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  • Central Securities Corp.: Solid Long-Term Performance Overshadowed By Poor Near-Term Showings [View article]
    I have held this stock since 2012. What prompted me to buy it was the appointment of Mr. Blackford to the board of directors. He has a background in M&A; experience that is needed in unwinding of the Plymouth Rock position.
    I am also struck by the ages of the directors. A wealth of experience, to be sure. But it may also force the oldest directors to push for a sale of Plymouth Rock for estate reasons. A worst case panic sale would close the discount to net asset value.
    However, if Plymouth Rock were to be bought out by a public company, the benefit to shareholders would be enormous.
    Feb 27, 2015. 11:18 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gulf Resources finds natural gas under its Sichuan bromine well [View news story]
    Beware. PTR released thsi same news 1 year ago.
    Jan 30, 2015. 11:08 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Heard during The Container Store's earnings call [View news story]
    They had a rival that went bust.  "Stacks sales began to fall and in March 2014 the company shut its doors and went out of business. Fellow storage and organization retailer Organize-It got wind of the closure and offered to purchase only certain assets from Stacks and Stacks." Now they are internet only.
    Jan 9, 2015. 10:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gross: The good times are over [View news story]
    He could be right. Back in the day, there was the 'nation of shopkeepers' theory. It tried to explain why the market went up or down. Up meant that there was no use expanding the biz, so invest in stocks. Down meant, now expanding the biz, selling stocks to raise capital.
    Today, it might be, 'let's stop buying back stock, and invest in expanding the biz, instead'.
    Jan 6, 2015. 12:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding CME Group's Very Attractive Economic Castle [View article]
    Thank you. I have seen the charts.
    While I now consider this an unlikely event, here is the schedule of crude oil future expirations:

    If crude oil advances 5% or more above current prices, I will be shorting CME as we approach expiration in any near month thru, say, October.

    I am not a prophet of doom; my portfolios are not aligned for such an event. Still, it is important to have a strategy in place should something like this occur.
    Jan 4, 2015. 05:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • CVR Refining: Looking Into The Puzzling 30% Decline [View article]
    UAN has also been a target of short sellers.
    Jan 4, 2015. 02:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Low Oil Prices Are Not Sustainable [View article]
    Good point.
    I have worried (on other threads) that Putin would like to, as Machiavelli(*) would have said it, "to deceive the deceiver" by establishing the Ruble as an international currency. They would do this by forging warehouse receipts, and then reneging on futures contracts. That would only work if crude oil prices rose above the prices at which Russia or their national oil producers sold contracts.

    So, the White House and/or the Treasury department (for lack of a real name or committee) has an incentive to keep oil prices low by committing a political expedient, that would otherwise be described as insider trading, ala the Hunt Brothers attempt to corner the silver market.

    This is an ugly scenario; a virtual currency war. I am not a doomsday prophet. My portfolio is not aligned with this as a probability. Still, it is a possibility to consider, and a scenario that I would need to know how to respond to if push came to shove.

    Here is a list of CME crude oil expirations:

    The CME will need to make good on crude oil reneges. If crude rises in the next 6 months or so, I will short CME stock as we approach contract expiration.

    I hope I'm wrong about this.

    (*) In Machiavelli's "The Prince", he is speaking about monarchies, not republics. This point of view requires one to look at Putin and Obama as warring kings.
    The entire book can be viewed for free here:
    Jan 4, 2015. 02:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • E*Trade the e-broker pick at Sterne Agee [View news story]
    True. Still, all things need to be considered. In my case, ETFC botched 2 of the 3 trades I did with them before I acated out. They even lost a dividend, then claimed it was the fault of my previous broker, when in fact it was not. That transfer was fully 2 months before the ex-date.
    Jan 2, 2015. 11:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • E*Trade the e-broker pick at Sterne Agee [View news story]
    I'll go with what Barron's had to say on the subject.
    Jan 2, 2015. 10:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Low Oil Prices Are Not Sustainable [View article]
    Ummm... There are 691 million barrels in our strategic oil reserve. CME contract size is 1000 barrels. open interest for Feb is 230,000. The reserve could sell 691,000 contracts, IF they wanted to. They do have the power to manipulate prices.
    Jan 2, 2015. 09:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Low Oil Prices Are Not Sustainable [View article]
    It's the 'baby with the bath water' effect. This happened in 2009, when LINE, MMP, PAA, WES, ORI, OKS, KMP (now KMI) and SE, among many others were very cheap.
    We are now out the tax selling stampede. The market for these stocks should be firm for the next week. But beware, when the new Congress is in session, we will hear a lot of contradictory plans. Battle lines will be drawn. The market hates uncertainty.
    Jan 1, 2015. 12:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Low Oil Prices Are Not Sustainable [View article]
    Pipeline MLP's fit that bill. They collect their fees regardless of the price of natural gas, crude oil, or refined petroleum products. Since their fees are less than trucks or railroads would charge, their services will always be in demand.
    Jan 1, 2015. 11:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Low Oil Prices Are Not Sustainable [View article]
    So, who is selling all those futures contracts that are driving crude oil down? Is it speculators? Or is it marginal oil producers, just trying to stay in business? Or could it be large international oil producers, like say Russia, who need cash now?
    I vote for Russia. If they are trying establish the Ruble as an international currency, why would they play this game? My guess is that they want to ruin oil trading in USD. They could do this by forging warehouse receipts, which are used to 'prove' that the commodity is available for shipment. This won't work if crude stays lower than $60 over the next 6 months or so. This is scary, but not a probable outcome.
    Dec 29, 2014. 01:42 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek banks tumble following vote [View news story]
    This is a country that has trouble collecting taxes. I don't really believe that the election results reflect the will of the people. In other words, Greece does not have the funds to insure a clean vote count.
    Dec 29, 2014. 12:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding CME Group's Very Attractive Economic Castle [View article]
    Very impressive, but...
    Has anyone noticed the CME put options trade with a higher volatility than the calls? Should there be a significant default in the futures market, they have to pony up the difference to injured parties. Then they have to collect from the defaulters, which could take years.
    Yes, they have significant borrowing power to withstand such an event. Still, it would not be pretty. Also, the market in general could look at any default as a black swan event.
    Would Putin do that? Probably not. I'm just saying that the odds are higher than most people would think.
    Dec 23, 2014. 10:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment