Saturday, June 30, 2007

Delta Passenger Confronts Pilot in Cockpit

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) plane at Kennedy airport, who was wearing a helmet camcorder, confronted a pilot in the cockpit about the delay, and got it all on video.

Universal Resolver discussed by Yahoo Technology Developer

Bradley Horowitz , a Yahoo (YHOO) Technology Developer, has described a universal resolver, which is a unique identifier of everything and can be used for such things as a device that can tell you whether what you are buying is a good deal or not.

Invest in Land on the Moon?!

The Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Co. in China tried so sell land on the moon for $38 per acre, but Chinese authorities stopped them, saying they can't sell what isn't theirs. The company also tried selling 'air from the World Cup' but the Chinese courts said 'No'.

Subprime Losses Could be as Much as $250 Billion

Investors Insight has written an excellent article about how the Bear Stearns subprime fiasco could just be a drop in the bucket. They mention that the subprime issue is not over and discuss if there would be any spillover to other markets. The article also has extensive information about the cost of fuel.

Take a Swing at Tennis Stocks: and Why does IBM and Ralph Lauren appear on the list

It is summer time, which means tennis fans around the world are watching the Wimbledon tennis tournament take place. Here is a trivia question: When were yellow tennis balls first used at Wimbledon? Answer: 1986. Here’s another: When was Wimbledon first broadcast on TV? Answer: 1937.

There is definitely an investment angle to Wimbledon; as a matter of fact, Wimbledon issues debentures [bonds]. The Centre Court debentures are issued in maturities of five years, and entitles the owners to one ticket for every day of The Lawn Tennis Championships during the related period and a pass to the Centre Court Debenture Holders’ Lounge. Barclays Capital Securities Limited makes a market in the bonds.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tennis stocks to choose from, and a few which may be worth taking a swing at.

Nike Inc. (NKE) the famous athletic shoe manufacturer and maker of sports apparel and equipment, has a P/E of 20 and a PEG of 1.3. It even pays a dividend of 1.3%.

Adidas AG (ADDYY.PK) makes reebok and Adidas tennis shoes. Based on its first dividend, it yields 0.1%.

K-Swiss Inc. (KSWS), which trades on NASDAQ, manufactures tennis gear and has a P/E ratio of 14.3, a PEG of 1.55, and even has a small yield of 0.7%.

Puma AG Spons. ADR (PMMAY.PK) is the German manufacturer of high quality athletic shoes and other sportswear. This stock falls into the high priced share category, selling for over $440 per share. The yield is 0.7% based on its annual dividend.

Amer Sports Cp SP AD (AGPDY.PK) is the Finnish company that owns Wilson Sporting Goods organization, which makes popular tennis racquets that have been used by Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Flavio Saretta, Jack Kramer, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf. They have paid annual dividends in six out of the last seven years.

Head NV (HED) is a sporting goods and clothing manufacturer, well known for their tennis racquets of which about 30% of the top 100 ATP Tour players use. They are used by many tennis players such as Andre Agassi, Ivan Ljubicic, Richard Gasquet, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Gaël Monfils, Marat Safin, Svetlana Kuznetsova. The company currently has very low earnings but a P/S ratio of .31.

K2 Inc. (KTO) makes tennis racquets and clothing through its Völkl division. The stock has a P/E of 20 and a PEG of 1.34.

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (DKS) has over 290 sporting goods stores mostly in the eastern United States. They sell tennis equipment along with numerous other types of sports equipment. The stock has a P/E of 26.5 and a PEG of 1.22.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) appears on this list and you are probably wondering why. They are one of the major sponsors of Wimbledon, and their ads appear at the top of the Wimbledon home page and on every other page on their site. IBM’s P/E is 16.8, the PEG is 1.43, and the yield is 1.5%.

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) is another company about which you may be wondering why. They are the first company in over 125 years to provide uniforms for the tournament's on-court officials, including the , the 570 umpires, ball girls and ball boys. RL has a P/E of 26, a PEG of 1.62, and a very small yield of 0.2%.
General Electric Co. (GE) owns NBC which is broadcasting Wimbledon. GE has a P/E of 19, a PEG of 1.64, and a yield of 2.9%.

Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) is showing the Wimbledon tournament on their cellphones for subscribers to Verizon Wireless' V Cast Mobile TV. Verizon has a P/E of 19.8, a PEG of 2.58, and a yield of 3.9%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Stockerblog.com on CNBC

In case you missed it, the author of Stockerblog.com was on CNBC last Tuesday night, regarding the Paris Hilton Stock Index.

Italian Stocks: Companies from the Boot Country

Italian facts:
1. It has the seventh highest GDP in the world.
2. The 17th highest Human Development Index rating in the world.
3. A founding member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Western European Union and the Central European Initiative.
4. It has the fourth largest economy in Europe.
5. The sixth largest exporter of manufactured goods in the world.
6. The fifth major tourist destination in the world
7. Exports includes cars, chemicals, aerospace, firearms, food, fashion clothing, and yachts.
8. There are 27 major ports in Italy.

Here are some stocks from the ‘Boot Country”, but don’t give them the boot until you’ve looked into them; you may get a kick out of a few.

Benetton Group SpA (BNG) makes and sells fashion clothing for men, women, and children. Some of the brands include Playlife, Killer Loop , United Colors of Benetton, Undercolors, and Sisley brands. The P/E is 18.4 and the P/S is 1.21, with a yield of 2.1%.

Enel SpA (EN) generates and distributes electricity and natural gas throughout Italy. The stock has a P/E of 15.8 and has a P/S of 1.3. It pays a generous yield of 5.3%; dividends have been paid at least once a year for seven years.

Eni SpA (E) is lucky enough to hold one of the one-letter stock ticker symbols. The company is involved in the oil and gas business, electrical generation, petrochemicals, and oilfield services. The stock has a very low P/E of 4.5, a low P/S of 0.47, and a PEG of a 3.4.

Fiat SPA ADS (FIA), the famous Italian automobile manufacturer, trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock pays a small yield of 0.5% based on its latest dividend, and has paid dividends sporadically for over 15 years.

Gentium S.p.A (GENT) is a biotech company is involved in the research and manufacturing of treatments for vascular diseases and cancer. Earnings have been negative and the P/S is 38.

Luxottica Group SpA (LUX) makes and sells high quality eyeglass frames and sunglasses, including such brands as Ray-Ban, Vogue, Luxottica, Chanel, Prada, Versace, Bulgari, DKNY, Brooks Brothers and Anne Klein. The stock has a P/E of 29 and a P/S of 2.74. It even generates a yield of 1.8%.

Natuzzi SpA (NTZ) makes and sells fabric and leather furniture which is sold in Europe and the United States. The stock has an extremely high P/E of 398, yet a very low P/S of 0.46.

Telecom Italia (TI), an NYSE traded company that provides telecommunications services in Italy. The P/E is 25 and the yield is approximately 5% based on its latest annual dividend, which has been paid for the last four years.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Paris Hilton Stock Index


Components of the Paris Hilton Stock Index:
PARL - Paris Perfumes
NWS - The Simple Life - Entertainment Group - News Corporation
TWX - Larry King Live - CNN - TBS - Time Warner
DCX - makes Mercedes Benz cars
CKR - spokesperson - Carl's Jr. - CKE Restaurants, Inc.
WMG - Paris Music Album - Heiress Records label - Warner Music Group
AMZN - Paris jewelry line
CBS - Confessions of an Heiress book - Simon & Schuster - CBS Corporation
GES - Advertising campaigns

To track and to see more details on the Paris Hilton connection to these stocks, go to Stockpickr.com, and check out the Paris Hilton Stock Portfolio.

Assumptions:
This is a price-weighted index, similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Dividends were excluded.

Returns:
Up over 10% from May 1 until the time she first went to jail.
Outperformed the S&P 500 which was only up only 3.6% during the same time frame.
Outperformed the Dow which was only up only 4.1% during the same time frame.
Dropped about 2.5% while she was going through her jail experience. [Let's hope she stays out of jail.]


Paris Hilton Stock Index


Author owns TWX and DCX.

Summer Reading: Stock Market Books

Need a book to read on the plane or while you are sitting on the beach when travelling this summer? Check out some of these books related to investing and the stock market.

Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich

Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich

The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor's Kit: How to Make Money Buying Distressed Real Estate -- Before the Public Auction

Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (6th Edition)

SuperCash: The New Hedge Fund Capitalism (Wiley Trading)

If you are looking for a gift for someone who may be having a birthday this summer, how about Amazon Gift Certificates

Antigua and Barbuda Asking for Sanctions against US re Gambling

Antigua and Barbuda want $3.4 billion in sanctions from the United States because the U.S. is preventing the island country's banks and credit card firms from allowing payments for gambling sites outside the U.S., in violation of a World Trade Organization [WTO] agreement.

My Favorite Stock Charts So Far This Year

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

New Century Financial (NEWCQ)

Amazon (AMZN)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Irish Stocks: The Other Green Companies

Did you know that the largest building in North America will be built in Chicago by an Irish developer, Garrett Kelleher, executive chairman of Shelbourne Development Ltd.? It will be spiral shaped and will look like a drill bit, with 124 stories.

Ireland Facts:
1. It is the largest exporter of software-related goods and services in the world.
2. There is no tax on royalties from copyrighted goods.
3. GDP growth for 2005 was 4.7%.
4. The country has the second highest GDP per capita in the world.
5. It is number 4 out of all countries on the Human Development Index.
6. Gross National Income per head is the seventh highest in the world.
7. It has the best quality of life in the world according to The Economist magazine.
8. 99.9% literacy rate – tied for first in the world.
9. Number 3 in the world in terms of Economic Freedom.
10. Lower unemployment rate that the United States, Australia, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, and many other major countries around the world.

Here are some stocks which may have a little Irish luck attached to them.

Allied Irish Banks plc (AIB) is a Dublin based bank holding company, with branches in Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland. The price earnings ratio is a favorable 8.5, the price sales ratio is 1.7, and the yield is 3.3%.

Bank of Ireland (IRE), the oldest bank in Ireland, founded in 1783, has branches in Ireland and the U.K. The stock has a P/E of 8.9, a P/S of 2.3 and a relatively high yield of 5%. Dividends have been paid twice a year for the last ten years.

C&C Group plc (CCGGY), formally known as Cantrell & Cochrane Limited, is a large manufacturer and seller of beverages in Ireland. And has a popular cider brand Bulmers, also known as Magners. The P/E is 22, the P/S is 3.7, and the yield is 2.4%.

CRH plc (CRH), formerly known as Cement-Roadstone Holdings plc, manufactures building materials, such as cement, asphalt, concrete, and lime. They recently invested in a cement factory and eight cement production plants in China. The P/E is 15, the PEG is 1.8, and the P/S is 1.1.

Elan Corp. plc (ELN) is involved in the development of therapies in the areas of autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases and drug optimization technologies. They are working on NanoCrystal technology which reduces crystalline drugs to extremely small particles under 400 nanometers. The company has had negative earnings and a P/S of 16.5.

Genesis Lease Ltd (GLS) is a a commercial aircraft leasing company based in Limerick. The P/E is 30.8, the PEG is 1.9, the P/S is 6.35, and the yield is 1.9%.

ICON plc (ICLR) provides outsourcing services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The company has a P/E of 29, a PEG of 1.25, and a P/S of 2.5.

IONA Technologies plc (IONA) develops distributed service-oriented architecture [SOA] infrastructure software, which allows connection of diverse systems without requiring a centralized server. The P/E is 656, and the P/S is 2.5. This is a very low cap stock and therefore should be considered very speculative.

Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY) is the famous low cost airline that happens to be one of the largest airlines in the world, the largest in Europe in terms of number of passengers. The stock has a P/E of 20, a PEG of 1.2, and a P/S of 3.9.

Trinity Biotech plc (TRIB) makes and sells medical diagnostic products used to detect autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, sexually transmitted diseases, intestinal infections, lung infections, cardiovascular diseases, HIV antibodies, diabetes, liver diseases and intestine diseases. The stock’s P/E is 42, the PEG is 0.83, and the P/S is 1.6. This is a low cap stock and therefore should be considered speculative.

Trintech Group plc (TTPA) creates and markets financial software for the commercial, financial, and healthcare markets. The forward P/E is 25 and the P/S is 2.4. This is a very low cap stock and therefore should be considered very speculative.

Author owns RYAAY.

By Stockerblog.com

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Real Estate Investors: Malibu Rapper House Now Available

If you have $6.2 million to invest, you can pick up the Malibu house of rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, who recently declared bankruptcy. The house has seven-bedrooms and nine-and-a-half bathrooms.

All Electric Flying Car

Yesterday, I told you about a flying boat. Today, you can consider investing your stock market profits in an all electric flying car. You can see a picture of it here.

Dutch Stocks: Conservative Companies from a Liberal Country

Did you know that the oldest known ‘modern day’ stock certificate is from The Netherlands? It is the Dutch Vereinigte Oostindische Compaignie VOC dated 1606.

Quick facts:

1. The northeastern part of the country has one of the largest natural gas fields in the world.
2. It is number 10 of all countries in GDP (nominal) per capita.
3. It has the 16th largest economy in the world.
4. Inflation is only 1.3%.
5. It has the lowest unemployment rate of all European Union member states.
6. It is number 3 in terms of of agricultural exports.
7. 85% of the total population speak English.

Here are some Dutch stocks worth investigating, most of which trade on the New York Stock Exchange and almost all pay dividends.

ABN AMRO Holding NV ADS (ABN) is an Amsterdam based company that owns one of the largest banks in Europe. The stock has a yield of 2.9% and has a P/E of 14.3.

Aegon NV (AEG), one of the world’s largest insurance companies has a forward P/E 10.1, and a PEG is 2.2. It has paid dividends twice a year for 15 years, and yields 3.6%.

Arcelor Mittal (MT), a manufacturer of steel and steel products, carries a yield of 1.7%. The stock has a P/E of 10.9.

CNH Global NV (CNH) makes agricultural and construction equipment. They pay a small yield of 0.5% and has a P/E of 35.

Crucell NV (CRXL) is a biotech company involved in the production of antibodies and vaccines that treat and prevent diseases. The company has had negative earnings.

Head N.V. (HED) the famous maker of Head skis, manufactures and sells sporting goods relating to skiing, racket sports, and diving. The yield is a high 8.1%, based on last year’s annual dividend. Dividends have only been paid in three of the last six years, and has generated negative earnings.

Heineken NV ADR (HINKY.PK), the noted brewery, has a forward P/E of 17.4 and a yield of 1%.

ING Group NV ADS (ING) is in the business of banking, insurance and investment management services and has a yield of 2.2%. Forward P/E is 8.85.

Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (AHO) operates retail stores in Europe and. the United States. The P/E is 16.9. It hasn’t paid dividends since 2002.

Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (PHG) produces healthcare, lifestyle, and technology electronics. It has a yield of 1.6% and a P/E of 6.

OCE ADR (OCENY), which trades on NASDAQ, develops and sells printing and document management systems. It yields 5.8%, with a P/E of 23. dividends have been paid twice a year for the last 12 years.

Reed Elsevier NV (ENL) is the publishing company that owns Elsevier, LexisNexis, Harcourt Education, and Reed Business. The yield is 3.6% and the P/E is 24.6.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. It has a forward P/E of 10.9 and a 3.3% yield. Dividends have been paid quarterly.

Royal KPN NV (KPN) is a Dutch telecommunications company. The forward P/E is 15.3 and the yield is 4%. Dividends are paid twice a year and have been paid for the last 12 years.

TNT NV (TNTTY.PK) is an express delivery company. P/E is 14.4, with a 1.2% yield.

Unilever NV (UN) is the well known consumer goods, food, and personal care product manufacturer which yields 3.6%. It has a P/E of 14.

van der Moolen Holdings NV (VDM) is an international investment brokerage and trading company, which has a yield of 3%, based on last year’s dividend, of which has been very erratic. Earnings have been negative.

By the way, if you are looking for a resource on ADRs of countries around the world, I strongly recommend ADR.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Flying Boat

How about investing your stock market profits in a flying boat. Want to see a picture and a video of it?

Fruit Picking Robot: Solution to the Illegal Immigration Program?

A private San Diego company, Vision Robotics, is working on a robot that replaces farm workers, that would be able to pick various types of fruit, such as apples and oranges.

Hitachi Develops Telekinesis Machine

Hitachi Ltd. (HIT), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has developed a 'Telekinesis' [also known as psychokinesis] machine, that you put on your head and will allow you to move objects with your thoughts.

Summer Stocks: Will Airline Stocks be Flying High?

Vacationers who wish to travel long distances still use trains and automobiles, but planes are still the preferred mode of travel. If the price of oil drops, the airlines’ profit margin can increase significantly, depending on if and how much fuel hedging they have done. Fortunately, there are a lot of United States based airlines to choose from.

AMR Corporation (AMR), which owns American Airlines, has flights all over North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The stock has a price to earnings ratio of 18, a price earnings to growth ratio of 0.41, and a price to sales ratio of 0.29.

Continental Airlines, Inc. (CAL) serves the United State, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo. The P/E is 8.9, the PEG is 0.58, and the P/S is 0.25.

Delta Air Lines Inc. [new shares] (DAL), which just came out of bankruptcy, has flights to 99 countries around the world. The forward P/E is 12.6, the PEG is 1.55, and the P/S is 0.22.

Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWA) hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo, and Amsterdam, and serves 160 countries. The stock has a forward P/E of 10.2, a PEG of 1.36, and a PS of 0.16.

UAL Corporation (UAUA) owns United Air Lines, with hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. It flies to 157 different countries. The P/E is 53, the PEG is 0.98, and the P/S is 0.23.

US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC) has flights in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. The P/E is 9, the PEG is 1.25, and the P/S is 0.23. Trivia Question: What does the LCC stock ticker symbol stand for?

AirTran Holdings Inc. (AAI) serves the eastern United States, from its hub in Atlanta, Georgia. The stock’s P/E is 40, the PEG is 1, and the P/S is 0.53.

Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) owns both Alaska Air and Horizon Air, and serves Alaska, the western U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The P/E is 70, the PEG is 0.77, and the P/S is 0.34.

Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT) provides scheduled flights moderate size locations to Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando, Florida. The P/E is 50, the PEG is 1.34, and the P/S is 2.4.

ExpressJet Holdings Inc. (XJT) owns Continental Express and serves North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The P/E is 14.4, the PEG is 0.68, and the P/S is 0.19.

Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. (FRNT) is based in Denver, Colorado and flies across the U.S., and to Canada and Mexico. The stock has a forward P/E of 29. a PEG of 9.8 and a P/S of .18.

Great Lakes Aviation Ltd. (GLUX.OB) serves nine states. The P/E is 2.02 and the P/S is 0.37. This is an extremely low capitalization stock and should be considered extremely speculative.

Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (HA) owns Hawaiian Airlines, with flights between Hawaii and California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Earnings have been negative and the P/S is 0.20. This is another very low cap stock that should also be considered extremely speculative.

JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) has flights to 21 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The stock has a high P/E of 221, a PEG of 3.67, and a P/s of 0.80.

MAIR Holdings Inc. (MAIR), which owns Big Sky Transportation, has flights to Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. Earnings have been negative and the P/S is 5.74. Another low cap speculative stock.

Mesa Air Group Inc. (MESA) flies throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. The P/E is 169, the PEG is 1.2, and the P/S is 0.16.

Midwest Air Group Inc. (MEH) has flights around the Midwest and to Toronto, Canada. The P/E is 16.5 and the P/s is 0.54.

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (PNCL) provides airline capacity to Northwest Airlines, Continental, United, and US Airways. The P/E is 5.7 and the P/S is 0.52.

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (RJET) has flights in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The P/E is 11.3, a PEG of 0.78, and a P/S of 0.75.

SkyWest Inc. (SKYW) is a Utah based company which has flights to destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The P/E is 11.9, a PEG of 0.86, and a P/S of 0.56. It even pays a small dividend of 0.4%.

Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) is the only other dividend paying U.S. airline, with a yield of 1%. The stock has been paying dividends since 1980. The P/E is 22.8, the PEG is 1.57, and the P/S is 1.25.

Author owns LCC, AAI, XJT, GLUX.OB, HA, PNCL, and LUV, all of which have been owned for years. Many of the stocks on this list have very small caps under $300 million and therefore should be considered extremely speculative. These are not recommended as investments.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yahoo Buys Rivals.com

The first major transaction that Jerry Yang did as head of Yahoo (YHOO) is to buy the college sports website Rivals.com. The purchase price was not disclosed, although Scout.com, a similar site, was bought by News Corp at $60 million a year ago. Rivals.com has about 185,000 subscribers and pay roughly $10 per month for accessing information.

London Stock Exchange Bidding for Italian Borsa

According to a news article from the BBC, the London Stock Exchange (LDNXF.PK), which in addition to trading on its own exchange, also trades on the Pink Sheets in the United States, is in talks with the Italian Borsa [stock exchange] regarding a takeover for $2 billion.

Farming is a Hot Industry in Germany: Especially Among Young Females

Apparently, farming is a desirable occupation for young attractive German women. The 2008 Young Female Farmers' calendar is being released and always sells out very quickly. If you want to know why, check out this video.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Warren Buffett Short Squeezes

If you are looking for a short term stock play but want the backup of turning the position into a long term investment, you might want to look at the investments that are owned by an outstanding investment professional for the long term aspect, and a high short ratio (the number of days it takes to cover a short position based on the average daily volume of shares traded) for the possibility of a short term spike.

Warren Buffett, one of the superheroes of investing, has had an outstanding track record with his Berkshire Hathaway company. Surprisingly, there are ten stocks that Buffett owns with short ratios of three or more.

The Buffett stock with the greatest short ratio is USG Corp. (USG), the gypsum and building materials manufacturer. Their short ratio is 8.2, which means that it would take more than eight days for the short sellers to cover their positions based on the number of shares that trade on a daily basis. If the short sellers want (or need) to cover their positions quickly, the price of the stock can shoot up quickly, especially since 18.2% of the float has been shorted. USG has a price to earnings ratio of 7.85 and a price earnings to growth ratio of 2.55.

Another high short ratio stock that Buffett owns is H&R Block, Inc. (HRB), the tax preparation company. The stock is currently carrying a short ratio of 7 with 7.25% of the float shorted. H&R has a P/E of 31.3 and a PEG of 1.23. The stock also has a yield of 2.5%.

Washington Post Co. (WPO) is one of the highest priced stocks, trading above 750 per share. It also happens to be a stock which Warren Buffett owns and a stock with a fairly high Days to Cover Ratio (short ratio) of 6. The P/E is 23 and a PEG of 2.15, with a yield of 1.1%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Very Small Art Sells for Very Big Bucks

Art on the head of a needle! Willard Wigan is a micro-artist who creates extremely small art using a microscope. A large group of his art work recently sold for $20 million. You can see a picture of one of his works here. The art market is still hot, no matter what the stock market is doing.

Fake iPhones being sold in China

iPhone's are being released by Apple Inc. (AAPL), which trades on NASDAQ, at the end of June. But you can always buy a fake iPhone, made in China. Wired.com shows a video of the iPhone, which at first glance, looks close to the real thing. Check it out!

Nicotine for Alzheimer's or Schizophrenia

A small biotech company, Targacept, Inc. (TRGT), which trades on NASDAQ, is doing research into treatments and cures with pharmaceuticals inspired by nicotine. They are currently in Phase II clinical trials for a drug which can treat Alzheimer's or Schizophrenia. 4% of Targacept is owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Targacept received funding for its research from AstraZeneca plc (AZN), which also trades on the NYSE.

Skinny Woman Win's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

A 107 pound woman won a hot dog eating contest sponsored by Nathan's Famous Inc. (NATH), which trades on NASDAQ. She competed against all men, many of whom weighed over 300 pounds each. She ate 26 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Rejection Rejection Letter: Do You Hire Employees?

If you hire employees, you should check out this Rejection Rejection Letter.

Australia Stocks: Companies from Down Under

Facts about Australia:
1. It was ranked third in the United Nations' 2006 Human Development Index.
2. It was ranked sixth in The Economist worldwide quality-of-life index 2005.
3. It has a per capita GDP higher than the UK, Germany and France.
4. It has continued privatization of state-owned businesses.
5. Over the last 10 years, inflation has generally ranged from 2% to 3%.
6. 69% of GDP comes from the service sector which includes tourism, education, and financial services.
7. Australia's largest export markets are China, Japan, the US, South Korea and New Zealand.

Are you looking for stocks down under? Here are a few worth taking a gander at, that trade mostly on either on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. Some are very large and some are very small which should be considered very speculative.

Alumina Ltd. (AWC) is a large mining company which is involved in bauxite mining, alumina refining, and aluminum smelting. They have operations in Texas, Suriname, Jamaica, Brazil, Spain, and Guinea. The P/E is 18, the PEG is .66, and the stock has a yield of 2.8%.

Amcor Ltd. (AMCRY.PK) is packaging and paper company. The P/E is 93 and the P/S is 2.35.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) is the third largest bank in Australia. The P/E is 14, the PEG is 1.5, and the stock generates a yield of 4.2%.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and BHP Billiton plc (BBL) is the world's largest mining company, iron ore, diamonds, manganese, coal, copper, nickel, petroleum and bauxite. The Australian BHP Billiton Limited and the British BHP Billiton Plc trade separately with separate shareholders but they operate as one business with the same boards of directors and one management structure. The P/E is 14.5, the PEG is 1.5, and the yield is 2.2%.

Coca Cola Amatil Ltd. (CCLAY.PK) is Australia's largest soft drink bottler. It has a forward P/E 16.6, a PEG of 2, and a yield of 3.2%.

Genetic Technologies Ltd. (GENE) is a genetics and genomics company which licenses patents for the use of non-coding DNA, and provides genetic testing services. The stock has had negative earnings with a price sales ratio of 7.9.

Metal Storm Ltd. (MTSX) is a Brisbane based technology defense company which manufactures and markets electronically initiated ballistics systems. Earnings have been negative with a price sales ratio of 30.4.

Pharmaxis Ltd. (PXSL) develops therapeutic products for the treatment of chronic respiratory and inflammatory/autoimmune diseases. Earnings have been negative with an extremely high P/S of 3,962.

Prana Biotechnology Ltd. (PRAN) is a biotech company involved in the research and development of drugs to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease. Earnings have been negative with a P/S ratio of 91.

Psivida Ltd. (PSDV) a biotech company based in Perth which develops nanotechnology products for ophthalmology and oncology uses. Earnings have been negative with a P/S ratio of 24.

Rinker Group Ltd. (RIN) manufactures heavy building materials. It has a P/E of 18 and a P/S of 2.65, with a yield of 3.6%.

Telstra Corporation ADS (TLSYY.PK) is a large Australian telecommunications company. The forward P/E is 19.5 and the PEG is 8. It has a yield of 5.4%.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBK) is the fourth largest bank in Australia. It is the most sustainable bank in the world for five years in a row according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The P/E is 14.8 and the PEG is 1.5. It pays a yield of 4.8%.

Another option is the CurrencyShares Australian Dollar Trust (FXA) which tracks the price of the Australian Dollar.

Author owns CCLAY.PK.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Apple May License Nintendo Games

Apple Inc. (AAPL), which trades on NASDAQ, may license some games from Nintendo(NTDOY.PK), which trades on the Pink Sheets, for the iPhone, according to the latest rumor.

How about a West Coast Island for all your Real Estate Investors?

Private islands which come up for sale in the United States are very rare, usually on the East Coast. Private islands on the West Coast are extremely rare. So now is your chance! The 5.8 acre Red Rock Island in the San Francisco Bay Area is for sale for $10 million. The owner bought the island for less than $50,000 back in 1964.

$10 per Month for AT&T DSL

AT&T (T), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has a big secret. It is offering DSL service for $10 per month in 22 states served by the former BellSouth.

Need a Job? How about Working on Mars?

The European Space Agency is hiring six astronauts to work in a Mars-like simulation for 17 months.

Monday, June 18, 2007

China Company Sells Solar Powered Phone

The China based company, Hi-Tech Wealth Inc. (HITW.OB) a maker of various types of gadgets which trades on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board in the United States, has just released their solar powered cell phone. Please consider this a very speculative stock.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

STARmeter Ratings of People in Business

One of the subsidiaries of Amazon (AMZN) is IMDb.com [International Movie Database], which is the largest database in the world of motion pictures, television shows, actors and production crews. IMDb now has a feature called STARmeter, which are rankings of every person in IMDb and gives the popularity of the people in film and television productions, based on the actual behavior of millions of IMDb users.

Here is a sampling of some of the well known people in businesses along with a few celebs thrown in. What is shown is the percent change since last week. Note that Jim Cramer and Donald Trump were the only ones who were up on this list.

Warren Buffett -35%
Jim Cramer +65%
Bill Gates -13%
Steve Jobs -18%
Donald Trump +24%

Paris Hilton -57%
Nicole Ritchie -23%
Angelina Jolie -62%
Johnny Depp 0%

What is really, really unusual is that I am listed as being up 37%. [For those of you who know me, you can look it up.]

Triple Witching Day Closings: This is Strange

When I was reviewing the closing prices of several stocks for last Friday, June 15, I noticed that NYSE Euronext, Inc. (NYX) closed at exactly 80 per share, not 80.01 or 79.99, but 80.00 right on the dot. I thought it was kind of unusual that the stock closed on triple witching day exactly on the strike price, especially since the stock closed above 85 just ten days earlier. Triple Witching Day is when options, index options and futures all expire on the same day, which in this case was last Friday.

If the stock is trading somewhere between the strike prices of 80 and 85, and you are wondering what the odds of the stock ending up at one of those strike prices versus somewhere in between, it is two out of 501, or less than four tenths of one percent of that happening. And if you include the possibility that the stock might have closed somewhere between 77.50 and 87.50, then the odds of the stock closing exactly at either of the two strikes is extremely small. Was there something going on with NYX or was it just a lucky chance that the sellers of the 80 calls had those calls expire totally worthless right down to the penny?

Other stocks that closed right on the strike price down to the penny last Friday include Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) at 45 and Freddie Mac (FRE) which closed at 65.

Author owns NYX.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Bill and Hillary Clinton Stock Portfolio

By now, you have probably heard that all the stocks in the blind trust of former president Bill Clinton and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has been liquidated, to avoid any appearance of a political conflict of interest. Some of the stocks that turned up in their portfolio surprised some observers, such as BP (BP) and Exxon Mobile (XOM). Maybe the Clinton advisers came up with some interesting opportunities. Here are eight of their largest holdings.

A less common name that appears on the list is Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), a Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotech company which develops therapies for oncology, neurology, and immunology. The stock is up over 42% during the last couple years. The P/E is 78 and the PEG is 1.5.

Another stockholding which has raised eyebrows is Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), which, according to the New York Times, the Obama campaign said has moved American jobs to India. This famous manufacturer of network equipment has a P/E of 24.5 and a PEG of 1.2.

The large conglomerate, General Electric Co. (GE), was another stock on the list. The P/E is 19. the PEG is 1.7, with a yield of 3%.

The Home Depot, Inc (HD) shares were also in their portfolio. This retailer of home improvement and building supplies has a P/E of 14.4 and a PEG of 1.1. The yield is 2.4%.

Four of the other largest holdings include:

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. (MER) for which the P/E is 9.5, the PEG is .9, and the yield is 1.6%.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), which has a P/E of 22, a PEG of 1.5, and a yield of 1.3%.

Time Warner Inc. (TWX), which has a P/E of 13.5, a PEG of 1.3, and a yield of 1.1%.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which has a P/E of 16, a PEG of 1.35, and a yield of 0.9%.

Author owns MSFT, TWX, and DIS.

Applebee's Gives Tequila to Two Year Old

A San Francisco Bay Area restaurant of Applebee's International Inc. (APPB), which trades on NASDAQ, accidentally served a margarita to a two year old in the child's drinking cup, according to the article. The child later threw it up and was rushed to the hospital.

Google Referred to in Church Sign

Google (GOOG), which trades on NASDAQ, was referred to on a church sign. You can see a picture of the sign along with fourteen other interesting and funny signs at the oddee website.

Highest Yielding Israeli Stocks

During the turmoil in the Middle East last week, several Israeli stocks either took a hit or traded very choppily. Some investors have been looking towards Israel for buying opportunities. To help reduce risk, there are several stocks of companies based in Israel that pay dividends. Here is a list of ten Israeli stocks and one Closed End Fund worth looking into. Please note that several of these stocks have very short term dividend track records, some dividends have fluctuated significantly, and some companies have skipped dividends altogether for certain years.

American Israeli Paper Mills Ltd. (AIP), which trades on the American Stock Exchange, has a very high yield of 15.2%, based on what was reported on the company’s financial for 2006, and the conversion rate of $1=NIS 4.155. The dividend has been very erratic, fluctuating significantly. Although dividends have been paid for the last 15 years, it appears that they haven’t been paid every year. The company manufactures and markets numerous types of paper and paper products. The stock has a very high price earnings ratio of 472 and a price sales ratio of 1.82. The stock is very illiquid.

Formula Systems (1985) Ltd. (FORTY), which trades on NASDAQ, develops and sells information technology solutions and services to large corporations. The stock has a yield of 8.3%, based on last year’s annual dividend payment. They have a very short dividend track record. The P/E is 20.8 and the P/S is .31. This is another very illiquid stock.

Tefron Ltd. (TFR) trades on the New York Stock Exchange and yields 5.3%, based on last year’s two dividend payments which the company just started paying. The company makes and markets swimwear, intimate apparel, and other clothing. The stock has a P/E of 11.5 and the P/S is 1.05.

MIND C.T.I., Ltd. (MNDO) creates and sells mediation, rating, billing, and customer care software for communication companies. The stock yields 7.3%, and has paid dividends annually for five years. The company’s P/E is 42 and the P/S is 3.

Blue Square Israel Ltd. (BSI), which trades on the NYSE, operates a chain of supermarkets in Israel. They have paid dividends at least once a year and generally twice a year for the last ten years, with a current yield of 3.4% based on the last two dividend payments. The P/E is 13.8 and the P/S is .43.

The mobile telecommunications company, Partner Communications Co. Ltd. (PTNR), which trades on NASDAQ, has a yield of 4%, based on its last four quarterly dividends. They have paid quarterly dividends for the last seven quarters. The P/E is 14, the P/S is 1.7, and the PEG is 1.15.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL) is a cellular communications company that yields 2.1%, based on their first dividend that the company has just paid. They trade on the NYSE. The P/E is 17, the P/S is 1.7, and the PEG is 1.2,

Ituran Location & Control Ltd. (ITRN), on NASDAQ, provides stolen vehicle recovery and tracking services. They have operations in Israel, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States. The stock has a P/E of 16, a P/S of 2.8, and a PEG of .81. The stock yields 1.6% and has made only two annual dividend payments.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT) makes and markets defense electronic systems and electro-optic systems. This company has paid dividends, usually quarterly for the last ten years and currently yields 1.5%. The P/E is 24 and the P/S is 1.15.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) makes and sells generic pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical ingredients, and animal health pharmaceuticals. This is one of the longest dividend payers on the list, paying quarterly for over 15 years. The current yield is 1%, the P/E is 17.4, the P/S is 3.4, and the PEG is 1.1.

First Israel Fund Inc. (ISL) is a closed end fund that invests primarily in Israeli stocks. The shares trade on the American Stock Exchange. The P/E is 8.3, the P/S is 42, and the yield is 6.6%, based on its latest reported payment, which includes capital gains. Actual dividend rate is probably around 1%. Dividends have been paid very sporadically for the last 14 years.

Author does not own any of the above.

Friday, June 15, 2007

China has Censored Disney Movie!

China has censored a portion of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, made by Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The reason given was that a section of the film defaces the Chinese.

Man Claims Snakehead found in Can of Beans

A man claims that he found the head of a snake in a can of green beans processed by Seneca Foods Corp. (SENEA), which trades on NASDAQ. Seneca, which down over 2% for the day, had no comment.

State of California Promoting their Bonds Like Crazy on the Radio

The State of California is running numerous radio spots on California radio stations, telling listeners about the benefit of owning the state's municipal bonds, and promoting their web site, BuyCaliforniaBonds.com. The state writes about the advantages of Californians buying the bonds beyond the interest received. The site says the bonds are an investment in the investors own future because the bonds "improve and build new schools, roads, housing, parks, levees and other crucial infrastructure projects."

When you listen to the ad, it makes it sound like investors can buy bonds directly from the state of California on their website. However, when you go to the site, it says that the state bonds must be purchased through a participating investment brokerage firm, of which they list dozens.

The current bond issue being sold is a $2,500,000,000 General Obligation Bond issue rated A+ by Fitch, A1 by Moody's, and A+ by Standard & Poor's. The Retail Order Period is June 18-19, 2007, the Sale Date is June 20, 2007, and the Closing Date is June 28, 2007.

Does the state of California really think that they will have that much trouble selling the bonds that they have to advertise?

Disney CFO says No Mickey Mouse Movie in the Works

Tom Staggs, the chief financial officer of Walt Disney Co. (DIS), said that will not be coming out with a movie with Mickey Mouse as the central character in the near future.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Third Point Hedge Fund going Public in London

The activist hedge fund, Third Point, announced that it will have an IPO stock offering in London, raising $665 million.

40%/Year Hedge Fund Manager Pleads Guilty

Joseph Ferona, a Colorado hedge fund manager who's office was located next to an auto body shop, advertised high hedge fund on a road sign. He promised 40% per year and received $2.9 million from investors, which he used to buy a house, cars and boats, according to RockyMountainNews.com. Ferona plead guilty to fraud.

Banker Steals from Rich, Gives to Poor, Goes to Jail

A banker at the German bank Sparkasse Tauberfranken bank, took money from his wealthy client accounts and transferred the funds to those he thought were needy, was caught and sentenced to jail.

Bill Gates Penny Stock Follow-up: An Analysis of Bad Data

A couple days ago, I wrote a short article about how I found Bill Gates listed as a 10% or more beneficial owner of a small Canadian uranium mining stock called Uravan Minerals Inc. (UVN.V), which trades for less than $2 per share. I emailed the company to verify the info but never heard back.

I did a little more research and went to the Yahoo Finance listing of all insider transactions and discovered some more interesting information. Someone named A Jerrold Perenchio was listed as being an officer who sold 35,283,384 shares of the company at $36.25 per share on March 29, 2007 for a total of $1,279,022,670. That's right, over $1.2 billion. Perenchio happens to be #89 on the Forbes 400 list and has a net worth of $2.6 billion.

The only problem is that Uravan has never traded above $2 per share in its history. The Yahoo Finance site said that the data was provided by EDGAR Online, a private company that is not affiliated with The SEC's EDGAR. I went to EDGAR Online and found that Uravan didn't even come up in their database.

I finally called up Uravan's corporate offices in Calgary, and spoke to Heather who is the Office Administrator there. First she told me that Bill Gates is not and has never been a shareholder of the company. Second, when we went through the list of insider transactions, we discovered that the names of the officers and directors didn't match. She also confirmed that the stock never sold for $36.25 per share.

I did a bit more research and discovered that Univision Communications, Inc. used to have the symbol UVN on the New York Stock Exchange and Perenchio had headed Univision. Univision was taken over in a private equity deal in March at $36.25 per share.

But what about Bill Gates? Did he own shares in Univision? The answer is Yes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sold 100,000 shares of Univision stock on December 18.

So that explains it. It wasn't some scam artist trying to promote the price of the stock by attaching famous names. But the moral to the story is: If it sounds too good to be true, check out the facts.

Please note: By the time you read this, the Insider pages at Yahoo Finance may have already changed, since Uravan is now working on getting it corrected.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Stocks continued: Amusement Parks

"I'm Going to Disneyland!" ~ New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms [1987] and numerous other football players and sports figures since then

One of the most popular destinations for family vacations and teenage dates is the amusement park. The oldest amusement park was Bakken which was created in 1583 near Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, amusement parks, and now theme parks, have become desirable attractions for children, teenagers, and adults. Maybe it’s time to take a ride on one of the amusement park companies.

Cedar Fair LP (FUN), which has a great stock symbol by the way, owns and operates amusement and water parks throughout the country, including Cedar Point in Ohio; Knott’s Berry Farm in California; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania; Valleyfair in Minnesota; Worlds of Fun in Missouri; Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom in Ohio; Michigan’s Adventure in Michigan; and Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark Resort in Ohio. The stock, which is structured as a limited partnership, has a price sales ratio of 26.4 and a PEG of 2.8. It also pays a nice yield of 6.7%; their dividends have been paid quarterly since 1988.

Six Flags, Inc. (SIX) owns and operates amusement, theme, and water parks throughout the United States. They currently have over 25 parks. Earnings are negative but the stock has a price sales ratio of .62. Quarterly revenue growth was up over 20% year over year.

The largest segment of the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) is their amusement park division, which generates 27.7% of the company’s revenues. Their amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Walt Disney World [including EPCOT and Disney-MGM Studios], Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and the Tokyo Disney Resort. The company has a P/E of 15.7 and a PEG of 1.4, with a small yield of .9%. Quarterly earnings were up 27% year over year on quarterly revenue growth of .6%.

Busch Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. (BUD), is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States. Their parks include Sea World, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country USA, and Sesame Place. The stock has a P/E of 21 and a PEG of 2.1, with a yield of 2.2%. Quarterly earnings were up only 3.7% year over year.

General Electric Co. (GE) is obviously not a pure play in amusement parks, but it owns 80% of NBC Universal [Vivendi (VIVEF.PK) owns the other 20%], which owns Universal Studios, which owns the Universal Studios Theme Parks that include Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Dubai and Universal Studios Korea [the last three are projects in process]. The P/E is 18.65 and the PEG is 1.7, with a yield of 3%.

Author owns DIS.

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Need a job? Warren Buffett is looking for a successor, and when he put out the request for applications, he was inundated with hundreds of applications and resumes. He is planning to choose a few of the top candidates and give them $5 billion (yes, billion, not million) each to manage the funds. The one who manages their funds the best would get the job.

Gasoline at the Pump versus S&P 500


Do you think there is a correlation between the stock market and the price of gasoline at the pump? Check out the graph which goes back to 1990.

Novartis Blood Pressure Drug May Treat Parkinson's

Novartis AG (NVS) markets the drug DynaCirc CR, the brand name for Isradipine, which is used for hypertension and high blood pressure. However, now scientists have discovered that the drug may be useful in treating Parkinson's disease.

Is Scotland the Worst Small Country? No!

According to a recent article on the BBC website, Scotland is the 'worst small country' according to The Federation of Small Businesses'. But is this really true? Let's take a closer look at Scotland.

One of the most important features of Scotland is that it is known as the birthplace of numerous inventions including the steam engine, the bicycle, the telephone, the television, the transistor, the motion picture, penicillin, electromagnetics, radar, insulin, calculus, the speedometer, the wave-powered electricity generator, the steamboat, the adhesive postage stamp, the post office, hypnosis, criminal fingerprinting, the MRI body scanner, the first cloned mammal, golf, the hypodermic syringe, and more and more.

Scotland:
1. is the birthplace of Adam Smith, the father of modern economics.
2. has Edinburgh as the country's capital, which is one of Europe's largest financial centers.
3. has in their North Sea water territory, the largest oil reserves in the European Union.
4. has strong shipbuilding, coal mining and steel industries.
5. has an unemployment rate lower than the majority of EU countries.
6. has an adult literacy rate of over 99%.
7. exports to the United States and the European Union which constitute their largest markets for the country's exports.

Here are a few Scottish stocks which trade in the united States that are worth checking out.

Scottish Power plc (SCPWF.PK), based in Glasgow, Scotland, provides electricity throughout the United Kingdom. It is a leading developer and operator of renewable energy in both the UK and the US, and is one of the largest providers of wind energy in the US. The stock's ADR's used to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, but like many foreign companies around the world, the company has dropped their NYSE listing of their ADRs for cost savings. The P/E is a low 9.4, the P/S is 2, and the yield is 3%, which it has historically paid four times a year.

HBOS plc ADR (HBOOY.PK) is a banking and insurance group based in Edinburgh, Scotland, which came about from the merger of Halifax plc and the Bank of Scotland. They have a forward P/E of 8.8, and a yield of 3.9%.

Scottish & Southern Energy plc ADR (SSEZY.PK) is the third largest supplier of electricity and natural gas in the United Kingdom. The stock has a forward P/E of 15 and a PEG of 1.5.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS-PP), (RBS-PR), is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and trades on the New York Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1727, is the second largest bank in Europe, and still prints its own banknotes. Their net profits for 2006 were up 15% on a 10% increase in total revenues.

Author does not own any of the above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What Corporation Increased their Annual Dividend to $1106.96

Trivia:

What corporation has increased their annual dividend from $845.76 in 2005 to $1106.96 in 2006, has paid dividends since since 1982, and no investment is required to receive this dividend?

Note: This is a trick question.

Answer:

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation

Getting Married at Wal-Mart

Seven couples have decided to get married at their local Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). Wal-Mart trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Donald Trump's Penny Stock

Most people are aware that Donald Trump is a director and shareholder of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. (TRMP), but did you know that Trump also owns over 10% of the shares of Premiere Publishing (PPBL.OB), a penny stock that recently traded at 9 cents per share on the Over-the-counter Bulletin Board. Premiere publishes Trump Magazine and Poker Life Magazine.

Trump is listed a 10% or more beneficial owner of the shares, and holds 3,675,000 of the company's shares.

Does Bill Gates Own a Low Priced Mining Stock?

According to Yahoo Finance Insider Filings section, Bill Gates, also known as William H. Gates III, owns or had owned two stocks, Microsoft [obviously] and one other low price [less than $2 per share] Canadian mining stock. The stock is called Uravan Minerals Inc. (UVN.V). Gates is listed as a 10% or more beneficial owner.

So is this for real? I personally think that it might be either a typo or an 'incorrect' submission, which MAY or may not have been submitted intentionally. I have written to the company to see what the deal is. When I hear back, I will post my findings.

Summer Stocks with Yields: Hotels

Summer is here and various industries should participate in the active summer travel business, which includes plane travel, lodging, cruises, amusement parks, and even gasoline for automobile travel. Today I’m going to be covering stocks that participate in summer travel from a hotel and motel lodging standpoint, and which pay a dividend.

The highest yielder on the list is Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG), which is a British based owner and operator of hotels and resorts, including Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites. Their price earnings ratio is 12.5 and a PEG of 2.8. The stock generates a 2% yield.

Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH) is a Silver Spring, Maryland based company which operates various hotel franchises including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites, Sleep Inn, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Cambria Suites, and Flag Hotels. Their P/E is 24 and their PEG is 1.8. The stock yields 1.5%.

Marcus Corp. (MCS), based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is sort of a hybrid company. They own and operate hotels in Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio; they also manage hotels in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, and California. In addition to their lodging business, they also own movie theaters with over 500 screens in the Midwest. The stock, which yields 1.4%, carries a P/E of 23 and a PEG of 1.4.

Sonesta International Hotels Corp. (SNSTA) operates hotels in Boston, Massachusetts, where they are based; Key Biscayne, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Coconut Grove, Orlando, and Sunny Isles Beach, Florida; Cairo, Luxor, and other cities in, Egypt; Qatar; Peru; St. Maarten, and Brazil. They also have five Nile River cruise vessels in Egypt. Latest quarterly revenue was down over 28%, but they pay a yield of .8%.

Marriott International Inc. (MAR) operates and franchises hotels in Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and Africa. The P/E is 26 and the PEG is 1.6. The yield is .7%.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) has a great stock ticker symbol. They operate luxury and upscale hotels including St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Le Meridien, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, and Four Points by Sheraton. The P/E is 13.2 and PEG and the PEG and 1.8, with a yield of .6%.

Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT), based in Beverly Hills, owns and operates Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hampton, Waldorf-Astoria, and Conrad. The P/E is 25 and the PEG is 2.2, and pays a yield of .5%.

Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. (OEH) is a Bermuda based company which owns and operates deluxe hotels worldwide. The P/E is 50.5 and the PEG is 1.75. They pay a small .2% yield.

Author does not own any of the above.

Another Gross Restaurant Story

A woman in China received was bitten by a rat at one of the McDonald's (MCD) restaurants in the northeastern part of China. The rat climbed up her leg and bit her on the thigh. She was awarded $290, which included $130 for psychological pain and suffering.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Japan's Growth Much Higher than Expected

Japan's growth for the first quarter of 2007 grew by 3.3% much higher than the anticipated 2.4%.

New Risk Factor: 'employees travel to potentially dangerous places'

Footnoted.org found a new company risk in the 10-K of Stanley Inc. (SXE), a defense contractor, which said “Our business commitments require our employees to travel to potentially dangerous places, which may result in injury to our employees”.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Highest Priced Stocks: Are they Highfliers?

Do you really think that the Google (GOOG) shares of stock at 515 or the shares of stock of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) at 550 are really that high priced? There are actually several stocks that trade above a thousand dollars per share. However, if you are considering including some of the high prices shares in your portfolio, you will probably want those that trade on a regular basis, excluding such stocks as Indians Inc. (INDN.PK), which last traded at 21,500 on March 15, or Winter Sports [New] (WSPS.PK) which last traded July 15 at 2,840.

Every investor has heard of the top one on the list, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA), which closed at 109,340. This is the holding company run by Warren Buffett, that has done the famous ‘25/25’, providing an average annual return in excess of 25% over 25 years. Berkshire invests primarily in insurance companies, but also numerous types of other companies including including candy; furniture, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewelry, and newspapers. They also take major positions in other stocks. The stock has a P/E of 15 and a Price Sales Ratio of 1.56. Earnings for the latest quarter were up over 12% on quarterly revenue growth of 44% year over year.

If this share price is too rich for your blood, you can always invest in the Berkshire Hathaway Holdings B Shares (BRKB) which closed at 3,612, and has an ownership value of 1/30th of the A shares. Both A and B shares trade on NASDAQ.

Mechanics Bank (MCHB.OB) is the second highest on the list with its latest share price being 19,450. This Richmond, California based bank was founded in 1905. The P/E is 14 and the P/S is 3.2. The stock has a yield of 1.5%.

Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach (FMBL.OB) sells at a pretty rich price of 6,800 per share. They are based in Long Beach, California, Their P/E is 18, their P/S is 7, and they pay a yield of 1.2%.

Next on the list is Sunwest Bank (SWBC.OB), yet another California bank, this one based in Tustin in Orange County. The stock recently closed at 2,925 and has a P/E of 24.7 and a P/S of 2.8. Does anyone know why all the high priced bank share companies are located in California?

Seaboard Corp. (SEB) is only one in the group that’s not an insurance or bank company. They are in the business of food processing and ocean transportation, and their stock sells for 2,488.25. Their P/E is 12.2 and their P/S is 1.1. They pay a very small yield of .1%, and have been paying dividends for 15 years.

First National Bank Alaska (FBAK.OB) is another west coast bank, this one based a little farther north in Anchorage, Alaska. The stock just closed at 2,222. The stock has a P/E of 18, a P/S of 5.1, and pays a yield of 4.6%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

WaMu Recommending Second Acount for eBay Users

Yesterday, I walked into a branch of Washington Mutual Inc. (WM) and I noticed fliers all over showing a screenshot of a phishing email with a recommendation underneath suggesting that account holders open up a second account just for eBay (EBAY) and Paypal. They make this recommendation so that if the account holder does become a victim, they would only lose [hopefully on a temporary basis] what is in the special second account.

This is probably a good idea as long as your accounts aren't linked for overdraft purposes. There are two types of 'linking' that banks do. One type of linking is aggregating all your accounts to see if you keep a total amount of funds with the bank above a certain limit to avoid fees and get other benefits. This linking is OK. The other linking means that if you overdraw your checking account, then any other checking or savings accounts you have with the bank that are linked to that checking account would be used to cover any overdrawn checks. I have a friend who had around $5,000 in a checking account and two $20,000 savings accounts, all linked, completely wiped out. [This was actually due to a stolen debit card, not phishing, but it's still the same concept.]

I think WaMu has a good idea. In addition, it's also a good idea to use a credit card with a low limit to use for online purchases. I have a VISA card that has a limit of only about $1,000. If someone gets a hold of that number and tries to buy a $2,000 flat panel TV, a $3,000 necklace, or a $4,000 cruise, then too bad for the bad guy.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Security Software Stocks: Is Your Portfolio Secure?

Probably the most important piece of software for business and home computer users is security software. When analyzing these companies, it is somewhat difficult to determine which ones fall into this industry. Even Microsoft (MSFT) might technically be a stock which includes security software as part of its product line, although most computer-using investors would probably disagree. Some may even consider Cisco (CSCO) to be in the software security business after their purchase of IronPort Systems, which makes e-mail and Web security software. Also CA, Inc. (CA), formally Computer Associates, also has a large security management division, but it is not their primary business.

Here are some of the purer plays in the security software field with market caps over $500 million. Maybe one of these will make your portfolio more secure.

Symantec Corp. (SYMC), a $17.75 billion company [market cap], is most known for its Norton product line, which includes include Norton AntiVirus, Norton Commander, Norton Internet Security, Norton 360, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton SystemWorks, Norton AntiSpam, Norton GoBack and Norton Ghost. The stock has a Price Earnings ratio of 48 and a Price Earnings to Growth ratio of 1.3. Quarterly revenues were up over 9% but earnings were down over 48%.

McAfee Inc. (MFE) develops and sells anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls, intrusion prevention, and other security software. The stock has a P/E of 40 and a PEG of 1.44. The company just released its 'North America Criminology Report: Organized Crime and the Internet' report. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP) is an Israeli company that produces and markets firewall and virtual private network [VPN] software. The stock carries a P/E of 20.5 and although revenues were up by about 23% for the quarter, earnings were down by around 24%.

Novell Inc. (NOVL) makes security and identity management software in addition to network software and application integration and collaboration solutions. Their products include Novell Access Manager, Novell BorderManager, and Novell Sentinel. They have a forward P/E of 45 and a PEG of 6.15.

VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI) makes security and authentication software. Their product lines include Digipass and VACMAN. The P/E is 51 and the PEG is 1.14. Quarterly revenues were up 93% year over year and earnings were up 324%.

Trend Micro Inc. (TMICY.PK) is a Japanese based company which produces network antivirus and Internet content security software. The company recently reported a 12 percent growth in net sales for the latest quarter compared to the same period last year, however net income dropped 15.5% during the same period. The stock’s ADR’s were just delisted from NASDAQ and now trades on the Pink Sheets.

Websense Inc. (WBSN) makes and sells Web filtering solutions which can provide protection from spyware, phishing and other attacks. The P/E is 36 and the PEG is 1.55.

Juniper Networks, Inc (JNPR) is in the business of providing routers along with hardware firewalls, Secure Access SSL VPN gateways, security management systems, and intrusion detection and prevention appliances. The forward P/E is 24.5 and the PEG is 1.66.

Author does not own any of the above.

Novartus Sued over their Health Drink for 'ReverseED'

A man has claimed that he drank a drink called Boost Plus and when he woke up the next morning "with an erectionthat would not subside". The drink is made by a division of Novartis AG (NVS), a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Novartis trades on the New York Stock Exchange. So will this become a non-prescription alternative to prescriptionViagara?

Father's Day Books

What better gift than a book for your father on Father's Day. And there are plenty of investment and business books to choose from. Here is a sampling. I've read about half of them and heard good things about the other half.

Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich

Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich

The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor's Kit: How to Make Money Buying Distressed Real Estate -- Before the Public Auction

Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (6th Edition)

SuperCash: The New Hedge Fund Capitalism (Wiley Trading)

If you can't decide which book to give your father, how about Amazon Gift Certificates

A Web Site that Copies Stockpickr.com?

Is Covestor.com a new competitor to and copycat of Stockpicker.com or does it have a different approach? Stockpickr.com is an outstanding web resource, which allows you to enter your own stock holdings and get recommendations from numerous hedge funds, mutual funds, and professional investors with similar holdings. You can create and track a portfolio, and compare it to others with similar stockholdings. There is also a question and answer section, a forum, a blog section, and a video section. Stockpickr.com is owned by TheStreet.com (TSCM).

Covestor.com is a new site that allows you to track your portfolio and compare it to others who have their portfolio tracked. You can also charge fees to those who want to access your your portfolio. (I wonder if this would make them investment advisers?)

Author owns shares in TSCM and does work for them.

The Amazon Dilemma

Many years ago, I had trouble with an order I had placed with Amazon.com (AMZN). I tried to resolve it by going to the web site, but the Help link was stuck in a loop. I also couldn't get a hold of them by phone at the time. I was so frustrated at the time that I wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos, describing my problem and listed a half a dozen ways that he could improve the company's customer service and web site. I don't know if he ever read my letter [a customer service rep did read it and solved my problem], but now the customer service is outstanding.

I recently made an error placing an order with Amazon (yes it was my fault this time) and I wanted to call them up to see if they could correct it. Amazon has a service whereby you type in your phone number and they call you right away. At the time, I thought 'Yeah right, how long am I going to have to sit here to wait for the phone to ring?' However, the phone rang immediately. When I say immediately, I mean it seemed to ring before I took my finger off the mouse button. Then I got a recording that said 'Please wait for a customer service rep.' So I thought 'Yeah right, how long am I going to have to sit here to wait for the customer service rep?' The rep came on the line within five seconds. Yes, he was probably in India but he was very easy to understand, he understood the issue right away, and fixed my problem within about 10 seconds. (Thank you Kevin, and thank you Jeff Bezos.)

I keep turning up new positives (green flags) about Amazon. I thought I knew a lot about the company but I didn't know until recently that it owned imdb.com [Internet Movie Database]. If you have never used imdb.com, it is the largest entertainment related online database in the world, covering info about movies, actors, TV shows, film crews, and video games. It even has some of the most obscure movies you've never heard of. I use imdb about once a week. Why is this important to Amazon even though it's a small segment of the company? Imdb gets its primary revenues from advertising which will constantly grow as more and more movies and television shows are made. They also have IMDbPro, which is a subscription based service for business professionals, which should also keep expanding.

So what is all this leading up to? Back on March 8 when Amazon closed at $38.10 per share, I wrote an article called 'Why Amazon.com Stock could be Up Substantially by Year End'. Some of my readers decided to buy the stock at the time and now with the stock closing at $72.04 yesterday, practically a double, they are wondering if it is time to sell.

I'm a a big believer in taking partial profits as a stock rises and especially after a sharp rise. Amazon has a lot going for it, but it does have an atmospheric P/E of 122 and a high PEG of 3. I'm not making any recommendations, but if I had a stock of a great company that doubled, I would probably sell half the position and let the other half ride.

Author still does not own AMZN, but he should have.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gold Stocks for Portfolio Protection?

Many investors turn to gold stocks as protection against inflation, rising interest rates, and a falling stock market. So when looking for gold, you may want to consider those with large market caps over $4 billion and which pay a dividend, as it is nice to be paid while you are waiting for a stock to rise. Here are some gold stocks worth checking out to see if they sparkle. Fortunately, you can get global diversification by choosing companies from around the world.

Compania de Minas Buenaventura SA (BVN), based in Peru, has been paying semi-annual dividends for ten years. Yield is 2.1% and the P/E is 12.5.

Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), based in South Africa, has a very large market cap of $10.80 billion, and generates a yield of 1.5%. P/E is 27.5 and the PEG is .66.

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU) is another South African company, that also pays 1.5%, and also has a market cap of over $10 billion. Their P/E is 225 and the PEG is 1.

Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) is a Colorado based mining company with a market cap of $18.51 billion and a yield of 1%. They have paid quarterly dividends for 20 years. P/E is 28 and the PEG is 1.7.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) is a Toronto, Canada based company with a $24.86 billion market cap. They yield 1%, have a P/E of 21.9 and a PEG of .9.

Goldcorp Inc. (GG) is another Canadian mining company based in Vancouver with a $17.43 billion market cap. They pay a smaller yield of 0.7%, have a P/E of 28 and a PEG of 3.2.

Yamana Gold Inc. (AUY) is another Toronto based company. They have a market cap of $4.87 billion and they provide a small yield of 0.3%, with a very short dividend track record. Their forward P/E is 11.2.

Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM), yet another Toronto based company, has a market cap of $4.50 billion and a similar low yield of 0.3%. Dividends have been paid at least once a year for over 15 years. Their P/E is 29.5.

Author does not own any of the above.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Swiss Banks? How about Swiss Stocks?

Switzerland is known for its neutrality, stability, security, and bank secrecy. The country has a lot going for it besides its banks:

1. Number 4 in terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita of large European countries.
2. Number 10 in terms of per capita GDP at purchasing power parity in Europe.
3. Their unemployment rate is well below the European Union (EU) unemployment average of 8%.
4. They have very liberal trade and investment policies.
5. The Swiss franc is one of the world's stablest and strongest currencies.
6. Their manufacturing businesses are known for precision and quality.
7. The United States is the second-largest importer of Swiss goods.
8. The United States is the largest foreign investor in Switzerland.
9. Switzerland invests more in the United States than any other country.
10. Days lost to strikes are among the lowest in Europe.
11. It has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh; plus most residents speak English.
12. It has been independent since the year 1291.

Here are some Swiss securities worth looking into. All of the stocks pay dividends except one, and all the dividend payers pay annually.

The highest yielding stock is Swisscom AG (SCM), the largest telephone company in Switzerland, which has a yield of 3.8% based on their latest dividend payment. Their P/E is 14.4 and their PEG is 1.24. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Credit Suisse Group (CS), one of the famous Swiss banks and the second largest in Switzerland, has a reasonable forward P/E of 10 and a PEG of 1.1. The stock yields 2.5% and trades on the NYSE.

Nestle SA (NSRGY.PK) is a multinational packaged food company especially known for chocolate. It has a forward P/E of 16 and a PEG of 2.24. The stock yields 2.2% and trades on the Pink Sheets.

Syngenta AG (SYT) is in the business of seeds and crop production. It has a P/E of 29. The stock yields 2% and trades on the NYSE.

UBS AG (UBS) is switzerland's other big bank. It's the second largest bank in Europe and is the world's largest manager of private wealth assets. It has a P/E of 13 and a very low PEG of .82. The stock yields 1.8% and trades on the NYSE.

Novartis AG (NVS) is a developer and marketer of pharmaceuticals and health care products; their divisions also include Animal Health, Gerber, and CIBA Vision. One of their subsidiaries is Sandoz, inventor of LSD and manufacturer of saccharin. It has a forward P/E of 18 and a PEG of 1.3. The stock yields 1.7% and trades on the NYSE.

Roche Hldg. (RHHBY.PK) is the large pharmaceuticals and diagnostics biotechnology company. It has a forward P/E of 27 and PEG of 1.6. The stock yields 1.52% and trades on the Pink Sheets.

ABB (ABB) is in the power and automation technology industry. It has a P/E of 27.7 and a PEG of 1.9. The stock yields .8% and trades on the NYSE.

CIBA Specialty Chemicals Holding, Inc. (CSB) produces chemicals for consumer and industrial products. It has a forward P/E of 5.2. The stock yields 3.8% and trades on the NYSE.

Logitech International SA (LOGI) ia the famous manufacturer of mice and other peripheral and personal interface devices for personal computers. It has a P/E of 21.7 and a PEG of 1.2. The stock does not pay a dividend and trades on NASDAQ.

Author does not own any of the above.

New's Corp.'s 20th Century Fox Sued by Ridiculed Man

New's Corp.'s 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, a division of News Corp. (NWS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, was sued by a man who said he was ridiculed by Sacha Baron Cohen's movie "Borat", which was distributed by the company. The man was filmed running down the street being chased by Cohen.

Will Powdered Alcohol give Liquor Stocks a Run for the Money

Students at a university in Amsterdam have invented a product called Booz2Go, which is powdered alcohol which can be mixed with water to make a drink with 3% alcohol.

High End Real Estate: $1,940 for a Parking Space

In New York City, the average rate to rent a parking space is about $1,000 per month, with the most expensive at $1,940 per month. In California, you can get a two bedroom apartment in a nice middle-class neighborhood for that.

4 Home Depot Employees Fired for Stopping Shoplifters according to former employee

According to a former Home Depot (HD) employee, he and three of his co-workers were fired for stopping shoplifters at their store. Home Depot trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Coors Light Switched for Miller Lite: Barkeeper Fined

A Wisconsin barkeeper connected a Miller tap to a Coors keg, got caught, and was fined. Miller Lite is made by SABMiller, which trades on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol SAB and on the Pink Sheets with the symbol SBMRY.PK. Coors Light is made by the Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

How About Investing in a Nudist Camp?

If you have a spare $1.6 million, you can pick up a 100 acre nudist camp in Ontario, the oldest one in the province.

Prison Stocks: Should You Lock Them Up in your Portfolio

It seems like not a week goes by where we don't hear about a celebrity, a sports figure, a business person, or a politician going to jail. For the last several days, we've been bombarded with news about Paris Hilton going to jail. So is there a way to make money off these jailbirds? There are actually several publicly traded companies that provide prison services to governments. Here are a few that you should thoroughly search before letting them into your portfolio.

The largest by both market cap and revenues is Corrections Corp. of America (CXW), which is a Nashville, Tennessee based company with over 40 facilities. They have a P/E of 34 and a PEG of 1.8. Revenues were up over 52% year over year on a revenue gain of 11.5%. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

The next largest company is Geo Group Inc. (GEO), based in Boca Raton, Florida. They have facilities in the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and UK. P/E is 36 and PEG is 1.7. The stock trades on the NYSE.

Cornell Companies Inc. (CRN) is a Houston, Texas company, which in addition to providing detention services, also provides educational services to detainees. It has a P/E of 28 and a PEG of 2.5. It trades on the NYSE.

Avalon Correctional Services Inc. (CITY.PK) is a micro-cap stock which trades on the Pink Sheets, and should be considered very speculative. They operate correctional facilities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado.

Author does not own any of the above.

Talking Paper: What Would Your Stock Certificate Say?

Scientists in Sweden have come up with paper that gives off sounds when you touch it. Applications given include advertising, warnings, and product descriptions. But how about stocks certificates that say 'Buy more of me' or 'Back up the truck' or 'I'm in a bull market'?

Between Jobs? Be a Human Guinea Pig

I remember when I was younger, I participated in human guinea pigging a few times for allergy medicine. But apparently some guys participate in medical experiments for a living.

The Dot Com Domain King

If you have never heard of Kevin Ham, there is probably a reason; he keeps a very low profile. However, he probably owns more domain names than any other individual, with an estimated portfolio of $350,000. He recently purchased Greeting.com for $350,000, Christianrock.com for $31,000, and Weddingcatering.com for $10,000. If you have ever typed in a .cm typo for a .com domain, you have reached one of his sites.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Book Review: The Only Three Questions that Count

The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't is written by Kenneth L. Fisher, the fifth longest running Forbes columnist in their history and the CEO of Fisher Investments. I met Ken Fisher many years ago when he gave a speech to the Mensa Investment Special Interest Group in San Francisco. [Yes, I'm a member of Mensa, the high IQ organization.] This was after he had written his Super Stocks book in 1984, and he talked about how the Price Sales Ratio [a brand new concept back then] is far more important that the Price Earnings Ratio.

The Only Three Questions book an outstanding manual, with very, very thorough supporting data and historical examples proving his theses. The subtitle says it all: 'Investing by Knowing What Others Don't'. I'm not going to tell you what the Three Questions are that are referenced in the title, since I don't want to ruin it for you.

However, I will tell you about one of the most interesting sections where he debunks some of the more popular investment beliefs. Did you know that high P/E markets are no more riskier than low P/E stock market? Fisher goes into massive detail to prove that low P/E markets are just as risky if not riskier than high P/E markets. He also discusses the myth that America has way too much debt and proves that debt is good for the economy. Chapter 6 is a must read even if you skim the rest of the 448 page book.

I love the way that he intersperses humor throughout the book. Check out the definition of 'politics' on page 37. He takes a completely different approach to investing than Jim Cramer. Fisher believes that your portfolio should have 20 stocks in your portfolio at a bare minimum, or a minimum of 60 stocks if you include foreign stocks in your portfolio.

I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book in order to improve your investment knowledge and skills.

Disney is Worth $65 per Share

Based on the valuations of the various segments of the Walt Disney Co. (DIS), and using comparable P/E ratios and P/S ratios from related companies to back into a value of the segments, the stock would have a breakup value of about $65 per share. The segments analyzed were Cable Networks, Broadcasting, Parks & Resorts, Studio Entertainment, and Consumer Products. The stock valuation was averaged between earnings and sales ratio values. A 30% discount was applied to account for errors, forced sales, fluctuations in earnings or revenues prior to liquidation, etc.

Don't agree with me? That's great! I have published my analysis on Google (GOOG) Spreadsheets and it can be viewed here. So you can copy the data to an Excel spreadsheet and re-run the numbers with your own assumptions.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to post the spreadsheet to allow viewers to download it with formulas, without giving them full rights to change the worksheet. If I find a way, I will get it posted in a downloadable format.

Author has owned DIS for many years. An estimate of value is not an expressed or implied recommendation to purchase the stock.

Feds Say Home Prices are Rising

According to a report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight [OFHEO], home prices rose 4.3% for the first quarter of the year over that same period last year.

Yahoo CTO 'Restricted' from working at Google or Microsoft

Footnoted.org discovered that Farzad 'Zod' Nazem, the Chief Technology Officer of Yahoo (YHOO), will be prohibited from exercising his stock options if he works for Google (GOOG) or Microsoft (MSFT).

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Wall Street Quote of the Week

"When I have to depend upon hope in a trade, I get out of it."
- Jesse Livermore, famous stock market trader (1877-1940)

Friday, June 01, 2007

ToyGuns Confiscated from Wal-Mart

In Shanghai 46 toyguns were confiscated from a store owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The reason given was that they were too realistic.

$98 Million for a Diamond Encrusted Skull

I told you the art and collectibles market is hot. A cast of a human skull covered with 8,601 diamonds was created by Damien Hirst, is for sale for $98 million.

Why You Should Buy Fake Dirty Underwear

There have been a lot of articles on the web in the last few months about where to hide your money and valuables to keep them safe from burglars. The articles describe where you should and shouldn't store them. Such places of where you should not keep you valuables include your top dresser drawers, drawers in your bedside tables, backs of closets, cookie jars, under your mattress, in the toilet tank, etc. Many authors also recommend leaving burglars a 'tip'; in other words a small amount of easily found cash so the burglars find it and leave without spending too much time in your house.

Here is one suggestion I have that I've never seen anyone write about for a burglar tip. Gather up any old coins laying around that aren't worth much or even not worth anything above face vale, but just look old. Put them in a box, put a label on it that says 'coin collection' and keep it in your top drawer of your dresser. Keep your real coin collection in your safe deposit box, or if you must keep it at home, keep it in non-obvious places for burglars [I have lots of ideas but I'm concerned about the info being spread around too much.

Let me tell you NEVER where to hide stuff. Never, ever store valuables at the bottom of a waste basket. The burglars may never look there, but you can be sure that at some point in the future, either you or a family member will accidentally throw out the good with the garbage. [If it sounds like I am writing from personal experience, I sort of am. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve what was lost before it ended up in the garbage truck.]

So what does all this have to do with dirty underwear? There is a company that sells what it calls Diversion Safes. Their popular item is what looks like dirty underwear with a place in it to conceal money, jewelry, or other valuables. If you want to see a picture of it, go to the link and scroll down the page. They also sell a lot of other hiding products.

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