Good Sunday morning, here are some interesting reads to start off the last day of your weekend:

Josh Brown: My Investing Edge and the Crossroads (TRB)
Stock Analysts Tell All: Asked who was their most important group of clients, 81.5% of analysts picked “hedge funds.” Only 13.3% chose “retail brokerage clients.” (WSJ/Total Return)
• Sherrod Brown Takes On Megabanks — and The Obama Administration (Talking Points Memo) see also Trying to Slam the Bailout Door (NYT)
• How to invest? Americans don’t know some basics. (Christian Science Monitor)
Taibbi: While Wronged Homeowners Got $300 Apiece in Foreclosure Settlement, Consultants Who Helped Protect Banks Got $2 Billion (Rolling Stone) see also Error claims cast doubt on Bank of America foreclosures in Bay Area (Center for Investigative Reporting)
• Welcome to Drug R&D’s Golden Age (Barron’s)
• The Math on Solar is about to Change our World (Monetary Realism)
• Psychopaths’ Brains Aren’t Wired To Show Empathy, Study Finds (HuffPo)
• Hey look, a dishonest whitepaper (Lepinkski) see also The One Where Dell Admits It Doesn’t Know Anything About The Post-PC era (Chambers Daily)
Surprisingly interesting & unusual sports story: Ankiel a rare player reinvented (NBC Sports)

What’s for brunch this morning?


Earnings Beat Rate by Sector  
Source: Bespoke

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

33 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. chartist says:

    Michael Dell had the greatest luck in the history of luck. He caught a major revolution just as the steepest part of the S adoption curve was about to take off. Michael didn’t innovate and when it comes to Dell, the company, there’s no there, there.

    • My favorite Dell datapoint: They spent more money buying back shares than the company earned in total profits — ever.

      • hue says:

        Give Dell some credit. He started his PC business out of his dorm room at UT, winning bids with the state. Then he dropped out of college and ran his business, sounds familiar? Direct selling instead of retail channel was an innovation.

      • He is a wanker — and transferred a ton of cash from Shareholders to himself.

  2. farmera1 says:

    Another shot at how the rich (????) are getting richer while everyone else is not.

    Wealthiest Americans Only Winners in Recovery, Pew Says

    “The U.S. economy has recovered for households with net worth of $500,000 or more, a new study shows. The recession continues for almost everyone else.”

    Wasn’t it the case in the past that increasing productivity was good for America. Not so much now, all the gains are going to those that have already “made” it.

    • Its good to be the top 1%.

      Everyone else appears to be rather screwed

    • Jojo says:

      Not here in the SF to Silicon Valley area. Real estate agents are cold knocking on doors looking for houses to sell above asking price, apartment rents have skyrocketed, food prices are higher, day-today prices seem higher, gas prices are still high, unemployment is down and I see an awful lot of brand new cars being driven around, including many Tesla Model “S” (saw like 5 of them on my commute Friday), BMW’s, Lexus, Infinity, Porsche, etc.

      A lot of people seem to be making money around here.

      • bear_in_mind says:

        It’s starting to feel bubble-icious, IMHO. Could continue indefinitely, but having seen a few of these cycles before, content to keep my powder dry for another day.

        Also, seeing another round of ‘invisible inflation’ at the retail level with rejiggered package sizes for a number of common products such as yogurt, pasta sauce, various types of chips, and loaves of bread (to name a few).

        Look, I know it’s not “inflation” as measured in economic terms, but when you see 12.5 pct to 20 pct less product at the exact same price, I call that screwflation… and a factor that I don’t think the BLS or BEA begins to measure in their official statistics. But I can guaran-damn-tee you that U.S. citizens are feeling the pinch as corporations are fattening their margins on our dime. Whether this adds up to impacting GDP is anyone’s guess, but cannot fathom it’s helping spread prosperity to the 99 percent.

  3. econimonium says:

    On the Dell articles, I love it when people talk about a “post-insertwordhere” world. The authors here express shock, shock!, that a whitepaper produced by any business has an agenda. To quote the author, I thought we had moved past that. The Dell pieces are instructive on a gross level, but I think you have to think of the finer points as it relates to the business.

    Tablets are NOT appropriate for everyone in either a business or consumer function. Period. In fact, there are physical limitations and logical limitations to their widespread deployment in a company. Just because the marketing people like them, doesn’t mean people who have to use a screen 7 hours a day on a large scale do. They are supplemental devices. So think about what this means to a company like Dell logically. Right now, people are buying tablets as a supplemental device, or because they honestly have no need for a PC on the consumer side. Carry that over into business. In an org, how many people have no use for a laptop or PC? How many workers will be supplied with supplemental devices? What’s going to happen when someone sues in a BYOD case? What do IT budgets look like now, and how does the purchase of tables affect this? Now extrapolate this into the future and remember corps don’t upgrade until device death. Is it surprising to see Dell or any PC maker to take a hit now? The best way to think about this is, after the adoption curve flattens, what percentage will remain in the tablet realm and what will revert back to the PC realm? I submit there are two vastly different curves here, and perhaps it’s a great exercise to think about this when predicting the future of the PC business.

    • The point is that Dell STILL has no clue about the POST PC world. Good luck to whatever private equity wanker “Wins” the contest to buy them.

      • Mike in Nola says:

        Using terms like “Post PC world” shows you have already bought into the Apple world view, as does, posting interviews with Mossberg, who probably has an altar to Steve Jobs in his apartment.

        I don’t know how valid the report it, but that is how big IT departments view things. This is not to say that Dell hasn’t been badly run lately and that stock buybacks are generally stupid.

        The blog with the headline is obviously almost exclusively oriented towards iPad consumers who are a big segment, but have little to do with how businesses use computers. Businesses will not put up with pronouncements from on high that “we have a new OS and you have to get our new hardware to run it if you want support.” That is why MSFT is still supporting XP ten years after its introduction and why it has the inside track with businesses.

        Surprisingly, Windows tablets showed a market share (or maybe usage?) of 7.5% last quarter which is a pretty big jump from virtually 0 before the intro of Windows 8 which many bloggers pronounced DOA. And this is without a really good selection of Windows 8 tablets, for which companies like Dell and HP are responsible. They greeted the intro of Win8 with the same old tired designs and it showed in sales figures.

        New designs are coming out and it’s really a matter of seeing how things shake out.

      • bear_in_mind says:

        Name ONE disruptive technology Dell successfully created and deployed?

      • Cheap made to order PCs !

      • econimonium says:

        Well, they’ll just slash the consumer business up and make it on-line only again, push deeper into corporate and IT, load it up with debt re-tooling it, and then re-IPO it and make a bundle because that’s what Private Equity wankers do :)

      • Mike in Nola says:

        Unfortunately, you are right unless they bankrupt it.

        My wife has a Dade-Behring shoulder pack we take touristing and birding. That was a nice little company that made nice products for medical labs. Mitt and his friends bought it and ran it into the ground, putting many out of work. There are some videos that came out during the election with stories of some of the ex-employees.

    • rd says:

      The same thing was said about laptops 15 years ago.

      I think the future of computing over the next decade or two will be a 7″ to 10″ tablet with the ability to dock with a full-size monitor, keyboard, CD/DVD diskdrive, and mouse. Moore’s law says that the computing speed and memory capacity of chips will keep improving so that a tablet a decade from now will have the same capabilities of a lap-top today.As Android improves and expands, it could replace Windows.

      Apple, Samsung, Asus, and a couple of others will probably be at the leading edge of that. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Surface do as it is likely their key to the future.

    • willid3 says:

      well if your employer hasn’t told how BYOD will be impacted if there is a lawsuit bad on them, cause they know or should. they will come and take your device if it ever was connected to their network and you ever used it for business. best answer to that, dont use it. and i suspect that tablets and smartphones are replacements in the consumer market for those who never had a need for what the PC/MAC can do (cause if you have noticed both have slowing sales. and tablets and phones are also replacing cars too) and have niche setting in the commercial one, mainly cause in commercial markets, most user wont need to use what they offer. but if you are a mobile employee, say a salesman, they have a lot to offer

  4. hue says:

    Doggles & Other Awesome Photos of Military Mutts (Gizmodo) Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War: A History (Sheppard Software) Go watch Sniffing for Bombs: Meet America’s Most Elite Dogs

    Conan the Contrarian: O’Brien’s Commencement Addresses
    Dartmouth: You have graduated more great fictitious Americans than any other college. Meredith Grey of Grey’s Anatomy. Pete Campbell from Mad Men. Michael Corleone from The Godfather. In fact, I look forward to next years’ Valedictory Address by your esteemed classmate, Count Chocula. Of course, your greatest fictitious graduate is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Man, can you imagine if a real Treasury Secretary made those kinds of decisions? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Harvard: The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000. So I was reluctant to show up. I’m going to start before I really begin by announcing my one goal this afternoon. I want to be half as funny as tomorrow’s Commencement speaker, moral philosopher and economist Amartya Sen. That’s the job. Must get more laughs than seminal wage-price theoretician. By the way, enjoy that. Bring a calculator. It’s going to be a nerd fest.

  5. faulkner says:

    NYT Magazine – The Mind of a Con Man

    “He viewed himself as giving his audience what they craved: ‘structure, simplicity, a beautiful story.’”

    No field is immune from the influence of desire and the human imagination.

  6. swag says:

    This extraordinary and hilarious tumblr accusing/slandering(?) economist Daron Acemoglu is burning up econo/academic Twitter this morning –

  7. Jojo says:

    Fascinating article. I’ve always missed the Winesap apples I used to get in the late fall when I lived in NJ 20+ years ago.
    Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples
    And one man’s quest to bring hundreds more back.

    –By Rowan Jacobsen
    | March/April 2013 Issue

    Every fall at Maine’s Common Ground Country Fair, the Lollapalooza of sustainable agriculture, John Bunker sets out a display of eccentric apples. Last September, once again, they covered every possible size, shape, and color in the wide world of appleness. There was a gnarled little yellow thing called a Westfield Seek-No-Further; a purplish plum impostor called a Black Oxford; a massive, red-streaked Wolf River; and one of Thomas Jefferson’s go-to fruits, the Esopus Spitzenburg. Bunker is known in Maine as “The Apple Whisperer,” or simply “The Apple Guy,” and, after laboring for years in semi-obscurity, he has never been in more demand. Through the catalog of Fedco Trees, a mail-order company he founded in Maine 30 years ago, Bunker has sown the seeds of a grassroots apple revolution.


    • bear_in_mind says:

      Recall driving in the Sierra foothills with my father in the 60′s and 70′s each Fall and buying freshly-harvested apples of rare varieties from roadside vendors. They were so incredibly delicious! WE later planted a number of apple trees in our backyard, then proceeded to graft cuttings from different varietals. You’d be amazed what you can do with a small lot, some elbow grease and ingenuity.

  8. 873450 says:

    Middle Class exhausting resources to hang on.

    Loans Borrowed Against Pensions Squeeze Retirees

    The advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks. They carry interest rates that are often many times higher than those on credit cards.

    The pitches come mostly via the Web or ads in local circulars.

    “Convert your pension into CASH,” LumpSum Pension Advance, of Irvine, Calif., says on its Web site. “Banks are hiding,” says Pension Funding L.L.C., of Huntington Beach, Calif., on its Web site, signaling the paucity of credit. “But you do have your pension benefits.”

    Another ad on that Web site is directed at military veterans: “You’ve put your life on the line for Americans to protect our way of life. You deserve to do something important for yourself.”

    A review by The New York Times of more than two dozen contracts for pension-based loans found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from 27 percent to 106 percent — information not disclosed in the ads or in the contracts themselves. Furthermore, to qualify for one of the loans, borrowers are sometimes required to take out a life insurance policy that names the lender as the sole beneficiary.

  9. Jojo says:

    What We Learned From 9 People Who Died Because Of Texting
    Kevin Smith | Apr. 27, 2013

  10. “Income Inequality” is, seemingly, ‘all the Rage’..
    “If you don’t like the ‘Fruit’, Spy the Root. ..”
    below, Gibson assists one in understanding one of the major Fonts of ‘Income Inequality’…

  11. BR,

    speaking of ‘Fonts’, maybe, someone over at “Out:think Group” would be interested in..

  12. Marc P says:

    I’ve been an avid follower of the PC revolution since DOS 1.0 and I work in the industry. Maybe my perspective is a bit different when I question this notion of a “post-PC world.” All those devices are PCs: desktops, laptops, tablets, mini-tablets, large smartphones and small smartphones. Users have computing on any size screen and can access all their data on each of them.

    The industry megatrend of the last decade was the construction of the hardware screen size options and the communications to deliver or store all data everywhere. The other megatrend is that for the first time in the PC evolution the power of hardware far outstrips the needs of software. People aren’t going to purchase because they need a computer to calculate Excel faster.

    Let’s call the current state of affairs “computing ubiquity.” The question now is, what do we do with it?

    History has shown that once hardware capacity is built the entrepreneurs find uses for that capacity. Cheap flash beget the portable music player. Fast and common Internet connections beget Dropbox and iCloud. So history answers the question. What comes next are the software applications. Sure, this is bad news for Dell unless Michael wants to start writing software. But the punditry misses the central question. They should be asking the software entrepreneurs what’s in their pipelines, not asking the hardware manufacturers how they will sell more beige boxes.

    • Mike in Nola says:

      Solid thoughts there.

      One reason for dropping pc sales that is implicit in your post is that computers don’t need to be replaced as often, both because the hardware quality is a bit better than it used to be and the PC’s out there are already powerful enough for new operating systems. Windows has been made more efficient with each version since Vista. Windows 8 runs on just about anything Windows 7 did. And Windows 7 ran better that Vista on any hardware that ran Vista. No need to upgrade the hardware to run new software. My 3 yr old laptop runs Win8 great. I’m just hanging on to it until some newer and cheaper tablets come out later in the year.

      Plus, you have MSFT, Citrix and others pushing virtual desktops where the software you appear to be running is running on a server somewhere across the net. No need for a powerful machine for that since the software is running elsewhere. Apparently Citrix is easy to install. My wife installed it herself on her own laptop today so she could practice sample screens on a new computer system being set up at her hospital. There has been no talk of anyone getting new machines so they are probably all going be running the software in some sort of remote desktop setup. Using remote desktops also keeps the data on the servers where it is more secure.Bottom line is lots of lost sales for whoever their hardware vendor was.

      • Biffah Bacon says:

        Hobbyist market was shanked by Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo game console life cycles. It used to be that computer games drove many peoples experience of computing with games like Quake and Far Cry demanding increasing levels of computing power in floating point operations and graphics capability. With the Xbox being a Pentium 2 or 3 and the Sony PS 2 and 3 being IBM Power PC grade parts (Former Mac processor) it became a software challenge to market to those massive platforms rather than serve the PC/Mac market where new hardware churn drove companies like Nvidia to innovate product lines.
        Games stagnated and consolidated to a few publishers and one innovator-Valve with its Steam service. Crysis is the last game franchise to demand a lot of processing horsepower.

  13. rd says:

    The high cost of getting in Mother Nature’s way:

    Living on a coastline only a few feet above sea level leaves you at the mercy of storms. There hadn’t been a big one in the NYC-NJ area for a while, so development moved in and occupied the storm surge areas. Places like NJ and NYC are very tough to develop flood maps for because there are so many variables including the size of the storms, the local hydro-dynamics of the coast line and estuaries, and a very complex tidal system where locations just a few miles apart can have peak tides hours apart.

    This is now a fundamental clash between private finances and property rights, mortgage financing requirements, zoning and property tax control by local authorities, FEMA regulation for subsidized flood insurance, and the ever-present request for federal government disaster financing. Some very tough decisions are going to have to be made.

  14. jp2 says:

    I don’t look at the earnings beat rate by sector as an economic indicator as much as an indicator of how bad some analyst are at their job. Telecom was the best and those analyst were off by 44%. Utilities analyst were off by 50%. WOW! I still kick myself for trusting those guys and their numbers on WCOM and WAMU!!!

  15. James Cameron says:

    You can also add gun sales to her list, eg, . . . but should we be surprised that Facebook has an incoherent set of polices?

    An Open Letter to Facebook

    ” I don’t know who is running things over there at Facebook headquarters, but to me it seems like a bunch of men who enjoy women, but only on their own terms. . . . “If you scroll through the photo galleries you will find pictures of women completely exposed, pictures of unconsenting women on camera phones that bitter ex-boyfriends send into the page to ‘Expose These Sluts,’ and countless other pictures that clearly violate the terms, but are never removed.”