Thursday, April 25, 2019

Early Evening Rambling -- Nothing About The Bakken -- April 25, 2019

It's 10:15 p.m. CT; I'm laying here listening to the Lana Del Rey's entire catalogue.

There will be nothing about the Bakken here. In fact there will be nothing of interest to anyone but me. For the archives; helps put things in perspective when I look back to see what was going on other than the Bakken at this point in time.

Alexa: I sound like a broken record -- no pun intended -- but Alexa is the best thing since sliced bread. I love Alexa. Can't imagine not having it. It started out as a gift from our older daughter; we have three Echo Dots in our small two-bedroom apartment -- the entire apartment is smaller than Algore's master bedroom walk-in closet. I might get two more Echo Dots. For Amazon, multiple revenue streams from the Echo Dots.

Amazon: I order "stuff" on Amazon and less than two days later it shows up on my doorstep. Amazon will deliver even more quickly if necessary.

Lana Del Rey: I am unaware of any songwriter / singer who writes more personal songs. It is amazing what she is willing to share.

Summer sadness. Sophia happened to hear this song on the radio on the way into Tutor Time. Sophia asked if the singer was sad when she sang this song. Wow. That from a four-year-old; will be five this summer.

Sophia: I pick her up from Tutor Time around 5:30 p.m. I would pick her up earlier but she wants to play with her friends. After picking her up, we bike in the park; she plays with her friends in the apartment complex; we stop to play with dogs in the neighborhood. By the time I get her back home it's 9:00 p.m. and an hour later I already miss her.

Hemingway: said he wrote from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and was quite "religious" about those hours. He said he planned to quit writing at 12:00 noon every day but he would not quit until he had an idea for the next day's writing. That way he never suffered from writer's block. When he quit writing at noon, he knew what he was going to write the next day, so that when he started writing at 8:00 a.m. the next day he was ready to go.

The market: I've never been in such a good mood during the middle of earnings season. More of that tomorrow.

Schwab: I assume there are a dozen different ways to invest and everyone has his/her favorite. But what little I know about the investment world, it's hard to beat Schwab. Schwab has introduced the personal financial advisor for a flat fee of $30/month. It's a game-changer. Regardless of size of portfolio, a flat fee of $360/year. If you think that's not a game changer see what your ML fees are.

Schwab investment luncheon: our Schwab investment advisor hosts investment luncheons once monthly. She invites twelve of her clients, and that's it. Incredible seminars and a free catered Mexican luncheon.

Schwab is building a huge "Schwab center" west of Grapevine, north of Ft Worth. It's in Westlake, TX. Might be the biggest "Schwab center" in the US. Originally slated to have 3,000+ employees, it is now likely to have more than 5,000 employees. I've talked with a day trader who now works in the IT division of Schwab, helping to develop algorithms. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Trump: ever since Trump was elected my life has been hell. My wife supports open borders. I don't. My wife supports increased federal income taxes; I don't. She thought Beto was the best thing since sliced bread (sorry about that, using that twice in one blog) until she realized how dumb he was. Then she supported Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Julio Castro, in that order ... except the "mayor" is now her favorite. As I was saying, my life has been hell since Trump was elected. I've given up. LOL.

Sports: Texans take their sports very seriously. Our middle granddaughter had a middle school soccer game, but at the half she had to leave to go to soccer practice with her "club" team. Two to three hours of soccer every night except Friday, it seems; and, then games on the weekend.  Our middle granddaughter has taught Sophia, the four-year-old how to stop a soccer ball ("tap it") and then kick the soccer ball off the side of her foot. By the way our middle granddaughter's school soccer team is #1 in its "division." They beat their neighborhood rival last night, 4 - 0. Our middle granddaughter is the only player on the team that is also a "club" player.

NFL draft. It was interesting to hear the ABC folks "blow off'" the assault incident by the #19 pick; the assault on a woman, apparently, was caught on film. I didn't see the video, but "they" went on for quite some time saying how he had "redeemed" himself. Eleven NFL teams took that player off the table; no matter how good he was, eleven NFL teams refused to consider him. The Tennessee Titans and ABC had no qualms, apparently. Whatever. At the end of the day, thugs. But that's not to say I don't enjoy watching the NFL on occasion. Generally during the playoffs.

Agenda For NDIC Hearing Dockets Agenda For May, 2019, Has Been Posted

Tuesday, May 14, 2019: link here
Wednesday, May 22, 2019: link here. Six pages.
Thursday, May 23, 2019: link here. Ten pages.

I will post summary later.

If links above are incorrect, go to this link:

Hess 1Q19 Earnings Beat On Bakken Production Volumes -- April 25, 2019

Link here.

Holy mackerel: the consensus was for Hess to show a loss of 26 cents/share.

In fact, Hess reported earnings of 9 cents/share.

We'll discuss that later.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

HES: jumps 2.07% in after-hours trading; up $1.33; trading at $65.51.


Ford crushes estimates. Came in at 44 cents vs estimates of 27 cents. Shares surge.

Purely Political -- Nothing About The Bakken -- April 25, 2019

Disclaimer: in a long note like this there will be typographical and factual errors. But I think most readers will get the gist of the essay.

I've gone back and forth on this over the past few months: whether Hillary Clinton could clinch the Democratic nomination for president.

Earlier, at best, I thought it was 50-50 that she could show up at the DNC nomination convention and get the nomination on the second (or later) vote (following a failed first vote to elect a nominee, i.e., a brokered convention).

I think the chances of that happening have risen significantly. Perhaps not as high as a 95% chance that it could happen vs a 5% chance that it won't happen but I certainly think the possibility is there. So, perhaps, for the sake of argument, I will suggest a 60 - 40 chance that she will show up at the DNC convention and get the nomination if/when the delegates fail to nominate Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders on the first round of voting.

This is the rationale, which I posted earlier today, under my "daily note" linked at the sidebar at the right, with editing:
I was waiting to see if anyone noted the timing. It takes a few days to "reserve" one's spot in the op-ed of any newspaper. It was telegraphed a few days ago that Joe Biden would announce his candidacy on Thursday, April 25, 2019. As a courtesy, he may have even told Mr Obama and even, possibly Hillary a few days ago. Hold that thought.
He made his announcement at oh-dark-thirty via a video which was released at the very same time the morning edition of the Washington Post was being delivered across Washington, DC.
On the very day that Biden announced his candidacy, Hillary Clinton has her op-ed in the Washington Post. [April 25, 2019]

From her op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, the very day (actually the very hour) that Joe Biden announced, this sounds like a woman who wants to jump back into the race:
Clinton continued in the [Washington Post op-ed] piece to call on Congress to “hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps,” and said the country needs “clear-eyed patriotism, not reflexive partisanship.” 
I could be wrong but "clear-eyed patriotism" is a(n) euphemism that has been applied to Hillary Clinton. 

The chances of a brokered convention are much higher this time than in 2016: there is no clear-cut favorite (Bernie vs Biden, both at 30%, with very, very unwavering support among that 30% -- the Bernie supporters are not going to abandon Bernie in the primaries and I doubt Biden's supporters will move to Bernie). At best they each get 40%, well short of that needed to win at the convention. And that could go on for several rounds of voting.

In addition, after the 2016 DNC nominating convention, the whole issue of super-delegates was changed, and to the best of my knowledge, these super-delegates will not have as much control/power as they did when Hillary was running. Many suggest that Bernie wold have beaten Hillary in a "fair" campaign.

Without question, Hillary is scrolling through her Rolodex, calling "her" delegates, telling them to keep the faith and that if either Bernie or Biden does not win on the first vote, she would appreciate their support. The downside to this argument: if she is calling those delegates, someone will leak that to the press. But she can always hold those calls until much closer to the convention.

Even without those phone calls, her op-ed reassured her base that she was still "in the fight." 

The timing will have to be perfect. If it's a brokered convention, and Hillary is "late," the majority of non-Biden, non-Bernie delegates will move to Biden. If there is no turmoil after the first vote, and they proceed quickly to a second vote, Hillary won't have the time to get on stage. But if we go to a third, fourth, or fifth vote, and the convention starts to get unruly, I can see Hillary (and Bill) suddenly walking out on stage. [For conspiracy theorists, I think Obama/Clinton will control the DNC convention and can stage-manage her entrance.]

The person who should be most upset by the timing of Hillary's Washington Post op-ed is Joe Biden. Again, Hillary sucked all the oxygen out of the room on the day he announced.

Family Commitments May Preclude 
Any More Blogging Until Late This Evening

ONEOK Making The Bakken Better -- To Extend Bakken NGL Pipeline -- April 25, 2019

Press release, data points:
  • $100 million project
  • 75-mile extension
  • NGL pipeline
  • will connect the northern portion of the Bakken NGL Pipeline with a third-party NG processing plant in eastern Williams County
  • should be complete by 4Q20

IMO 2020 -- Making England Great -- April 25, 2019

XOM will expand its ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) production, data points:
  • Fawley refinery near Southampton, UK
  • will increase ULSD production by nearly 45%
  • $1 billion project
  • Britain's largest integrated facility
  • Fawley will be the most efficient in the UK
  • should reduce UK's need to import diesel fuel; UK imported approx one-half of its diesel supply in 2017
  • should create up to 1,000 jobs
  • anticipates a 2021 startup
Not to be confused with Fawlty Towers. Welcome to my world.

The Psychiatrist

Making America Great Again -- April 25, 2019

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

Sports: American like basketball -- NBA scores often end 120 - 118 range. Americans don't like soccer -- MLS scores often end 1 - 0.

The market: Americans like the Dow -- moves 100 - 300 points some days. Americans don't like the S&P 500 -- it moves 2 to 6 points on any given day.

Today: the Dow falls 200 points. 3M accounted for 160 points of that 200-point fall. But Americans like the Dow.

Solution: if Wall Street wants to get Americans to focus on the more relevant S&P 500, Wall Street needs to find a way to re-calibrate the latter to have it more 100 - 500 points a day. .

Traders: love the hysteria of the Dow.

Investors: should be watching the S&P 500.

Jobs: initial jobless claims --
  • prior, revised upward 1,000 to 193,000 (a 50-year low)
  • forecast: 200,000
  • actual: 230,000
  • continuing jobless claims: fell more than expected to 1.655 million for the week ending April 13
Durable goods:
Durable goods orders came in higher-than-expected based on March’s advanced reading, and core capital good orders posted their largest advance in 8 months. New orders for durable goods, or those meant to last three years or more, rose 2.7% in March, ahead of expectations for a 0.8% increase. Non-defense new orders for capital goods excluding aircraft – the so-called “core” reading of equipment spending that serves as a proxy for business spending – rose 1.3%, surging ahead of expectations for a 0.2% increase. However, shipments for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft unexpectedly declined in March, falling 0.2%, versus a 0.1% rise expected.

“The strong rise in durable goods orders in March was driven in part by a surge in underlying capital goods orders which, together with stronger retail sales last month, suggests the economy is carrying more momentum into the second quarter,” Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note Thursday. 
For Your Reading Pleasure

Highly recommend Carpe Diem's series of three:
If you do visit Carpe Diem, scroll down through the Earth Day posts.

For those reading about Greenland melting, be sure to get the facts.

Great wildlife photos at The Deplorable Climate Science Blog.

April 25, 2019

MMM: The stock also weighs heavily in the Dow, a price-weighted index. 3M’s opening share decline of 10.6%, or $23.21, generated a 157-point drag on the index.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

Market: the Dow is down 200 points. Buying opportunity. First thing I did was check to see if I have any cash to buy anything.

If you like the market today, you will love the market when Joe Biden becomes president. He wants to change course, doesn't like Trump's focus on making America great.

Had I not blogged, I very likely would have not come across "platform company" -- but readers keep me interested.

Dots connecting dots and sooner or later we get to Valeant. Something to think about. That linked article was posted May 10, 2015. The Canadian company apparently changed its name in early 2018.


I normally do not care about Algeria. Don't understand it.

But yesterday, Irina Slav had an easy-to-understand tutorial on Algeria. Data points:
  • on a good day, Algeria produces about 1.1 million bopd
    • comparable to Libya's
  • oil reserves: 12 billion bbls
  • shale gas: third-largest reserves in the world, at 20 trillion cubic feet
  • 2017: 
    • produced 100 billion cubic meters (rounded)
    • exported: 50 billion cubic meters (again, rounded)

The road to Indiana.

This will be good for the archives.

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission: won't consider new power plants unless renewable energy is in the mix. Nixes a $781-million natural gas plant which was to replace an aging coal-burning plant.

I assume the coal-burning plant will be kept going.


A huge "thank you" to Don for sending me this link. I said the same thing some days ago when Chevron made an offer for Anadarka and investors quickly showed their displeasure by selling off CVX. I'll come back to this later when I get caught up. Summary here:
  • Big M&A can be tough to pull off, and usually results in negative shareholder value
  • Chevron's $50 billion acquisition of Anadarko is likely to turn out well, thanks to the company paying a fair price and one of the best management teams in the industry
  • Even after taking on a lot of debt and diluting investors 10%, Chevron's dividend remains very safe and is likely to grow at 5% to 7% annually over time
  • With shares about 5% undervalued, Chevron is offering about 11% CAGR total return potential over the next five years, making it a potentially attractive buy
  • But investors need to keep in mind that this mega deal still brings execution risk on top of Chevron's existing risk profile

Reporting today:
  • Hess: huge; reports earnings of 9 cents/share vs a loss of 26 cent/share forecast.
  • 3M missed. Forecast, $2.57.
  • Amazon after market close. Forecast, $4.72.
  • Baxter. Beat forecast, 68 cents. Came in at 76 cents. Revenue of $2.63 billion exceeded expected $2.62 billion.
  • Xcel Energy: Forecast, 61 cents. In-line; bottom line improved 7% year over year.
  • F: crushes estimates.
  • SBUX: after market close.
  • 3M, as noted above:
3M weighs heavily in the Dow, a price-weighted index. 3M’s opening share decline of 10.6%, or $23.21, generated a 157-point drag on the index.
3M reported that it would lay off 2,000 members of its global workforce and lowered its forecast for full-year earnings, sending shares tumbling as much as 10% in early trading. The company now sees adjusted earnings in the range of between $9.25 to $9.75 per share, down from the $10.45 to $10.90 it guided previously.
This marks the second reduction to 3M’s bottom-line forecast in three months.
The company delivered first-quarter adjusted EPS of $2.23 on net sales of $7.86 billion, missing expectations for earnings of $2.48 on revenue of $8.02 billion, according to Bloomberg data.

"Platform Company" -- April 25, 2019

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

I woke up in the middle of the night, excited to blog, but I had to wait. I had a great dream involving the CEO of Boeing and Jamie Dimon. Pretty funny, but true.

I had spent the evening studying Xilinx and in the process learned a new term, "platform company."

I assume I am the only one in the world, or at least the only US investor, who has never heard of the term.

I still don't quite understand the term; I think it is used by many, to mean different things. It appears it came out of the tech world.

If one were British/English, the corresponding term would be "company of companies." If Japanese, zaibatsu, or "group of companies, generally industrial and financial. But in the US, apparently, the term for a group of tech companies under one company, or a group of health companies under one company, the phrase the "in" crowd is using is "platform company."

I googled, "is Berkshire Hathaway a 'platform company'?

The second hit led me to a Motley Fool article so I knew I had stumbled on something.

Made my day.

The article talks a lot about Bill Ackman who I loathe, though perhaps in person he might be a nice guy. Whatever.

I read the article to learn about the concept of a "platform company," and ignored everything about the specifics of Bill Ackman, Warren Buffett, Valeant, etc.

And I think I'm correct:

Berkshire Hathaway, concentrating on industrial and financial: a company of companies.

Japan: zaidbatsu

US, health and teck: a "platform company."

This all started when I read the 4Q18 earnings transcript for Xilinx. 

Before I go any further: just because I loath Bill Ackman, the two-dimensional cut-out provided by CNBC, does not mean that Valeant is not something investors should ignore.

Valeant: now called Bausch, ticker symbol BHC. Currently trading at $23; pays no dividend.

By the way, if you like the market today, down 200 points (the Dow), you will love the market if Joe Biden is elected. His platform: to change direction. Not happy with Trump's focus on making America great again.

Wow, what a digression.

If you are still with me, this all began when I was reading the 4Q18 earnings transcript for Xilinx. Victor Peng, president and CEO began:
I'm very excited to report that we made exceptional progress on our strategy in fiscal 2019. We far surpassing our original revenue goal by delivering over $3 billion of revenue for the first time in our history. This was 24% growth over fiscal 2018.
Our growth was broad-based with all our primary end markets up by double digits. We also reached record levels of profitability as non-GAAP EPS increased 32% year-over-year to $3.48 per share. T
he March quarter continued to see strength as revenue increased 30% year-on-year to $828 million, and non-GAAP EPS was up 34% year-on-year to $0.94 per share.
Lorenzo will provide more financial details on both the March quarter and fiscal 2019. So now focus my comments on key accomplishments during the year.
We made excellent progress on our transformation to a platform company. First and second generation, zinc product revenue increased approximately 60% with strength and many applications in communications, automotive, particularly ADAS and industrial end markets.
We tapped out our 7-nanometer Versal ACAP on schedule, which is an industry first.
Versal will deliver 10x compute performance and 10x bandwidth and deliver power efficiency for many applications across all of our end markets.
We also launched Alveo, a family of powerful, adaptable PCIe accelerator cards that increase the performance of a broad range of applications for both cloud and on-premise deployment. And we also hosted three very successful developers conferences globally that had a record attendance as part of our drive to increase application development and expand our ecosystem. 
So that I don't forget: Xilinx' chips.

Enough for now. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019, T+13 -- Phrase Of The Day -- "Platform Company"

Big day on the market today: F and SBUX report.

Phrase of the day: platform company. Will come back to this later.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on anything you read here or think you may have read here.

The market, before the open:
  • WTI: just above $66
  • Dow: down 70 points but during the night it was down over a 100 points
  • F: flat at $9.57
  • SBUX: up 26 cents; at $76.65
  • FB: up 9% in pre-market trading; up $16.33
  • XLNX: down $14; down 10% after missing estimates; fascinating story; more on this later; transcript here; news here; AP note here;
  • SM earnings expected to decline; results should be released May 1, 2018
  • COP: up 30 cents; at $64
  • CVX: up 45 cents; at $118.73; had a significant pullback earlier this week when OXY offered a counterbid for Anadarko
  • OXY: down 55 cents, at $61.45, about where it's been before all this started
  • Anadarko: up $7.41 yesterday, up 11.6%; closed at $71.40; this morning unchanged
  • SRE: no trading yet
  • UNP: no trading yet
Speech Recognition

Mother Nature had the same problem as computers do today when it comes to recognizing speech.

From The Language Instinct: How The Mind Creates Language, Steven Pinker, c. 1994, page 163:
The problems Mother Nature faced are digital-to-analog conversion when the talker encodes strings of discrete symbols into a continuous stream of sound, and analog-to-digital conversion when the listener decodes continuous speech back into discrete symbols. 
From page 162:
The physical and neural machinery of speech is a solution to two problems in the design of the human communication system. A person might know 60,000 words, but a person's mouth cannot make 60,000 different noises (at least not ones that the ear can easily discriminate).

So language has exploited the principle of the discrete combinatorial system again.

Sentences and phrases are built out of words, words are built out of morphemes, and morphemes, in turn, are built out of phonemes.

Unlike words and morphemes, though, phonemes do not contribute bits of meaning to the whole. The meaning of dog is not predictable from the meaning of d, the meaning of o, the meaning of g, and their order. Phonemes are a different kind of linguistic object. They connect outward to speech, not inward to mentalese: a phoneme corresponds to an act of making a sound. A division into independent discrete combinatorial systems, one combining meaningless sounds into meaningful morphemes into meaningful words, phrases, and sentences is a fundamental design feature of human language, which the linguist Charles Hockett has called "duality of patterning."

Two Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Today -- April 25, 2019; Those Sanctions On Iran? Never Mind

Joe Biden: must have a busy day scheduled. Announced via video at oh-dark-thirty that he was running for president. I assume he was taking that 3:30 a.m. call.

Sanctions: all that talk about sanctions on Iran. Never mind. The Trump administration has found another loophole to exploit -- Iran can still export oil.

Pipelines: from realclearenergy yesterday -- America needs more oil and natural gas pipelines

Back to the Bakken

Wells coming off the confidential list today --  Thursday, April 25, 2019: 77 wells for the month; 77 wells for the quarter
  • 34310, drl, Crescent Point Energy, CPEUSC Bennie 9-20-17-157N-99W-LL TFH, Lone Tree Lake, no production data,
  • 35323, SI/NC, MRO, Driftwood USA 41-17H, Reunion Bay, no production data,
Active rigs:

Active Rigs6263492684

RBN Energy: who will win the fight to deliver more light crude oil to Louisiana?
The competition among midstream companies to transport light, sweet U.S. crude to Louisiana refineries and to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) is heating up. On April 1, Energy Transfer and Phillips 66 Partners finally started up the Lake Charles-to-St. James portion of their Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is designed to move light oil to the heart of Louisiana’s refining country. Two weeks later, Shell initiated an open season for newly available space on its Zydeco Pipeline from Houston to the St. James and Clovelly hubs, the latter of which can send crude to either local refineries or LOOP — the only Gulf Coast port currently able to fully load Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). Then, earlier this week, Bayou Bridge’s co-owners launched an open season of their own, this one to gauge shipper interest in joint-tariff transportation service on certain connecting pipes that haul light crude from the Bakken, the Niobrara, the Cushing crude hub and the Permian. The fight for barrels doesn’t end there — don’t forget plans for the Capline reversal and the Seahorse, ACE and Swordfish pipelines, all of which also are targeting Louisiana refineries and/or the export market. Game on! Today, we update midstreamers’ efforts to transport more high-API-gravity oil to Louisiana refineries and LOOP.

Back in the Pre-Shale Era, U.S. crude oil production was on a decades-long decline, increasing volumes of foreign oil were being imported to fill the supply gap, and the general direction of flows on U.S. crude pipelines was northbound from the Gulf Coast to inland refineries. In the past 10 years or so, these trends and flows have been reversed: U.S. production is up sharply; crude imports to the U.S. are down (but leveling out); and crude is being pulled toward the Gulf Coast and its array of refineries and export terminals, not away from it. We’ve discussed this tectonic shift in oil-pipeline flows in a number of recent blogs, including ones focused on the Cushing and St. James crude hubs, on Permian takeaway capacity, and on new export capacity being developed along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

An interesting sub-theme in all this is that while many Texas refineries and export terminals (e.g. Corpus Christi, Houston, and Beaumont/Port Arthur) now benefit from direct pipeline access to light, sweet crudes from a variety of U.S. shale plays, the availability of shale crude by pipeline to refineries and export docks in neighboring Louisiana has lagged. But that’s about to change as producers in the Bakken, the Niobrara’s Powder River and Denver-Julesburg (D-J) basins, the Permian and the Eagle Ford seek new outlets for their crude and midstream companies compete to provide the best pipeline access to a wide range of Bayou State destinations.