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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bill Gross PIMCO Exit Creates Unprecedented Value In CEFs ??? - PIMCO Dynamic Income Fund (NYSE:PDI) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Bill Gross has departed PIMCO today, following the dramatic exit of Mohamed El-Erian earlier this year.
  • This and other recent negative press has caused capital flight, which has pared PIMCO assets under management this year.
  • PIMCO is a global asset management firm with ~$2 trillion under management and currently employs the top fixed-income managers in the country.
  • Unprecedented value has been created in closed-end funds (CEFs), which marks a buying opportunity in several funds that investors should note.
  • Market pundits view this news as a move that will harm PIMCO, however this bashing only serves short-term interest.

The Financial Crisis is mainly an Energy problem | GoldSwitzerland

On behalf of Matterhorn Asset Management, financial journalist Lars Schall talked with the Dutch economist / oil analyst Maarten van Mourik about the book “The Misunderstood Crisis: It’s the energy stupid!”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Should we Maintain Our Buy Rating On Canada ETFs After 29.77% Gains ?? Seeking Alpha

Our positive expectation for growth in Canada is based on the economic indicators remaining relatively strong. Thanks to reasonable growth figures, firm readings from corporate earnings, and ongoing healing in consumer sentiment, we think that the key decision for investors for the next twelve months is likely to involve backing the improvement.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Rational Look at Gold?

The fundamentals that drive gold prices higher are in full force and improving. Central banks are buying more of the precious metal (to add to their reserves), while countries that are known to be big consumers of gold bullion post increased demand.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

7 MLP Closed End Funds On Clearance Sale? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Closed end funds focusing on the MLP sub-sector are currently trading at extreme discounts to net asset value and represent a very attractive buying opportunity.
  • The recent declines in price have coincided with announcement of the Kinder Morgan reorganization, which has been generally seen as a positive factor for the MLP sector.
  • Particularly attractive opportunities exist within seven MLP closed end funds.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lithuania Feels Squeeze in Sanctions War With Moscow - NYTimes.com

 In the sanctions war between Russia and the West, Kasia Jankun’s 80 dairy cows seem to be losing.
The sanctions, which are taking a toll on Russia’s economy, cut both ways. And Ms. Jankun and other small farmers in this Baltic nation of three million people are bearing an overwhelming share of the pain from a Russian ban on European dairy products.
Former Soviet bloc countries that, like Lithuania, are part of the European Union and the NATO military alliance might seem safe from the Russian strong-arming that made Ukraine so vulnerable. But in economic standoffs, it is often the most vulnerable that suffer most.

Retired Investors: Learn The Success Secret Of All Great Value Investors: Part 2 | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • The secret revealed that all great value investors possess.
  • Avoid the great investment mistake.
  • When in a highly charged emotional state, common sense and rational thought are often abandoned.
  • The most accomplished value investors are able to recognize the difference between intrinsic value and market price.

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.

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