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  • Weighing The Week Ahead: What Is The Risk/Reward For Stocks? [View article]
    Aren't market tops usually much higher than the previous one? If so, wouldn't it be expected for the market to continue upwards at the point where it equals the most recent previous peak? I would think it would, so long as no big negative catalyst appears. The negatives we've seen so far in Europe and China and EMs, along with several years of unfavorable fiscal policy have just not been big enough to reverse growth, though they certainly have slowed it.

    Unless we get hit by a humongous asteroid with a picture of Erskine Bowles on it, I expect the trend to continue, and with the continuation of a smidgeon of fiscal sanity (partial de-sequesterization) the growth trend will speed up. My question is are we going to find that feeding the rats a richer diet (you know, American citizen rats) shortens their lifespan? Will a robust recovery speed up its own demise? I'd worry about that if I was a worrier. :-)
    Mar 9 03:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 8 Questions Each Cimatron Holder Shall Ask [View article]
    I bought CIMT 2 years ago when they were paying dividends. Oh well...anyway they're up ~143% since.

    What's this about 3D printing? :-)~

    I thought they made software to design molds for tool making.
    Mar 9 03:04 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Wal-Mart Economy [View article]
    "Walmart is already losing customers to other stores because their labor costs were forced up politically by the Left."

    That's the value of a minimum wage that rises rather than falls. In the end the race to the bottom on wages hurts everyone including the business owners. How rich will you get if your customers get poorer? Not as rich as you would if you moved up together. So one business isn't hurt by raising pay, all the minimums should go up together. Target's employees would buy more from Walmart, Walmart's employees would buy more from Target, and initial job loss, if any, would be more than matched by job gains as the imbalance between production and consumption is corrected. Workers could afford to buy more of what they produce. That helps business the best way, by helping the customers, who also happen to be the workers.

    It's not that we can't afford to be rich (the constant complaint of elites that already are rich), it's that we can't afford to be poor. It hurts everyone, and it's just plain dumb, which I take as a personal slight. :-)
    Mar 7 12:04 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • mREITs Are The True Dividend Champions, And Safer Than You May Think [View article]
    "Let other investors drink coke eat cheese-burgers and chips and proclaim them Dividend Kings, while the few collect 10% plus yield from the REITS, bdcs and MLPs"

    Yes, but it makes sense to keep some balance here by blending your approaches. As you get older your can adjust yield to reflect your time horizon (if your goal is income during your lifetime and not something beyond). Since I want to leave my partner in as good a shape as I'm in now I have to consider the next 30 years, well into her 90's. That means I can't discount total return for most of my stocks.

    I also think there are circumstances where all the high yield options go bad at once, and though that's not likely, it's not unreasonable to have Plan B not just sitting on the shelf but an active ingredient in Plan A. You don't want to be faced with a situation where it's too late to change course.
    Mar 7 08:46 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Wal-Mart Economy [View article]
    "We went to the moon when our workforce was highly skilled, today we even outsource our ride to the space station."

    Yes, but if we want to make this story about causation and not merely nostalgia it would be more true to say we stopped going to the moon and deskilled our workforce. Just as recessions are policy choices by the Fed (almost all of them the result of Fed tightening), our decision to respond to job loss from globalization by doing essentially nothing is pure policy
    Mar 7 08:32 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Fed Is Putting All Of Its Eggs Into The 'Weather' Basket [View article]
    "You will notice when the economy moves in a positive direction 'good weather' is not mentioned as a causative factor."

    Accidents that don't happen don't kill people. Yes, unusually good weather will actually have a positive effect that won't be noticed. People will notice the weather and notice the economy but won't have any strong reason to associate them. Strong negatives are noticed, weak positives less so.

    I don't get the skepticism about the weather angle. I suppose it comes from people who think the Fed seeks excuses. My guess is the Fed will put a number on the effect in time then we can all admit the Fed is acting normally and not in Dr. Evil mode. Or, I'll admit it and you all can continue to believe the evil plot, because well..... you just can't help it. :-)~
    Mar 6 10:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Wal-Mart Economy [View article]
    Walmart should support raising the minimum wage. It would help raise the pay of their customers. They would gain more than they lose, as minimum wage increases increase total jobs by the effect on wages and increased demand. Some jobs will be lost, more will be gained and wages well above the minimum will rise.

    Combine this with a stronger earned income tax credit and for the first time in many years we'll be exerting upward rather than downward pressure on average incomes (from below, the right way IMO). The method of taking from workers and giving money directly to businesses has failed miserably for the obvious reason that more money where its not needed is far less effective than more money where it is. The bottleneck is on the demand side, not the supply side. That's obvious, so let's stop ignoring it.
    Mar 6 08:18 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • mREITs Are The True Dividend Champions, And Safer Than You May Think [View article]
    "There are total return arguments that seem compelling. Im looking at my total return investments and see most are beating the mREITS (all total return losers)."

    That's why you should take total return and dividend growth as essential for most of your portfolio IMO.

    "On the other hand the income I am getting from my mREITS is, on a per-centage basis, just as attractive as many of the total return stocks total return and at least double the income."

    That's why you should consider high current yield as essential for a part of your portfolio IMO.

    Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but combining the two approaches is stronger than either alone. You get higher current income plus income growth and capital appreciation, giving up some of the latter for more of the former. The question to ponder, once again IMO from an income investor perspective, is what proportions are appropriate to cover your income requirements versus how much you need to defend the value of your portfolio and it's future growth. I don't have the answer even in my own case. It's still a work in progress.
    Mar 6 06:21 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Growing Mess Which Will Be Left Behind By The Abenomics Experiment [View article]
    "The government is broker than broke."

    I doubt it. It's the way Japan's wealth appears on their books. It's savings. We do it, too, with intergovernmental debt when we want to play poor. It's largely bogus "debt" governments issue to comply with laws and international agreements laid down in the gold standard era. With Japan it's taken to a laughable extreme, therefore I laugh.

    You'd never know from the alarmist articles that Japan is richer than they were 20, 30 years ago, or that their per capita GDP is 8 or 9 times China's. China is rich, right? Or is it poor? Which do you need it to be?
    Mar 2 02:29 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Growing Mess Which Will Be Left Behind By The Abenomics Experiment [View article]
    Japan is not broke, it's rich. It hasn't collapsed and it won't. It has vast foreign holdings and much of its debt consists of money lent to other countries to bail them out. Much of the rest of their debt is actually owned by institutions owned by the government! Oh, and guess who the biggest creditor nation is?

    One more time for emphasis: Japan is not poorer than it was in the '80s when it could "say no", it's richer, much richer.
    Mar 2 01:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Next Crash Is Coming... [View article]
    The world of lyin' cheatin' traders outsmarting each other at the speed of light doesn't affect us investors much. A remarkable amount of mutual swindling goes on while the rest of us plod onwards.
    Mar 2 11:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The Fed Have Avoided 2008? [View article]
    Americans have had the option of voting themselves unlimited benefits for centuries. They have never been tempted to do so. The welfare states, it should be obvious by now, are more stable than other states and don't bankrupt themselves by giving all their products and services to themselves as entitlements. To me it looks like they are doing what I recommend, paying themselves enough to match consumption with production close to an optimal level, rather than let it "naturally" sink lower. There appears then to be something like a common sense ceiling on benefits provided by the most generous states as well as a considerable reluctance to push the limits. Usually states err on the side of too little provision rather than too much, as we see even in the present crisis.
    Mar 1 02:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The Fed Have Avoided 2008? [View article]
    "It would be far preferable to have some work product obtained for transfer payments than nothing at all, for, certainly, there are numerous beneficial public works endeavors that could be envisioned, rather than providing requirement-free transfer payments. But, again, that's not as politically expedient."

    I don't agree that we need to require work the economy values at near zero. By definition full employment doesn't ever mean everyone, and by whatever measure is used full potential output is attained with 60/65% of the adult population. Then there is the question of why we demand this work. If we are demanding it for an economic purpose we can offer jobs that will be taken.

    We don't provide benefits on merit, but on need. The society needs everyone to have an income or be supported by someone who has, while it obviously doesn't need everyone to work, and in fact needs a good many people not to work since it would be uneconomical to pay for pseudo-work and more efficient to provide benefits, so people can fulfill their consumption responsibilities, which don't disappear just because we don't need their labor.
    Mar 1 02:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The New S&P 500 Record High Sustainable? [View article]
    I don't care what the market does. I care what my stocks do, especially what they do for me, which is provide dividends. Occasionally they go to "unsustainable" heights (is there any other kind?), then they go lower and I get all antsy waiting for them to go up enough so I can stop worrying. I needn't bother, as steep declines are pretty unsustainable, too, even though you rarely hear that unmistakeable voice of wisdom telling you that this "won't end badly".

    "Yeah, you're crying now, but just you wait and see..."

    How come the soothsayers don't say soothing things even when they should? I guess it's just human nature, though I prefer to blame the evil monkey in the closet. :-)
    Mar 1 10:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The Fed Have Avoided 2008? [View article]
    The Fed can't anticipate a crisis, not because it can't see it but because acting to prevent it would be even more "unnatural" than acting to limit harm after the crisis starts. The Fed is afflicted by the same ideas that predominate here at SA, particularly that inflation and deficits are so terrible that wrecking the economy is merely collateral damage.

    Fed operatives can't really believe that deficits caused by a crash caused the crash but hey, Rogoff can't believe it, yet he does, or sort of did, except when challenged, then he doesn't for awhile. Pretty soon, though the zombie ideas suck peoples brains out of their heads again, and again..... if you stop hearing for awhile about deficits "as far as the eye can see" wait a few minutes. We would rather fight the evil monkey in the closet than a real foe, because a cheap victory suits us fine, while a war against unemployment and declining living standards is hard and would require a shift in priorities we haven't seen since the '30s.
    Mar 1 09:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment