Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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