Weekend Reading

24 February 2017 | by Paul Perrino, CFA

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

Apple Shares Hit All-Time Closing High as Investors Await Next iPhone (Tripp Mickle and Aaron Kuriloff, @trippmickle and @kuriloff, WSJ)

As Apple hits all-time highs, the Wall Street Journal reached out to our CIO, Sean Stannard-Stockton, CFA for comment and outlook. Here at Ensemble, we believe that the iPhone is more than a stand-alone product, but a sustainable franchise. See our post from September for more insight.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Bought Apple Near the Bottom (Nicole Friedman and Erik Holm, @NicoleFriedman and @erikholmwsj, WSJ)

Warren Buffett’s team made a $1 billion investment in Apple in May of 2016. At that time, AAPL was trading ~$90. As of yesterday’s close, AAPL is trading >$136. This reflects on-going changes at Berkshire Hathaway, away from Buffett and towards his team. Previously, Buffett didn’t invest in technology companies because “they are outside his ‘circle of competence,’ or areas of expertise.”

The roots of technological singularity can be traced backed to the Stone Age (David Krakauer, Wired)

The strive to go beyond our mental capacity has been going on for thousands of years. The first attempt was storing information on clay tablets. “Five thousand years later, silicon semiconductors, ferromagnetic films and floating gate transistors have amplified the recording power of clay a quintillion times.”

For the Blind, an Actual-Reality Headset (Geoffrey Fowler, @geoffreyfowler, WSJ)

Out of the fictional world of Star Trek Next Generation, technologist at eSight created a visor to help the blind see. The visor contains small cameras on the front and magnified displays inside the visor. This allows the individual to see a focused, high-resolution image up close. This creates a new world and experience for the users. “She [Yvonne Felix] recalls the first time she saw ‘Starry Night‘ with her eSight visor on, it made her cry. ‘I saw every little stroke. When I saw the color mixtures and how thick the paint was, it was the most overwhelming moment of my life,’ she says. ‘I thought that never in my life would I be able to see something so beautiful.'”

Texas Oil Fields Rebound From Price Lull, but Jobs Are Left Behind (Clifford Krauss, @ckrausss, NYT)

The decline in oil prices over the past few years have caused oil companies to become more cost conscious and turn to technology. “Roughly 163,000 oil jobs were lost nationally from the 2014 peak, or about 30 percent of the total, while oil prices plummeted, at one point by as much as 70 percent.” This is changing the face of the industry from wildcatters to computer programmers.

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