|Tue, May 21, 2013|
This Microsoft Invention Could Finally Destroy the Cable Company Monopoly
For too long we've been held hostage by our local cable companies. Their monopoly-like status has left us chained to spotty service, inexplicable rate hikes and laughable customer service.
But a new product is about to trigger a revolution - or, evolution - that could end the cable company reign.
Apple Tax Strategy: Who's at Fault?
The Apple tax strategy is similar to many other major U.S. companies: shift billions of dollars to low-tax international jurisdictions to avoid paying taxes on that income.
But now Congress is accusing Apple of creating "a highly developed tax avoidance system" that cost the United States billions of dollars, economic growth and jobs. A Senate investigation found that Apple avoided paying taxes on $74 billion in overseas profits over four years.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will face Congress today to defend the Apple tax strategy, which Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, called "unpatriotic."
That's why Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." Tuesday morning to talk about the Apple tax strategy.
How to Invest $280 Million
The search was still on in Florida Tuesday for the winner of the largest Powerball jackpot in history.
The winning ticket is worth $590.5 million. The winner could claim a lump sum of about $371 million and after the lottery withholds 25% to pay federal taxes, would be left with nearly $280 million after taxes.
That means the winner will be able to decide how to invest $280 million - likely more money than they've ever had before - if, of course, it's not spent in a frivolous splurge.
Top Ranked Energy ETF in Focus: XLE – ETF News And Commentary
The energy sector, after facing a terrible 2012, is finally on the rebound in 2013 largely due to a rise in oil production in the U.S. The sector started the year on a strong note but lost its momentum later. However, it seems that the sector has again gained strength and is riding on strong [...]
Analog Devices Preview: Will It Miss? – Analyst Blog
Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) is set to report third quarter 2013 results on May 21. Last quarter, its results were in line with our expectations. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement. Growth Factors This Past Quarter Analog Devices' second-quarter earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents. [...]
Natural Gas Companies Inch Closer to LNG Export Approvals
Those natural gas companies awaiting approval to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) got a hopeful sign last week.
The push toward the United States becoming a prominent LNG exporter moved forward Friday. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved only the second facility to export LNG to countries without a free trade agreement with the United States.
The Obama administration gave the thumbs up (a 20-year approval) to the Freeport LNG project in Texas. It is owned 50/50 by ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Michael Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of Basin Exploration (later sold to Stone Energy).
Is This Obama's "Waterloo"?
You're reading it right now.
I'm calling it WII (WHY?), which stands for Washington Insights & Indictments.
It's likely to be a single issue.
3 Overseas Choices for Yield-Starved Investors
The markets are tapping new highs and shell-shocked investors are doing two things:
1) Coming in off the sidelines; and,
2) looking for dividend stocks in a zero-rate environment.
Unfortunately, many U.S. choices are "bid" up right now. Having run 144% off the March 2009 lows, the easy money's been made. U.S. Treasuries offer 1.77% over 10 years and the average S&P 500 stock is generating a mere 2.01%.
So look overseas.
|Mon, May 20, 2013|
Oil Price Manipulation Awakens Libor, Enron Ghosts
Last July, we warned you that oil prices could potentially be manipulated in similar fashion to the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), and now a recent raid of major oil companies highlights this growing danger to the $3.4 trillion-a-year crude market.
The European Commission last week stormed the offices of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE ADR: RDS.A, RDS.B), BP PLC ( NYSE ADR: BP), and Statoil ASA (NYSE ADR: STO) as part of the ongoing investigation to find out whether companies are manipulating oil prices and, if so, how long it has been going on and the possible ramifications.
"The commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency (PRA) to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products," the EC said in a statement.
Besides major oil companies, big banks are active in the energy market and would likely benefit from any manipulation, David Frenk, director of research at the financial reform group Better Markets and a former commodities analyst, told CNN.
The ordeal has brought back memories not only of last year's Libor scandal but also of the actions taken 12 years ago by Enron to control energy prices.
Yahoo-Tumblr Deal a Hail Mary Pass That May Never Pay Off
The Yahoo-Tumblr deal is a $1.1 billion gamble aimed at rejuvenating a stagnating business, but is more likely to end up a costly mistake.
The deal, announced today (Monday), is by far Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's biggest - and riskiest - acquisition yet.
Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) wanted access to Tumblr's 117 million users, most of them teens and young adults, to give it a beachhead into the ever-more important world of social media.
But Tumblr, like so many other social media companies, is not exactly a money machine. Analysts estimate the company's 2012 revenue was just $13 million, making it a pricey acquisition indeed.
Why Silver Prices Fell Today then Recovered in Wild Trading
If you're wondering why silver prices fell sharply Monday, it looks like the answers lie in Asia.
Silver prices staged a sharp recovery Monday after volatile trading that took the white metal tumbling 9% in 10 minutes to $20.25 an ounce, a level not seen since 2010.
The steep selloff followed a spike in the Japanese yen against the dollar. Precious metals traders surmise investors were forced to sell silver to cover losses in the currency market. The result was a rash of automated sell orders.
Indeed, the effect has so extreme and rapid, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange halted silver futures trading four times to restrain volatility and rein in excessive price movements, a move known as Stop Logic. Because volumes for silver are lower than for gold, they are more prone to sharp swings, up and down.
Data shows more than 3,000 contracts in Comex silver futures sold in just 20 minutes during early Asian trading. Standard Bank in Tokyo confirmed an unidentified investor sold a sizable position of silver Monday morning.
"The drastic move lower happened pretty much after the CME's electronic platform Globex opening," Afshin Nabvi, MKS head of trading told Reuters.
"The move was exacerbated by the fact that it happened when liquidity was very thin in Asian trade," he continued. "If the same happened in London or New York hours, the size of the liquidation might have been cushioned by higher volumes."To continue reading, please click here...
How to Profit From the Currency War
If you want to know how to profit from the currency war, just look to Japan.
That's because Japan's aggressive move to cheapen the yen in order to stimulate its own economy is working.
Of course, Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitzgerald predicted this would happen months ago, and he was dead on.
But even if you missed the first moves in this currency war, it's not too late to profit.
Listen below as Keith explains how investors can still take advantage of the "race to the bottom" and profit from the global currency war.
Stock Market Today Reacts to Merger Monday on Wall Street
It was a muted start for U.S. equities when the stock market today (Monday) opened. But by mid-day, the bulls were back and benchmarks marched higher.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.41, or 0.09%, to 15,354.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.54, or 0.15%, to 1,670.01. The Nasdaq was higher by 6.42, or 0.18%, to 3,505.39
Year-to-date, the Dow is up 17.17%, the S&P up 16.92% and the Nasdaq 15.88%. Moreover, the number of stocks in the S&P hitting 52-week highs rose to 37.2%, according to Bespoke Investment Group, proof the rally is indeed broad based.
Why Silver and Gold Prices Are Falling
Metals started the week in the red, leading investors to ask why silver and gold prices are falling today. Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." to answer that question.
He told host Stuart Varney about the big trading move that pushed metals down today. He also explained why he would keep buying gold.
Shah also recommended a stock that pays a 10% dividend yield and says the stock will be "safe" as long as the housing market remains stable.
Hear Shah's recommendation and his thoughts on why silver and gold prices are falling in the following video.
Frontier Markets: A Better Choice for ETF Investors? – ETF News And Commentary
Many emerging markets have lost their momentum in 2013 and have largely underperformed since the beginning of the year. In such a scenario, investment in the frontier market has become one of the most alluring options among investors seeking strong returns. What is a Frontier Market? Over the past two years, the frontier markets, such as [...]
Go Long, Scandal! Keep 'Em Coming, Obama!
There's a lot of buzz that President Obama's current scandals - Benghazi, the IRS and the Department of Justice - may bring down the financial markets.
I disagree - if anything, they'll provide fuel for another leg up.
Scandals Du JourThe Benghazi scandal is pretty straightforward. Somebody screwed up badly and people got killed by what increasingly looks like a coordinated terrorist attack. Much to the Republicans' frustration, fallout has so far been largely limited to the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The IRS scandal is a little more convoluted, though hardly surprising - at least to me any way. The agency recently acknowledged that it targeted conservative groups for aggressive tax compliance enforcement. Acting Director Steven T. Miller has resigned after being thrown to the wolves by a White House eager to distance itself as quickly as possible from the situation.
And finally, there's what some are calling "AP-gate" in which the Department of Justice was found to have gone after Associated Press journalists' phone records as part of a counter-terrorism investigation.
Never mind that I think reporters ought to be held accountable for national security leaks, what's apparent here is that the investigation potentially compromises press freedom without the express legal authority needed to do so. So much for the White House's assertion that it's the most transparent administration in history; targeting reporters and whistleblowers isn't the way to go.
Buy, Sell or Hold: This is One Train You Don't Want to Miss
Railroads have long been considered the veins and arteries of the economy.
As the railroads go, so goes the business of America.
That's why rail statistics have long been one of the signs most closely watched by prognosticators and economists.
Of course, that's not as true as it used to be. In fact, most railroads have actually done quite well lately - even in the face of a down economy. It's counter-intuitive but it's true.
One of them is CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX). It's my favorite U.S. railroad stock.
Because even with the external weight of a delinquent U.S. economy strapped to its caboose, shares of CSX Corp. continue break out to new 52-week highs.
The question for investors now is whether or not this train has already left the station.
Here's my take on where CSX is headed from here...
Unloved Uranium is About to Get Much More Attractive
Pity poor uranium -- there is perhaps no more unloved segment of the energy market right now.
Not only is it a commodity, but nuclear power has a stigma attached to it, thanks to the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear mishap in Japan.
Uranium has brought both joy and tears to investors over the past decade. After a 20-year bear market, the price of uranium (U308), bottomed in 2001 at $8 per pound. It then skyrocketed to over $100 a pound, only to fall back again.
Most recently, it peaked at $72 a pound in January 2011. The Fukushima earthquake and tsunami disaster a few months later put a pall over the industry and prices, resulting in the current price of $40.70 a pound.
Yet despite some countries slowing down their plans for nuclear power expansion and the negative mood hanging over the sector, uranium looks to be poised for a rebound in the not-too-distant future.
Why? Well, for one thing, the United Nations' nuclear agency - the International Atomic Energy Agency - said "The Fukushima Daiichi accident is expected to slow or delay the growth of nuclear power, but not reverse it."
The IAEA forecast impressive growth of somewhere between 23% and 100% in nuclear power capacity by 2030.
|Sun, May 19, 2013|
How to Really Make a Fortune on the "Mobile Wave"
If you've been riding along with me for any length of time, you know I get really revved up whenever I talk about the "Mobile Wave" in technology.
The truth is, I can't help it: I look at the forecasts, calculate all the money that can be made, and end up feeling as jazzed as can be about the windfall profits we can reap from this transformational trend.
And I'm not the only one who's feeling this technology-fueled ebullience: The folks over at Amazon.com are clearly experiencing the same adrenalin-driven affliction.
Amazon, you see, is coming out with its own smartphone.
And not just any smartphone. Amazon's entry into smartphone derby is going to be one cool mobile device - highlighted by a 3D screen that will display photos so realistically that you'll want to just reach out and touch them.
Why in the world, you might ask, is an "e-tailer" entering the wireless-phone business?
Just look at the numbers.
|Sat, May 18, 2013|
Pitney to Divest Management Biz – Analyst Blog
Recently Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI) announced its plan to sell the management services business wing in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to Swiss Post Solutions. Swiss Post Solutions is a division of Swiss Post that offers a comprehensive range of business process management services. Pitney’s two regional subsidiaries, namely Pitney Bowes Limited and [...]
|Fri, May 17, 2013|
How Tesla Motors Managed to Beat the "Solyndra Syndrome"
I drive a 1994 Geo Prizm, rusted and sputtering, that came from a factory near San Francisco that was owned by a GM-Toyota joint venture that eventually flopped.
