Opinion https://www.benzinga.com/views/taxonomy/term/146540 en Apple, Amazon, Tesla And The Changing Dynamics Of The Car Industry https://www.benzinga.com/general/topics/17/08/9945433/apple-amazon-tesla-and-the-changing-dynamics-of-the-car-industry <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="http://contrarianedge.com/2015/10/01/apple-amazon-tesla-and-the-changing-dynamics-of-the-car-industry/">Contrarian Edge</a> in 2015 and is republished with permission.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>After I submitted my <a href="http://imausa.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=71c4efdfcd90f72cb8bb6a019&amp;id=e1430361d5&amp;e=c10352a6e2">previous column</a> to the <em>Institutional Investor</em> Magazine, on the financial innovation taking place at <strong>Apple Inc </strong>(NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/aapl#NASDAQ">AAPL</a>), I learned that <strong>Sprint Corp</strong> (NYSE: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/s#NYSE">S</a>), <strong>T-Mobile US Inc</strong> (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/tmus#NASDAQ">TMUS</a>) and now <strong>Verizon Communications Inc.</strong> (NYSE: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/vz#NYSE">VZ</a>) are all fighting to best one another&rsquo;s iPhone offers.</p> <p>What is really amazing about the situation is that no matter how this war among wireless carriers plays out, there will be one clear winner &mdash; Apple. And in the end, the carriers will be collective losers &mdash; they&rsquo;ll be killing their margins to out-subsidize one another. They will be spending millions of dollars on advertising to get customers to come to their stores to buy &mdash; yes, Apple iPhones. If consumers choose Apple&rsquo;s iPhone Upgrade Program instead of the carriers&rsquo;, then Apple will win even bigger (as I argued in that column). In the meantime, 2015 will likely mark the year that <strong>AT&amp;T Inc&#39;s </strong>(NYSE: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/t#NYSE">T</a>) and Verizon&rsquo;s U.S. wireless service businesses went from growth to stagnation.</p> <p>Another observation about Apple: Its brand extends far beyond technology and coolness. Over the years, the company has accumulated incredible goodwill with consumers. There is only one other company that comes to mind that has generated a similar amount of affection: <strong>Amazon.com Inc</strong> (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/amzn#NASDAQ">AMZN</a>). Amazon made shopping online easy, its customer service is impeccable, and it is transparent with consumers about pricing. After all, it allows other merchants to sell their merchandise through its website. Amazon will even ship it for them.</p> <p>Consumers&rsquo; trust in Amazon&rsquo;s pricing is so great that most people don&rsquo;t even bother with comparison shopping anymore; they skip <strong>Alphabet Inc </strong>(NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/goog#NASDAQ">GOOG</a>) (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/googl#NASDAQ">GOOGL</a>) (which is not good news for Google, by the way) and go directly to Amazon. I recently found myself willing to pay a few dollars more on Amazon than on a competitor&rsquo;s website because I knew that if I needed to return the product, the process would be seamless. That goodwill turns Apple and Amazon into &ldquo;platforms&rdquo; (a very trendy word on Wall Street now), allowing them to launch a wide variety of new products.</p> <p>When Apple comes out with the Apple car, rumored to be due in 2019, it will be able to grab a disproportionately large market share from the <strong>General Motors Company</strong> (NYSE: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/gm#NYSE">GM</a>) of the world because of that deep well of goodwill.</p> <p>By the time my youngest child, Mia Sarah, who is almost two, learns to drive, ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/general/topics/17/08/9945433/apple-amazon-tesla-and-the-changing-dynamics-of-the-car-industry alt=Apple, Amazon, Tesla And The Changing Dynamics Of The Car Industry>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> AAPL AMZN Auto Industry contributor contributors F FB GM GOOG GOOGL S T TMUS TSLA TWTR VZ Topics Opinion Tech General AAPL US0378331005 AMZN US0231351067 GOOG US38259P7069 F US3453708600 GM US37045V1008 S US85207U1051 T US00206R1023 VZ US92343V1044 TSLA US88160R1014 FB GOOGL US38259P5089 TMUS US8725901040 TWTR US90184L1026 Topics Opinion Tech General Benzinga Sat, 19 Aug 2017 13:43:16 +0000 Vitaliy Katsenelson 9945433 at https://www.benzinga.com Is Jacob Wohl Being Groomed For A Role In The Trump Administration? https://www.benzinga.com/general/politics/17/08/9945281/is-jacob-wohl-being-groomed-for-a-role-in-the-trump-administration <p>President Donald Trump seems to have taken a liking to one young hedge fund manager <a href="https://www.benzinga.com/news/17/08/9942007/the-latest-on-jacob-wohl-the-teenage-hedge-fund-manager-trump-loves-to-retweet">making waves</a> on Wall Street.</p> <p>Jacob Wohl, the 19-year-old who has had some of his work <a href="https://www.benzinga.com/news/17/03/9134911/jacob-wohl-the-teenage-hedge-fund-manager-ordered-to-cease-and-desist">scrutinized by securities regulators</a>, appears to be building a relationship with the embattled U.S. President. In addition to being retweeted a handful of times by Trump on <b>Twitter Inc</b> (NYSE: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/twtr#NYSE">TWTR</a>), <a href="https://twitter.com/JacobAWohl">Wohl&#39;s Twitter</a> account displays a picture of Trump and Wohl arm-in-arm as the banner.</p> <p><em>Related Link: <a href="https://www.benzinga.com/news/17/05/9537463/every-person-in-the-white-house-whos-been-fired-or-quit-since-trump-took-office">Every Person ...</a></em></p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/general/politics/17/08/9945281/is-jacob-wohl-being-groomed-for-a-role-in-the-trump-administration alt=Is Jacob Wohl Being Groomed For A Role In The Trump Administration?>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> Donald Trump Jacob Wohl SPY TWTR Politics Opinion General SPY US78462F1030 TWTR US90184L1026 Politics Opinion General Benzinga Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:08:48 +0000 Brent Slava 9945281 at https://www.benzinga.com Investment Lessons Learned From The Poker Table https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9945345/investment-lessons-learned-from-the-poker-table <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="http://contrarianedge.com/2014/11/15/investment-lessons-learned-from-the-poker-table/">Contrarian Edge</a> in </em><em>2014&nbsp;</em><em>and is republished here with permission.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo; These three words don&rsquo;t inspire a lot of confidence in the messenger and probably will not get me invited onto CNBC, but that is exactly what I think about the topic I am about to discuss.</p> <p>I received a few e-mails from people who had a problem with a phrase in one of my <a href="http://contrarianedge.com/2014/10/11/what-the-f-should-i-do-now-part-1/">blog posts</a> this fall. In that article I examined various risks that other investors and I are concerned about. The phrase was &ldquo;the prospect of higher, maybe even much higher, interest rates.&rdquo; These readers were convinced that higher interest rates and inflation are not a risk because we are not going to have them for a long, long time, that we are heading into deflation. These readers basically told me that I should worry about the things that will come next, not things that may or may not happen years and years down the road.</p> <p>I am pretty sure that if that phrase had addressed the risk of deflation and lower interest rates ahead, I&rsquo;d have gotten as many e-mails arguing that I was wrong &mdash; that we&rsquo;ll soon have inflation and skyrocketing interest rates, and deflation is not going to happen.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t know whether we are going to have inflation or deflation in the near future. More important, I&rsquo;d be very careful about trusting my money to anyone holding very strong convictions on this topic and positioning my portfolio on the basis of them.</p> <p>Any poker player knows that the worst thing that can happen is to ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9945345/investment-lessons-learned-from-the-poker-table alt=Investment Lessons Learned From The Poker Table>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> contributor contributors Opinion General Opinion General Benzinga Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:15:47 +0000 Vitaliy Katsenelson 9945345 at https://www.benzinga.com An Inauspicious Day For Google https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9914574/an-inauspicious-day-for-google <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 15px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Verdana, Arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"><img alt="Image of Trofim Lysenko via Bing. " data-height="398" data-width="601" src="https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2017/8/8/131469-15021722002684903.png" style="box-sizing: border-box; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: middle; display: block; max-width: 100%; height: 331px; margin-right: auto; margin-bottom: 15px; margin-left: auto; width: 500px;" /><em style="box-sizing: border-box;">Trofim Lysenko: Intellectual Predecessor To Google CEO Sundar Pichai?</em></p> <p>James Damore, a Harvard-trained systems biologist, was&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/google-fires-employee-behind-controversial-diversity-memo?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&amp;utm_content=business&amp;utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=social" rel="nofollow" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(2, 73, 153); text-decoration-line: underline;">fired</a>&nbsp;from Alphabet&#39;s (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/goog#NASDAQ">GOOG</a>), (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/googl#NASDAQ">GOOGL</a>) Google unit on Monday, for posting&nbsp;<a href="http://diversitymemo.com/" rel="nofollow" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(2, 73, 153); text-decoration-line: underline;">a memo</a>&nbsp;questioning the company&#39;s ideological echo chamber, as he put it. Let&#39;s talk about why this was an inauspicious day for Google.&nbsp;</p> <h3> Please Read The Next Paragraph Before Commenting</h3> <p>It will save us both time. I am not predicting any imminent doom for Google. It comprises half of an effective duopoly in Internet advertising with Facebook (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/fb#NASDAQ">FB</a>), and as with Facebook, the only major potential threat to it on the horizon is government antitrust action, which, as I wrote last week,&nbsp;<a href="https://seekingalpha.com/article/4091804-president-trumps-chief-strategist-wants-defang-facebook-google">looks unlikely</a>&nbsp;in the near future. Absent that, it will continue to rake in profits from its share of that duopoly.</p> <p>What&#39;s at stake here is the future. Google and the other FANGs need to attract and retain scientific experts as part of their efforts to find the next big thing. Now that Google has kowtowed to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=social%20justice%20warrior" rel="nofollow" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(2, 73, 153); text-decoration-line: underline;">social justice warriors</a>&nbsp;and fired a scientist for mentioning scientific theories and facts, does that make it more or less likely to attract and retain bright scientists? Clearly, it makes it less likely to attract and retain bright scientists, and more likely to be targeted by social justice warriors for additional concessions (such as basing hiring decisions more on applicants&#39; visual diversity than individual ability).&nbsp;</p> <h3> The Offending Memo</h3> <p>What did the Google scientist write that was so offensive that he needed to be fired&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing: border-box;"><a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pour%20encourager%20les%20autres" rel="nofollow" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(2, 73, 153); text-decoration-line: underline;">pour encourager les autres</a>?&nbsp;</em>In a nutshell, that men and women tend to exhibit different traits, on average, and that that may explain why men and women aren&#39;t equally represented in occupations such as software programming.&nbsp;</p> <p><a data-height="465" data-mce-selected="1" data-width="1029" href="https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2017/8/8/131469-1502174386811905_origin.png" itemprop="image" itemscope="true" itemtype="https://schema.org/ImageObject" rel="lightbox" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(2, 73, 153); text-decoration-line: underline; display: block; position: relative; float: none; max-width: 100%; height: auto; margin-right: auto; margin-bottom: 15px; margin-left: ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9914574/an-inauspicious-day-for-google alt=An Inauspicious Day For Google>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> AMZN contributor FB GOOG GOOGL Google MSFT Opinion AMZN US0231351067 GOOG US38259P7069 MSFT US5949181045 FB GOOGL US38259P5089 Opinion Benzinga Thu, 10 Aug 2017 21:30:27 +0000 David Pinsen 9914574 at https://www.benzinga.com Top 10 Reasons We're Excited For David Letterman's Return On Netflix https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9903942/top-10-reasons-were-excited-for-david-lettermans-return-on-netflix <p>He&#39;s back.</p> <p>David Letterman will return to television via a six-episode series on <b>Netflix, Inc.</b> (NASDAQ: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/nflx#NASDAQ">NFLX</a>), set to debut in 2018. In each hourlong episode, Letterman will conduct a longform conversation with a singular guest as well as explore other topics outside of the studio.</p> <p>&quot;I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,&quot; Letterman said in a <a href="https://media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/david-letterman-makes-his-return-to-television-on-netflix">press release</a>. &quot;Here&#39;s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely.&quot;</p> <p>Letterman left the airwaves in May 2015, following a 33-year-long career on late-night television. The last 22 years of his career were spent with <b>CBS ...</b></p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/opinion/17/08/9903942/top-10-reasons-were-excited-for-david-lettermans-return-on-netflix alt=Top 10 Reasons We&#039;re Excited For David Letterman&#039;s Return On Netflix>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> CBS CMCSA David Letterman NFLX Opinion Top Stories Tech Media CMCSA US20030N1019 NFLX US64110L1061 CBS US1248572026 Opinion Top Stories Tech Media Benzinga Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:50:37 +0000 Jason Shubnell 9903942 at https://www.benzinga.com Does Bitcoin Actually Hold Any Value At All? https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/08/9863811/does-bitcoin-actually-hold-any-value-at-all <p>The NYSE Bitcoin Index is up another 189 percent so far in 2017, as bitcoin continues to rise in popularity among traders. Some bitcoin investors see the cryptocurrency as a safe haven against inflation and pricey stocks and bonds. Others see it simply as a short-term momentum trade. But does bitcoin actually have any intrinsic value at all?</p> <p>The short answer is no.</p> <h3> <strong>Bitcoin&#39;s Value Problem</strong></h3> <p>But that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean bitcoin is a bad investment. Gold also has no intrinsic value. Gold cannot be eaten. It has minimal usefulness as a building material or weapon. Gold is only valuable because humans have treated it as such for centuries.</p> <!--/p--><!--/p--> <p>Like gold, bitcoin&rsquo;s price fluctuations are dictated by supply and demand. Unlike centralized global currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, bitcoin&rsquo;s supply is fixed and capped, leaving demand as the sole variable in the equation. But even that one variable is extremely unpredictable.</p> <p>Bitcoin bulls often point to the fact that the cryptocurrency is free from central bank manipulation as a positive for the currency. However, central banks often step in to support centralized currencies in times of weakness. Without anything to support the value of bitcoin other than market demand, the cryptocurrency is completely at the mercy of the whims of the market.</p> <p>Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, recently said bitcoin&rsquo;s ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/08/9863811/does-bitcoin-actually-hold-any-value-at-all alt=Does Bitcoin Actually Hold Any Value At All?>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> Alan Greenspan Analyst Color Bitcoin BTC cryptocurrency Ethereum GLD Reggie Middleton V Warren Buffett Mark Cuban Education Forex Opinion Top Stories Markets Analyst Ratings Media General BTC US2036121067 GLD US78463V1070 V US92826C8394 Analyst Color Education Forex Opinion Top Stories Markets Analyst Ratings Media General Benzinga Wed, 02 Aug 2017 17:01:06 +0000 Wayne Duggan 9863811 at https://www.benzinga.com Why The US Doesn't Need Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/08/9849228/why-the-us-doesnt-need-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac <p>Shareholders arguing for the preservation of <strong>Federal National Mortgage Association</strong> (OTC: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/fnma#OTC">FNMA</a>) and <strong>Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp</strong> (OTC: <a class="ticker" href="https://www.benzinga.com/stock/fmcc#OTC">FMCC</a>) say the U.S. housing market needs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac&rsquo;s services and their roles as government-backed aggregators.</p> <p>However, in a recent story for <a href="https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/fannie-freddie-are-irrelevant-to-a-government-backed-mortgage-system">American Banker</a>, Whalen Global Advisors chairman Christopher Whalen says it&rsquo;s not Fannie and Freddie that are important to the U.S. homebuyer &mdash; it&rsquo;s the government&rsquo;s guarantees.</p> <h3> <strong>GSE Roles</strong></h3> <p>Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not mortgage originators, but rather mortgage aggregators. These government-sponsored enterprises buy mortgages from originators, such as banks, and free up liquidity on bank balance sheets that can be used to make more loans. In addition, they guarantee these mortgage loans and repackage them to sell to investors on the secondary mortgage market.</p> <p>Whalen says there are several key aspects of this process that are crucial to preserve when it comes to making sure middle-income Americans have ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/08/9849228/why-the-us-doesnt-need-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac alt=Why The US Doesn&#039;t Need Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> Christopher Whalen FMCC FNMA GNMA government-sponsored enterprises GSE Whalen Global Advisors Futures Politics Opinion Economics Markets General Real Estate FMCC US3134003017 FNMA US3135861090 GNMA Futures Politics Opinion Economics Markets General Real Estate Benzinga Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:38:07 +0000 Wayne Duggan 9849228 at https://www.benzinga.com Trump's Tendency To Take Credit Extends To... Everything? https://www.benzinga.com/markets/futures/17/07/9834856/trumps-tendency-to-take-credit-extends-to-everything <p>It&rsquo;s not a stretch to say that President Donald Trump, his agenda stalled before it got started and his administration <a href="https://www.benzinga.com/news/17/05/9537463/every-person-in-the-white-house-whos-been-fired-or-quit-since-trump-took-office">in flux</a>, will take credit for almost any bit of good news that manages to make headlines.</p> <p>Such was the case Wednesday when Trump claimed victory after Taiwanese manufacturer <strong>Foxconn</strong> said it would invest $10 billion in an LCD screen plant in Wisconsin, which is expected to employ as many as 13,000 workers.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s unclear what tax incentives the state may have offered the tech giant, and it&rsquo;s not impossible that foreign companies are seeking to curry favor with a White House to head off its protectionist leanings.</p> <p>With health care mired in the U.S. Senate, an overhaul of the tax code seemingly far off in the distance and infrastructure investment only a distant memory, here are some of the things that the president said he made happen.</p> <h3> <strong>SoftBank</strong></h3> <p>Before he took office, the president-elect took credit in December when he claimed that the CEO of Japanese company <strong>SoftBank</strong> pledged to invest $50 billion in the United States and ...</p><p><a href=https://www.benzinga.com/markets/futures/17/07/9834856/trumps-tendency-to-take-credit-extends-to-everything alt=Trump&#039;s Tendency To Take Credit Extends To... Everything?>Full story available on Benzinga.com</a></p> Donald Trump F SPY TWTR Futures Politics Opinion Markets Media General SPY US78462F1030 F US3453708600 TWTR US90184L1026 Futures Politics Opinion Markets Media General Benzinga Sat, 29 Jul 2017 13:52:38 +0000 Mark Fritz 9834856 at https://www.benzinga.com