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  • James Altucher: Why The Stock Market Is A Sucker's Game Right Now (And What Stocks I Own) [View article]
    Kuala, if you're worth so much more than you're paid, why not get a better paying job? It doesn't sound all that complicated.

    It sounds to me like you're buying the propaganda of the "something for nothing" crowd.
    Mar 18, 2014. 01:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Arena's Belviq Sales To Hit $150 Million In 2014? [View article]
    Crazysight, I think you are hitting on an important point. The other aspect is that these meds are expensive. Unless medical insurance covers most of the cost, I don't see sales booming. Despite the government whining about fast food and passing arbitrarily stupid laws about soda consumption, I somehow don't see them paying for this in the near term (or forcing Obamacare insurance companies to, and then reimbursing them for losses).

    I'm a patient ARNA long for a long time, but I think the frequent gung-ho bullish representations of major profit growth in the relatively short term aren't realistic.
    Feb 28, 2014. 05:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • American Capital Just Can't Resist Buying Cheap Stock [View article]
    Good point about the risk. Value Line, which tends to do a good job on company fundamentals and financials, seems to agree.

    I think this is why ACAS is far from a slam dunk, and why the discount remains.

    Also, an actual steady dividend, demonstrating management confidence in ongoing cash flow, should be a great boon to investor confidence in ACAS. Too bad that seems to be nowhere in sight.

    Disclosure: I'm a long time holder from the deep discount days of the 2008-2009 recession, and continue to hold and gradually sell a little when the stock goes up.
    Feb 25, 2014. 01:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Bitcoin Now [View article]
    FDIC insurance on bank accounts is a far cry from futures accounts. But don't let a fact like that impact the distortion field you want to create to mask the risk of Bitcoins.
    Feb 25, 2014. 12:51 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Bitcoin Now [View article]
    So you claim you really understand ALL the math and algorithms behind it, you KNOW there is no back door for anyone to steal or manipulate the currency, and you KNOW that nothing can go wrong -- like another exchange having problems?

    Or that if you buy "another promising virtual currency" those issues won't exist?

    If the best minds in the public math world didn't know the NSA had shortcuts to compromise PGP type security -- I think you're seriously deluding yourself. Knowing the concept doesn't mean you fully "understand" it, BTW.
    Feb 25, 2014. 12:49 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Bitcoin Now [View article]
    This is why government regulation would (in this case) be good. If your Bitcoins were protected, like your bank deposits by the FDIC (within the well documented limits) -- then this would be no problem.

    Given this risk, for people concerned about paper currencies, good old fashioned gold and silver coins in a safe place suddenly look a lot more sensible -- as they have for thousands of years.
    Feb 25, 2014. 12:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Bitcoin Now [View article]
    So if a Bitcoin buyer can't tell which exchanges are scams and which are not, and which Bitcoins might suddenly become worthless, how is the whole scheme trustworthy?

    To me, if the system isn't resilient enough that if exchange "X" has a problem that the digital currency just trades on another exchange and no one loses anything -- I don't want my money anywhere NEAR that.

    Apparently the "total transparency" thing goes too far for investors as well as governments.

    But no, for Bitcoin fanboys, they'll say "I told you so" as though they know the future. Sure.
    Feb 25, 2014. 12:41 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron: Compelling Long-Term Value [View article]
    If you don't need to be patient, then it's speculation, not investing.

    For example, if you want to buy TSLA and hope it continues to surge for the next few days and/or weeks, don't delude yourself that this is "investment".

    If you want to buy a portfolio of green energy/device stocks to hold the next 30 years while you wait (which might include TSLA), expecting the world to transform significantly to green energy over that timeframe, that's investment -- whether your strategy is profitable or not.
    Feb 24, 2014. 01:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BP The Best Petroleum Firm To Invest In? [View article]
    The main issue I have is the comparison on the performance metrics in the charts. There is a REASON the performance metrics for BP lag -- the GOM accident.

