It’s finally over!

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Many of you may have wondered why did I go radio silent for such a long time.  Well, the truth is there was very little going on besides the elections; and, since I promised I wouldn’t be writing political blogs… I had to recuse myself.

But it is all over, another “surprise” election victory that “no one saw coming”, where “the polls failed miserably”… I am noticing a pattern here.  Anyway, let’s not dwell on why everybody was wrong, or how did Trump pull the rabbit out of the hat, let’s focus on what the markets are doing. Continue reading

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Tit for Tat?

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Am I the only one who has noted the suspiciously short amount of time that elapsed between the European Union asking Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes (refer to my blog post: Rotten Apple? Think Again), and the Department of Justice asking Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB) to pay a fine of $14 billion.

In a very short period of time, the US is fining a major European bank an amount that is too close to be a coincidence to that which the European Union is asking a major American player to pay. Continue reading

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It’s the cumulative effect

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) showcased last week its new iPhone 7 and 7plus, along with the new Apple Watch.

Is it just me, or this is the 3rd time in as many years we’ve heard the public’s reaction be something along the lines of: “yeah, good, but not good enough for me to change phones”.  That was true from 5S to 6, from 6 to 6S, and now from 6S to 7, as a consequence, many iPhone buyers have kept their old handsets, and have opted to wait for further models, with bigger updates. Continue reading

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Rotten Apple? Think Again

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The recent developments regarding Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) tax deals with the Republic of Ireland seem to provide a perfect time to throw mud at the world’s largest corporation.  “Cheaters”, “Evil Big Corporation”, “Takes advantage of poor countries”, “Corporate Greed”, should I continue?

It seems these days the media is quick to jump to conclusions about what corporations do, and thus fueling public opinion.  Let’s check out the details behind Apple’s tax tragicomedy. Continue reading

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Pizza Drone, Anyone?

Hello faithful readership, after a well deserved summer break, I am back!

Last week I saw footage of the first successful drone pizza delivery in New Zealand.  Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) delivered a piping hot pizza to a picnic blanket in a park.  This got me thinking about the drone delivery system on a bigger scale, and how will this apply to more mundane deliveries.
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Let’s face it, whether you like the idea or not, it is pretty cool to have anything delivered to you by drone.  From a pizza delivered to your favorite picnic spot, to a bottle of sports drink delivered to the middle of your hike in a mountain top.  There are also very practical measures, you can have a package dropped within your fence or even in your back yard, while you are away, hence reducing the chance of it being stolen if left at your doorstep and avoiding the dreaded card in your letterbox.

The way I see it, there are two types of deliveries:  urgent deliveries, and everything else.  An urgent delivery is classified as something that has to get to the consumer within a very short period of time or it better not get there.  This applies to hot food delivery, pizza, Chinese, fried chicken or anything other meal that has to arrive hot.  It also applies to life saving events – delivery of blood or organs.  Everything else, whether you need it within a day or a week can be classified as non-urgent.

The reason I make this distinction, is because urgent deliveries are generally done one at a time by one person (in car, bike or motorcycle),. where other deliveries are done in a truck.  And it is there where the crux of the debate lies: Continue reading

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Fixed Income?

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Traditionally, fixed income was a boring asset class; limited to widows, orphans, and the elderly who are looking for a steady income that they could rely on.  Over time, investment banks turned it into one of the most exciting asset classes in the market.  Today I wonder if the term “fixed income” is at all appropriate to describe an investment that costs you money instead of earning you some. Continue reading

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Driverless Cars?

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While UK politics are in turmoil, with all major parties having leadership crises, and no major steps in the pursuit of economic stability – bar a lukewarm indication to eventually lower corporation taxes some time in the future – are being taken, I thought it wise to give Brexit a rest, and my faithful readership a break from it.  Today we are going to discuss driverless cars.

Bill Gates when still at the helm of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), was reportedly quoted having a go at General Motors (NYSE: GM) at a computer expo, by saying “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.” At the time I laughed it off by saying that such car would, while in the middle of the highway, turn the windscreen blue and ask you to abort, retry or fail…

But jokes aside, the technology for driverless cars is there.  I have no doubts that any major car manufacturer could produce a fully automated driverless car on a moment’s notice.  So what is holding them back? Continue reading

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Brexit, Schmexit! Part 5: The Aftermath

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What a week! The Brexit win took everybody by surprise, including yours truly. Even those who voted leave were surprised at the result.  I thought it to be a done deal – especially after hearing Nigel Farage concede defeat the night before, went to sleep and when I woke up, the wold was collapsing around me…

Pound Sterling at 30 year lows; Asian, European, and American indices significantly lower; gold hitting 52-week highs; and to spice things up a bit, throw in a Prime-Ministerial resignation, an opposition coup, and threats from Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom. And it all happened within 24 hours of the polls closing.  But how come nobody called it? Continue reading

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Brexit, Schmexit! Part 4: Europe

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So, four months have passed since the British Prime Minister, David Cameron announced the in-or-out referendum from the EU.  Over that period of time, the Pound Sterling has been all over the place, first dropping to lows not seen since the height of the sub -prime crisis in 2008/09, recovered all of its losses and then some, dropped back to the $1.4 level on fears that the leave camp was gaining on the remain side, only to bounce yesterday back to $1.46.  The uncertainty is not confined to the Pound, but also pushed the FTSE 100 has also had a roller-coaster ride.

On the previous blog posts in the Brexit, Schmexit series  Brexit, Schmexit! Part 1: The Pound, Brexit, Schmexit! Part 2: The Banks, and most recently Brexit, Schmexit! Part 3: The Economy I took a deep look at the effects that a potential Brexit could have on the UK currency, its banks and economy.  However, what to many seems to be UK-centric affair, is in yours truly’s humble opinion, going to affect Europe more that it will affect Britain in the longer run.  This seems like a pretty bold statement, so let’s analyze it in detail.

For starters, Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Mateo Renzi, Mario Draghi, Christine Lagarde, Wolfgang Schäuble, have all endorsed the remain camp… wonder why? Continue reading

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Brexit, Schmexit! Part 3: The Economy

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When I started The Barker Report, I made a conscious decision to keep it a financial/economics blog, and to steer clear from politics, but the upcoming EU referendum is hardly an economic decision on its own.  Over the last few months politicians from both ends of the spectrum have said the most outrageous things about the fate of the UK in the aftermath of the referendum: High pound, low pound; inflation, deflation; war, peace; more money, less money; businesses staying, businesses leaving; more expensive vacations, cheaper vacations… you get the idea.

The fact that the vote on the 23rd is as much a political decision as it is economical is undeniable; what needs to be decided is who’s telling the truth, and who is lying.  Seeing through the noise and zeroing in what really matters to each one of us, is the hardest part. Continue reading

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