Tag Archive | "street"

D: NFLX Prepares For Deep Spend

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D: All Things Digital, The Wall Street Journal technology conference, is in full swing in Southern California.

Netflix (NFLX) Chief Executive Reed Hastings led off the proceedings this morning talking about international expansion. The Internet movie outfit is going to launch in Toronto first, a “bold” move, going to Canada, he jested. Then, Netflix will open it’s doors in an undisclosed foreign market shortly thereafter.

The upshot: international expansion could hurt profits. “We tell investors that the better it goes, the more money we are going to lose because we are going to invest” more in expansion, Hastings says. He says it takes one to three years for Netflix to establish itself in a new country, which is relatively fast. Hastings, who is a Microsoft (MSFT) board member, would not comment about hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s call for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s ouster.

He was wiling to discuss his own open letter to short sellers to cover their negative bets, even calling short-selling “healthy” for markets.

“I’m not trying to have a battle with the shorts,” (but) if you have a friend on the short side and you think he’s losing money, and you think he’s wrong, then you want to tell him.”

The conference, now in its ninth year, got off to a rip roaring start last night when News Corp. “acting CEO” Jane Lynch, the star of the Fox Television hit Glee, recommended comic strips be added to the WSJ and other humorous mandates involving Sara Palin and talk show shock host, Glenn Beck.

Google (GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was the opening night keynote. The former CEO, who serves as an advisor to President Obama, says he has no intention to take a cabinet post or agency job, which had been rumored. But he will be active in the coming campaign just as he was during the President’s first election.

Note: For further ongoing coverage of D, see also former Tech Trader editor Eric Savitz’s blog at Forbes.com.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Nokia Refutes Talk Of Microsoft Sale; Ticonderoga Likes It

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Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) have been under pressure this morning, and one thing appearing to contribute to downturn are rumors the company would step in to purchase Nokia (NOK) for $19 billion, according to remarks by Eldar Murtazin, a blogger widely credited with scooping Microsoft’s deal with Nokia earlier this year.

Murtazin’s blog appears not to have that claim today, but he is cited as stating such by Todd Haselton in a piece this morning on BoyGeniusReport.

A Nokia spokesperson, however, tells The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Lawton a short while ago that, “These rumors are completely baseless.”

Murtazin has speculated as recently as May 16th that the two companies were talking about a deal.

Microsoft shares are down 54 cents, or 2%, at $24.47.  Nokia shares are down 34 cents, or almost 5%, at $6.68.

Well, at least one believer this morning is Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities, who follows Apple (AAPL) and has a Buy rating and a $612 price target on that stock.

“We believe reports from Boy Genius highlighting the potential for a Microsoft purchase of Nokia for $19 billion should provide Apple investors with even greater confidence that the company can continue to gain market share at the expense of legacy vendors in the mobile phone market,” writes White.

“In our view, Apple investors could not ask for a better deal, and we believe a transaction would only further Apple’s market share gains in the coming quarters.”

Sounds like White is choosing his words carefully, but it also sounds like he believes the rumor.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Nokia Continues Slide: Three Downgrades; Moto Death Spiral?

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Nokia (NOK) shares continue to fall this morning as the downgrades pour in following the company’s cut in its outlook yesterday.

I count three downgrades today, in all, from Goldman Sachs, Sanford Bernstein, and Canaccord Genuity.

As I wrote following that announcement, the bears warned that the worst may not yet be over in terms of the deterioration of the existing business, and that the partnership to develop phones with Microsoft (MSFT) still carries risk.

That’s generally the viewpoint of today’s actions as well. I’ll get to the Goldman and Bernstein notes in a moment.

Mike Walkley at Canaccord Genuity cut his rating to Hold from Buy and cut his price target to $8 from $11, writing that he is “increasingly concerned about sales for Nokia’s Symbian devices during the transition period.”

The vaunted Nokia distribution channel has in fact broken down in China, the company indicated, and the head of operations there has been let go. “Nokia indicated it had mismanaged inventory levels in China and has fired and replaced the head of its China distribution operations.”

Walkley cut his 2011 EPS estimate to $20 cents from 54 cents, and cut his 2012 EPS estimate to 28 cents from 83 cents, but he still thinks Nokia’s phones based on Windows Phone could become a viable third platform, after Apple’s (AAPL) iOS, and Google’s (GOOG) Android, and he models a profit of 83 cents in 2013, on a rebound in sales to €44.9 billion from a likely €39.7 billion in 2012.

Bernstein’s Pierre Ferragu, meanwhile, cut his rating from Market Perform to Underperform, with a $4 target price on the American Depository Receipts, down from $7.33 previously. His target price on Nokia’s ordinary shares goes to €3 from a prior €5.50.

Ferragu notes that he had upgraded the stock on March 11th, when there were 13 Sell ratings on the Street, thinking that investor expectations were low enough to offer some upside on the shares. But yesterday’s cut means the “worst case” scenario that he had imagined is, in fact, crystalizing.

The introduction of the Windows-based phone “will be challenging,” he thinks, “given the likely loss of traction and visibility of the Nokia brand, as well as the speed at which the opportunity for a third ecosystem to emerge is vanishing.”

In fact, Ferragu thinks something is happening to Nokia akin to what befell Motorola back when it lost its grip on the number two spot in the phone market:

This new guidance is to us a strong indication that the company is falling into the Motorola-type scenario we have been worried about for some time. We expect Nokia’s smartphone and mobile phone shipments to shrink sequentially in the second quarter, leading to market shares of 19% and 30%, down 19 pts and 5 pts year on year. This precipitous acceleration of market share loss has two major implications. Nokia is now losing visibility in Europe. The brand lost its first spot to Samsung in the first quarter and our recent store visits indicated a dramatic loss of visibility for Nokia: In some stores, we couldn’t see Nokia phones on display above knee level. Nokia’s emerging market share is not well protected. It now seems clear that Nokia’s more stable position in emerging markets and especially in China was artificial. Management advocated that major inventory build-ups artificially increased shipment volumes in the last quarters. We now believe Nokia will face pressure in these markets similar to what it has been experiencing in Europe.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Where You’re Going (This Summer), You Don’t Need Roads

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Planning on getting out of town most weekends the next few months but not going points further than a 300 mile radius? Perhaps out East, on Shelter Island or Martha’s Vineyard? If you answered yes, please be sure transport doesn’t involve helicopter or, god help you, a car, because roads as a means of transport have been declared “over.”

Andre Balazs has a new toy. He is part owner of a seaplane, an eight-passenger Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian aircraft that has been refurbished and painted bright red, the color that has become synonymous with his hotel chain. StndAir looks like an adorable figment of Snoopy’s imagination. It operates off the pier at 23rd Street and the East River. The plane can travel within a 300-mile area of New York, and it can be chartered to go to places like Martha’s Vineyard ($4,875), Provincetown ($5,575) or Montauk ($3,275). Through the summer, it will make regularly scheduled stops in East Hampton for $495, and Shelter Island for $595. There is also something slightly confusing called an online Flight Board where individuals can book tickets for off-peak flights for as low as $30 a seat. Small pets are welcome on the plane, luggage allowance is 20 pounds and no golf clubs are permitted.


On Friday, twenty minutes before takeoff, an employee of Mr. Balazs was waiting on the dock welcoming passengers. “Would you like some water?” she said, grabbing a miniature bottle branded with StndAir’s red logo on it from a basket. “While you wait, we also have suntan lotion and spray if you need to put some on.” Inside was plenty of room, and the niceties were especially, well, nice. Before take off, gummi Swedish fish—the color of the plane—were distributed through the cabin. So was a red thermos that read “Rosé.”

And in a blink, StndAir was in the water, pulling up to the beach at Shelter Island. There were dogs on the sand and a naked child waving. It felt very St.-Tropez. “Roads are over,” said Mr. Brambilla, [a friend of Balazs] as he stepped onto the shore.

Taking Off-via SeaPlane- To The Hamptons [WSJ]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

RIM: Lazaridis or Balsillie, Who’s The Problem? Asks Globe & Mail

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The Globe & Mail’s Paul Waldie and Body Erman posted a video this morning asking if Research in Motion’s (RIMM) co-CEO Mike Lazaridis should go. (A video preceded, I would note, by an add for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer!)

The question, as framed in the video, is whether the top “nerd,” Lazaridis, must go because he’s not “putting out the product.”

Lazaridis shares the CEO role with Jim Balsillie, regarded more as the marketing/financial person. One question was whether Balsillie has been distracted by his attempts to purchase hockey teams. Balsillie’s sometimes obscure language on company conference calls was contrasted with the smooth style of Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs.

Some of the guests on the video asked whether the problem is not so much either gentleman but rather the co-CEO structure itself, and whether the two CEOs still get along, as there have been rumors of a cooling in their relationship.

And then, too, it could just be more of the Street’s short-term obsession and its recent fixation on regime change.

RIM shares today are down 83 cents, or 2%, at $42.77.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

LinkedIn: IPO Pop Was Undewriters’ Mistake, Says FT

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And you thought LinkedIn (LNKD) was fantastically overpriced?

The Financial Times’s April Dembosky yesterday wrote that Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel thinks LinkedIn’s underwriters, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan drastically underpriced the company’s IPO two weeks ago, which seems plainly evident given the stock price today is at $85.80, 91% above the $45 IPO price the banks set.

That means LinkedIn left a lot of money on the table for the rich clients of the banks to scoop up in the after-market.

Thiel predicts Facebook, and others, when and if they go public, will drive a much harder bargain to prevent the Street from such terrible under-valuation of their shares.

Granted, there’s a complaint here — no one likes to leave money on the table — but who’s to say the shares are worth what they trade for today — about 20 times this year’s likely revenue?

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Nvidia: Auriga Resumes At Buy, $24 Target

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Auriga Securities analyst Sandeep Shyamsukha this morning initiated coverage of Nvidia (NVDA) with a Buy rating, up from the Hold rating that had been maintained on the stock by Shyamsukha’s predecessor, Daniel Berenbaum, who left the firm this month.

Shyamsukha sees potential for “strong growth” in sales of Nvidia’s “Tegra” chip for mobile devices, and that such sales may offset weakness in the graphics chipset business for PCs. Tegra sales of just $550 million expected this year may reach $3 billion by 2016, Shyamsukha writes.

The PC graphics business will be “flattish” as tablet computers eat into PC sales, and as competing integrated graphics products “encroach on Nvidia’s lower end solutions.” And the competition in mobile devices is abundant, but Nvidia’s got “a strong brand, early lead and graphics edge,” Shyamsukha writes.

A key factor in the tablet and smartphone market is that the CPU and graphics portion of such devices will “evolve at a much faster pace than baseband” chips, which is where some competitors, such as Qualcomm (QCOM), have the edge.

Shyamsukha models Nvidia making $4.15 billion in revenue this year and $1.08 in EPS, which is slightly higher than the Street at $4.1 billion and $1.04.

Shyamsukha assigns a $24 price target to Nvidia, versus the $19 target Berenbaum had held.

Nvidia shares today are up 15 cents, or 0.8%, at $19.65.

Correction: A prior version of this post incorrectly listed a $34 price target by Shyamsukha for NVDA, when in fact he maintains a $24 price target. My apologies for any confusion caused by the error.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.31.11

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2nd banker in hotel sex bust (NYP)
Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar — the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria — allegedly groped and “gyrated” against the maid in Room 1027 at The Pierre hotel on Fifth Avenue, a law-enforcement source told The Post. He was wearing a bathrobe at the time, but it was not clear what, if anything, he had on under it.

Greek Aid Package To Be Decided By June (Bloomberg)
Inspectors from the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are set to wrap up a review of Greece’s progress in meeting the terms of last year’s 110 billion-euro ($158 billion) bailout in coming days. The EU will then formulate its plan for further aid to Greece, which remains shut out of financial markets a year after the rescue package.
“We are waiting for their final judgment,” Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said yesterday in Paris after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Their position will partly determine our position, so it’s too early. We will try to solve the Greek problem by the end of June.”

Japan recovery takes hold, but debt downgrade looms (Reuters)
Japan’s economy offered more signs of recovery from the deadly March earthquake on Tuesday, but Moody’s ratings agency warned both growth and government action may fall short of what is necessary to bring Tokyo’s ballooning debt back under control.

Goldman Sachs names ex-Sen. Gregg to advisory post (Businessweek)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Friday that it has hired former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg as an international adviser.

Libya’s Goldman Dalliance Ends in Losses, Acrimony (WSJ)
In early 2008, Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show…In an effort to make up for the losses, Goldman offered Libya the chance to become one of its biggest shareholders, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

Lagarde has G8 backing (Reuters)
G8 leaders all back French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s bid to run the IMF, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday, as she attacked a call to investigate her role in a 2008 legal case that may harm her chances.

Wall Street ‘mispriced’ LinkedIn’s IPO (FT)
Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and co-founder of PayPal, said banks did not understand the full potential of the latest internet companies and warned that the next Silicon Valley darlings would negotiate hard when their turn comes to go public. “Whenever a stock price goes up as much as it does with LinkedIn, you assume the IPO was mispriced and the bankers screwed up,” said Mr Thiel, an investor in LinkedIn since its launch. “There continues to be a certain antipathy by Wall Street banks toward Silicon Valley companies where they don’t quite believe it’s real.”

At I.M.F., a Strict Ethics Code Doesn’t Apply to Top Officials (NYT)
At the International Monetary Fund, there is one set of ethics guidelines for the rank-and-file staff and another for the 24 elite executive directors who oversee the powerful organization. Over the last four years, the fund has tightened internal systems for catching ethical misconduct among its 2,400 staff members, establishing a telephone hot line for complaints like harassment; publishing details of complaints in an annual report; and empowering an ethics adviser to pursue allegations, which last year led to at least one dismissal. But the fund’s board members remain largely above these controls. The ethics adviser, for example, is not able to investigate any of them.

Strauss-Kahn assembles crisis team to fight back (Reuters)
Faced with a legal and media onslaught, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is pulling together a crack team of investigators, former spies and media advisers to fight back against charges he sexually assaulted a hotel chambermaid.

‘Bad-tipper’ Strauss-Kahn has food, patio furniture delivered; turns away balloons (NYP)
“They never tip,” said a sweaty Danny Cotto after dropping off a box from Espresso Coffee at around 6 p.m. at the luxe TriBeCa town house…He took in a six-bag grocery order that included healthy fare like boneless, skinless chicken breast, Lean Cuisine meals and Crystal Light.

DSK using man-power to clean up (NYP)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has hired an all-male cleaning staff to do his dirty work at his TriBeCa townhouse, where he’s awaiting trial for allegedly forcing himself on a hotel maid.

Concerns mount over rising buy-out debt levels (FT)
Joseph Schull, European head of US private equity group Warburg Pincus, warned that his industry should not repeat mistakes made during its heyday in 2006 and 2007, when some companies were bought with excessive loan packages…Howard Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, a US private equity group investing in distressed assets, wrote in a note to clients last week: “In most regards the capital markets – and investors’ tolerance of risk – are retracing their steps back in the direction of the bubble-ish pre-crisis years.”

A FrontPoint Founder Tries Again With a New Firm (DealBook)
After Mr. Duff helped to orchestrate the sale of FrontPoint to Morgan Stanley in 2006, he struck out on his own, starting Duff Capital Advisors…With the markets in disarray, clients never materialized and Duff Capital shut down in May 2009…Now, Mr. Duff, a former top executive at Morgan Stanley, is trying again. His new firm, Massif Partners — which like FrontPoint has a name that refers to his passion for mountain climbing — is building off the blueprint of Duff Capital and focusing on pensions.

Russia’s Central Bank Signals Interest-Rate Pause After Surprise Increase (Bloomberg)
Bank Rossii, the central bank, yesterday raised its overnight deposit rate to 3.5 percent from 3.25 percent, surprising 11 of 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey. It left the refinancing and overnight repurchase rates unchanged after a quarter-point increase in April, saying in a statement that borrowing costs may be at the level necessary to tackle inflation and promote growth “for the nearest months.”

For Insurers, Bad—but Not Bad Enough (WSJ)
The deadly outbreak of tornadoes across the U.S. since late April is expected to cost the insurance industry more than $5 billion, according to disaster-modeling firm Eqecat. That puts weather-related losses in the U.S. so far this year in the range of $13 billion to $15 billion, three to four times a typical year. Add in catastrophes like the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, and disaster-related losses for the industry are estimated to be upward of $50 billion this year…”I think things are now bad enough to be good enough,” says Meyer Shields, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. Bad enough, that is, that the industry will be forced to start raising premiums later this year or early next. That would immediately benefit major insurance brokers such as Aon Corp. and Marsh & McLennan Cos. Indeed, their shares are up more than 10% this year, roughly double the broader market.

Analyst: Chipotle expands test of chorizo (NRN)
Chipotle Mexican Grill has expanded a test of a new chorizo sausage that, if rolled out, would be the chain’s first new meat option in years, a securities analyst said Friday.

Hackers Disrupt PBS Web Site and Post a Fake Report About a Rap Artist (NYT)
The PBS Web site briefly carried a fake article claiming that the famed rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand after a group of hackers took over the organization’s computer systems on Saturday night.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Today’s Giveaway: A 100% Leather Jade Jacket From KRMA Clothing!

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GofG L.A. wants to give a lucky reader KRMA Clothing‘s super hip  Jade Jacket. Keep reading to find out how you can win this awesome gift that has celebs like Nina Dobrev, Fergie, Pink, Alicia Keys and Audrina Patridge are raving about! Read the full story

Following The (Alleged) Maid Encounter, Dominique Strauss-Kahn Tried His Luck With A Flight Attendant

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Last week, we mentioned that prior to (allegedly) sexually assaulting a maid just before checking out of his hotel, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried and failed to seduce the Sofitel front desk lady, having invited her to have a drink with him, which she declined. That got us thinking that DSK probably unsuccessfully hit on a whole bunch of people during his time in NYC, prior to the maid incident (including but not limited to waitress at the Times Square Olive Garden whose spurning of his advances he did not take well, shouting “I thought that when I’m here I’m family, bitch!” before leaving in a huff and the people who accost you on the street and ask “Do you like comedy shows?” before shoving a flier in your hand). What we didn’t expect was that he’d continue his attempt to grab the ass of anyone within arm’s reach of his meathooks almost immediately following the alleged rape, but as we’ve learned, this guy is full of surprises.

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn attempted to lure two attractive hotel employees to his $3,000-a-night hotel suite — and later put the moves on an Air France flight attendant following his alleged sexual assault on a maid. “What a nice ass!” he barked to the attendant, using the lewd French expression “Quel beau cul!” as she prepared the business-class cabin for takeoff last Saturday. His catcall came just moments before Port Authority detectives hauled him off the plane, the French magazine Le Point reported.

The final act of lust capped a whirlwind weekend of attempted womanizing for the former front-runner of the 2012 French presidential election. Hungry for any piece of meat he could lay his hands on, the frisky Frenchman first tried his seduction skills on a VIP receptionist who escorted him to his suite at the Sofitel hotel in Midtown Friday evening, law-enforcement sources said. When he got to his room, the 62-year-old asked the “attractive” worker to join him for a glass of champagne after her shift — an invite she described to authorities as “inappropriate,” and which she rejected on the spot, the sources said.

Strauss-Kahn made advances on two hotel staffers, flight attendant [NYP]

Earlier: The Sofitel Cleaning Woman Wasn’t Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s First Choice

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker