Intel’s Feeling “Chipper”; Hey Big Spender…Where Have You Gone?; BlackBerry: Buh-Bye Seacrest

Just because you don’t care, doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you…

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s some big juicy merger news coming down the fiscal/tech pipeline. Intel announced it’s plunking down $16.7 billion for fellow chipmaker, Altera. In case you were wondering – because I know you were, that comes out to $54 per share. Last year Altera pulled down revenues of close to $2 billion. So it stands to reason that Intel knows what it’s doing. It should be duly noted, my dear reader, that these are not just any personal computer chips we’re talking about either, but rather, programmable chips that can be used in smart cars, clothes and other everyday use items. Pretty rad, huh? Of course, like any multi-gazillion dollar deal, regulatory approval is still needed and shareholders also need to give their thumbs up. But at least Wall Street seems to be showing its enthusiasm in its own special fiscal way.

Spendthrift?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

April was a wash and I am not talking showers here. According to the Commerce Department, there was no rise in spending for April. Nor was there any decrease  – which I guess is a positive too. Consumer spending flat-lined and gave us the worst showing in three months. Gee, thanks April. While personal income was up a whopping 0.4%, Americans are choosing to save save save all that cash that they didn’t have to shell out for gas lately, much to the chagrin of economists who were certain Americans would be whipping out their wallets and just buy buy buy. Wages also didn’t increase that much which definitely helped spoil some much-needed spending fun. In fact, the personal savings rate (yes, that is a real thing) jumped to 5.6%, the highest rate since December of 2012. Burned by that awful fiscal nightmare of 2008, would-be consumers are discovering the joys of saving, in addition to paying down the odious burden of debt. Economists are expecting – and very much hoping (because it would be embarrassing for them if they were wrong) – that spending will pick up in the coming months and put some much needed oomph back into the economy, since spending does account for 70% of it. Here’s hoping they get it right.

So random…

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember BlackBerry? Not the fruit but the device? Just admit it that you had one right before you unceremoniously ditched it for a first generation iPhone. Well the once-beloved device actually kicked the iPhone’s tush today. And Ryan Seacrest’s tush too. Sort of. The company, whose products are still quite the rage in other parts of the world, finally settled some “outstanding legal disputes” with a company called Typo Products, which happens to be backed by everyone’s favorite karaoke host, Ryan Seacrest. Typo was making iPhone cases with a QWERTY keyboard that bore a striking resemblance to a BlackBerry design. Talk about “F” for lack of creativity. In any (iPhone) case, Typo ponied up some settlement cash, tweaked the design and presumably found a way to, as they say on American Idol, make it their own.

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De-throned! Coach-ing Mistakes and Berry Big News!

Heir apparel…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Excitement is in the air at the American Apparel headquarters and it has nothing to do with its racy billboards. Instead, highly controversial CEO Dov Charney has finally and unceremoniously been given the boot. In fact the excitement – and no doubt relief – extended to Wall Street today where shares of the stock shot up 5%. It probably had a bit to do with the fact that there are several lawsuits against Charney involving inappropriate sexual conduct with female employees. Those types of things always tend to put a downer on shares. While Charney is busy maintaining that all alleged interactions were consensual, American Apparel named CFO John Luttrell as interim CEO. American Apparel has 240 stores in twenty countries and tons of racy marketing.

This Coach can’t seem to score…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shares of Coach (COH) took a beating today and haven’t been this low since July of 2010. So the company decided now would be a good time to close 70 stores that are underperforming. It seems rivals Michael Kors and Kate Spade are luring would be Coach customers away with apparently trendier styles. The nerve, I tell you. With that in mind, Coach has made up its mind to spend lots and lots of money on marketing and strengthening its presence in “key” markets. North American retail head Francine Della Badia said “consumers…will see less logo, more leather, more lifestyle categories,” if that’s your thing and Coach is banking on it that it is. The company even announced a twice a year sale. Now that is everybody’s thing. Coach has over 500 stores and 70% of its revenue comes from North America.

Berry exciting stuff…

Image courtesy of zole4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zole4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember BlackBerry? Don’t pretend like you don’t! Well it looks like the Canadian based company is making a nice little comeback pulling in a $23 million profit this quarter. Wait a minute…Who dares to use a BlackBerry these days? Look no further than Indonesia. Actually, that’s pretty far from here but BlackBerry is selling a low-cost smart-phone there called the Z3 and it’s all the rage. So much so that BlackBerry has big plans to introduce it in eight more countries where people are sure appreciate the smartphone more for its price and functionality than for well…anything else. The nicely priced device helped the company pull in $66 million in revenue which is only 1% down from a year ago. In September BlackBerry plans to launch the BlackBerry Passport. If that doesn’t sound exciting and mysterious then I don’t know what does.

 

 

Big Spenders? Wal-Mart/Visa Smackdown and Back In BlackBerry?

Consumer spending…It’s electric…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Oh consumers, how you’ve been spending. It’s always a good thing when Americans spend spend spend. The economy grows and everyone is happy…sort of. Yes, the economy did grow by a mere .3%. And that does make Wall Street spend-happy. But the big question is on what exactly have consumers been spending their hard earned money ? The answer: Services. Not services for your Tesla or on mud facials and goldfish pedicures but rather services that provide you with electricity and water. Yes, the bulk of consumer spending lately has gone toward paying utility bills. Not exactly riveting stuff but at least it’s something.

Say it isn’t so, Visa…

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two of the biggest companies this side of the Atlantic are about to go at it and things will get ugly. Mega retailer Wal- Mart filed a $5 billion civil suit against credit card company Visa accusing it of all kinds of naughty things. Wal-Mart says Visa is guilty of violating anti-trust laws like conspiring with banks to illegally fix and inflate swiping fees. Back in 2012 Visa and MasterCard had to fork over $7 billion to settle similar allegations with other retailers. Don’t think this has nothing to do with you. Those fees get passed on to the consumers – and have been costing a mind-blowing $350 billion – none of which can go towards paying utility bills.

Remember the time we had those rally great BlackBerries?

Image courtesy of James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Maybe the only blackberries you’ve been into lately have come from the produce section but remember the smartphone BlackBerry? Remember how having one virtually guaranteed your place in the universe? Nowadays having a BlackBerry may still determine your place in the universe – only it’d be at the wrong end. My how the tide has shifted.  Big news from the company, however. Wall Street predicted they’d lose $0.56 per share but wouldn’t ya know it – the company only lost $0.08 a share. Boom! And wouldn’t ya know it again? Shares of the stock started to go up because the analysts’ prediction was so far short of accurate. Double boom! CEO John Chen put in some new cost-cutting measures trying to morph BlackBerry into a software company while scrapping the smartphone component. Sadly, for BlackBerry anyway, it was the first time since 2007 that the company’s revenue fell under $1 billion.