CASSANDRA'S HYPOTHESIS

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, January 30, 2015

Closed End Funds Vs. ETFs, Which Is Better For You? | Seeking Alpha

Some of the oldest closed-end funds, or CEFs, like Adams Express (NYSE:ADX), trace their history back as far as the Great Depression. The oldest exchange traded funds, or ETFs, meanwhile, date back to only the early 1990s. But new and exciting things often get the most attention in the market, and ETFs have blossomed while CEFs continue to be the investment world's unloved step child. That said, it's worth looking at the pros and cons of the two products. You might just decide that unloved and obscure is more to your liking.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to Avoid Frauds in Investments, and Personnel Hires - NYTimes.com

I’m often left scratching my head when seemingly smart investors get blindsided by a fraud. But I’ve learned that it isn’t reasonable to expect them to entirely avoid mistakenly getting taken in by what on the surface seems like a sound investment but turns out to be a fraud. A buying mentality is simply incompatible with the skeptical mentality needed to avoid scams.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 10 BDC Issues For 2015: Survey Results Part 1 | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • This article discusses some of the key issues that investors should be focused on for investing in BDCs.
  • There continues to be a gap between valuations with 10 BDCs currently trading at a 20% or more discount to book value.
  • It is in the best interest of investors to understand the reasons for pricing differences as well as identifying trends.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Surviving The Tax Bite In Retirement | Seeking Alpha

This is the time of year when many are thinking about their annual tax returns, however, anytime is a good time to stress the effect of taxes on your spendable retirement income. If you have all your retirement income in municipal bonds and Roth accounts, which aren't taxable, then you will probably find nothing of interest here. Also, if you have a complex taxable account with a sizable portion in MLPs, REITS, and other non-qualified dividend payers, then you should realize that your tax requirements may be more or less than the norm.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up - NYTimes.com

In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stock Traders Flock Back To Gold ETFs - SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) | Seeking Alpha

Gold surged this week on massive buying from stock investors and speculators. This critical group of traders and their vast pools of capital utterly abandoned gold in the past couple years. So to see them start to flock back is a watershed event, heralding a major reversal in gold's fortunes. And with their gold exposure remaining near extreme lows, they have vast buying left to do to restore prudent portfolio diversification.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Assessing Risk Versus Reward For High Yield BDCs | Seeking Alpha

Most people have heard success stories associated with venture capital and private equity firms. These firms typically offer startup capital and financing to small enterprises and if these projects meet with financial success, the investors are richly rewarded. Unfortunately, most retail investors are unable to participate due to strict income and net worth requirements. However, in 1980 the Government provided an alternative path for small investors by amending the Investment Act of 1940 to create a new entity called a Business Development Company (NYSE:BDC).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FATCA: “The Worst Law Nobody Has Ever Heard Of,” Part I | International Man

CBT has been on the US law books since the Civil War, initially to punish wealthy Americans who ran away to Europe in the 1860s to avoid military service. It was enshrined as law within the US Tax Code in 1913 and upheld by the US Supreme Court in a landmark decision of 1924 which has never been overturned. US tax law states that all persons deemed to be American citizens shall forever be liable for income taxation by the United States wherever their money is made and wherever they live.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What Some Bellwethers Are Saying About 2015 | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • 2015 is shaping up to be a volatile year.
  • We think it's informative to stay on top of new developments across various sectors.
  • Let's take a look at what a few industry bellwethers have been saying about 2015.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Similarities And Differences Between The Last 2 Oil Bear Markets | Seeking Alpha

Oil has gone through a relentless bear market since June, losing about 55% in these 7 months. Coincidentally, the last bear market of oil was recorded exactly 6 years ago, when oil collapsed from its all-time high of $147 in July-2008 to $35 by the end of 2008. It is useful for investors to note the similarities and differences between these two bear markets in order to determine the prospects of the current bear market and try to identify the bottom.

An ETF Portfolio Yielding 9% | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • The ETF Portfolio yielded 9% with a relatively low volatility.
  • Over the past 3 years, the ETF Portfolio outperformed high yield bonds on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • Over the past 3 years, the ETF Portfolio under-performed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A High-Yielding 6% Portfolio | Seeking Alpha

For income investors who need to extract regular distributions from their portfolios, it's important that the portfolio not only provide adequate yield, but that it also maintain its overall value in both the short term and the long term. Reducing volatility thus becomes more important and aggressive growth less important. The proposed portfolio addresses both of these goals (low overall portfolio volatility and high yield) while also allowing for moderate growth.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bond Basics For Retirees | Seeking Alpha

In two recent Blog posts, I explored how bonds aren't just for old people - first taking a look at the ways millennials can use bonds, then providing tips for 30-somethings (and beyond) to put bonds to work. The story wouldn't be complete without some bond basics for retirees, so that's what I'll walk us through today.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Retirement: Income Only Or Total Return? Part 2 | Seeking Alpha

In some regards the term "safe" as it pertains to retirement spending can mean different things to different people depending on their goals. Each person must understand their needs and be able to choose the strategy that best fits their needs. Often money may be tight during retirement, and it may not be possible to live only off your income from dividends. In these cases you may want to explore one of my strategies in my previous article.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top Monthly Pay Dividend Dogs: January Lists | Seeking Alpha

Quarterly, Semi-Annual and Annual dividend stockholders anxiously await announcements from a firm, fund, or analyst to learn if their next dividend will be higher, lower, or paid at all. Monthly pay stocks, funds, trusts, and partnerships inform the holder every four and one-third weeks by check and/or statement. If the entity reduces or suspends a payment, the holder can sell out of the investment immediately to cut future losses. This advantage has been countered when companies suddenly cut monthly dividends to save cash and trigger price crashes. The segment is volatile.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Major Asset Classes Dec. 2014 Performance Review | Seeking Alpha

The U.S. stock market was flat last month, although for year just passed U.S. equities earned a respectable 12.6% (Russell 3000). That's a comparatively soft gain relative to the stellar advance for U.S. market in the last few years, but it's above average in comparison with long-term results.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Investing In Short Term Bond Funds - What You Need To Know | Seeking Alpha

At last, the Federal Reserve has ended the Quantitative Easing program. This may have serious implications for fixed income investments and interest rates. Many investors believe that the Fed will increase short term interest rates in 2015 and because of that reason they no longer find fixed-income investments attractive.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Diversified, High-Income, Lower-Risk CEF Portfolio For 2015 | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • For the bear-bull cycle beginning in 2007, the CEF Portfolio generated a higher return than the S&P 500 with substantially less risk.
  • For all-time frames analyzed since 2007, the CEF Portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • The CEF Portfolio has a high average distribution of 7.9%.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

CEFL January Dividend Gives Yield Of 23% - UBS ETRACS Monthly Pay 2xLeveraged Closed - End Fund ETN (NYSEARCA:CEFL) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • My projection is that the January 2015 monthly dividend for CEFL will be $0.5574.
  • This will result in an annualized compounded yield of 23% based on the three most recent monthly dividends.
  • The recent lower prices for CEFL makes it still a compelling buy for yield oriented investors.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Is It Time To Buy Floating Rate Loans CEFs? | Seeking Alpha

As a retiree, I am always searching for sources of high income but lately I have worried about rising interest rates. Floating rate loans Closed End Funds appeared to offer the best of both worlds, providing over 6% income plus a hedge against increased rates. However, about six months ago I wrote anarticle advising caution when investing in this asset class. The reason was that interest rates had unexpectedly dropped. Now, interest rates have dropped even more, putting more pressure on these loans. Thus I decided to revisit my analysis to see if it was now time to buy floating rate loans.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Retirement Strategy: My Exclusive 2015 Portfolio For Seeking Alpha Is Ready Right Now | Seeking Alpha

I have consistently read articles on investing with a stronger focus on total returns and buying stock only when the price is right. I believe that putting money to work as soon as possible far outweighs the share price of any given stock on any given day. The business of developing various and unique valuation methods is overstated and has spawned its own industry in my opinion.  It is just another way to separate you from your money.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

In Search Of Income: Preferred CEFs (Part II) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Closed-end funds should be evaluated along multiple dimensions, including distribution yield, NAV performance, valuation, and risk factors.
  • Depending on individual investor priorities, a variety of preferred CEFs may be particularly attractive to investors.
  • Two funds, JH Premium Dividend Fund and Nuveen Preferred & Income Term, score highly along all dimensions and are particularly appealing investment candidates.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Retirement Strategy: I Will Not Follow The Herd, Will You? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Panic is not a strategy for retirement investing; it is an emotion that could derail your portfolio.
  • Once again it is all about the income, not about the value of a portfolio on any given day.
  • I will not be showing the total value of the new FMBP because to me it simply does not matter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind - NYTimes.com

Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent. More recently, since the turn of the century, the share of women without paying jobs has been rising, too. The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Fed Meets This Week Dealing With Alarming Bond Market Bubble | Seeking Alpha

In short, there is just way too much liquidity in the system, and buying of any assets is what follows regardless of price or the fundamentals, and the bond market is in such a bubble right now that the Fed needs to start pricking it fast before it crashes all at once where everyone tries to get out at the same time, which of course they cannot do. This is where a responsible Fed comes in and prepares the bond market for the inevitable rate hikes in 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

High-Yield BDCs Hit New Lows | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Over the last two months investors have favored BDCs with ‘safer’ portfolios.
  • Higher yield BDCs have reached new lows and offer attractive yields averaging 14.4%.
  • I believe these companies have the most upside potential as well as downside risk.  

Blackstone Mortgage Trust: 7% Yield And Rising Rates Protection - Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc. (NYSE:BXMT) | Seeking Alpha

One of the fears stalking many investors that own higher yield financial stocks and REITs is what will happen when interest rates start to increase. Commercial mortgage REIT Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE:BXMT)offers the combination of a current high yield and a business model that will generate higher profits if/when short-term interest rates start to rise. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Collapse In Oil Prices Rocks The Markets | Seeking Alpha

The steep price drop for oil continued last week. However, unlike the last month and a half; the markets took a very different direction in response to the continued decline of crude this week. Investors are starting to realize that the fall in oil prices has some negative consequences for both the economy and equities. This is something I have been warning about in recent weeks.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Canadian Bank Stocks - 3 Stock Analyses | Seeking Alpha

The hottest topic as of late, that I’ve seen outside of the oil/gas industry is… Canadian Banking. I have seen quite a few dividend investors over the last two weeks, continue to purchase shares into the big 6 Canadian Bank companies. I also own of them, but with all of the downward pressure on the industry in that geographical location, plus all of the activity with buying happening, it has caused me to dive into some research on the fundamentals with 3 of the bank stocks. Let’s take a look.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Utility Stocks: Focus On Policy, Not Politics | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Midterm election results imply more gridlock at the federal level.
  • Outcomes of gubernatorial races have important implications for our investments; governors appoint regulators who oversee utilities and set industry rules.
  • We run through the results from the gubernatorial elections and their implications for utilities that operate in each of those state.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Closed-End Funds Are Better For Income Investors Than Open-End Funds | Seeking Alpha

Closed-end funds, often called CEFs, are a way for investors to pool their money so they can hire a professional to manage it for them. Mutual funds do the same thing, but in some ways do it better. However, as the country shifts from stuffing money away for the future to trying to live off of what's been saved, closed-end funds are set to shine. If you haven't looked at the space, you should do it now.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

3 Reasons Why Municipal Bonds May Offer More Than Just Tax-Exempt Income | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • We believe higher tax rates increase the incentive for taxpayers to seek tax-exempt income using municipal bonds.
  • Municipals have the potential to offer a broad range of investment options that are exempt from federal income tax and, potentially, from state and local income taxes.
  • While municipal bonds are rightly renowned for generating tax-exempt income, there are several other reasons to consider them, including their relatively attractive yields, low default risk and diversification benefits.  

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