Posted: November 27th, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Miller’s Crossing is the 1990 movie from the Coen brothers that resonates like almost no other with certain people. You have either forgotten it completely or have it in your top ten favorites of all-time. Poignant and artful, with a healthy dash of gangster.
It’s a remarkably coincidental fact that the movie’s well-known quotes can be used to evaluate Tesla Motors and the EV automaker’s remarkable stock run.
Tesla began the year in the mid-$30s before running up to $194.50 on the promise of a mass-market paradigm shift to electric vehicles. Shares have since burned rubber back to $120 on concerns of valuation and the impact of a safety investigation. Still, expectations run sky-high. Tesla trades at a valuation that indicates it’s set to produce cars at a rapidly escalating pace.
Can Tesla deliver?
Nobody knows anybody. Not that well.
The acid-tongued Tom Reagan delivers that line in the movie. Reagan doesn’t believe you can trust anybody. The same is true for stocks. Plenty of companies or brands have conquered the world only to fall back again. Even more never delivered to the early hype. Tesla is a wonderfully inventive company led by an innovative leader. And the bull case for a paradigm shift by consumers is compelling. But nobody knows anybody. Not that well.
He’s honest and he’s got a heart.…Then it’s true what they say. Opposites attract.
There is an entreprenurial spirit about Tesla Motors that impresses. To go from being a startup to designing a car that wins Motor Trend’s prestigious Car of the Year award is a landmark achievement. But then there is that whole matter of mass production. Tesla is about to enter the complicated world of labor contracts, foreign partnerships, and working out an uneasy relationship with state AGs on selling directly cars directly to consumers outside the dealer network. Will heart and honesty work?
I suppose you think you raised hell. …Sister, when I’ve raised hell, you’ll know it.
Vera gives Tom a snappy answer as she brushes him off once again, but the smitten Tom gets the last word. Deliciously charming on both ends. Emotions run high on both sides of the Tesla argument (TSLA on Seeking Alpha) as well. The bears think they have given the smug Tesla acolytes their comeuppance, while Tesla bulls see the growth story at the automaker as just in its infancy. With emotion in stock investing comes momentum. Tesla is a wonderful company to follow in the news, but the Keynesian “animal spirits” of investors are likely to dominate the story. Take a flyer if you are a fan of Musk and electric vehicles, but keep your Tesla investment below 3% of your portfolio total.
Sources: Detroit Free Press, Miller’s Crossing
Posted: November 26th, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
The U.S. stock market has ripped impressive gains this year but could see some major headwinds with the taper and budget drama on the plate for 2014.
Across the pond, the U.K. stock market is in a different phase. The Bank of England has already shocked the system with hints of higher interest rates amid a recovery that appears to be taking hold based on growth and employment trends. The elephant in the room – higher interest rates – is being discussed openly. The tech and media sectors in the region look ripe for more gains and could help boost major indexes.
Another nugget to consider: The U.K. isn’t part of the traps and pitfalls of the inter-connected eurozone and PM David Cameron is pushing an U.K.-friendly agenda instead of caving to Brussels.
- iShares MSCI United Kingdom Index (EWU)
- First Trust Exchange Traded AlphaDEX Fund (FKU)
- Wisdom Tree United Kingdom Hedges Equity Fund (DXPS)
- MSCI United Kingdowm Hedges Equity Fund (DBUK)
Sources: Financial Times, Seeking Alpha
Posted: November 23rd, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
What happens if an alternative band mashes up Velvet Underground guitar feedback-type sounds with their Nirvana-inspired background and adds a haunting twist that reminds of that Alien/Promotheus trailer track?
Sail is the haunting song from Awolnation’s Megalithic Symphony album that pulls off the coup. It was released in 2011 to a mild response, but is now an underground hit turning back to mainstream.
Here at ground control it has at least 2,489 listens and counting at max volume. Grinding speaker test below:
Posted: November 21st, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Please say it’s true. Reports that top Google scientists and engineers are working feverishly to advance knowledge on dolphin vocalization and acoustics seem to fit in perfectly with the thought that any riddle in the universe can be broken down by a Google algorithm. Even the name of the project – Google X – sounds downright irresistible.
Google X surely involves lots of interesting secret projects, but the recent media chatter on dolphin studies being on the short list is all good. Why? If Google cracks the code for dolphin chatter and gives us the chance to have one-on-one communications with the mammals in the wild, we can finally get some hard answers on Atlantis, mermaids, or what they think of glass tappers at aquariums.
The late Douglas Adams would have appreciated the effort. The writer on dolphins:
Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind of the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.
Full speed ahead Google X.
Denise Herzing on dolphin talk at TED:
Posted: October 31st, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
The corporate bigwigs at Disney (DIS) reportedly want Star Wars: Episode 7 to stay on its 2015 release date schedule even after producer Kathleen Kennedy requested a delay until 2016. The news comes amid some chatter that script issues are a concern.
Despite the immense pressure to deliver the film on time, most film insiders think J.J. Abrams is up to the task of both writing and directing the first film in the new trilogy. Disney will likely keep information on the film’s progress close to the vest even if analysts question execs during the firm’s upcoming Q3 earnings conference call.
What to watch:
Disney is anxious to see its $4.05B in Lucasfilm start to pay off and knows the integration of a re-energized Star Wars franchise into consumer products, theme parks, and TV series gives it ample ammunition. Expect Star Wars: Episode 7 filming to begin early next year and strategic teasers to emerge (Star Wars YouTube channel).
Via Indiewire.com and Seeking Alpha
Posted: October 31st, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Consumer spending is tight, but retail winners will still emerge from the 2013 holiday season.
FedEx (FDX) expects Cyber Monday shipments to increase 11% Y/Y as online orders boost shipments to a staggering tally of 22M for the day. The news helps temper some of the worries on e-commerce coming out of eBay (EBAY). The double-digit pace of online orders easily beats estimates for Black Friday store sales and sets up well for Amazon (AMZN) as well as FedEx rival UPS (UPS).
Other retailers with strong online businesses could pick up sales if online continues to grab steal market share away from mall traffic – including Urban Outfitters (URBN), Zales (ZLC), Under Armour (UA), Vera Bradley (VRA), Macy’ (M), and Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS).
On the flip side, a decrease in mall traffic looks ominous for retailers which aren’t quite ready to make up the slack online.
On watch: J.C. Penney (JCP), Dillard’s (DDS), Sears (SHLD), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO).
Via: National Retail Federation, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: October 16th, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Warner Bros. studio film Gravity won top spot at the U.S. box office for a second straight week as the science fiction stunner continues to beat expectations. The movie has racked up over $123M in two weeks while doing exceptionally well in both the IMAX and 3D format.
Stocks tied to the film:
Time Warner (TWX), IMAX (IMAX), RealD (RLD)
Posted: September 13th, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
The latest battle in the ongoing war between broadcasters and Pay-TV operators is starting to heat up. The stakes have never been higher for the industry and media stocks.
Via Bloomberg and Seeking Alpha:
- September 30, 2013 is a date which could live in infamy in the media industry if Dish Network decides to take a stand against escalating programming costs and allows a contract with Disney’s ESPN to lapse.
- Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has hinted heavily in the past that a confrontation over sports carriage fees needs to happen.
- Previous: CBS got most of what it asked for in its standoff with Time Warner Cable.
- What to watch: Unless Congress gets involved, media analysts see Disney as holding most of the leverage with the idea of Dish pulling ESPN and Monday Night Football from its programming in the midst of the season as a potential bluff that could be called – but Ergen has shocked the industry before.
Posted: July 12th, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Yahoo (YHOO), ESPN (DIS), and CBS (CBS) are the undisputed leaders in season-long fantasy sports games, but a thriving market for short-term fantasy sports games threatens to steal their thunder. The daily and weekly varieties of fantasy sports games allow players to jump in and out easily to help boost the revenue for the startups currently ruling the niche. Though legal and tax questions have kept the big three media companies from jumping in, if Congress opens up online gambling in the future they could see fantasy-related sales thrive.
That is if the gaming sector doesn’t beat them to the punch with their own pay-for-play fantasy sports leagues.
Keep an eye on Wynn Resorts (WYNN), MGM Resorts (MGM), and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) in this growing gambling category while Sheldon Adelson’s aversion to online gambling could keep Las Vegas Sands (LVS) on the sidelines.
Via The Los Angeles Times, Seeking Alpha, and the Las Vegas Sun.
Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Author: Clark Schultz
Noodles (NDLS) is already one the year’s most successful IPOs and after a 38% gain over its opening price is showing little signs of slowing down. Though the restaurant chain is being lined up by some as an early-stages Chipotle, the comparison is slightly ironic with Chipotle’s (CMG) new ShopHouse concept aiming for the same part of the fast-casual market.
More on Renaissance Capital and Seeking Alpha (Noodles vs Chipotle)