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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's The Safest Investment Strategy? | Seeking Alpha

Many investors with little appetite for risk think cash is the safest asset class. After all, if you have no investments, you have no investment risk. That’s true enough, but it’s reassuring only if you ignore inflation and taxes. And of course, most individuals do pay taxes and everyone experiences inflation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Post-Lehman, Money Market Fund Protections Still Weak - NYTimes.com

Jennifer Taub is a professor at Vermont Law School. Her book “Other People’s Houses” was published in May by Yale Press.
Filed before dawn on Sept. 15, 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. spread panic through the financial system. Within hours of the filing that Monday morning, what should have been the contained demise of a venerable investment house turned into a widespread financial crisis.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Deflationary Spiral Nonsense; Keynesian Theory vs. Practice???

The idea that falling prices are bad for the economy is ridiculous? Taking out insurance against falling prices is even more absurd.  Ask any consumer if he wants lower gas prices, lower food prices, lower hotel prices, lower computer prices, or lower prices on any consumer items and the answer will be yes.  Next, ask any consumer who needs a coat, computer, TV, or any other needed item if he would he wait a year to buy one because prices were falling.   Assuming the consumer had enough money to buy any needed item, he would buy that item now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Building An Income Portfolio With Closed-End Funds. Part 2: MLPs | Seeking Alpha

  • This is the second in a series on using closed-end funds for the core of a retirement-income portfolio.
  • The article explores CEFs for energy master limited partnerships with regard to distributions, total-return parameters, discounts and relative tax-efficiencies.
  • More than 20 funds are covered.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Basic Lesson In Stock Picking With Examples | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • This article shows by example how the author drills down into stocks to attempt to find winners.
  • Suggestions include the use of a screener to narrow the universe of stocks.
  • After narrowing down to a few stocks, drill down deeper using recent reports from the company and from other sources.
  • Finally look at other stock rating agencies and the authors on SA to see if they confirm the findings.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10 Clean Energy Stocks For 2014? September Update And Thoughts On The Finavera Deal | Seeking Alpha

Clean energy stocks and the market in general rebounded strongly in August. My broad market benchmark of small cap stocks, IWM, rose 4.5%, returning to positive territory up 1.7% for the year. My clean energy benchmark PBW also jumped back into the black with an 11.1% gain for the month and 10.8% for the year to date. The less volatile defensive stocks in my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2014 model portfolio rose 1.9%. For the year to date, the model portfolio is up 6.2%.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Asia's Fabulous 50 Companies For 2014 | Seeking Alpha

Forbes Asia has published its annual list of Asia's Feb 50 firms for this year. The companies in this list are selected from publicly-traded companies. Here is the selection criteria from the Forbes article:
The Fab 50 is chosen from a pool of 1,300 companies in the region that have at least $3 billion in market cap or annual revenue. Since only public companies are considered, hot privately held outfits such as Alibaba Group and Huawei Technologies are out. We screen for a long series of performance measures, analyze the outlook for each company and throw out any that carry a lot of debt or are more than 50% state-owned. Companies that are more than 50% owned by listed parents are also culled. The result is the region's best of the best.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Strong Performance And High Distributions Are Available In Healthcare Closed-End Funds | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Healthcare is the top performing sector this year.
  • The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is driving increased healthcare utilization.
  • Healthcare CEFs offer diversification and active management with industry specific knowledge.
  • Closed end funds are available with distributions as high as 8% and discounts up to 10.9%.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2465345-electric-utilities-the-american-way-vs-germany-and-australia?ifp=0

Summary

  • Critics of the US solar boom point to soaring electricity costs in Germany as a major risk of subsidies for renewable energy.
  • These sensationalist claims ignore salient differences between the US and European electricity markets.
  • The Australian experience serves as a reminder that the end of US solar subsidies could deal a major blow to some high-flying renewable energy names.

Friday, September 5, 2014

John Paulson Bids Good Riddance to Summer - NYTimes.com

The hedge fund magnate John A. Paulson seemed to be enjoying himself at the United States Open on Wednesday night, watching Novak Djokovic defeat Andy Murray.  But over all, this summer has not been kind to Mr. Paulson. In July, his $23 billion Paulson & Company suffered across-the-board losses. August was marginally better, according to the latest numbers, disclosed in a monthly update letter sent to investors on Friday.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2465445-equity-cefs-dont-judge-a-cef-by-its-yield?ifp=0

Summary

  • Yield is the most common factor that investors use to buy CEFs. The higher a fund's yield, the more popular the fund and typically the higher the valuation.
  • Though CEFs generally offer some the highest average yields of any asset class in the financial markets, income investors can easily fall into a yield trap.
  • And if interest rates eventually rise, investors should be placing even less emphasis on CEF yields and more emphasis on a fund's yield stability and NAV growth.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thornburg On Understanding Your Real Real Returns | Seeking Alpha

Thornburg Investment Management says that most investors don’t appreciate the importance of expenses and taxes on long-term portfolio performance.
It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day market movements, but as most successful investors tell us, long-term success boils down to avoiding big losses and unnecessary costs. Between taxes, fees, and inflation, impressive nominal returns can be reduced to almost nothing pretty quickly. To help investors get a sense for just how important it is to take those costs into account when building a portfolio, Thornburg Investment Management (H/T Cullen Roche of PragCap) has calculated the "real real return" for every major asset class, and the results are much lower than you might expect.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New U.S. Bank Rules A Boon For Bond Investors??? | Seeking Alpha

US banks have come a long way since the financial crisis, and that's good news for fixed-income investors. We think better fundamentals and stricter regulations are creating a good formula for banks' preferred securities.
In our view, these securities offer an alternative to more traditional credit-related investments, which in recent years have left many income-seeking investors wanting more. As banks rebuild their capital and reduce risk, the market for these securities-which are subordinate to many pure bonds-is set to grow.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Divisions Grow as a Downturn Rocks Europe - NYTimes.com

Six years after being struck by economic crisis, Europe is facing a fresh downturn, with few new ideas on the table for reigniting growth and deepening political divisions over the austerity policies that many blame for worsening the malaise.
Even as the United States economy rebounds from its worst recession since the 1930s, Europe is heading in the opposite direction. A halting recovery that took hold in the 18-nation euro currency bloc in the last year has now gone into reverse as Germany, France and Italy, its three largest economies, stumble anew. Some analysts say the region could be headed for another full-scale recession — a slowdown that could have ramifications in the United States, Europe’s biggest trading partner. For American companies that do business in Europe, profits would suffer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A High Income 'Sleep Soundly' CEF Portfolio | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • The Sleep Soundly CEF Portfolio has generated greater return with lower risk than the S&P 500 over the bear-bull cycle beginning in 2007.
  • The Sleep Soundly CEF Portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis for all time frames analyzed since 2007.
  • The Sleep Soundly Portfolio provides over 7.5% income and still allows me to sleep soundly each night.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reaves Utility Income Fund - Solid 5.7% Dividend Payer - Reaves Utility Income Fund (NYSEMKT:UTG) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • History of consistently raising the monthly dividend.
  • Trading at the low end of NAV discount history.
  • Strong NAV growth, but volatile price history creates trading opportunities.
  • Managed since inception by the same team.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

30 reasons not to worry about a stock market crash(A Satirical Vision) - MarketWatch

I have seen the light.
I have seen the error of my ways.
At long last, I understand. This stock market is a great investment. Stocks are just going to keep going up and up and up and up. Anyone who doesn’t buy now is a fool.
I have learned to love the bull market.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Building A Conservative Hedged Income-Producing CEF Portfolio | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Basket of 11 CEFs yield an average of 6.3%, trade at an 8.2% discount and NAV up 19.8% YTD.
  • Inverse ETFs used to hedge market risk.
  • All CEFs have not returned capital in last two years.
  • Dividend payout for the hedged portfolio is 5.1%.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Swiss Gold Referendum on November 30 | GoldSwitzerland

One of the very few remaining proper democracies in the world will vote on bringing the Swiss Gold back to Switzerland on November 30.  This is an initiative that could only happen in Switzerland. An influential member of parliament, Luzi Stamm, representing the biggest Swiss party SVP (Swiss People’s Party) started this initiative with two other parliamentarians.  In order to have a national referendum on an issue in Switzerland, 100,000 supporting signatures are required. The ‘Swiss Gold Initiative’ already achieved this requirement in early 2013.  Not only will the referendum deal with gold repatriation but also seeks to stop all gold sales by the SNB (Swiss National Bank) and to require the SNB to hold 20% of its assets in gold.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

5 Companies With Strong Dividend Yields Suitable For Defensive Investors | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • OLN, DE, JPM, WFC, and INTC are all suitable for the Defensive Investor following the ModernGraham approach.
  • Each company is rated as undervalued by the ModernGraham valuation model based on Benjamin Graham's formula.
  • All five have strong dividend yields and should be attractive to investors.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Buy Gold Miners Instead Of Gold?? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Gold prices fell almost 30% last year as the Fed hinted at easing its bond purchases.
  • As gold prices plunged, physical demand for the precious metal picked up in China.
  • Going forward, physical demand in China and India will be the key drivers for the gold market.
  • Gold now has a strong floor at around $1,200 an ounce, however, it has limited upside potential as the Fed ends its bond purchases.
  • Investors looking to gain exposure to gold should opt for gold miners instead of physical gold or ETF as the present price environment will help miners generate steady cash flow.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

12%+ Dividend Payer AG Mortgage Investment Trust Is An Attractive Mortgage REIT ??- Seeking Alpha

AG Mortgage Investment Trust Inc. (NYSE:MITT) is a hybrid mortgage REIT. It acquires and manages a portfolio of Agency RMBS of various kinds and credit investments. The credit investments consist of things such as non-Agency RMBS and ABS, CMBS and CMBS interest only securities, commercial loans, residential loans, and excess mortgage servicing rights. MITT is a relatively small competitor in its space with only about $3.83B (as of Q2 2014 end) in fair value assets in its portfolio; but that does not mean it is not worth investors' attention. Its annual dividend is about 12.7%, which is outperformance by itself, when many other mortgage REIT annual dividends have fallen to 10% or less.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why the Middle Class Isn’t Buying Talk About Economic Good Times - NYTimes.com

For five years, the United States economy has been expanding at a steady clip, the stock market soaring, the headlines filled with talk of recovery. Yet public opinion polling shows most Americans still think the economy is pretty miserable.
What might account for the paradox? New data from a research firm offers a simple, frustrating answer: Middle-class American families’ income is lower now, when adjusted for inflation, than when the recovery began half a decade ago.

Warren Buffett Buys These 8 Dividend Stocks | Seeking Alpha

Warren Buffett is one of the most trusted investors in the world. Recently, he came out with his 13F Filling which informs investors about his recent investment activity.I studied Warren's latest buys and sells. Below is a small overview of his latest purchases. In addition, I've included a detailed view on his latest dividend buys for you.  In total, Warren bought 13 stocks, of which eight pay dividends. The highest yielding company was Verizon, followed by General Motors.  His total portfolio value hit the USD 107 billion benchmark and around 65 percent of his assets are invested in four companies (Wells Fargo, Coca Cola, American Express and IBM).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why I Am Adding Treasuries To My Retirement Portfolio - iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:TLT) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Buying Treasuries is like buying insurance, if everything goes well you'll be sorry you bought them.
  • But when things go wrong you'll be sorry you didn't.
  • The threat of rising interest rates makes it a difficult time to feel comfortable investing in treasuries.
  • Here's how I am dealing with this dilemma.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Investing: Gloom And Doom Or A Technological Boom? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Do American children have reason to hope for a more prosperous future?
  • What does history tell us about the potential for rapid changes in economic and geopolitical conditions?
  • How can we approach investing as uncertainties are seemingly increasing by the day?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cypress Energy Partners: Next Wave Of MLPs - Cypress Energy LP (NYSE:CELP) | Seeking Alpha

Founded in 2012 and IPO'd in January 2014, CELP (NYSE: CELP) provides saltwater disposal and other water and environmental services. CELP operates under Water & Environmental Services ("W&ES") and Pipeline Inspection & Integrity Services ("PI&IS") segments - for 1Q14, W&ES and PI&IS contributed 43% and 57% of gross margins respectively. I plan on briefly touching upon the PI&IS business but will focus more so on the W&ES segment and more broadly so the salt water disposal industry.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Italy Falls Back Into Recession, Raising Concern for Eurozone Economy - NYTimes.com

 The Italian economy shrank in the second quarter, according to an official estimate on Wednesday, taking economists by surprise and provoking concern that violence in Ukraine and tension with Russia could be pushing the eurozone back into recession.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

“The people causing the crisis are the ones who stand to gain the most from it” | GoldSwitzerland

In view of the public debate they have raised in Germany, Matterhorn Asset Management is extremely pleased to feature the below written interview Lars Schall did, on our behalf, with Marc Friedrich and Matthias Weik this past week. German economists Friedrich and Weik co-authored two books which unfortunately are still only available in German. In their latest publication, “Der Crash ist die Lösung”, the economists explain from a German and International perspective, in easy to understand language, why “The Crash is the solution” and why this crash will be more catastrophic than the previous one. They describe based on solid economic fundamentals why a ‘final financial collapse’ is on our doorstep.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Searching For High Yield And Diversification With ETNs | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • ETNs offer diversification and high income potential that can offset the various investment risks.
  • Investors should keep track of indicative values relative to market prices, and be aware of tracking fees and maturity dates.
  • BDCL, DVHL and MORL should be considered by the more sophisticated investor.
Exchange-traded Notes (ETNs) are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities that provide investors with exposure to the total returns of various market indices, including those linked to stocks, bonds, commodities and/or currencies, less investor fees. ETNs must not be confused with ETFs (Exchange-traded Funds) - unlike ETFs, ETNs are bond instruments with a set maturity date that do not buy or hold assets to replicate or approximate the performance of the underlying index.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fears Of A Sudden Sharp Rise In Interest Rates Are Overblown?? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • When considering all of the factors that could derail the bull market in US equities, a sharp rise in interest rates is prime among them.
  • A review of historical velocity of money, interest rates and economic growth confirms that traditional monetary policy has become ineffective and has been replaced with non-traditional measures.
  • The US economy is growing and excess slack has been reduced but not to the extent that traditional monetary policy will be reinstated.
  • We do not expect a sharp rise in rates and therefore do not expect rates to pose a threat to the current bull market in US equities.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Argentina's Default Option | Seeking Alpha

The sun has risen, and Argentina is - once again - in default. NBD.
Default: it's the worst thing that any debtor can do. It marks you out as being a deadbeat, unable or unwilling to keep your promises. And it's particularly bad if the debtor in question is a sovereign nation, because the taint of default adheres not only to the government of the day, but also to future governments, as well as everybody in the country. Any present-day company or individual who needs to borrow money will find it impossible, or at least much harder, if their government is in default.

Q. and A.: Exploring What's Behind the Battle Over Argentina's Debt - NYTimes.com

Argentina is on the verge of defaulting on billions of dollars of government debt. It has reached this point after years of battling a group of New York hedge funds that have been demanding full payment on bonds that defaulted in 2001. The battle has already rocked international debts markets and may affect the economies of other countries in the future. Below are answers to questions about the fight, which has taken complicated twists and turns over the years.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Retirement Strategy: Is It Time To Dump Everything? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Warren Buffett said "Be fearful when everyone is greedy and be greedy when everyone is fearful". Is it time to fear for our retirement portfolio?
  • In retirement, income is essential, not simply important.
  • Does selling everything right now, to be in cash only, make sense?
I have been reading some very interesting articles just about everywhere these days. Yes, our bull market appears to be fairly valued if not more, and it is only natural for the average investor to feel "itchy", which is the reason that this article struck me as being very indicative of how many investors, even good ones like the author of that article, react to the noise.

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