I was in New York City for three days and met with many of my old contacts, friends, colleagues and several people who wanted to talk about their businesses and mine. I stopped by TheStreet's headquarters on Wall Street, which is always a thrill.
I also met with executives and big shots from news companies, tech companies, TV companies, PR companies, professional sports representatives, insurance companies and brokerage firms. I guess I got a lot done while I was in my old town.
I'm back in rural New Mexico again and I've got a lot of analysis, ideas, commentary and other stuff I learned that I will share with you in coming days. Here's a roundup of trends, news and analysis for each as we head into a shortened holiday week.
Most holiday shoppers plan to pay in cash -- From the article: "48% of millennials said they would do most of their holiday shopping with debit cards, and 36% said they preferred cash. Mobile payments are still unpopular; only 14% of U.S. adults with smartphones or similar devices plan to make even one mobile payment during the holiday season, according to Bankrate."
Is mobile payment overhyped/dead already or is it just the top of the first inning? I'd bet it's still the first inning and I would expect to see both Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) win big in payments five or 10 years from now. I've also been thinking about shorting PayPal (PYPL) as the anti-mobile payment company, but its strong 15% growth rate has kept me from doing so.
Argentina's new president was once kidnapped by rogue members of the federal police -- and people wonder why I stay away from developing markets. Why risk your money where headlines like that aren't from The Onion?
Here's Why the Apple Watch Will Have a Huge Holiday Shopping Season -- I just downloaded the new IBM (IBM) Watson Trend App. This says the Apple Watch will be a hit on Black Friday and beyond. The app, which scours the Internet to discover product trends and decipher consumer purchasing decisions, gives the device the top trend score of 100. Anybody tried it? I was short IBM for a while in recent years, but now I want to buy IBM in part because the applications for Watson's AI are limitless. IBM's outrageous debt and ugly balance sheet continue to keep me out of it for now.
Smart Scutifier LunaticTrader writes -- "Market is at a very interesting juncture. We had an autumn panic, followed by a rebound. And now many markets/stocks are hesitating just below record highs, or just below their reversal levels? Will they push through? Or will they fall back? Seasonal tendencies support a push for new highs in the coming months."
I'd add that the Fed/Republican/Democrat regime policies of extremely low rates and corporate earnings/stock market focus still point higher, too. On his question of "Will stocks/stock markets push through their highs? Or will they fall back?" I'd add that there's also always the possibility of a sideways action for a while.
Here's the Real Difference Between Fang and Square (SQ) --This sentence alone is wildly thought-provoking: "FANG (FANG) -- Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOGL) -- have become something akin to modern art or professional sports teams, valuations which, while they can't be explained by simple numbers, can be examined from the point of view that there just aren't that many of them to go around."
U.S. home rental prices rise at slower pace -- Apartment costs may be testing the upper reaches of renters' incomes. Is rent about to enter a deflationary phase? What would that mean for the Fed's raising rates? Or not?
Help! My short position got crushed, and now I owe E-Trade $106,445.56 -- I can see why people would want to short this former penny micro-cap stock, but why risk messing with penny stocks, long or short? My advice, as always, is don't ever mess with a penny stock.
As one victim of the short squeeze in the Scutify Hedge Fund Manager Game put it: "Wednesday night, I couldn't believe after hours prices. I took the whole day off Thursday to concentrate on trying to save the portfolio, so as not to get disqualified. That is what you call a pig getting slaughtered. I did not need to be short 65,000 shares but thought it was a pretty safe trade as they announced they were closing down their business." Click through to this long discussion for a fuller debate on trading stocks like KBIO.
Netflix has taken the throne from YouTube in the battle over streaming viewers -- Netflix and Google's YouTube aren't competing against each other. They're competing against the trillion-dollar cable broadcast industry, as I've noted before on these pages. On a related note, I stopped by a Best Buy (BBY) store in midtown Manhattan last week to do some anecdotal field research. Did you know you can buy Netflix TV shows on DVD at Best Buy?! And ironically since I own Sony (SNE) for its library and Netflix (NFLX) for its distribution, Netflix TV show DVDs are distributed by...wait for it...Sony.