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  • Wall Street Breakfast: Markets Await Fed Policy Decision [View article]
    I have two Citi cards. Both free. One gives back 2% cash, which has become my primary card, and the other has "Rewards." The Rewards are small discounts on mostly women's clothing, make-up, jewelry. Sometimes a 'free' soda with a paid sandwich at a fast food-- a useless option IMO.

    I have stopped using the various cards I have except the Citi 2% cash return card. I use the others just enough to keep them active, which isn't much.

    The Citi card that offers "Rewards" is feeling the pain of the other card and I am participating in a "special offer" which is supposed to return 5% cash for a few weeks.

    Citi has stopped cold several attempts at identity theft for me in recent years before those attempts could get off the ground.
    Mar 18, 2015. 12:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A No-Brainer Dividend Growth Investment [View article]
    @Coolbluelake: When most of us think of MCD we think of burgers. We also think "Big Mac." The thing to buy is the McDouble. A lot of folks with less than top-end incomes are well aware that the McDouble is really a cheap "Big Mac" and includes very little of the high fat & high calorie ingredients.

    For all of us who are older (I am well into my 70's) the thing to buy is Mickey D's chicken offerings. The much-maligned McNuggets are made to match real chicken. If a person sits down to dinner and eats a home-cooked 'fryer,' skin & most of what is scraped off the bones, then that is the same as a dinner of McNuggets. Really. For a better meal, try a McChicken sandwich with 'no mayo.' Take it home and try some salsa (from a jar bought at a grocery store) to juice it up. Mayonnaise is actually one of the worst things we all commonly consume. Even better, throw away the top half of the bun (white bread is actually 'toxic'). Or, now, Mickey D is offering chicken strips again. Eat them instead with some of that salsa.

    The bottom line is that Mickey D is the biggest and the best known and catches all the flack. There are other chains with significantly more unhealthy offerings that are invisible in the media. Some of those are regional. Apparently if a food chain does not have a store in Lower Manhattan or downtown San Francisco, they are exempt from criticism. The other part is that the food at MCD is essentially identical to, or better than, the food everywhere else, whether it be 'fast food' or most restaurants.

    My only regret is not having bought many more shares when MCD was really cheap.
    Mar 15, 2015. 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T: Buy The Dip? [View article]
    I'm spooked by the long term charts. On a 5-year graph of T stock price I can draw a base line that is barely rising above level. Then I draw a line across the peaks and it is significantly descending. Same thing with longer time frames. Intercept between the descending resistance and ~level support is at least 5 years in the future, but it is worrying me. What is this trend about?
    Mar 9, 2015. 03:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Australia Keeps Monetary Policy Steady [View article]
    Comments (6570)| + Follow | Send Message

    "If you paid attention to the right people, QE was predicted to (and did) have little effect, through theory and experience. What we need is fiscal policy."

    Please explain?"

    QE was sold as being the way to bring the 'velocity of money' back to normal; to bring the overall economy to a healthy level with jobs plentiful and all commerce into full operation.

    It does not work that way. The money flows first to the big banks. Then with QE the TBTF banks held and are holding that money and using it to make cash they can stuff into their own wallets. Legal and sensible. And predicted.

    If you really want more you should subscribe to a cheap Agora newsletter ($49/year) and then get the two "free" newsletters, "The 5" & "Daily Reckoning" which require a paid subscription to something; and several other free newsletters from Agora (Laissez Faire) which discuss all this endlessly and knowledgeably (but be careful of their slant/agenda). I have no connection at all to Agora. You asked for an explanation and this is the best I know about.
    Mar 3, 2015. 02:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: European Business Growth Gains Momentum [View article]
    "Tony Pow , Contributor
    Comments (6240)| + Follow | Send Message
    There is another SA article on Rare Earth and China. Here is my wild imagination:

    One day China wants to dominate the world by limiting the export of REEs that are used in many weapons besides the phones. The west/US send soldiers to 'open' free trade with China. It happened before: the Brits forced China to trade about 300 years ago. When they had nothing to trade, they pushed opium to China as a nation. It was assisted with the so-called '8-nations devil alliance".

    Will history repeat itself or just in my wild imagination?"

