This sampling of blog posts from Doug Kass was originally published Jan. 19 on Street Insight. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com readers. For more information about subscribing to Street Insight, please
Energy Price Decline Is Likely Over1/19/2007 10:03 AM EST I'm guessing most of the decline in the price of energy is over. My sense is also that a lot of the speculators who buoyed the price of crude oil have mostly liquidated. I use the words "guess" and "sense" because I cannot be certain. That said, I can't buy the Oil Services HOLDRs (OIH). As I mentioned Wednesday, the last time crude oil sold at $50/barrel -- in May 2005 -- the Energy SPDR (XLE) was trading below $42 a share. Now the XLE trades at over $55. That's real testimony to the strength of the U.S. equity market. But I can short the Retail HOLDRs, which will get pulled down if I am correct. Which is precisely what I am doing. In size. Short RTH
GE's Numbers Are Underwhelming1/19/2007 9:03 AM EST Despite a breathtakingly positive analysis of General Electric's ( GE) earnings by former GE CEO Jack Welsh on CNBC, the numbers were underwhelming and I suspect the stock will trade down. Although organic growth was robust, earnings quality was weak (and it was even aided by a sharp drop in the industrial operating segment's tax rate, which helped EPS by 2 cents) and operating margins were disappointing -- management had previously forecast an improvement.
Raising Doubts on Vista1/19/2007 8:02 AM EST If you like everyone's new favorite stock, Microsoft ( MSFT), I suggest you read Walter Mossberg's review of Windows Vista in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Vista, as most are aware, is coming to the consumer market on Jan. 30; it replaces Windows XP. Mossberg makes a number of points including:
- Vista is pretty -- cool icons, translucent borders, good security features, universal search built in and a display of a preview of what is contained in taskbar items and folders.
- Vista does not represent a radical overhaul, however. Most of its new features have been available in Apple's Mac OS X (which was introduced nearly six years ago!). Apple's original system was upgraded in 2005 and its newest version of OS X (Leopard) is due in three months.
- To get the full benefit of Vista (especially the Aero interface) one needs a powerful and (most likely) a new computer. "The vast majority of existing Windows PCs won't be able to use all of Vista's features without major hardware upgrades. They will be able to run only a stripped-down version, and even then it may run very slowly." It will be expensive for the consumer to benefit totally from MSFT's new product as Vista will revert to very basic features if one's computer is too slow. "For most users who want Vista, I strongly recommend buying a new PC with the new operating system preloaded. I wouldn't even consider trying to upgrade a computer older than 18 months, and even some of them may be unsuitable candidates."
- Vista requires constant updating of security programs; "it's annoying and burdensome." In general, Vista requires frequent management of the computer.
- The consumer versions of Vista are Home Premium and Home Basic, which does not include the new Aero interface.