Archive for November, 2011

How to get the Best Deal on a SodaStream machine

November 14th, 2011 No comments

If you drink a lot of seltzer water, it is a no brainer to buy a SodaStream machine. Not only do you save the environment with less plastic bottles wasted, you also save a ton of money.

Here is how to get the best deal right now on a SodaStream machine. I would avoid the $125 model they have at Costco. It’s not worth the extra cost especially because it uses the bigger CO2 canister, which you can’t exchange at most places.

Stick with the $80 model sold now at most Staples and Target locations. You get the same functionality AND the ability to exchange the 60L CO2 canisters at Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond locations.

Use the “Where to Buy” function on the SodaStream web-site (Link) to find your local Staples and Target locations that have it and also find which Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond locations do the CO2 exchanges.

Although both Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond do the 60L CO2 exchanges for $15, I would recommend doing the exchanges at Bed Bath & Beyond because you can use the $5 coupon they mail out multiple times a year. Just sign up for the coupon mailing list at the store or on the Bed Bath & Beyond web-site.

For $10 per 60 liter CO2 exchange after the $5 coupon, you get an amazing 16.6c per seltzer liter. You also save the environment with no plastic bottles wasted. If you drink soda, you get the added benefit of better nutrition vs. normal brand-name sodas (Link).

So in summary for the best deal deal buy the $80 SodaStream model at Staples or Target and exchange your 60L CO2 canisters at Bed Bath & Beyond customer service desk for $10 after the $5 coupon.

Categories: News

FA Notes Thursday November 10, 2011

November 10th, 2011 2 comments

AMZN – Amazon has recently increased its Kindle Fire orders to more than five million units before the end of 2011 as pre-orders for the machine remain strong, according to sources from upstream component suppliers. Amazon already raised its order volume once in the middle of the third quarter, up from 3.5 million units originally to four million units. Link

Bob Rodriguez interview – What’s your outlook for the economy and stock market in 2012? Decidedly cautious. I believe Europe is in or near recession and that the odds are increasing north of 50% that the U.S. will be in recession next year. I’m looking for GDP growth at about 1%, probably even lower at times. It’s going to be a very languid year economically, and the stock market will face profitability issues along with governmental issues. Link

Categories: News

FA Notes Wednesday November 9, 2011

November 9th, 2011 No comments

“Motherboard makers have been impacted by HDD shortages arising from flooding in Thailand since mid-October, and are expected to see their fourth-quarter shipments decrease 10-15% on quarter, according to industry sources.” Link

AAPL – “According to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report, Apple is likely to adjust downward its shipments of iPhones and iPads from related suppliers by 10-15% in the fourth quarter.” Link

Categories: News

FA Notes Tuesday November 8, 2011

November 8th, 2011 No comments

WSJ – “Mr. Berlusconi has resisted calls for his resignation as worries about Italy’s ability to rein in its debt have grown. A routine budget vote set for mid-afternoon in Rome is seen as a key test for the Italian prime minister, with failure potentially setting up a confidence vote… Investors hope that a new government formed in the wake of a Berlusconi ouster would be able to move more quickly to reassure markets.”

”Japan’s Olympus Corp. said Tuesday it covered up investment losses for decades and used a series of acquisitions to clean up its books, helping clear up some of the mystery surrounding those deals and reversing weeks of statements defending the transactions.”

”With Italian bond yields surging higher, analysts said Italy is at the brink of being unable to afford to borrow in the public markets… And with €1.9 trillion in debt ($2.62 trillion) and €200 billion of debt coming due next year, Italy can ill afford to see rates remain at these high levels.”

“The EFSF’s chief executive, Klaus Regling, said euro-zone ministers would discuss the two options and hoped to have one or both of them in place by December.”

”Dynegy’s plan to eliminate billions of dollars owed to bondholders while sparing parent company shareholders flips usual bankruptcy rules on their head. Creditors are usually paid first during bankruptcy proceedings and shareholders often are left with nothing”

Categories: News

FA Notes Monday November 7, 2011

November 7th, 2011 No comments

Source: WSJ

Source: Tech Report

Source: Maryland Costco

Categories: News

FA Notes Friday November 4, 2011

November 4th, 2011 No comments


(Paul Tudor) Jones also thinks the markets may end up forcing the federal government to clean up the nation’s balance sheet in as little as three or four years from now. And he said that would present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to own assets. Link

WSJ: Sales at U.S. chain stores last month rose 3.4% compared with October 2010 for the 22 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, but that was less than the 4.5% rise expected by analysts and the 5.1% notched in September. Link

Bloomberg reports on Apple’s operational competitive advantage. Link

Categories: News

SodaStream (SODA) adds many Target, Staples, and Costco stores this quarter, which are not in Wall Street estimates

November 3rd, 2011 No comments

Sodastream CEO presentation on September 8, 2011 Link

Notice on “Slide 39” during a presentation the SodaStream CEO gave in September 2011; there is nothing on Target, Staples, and Costco.

Using the “Where to Buy” feature on the SodaStream website (Link), I find the product is now available in about 1/2 of Costco locations (a rough sample estimate) and every Target and Staples store in my area (Note: this may not be the same across the country). 

A friend of mine in California said SodaStream was recently made available at his local Costco. My wife told me she saw SodaStream being demo-ed and sampled last weekend at our local Costco on the East Coast. I called that Costco up and an employee told me they had 100 units in stock.

I drove to my local Staples tonight and saw a huge end-of-aisle SodaStream display with 12 units right out in front when you walk in. It was right next to the Green Mountain Keurig display. I talked to an employee who told me he set the display up TODAY and they have one more box of inventory in the back. I estimate this Staples store got 20 units shipped-in.

I drove to my local Target and found the SodaStream display in the home kitchen area next to the microwaves and water filters. There was shelf space for 20 units. It looked like about 5 units were sold. I used the inventory checker with one of the units and found there was no more stock in the back. A Target employee told me it was a recent launch.

In previous SodaStream conference calls, management talked about a small 12 store test trial at Costco, which we now know had a large roll-out ramp up in the past week to more locations. Management also talked about testing at a big box mass-market discount retailer in the past year. Now we know that was Target with a massive roll-out this quarter. The Staples roll-out today is another positive surprise.

Costco has 432 stores in the U.S. Target has 1767 stores in the U.S. Staples has 1575 stores in the U.S.  I do not know the exact store roll-out numbers, but from a dozen zip code searches on the Sodastream site’s “Where to Buy” feature it looks pretty significant across the board.

If you do the shipped-in math of 20 units per added Target and Staples stores and 100 units for 1/2 of the Costco stores for $80-120 per unit, it is easy to see upside vs. the Wall Street estimate for U.S. SodaStream revenue this quarter. Please note this is U.S. revenue only. I have no visibility on their sales in Europe.

Categories: Articles

FA Notes Thursday November 3, 2011

November 3rd, 2011 No comments


Third Point Q3 2011 investor letter (must read!). Link

October retail same-store sales Link
Saks 1.8% vs. 5.4% est.
Costco 9% vs. 9.2% est.
Target 3.3% vs. 4.2% est.
Macy’s 2.2% vs. 3.6% est.
Nordstrom 5.4% vs. 6.4% est.
J.C. Penny –2.6% vs. 1% est.
Kohl’s 3.9% vs. 3.7% est.
Limited 6% vs. 6.2% est.

ECB cut its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.25%, in new ECB honcho Mario Draghi’s first policy meeting. – WSJ

WDC STX – As floods in Thailand have seriously impacted the hard drive supply chain, Western Digital recently notified its distributors in Taiwan that the company will not distribute any hard drive supplies to Taiwan in November. Samsung Electronics is also not supplying any hard drives to Taiwan in November and will shift shipments for the use of its own-brand PC products, according to sources from channel retailers. Currently, channel supplies can only last until mid-November, the sources noted. Link

AAPL – “Apple’s new generation iPad will enter mass production soon with the launch set for March 2011. Apple does not view the new iPad product as iPad 3, but rather an upgraded iPad 2 and the real iPad 3 will not be launched until the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest. The iPad 2 upgrade will be thinner than iPad 2, and will offer longer battery life.” Link

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou lost his majority in Parliament, raising hopes that Mr. Papandreou’s referendum proposal will be killed. – WSJ

AMZN – “launching a digital-book lending library that will be available only to owners of its Kindle and Kindle Fire devices who are also subscribers to its Amazon Prime program..initially offer slightly more than 5,000 titles in the library, including more than 100 current and former national bestsellers, such as Stephen R. Covey’s "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." None of the six largest publishers in the U.S. is participating. Link

SNDK – NAND flash contract prices are likely to fall in November and drop further in December, as supply will expand, combined with continued-sluggish demand, according to DRAMeXchange Link

MF – “MF Global Inc.’s commodity customer funds have a shortfall of $633 million, or about 11.6 percent, out of a segregated fund requirement of about $5.4 billion, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.” Link

TTWO – Grand Theft Auto V debut trailer. Link

“A Xerox WorkCentre 5150 photocopier is causing angst among Washington’s economics press corps—and some Fed officials. The copier in the Treasury Department room where reporters huddle for Fed releases keeps jamming. On Wednesday, the mischievous machine jammed about a half-dozen times while reporters were trying to make copies of the Fed’s statement. In September, it jammed about 10 times” – WSJ

Categories: News

FA Notes Wednesday November 2, 2011

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

David Einhorn – “Given the challenging macroeconomic environment, we intend, for the foreseeable future, to continue holding a significant position in gold and other macro hedges in the form of options on higher interest rates and foreign exchange rates, short positions in sovereign debt and sovereign credit-default swaps,” the reinsurer said in a regulatory filing yesterday. Link

Markit Economics said Wednesday its Purchasing Managers’ Index for the 17 nations that use the euro fell to 47.1 in October, from 48.5 in September. The reading means activity has now been shrinking for three months. Link

October ADP 110K vs. 100K est. Prior revised to 116K vs. 91K

The European Financial Stability Facility, the euro zone’s temporary rescue fund, plans to hold off on selling the €3 billion bond to fund the bailout of Ireland due to volatile market conditions, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday. – WSJ

It added that it has hard disk drive (HDD) inventory until the end of November. "Substitutes for HHD are very few, so if the situation persists, not only notebook production will be affected but also desktops, and other component shipments will also drop," Asustek CFO David Chang told Reuters. He said the prices of HDDs are very mixed at the moment with some prices surging 20-40 percent. Up to half of the global supply of hard drives comes from Thailand. – Reuters

At Amazon, for example, Western Digital’s 1TB Caviar Black has skyrocketed to $199.99, up from around $90 less than a month ago. – Tech Report

Redemption requests, which were due by Oct. 31, totaled less than 8 percent of assets, or roughly $2.4 billion.. Since employees account for half of the fund’s overall assets, the recent withdrawals amount to nearly 16 percent of the outside capital.. Mr. Paulson ventured out on his own in 1994.. produced steady gains, returning an average 16 percent a year in his oldest fund through 2006.. encouraged by consultants like Cliffwater Associates and banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. At the start of the year, Paulson & Company oversaw $38 billion compared to just $4 billion in 2007. Link

Business Insider reports on the founding of Groupon with insiders quotes. Link

MF – “Don’t ask me any hard questions,” he joked to a visitor who met with him just days after Mr. Corzine took over in March 2010. “I hadn’t heard of this company a week ago.” On the eve of its collapse, it had about $34 of debt for each $1 of capital it held, according to data from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. By contrast, Goldman Sachs’ leverage ratio is $13.50 for every $1. In 1994, Mr. Corzine ascended to the top of Goldman Sachs despite hundreds of millions of dollars in trading losses at the bank’s bond unit, which he had overseen. Link

Categories: News

FA Notes Tuesday November 1, 2011

November 1st, 2011 No comments


Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money has gone missing from MF Global in recent days. Link

CME Group (CME) CEO says has determined MF Global (MF) is not in compliance with customer segregation requirements – Reuters

China Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.4 in October from 51.2 in September, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in a statement today. That was lower than any of 16 economist estimates in a Bloomberg News survey that had a median forecast of 51.8. Link

The Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, stunned Europe‘s leaders on Monday after he proposed that his country should hold a referendum on the landmark European debt deal reached last week. Greeks have already registered their dislike for the package. Polling has shown that 60% thought it was bad for the country, making the referendum a high stakes gamble for the socialist government. Link

NVDA INTC AMD – Year to year this quarter Intel market share increased (9.5%), AMD broke even, and Nvidia slipped -23% in the overall market partially due to the company withdrawing from the integrated segments. However, Nvidia gained 10.9% in desktop discrete. Link


Panasonic Corp. posted a fiscal second-quarter loss due to restructuring costs in its unprofitable television and semiconductor businesses. The Japanese electronics maker also cut its forecast for the full fiscal year.

The company now forecasts a net loss of ¥420 billion ($5.54 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2012 and revenue of ¥8.3 trillion. In June, it had forecast a net profit of ¥30 billion and revenue of ¥8.7 trillion for the full fiscal year. Panasonic plans to sell 19 million TV sets this fiscal year, compared with its previous plan to sell 25 million sets. Link

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. on Monday posted a 9% drop in third-quarter net profit, dragged by relocation costs and flagged that visibility for orders remains poor, highlighting the world’s largest contract maker of electronic products by revenue will likely be weighed by the dour global economic outlook. Link

Categories: News