Monday, 30 September 2013

Apple is the world's most valuable brand

Apple has today been revealed as the world's most valuable brand, knocking Coke off the top for the first time ever. Interbrand set up the rankings 13 years ago and it's based basically on things like market value and how recognisable the brand is. I wouldn't expect this to have too huge an impact on the share price of either of these companies though as they're both pretty big blue chips I would say (Coke more so than Apple) So these "most valuable brands" are unlikely to receive takeover bids because their brand identities are so strong by itself, plus they're so big that the companies which could afford such an offer are unlikely to be interested (e.g. would Exxon Mobil really want to acquire the apple brand and become a more complex conglomerate?). Interbrand still puts Coca-Cola as the world's most recognisable brand. I'd still pick Coke as a better long term investment, people in developing countries view it as a cool import from the West and there is still plenty of growth for Coke in these markets. When I think of Apple, I can only think of its incredibly quick rise to fame with its iPod, and that in a few years no-one will be using them or iPads and that mobiles will have changed so much again that Apple might not have the leading technology anymore. Just think about how massive the Nokia and Motorola brands were, and how much they've faded away quickly. Even Microsoft could start to decline as more and more people use their smartphones instead of laptops if Microsoft continues to struggle to really get a breakaway hit in that market. So, anyway, Coke still gets my vote.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

China plans to lift ban on Facebook & Twitter

China has made the significant announcement that it plans to allow internet users in the Shanghai free-trade zone to access Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times sites, previously seen as too politically liberal (and therefore dangerous) to be allowed. 

This is fairly momentous because China has so far been very determined to wall off its internet from the rest of the world, viewing social networking sites as potential causes of social unrest. The Shanghai free-trade zone is planned to be an area to test out new policies before rolling them out nationally several years later, so this could be seen as the possible motion for more liberal internet access in years to come for the world's rising superpower.

"If [foreigners] can't get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China" said an official (according to CNBC)

This could open up a massive new market for social media sites in the future (China has a population of 1,360,070,000 people [wikipedia]) but, while Twitter & Facebook (Facebook shares jumped 4.9% after the news) may begin to consider a possible Chinese strategy, there's still a long way to go. China has recently tightened up its control over microblogs, some of which which have previously exposed massive overspending by officials, in its increased campaign against online "rumormongers". Last week they arrested a 16 year old boy for "disrupting social order" like this.

I have to wander, if this is the Communist Party's view, how much are they really going to like Facebook or Twitter, I'm sure plenty of posts are completely fabricated and they've proved a useful political tool for campaigners in the West?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Fox On Stocks / Twitter IPO

Hey readers! I've just found this site by another teen trader called Rachel Fox in the US: . She's written an interesting post on Twitter's upcoming IPO. I would feel quite bullish on it's shares (set to be trading on the exchange before Thanksgiving, Nov 28th for us Brits), although, as Rachel has written, Twitter only has to release documents 3 weeks before it pushes to sell their shares. I anticipate Twitter to be viewed as more of a growth opportunity than Facebook (FB:US). It currently has 500m users and, as a teenager, I've seen a gradual shift among my friends from Facebook to Twitter. Facebook currently has 1.15bn users, so if this shift continues Twitter could easily double its user numbers in the next couple of years, which should do wonders for it's stock price. For fellow UK buyers, I would hope that positive UK Q2 GDP figures released in 5 days time should put the GBP/USD exchange rate on an upwards trend on the back of Bernanke's wary Fed plan for QE announced last week, making these shares more attractive. I welcome any thoughts or comments.


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Create & Exploit Your Own Gap in the Online Retail Market!

I've described below an strategy that I particularly favour and can potentially bring in massive profits on some items.

When selling rarer, high ticket products that only have one or two sellers offering them, the competition is so limited that there's massive unrealised opportunity to be exploited. So, those sellers can charge whatever they like, and people pay it because there's almost zero competition. Now this is a golden opportunity for you. If there are two other sellers, you could either hope to get hold of the product very cheaply (which is great but doesn't happen very often), or you could do what I do. Provided there's a big enough gap between the two prices (there usually is when there are only a couple of sellers offering a particular high ticket rarer item) you can buy out the lower competition's item and then charge anything up to the higher price offered for it when you re-sell it back on Amazon.

If you want an example, visit this Vintage Star Wars Boba Fett Slave 1 Ship Listing My company (Hinson Enterprises) is selling it at the lower of the two prices.Say, for example, you bought the product for the lower price, there would then be no competition on any price up to £225 (the other seller's price at time of writing), so you could resell it for anything up to that, making just under £100 profit.

Monday, 9 September 2013

My Amazon September Selling Strategy

The months of September/October are often the months when my Amazon business sells the most in the whole year. Yet they're by no means my most profitable, I even make a small loss on some things that I sell. Why do I sell things at a loss? Why do I appear to miss big potential profits on my high volume of sales? There is a half-logical reason that'll be fairly obvious to most readers but that doesn't occur to many. The 1st September - 31st October are the only 2 months in the whole year that my Amazon business sells books for a very simple reason. Unless you're a book expert or are prepared to spend endless hours scanning their barcodes for a rare bargain at car boots, regular books aren't profitable unless sold in huge volumes. There's just too much competition to drive down prices and crush sellers' margins. However, if you're not interested in their profits and are prepared to sell them for next to nothing (often 1p per book), books do sell incredibly well on Amazon. Certainly in bigger volumes than anything else I sell. And my reason behind this backwards & illogical selling is that through the year, and definitely in November/December (for the obvious reason), toys are the things I sell most of. To protect buyers from disappointment when buying critical Christmas toys, Amazon has rules that sellers must have sold and dispatched a certain number of orders (numbers depend on what type of seller you are). The orders don't have to be specific to toys though, they just want proof that you can handle volume selling. So if you have a dozen high ticket toys that would fetch a high price at Christmas, selling loads of books before November will allow you to sell them for your inflated Christmas profits. Without the books, Amazon will suspend any toys you're selling for 2 months and you'll miss the years biggest demand for toys. I welcome any comments or alternative strategies, just comment or email me.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Financial Trading

The other part of my trading life is my interest in the trading of shares and bonds, as well as other instruments such as call and put options or commodities. I currently hold shares in several companies in the AIM and FTSE, although the account is under Dad's name because I'm under 18.  With Vodafone selling its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless a few days ago for a whopping $130bn (approx. £84bn), one of the biggest deals in corporate history, shareholders are expected to receive a bonus of £1 per share. I personally own shares in individual plcs but I'm still open to persuasion that investing in ETFs & other funds is the better option with its broader market exposure. Just wondering if this record Vodafone deal has swayed anyone else more towards individual stock picking?


Monday, 2 September 2013

My Amazon Business

A few years back, when my friends began getting evening and Saturday jobs to pay for the things they wanted, I realised that I wanted those things too, but decided that I'd find it much more interesting, fun, and better paid to use my brain and try starting my own online business. I began by just selling off some old toys etc. that I didn't want any more. Now, a few years down the line I've developed it into a more sustainable business by buying those products that I can get more cheaply on eBay, etc. and re-listing them to be sold on 
This business now generates me up to £600 per month for minimal effort (i.e. 3-5 hours per month). Through experience I've developed a few strategies that I use throughout each year and I'll describe them in later posts. If you've never sold anything on, it takes less than 30 minutes to set up a seller account, even if it's only to sell off a few unwanted items. has the advantage of generally a bigger market who are willing to pay more money for products than on eBay, I put this down to bigger consumer confidence, i.e. that they can trust Amazon to deliver their purchase more reliably than eBay. I'd love to hear from anyone else who has any experience of selling online, no matter how big or small.

Hello everyone! (Or perhaps no-one)
I'm Tom, I live in Sedbergh, England, and I'm the Teen Trader. I'm still at school, but over the past few years I've taken an interest and become involved in the international world of business and finance, in my own small way. I've set this blog up to share my experiences in this area and to invite you to contribute ideas and experiences of your own.