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David Stafford
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Student of markets, enjoys following their course.
My book:
Around the World in Several Pieces
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  • Raiffeisen Bank; A Decent Price, And In Turn A Decent Yield.

    Ever since the eastern European chronicles per se, way back when on ye olde instablog, I've been personally intrigued by Raiffeisen bank. Its activities hark back perhaps to forgotten empires, and interesting developing market diversification options.

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    One reason one may find the Viking "empire" if one will to be fascinating is perhaps that it left us no great pyramids, no great monuments to look at, no proclamations from "Ozymandias" so as to say;

    From Shelley's Ozymandias(link);

    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings,

    look on my works, ye Mighty(sic), and despair!"

    (Image source)

    (click to enlarge)

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    However, what they did leave us was trade routes. Trade routes in to eastern Europe, joining Scandinavia per se to England, and even routes, hence connecting Paris to Russia, to Turkey, all established long, long ago.

    Viking trade routes (source);

    (click to enlarge)

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    Though it has been gone for close to a century, perhaps they(A-H empire) may too have left us something of a similar vein(of course the majesty of Vienna aswell). For, though there are no eastern European noblemen or Magyar princes per se meeting in Vienna these days, the legacy of this time period can perhaps still be found, peculiarly enough perhaps, in the business of banking in the region. For, just as Austrians and Hungarians once united under one empire, now Austrian banks, often have somewhat major roles to play in the "emerging markets" per se of eastern Europe.(Raiffeisen as "regional winner", or Eastern/Central european bank of the year(a year ago), "winner" in regards to several different countries in the region aswell(link)

    (image source)

    (click to enlarge)

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    Amongst these banks is none other than Raiffeisen bank. Its sold on the international markets per se, in the US, OTC as RAIFY. Raify and its ilk have of course been sort of punished by amongst other things these most recent of events involving the Ukraine, Russia, NATO, etc. For Raify also had some business in Russia as well, so of course it was caught either directly or indirectly in the cross-hairs of the sanction wars per se, just as various energy companies, and the Russian economy in general have been.

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    Through all this hullabaloo per se, and strife, Raify has been reduced in price, and according to whether one uses Google finance, or Bloomberg per se, it now has a yield of about 7-10%. Hence one may capture that sort of interesting semi-emerging market finance beta, with a pretty decent div. yield attached to it. Perhaps somewhat reassuringly aswell, it is quite diversified per se across this whole eastern European region, and perhaps comfortingly(or not depending on one's predictions for the Euro-zone economy) it is also anchored in good old Austria per se, perhaps making it somewhat more stable than it might otherwise be. Hence perhaps its a decent investment. Although if one is ordering it, it may be worthy of note, that as of late, the bid-ask spread is something sort of crazy like 12% so that might affect one's limit order filling per se, if one pursues said route, depending on the target price one uses as reference per se.

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    Perhaps also regardless of Raify in particular, perhaps this whole situation is sort of telling regarding buying/selling the news per se in general. Of course, the moment revolution/popular revolt if one will, and geopolitical conflicts got underway, it might be semi-presumable if one will, to guess that companies like Raify might be caught literally in the middle of any conflict in the region. With this being the case, one might have hence presumed(according to various financial/economic dogma) that this whole turn of events should have been "priced in" per se, from the moment that this whole situation sort of "got messy". Of course, this wasn't the case, and perhaps hence this would have, several months ago, have made Raify a sort of tempting short if one will. Though hindsight is 20/20 per se, perhaps this says something about various "strong" to "weak" market theories per se, especially concerning theories relating to "perfect knowledge" and relatively foreseeable events being "priced in" to an asset/stocks value/price per se. Perhaps though alas a grain of sand doesn't mean a desert, but either way, this is perhaps an interesting example, of things not being "priced in" until they are in the "news" per se several months later, so perhaps this is telling concerning various pricing models/economic theorems none the less.

    People fleeing eastern Ukraine(from June 27, 2014):(source)

    (click to enlarge)

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    Hopefully one's investments are going great regardless of one's theories concerning markets in general. I hope everyone's stocks are fairing a bit better than Raify at the moment, and thank you again for reading.

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    For a look at RAIFY's chart via Bloomberg here's a link;

    www.bloomberg.com/quote/RAIFY:US/chart

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    Here's a greater discussion of the "efficient market hypothesis";

    link

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    Viking burial at sea;(link)

    Tags: RAIFY
    Dec 03 4:02 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Maryland And Virginia Munis, With Some Hedge For Good Measure.

    After doing a touch of research per se, on this mid-Atlantic muni idea, I've come up with the following perhaps as an idea if anyone is interested in this sort of investment opportunity or portfolio per se.

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    For a decent yield for this type of investment, it seems as though our friends at Blackrock per se, have a decent portfolio put together that has relatively good yield in regards to these 2 investment opportunities. Namely, they have BZM for Maryland, and BHV for Virginia. Though there are other Muni funds for these two states, these two seem to have relatively attractive dividend yields(>4%), while somehow still maintaining a decently rated selection of municipal investments per se in there respective portfolios.

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    For the sector breakdowns per se for each investment; for BZM, we have a selection comprised in such a way that the sectors relating to health, education, transport, and housing, each comprise about 15-18% of the portfolio, leaving a small miscellaneous category amongst the holdings per se(link). For BHV(link) we have a 20% concentration in healthcare, with percentages in the upper teens being allocated to education, "state-tax-backed", and "local-tax-backed".

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    By combining these two, one might be able to create an interesting sort of Maryland/Virginia Muni portfolio with decent yield; BHV's div. yield being 5.36%(link), and BZM's being 4.92%(link). However, by adding in a little bit of taxable income streams per se, one might be able to come up with a sort of quirky, and perhaps a little more fun, and diversified portfolio if one will.

    Image source(link)

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    For example, by adding a little bit of "high yield" low rated munis from all across the US into the mix, of the portfolio, one might be able to get some more diversification per se, while maintaining the portfolio's overall yield. For example, by throwing in a little HYD(link), one can get that sort of diversification, with a yield of roughly 5.08%(link), so that might be a good addition to our portfolio. It also contrasts with the relatively higher rating of the Blackrock portfolios, whether that's the sort of diversification one desires however, may be somewhat of an "open question" per se.

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    For a little systemic risk hedge, one might also want to call upon their inner entomologist per se, to get a little precious metal buggy. For some interesting, and somewhat high yield metal related plays, one might for example want to include some 4.76% div. yielding PAAS(silver exposure)(link), and perhaps even a little bit of matching 3.34% div. yielding NSU(link) for its exposure to the copper, gold, and zinc, markets(mostly copper and zinc historically(link)).

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    Hence, altogether, we might end up with a portfolio looking a little something like the following;

    (click to enlarge)

    Hence, one might have essentially 70% of one's portfolio in the sort of desired beta of Virginia and Maryland Munis, 20% in the sort of ancillary but none the less perhaps semi desirable high yield muni market, with 10% decent yielding precious metals beta, thrown in for good measure. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, while in the process of getting this diversification per se, one might only lose about .0035 dividend yield, all the whilst giving one's portfolio a beta that might be pretty close to zero, depending on how one weights it per se. Hence, it seems as though these investment opportunities in Maryland, and Virginia Munis, can be as interesting as one would so desire. With a little bit of diversification into different investment qualities, and into different betas, one might altogether perhaps be able to make a portfolio which presumably wouldn't hurt one's sleep too severely, while simultaneously giving one's self a healthy dividend yield, which might be mostly tax free.

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    Hopefully one's own adventures in Muni-land, are fun and enjoyable, and satisfying. Thanks again for reading, and I hope everyone's investments and weekends are going great. Thanks again.

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    Image source(link)

    Nov 23 9:53 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Scratching The Surface; Muni Research; Virginia And Maryland

    Though Virginia and Maryland are not exactly "powerhouse" states, like Texas, California, and New York, Virginia and Maryland may pose interesting muni investment regions per se. For a while I've had my eye on Virginia Munis per se. However, upon reflecting upon what makes Virginia Munis attractive, I've been tempted by perhaps similar situations in Maryland. One might at least superficially argue per se, as well, that Maryland, is also geographically much smaller than Virginia, hence perhaps its more like Northern Virginia, without wine, horse and farm country per se, and perhaps this is a good thing in a sense in regards to municipalities always having stable sources of revenues. Needless to say though, these non super populated/commercial regions of Virginia are none the less truly fantastic places as is perhaps attested to in the writings of colonist John Smith, who once remarked concerning Virginia that; "heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitations"(link).

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    Haymarket Virginia for ex;(source)

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    None the less, perhaps these ponderings deserve at least an initial amount of research so here are some preliminary facts per se, concerning Virginia and Maryland. According to "FRED"; the 2012+1 GDP of Virginia was; 452,585 million dollars(source), while that of Maryland was; 343,383 million dollars(source). These stats put Virginia somewhere inside or just outside the top 10 GDP's in regards to states, and Maryland at least within the top 15.

    Things get interesting however, when we dig a little deeper and compare these two state's populations. Hence, we have Virginia's pop. at about 8.2 million(source), and Maryland's at about 5.93 million(source), hence giving us a per capita GDP figure for Virginia of about; $56,500.00, and a value for Maryland of about; $57,166.00. Hence though there isn't really a noticeable difference, that probably couldn't be attributed to external unaccounted for variables(difference is less than 5%(5% of 57K= ~2850), it does seem that Maryland holds a slight edge in regards to per capita GDP.

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    Perhaps hence the next step should be seeing the foundations for these figures, and hence looking into how well these sovereign-sounding states' commercial activity is diversified(or not).

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    Virginia;

    flag image source;(link)

    (click to enlarge)

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    According to various sources(infoplease.com, netstate.com, and yesvirginia.org) there may be more to the Virginian economy than meets the eye. For example, though its most commercial hustling and bustling region is perhaps found in its northern area next to DC, it also has a few aces up its sleeve per se, tucked away from the traffic and "tumult". For example, though Tobacco, was and perhaps still is a semi-important part of the Virginian economy, chickens, per se, or "livestock" are also becoming key players in the Virginian economic profile per se. Amongst these perhaps not so immediately apparent industries present in Virginia, are some "titanic" players like the shipping hubs in Virginia of Newport News, and Roanoke, not to mention the naval hub at Norfolk(not as busy as ports in California and New York but Norfolk is close, at 4th place overall in regards to US ports(link)). While men and women of the sea are busy bringing in "fish and crabs" from the large coastal fishing areas off of Virginia's coast, IT, Govt. Service, and Govt. workers, are dealing with DC related issues in the state's north. Amidst all of this there is even some aeronautical research conducted in the state per se(At Hampton(as opposed to "Hampton Roads"), as well as some coal mining.

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    Maryland;

    flag image source(link)

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    Cobbling together a few different sources one can perhaps also paint a somewhat more zoomed in perspective on the economy of the suzerain state of Maryland(maryland.gov, netstate.com, infoplease.com, bls.gov). In doing so one may note a good economy overall perhaps in regards to Maryland's, but one which saw the 49th "best" state-economic growth in the nation last year, so perhaps that's not exactly a glass-raising discovery per se(source). However, with that we also have a stable economy perhaps, and one that is none the less quite interesting. For, from a quick glance at the BLS's employment info in regards to Maryland, one may note that the economy is sort of "simpler" or less diversified per se, at least in terms of employment than is that of Virginia. For Maryland's 4 most notable sort of employment are, Transport/Utilities/Services, Government, Professional Services, and Health and Education related activities. Like Virginia, Maryland also is famouse for it "crabbing" per se, as well as other fish related activities, however, unlike Virginia, its Agricultural sector, seems vastly overshadowed by the likes of the defense industry companies/manufacturing industries that operate out of the state. Hence, there seems to be a sort of heavy leaning towards Government related/Defense related activities that really sort of perhaps propel the state's economy. Not to mention being the headquarter-state of various financial firms, like that ram of a financial firm, T.Rowe price. Hence, Maryland perhaps has a greater sort of government tie in to its economy, than Virginia does, perhaps due to Virginia's extra-agriculture related diversification per se. Surprisingly aswell, Virginia's port at Norfolk, also perhaps overshadows Maryland's port of Baltimore, at least in regards to business, with Norfolk being the 4th busiest port overall in the US, with Baltimore, not really being in the top 10 per se(link).

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    Hence before getting into the makeup of the municiple investments and portfolio's offered by these 2 states, and the individual investment vehicles one can use to access/invest in said investments, it seems as though the difference between Virginia and Maryland's economies, may come down to a sort of subjective decision. Maryland seems to have a higher per capita GDP, and a more concentrated in Defense/Govt. economy(with some hospitals and education thrown in for good measure), while Virginia seems to have this sort of economy in North. Virginia in particular, with the agricultural buffer/diversification thrown into its portfolio to perhaps provide some extra bulky beta per se, to offset any potential government instability.

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    Hence, perhaps with their queenly names these two states provide an interesting backdrop to the curious Municipal bond admirer. Perhaps in the future, the individual investments one can make into these state's bonds should be looked at more thoroughly, however, perhaps for now, we should have at least a precursory understanding of these two mid-Atlantic territories, and perhaps if we are ever on "Jeopardy", and asked about America's busiest ports, perhaps we now will have at least a somewhat better handle of the shipping traffic into and out of this great land per se. Thanks again for reading, I hope everyone's investing is going great, and that one and all have a great weekend.

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    Queens in question;

    Virginia's namesake; Queen Elizabeth 1(source),

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    Maryland's namesake; Queen Henrietta Maria(source)

    (click to enlarge)

    Nov 14 2:51 PM | Link | Comment!
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