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  • Could Oaktree Capital And Other Hedgies Mine Gold For You In The Rubble Of The Caesars Bankruptcy?  [View article]
    When you say "cents on the dollar" are you talking cash or the value of a package of new securities?
    Feb 4, 2016. 08:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could Oaktree Capital And Other Hedgies Mine Gold For You In The Rubble Of The Caesars Bankruptcy?  [View article]
    I don't think the demographics of Rockland County make a casino there overpower the chances of success of a Bergen/Union County location. Transportation choices and proximity to Manhattan favor New Jersey. Unless, of course, if New York promotes a $3+ billion casino center on the existing Madison Square Garden site, which would truly be a NJ deal killer, in my opinion. Any chance of that?
    Jan 29, 2016. 12:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could Oaktree Capital And Other Hedgies Mine Gold For You In The Rubble Of The Caesars Bankruptcy?  [View article]
    Don't know how to quantify this, but word is that New Jersey is offering an exclusive opportunity to Atlantic City casino operators to build one or two $1 billion+ casinos in Northern New Jersey. This is being done in order to win legislative approval for casinos there, which is part of the New York metropolitan area.
    Jan 28, 2016. 12:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • THE BDC ACTIVIST: Apollo Investment Update  [View instapost]
    Thanks for all your hard work and expert analysis, but it seems to me that almost all BDCs are struggling these days as competition with the banks heats up, so they are scrambling to maintain their equilibrium by deleveraging and issuing more shares, all to serve their primary goal of maintaining their fee income. That is why I sold all my BDCs in 2014 and put the money into the stocks of community banks. I am prepared to reverse that trade when the banks pull back from making loans when the economy cools again, setting the stage for a resurgence of BDC domination of that space. May be a while. Probably see some BDCs merge first, in order to consolidate costs.
    Jan 28, 2016. 11:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Citigroup And A Hard Landing In China  [View article]
    Citi is a great global franchise, being run for the first time in 25 years by bankers, not corporate conglomerators. In cleaning up the mess they inherited, the new management team has concentrated on businesses that create value through recurring revenues more than by playing the yield curve. Activists are out there, with cash to invest. Sure, activists prefer underperforming companies, but they can also see bargains in companies that are doing well. Carl Icahn has singled out Apple as a good opportunity, and I would expect someone like him to go public soon with a big position in Citi.

    Re China, it is not just China to worry about but all the other countries that are dependent on a robust Chinese economy for their own economic well being. Here, Citi is definitely challenged, as a predominant global banker. But, as I said, the company is being run by real bankers for the first time in 25 years, and they are adept in adjusting to changing circumstances, especially as they continue to focus on recurring revenues and not simply managing risk.
    Jan 10, 2016. 11:18 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New York Community Bancorp's Merger Doesn't Make Sense  [View article]
    Astoria fits nicely into NYCB's oft-stated plan to become a SIFI and benefit from the easier acquisition regulations that ensue. Note how BBT is able to swallow a number of banks simultaneously and how its stock price has done well; that is the model for NYCB's future growth, from what I see.

    The dividend cut was no surprise, as management indicated more than 3 years ago that the bank's long term strategy would prevail over maintaining the dividend. I doubt there will be another cut, but rather an increase is in store as soon as they get their earnings up to reflect the funding cost reduction following the integration of AF.

    NYCB is merging its commercial bank into its community bank, which is another cost saving move.

    NYCB acquisitions are all about deposits, as they have no trouble making loans. After AF, there are plenty of underperforming multi-billion dollar banks they can buy.
    Dec 28, 2015. 03:51 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • I Screwed Up On American Capital: Here's What I Learned  [View article]
    Great article. I have always done best when investing in simple businesses that benefit from simple macro trends that are obvious to all, such as community banks in the past 2 years. When venturing into the more complex, I have suffered, not only by losing money but by wasting time. That said, I have followed ACAS for many years and have confidence that their committed management team will eventually succeed, despite the challenging environment. Not in it now, but willing to get on the up elevator on the second floor.
    Dec 18, 2015. 07:34 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil - It's The 1860s All Over Again  [View article]
    Terrific chart. Shows that oil price can be rangebound for the next 100 years, just as it was between 1872 and 1972, with a low around $10 and a high around $35. Well, I don't have 100 years to worry about it, so I am going to concentrate on finding investments elsewhere. Plus, in the next 100 years, oil may become totally obsolete as a fuel, if the climate change fearmongers continue to trash it.
    Dec 11, 2015. 11:37 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • KCAP Financial: Slip Sliding Away  [View article]
    The BDC model benefits from having the banks stay off their turf. In the past year or so, banks have been hustling to make just the kind of loans that BDCs crave. Banks have much lower funding costs than BDCs, so can charge less for loans. It is just that set of facts that convinced me to sell all my BDCs in 2013-2014 and buy bank stocks. My dividend income has gone down, but my capital gains have gone way up.
    Dec 2, 2015. 08:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Historical Rates Impact Common Stocks  [View article]
    A return to more normal rates can't come soon enough, but will create more uncertainty in global economy as strong dollar gets even stronger. I am staying local, focused on community banks that are controlling costs, consolidating operations, waiting impatiently to raise borrowing rates on those recently-written commercial loans. M&A activity has lifted stock prices already, but there are still some relative bargains being discovered by activists daily.
    Dec 2, 2015. 08:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chipotle Is Finally Cheap  [View article]
    Funny how many folks have become bullish now, before the problem that crushed the stock has been solved.

    Chipotle closed stores in Washington and Oregon the first time they suffered an outbreak of e.coli, but so far have not closed any in other states despite evidence of e.coli in a number of locations.

    Sure, CMG will get over this, but when? What if they close stores again? How much will it cost them?

    The chart pattern looks just awful. The stock needs to put in a base, which will involve numerous tests of a low. I will wait for the entry point to present itself before buying. It could be a while.
    Nov 24, 2015. 08:45 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pathfinder Bancorp: Obscure, Cash Rich, Below Book, With Multiple Catalysts On The Horizon  [View article]
    With more than 16% held by insiders and another 6%+ held by activist investors, there is a lot of concentration among folks with large stakes in the wealth opportunity inherent in owning these shares. Increased dividend is a signal that these guys mean business.
    Nov 11, 2015. 10:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should General Electric Shareholders Swap For Synchrony?  [View article]
    My experience tells me that the 7% discount for swapping GE into SYF will quickly disappear in the aftermarket, so to try to capture that spread is futile. Better to hiold on to all my GE shares, then consider buying SYF (if I really want to) after the 7% spread is squashed, and maybe go to an 8% spread or even more. The real question is, do I want to own SYF?
    Oct 20, 2015. 05:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • General Electric: Nelson Peltz Takes A Position  [View article]
    What's the story with the Synchrony spin-out?
    Oct 15, 2015. 04:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing The Week Ahead: Will Global Weakness Drag Down The U.S. Economy?  [View article]
    Demand for oil increasing faster than last year? Hard to accept that. Headlines about supply cuts belie the real story, that total global supply keeps growing. There will be a time when supply starts to weaken, but not until we see a lot more bankruptcies in the oil patch and the Texas banks do their generational disappearing act. Efficient use of energy continues to grow exponentially, plus wind and solar power continue to bite into the demand for oil and gas. Story is not bright for oil and today, not this week, not this year, probably not this decade.
    Sep 27, 2015. 11:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment