Monday, April 30, 2007

The Mother's Day Portfolio

It's that time of the year, Mother's Day. How about doing something different and buying your Mother some shares of stock? How about some shares in companies that benefit from Mother's Day. Candy is dandy, but flowers have powers. Here is your Mother's Day portfolio.

The number one name in chocolate is Hershey (HSY), one of the largest chocolate and candy companies in the world. Their P/E is 24.5 and the PEG is 2.4, with a decent yield of 2%.

There is also the small cap Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc. (RMCF), which has a product line that includes caramels, creams, mints, and truffles. P/E is 20, price sales ratio is 2.7 and their yield is 2.6%

1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (FLWS), the largest publicly traded flower seller, markets not only flowers but plants, gourmet foods, cookies, cakes, candies, wine, gift baskets, and other gifts. They have a fairly high P/E of 60 but a very reasonable PEG of .91.

Author does not own any of the above.

Vulture Fund Owner May Face Indictment

A Vulture Fund Owner May Face Indictment due to buying African debt for pennies on the dollar and bribing African officials.

Baseball Card Investor? Collection went for $1.6 million

A man in his eighties, actually he is is 89 years old, sold his baseball card collection at auction, a collection he started when he was 15, for $1.6 million. About 5500 cards were sold at the auction. He now has "only" about 45,000 cards left.

Got Milk Stocks?

Because of concerns of children’s health and obesity, yogurt may start appearing in schools as a snack, due to recommendations from The Institute of Medicine. News continues to come out about the health benefits of yogurt, one of the products made from milk.

Companies in the dairy products business with market capitalizations above $350 million are limited. The largest in terms of market cap is Groupe DANONE (DA), is a French company founded in 1899 which has ADR’s that trade on the New York Stock Exchange; however, they are planning on delisting their ADR’s due to the cost. They produce fresh dairy products under Danone brand, including yogurts, dairy desserts, infant foods, and probiotic dairy products. One of their major brands is Dannon yogurt. They also distribute Evian water. The stock has a P/E of 22 and a PEG ratio of 1,9, with a dividend of 1.1%.

Second largest at one tenth the size by market cap is Dean Foods Co. (DF). This Dallas, Texas based company distributes branded and private label dairy products, including yogurt, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, half-and-half, whipping cream, dairy coffee creamers, and ice cream. Their P/E is 22.4 with a PEG of 1.9. Their earnings call is scheduled for May 3.

Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC (WBD) is the third largest company, and is based in Moscow, Russia. They produce pasteurized milk, yogurt, butter, cream, cheese, kefir, cottage cheese, sour cream, puddings, and cheese. The P/E is 37, their PEG is .4 and they pay a small yield of .3%.

A U. S. based company with an international flavor is Synutra International Inc. (SYUT), which is in the business of marketing dairy-based nutritional products, nonfat dry milk and anhydrous milk-fat in China. The stock carries a P/E of 25. Their Price Sales ratio is 3.2. They don’t pay a dividend.

As you can see, publicly traded dairy stocks are few and far between, and the ones that are public are from all over the world.

Author does not own any of the above.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Private Equity Now Investing in Highways, Bridges, and Airports

In case you missed the BusinessWeek article, investors are now moving into infrastructure deals formerly controlled by governmental agencies. They arrange long term leases with the governmental agencies then manage the toll roads, bridges, airports, parking garages, and ports.

Teaching Degree Denied for Tame MySpace Picture according to Student

According to thesmokinggun.com, a Pennsylvania woman, who is a mother of two children who returned to college to get her teaching credential, has sued the University she attanded because they didn't grant her a bachelor of science in education degree due to one tame picture in MySpace, the social networking website owned by News Corporation (NWS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The picture shows the woman wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup.

Shareholder Freebie Followup

This is annual report season. The amount of mail I am getting is now 6 to 9 inches high on a daily basis, primarily due to all the annual reports I am receiving. With the Time Warner (TWX) report, I received an envelope with an offer to subscribe to one of their 43 magazines that they publish, at a special "Shareholder Price". By the way, this was the second most "boring" annual report I received this month. By "boring" I mean an annual report without pictures, without color, without glossy covers. The annual report was all text printed on what felt like very cheap paper, in a large pamplet format that was poorly cut. [By the way, the most "boring" was Apple Inc. (AAPL). Their annual report was their 10K.] I actually don't mind the "boring" report from Apple; or should I say non-existant annual report. It shows that the company is saving money any way they can. No annual reports, trading on NASDAQ instead of paying New York Stock Exchange (NYX) fees, whatever it takes.

The other corporate freebie I turned up was from McDonald's Corp. (MCD), which does have a glossy annual report. They provided a coupon for a free southwest salad, stuck in the middle of the report.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sequoia Capital Backing New YouTube-type Site Called 'Funny or Die'

Sequoia Capital is backing a web site called Funny or Die, which produces short videos with celebrities. Sequoia Capital is the venture capital company that put up some of the original funding for Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and YouTube. Their initial big hit is called The Landlord, with Will Ferrell and a two year old girl who uses inappropriate language. The webvid got over 7 million views in 24 hours.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Investing in Coins? How About $5 Million for a Nickel

A coin shop and a coin collector that jointly owned a 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold it for $5 million to a collector based in Southern California collector. There are only five of these nickels known to exist.

Another Fast Food Restaurant Scandal: CondomFound in McDonalds Meal Bag

According to an AP news story, a grandmother purchased a McDonald's Corp. (MCD) happy meal in New Zealand for her granddaughter and was shocked to find acondom in it. McDonald's is investigating the incident.

Amazon (AMZN) 3rd Follow UP

This is the third follow-up to my March 8 article of 12 reasons why Amazon should be much higher. Today the stock was up over 10%, and is up again in the after-market.

The Erin Brockovich Stock

Remember Erin Brockovich, the legal clerk who had an Academy Award winning movie made about her starring Julia Roberts? She was involved in constructing a case against Pacific Gas and Electric, which was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in U.S. history.

She is now listed as the VP of Environmental Affairs for a company called Save the World Air Inc. (ZEROE.OB), a North Hollywood based development stage company involved in the research of products that reduce pollution from engines. According to Yahoo!Finance, the company has no earnings and no revenues, with operating cash flow at a negative $4.5 million.

Real Estate Pictures of the Week: REALLY Strange Houses from Around the World

A week ago, I posted a link to unusual houses in the United States. Those don't even come close to this group of really weird houses from all over the world. I wish the pictures had captions telling where they are located, although some of the comments at the bottom describe where a few of them are.

How About Jewelry as an Investment? $7.1 million for a Necklace

A pearl necklace, with pearls the size of gumballs, sold for $7.1 million at a Christie's auction. The necklace was formerly owned by a maharajah. This was more than twice the previous record for pearl jewelry at auction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wall Street Video of the Week: Flying Car Stock

First, let's start with the disclaimer. Yes, I own shares in this company. No, I don't recommend this as an investment. [I don't make recommendations of any stock for that matter.] Sometimes I buy stocks for reasons other than investing, as strange at it may seem; but that's a topic for another article. I don't recommend the purchase, sale, holding or shorting of this stock. In case this isn't clear, this is NOT an investment recommendation, either expressed or implied.

Now that that's out of the way, there is a company called Moller International Inc. (MLER.OB), which is the only publicly traded company that I know of that's in the flying car business. I actually went to their last annual meeting. It was a little unusual in that after the meeting, they were selling what appeared to be their "annual report", along with selling pictures of their flying cars and selling almond butter! [Which I bought; it was good.] I guess they shouldn't be faulted for trying to generate revenues any way they can. They did provide a free lunch. I got to see two different models of their flying car and their flying saucer. However, I didn't get to see any of them fly. Fortunately for you, if you want to see one of them fly, you can check out the video at the Wired site.

You will notice in the video that there is a crane with a tether attached to the flying vehicle. My understanding is that it is an FAA regulation that "flying vehicles" in the testing stage that go above 10 feet must be on a tether. The vehicle actually does fly; it's not the tether that's holding it up. If you look closely at the video, you will see that the tether is slack, not tight.

Author owns shares in MLER.OB and does not recommend it as an investment.

Stock Manipulator Who Used Pipe Bombs

A man who was referred to as "The Bishop" was arrested Wednesday for trying to manipulate the stocks of 3Com Corporation (COMS) and Navarre Corp. (NAVR). He is accused of sending pipe bombs and threatening letters to American Century and Janus.

Amazon.com Article Follow-up

If you missed my Amazon (AMZN) article yesterday, or the one I wrote on March 8, you should check them out. As I write this, Amazon is above 55, up over 10 points in one day, up over 23% in one day!!!!!

Why didn't I buy this instead of writing about it???

Author still doesn't own AMZN.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stocks Involved in Parkinson's Treatment

A good friend of mine was written up in the newspaper about a new Parkinson's disease treatment he is receiving, which involves having two holes drilled in his head. Fortunately, there are many companies researching other treatments and cures for this degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills and speech. Here are some of them.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), an Israeli based company which was founded in 1901, develops and manufactures a variety of pharmaceuticals. They received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for AZILECT® (rasagiline tablets) as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. P/E is 54 and PEG is 1.1. The stock has been paying dividends quarterly and yields 1%.

Cell Genesys, Inc. (CEGE) is an investor in Ceregene, which developed CERE-120, its lead program for Parkinson's disease. Earnings for CEGE are negative and the price sales ratio is an extremely high 225.

Novartis AG (NVS), a very large Swiss pharmaceutical company, has developed Comtan® (entacapone), a medication for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. P/E is 19 and the PEG is 1.5. Yield is 1.6%.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACAD), based in San Diego, is working on ACP-103 in patients with Parkinson's disease suffering from treatment-induced psychosis. Negative earnings, P/S of 53.

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) is the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world. It is working on SR57667B for treatment of symptoms. PE IS 23, PEG is 2.3. Yield is 2.1%.

SkyePharma plc (SKYE) developed once-daily formulation of Requip® utilizing SkyePharma's Geomatrix™ technology. Requip is used for Parkinson's treatment. No earnings, P/S is 3.5.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) markets Zelapar® [selegiline HCl] Orally Disintegrating Tablets, a once-daily adjunct therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients being treated with levodopa/carbidopa. Forward P/E of 16.6 and a PEG of .8. Yields 1.7%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Investing South of the Border

According the the CIA World Fact Book, Mexico is the 13th largest economy in the world as measured in Gross Domestic Product in purchasing power parity. The World Bank considers the Mexican economy to be an Upper-middle-income economy [rated higher than Brazil and China, which are considered Lower-middle-income economies] and they have the highest per capital income in Latin America. In 2005, inflation reached a record low of 3.3% in Mexico, and foreign debt was decreased to less than 20% of GDP. They have free trade agreements with United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Israel and many other countries. With such a strong economy, there are several investment opportunities with Mexican stocks.

Unfortunately, many of the largest companies trade primarily in Mexico and occasionally on the pink sheets in the United State. These include Wal-Mart de Mexico (WMMVY.PK) and Grupo Indl. Bimbo SA (GBBAF.PK), Mexico's largest bread maker. Probably, the best way to invest in these would be to use the Mexico Equity & Income Fund Inc. (MXE), which is a closed end stock and bond fund that invests in Mexican stocks.

But fortunately, there are a few stocks of Mexican companies that have ADR's that trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

American Movil (AMX), a Mexico based company, is a provider of wireless communications services in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay, and in Peru. Talk about Latin American diversification! P/E is 23.5 and the PEG is .53. They even pay a small yield of .7%. This is one of the companies controlled by Carlos Slim, the second wealthiest man in the world.

Another Carlos Slim company, Telefonos de Mexico (TMX), is the largest telephone company in Mexico. They also provide telecom services in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. P/E is 13.5 and PEG is 1.1, with a decent yield of 2.3%.

Grupo Televisa SA (TV) is the large television broadcaster in Mexico. Their programs are also rebroadcast in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the United States, Canada, and Australia. The P/E is 21.6 and the PEG is 1.3. The yield is a tiny .5%.

Cemex S.A.B. de C.V. (CX), or just Cemex, is the largest cement company in Mexico and the third largest cement company in the world. They have production facilities in 50 countries all over the world including North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. P/E is 10.3 and the PEG is 2.6. Yield is 1.9%.

Fomento Econmico Mexicano, S.A.B de C.V (FMX), also known as FEMSA, is the largest beverage company in Mexico, and for that matter, all of Latin America. P/E os 21.3 and the PEG is 1.1 with a yield of 1.1%.

Finally, there is Gruma SA de CV (GMK), is the largest manufacturer of corn flour and tortillas in the world. They are also the largest manufacturer of corn chip in Mexico. P/E is 11.5 and the PEG is 1.6. They pay a nice yield of 2.4%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Did Anyone Read My Article on Amazon in March?

Did anyone read the article on article on Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) that I posted back on March 8? I described in 12 bullet points why I thought the Amazon stock would go up. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of portfolios with Stockpickr.com, but the only one-stock portfolio I have is the Amazon portfolio.

The stock closed at 38.10 on the day I posted that article, March 8. Now it's trading at 50.30 today in after-market trading!!! This is an increase of 12 points or over 31% in less than two months.

Most of my long time readers know that I never make stock recommendations; I just come up with ideas worth further investigation. This was definitely a stock worth further investigation.

Author does not own AMZN, but he should have.

Be Careful What You Order Online, No Matter What the Privacy Policy Says

A privately held California company, BioFilm, which sells a sexuallubricant called AstroGlide, accidentally exposed its database to Google search engines, according to an article in Wired. So if you did a search on a particular person, it would show the person's name, address, and what they ordered. Supposedly there were over 263,000 listings that were posted.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bad Music Pushed to your Cell Phone as a Ringtone?

Yes, there is a company, Emotive Communications, which is developing the technology to push a ringtone to your phone, with the choice of music being made by the caller. Emotive is backed by some music and tech heavyweights, including Warner Music Group (WMG) which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. They are also backed by D. E. Shaw group and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.

'Wall Street' Photo of the Week: One of Apple's Products in Action

Here is a picture of an Ethiopian woman with an Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPod and anAK47, with a petri dish in her lip.

Founder of Craig'slist Set Up Bird Watching Site

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.com [25% owned by eBay (EBAY)], in conjunction with researchers at UC Berkeley and Texas A&M, have set up a bird watching web site with a web cam in Newmark's back yard that can be controlled simultaneously by viewers at the site!

Google's YouTube Generates over 5,000 Phone Calls to One Man

A Massachusetts man posted his cell phone number on YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc. (GOOG), and posted on his listing that he would listen to anyone who wanted to call, received over 5,000 phone calls.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Death Stocks

Last week, a friend of mine died of a heart attack. Another friend has malignant lymphoma. I keep hearing about friends and acquaintances in their forties, fifties, and sixties [which I consider to be relatively young ages], either dying or getting some terrible disease, such as Parkinson’s or cancer. Although it’s sad and depressing, we have to accept the fact that death is a fact of life.

With the baby boom getting older, the demand for products and services from ‘death stocks’ is practically guaranteed to increase. Here are a few stocks that may prosper from the ageing of the American population.

Matthews International Corp. (MATW) manufactures and markets cast bronze memorials, wood and metal caskets, cremation equipment, and other related products. They have a P/E of 19.5 and a price sales ratio of 1.8. Last Friday, they announced a 2.5 million buyback. They pay a small yield of .6%.

Hillenbrand Industries Inc. (HB), which is based in Batesville, Indiana has a subsidiary in the funeral service business, which makes and markets caskets, cremation containers and urns. They also have other divisions in the medical technologies and health care industry. The P/E is 16.7 and the P/S is 1.9 and the PEG is 1.9. Their yield is 1.9%.

The Houston, Texas based company, Service Corp. International (SCI) owns funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematoriums in the United States, Canada and Germany. They have a fairly high P/E of 63, a P/S of 2, and a PEG of 2.5. Dividends are providing a yield of about 1%.

Another Houston based company Carriage Services Inc. (CSV) is also in the casket, funeral, and cremation business. Earnings have been negative but forward P/E is 17.7. Price sales is 1 and PEG is 1.9. Their earnings announcement will be on May 2.

Stewart Enterprises Inc. (STEI) is another company, based in Louisiana, that owns funeral homes and cemeteries. P/E is 20.3, P/S is 1.5, and PEG is 3. They pay a yield of 1.3%.

A Pennsylvania company, Stonemor Partners LP (STON), specializes in the ownership and operation of cemeteries. They have a very high yield of 76, and an extremely high PEG of 43. However, the stock does have a yield of 7.75. The stock is structured as a limited partnership.

Author does not own any of the above.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Response to Shareholder Freebies Article

Here is a response to my Shareholder Freebies article:

Shareholder freebies do seem to be on the decline. There were none at last year's Berkshire Hathaway meeting, for example, while just a few years earlier shareholders left town with everything from Rubik's Cubes to Beatle CDs. The other day I went to Coke's meeting and came away with a pen and a free can of soda, which seems about typical. Consumer product companies are the best bets, of course. In the recent past, Constellation Brands has given attendees a small bottle of wine and Church & Dwight (the baking soda folks) have offered samples of toothpaste, gum and deodorant. Meanwhile, Walgreens has handed out cosmetics, wrapping paper, pill dispensers and coupons for vitamins and photo developing. eBay has distributed hats and T-shirts featuring the company's logo. Perhaps the most generous giveaway in 2006 was Tootsie Roll's parting gift for annual meeting attendees – a shopping bag filled with enough of the company's products that I still had plenty on hand for trick-or-treaters six months later.


As I describe in my new book A Weekend WIth Warren Buffett and Other Shareholder Meeting Adventures (2007, Thunder's Mouth Press), anyone who goes to a shareholder meeting in search of coffee and a Danish will probably come away happy, but free lunches are very rare. Regional utilities and banks – such as Otter Tail Power (Minnesota) and Fulton Financial (Pennsylvania) – are the few hosts of such events. One notable "big" company feeds its owners lunch: Google. Shareholders are invited to partake in one of the company's extraordinary on-campus cafeterias before the meeting begins. (By the way, Google also gave 2006 attendees a very nice thermos.)


Randy Cepuch
Author, A Weekend With Warren Buffett and Other Shareholder Meeting Adventures
www.shareholdermeetingadventures.com

Over 150 High Yielding Tax Free Stocks

These are stocks that pay dividends that are free of federal income taxes. For purposes of this list and most of my other stock lists, I consider a stock to be any security that trades on the New York Stock Exchange or American Stock Exchange that is not a bond, a warrant or an option. That means a stock can include closed end funds [CEFs], which most of the stocks on this list are, REITs, oil royalty income trusts, Canadian royalty trusts, etc. The dividends are tax free because the closed end funds on this list own municipal bonds in their portfolio.

The advantages of owning these types of closed end funds over owning individual municipal bonds directly are greater liquidity, no minimum investment, and greater diversification. In addition, the income from some of these may be exempt from state taxes. Ask your accountant about this and all other tax aspects of these CEFs before investing. A disadvantage is that the CEFs may sell above net asset value.

For an updated list of stocks that pay tax free dividends, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Here is a list of over 150 that I’ve come up with. I plan to keep adding to it as I find more. Please note: the dividends from some of these may be partially tax free; please contact the company to verify the tax status of dividends before investing!

Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC (MMA) 7.3%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Bond Trust (BIE) 5.5%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Income Trust (BBF) 5.5%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust (BFK) 5.5%
MFS Municipal Income Trust (MFM) 5.5%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities Trust (OIA) 5.5%
American Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (XAA) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BPK) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal Bond Trust (BBK) 5.4%
Colonial High Income Municipal Trust (CXE) 5.4%
Colonial Municipal Income Trust (CMU) 5.4%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipal Bond Fund Inc. (DSM) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAD) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NXZ) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NZF) 5.4%
Nuveen Municipal Advantage Fund Inc. (NMA) 5.4%
Nuveen Municipal High Income Opportunity Fund (NMZ) 5.4%
Blackrock Apex Municipal Fund Inc. (APX) 5.3%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (BLE) 5.3%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipals Inc. (LEO) 5.3%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities Trust III (OIC) 5.3%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (BFZ) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Bond Trust (BQH) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (BNY) 5.2%
DWS Strategic Municipal Income Trust (KSM) 5.2%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund (PCQ) 5.2%
Nuveen Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQM) 5.2%
Nuveen Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQS) 5.2%
Alliance National Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AFB) 5.1%
BlackRock California Municipal Bond Trust (BZA) 5.1%
BlackRock Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BKK) 5.1%
Colonial Investment Grade Municipal Trust (CXH) 5.1%
DWS Municipal Income Trust (KTF) 5.1%
Dreyfus Municipal Income Inc. (DMF) 5.1%
Federated Premier Municipal Income Fund (FMN) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities Trust II (OIB) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley Quality Municipal Income Trust (IQI) 5.1%
Nuveen Insured Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NVG) 5.1%
Nuveen Municipal Market Opportunity Fund Inc. (NMO) 5.1%
Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund Inc. (NPP) 5.1%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 4 Inc. (NPT) 5.1%
ACM Municipal Securities Income Fund Inc. (AMU) 5%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Bond Trust (BLJ) 5%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (BNJ) 5%
Delaware Investments Florida Insured Municipal Income Fund (VFL) 5%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Premium Income Trust (PIA) 5%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NVX) 5%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NZH) 5%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAC) 5%
Nuveen Insured Municipal Opportunity Fund Inc. (NIO) 5%
Nuveen Premier Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NIF) 5%
Nuveen Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NQU) 5%
Nuveen Texas Quality Income Municipal Fund (NTX) 5%
Alliance California Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AKP) 4.9%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust II (BCL) 4.9%
Colonial Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CFX) 4.9%
Blackrock Muni Intermediate Duration Fund Inc. (MUI) 4.9%
Federated Premier Intermediate Municipal Income Fund (FPT) 4.9%
Eaton Vance Insured Municipal Bond Fund (EIM) 4.9%
Eaton Vance Municipal Income Trust (EVN) 4.9%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Trust (IMT) 4.9%
Morgan Stanley Quality Municipal Investment Trust (IQT) 4.9%
Neuberger Berman Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBH) 4.9%
Nuveen California Municipal Market Opportunity Fund Inc. (NCO) 4.9%
Nuveen California Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NVC) 4.9%
Nuveen Florida Investment Quality Municipal Fund (NQF) 4.9%
Nuveen Georgia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPG) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured California Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NPC) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Florida Premium Income Municipal Fund (NFL) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NKO) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 (NPX) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQI) 4.9%
Nuveen Michigan Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NZW) 4.9%
Nuveen New Jersey Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXJ) 4.9%
Nuveen New Jersey Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NUJ) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NXK) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAN) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Performance Plus Municipal Fund (NNP) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NVN) 4.9%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXM) 4.9%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NPI) 4.9%
Alliance New York Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AYN) 4.8%
BlackRock Insured Municipal Income Trust (BYM) 4.8%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust II (BFY) 4.8%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund (EVM) 4.8%
Neuberger Berman California Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBW) 4.8%
Morgan Stanley California Quality Municipal Securities (IQC) 4.8%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Income Trust (IIM) 4.8%
Neuberger Berman New York Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBO) 4.8%
Nuveen California Performance Plus Municipal Fund Inc. (NCP) 4.8%
Nuveen California Premium Income Municipal Fund (NCU) 4.8%
Nuveen California Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUC) 4.8%
Nuveen Insured Florida Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NWF) 4.8%
Nuveen Michigan Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMP) 4.8%
Nuveen Michigan Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NUM) 4.8%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NVJ) 4.8%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NVY) 4.8%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 Inc. (NPM) 4.8%
BlackRock California Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BJZ) 4.7%
BlackRock Florida Insured Municipal Income Trust (BAF) 4.7%
BR Long Term Muni Adv (BTA) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Insured Municipal Income Trust (BSE) 4.7%
BlackRock Pennsylvania Strategic Municipal Trust Fund (BPS) 4.7%
Colonial California Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CCA) 4.7%
Morgan Stanley California Insured Municipal Income Trust (IIC)
4.7%
Eaton Vance Insured Municipal Bond Fund II (EIV) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Insured New York Municipal Bond Fund Inc. (ENX) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Michigan Municipal Income Trust (EMI) 4.7%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NKR) 4.7%
Nuveen California Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQC) 4.7%
Nuveen Florida Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUF) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured New York Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NNF) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NEA) 4.7%
Nuveen Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NMI) 4.7%
Nuveen New York Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQN) 4.7%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NRB) 4.7%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXI) 4.7%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NBJ) 4.7%
Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NPF) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BLH) 4.6%
Delaware Investments Colorado Insured Municipal Income Fund (VCF) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Florida Municipal Income Trust (FEV) 4.6%
Western Asset Intermediate Muni Fund Inc. (SBI) 4.6%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFZ) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Insured Michigan Municipal Bond Fund (MIW) 4.6%
Eaton Vance New York Municipal Income Trust (EVY) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Pennsylvania Municipal Income Trust (EVP) 4.6%
Nuveen California Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NCA) 4.6%
Nuveen Georgia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NZX) 4.6%
Nuveen Insured California Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 Inc. (NCL) 4.6%
Nuveen Insured California Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NKX) 4.6%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NZR) 4.6%
Nuveen Massachusetts Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NMB) 4.6%
Nuveen Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NUV) 4.6%
Nuveen New Jersey Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQJ) 4.6%
Nuveen New Jersey Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NNJ) 4.6%
Nuveen New York Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUN) 4.6%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQP) 4.6%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 (NPY) 4.6%
Nuveen Virginia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NNB) 4.6%
BlackRock California Insured Municipal Income Trust (BCK) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Arizona Municipal Income Fund (VAZ) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II (VMM) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund II (EIA) 4.5%
BlackRock Muni New York Intermediate Duration Fund, Inc. (MNE) 4.5%
Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PIF) 4.5%
Investment Grade Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PPM) 4.5%
MBIA Capital / Claymore Managed Duration Investment Grade Municipal Fund (MZF) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured New Jersey Municipal Bond Fund (EMJ) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured New York Municipal Bond Fund II (NYH) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured Pennsylvania Municipal Bond Fund (EIP) 4.5%
Eaton Vance New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (EVJ) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Ohio Municipal Income Trust (EVO) 4.5%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NXE) 4.5%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NGK) 4.5%
Nuveen Insured New York Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NRK) 4.5%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFM) 4.5%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NWI) 4.5%
Nuveen Ohio Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NUO) 4.5%
Nuveen Select Maturities Municipal Fund (NIM) 4.5%
BlackRock Maryland Municipal Bond Trust (BZM) 4.4%
Eaton Vance California Municipal Income Trust (CEV) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Florida Municipal Bond Fund (EIF) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Massachusetts Municipal Bond Fund (MAB) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Ohio Municipal Bond Fund (EIO) 4.4%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Securities (IMS) 4.4%
Nuveen Arizona Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NAZ) 4.4%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NGO) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NKG) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPG) 4.4%
Nuveen Insured Massachusetts Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NGX) 4.4%
Nuveen Maryland Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMY) 4.4%
Nuveen Massachusetts Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMT) 4.4%
Nuveen New York Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NNY) 4.4%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NNO) 4.4%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NII) 4.4%
Nuveen North Carolina Premium Income Municipal Fund (NNC) 4.4%
BlackRock Florida Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BFO) 4.3%
BlackRock Virginia Municipal Bond Trust (BHV) 4.3%
Eaton Vance Massachusetts Municipal Income Trust (MMV) 4.3%
Morgan Stanley New York Quality Municipal Securities (IQN) 4.3%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFC) 4.3%
Nuveen Connecticut Premium Income Municipal Fund (NTC) 4.3%
Nuveen Virginia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NGB) 4.3%
Nuveen Virginia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPV) 4.3%
First American Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II Inc. (MXN) 4.2%
Minnesota Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (MXA) 4.2%
Morgan Stanley Insured California Municipal Securities (ICS) 4.1%
Nuveen Missouri Premium Income Municipal Fund (NOM) 4.1%

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Stock Symbol for New Century Financial

Are you having trouble finding the stock symbol for New Century Financial, which formerly had the symbol 'NEW'? It is now NEWC, or on Yahoo!Finance, it is NEWC.PK.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There is Something Strange about the Ownership of these Stocks

I was doing some research on something totally unrelated, tax stocks, when I discovered that institutions and mutual funds own 98% of the float and 98% of the shares of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX). I thought that was an extremely high percentage. Do individual investors own only 2% of the JTX shares?

I decided to do some further research and found some other very high percentage ownerships. For example, Qwest Communications International (Q) has 90% of the shares owned by institutions, including mutual funds, and 107% of the float owned by institutions. Alleghany Corp. (Y) has 65% of its shares and 103% of the float owned by institutions. Look at Shaw Group (SGR). Institutions own 97% of the shares and 118% of the float.

Now for the most amazing ownership percentages. Avid Technology Inc. (AVID) has 112% of the float owned by institutions and 104% of the total shares owned by institutions. How is this possible? How can institutions own over 100% of the shares? Other than a calculation error, there seems to me to be only a couple ways this could happen. If there is no double counting involved, then either some of the institutions own shares on margin and/or there are naked short sellers that are shorting shares that don't exist. I am tracking these shares on stockpickr.com to see if there is any effect of the high institutional ownership on the stock price.

If you are aware of any other very high institutional ownership stocks, please post in the comments.

Author does not own any of the above.

Money Speaks Louder than Entertainment

The results are in for the CharityBuzz.com auction that I wrote about previously. As it turned out, a meal with Alan Greenspan was extremely successful, with bids far surpassing the bids on meals with celebrities. Greenspan's auction had an estimate of $10,000 but was hammered at $45,000!!! As a comparison, a meal with Richard Gere had a higher estimate of $15,000 but only went for $16,000.

Where is Apple Going?

I haven't written about Apple (AAPL) lately, but I thought I would check to see what some of the analyst price predictions are now, especially with all the upcoming products. The mean price target is 115, the median is 111, with a low of low of 90 and a high of 145. The tradinggoddess.com predicts a price of 100. [By the way, I don't just go there for the pictures.]

Author owns AAPL.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Does It All Mean?

In a lot of my articles, I discuss various financial ratios relating to the stocks that are discussed. Some of the readers of my articles are new investors that are unfamiliar with how they work or what they mean, and have asked for clarification. So here is some clarification [generally speaking], in very simple terms. You can bookmark this page for future reference.

Price Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio) This is the price per share divided by the earnings per share. The lower the number the better. A P/E ratio below 15 is better than a P/E ratio above 25.

Price Sales Ratio (P/S Ratio) This is the price per share divided by the sales per share. The lower the number, the better. A P/S ratio below 1 is great, between one and two is OK, and over 2, not so good.

Yield - This is how much return an investor receives from the dividend payments. It is calculated by the dividends per year divided by the price per share. The higher the better.

Price Earnings Growth Ratio (PEG) This is the Price Earnings ratio divided by the estimated future growth in earnings. The lower the better. Below one is good, between 1 and 2 is OK, and above 2 is not so good.

Quarterly Earnings Growth Year Over Year - This is the percentage increase in earnings for the current quarter versus the same quarter a year ago. The higher, the better. This is especially useful for seasonal companies, where sales and earnings increases take place around the same time each year; comparing the current quarter with the previous quarter would be almost meaningless.

Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year - This is the percentage increase in revenue for the current quarter versus the same quarter a year ago. The higher, the better.

Book Value Per Share - What the shares would be worth if the entire company was liquidated, all debts paid off, and all cash that was left distributed to the shareholders. If the book value per share is higher than the price per share, that is better than the stock selling above book value.

6 Websites to Become the Next Wikipedia or Flickr

According to Hitwise, which measures Internet traffic, there are six Web 2.0 websites that are expected to skyrocket. They are

Imeem (online community)
Piczo (customizable websites)
StumbleUpon (recommending websites to those with similar interests
Veoh (high def videos)
WeeWorld ('the world's first multiplatform visual identity')
Yelp (rating site)

Two More Tax Extensions

Taxpayers affected by the major storm that hit the Northeastern United States April 16 now have until Thursday, April 26 to file their tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Taxpayers who were unable to e-file their tax returns Tuesday using Intuit Inc. (INTU) software products have until midnight on Thursday, April 19, to file their returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

As if Northwest Airlines Doesn't Have Enough Problems

Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWACQ.PK), which trades at about 40 cents per share, had a flight that was grounded because of a pilot that was yelling obscenities. The flight was from Las Vegas to Detroit. Northwest Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2005.

Making Money Off Taxes

Now that you have finished filing your tax returns [or at least filed your extensions], you can now concentrate on the companies that make money off taxes. These include the tax preparers and the tax software. The larger of the two tax preparation companies, H&R Block (HRB), is based in in Kansas City, Missouri and has been around since 1946. They also provide investment, mortgage and accounting services. Their P/E is 27 and the PEG is 1.43. They pay a decent yield of 2.2%. 91% of their shares are owned by institutions, the largest of which includes Franklin Resources, which owns 9.25%, and T. Rowe Price which ons about 8% of the shares. They report their earnings on June 6.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX) has been appearing in the news quite a bit lately. The Justice Department is accusing some of the company's frnachisees of tax fraud. This is the fourth time in the last year that the government has gone after them. Of course, with all the bad news, the stock took a substantial dive at the end of March. It has a P/E of 17.3 and a PEG of .84, with a yield of 1.7%. 98% of their shares are owned by institutions, including Vanguard, Delaware Management and Wellington.

The other way to play the 'tax industry' is through Intuit (INTU), which markets the extremely popular TurboTax software, along with LaCerte and ProSeries tax programs. They also sell the best selling QuickBooks accounting software. P/E is 28.7 and the PEG is 1.4. 85% of the shares are owned by institutions, of which Barclays and Fidelity have the largest ownership. Lots of last minute filings caused Intuit's server to crash, but the problem didn't affect the stock price, which is up a nickel Wednesday.

Author does not own any of the above.

