Daniel Ferry

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  • Gambling on Casino Stocks: Feelin' Lucky?

    By Daniel Ferry - July 20, 2012 | Tickers: LVS, MPEL, MGM, WYNN

    Over the past three months, shares of the four largest publicly-traded casino companies have all plunged between a quarter and a third, while the broader market's gains and losses came out to a wash. After such a cold streak, is it time for gaming stocks to heat up? No card counting or lucky charms required to see that incumbent casino operators are looking like good bets. The most established more »

  • Surprise Winners of the Natural Gas Boom

    By Daniel Ferry - July 20, 2012 | Tickers: GLOG, GLNG, RDS-B, TGP, WPRT | Editor's Choice

    The rise of hydraulic fracturing has unlocked vast new reserves of natural gas, and despite environmental concerns, American natural gas is set to become an increasingly important source of energy. A lot of excitement surrounds innovative companies like Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT) using natural gas to power vehicles as well as boring old electricity utilities building natural gas-powered plants. Such investments in demand capacity, however, will take years to reach more »

  • Reports of Bricks-and-Mortar's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    By Daniel Ferry - July 13, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, COST, HD, LOW, WFM | Editor's Choice

    This week, shares of appliance and electronics retailer hhgregg tumbled after the company announced that, under heavy pressure from Internet retailers like Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), it was cutting profit outlook. The company's plunge brought Best Buy down with it, triggering a renewed round of speculation about the imminent demise of bricks-and-mortar retailers. It's time to step back and remember this is not the first time we've more »

  • Digging for Pay Dirt in European Markets: France Telecom

    By Daniel Ferry - July 13, 2012 | Tickers: T, ORAN, TEF, VZ, VOD | Editor's Choice

    Last weekend, customers of the largest telecommunications provider in France endured a nine-hour blackout of phone and Internet service. Customers were furious, and the company will have to pay compensation, estimated to cost “several dozen million euros.”

    Yet shares of the firm barely budged. Why? Perhaps because the company, after being battered by the recession and the ongoing financial turmoil in Europe, simply doesn't have much further to fall more »

  • Digging for Pay Dirt in European Markets: Veolia Environnement

    By Daniel Ferry - July 11, 2012 | Tickers: AWK, WTR, RSG, VE, WM | Editor's Choice

    For the past few years, Europe has been embroiled in a financial crisis that never seems to end, always teetering on the brink of collapse without quite falling over. The reluctance of politicians to move decisively to settle the issue in one way or another has introduced so much uncertainty that capital has fled Europe in droves.

    While this is certainly a reasonable response when faced with the potential collapse more »

  • Netflix Breaks Streaming Record—So What?

    By Daniel Ferry - July 10, 2012 | Tickers: AAPL, CMCSA, NFLX, TWX

     “Congrats to Ted Sarandos, and his amazing content licensing team. Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June.”

    So wrote Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings last week in a Facebook post, sending Netflix shares up over 20% since the announcement. This is a big jump from the last time Netflix has released these numbers, with the company streaming only two billion hours in more »

  • Barclays' Admission of Moral Bankruptcy is Just the Beginning

    By Daniel Ferry - July 5, 2012 | Tickers: BAC, BCS, C, HBC, JPM | Editor's Choice

    “Duuuude,” begins a note that will go on to exhort committing fraud on a global scale, “what's up with ur guys 34.5 3m fix... tell him to get it up!” The writer was attempting to get the recipient to knowingly falsify a three month interest rate upwards, so that the writer could profit. The note emerged in an investigation of Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) for attempting to manipulate more »

  • Why Investors Should Demand Employee Satisfaction

    By Daniel Ferry - July 5, 2012 | Tickers: COST, GOOG, QCOM, SBUX, WFM | Editor's Choice

    What do Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM)Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), Costco (NASDAQ: COST), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) have in common? They were the five highest ranked publicly-traded companies in Fortune's 2007 Best Companies to Work For ranking with over 5,000 employees. All of them still rank amongst the best companies to work for in 2012, and four out of five have outperformed the market since then more »

  • Will Murdoch Pillage Fox?

    By Daniel Ferry - July 5, 2012 | Tickers: NYT, TWX, NWSA

    Rupert Murdoch formally announced last week that his News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS) will split into two companies. One will take over News Corp's entertainment assets, including Fox's broadcast network, cable television channels like FX and Fox News, and film studio Twentieth Century Fox. The other new company will manage News Corp's vast global portfolio of newspapers, notably including The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, as more »

  • Enterprise Software Firms Rush to Plant a Stake in the Cloud

    By Daniel Ferry - July 3, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, MSFT, N, ORCL, CRM | Editor's Choice

    Enterprise software is typically a staid field. Customers in this industry tend to be sticky: businesses often stay with their incumbent provider due to the high switching costs of retraining staff and IT departments for a new system. This has been especially true while business software required physical installation on local machines.

    However, as storage and processing increasingly takes to the cloud, companies are rethinking their software needs. Cloud computing more »

  • Breaking Up the Banks — Can Investors and Occupiers Agree?

    By Daniel Ferry - July 2, 2012 | Tickers: BAC, C, GS, JPM, NES.DL | Editor's Choice

    “Break up the banks” might sound like a rallying cry for Occupy Wall Street. But increasingly, restructuring the largest banks and spinning off their different business lines looks like an attractive strategy for investors.

    There have been a lot of reasons advanced for dismantling the nation's largest banks: their concentration of market share resembles an anti-competitive oligopoly, their centrality to the financial system makes the entire economy more vulnerable more »

  • Defense Contractors Stare Down Fiscal Cliff

    By Daniel Ferry - July 2, 2012 | Tickers: GD, LMT, NOC, RTN, BA | Editor's Choice

    Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), America's largest defense contractor, announced on Thursday that unless something is done soon to prevent automatic budget cuts to defense, it may be forced to issue tens of thousands of layoff notifications—mere days before the presidential election. The cuts will begin to take effect in January. Lockheed claims that, due to a law requiring companies to give 60 days notice for layoffs, it is more »

  • The Battle for the Living Room

    By Daniel Ferry - June 29, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, CBS, NFLX, TWX, DIS | Editor's Choice

    If Netflix is losing the battle for the living room, then Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) is winning. The company gets bashed often and eagerly by early adopters for failing to adapt to a changing television environment. Time Warner is seen as particularly stodgy compared to innovators entering the space: Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Hulu, and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). I believe, however, that Time Warner recognizes these threats, and has taken steps more »

  • Tech Patent Wars Becoming Downright Bizarre

    By Daniel Ferry - June 27, 2012 | Tickers: AAPL, FB, GOOG, ORCL, YHOO

    Last week, Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) asked for damages from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) over infringements of their intellectual property to the tune of. . . $0. (Personally, I think they could have pushed for $0,000,000, but keener minds than mine are at work here.) Oracle's suit was based on patents and copyrights they had obtained with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems and the Java suite in 2010, and their rapid more »

  • J.C. Penney is not Apple -- the Power and Peril of a Brand

    By Daniel Ferry - June 21, 2012 | Tickers: AAPL, COST, JCP, TGT, WMT | Editor's Choice

    News this week that J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) president Mike Francis is resigning “effective immediately” will leave new CEO Ron Johnson in control of J.C. Penney's marketing and merchandising. Last year Johnson came to J.C. Penney to execute a turnaround, after developing the successful Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) retail stores. With previous experience bringing exclusive designer lines to Target (NYSE: TGT), he seemed a natural fit.

    But more »

  • Panama Canal Expansion will Change the Landscape for Freight

    By Daniel Ferry - June 20, 2012 | Tickers: CNI, CSX, EXPD, NSC, UNP | Editor's Choice

    A century after opening, the Panama Canal is due to inaugurate a third set of locks in 2014. This added capacity will not just increase the throughput of the canal, it will also accommodate significantly larger vessels. Today, the Panama Canal is one of the most notorious bottlenecks in global trade, with a particular class of ship, the Panamax, designed specifically to be the largest vessel that can still fit more »

  • Could Microsoft's Tablet be as Successful as the Zune?

    By Daniel Ferry - June 19, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, ARMH, INTC, MSFT | Editor's Choice

    Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced ambitious plans on Monday to produce a tablet computer, competing for the fast-growing segment alongside the likes of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad and Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle Fire. The Microsoft Surface comes with a keyboard built into its cover, a magnesium case, and two available versions -- a basic Surface running WindowsRT with processors from ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH) and a Surface Pro model running more »

  • Buffett is Too Optimistic on Housing

    By Daniel Ferry - June 19, 2012 | Tickers: BAC, BRK-B, FIG, WFC | Editor's Choice

    Warren Buffett doubled down on residential real estate this week, announcing on Monday that his Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) was bidding to acquire the bankrupt mortgage originator Residential Capital LLC (ResCap), including its loan portfolio, for $3.85 billion. Buffett appears to be willing to pay up for the assets, as Berkshire's entry into the process is likely to start a bidding war with ResCap's favored buyer Nationstar more »

  • Bad Government Policy is Choking Pandora

    By Daniel Ferry - June 18, 2012 | Tickers: P, SIRI

    Last week, the nation's largest radio network, Clear Channel, struck a deal with Big Machine Label Group to pay its artists, including Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, for playing their songs on its stations. This brings into stark relief a government policy that hugely disadvantages young disruptors in the radio space like Pandora (NYSE: P), Spotify, and Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI). While it made headlines that a terrestrial more »

  • Railroads Prepare for the Threat of Natural Gas

    By Daniel Ferry - June 17, 2012 | Tickers: BRK-B, CNI, CSX, NSC, UNP

    North American's freight railroads have delivered impressive performances since deregulation in the 1980s, growing into one of the largest and most efficient freight transportation systems in the world. Significant revenue drivers for railroads over the past few years have been large coal shipments to power plants, as well as a competitive advantage over trucking due to better fuel efficiency.

    Over the next decade, a secular trend in favor of more »

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