The organization representing independent broker-dealers has come out against a Finra proposal to ramp up its collection of account information.
In a comment letter submitted Thursday, the Financial Services Institute Inc. wrote that the broker-dealer regulator’s proposed Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System would pose substantial costs and management challenges to its members and would put sensitive investor information at risk.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. put out a CARDS concept release in December. The system would allow Finra to gather from clearing firms reams of account information about investments, transactions and investor profiles.
Best Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: IceWEB Inc (IWEB)
IceWEB, Inc. (IceWEB), incorporated in 1994, manufacture and market unified data storage, purpose built appliances, network and cloud attached storage solutions and deliver on-line cloud computing application services. The Company’s customer base includes the United States government agencies, enterprise companies, and small to medium sized businesses (SMB). The Company has three product offerings: Iceweb Unified Data Network Storage line of products, Purpose Built Network/Data Appliances and Cloud Computing Products/Services. In October 2013, IceWEB Inc completed its acquisition of Computers and Tele-Comm, Inc. and KC-NAP, LLC of Kansas City (collectively CTC).
IceWEB Unified Data Storage line of products
IceWEB is a provider of Unified Data Storage solutions. Its storage systems make it possible to operate and manage files and applications from a single device and consolidate file-based and block-based access in a single storage platform, whi ch supports Fibre Channel SAN, IP-based SAN (iSCSI), and NAS (network attached storage). A unified storage system simultaneously enables storage of file data and handles the block-based I/O (input/output) of enterprise applications. One advantage of unified storage is reduced hardware requirements. The IceWEB Storage System is an all-inclusive storage management system, which includes de-duplication; unlimited snapshots; thin provisioning; local or remote, real-time or scheduled replication; capacity and utilization reporting, and integration with virtual server environments.
Purpose Built Network and Data Appliances
Purpose Built Network and Data Appliances are devices, which provide computing resources (processors and memory), data storage, and specific software for a specific application. The primary appliance products that IceWEB has built have been centered on a single large business partner, ESRI Corporation. IceWEB and ESRI have collaborated to create ultra-high performance IceWEB/ESRI GIS systems tha! t allow customers to access data with speed. ESRI Corporation takes responsibility for marketing to their customers and business partners, via their worldwide sales and consultancy organization.
Cloud Computing Products and Services
Cloud computing products and services consist of cloud computing services and cloud storage appliances. IceWEB provides IceMAIL, a packaged software service that provides network hosted groupware, e-mail, calendaring and collaboration functionality. Online services were expanded to include IcePORTAL, which provides customers with a complete Intranet portal and IceSECURE a hosted e-mail encryption service. Originally such hosted services were referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Such services, hosted across the Internet are commonly referred to as Cloud Computing. A cloud storage appliance is a purpose built storage device configured for either branch office or central site deployment, which allows the housing and delivery of customer data across not only their internal networking infrastructure, but also to make that data available to employees or business partners securely via the Internet (often called the cloud).
The Company competes with EMC, Network Appliance, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Compellent Technologies and Isilon.
- [By Peter Graham]
What’s the Catch with Dephasium Corp? According to various disclosures, transactions of $2k, $2.5k, $3k, $4k, $7.5k, $12.5k and $15k have or will occur to mention Dephasium Corp in various investment newsletters. Dephasium Corp has been getting plenty of off and on attention for a couple of months now, but what’s been pretty strange is the company issuing a press release to announce that an unidentified third party, without the DPHS’s approval, has listed its shares on the Boerse Berlin Stock Exchange. The press release warned that this could be the first salvo in a “significant naked shorting attack directed at the Company” given that the Berlin exchange is one of few stock exchanges in the world that allows listing and trading of a company’s stock without the consent or authorization of the company being listed in order to facilitate short-selling. A quick look at Dephasium Corp’s financials reveals no revenues; net losses of $10k (most recent repor ted quarter), $17k and $11k plus net income of $388k; and $51k to cover $9k in current liabilities at the end of March. In other words, Dephasium Corp isn’t making money but someone else is trying to make some from it.
