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  • Southern Company: Has This Dividend Stalwart Lost Its Spark?  [View article]
    Having owned shares for many years from what you have to say about the company and your measured intention to shortly invest a more appropriate title for your generally laudatory comments would be "SOUTHERN COMPANY: This stalwart dividend company has a spark worth watching."
    May 24, 2012. 03:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook IPO - A Nightmare For So Many  [View article]
    Is it any wonder that more and more would be investors are distrustful of Wall Street! The investment banks have turned IPOs into a Three-card Monte. The average investor is perceived as an unwitting (certainly not on the same playing field) schnook. Contrivances such as the Green Shoe allowing naked short-selling by the underwriters to theoretically support arbitrarily high, in some cases outrageous initial offering prices for the benefit of insiders and the investment banks, merely make the game more one-sided and play on the naïveté of the investor population. And when these practices which some believe to be tantamount to white collar crime are further infused with disingenuous disclosures it is time to not only prosecute but to overhaul the rigged system to assure fairness to the public and the survival and trust in our markets.
    May 23, 2012. 09:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Frontier Communications: Why This High-Dividend Stock Is A Buy  [View article]
    Here! Here! And is not-so-well-earned monies being spent by insiders to invest or merely to counter the falling price due to astute investors' selling caused by management gobbledygook?
    May 23, 2012. 08:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Frontier Communications Go To Zero?  [View article]
    Naysayers can take refuge in management's lack of forthrightness and execution. Supporters can only hope that a highly indebted company with continued loss of customer base will overcome the capex needed to maintain and improve its telecommunications niche and maintain the current dividend. Can it be done, possibly. However, the price action based on performance suggests otherwise.
    May 20, 2012. 01:12 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coty withdraws its $10.7B takeover bid for Avon (AVP), saying the cosmetics direct seller has missed its deadline to start talks. Coty Chairman Bart Brecht: "I find it remarkable that since we made our revised proposal ... no one from Avon's Board or management has been willing to speak with us."  (PR)   [View news story]
    Poor leadership, poor results!
    May 14, 2012. 10:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) is proving to be as good at avoiding taxes (here and internationally) as it is at designing smartphones, taking advantage of tax laws designed for the industrial, not the digital economy.  The company had an overall tax rate of less than 10% in 2011, vs. about a 24% average for non-tech companies, reports the NYT, seemingly laying out a blueprint for politicians to shift attacks from big oil to big tech. Ugh.   [View news story]
    The problem is not Apple, it's the system formulated by its participants. Local, state and most assuredly national politicians and the special interests that support them are the problem. Ironically everyone who partakes and supports the system without getting involved to change it constructively reflects the solution to the problem.

    A little self-examination is in order. Across the country the silent majority is just that, not becoming familiar with or contacting their government representatives to voice approval or disapproval, and an all too-high number of citizens do not exercise their vote. The laws on the books get there because someone has the gumption to make the effort. Those who cry foul and bad-mouth Apple for not paying taxes are invited to channel their energies by getting involved.

    This is a rich and wonderful country but we need individual involvement to make certain that our government and corporate institutions are functioning efficiently and honestly. Until that occurs government bureaucracy and wasteful spending, boardroom nonchalance, outrageous perks, salaries and bonuses, special interests, tax loopholes and the compensating need for further taxes, hikes and fees will continue to grow.
    Apr 29, 2012. 01:41 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Excellent REITs For Yield And Growth  [View article]
    Thank you, Avi.

    With regard to EPR what is the breakdown, if you will, of their business segments to revenue, profit contribution and forecast growth in those segments?

    With the growth of Internet movie streaming and home entertainment and the rising cost for movie theater go-ers will this segment be growing appreciably? Or is this the reason to diversifying into charter schools and the wine industry? Appreciate your comments.
    Apr 28, 2012. 05:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy This Oil Stock Now While The Price Is Low  [View article]
    Thank you for the thought-provoking article, Renee.

    With what appears to be a clueless or fawning BoD CHK leadership and ability to execute has come into question. The vultures are surely circling.
    However, as Mr. Swift astutely opines practicable NG application is likely years away with our less than efficient current national energy
    policies. Do you believe deep pockets are willing to wait or perhaps the the dominant players like XOM have already mustered the alliances to construct a viable NG consumption alternative?

    Lastly, what are your long COP reasons and will you be retaining both entities after the spinoff? Appreciate your thoughts.
    Apr 28, 2012. 04:49 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • We Have Seen Apple's Chart Before: A Comparison To Cisco, 1995-2000  [View article]
    Execution propels stock price. Apple arguably continues to brilliantly execute like few other publicly-held companies and most certainly in its marketplace.

    To compare price charts to another company or dwell on a price target or limit rather than Apple's product and marketing execution is irrelevant blather.

    Naysayers are appreciated as institutional managers and other astute investors take advantage of opportunities to add to positions.
    Apr 8, 2012. 04:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Take Profits Before You Lose Them  [View article]
    All market participants are not the same. Some are investors, some are short-term speculators. Of those some have experience and some know how to analyze their positions. Some are clueless and believe because they have risked some cash they may assert a point of view that has merit when all that view is but a callow opinion.

    Certainly it is advisable to take profits "while you can" but in the case of any security one must ascertain what that window is and that is precisely, for example, what must be considered with Apple.

    Astute Apple investors who know how to analyze a balance sheet, income statement, who understand marketing execution, who have visited the stores and most importantly, have used or owned the products and experienced the customer service have a much clearer understanding of the value of the stock.

    To simply warn the public to take profits is like telling a child to be sure to wear his or her scarf and mittens when going outside in a winter snowstorm. Oh, really?
    Apr 3, 2012. 02:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The EPA will propose as soon as today the first ever standards to cut CO2 emissions from new power plants, sources say. The rules are likely to be politically divisive, and could hurt companies that generate most of their power from coal, such as Southern Co (SO) and American Electric Power (AEP).   [View news story]
    More clarification is in order. Nevertheless it appears the rules apply prospectively to new construction but will impair and endanger existing facilities. But more importantly there is little doubt of likely economic peril administrative agencies such as the EPA bring to bear upon the public.

    There is too little attention given to the massive burden administrative agencies bring to American taxpayers and the general public due to their extralegal powers. No government agency should be able to operate above reproach and build apparently unassailable bureaucratic enclaves where self-interest overrides common sense practability. Most government agencies although initially formed with good reason and intention unfortunately fall victim to political pandering, counter productivity, empire building and ultimately of costly incompetence. The EPA is a strident example. It is time to either dismantle them or greatly limit their authority.
    Mar 27, 2012. 06:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Southern Company: Investors Can't Afford A $14 Billion Dollar Reactor  [View article]
    Thank you, Jonathan, for your cogent comments. I am a stockholder. Southern Company has been a stellar utility for many years and hopefully shall continue on that course.

    I would hope that the Board of Directors exercise their fiduciary responsibility and immediately address the recent Mississippi judicial rulings re the State's 3-man utility commission's actions in this matter and the repercussions of continuing this project. Is it truly beneficial to Southern customers and stockholders to proceed with construction notwithstanding the alleged $1 billion already spent? Or will this eventually evolve into a financial disaster due to the feckless inaction of a personally liability-proof BoDs and a similarly positioned executive management?

    The best managements are not those that reek of hubris but those who instead change positions with substantive changes in fact and circumstances. If natural gas prices, for example, have become so attractively economical that long-term contracts can be secured as primary fuel generation then perhaps stubbornly adhering to a decision to continue building nuclear facilities would be foolhardy.

    At the very least Southern Company management and Board of Directors should address this matter immediately and make a public statement to their customers and shareowners.
    Mar 21, 2012. 11:20 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Apple's Buyback And Dividend Plan Is A Disappointing Drop In The Bucket  [View article]
    Attention deficit disorder. Instant gratification sufferers. Those monikers appear applicable to Apple Company and its stock naysayers and disappointees. Perhaps youth and/or a lack of long-term investment experience may also add to the mix.

    Naysayers should wake up and smell the coffee or could be that there is so much caffeine in their system that they do not realize that as each week, month and now year passes Apple is establishing itself as possibly the best company to have ever come public bar none by virtue of nearly every marketing metric.

    Apple has already created immense wealth and positively changed business and product benchmarks worldwide and there is little evidence to believe that progress will be arrested anytime in the next few years if at all. To negatively nitpick its use of cash, dividend policy or stock split plans is naive and insulting to a company and management that continues to deliver in spectacular fashion.
    Mar 19, 2012. 11:18 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) William Weldon has been ripped as one of America's most-overpaid big company CEOs, and it looks like the coin will continue even on his way out the door: Weldon stands to collect pension benefits and deferred compensation valued at $143.5M after his retirement.   [View news story]
    This level of compensation is outrageous and is tantamount to stealing from shareholders. Public corporations are that and should be run for the benefit of stockholders not for the enrichment of executives and boards of directors who have a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders. It is pure poppycock to believe that one or a small group of top executives have earned millions of dollars simply because they are holding the reins. This is particularly so for those who are fortunate enough to be at venerable companies where they have merely occupied a seat and have done little or nothing to enrich the shareholders via dividends or stock price. If these outrageous compensation practices continue then the corporate veil should be abandoned and the executives and BODs should be held personally accountable financially for profitability declines and negligent acts of the corporation. Those greedy execs and BODs need to have their skin in the game just like shareholders.
    Mar 15, 2012. 04:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Giant carrier subsidies for mobile devices are wreaking havoc on the wireless industry, says T-Mobile USA (DTEGY.PK) exec Cole Brodman, whose company has seen major subscriber losses due to the fact it doesn't offer the heavily subsidized iPhone (AAPL). Nomura recently lamented the impact iPhone subsidies are having on Verzion (VZ, VOD), AT&T (T), and Sprint's (S) margins.   [View news story]
    Telecoms are utilities which should be run for the benefit of its customers but in general they are not. Instead they benefit their top executives and BODs. If these individuals had to run their own companies and truly had skin in the game they would not make most of the poor decisions with which they burden their shareholders. Apple, to its credit, has successfully bullied the carriers into the absurd proverbial notion that "We'll make it (telecom profits) up on volume." Did any of these execs study a realistic breakeven analysis, monitor it, take into account the need or cost of more bandwidth, provide benchmark contractual contingencies or simply sign off caverlierly like AT&T did on the break-up fee with T-Mobile? Or perhaps they were mesmerized by the Steve Jobs aura? In any case those telecom BODs should not be reelected and those execs involved should at least be demoted if not shown the door.
    Mar 8, 2012. 03:12 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment