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  • Is Regions Financial's Stock Worth Considering Right Now? [View article]
    Another good site here if the economics of the service make sense for your portfolio.
    Jul 15, 2015. 03:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Harry's Plan: Buy, Hold, And Collect [View article]
    Thanks for a nicely presented article TP. I hope that my comment is viewed as a positive contribution. There are a few commenters here who have taken what I say as personal affronts, so I'll try to be careful. :)

    I'm a person who looks for unstated assumptions that might have relevance. I don't do this to upset anyone, but it's part of how I assign a "confidence level" to the predictive capability of data. It seems to me that an important question is whether the success of a 'buy and hold' strategy is axiomatic. Is it a universal truth? That is, should we expect it to be true at all times and in all places? I haven't looked at 18th century England or 19th century Russia. I haven't seen anyone else's data either, but I suspect it wasn't like the past 50 years here.

    This is a similar question asked and allegedly answered in another article on SA (, that reasonably good stock picks + enough time = very high degree of certainty of success (I avoid the word 'guarantee' despite the implicit expectation some seem to have).

    Let me admit that I don't have the answers to the all of the following questions, but I do say that they are relevant and not insignificant. First (with regard to my proposed equation), is there reliable evidence that good stock picking is a skill that is widely shared (put another way, how common is it)? What is sufficient time? Maybe we could agree that 50 years would be a meaning figure for the average human lifetime... Finally, is the resulting expectation reasonable, and if so what result should be quantifiable? How could we assign any metrics?

    So, these kinds of questions occur to me as evidentiary bars, all of which add to my degree of confidence when forecasting the future based upon the past. I'm sure everyone will have their own interpretations. I haven't seen anything that shows that most 50 year periods produce success in general. For example, what about other countries during the same periods? There's no question that the last 50 years of the 20th century were great in the USA. The question is will it continue? I don't know the answer, but OTOH I suspect that others don't either.

    Lots of evidence about stock picking exists and that evidence does not reveal that the ability is consistent or common. This evidence is commonly discounted here on SA for a variety of reasons, including the fact that enough time and the "miracle of compounding" - etc. My opinion isn't necessarily relevant, but I assert the question definitely is.

    Finally, I think it is worthwhile to try and estimate how much the future may resemble the past. Are things sufficiently stable that what has worked for any given business will continue to work? Is the financial environment sufficiently stable so as to allow a given business to prosper? I've been investing for ~40 years and I see signs that things might get pretty different. OTOH, people are really creative and companies can adapt.

    Anyway, this comment is too long. I hope the take-away is that assumptions should be tested. At a minimum one should be aware that they are being made.
    Jul 14, 2015. 05:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Surprise! Cash Invades The Dividend Growth 50 [View article]
    It seems to me that only special circumstances would require a decision that deems cash to be so undesirable. For instance, if someone is already retired and needs the income from the funds (i.e. an underfunded retirement) that might be the case. Or, if someone is pretty young and has a substantial emergency fund already set aside. Or someone already has a source of funds to take advantage of more extreme market events. Or some combination of these? Anyway, cash has major utility in the context of an entire portfolio doesn't it?
    Jul 14, 2015. 04:32 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM Just Changed The Game [View article]
    Oak, a similar question might be whether their SOI approach could end up having the same fate as last gate...
    Jul 14, 2015. 04:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends & Income Digest: Once Interest Rates Rise, What Happens To Dividend Growth Stocks? [View article]
    Great comment, T.

    I agree that cash (and very short term fixed income) has its own benefits and characteristics aside from the "dry powder" assignment many ascribe to it. My own allocation is always at least 30%. That weighting does multiple duty as 3-5 years of full cost of living and emergency reserve, opportunity reserve, and the ultra low beta part of risk barbells.
    Jul 14, 2015. 04:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BreitBurn Energy Partners: Has Stability Finally Come? [View article]
    Mary, clearly the next re-determination is some time away, but the SEC numbers are based on a rolling 12 month average of asset value. I'm sure you know very well that a year ago asset prices were still high. To me what the market may do to share price as those values roll-off is an open question. This will be true of all these E&P MLPs. I'm actually less concerned about the banks, whom I think will continue to play ball (perhaps with some concessions). Anyway, I'm only long preferred stocks in this space.

    BTW, Your handle is great. I'm a huge Lovecraft fan. I collect him and many other Arkham House first editions.
    Jul 14, 2015. 10:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends & Income Digest: Once Interest Rates Rise, What Happens To Dividend Growth Stocks? [View article]
    MN, I'm with you as for the working hard part. I fight an arrogant and sarcastic disposition every day. I invite everyone to call me on it if/when it appears.
    Jul 12, 2015. 03:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends & Income Digest: Once Interest Rates Rise, What Happens To Dividend Growth Stocks? [View article]
    "I never have a problem with those who make critical remarks of my work (or anybody's work), as long as it is done without malice."

    Well, MN, I have to say that my own experience with you and with folks who typically agree with you in lots of comment stream 'back and forths' over quite some time does not support that statement. Derision and condescension are quite common and outright insults aren't all that rare. It would be tedious to go and link the examples here, but they are not at all rare. Participation with the crowd is tacit agreement with what it does.

    Of course everyone can be provoked, but trolls (in itself not a very helpful characterization) don't occupy only one side of the points of view typically expressed.
    Jul 12, 2015. 02:38 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Happened In June: Save The MLPs! [View article]
    EPD is definitely not the only potential bidder, although I agree with the author that it is very unlikely that KMI is playing.

    While it can sometimes be an effective stylistic tool, in these articles I find the homey personal data to be largely irrelevant.
    Jul 12, 2015. 11:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Happened In June: Save The MLPs! [View article]
    MLP distributions almost always lower cost basis, and to the extent they do gains are created.
    Jul 12, 2015. 11:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Weekender [View article]
    Nice breadth of coverage, but why is the article repeated? It's a slog if read twice... :)
    Jul 12, 2015. 11:22 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Capital Agency Corp. Is The Cheaper Version Of Orchid Island Capital [View article]
    Aha. Sorry I missed the earlier article - that was a good idea.
    Jul 12, 2015. 01:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Capital Agency Corp. Is The Cheaper Version Of Orchid Island Capital [View article]
    Thanks for the article. I appreciate these kinds of comparisons since information is a good thing and interpretation challenges thinking about methodology.

    One of the lower risk strategies which come to mind is setting up a pair trade, like long AGNC short ORC.
    Jul 11, 2015. 10:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Legacy Reserves LP - A Shift To Natural Gas [View article]
    I'm much more willing to play this upstream MLP space using the cumulative preferred stocks which offer a more secure pay out and around 25% capital gain upside. I sold the common stocks in November and bought LGCYO, ARPD, BBEPP, etc. in March. Unless there is a BK, they will pay all distributions even if temporarily suspended during an extended duration of low commodity prices.
    Jul 11, 2015. 10:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Significant Growth And Penchant Of Rewarding Shareholders Earn General Mills A Bullish Thesis [View article]
    Forward consensus earnings are not a solid basis for investment. Here are the consensus estimates from 2012:

    2014 - $3.06
    2015 - $3.35
    2016 - $3.75

    So we suddenly expect a 2015 pace of $3.00 to be the basis for optimism? Prophesy and management sugar coating (heh) are notoriously unreliable.

    Disclosure: I'm still long GIS, but sold 70% of the position ~$57. I'm a buyer again starting lightly ~ $48.
    Jul 10, 2015. 01:37 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment