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  • Can The Alerian MLP ETF And Its 8% Expense Ratio Really Be Trusted Anymore?  [View article]
    I apologize to the site for messing up the above post. (I wish we could delete our own posts). I meant to address this to Ron Rowland. I also should NOT have said "dishonest" -- I still don't agree with Ron on this, but I don't know his motivations.

    My posts were not showing up for awhile. The following post was my attempt to say what I intended to say in the post above, with a link to Ron's article containing Alerian's response to his initial accusation.
    Jan 16, 2015. 02:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can The Alerian MLP ETF And Its 8% Expense Ratio Really Be Trusted Anymore?  [View article]
    Ron, early on in this debate (link below), to your credit, you posted an article on this site with Alerian's (the AMLP fund manager) response to your expense disclosure criticisms.

    The company acknowledged your points, explained their position, and very clearly pointed out the tax structure issues -- even more clearly than was already done in the prospectus.

    Yet since then, to my knowledge, you have continued to post articles declaring AMLP is "bad", not mentioning the credit risk in the alternative ETN's (you do sometimes in a comment, but not the articles), and implying that Alerian is doing something shady.

    I respectfully, as other posters have stated or implied, think this is ridiculous -- and the lack of balanced, honest disclosure on your part impacts on your credibility as well.


    As I've said before, investors need to clearly understand the main trade-offs, and then they can choose which vehicle is best for them. As the comments have pointed out, a number of informed investors here have done exactly that.
    Jan 16, 2015. 02:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ALPS Alerian MLP ETF’s Dirty Little Secret  [View article]
    At what price? By the time the risk is obvious, the credit risk will likely impact the price DRAMATICALLY. But of course, let's not talk about that.
    Jan 16, 2015. 02:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can The Alerian MLP ETF And Its 8% Expense Ratio Really Be Trusted Anymore?  [View article]
    But they did explain this in detail in response to you early on, on this site, in response to one of your early post. They pointed out that the prospectus clearly points out the corporate tax structure of the AMLP ETF.

    You have continued (in every article of yours I've seen) to acknowledge this, and steadfastly ignored mentioning the 100% credit risk of the ETN alternatives.

    Anyone can flail their arms and point fingers. Doing so, even after having the other side of the story clearly pointed out to them makes them an unworthy contributor in my book -- as now they are doing so dishonestly.
    Jan 16, 2015. 01:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can The Alerian MLP ETF And Its 8% Expense Ratio Really Be Trusted Anymore?  [View article]
    And had to deal with either the 100% credit risk (completely unacceptable to safety-minded investors) if you used an ETN, or the tax complexities, preparation hassle and expense, etc. from dealing with the K-1's, if you used individual MLP's.

    Also, unless you used a LOT of MLP's, you took more risk than with AMLP, due to lack of diversification.

    There is no "free lunch". There are trade-offs, as a number of other posters have pointed out.

    The important thing is that MLP investors (whatever the specific vehicle) are clearly informed about those trade-offs.

    IMO, this detailed article below, does a pretty decent job of pointing out a number of the trade-offs.

    Jan 16, 2015. 01:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can The Alerian MLP ETF And Its 8% Expense Ratio Really Be Trusted Anymore?  [View article]
    Absolutely right. There is nothing new here. The author is merely duplicating the incessant whining (through ignorance and sometimes dishonesty) that the likes of Ron Rowland have been tossing out for years.

    Early on, Alerian (the manager of AMLP) even came out and explained this to Ron Rowland in a public response to one of his "articles" -- and he just went right on misreprenting things for years.

    I, like you, have owned AMLP since shortly after its inception. For me, the attraction to the ETF has another important aspect.

    The primary competitors, like the AMJ MLP ETN, managed and backed by JP Morgan Chase, as ETN's have 100% credit risk. To me, for my safe long term investments (Like AMLP), I do NOT want 100% credit risk.

    Why? Because I do NOT want any such risk to be likely to hit at the point the financial markets are stressed to the max, and I have to rely on things like the 100% arbitrary, in my opinion, decisions of the clown-fest on Capitol Hill, to know if ETN's such as AMJ will be "bailed out" if the underlying bank should fail. With the Dodd-Frank financial rules, etc. and the fact that these are NOT simple investments like FDIC backed despoits -- counting on this is like flipping a coin.

    Ron Rowland (so far as I know) has NEVER come out and acknowledged the ETN credit risk, and honestly talked about the trade-off. I didn't see that the author here did either.

    There is clearly a trade-off. Neither investment is "right" for everybody -- but everybody, whether daredevil or widows and orphans deserves to understand the risks and rewards of what they invest in, so they can choose what works for THEM.

    A very detailed and clear (for the subject) article that spells out various trade-offs between MLP ETF's and ETN's is here:

    Jan 16, 2015. 01:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Windstream: Why Investors Should Brace For A Dividend Cut  [View article]
    rmccallay: I suspect the author meant "high" or "generous" when he said "solid" (note that he said "in dividend" instead of "in dividends" -- writing skills among "writers" often aren't what they used to be.

    Given the context of the article, that meaning would make a lot more sense.
    Jul 23, 2014. 01:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Windstream: Why Investors Should Brace For A Dividend Cut  [View article]

    Saying the word "CLOUD" (in all caps) doesn't make you any more credible than the author repeating the words "dividend cut" with nothing new.

    "Cloud" computing is already a very competitive area, with companies like IBM, HP, MSFT, ORCL, AMZN, and even the oft hated CRM as obvious examples of businesses competing in cloud computing.

    Besides, as a system programmer who made my IBM career in mainframe database software (IBM's DB2) -- I'm still not convinced "cloud" is that much more than a buzzword describing the latest technological iteration of providing reliable huge (as defined by current technology), fast databases to customers. That has been going on for a good 30 years, in the case of DB2, for one example.

    Disclsoure: I'm a cautious multi-year WIN long, unwilling to buy into major hype in either direction for WIN.
    Jul 23, 2014. 12:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Don't Matter In Retirement Either  [View article]
    When interest rates return to normal, and long term treasury bond funds with a duration of around 13% have their principle absolutely CRUSHED -- then remind us of how great "steady" bonds are.
    Jul 18, 2014. 01:37 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Don't Matter In Retirement Either  [View article]
    And why are such contortions better than just collecting a solid, growing dividend, year after year?

    Simply the time, complexity, and expenses involved in you "policy" are factors that make me say: "I have better things to do than deal that."
    Jul 18, 2014. 01:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Don't Matter In Retirement Either  [View article]
    Nelson Smith -- (on your stating there is "value" in timing the market to catch dips):

    And many thousands of active mutual fund managers who FAIL to outperform simple indexes, and in fact underperform them as a class over time, by trying to "time" the market and decide when it is "low" and "high" shows how LITTLE "value" there is in this.

    All you have to do is read some books by the likes of Larry Swedroe (who the author cites) and the venerable Jack Bogle, to verify this.

    I was just reading in a major national newspaper about how some market timing "value" fund manager was bragging about how he was staying mostly out of the market since late 2011, since the market is "too high". Meanwhile, he's underperformed major US indices by a good 30%. How likely is it that he will time things well enough if/when he gets a large correction to make up for this? How many years before such a correction occurs? How much are investors losing year after year to PAY this guy (typically) 10 to 30 TIMES the gross expense ratios of (say) an efficient Vanguard broad US market index in the mean time? The overall numbers make the odds very ugly indeed. Of course the clown doing the boasting continues to make an excellent living, regardless.
    Jul 18, 2014. 01:30 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividends Don't Matter In Retirement Either  [View article]
    A very interesting article and, for quite a few comments I read, an interesting and mostly productive discussion.

    As so often occurs in complex issues, both semantics and emotions appear to get in the way of clear communication here.

    The author ignores (or deeply discounts) the fact that for MANY retirees who invest, a steady or growing reasonably predictable stream of income to live on is HIGHLY desirable if not mandatory.

    That requirement (and the emotional attachment to it) will not be parted with easily.

    That doesn't mean the author is theoretically "wrong".

    However the "answer" given -- putting a large proportion of the portfolio into a less productive asset (treasuries) than stocks over the long run -- looks counter-productive to me.

    The author is substituting one form of crutch (large short term dividend flow) for another -- greater portfolio stability and more predictable portfolio interest (vs dividends) -- at the cost of considerable long term growth (based on historical real stock market returns).

    At the end of the day, although I'm sure the author is sincere, I don't think his solution is necessarily a good one. It is a common one, and certainly will suit SOME retirees.

    At the end of the day, this is likely why a huge herd of investment "helpers" continue to make a living on fees for advice and "management" -- investment is a complex business, defying simple rules to optimize results for everyone.
    Jul 18, 2014. 01:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buying Big Blue On A Clean Quarter And Record Q2 EPS  [View article]

    Interesting article. At one point under "IBM's future" you said:

    "This need to grow and show leadership may be why it put out a press release about its research into the future of semiconductors; it knows that it must keep up with the very tough competition, and rather than staying quiet about it for competitive reasons, it wants us to know this."

    This is where I have the biggest problem with IBM. Both as a former I/T employee and now as I keep up with IBM management's general behavior from a number of friends still at IBM -- much of the focus is a one-trick pony which has done a LOT of damage and continues to: It's cost cutting -- at ANY cost to the long term productivity of the company.

    Before the Gerstner era, employees were generally well treated, well respected, and would generally go to GREAT lengths to ensure quality work, happy customers, etc. -- sacrificing family and personal life to do so when projects were important. Management was tuned in to what their people accomplished, and fought to reward them for it.

    Over the past two decades, this workforce has been hollowed out to do what is cheapest. Employee morale is generally low. People do what they have to (only), and resent the workload. Management, often remote, is generally clueless about what the employees do. There is a huge disconnect between performance and reward. Many, many of the most talented people left -- as it became apparent that this trend was now part of the IBM culture. Proactive education and employee growth has turned into denying education since that takes time and costs money.

    I know IBM continues to muddle along thus far, as it saves money by offshoring more and more critical technical work -- but I have real doubts about the new post-Gerstner IBM culture and short term low cost / low quality work mentality. (For one thing, much of the work no longer got done well. Somehow if it was being done cheaply, this seemed to matter far less all of the sudden).

    Maybe such management is now typical of large corporations, and so IBM will continue to muddle along. This is most certainly NOT the innovative, high growth, high integrity, unique and outstanding firm that it used to be, however.

    Disclosure: I finally left global services in disgust in 2007. Fully seven managers at various levels tried to get me to stay, even though I told them not to bother in my letter of resignation. Interestingly, not ONE meaningful incentive (money, better working conditions, more reasonable workload, etc) was offered. Like everything else management did, they just seemed to be going through empty motions, as per protocol. And whoever was giving the actual orders was apparently completely clueless.
    Jul 18, 2014. 01:02 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Is The Big Winner In The IBM Deal  [View article]

    1). Apple and IBM both have a LOT more going on than this. This is a just a marginal impact to their expected future earnings. Acting like you can tie the entire move in both stocks to this one deal is myopic or even silly.

    2). Much of IBM's jump in the past couple days is due to speculation on the earnings, to be announced after the market closes today. Since this deal will only impact future earnings, that speculation has NOTHING to do with this deal.

    Disclosure: I have no AAPL and no (meaningful, as a percentage of my overall portfolio) dog in this fight. I hold some IBM for the long term, and see this as a likely marginal positive for IBM's earnings over time. If more such deals occur with IBM/AAPL, that postive could improve -- but that would be speculation at this point.
    Jul 17, 2014. 11:30 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gilead Sciences Can Hit Par By The End Of The Year  [View article]
    Unfortunately, when the political rules are abritrary and are all about short term vote "buying", objectivity about such matters (from a political perspective) is, IMO, impossible. However, there is a real danger which has nothing to do with anything GILD has any control over.

    In my opinion, the danger posed by the jokers on Capitol Hill, epitomized by the clowns in the senate "questioning" GILD now about justifying their pricing of Solvaldi represents a real danger.

    Now with "affordable" medical care being deemed a "right" by the voting plurality in congress, touting "fairness" as their right to extort property and profit -- the potential in a GILD (or similar) pipeline could be in real danger of serious depreciation.

    Disclosure: I am a GILD long and abhor those who would steal property under the claim of arbitrary "fairness" or "for the common good" -- but I seem to be increasingly in the minority in the era of endless government benefits and political correctness.
    Jul 11, 2014. 02:41 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment