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  • McDonald's Is Sick, Still Has 25% Downside [View article]
    "The last two times we addressed the company's turnaround plan was in the beginning of May."
    Do you think that is really a lot of time for the largest restaurant chain in the world to turn itself around?
    Within a few miles of my home in southwestern Pennsylvania there must be at least 20 fast food restaurants, including three MCDs.
    Burger King, Sonic, KFC, Red Robin, Wendy's, Five Guys, Subway and a gang of others are represented. Every one of the three MCDs has more customers by far than any of the others. Some of the others seem to have almost no customers.
    If I were going to buy a restaurant franchise, there is no doubt which one I would want. You can say all you want about food quality, brand perception or whatever else you want. In our area customers vote with their feet and their wallets for MCD.
    Jul 5, 2015. 04:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Guess What Happened The Last Time The Chinese Stock Market Crashed Like This? [View article]
    The most scrupulous accountants necessarily do a lot of guess work. What is the value of a company's inventory, for example. How closely does the depreciation rate of equipment match the real world value? Equipment that was very valuable last year may be close to worthless if new superior technology appears.
    What about exchange rate of the various currencies a large enterprise does business in?
    Honest accounting is iffy at best in my opinion. Only the very naive trust the financial reports of Chinese companies. I have avoided owning any Chinese, Russian or other companies of nations with weak financial oversight. This doesn't protect one from an Enron, but it keeps the risk at a much lower level.
    Jul 4, 2015. 05:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Cash Going To Be King If Greece Defaults? [View article]
    For perspective - Greece's economy is about the size of the greater Boston, MA megapolis' economy.
    Jun 29, 2015. 11:48 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Genuine Parts Co. - Dividend Fact Sheet [View article]
    I bought GPC in May and August 2012. Combined they have gained about 42.5% since then. That doesn't included the dividends.
    I had owned GPC before the 2008 crash and it was sold on my stop loss order. I probably should have not had a stop loss on it. It is one of those few stocks that a dividend investor should plan on keeping forever.
    Jun 19, 2015. 11:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Chinese Shares Shout Mayday! [View article]
    James Carlini
    A quick Internet search shows almost no U. S governmental aid for Greece.
    However, US companies have been quick to take advantage of low Greek wages--
    "Due to the Credit Cruch Crisis since 2008 that has negatively affected Greek economy, thousands of U.S. firms have shifted their productive activities from other Balkan countries and Italy to Greece due to lower costs of production." -Wikipedia
    Jun 19, 2015. 02:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Crude Oil: Demand Destruction Keeps Oil On The Selling Block [View article]
    The pace of change is accelerating. 30 years ago there were no hybrid cars and no electric cars. Diesel engines were far less efficient than today's.
    Rail freight was in the dark ages relatively. Long distance bulk hauling is now being dominated by rail and pipeline.
    Jun 19, 2015. 02:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Crude Oil: Demand Destruction Keeps Oil On The Selling Block [View article]
    CAFE standard light truck mileage in 1985 was 19.5 mpg. In 2013 it was 25.7.
    Passenger cars in 1985 were 27.5. In 2013 33.5.
    By 2025 it is set at 54.5 mpg.
    As geologists and engineers improve methods to extract more and more petroleum demand is inevitably declining. World wide and in the US, railroads are hauling more and more freight. Trucks ship a ton of freight an average of 120 miles on a gallon of diesel.. Railroads can move the same amount of cargo 600 miles on that gallon. (Fortune Magazine 6/15/15).

    As efficient extraction keep the supply up, more efficient use of the fuel tends to hold down demand.
    Jun 19, 2015. 11:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald's Needs To Keep Its Eye On The Ball And Learn What Customers Want [View article]
    Yesterday morning I had an Egg McMuffin without meat (I don't eat beef, pork or poultry). There was a very short wait of possibly 3 minutes for my special order plus coffee. The check was just under $5.00 (Should be a profitable price for the franchisee).
    Inside the restaurant was very busy. Outside, there was a long line of cars and trucks being served at the drive up windows. Next door at the Burger king there were about one third as many customers. Down the road at the Dunkin Donuts and Subway there were just a two or three customers at each. There was also a Wendy's with no customers (Maybe they don't serve breakfast??).
    MCD is the big gorilla in fast food and they will fix whatever problems they may have IMO. Don't worry about monthly or quarterly numbers. Just look at the long term charts.
    Jun 5, 2015. 03:23 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald's - Buying At The Top [View article]
    All that real estate is a wonderful asset on which MCD earns reliable rental income. It is one of their great strengths. Would you rather own asset rich MCD or struggling Sears?
    MCD has no cash problems. Sears is gradually going broke.
    Jun 3, 2015. 01:59 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Banks To Buy Now [View article]
    I have held various Canadian banks in both taxable and IRA accounts.
    The IRA accounts are not subject to Canadian withholding. The taxable account dividend withholding is deductible dollar for dollar when you file your your U.S. income tax. Better to let your tax preparer figure out how to translate the IRS jargon which changes from year to year. My CPA says not to worry. So... like Alfred P. Newman, I don't.
    May 27, 2015. 10:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Economist Is Wrong On Gold [View article]
    It doesn't matter whether or not there is gold in Ft. Knox or anywhere else. It has nothing to do with how much food we grow, how many products we make, how we heat our homes or anything else of true importance to humankind.
    Gold can be used as a medium of exchange, but seldom is these days.
    May 26, 2015. 09:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Economist Is Wrong On Gold [View article]
    I agree with your thoughts. I believe that "investors" in gold are primarily fear driven. Their attachment to the metal is more emotional than rational. What central bankers' policies, or equity or debt markets have to do with the price of gold is usually rationalized to suit the gold bug's current belief about its future price. The only gold I personally want to hold is the case of my watch. Gold earns nothing. There is a cost to buy it, a cost to hold it and a cost to sell it. Maybe it will go up in value. Maybe not. It is simply speculation.
    The people who can make consistently make money on gold are the dealers who collect the fees on the transactions and the operators of the depositories.
    May 25, 2015. 11:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Things I Hate About American Capital Agency [View article]
    Met.B is well past its call date of 2012. I have owned it in a taxable account since 2009. I am a little surprised that it hasn't been called, but apparently the market thinks that it won't be called soon since it is priced at $26+ per share with a par of 25. By buying it now I'm taking a chance with my eyes open. At worst I'll get $25 per share if it would be called.
    May 22, 2015. 10:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Things I Hate About American Capital Agency [View article]
    I sold half of the AGNC in my IRA recently. AGNC is now just under 4% of my portfolio. I replaced it with Met Life Preferred B. The dividend yield of the Met Life is 6.26% vs 11.51% for AGNC. But as a very senior citizen I don't feel comfortable with excess risk. The preferreds are subject to interest rate risk too but there's no leverage factor to worry about.
    May 21, 2015. 11:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Faster, Longer, And Still Fatty: McDonald's New Menu [View article]
    When you relate that MCD is mobbed, Dunkin Donuts has a few customers and the others are empty I am very encouraged as a MCD shareholder. Yes, they didn't get your 4 bucks. They were too busy serving the crowd.
    As Yogi Berra is to have said about some other restaurant, "Nobody goes there anymore. They're too crowded."
    May 19, 2015. 08:15 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment