Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Note From Chief Maverick

Here’s link to my mentor and uncle Mal Spooner’s most recent post. Mal has over thirty years experience managing investment portfolios, founded and ran an award winning mutual fund company and is now a professor to students that probably can’t believe their luck in landing a prof like him.

In this post, he cuts to the heart of the matter about equity valuations and oil prices. Having invested in and financed oil companies throughout his career, Mal possesses a fundamental understanding of the oil industry that goes far beyond the daily permutations of the price of oil. There is a massive difference between charting oil prices and having gone to visit countless drilling installations and understanding the realities of the oil business.

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A Tale of Two Brands: Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) Mistakes Vs Alphabet Inc (GOOG) Mastery

Yahoo! Inc. has been a slow motion train wreck; Alphabet has the largest market cap in the world. This article illuminates how brand strategy can play a significant role in the defining corporate strategy and success.

Yahoo! came about a long, long time ago and was Google’s predecessor. One of their original business models involved charging websites to be listed on their search lists. Google turned the search game on its head though its powerful algorithms, whose results they they then sold to willing advertisers.

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“O, brave new world that has such ROBOTS in it!”

The title of this post of course paraphrases Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. However, whereas “The Tempest” concerns itself with the nature or art and theatrical illusion, this link shows the very real progress that is being made in the field of robotics:

LINK

Speaking of which, Martin Ford’s “RISE OF THE ROBOTS – Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” is on my reading list. Here’s a link to the NY Times’s review:

LINK

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Home Depot Keeps on Keepin’ On…

Atlanta, USA based home improvement retailer Home Depot has been one of the best buy and hold stocks over the past 25 years. Had you purchased Home Depot shares 25 years ago and reinvested your dividends you would have $52 for every dollar that you had originally invested:

HD 25yr

They reported earnings today, and their results continue to be impressive:

LINK

However, earlier this month, Home Depot shares were trading 18% below their November highs. It looks like the recent sell off was just one of a long list of buying opportunities for this impressive company:

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Sell Side Analysts: A Study in Conflicts of Interest

First off:

Sell Side = Brokerage firms
Buy Side = Their clients

Josh Brown of The Reformed Broker nails it with this commentary about sell side analysts and conflicts of interest:

LINK

When I was a trader on Bay Street (Canada’s Wall Street), it was customary to go out for drinks on Thursdays after the closing bell. Sell side traders and salesmen were eager to invite you for cocktails, lobster poutine and Waygu sliders so that you would think of them when you had that order of 100,000 TD Bank to trade (100,000 x $0.05/share = $5000 commission). Often times they would bring research guys along to add some substance to the affair.

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Latvian Talent in NYC and Beyond…

Kristaps Porziņģis isn’t the only exceptionally talented Latvian in New York right now. Kristīne Opolais has been killing it at the Met. You don’t often read about opera singers in ‘The Economist’!

LINK

What’s more, her husband Andris Nelsons just won a Grammy for ‘Best Orchestral Performance’:

LINK

Thankfully, there is still an abundance of musical talent in Latvia. The Latvian National Opera is as good a venue as any to check it out:

LINK

Opera theater in Riga

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Lithium: A Study in Some Old Fashioned Commodity Speculation

The recent rise in the price of gold and the possible bottoming out of industrial commodity prices has some brave investors flocking back into mining stocks. While the gold rally looks like it is primarily based on sentiment, the move in the price of lithium over the past year exhibits a more classic example of what drives the cyclical nature of mining stocks perceived supply and demand.

Lithium is the primary component of the lithium ion batteries. You have a lithium ion battery in your cell phone as well as in countless other personal electronic devices. Currently, the billion dollar question revolves around the future demand for the considerably larger lithium ion batteries that are used in electric cars.

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Gang of Four: Apple / Amazon / Facebook / Google (YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS)

I have an incredible amount of respect for Scott Galloway, professor of Marketing and Brand Strategy at the NYU Stern School of Business, and founder of L2.

This video is 16:18 long, but the swell of prescient information is so formidable, that by the end of it, it will seem as if no time has passed at all.

It is information such as that presented in this video – not daily stock quotes – that should be the focus of long term investors, and is the perfect embodiment of why we created the BALTICS AND BEYOND in the first place.

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