Tue07222014

News

Q&A with Anne Wojcicki: 23andMe founder, local resident discusses Los Altos investments

Q&A with Anne Wojcicki: 23andMe founder, local resident discusses Los Altos investments


Anne Wojcicki

For the past several years, Anne Wojcicki (Wo-JIT-skee) has been quietly involved in efforts to spruce up downtown Los Altos. She and her husband, Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin, helped form Passerelle Investment Co., which own...

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Schools

Foothill fall registration opens Monday

Local residents interested in earning a specialized career certificate, associate degree or updated job skills can enroll beginning Monday when Foothill College opens fall registration.

In addition to its continuing-education courses, the college pr...

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Community

Sports

Stewart accepts job as baseball coach at Los Altos High

Stewart accepts job as baseball coach at Los Altos High


Los Altos High administrators offered Gabe Stewart the job of head baseball coach at Los Altos High even before he could apply for it.

“They approached me – they wanted an on-campus coach,” said Stewart, an AP History teacher at ...

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Comment

A good start – now follow through: Editorial

The recent announcement of a five-year agreement between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School is welcome relief for the entire community. After years of dispute and litigation, the pact is nothing short of a minor miracle.

Among t...

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Business

In the business of fostering business

In the business of fostering business


took over as Los Altos’ new economic development coordinator in May after spending the past two years working as city assistant planner. Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

Sierra Davis is wearing a slightly different hat these days as a Los Altos cit...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

GORDON E. BRANDT

GORDON E. BRANDT

In May of 2014, Gordon E. Brandt passed away after a one and one half year battle with Lymphoma. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.

Gordon was born in Los Angeles, CA on July 13, 1930. He graduated from Fremont High School in 19...

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Travel

British Columbia: Richmond, Steveston, Victoria hold surprises

British Columbia: Richmond, Steveston, Victoria hold surprises


Courtesy of Tourism Richmond
Shops, restaurants and museums dot the boardwalk in British Columbia’s Steveston, a great site for strolling.

Picturesque British Columbia has long been on our bucket list, and we recently fulfilled that dream.

We...

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Stepping Out

LA Youth Theatre, LA Stage Company join forces for 'Oz'

LA Youth Theatre, LA Stage Company join forces for 'Oz'


Joyce Goldschmid/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of “The Wizard of Oz” includes, clockwise from top left, Dana Levy (as Tinman), Rebecca Krieger (Cowardly Lion), Sarah Traina (Scarecrow) and Osher Fein (Dorothy).

Los Altos Youth Theatre and L...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford students study religion through campus artifacts

The inscriptions inside Memorial Church, the death mask of Jane Stanford and the nod to the Egyptian ankh symbol formed by Palm Drive and the Stanford Oval all have one thing in common: Each was a topic of discussion for the students enrolled in a un...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Stock Report

The view from Omaha - Warren Buffett style

With the Dow Jones industrial and the Nasdaq composite experiencing huge daily volatility, this column will attempt to explain the philosophy of Warren Buffett and his investor theory on stock valuation.

Berkshire Hathaway's annual report arrived at the house the other day. What Warren Buffett has to say about the current stock market and its valuation is interesting.

Despite the carnage in the market over the past several months, Buffett feels the long-term prospect for equities is "far from exciting." Even his own holdings are mildly attractive and fully priced.

Berkshire's holdings consist of more than $1 billion in each of the following stocks: American Express, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Washington Post and Wells Fargo. (Note: no high-tech equities in his portfolio.)

The per share book value of Berkshire Hathaway outpaced the performance of the S&P 500 in 2000, and the book value has increased from $19 to $40,442 over the years.

Buffett has not invested in high-tech industry because the valuation is not there. Dividend yield, price-earnings ratios, and growth rates have nothing to do with valuation except in providing clues to the timing and amount of cash flow.

Buffett points out that for all the talk of "creating value" during the Internet boom, much of the activity was just transferring value on a massive scale. "By shameless merchandising, promoters moved billions of dollars from the pockets of the public to their own purses and now the company value is in shambles."

Buffett, even before the bubble collapsed, pointed out how silly valuations were becoming. However, most investors, deep down, probably knew this as well, but couldn't force themselves to leave the party. The unrealistic expectation - the apex of greed - should have been a clear sign of trouble.

After being scorned by investors as a doddering old-timer who didn't understand the new investing paradigm, Warren Buffett has reclaimed his title of "Investing Legend."

He regards a strong cash flow, a dominant market share and a superb return on equity as being vital. He cautions investors to ignore the daily - even month ly - price blips of a stock and try to determine if management is building value for the long haul. Finally, he urges investors to seek top-quality management and pay attention to the price of the stock.

As a suggestion, Buffett should look at Washington Mutual because it meets his criteria. Originally Palo Alto Savings and Loan, then Northern California Savings, Great Western Savings and now, the company is Washington Mutual (WM).

WM, the nation's largest savings-and-loan institution and the second-largest mortgage originator, has a branch office at Third and Main streets in Los Altos.

Each time the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, mortgage rates fall leading to refinancing activity. Two-thirds of WM's revenue is generated from the net interest margin.

Priced at 52 with a 2.53 percent yield, WM is attractively priced for purchase and unless the California real estate market collapses, is a defensive equity most investors could like.

Noel, a seasoned investor, covers the stock market for the Town Crier.

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