Archive for February, 2014

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Bitcoin: Not a Bit and Not a Coin

The founding principle behind Bitcoin is to eliminate the need for, and hence cost of, intermediaries in a payments system. The two key functions of payments intermediaries are to process transactions securely and to mediate disputes. Bitcoin addresses the first

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SSR Index of Current-Quarter Healthcare Demand Growth: Initial 1Q14 Estimates

We expect 3.6% (nominal) y/y growth in US health services demand during 1Q14, the product of 2.6% growth in demand intensity, and 1.0% growth in price. The 2.6% intensity growth would be a 30bp improvement over actual 4Q13 growth of 

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Branch-Banking in the US: There’s an App for That

This note argues that the traditional role of branches, to provide secure transaction processing, will be taken over by apps not so much because banks are looking to reduce teller-costs but because the digital engagement of customers (whether in-branch, on-line,

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Quick Thoughts: Netflix and Comcast – Friends with Benefits

– Netflix and Comcast’s multiyear peering deal comes as a surprise, amidst reports that broadband distributers have been hampering streaming performance. – Comcast’s proposed merger with TWC likely gave it an impetus to be on its best behavior under regulatory

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WMT and Retail

This morning, WMT reported Q4 ’13 results that were in line with expectations that already reflected previously reduced guidance (late January). FY ’14 guidance ($5.10 to $5.45) was disappointing relative to consensus ($5.55 coming into today), including guidance for operating

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Quick Thoughts – Capital One Joins Bank-Owned Payment Network

COF announced yesterday that it had joined clearXchange, a bank-owned payment network founded by JPM, BAC, and WFC. clearXchange focuses on P2P payments (enabled using the recipient’s e-mail address or mobile phone number) and now covers half the addressable market;

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Quick Thoughts: Facebook Buys More Users and Usage

–          At $19B in cash, stock and future stock grants, FB is paying more than 10% of its enterprise value for WhatsApp, its 450M monthly active users and 55 employees. –          Strategically, WhatsApp is a great fit, with extremely strong

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ACA Enrollment and Adverse Selection Pressures – An Update

Current health insurance exchange (HIE) enrollees skew older, to the extent that adverse selection pressures appear highly likely. Only 25% of enrollees are aged 18-34, as compared to the 40% enrollment share presumably needed for premiums and claims to balance

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Commodity Chemicals – Setting Up For Disappointment

26 of the 30 companies in our Chemicals index have announced Q4 earnings thus far, with only ROC, ECL, AXLL, and WLK left to report. On average, revenue growth has been positive, and all subsectors save Ag Chem show year

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Harvest Time for the Bill Collectors? The ACA’s Narrow Hospital Networks May Spur Demand for Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Services

We compared hospital networks for plans sold on the health insurance exchanges (HIEs) to networks for plans sold (by the same issuer) off of the HIEs For the non-profit issuers and HUM the ‘on-HIE’ and ‘off-HIE’ networks appear the same;

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