    The current world is a very different place. 300 years ago-- farther back-- there were extreme wars in progress that most of us never hear about. India was the victim (?) of an Asian (Mongol ??) invasion that produced 400 years of mostly continuous and severe war. That era of war was winding down some when the British first arrived and established their influence. China was in a series of Dynasties that lasted decades and sometimes centuries but which were each bookended by severe wars.

    Our world has perhaps calmed down some or is in a period of calm between big warring eras. The West is not likely to be the originator of big conflict but there are others who might. In the Pax West in progress, China is expected to become a principal player and largely conform to the current rules. All will be well for everybody.

    As costs increase for China because of the rise of the financial status of a majority of individuals in that society, costs for resources will rise also. Then resources like Rare Earths that exist in many other places will again be mined or otherwise recovered or extracted also. Commerce and the open market always trumps conflict. Eventually. And when politics and egos are contained.

    Feb 21, 2015. 12:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: European Business Growth Gains Momentum [View article]
    A new Krispy Kreme store opened in the middle of my little suburban town. Suddenly there is a lot more traffic on my morning routes as I take care of my obligations.

    I stopped and went inside deliberately instead of using the drive-thru. There is a lot of space and tables for customers. Much more than I would have expected. The glazed donuts are 99 cents; a small (dark roast) coffee (black) $1.69. I effectively dropped a $4 bill. The donuts are, of course, excellent. We will not mention the calorie count!

    How does this compare to a Krispy Kreme in your area? Are the prices the same nationwide or not? And then, with all that space for customers, is Krispy Kreme trying to become another Starbucks? I would have expected to drop at least twice as much money at a Starbucks as I did this morning for essentially the same thing.
    Feb 20, 2015. 10:50 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Apple's Market Cap Closes Above $700B [View article]
    @deercreekvols--- "I am trying to understand why Tesla gets so much publicity. What has this company done to earn so much coverage? Anyone?"

    I think it is mostly the "gee whiz" factor. Rather like the automobile when the Model T was the latest and hottest thing.

    I have seen a listing giving a value to cars of various brands as a part of market cap. Divide Market Cap by production numbers: Toyota was in the low $20K's; I think BMW was in the higher $30K's, VW was about $11, 500; etc. Tesla was absolutely ridiculously high, $900 Thousand something. Tesla sells as many cars per year as the dozen majors sell a day (each).

    In my part of North Dallas I have seen either several Teslas or one of them several times. I am not really impressed. I have seen a couple of Lamborghini's also. Great fun if you want one and can pay for it or have it to impress. My Camry carries 5 people easily (and often) and a bunch of groceries all at the same time. Has as much power and the sport suspension tweaks that make it as much car as is practical on city streets in traffic. Can and has run from coast to coast without problem of fuel or maintenance. What else? (I also like being invisible.)

    Battery/electric power is either a fad or some kind of power pack like hydrogen fuel cells are the wave of the eventual future. When the Model-T hit the streets the cry was "Get A horse!" Now the cry over the electric car is apparently, even if unspoken, "Get a gasoline-burning motor!"

    I do wonder if the giant Tesla factory will be viable or if it will be the next monument or ghost testifying to mankinds' folly?
    Feb 11, 2015. 10:30 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Apple's Market Cap Closes Above $700B [View article]
    @Seekingbetaguy-- "Now that CNBC has morphed into "The View" and Jon Stewart's retiring where does one go for news?"

    A light sprinkle of cable offerings of news can be very interesting. Al Jazeera, Japanese news, maybe one or two more.

    Computer news links from Europe and others. Drudge Report? It seems to me to all be so agenda driven that I can only watch or read a little for short lengths of time.

    A select group of news/business accounts in Twitter to scan for topics and headlines and the links to serious articles can be interesting sometimes, also. (I have dropped/unfollowed the accounts like WSJ that Tweet and want the reader to pay to read the linked articles. That might not be a problem if you are already a subscriber or are willing to subscribe. A bunch of these subscriptions would impact me too heavily. I get all I need from other places.)
    Feb 11, 2015. 09:44 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Greece Continues European Tour For Debt Deal [View article]
    Looked around yesterday. Google let me find something besides Amazon and I came across "Allied" selling electronic parts at least via an online catalog. Allied was one of the prime catalogs back when in addition to Radio Shack. Good to see that they still exist.

    Read a comment somewhere in the last 24 hours that expressed the thought that the layoffs in the oil industry and the loss of income for workers there will have serious trickle-down to the general economy which will cause much pain for many if not all sectors. The comment said that we are not there yet but it is very probable and not really that far away.

    Would like to see what all of you think?
    Feb 4, 2015. 08:36 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Pressure Builds On China As Manufacturing Slows [View article]
    No mention of Radio Shack?

    I recall from my college years that Radio Shack was a catalog operation. There may have been a brick&mortar store or a few of them somewhere, but I was much too far away to care. Radio Shack was the catalog of preference (of two or three) for mail-order parts to make my own radio/electronic entertainment systems. Good parts, a couple of decent radios (I bought a little AM/FM set and a good basic shortwave); a really good alarm clock (just the clock mechanism; had to buy an aluminum box for it and parts for a cord to use to plug it in) and a couple of decent cheap speakers that suited a dorm room fine. Bought connecting cable and appropriate plugs and the tools and supplies and a connection box and parts to link everything together with speakers and an early tape recorder.

    After I graduated, Radio Shack was bought by new managers and started downhill. Fewer and fewer parts of increasingly apparent lesser quality; some apparently because of changes in the customer base and some because government made parts difficult or impossible to obtain (Tried to buy decent solder lately?). Other similar companies just vanished.

    Now Radio Shack seems to have descended to the point of vanishing also. I can only wonder if this rescuer/buyer (?) can or will restore Radio Shack to be a relevant player in the marketplace?
    Feb 2, 2015. 10:21 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Annaly Solidifies Credentials As An Attractive Investment Prospect [View article]
    Bought a year ago to hold for one year. Time to sell. Except. Holding a slight gain and where else am I going to get this kind of dividend percentage? Maybe if it dips again I should buy more? At least hold for another year. And see.
    Jan 26, 2015. 09:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Royal Bank Of Canada's Oil Problems [View article]
    neissmor: Strange things are going on with the 2008 and later housing abandoners. My own experience has been that I always got held to the letter of the law and the maximum penalties. I even paid off my house a few months early (1989); the financial institution was taken over by the Regulators two days later; I had credit wrecked for a long time as abandoning my mortgage. I did eventually get it straightened out by insisting the records be dug up and checked. Then in the later mass walk-away the rules were ignored? Maybe and maybe not. Clinton signed a law that gave everybody a seemingly free ride with buying and selling houses? But as with the grinding wheels of the gods, individuals may find long after the fact that there are consequences. All of this is still in progress, may be happening again with car loans and more house loans. Eventually the taxpayers will be tired of it and the pendulum of big business interest will swing the other way. Old skeletons in old and forgotten closets may well collect their dues. ????

    Thank you for your response.
    Jan 25, 2015. 01:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Euro Drops To Fresh 11-Year Low [View article]
    Now retired, I drink Starbucks in a bottle, Frappuccino, maybe a dozen a year. When I was working it was instant coffee made strong. When I wanted something special I made the instant coffee stronger and added a scoop of ice cream and stirred it until the ice cream melted and was mixed in which also cooled and diluted the coffee. I called the result my "Starbucks Clone."
    Jan 23, 2015. 09:22 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Royal Bank Of Canada's Oil Problems [View article]
    neissmor: "Unlike the USA,a homeowner cannot put the "keys on his bankers desk" and walk away.He is personally responsible."

    The homeowner is personally responsible in the US under the law. The process got overwhelmed and severely backlogged. But like the grinding wheels of the gods, it all grinds exceeding slow but exceeding fine.

    It is easier to keep things in control with a small population like Canada than with the much larger and diverse cultures of the US. Allowing of course for the French enclave in Canada which seems more serious and divisive than anything I know about in the US.
    Jan 21, 2015. 08:36 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Swiss Stocks Extend Slide [View article]
    Antique Tin (old cars) may be an illusion. Those cars in Cuba have been fixed with baling wire and duct tape for so long that nothing is left under the skin of the originals. Antique Tin is about cars in an old barn somewhere that were nearly new and untouched since when they were parked in mid-Depression Era. Whether the Depression was ~1932 or one of the lesser Post-WW2 events.

    Could Cuba become the next Farming Garden for at least North America? Year-round warm, citrus and crops needing long growing seasons, back-up for the Kitchen Garden Industry of California?
    Jan 16, 2015. 11:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment