Posted on 25 October 2012.
Mobile computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are displacing laptop and desktop computer sales in developed economies. This structural shift in the technology sector has sent shares of many personal computer companies down in price. Are their valuations low enough at today’s market prices to justify the risk of investing in a losing sector?
The End of An Era
After being number one in market share for six straight years, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) has dropped to second place behind Lenovo Group (LNVGY.PK). Surely this change was no surprise for HP CEO Meg Whitman, since it was widely anticipated by analysts and did not happen overnight.
Market research firm Gartner cited Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM‘s (IBM) personal computer unit seven years ago as a crucial source of its success. Lenovo captured 15.7% of sales in the last quarter, as compared to Hewlett-Packard’s 15.5%, according to a Gartner’s report.
Hewlett Packard’s sales slump is widely attributed to the decline in the demand of PC units after the sudden emergence of smartphones and other mobile devices like the iPad. Reigning since 2006, Hewlett-Packard has been unable to compete against Lenovo in developing markets.
Lenovo gained mostly in the less-developed countries – its planned acquisitions and high penetration in the emerging markets are outpacing the developed ones. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brent Bracelin said, “It’s a whole new bigger trend coming, not just Lenovo.”
Don’t Pay Premiums in Troubled Sectors
Many firms in the personal computer ecosystem are seriously threatened by the evolution of consumer computing. Stock investors must demand a discount in the form of low valuations before even considering investing in these firms. To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Dividend Kings
Posted on 14 September 2012.
China presents a wealth of opportunities for growth in online commerce. While it has censorship restrictions and more government monitoring of traffic than exist in the Western world, there is fertile ground for companies that provide search engines, online commerce, advertising, content and mobile applications. Baidu (BIDU) is the Google (GOOG) of China and has captured over 80% of the market share.
Baidu’s logical comparison is Google. Baidu is the predominant search engine in China. It has more than 50 communities and services online that include search, maps and mobile OS. It provides the platform for 740 million web pages, 80 million images and 10 million multimedia files. It is number four in the world for traffic and number one in China. Of 64 billion search requests in China, 53.5 billion of them are done through Baidu. It controls 83.6% of searches in China against Google’s 11.1%. Notably, Google scaled back its plans for expansion in China due to government restrictions. How much bigger can Baidu get?
The company had a great second quarter 2012 and is looking to expand its reach by providing services to and assessing all opportunities in the mobile internet and cloud sectors.
Baidu’s second quarter earnings of $858.8 million were 59.8% higher than the same period in 2011. Operating profit increased 51.5% from the same period in 2011 to $443.1 million. The company has $2.88 billion in cash and $447.5 million in debt. Its current ratio is 4.69 and book value per share is $9.03. The float is 78.9% owned by institutions. Baidu’s common stock trades around $109. To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Dividend Kings
Posted on 08 June 2012.
It could be a great time to invest in Oracle (ORCL) after CEO Larry Ellison announced that the company would debut its much anticipated cloud computing software next week. The stock is currently trading at around $26, staying in the same $10 range or so for the last decade. Based on the new cloud software rolled out by the charismatic Ellison, as well as favorable buzz over the safety of the always-consistent stock, I think Oracle could be poised for a solid rise.
The debut of its cloud software – which, according to Ellison, would give Oracle a significant leg up over competitor SAP (SAP) – represents a significant step up in technology for the tech giant. The concept of cloud computing, which has had a meteoric rise over the last few years, is having data access from pretty much anywhere, as opposed to locating data on a physical server. One example of cloud computing most are familiar with is Google’s (GOOG) Google Docs, which allow users to work on documents in the “cloud,” wherever they are. Users are then able to come back to their documents in other places at other times. Cloud software even allows users to work collaboratively in real-time on the same document, since it is in “the cloud” and not based in a physical server room based in any one location. PCMag explains cloud computing as “having every piece of data you need for every aspect of your life at your fingertips and ready for use.” To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Featured Posts
Posted on 04 May 2012.
Integrating television, video and music streaming, and web browsing has revolutionized how people receive and view their favorite TV shows, movies, music, video clips, photos, and more. And as people become more used to the convenience of accessing both television and the Internet on one device, the more they will demand it in the future. As a result, telecom companies like Windstream (WIN), Verizon (VZ), Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T), and Charter Communications (CHTR)have all had to adapt to meet customers’ changing needs.
In this article, I argue that Windstream’s new Merge service is a killer deal for frugal investors like me! In March 2012, Windstream introduced Merge, a high-speed Internet entertainment service that provides high speed Internet with access to free and paid Internet content. Customers can access paid movie and television streaming services like Netflix, Huluplus, and free services like music streaming from Pandora with a click of a button instead of having to visit the websites to sign in. This also allows people to view or listen to media from their television instead of crowding around a small computer or smartphone screen.
With Merge, customers can download movies, television shows, and other content found online directly to their television or computer. The company has also started producing its own web-only series, ‘On the Mark,’ which customers can download from both Facebook (FB) and Youtube. The show, an introspective look at pop culture and television, hosted by journalist Mark Steines, will air every other week for the next six months. To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Dividend Kings
Posted on 21 April 2012.
Phoenixes do rise from the ashes, as evident by the fabled revival of Apple (AAPL). Technology investors generally focus on growth and avoid these potential phoenix opportunities as too risky to justify the time and energy. Yahoo’s (YHOO) missteps are well-documented and whether the company represents a value investment that may award investors like Apple or simply keep falling like Newton’s Apple, is one of the most debated ideas in technology. So, let’s add my opinion to the debate.
Yahoo was founded in 1994 by co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, whose combined stake in the company’s common equity is still slightly above 7%. The company grew rapidly during the 1990s and its stock price soared to an all-time record of $118.75 on January 3, 2000, during the dot com boom. Yahoo became the most successful of the web portal companies to emerge during the 1990s, and it successfully defended itself from the occasional attempts by Microsoft (MSFT) to break into the portal space. As Yahoo grew, it made a series of acquisitions in the belief that web users would prefer a one-stop website for their news, gossip and search activities.
A simple look at Yahoo’s 2011 revenue ($4.9 billion versus $6.3 billion in 2010) shows a fairly dramatic decline in revenue, but this is primarily due to the search agreement that Yahoo signed with Microsoft. Excluding this agreement, revenue appears roughly unchanged from 2010. It should be noted that Microsoft offered to buy all of Yahoo in February 2008 for $31 a share, or approximately 100% over Yahoo’s recent share price of $14.75. To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Dividend Kings
Posted on 11 April 2012.
It isn’t often that overall bad market news (even if it is packaged nicely) may spell good news from analysts, but REITs haven’t been following the rules since they became popular. ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR), with its focus on hybrid adjustable, adjustable and fixed rate residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) guaranteed by US government agencies or sponsored entities, has been a strong player for its external management company, ARMOUR Residential Management LLC, since 2009.
ARMOUR has been reporting strong dividends and great growth potential along with other mortgage REITs for a while now, even in the worst parts of this current recession. These showings haven’t always been earth-shattering, but positive performance in a bad economy, even if just relative to other stocks, is always noteworthy.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have likely heard the March jobless reports from Gallup were not very good. In fact, many experts are reporting they were downright bad, as on the surface the unemployment rate (and its related numbers) went down a little, but did not meet expectations.
There is always the sticky matter of those who give up looking for full-time work and work instead for themselves at a lower level. I have had to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s and cannot maintain an outside full-time job where I am required to be in the office (which was required as a business analyst), so I have worked since December in a freelance capacity. To continue reading, click here.
Posted in Dividend Kings