Volvo’s Heads for U.S. Shores; Etsy’s Coming Unglued; Apple Looks for Greener Pastures…in China?

They’re boxy…but safe…

Image courtesy of  Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/

Volvo’s got big news. Yes. Volvo. Big. News. The car once known for its safety record, not to mention, its boxy style, is setting up shop on American shores. The Swedish auto manufacturer, which is now owned by Chinese company Geely Holding Group, will be plunking down $500 million for a facility in South Carolina.  Apparently, the master plan to is to rekindle the love Americans once had for the car, which has seen its market share in the US dwindle steadily. In fact, the new American Volvo plant is expected to be able to roll out some 100,000 cars a year – which seems a bit high considering the car maker only managed to sell about 56,000 of them in the last year. The new plant is expected to create some 2,000 jobs and you can start driving your American-made Volvo by 2018. But the move has got a lot of people scratching their heads as to why Volvo opted to go to South Carolina as opposed to Mexico where it’s so much cheaper to produce…well, everything. But South Carolina doesn’t seem to be complaining about it and apparently it’s the place to be as the state is home to some 250 car makers. So welcome to America, Volvo.

Not so crafty after all…

Image courtesy of  franky242/

Image courtesy of franky242/

It made for a bedazzling IPO, but Etsy’s glitter is not gold as a Wall Street analyst said that as many as 5% of goods on the crafty website could be fakes. So just how many items is that exactly? About 5 million, give or take. Can you guess where the stock went after that damning little analysis? The stock made its much-heralded IPO opened last month at around $30. As I write this, the stock is hovering at $20.67, down about 9% just from today.  Researchers over at Wedbush say that NFL, Louis Vuitton, Disney and Chanel (to name, but a few) could theoretically make some very ugly copyright infringement cases against the online retailer. That’s more than enough to send investors running. Even though analysts say there’s a chance Etsy could avoid getting directly blamed, the issue of fakes could still make big, bad, fiscal problems by causing reduced fees, the big Etsy money generator. As for that stock price, which had many wondering if it wasn’t just a bit too high to begin with, well Wedbush seems to think that the stock is going to come down a lot and settle in to a more realistic price point of $14 per share.

Cupertino, it ain’t…

Image courtesy of foto76/

Image courtesy of foto76/

Apple is teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund and has plunked down an undisclosed amount of money for…forests…in China. As part of an environmental initiative on Apple’s part  – not necessarily China’s – the company behind the iPhone and iWatch wants to “power all its operations worldwide on 100 per cent renewable energy.” That is so friggin’ noble.  As you sit there playing Candy Crush on your iPad, the powerhouses behind that electronic marvel will be busy protecting about 1 million acres of forest in an effort to responsibly manage a geographical area that houses all kinds of useful natural materials that everyone needs.  And it’s all so ironic considering that China isn’t exactly a beacon of light for environmental causes. In fact, it holds the dubious distinction of being the number one environmental offender in the world. But since most of Apple’s products are manufactured there anyway, it made sense to take part in such an endeavor. Well, sort of.


Nothing Luxurious About Coach’s Earnings; Just Ship It; Can It Get Any Better for Apple?

Not on trend…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Consumers just aren’t feeling the love for Coach, at least in the United States, as evidenced by its third quarter earnings. Those earnings can best be described as short on style and long on disappointment, as sales here took a nasty 24% dive to $493 million. Last year at this time sales hit $648 million in the U.S. As for the rest of the world, the company saw sales plunge 15% to $929 million, a far cry from the $949 million analysts were predicting. It wouldn’t be right not to put some of the blame on the strong U.S. dollar. After all, it’s the thing to do these days. But that excuse can only go so far. At least Coach managed to beat Wall Street’s profit expectations by a whole penny. Yeah you read that right. Coach’s net income came in at $81.1 million and 36 cents per share. That figure might have been somewhat impressive if not for the fact that last year at this time Coach saw a profit that was more than double at $191 million and 68 cents per share. The leather goods company better hope its $547 million Stuart Weitzman acquisition pays off as Coach has some very unflattering plans to shut down 43 shops and twelve outlets.

Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Image courtesy of tigger11th/

Image courtesy of tigger11th/

You know whose earnings didn’t suck? Hint: Brown delivery trucks. Indeed, UPS delivered some very impressive digits, which is especially awesome considering the hit it took during the holiday season. Just how impressive were these earnings? Well, the company took in $14 billion worth of revenue, a 1.4% increase from last year. That’s a lot of packages. Actually, it’s about 1.1 billion packages, 2.8% more than last year, to be precise. Unfortunately, Wall Street analysts actually expected more from the shipping company and hoped it would reach $14.3 billion. But, oh well. No one seems to be too upset since UPS managed to score $1 billion in profits at $1.12 per share, easily taking down analyst estimates of $1.09 per share. Last year at this time UPS saw a profit of $911 million with 98 cents per share. The tricky part, however, is that even though the stock is up 14% from a year ago, it is still down 11% for the year. Strange how that works out.

Keeps getting better and better and…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Apple has done it again. Yawn. The iPhone/iPad/Master of the Universe reported another epic quarter of earnings that leave just about every single other company – in the world – green with envy. With $58 billion in sales, Apple scored $13.8 billion in profits adding a very plump $2.33 per share. I guess that’s what happens when you sell 61 million iPhones. For those lucky enough to own shares of the company, their dividends went up too. The company is oozing money  – like, $194 billion of it – with $33 billion of it just in cold hard cash and the rest in investments, which, knowing Apple, will pay off handsomely. Oh, and did I mention the stock hit a new high? Well, I just did. All this, and the Apple watch barely hit the market. Have you ordered yours yet? They’re going for between $349 – $17,000. That ought to make Apple’s next earnings report a bit more interesting.