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  • Why There Was A Muted Response To The Ares Capital Earnings Release [View article]
    I'm new to the BDC sector. Thanks for a very thorough over view.

    Only one suggestion, as a retired publisher and editor.

    Short paragraphs are much easier to read than long ones. Long graphs discourage readers. Sometimes I have to revise my pieces to shorten sentences and graphs.
    Nov 27, 2015. 01:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: iPad Pro Is A Bust [View article]
    Just Sold AAPL Nov4 115 puts. If I'm assigned the stock, I'll probably sell some 110 or 108 puts. Support is at $108. This is a bullish trade.
    Nov 20, 2015. 04:17 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: iPad Pro Is A Bust [View article]
    Al Gore is doing a great job of protecting Apples mission of protecting the security of its users, NOT.
    Nov 20, 2015. 04:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: iPad Pro Is A Bust [View article]
    AAPL has hired auto industry vets to get it into that market. Its secrecy is working against it with speculators who know how companies can be distracted by wayward CEOs and boards. In Apple's case, think global warming alarmist Al Gore, a long time board member. I think he's the guy behind the electric cars and other "recycle" and climate change cultism at Apple.
    Nov 19, 2015. 04:36 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: iPad Pro Is A Bust [View article]
    Apple is correct. If you try to have one operating system for Macs, iPhones, tablets and other devices, none will work very well. Think Windows.

    The claim that iPad Pro is a bust is ridiculous. It is much too early to see whether it appeals to the commercial market, which what it is aimed at.

    I own MSFT, not AAPL at the moment, but I own Apple products, not Microsoft products. This is because Apple's products are mostly for consumers, not the IT departments of businesses. Apple is all about user security. Microsoft is all about flexibility for IT departments that can afford expensive security products and services.

    The iPad Pro is an attempt to expand Apple's share of the corporate market, which is going Macs and IOS devices big time despite the wishes of IT managers. iPad Pros are designed for consumers, who are the users in businesses. Companies that need more flexibility than the Pro offers will try the Surface. Then they'll go back to the Pro.

    As for Goldman Sachs' "services" vision for AAPL, I don't buy it. See how it has worked for IBM and HPQ.

    My biggest hesitation about APPL is its focus on building cars. Talk about dumb. If it actually is adapting its operating systems for vehicles, great. That's its core competency. But lots of car makers can build better and more marketable vehicles than Apple, Google, Tesla and other dreamers.
    Nov 19, 2015. 12:18 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • UnitedHealth Group down 6% on lowered guidance [View news story]
    UNH is considering abandoning ObamaCare, which is in a death spiral, as is Medicaid.

    It is time to focus on subsidizing health insurance for the 10 million or so hard core uninsured and uninsureable people who have costly pre-existing conditions and need chronic care.  In other words, reform Medicaid so that it takes care of them.

    Then reform Obamacare for the working poor and healthy people who can afford real health insurance that covers catastrophically expensive medical bills. The definition of catastrophic should be means tested so that what is affordable for people with higher incomes have higher deductibles and people with very low incomes are heavily subsidized.

    All but the three or four preventive care services that actually save and extend our functional lives should be options. Consumers should be free to buy non essential wellness services or not. They should be able to buy insurance coverage, if they want. Or they should be able to self insure wellness and preventive care services.

    If people decide to not buy health insurance, they should be required to act as self insureds. That is, when, not if, they incure catastrophically expensive medical bills, they should be required to pay the health insurance premiums that they had not paid since they began working. Further, they should be put on tough 5 to 30-year payment plans that would have to be paid before mortgages, car loans and rents. In certain cases, their homes and other assets should be sold to cover their catastrophic medical bills.

    In short, you can free ride now, but you'll pay later. 

    The socialists will never allow this?

    Yes. But the GOP must start somewhere and force the Democrats to give more than they get.

    To clarify, there are about 10 million hard core uninsured American citizens who are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, the VA, the military or other government health care insurance programs and can't afford very affordable catastrophic health insurance that wouldn't be burdened by government-imposed coverage mandates.

    No illegal or legal non citizens should be covered. And providers should not be required to provide "emergency" services to illegal or legal non citizens who use providers as their insurers.

    Further, Medicaid should become a catastrophic health insurance program, not a preventive care nor a wellness care boondoggle for providers and their suppliers. That would make it affordable for all states.

    Donald E. L. Johnson
    Nov 19, 2015. 12:09 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Has Tim Cook Lost Focus? [View article]
    I don't listen to music much. Like 70% of baby boomers, my hearing isn't so good.

    But I have a lot of songs on my iPhone. And I have CarPlay.

    When I play music on CarPlay via USB, songs seem to be cut short. Why is that?

    We love CarPlay because it gives us easy access to Apple Maps on our phones and on the navigation screen. The driver has a better idea of where we're going when we can follow the map setup by the navigator.

    But although I don't use music on Car Play that much, it does annoy me. The $1,600 Car Play (including installation parts and labor), should work better.

    As for Apple's focus, it's automotive nonsense shows a tremendous lack of focus. And that makes me wonder whether I really want to buy it again. I was called a couple weeks ago near the current price, and I'm thinking of selling puts on the stock, but I'll have to think about that

    The author of the article is a good writer, but the comments suggests he doesn't like Apple and is a Pandora fan boy. That hurts his credibility for me.
    Nov 10, 2015. 09:48 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    The DoJ, otherwise known as Obama's corporate blackmailers, is investigating CAT's tax strategies in Europe. CAT does as much as possible to operate with in the laws of the countries and states that it operates.

    But Obama makes up laws and tries to shame companies into accepting big fines without admitting guilt. See the Wall Street banks.

    So I wonder whether it will announce a reserve for any settlement, etc. How will that affect the stock?
    Nov 10, 2015. 01:00 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    I think CAT sells a lot of equipment and services to the energy and exploration companies.
    Nov 10, 2015. 12:57 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    Well, I'm not a gold bug, to say the least. I also covered the fed as financial markets reporter on Wall Street. And if you're happy with the performances of the central banks, that's your opinion, not mine.

    As for smarts, who knows. But smart people without wisdom or markets experiences do dumb things, especially the academics who run the central banks.
    Nov 10, 2015. 12:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    I hope CAT doesn't cut its dividend. But I know it cut its dividend at least once in the last 20 years. It hit Dad hard.
    Nov 10, 2015. 12:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    Go to No ag equipment is shown. Some farms use CAT bulldozers and other equipment. But CAT sold its farm tractor biz several years ago and none of its brands are ag related. It's equipment is too expensive for 99% of farmers.

    In its 2014 annual report, CAT doesn't list ag as a target market:

    Construction Industries ......................... Customer & Dealer Support ......................... Energy & Transportation........... Caterpillar Enterprise System Group ......................... Financial Products & Corporate Services................. Law and Public Policy................... Resource Industries...............

    Construction Industries is built to support customers using machinery in infrastructure and building construction applications. Responsibilities include business strategy, product design, product management and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales, and product support. The product portfolio includes backhoe loaders; compact, small and medium wheel loaders; small and medium track-type tractors; skid steer loaders; multi-terrain loaders; compact track loaders; small, medium and large track excavators; mini excavators; wheel excavators; motor graders; select work tools; pipelayers; track-type loaders; mid-tier soil compactors; and tele handlers.

    CAT engines are used in other manufacturers' ag tractors and boats, but that doesn't make CAT an ag equipment or boat company.

    Resource Industries is built to support customers using machinery in mining and quarrying applications. Responsibilities include business strategy, product design, product management and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales and product support. The product portfolio includes large mining trucks, off-highway trucks, electric rope shovels, wheel tractor scrapers, hydraulic shovels, large track- type tractors, large wheel loaders, drills, articulated trucks, hard rock vehicles and longwall miners, draglines, highwall miners, wheel dozers, machinery components, electronics and control systems and select work tools. Resource Industries also manages areas that provide services to other parts of the company, including research and development and advanced component systems.
    Nov 10, 2015. 12:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    I own CAT with a very low basis. So I can wait five years for it to recover while I collect dividends and premiums from selling way out of the money puts and covered calls.

    The risk of doing this that the dividend could be cut. It shouldn't be hiked any time soon.

    Further, CAT could sell some businesses or equity to raise cash and pay down debt even though its cash per share is better than Microsoft's and it funds its dividends with its free cash flow, not borrowed funds. If that happens, how would speculators react?

    The stock could bounce and force me to buy back some covered calls because I can't afford to let the stock be called with capital gains taxes as high as they are. Fortunately, I didn't have any options positions during the recent bounce.

    If puts are assigned 8% to 10% below current levels, I'd probably buy the stock rather than buy back the puts because I think the stock will recover over the years and I like the dividends, if they stay at current levels.

    China isn't CAT's biggest challenge. Government spending on infrastructure and private spending on cap ex and operations around the world are the real hurdles, I think. The recent drop in USG to below $25 from a high of $36 or so not too long ago tells me the U.S. housing market won't save CAT.

    As long as the Fed and other central banks are mismanaged and environmentalists get their way, CAT has been repriced and will be dead money like GE and MSFT have been until recently, I fear.
    Nov 8, 2015. 08:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Caterpillar: $74 Seems Like A Head Fake [View article]
    CAT doesn't do farm equipment.
    Nov 8, 2015. 08:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Has The Minimum Corn Futures Price Passed? [View article]
    The dollar looks like it's headed higher. Bad for grain exports.

    Ethanol is widely discredited as nothing but another crop subsidy for Iowa voters who win big time blackmailing presidential candidates every four years.

    High prices are reducing demand for beef and chicken. As producers cut production, demand for corn will shrink.

    But, as a result of recent and current low corn prices, world demand may rise despite the dollar. Farmers are refusing to sell the big new crop when their on farm storage allows. So there is a fair chance corn will rise into the winter or spring, but no guarantees.

    I would do some vertical bull call spreads in the corn options market, but the bid and ask prices are awfully far apart. That means the options markets are not very liquid. As for the futures, commercials and governments are constantly manipulating currencies and grain prices, which makes them difficult to trade unless there is a clear trend, which is not showing itself yet.
    Nov 8, 2015. 08:29 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment