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Joseph L. Shaefer  

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  • QuickChat #280, April 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    Mostly owned, a few leased. In addition, "On 25 January 2012, Norwegian announced the largest order of aircraft in European history. The order consists of 22 Boeing 737-800 and 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 with an option for another 100 for the latter. Also, it included an order for 100 Airbus A320neo and an option for another 50 Airbus A320neo."

    What recession?
    Apr 20, 2015. 04:49 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #280, April 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    MJ and others interested in Norwegian stocks --

    Purely anecdotal but I (just yesterday) flew Norwegian Air direct from Oakland CA to Oslo. 9 1/2 hours direct, no connections, no hassle. Flew their "business class" (think 1970s first class -- a very comfortable seat with latest entertainment gee-gaws on a very new 787, albeit with meals only a slight upgrade from military box lunches) for $850 each way.
    Their coach seats on this pre-summer flight went for as little as $400 each way. On a 787. Direct.
    Interestingly, while the flight crew was 100% Norwegian, the cabin crew was 100% Thai. To avoid high Scandinavian labor rates, all cabin crews are based in Bangkok.
    There were no lay-down seats, highest-end booze, etc. but I must say this is a latest-tech, highly efficient operation that could blow the socks off most US legacy carriers.
    I don't yet own shares outright (but do own some via NORW, the biggest holding of which is STO.) But it is one to watch going forward.
    Apr 20, 2015. 12:44 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • If You Could Buy Only 2... [View article]
    Phil, yours is an important question and a key component in making intelligent investment decisions. I think sometimes the academics get wrapped around the axle obsessing over mean, average and median pricing. There is no question that, if two ETFs each have exactly equivalent pre-fee performance, the one charging the lowest expenses will out perform over time. So if we are merely looking at the benchmark numbers, it would be easy to conclude that since the average of all actively managed funds over time periods measured in years is bested by index funds charging the lowest fees, we might be better served buying index funds.

    I disagree with the usual group-think that always raises its head during bull markets, however. The average height of the average American male may be 5'10" tall, but that doesn't mean most American males are 5'10". "In the aggregate" is different than "how we are distributed." In our investing, we buy equities at online firms that don't pay selling stockbrokers to push a particular product. The commissions we pay are fractional rather than usurious. Until 1975 brokerage commissions were fixed. They became deregulated that year. In 1976 I started my own "discount" brokerage firm, later sold to Charles Schwab and Co. For 40 years I've been a proponent of shaving expenses wherever possible. However -- I believe in paying for real performance. So if a particular team of fund managers have consistently performed at the high end of the distribution curve and their after-expenses returns consistently beat the lower-expense index fund returns, I buy them.

    We are seeking, above all, those investments that pay us the highest return consistent with our goals and risk parameters *after* all fees and expenses. If one fund charges .05% in fees and over time returns 7.1% and other charges 1.5% but over time returns 8.2%, I'll take the higher-priced spread any day. Some humans add value; we look for those that do so consistently.
    Apr 19, 2015. 11:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Market Crash? Here's How I'm Beginning To Protect My Positions [View article]
    Thank you for your candid and gracious comments, Phil. If someone tells me they have a crystal ball / sure-fire technical indicator known only to them / etc., I tend to discount most of what they say following that. What we can do, or at least what makes the most sense to me, is to recognize "areas" of under-valuation or over-valuation. Since my 40 years in the business tells me we're somewhere in the latter area, we then do common-sense things to allow for the possibility of correction: we reallocate more assets to income, to long/short positioning, to greater liquidity, and we place trailing stops under our more aggressive positions.
    We aren't looking for bragging rights on the occasional home run punctuated by way too many strikeouts; we just want to advance runners and keep crossing home plate...
    Apr 17, 2015. 11:34 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quickchat #279, March 19, 2015 [View instapost]
    HTL, Iran definitely gets lots of oil out, mostly through its new puppet government in Iraq and the Janus-faced traders at Fujairah in the UAE, but also overland to Pakistan. You can't shoot down, er, "shut" down everything they send out -- the whole area is a black market. But we can and do monitor it. We know they are pumping full out on many of their fields, losing a large amount to spillage and downtime and more by having to pay / bribe middlemen in extra oil.
    I'm no longer able to follow this at the level I once did (but then I couldn't discuss it either, so that's the quid pro quo!) but I imagine much of that oil is destined for China at below-market prices.
    Apr 6, 2015. 10:47 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quickchat #279, March 19, 2015 [View instapost]
    Thank you for this overview, Mark. The ripple effect from these major retailers and fast-food firms will be huge.

    Entry-level home health care workers make something like $9.37 an hour nationwide. If anyone thinks they will continue to change bed pans for that wage when they could flip burgers for $10, I invite them to revisit Econ 101 -- or Maslow's hierarchy of needs... Every service worker in America will now fight for higher wages and in a tightening labor market, they'll most likely get them.
    Apr 5, 2015. 11:37 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quickchat #279, March 19, 2015 [View instapost]
    Ah, but acquisitions they will make! Who has the deep pockets to buy and the expertise to know (as Mr. Buffett says) who is swimming naked when the tide goes out? I'll wager the PROVEN reserves and balance sheets of every debt-ridden sub-major big enough to have an impact upon XOM, CVX, RDS, BP, TOT et al is currently being scrutinized by burning-the-midnight-oil analysts at each of those majors. Buying oil on the stock market is way cheaper than exploring for it and, to the point of today's surplus, doesn't add to global supply, but it does add to the strength of these companies. Buying BP and TOT on weakness and willing to do the same with the others if only they'd decline a bit more!
    Apr 5, 2015. 11:19 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quickchat #279, March 19, 2015 [View instapost]
    Like D-Inv, I am more interested in the geopolitical effect of supply than the "filling up" of oil storage facilities at Cushing. There are four other regional reporting areas in the US and only one is anywhere near "capacity" (a term which is pretty squishy in itself.)
    As refineries switch to gasoline for the summer driving season, which I imagine is likely to be robust thanks to lower prices / more jingle in many pockets / people shut in over the winter, I imagine the sky-is-falling, where will we put all the oil talk we are now inundated with will prove to have been a chimera.
    Now, if the current administration really is stupid enough to believe anything Iran says -- and the Congress too compliant to actually fund a terrible agreement-- then we will see a surfeit of global oil. But even that will take (I'm guessing) at least 6 months from the day we are hoodwinked in June until the Iranians can get their rickety rusty infrastructure up to speed in order to send their first barrel abroad.
    Apr 5, 2015. 11:12 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quickchat #279, March 19, 2015 [View instapost]
    Maya, as always I tend to catch up with the Gades on weekends... sorry for the delay. Hell, if I thought it would have gotten rid of Harry Reid, I'd have jumped out of more than just my boots!
    The biggest news in that event is how good it will be for the COUNTRY. Our president has lost the arm-twister he needed in the Senate now that both are lame ducks.
    But since this is an investment site, I would also point out that the unavoidable logic of Yucca Mtn is now, I believe, a slam dunk. The gambling interests that oppose anything that might keep a single sucker away from Vegas don't know who to pay off any more -- and it clearly makes more sense to put all our spent fuel "eggs" in one basket and watch that basket rather than give terrorists 126 utility spent fuel ponds around the country to choose from.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:56 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    Boy, are there corollaries to investing THERE. I'll try to do something like that in the next couple months, Able. A hat tip to you for noting just how "real" that could be!
    Mar 20, 2015. 01:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    Where would you like to move them TO? ;>)
    Mar 20, 2015. 01:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    De Oppresso Liber, Expat...
    Mar 20, 2015. 01:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    I couldn't have said it any better. And many otherwise astute investors do it all well -- up until the point where they need to recognize it's time to say, "Things have changed here, and not for the better" and redeploy their assets elsewhere. Industries change, companies are challenged by new competitors, etc. When the investing situation or terrain changes, sometimes we need to take a small loss and move on for greater gain.
    Mar 19, 2015. 11:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    Nice response. ;>) Yes, he does have a fair to middling record, doesn't he? ANd the resources to come back to fight another day!
    Mar 19, 2015. 11:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What Special Forces Can Teach Us About Investing [View article]
    Bully for you, stockcat12. "...what is the most effective strategy to use with the resources I have at the moment" is infinitely superior to, "Gee, I wish I could buy all this good stuff I read about" or "If only I had more money, I could do x or y." Build with what we have and it actually forces us to be more thoughtful and more selective.
    Mar 19, 2015. 11:08 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment