Saturday, December 31, 2011

WABCO Holdings Inc. Traded at its 52 week high Price along with Positive YTD Performance - NYSE:WBC

WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE:WBC) recently hit 52 week peak price $65.53, opened at $62.43 scored +5.06% closed $65.38. WBC traded on over 1.29 million shares in comparison to average volume of 0.647 million shares.

WBC has earnings of $-226.10 million and made $2.18 billion sales for the last 12 months. Its quarter to quarter sales remained 36.47%. The company has 64.62 million of outstanding shares and 64.51 million shares were floated in the market.

WBC has an insider ownership at 0.39% and institutional ownership remained 94.36%. Its return on investment (ROI) for the last 12 month was -17.96% as compare to its return on equity (ROE) of -39.70% for the last 12 months.

The price moved ahead +11.01% from the mean of 20 days, +12.30% from 50 and went up 50.68% from 200 days average price. Company��s performance for the week was 9.90%, +4.98% for month and yearly performance remained 147.00%.

Its price volatility for a month remained 3.02% whereas volatility for a week noted as 3.50% having beta of 2.09. Company��s price to sales ratio for last 12 months was 1.94 while its price to book ratio for the most recent quarter was 9.20 and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) remained 243.90 million for the past twelve months.

Domino's Pizza Coming to Outer Space?

Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ) hopes to grow beyond its international efforts. Waaaay beyond.

In an announcement that Popular Science jokes will never come true, Domino's Japanese branch has announced that it is ��driving forward�� with its plans to open a store on the moon.

The concept images (taken from speak for themselves; at some point in the future, we could be cruising around the moon on a motorcycle and eating pizza at a dome-shaped restaurant.

In the future, Domino's believes that it will grow fresh veggies on the moon:

And use these futuristic motorcycles to deliver your pizza right to your home (or moon station, as the case may be).

While Domino's admits that it has yet to determine when production will begin, the company estimates that the moon location will cost more than $20 billion to produce. At that rate, one can only wonder how much they'll charge for a medium pizza with one topping. But if you can afford to live on the moon, I'm sure the expense won't prevent you from getting your fix of extra cheese and pepperoni.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

US Bank Closures Hit 103 Compared With 64 Last Year

The FDIC in conjunction with state bank authorities closed seven more banks on July 23, bringing the total for the year to 102.

The cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund was modest because the banks were all small, with the exception of Crescent Bank and Trust Company which cost the FDIC? $242 million. Some analysts expect that 200 banks will close in 2010 and another 10o or more in 2011, putting a strain on FDIC resource. The agency had to assess the banks it insures their fees through 2012 to raise money when it ran out of funds in September 2009. The Treasury would have had to provide the funds otherwise.

Home Valley Bank, Grants Pass, OR,? SouthwestUSA Bank, Las Vegas, NV, Community Security Bank, New Prague, MN, Thunder Bank, Sylvan Grove, KS, Williamsburg First National Bank, Kingstree, SC, Crescent Bank and Trust Company, Jasper, GA, and Sterling Bank, Lantana, FL were closed.

Home Valley Bank, Cave Junction, Oregon, was closed by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation? as receiver. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with South Valley Bank & Trust, Klamath Falls, Oregon, to assume all of the deposits of Home Valley Bank. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $37.1 million.

SouthwestUSA Bank, Las Vegas, Nevada, was closed? by the Nevada Financial Institutions Division, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Plaza Bank, Irvine, California, to assume all of the deposits of SouthwestUSA Bank. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the DIFwill be $74.1 million

Community Security Bank, New Prague, Minnesota, was closed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Roundbank, Waseca, Minnesota, to assume all of the deposits of Community Security Bank. The! FDIC es timates that the cost to DIF will be $18.6 million

Thunder Bank, Sylvan Grove, Kansas, was today by the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with The Bennington State Bank, Salina, Kansas, to assume all of the deposits of Thunder Bank. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the DIF will be $4.5 million

Williamsburg First National Bank, Kingstree, South Carolina, was? today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina, to assume all of the deposits of Williamsburg First National Bank. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $8.8 million

Crescent Bank and Trust Company, Jasper, Georgia, was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Renasant Bank, Tupelo, Mississippi, to assume all of the deposits of Crescent Bank and Trust Company. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the DIF will be $242.4 million.

Sterling Bank, Lantana, Florida, was? today by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with IBERIABANK, Lafayette, Louisiana, to assume all of the deposits of Sterling Bank. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the DIF will be $45.5 million.

Douglas A. McIntyre

We Want to Hear From You: Is Appealing to Online Shoppers the Key to U.S. Retailers' Survival?

U.S. retailers are learning an important lesson this holiday season.

And it has nothing to do with the prices they set for Barbie dolls, video games or HDTVs.

The lesson being learned is that the successes of future Black Fridays won't be solely keyed to "door-busting discounts," or luring shoppers to stores at 3 a.m. In fact, as this year's Cyber Monday proved, U.S. consumers like to shop online. And that means that the merchants with the most enticing deals and most convenient Web sites will win the race for the dollars that U.S. shoppers drop on their online purchases.

"It's the end of the store as we know it," said Forrester Research Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving - and a day in which bargain-hunters follow up their weekend shopping by taking advantage of Internet-only deals - experienced a sales increase of 20% this year over last, according to research firm Coremetrics.

"The consumer is shopping online in a pretty aggressive way this holiday," Scot Wingo, chief executive officer of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retailers sell through online marketplaces, told Internet Retailer.

This year, online shoppers got to enjoy deals starting much earlier than Cyber Monday. Shoppers spent a whopping $1.1 billion online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined, and online retail sales for the month through Nov. 26 were up 13% from last year, reaching $11.6 billion, according to marketing researcher comScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR).?

The surging Internet sales results "put the retailers on notice that consumers are choosing to buy online in ways that we have never seen before," Fiona Dias, the executive vice president of e-commerce company GSI Commerce Inc. (Nasdaq: GSIC), told The Wall Street Journal.??

Although! Black F riday and Cyber Monday aren't the biggest days each year for online sales, the increase in Internet sales on those two days underscores that there's a new U.S. consumer to market to - a consumer who is comfortable with technology and who values convenience, as well as low prices.

Steve Nave, the general manager of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (NYSE: WMT) Web site, said online sales were up "dramatically" over last year's Thanksgiving weekend. Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) saw its online traffic jump 9% on Black Friday alone. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) said its Black Friday online traffic increased 500% from last year - causing Web site slowness for a short period during the day.

Online-only retailers really experienced big gains. Accessories Web site reported Cyber Monday sales were up 51% by Monday evening.? had to expand its warehouse to keep up with orders and will add 500 employees this week to handle the online shopping frenzy.

As retailing sees its new future unfold, retailers are starting to invest in Web site makeovers to appeal to the new online shopper through social media campaigns and product cross selling.

"We invested in a site redesign in 2010 with a goal of making the site more engaging, improving search and navigation, and streamlining checkout," said a spokeswoman for jewelry retailer Ross-Simons.?"Since we launched the new site in October, we've seen a significant increase in new visitor conversion rates."

It's likely that the biggest online sales day of the year is still to come - closer to deadlines for Christmas delivery before the new and wildly popular free shipping marketing campaigns can expire. So analysts expect retailers to pay more attention to their Web sites and to online deals than to their brick-and-mortar storefronts and in-store promotions.

Dividend Stocks: How To Profit From The World's Best Investment Protection

The goal of most online business owners is to rank high in the search engines, and in Brisbane, SEO services are available that can make this happen by employing the most powerful and current search engine optimization techniques in the industry. Anyone who lives in the area of Brisbane can easily find such a service to accomplish not only higher rankings, but also customer awareness, brand recognition and ultimately increased revenue.

Anyone looking to hire a company to assist with SEO should be aware that not all services of this nature are as legitimate as others. This is why it becomes necessary to know enough about the process on your own to be able to determine if the company you are dealing with is actually going to get you the results that they are promising.

Never hire someone who uses any methods that are unethical. Black hat approaches used to get ultra fast results could actually get you banned, so it’s just best that you stick to the rules in order to be able to continue making money online. Besides, the search engines are on to most of these methods now anyway, so they aren’t even going to work. Just be sure that you check around; maybe even ask for some references so you will know what kind of people you are dealing with before you get into doing any serious business with them.

Anyway, be sure that you know a little bit about who you are hiring before you make it official. It isn’t a good idea to go ahead and hire any Brisbane SEO service without properly checking them out first. It’s okay to inquire about their various SEO techniques. Anything that they do is going to directly affect your business, regardless of the end result. This is why you have a right to know exactly what they plan on doing in order to get you those rankings you seek. Also, see if you can find any reviews on them. This may tell you a little about what sort of results they can achieve for you.

After you have narrowed down the list to a few of your favorite ! services in Brisbane, start to supply some detailed information regarding your specific site. Include statistics and detailed analysis, and then find out what their exact strategy would be for your particular business. Additionally, don’t forget to discuss the matter of your budget. It isn’t necessary to spend outside of your budget to get this done, so watch your spending.

It generally takes a few months to see results, so if you get someone promising you results any quicker than that, you may want to just consider this a red flag. They may be using black hat techniques, so it’s probably best to find someone who is offering more realistic results.

Once you hire someone, keep tabs on what they are doing. In the event that they have submitted articles to directories, go take a look at them and see how they look. In most cases you will find that you can get some amazing results by hiring a Brisbane SEO service to handle your online optimization efforts.

Next, want to get the best clients and best leads thanks to your website? Start by going to: Brisbane seo serivce section.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quiet Iraq Exit Won¡¯t Have a Replay in Afghanistan: Noah Feldman

Rarely in U.S. history has the endof a war been marked with less fanfare than the withdrawal ofthe last troops from Iraq in time for Christmas. Indeed, youcould almost be forgiven for failing to notice it at all, soarbitrary does the timing seem.

U.S. interests in Iraq will be no different in the firstweek of 2012 than they are now. Iraq��s government remains shaky,and the dangers of instability and civil war remain. About16,000 Americans are still there, too, including an unspecifiednumber of military contractors who bear arms.

What happened? How, exactly, does an eight-and-a-half-yearwar end with no one noticing?

The immediate answer is a failure to communicate. Theagreement between the Iraqi and U.S. governments about troopnumbers was scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and anew one was needed. The U.S. demanded that any new status offorces agreement give its troops immunity from prosecution underIraqi law.

Based on several prior rounds of negotiations, the Iraqisthought they knew the script. The U.S. would compromise,accepting de facto immunity without firm legal guarantees. Thatwould allow troops to remain and also let the Iraqi governmenttell its voters that the country had refused immunity to theperpetrators of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses.

When the U.S. threatened to pull its troops, as it had inthe past, the Iraqis didn��t believe it. But this time, theBarack Obama administration was very happy to allow the Iraqisto demand withdrawal. This absolved the White House of thecharge that it had abandoned Iraq before it was ready for trueself-determination.

A Convenient Withdrawal

From the standpoint of principle, the Obama administrationcan��t be faulted. Whatever we owe Iraq after invasion,occupation and botched nation-building, surely we must leavewhen its elected government tells us to get out.

The withdrawal was also good politics. The ��home forChristmas�� line will be forgotten after the new year. But thebottom line is that no ! one on t he political spectrum cancriticize the withdrawal.

Republicans would like to focus the public��s attention onthe struggling economy. The last thing they want is to remindvoters that their party initiated the war of choice that helpedspend us into the poorhouse. Nor would they like to seePresident George W. Bush��s unfortunate ��Mission Accomplished��episode freshly remembered.

Democrats, for their part, think they need to keep quietabout Iraq for a different reason: anticipatory worry aboutAfghanistan.

The withdrawal from Afghanistan is still a couple of yearsaway. But it��s likely consequences are much more troubling thanthose we can expect in the near future in Iraq.

All the Iraqis need to do for Obama is to avoid a full-oncivil war before the presidential election in November. TheAfghans actually need to create a stable, functioning governmentthat will not fall to the Taliban. If they don��t, a second Obamaadministration, if there is one, is going to be plagued bydisaster that will make the fall of Saigon look modest bycomparison. The Democratic Party will almost surely pay a price.

Even the Iraqis won��t have an easy time of it. Exactly oneday after the Americans left, the Shiite-led administration ofPrime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki turned on its Sunnipartners in what was supposedly a government of national unity.It issued an arrest warrant for a vice president and demanded ano-confidence vote in Parliament for a deputy prime minister,the two highest ranking Sunnis in the country.

These decisions, and their timing, can only be read as aSicilian message to the Sunni minority: Your leadership sleepswith the fishes.

Power-Sharing Ruse

Maliki is gambling that the Sunnis are too weak to restartthe insurgency and too wary of al-Qaeda infiltration to rely onthose bloodthirsty allies again, as they did in the years ofcivil strife before the U.S. military surge. The high stakesgamble tells the world that coexistence was a front to pleasethe America! ns. The Sunnis who bought into power-sharing weresuckers -- and now they are no longer needed.

Even if no one in the U.S. seems to be watching, one can beconfident that the Taliban are. The so-called reconciliationprocess in Afghanistan is supposed to persuade the Taliban tojoin some sort of national unity government and renounce theiral-Qaeda connections. If they go along, the U.S. could withdrawwithout appearing to leave the Afghans to their fate at thehands of resurgent Taliban.

The question for the Taliban has always been whether theprocess offers them any advantages compared with waiting out theU.S. and trying to take out the government of President Hamid Karzai. The situation of the Sunnis in Iraq shows thedisadvantages of cooperation clearly enough: Give up your arms,and you are vulnerable to being suppressed. The U.S. might bewilling to make friends with you, but its main objective is toprovide cover for its withdrawal. Erstwhile enemies will not beso forgiving -- especially if they believe their survivaldepends on getting rid of you.

Add to this that the Taliban probably believe they caneventually defeat the Afghan army, and you can see how dim theprospects for national reconciliation really are.

The Taliban aren��t delusional. Who really believes thatKarzai on his own -- even with another hundred thousand lightlytrained Afghan troops -- could win a war that the U.S. militaryhasn��t?

Barring some huge change in circumstances, the U.S.withdrawal from Afghanistan will be followed by intensified war.U.S. air support can delay the inevitable, but it cannot defeatthe Taliban. They will continue their strategy of guerilla warfought on their own terms. And their Pakistani supply lines willflow more freely than ever.

If and when the Taliban win, things will get very ugly veryfast. Afghans who allied themselves with the U.S. will beexecuted. Girls will be banned from school, and worse. TheTaliban have no doubt learned a thing or two in their decade ofwar against the worl! d��s sup erpower, but tolerance is unlikely tobe high on the list. The next U.S. withdrawal won��t escapepublic notice.

(Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University andthe author of ��Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR��sGreat Supreme Court Justices,�� is a Bloomberg View columnist.The opinions expressed are his own.)

Woodland Hills Plumbing- Potential Plumbing Problems

Just in case your a home owner the in the course of time you will have difficulties with plumbing. Same goes with you fix the plumbing problem yourself or are you currently presently calling a specialist?

Many plumbing repairs might be accomplished using the homeowner in addition to save a lot of money You will find some fundamental concepts the homeowner must consider the goal of the next information. The easiest method to decide in case you call a plumber or do-it-yourself is a few occasions a tough question to solve.

Searching within the problem after which it making the best choice is certain needs

There’s a large distinction between a dripping faucet along with a damaged pipe, one you’ve time for you to perform some researching and also the other is definitely an emergency. When the pipes are copper you might not have enough time to understand to solder copper pipe but when it’s really a dripping faucet you’ve additional time. Therefore the decision seems could it be an urgent situation or perhaps is it an issue that for a couple of days to collect the data required to repair the problem.

Enables possess a homeowner that wants or takes a new sink. The initial step is always to gather a few items which will be needed. You might need a torch, pin and paper to start with. Next step is always to look at the sink within the lip on a single for yellows for the lip however for dimensions. Measure within the outdoors lip to outdoors lip. Are actually making use of your creative talent by drawing a sketch in the layout in the faucet and then for any other item that encounters the sink. Enable you to get time showing the lay in the facets and sprayers.

Now look underneath the sink and draw an easy diagram of methods the cold and warm water are situated and what type of pipes or tubing it’s. What materials may be the piping produced from. Remember the drainpipes and also the waste disposer or other filters and products which are under there Again w! hich kin d of material may be the drainpipes made from and how big. If you’re not acquainted with pipe dimensions then take a set of pliers and use them the pipe after which measure that distance and will also provide the approximant size the pipe.

The quantity of drains does your sink have, a couple of? You may also have a very digital picture within the layout within the sink along with the pipes under it and mind to your residence Improvement Center and uncover a expert regarding the subject. You actually wouldn’t prefer to start asking someone who can just learn a bit more that you simply.

You shouldn’t be bashful about this step, make certain he understand what he’s speaking and it has really qualified that will help you. He might also recommend a how you can book about them. If he is doing recommend a magazine find out if he’s one which covers different plumbing repair jobs.

After you have acquire all of the education you’ll need using this project construct the steps by step plan and stay with it. Oh and be ready for more activities for that home improvement center.

You’re going to get valuable experience if you have completed the sink project and you will be outfitted with understanding you could draw upon for an additional project. Make sure to measure two occasions and cut once and work safely. Have some fun!

Want to find out more about Woodland Hills Plumbing, then visit Carroll Love’s site on how to choose the best Plumbing for your needs.

Restaurant Mergers Abound: Landry’s Offers For Smith & Wollensky

Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. (LNY) has announced today that it has sent a letter to Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Inc. (SWRG) offering to acquire Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group for $7.50 per share in cash. This offer represents an approximate 50% premium to the most recent market price of $5.03.

This would add the following to the Landry’s machine: Smith & Wollensky Restaurants in Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami Beach, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. It also operates 6 restaurants in New York City, including Maloney & Porcelli’s, the Post House, Park Avenue Cafe, Quality Meats, and the original Smith & Wollensky restaurant.

If you will look back to when Lone Star Steakhouse announced that it was going private, this was one of the other names in the group we speculated could be acquired and could be better run by a newer team.  Outback Steakhouse’s parent OSI Restaurant (OSI) was also part of that list, and that is just about to go private in a management buyout.

Jon C. Ogg
January 16, 2007

California’s Proposed Medicaid Cuts Could Hit Insurers

California is seeking deep cuts in Medicaid, a move that could ripple out to other states and affect some insurers. The state is seeking federal approval for new Medicaid restrictions, including possible limits on the number of times they can see a doctor, the Los Angeles Times reports.

That move could affect insurers. Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Philip Seligman downgraded HealthNet (HNT) to Strong Sell from Hold today on concerns that the company could face cuts to its Medicaid business in California.

“HealthNet’s Medicaid members account for about 43% of its California enrollment (one-third of its total Western Region enrollment),” Seligman writes. “With one peer noting the state’s plan to lower Medicaid reimbursement, and our view that medical cost trends will rise, as experienced by another peer and higher Medicaid admits reported by a hospital group, we see risk of pressure on margins.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

(AVNR, CRWE, ETRM, ECTY) Stocks in Focus by

Avanir Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:AVNR) announced that company management will participate in the Piper Jaffray 23rd Annual Health Care Conference.Piper Jaffray Health Care Conference on Wednesday November 30, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages on acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders primarily in the United States.

Crown Equity Holdings Inc. (CRWE)
The Internet has allowed businesses to break through the geographical barriers and become accessible, virtually, from any country in the world by a potential customer that has Internet access. The Internet is extremely different from print advertising in that space is cheap, your advertisement is accessible for a longer period of time, the content can be changed without having to ask someone to do it for you (if you use a content management system) and you can potentially reach a wider audience.

Crown Tele Services Inc. is a provider of affordable, world class (VoIP) communications solutions and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Equity Holdings Inc.

Crown Equity Holdings Inc. (CRWE.OB) announced that its subsidiary Crown Tele Services Inc. has entered into a letter of intent with AVIX Technologies, Inc., which sets forth terms by which AVIX Technologies, Inc. will acquire an exclusive licensing agreement for Canada and a non-exclusive global licensing agreement in the hospitality, foodservice and tourism industries for telecommunications including VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telecom technology systems for residential and commercial services, calling card and cellular phone applications.

Commenting on the Letter of Intent, Kenneth Bosket, President and CEO of Crown Tele Services, Inc., stated: “This Agreement will enable AVIX Technologies, Inc. to deliver VoIP communications solutions specifically desi! gned to meet the business and residential market needs at rates that will compete with any company in this market that we are aware of.”

Crown Equity Holdings Inc. offers advertising branding and marketing services as a worldwide online multi-media publisher with its digital network of websites and focuses on the distribution of information for the purpose of bringing together a targeted audience and the advertisers that want to reach them. Its advertising services cover and connect a range of marketing specialties, as well as provide search engine optimization for clients interested in online media awareness.

Crown Equity Holdings Inc., together with its digital network, currently provides electronic media services specializing in online publishing, which brings together targeted audiences and advertisers. Crown Equity Holdings Inc. offers internet media-driven advertising services, which covers and connects a range of marketing specialties, as well as search engine optimization for clients interested in online media awareness.

For more information about Crown Tele Services, Inc., please visit:

For more information about Crown Equity Holdings Inc., please visit:

EnteroMedics, Inc. (Nasdaq:ETRM) announced that Mark B. Knudson, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to present at the 23rd Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York, NY on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 9:50 am ET. Dr. Knudson will provide an overview of the Company and an update on its VBLOC? vagal blocking therapy development program.

EnteroMedics Inc., a clinical development stage medical device company, focuses on the design and development of devices that use neuroblocking technology to treat obesity and associated co-morbidities, and other gastrointestinal disorders.

ECOtality, Inc (Nasdaq:ECTY) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced they will par! tner to install Blink Pedestal electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at select Walmart stores in California, Oregon, and Washington for The EV Project.

ECOtality, INC., through its subsidiaries, provides clean electric transportation and storage technologies in the United States and internationally.

GeoPetro Resources Company not sustained well even with higher trade ¨C GPR

GeoPetro Resources Company (AMEX:GPR) shares were transacted unexpectedly with a volume of 0.28 million shares as compared to its average volume of 0.74 million shares. GPR opened at $0.41 dropped -4.15% closed $0.393. Its 52 week price range is $0.33 - $0.83.

GPR has earnings of $-25.02 million and made $3.81 million sales for the last 12 months. Its quarter to quarter sales remained -34.13%. The company has 37.98 million of outstanding shares and 31.53 million shares were floated in the market.

GPR has an insider ownership at 18.80% and institutional ownership remained 3.16%. Its return on investment (ROI) for the last 12 month was -64.98% as compare to its return on equity (ROE) of -89.91% for the last 12 months.
The price moved down 7.69% from the mean of 20 days, -11.56% from 50 and went down -16.42% from 200 days average price. Company��s performance for the week was -7.14%, -15.22% for month and yearly performance remained -52.44%.

Its price volatility for a month remained 4.52% whereas volatility for a week noted as 5.49% having beta of 1.07. Company��s price to sales ratio for last 12 months was 3.89 while its price to book ratio for the most recent quarter was 0.67 and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) remained -3.34 million for the past twelve months.

China Looks to 2010 After Another Strong GDP Report

We initiate coverage of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WOPEY.PK) with a buy recommendation for long-term growth in Australian liquefied natural gas. We like the strategic appeal of investing in a non-U.S., high-growth natural gas stock for the next decade. At the same time, a McDep Ratio near 1.0 and high unlevered cash flow multiple (EV/Ebitda) of 12.5 times imply that the company’s immediate prospects are recognized by investors.

As a result, there may be no urgency in building a position in Woodside stock, yet it looks like a timely long-term idea. An investment in WOPEY could rebuild the natural gas exposure that the McDep Energy Portfolio automatically loses as XTO Energy (XTO) becomes part of ExxonMobil (XOM). Moreover, Australian LNG is sold into a global market that offers more flexibility for opportunistic transactions than North American natural gas sold into a pipeline constrained market. On perhaps a third the scale, Australian LNG in 2010 offers profit and growth potential analogous to oil sands in Canada in 2003. It is also subject to the risks of completing large scale projects and to unexpected government action.

Pluto, Sunrise and Browse among Industry Projects
Cash flow should jump in 2011 with the completion of the A$13 billion Pluto I facility. Further expansions at Pluto and new projects Sunrise and Browse may boost equity capacity 7-fold to about 5% of expected world capacity by 2020 (see slides below, Woodside LNG and Long-Term Demand). Owned 34% by Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), Woodside is expanding in the same area where Chevron (CVX) is pursuing its $40 billion Gorgon project. Woodside stock may offer the most concentration of LNG production capacity among large companies (see slide below, LNG Equity to Market Cap).

NPV of US$44 a Share Concentrated 78% on Natural Gas
Considering that LNG projects have long life and recognizing that Pluto and new projects do not yet contribute to cash flow, we estim! ate that Net Present Value (NPV) of $44 a share is concentrated 78% on natural gas. Helping to balance the heavy capital requirements of LNG, Woodside generates more of its current cash flow from oil production. Long-term oil price influences LNG pricing as does short-term natural gas price. An uptrend may be confirmed early next year for natural gas price compared to the 40-week average of six-year futures at $6.71 a million btu. The latest settlement is $6.64. Finally, we place WOPEY in our renamed Australia/Brazil/China/Russia group in the McDep Energy Portfolio.

Originally published on December 29, 2009.

24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell (VMW, YHOO, SNE, EA, SRE, DLPH, CALM, DMAN, SHLD, CSC, PARL, WHR, MHR)

US equity markets rose rather steeply in the first hour of trading this morning, but weren't able to sustain the momentum for long. Consumer confidence indexes rose this month, but home prices fell according to the Case-Shiller index report this morning. The lower housing prices combined with a weaker dollar index held down equities but boosted most commodities. A renewed threat from Iran to close the critical Strait of Hormuz helped push up crude oil prices. WTI crude rose 1.61% to $101.28 and Brent crude is up 0.93% at $108.96. Gold prices fell again today, to $1,594.80, off -0.70%. Last minute selling appears to have pushed the DJIA to a lower close today.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 2 points to 12,291.73 (-0.02%), the NASDAQ rose more than 6 points (0.25%) to 2,625.20, and the S&P 500 rose 0.01% or less than 1 point to 1,265.47.

There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including VMWare Inc. (NYSE: VMW) raised to ��outperform' at Oppenheimer; Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) maintained ��buy' with a price target of $18 at BofA/Merrill Lynch; Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) Japanese target price cut by Barclays; Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) maintained ��buy' with a $28 price target at BofA/Merrill Lynch; and Sempra Energy Inc. (NYSE: SRE) reiterated as ��buy' with a $61 target price at Argus. Delphi Automotive (NYSE: DLPH) received four ratings this morning: initiated as ��outperform' at Credit Suisse; started as ��buy' at BofA/Merrill Lynch; started as ��overweight' at JPMorgan; and started as ��outperform' at R.W. Baird.

Here are today's post-earnings news reactions with prices during the last half-hour of trading: Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) is up nearly 5% at $35.84; and DemandTec, Inc. (NASDAQ: DMAN), which is being acquired by IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), is down about -0.04% at $13.13. This is the beginning of a very light week for earnings.

Other standouts from today include the following stocks:

Sears Holdi! ng Co. ( NASDAQ: SHLD) is down about -26% at $33.95, a new 52-week low. The department store has announced that it will miss its previous earnings forecast by at least 50% and that it will close another 100-120 stores. See more coverage here and here.

Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) is down more than -9% at $24.06. The technology and IT services company has said it may have to take a $1.5 billion writedown on a UK contract. More coverage here.

Parlux Fragrances Inc. (NASDAQ: PARL) is up more than 72% at $5.98, after posting a new 52-week high this morning of $6.60. The perfume maker is being acquired by Perfumania Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PERF) for about $170 million.

Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) is down more than -8% at $46.95. The appliance maker, which makes products for Sears, is caught in that company's dismal announcement.

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. (NYSE: MHR) is up nearly 19% at $5.54. The oil & gas producer has raised its production estimate from 10,000 barrels/day of oil equivalent to 12,500 barrels/day.

Stay tuned for Wednesday. Here are the noteworthy events on the schedule (all times Eastern):

7:00 a.m. – Mortgage Bankers Association purchase applications
11:30 a.m. – Four-week T-bill auction

Paul Ausick

Apple: Will Most iPad Buyers Wait For Next Generation Model?

While the early read on the Apple (AAPL) iPad suggests that demand is just fine, RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky this morning suggests in a research note that the initial demand may not be indicative of the true long-term demand. He contends that an estimated 60% of potential buyers – not sure how he got that number – are going to hold off and await the second generation of iPads, on the theory that future models will fill? holes in the first edition, which lacks a camera, USB ports and Flash support.

The company could unveil a solution to the lack of multi-tasking as soon as Thursday.

Abramsky contends the company is on track to sell 5 million iPads in calendar 2010, with 9 million in 2011.

AAPL is up 24 cents, or 0.1%, to $238.73.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hecla Mining, other miners also tumbling Monday morning

Gold Silver GLD IAU SLVA confluence of coincidences was hitting global stock markets Monday morning. Rather than seeing safe-haven demand, gold and silver were heading downward right along with them. A dysfunctional U.S. Congress unable to agree on a budget package to avoid deep across-the-board budget cuts compounded fears of European sovereign debt contagion.

Spot gold was nearly 1.2% lower at 10 a.m. Monday, while spot silver was down more than 3.8%.

Shares of Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) were down some 5% despite management reaffirming that its 2011 silver, gold and metals production targets won’t be affected by suspending operations at its Lucky Friday mine in northern Idaho following an accident last week that resulted in the death of one young miner working for a contractor.

A raft of U.S. economic data is due out this week that, if positive, could do a lot to stabilize clearly shaken markets. The National Association of Realtors reported that October existing-home sales rose 1.4% and are 13.5% above a year ago. The number of homes on the market continued to decline in October, falling 2.2%, an eight-month supply at the current pace. Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates fell to an all-time low of 4.07%, according to Freddie Mac.

Spot gold was bid at $1,704.20 per ounce, with an ask price of $1,705.20, having traded at a high of $1,714.79 and a low of $1,698.50. The morning reference price fixing was set at $1,704, according to Kitco market data.

Spot silver was bid at $31.17 per ounce with an ask price of $31.27. The morning high as of time of writing was $31.51, and the low was $30.89. Monday’s reference price was set at $30.90 in the London a.m., $1.25 an ounce lower than last Friday’s re! ference price.

Gold and silver trusts were losing value early Monday.

  • The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD) was around 1.15% lower.
  • The iShares Gold Trust (NYSE:IAU) was about 1.25% lower.
  • The iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV) was down nearly 3.4%.

Gold and silver mining ETFs also were down sharply.

  • The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX) was down around 2.4%.
  • The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDXJ) was some 4.5% lower.
  • The Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE:SIL) was nearly 5% lower.

Shares of gold miners were heading south as well.

  • Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM) was nearly 4.3% lower.
  • Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:ABX) dropped about 2%.
  • Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) was down nearly 2.7%.
  • Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE:NEM) was around 0.9% lower.
  • NovaGold Resources (AMEX:NG) was showing losses of around between 3.8% and 4.1%.

Silver miners’ shares also were falling, with Hecla Mining showing steep losses.

  • Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE:CDE) was around 3.5% lower.
  • Hecla Mining was down between 4.8% and 5.2%.
  • Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ:PAAS) was some 2.6% lower.
  • Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE:SLW) was about 3.3% lower.
  • Silver Standard Resources Inc. (NASDAQ:SSRI) was down around 3%.

As of this writing, Andrew Burger did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

This Internet Stock Could Gain 50% in 2012

Do analysts price targets matter? You bet. Any time you see a big gap between rational assessments of fair value and the current share price, it pays to dig deeper.

Roughly 18 months ago, this is precisely why I saw value in shares of travel site (Nasdaq: PCLN). Back then, I noted on that shares of looked oversold at $180, since analysts were suggesting much higher price targets. And you could count on those analysts to talk up the stock in repeated meetings with clients.

At the time, I thought shares look poised to rebound to the $230 to $260 range, where analysts suggested the stock would ultimately reside. I was a bit shy of the mark  -- shares eventually made a move to $550.

The huge run implies investors have missed the boat. But now, after dropping $100 in the past month back to about $450, those same Wall Street analysts once again see a lot more upside, anticipating 30%, 40% or even 50% gains in the next year. Let's see why they're so bullish on the stock...

Michael Millman, of Millman Research, has a $585 price target on Priceline. He is actually one of the least bullish analysts following the company. He is concerned about "being overconfident about Priceline's ability to continually and substantially beat guidance -- despite management's warnings." He's got a point; Priceline has topped earnings per share (EPS) forecasts by roughly $0.60 in each of the past two quarters, and this kind of outperformance comes to be expected by momentum investors. So if simply met analysts' forecasts in the current quarter, then shares may see further profit-taking. Still, his price target is nearly 30% above current levels.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs are a bit more bullish, an! ticipati ng a move up to $610. They like the fact that Priceline has the industry's most robust growth prospects -- especially in the international sphere, though its shares merely trade in-line with the peer group. Analysts acknowledge that economic troubles in Europe could dampen results in the near-term, but "believe that, to a degree, these concerns are already reflected in the stock." They say shares, trading at about 9 times projected 2013 EBITDA (on an enterprise-value basis) will trade up to 11.5 times EBITDA once these European concerns abate. This implies about 32% upside from current levels.

Merrill Lynch analysts, with a $660 price target, calls their "Online Travel pick." They're particularly enthused about Priceline's site, which is likely to see increased market share in the United States and Asia in coming quarters. They add that Priceline has the "most operating leverage in the sector." They are correct. Take a look at Priceline's EBITDA margins during the past eight years:

 The chart above helps explain why Priceline's bottom line keeps expanding much faster than its top line. Analysts expect sales to jump 40% in 2011 to $4.33 billion, but expect EPS to grow an even more robust 72%. Sales in 2012 are expected to rise about 25% to $5.4 billion, while EPS could jump a healthier 30% to about $30, according to consensus forecasts.

Shares trade for about 15 times that consensus 2012 profit forecast, though Merrill Lynch analysts argue for a multiple of 22, which is reasonable in light of the 30% projected profit growth rate for 2012.

Yet its Citigroup's Mark Mahaney, and his $700 price target, that really got my attention. Looking at recent third-quarter results, he noted a hefty 78% jump in EBITDA from a year earlier. "Very few companies can do this... and we don't know any ! that are carrying a 16X P/E [price to earnings ratio]," he notes. (Shares have fallen since that Nov. 7 note to clients, now trading at 15 times his forecast).

Mahaney sees four reasons to be so bullish:

  • The shift to online travel from traditional travel agencies shows no signs of slowing down.
  • The company still has modest market share in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
  • Priceline carries the best inventory of hotel rooms in the industry.
  • And the company continues to operate at a very high level of efficiency.

This last point explains why many mutual funds consider to be a "must-own" holding. As Mahaney notes, "this management team has worked through several near-corporate-death experiences (9/11, dot-com burst, etc.). We also have a bias for what we view to be Shut Up & Deliver Management teams like PCLN."

To reach Mahaney's lofty $700 price target -- which would represent 50% upside -- the global economy would need to look a bit healthier in 2012. Investors need to trust that Priceline will be able to keep delivering the robust growth that's currently embedded in forecasts.

Risks to Consider: occasionally delivers a subpar quarter. That's what happened a few years ago, when a volcano eruption in Iceland temporarily dampened air travel to Europe. The current crisis in Europe could lead to a temporary slowdown in business travel as well.

The Weather Channel Is For Sale

According to The New York Times, The Weather Channel is for sale by owner Landmark. The price is estimated to be about $5 billion. That number seems low.

The cable operation has reaches more than 87 million homes, or about 95% of all cable households.

Programming costs are probably low. It is safe to assume that anchors get only modest pay and that access to National Weather Service data is cheap, if not free.

comScore puts’s audience at over 34.1 million unique visitors in November. That ranks in No.16 in the US and ahead of the audiences of the CBS (CBS) online properties, Comcast’s (CMCSA) online operations, Disney (DIS), and ESPN.

The sale of a property like this only comes around every few years.

Douglas A. McIntyre

NHTSA study finds Toyota accidents due to driver error

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration received more than 3,000 complaints of sudden acceleration in several models produced by Toyota Motors (TM). Of the reported problems, 75 resulted in fatal accidents and claimed 93 lives. Toyota recalled more than 8 million cars world-wide to fix the interfering floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals that are believed to be responsible for the complaints.

The NHTSA has now reviewed data from “black box” recording devices in Toyota cars, and the records analyzed so far match results from a 1989 study of Audi models also accused of have sticky accelerators. Drivers mistakenly stepped on the accelerator when they intended instead to step on the brakes, at least in many cases. The data recorders from Toyota show that throttles were fully opened and brakes were not engaged when the accidents happened.

Toyota is still not off the hook however. Government tests have so far found no defects in the cars’ electronic-throttle control systems. The sticking accelerators and interfering floor mats are still issues that Toyota must resolve.

The data recorders reviewed by the NHTSA were selected by the agency, not Toyota, from among those removed from cars involved in recent accidents. The recorders’ memory can be lost if disconnected from the cars’ electrical supply, and Toyota has pointed out that the data in the recorders may be unreliable.

The black boxes were not designed to determine the cause of an accident, according to the company. They only indicate if the electronic systems in the car are operating properly.

To date, only one fatal accident has been definitively linked to the interfering floor mat, and none to the sticking accelerator.

Toyota has already paid a fine of $16.4 million for failing to disclose the information it had on the sticking accelerator pedal. But the company did not admit doing anything w! rong.

In some ways, that fine and Toyota’s tactic to dodge responsibility seem about right. The fine was levied for not disclosing the fact that there were thousands of reports of accelerator problems with Toyota’s cars. The company recalled a massive number of cars and fixed the problem. Perhaps the company should have paid a much larger fine, but the amount was capped by Congress.

And on the evidence so far at least, the electronics appear to have been working properly and operator error is the most likely cause of these accidents. There’s no reason Toyota should accept guilt for those.

Toyota’s dim-witted response to these issues when they were raised earlier this year makes it difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt now. But that does seem like the fair thing to do.

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The True Cause Of America¡¯s Troubles

Are you wondering why the U.S. economy has now stagnated �� despite the largest government stimulus, bailouts, stimulus, and money printing of all time?

Are you puzzled why the real income of American households has just suffered its worst plunge in recorded history �� despite the so-called "recovery" of 2009-2011?

Do you want to know why it now takes 40.5 weeks for the average unemployed worker to find a new job �� also the worst in recorded history?

And are you flabbergasted by the utter failure of the U.S. Congress to do anything about trillion-dollar federal deficits for years to come?

Then, let me tell you precisely what's causing this mess.

The fundamental source of the nation's troubles is DEBTS that are far larger and more destructive than Washington admits.

Indeed, the U.S. government is covering up the magnitude of the nation's debt disasters with three major deceptions:

Debt Deception #1
Washington Excludes the Massive
Debts of Federal Government Agencies

"As long as the government's debt burden is under 100 percent of GDP," they say, "we can handle it. It's only when it surpasses the 100 percent threshold that we'll be in danger."

True or false?

Let's look at the numbers:

??U.S. GDP is $14.6 trillion. And ��

??According to the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds, U.S. Treasury debts outstanding are $9.7 trillion.

??So that means the debts are well under the 100 percent danger threshold, right?

Wrong! The authorities conveniently ignore a massive $7.6 trillion of additional government debts that have piled up on the books of U.S. government agencies, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These agencies were created by the U.S. government, have always been controlled by the U.S. government, and now, after the federal bailouts of the last ! debt cri sis, are even owned by the U.S. government.

How in the world anyone could possibly exclude their debts from the U.S. government's books is beyond me. And yet that's precisely what Washington does.

Add those debts to the government's total burden �� and guess what! Instead of $9.7 trillion in U.S. government debts outstanding, the actual total comes to $17.3 trillion �� a whopping 118.3 percent of GDP!

How bad is that?

Well, back in 1970, about eight months before President Richard Nixon devalued the dollar and abandoned the gold standard, all U.S. government debts (even including government agencies) was only 32.9 percent of GDP.

Now, at 118.3 percent, the nation's debt load is nearly FOUR times worse �� in an economy that's far less competitive than it was in the 1970s.

Moreover, at 118.3 percent of GDP, the U.S.

government now has roughly the same horrendous debt burden as Greece had before its collapse and as much as Italy has today!

Debt Deception #2
Wall Street and Main Street Are
Also Swimming in Excess Debts

The current debate in Washington seems to be focused almost exclusively on U.S. government debts and deficits. ?

However, the debt burden of U.S. households, local governments, and corporations is also the biggest in history.

In fact, throughout more than two centuries of American history, total U.S. debts (including BOTH public and private sectors) almost never exceeded 200 percent of GDP; and when it did, it was invariably a cause for grave alarm.

Now, it has mushroomed from 154 percent of GDP in 1970 to a nosebleed level of 360 percent of GDP this year.

Needless to say, this is a massive, inescapable burden that pervades nearly every aspect of American life �� via mortgages, credit cards, bank loans, municipal debt, and corporate debts of all kind.

Debt Deception #3

Since 2009, the giant U.S. engine for the creation of new PRIVATE-sector credit has utterly collapsed.

Sure, the federal government and its agencies continue to borrow money at a torrid pace �� to finance their massive deficits. But ��

In nearly all U.S. sectors outside of the federal government, instead of new credit being created, old credit is being destroyed.

I have never seen this happen before in my lifetime! Nor did my father, J. Irving Weiss.

Dad began compiling statistics on the creation of new credit in the early 1940s. And he introduced his methodology to the Federal Reserve's research department soon after World War II, which they later adopted, calling it the Flow of Funds.

So if anyone could have been in a position to track this phenomenon, Dad would have been the one. But he told me �� emphatically and repeatedly �� that in all the years he tracked it, he never saw a sustained, outright NET contraction of credit.

was robust and booming: At its peak in 2006, the U.S. added a net of $3.5 trillion in new mortgages, consumer credit, and other nonfederal debts.

And in 2007, it added another $3.3 trillion, according to the Fed's Flow of Funds.

Then, suddenly, in 2008, banks began cutting back on new loans. Hundreds of billions of mortgages went into foreclosure. And combined, the net overall expansion of credit outside of the federal government plunged by a shocking ! 83 perce nt from the prior year �� to a meager half-trillion dollars!

Can you imagine that?

Think about what the impact would have been of an 83 percent plunge in the stock market �� or in any sector of the economy!

Yet here you had precisely that kind of a collapse in THE most fundamental source of stimulus for the U.S. economy �� credit!

But if that sounds bad, wait till you hear the rest of the story ��

In 2009, as millions of Americans defaulted on their mortgages, auto loans, or credit cards �� and as thousands of banks tightened up their lending standards for new credit �� we actually witnessed a massive liquidation of private credit.

When the dust settled, the Fed tabulated a net destruction of credit to the tune of $1.99 trillion in mortgages, consumer credit, bank loans, and other nonfederal debts.

It was literally the biggest decline of credit outstanding in recorded history.

If it ended there, it would have been bad enough. But it didn't. The credit carnage continued in 2010 and is still taking place now in 2011:

All told, in the 30 months between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011, the U.S. has witnessed the net destruction of nearly $3.2 trillion in nonfederal credit.

Remember: Credit is the stuff that drives the U.S. economy �� that millions of American families are addicted to in order to maintain their spending habits and lifestyle �� that businesses count on to keep their sales and earnings flowing.

So now do you understand why the economy is stagnating? It's quite simple when you think about it:

Washington is hogging nearly all the new credit available to finance its out-of-control deficits. But nearly everyone else is sucking hind teeth or, worse, getting kicked out of the pen entirely!

No wonder households are suffering such huge income declines despite the "recovery"!

No ! wonder i t's taking an average of 40.5 weeks for folks losing their job to find a new one!

No wonder Congress is hopelessly deadlocked on budget fixes! With households and small businesses already suffering massive credit withdrawal, no politicians in their right mind would to go to their home district to impose even more pain.

The Microsoft Effect: Will Google Become What It Fears?

Former Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) CEO Steve Jobs once warned Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) co-founder Larry Page that the search giant was dangerously close to becoming another Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) -- that is, a company that was spreading itself too thin by trying to do everything. In Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, the late Apple leader recounted his advice to Page, who became Google's CEO last April: "Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It's now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they're dragging you down. They're turning you into Microsoft."

Is Google becoming too bloated? In recent years, the company has grown from being simply a search-engine company to having a hand in a range of sectors including mobile, social media, cloud computing, digital music sales, and more. Like Jobs, some analysts are beginning to speculate that Google's expansion will make it more difficult for innovative ideas to come to the surface.

How can Google avoid some of the missteps Microsoft made during its rapid expansion? And what can the search company learn from Microsoft -- which, after all, continues to be a profitable company despite charges that its size has made it less nimble in reacting to market changes and introducing game-changing products?

"Microsoft's great fear was always that it would turn into IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , which it viewed as a bureaucratic organization living off of past glories," says Kevin Werbach, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton. "Google's fear is that it will become Microsoft, which it views as a company that wins through bullying rather than technical prowess. Microsoft became what it feared. Google's challenge is to remain open and innovative afte! r achiev ing Microsoft-like domination of its core market."

Comparisons between Google and Microsoft began to surface soon after the search-engine company went public in 2004. Both firms started out dominating in one area -- for Google, it was search; for Microsoft, it was the Windows operating system. By leveraging those core strengths, the companies were able to move into new markets. Google expanded into display advertising and later the mobile-phone space with its Android operating system. Microsoft expanded into other software products, such as its Office word-processing suite, and into the entertainment sector with its Xbox video-game system.

The two are now competing directly on several fronts. Microsoft's Bing search engine hopes to steal market share from Google's dominant search service. Microsoft has also tried to expand into mobile with its Windows Phone 7 operating system. Wharton management professor Saikat Chaudhuri notes that both Google and Microsoft started out as engineering-focused companies. "Search is Google's Windows. The comparison between Google and Microsoft is apt," he says. "Both have become large incumbent players looking to new growth areas."

The terrible teens
But Google and Microsoft are at very different stages in their life spans. "Google is in its teenage years," Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Andrea Matwyshyn notes. "There's a different tenor in the way [the two] perceive value creation."

In Google's initial public offering prospectus, co-founders Page and Sergey Brin outlined their "don't be evil" motto, which revolved around the idea that stakeholders "will be better served -- as shareholders and in all other ways -- by a company that does good things for the world, even if we forgo some short-term gains."

Since that letter, however, Google, like Microsoft before it, has drawn the scrutiny of antitrust regulators from the United States and Europe regarding Google's business practices and whether its domina! nce in t he search market can be considered a monopoly. Microsoft dealt with a comparable situation in the late 1990s, when the company was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 states that alleged Microsoft abused its dominant market position in the way it sold operating systems and Web browsers.

Testifying before a Senate subcommittee on antitrust on Sept. 21, 2011, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt argued that times and the technology market are much different than they were when Microsoft was grappling with similar issues. He also noted that Microsoft has integrated Bing into many of its products and brokered strategic deals to make it the exclusive search engine for sites such as Yahoo! and Facebook. According to Schmidt, those efforts have generated speculation that the search engine "could overtake Google as early as 2012."

According to November figures from research firm comScore, however, Google controlled a commanding 67.6% of the search engine market, compared with a 26.7% share for Bing. "Google resembles Microsoft more than Google thinks it does," Matwyshyn points out.

The challenge of growth
Wharton experts suggest that, rather than simply backing away from comparisons to Microsoft, Google should closely examine the other company's history and try to learn from it. "Jobs' comment to Larry Page is ironic, because Apple and Microsoft are both ruthlessly controlling in a way that Google never was," says Werbach. "I'm not sure Apple's relentless focus would be the right approach for Google. The surest path for Google to become more Microsoft-like would be to adopt the top-down mindset that Jobs employed at Apple. Android is a great example [of why that may be unwise.] The only reason Google surpassed Microsoft and caught up to Apple in mobile is that it gave away an open platform, which neither of those companies would ever do."

But as Google becomes larger, it can expect to face a new set of challenges. For the year ending Dec. 3! 1, Googl e is expected to report earnings of $9.57 billion on revenue of $29.3 billion, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. By contrast, Microsoft reported net income of $23.15 billion on revenue of $69.94 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30. "It becomes challenging for any company to remain innovative after reaching a certain scale," says Wharton new media director Kendall Whitehouse. "The larger a company gets, the more product development becomes procedural. The danger is that some innovative ideas get squelched. How do you keep that startup entrepreneurial spirit alive while keeping your current revenue streams going?"

Chaudhuri agrees. "Google is known for an innovative spirit, but it will have to think about [instituting] centralized processes [as it grows], and that creates risks." In addition, larger companies need to make bigger splashes with new products or services in order to significantly impact revenue. "Companies like Google and Microsoft need to have big new things," says Chaudhuri. "Innovations can't be little new things, or they have limited impact from an organizational point of view."

Microsoft has tried to foster a culture of innovation through tasking smaller, autonomous groups with working on new projects. For instance, Microsoft's Xbox effort started out as a division separate from the Windows juggernaut, Whitehouse notes. Google's approach is to allow employees to carve out a percentage of their time to focus on new technologies, says Werbach. "Larry Page taking over for Eric Schmidt as CEO indicates that Google has no intention of 'growing up,'" he states. "It's doubling down on its engineering roots."

Indeed, Google has demonstrated a willingness to keep experimenting with services until it finds a version that catches on with consumers. The company's social-media efforts, for example, have cycled through the unsuccessful Google Buzz and Google Wave. Now, the search giant is trying to build Google+ into a viable competitor to Facebook.

Every year, co-f! ounders Page and Brin write a letter to shareholders. In the 2010 edition, they noted that Google has been "prepared, from the get-go, to place big bets on new technologies -- with the full knowledge that not all of these will always pay off." Indeed, Page scuttled a series of projects in the last year, including the personal health record service Google Health and a plan to digitize the world's newspaper archives and make them available online.

But just like Microsoft before it, Google would not be able to completely halt the natural change in culture that occurs as companies grow. The challenge for Google will be to hold on to its reputation for innovation and experimentation, and to continue to attract top tech talent, even if newer firms are heralded as the "next big thing." "In the hierarchy of Silicon Valley, Google is already less exciting than Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga," Werbach points out. "But that's inevitable with scale and age."

Matwyshyn points to Microsoft as an example of why Google might have trouble staying nimble as it grows. "Microsoft has a lot of good ideas internally, but they don't always bubble up to the production line," says Matwyshyn, adding that "Microsoft also has bad timing." Although the software firm was initially ahead at developing touchscreen technology, she notes, it took Apple's iPhone to make the feature popular. Microsoft also entered the tablet market before consumers were ready, only to watch Apple dominate the market.

Google "has a better sense of what consumers are ready for," Matwyshyn says. But the search giant has also occasionally missed the target. For example, Google TV, an Android-based set-top box, was supposed to integrate the Web with the digital living room. But like Microsoft's WebTV offering and other similar efforts, the project has struggled to catch on. "These companies get big, and it's hard to keep the innovation engine running," Chaudhuri says. "It's a classic problem."

Although the Google-Microsoft comparison has recently ! become a popular topic among technology analysts, experts at Wharton say that there is a group of tech companies that are all converging on the same turf. And it is highly likely that these companies also will run into the same issues as Microsoft over time. "A lot of big technology companies are starting to look alike," Wharton management professor Lawrence Hrebiniak notes. "Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are converging. There's a lot of stepping on toes."

Whitehouse adds Microsoft to the list of companies entering into increasing competition with Google, (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , Apple, and Facebook. He notes that each originally focused on a core strength and then expanded into markets dominated by competitors. "Google began with search and then expanded into mobile. Microsoft was built on Windows, but then expanded into search, mobile, and gaming platforms. Amazon started in online commerce and then expanded into content delivery and infrastructure services," says Whitehouse. "These are different companies with different histories, but they will continue to compete more and more in the future and will, no doubt, look to take advantage of any missteps of their competitors."


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Portfolio Products: Granite Launches Value Fund, Knight Capital Group Adds Two

New products introduced over the last week include a new value fund from Granite Investment Advisors and two new ETF mutual funds from Knight Capital; the adoption of a FTSE benchmark by Vanguard for one of its funds; and the addition of more tools to its active trading platform by Schwab.

In addition, Eagle Asset Management’s Small Cap Core Value Fund is now rated by Morningstar, and the Russell Global Index gained 31 IPOs.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Granite Investment Advisors to Launch First Retail Mutual Fund

New Hampshire-based Granite Investment Advisors has announced that on Jan. 4 it will publicly launch its first retail mutual fund, the Granite Value Fund (GVFIX). The fund will be a concentrated portfolio of 30 to 40 mid-cap and large companies.

Scott Schermerhorn, CEO and CIO of the firm, will serve as portfolio manager of the new fund, which will have an expense ratio of 135 basis points.

2) Knight Announces Launch of Two ETF Mutual Funds from Astor

Knight Capital Group Inc. announced that subsidiary Astor Asset Management launched the Astor Active Income ETF Fund and the Astor SP Growth ETF Fund on December 21.

The Astor Active Income ETF Fund (A share: AXAIX; C share: CXAIX) takes a tactical approach to fixed-income investing based on macroeconomic principles and yield curve analysis, and seeks to provide investors with yield while protecting capital.

The Astor SP Growth ETF Fund (A share: ASPGX; C share: CSPGX) follows a tactical asset allocation approach based on macroeconomic fundamentals and seeks to provide a lower level of volatility than the broad equity markets over a complete market cycle.

3) Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund Adopts Broader FTSE Benchmark

Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund announced recently that it has changed its target benchmark to the FTSE Global All Cap Index from the FTSE All-World Index. The new target benchmark, a float-adjusted, market-capitalization-weighted index designed to measure the equity market performance of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks worldwide, offers broader diversification by adding exposure to U.S. and international small-capitalization stocks.

The fund invests in a broadly diversified sampling of securities from the benchmark, which comprises nearly 7,400 securities in 47 countries and captures 98% of the world's investable stock market capitalization. Approximately 56% of the index is made up of stocks from outside the U.S.

The transition to the new benchmark was recently completed for the investor (VTWSX), institutional (VTWIX) and ETF (VT) shares of the fund, which is not expected to generate any capital gain distributions as a result. Vanguard also expects the expense ratios to remain unchanged: 0.45% for VTWSX, 0.23% for VTWIX, and 0.25% for VT. It has also eliminated the 0.25% purchase fee on VTWSX and VTWIX, effective immediately.

Vanguard has also filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission C for Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund, which will seek to track the investment performance of the broad

international bond market as represented by the Barclays Global Aggregate ex-USD Float Adjusted Index (Hedged).

4) Schwab Enhances Order Entry Capabilities and Adds Tools for Active Trading Platform

Charles Schwab announced Dec. 19 a new suite of enhancements to StreetSmart Edge, its platform for active traders, which incorporates more flexible order entry capabilities and new market monitoring features. The new tools are integrated into the platform workflow to help clients identify new trading opportunities and efficiently execute their trading strategies.

Highlights include customizable stock screening; heightened market monitoring; integrated access to the ETF Screener; and a notes feature.

5) Eagle Asset Management Announces Three Years, Four Stars

Eagle Asset Management Inc. announced on Dec. 14 that its Eagle Small Cap Core Value Fund, which as of March 1, 2012 will be called the Eagle Smaller Company Fund, has achieved its three-year anniversary and is now rated by Morningstar. The fund’s Class C (EGECX), I (EGEIX), R-3 (EGERX), R-5 (EGESX) and R-6 (EGEUX) shares received Morningstar’s 4-star rating based on risk-adjusted performance as of Nov. 30, out of 573 funds in the small-cap blend category.

The fund is co-managed by Dave Adams, CFA, and Jack McPherson, CFA, of Eagle Boston Investment Management Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eagle.

6) Russell Global Index Gains 31 IPOs

Russell Investments announced that it added 31 initial public offerings (IPOs) to the Russell Global Index for the fourth quarter of 2011 on Dec. 19, including 11 additions to the U.S. small cap Russell 2000 Index, consistent with the firm’s systematic quarterly process. Of the 15 IPOs added to the Russell Global ex-U.S. Index, 12 are across the Asia-Pacific region, with eight falling into Asia-Pacific emerging markets as classified by Russell Indexes. Four companies become part of the Russell Greater China Index.

In the U.S., 16 IPOs were added to the U.S. broad market Russell 3000 Index, including one to the large-cap Russell 1000 Index and 11 into the small-cap Russell 2000 Index. Four additional companies joined the Russell Microcap Index. Overall, this is nine fewer IPOs than were added in the U.S. in Q3 of 2011. The total of 31 IPOs added to the global index in Q4 represents a significant drop from the 90 IPOs added in Q3 2011.

Some of the key U.S. IPO additions to the Russell 3000 Index for this quarter include Groupon Inc. (GRPN), Angie’s List Inc. (ANGI) and Manning & Napier Inc. (MN).

Read last week’s Portfolio Products Roundup at

Galleon Paid Bankers Hundreds of Millions for Information

An increasing number of marginal exploration and production projects are being fired up, due to the expectation of a dwindling oil supply. As oil prices rise, it becomes extremely profitable to tease oil out of higher cost reservoirs and reserves. This is the bread and butter of oilfield service providers.

These companies include drillers and drilling rig operators, drilling equipment manufacturers, well service providers and a multitude of other companies tied to the production and distribution of oil—companies that have been sitting on the sidelines for years. Not being truly appreciated for their technologies. Now it is their time to step up to the plate and nail one out of the park.

Not Convinced?

My name is Jon Markman and for the past 16 years, I’ve been helping individual investors build their results with 26% annual returns no matter what the stock market throws at us or what is happening half a world away.

 All this is done by buying dominant companies in overlooked and profitable micro-niche sectors—before Wall Street takes notice and builds up the stock price.

I’ve been telling my subscribers about these types of micro-niche companies in my Strategic Advantage service. And I don’t want you to miss out on these profitable opportunities, because we’ve been raking in the gains.

Oilfield services providers is just one example of a micro-niche sector—but I have many others on my current buy list. But since there is so much money to be made in this area right now—before the rest of the world catches on—that’s where I want to focus today.

Just check out the gains in my top three oilfield services providers that subscribers to my Strategic Advantage service are already sitting on:

  • Oilfield Service Provider #1: 300% in just 11 months
  • Oilfield Service Provider #2: 58% in only one month
  • Oilfield Service Provider #3: 12% in two months

Start Digging

My favorite pick in this energy sector niche is a microcap oilfield service provider that is underappreciated and materially undervalued despite strong growth potential. In just two years, this company has grown revenues fivefold to $100 million and analysts forecast sales of $165 million for this year.

Many companies find one technology that works and build their whole business around it. And if it fails, the company goes under. This oilfield service provider isn’t one of those companies. There are five keys to its growth path and rising stock price:

  • Proprietary chemicals and proprietary “artificial lift” devices
  • Expansion of drilling tool rentals
  • The ability to grow both organically as well as through acquisition
  • The ability to grow its customer base both in number and geographically
  • An expansion of earnings multiple

This company has grown revenues at its chemical and logistics division to an estimated $95 million this year from $12 million in 2003. Most of that growth has been organic, which means it has come as a result of the hard work of its own R&D and sales teams — not from acquisitions. And it believes that it only holds 2% of a $3 billion market for oilfield chemicals, so, as you can see, there is plenty of room for more market share growth.

The company’s key products are called “microemulsion chemistry.” These chemicals help in acidizing, fracturing, cementing and drilling applications. They’re especially helpful to oil companies that are trying to recover more oil from mature fields. An independent study showed that this company’s chemicals improved production rates at 250 test fields by 40%.

One of the cool things about these chemicals is that their main feedstock is citrus oils, known as “terpinenes.” They are literally refined from orange, grapefr! uit, lem on and lime rinds, much like the ingredients that you will see in many household cleaning products. And because it is made from fruit, it is biodegradable, which means it is environmentally friendly at a time when even the down-and-dirty energy companies care about such things.

So, who uses this stuff? Mainly, it is the large pressure-pumping operators among the oilfield services companies. Halliburton is this company’s largest customer and reportedly uses its fracturing fluids as a key differentiator in its sales pitch to Eastern Hemisphere customers. Schlumberger (SLB) and BJ Services (BJS) are also said to have started using these chemicals after a long test period, and their ramp-up in application will be a big part of a real acceleration in this company’s sales over the next couple of years.

Just to give you an idea of how it’s going: chemical sales are already running $1.8 million per week, compared with $8 million in all of 2005! Plus the firm’s chemistry R&D team has grown to 15 professionals who are working with a budget that is expected to triple to $2.1 million this year.

So Who Is It Already??

My #1 pick in this area has raked in a sweet 300% gain in less than a year. Did we strike black god? You bet. The stock is trading at around $48 with we’re looking at growth expectations north of 50% in 2008. Please don’t be put off by the success we’ve had so far—this stock is still cheap and as more and more investors realize its golden potential, they’re going to pay a premium for its shares!

Click here to learn more about this profitable niche in the energy sector and the name of my favorite company that is gushing black gold!

Keith Fitz-Gerald: Why Europe's Latest Bailout Won't Work

Wall St. Watchdog reveals information about top dividends declared at publicly traded companies for the week ending Dec 23rd, 2011.

Korea Fund, Inc. (The) New Comm (NYSE:KF) announced a dividend of $4.5 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-28. That��s no change versus the previous dividend of $4.5. The new dividend yield is 0.7%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap (NYSE:BRF) announced a dividend of $3.817 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-23. That��s a 241.41% increase versus the previous dividend of $1.118. The new dividend yield is 8.2%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

WisdomTree Dreyfus Brazilian Re (NYSE:BZF) announced a dividend of $3.4039 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-21. That��s no change versus the previous dividend of $3.4039. The new dividend yield is 29.1%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

WisdomTree Dreyfus Indian Rupee (NYSE:ICN) announced a dividend of $3.2802 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-21. That��s a 1044.52% increase versus the previous dividend of $0.2866. The new dividend yield is 16.2%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

RP Growth ETF (NYSE:RPX) announced a dividend of $2.6147 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-23. That��s a 97.41% increase versus the previous dividend of $1.3245. The new dividend yield is 0.2%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Vanguard FTSE AW exUS Sm-Cp ETF (NYSE:VSS) announced a dividend of $2.474 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-21. That��s a 615.03% increase versus the previous dividend of $0.346. The new dividend yield is 3.2%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

WisdomTree Dreyfus Brazilian Re (NYSE:BZF) announced a dividend of $2.3222 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-21. That��s a 3! 1.78% de crease versus the previous dividend of $3.4039. The new dividend yield is 29.1%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Grail American Beacon Large Cap (NYSE:GVT) announced a dividend of $2.198 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-23. That��s a 81.98% increase versus the previous dividend of $1.2078. The new dividend yield is 1.8%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (NYSE:EWP) announced a dividend of $2.1209 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-20. That��s a 164.32% increase versus the previous dividend of $0.8024. The new dividend yield is 9.7%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Central Europe and Russia Fund, (NYSE:CEE) announced a dividend of $2.115 with a Dividend Ex. Date of 2011-12-28. That��s a 470.08% increase versus the previous dividend of $0.371. The new dividend yield is 0.8%. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Cars So Hot They Are Out of Stock

This year is expected to be the best for domestic new car sales since 2006, the year before the recession began. The increase in buyer activity has been large enough that several car and light truck brands are virtually out of stock. These are a mix mostly of extremely expensive cars and very inexpensive ones as heavy demand appears to be concentrated at both ends of the market. 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the most oversold vehicles during November.

Domestic car sales in 2005 and 2006 were above 16 million each year. Sales dropped below 9 million in 2009. This year, major car companies and automotive research firms expect U.S. vehicle sales to be nearly 13.5 million. While that does not approach the industry's best years, car manufacturers have cut enough out of their factory and worker costs that most can now make money at the 13 million annual sales level.

Most years, a few car models are in short supply. This is because either a manufacturer underestimates demand or there is an interruption in supply because of manufacturing problems. This year, heavy demand appears to be concentrated among those who want inexpensive and fuel-efficient cars at one end, and those consumers for whom price and gas mileage are not much of a consideration.

The industry measurement of car supply is "days to turn," or "days on the lot." This is defined as the average number of days vehicles are in the inventory of all dealers that offer the car before they are sold during the month measured. The industry's average is about 50 days when spread across a large car company's national inventory at its dealers. Some unpopular vehicles can remain for as many as 120 days on the lot. Cars and light trucks, which are virtually unavailable at most dealers, only stay 15 days or fewer on the lot. A figure this low means that only a few dealers nationwide have supply of these cars or light trucks.

24/7 Wall St. used data from Edmunds to determine which cars were hardest for buyers to find in November. T! he list includes two BMW models, one Mercedes, one Audi and one Lexus — all expensive cars. It also includes two models from low-price manufacturer Hyundai and one from sister company Kia. In addition to those, the list has one Toyota (NYSE: TM) and one Subaru on it. Each of these had a relatively low sticker price.

These are the cars so hot they are out of stock.

Analysts' Actions: CUB, GILD, UBNT


Akamai(AKAM) was upgraded to Buy at TheStreet Ratings.Cubic(CUB) was downgraded at JP Morgan to Neutral. Company lacks sales visibility and near-term catalysts, JP Morgan said.

E-House China(EJ) was downgraded to Sell at TheStreet Ratings.

Gilead(GILD) was downgraded at Argus Research from Buy to Hold. Acquisition will weigh on earnings for a few years, Argus said.

Informatica(INFA) was started with a Neutral rating at Robert Baird. Valuation call, based on a $50 price target, Baird said.

Medtronic(MDT) was upgraded at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to Buy. Valuation call, based on a $42 price target, BofA/Merrill said.

Ubiquiti Networks(UBNT) was initiated with a Buy rating at UBS. $25 price target. Large addressable market and innovative business model, UBS said.

Ubiquiti Networks was initiated with a Buy rating at Deutsche Bank. Company is expanding Internet access to more remote areas of the world. $30 price target.

WGL(WGL) was downgraded at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch from Neutral to Underperform. Valuation call, based on a $38 price target.


Chico's FAS(CHS) estimates were lowered through 2012 at Oppenheimer. Disappointing traffic and lower units per transaction, Oppenheimer said. Perform rating.

Chico's FAS estimates, target were lowered at UBS. Shares are now seen reaching $11. Estimates were also lowered on pressure to end the year with a clean inventory, UBS said. Neutral rating.

Chico's FAS target reduced at Morgan Stanley. Shares are now seen reaching $12. Company face! s potent ial inventory risk, Morgan Stanley said. Equal-weight rating.

Eaton Vance(EV) estimates were lowered at Sterne Agee through 2013. Outlook promising, but return to historical growth rates unlikely near term, Sterne Agee said. Maintain $27 price target and Neutral rating.

Eaton Vance estimates, target lowered at Citigroup. Shares of EV now seen reaching $20. Estimates were also lowered on declining organic growth, Citigroup said. Sell rating.

First Cash Financial Services(FCFS) estimates were raised at Sterne Agee through 2012 on jewelry scrapping volume, margins and peso exchange rate. Maintain $36 price target and Underperform rating.

Genesco(GCO) estimates were increased through 2013 at Sterne Agee. Fourth quarter is off to a strong start, and guidance is conservative Sterne Agee said. Maintain $70 price target and Buy rating.

Hewlett-Packard(HP) estimates, target were adjusted at Citigroup. Shares are now seen reaching $35. Estimates were lowered on near-term headwinds, Citigroup said. Buy rating.

Hormel Foods(HRL) numbers were increased at Credit Suisse through 2013. Company boosted guidance. Neutral rating and new $32 price target, Credit Suisse said.

Cheniere Energy(LNG) estimates, target were raised at Citigroup. Shares are now seen reaching $19. Estimates were also increased on updated costs of various projects, Citigroup said. Buy rating.

Medtronic(MDT) estimates were lowered through 2012 at Jefferies. Growth challenges, Jefferies said. Hold rating.

Medtronic target was reduced at Brean Murray to $42. Company lacks near-term catalysts, Brean Murray said.

MarkWest Energy(MWE) n! umbers w ere increased at UBS. Shares are now seen reaching $57. Estimates were also increased on positive growth prospects, UBS said. Buy rating.

Nuance Comm.(NUAN) estimates were raised at Oppenheimer through 2012. Better-than-expected results. Outperform rating.

Nuance Comm. target was raised at ThinkEquity to $22. Company continues to deliver solid growth, ThinkEquity said. Hold rating.

Nuance Comm. estimates were increased at UBS through 2012. Mobile segment could be at an inflection point, UBS said. Maintain $29 price target and Buy rating.

Sprint Nextel(S) numbers were lowered at Kaufman Bros. Shares are now seen reaching $2.35. Estimates were also cut, given the iPhone launch and higher network investment, Kaufman Bros. said. Hold rating.

Valspar(VAL) was downgraded at JP Morgan from Overweight to Neutral. Valuation call, based on a $37 price target, JP Morgan said.

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Apple Loses European Market Share, Cash Strapped Buyers Pass On iPhones

It seems the Euro crises could be causing Europeans to look beyond expensive iPhones, and opt for cheaper alternatives powered by Google’s Android. A study by the Kantar Group, a research firm based in London, revealed that Apple��s smartphone market share declined in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to name a few in the last few months. [1]

Our $503 price estimate for Apple stock is about 25% above market price.

See our complete analysis for Apple stock here

Apple��s loss is Android��s gain

According to the report, during the 12 weeks ending November month, Apple��s smartphone market share declined from 29% to 20% while it declined from 27% to 22% in Germany. [1] The iPhone 4S helped Apple gain market share in the U.S. and Britain, but significant market share loss in Europe should be concerning Apple. Weakening global economy and fear of recessionary environment coming back in the near future could make this situation worse for Apple. Android, on the other hand, continues to flourish and enjoyed a dominant market share of 61% in Germany with the Samsung Galaxy II, its flagship product.

What should Apple do?

Apple has traditionally maintained higher prices for the iPhone by leveraging its brand value and gaining maximum profits during the process. However, we believe that Apple could gain by showing some price flexibility on the iPhone 4S, especially for weaker economies such as Europe.

It would mean that it will have to compromise on relatively high margins, but! it woul d help Apple avoid market share deterioration. We believe that the continuous market share losses at the hands of Android could be detrimental to Apple��s long-term outlook.

Another initiative that Apple could take is to come up with a cheaper iPhone with lower specifications than the current iPhone 4S. Before Apple launched iPhone 4S, there were strong rumors that it would come up with two versions of iPhone with one better suited for emerging markets that are more price sensitive.

Understand How a Company��s Products Impact its Stock Price at Trefis


  1. New iPhone? No thanks, say cash-conscious Europeans, Reuters quoting research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech as the source, December 22nd, 2011 [?] [?]

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