All posts by James Cannon

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]businessdistrict.com

Oil Prices Stay Steady with Pressure from Both Ends

Oil prices are performing a precarious balancing act as US oil production increases simultaneously with reduction in output from OPEC and other oil producers.

The price for Benchmark crude futures hardly budged from $55.86 a barrel at 6:57am. Yesterday’s price of $56.65 was the high for the month, just before it shrunk slightly today.

Only 6 cents separated today’s and yesterday’s price for US West Texas Intermediate crude futures, falling slightly. Yesterday’s price was the highest a barrel had been since March 7, at $53.76.

The weekly Energy Information Administration (EIA) report points to US oil output rising, while also showing that US stockpiles at the crude hub in Cushing, Oklahoma went up by 276,000 barrels during the week which ended on April 7.

Other data, however, showed a surprising fall in overall US crude inventories. Last week inventories fell by 2.2 million barrels while imports went down by 717,000 barrels per day.

“We saw a bit of a reversal in oil prices (on Wednesday) and it came despite some positive news,” chief market strategist at Sydney’s CMC Markets. “It does appear that there is bit of focus on the data that came alongside inventory numbers which showed further increase in U.S. production.”

Fund Managers to Follow

Certainly, it is human nature to feel more comfortable with people who put their money where their mouth is. A fund manager, for instance, who invests in the funds that he supports professionally is showing that he trusts the work he’s doing and that he stands by it. To this end, the M&M Investment Company have identified management teams that do just this; they have the largest personal holdings in the funds they manage. Here are three of them:

Christopher Mills is the chief executive and investment manager of North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc and chief investment officer of Harwood Capital LLP. He founded Harwood Capital Management in 2011 and he is a non-executive director of several companies.

Simon Borrows of the 3i Group is another executive on the list. He was appointed as the chief executive in May of 2012, after joining 3i in October of 2011 as the Chief Investment Officer. He spent 13 years with Greenhill & Co. before joining 3i and he founded the European business of Greenhill and was co-president of the group on its floatation on the NYSE in 2004.

Finally, Reade Griffith is a founding partner of Polygon and a Principal of Tetragon Financial Management LP. He is on the Tetragon board of directors. Prior to being the founder of Polygon, he founded and was the CEO of the European office of Citadel Investment Group.

 

Hollywood’s Biggest Grossing Blockbusters

Publicity photo of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind.

Movies are big business, there is no doubt. But just how big might come as a surprise to some. Just like any business, in order to calculate profit, we must factor in expenses and subtract that from revenue. Some of Hollywood’s biggest sellers in terms of profits might surprise the movie-going public.

Here is a list of the six biggest grossing movies of all time, adjusted for inflation:

1.    Gone with the Wind– The 1939 four-hour epic about the Civil War based on the best-selling book by Margaret Mitchell, set in the south. It won eight Academy Awards. Adjusted for inflation the move grossed $1.78 billion.

2.    Star Wars- In 1977 Star Wars touched something ephemeral in the movie-going public, helping it to rake in a cool $1.58 billion in gross sales.

3.    The Sound of Music- The beloved 1965 musical is based on a true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. This heart-warming musical grossed $1.23 billion.

4.    E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial- One of Steven Spielsberg’s early smash-hits, the story of a sensitive boy and his companion alien won the hearts and minds of a generation in 1982. It showed at the box office with a lovely $1.22 billion in receipts.

5.    Titanic- A film of titanic proportions, this film of epic proportions won 11 Academy Awards. Based on the true story of the catastrophic sinking of the luxury ocean liner Titanic in 1912, James Cameron made the film so that he could go to the site of the sinking and see it with his own eyes in a modern, mini-submarine. This film’s gross take of $1.22 billion is truly titanic.

6.    The Ten Commandments Based on the biblical story of the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt to the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, who’d a thunk it, that Moses and his rag-tag collection of Jewish ex-slaves could pull in a lovely $1.13 billion? Released in 1956, Cecil B. DeMille’s classic film won the Award for Best Special Effects at the 29th Academy Awards.

Latest Trump Treasury Nominees

U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced nominees for the Treasury Department.  The nominees are managing directors, bankers and investment executives.  To date, some of the senior economic positions are held by former Goldman Sachs executives, Gary Cohn (National Economic Council Director) and Steven Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary).

One of the recent nominees for Deputy Treasury Secretary is Goldman Sachs banker Jim Donovan. He has been at Goldman Sachs since 1993 and has worked in a variety of fiscal strategic areas such as corporate strategy, investment banking and management. As the Deputy Treasury Secretary, James Donovan will work in Trump’s domestic policy agenda at the Treasury Department.

Another global investment bank executive, David Malpass, was also nominated to the Department, as Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs.  He has worked in two previous administrations for George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. He was Chief Economist at Bear Stearns and was Trump’s economic advisor during his Presidential campaign.

Another nominee is Sigal Mandelker, who is being nominated as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  Like Donovan and Malpass, Mandelker also brings to the post legal experience.  He was once Clarence Thomas’ law clerk and he then worked at the Department of Justice in various roles.  During the George W. Bush administration, Mandelker advised the Secretary of Homeland Security as well.

GoPro Taking Aggressive Measures to Become Profitable

GoPro, the action camera manufacturer, has promised to cut 270 jobs, along with other measures, to get the company back to profitability. The company also pre-announced that its first-quarter earnings for 2017 would be at the high-end of guidance, coming to about $210 million. Operating expenses are to go down by over $200 million, and the company will return to EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) profitability during 2017.

In response, the company’s stock rose by 11 percent after the news was announced.

Last quarter GoPro had previously guided revenue between $190 million and $120 million. Its operating expenses totaled between $168 million and $178 million (GAAP) for the same quarter. They reported a net loss of $116 million on $541 million in revenue for the year. The restructuring should give the company control of 10 million additional dollars.

“We’re determined that GoPro’s financial performance match the strength of our products and brand. Importantly, expense reductions preserve our product roadmap and we are tracking to full-year non-GAAP profitability in 2017,” said CEO Nick Woodman.