IceWEB, Inc. (OTCBB: IWEB) Seems to Be Making Progress
Small cap IceWEB is a provider of Unified Data Storage appliances for cloud and virtual environments, as well as the highly secure, scalable IceBOXTM BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Private Digital Cloud Solution. On Friday, IceWEB fell 8.57% to $0.0320 for a market cap of $9.01 million plus IWEB is down 54.3% over the past year and down 81.7% over the past five years according to Google Finance.
- [By Bryan Murphy]
So far the brewing recovery effort from IceWEB, Inc. (OTCBB:IWEB) has remained off most traders’ radars. That may be about to change, however. That’s why you may want to go ahead and take a speculative plunge on IWEB now, on faith that the clues we’re seeing now will indeed end up as they’re suggesting.
Best Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Logitech international SA (LOGI)
Logitech International S.A. (Logitech) is a holding company. Logitech develops and markets hardware and software products for digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security and home-entertainment control. Logitech operates in two segments: peripherals and video conferencing. The Company’s peripherals segment includes design, manufacturing and marketing of peripherals for personal computers (PCs) and other digital platforms. Its products for the PC include mice, trackballs, keyboards, interactive gaming controllers, multimedia speakers, headsets, webcams, and lapdesks. Logitech’s Internet communications products include webcams, headsets, video communications services, and digital video security systems for a home or small business. Its digital music products include speakers, earphones, and custom in-ear monitors. On July 6, 2010, Logitech acquired all of the assets of Paradi al AS. On March 31, 2011, the Company sold its equity interest in certain 3Dconnexion subsidiaries.
3Dconnexion subsidiaries are the providers of the Company’s 3D controllers, and its intellectual property rights related to the manufacture and sale of certain 3Dconnexion products. Paradial AS provides firewall and network address translation (NAT) traversal solutions for video communications. For home entertainment systems, Logitech offers the Harmony line of advanced remote controls, Squeezebox wireless music solutions and, in the United States, a line of Logitech products for the Google TV platform. For gaming consoles, the Company offers a range of gaming controllers and microphones, as well as other accessories. Logitech’s sells its peripheral products to a network of distributors and resellers and to other equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The Company’s worldwide retail network includes wholesale distributors, consumer electronics retailers, mass mercha ndisers, specialty electronics stores, computer and telecomm! unications stores, resellers and online merchants.
The Company’s video conferencing segment includes design, manufacturing and marketing of LifeSize video conferencing products, infrastructure and services for the enterprise, public sector and other business markets. LifeSize products include high-definition (HD) video communication endpoints, HD video conferencing systems with integrated monitors, video bridges and other infrastructure software and hardware to support large scale video deployments, and services to support these products. Logitech sells its LifeSize products and services to distributors, resellers, OEMs and direct enterprise customers. Logitech conducts its business through subsidiaries in the Americas, including North and South America; Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific, including, among other countries, China, Taiwan, Japan, India and Australia.
Logitech offers a range of computer mice, sold through retail and OEM channels. Its mice products include M215, M310 and M305 wireless mice with advanced 2.4 gigahertz wireless connection and cordless universal serial bus (USB) plug-and-forget nano-receiver; Performance Mouse MX and Anywhere Mouse MX with Logitech Darkfield Laser Tracking; Marathon Mouse 750, and Wireless Trackball M570. Logitech’s mice products also include a line of gaming mice, including the Wireless Gaming Mouse G700, with 13 precisely placed, programmable controls to perform single actions and complex macros, full-speed gaming-grade wireless, and a quick-connect charging cable. In addition, the Company sells both corded and cordless mice designed specifically for OEM customers.
