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Ray Merola

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  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    Thank you for the encouragement, Dividend Sleuth.
    Apr 5 11:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    What a great question, John

    I do not have any hard-and-fast rules. Your query spurred me to do a quick-check. I have a heavy dose of Dividend Champions and Dividend Aristocrats (examples: AFL, NUE, ED, RDS.A, GIS, UNP); some up-and-comers (examples: AAPL, GM); a couple of lower-yield, high dividend growers (examples: UNH, HAL); at least 2 straight high yielders (examples: ETP, NLY) and some stocks that pay no dividend.

    I favor stocks paying above the S&P 500 average yield, companies that do not decrease the dividend, and a leaning towards stocks that show stronger dividend growth versus plain "high yielders." But there's no absolutes.
    Apr 5 07:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 2 [View article]
    PlatinumChip

    Even though it's probably best to let folks go on any which way they want to think; FAST graphs are not some trading system. All they do is compress the amount of time required to generate the same data by hand to a fraction.

    For me, it's a very simple cost-benefit analysis. FAST graphs can do in a few seconds what used to take me an hour to do by hand. It's a tool, not a stock picking system. The raw data is all available on the web. However as pointed out to another commentator, go try to generate one FAST graphs on your own with free raw data.

    If you rely upon fancy technical analysis, day trading, tips from Uncle Louie, etc., FAST graphs are not for you. Don't waste your money.
    Apr 5 07:31 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    mixie1987

    I have not researched VR. I was able to quickly determine it's a reinsurance company. It may be undervalued on earnings; however EPS appear erratic. The other fundamentals you cited would indicate it's worth a close look under the hood.

    Without doing a complete analysis, I cannot compare Validus with Aflac. A sound comparison would have to weigh Aflac's experienced and shareholder-friendly management, superior RoE, competitive moat, and Dividend Aristocrat status.
    Apr 5 11:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    Thank you texasdivinvestor

    The yield is light, but as noted it's been increased for over 30 years running. Appreciate your comment about the column being easy to understand. This is a prime objective. I am no financial professional, just a regular guy.
    Apr 5 10:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    Thank you for the kind words, Blues

    The second part of the series was published recently, here's the link:

    http://seekingalpha.co...

    I particularly appreciate your view on the post-article commentary. Indeed, as a contributor I often enjoy reading and responding to the threads as much or more than writing the article. I learn a great deal from S.A. readers and remain grateful for that.
    Apr 5 09:07 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    Thank you for your commentary, Paul. Likewise, I agree that free is good.

    Actually, a commentator on this 2-part series asked where one might obtain the raw information illustrated on FAST graphs and I offered him the alternative; which I used to implement myself prior to subscribing. It appears the gentleman missed that, too.
    Apr 5 09:03 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    Thank you Tom

    As a fellow S.A. contributor, experienced investor, and active participant on these article threads, I appreciate your attempting to point out to the other gentleman "what's going on."
    Apr 5 08:56 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    jbeck2616

    Unfortunately, I suspect you have not taken the time to read the body of work that I have produced on S.A., read my profile, nor apparently have much direct experience actually researching and analyzing stocks.

    Frankly, it's not even clear that you read the article here.

    I write exclusively about the stocks I own, do not advocate buying or selling stock based upon my articles, and have no working interest in FAST graphs. I'm a subscriber.

    I am sorry to have to contradict you, but practically every statement in your aforementioned commentary is in error.

    Good luck with your 2014 investments.
    Apr 5 08:53 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    BH

    You are asking the right kinds of questions. Notably, Aflac reached agreement with Japan Post to sell their products through its facilities. This was considered to be a huge win for the company. I don't recall the exact figure, but I believe Japan Post entails some 40,000 locales.

    Aflac currently has few direct competitors. Theirs is a niche insurance market. The business has what is often referred to as a "moat" around it.

    AFL makes money on the "float," on the premiums collected net claims paid out; financial de-regulation should not have much effect on them. The key is higher interest rates. Japan and the U.S. are both dealing with historic low rates. As rates increase, insurers typically do well.
    Apr 4 05:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    We are thinking alike, my friend.

    The insurers and drug companies ensured that ObamaCare included a keep-whole clause if the program didn't pan out as expected. It's just now starting to get some media coverage.

    Sometimes that happens when our legislators determine it's best to first pass a ~2500-page bill so you can "find out what's in it."

    Long UNH.
    Apr 4 11:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Halliburton Hits All-Time Highs, But Still Has Upside [View article]
    Halliburton has been riding high. It's in the right industry (Energy Services), and has been doing the right things (expense control, emphasizing unconventionals, strong international push). Schlumberger has long been considered the "premier" energy service company, but Halliburton is tooling up for a run at them. In any event the stock has outperformed, largely as a catch-up for a too-low multiple over the past few years.

    Long HAL.

    Thanks for the update, Bret.
    Apr 4 10:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 2 [View article]
    samuel_Liu

    It's often repeated that it's not a stock market, but a market of stocks. I concur with that view.

    Earnings and cash drive the markets, less so geo-political events. When economic growth and resultant corporate earnings and cash flow begins to slow, that's when I get more cautious. Another earnings season is upon us and it's another chance to watch and evaluate earnings and cash.

    Having been through deep market declines in 1987, 1991, 2002 and 2008; these dislocations occur from time to time and generally with little warning. No one rings a bell at the top. My view has been to maintain a balanced, diversified portfolio as appropriate for risk tolerance and age.

    Systemic risk as experienced in 2008 was frightening. We were looking into the abyss.
    Apr 4 09:25 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 2 [View article]
    You got it, moseslarsen! I promise to try my best.
    Apr 4 09:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Identify Good Stocks, Part 1 [View article]
    wjsnape4

    When it comes to investing, my view is that virtually nothing works for "all companies." The objective is to funnel down information, pattern recognition and intuition to form the highest probability outcomes.

    In general, price and earnings revert to the mean; businesses in long-term decline or re-imagining themselves tend to be exceptions.

    Here's the good news:

    Fundamental investors who selectively purchase good stocks never have to rush. There's rarely any requirement to "do something right now." One can wait with the bat on your shoulder until you get that one, big fat pitch.
    Apr 4 12:35 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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