CNBC Stock Draft 2013

I appeared on CNBC Friday to go for my 2nd win in their Stock Draft Challenge. Of course, I started trouble. I took the liberty of compiling  snippets from the last contest, the results and the most recent airing last Friday - along with some interesting notes. Pay attention to the argument that ensued when discussing Google's business model towards the middle of the video.

I will release fresh, updated Google research that incorporates projections for Google Glass and Google X Phone, as well as this quarter's most recent earnings update. In the meantime, refresh your collective memories with the last Google update published, see Google's Q4, 2012: This Looks To Be The Leader Of The New Distributed Information Paradigm.

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I've been hard on Facebook over the last year or so, and especially hard over the last 30 days... Last month I opined on The Truth About Facebook That No Media Outlet Or Analyst Has Bothered To Notice. As its shares marched back up towards its ridiculous IPO price that I warned the entire year previous was basically a marketing/hype scam. I ended last week with It's Official, The Farcebook Ad Model Is A Sham!

One of the major reasons for being so bearish was that it was IPO'd at a multiple that was pure highway robbery, Cyprus savings account style! Now what I mean? And as  I warned throughout the year preceding the IPO...

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Facebook is a farce even with the froth taken off of the IPO price. Why? As gleaned from Internet World Stats...

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These stats are from the 2011-2012 YEAR! Growth has likely slowed more since then! Here's a tidbit for those who don't subscribe that clearly illustrates... When it sounds too good to be true, it's probably not true!

FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 01FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 02FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 03FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 04

As I ended my last article on this topic, this is simply Grouponzi 2.0 - just on a much larger scale!

The updated valuation for Facebook (which has actually has an increase in terms of value now that we have more information to deal with) is available to download for all paying subscribers (FB Q4-2012 Analysis & Valuation Note - update with per share valuation). I'm available to discuss this with professional and institutional subscribers via phone or Google+. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

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Last month I opined on The Truth About Facebook That No Media Outlet Or Analyst Has Bothered To Notice. As its shares marched back up towards its ridiculous IPO price that I warned the entire year previous was basically a marketing/hype scam engineered to confiscate one's hard earned capital, sell side analysts and mainstream media types ignored basic yet blatant cracks in this media darlings armor yet again. For one, we know this high growth company is already experiencing negative growth in active users...

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We also know that Google has essentially caught up to Facebook as a social media platform, reference I Don't Think Facebook Investors Will "Like" This!!! Google Has Already Caught Up In Terms Of Active Users. Despite these pertinent (and quite negative) facts, FB shares have been on the rise, although recently have last some of their froth. Why did the shares pop? Irrational exuberance! The sell side marketing analysis has it that Facebook is perfecting the marketing and mobile business model, and as a result is able to monetize its massive, yet shrinking user base. 

The counter to this argument is basically that it's not true. For one, the shrinking user base is real. The school age youth, once a mainstay of Facebook, is moving on. Simply ask the one's that you know. More importantly, it's ad model is basically a Sham! Any sell side analyst who attempted to value this company based on ad revenues without actually trying out its ad system is not worth postage used to send his bonus check. I tried the ad system out. While the click through rates were actually about 2/3rds that of Google's comparable ad model, the actual sales from the ads were less than abysmal - and this is for a rather interesting product. Even worse, the delivery of the ads proved to be highly intrusive, causing a significant and material amount of negative feedback from the Facebook community. Here are some examples of the feedback received from the so-called Facebook 'ads" that I paid for...

  • "Hey, I don't like this post. Please remove it."
  • "Please remove me from your list"
  • "I am getting unsubscribed advertisements and friend request that say I approved them"

There's actually a lot more than that, this just what was sitting in my inbox before it was deleted. Here's a screenshot of a conversation I had with on of the recipients of the so-called Facebook ads which are essentially paid for placements on somebody's wall...

Facebook ad failure

"I am getting... friend request that say I approved them"??? Does that sound like a sustainable business model to you? This is simply Grouponzi 2.0, just on a much larger scale!

The updated valuation for Facebook (which has actually has an increase in terms of value now that we have more information to deal with) is available to download for all paying subscribers (FB Q4-2012 Analysis & Valuation Note - update with per share valuation). I'm available to discuss this with professional and institutional subscribers via phone or Google+. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

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As I State Previously, Apple Is Done, Samsung Sets the Bar, and Hardware Still Looks To Be A Razor Margin Business In a Few Years If Not Less. The HTC ONE and the Galaxy S4 are the most feature packed portable devices available today. They are (presumably with the Galaxy) being offered at the same nominal prices as their predecessors were last year, yet offering dramatic upshift in technology. Can this be sustained? The tech capability ramp up has been on a tear over the last 4 years! Within a couple of years, the Chinese/SEA OEMs armed with Google's open sourced Android OS will force margins so close to zero as to have the mobile handset business make the traditional PC business look like Apple.  Until then, we get to enjoy the feature enriching, price compressing battle between vendors to gain maximum market share - benefiting consumers to the utmost. As I read the many reviews of the just announced Samsung Galaxy SIV, I still see rampant comparisons to the Apple iPhone 5 and upcoming 5S. Apple is done (What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!), unless it dramatically ups its game in terms of technical prowess, features and marketing - all activities which will compress margins, as I've been asserting for two years and running.

Following up on Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever, I am offering subscribers an updated valuation of Apple now that it has fallen to EXACTLY where I warned subscribers in October (the week of its all-time high of about $707 it would fall) to. After playing with the iPhone 5 for about a week, I told subscribers to expect the stock to bounce up against the pessimistic band of our valuation analysis. Apple last traded at $420, this is how I put it 5 months ago...

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Blackberry's new Z line has been used as a comparison as will. Although I haven't tried the device, I hear very good things about it. That's good on a device-specific level, but I'm doubtful that Blackeberry can compete in this margin compression race, putting out revolutionary products every year for less and less money. In addition, marketshare/mindshare has been more than decimated. With the advent of the Z10, et. al. Blackberry has shown it still has the chops to compete short term, its medium to long term that concerns me. Since I doubt I'm the only one that feels this way, this makes Blackberry an interesting target for a thin margin, enterprise specialist OEM that doesn't have a strong handset presence in the US. Someone like Lenovo, Asus or Acer. Lenovo and Asus would be more interesting, and an Asus acquisition of Blackberry could pose risks to competitors who are not paying attention. 

Even an enterprise software company can do damage, particularly one who's aggressive and has not ties to Android (unlike the hardware OEMs Lenovo and Asus). Aggressive + enterprise + software = Oracle! OF course, Microsoft should have bought Blackberry(RIMM) 10 years ago, but that's a different story. 

For those who don't understand why this space is so competitive and why margins are destined to dive toward zero (actually, they already are for ALL operators in this space, profits are increasing due to revenue expansion in an expanding market, margins are going in the opposite direction, even for Samsung - the market leader, see Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing, Just Like Blackberry & Apple - Courtesy Of Google, #MarginCompression!)....

HTC 's One phone is also compared, and HTC has often produced competent, if not superior, hardware. The problem is they don't promote and market heavily enough, so they achieve (at best) one hit wonder status. The company has also made many errors attempting to buy brand status vs building brand status organically. In essence, they're still acting as contract manufacturers versus acting like a successful standalone OEM and marketing concern. If only....

The wild card in this space is also the company that started this competitive melee in the first place and the company that stands to benefit the most - Google. 

I also laid clear the path to Google's prominence as far back as 2010, when there was not a peep from the sell side, see Google's Q4, 2012: This Looks To Be The Leader Of The New Distributed Information Paradigm .

Now, Samsung seems to be the most innovative of the handset vendors to date, but if I'm right, they will end up having to innovate in a commodity space just like the traditional PC manufacturers (Dell, HP, etc.) have to do now. Why?  Because of point number Three...

The new PC is not even a PC anymore, its a multi-tiered, multi-function, distributed cluster of interactive, location aware, multimedia applications sharing your social activities and data through a network of servers - in short, it's the cloud!

For right now, GOOGLE IS THE CLOUD! See my video descriptions of Google's business models above.

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Two and a half years ago I declared in my mobile computing wars series that Google would commoditize the mobile computing space. Four months ago, I reiterated that assertion in Smartphone Hardware Manufacturers Are Dead and did so yet again the following month in Computer Hardware Vendors Are Dead, Part Deux! These premonitions cover not only the obvious also rans and marginal companies who's management complained about losing the forest due to tree bark obstruction, but the very darlings of the industry as well. This includes the "used to be" market darling Apple (What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!) and even the current reigning champion, Samsung. That's right, I said it! Samsung! Hey, I'll say it again just to drive the point home, Samsung! How and why is that, you ask? Well, the same Google Android generated, creative destruction pathogen that brings us such great technology at such a rapid pace at such quickly diminishing prices that has wiped out those companies that I have warned of so extravagantly doesn't just disappear when your current market darling get's knocked off its perch. Let's recap & excerpt the link above so we can clearly isolate the common thread...

So, you ask, "How is it that hardware is dead?" Well....

    1. The open source OS paradigm calls for rapidly improving hardware specs at ever lower prices. I have pointed to evidence of this above, as these Asian OEMs produce ever better product at ever lower prices - just like the old school PC industry. This drives Google's info-centric business model which is why Google pushes free Android.
    2. After years of outsourcing manufacturing tech and IP integration to low cost labor Asian countries, those countries have found a way to produce trinkets of their own. Of limited quality and value so you say? Well, remember the iPhone is a Chinese phone, through and through -at least Chinese built. So now you argue, it's American designed, just Chinese made! Please peruse the Oppo Finder 5, a phone that's drastically superior to the iPhone 5 in practically every single way, retailing for $100 less than the cheapest iPhone 5 made. Low cost, low margin products combined with Google's free OS will drive the price of hardware down to near zero, if not negative. Google even has its own hardware arm now (Motorola) to facilitate this downward march in margins and prices. Suppose Google decides to create best of breed Nexus devices and give them away just below cost? Imagine the best smartphone available in the world, unlocked, without a contract, for the cost of a single monthly wireless phone payment??? Google's Nexus program is acting as a training ground to teach Google's Motorola division to build best of breed! Google's biggest and most successful partner - Samsung, is an Asian company. Samsung Electronics of South Korea reported today that its quarterly profit  jumped 76%, as its Galaxy smartphones beat rival Apple's iPhone in each quarter of 2012. What many seem to have missed is that EBITDA, Operating and Gross margins all slipped QonQ though. A sign of things to come??? Remember, Google benefits most when the barriers to access information are least. Reference "Cost Shifting Your Way To Prominence Using The Network Effect, Or Google Wins - Apple, RIM & Microsoft Have ALREADY LOST!" as well as my videos below...

Samsung is also currently Google's biggest threat. This (soon to be combative) symbiotic relationship is akin to the relationship that Samsung had with Apple. Competitors, yet symbiotic partner/clients. Samsung and Google are poised to have a slugfest. Their relationship is similar to that of Samsung and Apple, with Samsung being the Apple in this case. Apple is highly reliant upon Samsung for memory and processor chips, and screens. Although Apple is the biggest Samsung client, it's by far not the only one and the Chinese manufacturers are up and coming. 
Since Samsung is highly reliant on Google's Android but Google has significant diversification when it comes to its reliance on Samsung, Samsung's role is reversed here. You do see who's winning the Samsung/Apple battle, don't you? Expect the same conflict with similar results when Samsung butts heads with Google, unless some significant changes come into play - Which is quite possible in this rapidly morphing landscape.
Despite this, I'm sticking with Google on this for now. You see, despite Samsung's meteoric growth and triumphs over Apple, even its margins are sliding Q on Q, but most miss this because of the massive jump in earnings. Yes! Margin compression! Remember, RIMM and AAPL (and Nokia too) both exhibited this massive jump in earnings before commoditization born from the Android less than free model struck home. Many were caught with their pants down who didn't read BoomBustBlog.
I warned in plenty of time to both avoid loss and profit on the short side for each company:
rotten blackberries

Research in Motion in early 2010:

Rotten plus GreenApple

Apple from 2010 till the ultimate short call in October just past: Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

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I also laid clear the path to Google's prominence as far back as 2010, when there was not a peep from the sell side, see Google's Q4, 2012: This Looks To Be The Leader Of The New Distributed Information Paradigm .

Now, Samsung seems to be the most innovative of the handset vendors to date, but if I'm right, they will end up having to innovate in a commodity space just like the traditional PC manufacturers (Dell, HP, etc.) have to do now. Why?  Because of point number Three...

