Wry & Dry

Facebook's faceplant. NineFax? Caps-lock.

Facebook's faceplant

Wry & Dry's understanding of the digital world is limited.  But he did manage to pick up overnight news about an American company called Facebook.

The share-price of Facebook, apparently a 'social media' company, fell by 21%.  Facebook is a very large company, so that combined with the share-price collapse meant that the decline in the market capitalisation of the company was a new record.

Market losses2

 

Astute Readers will notice that the second and third place holders were companies the market capitalisation of which got belted in the 'tech-wreck' in the early part of this millennium.  And that four of the others in the list occurred during the GFC.

Aside from Citigroup (2002) and Apple (2013), all of the other have occurred this year (2018).  Does any Reader wish to join the dots?

But Facebook is not dead.  See more, below.

Elections I

Tomorrow is Super Saturday.  Some Readers will be disappointed: this is not an event for superheroes.  But rather voters being dragged to the polls in five by-elections in House seats in each of Tasmania, Western Australia (two), South Australia and Queensland. 

The reason for the elections is now lost in the mists of time.  In other words, W&D has forgotten.  But apparently, all eyes will be on the seats of Longmanperson in Queensland and Braddon in Tasmania.  By-election results west of the 141st meridian of longitude east of Greenwich will, apparently, not surprise.

The excitement, if one can ever be excited by by-elections, is that if the government wins either of the doubtful seats it will be first time in thousands of years (actually, since 1920) that a by-election has gone the way of the government.  Such a result would cause shouts of "hip hip, huzzah" [1] times three from the conservative ranks.  And dismay in the Shorten household.

Cartoon poll winners medal

But, as an English-educated Chinese philosopher is bound to have once said, "be careful for what you wish".

Bill Shorten is more unpopular than Tarzan Trump at an FBI Christmas Party.  But if Anthony Albanese were to become leader in his stead, the polls suggest the Labor party would be a shoo-in at the next election.  Croesus Turnbull might find himself down at CentreLink (well not really, the lad's got some dosh on the side, but you get W&D's drift).               

Elections II

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the voters have bravely gone to the polls to elect whatever Prime Minister the army wanted.

And so Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) party will now be in government.  As Tony Grieg might have said, "And the former champion Test cricketer finds himself at the member's end, in a huge Pakistani marquee...."  

What wasn't said in Helsinki

The world doesn't know what was said at the summit between Tarzan Trump and Tsar Putin, as only interpreters were present.  And, logically, the world doesn't know what wasn't said, aside from the below words of Tsar Putin to Tsar Trump.

Cartoon putin to trump he only interferes

Doubtless, in an attempt to charm Tsar Putin, Tarzan Trump would not have raised any or all of: annexation of Crimea; military incursions and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine; ongoing cyber disruption in eastern Europe; murder and poisoning of UK residents; ongoing military operations in the Syrian civil war; shooting down a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane, etc, etc. 

But he might have asked about Russia's underwriting of tyranny in Latin America.  This is in the back-yard of the Yoo Ess Aye.  Readers will know of the now blood-soaked Nicaragua (less than a thousand kilometres from Trump's Great Wall of Mexico), where the Marxist Sandinistas (led by the malevolent Daniel Ortega) who run Nicaragua are at war with their own people.  Military and financial aid is increasingly coming from Russia.  To what end is the Russian support?

W&D feels confident that Tarzan Trump's deep knowledge and coverage of Latin American affairs and his surefooted negotiating tactics would have led to some sort of confrontation with Tsar Putin.  And the Russian assistance will cease.

Err, deeply confident.       

FAANGs: a mixed dental review

Readers will be aware that FAANGs refers to the technology darlings of the US stock markets: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (actually, its parent, Alphabet).

Well, it's company profit reporting 'season' in the US.  And the FAANG results have been mixed, to say the least.  Is this the onset of the decay of the FAANGs?

Facebook

As noted above, the share-price of Facebook, the privacy-encroaching cockroach company led by the extraordinarily narrow-minded Mark Zuckerberg, fell by 21% last night.  Ouch.  Increased costs for problem fixing and slowing subscriber growth caused the rout.  Moreover, the growth in daily active users is virtually flat.  W&D likes the term daily active users, it reminds him ... oh, never mind.

Cartoon Facebook theyre selling shares

One commentator asked, "Has social media peaked?"  W&D doesn't know what social media is.  

Netflix

The share-price of Netflix, a subscription TV production and online streaming company (which produces, for example, The Crown), fell by 14% as its new subscribers' growth was well below expectations.

Google

The share-price of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, an internet search engine and advertising company, rose by 3% on profit that was significantly higher than expected.

Amazon

The share-price of Amazon, an online retailer of, well, anything, was up last night by 4% on profits that were much higher than expected.  

Apple

The share-price of Apple, a mobile phone manufacturer and distributor, may go up.  Or down.  W&D doesn't know: its results are released on 31st July. 

Soooo what?

The so what is has the world just seen the peak of FAANGs?  

No, in W&D's ever so humble opinion.  It is convenient to lump together companies that appear similar but actually have very different business models.  Sure, they each use amazing technology to do stuff.  But that's about it.

Facebook and Google know more about their users than the users do themselves.  And this is to the point of almost knowing how each thinks - which is why W&D doesn't use Facebook.  And hence advertising can be amazingly sharply focussed.  But that is the end of the similarity.

Amazon gets revenue from both the margin on what it sells and through advertising.  Smart, but the customer profiles are not as deep. 

Apple is essentially a one-dimensional design and distribution business.  And that may be its problem, great as the product is.

Netflix is a great idea, but unless it can better 'monetise' the data it has on its subscribers it will fail.  

But the risk to some of the FAANGs is not themselves, but US anti-trust laws.  Watch this space. 

Nine-Fax merger: the real issue

Readers will have seen that Fairfax (essentially a newsprint and property publishing company) is being sold to Nine (television). 

Cartoon man sells newspapers

There is nothing the media loves more than the opportunity to talk about themselves.

And this merger provides so much media content for the media.  Yawn.

W&D sees a different angle.  And that is to once again observe that the reason so many politicians cling on to their political life like limpet mines is that they are too incompetent to do anything else.

The W&D Schedule of Politicians Past Their Contribution Dates is long.  Former politicians include the brainless hair-do: Bronwyn Bishop, who needed a landmine to remove her.  

The list of current members is considerable.  Space doesn't permit a full listing, but Readers will be aware of former Treasurer Wayne Swan, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Minister Eric Abetz and former Minister Kevin Andrews.  Each of whom is distinguished by unemployability.

And W&D view was confirmed by media reports (Fairfax) this morning concerning embattled federal Labor MP, Emma Husar: "But another senior Labor source said it was unlikely Ms Husar would quit and force a by election because she would find it difficult to get another job and needs the money."  So MPs should stay in their job because they would find it difficult to get another job and need the money.  Oh, dear.

In contrast, it seems that former Treasurer Peter Costello has found bigger and better opportunities.  News will come out in the next few days that he, as chairman of Nine, was the driving force behind Nine-Fax.  He will be chairman of Australia's second largest media company, after News Corp.  

Smooth diamond

Mrs W&D got very excited last weekend, when she saw that Rolls-Royce is now making a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).  It's called the Cullinan, named for the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found [2].

This new Roller is just what she needs to take rubbish to the tip.  It's an impressive beast, albeit a touch expensive.

Rolls Royce SUV

Readers are encouraged to think of the environment when purchasing their own Cullinan.  As would all SUV drivers.

As for W&D, he's waiting for the Rolls-Royce Ute.

Snippets from all over 

1.  "The tariffs I imposed have caused you pain, so here's $16 billion"

Tarzan Trump has announced that the US government will provide $16 billion in emergency aid for US farmers hurt by his new tariffs.

