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  • 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
  • Gilead Sciences Can Hit Par By The End Of The Year [View article]
    What if the senate (such as the clowns now grandstanding by questioning GILD on their Sovaldi pricing) arbitrarily write and push a law to, say, only let them sell it for $20,000 for the whole course in the US? What if when the senate passes such a terrible law, they make a statement that THIS represents how the ACA will save on patient costs, and they (espeically the dems) trumpet that "achievement" as how their party stands for the "common man"?

    I'm an enthusiastic GILD long, for the long term due to their pipeline, but saying "no matter what happens, I'm not selling my shares" in a SINGLE company sounds manifestly unwise to me. Especially in an era where a huge proportion of the population (spurred by idiots on Capitol Hill) believe that: I have a right to your achievement/labor/prod... WITHOUT paying for it, because I want it or "that is what is 'fair'").
    Jul 11, 2014. 02:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Make 40% A Year With Math And Without Shorting [View article]
    Hi user27700303: I think you have a good question, and I don't think mb is answering it very well.

    It may be that you're right and it doesn't matter at all if you are short ETN's. My concern would be if the market goes "berserk" during a major break when people really get scared. If people also fear major bank failures because things get so bad (and the possible damage from unsecured ETN's "backed" by only the creditworthiness of big banks) -- I wonder if the volatility of such ETN's could get much worse than it would normally be just from a "very bad" market.

    If things get bad enough, could cash strapped brokers force you to cover short positions when you don't want to because of expanded liquidity requirements, for example? I don't know, and I don't want to find out the answers in the heat of a very severe crisis.

    For me, I avoid these because there are just so many unknowns about what our (arbitrary) congress might do in a crisis situation, since getting re-elected by the howling bank-hating mob is all they care about. (At least with ETF's, the informed owner knows they own the underlying assets at the end of the day, just like with mutual funds).
    Jul 9, 2014. 04:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Warning! The Fed Could Kill Stocks This Week [View article]
    So newsletter selling and "investment advisory" market "helpers" have been saying "the end is nigh" for since the beginning of the 4/2009 cycle bottom.

    And how wise would it have been to get out on many of the "warnings"?

    I know these articles help investment advisory "services" sell their advice. I just keep scratching my head when trying to understand how there is meaningful value over the long term -- especially since the advice isn't free.

    Disclosure: I'm a boring old asset allocator who holds his core index funds through thick and thin.
    Jul 9, 2014. 03:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Dow 17,000 Dangerously High? This Comprehensive Review May Surprise You! [View article]
    Chuck, thank you as always for a quality article and a data-backed perspective.

    One question (and sorry if I missed it). Do relative interest rates factor into your valuation model of whether a company is "fairly" valued?

    For example, if the economy strengthens and the FED ends the ZIRP, and (for example) short term rates returned to a more normal 5ish% and long treasuries returned to a more normal 7ish% -- would you still see these 15 companies as "fairly valued"?

    Thanks for any insight.
    Jul 9, 2014. 03:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Warning! The Fed Could Kill Stocks This Week [View article]
    gggl: There is no question that inflation is a (partially) hidden tax on wealth, and is a bad thing (to all but far left liberals that think the more government the better, regardless of the consequences).

    However, unless you want to work your entire life (as if you could count on doing that) or want to be poor and dependent on government programs in your old age -- you HAVE to invest in something -- inflation or not.

    The good news is that over the long run (multiple decade periods) -- common stocks, including the dividends they pay, tend to handily outpace inflation. You get paid for living with the stock market volatility -- you just have to be very patient.
    Jul 9, 2014. 02:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Arena Prescription Sales OK - CEO Sales Are Not [View article]
    jakes101 -- I disagree that the CEO's job is to "make us more confident in ARNA". There have been PLENTY of lying CEO's who try to talk up their stock on false promises, etc. That's called fraud, and is illegal.

    I think his job is to run the company WELL, over time. That means efficiency, cost control, and the ongoing oversight of the entire drug portfolio, including things like development of new products, and keeping an eye on safety, regulations, and marketing. I think being HONEST about ARNA, including Belviq is his job.

    Nothing in that job description says he can't sell some of his shares from time to time. If such sales are planned -- all the better, it shows he's not trying any "funny business" by trying to game the stock on insider info, etc.

    (The one thing I admired more about Bill Gates, the Microsoft CEO, was that he periodically would emphasize that his company did NOT MAKE STOCK -- that it produced software. He would state that the value of the stock was dependent on the market believing Microsoft would continue to sell lots of its software in the future. This was when MSFT had a booming price, and he would say this kind of thing during some earnings announcements. This was in the late 90's when most tech. CEO's were trying to hype their stock. I think Mr. Gates was "doing his job" when he did this).

    Disclosure: I'm a cautious ARNA long. Long term, I'm thinking that obesity will be seen as the first world epidemic that it is, and that society will want to more actively deal with it. I believe that drugs like Belviq, if the cost is supported by health insurance in the long run, will do relatively well. (This or any other short term planned ARNA executive stock sale has NOTHING to do with that general outlook).
    Jul 9, 2014. 02:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment