Showing posts with label Steve Jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steve Jobs. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Scary Stocks for Halloween, But Apple's Business Model May Be More Frightening

Stocks fell uniformly n Monday, for no apparent reason other than the usual causes, fear, caution, valuation.

With the major indices counting to hover around all-time highs, there's no doubt reason to maintain some degree of caution. In fact, if one were so disposed to selling at a profit, now, as the year winds into its final two months, might not be a bad time to do so, considering the tax angles for 2018.

While stocks are scary on the day before Halloween, perhaps one may really get tingles from Aaple's business model concerning cell phones. Here's a one-off demonstration by an admittedly older fellow:

Apple has a problem with its business model in that they have to keep selling essentially the same product over and over and over again, every two years or so (their imaginary product cycle) to conumers who are probably fiarly content with the model they currently own.

In other words, in order to maintain their high level of profitability, Apple has to sell new iPhones to current iPhone users every two years.

I am (well, was, when Steve Jobs ran the company) an ardent fan of Apple. In fact, I'm using a MacBook Pro to connect to the internet and compose this missive. Its from 2011, six years old, and still performs incredibly well, so, why hasn't Apple forced me to upgrade?

Different market, I guess.

Anyhow, not to get too deep into the weeds, the problem I see is that their business model, as currently constructed, is unsustainable. Anybody who thinks they need to upgrade their phone every two years is off their rocker. America was built on products that worked well and lasted a long time. Maytag washers, GE refrigerators, Ford trucks, etc.

If every company adopted Apple's business model of a 2-year product cycle, the average consumer would have been tapped out long ago.

Why don't they just install a kill switch which renders their phones inoperable after 24 months? Admittedly, I am not a big cell phone advocate. I use a 10-year-old flip phone, and very seldom, at that.

The author makes some good points. Apple should be scared about changing consumer preferences and habits, considering their iPhone creation is now ten years into its product cycle and one can only suppose that the original iPhone from 2007 probably still functions, albeit slower and with fewer bells and whistles than the current models.

A day approaches in which cell phones will be maxed out on power and abilities. That's when Apple's business plans hit the wall.

At the Close, Friday, October 30, 2017:
Dow: 23,340.28: -85.45 (-0.40%)
NASDAQ: 6,688.32, -2.30 (-0.19%)
S&P 500: 2,570.72, -8.24 (-0.40%)
NYSE Composite: 12,319.47, -46.97 (-0.39%)

Monday, March 9, 2015

With the Release of the Apple Watch, Have We Reached a Peak in Stocks and Stupidity?

Well, now, really, we all know the answer to the question posed in the headline, don't we?

Stocks are reaching extreme valuations, and, since the old adage, buy low, sell high always and everywhere prevails, right now might seem like as good a time as any to get the heck out of Dodge and cash in some of those high-fliers, if, that is, you still play the iStocks game on your iMac or iPhone.

Gold Apple watch $10,000 retail
Even id stocks have not reached their peaks, it's simple math and history to know that they will, at some point, and the downtrend will likely be abrupt. Or, the major indices could just meander along in a narrow downward channel over an extended period, like we had in 2000-2001, until the World Trade Center was blown up and collapsed. That's what most around at the time consider a market bottoming event, so, one does not want to be heavily invested when some kind of calamity shuts down the exchanges for a few days, or a week, or longer.

Besides trading at somewhat lofty valuations, stocks have also been trading on extremely thin volume for quite some time (this being the sixth anniversary of the 2009 bottom, that would be six years), which is also, generally speaking, a negative signal, though the pumpers at the Fed and central banks around the world have done a bang-up, jolly good job of keeping prices elevated while entire national economies are collapsing.

Some say that the markets reached a climax with the IPO of Alibaba (BABA), a dubious claim and an even more dubious event, now that allegations and proof has emerged that BABA's books were cooked by phony sales and the entirety of their public offering turned out to be nothing but a cash-out for Jack Ma and some of the top executives. We will never learn.

But, maybe it's not too late. Apple (AAPL) just had their big, big product roll-out of the new Apple Watch, an unwelcome and unnecessary accessory to the entire universe of iJunk gadgets floating around, and, beyond the watch's 18-hour battery life (huh? it's a watch, and as far as anyone can tell, there are still 24 hours in a day), price ($349 and up, all the way to the gold-plated $10,000 unit), and general uselessness, the Apple Watch may be just the ticket to grab on your way out of the Wall Street casino.

The Apple Watch does everything your iPhone does, except smaller, and you have to wear it, as a sign that you are a useless moron with excessive amounts of cash on hand with which you know not what to do, much like the major corporations in America, buying back their own stock at nose-bleed prices.

On the day, Apple's stock traded up to 129.57 (buy the rumor) prior to the release event, then fell as low as 125.06 (sell the news) as CEO Tim Cook showed off his company's latest gadget. To be fair, people are not impressed. The stock closed at 127.08, up "officially" 0.48 on the day, but, assuredly, this was not Apple's finest moment (that was 1984 when they brought out the Macintosh (Mac) computer).

Steve Jobs, bless his soul, turned over in his grave, but it's been rumored he did have a good laugh with Al Einstein and Tom Edison when they saw the new Apple Watch.

Peak Apple? Possibly.

Peak stocks? Maybe.

Peak Stupidity? We're already well past that.

Dow Jones 17,995.72, +138.94 (0.78%)
S&P 500 2,079.43, +8.17 (0.39%)
Nasdaq 4,942.44, +15.07 (0.31%)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Market Pops on Bogus ESFS Euro Report; Apple Misses, Tanks

You've got to love this market.

Any little statement or rumor that European Union leaders might throw significant money at their pan-continental debt crisis sends stocks soaring into the stratosphere, and today was one for the record books.

An unusually quiet day, stocks had regained a foothold after Monday's sudden reversal. But, shortly after 3:00 pm EDT, the UK's Guardian reported that France and Germany had agreed to boost the Euro bailout fund - the ESFS - to EURO 2 Trillion, a significant rise, and one that might just help kick the debt can down the road a few months, or even years.

Shortly after the story broke, however, Dow Jones reported that the 2 Trillion Euro figure was actually "still under debate," so, who really knows? At least the market machines and mechanics got what they wanted, a nice 100-point spike in the Dow in about ten minutes time and an S&P close over 1224. Mission accomplished. Now, move along, folks, nothing to see here.

In a day (week, month, year) full of bogus reports, before the open, Bank of America (BAC) reported 3Q earnings of 57 cents per share, but, because of the new math, which includes such exotic flavors as fair value adjustments on structured liabilities and trading Debit Valuation Adjustments (DVA), according to our friends at Zero Hedge, who usually have the best and most-believable dirt, BofA actually had earnings of 0.00, otherwise known as ZERO, Zilch, Nada, Nothing.

Of course, when CNBC and the rest of the supine financial media report, bare-faced, that the nation's largest bank by deposits more than doubled the analyst estimates (0.21) for the quarter, it was off to the races, with somebody shocking BAC shares up 10% by day's end, a stunning 0.61 gain, to the imposing figure of 6.62. While it's technically a 10% gain, it's still rather silly, considering the accounting nonsense being roundly applauded by the criminal bankster elite, and hardly any comfort to those who bought BAC when it was 7, or 8 or even 12. Make no mistake, we've entered the Twilight Zone of financial accounting and there's no turning back.

Along those lines, the Giant Squid otherwise known as Goldman Sachs (GS), also reported before the bell, but it's results were almost believable, showing a loss of 84 cents per share, with losses spread across the company's proprietary trading division, to the tune of $2.5 billion. Ouch. The market's response to the trending data of a company heading decidedly south: a gain of 5.25 (5%) to 102.25 and the financials led all other sectors in the faux rally du jour.

Also before the bell, PPI was reported to be up 0.8% in September on expectations of a rise of only 0.2%, which just happened to be how much the core PPI was up for the month. Somebody obviously missed the memo from the Fed that inflation was transitory, or something along those lines. Inflation in the US is running at an annual rate well over 6%, something the mainstream media hopes you don't notice.

One company which may be adversely affected by the loss of its CEO - the truly brilliant Steve Jobs - is Apple, which announced today after the bell that the company had an outstanding quarter as usual, but, uh, oh, they missed the estimates of 7.39 per share by a bit, reporting earnings for the quarter of 7.05 per share and also came up about a billion dollars short on the revenue end.

As of this writing, Apple shares were trading at 394.13, -28.11 (-6.66%). Not a very pretty picture there.

So, to recap, Goldman Sachs reports a massive loss, Bank of America releases what amounts to a fraudulent earnings report, inflation is about ready for lift-off into hyper-inflation and the market gets a jolly from a questionable report on the size of the European bailout fund. All good fun, no?

With Apple's miss in the after-hours and another couple of big banks - Morgan Stanley (MS) and PNC Financial Services (PNC) - due to report tomorrow, somebody might want to take a closer look at the number of companies that have missed or merely met estimates this earnings season, and maybe add in those who just plain fudged the numbers. But, not to worry, Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) and Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) are also reporting tomorrow and should provide sufficient caloric excess to fuel another rally in the markets.

Wow! You cannot make this stuff up.

Dow 11,577.05, +180.05 (1.58%)
NASDAQ 2,657.43, +42.51 (1.63%)
S&P 500 1,225.38, +24.52 (2.04%)
NYSE Composite 7,341.73, +153.07 (2.13%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,988,896,750
NYSE Volume 5,669,232,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 5211
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 52-65 (Really? No kidding. extremely bearish)
WTI crude oil: 88.34, +1.96
Gold: 1,652.80, -23.80
Silver: 31.83, +0.01

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last Hour Rally Boost Stocks for Third Straight Session; Occupy Wall Street Legions Growing; Steve Jobs Dead at 56

OK, this is getting a bit ridiculous.

For the third day in a row, stocks staged a final hour ramp-up, this one good for only 100 points on the Dow, but that came after stocks had been given an initial lift-off around 10:00 am, resulting in a nearly 200-point rise on the Dow.

News from the Eurozone was once again scant, as EU ministers and leaders of the nations comprising the EU proved they will not take a back seat to the US President and congress when it comes to foot-dragging and kicking the proverbial economic can down the road.

There was some discussion of "re-capitalization" of the major banks, meaning nothing more than egregious money printing and bailouts for those with the most capital who have not yet learned how to manage it wisely.

Considering the penchant for late-day moves, perhaps the directors of the various exchanges might consider opening the market later in the day, say, 3:00 pm, locking out sellers as the computer algorithms simply ramp up the stocks they like. Being that "banker's hours" are legendarily short as it is, this would give said elite bankers more time to count their profits and have their nails manicured.

It's worth pointing out that the past three day's worth of last hour rallies began off fresh lows, set in place on Tuesday's ripped decline. On that day, the Dow bottomed at 10362.26, a low point not seen since September 9, 2010. The S&P and NASDAQ made similar moves, setting new, 12-month lows before the "Merkel miracle" when German Chancellor Angela Merkel first uttered the word, "re-capitalize." The S&P had already entered official bear market territory, obviously something the power-mad bankers simply could not tolerate.

The legacy of the current short-run rally will depend greatly upon the figures released Friday morning when the BLS issues its monthly non-farm payroll data. Anything over 50,000 new jobs created is certain to be seen as a win for equity holders, though there are no hard and fast estimates that can be trusted after last month's zero reading.

While in the short term, propping up markets - as has been occurring since late 2008 - may seem a noble and prudent activity, the longer-term consequences of unbalancing markets are not well known, although the examples available (Weimar, Zimbabwe, Dutch Tulip Bubble) all seem to have ended very, very badly.

On that note, here's a couple of Wall Street Whiz Guys who think the "new" level to watch is 1070 on the S&P. Listen carefully and you'll hear them advise to buy low and sell lower. Obviously, these guys are fresh escapees from the zoo for unfit hedge fund manglers.

Legendary gold bull, Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital, doesn't think we're headed for a double-dip recession, he believes we're headed straight into "a complete economic collapse." Schiff's entertaining and caustic video can be seen here.

Not to put too fine a point on the doom and gloom aspect, Aftershock author, Robert Wiedemer, opines that we'll see "another meltdown within 2 to 4 years."

Well, Bob, thanks for the warning, though two to four years seems a long time to be waiting for the Apocalypse.

Meanwhile, outside the granite, steel and glass elitist enclaves of the big Wall Street firms, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement continues to aggravate the paymasters and grow in depth and volume, spreading to over 500 cities and even getting the attention of President Obama during a news conference on Thursday. The corner of Broadway and Wall Street is beginning to resemble Cairo's Tahir Square in many ways.

Dow 11,123.33, +183.38 (1.68%)
NASDAQ 2,506.82, +46.31 (1.88%)
S&P 500 1,164.97, +20.94 (1.83%)
NYSE Composite 6,997.64, +153.48 (2.24%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,263,897,750
NYSE Volume 5,586,015,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 5253-1294
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 15-69
WTI crude oil: 82.59, +2.91 (WTF?)
Gold: 1,653.20, +11.60
Silver: 32.00, +1.65

Finally, it is with great regret to report that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the tender age of 56. In a tribute to Jobs' brilliance, we present the Super Bowl "1984" ad which aired on Super Bowl Sunday, January 22, 1984, during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, heralding the launch of the Macintosh computer that revolutionized computing and our lives in general. Jobs was a thinker and inventor along the lines of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, a man of such greatness that we will likely not see another like him for decades. It would be remiss not to point out that this blog, and many other online ventures, is run off a seven or eight year old e-Mac, purchased used for $50 more than three years ago and that the Mac PowerBook G3 that was purchased in 1998, is still running strong on system 8.9, and has been operational, without the need for upgrades or any repairs for thirteen years.

People who invent and produce products of such lasting and functional value don't come along too often. Jobs, and his unique understanding of technology and its interaction with people, will be sorely missed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Uncle Warren to the Rescue of Bank of America; Jobs Steps Down at Apple

Two luminaries of the corporate world made moves that affected the overall markets, but a couple of stocks in particular.

Late Wednesday, Apple (AAPL) founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, announced that he was, effective immediately stepping down as CEO of the company due to health reasons and will now take up duties as Chairman of the Board.

Jobs' contributions to computing and high tech in general are the stuff of legend. Not since the heyday of Thomas Edison has the world been so influenced by one man's innovations. Jobs was a pioneer in personal computing and communications, first, with the Apple I and II, then the Macintosh, and more recently, the creation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

While Jobs will still have a hand in the operation of the company he founded in Cupertino, California (where it is still headquartered today) in 1976, most of the day-to-day operations will be left to newly-named CEO, Tim Cook and his staff.

Today, amid a firestorm of controversy concerning the fiscal health of Bank of America, billionaire Warren Buffett stepped up and injected $5 billion into the bank via a private offering which will net one of the world's richest men a 6% dividend over five years.

Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, also received warrants to buy 700 million shares of common stock at just over $7.14 per share, with an unusually long 10-year exercise period.

The deal answers the question of whether Bank of America (BAC) was indeed in need of additional liquidity with a resounding "yes." Otherwise, Buffett's offer would have been turned down, as it is somewhat expensive for the bank.

The deal really solves none of BofA's liquidity and solvency issues. They are highly-levered, beset on all sides by the mortgage mess that has evolved since their purchase of Countrywide Financial in 2008, and in need of funds to meet new capital requirements. A paltry $5 billion from a rich uncle isn't going to cut it, and Buffett's bold maneuver may turn out to be another bad bet. Buffett made similar deals at the height of the financial crisis, taking out stakes in Goldman Sachs (GS) and General Electric (GE).

Inital reactions to both events were highly-charged. Apple stock fell nearly 7% in after hours trading on Wednesday, but, by the market close on Thursday, the stock was only down 2.46, or less than 1%.

On the news of Buffett's investment, Bank of America stock spiked as high as 8.80, after closing Wednesday at 6.99. At the end of the Thursday session, most of the froth had been sold off, with the nation's largest bank by deposits closing at 7.65, nearly a 10% gain.

The broader market fared less well, putting an end to the three-day winning streak which began on Monday. Uncertainty over just what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will say in his Friday morning speech at Jackson Hole had traders on the edge of their seats, with many deciding to take a wait-and-see position.

Bernanke is scheduled to give his keynote address at 10:00 am EDT.

On Friday morning, prior to the Chairman's speech, the government will announce its second estimate of second quarter GDP, which is expected to be revised down to 1.0% after the initial reading of 1.3%.

Most analysts are not expecting Bernanke to make any great policy pronouncements, though some are still clinging to hopes that he will announce another round of quantitative easing.

For the most part, traders were selling off positions in advance of the speech.

Dow 11,149.82, -170.89 (1.51%)
NASDAQ 2,419.63, -48.06 (1.95%)
S&P 500 1,159.27, -18.33 (1.56%)
NYSE Composite 7,149.67, -123.46 (1.70%)

In a broad retreat, declining issues outpaced advancers, 5044-1552. The NASDAQ had just eight (8) stocks making new highs, with 65 hitting new lows. Over at the NYSE, there were 14 new highs and 53 new lows. The combined total of 22 new highs and 118 new lows continues to signal risk to the downside. Volume was light.

NASDAQ Volume 1,812,493,625
NYSE Volume 5,741,944,000

Oil gained 14 cents, to $85.30. Gold, in a dramatic reversal, picked up $22.20, to $1773.50, but silver was the big winner, adding $1.39, to $41.08.

Despite Buffett's "calming effect" markets are still very shaky, as none of the issues which ignited the volatility of the past two weeks have been resolved. Bernanke's speech will likely only add some fuel to the fire, especially if, as many believe, he will not open the door to QE3. On top of all that, Wall Street is bracing for a water-logged Monday, as Hurricane Irene races along the US Eastern seaboard.

The outlook for days and weeks ahead is still quite uncertain.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fed Leaves Big Tip

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve purchased $1.74 billion in Treasury inflation-protected securities, otherwise known as TIPS, in an outright purchase as part of the $600+ billion QE2 program. The extra gobs of money created a nifty rise in securities - doesn't it always? - as the major stock indices rose to new highs. It is looking like January will see a positive "January Effect," a term that will be bandied about over the next two weeks if the markets are able to hold onto the gains made thus far or improve upon them.

The January Effect, as it is known to traders, is the theoretical assumption that as the markets go in January, so will they go the remainder of the year. This gauge is supposedly right something along the lines of 85% of the time if January is positive. Over the past two years - both of which saw falling equity prices - the "effect" was not seen, as both 2009 and 2010 turned in impressive upside performances.

While it might not correlate to downside Januaries, two consecutive years of non-conformation raises the issue of whether Fed meddling has rendered all "old" measures of anticipated returns nil. With this January off like gangbusters, what is the chance of ending the year lower? Well, we've got 11 more months to find out, but, if the Fed continues its inflationary policies, stocks will most likely end the year higher, if only to keep pace with the "moderate" inflation, which could turn into "unwieldy" in the second half of the year or sooner.

Wall Street is certainly having its way on the easy money train of late, and while it's probably not too late to jump on the bandwagon for some quick-turn profits, there still is considerable risk, even though nobody will admit to it.

Upward we go, as earnings this week will flow like mother's milk.

Dow 11,837.93, +50.55 (0.43%)
NASDAQ 2,765.85, +10.55 (0.38%)
S&P 500 1,295.02, +1.78 (0.14%)
NYSE Composite 8,190.91, +16.79 (0.21%)

Considering today's gains, the A/D line did not come in heavily on the side of advancers, which nonetheless beat decliners, 3464-3073. On the NASDAQ, new highs overwhelmed new lows, 269-12. On the NYSE, the beat was not quite as robust, with new highs checking in at 304, against 47 new lows. Volume was fairly strong, but not solid enough from which to draw any conclusions about future direction.

NASDAQ Volume 2,032,031,375
NYSE Volume 5,828,719,500

The front-end (February) crude oil contract on the NYMEX was nearly flat, losing 16 cents, to $91.38. Oil remains at elevated levels. Gold rebounded from last week's drubbing, picking up $7.70, to $1,368.20, with silver adding 58 cents, to $28.91.

There doesn't seem to be any downside to buying equities these days. Even in the case of Apple (APPL), where founder and CEO Steve Jobs announced a six-month medical leave of absence, the stock fell more than 7 points during the session, but recovered back most of that in after-hours trading as the company posted numbers in excess of Street estimates. IBM also reported and beat, while Citigroup announced a 50% miss (.04 cents on expectations of .08) prior to the opening bell.