December 28, 2012
Comment on Model Portfolio activity
sold most of our holdings this week. The sales had nothing to do with the
fiscal cliff talk. Rather, the markets have had a good run this year and we
have had an even better run of luck and following the maxim of bulls, bears and
pigs we decided to get to the sidelines for a while.
market seem tired and while the fiscal deal when announced may lead to a pop
higher we expect the markets to then rest and consolidate. Usually such a move
doesn’t occur till March or April but the action in the market this Fall has
been unusual with only one instead of two pullbacks since August.
kept three positions and have only quit our trading stocks for a while; we
haven’t abandoned them for good.
Winter Solstice 2012
Comment on Model Portfolio activity
up, summer in on the way.
are holding pat. The failure of the Boehner plan last night was a positive
although the markets this morning are in the tank on the news.
Holidays from all of us.
Gerald, Kelle, Katie and Bud - 2012 - Tyler, Lisa, Dave, Abby, Bud and Katie
December 14, 2012
Comment on Model Portfolio activity
We added Alcatel Lucent to some accounts and also added to our Sony
position in a few accounts.
The Fiscal Cliff loooooooooooooooooms!!
A short two months ago as Apple approached $700 per
share analysts were falling all over themselves to raise price targets to $900
to $1000 per share. Now with the shares at $500 most are rethinking their
calls. Buy ‘em up; sell ‘em down as the old stockbroker used to say about the
An article on solar power on individual homes:
First, the investor-owned utilities that
depend on the existing system for their profits have little economic interest
in promoting a technology that empowers customers to generate their own power.
Second, state regulatory agencies and local governments impose burdensome
permitting and siting requirements that unnecessarily raise installation costs.
Today, navigating the regulatory red tape constitutes 25 percent to 30 percent
of the total cost of solar installation in the United States, according to data
from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and, as such, represents a
higher percentage of the overall cost than the solar equipment itself.
In Germany, where sensible federal rules
have fast-tracked and streamlined the permit process, the costs are
considerably lower. It can take as little as eight days to license and install
a solar system on a house in Germany. In the United States, depending on your
state, the average ranges from 120 to 180 days. More than one million Germans
have installed solar panels on their roofs, enough to provide close to 50
percent of the nation’s power, even though Germany averages the same amount of
sunlight as Alaska. Australia also has a streamlined permitting process and has
solar panels on 10 percent of its homes. Solar photovoltaic power would give
America the potential to challenge the utility monopolies, democratize energy
generation and transform millions of homes and small businesses into energy
generators. Rational, market-based rules could turn every American into an
Pearl Harbor Day 2012
Comment on Model Portfolio activity
traded Apple in a few accounts for a small loss this week without disturbing
our original holdings. We also bought Nokia and First Solar and added to DELL
and Old Second. And we sold Facebook for a nice trading profit.
Credit Suisse‘s networking equipment analyst Paul Silverstein today writes that
the movement to replace networking equipment with so-called software-defined networking has
been “greatly exaggerated” as a threat to
Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Juniper
Networks (JNPR) and other traditional vendors, and that it is in
fact “more distant and limited than what appears to be the current view held by
most members of the investment community.”
Silverstein writes that he
attended this week the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, held by
the research firm, where “Most enterprise IT professional we heard from and
spoke to at the conference appear to be at the initial stage of simply trying
to understand what is SDN, let along what is its value proposition.”
SDN is in “the classic ‘hype stage’ of the
technology adoption cycle,” he writes, and “deployment and
significant interest in SDN currently appears to be limited to large, cloud
service providers which require significant scalability, multi-tenancy or
Cisco, in fact, whose shares
he rates Outperform, is in much better shape in enterprise switching than many
Our takeaways from numerous presentations, round tables and user
forums at the conference, including a presentation by David Yen, SVP and GM of
Cisco’s Data Center Group (and previously EVP and GM of the Fabric and
Switching Business Group at Juniper, where he led the QFabric initiative in
data center network research and development) indicate to us that Cisco is far
better positioned than most investors appear to fear regarding SDN. Our
takeaway regarding Cisco’s SDN strategy is that it is a practical and flexible
approach that responds to different requirements and different customers and
use cases. We suspect that Cisco will spend much time discussing its SDN
strategy at its upcoming analyst day on 12/7/12 and that most investors will be
similarly impressed–or at a min less concerned re: Cisco’s SDN competitive
Cisco shares today are up 20
cents, or 1%, at $19.41.
On Thursday CNBC interviewed
Fred Smith, the CEO and founder of Fed Ex, who decried the high corporate
tax rates in the U.S versus Singapore and other low tax countries. Fed Ex makes
its money by delivering packages. Those deliveries take place over highways
built by the Federal and State governments. Initially Fed Ex flew its packages
from a hub in Memphis to airports all over the U.S. Every commercial airport in
the U.S. is built by local government with generous Federal subsidies in the
building and maintaining process. The FAA, a federal agency, makes sure that
the planes can fly without harm. Fred is a billionaire because he had a great
idea and acted on it and more power to him. But the government created and
maintains the facilities that allowed Fred to earn that fortune. Too bad he
can’t appreciate what taxes do.
make and lose our money the honest old fashioned way--- a few others, not so
Hedge Fund Wiz Faces Second Abysmal Year
One of the hedge funds run by
John Paulson, whose prescient bets against housing where chronicled in the book
"The Greatest Trade Ever," is on track to be the second worst
performer of 2012 among the universe of funds tracked by HSBC. Last year, it
was the worst.
Paulson's Advantage Plus fund,
which uses additional leverage than his other funds, is down 19 percent through
the end of October, following a 53 percent loss last year.
The fund bests just the
Conquest Macro Fund, which is down 27 percent through the end of November.
The firm's other flagship
fund, the Paulson Advantage Fund, is down 13 percent this year, putting it
among the top 10 losing funds in the HSBC universe this year as well.
Paulson's funds are
underperforming because of a bet on a Euro collapse and subsequent positions in
gold and makers of the hard asset. Fast forward: the Euro is little changed on
the year and one of the firm's biggest holdings, South Africa's AngloGold
Ashanti (AU), touched a 52-week low last week.
"A potential collapse of
the Euro triggered by a Greek default or other event could throw the world into
recession and serious financial disorder," wrote Paulson in the outlook
section of his 2011 year-end letter.
It's easy to pick on Paulson,
whose bets against the housing market made him a multi-billionaire and were
immortalized in more than one books and glowing articles, however most hedge
funds are underperforming the market this year. The Hedge Fund Composite Index
from Bank of America shows hedge funds are up just 2 percent in 2012, trailing
the 14 percent gain in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).
Ironically for Paulson, the
best-performing hedge fund in the HSBC universe is the BTG Pactual Distressed
Mortgage Fund, up almost 40 percent so far in 2012. The fund, managed by a
Brazilian wealth manager, has benefited from a comeback in the very kind of
residential mortgage securities that Paulson bet against during the crisis.
Among the big name winners
this year is Daniel Loeb. His Third Point Ultra Fund is up 25 percent as of
last week, likely because of a comeback in shares of Yahoo.<
strokes for different folks:
woman who embezzled about $123,000 from her employer, then disappeared
for a week after police questioned her, was sentenced Monday to four months in
Keri M. Geschke, 39, of
DeForest, was sentenced to six years of probation, with the four months in jail
as a condition of probation, for stealing the money from Sound Billing of
Middleton, now called MyFleetCenter.com,
where she worked as an accountant, between 2006 and 2010.
The jail sentence was longer
than the one month that Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey and defense
lawyer Robert Hurley had agreed to recommend. Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen
Ehlke said he didn't think one month was long enough because the thefts were
not a one-time lapse of judgment and because Geschke worked in a position of
Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/crime_and_courts/woman-who-embezzled-k-from-employer-sentenced-to-months-in/article_51b14458-3da8-11e2-8ba5-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2E65I40xU
The story of 54-year-old Roy Brown, a homeless man
who couldn’t afford to pay basic food and shelter expenses, is heartbreakingly
A homeless man robbed a
Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered
to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
The day after this story
appeared, prosecutors celebrated the fact that they were able to get a 40-month
prison sentence for investment tycoon Paul R. Allen, who defrauded lenders of
more than $3 billion...
Roy Brown is black and
homeless, while Paul R. Allen is white and extremely wealthy.
Armey, the former Republican Congressman, who is an ardent
conservative and anti-government fanatic, is resigning from an anti government
nonprofit foundation and receiving $8 million to go away. Since nonprofits
exist-in part because the government allows tax deductions for donations- the
government is funding half of Armey’s walking away money. On top of that Armey
has a government pension from his years in Congress, and Medicare- that hated
(AP) A confidential contract
obtained by The Associated Press shows that Armey agreed in September to resign
from his role as chairman of Washington-based FreedomWorks in exchange for $8
million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments. Dated Sept.
24, the contract specifies that Armey would resign his position at both
FreedomWorks and its sister organization, the FreedomWorks Foundation, by the
end of November. According to the contract, Armey’s consulting fees will be
paid by Richard J. Stephenson, a prominent fundraiser and founder and chairman
of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national cancer treatment
network. Stephenson is on the board of directors of FreedomWorks.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dick-armey-resigns-freedomworks-buyout-8-million-2012-12#ixzz2EBs2jGNI
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