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, July 31, 2015

Ray Dalio Discussing the Economic Machine at the New York Times DealBook Conference - YouTube

Ray Dalio Discussing the Economic Machine at the New York Times DealBook Conference.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached - The New York Times

Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.
Near the port of Manta on the Pacific Ocean, Chinese banks are in talks to lend $7 billion for the construction of an oil refinery, which could make Ecuador a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.

Bridgewater Turns Bearish On China? | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • The world’s biggest hedge fund has turned on the world’s fastest-growing economy.
  • Bridgewater Associates LP, one of Wall Street’s more outspoken bulls on China, told investors this week that the country’s recent stock-market rout will likely have broad, far-reaching repercussions.
  • Is it time to throw in the towel on China, emerging markets, commodity and energy shares?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

As China's Economic Power Increases, Questions Arise - The New York Times

 I was waiting for a train in a remote town in southwest China last year when a young man marched up to me and barked out a question: Did I understand and accept that China is a great power?  It was a telling moment.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why Pensions Are A (Big) Black Swan | Seeking Alpha

When talk turns to what might derail today’s debt-driven “recovery,” the big names and easy stories get most of the attention: China with its soaring debt, volatile equities and heavy-handed intervention; Japan with its stratospheric debt and science fictiony demographics; Greece, which needs no explanation; the developing countries with their weak currencies and mountain of dollar-denominated debt. And of course America’s triple bubble of stocks, bonds and derivatives.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why Greece Should Leave the Eurozone - The New York Times

THERE are not many issues on which I agree with my colleagues Paul Krugman and Joseph E. Stiglitz and the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. But one of them is the view that an exit from the eurozone would be advisable for Greece.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Credit Deflation And Gold | Seeking Alpha

There is a common view in the financial markets that credit deflation is bad for gold prices, because gold nowadays is regarded as an asset to be sold in the scramble for cash when people are forced to pay down their debts. When asked by Congressman Ron Paul his opinion on gold four years ago, Ben Bernanke replied it was not money, just another asset - appearing to confirm this view.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How Socialism Destroyed Puerto Rico, and How Capitalism Can Save It | Euro Pacific Capital

While Greece is now dominating the debt default stage, the real tragedy is playing out much closer to home, with the downward spiral of Puerto Rico. As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its participation in an unrealistic monetary system that it does not control and the failure of domestic politicians to confront their own insolvency. But the damage done to the Puerto Rican economy by the United States has been far more debilitating than whatever damage the European Union has inflicted on Greece. In fact, the lessons we should be learning in Puerto Rico, most notably how socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy, should serve as a wake up call to those advocating prescribing the same for the mainland.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are Municipal Bond Funds Still Safe? | Seeking Alpha

Greece and its creditors have come up with a bailout plan that puts the debt crisis tensions at bay at least for some time. However, the Puerto Rico crisis has emerged and should also cause investors to worry. A crumbling economy, massive public debt and increasing government deficit have pushed Puerto Rico to the brink of default, and it wants the right to declare bankruptcy. Puerto Rico owes $73 billion, which it is unable to repay.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The 9 Best Stocks For Value Investors This Week...Modern Graham

We evaluated 29 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 Modern Graham valuation model based on Benjamin Graham’s value investing formulas in order to determine an intrinsic value for each. Out of those 29 companies, only 9 were found to be undervalued or fairly valued and suitable for either Defensive or Enterprising Investors. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Permanent Portfolio Is Dead??? | Seeking Alpha

The permanent portfolio was first designed by investment analyst and libertarian politician Harry Browne, who called it a "fail-safe" investment. The idea was simple enough to appear elegant: a portfolio of equal weightings of four asset classes.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 Companies Benjamin Graham Would Invest In Today – July 2015

Out of the multitude of companies, which ones would legendary value investor Benjamin Graham buy today?  I’ve compiled ten great companies that fit the ModernGraham criteria, based on Benjamin Graham’s methods. The companies in this list pass the rigorous requirements of either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor and are undervalued by the market. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Greek Deal Is a Disaster for Greece, and Maybe for Europe - The New York Times

On Monday, there was yet another deal. But this time it is one that pushes Greece into the abyss, even if financial markets don’t acknowledge it just yet and even if what happens next is deeply uncertainty.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Signs of a Growing Hush in China’s Economy - The New York Times

 As China’s stock market tumbled over the last month, some wealthy apartment owners began trying to sell. Shopping malls became quieter. And customers at automobile dealerships across the country asked to defer delivery and payment for previously ordered cars.
While share prices have rebounded modestly in recent days, many business owners in China remain nervous, as they start to notice a perceptible economic chill.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ben Graham's Advice On Choosing Stocks During Tough Markets | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • A tip from Bruce Lee on what it takes to be successful in the stock market.
  • Examples of how to adapt to ensure success.
  • 15 deep insights from Ben Graham on the process and mindset required to choose stocks.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Make Sense of China’s Plummeting Stock Market - The New York Times

While the eyes of the world have been on the crisis in Greece, China, a country with 123 times the population, has faced financial troubles of its own. A free fall in the Chinese stock market could threaten the prosperity of the world’s second-largest economy and have long-term effects of its own.

Friday, July 3, 2015

MLP Strategy Guide | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Buy-and-hold investors historically have gravitated toward MLPs for their above-average yields. But huge growth opportunity created by the shale revolution shifted focus from accumulating distributions to yield compression.
  • Given negative sentiment toward energy and the diminished growth outlook for many MLPs, faster money looking for outsized price appreciation continues to rotate out of space.
  • MLPs that figure prominently in the Alerian MLP Index and many MLP strategies continue to suffer downside. ETP and EPD look attractive, though the stocks could drift lower.
  • In lieu of hedging via the one illiquid inverse ETN, consider taking advantage of pullback to add names that stand to benefit from sizable inventory of drop-down transactions.
  • Low yields give these names a huge advantage in third-party acquisitions. Refiners and utilities continue to leverage their position on the demand side to acquire interests in new projects.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Tragedy Of Puerto Rico, America's Very Own Greece | Seeking Alpha

The eyes of the world are trained on Greece, this week, as it teeters on the brink of disaster. Which perhaps helps to explain Alejandro GarcĂ­a Padilla's timing: the Puerto Rico governor chose Monday to announce that the island territory is insolvent, and cannot (will not) pay back its $72 billion in debt. Not on time and in full, in any case.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Beauty Of Diversity | Seeking Alpha

My ego doesn't require that I beat the market. I'm not that into measuring myself against the best. In fact, when I use to both run and play chess, my goal was to be a better runner than the chess players and a better chess player than the runners. Being pretty good is good enough for me. My goal for retirement is not to be rich; it is to not be poor.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

California's Drought Heightens Scrutiny Of Water Bonds | Seeking Alpha

California's ongoing drought has begun to call into question the credit health of water revenue bonds across the state. Following Governor Jerry Brown's recommendation, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) approved new rules forcing municipal water systems and water districts to cut urban water usage by as much as 36% in some service areas. Recent articles in theWall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times highlight concerns that lower water usage will pressure revenues generated by municipal water utilities and the state's water districts, potentially threatening the ratings on bonds sold to finance water infrastructure projects.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Time To Buy Technology Focused BDCs? - Seeking Alpha

TriplePoint Venture Growth (NYSE:TPVG), Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NYSE:HTGC) and Horizon Technology Finance (NASDAQ:HRZN) provide financing primarily to venture capital ("VC") backed technology and other high growth companies. Over the last two months these BDCs have dipped, offering attractive yields and pricing discussed later in the article.

Investors Need A Retirement Strategy For All Seasons | Seeking Alpha

  • Young investors have a penchant for swinging for the fences, seeking home runs.
  • Years later, some discover the futility, one failure after another. Even occasional winners turn into losers as most don't know what to sell and when to sell it.
  • Approaching retirement 10 years out, most investors wake up to the need to replace earned income with passive income.
  • Better yet, some near-retirees discover the need to combat the loss of buying power that comes with inflation by buying dividend growth stocks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Is Greece Lehman Brothers, or Is It RadioShack? - The New York Times

There is one big question that hangs over the last-ditch negotiations this week between the Greek government and its lenders, even if no one involved would frame it quite this way: Is Greece more like RadioShack, or more like Lehman Brothers?

Monday, June 22, 2015

4 Healthcare REITs For A Healthier Retirement Portfolio | Seeking Alpha

To be considered prudent investors we must recognize and accept the undeniable reality that all true investing is done in future time. Consequently, the key to long-term investment success is to forecast the future as accurately as we possibly can. Of course, we must simultaneously recognize and accept that forecasting the future can only be accomplished within a reasonable degree of accuracy. Forecasting the future, and investing for that matter, can never be a game of perfect. Nevertheless, our investing success will ultimately be achieved based on how good our forecasts turn out to be.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Strengthen Your Portfolio With Timber REITs And ETFs | Seeking Alpha

With the bull market now in its sixth year, investors are seeking ways to insulate their portfolio against an eventual downturn. One of the keys is to invest in assets that are not highly correlated with the S&P 500. Timberland is an unorthodox asset class that has been used by large endowments such as Yale and Harvard as part of a diversified portfolio. This article looks at the risk versus rewards associated with timberland. There are three primary ways to invest in timber.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Low-Beta, Higher-Yielding Dividend Stocks For The Next Downturn | Seeking Alpha

In an economic downturn, many investors turn to dividend stocks, which are sometimes referred to as defensive stocks. These stocks offer sustainable dividends, providing the investor with a minimum level of positive return, which helps buffer the downward pressure from the market.

Monday, June 15, 2015

CEF Strategies: Municipal Bond CEFs Back On Sale - Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund (NYSE:NPI) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • Municipal bond CEFs are prone to extreme volatility due to their heavy use of leverage as well as heavy ownership by small individual investors.
  • Over the last several years, fiscal conditions at the city/state level have also added to the volatility in the municipal bond markets though that has largely abated more recently.
  • Muni bond CEFs have dropped once again to extreme discount levels based on spiking interest rates though the question of whether this is deserved or not needs to be asked.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Utility CEFs For Defensive Income | Seeking Alpha

Only a few months ago the utility sector was overvalued. Such is the nature of a bond-substitute investment when bond yields collapse and investors look for safe income elsewhere. But the sector has given back 15% since last January's high and overvaluation is much less the case.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Beginner's Guide To Aerospace And Defense ETFs | Seeking Alpha

The Q1 earnings season was a bit of a dampener for the aerospace and defense sector. It was a stronger dollar as well as a tepid budget that weighed on revenue results. With all the companies having reported their first-quarter numbers, 55.6% have beaten earnings estimates while only 44.4% could surpass top-line expectations. The sector's earnings grew by a meager 0.7% and revenue by 2.7%.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Top MLPs Boast Yields To 18% In June | Seeking Alpha

Since the fall of 2011, Arnold reports have applied dog dividend methodology to uncover possible buy opportunities in each of eight major market sectors listed by Yahoo Finance. Reader suggestions inspired the first dividend dog analysis of the Master Limited Partnership (MLP) field after August 2014. This article follows up.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

May Dividends Rise: 10 Clean Energy Stocks For 2015 | Seeking Alpha

My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio had a good May, despite headwinds from the strengthening dollar and declines in clean energy stocks in general. As a whole, the model portfolio rose 2.2% for the month, the same as my broad market benchmark. In general, clean energy stocks did worse, with the Powershares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ETF (NYSEARCA:PBW) down 1.9% for the month. The portfolio's clean energy benchmark, which blends PBW with the more income-oriented iShares Global Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:JXI) was flat.

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