Tag Archives: Apple

Is All Lost? Record Share Buybacks But Stocks Get Crushed, by Wolf Richter

One thing that happens when stocks go into bear markets and the economy heads south is that practices that were overlooked when rising markets were lifting all boats get intense scrutiny. If the current downtrend continues, count on Congressional hearings on share buybacks, especially those funded with debt. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

The vengeance of share buybacks: buyback queen Apple plunges.

In the third quarter, share buybacks by S&P 500 companies totaled $203.8 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices today. These are actual buybacks, not hyperventilated announcements of possible future share buybacks:

  • Share buybacks in Q3 jumped 57.7% from a year earlier.
  • This was the third quarter in a row of record share buybacks.
  • For the first three quarters this year, buybacks totaled a mind-bending $583 billion.
  • This $583 billion was up 34% from the same period in 2017.
  • This $583 billion was within a hair of beating the full-year all-time record of $589 billion set in 2007 before it all collapsed.
  • Since Q1 2012 — in less than seven years — all share buybacks combined totaled an even more mind-bending $3.54 trillion.

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FANGMAN Stocks Plunge 4.4% Today, Down $905 Billion, or 20%, since Aug. 31, by Wolf Richter

The so-called FANGMAN stocks are having a rough go of it recently. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

It gets costly when the entire market depends on a handful of over-hyped mega-caps.

For the beginning of Thanksgiving week, it was a little messy today in the stock market, with the Nasdaq dropping 3% to 7,028. It’s down 13.6% from its peak at the end of August. But it’s still up 1.8% year-to-date, so nothing serious has happened yet, just some of the gains this year have turned out to be head-fakes.

Folks who went through the wholesale Nasdaq destruction of 2000-2002 will just smile mildly because that’s when the Nasdaq, as the dotcom bubble imploded, lost 78%. Given our Everything Bubble is even bigger and crazier, the Nasdaq’s current sell-off barely registers on my own Richter scale, so to speak.

The Dow fell 1.6%, is down just 7.2% from its peak, and for the year is clinging to a 1.2% gain.

And the S&P 500 dropped 1.7% today and is down 8.5% from the peak. It too remains, if by the thinnest margin, in the green for the year.

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Shocking NYT Expose Reveals Facebook’s Scramble To Label Liberal Critics Soros-Operatives While Trashing Google And Apple, by Tyler Durden

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have no discernible principles. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The New York Times has painted a 5,300 word picture of an out-of-control Facebook’s desperate and incompetent damage control measures in the wake of multiple scandals.

Based on interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members – most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity – the Times illustrates how Facebook resorted to mercenary tactics when it came to combatting criticism over everything from Russian ad-spending during the 2016 US election, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to the platform’s blind eye towards corrupt governments using the social network to commit atrocities around the world.

as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. –NYT

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The Big Tech Backlash of 2018, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

There’s a revolt brewing against the tech titans that have been stock market darlings the last few years. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Something must be terribly wrong with the world. A few days ago Elizabeth Warren agreed with Trump on China, now Bernie Sanders agrees with him about Amazon. What’s happening?

Bernie Sanders Agrees With Trump: Amazon Has Too Much Power

Independent Vermont senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders echoed President Donald Trump in expressing concern about retail giant Amazon. Sanders said that he felt Amazon had gotten too big on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, and added that Amazon’s place in society should be examined.

“And I think this is, look, this is an issue that has got to be looked at. What we are seeing all over this country is the decline in retail. We’re seeing this incredibly large company getting involved in almost every area of commerce. And I think it is important to take a look at the power and influence that Amazon has,” said Sanders.

A backlash against Facebook, a backlash against Amazon. Are these things connected? Actually, yes, they are connected. But not in a way that either Trump or Sanders has clued in to. Someone who has, a for now lone voice, is David Stockman. Here’s what he wrote last week.

The Donald’s Blind Squirrel Nails An Acorn

It is said that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, and so it goes with the Donald. Banging on his Twitter keyboard in the morning darkness, he drilled Jeff Bezos a new one – or at least that’s what most people would call having their net worth lightened by about $2 billion:

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” You can’t get more accurate than that. Amazon is a monstrous predator enabled by the state, but Amazon’s outrageous postal subsidy – a $1.46 gift card from the USPS stabled on each box – isn’t the half of it.

To continue reading: The Big Tech Backlash of 2018

Silicon Valley Joins War On Cash: Tim Cook Seeks “Elimination Of Money”, by Tyler Durden

Eliminating cash is an idea whose time will never come. It’s anonymous, which is why governments hate it and people who want to maintain a semblance of their privacy like it. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Apple CEO Tim Cook has one big hope for the future – that he lives to see the end of money.

“…I’m hoping that I’m still going to be alive to see the elimination of money.”

Speaking at a meeting for Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California earlier this month, Cook made it clear that he is firmly on the side of the war-on-cash establishment.

“Because why would you have this stuff! Why go through all the expense of printing this stuff and then some people steal it, and you’ve got to worry about counterfeits and all these things,” he continued.

As Apple’s CEO talked about the downsides of cash, BI reported that he became more animated, revealing his real passion about the topic…

“We can provide a solution for the customer that’s simpler, more convenient, you don’t carry around a wallet with a bunch of cards in it, or a purse with a bunch of cards in it,”Cook said.

“And it’s more secure, if you’ve ever had your credit card ripped off, I’m sure a lot of you have, I have, it’s not a good experience.”

Until now, it has tended to be politicians and central bankers leading the call for a cashless society… for your own good.

The enemies of cash claim that only crooks and cranks need large-denomination bills.They want large transactions to be made electronically so government can follow them. Yet these are some of the same European politicians who blew a gasket when they learned that U.S. counterterrorist officials were monitoring money through the Swift global system. Criminals will find a way, large bills or not.

The real reason the war on cash is gearing up now is political: Politicians and central bankers fear that holders of currency could undermine their brave new monetary world of negative interest rates. Japan and Europe are already deep into negative territory, and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week the U.S. should be prepared for the possibility. Translation: That’s where the Fed is going in the next recession.

To continue reading: Silicon Valley Joins War On Cash: Tim Cook Seeks “Elimination Of Money”

Net Neutrality – The End of Google’s Biggest Subsidy, by Tom Luongo

It turns out net neutrality has been a godsend for the bandwith hogs. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Net Neutrality is gone.  Good riddance.

Lost in all of the theoretical debate about how evil ISPs will create a have/have-not divide in Internet access, is the reality that it already exists along with massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth pigs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and the porn industry.

Under Net Neutrality these platforms flourished along with the rise of the mobile internet, which is now arguably more important than the ‘desktop’ one in your home and office.  Google and Apple control the on-ramps to the mobile web in a way that Net Neutrality proponents can only dream the bandwidth providers like Comcast and AT&T could.

Because, in truth, they can’t.  Consumers are ultimately the ones who decide how much bandwidth costs, not the ISPs.  We decide how much we can afford these creature comforts like streaming Netflix while riding the bus or doing self-indulgent Instagram videos of our standing in line at the movies (if that’s even a thing anymore).

Non-Neutrality Pricing

Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers.  It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.

By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care.  Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.

And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low.  And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.

They grew uncontrollably.  In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.

That difference was never passed onto the ISP who could then, in turn, pass it on to the consumer.

All thanks to Net Neutrality.

To continue reading: Net Neutrality – The End of Google’s Biggest Subsidy

 

Apple Diversity Chief Forced Out After Saying White Men Can Also Be ‘Diverse’, by Tyler Durden

A woman lost her diversity job because she said that within a group of white males, there could be diversity. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Silicon Valley’s disdain for its mostly white, mostly male tech workforce has reached absurd new heights.

The New York Post is reporting that, after just six months on the job, Apple Diversity Chief Denise Young Smith, who was named vice president of diversity and inclusion in May, has resigned her post after making a “controversial” comment last month during a summit in Bogota, Colombia.

What was Young’s crime? She insinuated that “diversity” can still exist among a group of white men because of their different life experiences.

“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” the inaugural diversity chief said.

“Diversity is the human experience,” she said, according to Quartz. “I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”

That’s right: Young, who is – for the record – a black woman, has been forced out of Apple because her views on diversity were too inclusive.

As the Post pointed out, Young’s comments appeared to defend Apple’s overwhelmingly white and male leadership at a time when the company’s makeup is markedly uneven. This begs the question: What, exactly, was she defending them from?

Young, a 20-year Apple veteran who previously served as the company’s head of worldwide human resources (a senior level position), was later forced to apologize for her remarks, telling Apple staff that her comments “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it.”

“For that, I’m sorry,” she said in an email. “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

To continue reading: Apple Diversity Chief Forced Out After Saying White Men Can Also Be ‘Diverse’