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  • Franchisees unsettled with new plans at McDonald's [View news story]
    A system similar to the Create Your Taste kiosk ordering system has been in use for over ten years by the Sheetz chain in Pennsylvania. It is extremely successful. Sheetz has gas stations all over the state with convenience store/restaurants attached. They offer fresh, made to order food and their model is so successful that they are now starting to open stand alone restaurants.
    The customers they serve are very much like the core MCD customer; working people looking for fast, tasty food at a modest price.
    I think MCD franchisees will be pleasantly surprised if they invest in the kiosks, based on what I see in Sheetz.
    Apr 15, 2015. 03:55 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spring Cleaning: My YTD Portfolio Review [View article]
    For a clean energy investment take a look at Next Era Energy. 95% of their energy comes from clean or renewable sources. Wind power is their biggest at 58%.They are leaders in solar energy production-- and they are good dividend payers. Yields 2.95% at current price of $104.36. Annual dividend gain of about 13% in recent years.
    Apr 15, 2015. 09:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald's Still Getting Its Lunch, And Breakfast, Eaten [View article]
    Long MCD and planning to hold.
    However, I agree that sending customers to Taco Bell sounds like a dumb move.
    (Unless TacoBel's breakfast is really terrible--maybe it is.) Time will tell. However, this is a good sign that MCD management is being super aggressive - and confident that their offerings will bring people in for breakfast long term.
    Apr 14, 2015. 01:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T Pays To Be Defensive [View article]
    As an old and conservative guy I usually have T in my thoughts as an investment- but so far I have not bought any. My favored telecom investment is BCE (Bell of Canada).
    Five years ago T sold for about $35. Today it is $32.77. Decline of 9.3 %.
    Five years ago BCE sold for about $30.00 Today it is priced at $43.67. That's 14.5% more.
    T's current dividend yield is 5.74%. BCE's is $4.76%.
    T's dividend growth is about 9% annually. BCE's is about 12%.
    If you're into math you can figure that out exactly - but it looks to me as if BCE wins by a mile.
    My 2 cents.
    (Yes: Canada nicks you for tax withholding if your stock is in a taxable account - but you get it back dollar for dollar when you pay your US income tax.
    Apr 13, 2015. 11:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Good Reasons To Sell BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust [View article]
    Good article. Thanks.
    I sold the BPT shares in my taxable account in Dec. to balance its capital loss against capital gains I had booked in other securities - and sold the shares in my IRA in Feb. 2015, when the trend looked bad.
    Based on your analysis I don't think i'll buy back in unless it gets really cheap.
    Apr 2, 2015. 11:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • All-day breakfast to be tested at McDonald's [View news story]
    IMO the egg McMuffin is the best tasting item on the menu. Finally a smart move.
    Mar 30, 2015. 11:39 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Remicade biosimilars launched in Europe [View news story]
    My philosophy is to own the biggest and long term best companies in a variety of industries. JNJ fits that criterion for the pharma business in my opinion. Its market cap is about 30% larger than Pfizer, the second largest. Its trailing PE is a reasonable 17.6. Its beta is a comfortable .94. Dividend is amply covered and has been rising steadily of years. Products cover a wide range - not limited to the vagaries of the more narrowly drug focused companies.
    To me it is a ideal core holding for a conservative divided portfolio.
    Feb 25, 2015. 11:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Makers of pricey drugs working on new payment model [View news story]
    According to Dartmouth Medical School there are approximately 170 to 200 million individuals infected with Hepatitis C in the world (about 3.3% of the world's population).
    There are 3 to 5 million individuals in the United States alone. Yet Gilead Sciences is charging $84,000 for a course of treatment to patients in the United States. Many insurance carriers are balking at this price--especially since Gilead is charging far less in Europe and even less in India ($300 in India). Their argument is that it saves expensive liver transplants.
    This is a specious argument, because there are only about 6,000 liver transplants performed annually in the U.S. and there about 17,000 on the waiting list (According to Columbia University's Department of Surgery). Most patients will die before receiving a liver transplant simply because there aren't enough donors. 3 to 5 million individuals in the United States and 170 million or more world wide seems to me to be a pretty substantial market.
    Why would a company condemn all these people to death by holding out for a massive short term profit margin? The incremental cost of producing a drug once the R & D is done is pretty small. The potential profit to be made by curing the millions of sufferers of the disease are huge. By the way Gilead didn't do the R & D on this drug. They bought a smaller company which had done the original research. Gilead’s experimental drug was bought through its $11 billion acquisition of Pharmasset.
    Feb 19, 2015. 03:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Makers of pricey drugs working on new payment model [View news story]
    When Apple develops a new product it costs big money. Apple does't expect to get it back by selling limited number of iPads at extremely high prices. They recover their costs + a good profit by selling millions of iPads at more modest prices. This system has worked wonderfully for them.
    I can't understand why a drug company wants to limit their cure to a small group of people who can pay extremely high prices. Why not offer the cure to the thousands who need it at a reasonable price?
    It seems to me that is a more rational way (and humane) to operate and should be more profitable for the company in the end.
    Feb 19, 2015. 11:14 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fast-food chains could feel aftershock from Wal-Mart announcement [View news story]
    Stagnant or declining real income for the bottom half of all workers in recent years has meant less money for them to spend on food and everything else. I take this move as a positive for MCD and the overall economy. Henry Ford knew that workers needed good wages if they were going to be automobile customers. The same is true for any other product.
    Feb 19, 2015. 10:05 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pennsylvania governor proposes new tax on nat gas extraction [View news story]
    Extraction industries do their work, remove whatever it is they are mining or drilling for, pay as little tax as possible, do as as much environmental damage as they can get away with and leave. They leave their messes behind. I have lived in Pennsylvania all of my 84 years and have seen it all with the coal companies and now the gas companies. In the end the citizens pay the bill for the clean up. The companies are long gone. Look at a cancer map of the United States and you will see where the coal and gas industries have had their greatest operations.
    Feb 12, 2015. 08:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pennsylvania governor proposes new tax on nat gas extraction [View news story]
    This tax will bring Pennsylvania closely in line with West Virginia. In fact the proposal is modeled on West Virginia's existing extraction tax laws.
    Feb 12, 2015. 11:59 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Buy Into A Changing Of The Guard At McDonald's [View article]
    MCD total revenue 2014 - $27.49 billion.
    Sonic total revenue (Aug. 2014 statement) - $552.35 million.
    So Sonic has total revenue of about 2% of MCD's.
    Yes, Sonic is growing faster than MCD. So what? The comparison is not really meaningful.
    In my immediate vicinity, there are four busy McDonalds. There is one Sonic location. I never see more than one or two cars at Sonic. I can't believe that it will manage to stay in business very much longer. It has been open for about a year and a half so far. I'm very glad I am not an investor in it..
    Feb 11, 2015. 11:55 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Europe's 3-Way Poker Hand, Greek Weakness Is Actually Strength [View article]
    Thanks Pastadoc.
    The ordinary Greek citizen has no vested interest in saving the necks of the EU bankers. They have endured years of austerity and where has it gotten them? More austerity.
    Similarly in the good old U.S. of A., ordinary citizens have paid the price to bail out our large banks while earnings of the middle and lower classes have stagnated or worse. At the same time our upper tier of wealthy citizens have found ways to conceal income and evade taxes much as have the upper class Greeks.
    Feb 10, 2015. 11:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald's Is Still A Cash Machine With An Attractive 3.7% Dividend - Resist The Urge To Sell [View article]
    MCD is about 10% of my portfolio. I have owned it several times over a period of years. Every time I have sold it I have regretted it later. At present I plan to stick with it. The dividend looks rock solid. Selling would create a taxable event - and then what would I reinvest in?
    Most of the solid dividend payers I own are paying less. MCD is certainly aware of their problems and they can work through them from a position of great financial strength.
    Jan 30, 2015. 02:39 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment