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  • General Electric's Dividend Is In A Golden Age [View article]
    the nastiness about Immelt is misplaced. The real villain at GE is Jack Welch who got the company into the mess which hit after he had retired with a somewhat overdone package of goodies in 2001. He had to give some of it up after his discarded wife revealed some details.
    The latest Welch initiative was to claim that the US Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce are faking US unemployment numbers. I think Welch thinks the government is massaging figures the way GE used to do under his self-congratulatory leadership program, called "the G.E. way".
    Dec 15 03:17 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coming Soon: Banking Crisis of Historic Proportions [View article]
    As a shareholder in BB&T which picked up the pieces in Colonial Bank last Friday with the FDIC; but the State of Alabama was nowhere in the deal, despit what the writer wrote, I think we are in quandary between laudable goals: saving depositors' their deposits which is a national obligation; and saving banks which is not. BBT bought the Colonial accounts in a sharing deal with the FDIC which makes BBT too big to fail. We are creating more and more oligarchic banks which are too big to fail in order to save depositors. which will win? as a BBT shareholder natch I am glad it is now too big to fail. but as a taxpayer I am not so sure
    Aug 16 12:33 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Vale SA A Wise Investment? [View article]
    VALE did not sell VLI its logistics unit as this anonymous author writes. Anonymous authors are a pain because it is hard to check on their background.
    Vale sold 36% of VLI to a Brazilian Pension Plan and a Japanese firm. Of course the purpose was to free up capital given the low price of iron ore which ultimately depends on Chinese growth. China is the big kahuna in the iron ore pellets market supplied by Vale from Brazil and BHP-Billiton and Rio Tinto form Australia.
    The dividend in my opinion is safe but if you want to be safer still, Vale has a preferred stock with no voting power (a vote is pretty useless given the Brazilian holdings in any case) with a first call on profits. We used to own it but now only own part of our original stake in Vale over at which I am editor of. I am signing this as I am not anonymous and speak based on research I take responsibility for.
    Jun 24 04:00 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Euro Pacific Capital's Peter Schiff doesn't pull any punches when discussing Warren Buffett's aversion to gold. He compares the return of holding the precious metal since the financial crisis to Berkshire's lagging performance and calls the Oracle a crony capitalist who "bends the truth" to serve ideological ideas. [View news story]
    If you check out Mr. Schiff's Euro-Pacific Capital's brokerage recommendations you will find that he would win the title of ''Clown from Connecticut'' and doesn't have anything in his personal track record to take on the ''Oracle of Omaha.''

    Schiff moreover is a hard money freako supporter of the politicking of Ron Paul, occasional candidate for office, self-promoter, and in at least one TV broadcast about his gold fund (in Canada) was either incoherent by nature or drunk.

    And if Schiff goes on about Warren Buffett's alleged Oedipus Complex caused by his libertarian father--the man is in his 80s!!--there are some things I could put out about Peter Schiff's father that are worse.
    Mar 6 01:39 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Does Argentina's Impending Expropriation Of YPF Tell Us? [View article]
    Argentine Peronists are nationalistic and protectionist and the women are, alas, worse than the men. This is such a blatant attempt to gain from a company that invested in the country's hydrocarbons without paying a fair price, Cristina Fernandez is a worthy successor of Evita Peron and she too probably keeps her money in a Swiss bank account rather than at home in Argentina. Ok, she's not a blond, but think ''Evita''!
    We did own YPF-Repsol but we got out well before the government started putting on the screws. On a list of other Argentina companies to bail out of I would be selling or shorting Banco Macro too. The next thing that is going to happen in the next 12-18 months is another run on the banks as inflation soars and the currency collapses. The government in Buenos Aires will stop withdrawals, as they did in 2002-3. So the smart money is being withdrawn now and the bank margins squeezed.

    Argentina for the past 150 years has been ruined by its politics which express sexuality, irrationality, agression, and sharp changes of direction, like the national dance, the tango.

    Shares of YPF will be worhtless if they are controlled by Senora Cristina even if they trade on the Big Board. Fernandez had a cancer scare last winter but she is a healthy woman and liable to be re-elected as long as she can demagogue the population. She has years to go before she gets buried in La Recoleta cemetery alongside Evita.
    Apr 17 06:16 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Big Mea Culpa About Seadrill's Dividend [View article]
    we did not sell Seadrill because our reporter on the stock said Mr. McElroy's numbers were off. Instead we averaged up. The problem is not the writer having got something wrong; the problem is that Seekingalpha does not have any serious editing or fact-checking capacity. So you have to be very cautious with what you are getting and realize that free information is at risk. Of course I am peddling my own service which is one you have to pay for
    Vivian lewis, ed.
    Apr 9 09:50 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Govt. Shutdown? Greater Economic Risks Arising From Canada Cutting Off Oil Leases [View article]
    Hello readers,
    1) Canada is not a Communist country. It is the leading supplier of safe oil and gas to the USA. Nor do they treat us like mushrooms.
    2) The Alberta tories may well lose the next election. But they can cause trouble until then.
    3) I think the Koch brother have influenced US politics adversely so I admitted to a bit of glee that a supposedly right-wing Canada province caused problems for the US Tea Party backers who are trying to defang US environmental regs and carbon caps. As for BP surely you recall the Macondo blowup in the Gulf of Mexico?
    I am not giving my bio again as I am a contributor to this site.

    vivian, ed.
    Apr 9 09:31 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Looking Toward Oz: 5% Yield And Diversification For Your Dividend-Income Portfolio [View article]
    my colleague killed a kangaroo
    he gave me the miserable part to chew.
    dear Left Banker
    you left out a great closed-end fund invested in Oz bonds,
    Aberdeen Asia Pacific Yield Fund, which despite that all-
    encompassing name is in fact 40% invested in A$ bonds
    issued by Australian states and the central government.
    They are its largest holdings (subject to change.) The
    fund trades at a discount to net asset value which is also
    Why is this a good idea? 1) the Reserve Bank of Australia
    is not going to taper or cut interest rates for a while as a
    result of the risk of a housing bubble Down Under
    2) high rates draw in hot money which likes those high
    yields and which pushes up the A$ exchange rate with the
    3) another good thing is that this is a good vehicle for tax-
    advantaged accounts for Qniform.

    There is a bad side: FAX (its ticker symbol) has adopted a
    fixed payout level to lure in the oldies. So you get back your
    own money sometimes, meaning it is return of capital and not
    taxable. This is limited to 20-25% or so but also subject to
    The other risk is that FAX managers borrow in US$s which is
    cheap to buy more Oz and Asian bonds. There is a risk if the
    exchange and interest rates reverse, way way down the road.
    While part of the Aberdeen machine, FAX still is partly run by
    its founders whose asset management firm was taken over
    along with what is now Aberdeen Global Income Fund (FCO)
    and the closed-end fund version of EWA which is at such a
    high discount, an Australia stock fund.
    I think everyone who invests overseas should look at closed-
    end funds, however old and boring, and not just exchange-
    traded funds. That's because I learned about FAX from my
    late father, before ETFs had been invented.
    Oct 23 09:14 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chicago Bridge & Iron: Acquisition Accounting Shenanigans Dramatically Inflate Profitability - Prescience Point Initiates At Strong Sell [View article]
    I was sent a copy of the Prescient Point report before the article appeared on, but I had no prior relationship with Eiad Asbahi who sent it. I have no idea why I got it; perhaps because my website says that I own and recommend CBI. But Mr. Asbahi is not a subscriber and has no right to view our portfolio.
    So I assume that one of my paid subscribers gave him my details. Or that for which I used to write did so. The way short sellers get their mojo is to get everyone into a selling panic, and I tend to resist that sort of reaction to a short seller report.
    Now for a bit of elementary accounting. We know that CBI overpaid for SHAW. In fact I own CBI because I knew (from analysis by Credit Suisse which I got from my broker, e-trade) that the CBI offer was too generous. I bought SHAW as a result in order to get CBI on the cheap.
    And as expected, especially with the nuclear horrors then, CBI had to write down some Shaw assets. The big mistake the Prescience people are making is to get hysterical about the move of some contracts from current to backlog.
    They rightly point out that some deliveries have been delayed to two US nuclear utilities on Shaw contracts which cannot be filled on a timely basis. When the deliveries are delayed the current maker, CBI, is not paid. But the contracts are still out there and you put them into the backlog because at some point they will be fulfilled.
    That is not flimflam; that is double-entry bookkeeping.
    The valuation of the backlogged non-delivered stuff is whatever the contract called for. There may be seepage because before Fukushima Shaw almost certain priced stuff aggressively to win sales contacts.
    So we can guess the amount of sales the backlog will eventually produce; but the profit may be lower than what CBI expected when it bought Shaw. That results in restatement of goodwill, another matter of accounting prudence.
    Given that CBI in its minimal reaction so far to the Prescience short attack has again confirmed its profit and sales guidance for 2014 is significants. You don't confirm your forecasts lightly as you have to get ok from your accountants, and if you misstate matters the SEC comes after you.
    As former Shaw owners of CBI we are well in the black and as a nuclear nut I want to be in this business for the long haul. I am too spooked to buy more CBi although that is what one broker is recommending now. But I ain't selling either based on Mr Eiad Asbahi's attack.
    Jun 19 09:08 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GlassesOff: Ready For Prime Time [View article]
    this is a promotional article and should not be taken at face value. we are talking about a tiny startup with no real earnings ever quoted on the pink sheets with a lot of hype. my favorite is that sales are given in millions when they are in all of 5 digits, i.e. tens of thousands of dollars.
    Israel is well represented on the Nasdaq and there is no reason to buy into hyped up pink sheet shares from someone claiming to be from Zacks.
    May 25 10:24 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Where Banco Santander Is Experiencing Growth And Where It Is Lagging [View article]
    SAN is a star of our yield portfolio at
    It uses that tripartite dividend payment system to essentially force most
    Europeans to accept shares rather than cash. However, under their ADR
    offering prospectus, Santander is not allowed to force USA investors in its
    stock to take shares rather than cash. Hence the options. I tend to take
    no.3 because the point of the ownership is to get yield.
    There are risks with a global bank: the biggest is exchange rates. SAN is
    traded in euros which have held up well against the dollar in the last year.
    If they Euro goes wrong, as it did earlier over concerns about the Club Med
    countries (including of course Spain) then the payout is lower.
    But there is a second level of risk too. SAN earns great chunks of money in Polish zlotys, Mexican pesos, and Brazilian reais. These are more volatile currencies against the euro than the US$.
    For people really trying to live off their income, you need to protect against
    currency erosion. Despite the hysterical anti-dollar promotions by some of my competitor newsletters, the real risk to retirees is not the dollar losing value, but it gaining value.
    That will make your foreign dividends go down in US$, which you want to use to live on.
    You need to protect against dollar strength using an ETF covering the amount of the SAN dividend you get. We tell our readers how to do this.
    There is too much talk of withholding tax on this website--because you can get it back in a taxable account and if you take the dividend in shares also in a tax-sheltered IRA or the like --and nowhere near enough focus on foreign exchange risk. The real risk is currency!
    May 25 10:07 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BCE Inc. Dividend Fact Sheet [View article]
    US shareholders can get back the Canadian tax on BCE if they own the shares outright by using the bite to offset other taxes they might owe on is not a loss of income as some of the comments seem to imply. This is standard for Canadian firms. By the way it is not because BCE is Canadian that it reports in loonies. lots of Canada firms listed on the NYSE like BCE report in US dollars. It depends on the source of their sales and earnings.
    Feb 24 12:48 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Brief History Of Gold And Why It's Overvalued By A Factor Of 2 [View article]
    dear Mr. Dow Jones
    Last year after the boardroom battles we sold 3/4 our Teva. The price is now higher. I still own a lot but am tempted to get out some more.
    Now about buying physical gold because you don't want paper gold. Beware coins:
    Gold coins are priced with big spreads and valued according to their condition, not their gold content. It is a specialized market. Many investors who are not familiar with how it works get into coins at excess prices which they can never recuperate.
    You should visit my website, and then click to the ad for to learn more about buying and storing physical gold.
    Nobody has to do this; it is just my recommendation. After my visit with the advertiser during my London stay, they hope to make the process of buying or selling physical gold cheaply and legally a lot easier for US investors.
    I'll keep you posted on changes. The present bureaucratic process is comparable to getting a medical referral for a free mammogram, complicated and unnecessary.
    But if you wait for their reformed procedures wait the price of the yellow metal may move up and cost you more.
    Here is some background. Your editor's great Uncle Jack Oppenheim was a stockbroker in Germany. In 1936 he paid someone to cross the Rhine river with his wealth in the form of gold bullion. He moved to New York with his family, recuperated his gold, turned it in to Uncle Sam at the then fixed price of $35/oz and bought himself a seat on the NYSE. (He had to lease it out for a few years until he became a citizen and could trade it on his own. He later worked for Abraham & Co., where he was my first broker, back in the days before you needed to be an adult with a social security number to trade stocks.
    I began in investing Junior High School and bought pre-breakup AT&T and IBM, not gold.
    When I married, a California neighbor gave me a gold coin her family had kept from the Roosevelt Administration's confiscation of all privately-held gold in 1934, a $5 Indian-head gold coin. This she said to put in my shoe as I walked down the aisle to achieve prosperity.
    Of course I did not turn in the coin to the Feds and I still own it. The statute of limitations has passed.
    Then we lived in France, under De Gaulle and Mitterrand. De Gaulle because of grudges dating back decades wanted to bring down the USA and chose to attack the gold pool price. Yet in the end, while he managed to get the US to unlink the price of gold in dollars, the real victim was the French franc.
    In 1968, to keep the franc from falling, De Gaulle had to impose exchange controls on residents of France (like me and my very young children.) Like everyone else in France, I kept most of my earnings outside the country (since I worked for foreign publications I only moved into France what we absolutely needed). My children and I had special orange cards allowing us to export currency when we visited our families in England and the US.
    Most French people reacted by buying and hiding gold because that was how they had reacted to inflation since the 1930s. The favorite was a coin called the Napoleon (issued ostensibly by the Napoleon III government before 1870). In fact the French Monnaie (mint) continued to stamp them out 100 years later to meet demand from French hoarders.
    I bought one Napoleon which joined the Indian-head in the safe.
    We lived in the US between two rounds in France and in 1971, Pres. Richard Nixon removed the penalties for US citizens owning gold. He also ended the $35 convertibility rate. The price of gold soared in a floating exchange rate environment. However, the dollar continued to act as the ballast for the system, and indeed still does.
    Then back in France under Mitterrand's first Communist-Socialist coalition, even the banks which had helped us with the cards and the foreign-based accounts were nationalized by the government. My chic Banque Rothschild account was turned over to Credit Lyonnais. The French bought more fake Napoleons as a handy store of wealth. Richer French people bought bullion bars and ingots because the coins are a bad investment.
    My husband was given a gold sovereign coin as a child. That is also in the safe.
    I have no idea what my gently worn Indian-head US coin is worth. I suspect more than the pristine Napoleon which was probably fake. The sovereign is worn. So I am not a believer in gold coins.
    Jewelry on this Valentine's Day is a different matter. It gives the wearer pleasure.
    As for my little account at, it is doing nicely as the price of gold is up about $100/oz since I bought the stuff. $1300 from $1200.
    Feb 15 08:20 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chemical & Mining Co. Of Chile: An Oversold High-Yielding Stock [View article]
    el problemo con SQM remains corporate governance which neither fundamental nor technical analysis, the author's two choices, actually addresses. SQM does shareholder-diluting deals for the sake of its management and dominant shareholders of the Clan Conte. To ignore this in looking at the number is simply dangerous and silly. The Atacama desert is a great place from which to view the solar system but not a great place for stocks from Chilean oligarchs. Soquimich will defeat its dumb US investors unless they watch out for insider self-dealing, which will hurt the ADR even if the potash price stabilizes.
    hasta la vist
    Jan 21 05:24 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia: Buying The Dips [View article]
    the fact that institutional investors and Europeans can short Nokia using non-US trading means that attempts to link volume on US markets with down days is flawed statistically. Given the quality of the research being shown on this site, I am sorry to have to insist that the linkage of shorting to selloffs only reflects trading in the US, not globally.
    That they can be converted into ordinaries makes no difference to the attempt to link trading volumes to down days.
    US retail investors (among whom I am numbered) cannot cheaply or easily access trading in Helsinki with an on-line discount brokerage; only European retail investors can. So the short covering data are incomplete. Acting on this kind of muddy data can cause problems.
    I am long Nokia as are the readers of my newsletter,, but I am not basing my view on price and volume trends stateside
    Oct 21 12:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment