Tag Archives: Smartphone

Thursday’s Top Links: Fixing Shiller CAPE, A Better LIBOR, The End of Quantitative Easing

Fixing The Shiller CAPE Model

Philosophical Economics wrote a great piece about the downside of relying on the Shiller CAPE ratio. While the tool has been criticized because it has been consistently stating that equities are overvalued for a large part of the last decade, very few have proposed a solution to fix the model. This piece goes into great detail to describe how changes in earnings due to small tweaks in GAAP and the treatment of goodwill have affected it. Perhaps, Pro-Forma adjustments are the solution? However, changes definitely need to be made in order for investors to continue to claim that the Shiller CAPE is still a credible model going forward.

KKR Charging Its Own Investments I-Banking Fees

A little over two weeks ago, payment processing company First Data received a $3.5B equity injection from its controlling private equity companies. I noticed this when the highly levered company’s bonds dropped in yield significantly from this action and made some big news in the credit markets. This financial engineering move has the potential to save the First Data billions of dollars going forward if they decided to call their debt and reissue at assumed lower borrowing rates with an improved credit outlook. However, I came across this article that shows KKR went ahead and just took $40mm out of that $3.5B total for underwriting fees. I’ve never heard of a P/E firm pulling this move, but it could potentially be the industry standard for private companies with multiple large owner interests going forward.

The End of QE (Is In Sight)

After its June meeting, the Fed has made plans to end its quantitative easing program in October of this year. In that month, the Fed will purchase its final $15B in bonds and mortgage backed securities (presumably until the next recession). This meeting was held before the release of the extra 288K+ non-farm jobs added in June, which goes to support the Fed’s theory that the economy will continue to slowly improve & support itself and that the stimulus isn’t needed anymore.

While this clears up one of the questions for the Fed, a more important question remains for investors: when will interest rates go up? When quantitative easing began during the crisis and rates plunged down to zero, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stated over and over again that rates will remain low for a considerable time and to his credit, they have. However, FOMC members have been hinting at a future rate increase coming in the next few years which has led to a lot of speculation. Wall Street is starting to pay more attention to the FOMC “Dot Plot” which shows where each FOMC member thinks the Fed benchmark rate will be at certain points over the next two years and beyond.

This chart shows congruency among the members of their thoughts on the rates through 2014 and going forward after 2016, however we see a lot of differing opinions as to where the Fed benchmark will be in 2015 and 2016. There are a lot of differing thoughts on the future of rates, from PIMCO’s Bill Gross betting big on a “New Neutral” to Goldman’s Jan Hatzius’s thoughts. Only time will tell who the winner is, but we know who the loser will be; the FOMC having to deal with Wall Street’s prying questions and pressure over the next few years.

A Better LIBOR?

Interesting piece by Quartz on how a new company called Credit Benchmark which is aiming to create more reliable and transparent benchmark data. With banks being accused of manipulating LIBOR and a handful of other reference rates, it sounds like this company could have a shot. It reminds me of IEX, the exchange created after the controversy caused by predatory high frequency trading earlier in the year. I really hope this pans out and becomes the new normal because after all of the lawsuits being brought on banks in the past few years, some ethics and credibility in major financial institutions is much needed.


-How to improve the lack of liquidity in the credit markets?: get rid of the complexities of the debt issues and make them similar to the equity markets on the exchanges.
-We just had DOW 17,000 yet short selling is low?
-Charts that show why trading volume remains low: increased regulation & ETF popularity
-Effects of taxes show that being the best trader in the world doesn’t compare to buy-and-hold results
Myths that hurt investors. Just remember, you’ll never be Buffett, nor will the stock market make your riches for you.
-Everyone will eventually own a smartphone and Android will disappoint from here on out

Yo, Raising $1.2 Million Is That Simple


If you haven’t noticed yet, Yo is one of the hottest new apps and has made quite the headlines over the past week, from Business Insider to The Colbert Report. It has rocketed into the Top 10 in the Apple App Store and passed Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook along the way. The app took a measly eight hours to create and is so ridiculously simple that it actually made me laugh the first time I used it, but it’s founders Moshe Hogeg and Or Arbel aren’t laughing after raising $1.2 million in funding and looking for additional engineering talent in San Francisco. (Side note, their job application shouldn’t surprise you https://medium.com/p/76e18a2c686c)

In the last year we’ve seen WhatsApp take the world by storm and get acquired by Facebook for $19 billion and we’ve seen Snapchat make various tweaks to its original creation while turning down $3 billion and $4 billion offers from Facebook and Google along the way. King Digital also created the addictive Candy Crush game and was valued at $7 billion at its IPO. After seeing the giant hype and valuations of these three, you cant help but think back to 2000 Tech Bubble when we saw ridiculous valuations for any company that promised an Internet presence. Could the possible future IPO or acquisition of Yo be the “Pets.com” of a 2014-2015 tech bubble burst stemming from smartphone apps as David Einhorn has been predicting?

Personally, I believe Yo will be a phenomenon for a few weeks and eventually die out like Draw Something, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for this app and to see the strategy of the founders going forward. How long will Hoegeg and Arbel run with the app before being pressured into finding a way to create revenue? What metrics and forms of user analysis will be used to find the potential monetary value of the company? Only time will tell if it just replaces the typical “You up?” text at bar close for a few weeks or if it will evolve and eventually replace the basic text message.

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The Millennial Generation: Quick Facts On Financial Standing, Tech Trends & Consumer Behavior

ImageWho Are Millennials?

Millennials (Generation Y) are the youngest adult generation and are roughly defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 (Generation X: Born 1965-1980 and the Baby Boomers Generation: Born 1946-1964).  They’ve been given a lot of other names like ”Generation All About Me”, “The Complaining Generation”, “Generation Everyone Gets A Trophy”, but to describe them in one long line: 

They are America’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever and are classified as being political and social liberals, tech savvy, healthier, highly educated, less religious, slower to get married, and saddled with debt and lousy, underpaying jobs.

Why Is This Important?

The Millennial generation is huge; 7% larger than the baby-boomer generation and consists of 86 million people. The annual spending of this generation is going to be $2.45 trillion in 2015 and that number will grow to $3.39 trillion by 2018 so the trends and preferences of this generation are going to have a powerful effect on the businesses we see growing and created in the future.


86 Million is the size of the Millennial generation as of 2014, 7% larger than baby-boomer generation. (Barrons)

59.2% are white, 19.9% are Hispanic, 13.5% are black, 5.1% are Asian (Millennials Civic Health Index)

70% are affiliated with any type religion compared to 78% of Gen X and 83% of Boomers. (Pew Research)

50% classify themselves at politically independent, 27% Democratic, and 17% Republican (Pew Research)

60% voted for Barack Obama in 2012, 66% in 2008. (Pew Research)


Tech Trends:

90% used social networking sites in 2013, compared to 78% of Gen X, and 65% of Boomers (Pew Research)

1.8 hours spent per day on social media sites by the average Millennial (US Chamber Foundation)

55% have shared a “selfie” on a social networking site compared to 24% of Gen X and 9% of Boomers (Pew Research)

2.5x more likely than older generations to be an early adopter of technology (Barkley)

60% have uploaded content to the web vs. 29% of non-Millennials (Barkley)

27 times per nonworking hour that consumers in their 20s switch between communication platforms and devices (Advertising Age)

85% of those 18-29 use their phone to go online, compared to 73% for those aged 30-49, and 51% for ages 50-64. (Barkley)

65% of Millennials say losing their phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car. (Zipcar)

41% have only a cell phone and no landline, compared to 24% of Gen X, and 13% of Baby Boomers. (Pew Research)

75% of Millennials with TVs use it to watch “Over-The-Top” content (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) while 68% use their connected TV to watch programming from cable or satellite. (NPD Group)



36% of 18-31 year olds are living at home with their parents as of March 2012, up from 32% in 2007. (Pew Research)

20% of 27 year olds own or pay a mortgage. (The Atlantic)

21% of Millennials are married; 42% of Baby Boomers were married at this age. (Pew Research)

38% have 1-6 tattoos and 23% have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe. (US Chamber Foundation)

63% of Millennial workers have a Bachelor’s Degree (Millennial Branding)

45% of 18-24 year olds were currently enrolled in college in 2011 compared to 31% in 1990. (NY Times)

38% were bilingual as of 2013, up from 22% in 2003. (Nielsen)

32% believe America is the greatest country in the world compared to 48% of older generations. (Pew Research)

52% believe personal success is the most important thing in life compared to just 31% of older generations. (Barkley)

Austin, Texas is the city with the highest concentration of Millennials, followed by Salt Lake City, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Denver. (Nielsen)

33% regularly eat organic foods compared to 18% of older generations. (Barkley)

58% say that are willing to pay more for all natural and organic food products (Alix)

60% work out on a regular basis compared to 43% of non-Millennials. (Barkley)

81% of 20-24 year olds had a driver’s license in 2010, down from 92% in 1983. (CNW Marketing Research)


As Consumers:

$2.45 Trillion will be the annual spending of the Millennial generation in 2015. It will be 3.39 Trillion in 2018. (Oracle)

Google – Favoritebrand among Millennials in 2013 followed by YouTube , Amazon, Nintendo, and Oreo (Vision Research)

BMW – Top prestige brand for Millennial men. Chanel was the most prestigious for women. (L2 Prestige Brand Study 2010)

4 – Number of banks in the Top-10 brands hated most by Millennials (Scratch)

45% will go out of their way to shop at stores offering rewards programs. (Barkley)

47% of Millennial females and 38% of males reported shopping for clothes more than twice a month. (Boston Consulting Group)

38% are willing to leave brands they perceive to have bad ethics (Adroit Digital)

48% say word-of-mouth influences their product purchases more than TV ads. Only 17% said a TV ad prompted them to buy (Intrepid Study 2010)

77% participate in loyalty reward programs (Aimia)

41% have made a purchase using their smartphone (Edelman Digital)

51% use smartphones to research products and services when shopping compared to 22% of older generations (Barkley)

11% of US auto sales went to 18-34 year old buyers in 2012, down from 17% in 2007 (CNW Marketing Research)


Financial Standing:

$27,547 is the average outstanding balance for a borrower with student debt. One in eight has more than $50,000 in student debt. (USA Today)

538% – How much the cost of college has risen since 1985. (Labor Department)

94% would like cash in place of gifts for Christmas (Upromis)

38% have difficulty affording groceries compared to just 21% of those 55 and older (Information Resources, In.)

$39,700 is the median salary across Millennials (Pay Scale)

21% is the amount the average net worth of 29 year olds has fallen since 1983. (Urban Institute)

42% of Millennials when asked, “If you were given additional money, what would you do with it?” said “Pay off debt.” (UBS)

$2,241.20 is the average checking account balance of a Millennial compared to Gen X that maintained an average of $2,081.80. (TD Bank)

6% believe they’ll receive full benefits from Social Security. More than half believe they’ll receive no benefit. (Pew Research)



52% of a Millennial’s overall asset allocation is held in cash and 28% is held in equities. Non-Millennials hold only 23% of their overall asset allocation in cash and have 48% of their assets in equities. (UBS)

43% describe themselves as “conservative investors” compared to 31% of Boomers. (Accenture)

28% believe long-term investing is a key to achieving success, compared to 52% of Non-Millennials that believe long-term investing is a key to achieving success. (Pew Research)

83% of Millennials who work for companies offering a 401(k) plan enroll in the program. (T. Rowe Price)

84% are seeking investing advice (Merrill Lynch)

61% would be interested in having video meetings with financial advisors. (WealthManagement.com)


In The Workforce:

75% of the US Workforce will be made up by Millennials in the US Workforce by 2030. (BPW)

16.3% of Millennials are classified as unemployed in the US (US Labor Dept)

48% of employed college graduates work in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree (The Center For College Affordability and Productivity

284,000 college graduates working minimum-wage jobs in 2012 (Wall Street Journal)

5.36x is how many times more likely a Millennial is to hold the position of a “Merchandise Displayer” compared to older US generations. Other notables include Clothing Sales Representative (4.63x) and Cell Phone Sales Representative (4.03x) (Nielsen)

27% are self-employed (US Chamber of Commerce) and 46% wanted to start a business in the next five years (Employers Insurance)

4% of employers reported parents attending their children’s job interviews. (College Employment Research Institute)

23% of companies reported having heavy contact with parents of Millennial employees. (College Employment Research Institute)

2 years is the average job tenure for Millennials, compared to 5 years for Gen X, 7 years for Baby Boomers, and 10 years for the Silent Generation. (Pay Scale)

47% work for companies smaller than 100 employees, 30% work for companies of size between 100-1500 employees, and 23% work for companies with 1,500+ employees. (Pay Scale)

69% believe office attendance in unnecessary on a regular basis. (Cisco)