Weekend Reading

23 December 2016 | by Paul Perrino, CFA

A summary of this week’s best articles. Follow us on Twitter (@INTRINSICINV) for similar ongoing posts and shares.

Artificial Intelligence Makes Strides, but Has a Long Way to Go (Christopher Mims, @mims, WSJ)

Artificial Intelligence is hot topic in the IT world and has been the focus of a lot of investment since 2011, so much so, that the bid for people with these skills has dramatically increased and it has drained universities.  Angela Bassa of EnerNOC said “AI (…) requires three things that most companies don’t have in sufficient quantities.” 1) Amount of data, 2) incremental improvement, 3) scarcity of qualified people.

Apple Is in Talks With Hollywood for Early Access to Movies on iTunes (Anousha Sakoui and Alex Webb, @anoushasakoui and @atbwebb, Bloomberg News)

Apple is facing an uphill battle to get movie studios to allow them to release their new movies early on iTunes. Studios are receiving backlash from theater companies. Most of the profit received from theaters comes from concession sales, which will decline if people start watching movies at home.  Studios receive most of their profits from ticket sales at the box office. In 2011 when Universal tried to release a movie through Comcast cable, theaters threatened to not play their movie.

U.S. Home Construction Lags Behind Broad Economic Rebound (Chris Kirkham, @c_kirkham, WSJ)

The housing economy is still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. Single-family housing starts remain at depressed levels. The current rate is similar to the rate of growth at the trough of the 1981 and 1991 recessions. This recovery has been slower than normal. One cause is millennials. They’ve been delaying their first home purchase because over the past 8 years they’ve been saddled with high student loans from ballooning tuition and tighter mortgage lending.

Hey Oil Market: Forget About OPEC for a Second (Liam Denning and Rani Molla, @liamdenning and @ranimolla, Bloomberg)

The average oil demand growth was primarily from OECD countries from 1985 to 2005. This has changed over the last decade. China now accounts for 40% of the growth in oil demand, but this is projected to decline over the next two decades. After the recent “airpocolypse” in China, they may be forced to look at ways to reduce pollution. “The burden of supporting higher demand thus begins to pass to India, along with a coalition made up of other industrializing bits of Asia and continued growth in the Middle East.”

Ensemble Capital’s clients own shares of Apple (AAPL).

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