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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Stocks tumble on weak earnings

The stock market correction finally arrived Friday when the Dow Industrials closed down 318 points. That is important because it has been more than two years since the last stock market correction. Investors fleeing from stocks are wondering whether this will be the end of the correction.

The stock market fall comes over weak corporate earnings of blue chip stocks like IBM Corp., Starbucks Corp, and McDonald’s Corp. At some point, companies will have to produce revenue growth to translate into real earnings before the market reaction turns positive.

Earnings-reporting season is in full swing and the near-term action deserves a closer look. Fourth-quarter results hold importance because they often come with guidance for the year ahead. The December reporting quarter is crucial because it tells you what the future holds for a company.

Last week’s drop also stems from worries about China’s manufacturing growth and China’s economic growth. Between China and earnings season, analysts have been looking for that long overdue correction and this is kindling the fire.

Expectations for the March quarter are modest, pointing to just 4 percent year-to-year growth. The market’s reaction to quarterly results is a great gauge for guidance.

Traditional Town Crier “50” titans such as Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ; $28.88), IBM Corp. (IBM; $178.87), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT; $36.27) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL; $36.68) have struggled with earnings in the latest quarter and should be drawing attention.

Some companies have grown so big that their acquisitions barely move the needle, while others face threats from nimble startups that offer cloud-based software. These new cloud-based software companies undercut the bulky, lucrative contracts that once assured the giants steady income and growth.

Without improved signs of profit growth, your favorite stock may have trouble making headway, so keep a close eye on the market and the next hundred companies that report earnings for the December quarter.

One Town Crier “50” stock is reasonably priced but reported a loss for the December quarter:

• IBM is a large and diversified tech company whose stock is widely held by institutions and everyday investors. You could spend hours breaking down the business of IBM, but it is still a company that generates more than $100 billion in annual revenue through the many services it offers. However, earnings determine stock prices.

After the market closed Jan. 21, the company reported its quarterly revenue, recording its steepest drop in more than four years. The results immediately lowered the Dow Jones industrial average because of the vast holdings throughout the market.

Fourth-quarter results for the firm revealed earnings of $6.13 per share on $27.8 billion in sales, short of the $28.25 billion analysts had expected. Cloud and software services continued to help IBM’s hardware business, but systems and technology revenue plunged 26 percent over a year to $4.3 billion.

IBM’s fourth-quarter revenue dropped 5.5 percent below expectations, and the hardware group’s revenue fell 27 percent. The stock price has tumbled, with some analysts dropping their target price to $175.

Reports circulated that IBM was trying to divest its x86 server segment, with both Dell and Lenovo reported to express interest. Last week Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group agreed to buy IBM’s low-end server business for $2.3 billion. The sale will allow IBM to focus on more profitable software and services.

Essentially, IBM is unable to grow, and it is using its buyback program to drive earnings growth. With the business in decline, there are times when the buyback is not enough. Free cash flow was down 16.7 percent year-over-year to $15 billion.

An analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase recommended that investors take profits from the stock, because there are limited catalysts that could boost investor sentiment.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and longtime investor in stocks. A strong supporter of IBM, he has shares in his retirement program.

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