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  • American Express Down 14% Year To Date, But We're Staying Long [View article]
    No, it certainly isn't universal, and likely hasn't been since the 50s or 60s (even in travel). Of course the anecdotal goes both ways. Intel is on Amex (my wife works there). My own corporate experience is years past, but all my cards were Amex in the corporate world, and a good thing. When I was traveling in the 90s some monthly billings were in excess of $60k. Hard to do in the Visa/MC credit limit world.

    Just try some per card metrics here Almost a $1 trillion billed business on a bit more than 107 million cards. While not all the business flows through the card it is associated with it (the reason the business relationship exists) I think. This is a vastly different ecosphere than that of other similar companies.
    Mar 29, 2015. 06:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Express Down 14% Year To Date, But We're Staying Long [View article]
    Yeah, well he owns DJCO too, so don't credit him too much. :))
    Mar 29, 2015. 03:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Soldier Returns From War And Faces His Financial Future In 8 Steps [View article]
    Excellent advice Chris. I'm forwarding it to my grown kids (since of course they wouldn't listen to ME).

    The only serious omission is recognition of spiritual reality. Man does not live by bread alone (it's not even the main thing).
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Call Us Ishmael: We Still Like J.C. Penney [View article]
    I was wondering what language translates Ishmael as unwise?

    Sorry - couldn't resist. You DO note the risk.
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney Looks To Be Almost Out Of The Woods [View article]
    "I am no longer bullish on JCP"

    I'm guessing by the comment count that you're not alone. It's too bad that so many operated on expectations which were unsupported by reality.
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Johnson & Johnson: A Dividend Growth Powerhouse In The Making? [View article]
    Yeah, how nice. Thanks. Are you feeling defensive? Did I attack your mental citadel? It's the kind of complacent rejection I expect from commenters on any article with dividend in the title. I always regret even reading them, much less saying anything.

    I spelled out in really really simple words why it is a good idea, and notice your argument is ... well? BTW, I've been investing almost as long as you've been alive. LOL.

    I'm sure Abbott, Kraft, Dean Foods, Phillip Morris, and tons of other excellent capital allocators were stupid as well, and that you own none of those stocks.

    Have the last word. I'm unchecking the box.
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Johnson & Johnson: A Dividend Growth Powerhouse In The Making? [View article]
    Not really. They are not leading in any of those segments AFAIK. They don't have to, since the conglomerate model insulates them from much criticism (a la GE, etc). You want safe, OK. You want excellence, break it up. Heck, each segment would still be a megacap! :)
    Mar 28, 2015. 07:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Express Down 14% Year To Date, But We're Staying Long [View article]
    Corporate acceptance is very much the case.

    Note: the buyback authorization is $6.6 billion, not $46.6 billion (half the market cap!).
    Mar 28, 2015. 07:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Express Scores High On Buyback Effectiveness [View article]
    As others note, the buybacks were not the most effective way to return capital to shareholders. It was better than nothing, though, all else being equal. More to the point, the ROA, ROE, margins, etc. are stellar. Most recently, they are increasing the Company's quarterly dividend to 29 cents per share beginning with the second quarter 2015. They authorized another $6.6 billion of common shares repurchase.

    So, what is the bull case now? Well, it's the largest "closed-loop" (no transaction partners) credit card company in the world. It's a payment network and lender to a very affluent customer base. It has 110 million cards in force and over $67 billion in loans. Customers charged around $950 billion on their cards in 2013 - do the math on the individual card numbers. It's not your dry cleaner's acceptance of the card that matters.

    Their strong brand has allowed them to gather deposits as a source of funding, and their affluent customers consistently have increased spending. Growth can come from expansion into other payment related businesses, like corporate purchasing, as well as emerging markets (the brand is internationally recognized).

    Seen in this light, I'm not overly concerned by the Costco loss (how much of the Costco volume was actually on Amex cards?). I started selling puts in February, and recently bought shares. There is much less downside risk here than in very many similarly venerable businesses.
    Mar 28, 2015. 06:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Johnson & Johnson: A Dividend Growth Powerhouse In The Making? [View article]
    I'd love to see JNJ unlock value by splitting into three businesses: Pharma, Medical Devices, and Consumer Products.
    Mar 28, 2015. 06:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Kinder Morgan: The Cat Is Officially Out Of The Bag [View article]
    I agree, Mr. Paullin. It's hard to parse the letter as anything but a deferral of the decision making process. We know the stated goal of the government's energy policy, but tying it to this pipeline isn't possible at this point, and they have kicked the can down the road as far as this letter is concerned.

    But congratulations for commenting on the article. It seems that most of the comments north of this point are from senescent brains. Maybe a topic review is in order...
    Mar 28, 2015. 05:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Realty Capital: A Fresh Start [View article]
    Sure. Like the "28 other non-reportable segments" from Realty Income. They aren't a separate public company and don't mean anything. We can only make assumptions, like what they say about the numbers is the truth.
    Mar 28, 2015. 11:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Digital Realty Trust, Inc.: Is It Cheap Or Just Changing Speeds? [View article]
    sfpdf, did you forget Facebook? I would agree that those companies seem to have trouble deciding how they want to deploy excess capital. The good news for DLR is that they don't seem to want to go in as prosaic a direction as owning and operating real estate (except where it essential to core business). So far these companies opt for asset light models, and deploy capital accordingly.
    Mar 28, 2015. 10:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • I Made $XX,XXX.00 Today: Cashing In Would Be Like Cashing Out [View article]
    I doubt that anyone will care, but if portfolio results are going to be compared to various indexes, the total return versions should be used. Since the time frame is so short it may not make much difference.
    Mar 27, 2015. 09:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Week May Be Time to Sell the Broad Market and Short the Banks [View article]
    "Hollowed." Did you mean hallowed? "Boarders." Did you mean borders? If not, hollowed boarders is hilarious in the context.

    Unfortunately, ingenuine is a miss. It's disingenuous, Mrs. Malaprop.
    Mar 27, 2015. 05:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment