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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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Friday climb just fine for consumers

After a week of down days, the market climbed back Friday on the news of an upbeat November jobs report and a five-month rise in consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average reached an all-time high Nov. 27, and the primary trend has been bullish. Very few losers could be found on the Dow Friday at noon, with few components not in the shiny-green territory. The Dow hit a recent high of 16,174.50.

It appears that the market is becoming comfortable with the Federal Reserve’s decision to taper its bond-buying, a scenario that parallels a stronger economy. The 203,000 increase in payroll employment means a better economy, and that could bring on the taper sooner when the Federal Reserve meets later this month.

Many investors are still comfortable maintaining 95-99 percent of their equity holdings in stocks because there are still attractive stocks available. When that is no longer true and investors can’t find stocks to diversify, then it is time to reduce the stock exposure and sell some of the recent winners.

Two Town Crier “50” stocks issued quarterly reports recently.

• Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ; $27.30) reported fourth-quarter earnings last week that topped expectations. Sales declined in five of its business units, but the stock rose 8 percent after the report. This is good news for a turnaround company in a tough environment.

HP retook the No. 1 position in the worldwide server market with revenue of $3.4 billion and a 27.6 percent market share, but IBM should regain the honor when December results roll in.

Under CEO Meg Whitman, HP is attempting to shift into cloud computing, kiosk printing and tablet computers instead of other ventures that include computers and printers.

HP’s turnaround is more of a reinvention than a continuous efficiency drive. Whitman’s goal was to cut as many as 34,000 employees, and to date she has laid off 24,000, resulting in $9 billion in free cash flow.

Analysts consider HP stock a neutral, with some believing that the company is underperforming. The median price target is $28, with a high target of $32. HP stock goes for seven times earnings and yields a 2.1 percent dividend.

• Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT; $16.90) posted impressive fourth-quarter earnings at 19 cents, beating numerous analysts’ estimates by a penny, or 5.6 percent. Revenues were also strong, topping forecasts by 16.2 percent. The company reported revenue of $1.99 billion, up 20.8 percent year over year. The gross margin totaled 40 percent.

Applied Materials reports its revenue by segments, with the Silicon Systems Group (SSG), Display, Applied General Services (AGS) and Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) segments. The largest segment was SSG with 63 percent of revenue, which was down 2.3 percent. AGS was up 8.2 percent with a 27 percent revenue share, and the Display segment rose 1.2 percent with a 75.3 percent year-over-year increase in revenue. The EES segment accounted for 2 percent of total revenue but fell 2.2 percent.

Approximately 70 percent of Applied Materials’ quarterly revenue comes from the Asia/Pacific region.

The PC market remains the problem, and Applied Materials is not the only company affected – Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have experienced segment decreases because of the decline of the desk computer.

Analysts recently upgraded Applied Materials stock to a buy or an outperform. The median target price is $20, with a high of $23. The dividend yield is 2.30 percent.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and longtime investor in stocks.

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