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  • A Closer Look At Suburban Propane Partners' Distributable Cash Flow As Of 1QFY 2013 [View article]
    The gross margin in 2012 benefited from decreasing prices for wholesale propane as NGL prices have come down due to increased drilling for wet gas. In prior years it seemed like the gas drillers had all pivoted to dry gas then the price cratered, so they switched many of their rigs to wet gas areas and the resulting supply brought the price down. At least that is how I see it.
    Feb 11 06:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Which Is In Better Financial Shape? McDonald's Or Yum? [View article]
    It is not clear to me that you really understand the MCD business model. In the US, (mostly) MCD owns the land / building and collects a % of sales plus fees. The investment in the business is really on the franchisee. Outside of the US, MCD typically owns and operates the majority of its locations. The margins are very different between franchised vs owned and operated. May I suggest you spend a few hours with one of their recent 10k filings? The business section and MD&A are very informative. Your PP&E discussion totally ignores the locations that are leased, you may want to work that in too.
    Feb 9 08:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Railroad: Why Coal Doesn't Matter To This American Legend [View article]
    I read recently that KMP was expanding its export facilities to accommodate increased export of coal to China in particular. Someone needs to get this coal to these ports so I am not sure the trade is going away. I agree, the volumes in the US are going down in terms of US plants burning coal, it is cheaper to burn shale gas instead.
    Feb 8 09:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Overcoming 3 Bad Investing Behaviors [View article]
    Poortorich - I agree with you in part. Being a CPA by trade, I devour financial information. My wife kids me for taking 10ks/ 10Qs on vacation to read. But I gain valuable insight from the conference calls, investor presentations and other information that is made available. In many cases, that information gives me confidence in management's ability to execute their strategy (or not), but without being on top of the trends and numbers, I find that I don't have a firm basis for holding or selling.

    For example, there were a number of negative articles written and published on this site on Buckeye Partners over the last few months. My analysis and review of public information led me to believe that the units being sub $40 presented a buying opportunity. I don't do seat of the pants trades generally. Those units are now trading over $53 and I am happy I pulled that trigger when I did.

    I believe in absorbing all available information and using reasoned judgement to make trades, and money. Good luck to you.
    Feb 8 08:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Dividend Growth Is My Investment Strategy [View article]
    Thank you for writing this article, this is a sound strategy if monitored closely. There are some dividend payers who are in businesses that are going backwards due to market / technical changes and these should be avoided or sold when this takes place. Waiting for the company to cut the dividend means you were too late in selling.

    While I invest in a number of solid yielding stocks, my primary income source from my portfolio is MLPs. I find the yields attractive, the tax shield doubly so, and thus can build up a larger and larger portfolio by making periodic contributions and reinvesting distributions.

    My goal, which I am a few years away from is to fund the majority of my kids college tuition from MLP distributions, I have 12 years in a row of college tuition for our 3 kids. Once they are out of college, I will be close to retirement age. After that, those same MLP distributions will fund either further investment, or a portion of my retirement spending, along with distributions from my pension, 401k, Keogh, Roth IRA and other savings.

    I applaud your strategy, good luck to you!
    Feb 8 08:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Overcoming 3 Bad Investing Behaviors [View article]
    Perhaps one of the worst "bad behaviours" and most common is for people to own stocks and not do sufficient work on each position on a regular basis to support an investment decision to continue to hold, sell or add to the position.

    If you don't take the time to read the press releases, listen to the conference/earnings calls (or at least read the transcripts) and understand what the Company's strategy is and that of its competitors, you are just blindly gambling and should most likely own mutual funds instead.
    Feb 6 08:32 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • French telecom-equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) is expected to announce that CEO Ben Verwaayen will step down as the company continues to bleed cash and get battered by competition. Verwaayen's contract is due to expire May 7, but expectations are the he will stay on until a replacement is found. ALU is expected to report earnings tomorrow, which are likely show another decline in quarterly operating income and a seventh consecutive year of negative cash flow. Shares -1.8% AH. [View news story]
    Glad to see the Board is rewarding failure in an appropriate manner.
    Feb 6 08:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wells Fargo: A Wonderful Company At A Fair Price [View article]
    My primary bank is a credit union, but they don't write mortgages in the state where I reside, in addition, they don't do Jumbo loans. Otherwise I am very happy with my credit union that I have been with for 40+ years. Thats why Wells Fargo has my mortgage and HELCO.
    Feb 6 08:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan Companies Projecting Strong Dividend Growth In 2013 [View article]
    Larry - I believe that UBTI losses from one partnership cannot offset UBTI income from a different partnership for tax purposes. Though you should check with your tax adviser to be sure.
    Feb 6 08:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Where To Invest For Yield In 2013 [View article]
    I like the MLP space alot, but also have some exposure to stocks like PFE which a year ago was trading around $21 and now is up around $27 - I will take the dividend and capital appreciation there, but I gotta love the MLP space due to the tax shield, the yield for those of us in higher brackets is awesome.
    Feb 6 07:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan Companies Projecting Strong Dividend Growth In 2013 [View article]
    I seem to recall reading that the executive team receive their equity compensation in KMR shares, (though I don't recall exactly where I read this). If anyone has knowledge of whether this is indeed true or why they get comp in KMR, that might be indicative as to which security provides the most benefit? Just a thought.
    Feb 6 06:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart And Costco Compared [View article]
    In my view, charging a membership fee to shop at Costco keeps the welfare / low end shopper out. Drive around a Costco parking lot and note the brands of cars, many Benz, BMW, Lexus and other upscale cars. The people that shop at Costco are more of an upscale crowd, (Costco only takes Amex if you need a clue) and they don't mind paying for value. Go around a Costco and there are many bargins to be had, the place is clean and employees happy to help. Other than being crowded on weekends, it is a pleasant experience and saving about 40% vs shopping at the local grocery store is a big plus. Seeing we have kids buying 3 things of Ketchup at a time is no big deal - it is half price of what I would pay at the local grocery store, so I store the extra inventory on the shelf in the garage.
    Feb 5 08:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NuStar Energy's CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    This transcript is wrong in that it says a Q4 distribution is $1.95 per unit, however, the actual amount according to the Partnership's SEC filing and press release is $1.095/unit - a significant difference!

    I don't know who or how these transcripts are put together, but this is a substantial error.
    Feb 2 06:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can You Retire With A $1,000,000 Portfolio? [View article]
    I made a deal with my 15 year old this past summer, she could have her salary from being a pool lifeguard direct deposited into a bank account so she wouldn't be tempted with cashing her bi-weekly check. Then at the end of the summer, I deposited what ever she earned into a custodial Roth IRA plan.

    So at age 15 she has saved in her Roth about $3,500, with another $3,500 in the bank. I will do the same thing for her this up coming summer, and will do the same for her and her brothers to allow them to establish nest eggs before they even go to College. When they are about to retire, I will be long gone, but they will have something saved. I can encourage them to save more once they are employed, but I know they will have at least something 50 years from now when I am gone.
    Jan 29 08:59 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can You Retire With A $1,000,000 Portfolio? [View article]
    $40,000 gets eaten up pretty quickly with income taxes (federal and state), property taxes, medical bills / insurance premiums, food, gas and other living expenses.

    I have a relative who gets by on about $28,000 a year, this person however lives in Nassau County NY, the property taxes on her modest home cost her $12,000 a year (fortunately there is no mortgage). There is no income tax (federal or state) but every penny is pinched. It is tough to get by on $1,300 a month after property taxes in a high cost spot. At 76 years, this person isn't going to pull up the tent stakes and move - oh well.
    Jan 29 08:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment