Business, Investing, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 30 November 2015

You can observe a lot by just watching.
– Yogi Berra

Companies

The cloud wars explained: Why nobody can catch up with Amazon
Everybody kind of agrees choosing Amazon is a safe bet

Apple May Replace 3.5mm Headphone Jack on iPhone 7 With All-in-One Lightning Connector
“…the same kind of controversy as when the company retired its proprietary 30-pin dock connector…”

Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport
The tools used by Aéroports de Paris controllers run on four different operating systems, that are all between 10 and 20 years old,”

Royal Mail Staff To Be Equipped With Mini-Cameras
Wearable cameras will allow delivery workers to prove that deliveries have been completed.”

Markets

Highway Bill Announced by U.S. Congress Negotiators
The legislation would provide $281 billion over five years for roads, bridges and mass transit.”

Fitch: Losses for U.S. Subprime Auto ABS Top 8% as Prime Inches Higher
Despite weaker asset performance, Fitch-rated subprime auto loan ABS are still performing well within initial expectations heading into the end of the year.”

Investing

Inside the Curious Mind of John Malone

Why and how do Munger and Buffett “discount the future cash flows” at the 30-year U.S. Treasury Rate?
You can’t compensate for risk by using a high discount rate.”

Long reads

The Secret Power of ‘Read It Later’ Apps
Imagine for a second if we could do this with everything. On Saturday morning, well-rested and wise, you retroactively decide everything you want to have done during the previous week. Anything you decide was not worthwhile, you get that time back.”

The Silk Road Affair: Power, Pop and a Bunch of Billionaires
Mobile companies in three countries in alleged bribery probe

Graph of the week

Shrinking U.S. Shopping Malls Get Makeovers

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Business, Investing, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 23 November 2015

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
Yogi Berra

Companies

Royal Mail: why are shares surging after profits fall?
Royal Mail will hope to boost its parcels earnings following the purchase of London-focused same-day delivery service eCourier

Related:

Driver shortage blamed for profit warning at DX Group

UK Mail profits more than halve amid delays at new delivery centre

Meet Peter Mountford: SA’s most underrated CEO, from R350m to R10bn in 6yrs
We have a strong belief in cash generation capability

Poundland shares plunge nearly 20% as profits fall
Poundland shares have plunged nearly 20% after the retailer reported a fall in sales and profits, and said recent trading had been “highly volatile”.”

Markets

A Market-Based Approach to Infrastructure Series

You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong?
The Securities and Exchange Commission voted this past week to approve so-called equity crowdfunding rules for investors…”

Cord Cutters Can’t Kill Cable
“Investors may be catching on to the fact that cable providers benefit whether customers cut the cord or not.”

Investing

A trader started a GoFundMe page to pay back $100,000 to E-Trade after a disastrous short
My plan moving forward is to liquidate mine and wife’s 401k’s and try work out a payment plan with Etrade. I’m also going to ask them to help out in some way…thats a longshot. I will pay them and be back trading….only with set stops this time. What an expensive lesson that was.

The Problem of Rational Capital Allocation
Ultimately, capital allocation will drive the real returns of investors over long periods of time.  Investors who ignore this key function and tolerate sloppy thinking and reasoning from their managers are likely to suffer lower returns over time compared to investors who demand a higher standard, even if that standard eliminates the vast majority of investment candidates from consideration.”

Long reads

How Many Photographs of You Are Out There In the World?
Now that cameras are ubiquitous, photographs of ordinary people are everywhere, too.”

Graph of the week

What Interest Rates Can Teach Us About Behavioral Biases

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Business, Investing, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 9 November 2015

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t, pays it.”
– Albert Einstein

Companies

The Gym Group shares flex their muscle after IPO
The Gym Group has seen its shares rise in early conditional dealings on Monday, after its initial public offering was priced below some expectations.”

Is the Dreamliner a Kind of Flying iPhone?
In short, the charts show difference kinds of outsourcing at different stages of industrial development. The Chinese aerospace firms are assembling outside components because they have to. They can’t (yet) make them on their own. Boeing has been assembling some outside components because it chose to. It is now reassessing the consequences of that choice.”

Markets

Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials?
In a new model of living, residents will have their own “microunits” built around a shared living space for cooking, eating and hanging out.”

Diamonds Aren’t Forever for Botswana as Mining Boom Fades
Diamonds Aren’t Forever for Botswana as Mining Boom Fades.”

Investing

How you, the amateur investor, can beat the pros
Time: Being able to think long term and have patience is a luxury the professionals do not enjoy.”

Seth Klarman on EBITDA
It is not clear why investors suddenly came to accept EBITDA as a measure of corporate cash flow. EBIT did not accurately measure the cash flow from a company’s ongoing income stream. Adding back 100% of depreciation and amortization to arrive at EBITDA rendered it even less meaningful.”

Long reads

Homejoy at the Unicorn Glue Factory
One of its biggest problems was the crippling cost of customer acquisition.”

Graph of the week

The Increasingly Crowded Unicorn Club

Business, Investing, Learning, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 2 November 2015

We all know people who’ve flunked, and they try and memorize and they try and spout back. It just doesn’t work. The brain doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to array facts on the theory structures answering the question ‘Why?’ If you don’t do that, you just cannot handle the world.”
– Charlie Munger

Companies

Northrop Gets Defense Lifeline in $80 Billion Bomber Contest
Smallest suitor wins biggest warplane contract this decade.

Tesla’s self-driving car is already getting smarter
When one car learns something, all learn

The Poundland principle: Boss of cut-price chain discusses why budget shopping is here to stay and how he plans to bring it to the internet
Suppliers, he says, became reluctant to sell goods to 99p Stores, and credit insurers – which provide protection to suppliers against unpaid bills – were refusing to offer cover.”

Related:

Forget the 99p Store, woman opens up shop where most of her stock is just 25 PENCE
Most of what we sell is stuff that’s coming up to its sell-by date, but that’s not the same as its expiry date.”

Bill Ackman Takes Over Valeant’s Defense
“And so you can think coldly and dispassionately about companies that look scandalous. You can say: This scandal looks bad, and may lead to fines, but even after the fines and the clean-up, there is a good business here. The net present value of the business, minus the net present value of the fines, is still greater than the market price. There is no such thing as a toxic asset; assets are toxic or attractive based on their price.”

Related

Charlie Munger Isn’t Done Bashing Valeant
Munger’s stance has extra significance, because some of the drugmaker’s largest shareholders follow the style of investing that he and Buffett, 85, popularized.”

Markets

Truck Stocks Plunge as Factory Slowdown Seen Curbing Cargo
They’re all going down because of what UPS said about their recent truck volume and disappointing preliminary revenue of Roadrunner.”

Brits are using higher wages to pay off credit card debt
British households are using higher wages to pay off their credit card debts, rather than relying on the plastic for their shopping, in the latest sign that the economy is performing well.

Knowledge Point’ black cab driver training school to close
We’re going to be brushed aside. Demand has gone down since Uber arrived. Usually we have 350 students enrolling a year, last year it was 200.

Investing

An Interview With Mario Gabelli: Masters in Business
Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz interviews Mario J. Gabelli, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GAMCO Investors, Inc., the firm he founded in 1977. They discuss the art of investing.”

Long reads

Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord
One evening, while geeking out with my daughters I decided to share a theory I had with them about Star Wars — specifically Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker turned to the Dark Side at the end of the trilogy.”

Graph of the week

Four Charts That Show Why MTN’s Nigerian Fine Matters So Much

Source: Bloomberg.com
Source: Bloomberg.com
Business, Investing, Learning, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 26 October 2015

Risk means more things can happen than will happen.
– Elroy Dimson

Companies

World Lego shortage could spell Christmas disappointment as Danish company claims sales are outstripping production

MTN Nigeria fined $5.2bn by Nigerian regulator
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has slapped MTN Nigeria with a $5.2bn penalty for the disconnection of 5.1-million of its subscribers, the regulator said on Monday. The group said the fine “relates to the timing” of the disconnection.

Apple Music Has 6.5 Million Paying Subscribers
It’s going really well,” Cook said. “We are now over 6.5 million paid users and 8.3 million people in the trial. Over 15 million people are using Apple Music.” (Spotify has 20 million subscribers after a much longer time).

Theranos’ Scandal Exposes the Problem With Tech’s Hype Cycle
A months-long investigation by the Journal found that, for the bulk of its blood tests, Theranos has not actually been using its own technology, which the company has claimed are capable of running tests with only a few drops of blood. Instead, it’s been relying on traditional machines from companies like Siemens.

Markets

Oil ebbs, but they still seek the flow
Instead of pipelines full and producers competing for space, you have pipelines empty and competing for producers,

Bernie Sanders’s Highly Sensible Plan to Turn Post Offices Into Banks
They’re much less crazy than payday-lending services, and the rest of the world agrees.

Investing

Howard Marks | An Evening with Howard Marks, Chairman of Oaktree

Long reads

Nobody Cares How Hard You Work
Psychologists have long noticed what’s sometimes been called the “labor illusion:” when it comes to judging other people’s work, we might say we’re focused only on whether they did the job quickly and well—but really we want to feel they wore themselves out for us.

Thresholds of Violence
Granovetterian progression… the longer a riot goes on, the less the people who join it resemble the people who started it.

Graph of the week

A Timeline of Some of The Best Investment Books

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Business, Investing, Weekly round-up

Weekly market round-up: 19 October 2015

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
– Ben Franklin

Companies

John Lewis: trouble in store
John Lewis still has enormous advantages. It can draw deeply on the respect and loyalty it has built up over 151 years. And for all the grumbles, the partners, as surveys show, still generally provide top-quality service. The question, in a mobile and screen-crazy world, is whether that will be enough to sustain Spedan Lewis’s remarkable democratic experiment.

How Bad Will It Get for American Express?
Yet they decided not to tell us that 23 percent of their business was actually co-branded, which means it’s using someone else’s brand. I find those two things somewhat inconsistent.”

Square’s deal with Starbucks is a bust, and will end in Q3 next year
In 2012, Square received $9.47 million in revenue from Starbucks, and that amount increased in 2013 to $114.45 million, until finally reaching $123 million in 2014. However, the transaction costs from the Starbucks deal paint a very different picture: In 2012 Square paid $12.54 million in fees associated with the processing it did from Starbucks, $139.8 million in 2013, and $150.96 million in 2014.”

The company behind Tinder and OkCupid just filed to go public
In 2014, Match Group had sales of nearly $900 million and earned $240 million in profit.”

Markets

Americans’ Spending on Dining Out Just Overtook Grocery Sales for the First Time Ever
That younger cohort has been identified as being more willing to spend on “food away from home.”

It Is Expensive to Be Poor
If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel.”

Investing

Charlie Munger: Academic Economics — Strengths and Weaknesses, after Considering Interdisciplinary Needs
First, he said Berkshire beat the market in common stock investing through one sigma of luck, because nobody could beat the market except by luck. This hard-form version of efficient market theory was taught in most schools of economics at the time. People were taught that nobody could beat the market. Next the professor went to two sigmas, and three sigmas, and four sigmas, and when he finally got to six sigmas of luck, people were laughing so hard he stopped doing it.”

When Evidence Fails
It’s not enough to look back on history and pick out the strategies that would have worked in the past. Anyone can show you strategies that would have worked brilliantly in the past. That’s the easy part. What matters is looking back at past data and figuring out why something will continue to work in the future (or not work anymore).”

Long reads

The Reasons We Work
The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive for working is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from—you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to the worst performance of all. … As destructive and insidious as it is, inertia is surprisingly common in the workplace.”

Graph of the week

China is playing an expanding role in U.S. exports

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