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Sillicon valley stocks and St. Louis stocks

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Tech for Silicon valley and agriculture for St. Louis.

Silicon Valley Stocks
We went to Sillicon valley for the holidays and obviously, stock is one common topic in family reunion and friends gathering. Note stock options makes up a significant portion of employee’s compensations for some of the technology companies there.

I happened to read the San Jose Mercury News Jan 1, in which it has a nice summary of how Silicon valley stocks did in last year. In summary, the big tech (GOOG, AAPL) and IPOs (VMW, NetSuite) lead the Silicon valley stocks to a fairly good performance. Here are two articles I read: tech titan’s year; Valley’s big year for Wall St. debuts.

St. Louis stocks
I tried to look up St. Louis stocks 2007 performance at stltoday, the web site of St. Louis Post Dispatch, but could not find any. So I just list St. Louis companies I know.

I believe Monsanto (MON), one of the largest agriculture company in the world, is the No. 1 performer last year. MON is enjoying the global farm booming, and in a way the oil boom too. By the way, I live right across the street from the company. ADM and Bunge, another two agri play, also did well.

St. Charles based solar play MEMS (WFR) also faired well very amid the all the solar boom. Note WFR is a leader in this area.

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Starbucks, Panera

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Yesterday morning when I went to Panera (St. Louis) Bread to get morning bagel, I noticed they raised the price from 89 cents to 95 cents. I can fully understand the pressure they are facing: the rising wheat, diary, and energy cost.

Today Starbucks came out with earning, and understandablely a disappointing outlook (bloomberg).

SBUX and PNRA are hit on two sides: the rising costs of raw materials; and shrinking pockets of US consumers.

Long term, I do believe Starbucks will do very well in China, and other emerging markets; but right now, the sales from China is just too small to overcome the difficulty in the US…So I will NOT try to be hero at this time.

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Chipotle and Panera

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Went to Chipotle Mexican Grill in my neighbourhood yesterday. I heard about it because of its stock (CMG) has done very well since IPO early last year (up 88%). I was curious about the food and the atmosphere so I went. It seems there are lots of young people, I mean people in 20s (Generation Y), which are generally younger than Panera crowd. At Panera, there are many older people in the morning. Also there are people working and gathering at Panera because of its free Wifi access and community feeling.

chipotle pic

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Bought A Little Panera Bread PNRA

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I bought a little Panera Bread PNRA shares today. I have watched the stock for more than 6 months. This noon I went to the store at St. Charles Rock road as usual, and I saw the biggest crowd. After I ordered food, I can see and hear the associate calling the customer name (when food is ready) about every 20 to 30 seconds. It took me about 15 minutes to get my food, probablly a record for me. But I am not complaining here; I always see a large crowd during lunch hour there and today’s wait helped me make the decision to buy some stocks. I noticed this place is more popular than my old favorite lunch place  Fazoli’s and there is reasons behind that: better food; people always want to be in the “crowded restaurant”, whether in China or the United States.   

Here is a good introduction of Panera Bread.

Panera Bread Co. St. Louis

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