Nvidia Corp reports 54.6 percent rise in quarterly profit

(Reuters) – Nvidia Corp reported a 54.6 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by strong demand for its graphics chips used in gaming devices, data centers, autonomous vehicles and also by cryptocurrency miners.

A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake – RC1C8FF654B0

Net income rose to $838 million, or $1.33 per share, in the third quarter ended Oct. 29, from $542 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $2.64 billion from $2 billion.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Former Yahoo CEO apologizes for data breaches, blames Russians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologized on Wednesday for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major U.S. companies.

”As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users,” she told the Senate Commerce Committee, testifying alongside the interim and former CEOs of Equifax Inc (EFX.N) and a senior Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) executive.

“Unfortunately, while all our measures helped Yahoo successfully defend against the barrage of attacks by both private and state-sponsored hackers, Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users’ data.”

Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless operator, acquired most of Yahoo Inc’s assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down. Verizon disclosed last month that a 2013 Yahoo data breach affected all 3 billion of its accounts, compared with an estimate of more than 1 billion disclosed in December.

In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding a 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the U.S. government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes.

Those charges came amid controversy relating to alleged Kremlin-backed hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of President Donald Trump. Russia has denied trying to influence the U.S. election in any way.

Special Agent Jack Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division said in March the 2013 breach was unrelated and that an investigation of the larger incident was continuing. Mayer later said under questioning that she did not know if Russians were responsible for the 2013 breach, but earlier spoke of state-sponsored attacks.

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer waits to testify before a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on “Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, asked Mayer on Wednesday why it took three years to identify the data breach or properly gauge its size.

Mayer said Yahoo has not been able to identify how the 2013 intrusion occurred and that the company did not learn of the incident until the U.S. government presented data to Yahoo in November 2016. She said even “robust” defenses are not enough to defend against state-sponsored attacks and compared the fight with hackers to an “arms race.”

Yahoo required users to change passwords and took new steps to make data more secure, Mayer said.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“We now know that Russian intelligence officers and state-sponsored hackers were responsible for highly complex and sophisticated attacks on Yahoo’s systems,” Mayer said. She said “really aggressive” pursuit of hackers was needed to discourage the efforts, and that even the most well-defended companies “could fall victim to these crimes.”

The current and former chief executives of credit bureau Equifax, which disclosed in September that a data breach affected as many as 145.5 million U.S. consumers, said they did not know who was responsible for the attack.

Senator Bill Nelson said “only stiffer enforcement and stringent penalties will help incentivize companies to properly safeguard consumer information.”

Thune told reporters after the hearing the Equifax data breach had created “additional momentum” for Congress to approve legislation. He said Mayer’s testimony was “important in shaping our future reactions.”

The Senate Commerce Committee took the unusual step of subpoenaing Mayer to testify on Oct. 25 after a representative for Mayer declined multiple requests for her voluntarily testimony. A representative for Mayer said on Tuesday she was appearing voluntarily.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Susan Thomas

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Google Wants to Help You Avoid Long Restaurant Lines

Google wants to help you avoid long lines at popular restaurants.

The search giant debuted a new tool on Tuesday that lets people see the wait times at nearby restaurants.

For example, searching for San Francisco restaurant Michael Mina using a smartphone in Google (goog) search or Google Maps brings up a section titled “Popular times” below the usual restaurant reviews. A chart in it lists the busiest times at the restaurant while another click shows an estimated wait at a specific time.

People can also check to see wait times for other days in the week.

Google said it calculates its waiting time estimates “based on anonymized historical data.” This anonymized data is taken from people who agree to be tracked via the Google Location History feature that the company uses to target people with better recommendations based on places they have visited.

Online business listing company Yelp (yelp) also has a similar restaurant wait-time feature that it inherited through its $40 million acquisition of online reservation company NoWait in March.

Google did not say whether the restaurant wait feature is available nationally or in a limited number of cities. The company said that the service includes “all your favorite restaurants,” but it did not specify what that means. The company said the new feature is “rolling out soon” and that it would first debut in Google Search followed by Google Maps.

IBM Has a New Blockchain Idea: Tracking Marijuana Sales

Companies are using the digital ledger technology popularized by bitcoin in banking, insurance, and contracts—but how about using a blockchain to track marijuana sales?

Canada is planning to legalize cannabis sales next year, with some regulation of distribution and retailing done at the province level, following the same model used for tobacco and liquor. So when the government of British Columbia asked for suggestions about everything from age minimums to retail store rules, IBM came up with an innovative idea: use a blockchain.

The idea, as IBM (ibm) laid out in a brief four-page submission, is to track pot supplies as they move up the supply chain from farm to distributor to retailer to consumers. The most well-known blockchain, typically a publicly-available digital document that uses encryption techniques to validate transactions, tracks the bitcoin economy and other cryptocurrencies like ethereum. But tech companies have been finding all sorts of new uses for the technology, such as Walmart’s (wmt) experimental blockchain tracking livestock and other farm products. And IBM has been at the forefront.

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Blockchain’s “relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chain of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains,” IBM wrote in its submission. “The core to those supply chains is the same, assuring health and safety of consumers, preventing fraud and counterfeiting while creating a foundation of transparency upon which to base regulation.”

A blockchain could help the government ensure that cannabis crops are legally grown, that appropriate taxes are collected and that black market sales are blocked. Consumers would know the exact origin of any products they purchased as well.

“This type of transparency would bring a new level of visibility and control to the provincial regulators and provide assurance to the multitude of cautious stakeholders regarding the way the management of a cannabis supply chain is rolled out within British Columbia,” IBM said.

Mobile bank N26 sees customers tripling within two years: CEO

LONDON (Reuters) – The smartphone-based bank N26 expects to peel away 5 to 10 percent of retail customers aged 18 to 35 from established banks in its core continental European market in the next two to three years, its chief executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Valentin Stalf, Founder and CEO of the Fintech N26 (Number26), poses for a portrait in Berlin, Germany, August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

The Berlin-based fintech start-up has been signing up 1,500 to 2,000 customers a day in recent months, putting it on track to triple in size to around 1.5 million clients within two years from its current 500,000 users, Valentin Stalf said in an interview in London on Friday.

The company, which counts Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel among its backers, is competing with traditional branch-based retail banks by offering a suite of mobile banking services that customers can use entirely from their smartphones.

It also faces competition from other digital banks such as Revolut and Monzo, and even French telecom operator Orange (ORAN.PA), which launched its own banking service last week.

Since its launch in Germany in 2015, the company has expanded rapidly into 17 European countries including Austria, France, Spain and Italy. It recently said it will start operating in Britain and the United States next year.

“We see the U.S. as a big opportunity because digital banking is underdeveloped,” Stalf said. “There are no clear rivals for us there.”

The regulatory environment is also becoming more favorable, Stalf said.

In 2018, new European Union rules will start to force banks to allow customer data to be made available to other companies if the customers agree. That will help the likes of N26 identify potential customers and offer them better deals than their current lenders.

Stalf said that within three years N26 expects to have a 5 to 10 percent share of the market in the main countries where it operates.

N26 offers a free current account, its “anchor product”, but makes most of its money through card usage, savings, credit and insurance services.

The company made its name taking on traditional banks but came under scrutiny itself last year after a security researcher found that its apps exposed users to potential account hijacking. N26 then implemented fixes to prevent such problems.

Stalf said the main advantages of being an app are having daily interactions with customers and as a result being able to better understand their needs and offer tailor-made, value-added services.

“If I happen to book a trip and hire a car with my N26 card, my app would instantly use that information to offer me travel and car insurance.”

With marketing costs of 5 to 10 million euros per year – far lower than those of traditional banks – and customer data gathered via payments, N26 has been able to either make a profit or break even from each newly acquired customer.

Stalf said that excluding marketing costs, the company could be profitable in about a year.

Acquiring a banking license has also helped keep costs down, and the company is now betting that word-of-mouth and good Apple Store ratings will help it contain its marketing costs and help it move along the path to profitability.

“Today you can create a trusted brand much faster because everything is more transparent,” said the 32-year-old Vienna-born entrepreneur.

(In the first paragraph, company corrects to say .. retail customers aged 18 to 35 ..not.. all retail customers)

Reporting by Sophie Sassard in London; Additional reporting by Eric Auchard in Frankfurt; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

BP, Shell lead plan for blockchain-based platform for energy trading

(Reuters) – A consortium including energy companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell will develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading expected to start by end-2018, the group said on Monday.

The logo of BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten, Switzerland October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Other members of the consortium include Norwegian oil firm Statoil, trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria, and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

Blockchain technology, which first emerged as the architecture underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, uses a shared database that updates itself in real-time and can process and settle transactions in minutes using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification.

Mercuria has been a vocal advocate of implementing blockchain technology to significantly cut costs in oil trading.

“Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over ownership of a cargo and potentially help to make managing risk more exact if there are accurate timestamps to each part of the trade,” said Edward Bell, commodities analyst at Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC.

Similar efforts for an energy trading platform have failed to take off, Bell said, but added this latest bid with backing from BP and Shell and the banks, “may have more success than if it were an independent party trying to convince oil and gas companies to make use of it.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

“The platform aims to reduce administrative operational risks and costs of physical energy trading, and improve the reliability and efficiency of back-end trading operations…,” the statement said.

(This version of the story was refiled to make clearer in headline that platform is tool for trading, not a trading platform)

Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Toyota seeks more investments in Israeli auto tech, robotics

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp is seeking more investments in Israeli robotics and vehicle technologies after its venture arm led a $14 million investment in Intuition Robotics in July.

A logo of Toyota Motor Corp is seen at the company’s showroom in Tokyo, Japan June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

The startup, which makes robots for the elderly, was the first Israeli investment for Toyota AI Ventures, a new $100 million fund investing in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous mobility and data and cloud computing.

“We will see more involvement of Toyota in the Israeli market in the future,” said Jim Adler, managing director of California-based Toyota AI Ventures, which is part of the $1 billion Toyota Research Institute.

“There’s more in the pipeline,” he told Reuters during a visit to Israel, adding that technologies dealing with perception and prediction and planning were of particular interest to Toyota.

Perception technology enables a self-driving vehicle to understand the world around it while prediction and planning can help a car interpret situations such as whether a child at an intersection might try to cross at a red light.

“There’s a tremendous amount of innovation happening in Israel as cars become more produced by data,” said Adler, who is in the country meeting companies whose technologies interest Toyota.

Israel is a growing center for automotive technology. Earlier this year Intel Corp bought autonomous vehicle firm Mobileye – one of Israel’s biggest tech companies – for $15.3 billion.

On Friday Germany’s Continental AG said it was buying Israel’s Argus Cyber Security, whose technology guards connected cars against hacking.

Toyota AI Ventures has made five investments and expects to invest in at least 20 companies worldwide.

Regarding its investment in Intuition Robotics – which plans to begin trials of its robots with older adults in their homes early next year – Adler said there were many common features between robotics and autonomous vehicles, which he referred to as “big robots with wheels”.

Japan’s population is aging, with 40 percent expected to be over 65 in 20 years, he said, and there will be demand for technologies that help the elderly stay in their homes, rather than have to move to assisted-living facilities.

“We think Toyota will have a role there,” he said.

Editing by Keith Weir

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Omega Healthcare Investors: Sometimes Short-Term Bad Can Be Long-Term Good

This article is about Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE:OHI), a REIT, and why it’s a buy for the income investor long term, even when OHI has a short-term problem with one of its operators. I believe that the management of OHI is good and has already outlined the steps to be taken to get the Orianna properties to new operators with reduced rents.

Omega Healthcare is one of the largest operators of skilled nursing care properties and assisted living properties. OHI is a full position at 6.0% in The Good Business Portfolio. OHI’s position will be left to grow over time and added to whenever a dip like this happens. The company has at many times been under pressure and gotten down to $28 range, and each time it has bounced back, so this is another chance to buy into a good company with a very high yield.

When I scanned the five-year chart, Omega Healthcare Investors has a poor chart going up and to the right for 2013-2014, then down slowly for three years ending behind the market. In 2013, OHI had a good year when the market was up 27%; the company came in at a 30% increase.


OHI data by YCharts

Fundamentals of Omega Healthcare Investors will be reviewed in the following topics below:

  • The Good Business Portfolio Guidelines
  • Total Return And Yearly Dividend
  • Last Quarter’s Earnings
  • Company Business
  • Takeaways
  • Recent Portfolio Changes

I use a set of guidelines that I codified over the last few years to review the companies in The Good Business Portfolio (my portfolio) and other companies that I am taking a look at. For a complete set of the guidelines, please see my article “The Good Business Portfolio: Update To Guidelines And July 2016 Performance Review”. These guidelines provide me with a balanced portfolio of income, defensive, total return and growing companies that hopefully keeps me ahead of the Dow average.

Good Business Portfolio Guidelines

Omega Healthcare Investors passes 9 of 11 Good Business Portfolio Guideline, a fair score (a good score is 10 or 11). These guidelines are only used to filter companies to be considered in the portfolio. Some of the points brought out by the guidelines are shown below:

  1. Omega Healthcare Investors does meet my dividend guideline of having increased dividends for seven of the last ten years and having a minimum of 1% yield, with 10 years of increasing dividends and a 9.3% yield. Omega Healthcare Investors is therefore a good choice for the dividend income investor. The average five-year payout ratio is high at 82% because of its REIT designation. After paying the dividend, this leaves cash remaining for investment in expanding the business by buying bolt-on properties to the 1,000 it already owns or leases.
  2. I have a capitalization guideline where the capitalization must be greater than $7 billion. OHI fails this guideline by a small amount. OHI is a mid-cap company with a capitalization of $6.2 billion. Omega Healthcare Investors’ 2017 projected total yearly AFFO flow at $646 million is good, allowing the company to have the means for growth and increase dividends.
  3. I also require the CAGR going forward to be able to cover my yearly expenses. My dividends provide 3.2% of the portfolio as income, and I need 1.9% more for a yearly distribution of 5.1%. The one-year forward CAGR of 7.0% meets my guideline requirement. This good future growth for Omega Healthcare Investors can continue its uptrend benefiting from the continued growth of the senior citizen population.
  4. My total return guideline is that total return must be greater than the Dow’s total return over my test period. OHI fails this guideline since the total return is 64.33%, less than the Dow’s total return of 78.53%. Looking back, $10,000 invested five years ago would now be worth over $18,700 today. The total return in the good year of 2013 was 29.6% compared to the Dow gain of 27%, a small beat. This makes Omega Healthcare Investors a fair investment for the total return investor that has future growth as the senior citizen sector continues to grow. As an added plus we have President Trump cutting corporate taxes (both domestic and foreign) which will increase earnings slightly.
  5. One of my guidelines is that the S&P rating must be three stars or better. OHI’s S&P CFRA rating is three stars or hold with a recent calculated target price to $35.4, passing the guideline. OHI’s price is presently 25% below the target. It is under the target price at present and has a low price to AFFO of 10.8, making it a good buy at this entry point if you are a long-term investor that wants income with an above-average dividend yield.
  6. One of my guidelines is would I buy the whole company if I could. The answer is yes. The total return is weak, but an above-average yield makes OHI a good business to own for income with moderate growth long term. The Good Business Portfolio likes to embrace all kinds of investment styles but concentrates on buying businesses that can be understood, makes a fair profit, invests profits back into the business, and also generates a fair income stream. Most of all what makes OHI interesting is the potential long-term growth, as more skilled nursing care facilities are required and the income for the income investors is great.

Total Return And Yearly Dividend

The Good Business Portfolio Guidelines are just a screen to start with and not absolute rules. When I look at a company, the total return is a key parameter to see if it fits the objective of the Good Business Portfolio. Omega Healthcare Investors misses the Dow baseline in my 56.0-month test compared to the Dow average. I chose the 56.0-month test period (starting January 1, 2013, and ending to date) because it includes the great year of 2013, and other years that had fair and bad performance. The fair total return of 64.23% makes Omega Healthcare Investors a fair investment for the total return investor who also wants a steady increasing income. OHI has an above-average dividend yield of 9.3% and has had increases for the past 21 quarters, making OHI also a good choice for the dividend growth investor. The dividend has recently been increased to $0.65/Qtr., from $0.64 or a 1.6% increase for the quarter.

Dow’s 56.0-month total return baseline is 78.53%.

Company Name

56.0-month total return

Difference from Dow baseline

Yearly dividend percentage

Omega Healthcare Investors




Last Quarter’s Earnings

For the last quarter, on October 30, 2017, Omega Healthcare Investors reported AFFO of $0.79 that missed expectations by $0.06 and compared to last year at $0.82. Total revenue was higher at $194 million, up 4.4% year over year and missed expectations by $44 million. This was a poor report with the bottom line missing expectations and the top line increasing. The next earnings report will be out in late January 2018 and AFFO is expected to be $0.82 compared to last year at $0.82. The company guided AFFO for the year to $3.27-3.38, but this assumes it will be able to fix the problem with one of its operators. Earnings will most likely be very volatile over the next six months.

Business Overview

Omega Healthcare Investors is one of the largest skilled nursing care and assisted living facilities REITs in the United States.

As per Reuters:

“Omega Healthcare Investors is a self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company maintains a portfolio of long-term healthcare facilities and mortgages on healthcare facilities located in the United States and the United Kingdom. It operates through the segment, which consists of investments in healthcare-related real estate properties. It provides lease or mortgage financing to qualified operators of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs), independent living facilities, rehabilitation and acute care facilities. Its portfolio consists of long-term leases and mortgage agreements. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio of investments included 996 healthcare facilities located in 42 states and the United Kingdom and operated by 79 third-party operators. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s portfolio consisted of 809 SNFs, 101 ALFs, 16 specialty facilities, one medical office building, fixed rate mortgages on 44 SNFs and two ALFs.”

The graphic below shows the type of facilities required today. With seniors remaining active into their 80s, 90s and beyond, skilled nursing facilities continue to evolve to meet the higher expectations new generations of seniors and their families want with regards to amenities, décor and care.

Source: Omega Healthcare Investors Web Site

Overall, Omega Healthcare Investors is a good business with a 7% CAGR projected growth as more skilled nursing care facilities are needed going forward. The good AFFO provides OHI the capability to continue its growth by increasing revenue as it buys bolt-on properties and increases dividends.

Also as a tailwind, we have President Trump wanting to lower corporate taxes on income. As the corporate tax rate is lowered, earnings of OHI should increase slightly.

The economy is showing moderate growth right now (about 2.9%), and the Fed has raised rates in June 2017, with future rate increases dependent on the United States economy and inflation. The Fed projects for one more increase in 2017. I feel the Fed is going slowly; it doesn’t want to trigger a slowdown in the economy.

From October 30, 2017, earnings call, Taylor Pickett (Chief Executive Officer) said:

Adjusted FFO for the third quarter is $0.79 per share. Funds available for distribution, FAD for the quarter is $0.73 per share. The reduction in adjusted FFO and FAD is primarily related to converting the Orianna portfolio to cash basis accounting with no adjusted FFO or FAD recognized for Orianna in the third quarter.

During the third quarter, we cooperatively completed the transition of Orianna’s Texas facilities to another Omega operator, and we completed the sale of the Northwest facilities to two buyers. Unfortunately, the remaining portfolio continues to underperform and Orianna continues to apply free cash flow to pay down past due vendors and other obligations.

We are in active discussions with Orianna’s owners and consultants regarding the potential transition and/or sale of certain assets versus a federal or state court restructure. We are hopeful, we can develop an out-of-court plan, which if successful, would likely result in cash rents of $32 million to $38 million per year, as compared to the current annual contractual rent of $46 million.

“We remain confident in our ability to pay our dividend, increasing our quarterly common dividend by $0.01 to $0.65 per share. We’ve now increased the dividend 21 consecutive quarters. Our dividend payout ratio remains conservative at 82% of adjusted FFO and 89% of FAD, and we expect these percentages will improve as the Orianna facilities return to paying rent. Our revised 2017 guidance reflects the impact of Orianna’s cash accounting and our anticipation that no cash were received for the balance of the year. “

This shows the feelings of the top management for continued growth of the business and shareholder returns and the action being taken to fix the problem with Orianna.

From October 30, 2017, earnings call Daniel Booth (Chief Operating Officer), said:

“Turning to new investments. During the third quarter of 2017, Omega completed two new investments totaling $202 million, plus an additional $36 million of capital expenditures. Specifically, Omega completed $190 million purchase lease transaction for 15 skilled nursing facilities in Indiana and as part of that same transaction simultaneously completed a $9.4 million loan for the purchase of the leasehold interest in one skilled nursing facility with an existing Omega operator.”

This shows that OHI is still growing even with an operator in trouble.


Omega Healthcare Investors is a great investment choice for the long-term income investor with its high yield and a fair choice for the total return investor. I take this downturn as a long-term opportunity to get a great income stream at a bargain price. Omega Healthcare Investors is 6.0% of The Good Business Portfolio and will be held as we watch it grow over time. If you want a growing income, OHI may be the right investment for you, but it will be volatile for the next six months and you should be a long-term investor.

Recent Portfolio Changes

  • Increased the position of Omega Healthcare Investors to 6.0% of the portfolio. I wanted a little more income and to take advantage of the recent dip in price.
  • Recently, on October, 16 trimmed Boeing (BA) from 11.3% of the portfolio to 11.0%. A great company, but you have to be diversified. The Paris Air Show was great for Boeing, and it easily beat Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) in orders by a mile.
  • Wrote some L Brands (LB) November 17 strike 42.5 calls on the part of the holding. If the calls remain in the money near exercise time, they will be moved up and out.
  • Increased the position of L Brands to 3.2% of the portfolio; I believe the downturn in LB is well overdone.
  • Increased position of GE (NYSE:GE) to 4% of the portfolio, a full position. GE has now become a value and income play.
  • Sold the Harley-Davidson (HOG) position from the portfolio and will watch it see if President Trump cuts corporate taxes or brings foreign profits back at a low tax rate. This sell gets rid of an underperformer and makes room for a company with more present growth.
  • Added a starter position of 3M (MMM) at 0.5% of the portfolio. It has a good steady dividend history, a dividend king with 58 years of increasing dividends, and great total return. Please see my article “3M: Dividend King With Great Total Return”.

The Good Business Portfolio generally trims a position when it gets above 8% of the portfolio. The four top positions in The Good Business Portfolio: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) 8.8% of the portfolio, Altria Group (MO) 6.8%, Home Depot (HD) 8.6%, and Boeing 11.0% of the portfolio; therefore, BA, JNJ, and Home Depot are now in trim position with Altria getting close.

Boeing is going to be pressed to 11% of the portfolio because of it being cash positive on 787 deferred plane costs at $316 million in the first quarter, an increase from the fourth quarter. The second quarter saw deferred costs on the 787 go down $530 million, a big jump from the first quarter. The second-quarter earnings were fantastic with Boeing beating the estimate by $0.25 at $2.55. The third-quarter earnings were $2.72, beating expectations by $0.06 with revenue increasing 1.7% year over year, another good report. Recently S&P Capital IQ raised its one-year target to $272.

JNJ will be pressed to 9% of the portfolio because it’s so defensive in this post-Brexit world. Earnings in the last quarter beat on the top and bottom line, and Mr. Market did like the growth going forward. JNJ is not a trading stock but a hold forever; it is now a strong buy as the healthcare sector remains under pressure.

For the total Good Business Portfolio, please see my article on The Good Business Portfolio: 2017 2nd Quarter Earnings And Performance Review for the complete portfolio list and performance. Become a real-time follower, and you will get each quarter’s performance after the earnings season is over.

I have written individual articles on JNJ, EOS, GE, IR, MO, BA, PEP, AMT, PM, LB, OHI, DLR and HD that are in The Good Business Portfolio and other companies being evaluated by the portfolio. If you have an interest, please look for them in my list of previous articles.

Of course, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell, and you should always do your own research and talk to your financial advisor before any purchase or sale. This is how I manage my IRA retirement account, and the opinions on the companies are my own.

Disclosure: I am/we are long BA, JNJ, HD, OHI, MO, IR, DLR, GE, PM, LB, MMM.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Tesla: 10-Q Deep Dive

As many of you know by now, the most interesting articles for me are those where I am either writing about crunching through numbers myself or reviewing the work from other organizations.

We are once again ready to crunch through Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) 10-Q released a short while ago. As we already know Tesla’s loss in Q3 was over $600 million, far exceeding my guess of $450-500 million. The average price per delivered unit dropped by over 13% in Q3. That is a whopping decline in average selling price of over $13,000 per unit.

For this entire article, these two links for Q3 (here) and Q2 (here) 10-Qs should be all the reference sources you will need.

By the zones

Tesla reports global revenues by breaking them down into four zones. The U.S, China, Norway, and all Others lumped into one group. If we subtract out Energy generation/storage, Services and other, and ZEV credit sales, we should have a pretty accurate number of New Automotive Sales for the four regions. We know of little in the way sales outside the U.S. for energy and services, so until Tesla offers us better information, I am giving the U.S. all the credit for these revenues.

What is startling is the decline in growth of new car sales revenue for the U.S. After delivering over 4,100 more units in Q3 over Q2, and increasing revenues by $175 million, why was the U.S. not a bigger participant? Sales only grew by $39 million, which included 220 Model 3 units. Using an average of $50,000 for each Model 3 means Tesla had $11 million in sales. That reduces the Model S and X growth to just $28 million in the U.S. What we find is a slowing increase in sales in the U.S. and strong growth in China and Norway. For Norway, this matches the information in updates I receive from Andreas Hopf for that region. However, the $100 million in new Chinese growth is a bit of a surprise. While numbers are difficult to come by, evobsession.com had Chinese sales at just 2,100 new units in the last month of Q2. At the end of June, the same website was estimating total sales of Model S and X at a combined 9,299 units. If we add the revenues from Q1 and Q2 and divide by the number of units, we arrive at an average sale price of $104k in 1H17. Apply that number to the revenues and we can estimate sales at 5,418 units. Evobsession.com had Tesla sales at 310 units in July and 1,700 in August. That would mean a rough delivery number of 3,408 in September or a 62% increase in sales over Q2. While not out of the question, it may be a better indication of a growing number of used car sales in China.

What do the “deliveries” numbers represent?

Tesla reported an increase in deliveries of over 4,100 units in Q3, but it appears new vehicle revenues only increased $175 million or an average of $42,682 per unit. Something is way off. There are only two explanations.

I have gone back two years through every delivery report. The word “new” is never used. Could Tesla be now (or may have always been) reporting CPO sales in deliveries? (I have not been able to confirm this one way or the other because Tesla has not responded to my questions on the issue.) CPO units are being given the same treatment at the delivery centers as new units. The cars are refurbished to look as close to new as possible (at great expense it would appear). So why would they not be?

The second option is Tesla gave away everything but the sales office furniture to achieve those additional sales in Q3. This is the more probable answer. Jon McNeill was promised a $700,000 bonus in late August if he could “move the metal”. He is doing just that. It would explain the huge average price drop from $103,937 in Q2 to $90,320 in Q3. We also know the Q3 sales exceeded available production by over 2,000 units built before Q3. Where these units are being stashed until sold is anyone’s guess. But my calculations show here are still 6,600 unsold units accumulated just since Q3 last year (see chart below).

The Tesla website currently claims there are no new 75kWh battery pack cars remaining. Sadly, this is not true because it is easy enough to go to the EV-CPO.com website, do an inventory sort for 75kW cars and find direct links to specific cars back on the Tesla website ignored by an inventory search. For a tech company, as Tesla claims to be, its website is amateurish at best, and pretty much useless.

Are increased sales really helping?

Tesla revenues set a new record in Q3 at nearly $3 billion. But is Tesla getting anywhere by growing revenues? It appears not. While revenues increased by just 7%, the costs of goods sold jumped a huge 19%. This slashed gross profit by 32%. Management can make all the excuses it wants but just growing sales is not working.

As you can read in the chart above, Tesla’s quarterly loss took a HUGE jump in Q3. This was caused by not only a drop in gross profit shown above but also continued increases in R&D and SG&A expenses. Whether the recent reductions in headcount will offer any relief in either direct or indirect labor expense is doubtful since Tesla seems to be planning to replace most of the fired workers.


In my most recent article yesterday, I took a lot of flak for my predictions regarding what the new inventory numbers would reveal. I was partially right and partially wrong.

We know that the average unit sold for $90,320 in Q3. We know that the accumulated inventory was reduced by 2,174 units or about an adjusted $147 million by removing at a 25% gross margin.

But we now know finished goods only lowered by $52 million. That should mean Tesla was sitting on about $95 million worth of finished Model 3 units on 9/30. On a cost basis of $35,000 for each retailed $50,000 unit, there should be over 2,700 Model 3 units sitting somewhere as of Sept. 30. But Tesla only claimed to have 40 units sitting on 9/30. Is Tesla now recording 2,600 partially built Model 3s as finished goods? Are they all sitting waiting for their battery packs from the Gigafactory?

The only substantial inventory growth was in raw materials and not in work-in-process (WIP) as you would expect for a new model ramping up production.

So where are these hundreds of thousands of anticipated parts coming from the suppliers? As one commenter suggested yesterday, Tesla should be sitting on trainloads of parts from suppliers by now. The $54 million in raw materials is probably in aluminum and steel needed for all of the cars since they are still building all three models.

Does this mean all of the incoming shipments were not recorded or unloaded in September? If so, we are going to see a huge increase in accounts payable in Q4.

I will agree I may have gotten a bit ahead of my skis on finished goods. But Tesla still needs to explain the $95 million discrepancy. If it is indeed partially completed units that is a big change in its reporting.


  • Higher sales
  • Lower profits
  • Bigger expenses
  • Higher losses

Add these all up and you have a company that should get out of the car business and stick to “energy generation and storage”. It is the only place Tesla knows how to make money it seems after more than 13 years in business.

Based on inventory counts, it seems Tesla never had any plan to build 5,000 units a week in 2017. It doesn’t have the parts to build that many units a month let alone a week. Unless we see a big leap in inventories in Q4, it will certainly not have the parts to build them in Q1 either.

The conference call struck me as a group of men struggling to find answers to some very basic questions. How do we control costs while selling more product? Why can’t we build a simpler car in less time than it took to ramp up the Model S? Why do we need more people and spend more money to build a car than every other manufacturer on the planet?

Bill Maurer had a great article (here) on the rising guarantee obligations Tesla is facing. Just one more nail in the proverbial coffin.

If it doesn’t figure this out soon, Tesla won’t be around by the end of 2018.

Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA VIA OPTIONS.

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Equifax clears executives who sold shares after hack

(Reuters) – Equifax Inc (EFX.N) said on Friday four of its executives who sold shares before the credit-reporting firm disclosed a massive data breach that wiped out billions from its market value were not aware of the incident when they made the trades.

FILE PHOTO: Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

A special committee set up by Equifax’s board to investigate the trades concluded that no insider trading took place and that pre-clearance for the trades was appropriately obtained. (reut.rs/2habhk9)

The company’s shares were up 0.2 percent at $109.10 on Friday at midday, around 24 percent lower than on Sept. 7 when Equifax disclosed that cyber criminals had breached its systems and accessed sensitive information on 145.5 million consumers.

The shares slumped as much as 37 percent in the days after the disclosure.

Atlanta-based Equifax had been aware of the breach since July 29, days before some of its senior executives, including its chief financial officer, sold $1.8 million in shares.

After an investigation that included 62 interviews and a review of over 55,000 documents, including emails, text messages, phone logs, and other records, Equifax said the executives had no knowledge of the breach when they sold the stock.

“The conclusion that the Company executives in question traded appropriately is an extremely important finding and very reassuring,” non-executive Chairman Mark Feidler said in a statement.

Former Equifax Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith, who stepped down in September and agreed to forgo his annual bonus, told lawmakers last month that the executives would not have known of the breach because suspicious incidents are detected every day at the firm and take days or weeks to confirm.

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting its own criminal investigation into the share sales.

The hack, among the largest ever recorded, exposed information that included names, birthdays, addresses and Social Security and driver’s license numbers.

It has also prompted investigations by multiple federal and state agencies as well as scores of class action lawsuits.

The exact financial toll on Equifax is still unknown, and as of early Friday, the company said it still had not set a date to release its third quarter financial results. If the company does not release the results by Nov. 9, it will have to seek an extension from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which gives large companies 40 days after the close of a quarter to report their financials to investors.

Equifax is also still searching for a replacement for former CEO Smith.

Credit monitoring services such as Equifax collect vast amounts of financial information from consumers, working with banks and other lenders, for example, to track the creditworthiness of individuals.

Reporting by John McCrank in New York and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Frances Kerry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.