Billionaire Peltz’s fund is buying ‘quite a bit of stock’ — but he isn’t saying where

Nelson Peltz

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Nelson Peltz

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz has opened a new position in a stock, and he says he has more to buy. But he’s not tipping his hand.

“We’ve started buying about two weeks ago,” he said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

Peltz is chief executive officer and a founding partner of Trian Fund Management, which has proposed new strategies for many firms including Wendy’s and Mondelez.

The activist investor would not disclose the name of the firm’s new holding, but said, “we bought quite a bit of stock and we’ve got quite a bit more to buy.”

“I hope that we will be able to talk in confidence with management and the board before it comes to you and the press,” he said on CNBC. Peltz said Trian hasn’t approached the company yet.

Peltz: There's a difference between global companies and outsourcing

Peltz: There’s a difference between global companies and outsourcing  21 Hours Ago | 02:37

Hedge fund performance has generally lagged the broader market for much of the year. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index was up 3.6 percent between the beginning of the year to October, while the S&P 500 was up 5.85 percent over that time period.

But Peltz isn’t complaining.

“We’ve had a wonderful year this year,” Peltz also said.

The S&P is now up about 8 percent year-to-date after surging to record highs following President-elect Donald Trump’s election win.

“I think the Trump rally is celebrating that capitalism is back,” Peltz said


Italy’s pain has turned into even more gains for US banks

For how tumultuous of a year it’s been for business and politics, it’s somehow fitting that 2016 should end with Americans banks sitting pretty as an oasis of stability.

After an explosive move higher during November, U.S. banks got another boost Monday from the “no” vote in the weekend’s Italian referendum. One of the net effects of the vote was that a bank bailout for the nation’s big institutions looks less likely, as populist sentiment continues to grow.

Another is a further reminder that a U.S. banking sector that for years held pariah standing is suddenly a darling.

“Clearly, this is good for U.S. banks,” said Chris Whalen, who covers financials as senior managing director and head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency. “If you’re a global investor, you want exposure to financials. You’re not going to be going into Europe. There’s no reason to own those names until we get clarity of what they’re going to do.”

Italian banks face an especially thorny issue in trying to rebuild market confidence.

Demonstrators hold banners and shout as they protest against Italy's Prime Minister Renzi outside Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

Alessia Pierdomenico | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Demonstrators hold banners and shout as they protest against Italy’s Prime Minister Renzi outside Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

The primary problem is with nonperforming loans — or those which have gone delinquent for 90 or more days. Italian banks have about 356 billion euros ($377 billion) on their books and not nearly enough capital to cover them.

Had Italians voted “yes” on the referendum, it would have concentrated more power in Rome and given the government more leeway to help the banks. As it stands, the “no” vote leaves a complicated legislative structure in place that makes it difficult for the country to pass laws.

In practical terms, that means banks are going to have to go out and raise capital to cover their nonperforming loans, something that could be difficult considering the shape of their balance sheets. European regulators have looked to avoid situations where individual banks were singled out as winners or losers.

Investors dumped Italian banks in Monday trading, sending Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena down about 4.5 percent Monday. The bank’s shares have plunged more than 86 percent over the past 12 months as the institution looks for a workable way to deal with its bad loans.

U.S. banks’ shares, meanwhile, rallied from the open, with the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index rising about 1.3 percent in morning trade. The index is up more than 22 percent year to date, owing significantly to a post-election surge on belief that President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will generate greater growth, higher interest rates and a lower regulatory environment than has been in place over the post-financial crisis years.

Another round of turmoil in Europe — so-called contagion that spreads from Italy to other parts of the Continent — could make U.S. banks even more appealing.

“What we’ve seen with all of these European banking crises is that the United States banks have been able to take market share,” said Dick Bove, vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets. “Given the fact that there is general consensus everywhere else that the U.S. banks are well-capitalized with excess liquidity, they take market share.”

Indeed, the domestic bank rebound has made the sector matter again after years of poor performance following the global financial crisis in 2008. Financials now have a market cap of $2.8 trillion, or 14.8 percent of the cap-weighted S&P 500, where it now ranks as the second largest of 11 sectors. Yet financials are trading at just 14 times earnings, the second-lowest multiple on the index.

Still, there are some concerns that the rally may be ahead of itself.

Some of the factors investors believe will help banks, particularly higher rates and widening spreads, won’t be felt immediately, Whalen said.

“Will Trump and higher rates and deregulation help banks? Yes, no question,” he said. “But that’s a medium-term proposition, that’s not this quarter.”

Schwab: Here’s why we’re back to ‘overweight’ on US stocks


Cashin: People pre-hedged the Italian referendum  19 Hours Ago | 03:33

A year of global tumult ahead will make U.S. stocks attractive compared to their counterparts, according to experts at Charles Schwab.

The firm on Monday raised its view on domestic equities to overweight, an upgrade from the neutral position Schwab has held since 2015. The designation means that Schwab is telling clients to hold more than the usual allocation to stocks.

Interestingly, the move came as markets digested the latest upheaval in Europe, in which Italian voters cast a collective “no” vote on a referendum that would have centralized more decision-making in Rome. The outcome was seen as another victory for a wave of populist fervor sweeping the Continent, though it was tempered somewhat by a pro-European victory for president of Austria.

U.S. stocks gained on the news, a pattern that Jeff Kleintop, Schwab’s chief global investment strategist, said could continue. Investors wondering where to go amid geopolitical uncertainty should “refocus back on the U.S.” he said.


Trump policies may work if they improve productivity, Fed’s Bullard says

Donald Trump looks on during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.

Getty Images
Donald Trump looks on during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.

The policies outlined by President-elect Donald Trump could boost the U.S. economy if they improve productivity, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Monday.

Bullard said properly designed and executed policies to boost infrastructure, modify regulations for some industries, and overhaul the tax code “may have some impact … if they are directed towards improving medium-term U.S. productivity growth.”

Bullard views the U.S. economy as stuck in a low-growth rut, and feels that the central bank only needs to raise interest rates one more time before reaching what he regards as the appropriate level for that low-growth environment.

The Fed’s policy-setting committee is expected to raise rates when it meets next week.

In remarks prepared for delivery at an event in Phoenix sponsored by Arizona State University, Bullard said it is too early to tell if the policies expected from the Trump administration could move the economy to a different “regime.”

But he, like several other Fed officials in recent days, offered some guidelines, particularly that any changes be targeted to boost productivity and growth on a permanent basis, not designed as short-term stimulus.

“The economy is not in recession today, so these policies should not be viewed as countercyclical measures,” he said.


Amidst protests, IIT switches Veda ‘workshop’ to lectures

The Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) organised a workshop on ‘Ancient Indian Knowledge Systems’.

Amidst protests, IIT switch Veda ‘workshop’ to lectures

Amidst protests, IIT switch Veda workshop to lectures

  • J Jayalalithaa passes away: Schools, colleges shut down in Tamil Nadu
  • CAT 2016: How candidates reacted post exam
  • 17 SSA employees suspended by Arunachal Pradesh govt due to long absence
  • 1.34 per cent of GDP spent on Education in 2013-14: Prakash Javadekar
  • School principals reprimanded for poor results: Madhya Pradesh

In order to educate students on the four Vedas that were “acquired from God,” a workshop on ‘Ancient Indian Knowledge Systems’ was held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).

As per reports, due to lack of requisite permissions, the programme/workshop has to be converted in to a lecture series following opposition from students and faculty members.

The workshop began on December 3 and will continue till December 9.

In a recent Indian Express report, IIT-B Director Devang Khakhar said that he was not aware of any such event.

Earlier, the poster that was put up for the promotion of the even the event said:

“For examining and carrying out experiments of the fundamental principles present in the Vedas, sages devised research methodology in the form of six Upangas or Darshans (viz. Mimansa, Vaisheshika, Nyaya, Yoga, Sankhya & Vedanta). Vedas were acquired from the God and the knowledge contained in it is for the welfare of the humankind.”

Letter sent to IIT-B Director Devang Khakhar stated:

“There was no clarity on who were the organisers of the event. Only six contact persons have been mentioned in the programme flyer, out of which four are not part of IIT-B. It is only reasonable, for purposes of accountability and transparency, to demand that the details of the organisers are made public.”

Meanwhile, a student Kranthi of IIT-B, who is one of the signatories in the letter, said that some organisations from outside the institute were trying to utilise the space on campus for their workshops.

Further, students mentioned that, “We would like to be assured that the institution is ‘in the know’ about this workshop in the campus and all the appropriate procedures were adhered to in allowing this event.”


J Jayalalithaa passes away: IIT Madras postpones campus placements to December 8

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras postponed the ongoing campus placements to December 8, following the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

IIT Madras postpones campus placements to December 8

IIT Madras postpones campus placements to December 8

  • J Jayalalithaa passes away: Schools, colleges shut down in Tamil Nadu
  • CAT 2016: How candidates reacted post exam
  • 17 SSA employees suspended by Arunachal Pradesh govt due to long absence
  • 1.34 per cent of GDP spent on Education in 2013-14: Prakash Javadekar
  • School principals reprimanded for poor results: Madhya Pradesh

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras postponed the ongoing campus placements to December 8, following the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. IIT Madras has also cancelled classes for the next three days.

Views of IIT Madras cell advisor Manu Santhanam

  • IIT Madras cell advisor Manu Santhanam said that the placements have been re-scheduled to December 8
  • “Ever since the news of Jayalalithaa suffering a cardiac arrest broke, firms were apprehensive to travel to the campus. There was confusion and they were calling us to find whether travelling to the campus is safe or not,” Santhanam said

More on the report:

  • From December 1, the campus placements started and around 400 students have already got the job. This year, Microsoft and Oracle have made the highest offers
  • After the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the state government has also declared seven days of mourning and three days holiday for schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu
  • All government buildings are directed to keep the national flag at half-mast, said Chief Secretary of state P Rama Mohana Rao.
  • source”cnbc”

Start hoarding SSDs: Prices are expected to spike as supply gets tight

ssdupgrade orig new crop

Time to add SSDs to your hoarding list. Citing a transition in technology and increased demand, NAND prices are expected to begin heading north next year, analysts say.

NAND chips revenue had already increased by 19.6 percent due to increased demand in the third quarter of this year and will be even tighter as we close the year out, wrote Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange.

Part of the tight supply is attributed to an industry transition from older, less dense 2D NAND to 3D NAND. That’s reduced supply at a time when consumption continues to go up to feed smartphones, PCs, and all things digital.

“3D NAND is still ramping up at most suppliers, and as a consequence, there is an expected shortage in flash memory that will occur in the not too distant future—not sure if this is the next few months, that depends upon demand,” said Thomas Coughlin of Storage Visions. “However flash memory for enterprise applications has special requirements and may be in short supply.”

We did a quick spot-check of popular consumer SSD prices, and some are indeed moving up, though not at a frightening speed. Looking at data for a Crucial 525GB MX300 drive, for instance, the price has increased—but that’s likely due to a rebound from Black Friday discounts.

ssd 1 samsung 850 evo price

Looking at a much older 120GB Kingston V300, the current price is just above its average selling price.

ssd 3 kingston

Coughlin had some good news, at least for short-term buyers of consumer hardware: The prices of drives typically dive immediately following holiday-season demand. But, Coughlin warned, from there prices seasonally increase. Combined with a NAND shortage, Coughlin said, prices could indeed be more painful toward the end of next year.



How to password protect a PDF before sending it by email

1113 primary

A reader asks:

“Is there any way to password-protect and lock a sensitive PDF file before sending it as an attachment through email? I cannot afford Adobe Acrobat Pro and free primopdf didn’t work for me. Any help will be appreciated!”

The quickest way to do this is to ZIP the PDF file and protect the ZIP file, or use Microsoft Office’s built-in encryption tools to create a password. If you use Outlook, you can use Adobe Acrobat IX to password protect PDFs. You can also try programs like NitroPDF and PDF Encrypt to set the password protection to your PDF file without Acrobat.

For more on PDF and document encryption:

  • How to encrypt sensitive data? Put it in an encrypted container
  • How to remove encryption from a PDF file
  • How to encrypt and password-protect ZIP files the right way

This tip was originally published on IDG Answers, a reader-powered help desk for answering tech questions.


Lenovo Phab2 arrives in India, to go on sale starting December 9

As scheduled, the Lenovo Phab2 has arrived in India. The device carries an INR 11,999 (around $175) price tag and will be available for purchase in the country starting this Friday (December 9) through Flipkart. Both Gunmetal Grey and Champagne Gold color options will be available.


Lenovo India


Prepare for a #PHABFriday! The stunning PHAB 2 has arrived. #GoPHAB starting December 9 #OnlyOnFlipkart: 



The Phab2 is powered by Mediatek MT8735 chipset and sports a 6.4-inch HD display. RAM is 3GB, while storage is 32GB. In terms of camera, the handset features a 13MP rear unit and a 5MP front shooter. A large, 4,050mAh battery is there to keep the lights on.



Meizu M5 Note goes official with Flyme 6.0, 4,000mAh battery

The Meizu M5 Note went official and it follows a formula that the company knows well – an affordable metal phone with a 5.5” 1080p screen. It’s an LTPS screen guarded by 2.5D curved glass and promises 1,000:1 contrast ratio.

Flyme OS 6.0 (based on Android 6.0)runs on a MediaTek Helio P10 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB storage. A more upscale 4GB/64GB version is available too, which you may consider given that the dual-SIM slot is a hybrid.

Anyway, the Meizu M5 Note measures 8.15mm thick and weighs 175g. It houses a 4,000mAh battery, bigger than the 3,100mAh battery of the m3e (a very similar phone).

Like it, the M5 Note has a 13MP main camera with an f/2.2 lens and 1080p video recording. There’s a 5MP selfie camera too. Additional specs include a fingerprint reader below the display, 4G connectivity with VoLTE and Wi-Fi b/g/n (no 5GHz).

Meizu M5 Note in: Blue Meizu M5 Note in: Gray Meizu M5 Note in: Silver Meizu M5 Note in: Gold
Meizu M5 Note in: Blue • Gray • Silver • Gold

The Meizu M5 Note costs CNY 900 for the 3GB/16GB model and will go on sale December 8. The 3GB/32GB model goes up to CNY 1,000 and the top 4GB/64GB model will set you back CNY 1,500. There’s no word on a western launch yet, but the prices translate to $130-$220 (you have to account for VAT and other taxes, though).