The new PC is not even a PC anymore, its a multi-tiered, multi-function, distributed cluster of interactive, location aware, multimedia applications sharing your social activities and data through a network of servers - in short, it's the cloud!

For right now, GOOGLE IS THE CLOUD! See my video descriptions of Google's business models above.

What's the purpose of going through said lengthy exercise? 

My regular readers should know an "I told 'ya so" is coming, in the form of an analysis of Samsung's latest quarter results. I was simply going to link to this Business Insider article by Jay Yarrow, but to be honest (and with all due respect, I think these guys work hard) the assumptions and conclusions drawn in it are erroneous and faulty. Thus let's recreate the argument from scratch the BoomBustBlog way.
The article starts off well, by stating that Samsung will fall the way Apple has through margin compression, but the accuracy ends there. The analyst quoted assumes Apple's problems stemmed from the market for high end handsets being saturated, thus the demand bulge moving downstream. This was the justification given for the relatively weak uptake and acceptance of the iPhone 5. This actually the OPPOSITE of the truth. The demand for high end handsets has actually never been higher, which is why so many OEMs are pushing out flagship after flagship. Samsung's best selling device, by far, is its GS3 device (not withstanding the true flagship is the Note 2, but that is more of a specialty device, whose uptake is actually increasing as well). The author of the article and the analyst from which he quotes have succumbed to the Apple RDF (Reality Distortion Field) again.

Apple's iPhone 5 failed in resuming rapid adoption not because high end devices are nearing saturation, but because it's not a high end device yet tried to compete with said devices!!! It may be marketed as a high end device, but it can do relatively little that the Android high end devices can, ex. NFC, Full HD screen, >430 ppi screen density, 5 inch screen, quad core processing (yes, this makes a difference, the new androids smoke the iPhone 5), LTE high speed connectivity, etc. That's a pretty long list off of the top of my head. I saw this feature disparity coming in 2010 as Apple relied more on marketing and less on tech to sell its technology products more as life style fads instead of telecomm/computing/media consumption devices. Reference BoomBustBlog paid research  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All. The result of Apple continuing along these lines is simply more of the same. Reference Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Pt 2. So what will be the cause of Samsung's margin compression if they are doing "high end" it right? See the two videos above. Samsung will be forced to put more tech in each device at ever lowering price points because that is the business model of the Open Sourced OS that they have succeeded in using - Android. It's the cost of admission into this high growth club. Now, Samsung has two big advantages that Apple doesn't and one advantage that Apple did. To wit:

  1. Samsung makes many of its own critical parts (screens, processors, memory chips). Apple actually has to buy these from its Android competitors (Samsung, Sony, LG), thus exposing it further to margin compression.
  2. Samsung has a much more diversified product mix. Apple was overexposed, big time. It garnered 72% of its operating profit from one single, product that had more than half the mobile tech space gunning for it. What do you think was going to happen?
  3. Apple, more so than Samsung, has enough brand cache to take the onus off of the underlying tech and move it to the brand, per se. People are buying (or were buying) iPhones, not iOS products. People are now starting to recognize the Samsung & Galaxy brand, giving Samsung some leverage over Android.

Expect an Android fork, or the Tizen OS to play a greater role in Samsung's love/hate relationship with Google.

Despite these advantages, as Google pushes hardware and data access prices to near zero, margins in these spaces will collapse along with it. You can't stop this collapse without slowing the progression in the tech space (for that's what the consumer has been trained to expect) or successfully cost shifting - as Google has.

You know, it's amazing how far an awareness of cognitive biases and a mastery of second grade math can get you on Wall Street. It can actually bring you tomorrows news yesterday!

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Following up on Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever, I am offering subscribers an updated valuation of Apple now that it has fallen to EXACTLY where I warned subscribers in October (the week of its all-time high of about $707 it would fall) to. After playing with the iPhone 5 for about a week, I told subscribers to expect the stock to bounce up against the pessimistic band of our valuation analysis. Apple last traded at $420, this is how I put it 5 months ago...