W&D comments: Hang on.  Weren't the tariffs supposed to hurt the enemy, such as China or Europe?  Err, no.  Is there a Remedial Economics 101 class in Washington?

2.  Taiwan will slowly disappear

US airlines have announced that they have the same spine as Qantas and will kow-tow to China's demand that they will refer to Taiwan as part of China in all sales and marketing literature, websites, etc.

W&D comments:  Invading Taiwan would perhaps be unsubtle for China.  Better to slowly remove the nation's identity by bullying the rest of the world.  Watch for pressure on Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, etc, to change their entries for Taiwan.    

3.  Benign inflation...

Australia's inflation rose slightly in the June Quarter, to an annual rate of 2.1%.  Economists were disappointed, as they wanted a higher increase in prices.

W&D comments:  W&D cannot understand the problem with low inflation.  This view may be heretical to economists who see low inflation as reflecting an inability to raise interest rates.  

4.  ...but not in Turkey

Annual inflation in Turkey hit 15.4% in June.  In response, the central bank did ... nothing.  

W&D comments: The entire planet thought that raising interest rates might dampen Turkish inflation.  Except whomever told the central bank not to.  W&D will join the dots for Readers: Turkey's Sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, thinks high-interest rates are bad for the economy and wants them lowered. Last month's Finance Minister disagreed.  He is now down at the Istanbul Centrelink. This month the Sultan appointed a new Finance Minister: his son-in-law.  One call does it all.  Interest rates did not go up.   

PS.  The Turkish lira fell 3%, government bond prices fell by 3%. In the last 4 years, the currency has fallen 56%, making Turkey's foreign debt 56% more expensive to repay.

5.  A square circle?

The Melbourne Age breathlessly reported on Tuesday that "homes have been evacuated in a 100-metre square radius" of where a crane was in danger of collapsing. 

W&D comments: Still working on the square circle.

Tool of the Week 

Podium finish goes to... Tarzan Trump, for his Tweet against the Iranian President.  Readers will recall the gist of the message: don't mess with the Yoo Ess Aye, otherwise, we'll huff and puff and blow your house down.  

The embarrassment was not the message, but that Tarzan Trump accidentally hit the caps-lock key on his mobile phone.  And didn't know which key to use to repair his error.

Thus his message was delivered in capital letters.  Which reminded W&D of a 4 year-year-old child attempting to write a note: all capitals.            

Deepak, W&D's Uber driver, wanted to hear all about ...

... mobile phones, and which really is the number one.  "I have an iPhone X and thought it was the market leader.  But someone told me that is not the case."

"Indeed, it is not the case.  In Australia, anyway," replied W&D, as he bucked on his seat belt.  "The most popular phone model is Samsung's Galaxy S9/S9+, with 11.5% of the market."

"What!" exclaimed Deepak.  "What share is my iPhone X?"

"Well, I'm impressed that Apple has so captured you that you see some sort of shared ownership with them.  Anyway, the iPhone X has an 8.5% share of the Australian market," W&D responded with certainty.  "And that is well below Samsung's top of the line model."

"Well, I don't believe you." Deepak persisted.  "Everyone I know has an iPhone." 

"Ah, that's the issue," responded W&D calmly. "Because of its early success, the iPhone became almost ubiquitous.  And because of Apple's amazing branding, people with iPhones thought that everyone else had an iPhone.  And the fact is that Samsung remains the overall market leader in Australia, with 38.8% across all its models, compared to iPhone's 35.8%."

Apple is not 1

"So who has the rest?" shot back Deepak, still shocked that his mobile phone model was not number one.

"A mix of Chinese brands, the new Nokia and the old Microsoft phones," dryly observed W&D. "But the interesting fact is that the demographic with by far the largest share of new top-of-the-line models for both Samsung and Apple is women under the age of 25.  Speaking of which, how is Anjali?"

"Ah, things are getting exciting," said Deepak, happy with the change of subject.  "She has her first scan next week.  But I'm not supposed to tell you."

"Mum's the word, so to speak," smiled W&D.  "I won't tell a soul."

"And I get to find out if I will be having a son," cheerily observed Deepak.

"A fatal conclusion," laughed W&D as he stepped from Deepak's car.  "I think you have to wait for the 20-week scan to find out.  And surely your child belongs to both of you."

"Of course.  I forgot.  Oh, dear, so much to think about.  And my mother-in-law is behaving as if she were the one who is pregnant.  As if one wasn't enough.  My home is a madhouse," moaned Deepak to the receding W&D.

W&D turned: "Wait until you have five children in the house.  Then you will know all about madness."      

And, to soothe your troubled mind...  

Miscellany 

Last words...

"I cannot find the vocabulary to express how gobsmackingly moronic these statements are."

 - Andrew Schmulow, senior law lecturer, University of Western Australia, responding to a recent submission that APRA Chairman Wayne Byres made to the Banking Royal Commission. 

Cartoon APRA fair return

Mr Byres said that banks were in the business of taking deposits and lending money and were entitled to do so at a profit.  Mr Schmulow responded "... there is a difference between expecting to be repaid ... to making money rigging an interest rate market worth $2.2 billion a day."

Hear, hear!

First Samuel client events calendar

Date 

Description

Details

2018 Events  

Tue-14-Aug-18

Annual Forum and Cocktail Party

"Who is giving whom ... the coal shoulder?"

Hear Tony Sennitt, CEO of Diamond Energy, discuss the opportunity for renewables

Guests are invited to come with an open mind, either way!

Invitations sent

Leonda

Various

Chief Investment Officer Dinners

FY-18 was a Year of Harvest and Sowing Seeds for the Next Five Years

Invitations have been sent

Various

Some lightly salted absurdities from all over ...

At the extreme left-hand end of the Bell Curve

Gerard Mason, 60 of Towerhill, Cappaore, Ireland was arrested when a garda sergeant saw him behind the wheel of a car being driven somewhat erratically.  On testing, his blood alcohol test reading was a touch high: .303.

The reason the judge sent him to jail for three months, fined him €1,700 and banned him from driving for 10 years was that this was his 107th driving offence.

(Limerick Leader)

He'll be back.

Guess what happened next?

Olga Solomina, 46, wanted a picture with a lion when she visited the Taygan Safari Park in Crimea.  So she climbed into its enclosure, and began stroking the mane of a dozing lion.   What happens next?

a.  The lion happily purred;

b.  The lion got up and walked away;

c.  The lion was actually dead, but it took a while for Olga to notice; or

d.  The lion wasn't happy, and clenched Olga's arm between his teeth and started dragging her towards other lions.       

Close.  But no cigar.  d. is correct.  Readers know the rest.

(UK Sun)

Lion 1  Olga 0.  

Rule #1, pay your electricity bill

Richard Jones hadn't paid his electricity bills for some time.  So a man from the energy company came around to collect some cash, and was accompanied by two policemen.

After being allowed in, they found two rooms locked with padlocks.  And, this will surprise some Readers, when they gained entry to the rooms they found 50 cannabis plants growing under a sophisticated lighting arrangement.

(walesonline.co.uk)

Just gotta pay those utility bills.

 

Have a Wry & Dry weekend. 

Cheers!

Anthony

[1]  "Hip, hip, huzzah" is the ancestor of "hip, hip, hooray".  In Shakespeare's Henry IV, written around 1591, Act III, Scene III the last line is: "All: Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Long live the King!" 

[2]  The Cullinan Diamond is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, weighing 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g), discovered at the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It was named after Thomas Cullinan, the mine's chairman.  In April 1905, the Cullinan was put on sale in London, but despite considerable interest, it was still unsold after two years. In 1907 the Transvaal Colony government bought the Cullinan and presented it to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday