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Musings on Markets's Blog

Country Risk: A Midyear Update for 2018

August 6, 2018 Comments (0)

While political and trade wars are brewing around the world, centered on globalization, the enduring truth is that the globalization genie is out of the bottle, and no political force can put it back. Encouraged to spread their bets around the world, investors have shed some of the home bias in their investing and added foreign equities to their portfolios. Even those that have stayed invested with companies in their own markets are finding that those companies derive large chunks of their...

Share Count Confusion: Dilution, Employee Options and Multiple Share Classes!

July 25, 2018 Comments (0)

In my last post, just about four weeks ago, I valued Tesla, and as with all of my Tesla valuations, I got feedback, much of it heated. My valuation of Tesla was $186, in what I termed my base case, and there were many who disputed that value, from both directions. There were some who felt that I was being too pessimistic in my assessments of Tesla's growth potential, but there were many more who argued that I was being too optimistic. In either case, I have no desire to convert you to my...

Amazon: Glimpses of Shoeless Joe?

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

It was just over two weeks ago that I started my posts on the FANG stocks, starting with Facebook, which I decided to buy, because I felt that notwithstanding its current pariah status, its user base was too valuable to pass by, at the prevailing market price. I then looked at Netflix, a company that has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to the challenges thrown at it, while changing the entertainment business, but is, at least in my view, in a content cost/user cycle that will be difficult...

Walmart's India (Flipkart) Gambit: Growth Rebirth or Costly Facelift?

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

On May 9, 2018, Walmart confirmed officially what had been rumored for weeks, and announced that it would pay $16 billion to acquire a 77% stake in Flipkart, an Indian online retail firm, translating into a valuation of more than $21 billion for a firm founded just over ten years ago, with about $10,000 in capital. Investors are debating the what, why and what next on this transaction, with their reactions showing up in a drop in Walmart’s market capitalization of approximately $8 billion....

User and Subscriber Businesses: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

In a series of posts over the course of the last year, I argued that you can value users and subscribers at businesses, using first principles in valuation, and have used the approach to value Uber riders, Amazon Prime members and Spotify & Netflix subscribers. With each iteration, I have learned a few things about user value and ways of distinguishing between user bases that can create substantial value from user bases that not only are incapable of creating...

Twists and Turns in the Tesla Story : A Boring, Boneheaded Update!

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

There are lots of complaints that you can have about Tesla, but being boring is not one of them. It helps to have a CEO who seems to find new ways to make himself newsworthy, in good and bad ways. In fact, if Tesla were a reality show, the twists and turns in its fate would give it sky-high ratings and put the Kardashians to shame. Consequently, it should comes as no surprise that there is no other company where investors disagree more about the future than Tesla, with bulls finding new...

Come easy, go easy: The Tech Takedown!

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

If there is one thing that I have learned about markets over the years, it is that they have a way of leveling egos and cutting companies and investors down to size. The last three weeks have been humbling ones for tech companies, especially the big four (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet or FANG) which seemed unstoppable in their pursuit of revenues and ever-rising market capitalizations, and for tech investors, many of whom seem to have mistaken luck for skill. Not surprisingly, some...

The Facebook Feeding Frenzy: Time for a Pause!

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

In my last post, I noted that the FANG stocks have been in the spotlight, as tech has taken a beating in the market, but it is Facebook that is at the center of the storm. It was the news story on Cambridge Analytica's misuse of Facebook user data,  in mid-March of 2018, that started the ball rolling and in the days since, not only have more unpleasant details emerged about Facebook's culpability, but the rest of the world seems to have decided to unfriend Facebook. More ominously,...

Netflix: The Future of Entertainment or House of Cards?

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

For better or worse, Netflix has changed not just the entertainment business, but also the way that we (the audience) watch television. In the process, it has also enriched its investors, as its market capitalization climbed to $139 billion in March 2018 and even after the market correction for the FANG stocks, its value is substantial enough to make it one of the largest entertainment company in the world. Among the FANG stocks, with their gigantic market capitalizations, it remains the...

Alphabet Soup: Google is Alpha, but where are the Bets?

July 5, 2018 Comments (0)

In my last two posts, I looked first at the turn in the market against the FANG stocks, largely precipitated by the Facebook user data fiasco and then at the effect of the blowback on Facebook's value. I concluded that notwithstanding the likely negative consequences for the company, which include more muted revenue growth, higher costs (lower margins) and potential fines, Facebook looks like a good investment, with a value about 10% higher than its prevailing price. I argued that changes are...