Perhaps more than any other time in the last six decades, the fate of markets is inextricably intertwined with the ebb and flow of geopolitics. From the ECB's attempts to use the central bank's balance sheet to influence political outcomes across the eurozone to Saudi Arabia's efforts to transform the kingdom's influence over crude prices into an instrument of foreign policy, it's become increasingly clear that one simply cannot fully comprehend market movements without a thorough understanding of concurrent political outcomes. Drawing on extensive experience in both politics and finance, Heisenberg will help demystify a world in which investors can no longer hope to conceptualize markets as existing in anything that even approximates a vacuum. "I am the one who knocks."
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First, the good stuff. Here's my portfolio ...
Consumer Discretionary: MCD, NKE, SBUX, TGT
Consumer Staples: COST, GIS, KHC, KO, MO, PEP, PG, PM, RAI, WBA
Energy: CVX, KMI, XOM
Health: ABBV, AMGN, GILD, JNJ, MCK
Industrial: BA, DE, EMR, LMT, MMM
REITs: HCN, NNN, O, OHI, VTR
Technology: AAPL, MSFT, QCOM
Telecom: BCE, T, TU, VZ
Utilities: AVA, D, SCG, SO, WEC
ALSO: small stakes in 23 additional companies held in the Dividend Growth 50 portfolio (http://seekingalpha.com/article/2764265-its-new-its-nifty-its-the-dividend-growth-50): ADP, AFL, BAX, BDX, CAT, CL, CLX, COP, GE, GPC, HCP, HSY, IBM, KMB, MKC, NEE, SHPG, SJM, UTX, V, WFC, WMT.
Now, a little about me:
I am a 50-something former sportswriter who was sent on a permanent vacation during the Great Recession. That sucked, but my story is not a sad one. Unlike many folks who lost their jobs, I am not in financial distress, I am not depressed and I am not bored.
My wife is a pediatric nurse with a bullet-proof job and decent benefits. So after supporting her and our two kids (now grown) for most of three decades, the least she can do is support my semi-retired keister!
Because of Roberta's job situation, because we have zero debt (not even mortgage debt), because we no longer have any dependents and because we have been pretty diligent savers over the years, we are comfortable (though nowhere near rich).
Although we hold some funds, bonds and cash, my investing philosophy leans heavily toward Dividend Growth Investing. By early next decade, we want to live entirely off of our income stream, Social Security and pension payments - and therefore will not have to spend down the principal one iota. To accomplish this, we invest mostly in blue-chip companies with long track records of growing dividends. As of mid-2016, we are well ahead of pace to reach our goal.
When not researching investments and writing for Seeking Alpha and other Web sites, I coach middle-school girls basketball at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, the top charter school in the Charlotte metro area; in March 2016, we won the first conference championship in school history! I also umpire youth baseball and referee youth basketball.
My wife and I dote on our 5-year-old pup, Simmie, and keep up on the doings of our now-grown kids, Katie and Ben. And we love to cheer on the basketball team of our alma mater, Marquette University, where we both majored in Journalism. Go Warriors! Also big fans of the Carolina Panthers.
I still occasionally post to the blog I initiated in 2007 -- lots of sports stuff, some politics, some personal junk -- at www.TheBaldestTruth.com.
Howard is the CEO and co-founder of Black Mountain Capital Management, developers of Stock Rover.
Prior to that he founded a company called Heroix, which has now been in business for 35 years providing advanced system management software for large scale corporate data centers. Howard's expertise is in engineering large scale enterprise class software systems. He remains the Chairman of the Board of Heroix Corp.
Howard is Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Brown University, where he earned degrees in mathematics and in economics.
He is passionate about investing.
Up until a century ago, there appears to have been a fairly equal emphasis on economic theory and observation. Although the interest in economics has probably always been a consequence of the need of the state to acquire resources, we are now at the point where the discipline of economics is both completely at the service of ideological camps and completely convinced of its own objectivity and scientific underpinnings.
I have taken an interest in markets since 2008, after which my already scant regard for conventional wisdom in the modern social sciences plunged even further. I try to understand historical price behavior and see what it says about present market conditions.
Author of the value investing newsletter detailing the formation of the "Punch Card Portfolio" (http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/). Devon Shire is an accountant and an investor with 15 years experience managing a private portfolio. Devon Shire's preferred portfolio management style is a concentrated approach, investing only when finding opportunities that offer a sufficient discount to the intrinsic value of a business. Devon can be contacted at email@example.com.
I'm a well-informed retail investor and post on SA in order to expose my thought process to critical examination and comment from readers. It makes me a better investor.
I'm particularly proud of bullish macro articles posted in 2009 and later, in which I presented ideas that encouraged me to invest very profitably in a rising market. I also did articles on individual stocks, many of which contained insights not available elsewhere. Finally, I wrote a number of thoughtful articles critical of financialism and the lack of ethics on Wall Street.
I do not post for compensation, as I am concerned that editorial policy encourages and pays a premium for articles that invite the reader to speculate on the short term movements of microcaps, penny stocks, and controversial issues. The best way for me to monetize my insights is to invest accordingly.
As a retail investor, I don't give investment advice. I write about what I'm investing in, and the thought process involved in decision making and stock selection. Hopefully some of what I write is of benefit to others, by sharing my experience as I interpret it and helping them improve their investment thinking and process.
Michael Allen was a top-rated equity analyst in Tokyo before taking leadership roles in two different multi-billion dollar hedge-funds where his average annual return exceeded 14 percent with no down years. He is the author of "Why Most Investors Fail and Why You Don't Have to."
I run a model fund at Ken Kam's Marketocracy, where they do capital management using the best member mutual fund track records with extensive tabulations of alpha, beta, R-squared, and many other fund management evaluations. Marketocracy Capital Management offers SMA (Separately Managed Accounts) through FOLIOfn Institutional ($100,000 minimum accounts) set up to track the top 15 or so long-term track records (many 12 years plus) of the 30000 or so active members that run models at their site. My fund is one of those top models available for SMAs. My SMA investment fund now has a first year performance with double digit alpha. You can see the fund's performance chart at marketocracy.com (the Turtle Fund - symbol BPMF) and there is one in my profile over at TalkMarkets.
My fund methodology is high diversification, usually running around 40-60 stocks from many different sectors. I rarely weight any position much over 5%. I began at Marketocracy developing an analysis method I've labeled The Fractal Base Flow Model. I've been experimenting with variations of my basic methodology with 4 other funds and a 5th where I try new things. With my first and main model fund BPMF (Bruce Pile's Mutual Fund) I did my basic method for the first 7 years or so with an alpha over 30, then strayed a little into other analysis methods that did not work as well. For the SMA, I am using the methods proven to work well.
Marketocracy is a new way of investing that solves a lot of the problems in the industry today. When investors nowadays survey their options, they are perplexed by the mish mash of risk and fees. In mutual funds, you have regulated safety where managers must diversify with less than 10% of your money in any one name in the top of your weightings scheme, making for at least around 20 stocks at any one time. The SEC also prohibits the risk of leverage and investing in dangerous derivatives, etc. But this safety is typically viewed as a tradeoff with performance vs hedge funds, where all the dangerous stuff is allowed. But the sad result of all this danger is that most hedge funds fail. The average life of a hedge fund that makes it past the first year is just 5 years. More than two thirds of all hedge funds that ever existed are now dead. There is the fund of funds option, but the high turnover means that even they must select an all new portfolio of funds about every 5 years. This makes selecting proven long-term performers virtually impossible. A fund of hedge funds will typically not only charge the high hedge fund fees of 1%-4% management fee plus 15%-25% of your returns, but will also charge fees for running the fund of funds. They pile complication upon complication and charge you for it. "Oh, and the hedge fund industry as a whole hasn’t produced alpha/added value to simple portfolios for years, since its assets under management ballooned." [FTalphaville] With typical leverage, that has grown over 15 years from around 20% to over 40% now, you get 40%more risk than mutual fund rules with no significant added performance, just more costs. And because that added leverage risk is so often concentrated in the same areas by all the large funds, inducing systemic risk, when those bets go wrong they can go very wrong. With all the above, an investor must live with the risk of having just one fund manager, or picker of rotating funds in a fund of funds. Imagine a place where you could go to sign up for an account where you could review track records and styles and risk levels of not just one guy, but up to 15 or so, and check on your account signup form how you want to spread your money among these guys. And imagine that all these managers have had to compile top ranked hedge fund performance levels for up to 15 years under the safety level of SEC rules for mutual funds. And imagine you could get all this at roughly cost of a mutual fund. It would be like opening an account and checking the names of Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett, and all your favorite hedge fund managers to gang tackle your investment objectives. And as in any team sport, if one guy hits a cold streak, the others will carry him. No dependence on one manager. Well there is such a place - Marketocracy Capital Management. Here, thousands of people from all walks of life, from retired and active fund managers to ordinary individual investors, compete online with virtual funds. If your track record qualifies, you can open a GIPS account for real money tracking of your model fund and have client accounts track your model. My fund is one of those, ticker BPMF. FOLIOfn Institutional can open a client SMA where you can pick and choose from the best of the best long-term performers. To look into this: Phone: 1-877-462-4180 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: marketocracy.com
Dana Blankenhorn http://www.danablankenhorn.com has been a business journalist since 1978, and a futurist all his life.He warned about the coming Houston oil collapse in 1979. He began making a living on the Internet in 1985. He launched the first e-commerce daily for CMP in 1994, warned of the coming dot-bomb at a-clue.com in 1997 and began covering the Internet of Things in 2003.Along the way he's written for a host of newspapers, magazines, news services and Web sites. Most recently he was at TheStreet.com, covering technology and investments. He still has time for freelance assignments. He lives in Atlanta.
John Petersen is executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a company that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 25 to 35 percent depending on terrain and payload.
John is a lawyer and accountant with over three decades of corporate finance, due diligence, M&A advisory and related legal services for manufacturers, innovators and investors in the energy storage and renewable energy sectors.
Over the last eight years John has earned a global following for his articles on the energy storage and alternative energy sectors. He has contributed to AltEnergyStocks, Seeking Alpha, The Street, NASDAQ.com and Batteries International Magazine. He currently works as a senior editor at InvestorIntel.
John is a 1979 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School and a 1976 graduate of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He was admitted to the bar in 1980 and licensed to practice as a CPA in 1981. John’s diverse experience in corporate finance, natural resource development and energy storage give him a unique and sometimes unsettling perspective on the technical, economic and supply chain challenges of the battery industry.
Roger Nusbaum is the ETF Strategist for AdvisorShares. This Arizona-based professional has over 25 years of industry experience. He is also a well-known financial commentator covering ETFs, retirement planning and portfolio management for AlphaBaskets.com and at TheStreet.com. We think Roger is particularly insightful on exchange-traded funds, risk management and investing in international markets. Visit Roger's work at Random Roger (http://randomroger.blogspot.com) and AlphaBaskets (http://alphabaskets.com)
John Mauldin is a renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator. Each week, over 1 million readers turn to Mauldin for his penetrating view on Wall Street, global markets, and economic history.
Mauldin’s weekly e-newsletter, Thoughts from the Frontline, was one of the first publications to provide investors with free, unbiased information and guidance. Today, it is the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world. Mauldin also offers The Mauldin Circle, a free service that connects accredited investors to an exclusive network of money managers and alternative investment opportunities. (In this regard, he is President and a Registered Representative of Millennium Wave Securities, member FINRA, please see legal disclosures).
Mauldin is a frequent contributor to publications including The Financial Times and The Daily Reckoning, as well as a regular guest on CNBC, Yahoo Tech Ticker, and Bloomberg TV. He also edits the free weekly e-letter Outside the Box.
Michael Ashton has been a recognized leader in developing the U.S. inflation derivatives market. He traded the first interbank U.S. CPI swaps in 2003 and, as a dealer, was a primary liquidity-provider in that market for two large banks. He represented about one-third of interbank swaps volume during his tenures at those firms. He invented and was the sole market-maker for the CME CPI Futures contract. He has written and spoken extensively about the use of inflation-indexed products for hedging real exposures, and has written more broadly in a commentary format about the rates markets and macroeconomy. Mr. Ashton is currently the managing principal at Enduring Investments LLC. His comments on this site and others are not posted in that role, and no opinions of his should be construed to be recommendations of or to reflect the views of his employer. He recently published "What's Wrong With Money? The Biggest Bubble of All."
Charles (Chuck) C. Carnevale is the creator of F.A.S.T. Graphs™. Chuck is also co-founder of an investment management firm. He has been working in the securities industry since 1970: he has been a partner with a private NYSE member firm, the President of a NASD firm, Vice President and Regional Marketing Director for a major AMEX listed company, and an Associate Vice President and Investment Consulting Services Coordinator for a major NYSE member firm. Prior to forming his own investment firm, he was a partner in a 30-year-old established registered investment advisory in Tampa, Florida. Chuck holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Tampa. Chuck is a sought-after public speaker who is very passionate about spreading the critical message of prudence in money management. Chuck is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Honor Medal.
Philstockworld.com is the fastest growing stock and option newsletter on the Web. "High Finance for Real People - Fun and Profits" is our motto and our Basic and Premium Chat Sessions offer readers a chance to speak to Phil live during the trading day as well as authors like Optrader, Sabrient, Income Trader and Trend Trader - who send out Alerts during the market sessions and discuss trade ideas live with Members.
We even have a new low-cost "Trend Watcher" Membership that lets readers view our chat sessions without directly participating a great solution for people who want to test-drive the site and profit from our experience! Trend Watchers get to view all of our Chat Archives, weekly Webinars - as well as the amazing PSW Wiki, which gives you Phil's recent opinions and trade ideas as well as technical and fundamental analysis of hundreds of stocks that we follow.
Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing -- which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks).
Visit: Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com)
Dr. John Hussman is the president and principal shareholder of Hussman Econometrics Advisors, the investment advisory firm that manages the Hussman Funds ( http://www.hussmanfunds.com). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University, and a Masters degree in education and social policy and a bachelors degree in economics from Northwestern University. Prior to managing the Hussman Funds, Dr. Hussman was a professor of economics and international finance at the University of Michigan. In the mid-1980's, Dr Hussman worked as an options mathematician for Peters & Company at the Chicago Board of Trade, and in 1988 began publishing the Hussman Econometrics newsletter. Virtually all of Dr. Hussman's liquid assets are invested in the Hussman Funds.
Note: Dr. Hussman is not an active contributor to Seeking Alpha; rather, SA editors excerpt regularly from Dr. Hussman's public commentary.