Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book Review: Foreclosure Myths

Foreclosure Myths: 77 Secrets to Saving Thousands on Distressed Properties! by Ralph Roberts and Chip Cummings takes the reader step-by-step through 77 myths relating to making money buying, fixing up, and selling foreclosure real estate. They take the 77 myths and turn them into very useful and informative tips.

The book covers the foreclosure process, finding the best properties, determining if it is a good deal, getting financing, securing the property, selling at a profit, and what to do to avoid disaster. Every chapter is written in very easy-to-understand language and includes numerous helpful suggestions. Probably the most important feature of the book are the warnings scattered throughout.

If you are thinking of getting into foreclosure investing, pick up a copy of Foreclosure Myths: 77 Secrets to Saving Thousands on Distressed Properties!.

By Stockerblog.com

The Economist Magazine is Launching a Theme Park

The Economist Magazine is going off in a different direction from magazine publishing by launching a theme park called Econoland.

Big Pharma Big Yields

With the Roche (RHHBY.PK) acquisition of Genentech (DNA), investors are wondering if the big pharmaceutical companies are the medicine that their portfolios need. Especially if those companies have high yields. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com recently came out with its downloadable Excel database of High Yield Big Pharma stocks, more than half of which have yields over 4%. Here are a few examples:

Novartis AG (NVS) is the Swiss based healthcare products company, which has a PE ratio of 12, and yields 4.10%.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is the New Jersey based pharma that makes Singulair, Zocor, Propecia, Proscar, Gardasil and numerous other products. They have a PE ratio of 8, and yields 5.10%.

GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) is the British based pharmaceutical and consumer health-related products company, which sells Advair, Advair, Zofran, Valtrex, Flovent and many other pharmaceuticals, along with many over-the-counter products. They have a PE ratio of 14, and a yield of 5.60%.

To see a list of all the big pharmas and their yields which can be downloaded, sorted, and changed, go to wsnn.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bernie Madoff must be the stupidest con man who ever lived

Bernard Madoff will now be featured in a trading card set called the "world's biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks and bamboozles." They will be produced by The Topps Co. Inc. The card set includes Charles Ponzi.

Bernie Madoff must be the stupidest con man who ever lived. The stock market crash last Fall would have been a perfect opportunity for him to say "Sorry, the market turned against us and we were wrongly hedged for the first time ever. Due to margin calls, everything was lost." With the fall of Bear, Lehman, and Merrill, his would have been just another big hedge fund that bit the dust. And he would have gotten away with it. Maybe the one good thing about him was that he was honest at the end.

By Stockerblog.com

21st Century California Gold Rush

With the price of gold at almost $1000 an ounce, Californians are panning and digging for gold.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GM's CEO is being Booted out by Obama

Chairman and CEO of General Motors (GM) Rick Wagoner will step down immediately at the request of the President in return for getting additional government loans, according to an AP news report.

Odd Lots: What Others are Saying

The official definition of 'odd lot' is a group of shares amounting to less than 100 shares. For purposes of Stockerblog.com, it is a group of short articles about what other bloggers and web sites have come up with. It has nothing to do with being 'odd'.

There is a new stock market Firefox Add-on: Stock Pilot - Equity Research Assistant 1.3.2 . It allows you to switch easily between financial websites without losing the context of the stock you are researching.

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Steven M. Cohen came up with a list of his top book list called A Random Walk Down a Stock Market Recommended Reading List, which includes a few of my favorites.

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Speaking of books, I'm just finishing a Hitchcockian page-turner that came out a few years ago by Michael Connelly called Chasing the Dime. It is about the head of a molecular computer company who wants to raise money from a venture capitalist, but starts to get wrong number calls all day long at his new apartment. He decides to track down who this 'Lilly' is that all these callers ask for, and it leads to murder, beatings, and much, much more.

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The Museum of American Finance in NYC is having a presentation by biographer Jean Strouse on "WHAT WOULD MORGAN DO? FINANCIAL CRISES PAST AND PRESENT" on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 5:30pm.

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As long as we are talking about the financial past, do you know where the words Bull and Bear come from?

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Did you see the Freakonomics article about how Bernie Madoff told James Altucher that "reputation is the most important thing."

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What company may be paying a former president $1600 an hour yet is laying off 400 people? Footnoted.org has the answer.

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TradingGoddess has a great review of the book Riding the Storm Out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ballad of Timothy Geithner

Anne McKinney is a Knoxville, Tennessee attorney who started out as an IRS Staff Attorney. She composed and sang this at a continuing legal education seminar she taught. Many there suggested she take it further. She moved quickly to do so. Now she is on YouTube.

New Business Products: Pizza Vending Machine, Mexican Kosher Tequila, and Stink-free Underwear


Last6 week must have been the top week for new business products. Talk about innovative and different, one is a pizza making vending machine in Rome which makes a fresh pizza in just a few minutes, another is a Mexican made kosher tequila called Agave 99 created by a New York businessman, and the third is stink-free underwear, which is being tested by Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to live on the International Space Station.

High Cash + No Debt + High Yield = Bargains

The cable and telecom company, Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR), just filed for bankruptcy, primarily due to their huge debt load. When you hear these stories, you realize how important it is to find stocks that are debt free if you are looking for more safer and secure companies to invest in. In addition, if the stock has a lot of cash, that adds to the level of safety. And if you can find stocks that meet both of these criteria, and the stock also pays a dividend, then maybe it is a stock worth buying.

WallStreetNewsNetwork.com recently uploaded its downloadable Excel database called High Cash No Debt High Yield Stock List. It lists over 30 companies that have a lot of cash, are debt free, and pay decent yields. Over a dozen have yields in excess of 4%. Here are a few examples, all of which have market caps over $1 billion and have no debt.

Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) has almost $1 billion in cash, amounting to $3.04 in cash per share. They have a forward PE of 37 and pay a yield of 6.6%.

Lorillard (LO) which has $1.19 billion in cash, giving them $7.09 in cash per share. They have a forward PE of 10 and pay a yield of 6.3%.

Gentex Cp (GNTX) has $323 million in cash, amounting to $2.35 in cash per share. They have a forward PE of 18 and pay a yield of 5.5%.

Intersil Corp (ISIL) with $312 million in cash, giving them $2.56 in cash per share. They have a forward PE of 22 and pay a yield of 4.7%.

Garmin Ltd (GRMN) has $709 million in cash, amounting to $3.54 in cash per share. They have a forward PE of 7 and pay a yield of 4.4%.

To see the rest of the High Cash No Debt High Yield Stocks, including two which yield more than 9%, go to wsnn.com.

Author does not own any of the above.


By Stockerblog.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stocks Going Ex Dividend Early April

If you want to try the stock trading technique called 'Buying Dividends,' which is the technique of buying stocks before the ex dividend date and selling the stock shortly after the ex date at about the same price, yet still being entitled to the dividend, there are many stocks to choose from. This technique generally works only in bull markets.

When you buy dividends, there are many stocks in many different sectors to choose from. In order to be entitled to the dividend, you have to buy the stock before the ex-dividend date, and you can't sell the stock until after the ex date. The actual dividend may not be paid for another few weeks.

American Express Company ( AXP) Ex-dividend date: 4/1/09 Yield: 5.20%

Medtronic, Inc. ( MDT) Ex-dividend date: 4/1/09 Yield: 2.60%

Torchmark Corporation ( TMK) Ex-dividend date: 4/1/09 Yield: 2%

Weight Watchers International, Inc. ( WTW) Ex-dividend date: 4/1/09 Yield: 3.60%

IVC Invacare Corporation ( IVC) Ex-dividend date: 4/2/09 Yield: 0.30%

The Gap Inc. ( GPS) Ex-dividend date: 4/6/09 Yield: 2.70%

ABM Industries, Inc. ( ABM) Ex-dividend date: 4/7/09 Yield: 3.20%

Robbins & Myers, Inc. ( RBN) Ex-dividend date: 4/7/09 Yield: 1.10%

Roper Industries, Inc. ( ROP) Ex-dividend date: 4/7/09 Yield: 0.80%

Sasol Limited ( SSL) Ex-dividend date: 4/7/09 Yield: 1.60%

If you like dividend stocks, you should check out the high yield utility stocks and the Monthly Dividend Stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com or WSNN.com. For more details on dividend definitions, check out definitions of dividend dates. Don't forget to reconfirm the ex-dividend date with the company before implementing this technique.

Author does not own any of the above at the time this article is written.

By Stockerblog.com

Top Yielding Electric Utility Stocks

Last week, I did an article on the Top Yielding Gas Utility Stocks. Now it is time to look at the electric utilities. With the high dividends and relative stability, investors are examining these stocks in more detail. Many utilities are moving more and more towards renewable energy, and with the price of oil and gas down substantially from what it was last year, the costs to run their generators are down. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com recently came up with a list of the highest yielding utilities in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded, sorted, and changed.

Some of the electric utilities on the list include:

UIL Holdings Corporation (UIL) with as yield of 8.4% and a forward PE of 8.7

TECO Energy, Inc. (TE) with as yield of 8.3% 7.4

Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW) with as yield of 8.0% and a forward PE of 8.4

The list at wsnn.com includes three utility stocks with yields above 9%.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review: Blink

The book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell, is a fascinating read about what happens with your thinking about a new person, thing, or event in the blink of an eye. One of the major takeaways is that your initial blink opinion about something is very often far more important than your opinion after a lot of research.

He brings a lot of business examples into the book including Coca-Cola (KO) and the Pepsi (PEP) taste test, and how the taste test is meaningless because people don't drink cola drinks blindfolded. He also mentioned how George Soros has a backache just before the stock market starts to turn against him.

If you want an interesting read of this book which ranks #56 out of all books, check out Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AIG Bonuses Allegedly $53 million Higher Than Initially Disclosed

According to the attorney general of Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, AIG (AIG) bonuses that were paid by the company were actually $218 million, not $165 million to staff in the financial products unit. AIG has reportedly received about $182.5 billion in federal bailout funds.

Because of this, Congress is now trying to pass a bill to tax the AIG bonuses at 90%. This is not the right way for the government to get even, and sets a bad precedent. What the government should do is spelled out in my previous article, What's the Matter With AIG?, which included several steps the government should take. If necessary, have the company go through a structured bankruptcy.

Author owns AIG.

By Stockerblog.com

WaMu Sues US Government

First, AIG (AIG) sues the US Government for a refund of taxes paid. Now the holding company for Washington Mutual is suing the FDIC, saying that the company was worth more than what JPMorgan Chase (JPM) paid for it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The New 401 K Plan

Let's end the investment week with a little investment humor. This is one that has been floating around email mailboxes lately.

The New 401 K Plan

If you purchased $1,000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $42 left.

With a Lehman investment, you would have $6.60 left.

With Fannie or Freddie, you would have less than $5 today.

But if you purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the deposit REFUND, you would have $214.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

It's called the 401-Keg plan

Pornstar Strips at Milan Stock Exchange

How come we don't get these kinds of financial protests in the United States? A 22 year old actress of adultfilms took off almost all her clothes at the Milan stock exchange a couple days ago. She was protesting the financial crisis.

Stripclub Job Fair: At Least One Company is Hiring

Finally some good economic news. The Foxy Lady club in Providence, Rhode Island is holding a job fair this Saturday, looking for performers, waitresses, disc jockeys and bartenders.

AIG Suing US Government for $306 million (this is my last AIG article for the day)

First AIG (AIG) gets a bailout from the US Government to the tune of almost $200 billion according to the New York Times. Now AIG is suing the government for the return of tax payments to the tune of $306 million.

What is the matter with AIG?

And by the way, whatever happened to the fraud investigation of AIG that started in 2007?

No more AIG articles today. I promise.

Disclosure: Author owns shares in AIG.


By Stockerblog.com

The Most Gifted Book

Amazon publishes several book lists, and one of them is the Most Gifted Book list, in other words, the most purchased book that is designated as a gift. Sometimes you can tell a lot about the economy by checking this list, and not just in the investing category. The number one most gifted book of all categories is Succession: Are You Ready? (Memo to the CEO), a book for CEO's about handing over their job to the new successor.

Top Five Stock Investing Books

The top five stock market investing books, according to Amazon are as follows. I would have thought that most people would have given up on the stock market, but based on numbers 3 and 4, there still seems to be a strong interest.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition)

Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

Stock Investing For Dummies

The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing

The Heretics of Finance: Conversations with the Leading Practitioners of Technical Analysis

The AIG Bonus Plan in Black and White

It looks like the American public is seeing a little more transparency now. The U.S. House of Representatives has posted the AIG (AIG) 2008 Employee Retention Plan. From what I can tell, it appears that there is a huge minimum amount of bonus that would be paid no matter what the losses were. Am I reading this correctly? And what kind of a company would pay bonuses even if losses were generated? (Do you know how many companies there are that are not only NOT paying bonuses during losses but are laying off?) And why would you want to create a contract to retain employees who are generating losses? Do you remember what happened to the rogue traders at other companies in the past who ........... anyway I'm rambling.

What is the matter with AIG?

And by the way, whatever happened to the fraud investigation of AIG that started in 2007?

Disclosure: Author owns shares in AIG so author is allowed to gripe.


By Stockerblog.com

'Borat' Sacha Baron Cohen's Shell Companies According to TheSmokingGun

According to TheSmokingGun.com, Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of the Borat film, is using "dummy" companies in conjunction with his new film project, in which he appears as "Bruno".

Guest Article: Making Money is the Easy Part, Keeping it is the Difficult Part

Making Money is the Easy Part, Keeping it is the Difficult Part.
by Larry Underwood

author of the book Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective
Underwood started out his career working behind the counter renting cars to people at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming a multimillionaire earning almost $4 million per year, and retiring before the age of 49.



If you're a bright, enthusiastic, hard working individual, chances are you're very successful in your business career. Here's why: Very few people like that exist, giving you a decisive competitive advantage to not only succeed, but dominate.

According to my statistically unproven theories regarding the picture of American employment and unemployment, here's the breakdown:

*Lazy and incompetent, but somehow employed: 48.9%
*Mediocre but not quite as lazy, and employed: 40.7%
*Intelligent and able to work, but are too lazy: 1.6%
*Totally incompetent and not employed: 5.6%
*Competent and not lazy, but not employed: 2.4%
*Intelligent, driven to succeed and employed: .8%

If you're reading this, congratulations for being in the less than one percent of the population that falls into that category! That's why you've got the beautiful home, car, and wife (ex-wives, gold diggers). You know how you got there. You're smart, well organized, charming, and good-looking (probably).

You should consider running for President in 2012.

Of that small, .8% of the American working force, here's the statistically unproven earnings analysis, through March 18, 2009:

Earning less that $40,000 per year: 4.1% (has a passion for an endeavor that doesn't pay as much as it should, like teachers, stem cell analysts, bloggers, artists, writers)

Earning over $40,000 per year but less than $100,000 per year: 12.9% (middle managers in Corporate America who are more competent than the CEO, but the CEO knows it and will not let that person rise too far up the company ladder)

Earning over $100,000 per year but less than $250,000 per year: 67.5% (small business owners, higher level executives able to maintain a good reputation while not becoming a threat to the CEO)

Earning over $250,000 but less than $1 Billion per year: 15.4% (Smart enough to stay out of the company's radar screen for the time being, professional athletes, actors, musicians, drug dealers, or very good writers and artists)

Earning over than $1 Billion per year: .1% (Genius, or Forrest Gump)

Now let's assume that you're a successful business person and you make over a million bucks a year, and have been for quite some time. Most people who fall into this category are set for life. Their only concerns are choosing the right color for their next Mercedes, trying to get their children to understand they'll have to actually "work" for a living, instead of living off you, while weighing the pros and cons of staying married or staying with your current gold digger or otherwise hot, but annoying girl friend.

Of course, if you divorce your lovely wife, you'll be categorized as going through a mid-life crisis. The "mid-life crisis" for me was staying married to somebody who drove me crazy. That's a crisis, which I solved by getting the hell out of there. End of crisis.

My life has been a fun-filled roller coaster ride, growing up in a totally dysfunctional, financially challenged, but otherwise boring environment. In high school, my self-esteem was fairly low, so I never got laid, and my social life consisted of never drinking alcohol or never even smoking pot. These were the late '60s-early '70s. Everybody was getting laid and getting high. Not me.

I had to be the biggest dork in America, possibly the world. I remained a dork throughout my college years, although I got drunk on weekends and smoked weed every day. I never bought the stuff; in fact, I never even felt like the effect was much of anything, but as my friends were passing around that little joint, I'd take a hit and pass it on to the next pot head. Looking back on it, I suppose I should've at least offered to give somebody some money for whatever I used, but I never really wanted it to begin with, further enhancing my dork rating.

Upon graduating with a BA in Economics from a place called Rockford College in 1974, I promptly married the first girl who ever really had any interest in me. My rationale was simple: I've graduated, I need to get a job, and I'd better marry this one because nobody else would ever consider me as an option. Obviously, I was totally clueless, thus spending the entire decade of my 20s never experiencing the joy of chasing women and possibly getting laid every now and then.

I started working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car (then known as "Executive Leasing" in St Louis)
as a management trainee working somewhere between 50-70 hours a week, but for some reason, the long hours didn't bother me at all. I suppose I felt it beat the hell out of having to go home to my wife. My starting pay was "peanuts" with no salt, either. It didn't matter since my life style was frugal and I never really seemed to buy anything or go anywhere, other than the bowling alley every now and then; or to see some crummy movie.

Eventually, I hit the big-time with Enterprise (luckily after my first divorce), hitting the "career jackpot", getting the highest commission percentage allowed by Enterprise law (15% of net profit) as I became the Vice-President/General Manager of the newly formed West Group. By this time, I had remarried to my next ex-wife-to-be, and within a few years, we had a couple of kids, and upgraded to a nicer home. As I made more money, I spent more, or simply pissed it away in bad investments. It didn't seem to matter; with each passing year, my income started getting so high, somebody once called me "rich". I suppose I was, but I didn't even notice.

After another upgrade to a nice mansion in Paradise Valley, Arizona, overlooking Barry Goldwater's pad and the Hormel estate, not to mention the rest of the Valley, my personal life began a phase of bickering with the wife, which lead to our separation. Finally, my peace of mind had been restored, and I'm sure she was just as happy as she could be as well because I never bothered to get divorced for several years, allowing her to buy whatever she wanted, including a wonderful boob-job, and do whatever she wanted. Life was great.

By this time, my annual income was well over a million bucks a year and always going higher with each passing year. My final year on the job, I almost made it to $4 million. The reason that became my "final year" was simply, the Enterprise corporate hierarchy had finally gotten tired of paying me all that money, plus I became a bad General Manager or something. Between you and me, I think it was the money thing.

My official retirement date was 010101, of course nine months and ten days before 9/11, and less than a year after the big bubble popped on the NASDAQ, where I had most of my money invested. I recall chortling practically every day in late '99 and early 2000 how much money I'd "made" in the stock market that day. One hundred thousand dollar "gains" were commonplace.

Even though my portfolio was going through a downward spiral, I never fretted. I was a long term investor and I assumed it would rebound, and start posting nice little annual gains in double digits, forever. In the meantime, I was still getting some nice "severance package" money from Enterprise, and the market seemed to be recovering after the 9/11 meltdown, so I remained financially secure.

Apparently, financial security is too boring for me, so I'd continue making high risk investments, although they seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. My favorite losers were a casino in Reno (quarter of a million down the drain), a restaurant in Las Vegas (only a hundred grand loser), some crazy recording venture called "World Song 2002" (another hundred grand that left my world), investing in some stupid web-site called "Alien Zoo" ($150,000 abducted by aliens), and another hundred grand pissed away on a company called T.S.I. (Technical Systems Integrated), but I simply referred to it as "Totally Shitty Investment".

As a side note, I'm sure there are many people in the world who have invested in those "limited liability corporations", or LLCs. Not me. I now refer to LLCs as "Losing Larry's Cash". Sure, I make fun of my stupidity because I'm easily amused, and also realistic. I could quite possibly be the world's worst investor, but there's much data to analyze, so that one would be hard to prove.

In the meantime, my seven year severance package with Enterprise has ended, so I'll have to do something productive again like get a job. For now, I'm busy marketing my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, which is my irreverent perspective of life in Corporate America with that corporate giant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I think you'll enjoy it and I'd welcome you to check out my website for further information: http://outskirtspress.com/LarryUnderwood

The next time I visit, I'll plan on giving you my spin on Corporate America, in general.

In the meantime, invest wisely and beware of those LLCs.

Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective is available through Amazon. You can also see a review of the book at Stockerblog.com

Top Yielding Gas Utility Stocks

Now that many investors believe that the price of natural gas has bottomed out, they are paying closer attention to the natural gas drillers and the gas utilities. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has discovered a dozen of these gas utilities that are paying over 4%, and most have forward PE ratios under 12. Here are a few examples:

Transcanada Corp (TRP) with a forward PE of 10.67, and a yield of 6.3%.

Atmos Energy Corp (ATO) with a forward PE of 9.55, and a yield of 6.0%.

Nicor Inc (GAS) with a forward PE of 9.87, and a yield of 5.9%.

To access an Excel database list of 19 gas utilities, including two that pay more than 7%, that can be downloaded, sorted, and changed, go to wsnn.com.

By Stockerblog.com

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Investment has Returned 27.5% per Year

There is an investment that has had an average annual return of of 27.5% per year since 1951, and has been unaffected by the recent financial crisis. Can you guess what it is? BillionairesLife.com has the answer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The AIG Counterparties

The AIG counterparties that AIG (AIG) made payments to included about ten banks that are foreign companies. AIG has published a list on their web site. This is a follow-up to the What is the Matter with AIG article posted yesterday.

Author owns AIG.

By Stockerblog.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

Low Price to Cash Ratio with No Debt Stocks

What stock could be better than a company that is debt free and is trading at a price that is below the amount of cash they have per share. In other words, if the company went out of business, it wouldn't have any debts to pay off, and even if they couldn't sell off any of their assets, just the cash in the banks alone would be more than enough to give the investors a profit. The company would have to lose money at an incredible burn rate in order for the investor to lose money. So do such stocks exist? Yes, WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has come up with its latest downloadable and sortable list of debt free stocks selling close to cash per share. Here are a few examples:

Sycamore Networks (SCMR) is a debt free company recently traded at 2.56, an 8% discount to its cash per share of 2.79.

optionsXpress Hold (OXPS) is trading right about at its cash per share. The stock has a forward P/E ratio of 7.62 and has no debt.

FormFactor (FORM) was recently trading at 14.96, close to its cash per share of 10.66 per share. The company has no debt.

For a list of 17 stocks with no or low debt that are trading around cash per share, go to wsnn.com. The list is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, which can be added to, sorted, and changed.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

The California Marijuana Bailout


No, the state of California is not bailing out the marijuana industry. But it may be vice versa (no pun intended). State assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana and implement a state sales tax on the weed. It may be hard to believe but pot is reportedly the largest cash crop in California with supposedly $16 billion in sales, and could generate billions in tax revenue for the state. California is currently received sales tax from the $200 million in medical marijuana sales.

Is there an investment play on marijuana? You can always check out the previous article on marijuana stocks. Unfortunately, these are very speculative and mostly low cap plays.

What is the Matter with AIG?

It was just last week that I wrote about how much of the AIG (AIG) bailout money went to European banks. Now we hear about how they are planning on paying $1.2 billion in bonuses, and this money is reportedly going towards the derivatives trading staff, which got them into trouble in the first place.

The outrageousness is unbelievable!!! The stock sells for pennies yet they have received over $11 per share in bailout money! And by the way, whatever happened to the fraud investigation of AIG that started in 2007?

I get asked by readers, what should the government do for AIG instead of the bailouts? Here is the answer:
1. The government should immediately offer to back any life and disability insurance policies and annuities of AIG.
2. Since the government is "80% owner of the company", it should immediately vote out all the members of the Board of Directors, put in their own directors, who should in turn, terminate and replace all top executives.
3. The government should immediately clawback any and all bonuses paid to executives of the company over the last three years.
4. It goes without saying that no bonuses should be paid whatsoever. It AIG can't get out of their "bonus contracts", then the government, as "80% owner", should have the company declare bankruptcy immediately.
5. The government should take back all the bailout funds it can possibly recover that it gave to the company. The government is going to need all the funds it can get to back all of AIG's life insurance policies.
6. After all the above is done, the government should then look for a buyer of the "company" or its "assets".

Disclosure: Author is embarrassed and ashamed to admit he owns AIG, and he would rather have the stock go to zero than have the company receive any bailout money.

The Hot New Industry: Supermodel Robots

BillionairesLife.com has come up with an interesting take on a new industry, the supermodel robot industry. One of these robot hotties, with the cute name of HRP-4C and looks just like a human female, will appear without any clothes on in a fashion show in Japan next week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Below Book High Yield Plays

The book value is the amount every shareholder would receive if all the company's assets were sold off, and all the debts paid off. So if a stock sells below book value and immediately went out of business, theoretically you would be guaranteed to make money. So if you combine a below book stock with the fact that it pays a high yield, you might have a good investment. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com just updatd their list of Below Book High Yield Stocks, which is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that can be sorted and changed. Some examples are:

Oshkosh Corporation (OSK) selling at 32% of book, with a yield of 6.4%
Teekay Corporation (TK) selling at 34% % of book, with a yield of 8.0%
Sappi Limited (SPP) selling at 34% % of book, with a yield of 8.0%

The entire list of 25 dividend paying stocks selling below or at book can be found at wsnn.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com.

Web 4.0, Augmented Reality, Call It What You Will: This is a Jaw Dropper

The General Electric (GE) stock may not have been performing well, but their researchers are outstanding. First, you should check out the video:



to see what this is all about (3 dimensional, 4 dimensional?). This is totally amazing, and has been referred to as Web 4.0.

Then if you want to do it yourself, go to GE's augmented reality web site, where it has another video and shows you what to do to see it with your own computer. You will need to print out a page, you need to have your webcam and sound turned on, etc.

Two Californians Charged With Ponzi Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Northern California residents Anthony Vassallo and Kenneth Kenitzer for orchestrating a multi-million dollar investment fraud. Vassallo agreed to a court order freezing his assets. The SEC is seeking an emergency court order to also freeze the assets of Vassallo's company, Equity Investment Management and Trading, Inc.

According to the SEC's complaint, Vassallo and Kenitzer raised more than $40 million from about 150 investors from approximately May 2004 to November 2008. Vassallo told investors, many of whom he met through his church, that he had a proprietary computer software program that allowed him to buy and sell stock options and generate returns of 3.5 percent per month with little risk of loss. The SEC alleges that Vassallo and Kenitzer instead used investors' money for unauthorized purposes, including a variety of other schemes never disclosed to investors.

"Today's action reaffirms that the SEC will take immediate steps to preserve assets for investors victimized in fraudulent investment schemes," said Marc Fagel, Director of the SEC's San Francisco Regional Office. "The defendants' deception went so far as fabricating computer 'screen shots' for investors that purported to show more than $50 million in securities holdings, when in fact they had completely emptied the brokerage accounts."

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Sacramento, alleges that Vassallo told investors that their money was being invested in securities pursuant to a proprietary trading strategy that promised high returns with minimal risk. From September 2007 through approximately November 2008, Kenitzer, who participated in EIMT's day-to-day operations, posted false trading results on the company's Web site and distributed phony investment reports to investors that led them to believe EIMT was achieving consistent, positive returns. According to the SEC's complaint, EIMT actually had not conducted any stock trades since at least September 2007, when its brokerage firm terminated Vassallo's trading privileges. The SEC alleges that Vassallo and Kenitzer kept the scheme going by using money raised from new investors to pay earlier investors, a classic hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.

The SEC's complaint charges Vassallo, Kenitzer and EIMT with violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. In addition to an emergency order freezing EIMT's assets, the SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of defendants' ill-gotten gains, and financial penalties.

The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service

Madoff Claimed Losses Increase to $64.8 billion

According to prosecutors in the Bernie Madoff alleged investment scam case, they are now saying that he lost $64.8 billion of investors' money instead of $50 billion.

A lot of products have been marketed from this scandal, including the Bernard Madoff Postage Stamps, Bernie Madoff Toilet Paper, and being sold on eBay, a Bernie Madoff stock certificate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report

If you want to read up on how Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) is doing and what Warren Buffett has to say, you can read the Berkshire annual report.

If you missed the article on Berkshire selling for lowest price in 5 years, you can still check it out.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Stockerblog.com Exclusive: Interview with Natalie Pace – Part 2

Stockerblog.com had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Pace, head of her own financial publishing and media company, and author of the book Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is: Investment Strategies for Lifetime Wealth from a #1 Wall Street Stock Picker. She has been a repeat guest on Fox News, Forbes on Fox, Good Morning America, Time Magazine, USA Today, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and other financial news media. If you missed Part 1 of the interview, you can check it out here.

Stockerblog.com: What was your biggest investment mistake and what did you learn from it?

Pace: I intend to do well in investments because I take a long-term view of investing. So for instance, my home did go under water. When I bought it, I bought in 1991, experiencing earthquakes, fires, floods, riots, and mudslides, so I was really waiting for the locusts to come. I believed in my home, I had bought it for a good price, I believed in my neighborhood. It was a condo in Santa Monica, it was a good long term investment. So in the short term, it was underwater. There people were coming in and buying one of the condos for half of what I had purchased mine for. I didn't get fazed by it and I held on for the long term, and it didn't even have to be that long. I had pride of ownership, I still lived there, and I made a good ROI when I did sell.

If I had freaked out, and you have earthquakes, fires, floods, riots, and all those other things in a two year period, you can really freak out, if I had been the kind of person who had been ruled by stomach acids, I would have lost money if I had gotten out and sold at that time. The big lesson was to do your research up front, make sure you really believe in it, and be able to get through any storms that might arise between you and your ROI.

Stockerblog.com: Since you've written your book, have you come up with any new bits of advice?

Pace: Yes, because the book was written over a year ago. We were in the galley stage before the crisis hit. The strategies in the book are exceedingly helpful. The book says to diversify into ETFs because mutual funds are too big, they are not real diversification, and rebalance your portfolio twice a year. That strategy is amazing. If people just did that, they would be so protected, because one of the themes is always keep a percentage of your age safe.

Now the important thing to remember also, is to get a really great source for ongoing investment information. In February 2008, I had a huge article, Recession Proof Your Nest Egg Now, and that article had a key recommendation, take an additional 20% safe. I talked to one couple where I drew a pie chart on a napkin, using the pie charts from the book, and keeping an additional 20% safe during the recession, and they have lost nothing. So it's really key to have ongoing sources.

In two years, we will probably be coming out of this recession, and you will want to make sure you are not over-weighted safe, and you will probably want to be over-weighted in another industry. So it's really important to have ongoing news and a basic great strategy. Clean energy is still going to be a great industry to invest in. Each year, the hot industry changes.

Stockerblog.com: Do you think that we are close to a stock market bottom?

Pace: No, not at all. I do believe that 2009 is going to be another rough year. I think its really important to make sure you have a game plan that is both offensive and defensive. People should be aware of the fact that no matter what anybody says, you should have the ability to overweight and underweight. So you can be safe this year, not losing is winning. People are starting to worry about inflation, that is probably on the horizon, but I don't think it happens yet. I think people should be concerned about getting safe, I think they should be concerned about properly diversifying, and they should have some game plan on the four industries that I think are going to be hot this year, and that would be gold mining, clean energy, Australia & New Zealand, and biotechnology.