The car's held up all these years, but other than that, there's not much good to say about it, and the company that built it didn't amount to much, either.
It gives me a laugh to think that these days that very factory - rebuilt with money from the 2009 stimulus, no less - now makes the car that's the toast of Wall Street.
The U.S. government's $465 million loan turned the factory that built my Prizm into the launching pad of Tesla Motors Inc.'s (Nasdaq: TSLA) Model S, the luxury electric sedan Consumer Reports calls one of the best two cars it has ever tested. (The Model S tied the 2007 Lexus LS 460L, receiving 99 of 100 points.)
The plug-in Tesla has surpassed all expectations, but here's what's really extraordinary about the company: It's a government-financed clean-energy project that's actually a great American success story that even some conservatives can love.
Among big fans of Tesla Motors: Charles Payne, a co-host on FOX Business' "Varney & Co." who regularly touts the company and its stock.
With the success of the Model S, TSLA has skyrocketed from its 2010 IPO at $17 a share to $91.97 as of late Thursday and the company's valuation is approaching $10 billion.
Facebook Stock Ends Disappointing Year One; Any Shot at a Comeback?
One year ago, Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB) made its trading debut in one of the most highly anticipated initial public offerings ever.
While it's okay to offer a congratulatory happy anniversary, it's been anything but a honeymoon for the company and investors.
Some 421 million shares were sold, raising $16 billion, giving Facebook a whopping $104 billion valuation.
Then the disastrous story began: Shares were priced at $38, opened at $40, and then, within 10 market hours after the pricing, Facebook stock flailed. Technical glitches at the Nasdaq caused a delayed open, late executions and reports, and mispriced trades.
Lawsuits are still pending.
Eisman: Best Housing Stocks to Buy in 2013
In New York City last week investors from around the country gathered for the Ira Sohn Conference to pitch their lists of the best stocks to buy in 2013.
One of the more interesting presentations this year featured Steve Eisman of Emrys Partners, who gave a presentation that was very bullish on the prospects for the U.S. housing market.
While many investors have proffered opinions of the strength and validity of housing market performance, investors should pay especially close attention to Eisman when he speaks on the subject.
Eisman has shown he knows how to evaluate and profit from this market. He successfully profited from the market top in 2007.
Eisman was featured in Michael Lewis' book on subprime mortgages, "The Big Short," as one of the investors who made huge bets against the housing market at the top of the bubble and raked in billions of profits.
Now, he's picking the bottom. If he's right again, the profits could be just as large on the upside as they were during the collapse.
In his Ira Sohn presentation, Eisman pointed out that monthly payments as a percentage of income for mortgages is at an all-time low of just 14% and inventories of available homes are at a multi-year low. He thinks the growth is just beginning, and aided by very low interest rates we could see strong growth in the industry for several years.
He listed several of the best housing stocks to buy that would allow investors to profit from this continued recovery.
He favors home builders that have substantial land inventory as we go into the recovery. Those builders who have built up their land holdings over the past couple of year should amass substantial profits form reselling land purchased on the cheap.
Here are three housing stocks to buy in 2013, according to Eisman, including what he calls the "most powerful" play in the sector this year.
How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.
Why You Should Avoid the South Africa ETF – ETF News And Commentary
The global financial turmoil severely tested the mettle of many a developing economy. While many proved their resilience, others were stretched considerably to survive the crisis. In this context, volatility in the financial and commodity markets had hit the South African market pretty hard. Labor unrest and strikes in the mining and transportation industry of [...]
Why Not All REITs are the Best Investments for Yield
In a yield-starved world investors have turned to real estate investment trusts (REITs) as some of the best investments for income.
REITs are structured so that they have to pay out the majority of their income to shareholders in order to retain their favorable tax status. Most of them yield far more than Treasury or corporate bonds so they have attracted attention and dollars over the past few years.
It is not just individual investors who are searching for yield. Large pension and investment funds can no longer meet their required rates of return by investing in traditional fixed income investment. They too have turned to REITs to make up the income shortfall.
However, when these large investors begin to direct billions of dollars towards the sector they are not very selective. Much of the money that flows into REIT funds and exchange-traded instruments is only concerned with gaining exposure to the real estate markets and gaining a yield advantage. This type of buying has helped the price of many of the larger more liquid REITs double and even triple over the past few years. They now trade at substantial premiums to their underlying asset value and earnings power.
The problem facing investors now is that the dollars have flowed into the securities for several years now and pushed prices to what may be unsustainable levels.
Any real estate investor can tell you that buying commercial or residential property in excess of its real value is a recipe for disaster especially if you use leverage.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column shows there is another developing threat to REIT prices.
According to the article, Japanese investors have been piling into U.S. REITs to take advantage of the extreme yield differentials as that country is using low rates to attempt to stimulate the economy.
In addition to the dividends, however, the Japanese funds are also paying out appreciation, including unrealized gains. If the growth in REIT share prices begins to moderate, these funds will have to start selling shares to maintain their payouts and this could pressure prices as they own billions of U.S. REIT securities.
It's Enough to Make Your Blood Boil
Here are two items that will upset you...
First, back in February, Attorney General Eric Holder christened the unofficial official doctrine of "Too Big to Jail."
He told Congress, "The size of some of these institutions [TBTF banks] becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute - if we do bring a criminal charge - it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Of course, it was only the christening of another neat little name.
The Fight Club: Are "Dignity Mortgages" Essential or Insane?
Tags: dignity mortgages, honor mortgage, housing bubble, housing bubble 2013, housing bubble articles, housing bubble burst, housing bubble definition, housing bubble explained, housing bubble timeline, Housing Market, housing recovery, integrity mortgage, pride mortgage, what caused the housing bubble
|Thu, May 16, 2013|
Why Gold Prices Are Going Down
Gold investors are just not feeling the love, once again left to wonder why gold prices are going down.
The yellow metal dipped again Thursday, with gold for June delivery ending down $10 at $1,386.10 an ounce. It was the sixth consecutive trading day of declines and marked a four-week low for the metal.
With equity markets continuing to log record highs, and economic data showing some signs of improvement, safe haven gold looks nothing like its moniker.
Fueling gold's recent rout is not one thing; it's a combination of things.
Here's why gold prices are going down this week.
How Student Loans Became a $120 Billion Government Bonanza
Business has been good for the federal government when it comes to student loans.
Over the past five years, student loans have generated profits of $120 billion for the Department of Education.
And the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put the take from student loans for the 2013 fiscal year at $48.6 billion - helped along by a change in 2010 that eliminated the middleman and made the Education Department the direct lender for all government-backed loans.
It means the government will reap more in profits from student loans this year than any of the nation's largest corporations. Last year, for example, the most profitable company was ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), which reported income of $44.9 billion.
The money is rolling in partly because the Education Department has stepped up efforts to collect on delinquent loans, but mostly because the U.S. government can borrow money far more cheaply than the students to whom it is giving the loans.
The government's student loans now carry an interest rate of 3.4%, which has proved plenty lucrative.
But unless Congress acts soon, the interest rate on government student loans will double to 6.8% as of July 1. (The temporary 3.4% rate was supposed to expire last July, but last year Congress extended it for one year.)
Meanwhile, 10-year Treasuries go for about 2%, and 30-year Treasuries for about 3%.
That widening gap in rates could drive government profits even higher, but at the risk of appearing to exploit a struggling and vulnerable segment of the population.
"As the pomp of graduation fades, many college graduates become keenly aware of their financial circumstance: in debt," Ernie Almonte, chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission of the American Institute of CPAs, said in a statement. "They start out with an anchor that slows their progression toward future goals. It's a difficult reality confronting a growing number of people."
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