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This report is still available for download to paying subscribers:

With this report and Apple's subsequent ~40% or so drop, we have profited from Apple on both the long and short sides (After My Contrarian Calling Apple's 3rd Miss Accurately, I Release My Apple Research Track Record For 2 1/2 Years)

Now it's time to discuss where the stock will go from here. Valuation and specifics are the purview of paying subscribers only. All subscribers may email me for my valuation numbers (a quick summary only) and professional/institutional subscribers may contact me for a 5 minute discussion on this topic. I will have an updated valuation report out with 48 hours, likely by tomorrow midday. In the meantime I'll share a smattering of metrics, facts and trends that the sell side is still refusing to face. Let's dance, shall we?

Apple Is In Trouble – Plain & Simple!

Apple has successfully transformed itself from a portable and desktop computer company to a mobile device company, and managed to do so right at the crux of the mobile computing boom. As such, it has benefited mightily, briefly becoming the largest and most respected company in the world. Alas, what goes up must eventually come down. The largess revenues and margins gleaned by Apple brought massive competition, and in the case of Google’s Android, business models specialized in gutting the fat margins which caused Apple to prosper. As a result, margin compression ensued, but very few actually saw signs of it until it was too late (reference Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever).

Take note of the chart below which show Apple’s expenses at the corporate level spike.

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The spiking of expenses is corroborated by nearly all fundamental profitability metrics. Before delving into these metrics, let’s review how they margin compression is actually being leveraged. You see, Apple’s margin problem is not emanating from just aggressive competition with smart business models, ubiquitous cloud services (Google) and low cost means of production (Samsung). Apple is now paying the piper for its shift into mobile by having its pipeline effectively saturated with mobile products, thus nullifying the margin expansion that the move into mobile products have brought on. Mobile products had higher margins than their desktop/laptop counterparts. The chart below shows Apple as a nearly completely mobile products company.

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Now, one may say, “but even if they have turned completely into a mobile products company, margins should stabilize, not compress!”. How true, young grasshopper, except for the fact that as Apple has nearly completed its transformation, Google has started compressing margins in the mobile space, which has in turn started to put pressure on the margins of this nearly completely transformed company. Look at the progression of the revenue/product mix over time.

As can be seen from the chart below, Apple is not a phone/tablet company…

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From margin perspective, one may see an extra hit to margins as Apple has actually had a relative increase in Mac sales, whose margins are materially lower than iPad and iPhones. This will be compounded by iPhone 5 and iPad mini sales, both of which have lower margins than the products they replaced or are cannibalizing.

Now, follow the trend in entity level margin compression (below) while cross referencing the (the product mix revenue above) and you will see that there is a near saturation of mobile products, with lesser margin tablets and even lower margin notebooks creeping in over the last three quarters…

As a matter of fact, this has been the largest drop in margin (in terms of %) since I’ve followed the company.

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Oh, and BTW, you can have shrinking margins AND shrinking market share, re: 4:58 in this CNBC video below (watch the whole clip if you haven't seen it before).


So, exactly how did this all come to be?

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 Stay tuned. Tradable numbers will be forthcoming to subscribers (click here to subscribe) within 48 hours. To all retail investors (pros should know better) who do not subscribe, please do not attempt to read into what's in the subscription material by guessing from my public posts. All of the opinion and analysis that I make public has been of extremely high quality and quite accurate in aggregate, but it was not intended to be used as investment advice. That is what you pay for.

 

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It all started in June of 2011, many months before the IPO of one of the biggest scams to cross the US equity exchanges (and that's saying a lot in and of itself). I posted a forensic analysis of Groupon “What Does Groupon and the Matrix Have In Common?". I warned, I valued, the company went public, and... Nov 12, 2012 Multiple Muppet Mashing Leaves Groupon Shareholders Holding The Bag After 89% Off IPO Coupon. In that particular post, I actually offered the full Groupon research to download for free. It's amazing how this obvious Ponzi scheme got so much analyst and investor attention. Any and all BoomBustBlog subscribers saw it for exactly what it was, and hopefully shorted accordingly!

Earlier, I got on the Ponzi Exposure Express once again... Sep 26, 2011 I Suggest Groupon Offer Coupons To It's IPO Investors, They're Going To Need Them. And previous to that, once again...

Here's an abstract from our June subscriber-only analysis - Groupon Forensic Analysis & Valuation (923.04 kB 2011-06-16 10:34:36):

“Groupon’s revenue consists of the gross amount paid by customers for purchased Groupon while gross profit is the amount that the company retains after paying its merchants an agreed upon percentage of the purchase price to the featured merchant. So the comparable number for price-to-sales to use for Groupon is gross profit, or the fees it collects from merchants, which the management has correctly stated as the best proxy for the value created by the company. To put things into perspective, if eBay used the same math as Groupon does, it would have reported revenues of $61bn instead of $9bn. The company reported gross profit of $530m over last 12 months. At $25bn valuation that would put the valuation at 42x “comparable sales”. To put things in perspective, Google trades at Price-to-sales of 5.8x, Apple at 4.7x, Microsoft at 3.3x, Amazon at 2.6x and Yahoo at 3.4x.“

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In the latest S-1 registration statement, the company has revised its revenue figures by more than half. The company has restated its 2010 revenues from $713m to $313m while Q1-11 revenues were restated to $296m from $645m previously. The company has restated its financial results “to correct for an error” in the way it reported revenue. The revenue accounting change is Groupon’s second since it filed to go public. The company has also changed the presentation of certain expenses to be consistent with reporting revenue. Clearly, such errors and frequent change in the accounting policies clearly puts strain on the credibility of management – and that’s putting it lightly, especially for a company that is contemplating an IPO, not to mention that such changes are top line numbers such as revenues. In another blow to Groupon, the company’s COO Margo Georgiadis is leaving the firm to join back Google.

How about... Muppets Get MASHED Once Again - Groupon Half-off (Share price) Sale, Aug 14, 2012 – CNBC reports that Groupon [GRPN 5.815 -1.735 (-22.98%)] plunged more than 20 percent...

I can go on, but why bother? This company was pumped, dumped and marketed by several big name analysts and banks. One would think independent analyst shops would be one of the biggest shops in all of Wall Street, no?

I have commented ad nauseum on the percieved need to do business with name brands, those who do God's work, and those who simply cannot trade - muppet masters and all - as I clearly articulated on the Max Keiser show.
... and on previous shows. 

Now, all of you Goldman, Morgan Stanley, et. al. lovers, don't get your muppetware in a bunch, you know that I know that you know that It Is Now Common Knowledge That Goldman’s Investment Advice Sucks???, as excerpted:

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Two weeks ago, I continued my irradiation of common sense, math over magic/mysticism and simple truth drawing attention to the single fact that ALL of Wall Street seems to have over looked. That fact was that the most hyped IPO in the history of the world, the company that is not only a household name but also that halved the investment of those invested in the IPO, and whose share price is now increasing rapidly - is actually shrinking in terms of its user base, reference The Truth About Facebook That No Media Outlet Or Analyst Has Bothered To Notice. In addition, this company is still attempting to flesh out its business model. While it is a multi-billion dollar company (in terms of revenues), it is burning cash like a furnace in an attempt to outgrow its competition - all the while reinvesting profits and compressing margins. This behavior has been excused as it was(is) marketed as a high growth social media play.

Contrast that scenario with LinkedIn, another hi-growth social media play. I actually use social media, albeit not much for personal endeavors but for marketing and advertising. LinkedIn, where I've been a member for years, has always had a rather cumbersome, lackadaisical interface. A recent revamp and overhaul of the site has pumped new life, new vitality, and new revenue growth into this concern. It now boasts over 200 million members. My attention was recently drawn to LinkedIn after I got this notice in the mail...

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 While this 200 million may not look like much compared to Facebook's billion, LinkedIn's user base is growing rapidly at the same time that it's revenue per user is expanding as well while Facebook's base has already started shrinking. Despite this, Facebook is still being marketed as a high growth play in a hot tech space - social media.

Uh huh! Facebook is MOVING BACKWARDS! IT'S LOSING USERS! LOOK OUT BELOW!!!

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A high growth company whose userbase is already shrinking leads one to believe that the easy money has already been made...

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LinkedIn, on the other hand, is still handily outperforming on both user growth...

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 and revenue growth as well as margin expansion... The company has also successfully diversified revenues... 

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The reason for LinkedIn's apparent success in terms of business modeling is management's fruitful reinvestment into the website's social structure. Each member's profle now serves as a media rich resume or CV, or in terms of corporate pages and entrepenuers, a potentially immersive marketing platform. Most importantly, the vast community of members serves to verify the validity of assertions, awards and recommendations and endorsements - lending an air of credibility that competitive sites such as Monster.com could not come close to replicating.

Below, you can find exerpts from my profile (click here to see the live profile) where you can find video interviews, educational walkthroughs, endorsements and recommendations...

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The company has also addressed the issue of stickiness on the site by giving a handful of respected and well followed personalities a publishing platfrom from which they can espouse their ideas. This "macroblog" idea has garnered a huge following from a sufficiently broad audience, enough of a following that this is now a force in the media space to be reckoned with. It is something that Facebook should have thought of first.

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LinkedIn's considerably more concrete business model in addition to their reliable and clear paths to growth have not been lost on the market - particularly in comparison to Facebook...

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Subscribers are asked to download our LinkedIn Valuation sheet here - File Icon LinkedIn valuation overview 2-2013. Later on this week, professional and institutional subscribers will be able to access the entire LinkedIn valuation model on the web. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, please follow me...

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Yesterday I appeared on CNBC Street Signs, and dropped the truth about America's favorite over hyped company. Check it out...

One viewpoint that is prevalent is the ideology that Apple's problems are temporary and can be fixed with a smattering of pixie dust and fairy farts within the crumbling Apple RDF (reality distortion field). The pundit in the segment above stated that their are no signs of margin compression in the iPhone franchise because ASPs are level. Wait a minute dude! ASPs may be level but costs are increasing. Steady sales plus increasing costs mean lower margins right? I called this last year on TV. Reference...

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

This crux of that article was to debunk the widely assumed notion that I was bearish on Apple's share price for 2 years. The reality of the matter was that the paid research and opinion clearly supported much of Apple's share price until right about the last earnings report and release of the iPhone 5, until I notably went bearish and Apple promptly lost 35%, or about 4 Dells with a LinkedIn thrown in to boot...

apple stock and front month optionsapple stock and front month options

Notice how this chart shows subscription research would have provided ample profits LONG and short, with the long presumed to be unleverred as a straight stock purchase. This is to put to bed any naysayers. Now, as to whether my many proclamations over the last two years regarding Apple were able to hold water, we let the facts speak on the reasoning behind the call and the accuracy of my call in the deterioration of Apple's margins, market share and status.

Now, if you recall, there were many sell side analysts calling for Apple to break $1,000 per share just a few months ago. On Friday, 25 January 2013 I penned "What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!", and is excerpted as follows:

I was going to name this piece "Why Sell Side Wall Street and the Mainstream Media Can't Touch Me", but I decided to go the humble route :-) Do you guys remember those highly paid Wall Street analysts and popular MSM guys who had $1,000+ price targets on Apple just a few months ago? Let's reminisce, shall we...

Let's contrast this to what I have espoused over a similar time frame...
    1.  - This pretty much says it all, right Mr. Munster of Piper Jaffrey??? Yeah, I called you out on this one! Here is an excerpt for good measure, but before you read it remember that Apple's thrashing at the exchange has forced it to renounce its earnigns manipulating ways - just as I anticipated!!!

Well, let's see what's in today's news... Oh yeah!!! Apple cuts MacBook Pro Retina and Air prices, boosts specs 

Apple has slashed the price of its MacBook Pro with Retina display notebooks, throwing in some updated specifications along the way.

Hey, wait a minute! Didn't I say that in the CNBC segment yesterday, and all through last year? Subscribers can access my full Apple report and valuation here Apple 4Q2012 update professional & institutional and Apple 4Q2012 update - retail). Those of you who don't subscribe can review the dated, redacted version below...

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If after reading the articles and viewing the videos above and you believe that I'm the best thing since Wall Street brokerages were private partnerships that couldn't squander other peoples capital at insanely levered levels while misleading muppets with inanely bullshit analysis and sales pitches to 89% losses on their recommendations (reference Multiple Muppet Mashing Leaves Groupon Shareholders Holding The Bag After 89% Off IPO Coupon) just to get paid multi-million dollar bonuses instead of jail time, then feel free to subscribe here.
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I see many pundits on CNBC commenting on Apple. I believe they are ALL wrong! To begin with, nearly all of them are coming up with revaluations after the fact - which is simply too late and lacks credibility. Second, Apple has some serious steps to take if it is to get back into the mobile computing race. David Einhorn's recommendation to return cash to shareholders (on the CNBC front page today) is not one of them. He's approaching this from a trader's perspective, and not from the perspective of a strategic long term investor. To date, Apple has outperformed nearly all hedge funds in the reinvestment of its cash. If Apple does the right thing, the  ability to replicate this performance by only 50% will whip the pants off of nearly every hedge fund, Einhorn's included. In addition, Apple is about to go through a depression style bout of margin compression that it will need cash to battle. I explained this to a group of entrepeneurs last year. Basically, Apple's $137B+ in cash is a call option on future opportunities and a put option on future mishaps. Einhorn is asking management to sell that call/put option straddle now, and forgo the ability to capitalize on future opportunities while running naked against margin compression at the same time that Apple's competition has surpassed it in technical ability (product/service wise) while Apple has shown ineptitude in competing in the cloud (see the maps fiasco), the next battle ground for the end user. This option sale will be had for the one time premium of a cash distribution. Wise, eh?

Does this mentality smack of the short term-ism indicative of a trader to you, or is it the mentality of the long term, innovative vision of Steve Jobs that got Apple where it is now? See the video below where I delve into this in detail...

Since I was practically the only one (at least that I know of) to accurately and timely call the turn on Apple BEFORE THE FACT, I would love to take this time to point out what it is that's wrong with Apple and what it would take for it to regain its shine. Just to illustrate this point, let's reminisce, shall we...

Let's contrast this to what I have espoused over a similar time frame...

Now, what do we have in sell sidevaudville today? CNBC reports Apple Heading Toward $200?: McLean. WTF???? What happen to $1,000????

Yes, I'm going after the sell side again. And I'll keep doing it. I'm a monster to the charlatan crew... A monster, I tell you...

Apple needs to start spending money, needs to spend wisely, needs to spend it in droves, and it needs to do ALL of this, NOW!!!! That is what Apple REALLY needs to do to compete with Google and enrich shareholders. Now, those shareholders with short term-ism will consider this Apple management burning cash in a desperate attempt to save the ship. These limited horizon guys will jump ship and drive the share price down. It is then that Apple will be a strong buy if, and only if, management succeeds in making leeway... Much in the same way that Google did in its acquisition spree that gave it some of its most valuable properties and multi-billion dollar franchises that literally run the web in their respective categories - to wit:

  • YouTube
  • Android
  • Google Voice
  • AdMob

For anyone who thinks this acquisition spree is a foolish endeavor, ask those who listened to the "short Google, long Apple" advice of the pros...

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Just as much (if not most, not withstanding the "Muppet Factor") of the Sell Side of Wall Street Doesn't Truly Understand Apple, many of them equally clueless regarding Google as well… Google has used it's call option of billions of dollars of cash and its cash producing cash cow business model of ad serving to literally buy value at discounted prices. Of course, those with short term vision can't see the value - just as fails to see a forest due to all of that tree bark in the way!!!

Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 53 copyGoogle Final Report Sep 29 Page 54As a reminder, I warned in plenty of time to both avoid loss and profit on the short and long side for each company involved in these mobile computing wars. As a matter of fact, three years ago, I laid out in detail the entire mobile computing war map - along with the prospects of the major competitors - Google, Apple, Research in Motion and Microsoft/Nokia, reference "The Mobile Computing Wars" series. How accurate were these predictions, predilections, and analyses?

Now, for all of you senstive types who may consider this bragging or boasting, it is far from such. As a matter of distinct fact, the contents of this entire post should have been glaringly obvious to anyone years ago who actively used and followed the products and services of the companies herein, and had even a rudimentary understanding of business valuation. You know, it's amazing how far an awareness of cognitive biases (Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All) and a mastery of second grade math () can get you on Wall Street.

The Sell Side analytical community and the (sheeple) investors which they serve is another matter though. Subscribers can download the data that shows the blatant game being played between Apple and the Sell Side here: File Icon Apple Earnings Guidance Analysis. Those who need to subscribe can do so here.

Below, I drilled down on the date and used a percentage difference view to illustrate the improvement in P/E stemming from the earnings beats.

Again, a master of the basics, the fundamentals, common sense and 2nd grade math can actually bring you tomorrows news yesterday! For those interested in the research behind these many calls, as well as many others, Subscribe to BoomBustBlog today!

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