Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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