Weird Homes

Want to see a house shaped like a shoe? Or a guitar? An airplane? Or how about a house shaped like a pie, and it rotates? Check them out at zillow.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shareholder Freebies

What are 'Shareholder Freebies' (which are also known as 'Corporate Freebies')? Those are the free things (or benefits) that you get by being a shareholder of a company, over and above any dividends or growth in stock price.

As an example, the local RadioShack Corp. (RSH) store has informed me that Radio Shack gives a 10% discount to shareholders of RadioShack, and that to prove ownership, I would just need to bring in a Radio Shack stock certificate or copy of a stock brokerage firm statement showing my shareholdings.

The following three freebies applies to shareholders who elected to receive their annual reports in printed form.

Shareholders of the Boston Beer Company (SAM) received a Samuel Adams Talking Beer Bottle Opener last year.

Shareholders of California Water Service Group (CWT), received twelve recipe cards, for such things as Strawberry-Mango Smoothie, Portuguese Sweet Bread, and Sweet Corn Vegetable Soup.

Shareholders of McDonalds (MCD) received a coupon last year for an Asian Salad for free at any McDonalds. This coupon appeared between page 12 and 13 of the annual report. The company probably places it there to see how many people actually read the report.

William Wrigley Jr. Co. (WWY) had been known to send out free gum. Starbucks (SBUX) has given out free gift cards. AT&T (T) has sent out free calling cards.

Time Warner (TWX) has been known to be very generous with a big goodie bag filled with everything from CD's to magazines to books, etc. at their annual meetings.

Disney (DIS) used to give out free passes to Disneyland when they held their annual meetings in Anaheim in years passed. The Anaheim Convention Center was filled with families with little kids. The parents were smart enough to buy shares in their children's name in addition to their own shareholdings, and every shareholder who walked through the door, even if they were in a stroller, got a Disneyland pass for the day. Then several years ago, Disney started holding their meetings in various cities around the country and stopped giving out passes.

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to know prior to the meeting if a company will be giving out anything or not. Nor can you generally find out if a freebie will be send out with an annual report until it arrives. There are many more companies that give out shareholder freebies. If I hear about more interesting freebies, I will keep you posted. Or if you hear of interesting ones, please let me know.

Author owns DIS, TWX, MCD, CWT, and SAM.

Forget to File Your Taxes Today (Monday)? Don't worry, you have one more day.

According to the IRS, taxpayers will have extra time to file and pay because April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2007, and the following day, Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. Holidays observed in the District of Columbia have an impact nationwide.

However, this may not apply to state income taxes. Check with your accountant about your state and its deadline.

How many H-1B Visa Applications were submitted in 2 Days?

According to the cover of Information Week, 133,000 H-1B work visa applications were submitted in the first two days this year that the U.S. Government accepted these applications. Unfortunately, there are only a total of 65,000 openings for the year.

British Airways flight delayed due to Sleepy Pilot

A flight from New Delhi to London on British Airways (BAB), which trades on the NYSE, experienced a 13 hour delay because the pilot said that he was too sleepy to fly.

$310,000 Cell Phone

High end cell phones, including some embedded with diamonds, are becoming as popular as designer watchers. Nokia Corp. (NOK), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, displayed a $310,000 cell phone at Baselworld, Switzerland, which is the largest watch trade fair in the world.

Burning Toilets

Almost 200,000 toilets were recalled by the Japanese company TOTO Ltd. (TOTDY.PK), which has ADR's that trade in the U.S. The bidet type toilet, which sells for as much as $2600, provides pressurized sprays, a dryer and an automatic lid. They were recalled because three had caught fire, according to an AP news report.

Mostly Smooth Sailing with Cruising Stocks

I just got back from my first cruise. It was on Carnival lines and left from southern California and went to three ports in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Because I am susceptible to motion sickness, I had to take prescription patches called Transderm-Scop, made by Novartis AG (NVS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. I also had to combine that with Dramamine, formerly distributed by Pfizer (PFE), now added to the product line of Johnson + Johnson (JNJ) as part of the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare acquisition. There are just a few stock opportunities to climb on board the cruising stock industry. Hopefully there won’t be choppy seas for these stocks, but will instead be a Bon Voyage. Here they are:

Carnival Corp. (CCL)

Carnival is one of the largest cruise and vacation companies in the world. Their cruise lines which operate out of North America, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises in North America; AIDA in Germany; Costa Cruises in southern Europe; P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village and Swan Hellenic in the United Kingdom; and P&O Cruises in Australia. They operate a fleet of 81 ships, and will be receiving another 20 ships between now and 2011. They are headquartered in Miami, Florida and London, England. P/E 16.5, P/S 3.3, yield 2.4%.

Carnival plc (CUK)

This is the ADR for the Carnival stock which trades on the London Exchange. Here is how this works. Carnival Corporation & Carnival plc operates under a dual listed company structure in which Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc operate as a single economic entity through contractual agreements between each of their own separate legal entities. Shareholders of both Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc have the same voting participation and economic interest but their shares are listed on different stock exchanges and are not fungible. [Is this as clear as dirty water?] Carnival Corporation common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CCL. Carnival plc is traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CCL and as an ADS on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CUK. Carnival is the only company in the world to be included in both the S& P 500 index in the US and the FTSE 100 index in the UK. If you look at the graphs for the Corp. and the plc stocks, they seem to move together generally, however, the ADR has outperformed the Corporation stock by several percentage points. Is there an arbitrage opportunity here? Anyway, because of the difference in price, the statistics are somewhat different: P/E 19.7, P/S 3.7, yield 2%.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL)

This company owns Royal Caribbean International [19 cruise ships with over 44,000 berths] and Celebrity Cruises [9 cruise ships with over 15,000 berths]. They also own Pullmantur S.A., which has five ships in Europe and Latin America. The company plans on having six more ships by the end of 2010. They also offers land tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. They are headquartered in Miami, Florida. P/E 14, P/S 1.7, yield 1.4%.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Lehman ABS 8.875 Corporate Backed Trust Certificates, Series 2001-27 Trust for (CWZ)

Here's an unusual investment. I wasn't sure if I should put this in the minibond category or the unusual trust category, or both [they are technically referred to as CORTS or corporate-backed trust securities]. This is a publicly traded trust created by Lehman Brothers (LEH). The Trust's assets consist solely of senior debentures issued by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. They pay dividends of $1.109 per share twice a year every April and October, similar to a bond. But it is traded on the New York Stock Exchange with a par value of $25, similar to a stock. The current yield is 8.6%.

Star Cruises Ltd. (SSKZF.PK)

This company, which is a speculative play, was founded in 1993 and operates in the Asia-Pacific region. They have 18 ships with over 23,000 berths which leave from ports in Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia), Hong Kong and Keelung. Their brands include Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Orient Lines. It is also a co-owner with Genting Berhad (GEBHY) of the Sentosa casino resort in Singapore.

Author does not own any of the above.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Investment Blogs this Week

Sorry, No Investment Blogs this Week. I am on a cruise. Don't have much time to get on the computer.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Over 50 High Yielding Tax Free Stocks

Yes, you read that right. Stocks that pay dividends that are free of federal income taxes. For purposes of this list and most of my other stock lists, I consider a stock to be any security that trades on the New York Stock Exchange or American Stock Exchange that is not a bond, a warrant or an option. That means a stock can include closed end funds [CEFs], which most of the stocks on this list are, REITs, oil royalty income trusts, Canadian royalty trusts, etc. The dividends are tax free because the closed end funds on this list own municipal bonds in their portfolio.

The advantages of owning these types of closed end funds over owning municipal bonds directly are greater liquidity, no minimum investment, and greater diversification. In addition, the income from some of these may be exempt from state taxes. Ask your accountant about this and all other tax aspects of these CEFs before investing. A disadvantage is that the CEFs may sell above net asset value.

For an updated list of stocks that pay tax free dividends, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Here is a list of over fifty that I’ve come up with. I plan to keep adding to it as I find more.

BlackRock Florida Municipal Bond Trust (BIE) 5.5%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Income Trust (BBF) 5.5%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust (BFK) 5.5%
MFS Municipal Income Trust (MFM) 5.5%
American Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (XAA) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BPK) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal Bond Trust (BBK) 5.4%
Colonial High Income Municipal Trust (CXE) 5.4%
Colonial Municipal Income Trust (CMU) 5.4%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipal Bond Fund Inc. (DSM) 5.4%
Blackrock Apex Municipal Fund Inc. (APX) 5.3%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (BLE) 5.3%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipals Inc. (LEO) 5.3%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (BFZ) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Bond Trust (BQH) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (BNY) 5.2%
DWS Strategic Municipal Income Trust (KSM) 5.2%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund (PCQ) 5.2%
Alliance National Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AFB) 5.1%
BlackRock California Municipal Bond Trust (BZA) 5.1%
BlackRock Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BKK) 5.1%
Colonial Investment Grade Municipal Trust (CXH) 5.1%
DWS Municipal Income Trust (KTF) 5.1%
Dreyfus Municipal Income Inc. (DMF) 5.1%
Federated Premier Municipal Income Fund (FMN) 5.1%
ACM Municipal Securities Income Fund Inc. (AMU) 5%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Bond Trust (BLJ) 5%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (BNJ) 5%
Delaware Investments Florida Insured Municipal Income Fund (VFL) 5%
Alliance California Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AKP) 4.9%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust II (BCL) 4.9%
Colonial Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CFX) 4.9%
Blackrock Muni Intermediate Duration Fund Inc. (MUI) 4.9%
Federated Premier Intermediate Municipal Income Fund (FPT) 4.9%
Alliance New York Municipal Income Fund Inc. (AYN) 4.8%
BlackRock Insured Municipal Income Trust (BYM) 4.8%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust II (BFY) 4.8%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund (EVM) 4.8%
Neuberger Berman California Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBW) 4.8%
BlackRock California Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BJZ) 4.7%
BlackRock Florida Insured Municipal Income Trust (BAF) 4.7%
BR Long Term Muni Adv (BTA) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Insured Municipal Income Trust (BSE) 4.7%
BlackRock Pennsylvania Strategic Municipal Trust Fund (BPS) 4.7%
Colonial California Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CCA) 4.7%
Morgan Stanley California Insured Municipal Income Trust (IIC)
4.7%
BlackRock New York Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BLH) 4.6%
Delaware Investments Colorado Insured Municipal Income Fund (VCF) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Florida Municipal Income Trust (FEV) 4.6%
Western Asset Intermediate Muni Fund Inc. (SBI) 4.6%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFZ) 4.6%
BlackRock California Insured Municipal Income Trust (BCK) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Arizona Municipal Income Fund (VAZ) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II (VMM) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund II (EIA) 4.5%
BlackRock Muni New York Intermediate Duration Fund, Inc. (MNE) 4.5%
Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PIF) 4.5%
Investment Grade Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PPM) 4.5%
MBIA Capital / Claymore Managed Duration Investment Grade Municipal Fund (MZF) 4.5%
BlackRock Maryland Municipal Bond Trust (BZM) 4.4%
Eaton Vance California Municipal Income Trust (CEV) 4.4%
BlackRock Florida Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BFO) 4.3%
BlackRock Virginia Municipal Bond Trust (BHV) 4.3%
First American Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II Inc. (MXN) 4.2%
Minnesota Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (MXA) 4.2%

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Construction Workers Find 'Free Money' in Old Casino

Workers who were clearing out an old Sands casino in Atlantic City, which is now owned by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK), found over $17,000 in loose change and currency, including a hundred dollar bill. The money had fallen down between the slot machines. Pinnacle has asked that the workers return the money.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Foreign Utilities: Income and Diversification

In previous write-ups, I've covered the electric utilities, the gas utilities, and the water utilities, however, they were all U.S. based companies. There are several publicly traded foreign utilities, some of which can provide reasonably good yields, global diversification, and trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Foreign utilities are in an industry category by themselves. The largest by market cap is Enel SpA (EN), a Rome based company which provides electricity and gas to Italy, with additional electric service to Spain and Bulgaria. They just won an auction, along with another Italian utility, to purchase the Russian Yukos oil company which had gone bankrupt. P/E is 17, P/S is 1.3 and the stock has a yield of 3.5%. Dividends are paid twice a year.
Second largest is the French company, Veolia Environnement SA (VE), which in addition to electrical production, is also in the business of water distribution, waste management, and road and rail transportation. They even provide major water distribution in North America. P/E is 30, P/S is .79 and its yield is 1.6%. Pays only once a year.
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) is the third largest, and is based in Seoul, South Korea. Unfortunately, they don't pay a dividend.
Scottish Power plc (SPI), based in Glasgow, Scotland, provides electricity throughout the United Kingdom. P/E is a low 9.4, P/S is 2, and the yield is 3%, which it has historically paid four times a year.
International Power plc (IPR) based in London, generates electricity from coal [which it gets from its own mines], gas, oil, wind, and water. P/E is 16, P/S is 2.4 and the yield is only 1%, which it only pays annually.
Empresa Nacional de Electricidad S.A. (EOC) is a Santiago, Chile company which provides electricity to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. P/E is 33, P/S is 4.5 and the yield is only .8%. Historically, the company has paid dividends only once or twice a year.

Author does not own any of the above.

The Best 'Worthless' Stocks


During the last several years, when major companies have gone bankrupt, news reports have stated that the companies' shares are 'not worth the paper they're printed on'. However, that may not be true. Several companies that have gone bankrupt recently, such as Enron, have stock certificates that are outstanding that are actually worth more than the paper they are printed on.

The hobby of collecting stock certificates started in the late 1960's and the number of collectors has increased every decade. In the past, most collectors preferred the certificates from the 1800's or early 1900's. However, during the last several years, collecting modern collectible certificates has caught on. These are certificates that have no trading or redemption value, but do have value to a collector. Here is a list of a few of the modern bankruptcies, including the slightly less modern Penn Central which went bankrupt in 1970, and their approximate values based on the average prices from auctions over the last couple months.

Enron $76.50
WorldCom $7.00
Global Crossing $49.50
Penn Central $10.50

The key is getting the certificate before the stock becomes completely worthless as a tradable security.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Auto Stocks: Some Speeding Ahead, Some Driving Off the Road

You may have just read in the news about how Toyota's (TM) revenues were up, but General Motors (GM) and Ford's (F) were down. After all, isn't Toyota the fastest growing American car company? In addition, Toyota is the largest car company in the world by market cap, almost twice the size of Honda (HMC), the second largest. So is Toyota a buy? It has a P/E of 15 which is lower than the industry average of 19, the price sales ratio is a reasonable 1.15, and the PEG is a strong 1.7. Year over year quarterly revenue growth is 15.2%, not bad for a company that makes cars. Just in March alone, their auto sales were up over 11%, with sales of their hybrid cars continuing to be strong.
Jumping to the next largest car maker, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has a significantly higher P/E than Toyota at 24.5. P/S is higher at 1.4, and the PEG is 1.8. Quarterly revenue growth is 12%, more than 3% lower than Toyota. One thing the Honda stock does have going for it is the fact that it pays a dividend, albeit a small one at .7%.
Next we have Daimlerchrysler AG (DCX), the German based company which manufactures Mercedes-Benz cars, Chryslers, Jeeps, and Dodges. P/E is 18, and the P/S is an excellent .43. They pay a nice yield of 2.9%. Unfortunately, their quarterly revenue growth is negative; and their quarterly earnings dropped by over 45%.
Finally, we get to an American car company that has its headquarters in the U.S., General Motors Corporation. During the last year, the stock has traded between 19 and 38, and bouncing all over the place during the last six months. It appears to be propped up by its 3.3% yield. However, their earnings are negative and the P/S is a bizarre .08 [generally, when a price sales ratio is below 1, it is a good sign. However, when it is extremely low, it generally means something strange is going on.] Quarterly revenues are negative and return on equity is a negative 43%. Fortunately, GM has some convertible bonds available, which would be a safer way to invest in the company.
Trivia: The market cap of Toyota stock is about equal to Honda, Daimlerchrysler, and GM combined.
Ford Motor Co. (F) comes right after GM in terms of market cap. Negative earnings, P/S of .1 and a yield of 2.3%. Return on equity is an unbelievably negative 252%. Ford also has convertibles available for investing in, as alternatives to the common stock.
Last but not least on the list is Tata Motors Ltd. (TTM) which is an India based company which manufactures cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles.Their P/E is a reasonably low 14, the P/S is .86, and the PEG is a fantastic .62. Quarterly revenue growth is over 60% and quarterly earnings growth is over 30%. They even pay a small dividend of 1.7%. Is this a hidden gem? If you are willing to invest in a non-US, non-German, non-Japanese company, Tata may be worth further investigation.

Author owns DCX and F.

Earnings of Publisher of Harry Potter Down Substantially

Bloomsbury Publishing (BMBYF.PK), which trades sporadically in the US on the pink sheets, but trades primarily in London, reported that their annual earnings dropped 74%, primarily due to the fact that there weren't any new Harry Potter bestsellers in 2006.

Wall Street Stock Market Humor

How about a little investment and stock market humor?
Broker: What you become after investing in dot com stocks.
Bull: What comes out of your stockbroker's mouth.
Bear: What your brokerage account becomes after investing in Enron.
Short: What you end up being after shorting stocks in your portfolio.
Bond: A thing you used to have between you and your stockbroker before he lost your money.
Call: What a stockbroker does when he has a hot tip for you.
Tip: What you won't be leaving your waiter, if you invest based on his hot stock ideas.
Over the Counter: Where you'll be getting your food from when you go out to dinner, after losing your money in the stock market.
Volume: What you turn up on the radio when the financial report comes on.
The above is copyrighted by (used with permission) and courtesy of InvestmentTrivia.com.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Google offering Toilet Internet Service Provider (TiSP)

In case you missed it yesterday [I missed it, I was too sick to even get on the computer yesterday], Google (GOOG) offered on its website a Toilet Internet Service Provider service, which was free high-speed wireless Internet through your toilet. Of course it was an April Fools joke.

China is Putting an End to Tomb Futures Trading

China is banning the speculation of buying and selling graves, after many investors went bankrupt. Some trading involved scams which didn't even own the tombs to begin with.

Autism Treatment and Cure Stocks

One out of every 133 or 150 children [depending on which source you use] are born with autism. It is considered to be a developmental disability that results from a disorder of the human central nervous system impairing social interaction, communication, and other activities. There are a couple ways to invest in the autism arena. One is to invest in the pharmaceutical companies that make drugs for treating the autism related disorders. The other is to find a company that is searching for a direct cure.

In the first category, there are several drug company options. Risperidal, developed and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of the New York Stock Exchange traded company Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), is an antipsychotic medication which is used in lower doses to treat autistic disorders and has FDA approval for use of the drug for symptomatic treatment of irritability in autistic children and teenagers. Prozac [Fluoxetine hydrochloride] which is made by Eli Lilly and Company (LLY), also traded on the NYSE, has been approved by the FDA for both obsessive compulsive disorder and depression in autistic children age 7 and older. Ritalin is a Methylphenidate drug which, although generally used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has also been prescribed for children with autism. It is produced by the company Novartis AG (NVS), the ADR of which trades on the NYSE; however, the generic version of the drug far outsells Ritalin.

The other approach to autism stocks is Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. (NSTK), which is currently in a Phase 2 Trial of synthetic oxytocin through the use of a nasal spray. Autistic children have been found to have deficiencies of oxytocin. The company is also involved in the development of treatments for osteoporosis, obesity, inflammation, and metabolic diseases. As with many of these smaller pharmaceutical companies, they have negative earnings and a high price sales ratio of 9.65. Fortunately, year over year quarterly revenue growth was over 270%. Exercise caution before considering this stock since the market cap is only about $275 million.

As long as we are on this topic, I have two books I can recommend relating to autism. The first book is a novel and is called
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is written by Mark Haddon. It is a mystery with the main character writing in first person is mildly autistic and a savant. It is a very unique writing style with the character writing in detail about what he sees and what he does and why he does it.

Mathematics is also weaved into the story, but it is interesting math, not boring math. For example, a prime number is a number that can only be divided into evenly by itself or the number one. So, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, are all prime numbers. If you assign a letter of the alphabet to each regular number [i.e. a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4], then assign those values to the letters in the name ‘Sherlock Holmes’, the numbers will add up to a prime number. The same works for ‘Doctor Watson’. The author of the book, who is British, has treated thousands of autistic individuals.

The other book,
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant written by Daniel Tammet, who is also British, is an autobiography of a mildly autistic savant.

Author has a nephew who is severely autistic and does not own any of the above stocks.

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