    Therefore, these types of comparisons aren't apples to apples, and thus have little meaning.
    Feb 18, 2014. 02:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Market Timing Report: Bullish Sentiment Reaches Multi-Decade Highs [View article]
    Good points, P.F.
    If these newsletter writing, market timing, "gurus" had meaningful insight to share, they would simply follow their own insight, and significantly outperform the market. They wouldn't NEED to hawk $Xhundred a year newsletter subscriptions via their articles on sites such as this.
    So while interesting and sometimes containing correct guesses, the idea that these can meaningfully beat the market over time doesn't stand up to observation or principles like the Random Walk or the Nobel Prize winning Efficient Market Hypothesis.
    Oh, and clicking on his link to his newsletter above. It looks like he's been solidly bearish (and) wrong since at least 4/2013 (as long as the first page shows newsletter titles).
    Also, per the Dec 2013 title, I suppose I'm old-fashioned, but if a "guru" can't spell "Hibernate", and can't bother to proofread or correct the TITLE of his newsletter, what does this say about his writing?
    Feb 7, 2014. 11:35 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Buy's Dip Is A Great Opportunity [View article]
    JC Penney. Another of those "new retail rise from the ashes stocks. Yeah, right.

    I was curious about them, so I walked through a local store in my medium sized city's busiest mall, a couple weeks before Christmas.

    What I found was EXACTLY like what I'd have expected from the Penney's of recent years.

    1). Long lines at customer service. In fact, 80% of the customers seemed to be at customer service, apparently trying to return something.

    2). An incredible lack of salespeople. Lots of merchandise, few customers, and VERY few people to help any hapless customer who might want to buy something.

    3). What few employees were apparant were apparently running cash registers. The lines were moderately long, given the relatively empty store. The customers didn't look happy.

    4). The merchandise in the few places I understand, like jewelry, looked like nothing meaningful had changed since Penney got in big financial trouble.


    How long will it take these outfits to learn that meaningless marketing yammering will NOT garner new and loyal customers? Or perhaps they'll never learn. As for me, my money will be no where near such stocks.
    Jan 22, 2014. 10:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analysts Rate A Buy. They Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves [View article]
    Interesting. This article seems to sum up the bear case that has been prevelent for at least a couple of years. CRM is "overvalued" and is due to make shorts a lot of money -- any time now.

    I waited and waited for the "overvaluation" story to take hold -- using diagonal PUT spreads, and thus limiting my risk. I'm glad I took that precaution, only losing a small amount of speculative money.

    For those naked short the stock for years:

    1). How large must your losses be before you say "Uncle"?

    2). Why are you convinced you can (roughly) time the decline, or IF you are even correct that a decline will occur? (Think of AMZN -- how long as IT been "wildly overvalued"?)

    3). Is there any metric under which you admit "OK - I was wrong. I'm out."?

    Disclosure -- after my long LEAP PUTs (protecting my many short term PUTs sold over the past couple years) expired worthless last week -- I have NO position in CRM, nor do I intend to fiddle with the stock and its eye-popping valuation any more. I'm just curious about the mindset of the shorts and/or bears who follow articles like this one.
    Jan 22, 2014. 03:53 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Buy's Dip Is A Great Opportunity [View article]
    As an electronics consumer who USED to shop at Best Buy (before the Internet became ubiquitous, and outfits like Amazon made it a low risk, convenient proposition), I find all the bravado about how management NOW will suddenly make things wonderful - puzzling.

    This is the same BBY that wouldn't let me return defective software, even though I spent many $thousands a year there buying software and PC hardware. This is the same BBY whose service became a nightmare -- from the lack of educated salespeople to the lines at the cash register to the nightmare if you had to return something.

    And finally, when BBY was going to "bust out" and compete on pricing terms on the internet -- their website was a TOTAL JOKE. At Amazon, for example, things tended to be in stock and easy to find, and easy to find relevant reviews, etc.

    At BBY, well, almost nothing I was interested in was in stock. The website was confusing and unreliable. This felt to me like the same old "big mouth, small value" management I'd come to expect from Best Buy. No thanks. Outfits like Amazon and Newegg take great care of me -- from my living room at any hour.

    Disclosure -- I don't invest in ANY retail stocks. It just seems too hard to figure out what is "good" in that space, and customers and management can be VERY fickle. I just wanted to give "real world" input from the perspective of a customer.
    Jan 22, 2014. 03:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The McDonald's Upgrade Faces 2 Major Risks [View article]
    Let's try leaving the politics out of it and trying simple micro-economics. If you raise the price of something (say, fast food) by a significant amount relative to goods on average, the demand for that good (i.e. fast food) will go down. This is the most basic concept in micro-economics.

    Another way to look at this is common sense. If a little change in 'X' will bring a moderate amount of prosperity, wouldn't a big change in 'X' bring a lot?

    If a 24% rise in the minimum wage would bring moderate prosperity, why not mandate a 500% rise? Wow! Wouldn't almost everybody be just rolling in cash soon?

    The answer is pretty obvious. Either lots of inflation or lots of damage to the economy, or both would result.

    If you want to accelerate the move of businesses toward automation and foreign labor -- go ahead and raise the minimum wage by a LOT (greatly inflating US wages makes the alternatives MUCH more attractive). (But remember, unemployment is a pretty poor minimum wage for those you intend to help).

    Now - for a hopefully productive political suggestion:

    If you want to help workers, offer better educational opportunities for them, including unemployed adults willing to do acceptable academic/retraining work. As a taxpayer, I'd like to invest in that, as more skilled people, employed at higher wage jobs (EARNING those higher wages) and paying more taxes, results in productivity that is good for everyone (including the taxpayer who should get a GREAT return on this investment, over time).
    Jan 17, 2014. 01:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are The VXX And XIV Just Providing Leveraged Market Exposure? [View article]
    Thanks Charles for the article. This is very interesting, and seems to confirm the logic that you can't get something for nothing -- i.e. the short VXX trade is NOT "free money" as many inexperienced traders seem to conclude it is.

    Given the nature of the financial exposure of ETN's as a class -- generally backed by some large bank -- I still have to wonder if this "game" might not end in tears for many investors on some black swan downward event caused by some sort of global financial panic.

    If an investor is invested in stocks (i.e. the S&P 500 index) for the long term -- then he/she knows that as long as the global financial system doesn't actually collapse (and if it does -- it's a new ballgame for ALL financial investments), that holding tight, continuing to dollar cost average and collect dividends, or even buying more as the panic escalates is a long term great investment.

    For ETN's like the VXX, who can say? First, if things get bad enough and the margin calls get major enough, since the underlying financial institutions are NOT (last time I researched it) required to have strong (or any, actually) hedges for these instruments -- what if some of these institutions fail?

    "Everyone" seems to flatly assume that the banks AND ALL THEIR ETN HOLDERS will be made whole, no matter what. How can they be so sure? The prospectuses clearly spell out that these are very risky investments. Do I think congress will pay off FDIC insurance for depositors? Absolutely (though the nominal value of the dollars used could be lower, of course). If the financial world is in the tank, will all holders of the VXX be made whole on their positions? When push comes to shove, as long as closing the underlying bank won't collapse the financial system -- I would NOT bet on it. Look how much debt is being renegotiated or defaulted on (think private and public pensions and medical plans, as an example) -- and those affect wide swaths of voters and "Main street", not just wall street types and aggressive individuals.

    I think the conclusions of past correlations are fine 99.99+% of the time. For the remaining "system stress" times -- past correlations may NOT be at ALL able to predict future results, as the payoff on one's positions may not be realized.

    Just one man's opinion. The way ETN credit risk is completely ignored in many well written S.A. (and similar sites') articles -- I am clearly a tiny minority.

    (Example: the midstream energy MLP ETN, AMJ, is almost always deemed vastly superior to the midstream energy MLP ETF AMLP -- since the ETN offers tax deferral benefits the ETF doesn't -- and thus shows better short term returns. (Both have very similar portfolios). In my experience, the investment community COMPLETELY ignores the credit risk of AMJ (JP Morgan Bank is the underwriter) at least 95% of the time. For widows and orphans investing long term in an MLP portfolio -- HOW can this be prudent? (I want my principal back -- not a slightly higher return at the risk of catastrophe)).

    Am I missing something obvious?
    Jan 8, 2014. 12:13 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment