What Wealth Advisors Should Say To Clients Now

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With a dip of more than 11% in the S&P 500 since July 20 and continued volatility, what can advisors say to jittery clients?

For long term investors, nothing applies a calming salve better than a discussion about dividends.

Remember, during almost any 10-year period, approximately 40% of the total return from the SPY came from dividends.

Given this, a swoon in asset prices is concerning, but if dividends remain viable, there’s much, much less for investors to fret over. In fact, there are significant profits to be earned from dividends in a correction. read more

Bezos: Call Me

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Were it I was head of media relations at amazon.com when the New York Times revealed some less than civilized employment practices there.

Finally a media relations challenge that, in my view, will fill the pages of communications and crisis management text books for generations to come.

Unknown at this point: Will these case studies portray Amazon’s response as exactly what companies should do in crisis or exactly what they shouldn’t do?

Taking the temperature of this situation at this moment in time, I’d say Amazon has stumbled out of the gate. read more

What does Jack Dorsey see?

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At this point, I’m not sure.

Not to say that Mr. Dorsey will not earn his place in the pantheon of Silicon Valley legends.  He will.

What I’m less sure about is his understanding of the capital markets.   So after taking Twitter public, is he going to take mobile payments company Square, public too?

My read of Twitter’s income statement and balance sheet indicates they have not used the proceeds from their $1.8 billion IPO efficiently (or even completely).  Research and development expenses went from $594 mm in 2013 to $691 mm in 2014.  Marketing expenses went from $316 mm to $614 mm.   Even though Twitter posted a $577 mm loss in 2014, on a cash basis, its operating activities threw off $81 mm in cash. read more

FANG Today, Toothless Tomorrow?

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FANG stands for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

The term, emblazoned on the front page of yesterday’s edition of USA TODAY, was popularized by CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

Some think the FANG clan is unstoppable, and looking at the trajectory of technology and commerce at this moment, it’s hard to see the dominance of these companies ever waning.

But many may remember the portmanteau Wintel as well, which referred to the total dominance maintained by Windows (as a proxy for Microsoft) and Intel.

Wintel had meaning inside the tech industry, but in the early 1990s among investors it represented the duopoly that was a ‘must have’ in any growth oriented portfolio. read more

The Media is Not Biased

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The most popular past time among people who care about the news and media is discussing how biased it is.

It’s not. Here’s why:

  • Almost all media in North America publishes on a for-profit basis.
  • Profitability requires providing audiences with what they want.
  • All editorial agendas are driven by satisfying the needs of the reader.
  • Looking at the media is like looking in a mirror. It serves up to you its best estimate of exactly what you want.
  • Metadata from digital publishing gives publishers ever better data upon which to base their editorial decisions.
  • People who say the New York Times is biased, are poor readers. Journalism 101 requires presenting the other side of the story, which the paper scrupulously adheres to.
  • Many who complain about the bias of the media have never worked in the media.

Another unappreciated facet of perceived media bias is that few journalists have the time for it. The chart shows on an inflation adjust basis, newspaper advertising revenue has retreated to 1950 levels.

chartTo put this into perspective, consider when Google filed for an IPO on August 3, 2004, it’s total revenues were $2.6 billion on an annualized basis. In their 2014 annual filing, Google showed expenses of $49.5 billion. As a result, if Google’s revenues retreated to 2004 levels, they would report a loss a$46.9 billlion. read more