Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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The market trend is still bullish

Looking at your increased portfolio, the present trend is still in the bullish camp. Investors anticipate a jolly good time in December.

With another month to go in 2013, you hear many conflicting opinions on the prospects for 2014. Knowing what to believe can be difficult, but if November was an omen for next year, we should all feel happy. November was a great month for stocks. The Dow is above 16,000, the S&P 500 is trading above 1,800 and last week the Nasdaq closed above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years.

Year-to-date the indexes have increased between 20 and 35 percent for a record-breaking year, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s bond purchases, a recovering economy and solid corporate earnings.

Stocks are not in a bubble position. At less than 19 times current-year earnings, the median S&P 500 stock trades at a 13 percent premium to 10-year norms. Valuations have reached much higher levels at previous market peaks.

Also, the stock market has not run out of potential catalysts. Bears argue that the good news has already played out because of the proposed Federal Reserve cutback, but takeover activity has yet to heat up given cheap financing and strong corporate balance sheets. A surge in takeovers would not be surprising, so look for more companies to increase their dividends and buy back their shares in 2014.

Two Town Crier “50” stocks made news last week.

• Intel Corp. (INTC; $23.74) last week reported that the company would begin to concentrate on chips for smartphones and tablets immediately, as consumers are using fewer personal computers.

Investors are befuddled by Intel’s guidance for the next year, when revenue will be down in the mid-single digits, at an estimated 1.4 percent in 2014.

According to new CEO Brian Krzanich, computing in the next few years will focus more on items for eyes and ears, as well as wristbands and watches. The company will pursue two important strategic shifts: expand its foundry business to a much broader range of customers and aggressively target tablets, where the unit volume is expected to quadruple in 2014.

Intel should not be viewed as a safe or undervalued tech play, but Krzanich said that under his leadership, Intel would give priority to its Atom microprocessor. Intel does not wish to fall behind in future technology trends that include wearable computing devices.

Analysts do not cite Intel as an investment for the average investor as long as the PC market continues to decrease. Most analysts recently have upgraded the stock to a neutral or buy, with a median target price of $24 and a high of $32. Intel’s dividend yields 3.8 percent.

• Microsoft Corp. (MSFT; $38.47) launched Xbox One last week to record sales of more than a million in the first 24 hours. It was the most successful premiere in Xbox history.

Microsoft plans to reach beyond the gamers with this console, as it intends to deliver innovative entertainment experiences by bringing movies, music, sports and live TV together in one box.

In another direction, Nokia shareholders approved a $7.2 billion deal to allow Microsoft to buy its ailing cellphone and services division plus the portfolio patents obtained by the Finnish tech giant.

Much has been made of outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer’s tenure with Microsoft, during which the share price fell from the high 50s in January 2000 to the 30s, where it remained stagnant. The stock recently started to rise again following the announcement of Ballmer’s departure.

The failure of Microsoft to grasp opportunities in big-growth areas led to the static share price. However, Microsoft remains highly profitable and last month beat Wall Street’s quarterly profit and revenue forecasts.

Analysts’ recent upgrade and downgrade history has downgraded Microsoft stock from a buy to a hold. The median target price is $36, with a high of $45. The dividend yield for Microsoft is 3 percent.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and investor in stocks. He is a longtime holder of Intel and Microsoft stocks and intends to make no move at this time.

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