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  • Just Added ITC Holdings, A Wide-Moat, High-Growth Utility To My Core Income Growth Portfolio [View article]
    msn. money used to have an institutional ownership link after you typed in the stock quote. It would show the individual fund ownership (in number of shares) and changes in ownership by quarter. About 6-9 months ago MSN changed the format of to where now it is almost incomprehensible to me. It is all "tablet" format and the previous data is no longer available. Another fine case of what happens when you try to fix/change something when it is not broken. now officially sucks. It is almost worthless as a source of stock information.
    May 1, 2015. 11:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Fed Will Raise Interest Rates This Year [View article]
    Apparently the Atlanta Fed did not get the memo. They just revised 2nd qtr GDP estimates LOWER to 0.8%. If they are right we could be looking at a 2-2.5% annualized number. Sorry, but that is nowhere near close enough to trigger a rate hike. That indicates one thing only; there is major slack in this economy no matter how much the "cheerleaders" stomp their feet.
    May 1, 2015. 09:18 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    Malkiel is the same guy who wrongly believes in the Efficient Market Hypothesis. Not only that, I can cite research that states that over 75% of mutual funds underperform their benchmark index. Don't buy front-end load funds. Don't buy ANY mutual funds. Do your homework on quality stocks. Buy them at a discount to their full market value. Reinvest dividends. And forget all the other crap.

    Apr 28, 2015. 06:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    No worries here. At this point it really doesn't matter what I achieved between 2002-2014. What matters is how to position yourself for the next cycle. And I have to admit the future looks very murky to me. Yes, low interest rates could stay with us for quite awhile. As Yogi Berra once said, "It's hard to make predictions especially about the future." Can't say what interest rates will be in the future but it seems to me that the Fed would like to "normalize" rates so they have some ammunition for the next recession.
    As for your 2009 picks, good call! I have KO and MO in my portfolio. Always wanted to add PG and CVX but never found the right price to buy.
    I know everyone is jumping on the Tech bandwagon right now but like you I remain wary of the sectors's future earnings growth.
    Good luck.

    Apr 26, 2015. 05:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    Wasn't sure you were responding to me or not. One point I need to clarify is that my cash position is not static. It is 20% now but has not always been at that level. As for my positions back then I already pointed out some but here is a more complete list:

    1. FDG (Fording Coal Trust) is no longer publicly traded.
    2. PCU is now traded as SCCO.
    3. FTO (Frontier Oil) merged with Holly Energy to become HFC.
    4. XTO was acquired by XOM and now trades under that symbol.

    So you can see the majority of my portfolio was divided between basic materials and energy (very concentrated). Unless you have the "tailwinds" of a secular growth story behind you, this "concentration" can be extremely risky. My portfolio today is much more diversified. Don't know if any of this helps. There is no point in looking back when it comes to investing. The only thing that matters now is the future and how best to position your portfolio for it. As the "Great One" Wayne Gretsky said, "Always skate to where the puck will be, not where it is."

    Apr 25, 2015. 08:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    No lies here and yes there could be a good deal of luck involved. I try to stay nimble and anticipate strong secular trends. In 2002 my feeling was that China had several years of double digit growth ahead of it. All I did was "feed the growth beast" by owning the suppliers of base metals to China; BHP, SCCO, RIO, VALE, and others. By 2008 I could see the "clouds forming" and decided to take profits on the big commodity names. I got defensive and piled into staples, utilities, and healthcare positions.
    Honestly it probably was a good bit of both luck and risk management that allowed me to achieve those returns. But I guess my point is I don't see any major "secular" growth trends forming. So it will be much tougher going forward to get double digit returns. On the subject of inflation, yes I am aware that the bond market is forecasting deflation. And we will continue to fight those deflationary headwinds. But sooner or later the Fed will get its way, which is inflation. You cannot have all the years of growth in the monetary base without eventually creating inflation. Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe not even next year. But by the end of this decade inflation will be back in a major way.

    Apr 25, 2015. 01:22 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    It's a tough call. I respect Klarman a LOT. He is one of the best in the business. Bottom line is that it's a judgement call. There is no PERFECT answer. But 20% cash is a nice start and 30-40% is not necessarily too much. The problem I see is that Central Banks have so distorted the business cycle that it has become virtually impossible to forecast when a market correction may take place. We are in very "murky" waters right now. With Fed bankers like Dudley and Bullard interjecting "dovish" comments at the slightest move lower by markets there is no natural "clearing" mechanism for the markets to remove excesses from the system. This is a dangerous market right now.

    Apr 24, 2015. 08:58 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dave Ramsey's 12% Return Strategy Is Replicable [View article]
    Very provocative article. I enjoyed reading it. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an asset manager who also happened to average double-digit returns (15.9%) since 2002. However, investing in mutual funds is not going to "get you there". Especially the front-end loads which can be as high as 5%. Imagine investing $10,000 in a front-end load. On day one you are already down to $9,500. Ouch! Sorry but I have worked in a brokerage setting and these guys have ZERO interest or motivation in having you achieve any kind of decent return. They are "sharks" whose primary interest is in padding their commissions/fees. My 15.9% avg annual return since 2002 was achieved with NO input from any financial advisor. Just do the homework yourself. Buy individual stocks at appropriate price levels and forget about Buffett and Vogel's advice to invest in indexes. Index investing is for losers.
    By the way, I like your asset allocation strategy. My approach is a bit different (not necessarily better). I have an "all-equity" portfolio with 30% in US common stocks, 22% in foreign ADRs, 8% in REITs, 12% in MLPs, 8% in preferred stocks, and 20% in cash. My forecast is a bit more pessimistic than yours. In order to continue to average a 15.9% return in this investing environment will require MUCH MORE risk than I am willing to undertake. We are overdue for another significant correction, after which I expect substantial inflation to arrive on the scene. I don't see much more than a 8-9% annual return over the next decade.

    Apr 24, 2015. 08:22 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Naked Truth [View article]
    I agree with you 100%. I appreciate the Fed's dilemma and I understand their urge to "normalize" policy but this economy has still not healed from the credit crisis. Not only that, but the "elephant in the room" is the trillion dollar debt bomb about to go off in developing markets. In the past 6 years countries like Brazil, Russia, Turkey, India, South Africa, and others have "gorged" themselves on the Fed's free money. Now the time has come to pay back the piper (in USDs by the way) and the pain is unbearable. Raising rates here in the US right now would rocket the USD even higher perhaps creating a debt collapse in EMs. There is no painless way out of this mess. But I think we need another year before EM balance sheets can withstand the shock of a rate hike cycle in the US.

    Apr 23, 2015. 06:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Naked Truth [View article]
    I am an asset manager who uses a 25% trailing stop. However, I do not leave the stop sell order out there for anyone (market maker) to see. When a stock in my portfolio CLOSES trading at/below 25% from its 52-week high, I place a sell order at the market the very NEXT trading day. No questions asked. No remorse. No regrets. You have to take the emotion out of investing. It is OK to "fall in love" with a stock but it is also OK to "divorce" one too. A few years ago I sold BHP (mining stock) after holding it for 6 years. My gain was 128% when I sold it. The point is it was great to own it for those 6 years but after a 25% drop and a weakening in China's appetite for base metals it was time to sell. Like I said, no regrets.
    Good luck.

    Apr 23, 2015. 03:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Best U.S. Dividend Growth Stocks [View article]
    Just my opinion but the ABBV part of the business faces ferocious competition AND a clock ticking on patent expiration. On the other hand ABTs nutritional products are now being marketed to developing countries. Margins are better. Opportunities for growth are better. I am sure some people may disagree. I could be biased a bit because when I was there I worked in the pediatric nutritional part of the business. I guess only time will tell. Good luck.

    Apr 17, 2015. 06:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Best U.S. Dividend Growth Stocks [View article]
    I worked for Abbott Labs in the 90s. Forget about Abbvie and concentrate on the nutritional part of the business with ABT.
    Apr 16, 2015. 08:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Concerns That Have Me Worried About The Overvalued Markets In 2015 [View article]
    Agree with much of what you say. However, I quibble with you over the dividends comment. Yes, they are taxable (if held in taxable account) but it is tough to deny that through an effective DRIP program you can grow your account value by using the "company's" money to add shares. Besides, most 70 year old people I know are in a lower tax bracket than when they were working. I think it was Einstein who said "Nothing is more miraculous and powerful than the effect of "compounding" in investment."
    Having said that, I do agree that bonds are overvalued, Preferreds are a bit risky heading into a rising rate environment, and REITs are trading now at substantial premiums.
    It is a dangerous market right now. I am a portfolio manager myself and feel the constant pressure to mimic Prince's strategy of "keep dancing". Last year I was 35% in cash but found myself buying certain stocks along the way that were trading at a discount to full value. Now only 5% in cash and believe me I don't like it.

    Apr 11, 2015. 01:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Flee To Safety With Dividend Growth Stocks [View article]
    CSX and MMM excluded because they are too "volatile"? Well you just missed out on two stocks that have averaged double-digit returns for the past 10 years (and possibly longer). I can understand the anxiety of holding a stock with a beta of 1.75 or higher but these two stocks are quality stocks. If you can't hold a stock with a beta of 1.3, then maybe you should not be invested in the market.
    Apr 10, 2015. 07:01 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Dividend Growth Investing Might Not Be For You [View article]
    I would not take those two commenters personally. I actually think they make valid points. But that does NOT mean your approach is wrong. Taking the first comment, to build an entire portfolio generating 6% in today's environment is quite risky. I have a portfolio of 30 stocks that yields about 4% and believe me that is about as much risk as I am willing to take. As for CEFs, been there, done that, lost money. End of story. Even if you buy a CEF at a "discount" there is no guarantee of a profit or a dividend. Liquidity can also become an issue. Regarding REITs, of course they are wonderful investments and make a nice diversification strategy. But as with most things do you really want to buy REITs near 52-week highs?
    The second commenter really struck a nerve. Personally, I am torn between total return and income. Yes, it is enticing to own a stock that skyrockets higher than the averages. But when you do you sell? And what is the tax bill? Several of the other comments make good sense. Average down when you can. Reinvest dividends. Finally, the comment about buying corporate debt got under my skin. Sure, why not? Junk bonds near record highs? No problem. Other bonds near a 30-year high? Sure thing. What do I have to lose? You see the problem here? It matters at what PRICE you buy anything, whether it's stocks, bonds, CEFs, REITs, or whatever.
    The bottom line is there is a fine balance between value, income, and growth. I subscribe to Ben Graham's philosophy. If you can, always buy an investment with a margin of safety (at least 35% discount to fair value).
    I like your approach. Take all these comments with a "grain of salt". There are some valid points to consider. But that should not deter you from your investment strategy. I like the portfolio you have put together. All of us can quibble over certain stocks but in the end you have to "stay the course" if you want to reach your investment objective.

    Apr 6, 2015. 06:30 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment