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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

10 Clean Energy Stocks For 2015: A Fine February | Seeking Alpha

This year, I split the model portfolio into two sub-portfolios of six income stocks (Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE:HASI), General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC), Transalta Renewables Inc. (OTC:TRSWF), Capstone Infrastructure Corp. (OTCPK:MCQPF), New Flyer Industries, Inc. (OTC:NFYEF), and Accell Group NV (OTC:ACGPF) and four value growth stocks (FutureFuel Corp. (NYSE:FF), Power REIT (NYSEMKT:PW), Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC), and MiX Telematics Limited (NYSE:MIXT)).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A 6-Position Portfolio For High-Yield REIT Investors | Seeking Alpha

REITs offer an impressive variety of options for income-focused as well as total return geared investors. If you wanted to diversify to all corners of the real estate market, you could end up owning over a dozen different REITs that invest in everything from apartments to timberlands.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lessons From A Dozen Years Of Short Selling | Seeking Alpha

Shorting looked easy in 2008, but in reality, it's a brutally tough business. In many ways, it appears to involve nothing more than applying the same analyses one uses when determining whether to buy a stock: on the long side, investors generally seek companies with good management, strong growth, high margins and returns on capital, little or no debt, clean balance sheets, and sustainable competitive advantages - all at a low price. Conversely, short sellers look for weak or dishonest management, low or negative growth, margins and returns on capital, high and increasing debt, accounts receivable and inventory, and weak competitive advantages - all at a ridiculously high price.

Friday, February 27, 2015

CEFL March Dividend Brings Yield To 19.2% - SMHD May Be A Good Diversifier For CEFL - UBS ETRACS Monthly Pay 2xLeveraged Closed - End Fund ETN (NYSEARCA:CEFL) | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • CEFL continues to generate high yields for those willing to accept the risk that leverage entails.
  • A new UBS leveraged ETN, SMHD, which just started trading, may be a good diversifier for CEFL.
  • There are some concerns with SMHD, but the 17.7% yield makes it worth looking at further.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

China Levels The Global Playing Field | Seeking Alpha

It's a powerful vision for the world's future. The US and China: two growth powerhouses; two major currencies.  At the heart of China's much-publicized economic reforms are the internationalization of its currency - the yuan renminbi (RMB) - and the liberalization of its capital markets. It's no exaggeration to say that these changes will affect not only China, but the world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dividend Growth Stocks: All Investing Involves Risk

If your goal is to accumulate wealth for a comfortable retirement, then there is no risk-free path. Throughout time every angle has been tried and failed. However, some approaches carry less risk than others. Let's consider some of the popular paths.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

No Interest Rate Hikes Soon... Time To Celebrate? | Seeking Alpha

It wasn't surprising to read in the FOMC minutes that the Federal Reserve is in no hurry to increase the federal funds rate. The prices of almost every commodity from crude oil and refined energy products to iron ore and copper have fallen sharply in recent months, and the strengthening of the US dollar has only accelerated the declines of dollar-denominated commodities for US-centric operators.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Warren Buffett Sold Exxon Mobil And Bought Suncor Energy | Seeking Alpha

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) reported its Q4 2014 moves. It sold out of its Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stake of 41 million shares and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) shares. However, it added almost 4M shares of Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Equity CEFs: How To Play Sector Rotations By Investing In CEFs | Seeking Alpha

Summary

  • What started as a rotation in 2015 has become more of the same over the last couple weeks as leading sectors such as technology and healthcare have reasserted themselves.
  • But beneath the surface, there are tell tale signs of a rotation going on, particularly in interest rate sensitive sectors such as utilities and REITs.
  • Equity CEFs are a great way to play a rotation because opportunities can arise regardless of which sectors are doing well and which sectors are falling out of favor.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tracking David Einhorn's Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update | Seeking Alpha

This article is part of a series that provides an ongoing analysis of the changes made to David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital US long stock portfolio on a quarterly basis. It is based on Einhorn's regulatory 13F Form filed on 02/13/2015. Please visit our Tracking David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Holdings article series for an idea on his investment philosophy and ourprevious update highlighting the fund's moves during Q3 2014.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tracking Tweedy Browne's Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update | Seeking Alpha

This article is part of a series that provides an ongoing analysis of the changes made to Tweedy Browne's US stock portfolio on a quarterly basis. It is based on Tweedy Browne's regulatory 13F Form filed on 02/12/2015. Please visit ourTracking Tweedy Browne's Portfolio series to get an idea of their investment philosophy and our previous update for the fund's moves during Q3 2014.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Global Debt Has Risen by $57 Trillion Since the Financial Crisis. Here's Why That Is Scary. - NYTimes.com

Here are two things we know about how debt affects the economy.  First, in the abstract it doesn’t matter. For every debtor there is a creditor, and in theory an economy should be able to hum along just fine whether a country’s citizens have a great deal of debt or none. A company’s ability to produce things depends on the workers and machines it employs, not the composition of its balance sheet, and the same can be said of nations.  Second, in practice this is completely wrong, and debt plays an outsized role in creating boom-bust cycles across the world and through history. High debt increases the amplitude of economic swings. To think of it in terms of the corporate metaphor, high reliance on borrowed money may not affect a company’s level of output in theory, but makes it a great deal more vulnerable to bankruptcy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dividend Growth Stocks: 10 Dividend Stocks With A 10% Yield In 10 Years????

There are income investors and Dividend Growth investors. While the distinction is rather simple, it slips past many casual observers. Income investors are investing for maximum current income, while dividend growth investors are looking to maximize income over an extended period of time -- usually sacrificing current income for higher future earnings.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Paradox of Inflation/Deflation | Armstrong Economics

 We are all victims of how we were taught to think in a linear fashion. It is a difficult thing to let go of this archaic thinking process and many people simply cannot make that step forward to see the dynamic world that exists around them. They will forever remain captive of their linear world trapped in a paradox they cannot escape. Those linear people tend to be people who gravitate toward government. If you grasp what I am talking about no doubt you are nearly there or you would not read this blog since it is not for the fainthearted nor the linear thinker.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Canadian Dividend stocks with the strength to grow their payouts? - The Globe and Mail

Dividend stocks with the capacity to grow their payments.  A string of promising U.S. economic results led to heightened speculation about the timing for rate hikes, but Janet Yellen’s promise to be patient reassured markets on Wednesday.  Given persistent U.S. unemployment and low inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve chair said the central bank would take a measured and gradual approach to normalizing monetary policy.

The Shrinking American Middle Class - NYTimes.com

The middle class, if defined as households making between $35,000 and $100,000 a year, shrank in the final decades of the 20th century. For a welcome reason, though: More Americans moved up into what might be considered the upper middle class or the affluent. Since 2000, the middle class has been shrinking for a decidedly more alarming reason: Incomes have fallen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gundlach: Fed should hold line: ECB QE will fail

The Federal Reserve has little justification to raise interest rates amid a deflationary global backdrop, bond expert Jeff Gundlach said.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Diversified, High-Income Bond Portfolio For 2015 | Seeking Alpha

I recently wrote an article on a diversified closed-end fund (CEF) portfolio that included a range of equity funds but had only 28% of the assets allocated to bonds. I realized that many retirees would like to have a higher percentage in bonds, so I wrote this article, which focuses exclusively on bond CEFs.

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.

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