Yahoo! and AOL to Merge?

January 29, 2008

Just for fun…. Click the video below and ask yourself if something looks a touch familiar about of the AOL and Yahoo! sites. Click it over and over.

With all of the problems that both companies have encountered (GOOGLE) and the competition they endure (GOOGLE), it would be of great benefit to look towards a consolidation rather than a fight. Aside from the graphic similarities, there is a great deal of overlap between both of these companies.

In their earnings announcement, Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) reported a drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday and its shares fell nearly 7 percent as Chief Executive Jerry Yang predicted a tough 2008 amid a weakening U.S. economy.

“While we will continue to face headwinds this year, we believe that the moves we are making will help us exit 2008 stronger and more competitive and return to higher levels of operating cash flow growth in 2009,” Yang said in a statement.

The article continued to explain, “Yahoo’s larger share of the display market makes it more vulnerable to any spending pullbacks in a recession. Analysts expect key rival Google Inc (GOOG) may fare better in a downturn with its dominance of paid search listings, a form of advertising that is viewed as more closely tied to sales.”

News outlets are not impressed with Yahoo! results either:

Yahoo net drops as reorganization stays in focus
at MarketWatch (Tue 5:00pm)
Yahoo 4Q Earnings Fall Over 23 Percent
AP (Tue 4:59pm)
Yahoo Q4 In Line; Q1, ’08 Outlook Light; Stock Slumps
at Barron’s Online (Tue 4:53pm)
Yahoo disappoints investors again
at CNNMoney.com (Tue 4:49pm)
Another flop at Yahoo!
at Fortune (Tue 4:44pm)

To the Yahoo! an AOL team: DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING EXCEPT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING! Shareholders are losing out because of your stubbornness. Be brave, be daring and think of the little ant that moved that rubber-tree plant. You can do it…!

 Disclosure: Horowitz & Company clients do not hold positions in stocks mentioned as of the publish date.

VMWare in Despair – Charting the History

January 29, 2008

Brian Shannon from AlphaTrends provides us a history perspective of VMWare (VMW) shares. The video helps to shed some light on the setup and why the stock is taking such a pounding. A great lesson in technical analysis.

See also: VMWare: A WallStreet Chainsaw Massacre

Disclosure: Horowitz & Company clients hold SHORT positions in stock mentioned as of the date of publication.

Tim Sykes on Wallstrip

January 26, 2008

It seems it is the weekend of videos on TDI.

My good friend Tim Sykes was recently interviewed on Wallstrip. You are either going to love him or hate him I suppose. He has an irreverent style that has turned thousands of investors into fans of his website/blog. Tim is a teacher and an entertainer. His story is rather fascinating and his current non-stop sleep depriving obsession is to create greater transparency on Wall Street.

The basic tale-o-tim is that while studying Philosophy and Business at Tulane University, he managed to turn his $12,415 Bar Mitzvah Gift money into a fully audited pre-tax sum of $1.65 million. This was from 1999 to 2002 before founding his hedge fund, Cilantro Fund Management, LLC in 2003. He is was also one of the cast of traders on Wall Street Warriors and has been featured in dozens of financial rags.

In 2006, Timothy’s hedge fund was ranked the #1 Short-Bias Fund by Barclays for 2003-2006 and he was named to Trader Monthly’s 2006 ‘Top 30 under 30,’ a list recognizing the top 30 investment professionals under the age of 30.

Here is where the plot thickens; according to Tim, after suffering a roughly 35% loss over the course of two years, on October 1, 2007, he closed his hedge fund and started a publishing company, BullShip Press, LLC. All of this was in an effort to promote Freedom of Finance, the concept of a hedge fund manager’s right to discuss their business freely without risk of penalty or censorship. Then, on November 1, 2007, Tim unveiled TIM, or Transparent Investment Management, announcing he will go back to his $12,415 roots and repeat the feat of turning this sum into $1.65 million. This time around, his plan is to detail all his investments and his investment process on his blog, as he hopes to “become the first hedge fund manager to detail their strategies for all to see.”

Check out his Wallstrip interview and make sure to track his real-time trading account on Covestor. AND, if you are looking for a good read that will give you the details of Tim’s story, get a copy of his book, An American Hedge Fund. It is an entertaining and fast read.

On Lust and Trust

January 25, 2008

Over the past few days I have received a good amount of mail from blog subscribers, podcast listeners and clients. Many have mentioned that they are disillusioned. Some are horrified. Others are fed up (no pun intended)! Come to think of it, I do not think that there were any that were, even in the least, happy with the markets even though they gained. It is rather obvious that there is a great deal of confusion out there.

On average, investors are looking for answers while they are having a hard time envisioning the future. For sure, there are a few that think this is just a quick correction and nothing to worry about. There are even those that are all for blame, such as the curmudgeons that frequently come up with a good bashing of the Fed, the media and hedge funds. But when we really look at the situation that is developing, we need not blame. Rather, we need to find long term solutions. The crap layered on top of crud within the financial sector is nothing new, nor will it ever stop without significant intervention.

As we have been busy recalling the Savings and Loan Crisis, we seemed to have forgotten about the CMO meltdown two decades ago and the “rouge broker” fiasco’s we have witnessed during the past many years/months. Lest not we even bring up the forever banished names of Long Term Capital Management or Enron!

One particular email that caught my attention from a loyal podcast listener hit the proverbial nail on the head. It talked directly to the point that it is not only the current administration’s or even the old-guard’s fault that we are in such a disarray. The truth is that out of all of the current politicians vying for the coveted position of Commander and Chief, there is no particular name that brings any feeling of comfort. No one that is seemingly able to come up with anything more than political rhetoric and snippets in an effort to win over votes.

I think that what is happening in the financial arena is immoral. The lust for profit above all else has gone too far. Capitalism succeeds only when trust, and the spirit of fair play is maintained. We are at a critical inflection point and I do not see any existing governmental authority figure who can inspire.

Greenspan left quite a mess in his wake. Now he is off to the hedge fund which is exploiting the downside of the easy credit conditions he himself enabled. This scenario is a microcosm of the morally bankrupt behavior that is commonplace.

..Fred S.

Once more, we are in a crisis of confidence. One that will take time to heal. Be sure that once we are back and fully trusting those individuals and companies that help us “create wealth,” they will assuredly cook up another scheme that brings on another financial implosion. Then, the cycle will continue on again and again and again. Feel better?

Over 250,000 Podcast Episodes Served

January 19, 2008

It is official! We have surpassed the 250,000 downloads mark. Since we began this journey, there has been a terrific growth in our subscriber base.mdtdi.jpg As each month had passed, the numbers just kept on growing. Looking back, it is amazing to see that it was only last April that The Disciplined Investor Podcast was introduced. We have been very fortunate as it has quickly gained favor with listeners.

A Few Key Statistics:

Subscriber Usage

72% iTunes – Windows
24% iTunes – Mac
1% Netvibes
1% Zune
1% Google Feedfetcher
1% Other

10% Average monthly growth rate
51,000 Average downloads per month
109 Reviews on iTunes
30 Weeks on Top 25 for iTunes Business
30 Weeks on Top 10 for iTunes Investing
54 Guest Interviews

Highest Rank on iTunes – 4 (January 2008)
Most Downloaded: Episode 39 – BESPy Awards

Each new episode is downloaded over 10,000 times within the first week of release. Thatsa’ allotta’ downloads!

The number of listener comments is simply amazing. By sharing more than with any other show within the Business Category of iTunes and providing invaluable feedback, listeners have helped to shape the show into a mix of hard-hitting commentary with great investment insights from show guests. Now, as we are currently running Episode 40 with guest Brian Shannon, we are gearing up to provide many more episodes that will be sure to give listener’s with what they are obviously looking for; solid financial direction and an unbiased approach towards investing.

There is much more to come as we have lined up John C. Dvorak for Episode 41 as well as have scheduled the founders of Covestor, the head of Microsoft’s MSN Money, top authors, industry experts and much more. (If you would know of a guest that would be good for the show, write to bookings(at)thedisciplinedinvestor.com)

One more teaser: The Moneycasts Network is coming…….Keep a close watch for the official announcement.

Thanks for your support and please keep on listening. Oh…Be sure to subscribe through iTunes or your favorite podcast directory!

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