Whale Watching: Icahn Picks up More Lions Gate

whale-watching-sm.jpgWhale watching isn’t just a pastime in coastal towns.  In financial circles, the biggest of the big, the heaviest of the heavy hitters, aka the “whales,” often draw a crowd too.  Investors flock to see where the Buffet’s, the Soros’ and the Icahn’s of the world are deploying their capital.  It’s a chance to learn, or maybe even ride the coattails of an expert’s insight to a nice return.

For Carl Icahn watchers, the latest company to watch is Lions Gate.  As of June 30th, 2008, filings show Icahn had 3.65%  of the “mini-major” production company, or 4,289,508 shares.  This month he doubled down.

SEC filings reveal Icahn acquired more than four million additional shares in October.    The individual buys, as listed in the filings, are detailed in the table at the end of this article.

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Microsoft Q1 Earnings Wrap Up

earnsGoogle is being cautiousApple is being prudent .  Now, another bellwether earnings announcement and more of the same. Thursday, Microsoft reported decent earnings but cut forward guidance amidst prevalent fears about the economy and uncertainty in how to predict its impact in the coming months.

Net income for the first quarter in Microsoft’s fiscal year came in at $4.373b, or 48 cents a share (diluted), up 2% from $4.289b (45cents/share) for the same period last year.  Revenue was up 9 percent to $15.06b.

The results were in line with Microsoft’s July guidance which forecast EPS of 47 to 48 cents a share and slightly ahead of analysts whose consensus estimate (Thomson Reuters) was 47 cents a share on revenues of $14.8b.

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Startups Conserving Cash, Pink Slips Issued

layoffs.jpgThe pink slips are starting to pile up.  Beyond the 1,500 job cuts announced Tuesday by Yahoo, start ups with limited revenue have begun cutting back to stretch their existing capital reserves too.

Search start up Mahalo, which has raised more than $20m from firms including Sequoia Capital and News Corp, has laid off near ten percent of its staff.

Fellow Sequoia start up, music social network iMeem, which has raised more than $50m, Click to Read More

Apple Rides the Waves: Q4 2008 Earnings


“A leader is a dealer in hope” Napoleon Bonaparte


Layoffs.  Write-offs.  Weak Guidance. Turbulent Times. Uncertainty.  Foggy Futures. Cracked crystal balls.  Caution. Concern.  

In recent weeks, bad financial news has been like a mosquito you know is there but can’t swat.  It’s been a constant, inescapable drone to a market fearful and in need of reassurance; a market in need of Napoleon’s kind of leader.

Tuesday, though Steve Jobs doesn’t typically participate in earnings calls, Apple’s chief made a rare exception to try and offer just such reassurance.  About fifteen minutes in the conference call, he took the helm stating, “Against the backdrop of this global economic slowdown, it seemed a good time to make a few remarks.”

Together with CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO, Tim Cook, Jobs helped deliver news that was at once both positive and, looking forward, prudently conservative. Click to Read More

Netflix Q3 Earnings Recap

Two weeks ago, Netflix provided a window into upcoming earnings with a pre-announcement to reset expectations for the reality of the current economy.  Today, the official results debuted.  New subscriber additions, as the company warned, were weak but net income was up thirty percent.

Reported net income was $20.4m or 33 cents a share for the third quarter, up from 15.7m (23c/share) for the same period last year. Revenues were in at $341m.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had a consensus estimate of 31cents a share from revenue of $343m. 

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Google Q3 Surprises

goog earnsIn July, the results failed to meet high expectations.  Now, its October, expectations were low and the results exceeded them.  Such is the sometimes awkward reality of predicting the performance of a company that refuses to give much in the way of forward guidance.

Thursday, Google reported third quarter results. They return showed sequential growth is decelerating, but overall the performance was more than enough to best expectations. Net income of $1.35b or $4.24 a share, good enough to best last year’s result of $1.07b (3.38/share) for the same period by 26%. Revenues were also up handsomely to $5.54b from $4.23b last year.   

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NPD September: Gamings Sales Decline Year over Year

ndp gaming report outFollowing August’s surprise shortfall, September was set to be a litmus test for measuring the health of the gaming industry in the U.S; a chance to spot test if softness in consumer spending would have impact or if the industry’s record setting pace would resume.  Thursday, the data came out.  NPD released the results of their retail sales survey for the month of September.  The results were, well, mixed. 

Overall, sales fell seven percent year over year to $1.27b in September.    It was the second month in a row, after a streak of 27 months, that sales failed to yield a double digit growth rate.  It was also the first decline since March 2006.

On the face of it, that decline may look troublesome.  Beneath the surface, however, it’s a little more complex. Click to Read More

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