Natural Gas and Cash Hordes

Thanks to the kindess of strangers, blogging goes uninterrupted, as Tony Vahl has come to my rescue. Tony is a serial blogger and the author of the off-beat Dream Seeker book series. 

His own highly regarded site, The Daily Skew, is now also available for monthly subscription on the Kindle. Today’s guest blog marks his second for me, as I am currently under general anesthesia, in recovery, dead or recuperating at home.

Maybe all three, if I hedged properly.



Natural Gas and Cash HoardsSeeing that my last post here did not result in the death of the lowly regarded TheAcsMan blog, I decided to come back and share two things I learned this week while listening to Bloomberg Radio and reading a Seeking Alpha missive. 

To make this post a little more relevant to the legion of TheAcsMan blog readers (all 39 of you), I will go ahead and compare what I learned with what George has said about the topic in the past.  Okay, so what did I learn this week listening to Bloomberg?  Here goes:

1. The United States has a twenty year competitive edge on the rest of the world when it comes to Natural Gas resources

I know there’s a flatulence joke in here somewhere, but I’m going to leave that alone.  I’m reminded of the scene in Star Wars where the Storm Trooper says, “It’s just a gas tick,” on the closed captioning. A co-worker once swore to me the Trooper actually said, “I’m just a little gassy,” as Obi-Wan scampered off.

Anyway, a few Talking Heads this week talked about how demand for oil is leveling off, how the US will be a net exporter of oil in 20 years, and how auto makers are eager to offer natural gas-fueled vehicles to consumers, even with an option to go back to regular 87 octane at the flip of a switch. 

So, tell Clint Eastwood the U.S. has the advantage in the second half, as we enter into the post-Madonna era.

Futurama Head in a JarSearching through George’s archives for Natural Gas references, I found an article about Slovakia flexing it’s muscle like a female bodybuilder, and another article about how we are evolving from a manufacturing society into a Futurama head jar society.  Since the Slovakia vote from last year, it seems the ECB has figured out how to bail out and chew pita bread at the same time. Also, while manufacturing is shrinking in the US, fracking will still require some arms and torsos, while the rest of us aspire to lose our shoulders.

How about Seeking Alpha?  What did I learn there, if anything?

2. Companies with Cash Hordes, like Apple, IBM, and 3M, are so scared of regulations that they will keep their money on the sidelines, until a business-friendly President gets elected.

Well, just for the record, I disagree with this hypothesis.  I don’t believe that companies like Amazon are waiting for a Republican to get elected before hiring new employees or acquiring companies.  Apple just this week acquired Chomp (I feel like playing Pac-Man on my wife’s iPhone all of a sudden) for $50 million, to help them sort apps or something.  Anyway, I don’t think Tim Cook is afraid of the Obama administration, or toothless regulators.  If there is a good investment out there (uh, like Chomp), I’m sure these cash horde companies will take advantage of buying opportunities.

Or they might pay out a healthy dividend.  Nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, looking through TheAcsMan archives, I came across three articles that kind of relate to the topic:

Is Apple Hitting a Wall: Like that Test Track ride at Epcot, Apple repeatedly breaks the wall, over and over again, thrilling investors who can’t wait to stand in line again for more.

Oracle as an Oracle: Well, Oracle wasn’t on that list of cash horders for a
reason, apparently.  The Mark Hurd succession theory makes a lot of sense for Larry Ellison.  Amazon’s AWS cloud has become a huge source of revenue, but as long as the Treasury keeps printing dollars, that cash horde grows smaller and smaller, even as the number grows larger.

Why I Owe Steve Jobs a Debt: Microsoft stole an OS, but Apple now has almost double the amount of cash that $MSFT has.  I’m not sure if your local Buddhist will cite this as an example of Karma, but I am laughing at the irony.  Windows 8 might not be enough to keep iPads out of the Enterprise market. Apple owns the next generation OS, and they are determined to not repeat history.  They are also determined to sue Android manufacturers (and, by extension, Google) to death.  Apple’s cash as a retirement fund for lawyers. 

That sounds like a plan.


Comments: With the recent passing of Tupac Shakur from acute led poisoning, the readership of TheAcsMan blog is now actually down to 38. Be assured, however, that the Board of Directors is actively seeking to hire a consulting company to increase readership numbers to previous levels.

I am also somewhat offended that Tony went outside of TheAcsMan archives in pursuit of corroborating references. Bloomberg? Seeking Alpha? Never heard of them?

Now what exactly is wrong with being a “Cash whore?” These days there’s not too much incentive for anyone to stay in cash, unless that cash is oversees and protected from US taxes.



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