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Morningstar, Inc. is an investment research and investment management firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Wikipedia.

Selvakumar N.,Mepco Schlenk Engineering College, Sivakasi | Mohan Raj A.P.,Morningstar | Narayanasamy R.,National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli
Materials and Design | Year: 2012

An experimental investigation into the workability and strain hardening behaviour of Fe-C-0.50Mn powder metallurgy steel composite sintered preforms under triaxial stress state has been carried out. Cold upset forming of the aforesaid composite preforms was conducted with variations in carbon content (0.05%, 0.10%, 0.15%, 0.20% and 0.25%) with an aspect ratio 0.45. The preforms were compacted at 1.2. GPa pressure and sintered at 950. ±. 5. °C. Sintered specimens were cold deformed with uniform incremental loading. The effect of different percentage of carbon on the iron-based composite with common manganese content (0.50%) was investigated thoroughly in the cold deformation experiment. The effect of carbon on workability and strain hardening behaviour of the composites was analysed and presented. The analysis of the experimental results has shown that the steel which contains 0.10% carbon exhibited greater values of stresses, initial relative density, strain hardening and workability parameters. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

News Article | October 28, 2015
Site: www.contracostatimes.com

SAN BRUNO -- PG&E posted profit Wednesday for its third quarter that fell below analysts expectations, with the utility saying its revenue has been jolted by the timing of proceedings before the state Public Utilities Commission related to rate cases. Revenue was lower during the third quarter, PG&E said, because of a general rate case related to its gas transmission and storage system has yet to be resolved by the state PUC. In addition, PG&E's profit was eroded by $178 million, or 21 cents a share, related to certain items that PG&E believes will be treated as part of the record-setting $1.6 billion penalty the PUC imposed on the utility as punishment for causing the fatal explosion in San Bruno. San Francisco-based PG&E earned $310 million on revenue of $4.55 billion for the July-September quarter. Compared with the year-ago third quarter, overall profit plunged 61.9 percent and revenue fell 7.9 percent. Excluding certain items, PG&E profit was 84 cents a share. Wall Street had anticipated adjusted profit of 96 cents a share and $4.73 billion in revenue. "The big uncertainty for PG&E is the outcome of the gas transmission rate case," said Travis Miller, an analyst with investment firm Morningstar. "We are still waiting to see how regulators will treat PG&E's gas transmission business. We have to see what is the hangover from the pipeline issues." The PUC is still reviewing the gas transmission matter and hasn't made a final decision yet. Rate changes resulting from the case could lead to an increase of 11.8 percent in natural gas bills for the average residential customer. "The key element to watch in this case will be the view that regulators have about how much needs to be spent to upgrade the system and how PG&E will recover that, and how much will be allowed in terms of the ratepayers," Miller said PG&E has proposed an increase of $5.23 in monthly gas bills to finance improvements in the utility's natural gas transmission and storage system. Another uncertainty is an ongoing criminal trial in U.S. District Court connected to the San Bruno explosion. PG&E faces 28 criminal counts in the case, including 27 charges that the utility violated the pipeline safety act and one obstruction of justice charge. PG&E has pleaded not guilty in the case and has requested that the charges be dismissed. The utility is seeking to put the San Bruno explosion behind it and increasingly is highlighting its efforts on green energy and electricity grid upgrades. "We continue to move forward with investments and initiatives that will allow us to meet the changing needs of our customers and the ambitious clean energy vision set out by the state," Anthony Earley, PG&E's chief executive, said in a comments emailed to this newspaper. Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at Twitter.com/georgeavalos.

News Article | October 31, 2015
Site: chicagobusiness.com

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News Article | November 5, 2015
Site: nypost.com

John Bogle finally has it right about stocks. Bogle, the legendary founder of mutual-fund giant Vanguard Group, and a staunch defender of index funds, said in a recent interview with Morningstar’s personal finance editor Christine Benz that US stocks over the next decade will return just 4 percent on average annually. This is a sharp departure from Bogle’s 7 percent annualized forecast two years ago in an interview with MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe. In the MarketWatch interview, Bogle didn’t forecast the market’s P/E multiple contracting, and that’s the difference between his 2013 view and this more recent view. In this new forecast, Bogle joins the ranks of notable value investors and market observers Jeremy Grantham, Robert Arnott and Robert Shiller, whose dim views of stock valuations and future returns are well-documented. Although he didn’t argue this specifically, Bogle’s new forecast amounts to a tacit admission that the “equity risk premium” (the supposed amount of excess return that stock are supposed to deliver over bonds) isn’t static. Rather, it can change over time. Stocks are not always guaranteed to deliver, say, 10 percent annualized returns on a nominal basis, even over decade-long periods. In decomposing equity returns, Bogle started with a roughly 2 percent dividend yield on the S&P 500 in both his 2013 and 2015 forecasts. Each time, he added subpar earnings growth of 5 percent, for a total of 7 percent. However, this time, with Benz, Bogle also assumed a 3 percent loss from earnings multiple compression — the idea that investors will award stocks cheaper prices for the earnings and dividends they deliver. Those three components together result in his new 4 percent forecast. The P/E multiple of the US stock market is likely to move to a more normal 15, according to Bogle. That’s down from the current 20 multiple or the 17 multiple that many analysts are using for future forecasted earnings. Previously, with Jaffe, Bogle forecasted that the 20 P/E multiple would hold. Many of the value mavens, with whom Bogle now agrees, use the Shiller PE (current price of stocks relative to past 10 years’ average, inflation-adjusted returns) to arrive at their forecasts. Bogle, however, is sticking to a conventional PE ratio, which uses the past year’s worth of earnings. Academic studies have shown that the Shiller PE has greater statistical validity than a conventional PE at forecasting future returns. One year’s worth of earnings can be misleading. Nevertheless, Bogle and the value mavens are now in agreement about likely future returns. On bonds, Bogle thinks investors can squeeze 3 percent from a fixed-income portfolio with an average maturity that’s a little longer than 10 years and is somewhat heavy in corporate bonds. The 10-year Treasury currently yields slightly more than 2 percent. Overall, the implications for a standard balanced portfolio are grim. Bogle predicts that a balanced portfolio (roughly half in stocks and half in bonds) should return around 3.5 percent for the next decade. Adjusted for inflation or in “real” terms, Bogle thinks a balanced portfolio will return 1.5 percent, barely increasing purchasing power. Bogle then asserted that fund fees of, say, 1 percent will destroy much of that balanced portfolio’s real return. Combined with adviser fees of 0.50 percent (a conservative number), investors may be left with nothing after adjusting for inflation. Moreover, taxes and well-documented investor bad behavior (buying funds at high points and selling them lower) will likely erode investor returns further. Benz raised the question of whether investors should invest at all given this forecast, and Bogle said, “Invest we must.” The reason for that is cash is yielding virtually nothing, which means it’s producing a negative return in real or inflation-adjusted returns. Given Bogle’s grim view, however, it isn’t clear why investing really is better since it can also produce negative real returns. Bogle also stressed that the only certain part of his stock forecast is the starting dividend yield of stocks. Earnings growth and multiple changes are always guesses, and he could be wrong about both. Both advisers and investors can plug other numbers in for earnings growth and multiple changes. Still, they should be careful not to veer far from historical precedent. For example, 10 percent earnings growth would be “beyond precedent.” Investors should take serious note of Bogle’s forecast. The biggest lesson is that investors must save more to meet their goals. The markets are unlikely to do the heavy lifting that they’ve done in the past with prodigious returns. As for pensions, which continue to plug the customary 7.5 percent returns in their forecasts for balanced allocations, investors should disregard their forecasts completely.

News Article | October 27, 2015
Site: www.thestreet.com

Alibaba (BABA - Get Report) shares are soaring following a revenue and earnings beat for the company's September quarter. For the quarter ending in September 2015, the Hangzhou, China-based company reported revenue of $3.5 billion, up 32% year over year, with earnings per share of 57 cents. Analysts were expecting revenue of $3.3 billion and earnings of 54 cents per share. "This was a great quarter for Alibaba Group, with strong growth across the board and particular outperformance in mobile. We continued our efforts to drive healthy GMV [gross merchandise value] growth, deliver an unparalleled consumer experience and help quality merchants do business on our platform," Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement. "We are winning in mobile and remain focused on our top strategic priorities, including internationalization, expanding our ecosystem from cities to villages, and building a world-class cloud computing business." Alibaba shares were up almost 8% in premarket trading on Tuesday. "Overall Alibaba became a little more shareholder friendly this quarter -- they held margins, bought back stock and communicated more commitment to delivering strong results," Wedbush analyst Gil Luria said. "Volumes continued to decelerate, but were made up for in the quarter by improvements to mobile monetization." Said TheStreet's Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager of the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, "This is a true blowout with an amazing growth in mobile. The Chinese consumer is alive and well and spending on Alibaba." Exclusive Look Inside: You see Jim Cramer on TV. Now, see where he invests his money and why. Learn more now. Here are the three key takeaways from Alibaba's most recent quarter. Alibaba's revenue growth in the quarter was largely propelled by its performance in mobile. Alibaba brought in $1.7 billion in revenue from mobile commerce, up 183% year-over-year. And the gross merchandise volume (GMV) on mobile accounted for 62% of the company's total GMV. "This was a great quarter for Alibaba Group, with strong growth across the board and particular outperformance in mobile," Zhang said during the earnings call. As of September, Alibaba said it had 386 million annual active buyers, with 346 million monthly active users on mobile. "Eventually this is going to be a mobile business," Alibaba CFO Maggie Wu said during the call. The challenge with mobile growth is that monetization tends to be lower than that with personal computers, but the company is significantly improving its monetization rates. For the quarter, it saw an overall monetization rate of 2.42%, up from 2.3% in the same quarter of 2014. And its mobile monetization rate is catching up to its PC rate -- the mobile monetization rate in the quarter was 2.39%, up from 1.87% in the same quarter of 2014. Alibaba doesn't separate out the PC monetization rate. Alibaba is "bridging the gap with PC take rates nicely, and showing that mobile can be a more meaningful contributor to margins sooner than later," said Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy. On the earnings call, Zhang pointed to Alibaba's cloud business as a key area of growth for the company. Its cloud computing and Internet infrastructure business accelerated during the quarter, bringing in revenue of $102 million, up 128% year-over-year. Alibaba continues to ramp up its cloud efforts, most recently opening up a new cloud center in Singapore in August. Management did acknowledge that it's not yet focused on the profitability of the cloud business though, since it is still early stages for the company. "I'm not terribly concerned about cloud margins at this point," Morningstar's Hottovy said. "The cloud space is still a few years behind the U.S. at this point, meaning most players are still squarely in investment mode, but [it's] also growing at a faster clip. I still think BABA has an opportunity to better monetize its cloud business as the current investment cycle winds down and it adds new services/products." With such a large market share in China's major cities, Alibaba is now looking to expand to new geographic regions, both in China and out of China. Within China, Alibaba is working to expand its presence in more rural regions, and during the quarter, it expanded to more than 4,000 additional villages. The company also expanded its same-day grocery delivery service to more cities in China , including Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Wuhan. Beyond China, Alibaba has been focusing on cross-border efforts to get international brands on its site. Most recently, the company opened offices in London and Milan to increase its selection of European brands on its platforms.

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