone has a great weekend and a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!!!!
Y H & C Investments, Yale Bock, and the family of Yale Bock own positions in securities mentioned in the blog post. Investing in stocks can lead to the complete loss of your capital. As always, on any company mentioned here, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk of losses on invested capital. One should research any investment and make sure it is suitable with your objectives, risk tolerance, risk profile liquidity considerations, tax situation, and anything else pertinent to your financial situation. Also, the CFA credential in no way implies investment returns will be superior for any charterholder.
Here are some articles written about specific companies by Yale Bock at Seeking Alpha-