Is Google going to acquire HTC?

Is Google going to acquire HTC?

There is intense speculation today that search engine giant Google is on the verge of acquiring Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. The smartphone company has requested its shares are suspended until Thursday when the group will release “material information” which many expect to be confirmation of an offer from Google. So far both companies have refused to confirm or deny speculation although HTC shares should be freely tradable after the announcement.

Working together

Even the quickest of glimpses at Google’s smartphone aspirations shows a very close relationship with HTC. The Google Pixel smartphone is manufactured at HTC factories and we all know that Google is behind the android operating system used by companies such as HTC. There will be intense speculation over the next 24 hours but it seems pretty certain that the two groups will combine. Continue reading “Is Google going to acquire HTC?”

Where would stock markets be now without Donald Trump?

Stock markets

US stock markets have pushed ahead to record highs under Donald Trump’s stewardship, even though he has antagonised his critics, caused problems overseas and seems intent on rolling out protectionism. Only this week the Canadian authorities threatened to reduce their spending on US products and services in light of the Boeing v Bombardier fallout. So, we now need to ask ourselves, where would stock markets be without Donald Trump today?

Are investors discounting Trump troubles?

There is a growing opinion that while Donald Trump is obviously head of the US government, investors are overlooking his troubles and woes. Yes, it does look as though Donald Trump is being discounted by US investors when it comes to their investment decisions.

There were obviously high hopes when he entered office on the back of a string of popular policies. He threatened to repeal Obamacare and failed, he hinted at steel import tariffs and failed to produce the legislation required and his much awaited assistance for the US real estate market has yet to emerge. It is impossible to say where markets would be if a more “populist” US president was in place but probably higher than they are today. Continue reading “Where would stock markets be now without Donald Trump?”

Is Toys “R” Us on the verge of bankruptcy?

Toys “R” Us

While Toys “R” Us was acquired by KKR, Bain Capital Partners and real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust in a three-part the takeover in 2005, there are rumours the company is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. What a turnaround from the 2005 deal which was pegged at $6.6 billion and saw one of the world’s most prestigious toy retailers taken off the stock market. The company still has an array of bonds trading today although amid rumours of the potential filing for bankruptcy bond prices have collapsed.

Is this the end for Toys “R” Us?

While the headlines may suggest the company is on the verge of disappearing from high streets and the Internet, this is not the case. There is a debt problem, the company is struggling to service its debts and with the redemption of $400 million of bonds due in 2018, owners of the company have decided to act sooner rather than later. It is not definite that the company will file for bankruptcy but those close to the issue believe it is one of many options.

We only need to look at the bankruptcy of Macy’s in years gone by and the fact that the company was able to trade on through those difficult times. It is also worth noting that we are approaching the holiday period which is historically prime trading time for companies such as Toys “R” Us. It is also worth appreciating that Toys “R” Us makes up 11%, 9% and 15% respectively of worldwide sales for Mattel, Hasbro and Jakks Pacific. When you also consider the fact that Toys “R” Us does not mark down the price of products for sale as much as its competitors we cannot see the above toy manufacturers cutting the company adrift. Continue reading “Is Toys “R” Us on the verge of bankruptcy?”

Google veteran warns of unsafe Internet

Unsafe Internet

Heather Adkins, a Google veteran and founding member of Google’s security team, has been extremely vocal in her concerns about the Internet. Speaking to those attending the TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 conference in San Francisco she told them “some stuff” like personal information should not be included in your emails. She also went as far as to joke that she had deleted all of her husband’s love letters from the Internet because of safety issues. Is she right to warn users and investors about safety concerns?

Artificial Intelligence

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a part of everyday life and will only become more prominent. Adkins was very vocal about the use of AI to defend the Internet from cyber-attacks suggesting it was more useful in carrying out cyber-attacks. Apparently the problem is that while AI will flag a number of issues related to cyber-attacks and will also flag a number of false positives which take time and money to review. Therefore, in the opinion of Heather Adkins AI would be more useful in actually carrying out cyber-attacks. Continue reading “Google veteran warns of unsafe Internet”

China working with USA to bring about end to Korean crisis

Korean crisis

As President Trump continues his war of words with Kim Jong-Un it seems that China is growing more concerned about potential military action. While many were surprised to see Chinese President Xi Jinping talking so candidly with Donald Trump, it would appear that a non-military resolution could be on the cards. For many years now China has been perhaps the only ally of the North Korean authorities but with China’s influence apparently waning it seems that now is the time to work with the USA to bring about peace in the region.

United Nations resolutions and the Korean crisis

The United Nations Security Council has passed a number of resolutions aimed at bringing to an end the Korean crisis. In years gone by these resolutions have not always been followed to the word but now it seems that China has had enough. The USA and China have agreed to maximise pressure on North Korea through “vigourous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions”. It is ironic that problems with North Korea could well bring the USA and China closer together. Continue reading “China working with USA to bring about end to Korean crisis”

Bitcoin collapses after Chinese government intervention

Digital currency markets

Trading in Bitcoin has been frenetic today with news that the Chinese government has ordered trading in the currency to cease. The authorities have long been concerned about the rise of cryptocurrency and this announcement about Bitcoin is not totally unexpected. Even though other governments around the world have expressed concerns it is the intervention of the Chinese authorities, with nearly 25% of Bitcoin trades carried out in China, which has hit the currency hardest.

Frenetic trading

As investors looked for an alternative modern day currency in light of the 2008 worldwide crisis, the likes of Bitcoin came to the fore. Trading in the currency was brisk today and at one point it was down 40% from its $5000 high seen earlier this month. While the currency reached a low of $2972 on Friday it did recover to just under $3600 by afternoon trade. The fact that Beijing has decreed that cryptocurrency exchanges will need to stop trading Bitcoin by midnight on 15 September could mean yet more trouble in store. Continue reading “Bitcoin collapses after Chinese government intervention”

Is Donald Trump learning to deal with the Democrats?

Donald Trump deal with Democrats

When Donald Trump came to office it was “his way or the highway” as many of his previously close staff will confirm. He attempted to push through healthcare reforms, which were blocked by Congress, and he has seen a number of his headline policies falling by the wayside. So, after dinner with Democratic leaders earlier this week it is believed that Donald Trump is willing to work together to pass the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act. This is a scheme which protects 800,000 vulnerable children, who arrived in the US illegally, from deportation in the future.

A sign of things to come

There is no doubt that word of Donald Trump’s cooperation with the Democrats caught many by surprise but then again this is a man who does what he wants. There is some speculation that compromise on DACA would see Donald Trump raising the necessary funds to build the wall between the US and Mexico. How ironic, trading an act to save immigrant children to building a wall to keep immigrants out! Continue reading “Is Donald Trump learning to deal with the Democrats?”

Could Apple cannibalise its own sales?

Apple sales

Tuesday’s launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X was well received by analysts across the board although there would appear to be one sticking point. There are growing concerns that a delay in the shipping timescale for the iPhone X, the date has been pushed out to 3rd November, could impact short term sales.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are both expected to ship towards the end of September which is causing concern amongst analysts. The worry is that those looking to buy the latest technology will likely hold off until the iPhone X is available and those who would normally acquire an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus may not be in a rush. The fact that the iPhone X is valued at $999 is neither here nor there because the large screen, vastly improved functionality and cutting-edge technology really does put it a step above anything else on the market. Continue reading “Could Apple cannibalise its own sales?”

Why director dealings are even more important than you think

Director dealings

We all know that director dealings in their own shares are one of many flags people use when researching potential investments. There is nothing better than hearing about a director investing a significant amount of money in their own company shares. On the flipside, the sale of shares by a director can also be a flag that maybe things are not as good as some people think. However, why are director dealings even more important than you think?

Few and far between

While many investor believe that directors regularly invest in their own shares, research in this particular field might surprise you. There is no doubt that many directors are active in their own shares but when you compare the number of share purchases by different individuals to the number of directors associated with listed companies, the percentage of directors who invest is minimal. This shows why director dealings should be tracked extremely closely because while the vast majority fail to buy shares even in the good times, those that do invest must have good reason.

When looking at director purchases and sales it is also imperative that you look at their overall holding and any options/free shares they may have been awarded. Share options are a very popular way of remunerating directors although the way these share option plans are structured very often it is simply a purchase and immediate sale. Where a director has no direct funds invested we can to a certain extent ignore these transactions. Continue reading “Why director dealings are even more important than you think”

Are director share bonuses warranted?

Director share bonuses

Large, medium and small companies often use director share bonuses as a means of incentivising their staff to maximise returns for shareholders. This has been a controversial subject over the years because many directors have been left with enormous share option schemes with the potential of multi-million pound returns. Often this can be set against a difficult period for shareholders and perhaps volatile trading for the company itself. So, are director share bonuses warranted and a useful tool to help investors?

Regular bonuses

The idea that directors will receive regular share bonuses, whether free shares or the option to buy a certain amount at a certain level in the future, went out with the dinosaurs. The only way that directors and other members of staff should be incentivised is if they have individually and collectively delivered for the company. On countless times in years gone by we have seen directors receiving large bonuses or share options when perhaps the performance of the underlying company does not warrant the awards. Continue reading “Are director share bonuses warranted?”