End of Part 2 of the Interview. Part 1 can be found here.

Her latest book, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is: Investment Strategies for Lifetime Wealth from a #1 Wall Street Stock Picker is available at Amazon. You can also check out Stockerblog's review of the book .

Interview by Fred Fuld at Stockerblog.com

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Monthly Dividend Stocks

There are plenty of stocks, including closed end funds, real estate trusts, master limited partnerships, and oil royalty trusts, which pay their dividends monthly. Lots of advantages are available with receiving monthly dividends including acceleration the investors' return of capital, faster compounding if the dividends are reinvested, provides a steadier cash flow, generally lower volatility, and some of the yields are partially or completely tax free. At WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, they provide a downloadable list of over 300 monthly monthly dividend stocks. Here are a few examples of some with yields over 9%:

Precision Drilling (PDS) yields 14.3%

Reaves Utility Income Fund (UTG) yields 13.9%

Van Kampen Senior Income Trust (VVR) yields 12.9%

Advent Claymore Convertible Securities & Income (AVK) yields 11.8%

Aberdeen Asia-Pacific Income Fund Inc. (FAX) yields 10.0%

PIMCO Municipal Income Fund III (PMX) yields 9.9%

Realty Income Corp. (O) yields 9.7%

Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) yields 9.7%

To see an Excel spreadsheet with the rest of the monthly dividend stocks, go to wsnn.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Stem Cell Stocks Update

On Monday, President Barack Obama will be signing an executive order to eliminate a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. This major change in policy will cause the research into stem cell therapy to increase substantially. Research has been continuing to utilize stem cells for gene therapy and the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and many other medical conditions.

Stem cells can come from embryos and from cord blood, the blood from umbilical cords, and even in baby teeth.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) is a Connecticut based company with a $2.6 billion market cap that is involved in the development of biologic therapeutic products for the treatment of hematologic and cardiovascular disorders, auto-immune diseases, and cancer. The stock has a forward PE of 83.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) is a Massachusetts based company, with a $83 million market cap, that is involved in the development of treatments for cancer by using small molecules to regulate cell signaling. Their cancer products are used to treat solid tumors, sarcomas, hormone refractory prostate cancer, and endometrial cancer. The stock has generated negative earnings. It is an extremely low cap stock and should be considered extremely speculative.

Celera Group (CRA) is a company that was founded in 1937. They have a market cap of $450 million. It is involved in the research of new diagnostic markers, using proprietary genomics and proteomics discovery procedures and diagnostic products. Some of their products are used for the detection of HIV, hepatitis C, and cystic fibrosis. They are in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Genentech (DNA), and General Electric (GE). The stock has generated negative earnings.

Cellgene (CELG) is a $18.9 billion market cap company involved in the discovery and production, of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. One of their main products is Thalomid, which is used for the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum, a complication of leprosy. They also received patent on placental stem cell recovery. The stock has recently generated negative earnings.

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. (CYTX) is a $68 million market cap company that makes and markets regenerative medicine medical technologies. They have recently generated negative earnings. This is an extremely low cap stock and should be considered extremely speculative.

Dendreon Corporation (DNDN) This $253 million market cap company is involved in the discovery, development, and sales of active immunotherapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule product candidates to treat cancer. They also manufacture the DACSĂ’SC stem cell enrichment device. The stock has had negative earnings.

Geron (GERN) is a Menlo Park, California based $307 million market cap company which develops cell-based therapies derived from human embryonic stem cells used for the treatment of various diseases and medical conditions such as spinal cord damage, heart failure, and diabetes. They have the first federally approved human study utilizing embryonic stem cell therapy. The stock has had negative earnings.

Integra Lifesciences Holdings (IART) is a New Jersey based $571 million market cap company that develops, manufactures, and sells medical devices, implants, biomaterials, and instruments to the stem cell, surgery, and soft tissue repair markets. Their P/E is 37, and the PEG is 0.68.

Invitrogen Corporation (LIFE) is a California based $4.9 billion market cap company which sells products and services to research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, including tools for gene acquisition, gene cloning, and gene analysis techniques. The stock has a P/E of 93.

Neuralstem Inc. (CUR) is a $27 million market cap company that develops and markets human neural stem cell technology. They have recently generated negative earnings. This is an extremely low cap stock and should be considered extremely speculative.

Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. (OSIR) is a $588 million market cap company, which markets stem cell products from adult bone marrow. They have recently generated negative earnings.

StemCells Inc. (STEM) is a $112 market cap company involved in the development, and marketing of cell-based therapeutics to treat liver diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. They have recently generated negative earnings. This is a low cap stock and should be considered very speculative.

For an Excel database of stem cell stocks which you can download, sort, and change, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Also, check out gene therapy stocks and cord blood stocks.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Cramer's Worst Case Dow Analysis Comes Close to Stockerblog's Worst Case

Jim Cramer recently went through each stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to determine the lowest price that each of the 30 Dow stocks could trade at and came up with a worst case of 5320. I don't know if Cramer used my Dow Analyzer or not, available at wsnn.com, to come up with the final estimate for a low on the Dow. I didn't get as granular on my analysis of the Dow in my two previous articles: How the Dow Can Drop to 4404 with 23 of the Dow Stocks Not Dropping and If Each Dow Stock Drops by Just 4 Points, the Dow Will Drop to 5848, but if you take the average of the two estimates I came up with, you get an estimate of 5126 for the Dow, within a couple hundred points of Cramer's estimate (which lately has been a typical daily move in the market).

