Thursday, February 28, 2008

Swiss February Firesale

News sources say New York based Focus Capital was forced to sell its stocks which has sent down four Swiss mid cap stocks (Schulthess, Hiestand, Huber+Suhner, Forbo) down -39.96, -27.69, -26.50, and -25.00 percent since the beginning of the year. Of the SWX listed stocks (without the Virt-X stocks) these are 4 of the 10 worst beforming stocks this year.

Going back for two weeks, these four stocks account for four out of six of the worst performing stocks at the SWX (again without the Virt-X stocks). The two other bad performers are the two listed Lichtensteiner banks (Landesbank and VP Bank).

SGRN.SWX chart
HIEN.SWX chart
FORN.SWX chart
HUBN.SWX chart
VPB.SWX chart
LLB.SWX chart

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Holcim P/E

Looking at the Holcim 2007 full year numbers there are a very few items that let the company look not THAT cheap as it has been touted for a while in the press in Switzerland. Of course as stated in the income statement, the sale of the South African business with a profit of CHF 1249 mio, a huge minority interest, but then also a hefty currency translation charge directly to equity.

So unless I am wrong taking it all into account, this results in diluted earnings per share of CHF 9.45 (compared to the official CHF 14.73). With today's share price this results into a P/E multiple of 11.64.

I am not saying that this stock isn't a bargain or even a steal. Just the P/E multiple of 5.5 I was reading somewhere (Finanz und Wirtschaft) I have a hard time to believe.

Microsoft Opens Up?!

Last Thursday Microsoft made a "Significant Company Announcement" to share some protocols with everyone and not to sue any open source developer bla bla bla, which made some people think: what could this all mean?!

Here is what the European competition commissioner had to say today in the NY Times: Europe Fines Microsoft $1.3 Billion
Microsoft had earlier been fined after the commission determined in 2004 that the company had abused the dominance of its Windows operating system to gain unfair market advantage. The commission imposed the new fine Wednesday, it said, because the company had not met the prescribed remedies after the earlier judgment.

“Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of E.U. competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision,” the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said in a statement.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Solvency Not Liquidity

George Magnus video interview from Financial Times about the "sub-prime crisis": View from the Markets

He puts a USD trillion tag number out. No comment from my side that he works for UBS.

Pointer is from The Big Picture.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The One Percent

Forbes: Q&A: Jamie Johnson On "The One Percent"
You've seen my father's reaction in the films: He freaks out, he really hates it. Many times he just throws me out of the room or kicks me out of the house. And then there are the characters or subjects in my films. I was sued at one point and there are a number of other people in those films that feel that I was a traitor to the affluent class in some way--that I betrayed them.

So you're not part of that same social circle anymore?

Well, not entirely. I have a number of friends that are from that circle, but I find there is a suspicion of me among certain wealthy people now. Every now and then when I ask a question, something completely innocent just because I'm curious, people say, "What do you want to know for? What is this about?"

The Rich Man's Michael Moore

WSJ: The Rich Man's Michael Moore
Why an Heir Continues to Document -- and Anger -- the Wealthy

Friday, February 22, 2008

Buffett Fires Granddaughters

NY Post: Warren Buffett fires granddaughter

Reuters: Documentary on wealth gap divides Buffett family

Actually Nicoles mother Mary coauthored a few books about Buffett and I think somehow to remember that Warren Buffett wasn't very amused about that fact either, as she was already divorced from his son Peter at that time.

Charts, Charts, Charts

Slope of Hope with Tim Knight

And also:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gates Getting Serious On Search

Reuters: Microsoft targets Web with Yahoo or alone: Gates
"We can afford to make big investments in the engineering and marketing that needs to get done. We will do that with or without Yahoo," said Gates in an interview with Reuters.
I don't know what he is talking about specifically, Search or the Web or whatever, but I thought they were going for THAT already a long time ago?!!! So they are just starting now?!

Apparently they haven't been very serious about search so far. Look at this statistic from the site since its inception in late July 2007:
Google bot hits:    50821
Yahoo bot hits: 17417
Microsoft bot hits: 533
My impression: Microsoft is not even trying. Yahoo seems to be serious, but just doesn't seem to have the same horse power available that Google does.

Rise Of The Machines

Equity Trades Defy Economy as Wall Street Transformers Abound
Citadel Investment Group LLC -- Kenneth Griffin's Chicago- based hedge fund named to suggest a stronghold in volatile markets -- uses mathematical models and advanced computer systems to make investments that translate into about 5 percent of U.S. equity trading. D.E. Shaw & Co., which oversees $35 billion, relies on automated, 24-hour-a-day strategies that exploit shifts in asset prices around the world. The New York- based fund accounts for between 1 percent and 2 percent of trading at the NYSE.
Citigroup Inc.'s Automated Trading Desk tries to predict prices for 8,000 stocks 30 seconds into the future to give the largest U.S. bank an edge on rivals.
Credit Suisse Group, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, expanded its rapid-fire algorithmic trading programs to more than 30 countries and almost doubled its equity revenue over two years to 7.75 billion Swiss francs ($7.03 billion).

Lehman Brothers, the fourth-biggest U.S. securities firm by market value, climbed the ranks of brokers on exchanges in Frankfurt, Stockholm and Toronto after retooling its order- processing systems to reduce costs. The New York-based company was the top broker in Europe last year, up from third in 2005, and climbed 18 spots to No. 6 in Canada, according to Thomson Corp.'s Autex.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Buffett On Bridge

Bringing Back Bridge

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Berkshire 2007 Holdings Report

Berkshire 2007 13F Holdings Report

Friday, February 15, 2008

Buffett Bought Kraft

Yesterday came two SEC 13F ammendment files public that document Berkshire Hathaway had bought during the 2nd and 3rd quarter 2007 shares of Kraft Foods worth a few billion USD.

2q2007 13F-HR/A
3q2007 13F-HR/A

Julian Robertson

Julian Robertson's `Tiger Cubs' Beat Hedge-Fund Rivals in 2007

Tiger's Julian Robertson roars again

Thursday, February 14, 2008

UBS Equity

UBS Equity has developed from 3rd quarter to 4th quarter 2007 like this (in CHF million; goodwill assumed to be unchanged):
                     4q2007  3q2007
Goodwill and other 14990 14990
intangible assets
Equity attributable 35585 48229
to UBS shareholders
Tangible equity 20595 33239
Autsch, tangible equity went down -38 % in just three months! With more than 2 trillion in assets on the balance sheet, equity is now less than 1 %. The 13 bia injection should be highly welcomed.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Joel Greenblatt speaking at NYSSA

Joel Greenblatt speaking at NYSSA

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Warren Buffett Conversation

Business Wire Canada Opening Reception: A Conversation with Warren Buffett

2008-02-06 - 1 hour 30 minutes mp3

Buffett/Berkshire News Feed

Available at STOCKscreener. i n f o is a new Warren Buffett or Berkshire Hathaway news feed:

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. News

Here is the accompanying RSS feed.

Ajit Jain Radio Interview

Berkshire Hathaway's Jain Tells CNBC He's Talking "Right Now" With Bond Insurers About Possible Purchase or Partnership

Joel Greenblatt Radio Interview

NPR: Joel Greenblatt Radio Interview

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BARRON's on Swiss Re

BARRON'S - Go Slow on Swiss Re

Monday, February 04, 2008


MSFT.NAS chart
Great performance for MSFT the last eight years!