In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. In any case, Cassandra sees a lot of controversial things happening during the next few years. As Cassandra so aptly says...."Forewarned is Forearmed."

This Day in History

Friday, October 2, 2015

Where Are The Best Opportunities In Preferred Shares? | Seeking Alpha

Every income portfolio needs an allocation to preferred shares. It will come as no surprise to regular readers when I say I prefer to get mine from CEFs (closed-end funds). It's my view that there are two areas where CEFs excel relative to competing instruments. One is in the tax-free, municipal bond category and the other is preferred shares. In this article I look at the range of offerings in preferred shares CEFs.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

These Top Choices For Preferred Shares Will Bring Nearly 9% Yields To Your Income Portfolio | Seeking Alpha

This is the second installment on preferred-stock investment opportunities. In the previous article (Where Are The Best Opportunities In Preferred Shares?), I addressed the title's question by answering: Closed-end funds. I went on to survey the field, which comprises 16 funds. I then left readers hanging with no actionable conclusion and invited them to weigh in with their choices. As promised, I'll now look at selected funds in detail and try to reach some end point that you'll find more satisfying. To get there, I have used a range of criteria to select half of the 16 for detailed examination. "That's not narrowing it down much," you say? Well, all I can say to that is "I agree." But bear with me, it's not quite as bad as it sounds.

Monday, September 28, 2015

As Banks Retreat, Private Equity Rushes to Buy Troubled Home Mortgages - The New York Times

Private equity and hedge fund firms have bought more than 100,000 troubled mortgages at a discount from banks and federal housing agencies, emerging as aggressive liquidators for the remains of the mortgage crisis that erupted nearly a decade ago.  As the housing market nationwide recovers, this is a dark corner from which banks, stung by hefty penalties for bungling mortgage modifications and foreclosures, have retreated. Federal housing officials, for the most part, have welcomed the new financial players as being more nimble and creative than banks with terms for delinquent borrowers.

Building A Bulletproof Portfolio Of A+ Growth Stocks???| Seeking Alpha

One way to limit stock-specific risk is via hedging; another way is via diversification. In a previous article ("How to Limit Your Market Risk"), we discussed ways to limit market risk for a diversified portfolio. In this post, we'll look at how to "bulletproof" a concentrated portfolio of growth stocks using the hedged portfolio method. In that method, you limit both stock-specific and market risk via hedging. First, we'll need a list of growth stocks to start with. For that, we'll use a screen devised by the research firm S&P Capital IQ.

Friday, September 25, 2015

You Can Buy This 11.2% Yielding, Unleveraged Equity CEF Without Paying A Premium - Columbia Seligman Premium Technology Growth Fund (NYSE:STK) | Seeking Alpha

There's a domestic-equity closed-end fund that is paying an 11.2% distribution from a quarterly payout that has been stable since the fund's inception over five years ago. It is one of only five unleveraged, domestic-equity CEFs that is in positive territory TTM; the other four are well-covered CEFs with lesser distribution yields. Its investing strategy is conservative, focused on covered-calls to generate income. At least here on Seeking Alpha, it stays well under the radar with essentially no attention from the site's contributors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

13 Economic Charts That Wall Street Doesn't Want You To See??? | Seeking Alpha

How will you know when the U.S. economy is in trouble? You might want to consider what the Federal Reserve's inaction and statement (9/17) actually means. In particular, the global economy that we participate in has been weakening, our manufacturing segment has been downright abysmal and extraordinary weakness in labor force participation matters. The overwhelming majority of economists and analysts did not become "skittish" until late in the summer of 2008. It is the reason that the academics in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) did not declare that a recession had started in December 2007 until October 2008. They needed to ignore the textbook definition of GDP of two consecutive quarters of contraction in making that call, as GDP had not contracted until Q3 of 2008. In other words, you will not be able to count on a textbook definition of GDP to understand when the U.S. economy is in trouble.

How I Created My Portfolio Over A Lifetime - Part IV | Seeking Alpha

This series is meant to be an explanation of how I constructed my own portfolio. More importantly, I hope to explain how I learned to invest over time, mostly through trial and error, learning from both my successes and failures and those of others who chose to confide in me. Each individual investor has different needs and a different level of risk tolerance. At 66, my tolerance is pretty low

Friday, September 18, 2015

Choosing Common Stocks That Make Sense For Your Retirement Portfolio: Part 2 | Seeking Alpha

Choosing the most appropriate stocks for the common stock portion of your retirement portfolio is vitally important. In part 1 of this series found here, I presented the 6 broad categories of stocks (businesses) that renowned mutual fund manager Peter Lynch presented in his best-selling book "One Up On Wall Street." I contend that the 6 categories that Peter Lynch wrote about establish a solid foundation of understanding of what's generally available in the common stock universe. Additionally, I pointed out that these categories were very broad, and suggested that there were significant differences between the individual companies in each broad category.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

15 Best Stocks For Value Investors This Week | Seeking Alpha

We evaluated 26 different companies this week to determine whether they are suitable for Defensive Investors, those unwilling to do substantial research, or Enterprising Investors, those who are willing to do such research. We also put each company through the ModernGraham valuation model based on Benjamin Graham's value investing formulas in order to determine an intrinsic value for each. Out of those 26 companies, only 15 were found to be undervalued or fairly valued and suitable for either Defensive or Enterprising Investors.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quest for Yield Still Trumping Safety in Debt Markets - The New York Times

Given the widespread expectation that corporate bonds and loans will soon be stress tested by rising interest rates, much to the delight of restructuring professionals everywhere, you might think that bondholders would be seeking extra protection as they approach the impending storm.

Monday, September 14, 2015

China’s Response to Stock Plunge Rattles Traders - The New York Times

The police have been dropping in on investment firms and downloading their transaction records. Senior executives at China’s biggest investment bank have been arrested on suspicion of illegal trading. Abusiness journalist has been detained and shown apologizing on national television for writing an article that could have hurt the market.
The Communist Party’s response to China’s monthslong stock market crisis has been swift and forceful. In addition to spending as much as $235 billion to buy shares and bolster prices, the authorities have imposed a range of extraordinary restrictions on the sale of stocks — and backed them with the full weight of a security apparatus usually more focused on political dissent than equity trades.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cushing MLP Total Return Fund: A Lesson For CEF Investors - Cushing MLP Total Return Fund (NYSE:SRV) | Seeking Alpha


CEF investors are often attracted by the high yields in this space.
SRV's anomalously high yield and premium provided a ripe recipe for disaster.
This article identifies three warning signals that investors could have heeded before the devastating event.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

China’s Export Data Shows Fresh Signs of Steepening Industrial Downturn - The New York Times

China’s industrial slowdown is showing signs of sharpening, as its trade slump deepened further in August amid weaker demand from overseas buyers.
Once seemingly indomitable as the world’s workshop, China is now facing its most protracted declines since the global financial crisis, with overseas shipments falling 5.5 percent last month compared with a year earlier. That has dragged total exports 1.4 percent lower in dollar terms in the first eight months of the year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kimble Charting Solutions Blog » Dow Theory says 4-year bull market still intact!

Around 100 years ago Charles Dow came up with the idea of the Dow Theory.  The theory was derived from 255 Wall Street Journal editorials written by Charles H. Dow(1851–1902), journalist, founder and first editor of The Wall Street Journal and co-founder of Dow Jones and Company.

The Smart Alternative To Junk Bonds??? | Seeking Alpha

It is difficult to be a bond investor in a world of near zero or even negative real returns for the highest quality fixed income investments. After much reflection I've come to the conclusion that the smartest alternative is to add a slight amount of credit risk and leverage. So long as this improves the expected return more than enough for the added risk.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How Safe Are The Distributions For PIMCO CEFs In The Aftermath Of PHK's Crash? | Seeking Alpha

PIMCO High Income Fund (NYSE:PHK) has been one of the highest flyers among closed end funds for several years. From early 2009 through mid-summer 2015 the fund's premium rarely dropped below 40% and had risen as high as the mid-70% range. The five-year average premium currently stands at over 50%.
The extraordinary premium valuations were driven by extraordinarily high distribution yields. Yield on market price since 2010 has averaged 11.90%. Generating those market yields in the face of the high premiums meant Yield on NAV averaged 17.74%.

Friday, September 4, 2015

This Bear ETF Will Hedge Your Portfolio???- AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF (NYSEARCA:HDGE) | Seeking Alpha

Thanks to persistent weakness in China, worries over global repercussions have intensified. In fact, some are of the opinion that the China turmoil, plunging oil price and slowdown in key emerging markets will knock out chances of the Fed's September lift-off and delay the rates hike to later this year or early next year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 High-Yielding Strong Dividend Growth Stocks For The Long Haul | Seeking Alpha

We've never been more concerned about the financial health of dividend growth investors. Perhaps we're partly to blame for some of the excitement surrounding the strategy that has taken many corners of the web by storm, but we continue to believe it is important for investors to strive to understand the strategy's fundamental fallacies, which can't be talked about enough as a means of helping investors understand key risks.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Massive Deflation Is Happening Now??? | Seeking Alpha

Investors are witnessing significant deflation. Abundant supplies of commodities have led to trickle down of prices in nearly all commodities from silver to corn this year. Natural gas is trading at $2.81 per mcf, which is extraordinarily cheap, utilities are burning natural gas while reducing the usage of coal. A barrel of oil will remain low for a long time due to abundant supplies. Corn and soybean prices will remain low because of a near-record crop this fall. World stock markets are showing signs of a correction. Stock markets tend to correct in September and October and, if oversold, present a possible buying opportunity. It's difficult to predict but there is ample evidence a correction is in the works. Following U.S. stocks' -2.1% rout on Thursday, the broad market S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) was negative for the year, posting a -1.1% decline through Aug. 20.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

5 Lessons From The S&P 500 Market Crash For ETF Portfolios? | Seeking Alpha

We review the past few trading days and try to draw some lessons from the rapid expansion in volatility. Naturally, it is still very early, and this edition of the crash is yet to run its course, and more lessons surely wait in the wings. However, we can draw a few lessons about portfolio construction that this market stumble has revealed.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Are These Oil Dividends Safe? | Seeking Alpha

The price of oil has declined a lot since the summer of 2014. The West Texas Intermediate [WTI] in Cushing, Oklahoma has declined from a high of $107.52/barrel in June 2014 to a low of $41/barrel in August 2015. This severe decline in prices has reduced the earnings power of many energy dividend growth stocks, which are engaged in exploration and production.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How China Fits Into The Global Puzzle??? | Seeking Alpha

China is dominating the headlines lately because of the alarming 30% plunge in the local A-share equity market (i.e. shares in mainland China-based companies that are generally only available to Chinese citizens) and the government's panicked response. However, it's difficult for investors to gauge the impact of these recent developments on the global macro and market picture. For this reason, I think it's important to recall some basics about China's economic goals and the impact of its local markets on the rest of the world.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Best Companies Of The Machinery Industry - August 2015 | Seeking Alpha

While ModernGraham supports the bottom-up approach to investing, many investors do utilize the top-down method, whereby an industry is selected before the company itself. With that in mind, this article will take a brief look at the best companies of the machinery industry, selecting the most promising investment opportunities within the industry, and giving a broad look into the industry as a whole.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Bond King's Dire Warning? | Seeking Alpha

Myles Udland of Business Insider reports, Gundlach: If oil goes to $40 a barrel, something is 'very, very wrong with the world'

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Pareto Principle In Dividend Investing | Seeking Alpha

The Pareto Principle is an economic term invented by an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in the 20th century. It is also called the 80-20 principle, meaning that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. Vilfredo observed that 80% of the land in Italy is owned by 20% of the people. The ideas behind this principle are wide ranging in multiple fields, including investing. I am a firm believer that a small minority of the investments I make today will end up becoming so successful that they will produce 80% of my investment gains over the next 40-50 years. This is why I am really careful about selling, even if a stock I own is up by 1,000%.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Video: What Puerto Rico Means For Muni Bond Investors | Seeking Alpha

While owners of Puerto-Rico-related municipal bonds have a bleak prospect, investors in other muni bonds can expect virtually no impact. Apart from Puerto Rico and a few other volatile outliers, we believe the municipal bond market remains fundamentally healthy.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Our Bipolar Economy | Seeking Alpha

Janet Yellen and her colleagues at the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will spend the coming weeks and months contemplating the timing of an increase in short-term interest rates. While a cynic might describe the Fed's behavior as "reactionary," the Fed itself prefers the term "data-dependent."
As the Fed monitors incoming data, it will be searching for signs of the overall strength of the economy and any associated inflationary pressures. In so doing, the Fed is likely to find a two-speed economy, with the general health of the U.S. consumer improving rapidly, while the industrial side of the economy continues to struggle.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Fed's Deflation Problem? | Seeking Alpha

  • U.S. employment rose at a solid clip in July and wages rebounded after a surprise stall in the prior month, increasing the likelihood the Fed will raise rates in September.
  • While traditionally the Fed has solely focused on the domestic economy to set interest rate policy, the specter of global deflation will weigh heavily in its decision.
  • If the Fed ignores global weakness and raises rates, it will create a huge deflation problem. How should you position your portfolio in this environment?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Canadian Dividend Telecom Comparison: BCE Vs. Rogers Vs. Shaw Vs. Telus | Seeking Alpha

At the end of June, I produced a complete analysis of the five biggest Banks in Canada. While this post was featured on Seeking Alpha, I thought of publishing this second Canadian sector analysis on my blog. I think you will like seeing which telecom is the best one to hold for a dividend growth investor.  I will highlight the differences in their business models, dividend profiles and other important fundamentals along with their current stock valuations.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

For Many in Spain, a Heralded Economic Recovery Feels Like a Bust - The New York Times

He used to be an interior designer, outfitting shops for one of Spain’s biggest clothing store chains.
But that was years ago. Recently, Angel Puyalón, 50, was just hoping to get a call back for a job sorting recyclables. Mr. Puyalón said he would be glad for any work now. His unemployment benefits are finished. He and his wife can no longer pay their mortgage, and they are relying on a food bank to eat.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Retired Investors Don't Buy Bonds Until? | Seeking Alpha

However, risk is a multifaceted concept. The risk of losing all your money is one of the investor's greatest fears. Virtually all high-quality bonds eliminate this loss of principal risk. But there are additional risks that bonds do not always protect investors from. Fixed income investments provide little or no inflation protection, especially when interest rates are as low as they are today.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Crisis Watch - Where Lightning Could Strike Next | Seeking Alpha

It is a subject that has fixated investors since the calming of the financial crisis more than six years ago. Coming out of an experience where U.S. stocks lost more than half of their value and the global financial system nearly imploded, many were left in shock and have been bracing in the years since for the eruption of the next major market contagion. Perhaps such worries will end up being nothing more than the perpetual wall of worry that will continue to propel markets higher in the coming years. But the financial system still has major systemic risks nearly a decade removed from the last major crisis outbreak. As a result, it is reasonable to consider exactly how any such future market contagion might play itself out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio - YouTube

Created by Ray Dalio this simple but not simplistic and easy to follow 30 minute, animated video answers the question, "How does the economy really work?" Based on Dalio's practical template for understanding the economy, which he developed over the course of his career, the video breaks down economic concepts like credit, deficits and interest rates, allowing viewers to learn the basic driving forces behind the economy, how economic policies work and why economic cycles occur.

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