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, November 24, 2014

Did Tony Robbins Just Signal The Top In Bonds? | Seeking Alpha

Self-help guru Tony Robbins is out with a new book which offers a slew of financial advice including an "All Weather Portfolio" (NYSE:AWP). Without delving into too much detail (others have already done this favor for us….), the crux of Robbins' All Weather Portfolio is a recommendation to allocate 55% of ones portfolio into US Treasury Notes & Bonds:
Then you need long-term government bonds. 15% in intermediate term (7- to 10-year Treasuries) and 40% in long-term bonds [20- to 25-year Treasuries]."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five Decades of Middle Class Wages: Update

Here's a perspective on personal income for production and nonsupervisory private employees going back five decades.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been collecting data on this workforce cohort since 1964. The government numbers provide some excellent insights on the income history of what we might think of as the private middle class wage earner.

Friday, November 21, 2014

MORL December Dividend Higher - Annualized Yield 23.1% - UBS ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged Mortgage REIT ETN (NYSEARCA:MORL) | Seeking Alpha

Only three of the 24 mREITs that comprise ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged Mortgage REIT ETN (NYSEARCA:MORL) and Market Vectors Mortgage REIT ETF (NYSEARCA:MORT) have an ex-dividend date in November 2014. Those three components are: American Capital Agency Corp (NASDAQ:AGNC) which now pays monthly and goes ex-dividend November 25 2014 with a pay date of December 4, 2014., Armour Residential REIT (NYSE:ARR), which pays monthly, and thus goes ex-dividend during the relevant period and NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. (NYSE:NRF), which goes ex-dividend November 5, 2014 with a pay date of November 14, 2014. Thus, it is now possible to project that the monthly dividend that MORL will declare for the month of December 2014 will be $0.1343.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ready For The Holiday Shopping Season - In Closed-End Funds? | Seeking Alpha


  • Tax-loss selling appears to be a major force in the closed-end fund marketplace.
  • However, selling pressure has historically been strongest in early-to-mid November.
  • Long-side investors should begin readying their shopping lists of fund bargains that have been excessively battered in the tax-loss season sell-off.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

'$1.6 Trillion In Defaults Coming,' Legend Says ?| Seeking Alpha

Martin Fridson is -- without question -- the biggest name in his field. (He has been for decades.) Right now, he's extremely concerned... Last week, he shared his big concerns at our investment conference in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Vanguard High Dividend ETF Doesn't Play Well With Bears - Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:VYM) | Seeking Alpha

Dividend ETFs are more popular than ever, thanks to the central banks of the world giving us zero interest rate policies (ZIRP), but the word "dividend" in an ETF means different things in different funds. Some funds target very high-yields, such as Global X SuperDividend ETF (NYSEARCA:SDIV), but others such as Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEARCA:VIG) aim for growth, while WisdomTree has an entire lineup of ETFs that use dividends as a selection factor in their indexes. Investors benefit from having a wide range of choices among dividend funds, with sector and international exposure sliced and diced in many different ways. Picking the right fund for a portfolio can be a chore, though, since investors can dig through dozens of options.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh No Canada | Seeking Alpha

I have long favored owning Canadian stocks when attractive opportunities present themselves. The country is well positioned in several industries that are key to long-term global economic growth. And they also boast a banking oligopoly in the country that in many respects is managed more responsibly and prudently in comparison to their global peers. Given these favorable attributes, it is reasonable to consider whether an investment in Canadian stocks is a worthwhile strategy at the present time or if it is better to wait for better opportunities in the future.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2 Countries For Old Bulls | Seeking Alpha

The bulls are off and running once again in the U.S. After a short but sharp pause in September and early October, all is well with stocks and investors are once again brimming with confidence about the boundless upward trajectory for stocks into 2015. But what about stocks across the rest of the world? While the bulls are stampeding in the U.S., the bears are out of hibernation and on the hunt across most other parts of the globe.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Canadian Banks Outpace Fixed Investments | Seeking Alpha


  • Review of interest rates, impact on investments, and an introduction to Canadian bank shares.
  • Saving accounts and government issued bonds are non-ideal against current inflation rates.
  • Review of several banks who offer dividend yield rates higher than current inflation rates.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

5 Large-Cap Dividend Companies That Offer Very Different Exposures | Seeking Alpha


  • Annaly Capital Management has a very strong dividend yield, a discount to book value, and impressive results.
  • AMT offers the most potential for dividend growth from operating leverage.
  • CAT and MMM have seen their operating margins move in opposite directions, but both have decent yields and are actively repurchasing shares.
  • DFS has a low yield, but it’s not bad for the payment industry. Technology improvements by Apple may help to enhance the product.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes ?| Farnam Street

When it comes to using our minds, we all want to be a little more like Sherlock Holmes.   Maria Konnikova’s book, Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes, takes a deep look at Sherlock Holmes’s methodology to develop the habits of mind that will allow us to mindfully engage the world.   

Monday, November 3, 2014

How Did High-Yield Dividend Champions Do During The Great Recession? Part 2 | Seeking Alpha

In Part I we showed that the higher the yield of the dividend champions of January 2008, the less likely they were still dividend champions in September 2014. As a number of comments pointed out, the great recession did not affect all industries equally. In this article we break down the results by industry groups.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dividend Zombies - Over 100 Years Of Uninterrupted And Undiminished Dividends (Part 1) | Seeking Alpha

October is drawing to a close, autumn and Halloween is upon us. Here in the southern hemisphere, at my home in Brazil, spring has arrived with the promise of new growth. These metaphorical cliches remind me that it is time to highlight the importance of a company's dividend history to gauge stability for income investors. In this spirit, I am opening a new series, The Dividend Zombies -- companies with dividends that never die.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gold: Making The Most While Avoiding The Risks - A Strategy For Income Investors??? - SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) | Seeking Alpha

In May of this year, I wrote about a way for conservative investors toearn superior rates on their emergency reserve liquid cash (or near-cash) assets using gold and covered option writing. In this article, I will review the strategy's results to date and explore some of the current myths surrounding gold, including a factual rebuttal to a recent gold article that provides an example of the misleading, inaccurate, and unreliable information being written about gold which you must be wary of when reading any reports and advice about investing, yes - even my advice. This is true especially about investments with traditional allure, such as precious metals.   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oil Companies Sensitive To The Oil Price Decline And Those That Are Not | Seeking Alpha


  • Oil price has declined about 25% since June 2014.
  • Let’s see which oil companies were more sensitive to the oil price decline.
  • Let’s see which oil companies weren’t as sensitive to the oil price decline.
  • Now maybe a good time to start dollar-cost averaging into quality oil companies for a higher starting income after the price decline.    

Friday, October 24, 2014

How Did High-Yield Dividend Champions Do During The Great Recession? Part 1 | Seeking Alpha

Many investors use the Dividend Champions as a starting point for selecting dividend growth stocks. The lists provided by David Fish (thank you, David) consist of stocks whose dividends have risen every year for 25 years or more.
In this article and the articles to follow, we will examine the dividend champions that have fallen off the list. The list is released every month. To make the data more manageable, this article only uses the lists released in January from 2008-2014 and the September 2014 list.
The great recession lead to a large number of Dividend Champions falling of the list. Did the market give us warnings about which dividend champions were most at risk?   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

7 Higher-Yielding Stocks With A Low Price To Book | Seeking Alpha

When looking for value-priced stocks, the Price-To-Book (P/B) ratio is one that I like to consider. P/B is calculated as share price divided by book value per share. Book value is most often calculated as Assets less Liabilities.
Some people conservatively calculate book value as Assets less Intangibles less Liabilities. I prefer this calculation since it excludes goodwill and other intangibles which might be difficult to recover in a liquidation, and that is what I will use in the calculations below.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gold and the Upcoming Deflation Cycle?? | Casey Research

Gold has been in a secular bull market since 2001, when it began rising from a low of $250. It had been in a bear market for the prior two decades after peaking out at $880 in 1980. Disinflation and the end of the Cold War dampened gold’s appeal through the 1980s and 1990s, as did the strong returns generated by bonds and stocks.
Then 9/11 happened, followed by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Once again investors began looking at gold as a potential beneficiary of increasing world strife. We started to see both money and credit expand, and investors began considering the implications this could have for future inflation. Gold soared to $1,900 in 2011, and one analyst after another predicted ever-higher prices for gold—$2,500, $3,000, $5,000, and higher.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vanguard Natural Resources Puts Oil Price Decline Into Perspective - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (NASDAQ:VNR) | Seeking Alpha

As a group, the upstream E&P MLP unit values have been hit hard with the drop in crude to the low $80s per barrel. Unit prices have dropped by 30% or more over the last couple of weeks. To possibly put a stop to the selloff, Vanguard Natural Resources (NASDAQ:VNR) issued a news release outlining the company's distributable cash flow sensitivities to a range of natural gas and crude oil prices. The announcement seems to have helped the VNR unit value and may be of use to understand where some of the other upstream MLPs stand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mailbag Monday: Marshall Islands | Seeking Alpha

The Marshall Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines. Most shipping MLPs are considered foreign private issuers and are organized as Marshall Islands LPs.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I.M.F. Warns of Global Financial Risk From Fiscal Policies -

As global leaders sounded the alarm about a slowing world economy, a more immediate concern drew the attention of policy makers at the International Monetary Fund’s semiannual meetings last week: inflated asset prices and increasing levels of debt overseas.
Bond markets in the eurozone are booming, debt in China is at historic highs and the United States stock market, even with its sharp fall last week, has been on a tear.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Steady Income, But No 'Icing On The Cake' In 3rd Quarter For Savvy Senior IRA | Seeking Alpha


  • "Savvy Senior IRA" portfolio continued to churn out cash income at a 9.3% annual rate.
  • But third quarter downdraft removed any capital gains accrued during first half of 2014.
  • So I had to remind myself over and over: "It's the Income, Stupid!".
  • Meanwhile, I realized that OXLC isn't the only "ultra-high-yield" game in town, and diversified into some other ultra-high-yielders as well: CEFL and MORL.
  • Is that jumping from the frying pan into the fire???? You decide!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

3 Income Stocks With Dividend Yield + Share Price Upside | Seeking Alpha

Income-oriented investors looking for an attractive dividend yield to support them during retirement should seriously consider these 3 stocks. Using our screen for attractive opportunities, these stocks have a meaningful yield >3%, a conservative payout ratio <60%, and an opportunity for share price upside. With these factors as the primary consideration of attractiveness, we have identified 3 stocks that stand out as clear winners.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance

About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let's apply some simple regression analysis (see footnote below) to the question.  Below is a chart of the S&P Composite stretching back to 1871 based on the real (inflation-adjusted) monthly average of daily closes. I've using a semi-log scale to equalize vertical distances for the same percentage change regardless of the index price range.

Friday, October 3, 2014

3 Safe Stocks For An Uncertain Market???? | Seeking Alpha

In case you haven't noticed yet, the stock market this year has been a lot different than in 2013. Not only have we seen much lower overall returns so far, we have experienced more volatility too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Major Stock Market Selloff Looms As The Fed's QE3 Ends?? | Seeking Alpha

Since early 2013 the US stock markets have done nothing but rally, levitating thanks to the Fed's oft-implied backstop. This incredibly unnatural behavior has left sentiment dangerously unbalanced, with hyper-complacency and euphoria running rampant. Only a major selloff can restore normal psychology. And with the Fed's third quantitative easing campaign ending, odds are high such a big downside event looms.

Monday, September 29, 2014

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


  • 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


  • 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.

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