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  • 'Buying Dividend Stocks For Income' Arguments Don't Make Sense [View article]
    What about the last 10 years?
    Sep 1, 2011. 08:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Can't The Cost Of Flood Insurance Rise? [View article]
    Flooding affects a lot of older homes in poorer neighborhoods here in Florida, as well as beachfront homes for the wealthy.

    Homes built in recent years have the lots built up higher from the road (like about 3 feet), making it much less likely that homes will flood. Many homes close to the water are built up on concrete pilings that keep them above the high water line.
    Aug 31, 2011. 11:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T: The Safety Of Coke With A Higher Return [View article]
    The recent changes in the prospects of T stock just show how important it is not to put too many eggs in one basket and how every position needs to be hedged at least to some extent against downside occurrences. With a seemingly stable stock like T this is not easy, but perhaps selling out of the money calls on 7/10 of a position and at the money calls on 3/10 plus a few LEAP bear put spreads would give some protection at little cost.
    Aug 31, 2011. 09:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 'Supercommittee': What It Should Do And What It Will Likely Do [View article]
    "They appear oblivious to the fact that the government expenditure cuts they insist on will slow growth by even more than the tax increases suggested by others."

    Well, this is the nub of the matter, isn't it? The Republicans' calculations seem to be well off target, because they are not accounting for the jobs that will be lost by cutting government expenditure, most of which goes on contracts and salaries.

    Improbably as it may seem, the only hope is for the Committee of 12 to meet in private and for their members to park their party affiliations at the door and do what is best for America regardless of the opinion of crackpot radio and TV show hosts.
    Aug 31, 2011. 09:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 'Supercommittee': What It Should Do And What It Will Likely Do [View article]
    "U.S. (health)costs are high because services are “supply driven.”"

    This is partly true, but they are also high because of other factors. When my wife went to the local ER with terrible headaches, they wanted to do an MRI which would have cost $1200, so having no insurance, she refused it, left and got some over-the-counter pills.

    However she still had to pay the ER $400 (later negotiated down to $350) just for the privilege of entering the ER and registering, although she received no treatment.

    When I had acute sciatica recently in the Dominican Republic, I went to an Emergency Room where they gave me a shot of IV Lasix and a shot of IM diclofen (antiinflammatory) WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME MY NAME until making out a handwritten invoice for $60.

    Now, here we have two extremes and I am not saying that either is ideal, but clearly there is an awful lot of middle ground to find between paying $400 for nothing but having your name entered in a computer, and paying $60 for 2 shots.
    Aug 31, 2011. 09:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sirius XM: Using Superior Content To Boost Revenue [View article]
    From Wikipedia"

    "SiriusXM Cancellation in North America"

    "As of 12AM on 9 August 2011, Sirius XM is no longer carrying BBC Radio 1 programming. Sirius XM gave no prior warning to its customers that it was going to be removed. On 10 August, the BBC issued this statement:The BBC’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide has been in partnership with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to broadcast Radio 1 on their main network, since 2005. This agreement has now unfortunately come to an end and BBC Worldwide are in current discussions with the satellite radio station to find ways to continue to bring popular music channel, BBC Radio 1, to the US audience. We will keep you posted. Press Release."

    "Sirius XM to return in North America Sirius XM has announced that BBC Radio 1 will become available again to US listeners this week, as part of a new multi-platform carriage deal with the corporation."

    "Last week, the BBC's flagship music radio station was dropped from Sirius XM after six years on the subscription satellite radio platform, although the corporation continued talks to bring the station back to US listeners."

    "Sirius and the BBC have now agreed a new carriage agreement that will see Radio 1 broadcast on the Sirius XM Internet Radio platform from August 19 at 5pm ET."

    It seems that neither party is really telling the whole story. From another source I gleaned that the BBC said the contract was coming to an end, but that Sirius had not approached them about renewal, so the question is why not.

    Presumably it is a matter of cost and cost probably comes down to music royalties rights. I believe Radio 1 uses primarily or exclusively British music, whereas its more popular sister Radio 2 has a more international flavor. This may be the reason why Radio 2 has not been available on Sirius (rights to royalties).

    I know when I lived in Bermuda in the early days of cable TV there was a lot of difficulty initially getting services like HBO in Bermuda, because the US cable company that partnered Cablevision in Bermuda only had rights to show movies in the US and not for Bermuda, which was covered by some other treaty. It is probably the same with these radio stations and their ability to broadcast copyright music being covered by different treaties in different parts of the world.

    Isn't there some kind of Web site or news organization that covers these kind of issues?

    From what I understand Radio 1 was quite popular (understandably) on Sirius satellite and Sirius just deleted it without giving any proper explanation to subscribers, except that it had to give way to another channel that Sirius had acquired. If I was a Sirius satellite user who listened mainly to BBC Radio One, I would be furious.

    It is hard to imagine that the replacement channel is as good given the relatively high budget of BBC Radio One, with hosted DJ shows round the clock presented by broadcasters many of whom are stars in their own right, and the considerable library of original concert music in the possession of the BBC.

    Of course from the stockholder or option holder point of view (me), it might be good news if removing BBC Radio One from satellite broadcasts makes the service more profitable, even if it does slighly undermine Sirius' claims to be a quality broadcasting service. Certainly it could have covered this news story better.
    Aug 31, 2011. 08:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sirius XM: Using Superior Content To Boost Revenue [View article]
    Understood, but I mean having to pay $2.99 extra to get it on the net on Sirius when it is available free on the net anyway.
    Aug 31, 2011. 07:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sirius XM: Using Superior Content To Boost Revenue [View article]
    Yes, but you can listen to BBC Radio 1 for free on the Internet anyway, (and BBC Radios 2,3,4,5,6) so this is even more of a rip off.
    Aug 30, 2011. 10:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Sirius Lesson: The Shallow Hal Effect and the Stock Market [View article]
    Dental and vision plans may not be worth having.

    Dental plans offer no more than a discount plan, where the so-called copayments are actually discounted prices. For example one dental insurance plan I had charged a copayment of $750 for a crown. I was able to get 4 crowns in the Dominican Republic for $800, the cost of the so-called copayment for I crown with insurance.

    Same goes for Vision insurance. The free eye test is just a sales meeting to sell you expensive glasses. I was able to pay $50 for an eyetest and prescription and get progressive bifocals with unbreakable frames from the Internet for $70 (have had excellent glasses 2 years now) or regular glasses as cheap as $10. Much cheaper than insurance. Similar glasses would have cost at least $260 in Walmart for frames not as good.
    Aug 30, 2011. 10:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Sirius Lesson: The Shallow Hal Effect and the Stock Market [View article]
    So what? You can listen to BBC Radio 1 (and Radio 2,3,4,5,6) on the Internet direct from the BBC anyway, except that it is scheduled on UK time, five hours ahead of Eastern US.

    Maybe the issue is over music royalties.
    Aug 30, 2011. 10:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Beat Buffett's 6% Yield With Bank Of America Preferreds [View article]
    No but you could buy stock in T, which has a 6% dividend, sell the January 2013 calls for a $6.6% gain over 17 months, and forget about the warrants.

    Or Buffett could have bought BAC Jan 2013 puts and have an excellent chance of 100% return, especially if he invested a few billion more on shorting the hell out of it.
    Aug 30, 2011. 02:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Dow In 1930 A Preview Of 2012? The Case For The 2009 Lows [View article]
    A world of difference. In 1930 the US was still a de facto apartheid nation and many families still had elderly housekeepers who had been born into slavery. The automobile was a relatively new invention and the Interstate Highway System was still 25 years into the future. The only things that came from China were China porcelain teacups and the tea that was drunk out of them.

    In 2011 our economy here in Florida is thriving as well-pensioned automobile execs from General Motors retire and, selling their lavish Detroit homes for pots of money, like latter-day Joad families pile into the wagon, travel south, and build even more lavish spreads here in the mosquito infested state income tax-free swamps of Florida . From the production lines of America's thriving factories comes a stream of healthy retirees with excellent company benefits ready to live high on the hog in the sunshine on Social Security in their sturdy hurricane-resistant trailers.

    Jet setting families fly in from Japan, Germany, and Greece to sample gourmet American treats like hamburgers and hot dogs at Disney in Orlando, and hordesof drug tourists from the Appalachians form lines outside our pain clinics, while Miami is the shopping playground where the thriving Caribbean and Central American middle classes rub shoulders with Haitian millionaires, courtesy of American Airlines, Carifta, and the Caribbean Bathtub initiative.

    Or so we would have you believe.
    Aug 30, 2011. 02:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Rogers: Extremely Bullish About Agriculture Stocks [View article]
    I'm thinking of taking a long term position in VALE. The company is cheap, has an fertilizer and agricultural division, as well as being a large generalized miner, and also presumably represents a bet on the Brazilian real versus the US dollar.
    Aug 29, 2011. 09:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: A Deluge Of Data [View article]
    I hope this is true as I have positions in FCX, RIO, ANR, BTU, BHP, and thinking of taking VALE on board. The last couple of months have not been very kind to these stocks.

    The situation in Europe does not seem very promising, with reports that the Germans have had enough of bailing out PIIGS. It seems the Protestant work ethic has little sympathy for the siesta-taking Catholic and Orthodox southern fringes of the old Roman empire. Luther must be turning in his grave.
    Aug 28, 2011. 08:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mortgage REIT Stocks: Great For Traders - And Investors [View article]
    Maybe. If you sell in the money calls on NLY, you will almost certainly be called away before the next dividend payment. At the present time you could sell an out of the money call for 45 cents, but the next dividend is 65 cents. If you can get both, that is fine, but it is likely that the share price will go up 45 cents or close to that before ex-div, so, especially in a tax deferred account like an IRA, you can probably sell before dividend date and get the equivalent of the dividend.

    I was able to pick up NLY and CYS last Thursday when they were both over 3% down, and by an incredible fluke picked up NLY at $17.30 before it closed at $17.29 and also got CYS at its low for the day, so made a nice return immediately when they bounced back on Friday. As we are about 3 weeks out from ex-div, I'm hoping for a bit more blue sky before cashing out or may hold for the dividend.

    These stocks tend to drop sharply when they go ex-div, and may fall even more two or three days later, which provides a good opportunity to buy, and may rebound fairly quickly after that. A good way to buy them is immediately ex-div by bottom fishing by baiting a hook at a limit order price. For example, if NLY is $17.65 before it goes ex-div, it will probably wake up at the open the next morning at $17.00, but if you put in an order at $16.80, you may get filled over the next few days. If it then rides up to $17.65 any time over the next 90 days, you can cash out for a "dividend" of 85 cents instead of 65 cents and get maybe 18% instead of 14%. With a bit of luck you may even get $1.

    There is some talk of a plan to help underwater Fannie and Freddie mortgage holders by reducing principal. Christine Lagarde spoke of this last week.

    This might hurt the mortgage REITs, but I think it is doubtful whether such a plan would get through Congress.
    Aug 28, 2011. 10:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment