Weekend Reading

16 September 2017 | by Paul Perrino, CFA

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

The curse of middle-aged capitalism (Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post)

The business landscape has undergone a change. “In 1975, 109 firms accounted for half the profits; by 2015, 30 companies did.” Those 30 companies are much different than the 109 in 1975. They’re older. This average age has increased because of merges. Small firms are being bought out by companies that are making huge profits, such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

China Fossil Fuel Deadline Shifts Focus to Electric Car Race (Bloomberg News)

Following the plan from the UK, China announced to end the production and sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. The exact time-table is still under discussion. This shift is expected to improve the air quality, which has been an issue in China. They’re already selling EV. BYD, BAIC and GM delivered over 83,000 EVs in the first seven months of 2017. This may sound like a lot, but that only represents “0.04 percent of its 2.1 million vehicles sold in total in China during the seven months.”

How Kirkland Signature Became One of Costco’s Biggest Success Stories (Sarah Nassauer, @SarahNassauer, WSJ)

Costco developed a strategy to help their customers find the best quality products and save money. This came through the development of Kirkland brands. By simplifying the packaging and eliminate the marketing costs, Kirkland can offer similarly sourced products at discounts.

Apple explains what exactly happened when Face ID ‘failed’ during iPhone X demo (Chance Miller, @ChanceHMiller, 9to5)

During the Apple event this week there was a hiccup during the iPhone X demo. When Craig Federighi went to demo the new face recognition software by unlocking the new iPhone X with his face, the phone appeared to not recognize his face and required the text pass-code to unlock.

Clients of Ensemble Capital own shares of Costco (COST), Google (GOOGL), and Apple (AAPL).

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