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Other Takes and Opinions

10 Great Jack Welch Quotes On Leadership, Developing Talent And More

  • Some good quotes from Benzinga on Jack Welch's passing.  Here's a few.
  • "What could possibly be more important than who gets hired, developed, promoted, or moved out the door? Business is a game, and as with all games, the team that puts the best people on the field and gets them playing together wins."
  • "Don't manage. Lead change before you have to."
  • “If you are a leader and you are a manager, shame on you if people don’t know where they stand. You have a moral obligation leading people’s lives, talking about their future and ... telling them where they stand."
  • "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."

There’s a Simple Reason That Gold is Falling Along with Coronavirus-Afflicted Global Stocks

  • Interesting turnaround in gold prices (futures down 5% last week) after a monster run up the past year being a chosen safe haven in a low interest environment.
  • Article says selling gold is the "asset of choice for among investors to raise cash".
  • Also contributing is gold transactions in China and India are conducted face to face, which has likely been coronavirus impacted.
  • But, with central banks seemingly poised to lower rates, this should push gold prices up.
  • Writer notes that silver prices (down 12% last week) have been weak due to lower levels of global industrial production

Wall Street Gives Bernie Sanders a Pass…for Now

  • As this seems to be coming a more material factor in the market every week Sanders wins a primary or caucus, the article points out that "Wall Street" still doesn't believe he can beat Trump and he hasn't faced a major push back in his campaign from the financial services industry, as Warren did (who was considered more electable).
  • In fact just the opposite, the more likely a Sanders nomination becomes, the more likely Trump gets re-elected, and the better for stocks.
  • As Jim Bianco said in the article, “He’s the devil we know,” says Bianco, explaining this mindset. “He’s been in there for three years, and everything’s been OK.”
  • Although, there are analysts who believe that the market is underestimating the chances of a Sanders victory in the general election.
  • And, given the accuracy of polls three years ago, frankly who knows.

Cord-Cutting Accelerated in 2019, Raising Pressure on Cable Providers

  • Good update on accelerating cord cutting trend with cable/satellite TV providers seeing an 8% decline in 2019 (5.5 million households after 3.2 million in 2018). Making the situation worse is they have had to raise prices to support the infrastructure and secure content.  Although there is growth in higher margin broadband subscribers.
  • While streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+) continue to grow and proliferate, and are also raising prices.

Strong Home-Building Momentum Kept Rolling in January

  • January home construction statistics strong again January, after a strong December.
  • January housing starts of 1.57 million beat consensus of 1.43 million, up 21% YOY, while permits were up 18% YOY.
  • Strength largely attributed to warm weather and continued low interest rates, and we'd guess all from continued low unemployment/economic growth.
  • Housing stocks are up generally across the board (+- 1%), with most at or near 52 week highs.

Kushner Seeks Investors to Help Curb Central America Migration

  • We think this is a great idea... sort of a Marshal Plan for Central America.  We've heard others suggest the idea, but good to see it actually may happen.
  • Seems like part of the right approach to fixing the immigration issue where everyone wins.
  • Let's just hope the execution matches the idea and the aid is efficiently and effectively placed where it can have the greatest impact.

Video Game Makers Want to Get Players Off the Couch

  • Following the introduction of the very successful WII in 2006, video game manufacturers are putting in motion detectors to support the development video games that combine game playing with physical activity.
  • There seems to be a lot of opportunity as fitness games make up only 1% of the $35 billion vid game industry in the US.
  • Seems like a great idea/trend although clearly not targeting the core gaming crowd.

Barron’s Picks And Pans: GM, Kraft Heinz, Tesla, Under Armour And More

  • Benzinga's weekly rundown of Barron's.

Will Private Equity RE Players Continue Raising Funds at a Breakneck Pace?

  • Real estate private equity players raised a record $151 billion in 2019.
  • This is driven in part as institutions continue to push alternative investment classes given the concerns with stock market valuations and as they seek higher yields.
  • Fundraising remains concentrated among the top 10 players notably Blackstone, Brookfield, Starwood and Carlyle.
  • Our take: Given we are in year 12 of the real estate market recovery, this must be considered at least a yellow flag, especially if interest rates rise or there is an economic hiccup.

US Mobile App Subscription Revenue Jumped 21% in 2019 to $4.6B Across the Top...

  • Big jump in revenue from non-gaming related apps with the largest grower and top grossing app being Tinder which accounted for 10% of revs of the top 100 apps.
  • YouTube was the leader in App Store revenue crossing the $1 billion level.