If you want to decide for yourself how low the Dow can go, you can get the Dow Analyzer Excel spreadsheet for free at wallstreetnewsnetwork.com.

By Stockerblog.com

AIG Bailout Money Went to European Banks

American taxpayers will be please to know that billions of dollars in bailout money turned over to AIG (AIG), ended up being given by AIG to several foreign banks, including Deutsche Bank AG, Societe Generale, Calyon, Barclays Plc, Rabobank, Danske, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, and Lloyds Banking Group.

In case you missed the article on AIG receiving $11 per share in bailout money, you should check it out.

Author owns AIG.

By Stockerblog.com

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Southwest Airlines Takes Flack for Painting Supermodel on Side of Plane

Southwest Airlines (LUV), which has the great stock ticker symbol 'LUV' got a lot of grief from some of their passengers for painting a picture of Sports Illustrated supermodel Bar Rafaeli on the side of one of their airplanes. Some people thought that it was practically softporn. However, she is wearing a bikini. I see nothing wrong with it, and I examined the pictures of the plane very closely.

Stocks Going Ex Mid March

If you want to try the stock trading technique called 'Buying Dividends,' which is the technique of buying stocks before the ex dividend date and selling the stock shortly after the ex date at about the same price, yet still being entitled to the dividend, there are many stocks to choose from. This technique generally works only in bull markets.

When you buy dividends, there are many stocks in many different sectors to choose from. In order to be entitled to the dividend, you have to buy the stock before the ex-dividend date, and you can't sell the stock until after the ex date. The actual dividend may not be paid for another few weeks.

BCE Inc. ( BCE ) Ex-dividend date: 3/12/09 Yield: 7.7%
Regions Financial Corporation ( RF ) Ex-dividend date: 3/16/09 Yield: 12.1%
Terra Industries Inc. ( TRA ) Ex-dividend date: 3/16/09 Yield: 1.6%
Ventas, Inc. ( VTR ) Ex-dividend date: 3/16/09 Yield: 9.5%

If you like dividend stocks, you should check out the the high yield utility stocks and the Monthly Dividend Stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com or WSNN.com. For more details on dividend definitions, check out definitions of dividend dates. Don't forget to reconfirm the ex-dividend date with the company before implementing this technique.

Author does not own any of the above at the time this article is written.

By Stockerblog.com

If Each Dow Stock Drops by Just 4 Points, the Dow Will Drop to 5848

Based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average Analyzer at wsnn.com, which allows you to do what-if's on prices of the 30 stocks in the Dow, the Dow will drop to about 5848 if each stock in the Dow drops by just four points (except for the stocks that are already trading for less than 4).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

$81,000,000,000 for a Tank of Gas

A man in Spokane, Washington was charged over $81,000,000,000 for a tank of gas. It was a computer glitch obviously.

Monday, March 02, 2009

How the Dow Can Drop to 4404 with 23 of the Dow Stocks Not Dropping

A few days ago, I wrote about how the stock market as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average could drop to 3966 based on the drop in real estate (my own personal real estate that is). I started wondering, what would the 30 stocks in the Dow need to sell for in order for the Dow to trade at that level.

So what would have to happen to the 30 stock prices? Here is what I found. If just seven of the Dow stocks dropped to $15 a share and the other 23 stocks remained unchanged, then the Dow would drop to 4404. The seven stocks that would need to drop to 15 are:
Chevron Corporation (CVX)
IBM (IBM)
McDonald's (MCD)
3M (MMM)
Procter & Gamble (PG)
Walmart (WMT)
ExxonMobil (XOM)
Remember, this is assuming that the other 23 stocks don't drop at all!

I developed a Dow Jones Industrial Average Analyzer which allows you to do what-if's on prices of the 30 stocks in the Dow. The Analyzer can be accessed at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price weighted index, using a scaled average which takes into account the stock dividends and stock splits. If you have your own opinion about what each of the 30 stocks could drop to, you can download the Dow Analyzer Excel spreadsheet at wsnn.com, and enter your own prices to see what the Index would end up at, since all the calculations to create the index are already set up for you.

By Stockerblog.com

Sunday, March 01, 2009

AIG Receiving $11 per Share from the Feds

The insurance company, American International Group Inc. (AIG) will be receiving another $30 billion in Federal aid. Based in the 2.69 billion in shares they have outstanding, that works out to $11.15 per share, and the stock only sells for 42 cents per share. This is on top of the $150 billion in loans that they have already received from the government plus the $40 billion from TARP funds.

What is wrong with this picture? Are there union auto workers that work for AIG that need their jobs preserved? Did the United States invent insurance so we cannot walk away from the company?

Why aren't we supporting the insureds instead of the company, guaranteeing that all life insurance policies and annuities will be paid off, and forget about the company that spent almost $500,000 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in California after receiving bailout funds?

If you think this article sounds a lot like my rant about General Motors (GM) asking for $51 per share from the government, then you are right.

Disclosure: Author owns AIG, what a piece of ...

By Stockerblog.com

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