Keyboards and Desktops
Logitech offers a range of corded and cordless keyboards and desktops (keyboard-and-mouse combinations). The Company’s keyboards and desktops include Wireless Solar Keyboard K750; K800 Illuminated Wireless Keybo ard; The diNovo Edge keyboard; Wireless Desktop MK320, and G! 19 Keyboa! rd for Gaming.
Logitech designs and manufactures a range of multimedia speakers, including Wireless Speaker Z515, The Laptop Z305 speaker, and The S-series line of portable iPod/MP3 docks, including the Rechargeable Speaker S715i and the Portable Speaker S135i. It also designs and manufactures The Z-623 2.1 THX certified speakers, the Z-506 5.1 Speakers, and the Z-906 5.1 Surround Sound speakers. Logitech offers a portfolio of network music systems. The Squeezebox Touch, with its 4.3-inch color touch screen, connects to existing stereo system and speakers and supports sampling rates of up to 24 bits at 96 kilohertz. The Squeezebox Radio is a compact network music player and alarm that allows to connect to home network, and access Internet radio, personal music collection or subscription services.
The Ultimate Ears product line offers a range of in-ear consumer or fit earphones for portable music enthusiasts, as well as custom stag e earphones for musicians and sound engineers. Its line of earphones include Ultimate Ears 100 and 200 value-priced earphones, with silicone ear cushions in a durable sweat-resistant design; Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 with triple armature speakers, and The Ultimate Ears 600 featuring single armature speakers, the Ultimate Ears 600vi, and the Ultimate Ears 700 featuring dual armature speakers. Its line of Ultimate Ears Custom Stage Earphones include Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors co-designed with Capitol Studios for professional studio engineers and producers for use during recording, mixing and mastering original music content, the UE-18 Pro featuring a six-speaker design, the UE-7 Pro for live performance and stage use, and the UE-4 Pro featuring a dual speaker design for artists and audiophiles.
Logitech offers headsets and microphones designed for applications, such as PC voice communications, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) applications and onlin e gaming. Its products in this category include the ClearCha! t PC Wire! less headset, the Wireless Headset H760, the USB Headset H530, the G35 Surround Sound Headset for gaming, the Wireless Gaming Headset G930, the USB Desktop Microphone, and the OCS certified Logitech B-530 USB Headset.
Logitech’s webcam offerings include Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910, Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, Logitech HD Webcam C510 and Logitech TV Cam for use with Logitech Revue. Logitech’s webcams works with video messaging applications, and provides up to HD 720p video calling in Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Logitech Vid HD. The Logitech Alert digital video security system is a complete home or small business video security system, with software that provides motion alerts and a live view from an Internet-connected computer, smartphone, tablet or Google TV system, including Logitech Revue.
Logitech offers a range of game controllers for PC gamers, including joysticks, steering wheels, gamepads, mice a nd keyboards, and headsets, as well as gaming products for console platforms, such as PlayStation2, PlayStation3, PSP (PlayStation Portable), Xbox, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. The Company’s gaming products include Logitech G700 Wireless Gaming Mouse; Logitech G13 advanced gameboard with a built-in LCD screen, 25 programmable keys and onboard memory; Logitech G27 Racing Wheel and Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset.
The Company’s line of remotes includes Harmony One remote, Harmony 900 remote and Harmony 650. In October 2010, Logitech introduced its line of products for Google TV in the United States, including Logitech Revue and the Logitech Keyboard Controller; Logitech TV Cam and Vid HD service, and Logitech Mini Controller.
LifeSize Video Conferencing
LifeSize division offers HD video communication solutions, including HD video conferencing products, audio conference telephones, hardware infrastructure so lutions, video management software, and services to support ! video and! audio communications and help users connect to any network securely and with ease. The LifeSize product line includes Passport, LifeSize Video Center, Express Series, Team Series, Room Series and LifeSize Bridge.
The Company competes with Microsoft Corporation, Plantronics, Inc., Altec Lansing LLC, Creative Labs, Inc., Bose Corporation, Sony Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics NV, Hewlett-Packard, Intec, Razer USA Ltd., Performance Designed Products, LLC (Pelican Accessories), Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., Universal Remote Control, Inc., Universal Electronics Inc., RCA, Apple Inc., Roku, Inc., Cisco, Radvision Ltd., Vidyo, Inc. and Polycom.
- [By Vinay Singh]
Logitech (LOGI) isn’t traditionally thought of as a PC company. And that’s fair — it doesn’t make PCs.
Yet its business is deeply intertwined with the PC market. Logitech is one of the largest makers of PC peripherals, including mice, keyboards, speakers and webcams.
- [By Louis Navellier]
Logitech International (LOGI) is a Swiss company that designs, manufactures, and markets hardware and software products that enable digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security, and home-entertainment control.
- [By Brian O’Connell and Brian O’Connell]
You can’t be a video gamer, a PC user, or even a home entertainment watcher without using one of Logitech’s (NASDAQ: LOGI) products.
The company develops and markets hardware and software products that enable or enhance digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, and audio and video communication over the Internet.
The company’s stock has risen by 16 percent so far this year. In January, Logitech announced “better than expected” sales of $628 million for the third quarter, up 2 percent on a year-over-year basis. Cash flow was way up, and earnings per share of $0.30 was up compared to a loss one year earlier.
The retail numbers tell the real story, with the company’s combined retail growth categories up 62 percent, year-over-year. Tablet peripheral salaries were up 95 percent; audio wearables and wireless sales were up 79 percent; and video gaming sales rose by 25 percent in the same time period.
Thos e are numbers that are manna from heaven for a company that really needed them, after a 30-month period of mediocre performance from 2010-to-mid-2013 that saw LOGU’s share price fall stagnate in the $8-$10-per-share range.
“We’re pleased by our solid Q3 performance, with both sales and profit growth,” notes Bracken P. Darrell, Logitech’s chief executive officer. “We’re encouraged by the robust sales in our growth categories, as well as the success of our ongoing initiatives to improve profitability.”
“We still have more work ahead, but our turnaround is on track as we continue to build a faster and more profitable Logitech,” he adds.
Going forward, Logitech has upped its yearly outlook, calling for sales of $2.1 billion, up from $2 billion in its last outlook. Non-GAAP operating income should rise to $125 million, up from $100 million previously.
Why the continued optimism over Logitech, after two-and-half years of tepid pe rformance?
Best Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Steel Excel Inc (SXCL)
Steel Excel Inc., formerly ADPT Corp., incorporated in 1981, is primarily focused on capital redeployment and identification of new business operations. The identification of new business operations includes, but is not limited to, the oilfield servicing, sports, training, education, entertainment and lifestyle businesses. The Company operates in two segments: oilfield servicing and sports-related segment. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company acquired two sports-related businesses and one oilfield servicing business. On June 27, 2011, the Company acquired Baseball Heaven LLC and Baseball Cafe, Inc. On August 15, 2011, the Company acquired The Show, LLC. On December 7, 2011, the Company acquired Rogue Pressure Services, LLC. On February 9, 2012, the Company acquired Eagle Well Services, Inc. In May 2012, the Company acquired Sun Well Service, Inc. Effective December 16, 2013, Steel Excel Inc acquired Black Hawk Energy Services Inc, a provider of oil and gas field services.
The Company’s oilfield servicing segment provides services in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Services include snubbing services (controlled installation and removal of all tubulars – drill strings and production strings) in and out of the wellbore with the well under full pressure, flowtesting, and hydraulic work over/simultaneous operations (allows customers to perform multiple tasks on multiple wells on one pad at the same time). The Company’s sports-related services segment provides services related to marketing and providing baseball facility services, including training camps, summer camps, leagues and tournaments, concession and catering events and other events and related Websites. In addition, the Company outfit little league baseball and softball players and coaches in official major league baseball uniforms.
- [By Geoff Gannon]
1. Steel Excel (SXCL)
2. FormFactor (FORM)
3. Imation (IMN)
4. Tuesday Morning (TUES)
5. Pacific Biosciences (PACB)
6. Maxygen (MAXY)
7. Westell (WSTL)
8. Volt Information Sciences (VISI)
9. Yasheng Group (YHGG)
Best Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: George Risk Industries Inc (RSKIA)
George Risk Industries, Inc. (GRI), incorporated on February 21, 1961, is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of computer keyboards, push button switches, burglar alarm components and systems, pool alarms, thermostats, EZ Duct wire covers and water sensors. GRI is a diversified manufacturer of electronic components, consisting of the security industries variety of door and window contact switches, environmental products, proximity switches and custom keyboards. The Company operates in two segments: security alarm products and security alarm products GRI’s security burglar alarm products comprise approximately 84% of net revenues and are sold through distributors and alarm dealers/installers. These products are used for residential, commercial, industrial and government installations. Its products include security products/ magnetic reed switches, data entry peripherals, pushbutton switches, custom engraved keycaps and proximity sensors.
The security segment has approximately 3,000 customers. One of the distributors, ADI accounts for approximately 40% of the Company’s sales of these products. The keyboard segment has approximately 800 customers. Keyboard products are sold to original equipment manufacturers to their specifications and to distributors of off-the-shelf keyboards of proprietary design. GRI owns and operates its main manufacturing plant and offices in Kimball, Nebraska with a satellite plant 40 miles away in Gering, Nebraska.
- [By Geoff Gannon] n. When it traded around $4.50 (it’s now more like $7.50 a share) it was a net-net with a good business and a moat. There were risks – customer concentration for one – and it was no blue chip. There was no diversification of product lines, customers, geography, industry, etc. It was closely tied to U.S. construction activity.
All this means it was no blue chip. Not that it didn’t have a moat. I felt it did. And certainly not that it wasn’t a high quality business. It demonstrably was (unleveraged returns on tangible equity were around 30%). And it was a net-net. In fact, it was a net cash stock at one time.
So they do happen. But they are rare. The usual distinction with net-nets is not between companies like that – companies which may have a moat, do earn good returns on capital, etc. – but between companies that are legitimate and illegitimate businesses.
A legitimate business is – in my mind – a historically profitable one. It is likely to have positive retained earnings (there are exceptions to this rule – but it’s a good first check). It should have more years of profits (6 or more) than losses in the last 10 years. And it should be self-financing.
Compare this to an illegitimate business. The least legitimate businesses are those that – while publicly traded – have never turned a profit and can’t self finance. They may be net-nets – but they are net-nets because they have issued stock in the past and then seen their share prices drop. Retained earnings are often negative.
There are other factors to consider. Is the business old or young? Is depreciation – and other accounting – especially conservative or aggressive? Are taxes especially conservative or aggressive? And is share issuance dilutive or not.
I think a legitimate business tends towards LIFO accounting, quicker depreciation, higher taxes paid as a percentage of reported income, and lower share issuance. There are exceptions. Many
- [By Geoff Gannon] >Ark Restaurants (ARKR). When I bought them – and even now – I think their return on buyback would be high and I’d be in favor of it. However, the stocks are illiquid and their free cash flow relative to the dollar value of freely traded shares is not high. As a result, I’m always in favor of RSKIA and ARKR buying back stock. But, I understand it’s very hard for them to do in practice unless there is a meaningful holder who signals he wants out of the stock.
My approach to buybacks is pretty simple. One, I prefer them. Two, I look at the share count history over the last 10 to 20 years as my guide to what the company might do in the future – I want a pattern of predictable behavior. Generally, that means a continuously shrinking share count that shrinks in bull markets and bear markets, panics and recessions and booms and busts and so on. Three, if I’m a buyer of the stock – then the company should be a buyer of its own stock. No questions asked on that one. If the stoc k is good enough for me to buy it’s clearly good enough for the company to buy. Finally, I look for the return on buyback. I tend to focus on the earning power the company is buying relative to the net cash it is spending. If a company has cash on its balance sheet, the amount of net cash consumed by a buyback will be less than it appears because I will end up with a greater percentage ownership of the resulting balance sheet as well as the income statement.
I want the return on buyback to always be at least 10%. As a rule, the average company will only get returns on its buybacks of 10% or higher if it pays less than 15 times normal earnings. In special cases – fast growing companies, companies where free cash flow vastly exceeds reported income, etc. – it is possible that buybacks above 15 times earnings will return more than 10%. It almost never makes sense for a company to buy back stock at over 25 times earnings. So, for most companies, under 15 times earnings is the green zone for bu
- [By Geoff Gannon] things I said was that I knew George Risk’s materials cost was higher than some competitors’ selling price. The fact that any company could survive under conditions like that immediately suggested that dollars paid for the product was not the key concern for this product.
Perceived costs had to involve other concerns like customization, shipping speed, reliability, etc. Because it was a low cost product going into a higher cost product going into very high cost projects it seemed likely there was the opportunity to raise prices if needed. And that’s what they ended up doing. The important clue for me in that investigation was the severe cost disadvantage George Risk had. You couldn’t compete at such a cost disadvantage unless price was less important than I initially thought.
I think you will find that most of these insights are not available in the financial statements. They come from reading the 10-Ks of all companies in the industry, reading articles about the companies, listening to all conference call transcripts, etc.
For example, there is not much in the financial statements of Carnival (CCL) that explains how the cruise business really works. But all of the companies in the industry (CCL, RCL and NCL) freely discuss the economics of their business in great detail. They break out costs before and after fuel. They give you per-passenger prices of how much newly built ships cost. They give you lots and lots of details. They explain how they price their product (the way airlines do) and so on. There is an extreme level of detailed explanation of the business in the various conference calls, 10-Ks, etc.
A great source for this information is going back to the time the company went public or at least finding the S-1 of a competitor. When a company goes public it often gives much more detail into product economics, etc., than it will later on when it reports annual results.
That is also a good place to learn ab out market share, com
Best Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Imagination Technologies Group PLC (IGNMF.PK)
Imagination Technologies Group plc is engaged in multimedia and communication technologies. The Company operates in two segments: Technology business and the Pure business. The Company’s Technology business segment is engaged in the development of embedded graphics, video, display and multi-threaded processor and multi-standard broadcast receiver and connectivity technologies for licensing to semiconductor companies for incorporation into silicon devices. The Company’s Pure business segment is engaged in the development and marketing of consumer products to showcase the technologies of the Technology business and to develop markets for such technologies. In March 2012, Toumaz Ltd completed the exchange of Imagination Technologies Group plc’s interest in Toumaz Ltd’s Toumaz Microsystems subsidiary. In February 2013, it acquired the operating business and certain patent properties of MIPS Technologies, Inc. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Ashraf Eassa]
However, I expect that Intel is at risk of having a significant marketing problem trying to sell a dual core product into a world of quad core phones, even if the dual core part delivers better performance/watt. I further expect that from what is currently known about Bay Trail’s GPU (4 EU Gen7 GPU), it is unlikely that — unless Intel is either using Imagination’s (IGNMF.PK) next generation PowerVR 6 or a beefed up Gen7 design for the "Merrifield" SoC — it will be as competitive with the Snapdragon 800 on the GPU side of things, which could pose as an additional headwind to adoption. I also believe that the Q1 2014 launch curtails any hope that there will be a 14nm smartphone product launched in 2014 (although Mr. Krzanich’s comments about "acceleration" could be a source of optimism here), which means that the company’s process lead could ultimately prove to be ephemeral in this particular end market. Fortunately, product cycles in this space are sho rt, so it may be okay to have Merrifield be reasonably short lived.