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Beyond Meat Is Not Beyond Hope, And It’s Cheap

Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) had a rough quarter and the hard times are not over. The company just announced a reduction in its global workforce which can only mean one thing. The outlook for growth has been greatly reduced because of a failure to follow through on expectations. The company’s test runs with Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) […] Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) had a rough quarter and the hard times are not over. The company just announced a reduction in its global workforce which can only mean one thing. The outlook for growth has been greatly reduced because of a failure to follow through on expectations. The company’s test runs with Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) and McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) were met with not only a tepid consumer response but also issues with product availability and quality. Yum! Brands have yet to launch a vegan taco option or a pizza and McDonald’s says it’s done with the idea. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   The takeaway, however, may be that the company is coming back to earth, getting in touch with reality so to speak, and can now focus on core operations and profitability instead of chasing growth. The Q2 results weren’t awesome but enough to show there is demand for product, the question is if Beyond Meat can deliver it profitably. “In Q2 2022, we recorded our second largest quarter ever in terms of net revenues even as consumers traded down among proteins in the context of inflationary pressures, and we made solid sequential progress on reducing operating and manufacturing conversion costs. Across the balance of the year, we are tightly focused on intensifying OpEx and manufacturing cost reductions, executing against a series of planned market activities for our global strategic partners, and strengthening our retail business through core support and the introduction of one of our best innovations to date,” says  CEO Ethan Brown. Lower Prices Drive Higher Volume For Beyond Meat  Beyond Meat reported $147.04 million in net revenue for the 2nd quarter for a decline of 1.6% versus last year. The revenue also missed the consensus by 137 basis points but the important factor for investors to note is that lower pricing helped drive sales. The company says the average realized price per pound fell 14.2% due to the use of liquidation channels and markdowns but volume increased by 14.6% to nearly offset the difference. This bodes well for future sales in consumer channels assuming cost reductions and streamlining can lower the margins enough for profits. On a segment basis, U.S. retail sales grew by 2.2% driven by the launch of Pepsico’s (NASDAQ: PEP) Beyond Meat Jerky. The gains offset weakness in the Foodservice channel attributed to the issues with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, and also weaknesses in Europe that are attributed to price reductions and FX headwinds. The bad news is that margins continue to shrink despite the company’s efforts to control costs. The adjusted EBITDA came in at a loss of $68.8 million or -46.8% of revenue and missed the consensus mark by a wide margin. The bottom line $1.53 in adjusted losses also missed the mark, by $0.39, and the guidance was reduced as well. The guidance for full-year revenue was cut to $470 to $520 million which is assuming 1% to 12% growth but is down sharply from the prior guidance and below the Marketbeat.com consensus of $561 million. The company also announced a 4% reduction in the workforce which will help the margin if not the productivity. The takeaway here is the company is trying to reorganize so it can capitalize on existing markets and could surprise on the bottom line in coming quarters. The Technical Outlook: Beyond Meat May Have Bottomed  The price action in Beyond Meat took a dive three months ago with the previous earnings report, a report that foreshadowed the Q2 results, but appears to have bottomed in the time since. The price action rebounded and regained the upper side of the short-term 30-day EMA although that support appears to be shaky at this time. The post-release action has the price down near the $30 level and below the short-term EMA. If buyers don’t step in to support the price here the odds are high that price action will fall to the bottom of a developing trading range near $21. If that level doesn’t hold the stock could be in for a much larger decline. If support holds at the $30 level, however, a move back to the top of the range is likely. Article by Thomas Hughes, MarketBeat Updated on Aug 5, 2022, 5:50 pm.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkAug 5th, 2022

It"s Begun – Get Ready To Pay Much Higher Prices For Meat From Now On

It's Begun – Get Ready To Pay Much Higher Prices For Meat From Now On Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, The era of cheap meat is over.  For those that are carnivores, that is really bad news.  For decades, Americans have been able to count on the fact that there would always be mountains of very inexpensive meat at the local grocery store, but now those days are gone and they aren’t coming back.  As I was writing this introductory paragraph, it struck me that what is happening to meat prices actually parallels what I wrote about yesterday.  Just as the left doesn’t want us to use traditional forms of energy because they believe that doing so is “bad” for the climate, so they also detest that a lot of us like to eat a lot of meat because the production of meat causes levels of certain greenhouse gases to rise.  Sometimes we joke about the methane that comes from “cow farts”, but radicals on the left take this stuff deadly seriously.  And at the same time that gasoline prices are soaring into the stratosphere, the exact same thing is happening to meat prices.  In fact, we just learned that the price of beef in the U.S. has risen more than 20 percent since last October… Behind unleaded gasoline, beef prices have risen the most on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since October 2020, rising 20.1% in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An increase of over 20 percent in one year is deeply alarming. Unfortunately, it isn’t just the price of beef that is soaring.  Tyson Foods just released some new numbers which show that beef, pork and chicken prices are all rising dramatically… The biggest meat company by sales in the United States has announced significant price rises for the fourth quarter, as the impact of the highest inflation for 30 years continues to be felt. Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, Arkansas, announced on Monday that chicken prices rose 19 percent during its fiscal fourth quarter, while beef and pork prices jumped 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively. During the early portion of this crisis, Tyson Foods was reluctant to pass increasing costs along to consumers, but now we are being informed that they don’t intend to make the same mistake again… Stewart Glendinning, the chief financial officer of Tyson Foods, said that they have been slow to increase their prices, in line with inflation, but are now making up for the delay. ‘We expect to take continued pricing actions to ensure that any inflationary cost increases that our business incurs are passed along,’ he said, on the company’s quarterly earnings call. Sadly, this is just the beginning.  The price of meat is only going to go higher from here, and eventually it will get to a point where meat prices become exceedingly painful. Of course there are many that would argue that we are already there. As food prices continue to climb, those that help the needy are going to have a much more difficult time trying to do so. For example, the Salvation Army is projecting that it will need 50 percent more funding than last year as it feeds more Americans than ever before… The Salvation Army is planning to serve more meals than in 2020’s record year, and will need around 50% more funding to meet the buoyed demand, Hodder said. He expects rental and utilities assistance to lead the pack of requested aid. “We’re fearful of what we’re calling ‘pandemic poverty,’” Hodder said. The price of gasoline continues to shoot up as well. On Tuesday, the average price of gasoline in California set a new record high for the third day in a row… Gas prices in California have broken a new record with an average price tag of $4.687 for a regular gallon as of Tuesday morning, according to the American Automobile Association. It was the third day in a row the state has recorded record breaking prices as Monday’s average gas price was $4.682 and Sunday’s was $4.676 which broke the previous state record of $4.671 in October 2012. Needless to say, the price of gasoline is quite a bit higher than that in certain urban areas. In downtown Los Angeles, one unfortunate motorist ended up paying more than six dollars a gallon on Monday… Brian Sproule squinted against the sun on Monday as he examined the price board at a Chevron station in downtown Los Angeles, where a regular gallon of gas was $6.05. Sproule, 37, is a mobile notary who spends much of his time in his car. He said he’s used to spending about $40 to fill his tank, but by the time he capped off his Hyundai Elantra, the meter displayed a whopping $71.59. Can you imagine paying that much for gasoline? Don’t think that it can’t happen where you live.  Eventually, everyone in the entire country will be seeing such prices. As “Bidenflation” makes headlines day after day, U.S. consumers are becoming increasingly pessimistic.  Just check out the latest consumer confidence number released by the University of Michigan… The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to 66.8 in November – down sharply from the October reading of 71.7 and well below economists’ forecast for a reading of 72.4. “Consumer sentiment fell in early November to its lowest level in a decade due to an escalating inflation rate and the growing belief among consumers that no effective policies have yet been developed to reduce the damage from surging inflation,” Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, said in a statement. Americans haven’t been this negative about the economy in a really long time. And it is becoming increasingly clear that things are going to get even worse in the months ahead.  Our leaders continue to promise that they will make progress on the problems that we are facing, but those problems just keep on escalating.  In fact, the number of giant container ships waiting off the coast of southern California just hit another new record high… On Friday and Monday, yet another record was set for the number of container ships stuck at anchor or in holding patterns off the ports: 83. The average wait time at anchor for ships arriving in Los Angeles hit yet another fresh peak on Tuesday: 16.9 days. That really surprises me. Despite all of the national attention, and despite the fact that the Biden administration has gotten directly involved, the nightmare at the ports in southern California just continues to intensify. If we can’t even figure out how to get stuff unloaded and moved across the country in a timely manner, what hope do we have of properly addressing our more complex economic problems? As our economy is shaken by crisis after crisis, millions upon millions of families all over the nation are deeply suffering. But of course not everyone is doing badly these days.  It turns out that the vaccine manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank… The People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), an international non-profit working to close the global vaccine disparity, analyzed the earnings reports of Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna and found that the companies will make a combined $34 billion in profit this year. When broken down, that is $93.5 million a day, $65,000 a minute and more than $1,000 every second of profit. When I look at those numbers, they literally make me want to vomit. The greed that we are witnessing has reached a level that is absolutely breathtaking. But this is what happens when the moral foundation of a society completely collapses. In about a month and a half, 2021 will be over and 2022 will be here. 2021 has been bad, but I believe that 2022 will be even worse. So I would encourage you to make preparations for a very rough year, because the days ahead are not going to be pretty. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/17/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 17th, 2021

The 6 best kitchen knives we tested in 2021

There's no need to have piles of knives or even sets of them. These knives are the only ones you need in your kitchen. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Putting your knife set together piecemeal is best, and a chef's knife is the only real essential. Wusthof's Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife is our favorite, but we also like Victorinox, Shun, and more. Read about how we test kitchen products at Insider Reviews. There may be no more important tool in your kitchen than your chef's knife. It is the one-stop-shop for all of your slicing, chopping, dicing, and trimming needs. Sure, there are other kitchen knives well worth their steel, but we can't stress this enough: if you're going to put your money into any one knife, or if you're considering buying a knife set, think about a single, high-quality chef's knife to start.While we do offer a guide to the best knife sets — and recommend some budget-friendly options like the Victorinox Fibrox Pro set (a staple in many commercial kitchens) — you can end up with a lot of filler pieces if you go the pre-packaged route. Everyone we've spoken with on the matter, from famed butcher Pat LaFrieda to late gourmand and chef Anthony Bourdain, has been quick to the point: most knife sets are a waste of money. And having knocked around enough commercial bars and kitchens myself, I can't agree more. Rarely do you see a chef, sous chef, or line cook, fiddling with anything but a chef's knife.For this guide, we focused on chef's knives for the reasons above, but we also ran through dozens of paring, boning, utility, and bread knives to recommend one of each of those as well. Here are the best kitchen knives of 2021Best kitchen knife overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's KnifeBest all-purpose kitchen knife: Benchmade StationBest budget kitchen knife: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's KnifeBest paring knife: Victorinox 3.25" Straight Paring KnifeBest bread knife: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 10.25" Serrated Curved Bread KnifeBest utility knife: Shun Sora 6"Best chef's knife overallOwen Burke/InsiderHefty but balanced, The traditional German design of Wüsthof's Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife suits most hands and stands up to just about every kitchen task.Length: 6", 8", 10"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 58Handle: Polyoxymethylene (POM)Pros: Great for chopping and dicing, agreeable handle for most, rust- and chip-resistantCons: Requires regular sharpeningThe Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife is the most traditional western knife there is: It's big, it's heavy, and it's made with relatively soft, rust-, and chip-resistant stainless steel. As far as quality knives go, this is the knife we've found to handle the most difficult tasks while also still offering agility and precision.Before we go further, we should mention one caveat: Ahead of investing in a chef's knife, know that of all the kitchen knives you might purchase, it is the most personal choice you're going to have to make.No matter which knife you choose, your chef's knife is the one you'll rely upon most. It offers the most surface area for larger chopping and slicing jobs, and it also handles the most force for hardier root vegetables, meat, and poultry. Different designs might favor chopping and dicing over slicing (and vice-versa), but we like the only slightly rounded belly of the Wüsthof Classic Ikon, which strikes a happy medium for the two tasks.We also like the modified handle of the Ikon series knives in general, which isn't quite German, but not quite Japanese, either. It seems to be a hybrid of the two and fits most hands comfortably (we placed our top pick in several different palms).All in all, this is a great knife for the average household in which kitchen knives aren't generally taken care of, and no matter who gets a hold of this thing or what they do with or to it, you'll be able to bring it back up to snuff. That and the fact that it's a relatively thin and agile blade as far as German knives go make it the best all-around pick based on our testing.Best all-purpose kitchen knifeOwen Burke/InsiderIf you want just one knife in your kitchen, Benchmade's station knife is the perfect middle ground between a paring knife and a chef's knife.Pros: Great for everything from slicing and carving to chopping and dicing, guaranteed for lifeCons: Some might not like the handle (subjective)Before testing Benchmade's Station knife, we would have scoffed at the idea of anything other than a chef's knife being considered all-purpose. The Station knife's tip has the deftness of a paring knife, while its extremely wide heel chops and slices like a cleaver, and we haven't found anything we can't do well with it, apart from slice bread. We broke down whole chickens, chopped piles of potatoes, sliced a dozen tomatoes, minced garlic and shallots, and hulled strawberries with ease.Made in the USA, these knives are customizable. You can get the basic, but highest-quality 440C stainless steel, or the upgraded CPM-154 (Benchmade's take on 154CM, which is 440C stainless steel with added Molybendum to prevent chipping). You can also choose your handle, from an epoxy G10 (seven colors), a resin-infused paper called Richlite (three colors), and black carbon fiber. Plus, you can have the blade etched with laser-marking if you want something really one of a kind.Finally, Benchmade will clean, oil, adjust, and resharpen your knife for life, free of charge through their Lifesharp service — you just have to pay postage.Best budget chef's knifeOwen Burke/InsiderPopular in busy commercial kitchens and homes alike, Victorinox's Fibrox has a highly ergonomic handle and stands up to rough use like few others.Length: 7.9"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Maneuverable, comfortable handle, decent edge retentionCons: Not razor-sharp straight out of the factory, takes some work to sharpen, not perfectly balanced Victorinox's entire Fibrox line is a favorite in commercial kitchens because its knives are among the few that can pass through numerous line cooks' hands and accidental trips through the dishwasher unscathed. The Fibrox Chef's Knife is budget-friendly, but it's also perfect for short-term rentals, first apartments, and more generally, people who don't necessarily want to spend time taking care of their kitchen tools. My kitchen sees a lot of "chefs," and for that reason, I have my knives squirreled away separately from the communal kitchen knives, which are entirely from Victorinox. This way, I don't have to worry about someone slicing a lemon and leaving an expensive knife on the counter, not only wet but coated in citric acid, or trying to pry open a lid via a Japanese blade, which is horrific to think about. And even though the Fibrox Chef's Knife has withstood the abuse mentioned above (and more), there's neither a single stain nor chip on it. Sure, it's a bit scratched (coarse sponges are terrible for stainless steel, but more on care below), but all I do is give it a sharpening every couple of months, which with diligence gets it sharper than it was from the factory, and it performs impressively.We also find it to be a little on the safer side thanks to the ultra-grippy Fibrox handle, which is easy to hold even when wet or greasy.Read more about the Fibrox line in our guide to the best knife sets (even though we generally don't recommend sets, this one is an exception).Best paring knifeOwen Burke/InsiderA paring knife is a simple tool for lighter tasks, and Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife offers everything you need of it and nothing you don't.Length: 3.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 58-60Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Resilient, relatively rust-proof, dishwasher-safeCons: Very lightweight, requires regular sharpeningYou really, really don't need to spend a fortune on a paring knife. We think Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife does the job about as well as anything because it's not the blade you're going to rely on for heavier-duty tasks.  Hulling strawberries, slicing a small bit of garlic, and peeling and seeding fruit is about all you're going to use it for, and while they're not the most demanding tasks, this knife handles them every bit as well as you'd hope anything would. Sure, you can spend a lot more and get a weightier paring knife, but it's far from necessary.And while, again, it's about as cheap as any kitchen knife gets, it's also much more resilient than pricier picks. Years ago, one of our testers admitted to running it through the dishwasher regularly, and has found only one small speck of rust since. The only other issue that arises with this knife is that you'll have to sharpen it as regularly as our budget pick for a chef's knife. Depending upon how often you put it to work, that could range from every month to every few months. Otherwise, keep this knife clean and dry like any other and it will work and last like any other.Best bread knifeOwen Burke/InsiderA long, thin blade with shallow serrations makes the surprisingly affordable Victorinox Fibrox 10" Bread Knife a precise tool for slicing bread and more.Length: 10.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Nicely weighted (for a budget-friendly knife), great gripCons: Not as heavy as top-of-the-line bread knives, not as sharp out of the factoryIt's debatable whether you want to spend much on a bread knife depending on how often you'll be using it, but Victorinox's Fibrox Bread Knife is a quality tool at a reasonable price. It withstands the same amount of rough use as the rest of our recommendations from that line, but thanks to the larger handle and longer blade it carries a little more weight than the more budget-friendly options we considered. In our tests, which involved slicing less-than-forgiving, homemade, no-knead bread, it fared as well as everything we tried until we reached the $200 range, which is an absurd price for a bread knife for most people. That pretty much settled it. We also can't lend enough praise to the Fibrox handles in general, which everyone seems to appreciate, and apart from their ergonomic qualities, instill a sense of security with their non-slip grips.Because this blade is not only thin but also only shallowly serrated, you won't have as much trouble sharpening it on your own as you would with, say, a deep-scalloped one that doesn't take to a simple pull-through sharpener as well. It also turns out that this knife isn't bad for slicing softer fruits and carving meat and poultry.If you're looking for something a little more on the affordable side, our previous pick (which we retested against this one) is the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wavy Edge 10-inch Wide Bread Knife. It has a slightly thicker blade and a deeper serration, so it's not going to be as precise, but it's got a similar handle and costs half the price.Best utility knifeOwen Burke/InsiderWith VG Max steel wrapped in layered Damascus steel, Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife is sharper and retains a better edge than most German-style knives, and is perfect for trimming and more precise cuts.Length: 6"Blade: VG-Max Damascus steelHRC: 62Handle: Pakka (plastic and wood composite)Pros: Extremely sharp, great edge retention, rust-resistant, very well-balancedCons: Slightly brittle and easier to chip than German steel, small, D-shaped handle favors right-handersA utility knife needs to be extra sharp for more precise cuts and trimming without tearing foods, and Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife uses VG-Max Damascus steel, effectively offering the best of both worlds between Japanese-style and German-style blades.Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel (in this case, VG-Max) at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. The material is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, not to mention its signature swirly "damask" pattern that tends to woo one and all. While its beauty is something to behold, the important takeaway is that you get a knife that holds a stronger edge than carbon steel but flexes better than stainless steel. While we veered away from Japanese steel for our chef's knife top pick, and didn't recommend a Damascus or VG Max steel option because of the cost, a smaller utility knife from Shun makes that type of pricier steel more affordable.Apart from being remarkably more rust-resistant than other Japanese and Japanese-style knives we tried, this knife isn't so brittle that we've had trouble with chipping or dinging. Still, you'll want to keep it away from harder foods and surfaces, and especially bones. Where this knife shines is with smaller, in-between tasks where a chef's knife is overkill and a paring knife is painfully laborious. Think slicing tomatoes or dicing shallots. It's not a necessary knife for everyone, but behind those two knives and a bread knife, it's the next most important one for most kitchens. On that note, it did offer enough flexibility for me to not necessarily fillet, but skin and trim boneless meat. Shun's knives are made with a material known as Pakka wood, which is really a wood-and-plastic composite that looks an awful lot like walnut. Purists might cringe, but it gives the look without bringing along the worry of the handle splitting.If you're really averse to owning a Japanese knife for one reason or another (either the handle or the extra care required), look to the utility knife version of our top-recommended chef's knife, the 6" Wüsthof Ikon.What else we testedOwen Burke/InsiderEach of the knives below did their job, and any of them will suit your kitchen well; they just weren't our top choices for most people or budgets.Shun: Probably the most popular Japanese knife in the US, Shun offers relatively affordable VG- and Damascus-steel knives. Apart from recommending the brand's utility knife, one of my personal favorite knives is the 8" Chef's knife.Korin: Another mid-range Japanese knife similar to Shun, Korin is a favorite of Pat LaFrieda and Andrew Zimmern, and is competitive with Mac.J.A. Henckels: One of the veritable classics in German knives, J.A. Henckels' knives were a little thicker in the blade than our other picks, but you really can't go wrong here.Dexter-Russell: Similar to Victorinox's Fibrox series, Dexter-Russell offers a line of similarly iconic white-handled knives at a great price point, and which you'll find in commercial kitchens all over. We just found that the handles on the Fibrox knives are much grippier.Mac: This company makes an outstanding chef's knife, especially for the price. The only reason we couldn't recommend this as an overall pick was its delicacy. At the hands of most people, this knife isn't going to stay in great shape for long. If you care for your knives, on the other hand, we can't recommend it enough.Made In: These, like many other DTC-brand knives, are made with X50CrMoV15 steel and are a great deal for the price. Like the others, they didn't exactly wow us, but we found nothing really wrong with them, either. The rounded handle seems to work well with many hands.Material: These knives are made with "high-carbon" steel, but we wouldn't call it high-quality. They have a hybrid handle that should suit most hands, and they're easy enough to sharpen and perfectly serviceable knives.Misen: More X50CrMoV15 steel and a great deal for the price. These are extremely popular for a reason, and we like them plenty, too.Our Place: Another DTC brand making X50CrMoV15 steel blades, Our Place's knives are more than satisfactory. We liked the hybrid handle, but not as much as others. If the handle looks like it'll suit you, these are nicely designed and balanced knives.Steelport Knife Co.: This is a much fancier, carbon-steel option for someone who wants to invest in a gorgeous and impossibly sharp blade. We love it, but we also recognize that it requires care. Our kitchen knife testing methodologyOwen Burke/InsiderWe finely sliced tomatoes and onions with chef's knives, minced garlic and shallots with utility and paring knives, hulled strawberries with paring knives, and sliced hard-crusted no-knead bread with serrated slicing knives. We then dulled each blade by rapping them repeatedly on a glass cutting board (word to the wise, never use one of these) and returned to each knife's respective task to note any dulling or chipping.We also made sure to put each knife into as many different hands as possible, ranging from professional cooks to hobbyists.Lastly, we consulted a series of chefs, butchers, and metallurgists, including Chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen, Pat LaFrieda, and Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT.A word on Japanese knivesWe took Japanese knives out of the running for our top chef's knife pick. While they're a personal favorite, they're notoriously difficult to maintain, and therefore not suited for most kitchens. Simply put, if you're starting to invest in your kitchen knives, we don't want to recommend a fine knife that will easily be misused."High-carbon stainless steel" is a bit of a buzzword in reaction to the popularity of Japanese-style knives, which can attain notoriously sharper edges than their German-style counterparts. The delicacy of Japanese knives has to do with the hardness of the standard high-carbon stainless steel, which allows for a finer and sharper but proportionally brittler edge.Still, if you're the type of person who takes particularly good care of your tools (and aren't sharing a kitchen with someone who won't), you may prefer a Japanese knife. But know that they require meticulous cleaning and drying, as well as careful storage, or they'll end up with rusted and/or chipped blades.Other considerations:Edge retention: Our knife-testing process involved slicing fresh tomatoes and taking note of the ease with which each chef's knife handled the task. After we had sufficient data, we took each chef's knife to a glass cutting board and ran it over the surface 200 times. Some knives held their edge, others not so much. We looked at the edges after running the knives and noted if there were any visible changes. We then returned to the tomatoes, cutting a few more and seeing how much resistance we felt compared with the performance of the knives straight out of the packaging. Knives that held their edges passed on to further rounds of consideration.Alloy, and the HRC (hardness rating): We consulted several experts in the field, but the most informative source we encountered was Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT. With his help, we were able to cut through the marketing and the scientific terminology behind different alloys and what allows a knife to retain an edge.We looked for a hardness rating of around 60 HRC, which offers great edge retention while still allowing for an edge of around 15 degrees (though up to 20 degrees, which is duller than 15, was still considered sufficient).Ergonomics: For a knife to work well, you have to be able to hold it comfortably in your hand. We asked several people to pick up knives and decide which ones were the easiest to grip; across the board, they went for the ones with heavier, rounded, almost bulbous handles.Balance: The weight of the handle and the blade is also somewhat critical. Pricier knives almost always offer better balance because that extra cost goes into using denser and often more desirable materials, like layered Damascus steel. A well-balanced knife with a good blade will cut through vegetables with minimal pressure, like our top pick from Wusthof. A not-so-well-balanced knife will take a little force to get started.Kitchen knife FAQsOwen Burke/InsiderHow do I choose a knife?The most important thing about a knife, and especially a chef's knife, is how it fits in your hand. So long as you spend at least $50 on a chef's knife, it's going to be sharp (and sharpenable) enough to get most any job done, and most of popular DTC brands are selling great entry-level knives for fair prices. Decide what kind of handle you want first. German-style knives are generally more molded to the palm with a pronounced butt end, while Japanese-style knives are almost uniformly cylindrical and smaller. Both designs work for everyone; it just depends on the feel you prefer and, to some degree, how you hold the knife.The type of steel you choose should be based on the kind of care you're (realistically) going to give your knife. If you don't envision yourself sharpening and perfectly drying and storing your knife after every use, German stainless steel (e.g., 440, 420) is going to be much more forgiving, though softer and quicker to dull.If you are a tool fanatic and know that you'll take good care of your knives and are also confident that they won't find their way into the wrong hands, carbon steel is a great pick because it's incredibly sharp. Just know that it's likely to rust and chip more easily.In between, you have VG-10 and VG-Max (proprietary to Shun, but about the same as VG-10), which have added alloys (tungsten, vanadium) that make them a little more stain-resistant and less brittle. They're great for those who want a Japanese-style knife without having to care so devoutly for it.Then there's Damascus steel, which is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, and we recommend it, but be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. A lot of manufacturers will etch the mesmerizing swirls into a blade without performing the time-consuming and expensive hammering process.Why (or why not) should I buy a knife set?In general, things that come in sets tend to involve compromised quality, and often contain filler pieces. In the case of knife sets, you're probably going to receive a bunch of knives and other gadgets (including a large woodblock) that you may never use. A lot of newer (and older) DTC brands recognize that consumers are growing wiser and learning that sets are generally a ripoff. As a result, there are lots of two- to five-piece sets on the market. If you're looking in the budget range, we're all for them, and we've pretty much tried them all. The steel is almost always the same quality, so choose based on the handle style you like.Otherwise, though, sets don't make a lot of sense for most people. Invest in a chef's knife, first and foremost, with which, by the way, you can tackle all of your kitchen tasks, minus maybe slicing bread. Next, a paring knife is probably the most sensible purchase, but since it's not doing a lot of the heavy work, we say go cheap. That said, feel free to spend what you'd like; there is something to be said for a weightier, sharper blade in the case of every knife.A slicing and/or bread knife may or may not be important to you depending upon whether or not you consume much bread or slice much meat. You can find one that does the job for as little as $20, or, again, the sky's the limit. For most people, we like the $40-$60 range.Beyond the above, you're getting into specific tasks most people don't really take on at home. Fillet knives, boning knives, santoku knives, and shears are all further considerations. Even if you want all of those knives, you're still likely better off purchasing them piecemeal. It'll be more affordable, and you'll also be able to budget so that you can put your money where it counts.GlossaryOwen Burke/InsiderHeal: The corner of the blade where the edge meets the bolster.Edge: The sharpened, business side of the blade.Tang: The part of the blade that runs to or through the handle. "Full-tang" is a common term, which means the blade steel is a single piece of steel that runs through the handle.Rivets: The pins holding the handle together (more common in German handles).Bolster: Above the heel, a spacer where the blade meets the handle, and an area to grab or choke up on when performing finer tasks.Tip: The pointy, or front end of the knife opposite the handle.High-carbon steel: Steel with at least 0.55% carbon content.Stainless steel: An alloy of iron, chromium, and sometimes other metals. This is a very general term, but it's the basic steel with which German knives are made.VG10, VG-Max: A high-carbon steel blended with tungsten and vanadium, and sometimes other metals to lend flexibility and rust resistance.Damascus Steel: A two-plus-millennia-old process, Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly, repeatedly (generally dozens of times). Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance while still retaining a superior edge, which is why it is traditionally (and famously) used for samurai swords.The best deals on kitchen knives from this guideBuying your knives piecemeal is our recommended way of outfitting your kitchen with cutlery; you get everything you need and want and no cheap "filler" items. Knives (and knife sets) only seem to go on sale sporadically, but as with many things, the best times to snoop around for deals are usually Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.Here are the best deals on our favorite kitchen knives.There are currently no deals on our recommended kitchen knives.Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.Check out more related guidesToo many knives.Owen Burke/InsiderThe best knife setsThe best knife sharpenersThe best cutting boardsThe best knife blocksThe best bushcraft and survival knivesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 15th, 2021

Learning From Trader Joe’s, Joe Coulombe

It’s a rare person who can run their own business, and rarer still are those who can do it well. And in a world of stiff competition and consumer fickleness, those people who’s businesses can both survive and thrive in that environment are probably the rarest of them all. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences […] It’s a rare person who can run their own business, and rarer still are those who can do it well. And in a world of stiff competition and consumer fickleness, those people who’s businesses can both survive and thrive in that environment are probably the rarest of them all. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more If you choose a manager to whom you entrust your capital, in the words of Charlie Munger, choose a ‘business fanatic.’ Such individuals live, sleep and breathe their businesses. They’re not bound by the same restraints as most business people; constantly pushing boundaries, trialing new approaches, thinking outside the box, challenging conventional wisdom and always looking for business improvements. If you’re in business, these are the last type of people you want to compete with. One man that epitomized such fanaticism was the late Joe Coulombe, founder of the convenience store chain that carried his name, Trader Joe’s. “Edward H. Heller, a pioneer venture capitalist used the term ‘vivid spirit’ to describe the type of individual to whom he was ready to give significant financial backing. He said that behind every unusually successful corporation was this kind of determined entrepreneurial personality with the drive, the original ideas, and the skill to make such a company a truly worthwhile investment.” Phil Fisher Joe tells his story in the book, ‘Becoming Trader Joe - How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys.’ It contains a wealth of wisdom, particularly when it comes to thinking about running a successful retailer. Over more than a quarter of a century, Trader Joe’s sales grew at a compound rate of 19% per year and the company’s net worth grew at a compound rate of 26% per annum over the same period - no mean feat for a commodity business that’s hard to differentiate. Furthermore, the business never lost money in a year and incredibly each year was more profitable than the last. When the competitor 7-Eleven extended it’s footprint into California in the 1970’s, Pronto Markets, the precursor to Trader' Joe’s, already enjoyed the highest sales per store of any convenience operator in America by a factor of three. A high wage policy, strong locations, a few liquor licences, and the beginnings of a differentiated strategy through product knowledge was the core of their success. One of the mental models I particularly enjoyed in the book was Joe’s concept of ‘Double Entry Retailing.’ A form of second level thinking, Joe recognised that making changes to Demand Side factors had an influence on Supply Side factors which aren’t always obvious. A striking example was the introduction of orange juice freshly squeezed on the premises. While a great Demand Side success - customers embraced the product - it was a total nightmare to administer because of the Supply Side issues; the great variation in sweetness of oranges over the course of a year, difficulty in ensuring machines squeezed the right amount and disposal of the leftover rinds. As a result it was eventually phased out. You’ll recognise many of the characteristics that form a common link with the other great businesses we’ve studied. I’ve included some of my favourite extracts from the book below. Harnessing Demographic & Technological Change ‘The clue, the keystone of the arch of Trader Joe’s, was a small news item in Scientific American in 1965. When we left Stanford, my father-in-law, Bill Steere, a professor of botany, gave me a subscription to Scientific American. In terms of creating my fortune, it’s the most important magazine I’ve ever read. The news item said that, of all the people in the US who were qualified to go to college in 1932, in the pit of the Depression, only 2 percent did. By contrast, in 1964, of all the people qualified to go to college 60 percent in fact actually did. The big change, of course, was the GI Bill of Rights that went into effect in 1945. A second news item, one from the Wall Street Journal, told me that the Boeing 747 would go into service in 1970, and that it would slash the cost of international travel. In Pronto Markets we had noticed that people who travelled - even to San Francisco - were far more adventurous in what they were willing to put in their mouths. Travel is, after all, a form of education. Trader Joe’s was conceived from those two demographic news stories. What I saw here was a small but growing demographic opportunity in people who were well educated. 7-Eleven, and the whole convenience store genre, served the most basic needs of the most mindless demographics with cigarettes, Coca-Cola, milk, Budweiser, candy, bread, eggs. I saw an opportunity to differentiate ourselves radically from mainstream retailing to mainstream people.” Obliquity “I hope you’ll consider the following, my favourite quote from my favourite book on Management, ‘The Winning Performance’ by Clifford and Cavanaugh,’ ‘The fourth (general themes in winning corporations] is a view of profit and wealth-creation as inevitable byproducts of doing other things well. Money is a useful yardstick for measuring quantitative performance and profit and an obligation to investors. But … making money as an end in itself ranks low.’” A Bias to Action & Tenacity “In 1962, Barbara Tuchman published ‘The Guns of August’, an account of the first ninety days of WWI, It’s the best book on management - and, especially, mismanagement - I’ve ever read. The most basic conclusion I drew from from her book was that, if you adopt a reasonable strategy, as opposed to waiting for an optimum strategy, and stick with it, you’ll probably succeed. Tenacity is as important as brilliance.” “Trying to find an optimum solution in business is a waste of time; the factors in the equation are changing all the time.” Value, Empower & Pay Employees Well “You’ve got to have something to hang your hat on. The one core value I chose was our high compensation policies, which I put in place from the very start in 1958… This is the most important single business decision I ever made: to pay people well. First Pronto Markets and then Trader Joe’s had the highest-paid, highest benefitted people in retail.” “Time and again I am asked why no one has successfully replicated Trader Joe’s. The answer is that no one has been willing to pay the wages and benefits, and thereby attract - and keep - the quality of people who work at Trader Joe’s.” “[I was asked,] ‘But how could you afford to pay so much more than your competition?’ The answer, of course, is that good people pay by their extra productivity. You can’t afford to have cheap employees.” “Equally important was our practice of giving every full-time employee an interview every six months. At Stanford I’d been taught that employees never organise (join unions) because of the money; they organise because of un-listened-to grievances.” “The [store] Captains had the salary plus a bonus that theoretically had no limit. The bonus was based on Trader Joe’s overall profit, allocated among the stores based on each store’s contribution. In 1988, several Captains made bonuses of more than 70 percent of their base pay. Unless a bonus system promises, and delivers big rewards, it should be abandoned.” “My idea, often stated to everybody, was that the [store] Captains should have the chance to make more than executives in the office. In a traditional chain store, managers aspire to become bureaucrats with cushy, high-paying jobs in the office. I wanted to kill such aspirations at the start.” “Part timers .. at a time when the minimum wage was $4.35, we often paid $13.00 per hour because these people were worth it.” “Productivity in part is a product of tenure. That’s why I believe that turnover is the most expensive form of labor expense.” “We instituted full health and dental insurance back in the 1960's when it was cheap. When I left, we were paying $6,000 per employee per year!” “Each full-timer was supposed to be able to perform every job in the store, including checking, balancing the books, ordering each department, stocking, opening, closing, going to the bank, etc. Everybody worked the check stands in the course of the day, including the [store] Captain.” “In thirty years we never had a layoff of full-time employees. Seasonal swings in business were handled with overtime pay to full-time employees, and by adjusting part-time hours. The stability of full-time employment at Trader Joe’s was due in part to caution opening new stores, and insisting on high volume stores.” “Cost of goods sold is the dominant expense. The funny thing is that grocers seem to spend more effort squeezing payroll than squeezing Cost of Goods Sold, though there is at least five times more opportunity in the latter.” Retail & Real Estate Decisions ‘First we upped the investment ante by taking only prime locations, which could generate the most sales, even though the rents were higher. A lease is an investment, perhaps the most serious and certainly the least changeable a retailer can make. Financially, a lease is simply a long-term loan… Most retail bankruptcies come from bad real estate leasing decisions… Early in my career I learned there are two kinds of decisions: the ones that are easily reversible and the ones that aren’t. Fifteen-year leases are the least-reversible decisions you can make. That’s why, throughout my career, I kept absolute control of real estate decisions.” “The keys to management are strong locations with good people.” “People often ask me, how many stores did we have at such-and-such time? It’s the wrong question to ask. What’s important is dollar sales. For example, from 1980 to 1988, we increased the number of stores by 50 percent but sales were up 340 percent.” “My preference is to have a few stores, as far apart as possible, and to make them as high volume as possible.” “Too many stores, to many irreversible leases, too much geographical saturation was a recurrent theme in the failure of American retail chains in the twentieth century.” “Ancient Mariner Retailers claim that ‘volume solves everything.’ If it’s profitable volume, they’re right. Things go most sour in the lowest-volume stores. It’s like riding a bicycle, the faster it goes, the more stable it is. The ‘normal distribution’ of most chains is 20% dogs, 60% okay stores, and 20% winners. I believe in ruthlessly dumping the dogs at whatever cost. Why? Because their real cost is in management energy. You always spend more time trying to make the dogs acceptable than in raising the okay stores into winners. And it’s in the dogs that you always have the most personnel problems." “I believe that the sine qua non for successful retailing is demographic coherence: all your locations should have the same demographics whether you are selling clothing or wine.” “I liked semi-decayed neighbourhoods, were the census tract income statistics looked terrible, but the mortgages were all paid-down, and the kids had left home. Housing and rental prices tend to be lower, and more suitable for those underpaid academics. Related to this, I was more interested in the number of households in a given area than the number of people in a ZIP code. Trader Joe’s is not a store for kids or big families. One or two adults is just fine.” “Computerisation has radically upgraded the statistics available: I’d probably do it more formally now. But there’s no substitute for ‘driving’ a location to ferret out traffic problems. And do it at night, too.” “I hardly need to mention that a trading area is rarely determined by a radius. It’s determined by geographical barriers, boulevard access, and where the demographics lie.” “Let’s go back to the question of number of stores. How do you space them? Here are some parameters: You need to have enough stores in a trading area to economically amortise the radio advertising. You need enough stores in an area to have a large enough pool of employees. My rule was that distance between stores should not be measured in miles but in driving time. I wanted no less than twenty minutes between stores. That pretty much avoided the dread word, cannibalisation. Could a given trading area support more Trader Joe’s? Almost certainly! I figured we could break even at ten thousand core residences. But I wanted super-volume stores. If the credo that super-volume stores have the fewest operating problems is valid, then the overall health of the chain, in the long run, is maximised.” “How many trading areas should you enter? As long as you can preserve the culture of the company, and as long as logistics don’t kill you, go ahead.” “Never, never, never sign a lease with a ‘continuous operation’ clause. That clause means you must stay open - you can’t ‘go dark’ and just pay the rent.” Product Knowledge “The buyers at the supermarket chains knew nothing about what they sold, and they don’t want to know. What they did know all about was extorting slotting allowances, cooperative ad revenue, failure allowances, and back-haul concessions from the manufacturers.” Four Tests “The advantage of hard liquor merchandise was that it met three tests: a) A high value per cubic inch, essential to a small store format b) A high rate of consumption c) It had to be easily handled If we could have added a fourth test, it would be that we had to be outstanding in the field. Still trying to maximise the use of a small store, I looked for categories that met the Four Tests; high value per cubic inch, high rate of consumption; easily handled; and something in which we could be outstanding in term of price or assortment. For example, diamonds met the first test but flunked the second. Fruits and vegetables met the first and second but flunked the third because produce requires constant reworking. Fresh meat flunked the third test even more.” Purpose “Most of my ideas about how to act as an entrepreneur are derived from ‘The Revolt of the Masses’ by Jose Ortega y Gasset, the greatest Spanish philosopher of the twentieth century. I believe it offers a master ‘plan of action’ for the would-be entrepreneur, who usually has no reputation and few resources. Ortega offers an explanation of how such a person can get an enterprise started. In the context of the career of Julius Caesar, an entrepreneur who started without power, Otega says of the state: ‘Human life, by its very nature, has to be dedicated to something, an enterprise glorious or humble, a destiny illustrious or trivial .. The State begins when groups, naturally divided, find themselves obliged to live in common. The obligation is not of brute force, but implies an impelling purpose, a common task which is set before the dispersed groups. Before all, the State is a plan of action and a Programme of Collaboration. The men are called upon so that together they may do something .. It is pure dynamism, the will to do something in common, and thanks to this the idea of the state, is bounded by no physical limits.” Most of my career has been spent selling ‘plans of action and programmes of collaboration.’ If you want to know what differentiates me from most manager’s that’s it. From the beginning, thanks to Ortega y Gasset, I’ve been aware of the need to sell everybody.” Radical Transparency “Throughout my career, my policy has been full disclosure to employees about the true state of affairs, almost to the point of imprudence. I took a cue from General Patton, who thought that the greatest danger was not that the enemy would learn the plans, but that his own troops would not.” Growth “Growth for the sake of growth still troubles me. It seems unnatural, even perverted. This helps explain why I went from 1974 to 1978 without opening another store. To keep sales increasing during the mid-1970s, we relied on new ideas implemented in existing stores. This was my favourite form of growth. I don’t think that any given store ever fully realises its potential.” Smallness & Empowerment “We developed a prototype [Trader Joe’s] store of 4,500 square feet. Here’s a good question: Given my need to get away from convenience stores, why did I stick with small stores? The answer was verbalised for us in ‘In Search of Excellence,’ Tom Peter’s best-selling book on management. He called it ‘The Power of Chunking’: ‘The essential building block of a company is the section [which] within its sphere does not await executive orders but takes initiatives. The key factor for success is getting one’s arms around almost any practical problem and knocking it off… The small group is the most visible of the chunking devices.’ The fundamental ‘chunk’ of Trader Joe’s is the individual store with its highly paid [store] Captain and staff; the people who are capable of exercising discretion. I admire Nordstrom’s fundamental instruction to its employees: use your judgement. Trader Joe’s finally settled down at an average of about eight thousand square feet in the 1980’s, but the concept of a relatively small store with a relatively small staff remains in force.” Marketing & Customers “At all times I wrote the Fearless Flyer [marketing newsletter] for over-educated, underpaid people. This requires two mindsets: Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer Newsletter 1) There are no such things as consumers - dolts who are driven by drivel to buy stuff they don’t need or even want. There are only customers, people who are reasonably well informed, and very well focused in their buying habits. 2) We always looked up to the customers in the text of the Fearless Flyer. We assumed they knew more than they did, we never talked down to them. 3) Given the first two assumptions, we assumed that our readers had a thirst for knowledge, 180 degrees opposite from supermarket ads. We emphasised ‘informative advertising.’ Originally, we distributed the Fearless Flyer only in stores and to a small but growing list. [Later,] by mailing to addresses rather than to individuals - by blanketing entire ZIP codes - we were able to tremendously expand the distribution of the Fearless Flyer. The ZIPs to which we mailed, of course, were chosen on the basis of the likely concentration of over-educated and underpaid people.” Word of Mouth “Word of Mouth: The Power of True Believers. As everyone knows, word of mouth is the most effective advertising of all. I have been known to say that there’s no better business to run than a cult. Trader Joe’s became a cult of the over-educated and underpaid, partly because we deliberately tried to make it a cult and partly because we kept the implicit promises with our clientele.” “There aren’t many cult retailers who successfully retain their cult status over a long period of time. A couple in California are In-N-Out Burger and Fry’s Electronics. But across America, in every town, there’s a particular donut shop, pizza parlour, bakery, greengrocer, bar, etc. that has a cult following of True Believers.” Pricing “One of the fundamental tenets of Trader Joe’s is that retail prices don’t change unless costs change. There are no weekend ad prices, no in-and-out pricing… I have always believed that supermarkets pricing is a shell game and I wanted no part of it.” Retailing “The fundamental job of a retailer is to buy goods whole, cut them into pieces, and sell the pieces to the ultimate consumers. This is the most important mental construct I can impart on those of you who want to enter retailing. Most ‘retailers’ have no idea of the formal meaning of the word. Time and again, I had to remind myself just what my role in society was supposed to be.” “[We decided] no outsiders of any sort were permitted in the store. All the work was done by employees.]” “From 1958 through 1976, we tried to carry what the customer asked for, given the limits of our small stores and other operational parameters. Each store probably had access to ten thousand stock keeping units (SKUs), of which about three thousand were actually stocked in any given week. By the time I left in 1989, we were down to a band of 1,100 to 1,500 SKUs, all of which were delivered through a central distribution system.” “Along the way not only did we drop a lot of products that our customers would have liked us to sell, even at not-outstanding prices, but we stopped cashing checks in excess of the amount of purchase, we stopped full-case discounts, and we persistently shortened the hours. We violated every received wisdom of retailing except one: we delivered great value, which is where most retailers fall.” “[We were] willing to discontinue any product if we were are unable to offer the right deal to the customer.” “Instead of national brands, [we] focused on either Trader Joe’s label products or ‘no label’ products like nuts and dried fruits.” “We wouldn’t try to carry a whole line of spices, or bag candy, or vitamins. Each SKU had to justify itself as opposed to riding piggyback into the stores just so we had a ‘complete’ line. Depth of assortment was of no interest.” “Each SKU would stand on its own two feet as a profit centre. We would earn a gross profit on each SKU that was justified by the cost of handling that item. There would be no ‘loss leaders.’” “Above all we would not carry any item unless we could be outstanding in terms of price (and make a profit at that price) or uniqueness.” ‘I do not believe in keeping ‘spoils’ in the back room until some salesperson comes by to pick them up. I believe that products should move in only one direction, never back up the supply chain. When a bottle was broken, a can dented, or a ‘short fill’ was discovered, it went to the trash bin.” “A guideline: No private label product was introduced for the sake of having a private label. This is 100 percent contrary to the policy of most supermarkets… Each private label product had to have a reason, a point of differentiation.” “The willingness to do without any given product is one of the cornerstones of Trader Joe’s merchandising philosophy.” “No bulky products like paper towels or sugar, because the high-value-per-cubic inch rule still prevailed.. We simply went out of business on the ‘bulkers’ and did not replace them with private labels.” “I believe in the wisdom that you gain customers one by one, but you lose them in droves.” “Back in 1967, [we] made a bet that rising levels of education would fragment the masses, that a small but growing group of people would be dissatisfied with having to consume what everybody else consumed… This philosophical approach put us in conflict with the mainstream of American retailing, which emphasises continuous products. Thus when a supermarket promotes Coca-Cola it doesn’t have to explain that Coca-Cola is a secret formula for a soft drink created a century ago in Atlanta.. Wines have not been popular in America because, intrinsically, they are not continuous products. You can’t just order up some more sugar and chemicals and make another batch. In 1987, I outlined to the buyers where I thought we should go: 1) we want continuous products. Any sane person does. We want continuous products which are profitable without creating a high-price image. 2) to create such products, they needed to be differentiated at least in order to avoid direct price comparison. 3) products in which we had an absolute buying advantage. For example, we were the largest seller of cheap Bordeaux blanc in the United States. 4) I was willing to continue to indulge in the spectacular ‘closeout’ sales of branded products, but I wanted to do so in the context of much greater overall sales, principally generated by continuous products, most of them private label.” “I don’t think that the internet grocery store will successfully invade food retailing because you’re dealing with four different temperatures: dry grocery, refrigerated products, frozen products, and ice cream when you try to home-deliver foods.” “Showmanship is the sum total of all efforts to make contact with the customer. It’s the most ephemeral, the most difficult, and the most important of the Demand Side activities.” “All the research on whether people turn to the left or the right, or whether you can ‘force’ people to the rear of the store, is irrelevant if you’re a value retailer.” Win-Win “Honour thy vendors: After all, these are the guys you’re buying from. They should not be treated as adversaries. Five year plan 1977 said, ‘Buying, therefore, is not just a matter of trying to beat down suppliers on price. It is a creative exercise of developing alternatives.’ Many of our best product ideas and special buying opportunities came from our vendors.” “Vendors should be regarded as an extension of the retailer, a Marks and Spencer concept. Their employees should be regarded almost as employees of the retailer. Concern for their welfare should be shown, because employee turnover at vendors sometimes can be more costly than turnover of your own employees.” “Tenants who enter negotiations with the idea of beating the landlord at the objective future game usually get the kind of landlords they deserve. And vice versa.” “Other non-merchandise vendors are very much extensions of Trader Joe’s and should be treated as much. Since we owned no trucks, warehouses, etc., I asked our people to keep track of the outsourced drivers and do their best to see that our contractors were paid reasonable wages with reasonable working conditions. Turnover is the most expensive labour expense!’ Committees “I want to make it quite clear that I called all the shots. I reject management by committee.” Economies of Scale “The point where the ‘buying power’ and ‘selling power’ curves cross each other creates the magical physical thresholds. There are two magical physical thresholds that a retailer must achieve to be competitive: the truckload, and the ocean container load. These thresholds mark the limit of most economies of scale.” Focus & Outsource “We tried to stay out of all functions that were not central to our primary job in society: namely, buying and selling merchandise.. [We’d] been getting rid of all functions except those buying and selling. We got rid of our own maintenance people, we sold off almost all the real estate we had acquired during the 1970’s, we never took mainframe computing in-house, etc. Some choice quotes from Dr. Drucker: ‘In-house service activities have little incentive to improve their productivity .. The productivity is not likely to ramp up until it is possible to be promoted for doing a good job at it. And that will happen in support work only when such work is done by separate, free standing enterprises.’” Business Problems “All businesses have problems. It’s the problems that create the opportunities. If a business is easy, every simple bastard would enter it.” “This is one of the most important things I can impart; in any troubled company the people at lower levels know what ought to be done in terms of day-to-day operations. If you just ask them, you can find answers.” Adapt, Challenge the Status Quo “Believe me, you have to have a system for everything that has to happen in your business - you just may not be conscious of it. And you probably have still other systems that are not needed. That’s why The Winning Performance calls for a ‘continued contempt for business as usual.’ To practice ‘constitutional contempt,’ you have to arrive every day with the attitude, ‘Why do we do such-and-such that way?’ Better yet, why do we do it at all? Usually the answer is, ‘We’ve always done it that way,’ ‘That’s the way we did it at my last job,’ or ‘All our competitors are doing it.’ Mental Model - Double Entry Retailing “I hit on the idea of using double entry accounting as an analogy, what I call Double Entry Retailing. On the left side of the ledger is the business in terms of how its customers see it: I call this the Demand Side. On the right side of the ledger are the factors that limit or determine the retailer's ability to satisfy those demands: the Supply Side. All businesses, whether manufacturing, wholesaling, services, etc., have [the] fearful symmetry of both Demand and Supply sides. And all businesses are subject to the ultimate supply-side constraint of cash: you can do anything, no matter how stupid, within that fearful symmetry, as long as you don't run out of cash. From my view, the Demand Side of Retailers can be analysed in terms of five variables: The assortment of merchandise offered for sale. Pricing: stability and relative to competition. Convenience: geographical, in-store, and time. Credit: the accepted methods of payment. Showmanship: the sum of all activities that result in making contact with the customer, from advertising to store architecture to employee cleanliness. Here are factors on the Supply Side: Merchandise Vendors Employees  The way you do things: "habits" and "culture" Systems Non-merchandise vendors Landlords Governments Bankers and investment bankers Stockholders Crime As in double entry accounting, the change in any factor must be matched by a corresponding change in another factor. For example, a decision to increase geographical convenience (Demand Side) obviously involves some change of policy with landlords (Supply Side) including the amount of rent you're willing to pay. Consider how Barney's paid through the nose because they thought they had to offer the geographical convenience of being in Beverly Hills. How big a factor was this in Barney's subsequent bankruptcy? Was it Demand Side success at the price of Supply Side failure? The lists above aren't much different from other businesses. What distinguishes retailing is the asymmetry of the fearful symmetry: the huge number of customers (Demand Side) vs. the number of suppliers. This is the exact opposite of a government defence contractor. This lopsided butterfly may cause a retailer to act as if the only people they have to ‘sell’ to are customers: the Demand Side. That’s a major mistake. All the people on the supply side have to be sold, too.” “One of the smartest things we ever did was to cut the hours of Trader Joe’s. This is mostly a Supply Side question, but the quality and attitude of the employees handling our customers is a Demand Side factor.” Employee Ownership “From the beginning of Pronto Markets, one of my basic principles, one of my basic goals, was employee ownership of the business. Getting there, however, was complicated.” Summary I found the similarities between Trader Joe’s approach to retailing and the German retailer Aldi strikingly similar. Despite being on opposite sides of the world, both businesses evolved complementary retailing practices: a focus on private label, above market wages for employees, a win-win mentality and continuous innovation. It’s little wonder the Albrecht family were attracted to the business. Aldi acquired Trader Joe’s in 1979 and retained Joe as the independent manager for another ten years. Paying staff well, empowering and sharing information with them and maintaining smallness are consistent themes across many of the successful business stories we’ve studied. When it comes to the specifics of retailing, the analogy of super-volume stores better able to provide balance is a useful one. As are the insights into economies of scale, pricing strategy, jettisoning poorly performing stores, the power of word-of-mouth marketing and the means to abolish bureaucracy through the outsourcing of non-essential functions. Every business has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Identifying what they are and how they contribute to a firm’s success can provide clues in our own quest to find compounding machines; in the long run, it’s business success which determines share prices. The more businesses you study, the larger the toolkit of mental models you’ll have to apply in your investment endeavours. Source: 'Becoming Trader Joe - How I Did Business My Way & Still Beat the Big Guys,’ Joe Coulombe, Patty Civalleri. Harper Collins. 2021. Follow us on Twitter : @mastersinvest * NEW * Visit the Blog Archive Article by Investment Masters Class Updated on Oct 26, 2021, 1:11 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 26th, 2021

The 5 best kitchen knives we tested in 2021

These knives are the only ones you need in your kitchen. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Putting your knife set together piecemeal is the best way to go, and a quality chef's knife is absolutely essential. The Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife is our favorite, but we also like Victorinox, Shun, and more. There may be no more important tool in your kitchen than your chef's knife. It is the one-stop-shop for all of your slicing, chopping, dicing, and trimming needs. Sure, there are other kitchen knives well worth their steel, but we can't stress this enough: if you're going to put your money into any one knife, or if you're considering buying a knife set, think about a single, high-quality chef's knife to start.While we do offer a guide to the best knife sets - and recommend some budget-friendly options like the Victorinox Fibrox Pro set (a staple in many commercial kitchens) - you can end up with a lot of filler pieces if you go the pre-packaged route. Everyone we've spoken with on the matter, from famed butcher Pat LaFrieda to late gourmand and chef Anthony Bourdain, has been quick to the point: most knife sets are a waste of money. And having knocked around enough commercial bars and kitchens myself, I can't agree more. Rarely do you see a chef, sous chef, or line cook, fiddling with anything but a chef's knife.For this guide, we focused on chef's knives for the reasons above, but we also ran through dozens of paring, boning, utility, and bread knives to recommend one of each of those as well. Here are the best kitchen knives of 2021Best overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's KnifeBest budget: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's KnifeBest paring: Victorinox 3.25" Straight Paring KnifeBest bread: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 10.25" Serrated Curved Bread KnifeBest utility/boning: Shun Sora 6" The best chef's knife overall Owen Burke/Insider Hefty but balanced, The traditional German design of Wüsthof's Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife suits most hands and stands up to just about every kitchen task.Length: 6", 8", 10"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 58Handle: Polyoxymethylene (POM)Pros: Great for chopping and dicing, agreeable handle for most, rust- and chip-resistantCons: Requires regular sharpeningThe Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife is the most traditional western knife there is: It's big, it's heavy, and it's made with relatively soft, rust-, and chip-resistant stainless steel. As far as quality knives go, this is the knife we've found to handle the most difficult tasks while also still offering agility and precision.Before we go further, we should mention one caveat: Ahead of investing in a chef's knife, know that of all the kitchen knives you might purchase, it is the most personal choice you're going to have to make.No matter which knife you choose, your chef's knife is the one you'll rely upon most. It offers the most surface area for larger chopping and slicing jobs, and it also handles the most force for hardier root vegetables, meat, and poultry. Different designs might favor chopping and dicing over slicing (and vice-versa), but we like the only slightly rounded belly of the Wüsthof Classic Ikon, which strikes a happy medium for the two tasks.We also like the modified handle of the Ikon series knives in general, which isn't quite German, but not quite Japanese, either. It seems to be a hybrid of the two and fits most hands comfortably (we placed our top pick in several different palms).All in all, this is a great knife for the average household in which kitchen knives aren't generally taken care of, and no matter who gets a hold of this thing or what they do with or to it, you'll be able to bring it back up to snuff. That and the fact that it's a relatively thin and agile blade as far as German knives go make it the best all-around pick based on our testing. The best budget chef's knife Owen Burke/Insider Popular in busy commercial kitchens and homes alike, Victorinox's Fibrox has a highly ergonomic handle and stands up to rough use like few others.Length: 7.9"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Maneuverable, comfortable handle, decent edge retentionCons: Not razor-sharp straight out of the factory, takes some work to sharpen, not perfectly balanced Victorinox's entire Fibrox line is a favorite in commercial kitchens because its knives are among the few that can pass through numerous line cooks' hands and accidental trips through the dishwasher unscathed. The Fibrox Chef's Knife is budget-friendly, but it's also perfect for short-term rentals, first apartments, and more generally, people who don't necessarily want to spend time taking care of their kitchen tools. My kitchen sees a lot of "chefs," and for that reason, I have my knives squirreled away separately from the communal kitchen knives, which are entirely from Victorinox. This way, I don't have to worry about someone slicing a lemon and leaving an expensive knife on the counter, not only wet but coated in citric acid, or trying to pry open a lid via a Japanese blade, which is horrific to think about. And even though the Fibrox Chef's Knife has withstood the abuse mentioned above (and more), there's neither a single stain nor chip on it. Sure, it's a bit scratched (coarse sponges are terrible for stainless steel, but more on care below), but all I do is give it a sharpening every couple of months, which with diligence gets it sharper than it was from the factory, and it performs impressively.We also find it to be a little on the safer side thanks to the ultra-grippy Fibrox handle, which is easy to hold even when wet or greasy.Read more about the Fibrox line in our guide to the best knife sets (even though we generally don't recommend sets, this one is an exception). The best paring knife Owen Burke/Insider A paring knife is a simple tool for lighter tasks, and Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife offers everything you need of it and nothing you don't.Length: 3.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 58-60Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Resilient, relatively rust-proof, dishwasher-safeCons: Very lightweight, requires regular sharpeningYou really, really don't need to spend a fortune on a paring knife. We think Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife does the job about as well as anything because it's not the blade you're going to rely on for heavier-duty tasks.  Hulling strawberries, slicing a small bit of garlic, and peeling and seeding fruit is about all you're going to use it for, and while they're not the most demanding tasks, this knife handles them every bit as well as you'd hope anything would. Sure, you can spend a lot more and get a weightier paring knife, but it's far from necessary.And while, again, it's about as cheap as any kitchen knife gets, it's also much more resilient than pricier picks. Years ago, one of our testers admitted to running it through the dishwasher regularly, and has found only one small speck of rust since. The only other issue that arises with this knife is that you'll have to sharpen it as regularly as our budget pick for a chef's knife. Depending upon how often you put it to work, that could range from every month to every few months. Otherwise, keep this knife clean and dry like any other and it will work and last like any other. The best bread knife Owen Burke/Insider A long, thin blade with shallow serrations makes the surprisingly affordable Victorinox Fibrox 10" Bread Knife a precise tool for slicing bread and more.Length: 10.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Nicely weighted (for a budget-friendly knife), great gripCons: Not as heavy as top-of-the-line bread knives, not as sharp out of the factoryIt's debatable whether you want to spend much on a bread knife depending on how often you'll be using it, but Victorinox's Fibrox Bread Knife is a quality tool at a reasonable price. It withstands the same amount of rough use as the rest of our recommendations from that line, but thanks to the larger handle and longer blade it carries a little more weight than the more budget-friendly options we considered. In our tests, which involved slicing less-than-forgiving, homemade, no-knead bread, it fared as well as everything we tried until we reached the $200 range, which is an absurd price for a bread knife for most people. That pretty much settled it. We also can't lend enough praise to the Fibrox handles in general, which everyone seems to appreciate, and apart from their ergonomic qualities, instill a sense of security with their non-slip grips.Because this blade is not only thin but also only shallowly serrated, you won't have as much trouble sharpening it on your own as you would with, say, a deep-scalloped one that doesn't take to a simple pull-through sharpener as well. It also turns out that this knife isn't bad for slicing softer fruits and carving meat and poultry.If you're looking for something a little more on the affordable side, our previous pick (which we retested against this one) is the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wavy Edge 10-inch Wide Bread Knife. It has a slightly thicker blade and a deeper serration, so it's not going to be as precise, but it's got a similar handle and costs half the price. The best utility knife Owen Burke/Insider With VG Max steel wrapped in layered Damascus steel, Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife is sharper and retains a better edge than most German-style knives, and is perfect for trimming and more precise cuts.Length: 6"Blade: VG-Max Damascus steelHRC: 62Handle: Pakka (plastic and wood composite)Pros: Extremely sharp, great edge retention, rust-resistant, very well-balancedCons: Slightly brittle and easier to chip than German steel, small, D-shaped handle favors right-handersA utility knife needs to be extra sharp for more precise cuts and trimming without tearing foods, and Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife uses VG-Max Damascus steel, effectively offering the best of both worlds between Japanese-style and German-style blades.Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel (in this case, VG-Max) at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. The material is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, not to mention its signature swirly "damask" pattern that tends to woo one and all. While its beauty is something to behold, the important takeaway is that you get a knife that holds a stronger edge than carbon steel but flexes better than stainless steel. While we veered away from Japanese steel for our chef's knife top pick, and didn't recommend a Damascus or VG Max steel option because of the cost, a smaller utility knife from Shun makes that type of pricier steel more affordable.Apart from being remarkably more rust-resistant than other Japanese and Japanese-style knives we tried, this knife isn't so brittle that we've had trouble with chipping or dinging. Still, you'll want to keep it away from harder foods and surfaces, and especially bones. Where this knife shines is with smaller, in-between tasks where a chef's knife is overkill and a paring knife is painfully laborious. Think slicing tomatoes or dicing shallots. It's not a necessary knife for everyone, but behind those two knives and a bread knife, it's the next most important one for most kitchens. On that note, it did offer enough flexibility for me to not necessarily fillet, but skin and trim boneless meat. Shun's knives are made with a material known as Pakka wood, which is really a wood-and-plastic composite that looks an awful lot like walnut. Purists might cringe, but it gives the look without bringing along the worry of the handle splitting.If you're really averse to owning a Japanese knife for one reason or another (either the handle or the extra care required), look to the utility knife version of our top-recommended chef's knife, the 6" Wüsthof Ikon. What else we tested Owen Burke/Insider Shun: Probably the most popular Japanese knife in the US, Shun offers relatively affordable VG- and Damascus-steel knives. Apart from recommending the brand's utility knife, one of my personal favorite knives is the 8" Chef's knife.Korin: Another mid-range Japanese knife similar to Shun, Korin is a favorite of Pat LaFrieda and Andrew Zimmern, and is competitive with Mac.J.A. Henckels: One of the veritable classics in German knives, J.A. Henckels' knives were a little thicker in the blade than our other picks, but you really can't go wrong here.Dexter-Russell: Similar to Victorinox's Fibrox series, Dexter-Russell offers a line of similarly iconic white-handled knives at a great price point, and which you'll find in commercial kitchens all over. We just found that the handles on the Fibrox knives are much grippier.Mac: This company makes an outstanding chef's knife, especially for the price. The only reason we couldn't recommend this as an overall pick was its delicacy. At the hands of most people, this knife isn't going to stay in great shape for long. If you care for your knives, on the other hand, we can't recommend it enough.Made In: These, like many other DTC-brand knives, are made with X50CrMoV15 steel and are a great deal for the price. Like the others, they didn't exactly wow us, but we found nothing really wrong with them, either. The rounded handle seems to work well with many hands.Material: These knives are made with "high-carbon" steel, but we wouldn't call it high-quality. They have a hybrid handle that should suit most hands, and they're easy enough to sharpen and perfectly serviceable knives.Misen: More X50CrMoV15 steel and a great deal for the price. These are extremely popular for a reason, and we like them plenty, too.Our Place: Another DTC brand making X50CrMoV15 steel blades, Our Place's knives are more than satisfactory. We liked the hybrid handle, but not as much as others. If the handle looks like it'll suit you, these are nicely designed and balanced knives.Steelport Knife Co.: This is a much fancier, carbon-steel option for someone who wants to invest in a gorgeous and impossibly sharp blade. We love it, but we also recognize that it requires care.  Our methodology Owen Burke/Insider We finely sliced tomatoes and onions with chef's knives, minced garlic and shallots with utility and paring knives, hulled strawberries with paring knives, and sliced hard-crusted no-knead bread with serrated slicing knives. We then dulled each blade by rapping them repeatedly on a glass cutting board (word to the wise, never use one of these) and returned to each knife's respective task to note any dulling or chipping.We also made sure to put each knife into as many different hands as possible, ranging from professional cooks to hobbyists.Lastly, we consulted a series of chefs, butchers, and metallurgists, including Chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen, Pat LaFrieda, and Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT.A word on Japanese knivesWe took Japanese knives out of the running for our top chef's knife pick. While they're a personal favorite, they're notoriously difficult to maintain, and therefore not suited for most kitchens. Simply put, if you're starting to invest in your kitchen knives, we don't want to recommend a fine knife that will easily be misused."High-carbon stainless steel" is a bit of a buzzword in reaction to the popularity of Japanese-style knives, which can attain notoriously sharper edges than their German-style counterparts. The delicacy of Japanese knives has to do with the hardness of the standard high-carbon stainless steel, which allows for a finer and sharper but proportionally brittler edge.Still, if you're the type of person who takes particularly good care of your tools (and aren't sharing a kitchen with someone who won't), you may prefer a Japanese knife. But know that they require meticulous cleaning and drying, as well as careful storage, or they'll end up with rusted and/or chipped blades.Other considerations:Edge retention: Our knife-testing process involved slicing fresh tomatoes and taking note of the ease with which each chef's knife handled the task. After we had sufficient data, we took each chef's knife to a glass cutting board and ran it over the surface 200 times. Some knives held their edge, others not so much. We looked at the edges after running the knives and noted if there were any visible changes. We then returned to the tomatoes, cutting a few more and seeing how much resistance we felt compared with the performance of the knives straight out of the packaging. Knives that held their edges passed on to further rounds of consideration.Alloy, and the HRC (hardness rating): We consulted several experts in the field, but the most informative source we encountered was Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT. With his help, we were able to cut through the marketing and the scientific terminology behind different alloys and what allows a knife to retain an edge.We looked for a hardness rating of around 60 HRC, which offers great edge retention while still allowing for an edge of around 15 degrees (though up to 20 degrees, which is duller than 15, was still considered sufficient).Ergonomics: For a knife to work well, you have to be able to hold it comfortably in your hand. We asked several people to pick up knives and decide which ones were the easiest to grip; across the board, they went for the ones with heavier, rounded, almost bulbous handles.Balance: The weight of the handle and the blade is also somewhat critical. Pricier knives almost always offer better balance because that extra cost goes into using denser and often more desirable materials, like layered Damascus steel. A well-balanced knife with a good blade will cut through vegetables with minimal pressure, like our top pick from Wusthof. A not-so-well-balanced knife will take a little force to get started. What we look forward to testing Owen Burke/Insider We're looking forward to testing Santoku knives and more Japanese chef's knives for our next update. While they're superior in certain ways, they don't stand up to the rough handling that they'll endure at the hands of the average home cook, so we'll have separate picks coming soon. Until then, we're big fans of Shun, Global, Korin, and MAC. Just know that while you might not have to sharpen them as much as softer-steeled German blades, they're slightly more prone to rust (due to higher carbon levels) and chipping (due to their increased hardness).We're also going to recommend a boning knife for those who need to trim and debone meat but in the meantime, Victorinox's Fibrox Pro is an affordable option, and the Wüsthof Classic Ikon is a pricier step up which we like so far. FAQs Owen Burke/Insider How to choose a knifeThe most important thing about a knife, and especially a chef's knife, is how it fits in your hand. So long as you spend at least $50 on a chef's knife, it's going to be sharp (and sharpenable) enough to get most any job done. Decide what kind of handle you want first. German-style knives are generally more molded to the palm with a pronounced butt end, while Japanese-style knives are almost uniformly cylindrical and smaller. Both designs work for everyone; it just depends on the feel you prefer and, to some degree, how you hold the knife.The type of steel you choose should be based on the kind of care you're (realistically) going to give your knife. If you don't envision yourself sharpening and perfectly drying and storing your knife after every use, German stainless steel (e.g., 440, 420) is going to be much more forgiving, though softer and quicker to dull.If you are a tool fanatic and know that you'll take good care of your knives and are also confident that they won't find their way into the wrong hands, carbon steel is a great pick because it's incredibly sharp. Just know that it's likely to rust and chip more easily.In between, you have VG-10 and VG-Max (proprietary to Shun, but about the same as VG-10), which have added alloys (tungsten, vanadium) that make them a little more stain-resistant and less brittle. They're great for those who want a Japanese-style knife without having to care so devoutly for it.Then there's Damascus steel, which is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, and we recommend it, but be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. A lot of manufacturers will etch the mesmerizing swirls into a blade without performing the time-consuming and expensive hammering process.Why (or why not) buy a knife setIn general, things that come in sets tend to involve compromised quality, and often contain filler pieces. In the case of knife sets, you're probably going to receive a bunch of knives and other gadgets (including a large woodblock) that you may never use. A lot of newer (and older) DTC brands recognize that consumers are growing wiser and learning that sets are generally a ripoff. As a result, there are lots of two- to five-piece sets on the market. If you're looking in the budget range, we're all for them, and we've pretty much tried them all. The steel is almost always the same quality, so choose based on the handle style you like.Otherwise, though, sets don't make a lot of sense for most people. Invest in a chef's knife, first and foremost, with which, by the way, you can tackle all of your kitchen tasks, minus maybe slicing bread. Next, a paring knife is probably the most sensible purchase, but since it's not doing a lot of the heavy work, we say go cheap. That said, feel free to spend what you'd like; there is something to be said for a weightier, sharper blade in the case of every knife.A slicing and/or bread knife may or may not be important to you depending upon whether or not you consume much bread or slice much meat. You can find one that does the job for as little as $20, or, again, the sky's the limit. For most people, we like the $40-$60 range.Beyond the above, you're getting into specific tasks most people don't really take on at home. Fillet knives, boning knives, santoku knives, and shears are all further considerations. Even if you want all of those knives, you're still likely better off purchasing them piecemeal. It'll be more affordable, and you'll also be able to budget so that you can put your money where it counts. Glossary Owen Burke/Insider Heal: The corner of the blade where the edge meets the bolster.Edge: The sharpened, business side of the blade.Tang: The part of the blade that runs to or through the handle. "Full-tang" is a common term, which means the blade steel is a single piece of steel that runs through the handle.Rivets: The pins holding the handle together (more common in German handles).Bolster: Above the heel, a spacer where the blade meets the handle, and an area to grab or choke up on when performing finer tasks.Tip: The pointy, or front end of the knife opposite the handle.High-carbon steel: Steel with at least 0.55% carbon content.Stainless steel: An alloy of iron, chromium, and sometimes other metals. This is a very general term, but it's the basic steel with which German knives are made.VG10, VG-Max: A high-carbon steel blended with tungsten and vanadium, and sometimes other metals to lend flexibility and rust resistance.Damascus Steel: A two-plus-millennia-old process, Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly, repeatedly (generally dozens of times). Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance while still retaining a superior edge, which is why it is traditionally (and famously) used for samurai swords. Check out more related guides Too many knives. Owen Burke/Insider The best knife setsThe best knife sharpenersThe best cutting boardsThe best knife blocksThe best bushcraft and survival knives Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

How the baby boomer generation is the real problem, according to 21 millennials

21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for the many problems millennials now face. These millennials tell us about the problems they now face because of baby boomers. Business Insider Deutschland Millennials are accused by some of being whiny, narcissistic, and too politically passive. A number of them suggest, however, that the real problem isn't them; it's baby boomers. 21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for many problems millennials now face. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whiny, self-obsessed, not politically engaged enough - the accusations directed at millennials by older generations seem endless.Millennials, or anyone born between 1980 and 2000, often get painted as pampered do-gooders with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting sabbaticals and being allowed to work from home.That said, decades of disregard for the climate, unfair policies and structures being implemented between the generations, and questionable ideas concerning success in the workplace have left 18 to 38-year-olds with a heavy weight to bear.Twenty-one young people from Germany told Insider of the problems the baby boomers have created and perpetuated in Germany and how they can be solved:'Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong.' Felix Finkbeiner, 20, environmental activist. Flickr / Plant for the Planet We're hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at full pelt - it isn't for the sake of science that we're trying to figure out the quantity by which sea levels are set to rise; it's about survival.Together, with more than 67,000 other children and young people from our Plant for the Planet initiative, I've committed myself to combat the climate crisis. And yes, perhaps the older generation is listening to us but are they doing enough?The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The CO2 clock is ticking. What must we do and what can we do right now? Well, we can massively reduce our CO2 emissions. And we can plant 1,000 billion trees to absorb a quarter of man-made CO2. I'd say to the older generations, to company bosses, and to politicians: "Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong or what's going wrong - let's plant trees together and save our future."'It's older people who get to call the shots on pensions - yet they no longer have to cough up.' Sarna Röser, 30, chairwoman of Junger Unternehmer (Young Entrepreneurs). BJU Most baby boomers will be retiring soon, which will put considerable pressure on our pension system. There's a massive disparity between the number of working people and the increasing number of pensioners for whom those working people are footing the bill.I think a simple and logical solution would be if everyone had to work for a period of time during their later years. And retirement should be linked to life expectancy. I'm skeptical about who decides what's what when it comes to pensions. You only find older people sitting on the Pensions Commission, who no longer foot the bill themselves. We younger people have to hand out payments but aren't given a say.'The biggest problem the baby boomers have left us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crap.' Kevin Kühnert, 28, national chairman of the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Jusos. Getty Images The biggest problem the baby boomers have dumped on us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crappy habits: it's the state they've in which they've left the future of our pension system. Pay-as-you-go financing, which has been successfully practiced for decades, will come under increasing pressure as more baby boomers leave the workforce and begin receiving benefits from the pension fund. This news comes as no surprise but politics has, so far, failed to make provisions for that day, when it comes.Fewer contributors and more beneficiaries mean great challenges will be posed for the statutory pension for a good 15 years. How these challenges will be managed isn't just a technical question. In fact, some are taking the opportunity - through scandalous inaction - to slowly chip away at the principle of solidarity when it comes to pensions and to privatize them. If all employees became contributors, we could increase contributions slightly and, if necessary, avoid shying away from tax subsidies.'We've inherited the baby boomers' workaholic attitude and taken it to the next level. Stefanie Laufs, 31, senior communications consultant at a PR agency. Stefanie Laufs The notion that Generation Y has no interest in professional success and thinks of the home office as synonymous with doing nothing is certainly not new - and unfortunately, it's firmly rooted in the minds of many among the older generation. I actually believe we've inherited their workaholic attitude - always better, always more, always higher - and that we've taken what the baby boomers did and pushed it much further.Whether among friends, colleagues, or in reports in the media - no other generation linked with topics such as burnout or partly unpaid overtime as often as ours. The demands on our generation when it comes to starting a career are enormous. You're expected to have five years of professional experience after completing your studies as well as to nearly have finished your Ph.D. Of course, you can't solely blame the baby boomers, but they've always stressed the importance of establishing a career and reinforced that it was the key to a successful and happy life. Although we've taken on this attitude, we'd actually do a lot better to leave it behind. Generation Y continues to work a lot, but having a private life is much more important than money: leisure and downtime shouldn't be overlooked.Our generation is on its way to achieving the ideal work-leisure balance and to putting the baby boomers' workaholic madness to rest.'Too much emphasis on progress and performance is a key problem we've inherited from the older generation.' Jonathan Sierck, 24, author of the book 'Junge Überflieger'. Jonathan Sierck A serious problem we've inherited from the older generation is this fixation on progress and performance. In our tireless efforts to push boundaries, whatever the cost, there's usually little room to address the often serious consequences. There's no doubt about it: constant growth and development do pay off and, as a species, we have to take certain risks every now and then in order to move forward and survive. But pushing boundaries mustn't become the objective itself nor must it come at the cost that it currently does.In order to steer us into a desirable future, we need those in decision-making positions to be sharp. They need both the courage to change yet the informed judgment to pick up on warning signs too. To ensure we don't continue to deplete our resources, we need a clear plan that takes into consideration the effects of our actions. Otherwise, we'll leave our future generations with more - possibly even more serious - problems than those we have inherited, whether they be nuclear waste, the bees dying off, or climate disasters.'Our education systems barely differ to those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.' Magdalena Rogl, 33, head of digital channels Microsoft Germany. Magdalena Rogl I'm firm on the notion that we owe much to those who came before us. Especially the generation born in 1968, who revolutionized so much and helped break down so many structures.But one area in which far too little has happened in recent decades is education. Our education systems have barely changed from those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.At the age of 10, our children are still "sorted" into schools - not based on their individual talents, but purely according to their grades. Applicants are still assessed according to their qualifications on paper far too often, and not by what they actually know. And academic degrees are still worth more than emotional education.I still remember the look of horror on the faces of my first boyfriend and his parents when I announced I was leaving high school as soon as I legally could, to follow my heart and become a childcare worker.But I think I learned more life lessons through doing so than I could have ever done at university.And that's exactly what our generation so urgently needs: lessons in life. More and more tasks are being taken over by machines and artificial intelligence. The skills Generation Y needs in professional life today are not obedience, authority, and academic knowledge, but empathy, flexibility, and problem-solving.Our generation must adapt quickly to new circumstances, because the job you did yesterday may look quite different tomorrow. And the office is no longer about sitting at a desk from nine until five; it's about working at a time and place that maximizes one's quality of work, based on the individual.That's why I'm committed to ensuring our future generations get better human and digital education, so they make our world more human and each individual person can be as he or she is - and thus achieve their own best performance.'Those who monopolize most of the power are, on average, much too old.' Daniel Krauss, 35, cofounder and chief information officer of Flixbus. Flixbus Today's prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation. We should definitely be grateful for it. But it's not as though it's being passed down to younger generations without its drawbacks. The downside is that his focus on prosperity means few provisions have been made for the future and we haven't adapted to our current challenges.Those who monopolize most of the power are still, on average, far too old. Our generation is still trapped in a gilded cage. At some point, young Germans are going to escape that cage and find that the country is no longer at the top of the list of industrial nations.This power needs to be handed over to the younger generation at an early stage. We're ready to take on the responsibility and start restructuring things.'The older generation knows little about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.' Jörg Mayer and Nadine Horn, both in their early thirties, are vegan bloggers on 'Eat this'. Eat This The abundance in food and convenience have featured heavily in the kitchens of the post-war generation. Where meat had previously featured rarely on the dining table, it was almost a compulsory, everyday part of meals in the 1950s. But it had to be simple, fast, and cheap.It's becoming increasingly clear that this kind of practice can't go on indefinitely for future generations.Due to this abundance and a lack of true appreciation for food, some among the older generation have little idea about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet. What's more, over the years a lot of marketing-driven pseudo-sciences - which, simply put, is often wrong and sometimes even dangerous - have persisted.Questions like: "Where do vegans get protein from if they don't eat meat?" or the myth that milk consumption is good for the bones (when the opposite is true) are still firmly anchored in their minds and will only be shifted with a lot of effort.We try to set a good example and show that vegan life is anything but boring, that we don't just live off salad or tofu - that the kitchen can be a place to have fun. We're trying to show that cooking with friends, either alone or in pairs, is not another tedious chore; it's the best thing you can do.'Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously.' Ria Schröder, 26, chairman of Jungen Liberalen (the Young Liberals). Business Insider Deutschland The baby boomers, our parents and theirs, have been instrumental in ensuring we grew up with high living standards. I'm grateful for that but we've also inherited a few problems, one of them being the pension situation. Like many in my generation, I don't assume I'll be provided for in old age. The level of baby boomers being paid for by us is ever increasing while there are fewer of us to foot the bill. It's great that people are living longer but the subsidy for the pension system is already the largest item in the German budget.At the same time, less and less is being invested in the future: for example, in education, and in infrastructure. My generation is outnumbered. But those who focus only on large voter groups are putting the future of our country at risk in favor of short-term electoral success. Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously. Ultimately it will help not only one generation but the whole country.'We know humanity has power over the Earth's biophysical systems, thanks to our predecessors.' Sina Leipold, 32, junior professor of social transformation and circular economy at the University of Freiburg. Sina Leipold For some time, we've known humanity affects and has control over the Earth's biophysical systems more than any other force of nature - knowledge we've attained only thanks to our predecessors. It is both a blessing and a curse for our generation.Never before have so many people been able to inhabit our planet and never before have commodities like regular holiday flights been so easy and readily affordable.At the same time, hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves have threatened to destroy (and, in many cases, have destroyed) the lives and homes of millions.My personal goal, through a more responsible approach than previous generations, is to help our generation ensure this power sticks around long term, instead of putting it at risk by inviting irreversible climate disasters.'Older generations aren't prepared to take risks.' Christopher Obereder, 26, startup founder. David Visnjic Setting up a business in Germany is far too complex; it should be more straightforward. Other countries are well ahead and we should be moving on as soon as possible. The tax system in Germany is also massively outdated and makes it extremely difficult for those looking to get started with a business.Start-ups could be much better supported with tax reforms so the start-ups could focus more on taking care of their business. Singapore has attracted startups from all over the world with its simple control system and has become the hub of the crypto scene. Our political structures are also too slow to change and aren't able to keep up with innovation. Things have to change on this front.A survey by U.S. News showed Germany was in first place in the "Entrepreneurship" category, ahead of Japan and the USA. It's clear Germany is at the forefront despite the clear room for improvement.Work has also changed: people used to stay in the same job their whole life, which is why it used to be feasible to work without constantly developing and learning. Today we seem to switch jobs every year or two. I think it has a lot to do with the Internet.We always need to be ready to learn new things and take risks. And many opportunities and possibilities arise with the Internet if you're open to it - cryptocurrencies are something I'm currently heavily involved in and open to, and I realize older generations aren't.There's a conflict simply because older generations always advocate stability and safety over risk-taking, which they aren't prepared to do. I can only speak for myself but if I'd never taken risks, I'd never have learned. We have to learn through trial and error that you can't make money from anything and everything. Failure has become a valid part of working life, even if older generations still don't want to admit it.But older generations are starting to accept the start-up scene for what it is: it's fast-moving, involves risk-taking, and isn't always lucrative.'The older generation has left European peace in a fragile state.' Lisa Badum, 34, Green Party parliament representative. Lisa Badum The rapid rise in greenhouse gases, the dramatically worsening climate crisis, the question of nuclear waste disposal, the irreversible death of countless plant and animal species - these are just some of the many consequences of failed climate and environmental policies from previous generations. Because they haven't relied on sustainability, they've dumped the consequences of and responsibility for their actions onto future generations. We're now having to face a mammoth challenge together: to keep global warming below two degrees to give future generations the chance to make mistakes.As for Europe, our younger generation has inherited the task of establishing European peace, a project which the older generation has left in a sorry state. The continually rising rate of youth unemployment within the EU, austerity policies, Brexit - all of these things have greatly weakened the notion of the "European community" and reinforced right-wing nationalist and populist forces in Europe. I myself have close ties with Greece, and over the years I've witnessed the destructive effects of austerity there, and have also seen growing disillusionment towards the EU. We have to stop this in its tracks and do it now because lasting peace between us all is the most basic of prerequisites for taking on the many challenges ahead and finding solutions for tomorrow.Where justice and gender equality are concerned, the older generation has set us on a path of clear progress, particularly as regards legal equality between the sexes. While we have to defend this success, we also have to continue fighting for 100% equality between men and women, whether in family and work, pay or pension, and the end of sexual violence towards women and girls.'Digitisation is largely a generational issue.' Barbara Engels, 30, economist at the Institute of German Economics Cologne (IW). IW Cologne Being digital means being online, networking, being open to new business models - and being young. It seems to be a largely generational issue: older people are less likely to be online than younger people, which is a pity because digitization opens up many new possibilities, especially for people who are aging. It can simplify and enrich everyday life. I hope people of all ages will greet digitization with open arms and optimism, but obviously not without a healthy dose of skepticism. Networking is at the heart of the digital world and could contribute to a better level of understanding between young and old. And it would help us learn much more from older people and vice versa.'Pension plans are a big disappointment.' Kristine Lütke, 35, president of WirtschaftsjuniorDeutschland (the Junior Chamber Germany). Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland The subsequent drop in birth rate as a result of the rise of the contraceptive pill among the baby boomers is exacerbating demographic change. This has resulted in a shortage of specialists and labor in all areas of the economy. We young entrepreneurs and managers in particular are suffering from this as employers. Moreover, our country's pension plans are a huge disappointment for our generation and an attack on intergenerational justice, particularly in view of demographic changes. The question of billions of funding for the "maternal pension" that's been proposed in Germany remains open.What can be done to increase employment rates and to mitigate the consequences of demographic change, as well as the pensions package? We need to look at options for flexible retirement. The statutory retirement age should be done away with. And working time law needs to be fundamentally reformed.'Climate change presents us with challenges that will dictate the opportunities of future generations.' Lukas Köhler, 31, Free Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Lukas Köhler We've inherited a lot of problems to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change today presents us with a task - and how we manage this task will directly determine the opportunities available for future generations. That's why I'm fully committed to limiting climate change as much as possible. We will only succeed with a market-based climate policy in which politicians set clear targets for reducing emissions. Other bans and regulations are unnecessary and provide false incentives. If we succeed in building a global emissions trading scheme with ambitious goals, which is as broad as possible for all economic sectors, I'm convinced we can limit global warming to an acceptable level.'We've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability.' Sonja Oberbeckmann, 36, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. Sonja Oberbeckmann We have much to thank the previous generations for: no generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it's come at a price: we've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability, where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.My professional field, science, is set up for the short term: there are many temporary contracts, focusing on trendy topics. But this profit-focused society has left its mark everywhere. The environment is riddled with pesticides, exhaust gases, plastics, and much more. People are stressed and it seems they would sooner pop pills than demand the time to live more healthily. Hardly anyone stops to breathe.We, all generations together, can define new goals and break out of this established cycle, that's exploiting human and environmental resources. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television and getting worked up about company bosses, we should all be taking responsibility and consuming both more sustainably and consciously. And we should be asking ourselves from time to time what actually makes us truly happy.'We're still teaching as though we're in the 19th century.' Nina Toller, Private Teacher. Business Insider Deutschland Living in the 21st century, teaching 19th-century style: this is what seems to be at the core of our schooling.I've tried myself to fend this off with learning methods that combine critical thinking and communication with creativity and teamwork, as well as the use of digital media. My students shouldn't just be learning content and facts; they should be learning how to obtain new facts, how to share work effectively and efficiently, and how best to absorb and apply what they've learned. In this way, they develop openness, a willingness to learn, and also a certain degree of independence. The teacher becomes more of a companion for learning and a moderator.My school is open to digital media and supports me in my creative work. I almost always use QR codes or get foreign-language authors, into the classroom via Skype.Yet, due to a lack of technical support, training, time, and security, few teachers can organize something like this on their own initiative. On my page "Toller Unterricht" I publish lots of my ideas as well as tried and tested lesson plans, with materials included.Politicians have made promises to digitize schools. In addition to the lack of qualifications teachers have, there also seems to be a lack of equipment. I'm glad my school has some projectors and smartboards I can use for my lessons, but some don't even have Internet access.Data protection is currently being taken to ridiculous extremes: new data protection regulation makes the use of private computers difficult, so some are being advised to use paper and pen. This won't work within the frame of a digitization strategy for Germany in 2018.Therefore, comprehensive reform is needed. Only then can we equip all our students with the skills to prepare them for life and learning in the 21st century.'It's as if the parents think schools are responsible for raising children.' Franziska Hafer, 23, teacher. Franziska Hafer The older generation has paid far too little attention to sustainable development. Sustainable development means empowering children to form their own opinions and encouraging them to act sustainably. Sustainable development means the current generation is developing, not compromising the next generation, but actively considering it. Children haven't been sensitized to this at all.I think there's a very different tone in schools now. I get the sense that kids are becoming less and less respectful. Manners are disappearing and, unfortunately, you rarely see a boy holding the door open for a girl. It's as if parents think schools are responsible for bringing children up.Some children are only interested in who has the latest, highest-end mobile. The children who do not have a say in this are outside the picture - and I think that the generation above us is responsible for instilling different values.'We've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us.' Max Lucks, 21, spokesman for Grünen Jugend (Green Youth). Max Lucks We've not inherited generational conflicts; we've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us, which has dealt little with political change or shaping the future and has been more focused on how everything can remain as is. One only has to look at how Merkel's government dealt with a climate crisis and how it's always been ignored and fought against by one commission or another. This political style has disappointed our generation and rightly so: it's clear to young people that a little isn't enough to answer the hard questions. For example, how can we still find well-paid and permanent jobs in 20 years' time in spite of digitalization?'The older ranks of conservative politicians are afraid of change.' Akilnathan Logeswaren, 29, European Activist. Business Insider Deutschland As an activist for a united Europe, I'm always reminded of how much of the older ranks of conservative politicians fear change. While young people are almost unanimous in their commitment to a united Europe, the older generation is still resistant to it, although though the United States of Europe has been on the agenda of previous German political figures such as Franz Josef Strauss himself.While old politicians are practicing against the left by remaining on the right, today's young people are already focusing more on the spirit of the European Parliament, namely by looking for solutions.In the 21st century, it is no longer about just having ideas, but about collaborating for a shared future. For example, the campaign #FreeInterrail - a free Interrail ticket for all Europeans as soon as they turn 18 - was devised by the youth for the youth. Ideas like these will secure our peace and cohesion in the long term.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

I spent 13 years studying the fine art of haggling: here is what I learned

How to haggle for a bargain: Be friendly, develop a rapport with the seller, buy in bulk, don't take it personally, and be prepared to walk away. A rug salesman shows off a rug at The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Tim Graham/Getty Images Why do people from different cultures haggle and what are the best tricks? Collin Abroadcast, who posts his shopping exploits on YouTube, calls it "really rapid negotiation. Where you think on your feet." "I wanna talk with them...I wanna have a certain vibe," travel blogger Sassy Funke says of bargain shopping in her native Nigeria. See more stories on Insider's business page. Funke Ogunkoya-Futi - aka Sassy Funke, travel blogger, vlogger, and the author of the Lagos Travel Guide - was ambling through the alleys of Nigeria's Lekki Arts and Crafts Market early one morning last July, just before the rush of shoppers. Her goal: attain ready-made African clothing for her Canadian in-laws.She browsed the closet-sized shops spilling out with jewelry and gems, furniture and tribal masks, woven baskets and wax print bags. Paintings stacked on paintings stacked on paintings. As she peeked into stores, shopkeepers called out, "Come, mama. I have it. I have what you're looking for."She was comparing prices at multiple shops when she spotted a dress she loved. The shopkeeper asked for 2000 naira (about $4.87). Normally, no matter the price asked, Ogunkoya-Futi shoots shopkeepers a look of utter shock and then offers to pay something "ridiculous," she told me. If something is 100 naira, she offers 5.But the dress was good quality; 2000 naira was already a great price. She offered 1000 naira.Ogunkoya-Futi performed masterful schmoozing, talking the seller up and calling herself his daughter. She offered to make multiple purchases and refer him to her friends. Twenty minutes of back and forth later, she secured the deal.Then, Ogunkoya-Futi asked him to throw in three headbands. Adenike Akinlosose, an African textiles dealer, shows her fabrics at Balogun market in Lagos in 2011. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images "This'll cost you nothing to make," Ogunkoya-Futi said, holding the headbands aloft.He gave them to her for free.Ogunkoya-Futi beams when sharing the story with me during an interview over Zoom, claiming it was her best haggling experience because she and the shopkeeper sparked a connection, both had a pleasant experience, and she brought three friends back that week to support his shop. Ogunkoya-Futi had scored a great deal - and helped a kind businessman. "I love the interaction," she told me. "I wanna talk with them. I wanna gist with them. I wanna have a certain vibe, and they enjoy that, they get that."There's also the rush of adrenaline. Collin Abroadcast, a YouTuber who gets millions of views when he posts his shopping exploits, defines haggling as "really rapid negotiation. Where you think on your feet. It's a game, and the more you play, the more you gain speed and learn to read people's body language."A good deal between friendsI also love a good haggle. I haggled for my wife's engagement ring, and before our wedding, I haggled for catering, a DJ, and a photographer. Soon after, I haggled for our house, and when we started our family, I haggled for a minivan. I honed my skills during my time living in Jerusalem for nine months in the mid-aughts when I was 27. I was interning at a Jewish-Arab equality NGO and making little money.In Israel, haggling is hardcore. Sellers go from telling you that you look like a celebrity to cursing you out. I perfected the interest-indifference ratio, always walking out of a store with a salesperson trailing me, hollering deals. I would get into cabs, then immediately back out, if they didn't knock the price down. Italian craftsman Antonio Ignomeriello in his shop at Las Dalias night market in San Carlos, on Ibiza Island in 2021. JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images My grandfather was a haggler. He escaped the antisemitism and pogroms of Poland for America in 1917 and desperately drove his roots into upstate New York's soil, peddling scrap metal, haggling over prices, and eventually saving enough to start a tailored suit shop/dry cleaners, which soon became a suit shop/paint store, and finally Deitcher's Wallpaper and Design Center in Cohoes, New York, established in 1926.Born in 1937, my father was heir to the business. Over lunches at Smith's Tavern, he haggled deals with distributors, loading up on stock in exchange for a bigger discount. In return, customers asked for discounts, too, and if they purchased enough, of course he hooked them up.When my father grew up it was easier for independent businesses to thrive. Store owners were from the community. Customers trusted them because they were neighbors and family. Clerks could make deals, usually cutting into their commission. Shop owners haggled with other shop owners who then haggled deals back. Supporting each other was supporting friends. Today, the only things you can haggle for in the United States are cars, houses, fine jewelry, large appliances, home repairs, event services, and graphic novels at Comic Con. There's little hope for small businesses cutting deals with distributors when Walmart goes directly to manufacturers to demand the lowest wholesale rates. Rugs for sale at the Jaffa Flea Market in Tel Aviv in 2018. Michael Jacobs/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images In the 80s, Deitcher's Wallpaper grew to the point that my father couldn't order wallpaper fast enough, so he bought a warehouse. In the 90s, he moved the family into his custom-built dream house: 5,600 square feet in Slingerlands, New York-the country-where we were one of a handful of Jewish families in the school district and barely knew our neighbors. Then the business faltered. For years, my father tried running new promotions, but the store bled money and most of his income was from investments. In the early aughts, he held a final sale, donated his stock to Habitat for Humanity, and became an appointment-only interior decorator.Even my father shops on Amazon now."Never, never, take it personally. Never get angry."But while America becomes less able to negotiate, people fiend to watch the art of haggling. Abroadcast, the haggling YouTuber, has 1.42 million followers on the platform. His comments sections are filled with fans peeping into a world they will never experience.Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Abroadcast started his channel making "typical travel Vlog type stuff," he told me via Zoom. "Here I am as a foreigner living in China." He had never haggled in his life before he visited the fake markets in Shanghai five years ago. He envisioned back-alley hustlers, but found a five-story mall in the middle of the city. He caught on immediately, bargaining over a pair of Nikes he knew were bootleg. He felt the rush of adrenaline. The connection with sellers. His schtick became hopping from country to country-India, Morocco, Kenya, 20 countries overall-rocking two days of stubble, a t-shirt or a hoodie, and a backpack. His videos run 20 minutes to over an hour, with scene after scene of him haggling and chatting with sellers. Sometimes the haggles get tense, frustration sparking between both the seller and Abroadcast. To some viewers, I'm sure he can come off as a white American trying to acquire goods for peanuts, but often you see him taking his time to learn about a seller's art and family. He can be genuine, both calling out fake goods and complimenting what he likes."I know straight off the bat, especially me being a foreigner in these markets, they expect me to have money because I'm on vacation," he said. "So obviously, they're going to take their chance and try to overcharge me."His favorite story, he told me, took place in Beijing's Silk Market, a massive modern mall known as a destination for buying knock-offs. In a shop lined with shoes, a seller rejected his offer of 200 yuan (about $32) for a pair of Jordans. He told her, "I'm good, I'm good," and headed for the exit. The seller reeled him back in, reminding him he was being unreasonable because she was selling him Jordans, "not lady shoes, not baby shoes, not socks." She fed him tons of snark, which he met with laughter. She finally lowered her price to 250 because he was "very handsome," but he left empty handed, holding firm at his offer of 200."My best haggling situation isn't where I get the best price, it's where I have the most fun. And the seller has the most fun as well," he said. "Those are always the best times because it's like, 'Alright, let's put my skills to the test.' The worst ones are when the sellers don't really care to sell to you.""Never, never, take it personally. Never get angry," Abroadcast said. "As humans, we all want the same thing. Everybody just wants to have good health. They want to be loved and be able to support their family at the end of the day.""Just pay the dollar and go"My mom-in-law, who grew up in Jamaica in the '60s, didn't feel a connection with the buyers she haggled with. She did it because that's how her family got by.Once a week, she, her mom, and her sisters went shopping in the bend-down markets of Saint Elizabeth, a parish in the south of Jamaica, known for having the reddest dirt and the Appleton rum estate. Sellers spread their goods on blankets, and often, my mom-in-law and her family came with their own crop to sell-thyme, scallions, and coffee beans from their farm-while their mom used profits to haggle for soup meat, liver, and kidney.Many of my mom-in-law's family members loved chatting with buyers, but she hated it. "It kind of made me feel a little…" her voice trailed off while she told me about it from across the kitchen table. She remembered feeling ashamed as she watched school friends wandering by, purchasing things, while she fought over small sums of money. "You know how children are. They would say, 'hey, I saw her in the market selling.' It was down-grading."Once her secondary school finished, she left the farm and eventually made her way to America, where she attained her dream job at New York City's Waldorf Astoria, a stark contrast to the markets. To this day, she is one of the worst hagglers I've seen. "She gets embarrassed. Has too much pride," my wife told me. "She worries haggling makes her seem less-than." A basket seller in Jamaica. Emmanuel VALENTIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) "I can't do it," my mom-in-law said, stirring her tea. "If they say this thing is for a dollar, I just pay the dollar and go. It's up to them and their conscience. I don't lose."She loves chatting with the sales people, whether it be in Macy's or a market in Ocho Rios. She will even leave sellers tips. "I remember my days when I didn't have it," she said. "I know how it's hard.""You don't leave money on the table."Last February, my wife and I took my mom-in-law and my son to visit Jerusalem, and we strolled through the shuk, my mom-in-law paying what she pleased while I went to work.I was in my element.Roni Peled, senior tour guide and Director of Guide Activities at the Israel Museum, told me that since the Crusades, the streets of Jerusalem's Old City have been named for different goods and services. "If I open a shop of spices, right away, on my right side and my left side, there would be open another shop of spices," he said. The Ottoman Empire divided the wide, slippery limestone streets into alleys, a half or quarter their original size, creating the maze of vibrant markets of today. Growing up refugees in the 50s, Peled's family couldn't afford plays and movies, so going to the markets was how they entertained themselves. Everyone met in the markets.Arabs shopped from Jewish shops and Jews frequented Arab shops, but Peled worries the bonds created in Jerusalem's markets are becoming a thing of the past. In 2008, right before I left Jerusalem, the Mamilla Mall opened, just outside the Old City, leading to Jaffa Gate. It's a massive open-air shopping center featuring haggle-free high-end international chain stores built around and into historical buildings. I enjoy shopping there the same way I love my local mall, but the experience feels very impersonal.Haggling is changing in Nigeria, too, at least for more financially comfortable Nigerians in cities like Lagos.Back when Ogunkoya-Futi was growing up in the 90s, going to a proper grocery store was a trip, but it's becoming more the norm. "They're becoming formal entities," she told me, "with a PNL, with projections." Nigerians can get most anything delivered through Jumia, known as the Amazon of Africa. There are hundreds of dispatch services-delivering food, clothing, and TVs.She sees merchants struggling and understands why many Nigerian businesses are becoming more formal. "I can take a random vendor in the market that people haggle with on a day-to-day basis. He sells his products one day for 15. The next day, 100. The fundamental issue is that he can't plan. The fundamental issue is that he has constant bills that are fixed or even growing that he might not be able to live up to." Yet because other vendors are haggling, he can't afford to stop."I love the haggling culture," Ogunkoya-Futi said. "But I think it's unpredictability of revenue is a big issue in the market." It's one of the reasons, she told me, many Nigerians are dependent on diaspora money to survive.Stelios Michalopoulos, an economics professor at Brown University, tells me that societies where haggling is a big part of commercial interactions often share a way of valuing time. "If time is expensive, then you would not do it," he said. "When labor cost is low, then your time is cheap." A stall selling antiques, at El Rastro, Madrid's iconic flea market, in 2021. Gustavo Valiente/Europa Press via Getty Images It's also more common where a higher value is placed on social interactions, there is a joy in haggling. "Both the buyer and the seller want the other to be happy," so they can "invite for further interactions," Michalopoulos said. Of course, that makes less sense when it comes to tourists, who are unlikely to return consistently.He told me that he believes haggling and formalized trade systems can work together. He used donation-based alumni organizations as a parallel example. Donors set the value of being involved with organizations-giving $50 or $100 or whatever they want based on their interest-and the organizations run fine.He called haggling "the optimal way to sell" because the buyer pays "according to his marginal willingness to pay, which will be higher than the cost to the supplier." The possibility for price differentiation leaves no unexploited opportunities for trade."If you have one single price economy," he said, and something costs the seller $8 and the market price goes for $10, "there are actually trades that could have taken place at eight-and-a-half bucks, nine bucks, nine-and-a-half bucks.""The single price law kills those possibilities," he said.If a buyer is willing to pay anything above the seller's cost, "You don't lose. You don't leave money on the table."Today, Ogunkoya-Futi travels the world, documenting her journey to over 35 countries, but she often finds herself haggling with favorite food sellers back home over 10 naira (about $.024).And she says bringing the haggling mentality into other aspects of your life "can open doors that you don't even know." It's about ingenuity. "Don't be discouraged by the hard print," she said. If a job says you need to apply by the first of the month but it's the second, "find the right person in that company. They'll put your application through." If a job can't meet your salary demands, ask if they can bundle it with other benefits, stock options, or travel credits. "Don't be so fixed on one point, look for other creative ways to make a deal better for you.""If you're personable," Ogunkoya-Futi said, "you just never know."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 30th, 2021

Facebook

  Elizabeth Holmes said she was too pretty to go to jail. Needless to say, Holmes is on trial as we speak, blaming her heinous behavior on her old boyfriend Sunny Balwani, claiming abuse and ultimately PTSD as she attends Burning Man and galivants around San Francisco as if she had not a care in… Read More The post Facebook appeared first on The Big Picture.   Elizabeth Holmes said she was too pretty to go to jail. Needless to say, Holmes is on trial as we speak, blaming her heinous behavior on her old boyfriend Sunny Balwani, claiming abuse and ultimately PTSD as she attends Burning Man and galivants around San Francisco as if she had not a care in the world. If you think you know everything about this story, you probably don’t. Start by reading John Carreyrou’s book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.” The most memorable part of the book for me is when attorney David Boies, who heretofore had an impeccable image, comes in with a team to threaten Carreyrou at the “Wall Street Journal.” But Carreyrou and the WSJ stand their ground. And now the WSJ is investigating Facebook. You’ve probably seen the headlines. Carreyrou single-handedly brought down Theranos, will the WSJ series have an impact on Facebook? Definitely, although how much is yet to be seen. So if you’re into nonfiction, after reading “Bad Blood” be sure to read “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice” an account of finance in Russia and so much more. As a matter of fact the Magnitsky Act, which Bill Browder, author of “Red Notice,” fomented, is in the news seemingly every day. Both of these books are easily read. As a matter of fact, you’ll have a hard time putting them down. If this were a class, they’d be assigned reading. But before you read those books I would first make you listen to Roger McNamee on Kurt Andersen’s podcast: How Business Models Have Shaped Big Tech. I know Roger, I’ve even done a podcast with him myself, but in this hour he details the history and landscape of Silicon Valley, as well as the history of government intervention against bad actors and monopolies so well it’s like a master class. Bottom line… Roger thought tech was a tool for good. Isn’t that what Steve Jobs famously claimed, that he was just making tools? And McNamee was the first to blow the whistle on Facebook in the last election cycle, 2016, and he even wrote a book about Facebook, “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe,” but his message still has not gotten traction outside a small coterie of thinkers. That’s where the WSJ comes in. But start with McNamee first. When Roger puts it all in context, talks about how the government regulated meat to the benefit of the public, broke up the phone company, you’ll start to see a way through this mess. Bottom line… Facebook and Google are on both sides of the transaction, they both host and sell, and he says they must do only one or the other. And they colluded to control online advertising. This has been well documented in the news, but it’s not flashy enough to gain ubiquity, despite state attorneys general suing the company. But there is one smoking gun after another, evidence, it’s not just a theory. But wait, there’s more! McNamee delineates the difference between the boomers and the millennials. The boomers grew up in an era where it was about the common good. The millennials grew up in an era where it was all about the individual, every person for him or herself, the common good be damned. Think about this, the Reagan revolution has paid dividends, and so many are not positive, the culture was changed, and too many people bought in. So Roger posits when Mark Zuckerberg makes heinous choices to benefit Facebook he thinks he’s doing a good thing, he doesn’t know any better. And now the details are coming out in the WSJ. But staying with McNamee… Roger says how when they broke up the phone company, it stimulated advancement. That if you break up Google you’ll end up with fifty new companies. If you break up Facebook you’ll end up with a hundred. As for innovation, these evil twins are only trying to maintain their audience/customers, there’s no real advancement being made, it’s like a case study for the dearly departed Clayton Christensen, the old companies waiting to be disrupted. So McNamee lays out a blueprint to go forward. And acknowledges that government is always behind, but that does not mean the government shouldn’t flex its muscles. But going back to the WSJ series on Facebook, the quote in today’s paper is priceless: “A now-former executive questioned the idea of overhauling Instagram to avoid social comparison. ‘People use Instagram because it’s a competition,’ the former executive said. ‘That’s the fun part.’” I’d provide a link1 but either you subscribe to the WSJ or you don’t, you’re either in the loop or you’re not. You can gather misinformation on social media, most especially Facebook, or you can go to the source, but the source costs money and Americans are cheap, even worse, they oftentimes can’t even understand what is proffered. I posit a significant segment of the population won’t even follow and grasp what McNamee says, even though it’s far from boring, they just don’t have the education to be able to analyze, to comprehend, many just believe a man in the sky will save them. So the above quote is from the second WSJ installment on Facebook. Turns out the Facebook-owned company Instagram is wreaking havoc on the self-image of today’s young women. They just can’t live up to the images online. Almost nobody can unless it’s your full-time job and you’re willing to starve yourself and get plastic surgery. Instagram is for bragging, and too many end up feeling like a loser. But that’s not as bad as tomorrow’s segment, which went live on the WSJ site this morning: “Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead; Internal memos show how a big 2018 change rewarded outrage and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg resisted proposed fixes.” 2 Turns out the execs are not in control of the platform, they keep saying they’re putting on band-aids when they’re not, or they do so with unintended negative results. The goal is just to keep people on the platform, that can’t be sacrificed, that metric is king. So despite having studies detailing the deleterious results of Facebook’s platforms the company ignores them. Even worse, it says they’re taking action when they’re not. It’s obfuscation all the time. Zuck testifies in Congress, he keeps saying he’ll provide backup and then does not. And then he just goes on wrecking the world. You see Zuck is the most powerful person in the world, but this doesn’t sit right with elected officials and titans of old school industry. Rupert Murdoch has taught us the power is in the ink, the press. And in truth, Zuckerberg has got a stranglehold on the press, his sites are where people go for information, and his goal is to raise your emotions so you’ll stay connected and participate. Like, respond, forward, it’s gold to Facebook but lead for our society. In the first WSJ installment on Facebook3 it is revealed that the company has a whitelist. That if you’re famous, in the public eye, have enough followers, they give you a pass, no matter what you post. Because they’re scared you’ll fight back and the company might not look good. And the truth is they don’t have enough people to police behavior and the algorithm is far from perfect, which is why the hoi polloi are constantly complaining that they post innocuous stuff on Facebook and Instagram and it gets taken down and they might even get blocked while a whole tier of society gets a free pass. Once again, Zuck was confronted with this, what did he do? HE LIED! Newsom won yesterday. You’ll see all these learned lessons in the media today. I’m not sure I believe all of them. Bottom line, California is a Democratic state, and the only reason Schwarzenegger won was that he was famous, a celebrity, a movie star, and in the last fifteen plus years the state has moved even further left. So is California a harbinger for the 2022 elections? I would certainly hope so, but I don’t believe it, look at how many votes Trump actually got last November, they far exceeded what all the pundits prognosticated. And where is this cult’s word spread? Online. ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM! And for TikTok, the WSJ says there’s a distinct difference: “‘Social comparison is worse on Instagram,’ states Facebook’s deep dive into teen girl body-image issues in 2020, noting that TikTok, a short-video app, is grounded in performance, while users on Snapchat, a rival photo and video-sharing app, are sheltered by jokey filters that ‘keep the focus on the face.’ In contrast, Instagram focuses heavily on the body and lifestyle.” So what is going to happen? Roger McNamee posits a way out, so maybe we can have hope, but Zuckerberg has so much power… As for Theranos, I highly recommend the podcast “The Dropout, Elizabeth Holmes on trial.” You can ignore the previous season. Just start with the August 31st episode “Where Have You Been, Elizabeth Holmes.” But listen to Roger McNamee first. And know this is the story of our day. I mean who is going to listen to musicians when superstar Nicky Minaj says she heard from a cousin in Trinidad that his friend got Covid-19 and his testicles swelled and he ended up impotent. Of course, Fauci and every reputable outlet denied this could possibly happen, but none of them have the reach of Ms. Minaj, who has 22.6 million followers on Twitter and 157 million on Instagram, talk about the power of the image over the written word… Used to be the titans of the “Billboard” chart were educated and smart, no longer, which is why they can only move the uneducated rearguard, anybody with a brain ignores them. But don’t ignore the news. And get it from the source, not handed down via a game of telephone, like Nicki Minaj, like so many do on Facebook. In the eighties celebrity gossip culture and top-tier culture merged, this has been the story of the past few decades, but it’s no longer the truth, if for no other reason than we’re no longer sure who the stars are anymore. The movie stars have been revealed to be two-dimensional and out of touch and everybody at home believes they’re a star so you end up with an elite running the world and…those following music and gossip aren’t even members, they have no impact. Hell, look at the music business in Britain. They believed Boris Johnson was in their corner, but not only did Brexit make touring the Continent light years more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, despite this now coming to light the government still hasn’t negotiated a reasonable settlement. And why would the government listen to the music business anyway, when oldsters like Eric Clapton are issuing falsehoods and the stars of the chart are mostly television nitwits? We are in a fight for democracy. But even more, we’re in a fight for society, for culture, for the state of mind. Turns out these social media outlets are killing our world, they’re beyond the control of our elected officials. And why should they take action, when a healthy part of the population won’t get the vaccine and keep talking about it on social media platforms, raining down coin for their owners? Think about it.   _______ 1. Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show, By Georgia Wells, Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, Sept. 14, 2021. 2. Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead, By Keach Hagey and Jeff Horwitz, WSJ,  Sept. 15, 2021. 3. Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt, by Jeff Horwitz, WSJ, Sept. 13, 2021.     ~~~ Visit the archive: — Listen to the podcast: — @Lefsetz — Subscribe to the LefsetzLetter The post Facebook appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 21st, 2021

Democrats are now united behind the new climate package. For you, it means cheap energy, clean air, and jobs.

By cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and funding a new climate plan, the Inflation Reduction Act promises to help your wallet, health, and security. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe ManchinDrew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin agreed to a surprise $369 billion climate package on July 27. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she would support the bill on Thursday, poising Democrats to pass it into law. The Inflation Reduction Act would lower energy bills, make EVs affordable, create 1.5 million jobs, and cut pollution. Senate Democrats are on the brink of passing the most significant climate bill in US history, paving the way for cheaper energy and a more livable planet.On Thursday, the last Democratic holdout in the Senate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, announced she was willing to move forward with the new legislation. That leaves Democrats united and poised to pass the bill into law.The surprise deal between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia would dole out about $369 billion for climate programs as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.The new climate package aims to expand renewable energy such as solar, wind, and cleaner fuels, while making it less expensive to buy electric vehicles and home appliances.Solar panels are installed at a floating photovoltaic plant on a lake in Haltern, Germany, Friday, April 1, 2022.Martin Meissner/AP PhotoIf Congress approves the bill, it would put the US on track to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 44% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, according to multiple assessments.Experts say the new climate plan also promises savings, health boons, and higher quality of living for everyday people across the US. The sun sets behind power transmission lines in Texas, on July 11, 2022.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images"This isn't about the sky, or the polar bears," Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, a climate nonprofit, told Insider, adding, "This is about you and your pocketbook, your jobs, the air your kids breathe, the town you live in, our national security."Here are five ways the new climate-change package could make your life better:Lower energy billsA woman prepares dinner for her family at her home in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 2021.Hannah Beier/ReutersThe new climate proposal includes about $30 billion in loans and grants for states and electric utilities to adopt more renewable energy, plus more than $60 billion in tax credits for manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and other technology, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.Solar and wind already generated cheaper electricity than fossil fuels, even before oil and gas prices soared this year. Yet they still only account for about 20% of US energy use. The Schumer-Manchin deal could speed up a shift away from fossil fuels and also make it less expensive to hook up your home with electric.Vesta wind turbines in Palm Springs, California, on July 21, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersA total of $9 billion in home energy rebates would help Americans insulate their homes and replace stoves, furnaces, water heaters, and other appliances with electric alternatives. Homeowners could deduct up to 30% of installation costs from their taxes. A similar deduction for solar would be guaranteed for homeowners and expanded to residential battery storage."This is really about delivering lower energy bills for everyday Americans," Leah Stokes, an environment and energy politics professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a press briefing on Thursday. She noted that high oil and gas prices are a major driver of inflation that ripples across every industry, from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture.A family eats dinner at their home in Calumet Park, Illinois, on December 8, 2020.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters"When fossil fuels go up, other goods and services go up," Stokes said.The average household could save $1,800 on their energy bill each year by installing a modern electric heat pump and rooftop solar and buying an electric vehicle, according to an analysis by Rewiring America, a think tank that promotes electrification.Cheaper electric vehiclesA Scion IQ electric car is plugged in in a garage in Irvine, California, on January 26, 2015.Lucy Nicholson/ReutersThe bill would extend an existing $7,500 tax credit for new EVs — offered as a discount at the point of sale — and offer up to $4,000 for used EVs and plug-in hybrids.It would also lift the cap on the number of tax breaks automakers can offer, benefiting companies like Tesla, General Motors, and Toyota that already hit the limit, as long as the vehicle is assembled in the US.  "Once people own an electric car, they're going to laugh every time they drive by a gas station, when they see $5 a gallon," Foley said, adding, "I think this will help us reach a tipping point, where five to 10 years from now you won't see gas cars sold anymore, or very few."Gas prices over the $6.00 mark are advertised at a Mobil Station in Santa Monica, California, on May 23, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersThere are some caveats, like your income, the vehicle's price tag, and where its parts are made.If you earn $150,000 or more a year, or $300,000 in joint family income, you won't qualify for the new car tax credit. There's a limit on the price of the car, too. Bigger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, must cost less than $80,000, and smaller cars less than $55,000, to qualify for the credit.For used cars, the income limit is $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers. The sticker price must be $25,000 or below. The bill also requires vehicle batteries to be made with 40% of minerals extracted or processed in countries the US has a free trade agreement with, or recycled in North America. But supply chains for those minerals don't exist yet, E&E News reported. The majority of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other minerals used in EV batteries come from China, Russia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, although analysts told E&E News they hope the mandate spurs a made-in-America market.Cleaner air to breatheA man rides his skateboard at sunset while doing a trick in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2019.Carlo Allegri/ReutersWith fewer gas-guzzling cars on the road, and fewer industrial sites powered by fossil fuels, air would be cleaner and safer to breathe."These sorts of climate measures could also reduce particulate matter or ozone smog, as kind of a side benefit that would directly, immediately improve health," Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins, told Insider.That drop in air pollution could prevent up to 3,900 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks by 2030, according to an analysis by the policy-research firm Energy Innovation LLC.A layer of air pollution hangs over Denver, Colorado, on January 21, 2020.Jim Urquhart/ReutersThe American Lung Association pointed to those clean air and health gains in a statement Thursday, urging Congress to "move swiftly" and "without delay" to pass the new bill into law.The bill also includes provisions to fund cleanup of dangerous pollution sites, which are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities of color.The investment is "probably not enough, but it's more than we've ever spent before," Foley said.Jobs, jobs, jobsFord Assembly workers install a battery onto the chassis of a Ford Focus Electric vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on November 7, 2012.Rebecca Cook/ReutersBy investing about $60 billion in manufacturing — everything from heat pumps to wind turbines — this climate plan would help keep clean-energy companies in the US, securing "good paying, and hopefully union, jobs," Stokes said.It's not just manufacturing. Renewable-energy infrastructure needs to be installed and maintained. The bill would fund new electricity-transmission lines, offshore wind projects, housing retrofits, renewable-energy projects in rural areas, and repurposing or replacing defunct energy infrastructure.A worker sits at the base of a wind turbine blade at TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa, on December 22, 2011.Joshua Lott/ReutersAll that work requires workers. The bill would create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Energy Innovation analysis.The bill also focuses on communities historically associated with oil, gas, and coal extraction, by providing a tax incentive for companies that create renewable-energy jobs in those places. Protection from extreme weatherDaniel Bosquez shades the face of Timothy Jalomo, 10 months, from the afternoon sun as he fills a plastic pool with water, as San Antonio, Texas is placed under an excessive heat warning, on July 11, 2022.Lisa Krantz/ReutersClimate change is making droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves more severe and more frequent. These weather events cause serious damage to human property and infrastructure and cost lives.The bill would provide funding for communities to mitigate the health effects of extreme heat, to prevent and respond to wildfires, and to prepare for coastal climate impacts like severe hurricanes and flooding from sea-level rise. It now includes billions of dollars to fight droughts, a request Sinema made before giving her approval, according to The New York Times.The bill also gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a funding boost for forecasting and research.A house is fully engulfed by flames during the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California, August 5, 2021.Fred Greaves/ReutersWhile the new funds would help communities adapt to extreme events, the bill could also help prevent weather from getting even more extreme. If the world cuts emissions enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, that could prevent a significant acceleration in the severity and coverage area of extreme weather."I think everyone I work with in the emissions community is sort of holding their breath and hoping that this [bill] goes through," Miller said.This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on August 3, 2022.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 5th, 2022

Hostess Brands (TWNK) Q2 Earnings Match Estimates

Hostess Brands (TWNK) delivered earnings and revenue surprises of 0% and 3.26%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 2022. Do the numbers hold clues to what lies ahead for the stock? Hostess Brands (TWNK) came out with quarterly earnings of $0.22 per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This compares to earnings of $0.23 per share a year ago. These figures are adjusted for non-recurring items.A quarter ago, it was expected that this company would post earnings of $0.23 per share when it actually produced earnings of $0.27, delivering a surprise of 17.39%.Over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates three times.Hostess Brands, which belongs to the Zacks Food - Confectionery industry, posted revenues of $340.47 million for the quarter ended June 2022, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.26%. This compares to year-ago revenues of $291.49 million. The company has topped consensus revenue estimates four times over the last four quarters.The sustainability of the stock's immediate price movement based on the recently-released numbers and future earnings expectations will mostly depend on management's commentary on the earnings call.Hostess Brands shares have added about 10.7% since the beginning of the year versus the S&P 500's decline of -14.2%.What's Next for Hostess Brands?While Hostess Brands has outperformed the market so far this year, the question that comes to investors' minds is: what's next for the stock?There are no easy answers to this key question, but one reliable measure that can help investors address this is the company's earnings outlook. Not only does this include current consensus earnings expectations for the coming quarter(s), but also how these expectations have changed lately.Empirical research shows a strong correlation between near-term stock movements and trends in earnings estimate revisions. Investors can track such revisions by themselves or rely on a tried-and-tested rating tool like the Zacks Rank, which has an impressive track record of harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions.Ahead of this earnings release, the estimate revisions trend for Hostess Brands: mixed. While the magnitude and direction of estimate revisions could change following the company's just-released earnings report, the current status translates into a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) for the stock. So, the shares are expected to perform in line with the market in the near future. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.It will be interesting to see how estimates for the coming quarters and current fiscal year change in the days ahead. The current consensus EPS estimate is $0.21 on $315.28 million in revenues for the coming quarter and $0.97 on $1.3 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year.Investors should be mindful of the fact that the outlook for the industry can have a material impact on the performance of the stock as well. In terms of the Zacks Industry Rank, Food - Confectionery is currently in the top 16% of the 250 plus Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.Another stock from the broader Zacks Consumer Staples sector, Tyson Foods (TSN), has yet to report results for the quarter ended June 2022. The results are expected to be released on August 8.This meat producer is expected to post quarterly earnings of $1.88 per share in its upcoming report, which represents a year-over-year change of -30.4%. The consensus EPS estimate for the quarter has been revised 4.9% lower over the last 30 days to the current level.Tyson Foods' revenues are expected to be $13.31 billion, up 6.7% from the year-ago quarter. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hostess Brands (TWNK): Free Stock Analysis Report Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 4th, 2022

The Senate climate bill may get you cheap energy, clean air, and a job

By cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and funding a new climate plan, the Inflation Reduction Act promises to help your wallet, health, and security. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe ManchinDrew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin agreed to a surprise $369 billion climate package on July 27. The bill could cut energy bills, make EVs affordable, create 1.5 million jobs, and save lives with cleaner air. If the Inflation Reduction Act passes, its climate plan could help your wallet, health, and security. Senate Democrats could pass the most significant climate bill in US history this week, paving the way for cheaper energy and a more livable planet.The surprise deal between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia would dole out about $369 billion for climate programs as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. It aims to expand renewable energy such as solar, wind, and cleaner fuels, while making it less expensive to buy electric vehicles and home appliances.If Congress approves the bill, it would put the US on track to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 44% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, according to multiple assessments. Experts say the bill also promises savings, health boons, and higher quality of living for everyday people across the US. The sun sets behind power transmission lines in Texas, on July 11, 2022.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images"This isn't about the sky, or the polar bears," Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, a climate nonprofit, told Insider, adding, "This is about you and your pocketbook, your jobs, the air your kids breathe, the town you live in, our national security."Here are five ways the new climate-change package could make your life better:Lower energy billsA woman prepares dinner for her family at her home in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 2021.Hannah Beier/ReutersThe new climate proposal includes about $30 billion in loans and grants for states and electric utilities to adopt more renewable energy, plus more than $60 billion in tax credits for manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and other technology, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.Solar and wind already generated cheaper electricity than fossil fuels, even before oil and gas prices soared this year. Yet they still only account for about 20% of US energy use. The Schumer-Manchin deal could speed up a shift away from fossil fuels and also make it less expensive to hook up your home with electric.Vesta wind turbines in Palm Springs, California, on July 21, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersA total of $9 billion in home energy rebates would help Americans insulate their homes and replace stoves, furnaces, water heaters, and other appliances with electric alternatives. Homeowners could deduct up to 30% of installation costs from their taxes. A similar deduction for solar would be guaranteed for homeowners and expanded to residential battery storage."This is really about delivering lower energy bills for everyday Americans," Leah Stokes, an environment and energy politics professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a press briefing on Thursday. She noted that high oil and gas prices are a major driver of inflation that ripples across every industry, from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture.A family eats dinner at their home in Calumet Park, Illinois, on December 8, 2020.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters"When fossil fuels go up, other goods and services go up," Stokes said.The average household could save $1,800 on their energy bill each year by installing a modern electric heat pump and rooftop solar and buying an electric vehicle, according to an analysis by Rewiring America, a think tank that promotes electrification.Cheaper electric vehiclesA Scion IQ electric car is plugged in in a garage in Irvine, California, on January 26, 2015.Lucy Nicholson/ReutersThe bill would extend an existing $7,500 tax credit for new EVs — offered as a discount at the point of sale — and offer up to $4,000 for used EVs and plug-in hybrids.It would also lift the cap on the number of tax breaks automakers can offer, benefiting companies like Tesla, General Motors, and Toyota that already hit the limit, as long as the vehicle is assembled in the US.  "Once people own an electric car, they're going to laugh every time they drive by a gas station, when they see $5 a gallon," Foley said, adding, "I think this will help us reach a tipping point, where five to 10 years from now you won't see gas cars sold anymore, or very few."Gas prices over the $6.00 mark are advertised at a Mobil Station in Santa Monica, California, on May 23, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersThere are some caveats, like your income, the vehicle's price tag, and where its parts are made.If you earn $150,000 or more a year, or $300,000 in joint family income, you won't qualify for the new car tax credit. There's a limit on the price of the car, too. Bigger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, must cost less than $80,000, and smaller cars less than $55,000, to qualify for the credit.For used cars, the income limit is $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers. The sticker price must be $25,000 or below. The bill also requires vehicle batteries to be made with 40% of minerals extracted or processed in countries the US has a free trade agreement with, or recycled in North America. But supply chains for those minerals don't exist yet, E&E News reported. The majority of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other minerals used in EV batteries come from China, Russia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, although analysts told E&E News they hope the mandate spurs a made-in-America market.Cleaner air to breatheA man rides his skateboard at sunset while doing a trick in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2019.Carlo Allegri/ReutersWith fewer gas-guzzling cars on the road, and fewer industrial sites powered by fossil fuels, air would be cleaner and safer to breathe."These sorts of climate measures could also reduce particulate matter or ozone smog, as kind of a side benefit that would directly, immediately improve health," Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins, told Insider.That drop in air pollution could prevent up to 3,900 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks by 2030, according to an analysis by the policy-research firm Energy Innovation LLC.A layer of air pollution hangs over Denver, Colorado, on January 21, 2020.Jim Urquhart/ReutersThe American Lung Association pointed to those clean air and health gains in a statement Thursday, urging Congress to "move swiftly" and "without delay" to pass the new bill into law.The bill also includes provisions to fund cleanup of dangerous pollution sites, which are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities of color.The investment is "probably not enough, but it's more than we've ever spent before," Foley said.Jobs, jobs, jobsFord Assembly workers install a battery onto the chassis of a Ford Focus Electric vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on November 7, 2012.Rebecca Cook/ReutersBy investing about $60 billion in manufacturing — everything from heat pumps to wind turbines — this climate plan would help keep clean-energy companies in the US, securing "good paying, and hopefully union, jobs," Stokes said.It's not just manufacturing. Renewable-energy infrastructure needs to be installed and maintained. The bill would fund new electricity-transmission lines, offshore wind projects, housing retrofits, renewable-energy projects in rural areas, and repurposing or replacing defunct energy infrastructure.A worker sits at the base of a wind turbine blade at TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa, on December 22, 2011.Joshua Lott/ReutersAll that work requires workers. The bill would create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Energy Innovation analysis.The bill also focuses on communities historically associated with oil, gas, and coal extraction, by providing a tax incentive for companies that create renewable-energy jobs in those places. Protection from extreme weatherDaniel Bosquez shades the face of Timothy Jalomo, 10 months, from the afternoon sun as he fills a plastic pool with water, as San Antonio, Texas is placed under an excessive heat warning, on July 11, 2022.Lisa Krantz/ReutersClimate change is making droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves more severe and more frequent. These weather events cause serious damage to human property and infrastructure and cost lives.The bill would provide funding for communities to mitigate the health effects of extreme heat, to prevent and respond to wildfires, and to prepare for coastal climate impacts like severe hurricanes and flooding from sea-level rise. It also gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a funding boost for forecasting and research.A house is fully engulfed by flames during the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California, August 5, 2021.Fred Greaves/ReutersWhile the new funds would help communities adapt to extreme events, the bill could also help prevent weather from getting even more extreme. If the world cuts emissions enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, that could prevent a significant acceleration in the severity and coverage area of extreme weather."I think everyone I work with in the emissions community is sort of holding their breath and hoping that this [bill] goes through," Miller said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 3rd, 2022

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (ULH) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Universal Truckload (ULH) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Universal Logistics (ULH)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 28.1% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $34.36 in the previous session. Universal Logistics has gained 79.9% since the start of the year compared to the -10.6% move for the Zacks Transportation sector and the -11.2% return for the Zacks Transportation - Services industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 28, 2022, Universal Truckload reported EPS of $1.69 versus consensus estimate of $1.16.For the current fiscal year, Universal Truckload is expected to post earnings of $5.80 per share on $2.01 billion in revenues. This represents an 80.12% change in EPS on a 15% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $5.20 per share on $1.9 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -10.34% and -5.59%, respectively.Valuation MetricsUniversal Truckload may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Universal Truckload has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 5.9X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 11.4X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 5.9X versus its peer group's average of 7X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Universal Truckload currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Universal Truckload meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Universal Truckload shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.How Does ULH Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of ULH have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Hub Group, Inc. (HUBG). HUBG has a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) and a Value Score of A, a Growth Score of A, and a Momentum Score of B.Earnings were strong last quarter. Hub Group, Inc. beat our consensus estimate by 76.71%, and for the current fiscal year, HUBG is expected to post earnings of $9.48 per share on revenue of $5.4 billion.Shares of Hub Group, Inc. have gained 6.9% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 7.95X and a P/CF of 8.63X.The Transportation - Services industry is in the top 11% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for ULH and HUBG, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (ULH): Free Stock Analysis Report Hub Group, Inc. (HUBG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 3rd, 2022

Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Otter Tail (OTTR) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Otter Tail (OTTR)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 18.2% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $78.83 in the previous session. Otter Tail has gained 9.7% since the start of the year compared to the 2.5% move for the Zacks Utilities sector and the 2.9% return for the Zacks Utility - Electric Power industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on August 1, 2022, Otter Tail reported EPS of $2.05 versus consensus estimate of $1.27.For the current fiscal year, Otter Tail is expected to post earnings of $5.37 per share on $1.37 billion in revenues. This represents a 26.95% change in EPS on a 14.58% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $3.81 per share on $1.31 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -29.05% and -4.65%, respectively.Valuation MetricsOtter Tail may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Otter Tail has a Value Score of C. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are C and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 14.6X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 19X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 12.1X versus its peer group's average of 9.1X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Otter Tail currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Otter Tail fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Otter Tail shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.How Does OTTR Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of OTTR have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is WEC Energy Group, Inc. (WEC). WEC has a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) and a Value Score of D, a Growth Score of B, and a Momentum Score of C.Earnings were strong last quarter. WEC Energy Group, Inc. beat our consensus estimate by 5.81%, and for the current fiscal year, WEC is expected to post earnings of $4.37 per share on revenue of $8.65 billion.Shares of WEC Energy Group, Inc. have gained 4.9% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 23.72X and a P/CF of 13.76X.The Utility - Electric Power industry is in the top 33% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for OTTR and WEC, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR): Free Stock Analysis Report WEC Energy Group, Inc. (WEC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 3rd, 2022

Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (KRUS) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Kura Sushi (KRUS) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Kura Sushi (KRUS)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 62.2% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $89.81 in the previous session. Kura Sushi has gained 6.3% since the start of the year compared to the -19.3% move for the Zacks Retail-Wholesale sector and the -12.9% return for the Zacks Retail - Restaurants industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 7, 2022, Kura Sushi reported EPS of $0.05 versus consensus estimate of $-0.09 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 4.03%.For the current fiscal year, Kura Sushi is expected to post earnings of -$0.24 per share on $140.3 million in revenues. This represents an 88.89% change in EPS on a 116.21% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $0.23 per share on $187.15 million in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 193.75% and 33.39%, respectively.Valuation MetricsKura Sushi may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Kura Sushi has a Value Score of F. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and B, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Kura Sushi currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Kura Sushi fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Kura Sushi shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.How Does KRUS Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of KRUS have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (ARCO). ARCO has a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) and a Value Score of A, a Growth Score of A, and a Momentum Score of A.Earnings were strong last quarter. Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. beat our consensus estimate by 140%, and for the current fiscal year, ARCO is expected to post earnings of $0.53 per share on revenue of $3.33 billion.Shares of Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. have gained 14.8% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 13.8X and a P/CF of 9.11X.The Retail - Restaurants industry may rank in the bottom 80% of all the industries we have in our universe, but there still looks like there are some nice tailwinds for KRUS and ARCO, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (KRUS): Free Stock Analysis Report Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (ARCO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 3rd, 2022

If You Invested $1000 in Costco a Decade Ago, This is How Much It"d Be Worth Now

Holding on to popular or trending stocks for the long-term can make your portfolio a winner. For most investors, how much a stock's price changes over time is important. Not only can it impact your investment portfolio, but it can also help you compare investment results across sectors and industries.Another factor that can influence investors is FOMO, or the fear of missing out, especially with tech giants and popular consumer-facing stocks.What if you'd invested in Costco (COST) ten years ago? It may not have been easy to hold on to COST for all that time, but if you did, how much would your investment be worth today?Costco's Business In-DepthWith that in mind, let's take a look at Costco's main business drivers. Based in Issaquah, Washington, Costco Wholesale Corporation sells high volumes of foods and general merchandise (including household products and appliances) at discounted prices through membership warehouses. It is one of the largest warehouse club operators in the United States. The company also operates e-commerce sites in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.The company’s warehouses offer an array of low-priced nationally branded and select private labeled products in a wide range of merchandise categories. Costco offers three types of memberships to its customers: Business, Gold Star (individual), and Executive.As of Jul 7, 2022, Costco operates 833 warehouses, including 574 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 107 in Canada, 40 in Mexico, 31 in Japan, 29 in the United Kingdom, 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 13 in Australia, four in Spain, and two each in France and China, and one in Iceland.Costco generates revenue from two sources: 1) Store sales (Net sales; 98% of fiscal 2021 total revenue) and 2) Membership fees (MFI; 2% of fiscal 2021 total revenue).Costco offers myriad varieties of food products as well as a vast range of household and lifestyle products, stationeries and appliances. The company also sells gasoline to customers at cheap prices and offers merchandise in the following categories:Food and Sundries (including dry foods, packaged foods, groceries, snack foods, candy, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, andcleaning supplies)Hardlines (including major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio)Fresh Foods (including meat, produce, deli, and bakery)Softlines (including apparel and small appliances)Ancillary (including gasoline and pharmacy businesses).Bottom LineWhile anyone can invest, building a lucrative investment portfolio takes research, patience, and a little bit of risk. If you had invested in Costco ten years ago, you're probably feeling pretty good about your investment today.According to our calculations, a $1000 investment made in August 2012 would be worth $5,574.09, or a gain of 457.41%, as of August 1, 2022, and this return excludes dividends but includes price increases.In comparison, the S&P 500 gained 198.01% and the price of gold went up 5.78% over the same time frame.Looking ahead, analysts are expecting more upside for COST. Being a consumer defensive stock, Costco has been surviving the market turmoil pretty well. The discount retailer’s key strengths are strategic investments, a customer-centric approach, merchandise initiatives, and an emphasis on membership growth. These factors have been helping it register impressive sales and earnings numbers. We expect the company to register an 18.6% adjusted earnings per share improvement in fiscal 2022 on 14.7% revenue growth. This outlook accounts for the businesses’ ability to navigate the ongoing inflationary environment and supply chain bottlenecks on several fronts. A favorable product mix, steady store traffic, pricing power and strong liquidity position should help Costco keep outperforming. While trading at a premium to its peers, its long-term growth prospects should help the stock see a solid upside. The stock is up 11.43% over the past four weeks, and no earnings estimate has gone lower in the past two months, compared to 2 higher, for fiscal 2022. The consensus estimate has moved up as well. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through 2021, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios gained an impressive +1,001.2% versus the S&P 500’s +348.7%. Now our Director of Research has combed through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank and has handpicked the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in…because the sooner you do, the more upside you stand to grab.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 1st, 2022

3 Restaurant Stocks to Bet on Despite Industry Headwinds

Restaurant stocks like ARCO, PTLO and PBPB are likely to benefit from sturdy off-premise sales, sales-building initiatives and digital initiatives. The Zacks Retail – Restaurants industry has been benefiting from the gradual improvement in demand, robust off-premise sales, sales-building efforts and digital initiatives for a while. However, increased cost of employee wages, benefits and insurance, and other operating costs, such as rent and traffic, continue to hurt companies in the said space. Rising prices are also affecting the industry’s traffic. However, Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. ARCO, Portillo's Inc. PTLO and Potbelly Corporation PBPB are well-poised to counter this scenario.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Retail – Restaurants industry comprises several owners and operators of casual, upscale casual, fine dining, full-service and fast-casual restaurants. Some industry participants operate as roasters, marketers and retailers of specialty coffee. Some companies develop, operate and franchise quick-service restaurants worldwide. A few restaurant operators offer cooked-to-order dishes, including noodles and pasta, soups, salads and appetizers. Some industry players develop, own, operate, manage and license restaurants and lounges worldwide. Some of the companies also operate technology-enabled Japanese restaurants in the United States, providing Japanese cuisine through a revolving sushi service model.3 Trends Shaping the Future of Restaurant IndustryTraffic Woes & High Costs Linger: The restaurant industry has been facing declining traffic for quite some time now. The pandemic further aggravated the scenario. A rapid increase in menu prices and the coronavirus pandemic are the primary reasons behind traffic erosion. The restaurant operators are grappling with the high cost of operations. Intense competition, steep wages and food cost inflation remain concerns. The industry is persistently enduring increased expenses, which have been affecting margins of late. Higher pre-opening costs, marketing expenses and costs related to sales-boosting initiatives are weighing on the margins. The rise in meat and seafood costs, including ribs, prime rib, ribeye and tri-tip, and salmon, is hurting the industry. Per the NPD Group, physical and online traffic dipped 2% in the quarter from the year-ago tally. Quick service restaurant traffic declined 3% year over year during second-quarter 2022. Moreover, full-service restaurant traffic decreased 3% year over year.Digitalization to Drive Growth: Restaurant operators’ focus on digital innovation, sales-building initiatives and cost-saving efforts has been acting as a catalyst for a while. With the growing influence of the Internet, digital innovation became the need of the hour. Restaurant operators are constantly partnering with delivery channels and digital platforms to drive incremental sales. Partnerships with delivery channels like DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats, and the rollout of self-service kiosks and loyalty programs continue to drive growth. The restaurant operators are focusing on driverless delivery systems to augment sales amid the coronavirus crisis. This is anticipated to reduce expenses substantially and ensure safety amid the pandemic as it removes the need to recruit delivery personnel.Off-Premise Sales a Key Catalyst: The industry is consistently gaining from the spike in off-premise sales, which primarily includes delivery, takeout, drive-thru, catering, meal kits and off-site options, such as kiosks and food trucks, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Per the National Restaurant Association, more than 60% of restaurant foods are consumed off-premise. By 2025, off-premise is likely to account for approximately 80% of the industry’s growth. Most restaurant operators initiated trialing ghost or virtual kitchens. The idea of providing off-premise offerings along with a connected curbside service is steadily garnering positive customer feedback.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dismal ProspectsThe Zacks Retail – Restaurants industry is grouped within the broader Retail-Wholesale sector.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates grim near-term prospects. The Zacks Retail - Restaurant industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #189, which places it at the bottom 25% of 252 Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1. Since Jan 31, 2022, the industry’s earnings estimates for the current year have moved 10.5% south.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and the valuation picture.Industry Lags S&P 500 but Beats SectorThe Zacks Retail – Restaurants industry has underperformed the Zacks S&P 500 composite but outperformed its own sector over the past year.Over this period, the industry has declined 18.8% compared with the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s decrease of 9.6%. Meanwhile, the sector has declined 28.2%.One Year Price PerformanceRestaurant Industry's ValuationOn the basis of the forward 12-month P/E ratio, a commonly used multiple for valuing restaurant stocks, the industry is currently trading at 24.2X compared with the S&P 500’s 17.32X. It is marginally below the sector’s forward 12-month P/E ratio of 28.01X.Over the last five years, the industry traded as high as 34.57X and as low as 20.49X, with the median being 24.39X.3 Key Restaurant PicksArcos Dorados: Based in Montevideo, Uruguay, ARCO operates as a franchisee of McDonald's restaurants. It is benefiting from a sharp rise in systemwide comparable sales and new restaurant openings.Shares of this presently Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) player have gained 20.4% against the industry’s decline of 18.6%. Arcos Dorados’ earnings for fiscal 2022 are anticipated to improve 83.3%. In the past 90 days, the consensus mark for 2022 earnings has been revised 10% upward. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Price and Consensus: ARCOPortillo's: Headquartered in Oak Brook, IL, Portillo's continues benefiting from robust same-restaurant sales and restaurant openings. PTLO is gaining from higher average check, driven by an increase in menu prices and to some extent, mix of items sold.Portillo's earnings for fiscal 2022 are anticipated to improve 147.6% year over year. In the past 30 days, the consensus mark for 2022 earnings has been revised 11.1% upward. In the past three months, shares of PTLO have gained 6.5% compared with the industry’s increase of 3.5%. The stock is currently Zacks #2 Ranked.Price and Consensus: PTLOPotbelly: Based in Chicago, IL, Potbelly owns, operates and franchises Potbelly sandwich shops. PBPB is gaining from solid same-store sales, robust digital channels and a strong loyalty program.PBPB carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Potbelly’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 16.9% and 140%, respectively, from the prior-year comparable figures. Shares of Potbelly have declined 28.9% in the past year.Price and Consensus: PBPB Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (ARCO): Free Stock Analysis Report Potbelly Corporation (PBPB): Free Stock Analysis Report Portillo's Inc. (PTLO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 1st, 2022

Murphy USA Inc. (MUSA) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Murphy USA (MUSA) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Murphy USA (MUSA)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 23.6% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $289.81 in the previous session. Murphy USA has gained 44.4% since the start of the year compared to the 24.5% move for the Zacks Oils-Energy sector and the 25.3% return for the Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining and Marketing industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 27, 2022, Murphy USA reported EPS of $7.53 versus consensus estimate of $5.35 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 11.56%.For the current fiscal year, Murphy USA is expected to post earnings of $18.27 per share on $23.42 billion in revenues. This represents a 22.45% change in EPS on a 34.91% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $14 per share on $23.57 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -23.36% and 0.63%, respectively.Valuation MetricsMurphy USA may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Murphy USA has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and B, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 15.8X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is a premium to the peer industry average of 6.2X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 12.1X versus its peer group's average of 9.1X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Murphy USA currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Murphy USA fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Murphy USA shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.How Does MUSA Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of MUSA have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Phillips 66 (PSX). PSX has a Zacks Rank of # 1 (Strong Buy) and a Value Score of B, a Growth Score of A, and a Momentum Score of A.Earnings were strong last quarter. Phillips 66 beat our consensus estimate by 15.79%, and for the current fiscal year, PSX is expected to post earnings of $14.49 per share on revenue of $137.14 billion.Shares of Phillips 66 have gained 7.3% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 6.07X and a P/CF of 9.29X.The Oil and Gas - Refining and Marketing industry is in the top 2% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for MUSA and PSX, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Murphy USA Inc. (MUSA): Free Stock Analysis Report Phillips 66 (PSX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 1st, 2022

Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Enphase Energy (ENPH) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Enphase Energy (ENPH)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 40.4% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $285 in the previous session. Enphase Energy has gained 49.9% since the start of the year compared to the 24.5% move for the Zacks Oils-Energy sector and the 14.1% return for the Zacks Solar industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 26, 2022, Enphase Energy reported EPS of $1.07 versus consensus estimate of $0.83 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 4.66%.For the current fiscal year, Enphase Energy is expected to post earnings of $3.54 per share on $2.22 billion in revenues. This represents a 46.89% change in EPS on a 60.43% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $4.53 per share on $2.9 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 27.93% and 30.67%, respectively.Valuation MetricsEnphase Energy may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Enphase Energy has a Value Score of D. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 77.5X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is a premium to the peer industry average of 49.1X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 134.9X versus its peer group's average of 21.7X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.82. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Enphase Energy currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Enphase Energy passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Enphase Energy shares could still be poised for more gains ahead. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 1st, 2022

Genuine Parts Company (GPC) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Genuine Parts (GPC) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Genuine Parts (GPC)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 12.5% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $150.24 in the previous session. Genuine Parts has gained 6.7% since the start of the year compared to the -24.6% move for the Zacks Auto-Tires-Trucks sector and the -7.1% return for the Zacks Automotive - Replacement Parts industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 27, 2022, Genuine Parts reported EPS of $2.2 versus consensus estimate of $2.02 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 6.39%.For the current fiscal year, Genuine Parts is expected to post earnings of $7.97 per share on $20.94 billion in revenues. This represents a 15.34% change in EPS on a 10.96% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $8.45 per share on $21.73 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 6.06% and 3.77%, respectively.Valuation MetricsGenuine Parts may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Genuine Parts has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 18.8X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is a premium to the peer industry average of 17.9X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 16.5X versus its peer group's average of 14.1X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.9. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Genuine Parts currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Genuine Parts fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Genuine Parts shares could still be poised for more gains ahead. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Genuine Parts Company (GPC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 1st, 2022

What Happens If The Fed Doesn"t Capitulate On Interest Rates?

What Happens If The Fed Doesn't Capitulate On Interest Rates? In the past stock markets used to rely on the innovation and profit reports of individual companies, and while there were sometimes all encompassing events that would push equities in one direction or another, in the last decade there has been only one factor that ever really matters:  The Federal Reserve.   The central bank has positioned itself as the ultimate arbiter of market rallies and corrections.  In fact, most of the world is now placing all their investment bets on a single hope, that the Fed will capitulate on interest rate hikes, ignore the stagflation crisis and ramp up the printing presses once again with wild abandon.  This is the sad state of most markets around the world and American markets in particular.  Investors have enjoyed what amounts to a free ride for more than a decade based on the simple premise that the Fed will “never” allow stocks to crash again.  This assumption is predicated on the idea that the Fed actually cares about the continued stability of the markets.   After the latest Fed interest rate hike the speculation mills are swirling that the central bank will back off of rates as soon as November and refresh the easy money punch bowl.  But we need to consider a question that almost no one is out there asking:  What if they stopped caring?  What if they never cared and stimulus measures were actually meant to achieve a separate agenda that is now finished?  What if the Fed doesn't capitulate?  What is they just keep hiking?   The original rationale given for rate cuts and QE measures was to offset wealth destruction caused by the 2008 credit crash.  The scheme was NOT supposed to continue onward with new stimulus every year or every time stocks lost 10%-20%.  Yet, that is exactly what happened.  Today, 14 years later, market investors are utterly addicted to near-zero rates and an endless supply of cheap fiat.  Stocks cannot sustain their value otherwise.   The root driver of markets for several years has been the uninterrupted flow of near zero-interest loans into corporate coffers which are then used for stock buybacks (when a company buys their own stock to reduce the number of shares available, thus artificially inflating the value of the shares that are left in circulation).  If the Fed raised rates on these loans and cuts stimulus for an extended period of time, then stocks WILL crash.  It's inevitable.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is well aware of this dynamic.  He even warned about it specifically during the Fed's October 2012 meeting.  He stated: “I have concerns about more purchases. As others have pointed out, the dealer community is now assuming close to a $4 trillion balance sheet and purchases through the first quarter of 2014. I admit that is a much stronger reaction than I anticipated, and I am uncomfortable with it for a couple of reasons. First, the question, why stop at $4 trillion? The market in most cases will cheer us for doing more. It will never be enough for the market. Our models will always tell us that we are helping the economy, and I will probably always feel that those benefits are overestimated. And we will be able to tell ourselves that market function is not impaired and that inflation expectations are under control. What is to stop us, other than much faster economic growth, which it is probably not in our power to produce? When it is time for us to sell, or even to stop buying, the response could be quite strong; there is every reason to expect a strong response. So there are a couple of ways to look at it. It is about $1.2 trillion in sales; you take 60 months, you get about $20 billion a month. That is a very doable thing, it sounds like, in a market where the norm by the middle of next year is $80 billion a month. Another way to look at it, though, is that it’s not so much the sale, the duration; it’s also unloading our short volatility position.” Powell blatantly referred to the Fed's machinations as 'our short volatility position.'  In other words, he admits that stocks have been artificially inflated into a bubble by constant interference in natural price discovery.  And, he even suggests that this is dangerous in the long run as he asks 'what happens when we stop buying?'  The Fed has now essentially stopped buying and we have seen markets drop around 20% since.  Whenever stocks spike (or at least stop falling) it's only because of rumors that the Fed will reverse course.   This has created a serious potential for a negative feedback loop.  Markets will continue to expect Fed capitulation and investors will buy until November; then, when the Fed hikes rates again, investors will sell in a panic.  The potential for abuse by certain institutions is very high – Anyone with influence in the media could easily plant a rumor that the Fed is about to back off of rates and pump up equities through misinformation.   The Fed did not reverse course during the Great Depression and this led to an extended period of deflationary crisis.  Of course, back then, they didn't even have a stagflation problem staring them down.  Today, with official price inflation at 40 year highs and unemployment at incredible lows (due over $6 trillion in covid helicopter money), the central bank has every excuse to continue rate hikes well into 2023.  There would have to be a dramatic flood of deflationary indicators and job losses to justify capitulation so soon.   And, again, what if the Fed stopped caring about stocks?  What if they prefer a crash to occur?  Assuming the Fed has the economy's best interests at heart seems like an epic and foolish mistake.   The Catch-22 reality of our economy needs to be addressed and this is just not happening.  No one in the mainstream wants to admit that either way the Fed goes, there will be disaster.  They can hike rates and cut stimulus and markets will plunge while job losses explode, or, they can roll over and bring back the money spigot resulting in even higher prices on everything.  There is no third option.  There is no soft landing.  It's all a lie.   Really, the only way to determine which way the Fed will go is to consider which path makes the Fed look like it TRIED to save the day?  Does cutting rates and pumping out more stimulus make them seem more responsible, or, does continuing on the rate hike path give them deniability as stagflation becomes entrenched?   The Fed answers to no one when it comes to policy.  Not the White House, not Congress, not the GOA, no one, as Alan Greenspan once openly admitted.  So, it is the Fed that is culpable for the mess we are in, along with all the politicians that protect them from public scrutiny and encourage their degradation of the economy.  It makes sense that at this stage in the game the Fed's only concern will be to make themselves look like battle worn heroes who tried to save the day, but just couldn't overcome the tidal wave of financial collapse.             Tyler Durden Sat, 07/30/2022 - 09:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 30th, 2022

Here"s why inflation may have peaked — but a recession could still loom

The biggest story in markets today is that a top economist said inflation may have peaked, but a downturn still looms. Plus, Wall Street stock picks. I hope this newsletter finds you well, even as inflation runs amok and everything from groceries to gas is more expensive than a year ago. Phil Rosen here, coming to you from Los Angeles today.No matter how many times the Fed told us inflation was transitory, high prices have been hard to ignore. But one top economist predicted that, finally, our wallets may get some respite.   But there's a catch. There's always a catch. Here we go.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Mohamed El-Erian.Rob Kim/Getty Images1. Inflation might have hit its peak, but there's still pain ahead even if prices start to fall, according to Mohamed El-Erian, famed economist and advisor to Allianz. Here's what he told CNBC on Friday: "I think inflation has peaked in the US, at least for the next three to four months…But the problem is not that inflation is going to come down — that's a really good thing. The problem is that inflation is going to come down with growth probably going into a recession, and that's not good news."Goldman Sachs said a broad slowdown would hit Corporate America too, even though it has so far weathered 41-year high inflation without much impact to profitability.In the first half of the year, Americans have picked up the slack for corporations. But soon US companies are going to find it increasingly difficult to pass on price hikes to consumers, Goldman said, and that's left earnings estimates far too optimistic. "Because employment has been strong, the economy has been strong, consumers have had savings — so they've been able to pass through most of that to the consumer," a senior Goldman Sachs strategist said. "I think it will become more difficult to pass that through to the consumer, and we are expecting margins to be squeezed," she added.In other news:Getty Images North America/Getty Images2. US stock futures rise early Monday, as investors brace for further interest rate decisions by the Federal Reserve later this week. Meanwhile, bitcoin fell back below the $22,000 level. Here are today's market moves.3. On the docket: Linde plc, Cadence Design Systems Inc., and Axis Bank Ltd, all reporting. 4. UBS recommended this batch of stocks that can generate strong returns during a "historically fast slowdown" that could turn into a recession. According to the firm's analysts, these are the names that they have high conviction in despite the current and brutal market. Here's the list of 22 stocks. 5. Russian oil that usually goes to China is making its way to India instead as competition for cheap crude heats up. Cargoes carrying Russian oil were en route to east India on Friday, where an Indian Oil Corp refinery is located. But that's not all — Iran and Venezuela are also ramping up competition to sell crude to India and China. 6. There's a new type of lumber contract set to shake up the futures market. And its going to allow the key commodity to be moved at one-quarter the volume compared to old contracts. A lumber broker in Colorado told Insider that the switch could skyrocket the number of orders flowing into the lumber market and smooth out price volatility. 7. "Rich Dad Poor Dad" author Robert Kiyosaki warned that raging US inflation could spark a historic depression. The personal finance guru said surging prices and workforce cuts are red flags for a steep downturn. Kiyosaki also sounded the alarm on home sales and foreclosures in a bleak prediction for US real estate.  8. Bank of America is home to the most bearish stock chief on Wall Street. Savita Subramanian has slashed her target for US indexes lower than her competitors have. But she said investors should make these 8 moves to profit from an increasingly difficult market.9. Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has big plans to bail out crypto companies amid the market rout. Speaking with Bloomberg, he said FTX keeps its treasury in dollars to curb risk, and explained how he assesses which troubled firms to help. Plus, he broke down why it's okay to make a "moderately bad" deal in the current landscape.Ethereum Price on July 25Markets Insider10. Ether jumped as much as 50% over the last month. And it has beaten out bitcoin's gains over the same stretch, as enthusiasm for the crypto grows after an Ethereum Foundation member sparked rumors about an upcoming update. However, ether was down 4% early Monday. Follow the latest price moves here.Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn).Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 25th, 2022