Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guest Article: Crude Oil Hits Ceiling in Week as Hedge Funds Attack Euro

Oil Market Summary for 02/22/2010 to 02/26/2010

Crude oil broke through the $80 a barrel ceiling repeatedly during the week but kept falling back as hedge funds placed big bets on the Euro’s decline.

The fiscal drama in Greece held global markets hostage much of the week as worries about the impact of the Greek crisis on the euro outweighed comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke about continued low interest rates in the U.S., pushing the euro down against the dollar and damping crude prices.

The euro recovered some ground on Friday amid new reports of European aid for Greece after falling to a nine-month low of $1.3440 on Thursday. Germany ’s state-owned bank KfW may take part in a planned Greek bond offering next week, according to market reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that a small group of elite hedge fund traders have concluded that the euro could be headed to parity with the dollar and their bearish bets are increasing the downward pressure on the 16-nation currency.

The Journal compared the situation to the hedge fund attack on the dollar in 2008. However, the trades are not expected to lead to a collapse of the currency as the attacks of George Soros on the British pound did in 1992, the paper said.

Positive U.S. economic data on Friday, including a revised fourth-quarter GDP annual growth rate of 5.9%, help crude oil futures claw back some of Thursday’s losses and near the $80 threshold again. Nymex’s benchmark West Texas Intermediate settled at $79.66 on Friday, after topping $80 earlier in the week.

In spite of crude’s difficulties in staying above $80, some analysts issued bullish prognoses for energy futures. Goldman Sachs forecast a new trading range of $85 to $95, up from the $70 to $80 of the past several months, amid supply disruptions from the North Sea and Venezuela and the impact of the Total refinery strike, which was resolved earlier this week.

Other analysts, too, looked for fundamental supply and demand considerations to reassert themselves amid the currency turmoil and lift crude oil futures into a higher trading range. Oil futures prices gained more than 9% in February but remained below January’s highs.

By Darrell Delamaide of OilPrice.com who focus on, Fossil Fuels Metals, Crude Oil Prices and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review: Master Your Debt

Master Your Debt: Slash Your Monthly Payments and Become Debt Free by Jordan Goodman is by far the best book on debt, debt elimination, and credit management that I have read in long time.

For Americans who feel like they may be a little over their heads in mortgage and credit card debt, the book has plenty of worksheets to show you where you stand now, everything about credit reports and how to fix errors, and an easy-to-understand chapter of every type of mortgage there is. If you don't know what an ArcLoan, a Harmony loan, a HELOC, or a reverse mortgage is, you will after reading Chapter 5.

Probably the more important part of the book is Goodman's discussion on how to become mortgage-free in seven years. This technique is only good for people that are good at money management, who don't need the mortgage interest tax deduction, and can't earn more on investments than what the cost of the mortgage interest is.

Goodman also covers extensive information about credit cards, how to find which ones to avoid and which are the best. There is plenty of other information including auto loans, education loans, avoiding credit fraud, and much more. The book has plenty of 'meat' which I like, in other words, plenty of very specific resources and web sites to go to for more information.

The book is very complete. If you have ever wanted to know anything about debt or debt elimation and didn't know where to turn, then Master Your Debt is for you.

No More Gatorade Endorsement for Tiger Woods


Pepsico (PEP) has decided to terminate the Gatorade endorsement of Tiger Woods, due to his marital issues. This is a follow-up to Pepsico's elimination of the Tiger Focus drink. And it is on top of the cancellation of the contracts with ATT (T) and Accenture (ACN). With all these contracts and connections going away, there isn't much left of the Tiger Woods Stock Index.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: End the Fed by Ron Paul

If you want to read a fascinating by scary book, read End the Fed by Ron Paul. When I say scary, I mean his description of what can happen to the United States. I took one look at the money supply chart on page 9 and was shocked. At first I didn't even notice the incredible spike at the end of this decade.

Paul covers a lot of information about the history of the Federal Reserve Board, his own history of how he got involved in economics and politics, and doesn't hold back on his opinions of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. One area that he covers in depth is gold, silver coins, copper pennies, and the gold standard. He discusses the recent economic crises, and gives very strong reasons why we should get rid of the Fed, philosophically, constitutionally, economically, and from a libertarian standpoint.

End the Fed is an easy read, and easy to understand. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the First Week of March


Here is our latest update on the stock trading technique called 'Buying Dividends'. This is the process 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. This technique generally works only in bull markets. In flat or choppy markets, your have to be extremely careful.

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. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has compiled a free downloadable and sortable Excel list of the stocks going ex dividend during the next week or two. The list contains many dividend paying companies, all with market caps over $500 million, and yields over 3%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) ex div date: 3/2/2010 market cap: $2.4B yield: 4.76%

AllianceBernstein Income Fund Inc. (ACG) ex div date: 3/3/2010 market cap: $1.9B yield: 6.50%

Consumers Energy Company (CMS-A) ex div date: 3/3/2010 market cap: $6.1B yield: 5.70%

Genuine Parts Company (GPC) ex div date: 3/3/2010 market cap: $6.4B yield: 4.06%

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB) ex div date: 3/3/2010 market cap: $25.0B yield: 4.38%

Potlatch Corporation (PCH) ex div date: 3/3/2010 market cap: $1.3B yield: 6.25%

The additional ex-dividend stocks can be found at wsnn.com. (If you have been to the website before, and the latest link doesn't show up, you may have to empty your cache.) 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.

Dividend definitions:

Declaration date: the day that the company declares that there is going to be an upcoming dividend.

Ex-dividend date: the day on which if you buy the stock, you would not be entitled to that particular dividend; or the first day on which a shareholder can sell the shares and still be entitled to the dividend.

Record date: the day when you must be on the company's books as a shareholder to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is normally set for stocks two business days before the record date.

Payment date: the day on which the dividend payment is actually made, which can be as long at two months after the ex date.

Don't forget to reconfirm the ex-dividend date with the company before implementing this technique.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Bernie Madoff Relatives Want to Change Last Name

Stephanie Madoff, a daughter-in-law of notorious swindler Bernard Madoff, has filed a legal request to have the last name of her and her two children changed from Madoff to Morgan. Her husband is apparently keeping his name but he is OK with his wife's request.

SIPC Responds to Lawsuits Relating to Madoff

SIPC STATEMENT ON LAWSUIT FILED BY BLMIS INVESTORS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 24, 2010 - Stephen Harbeck, president of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at failed brokerage firms, issued the following statement today:

“From the outset of the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (Madoff) liquidation proceeding, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation has made it clear that our No. 1 goal is to make sure that every eligible Madoff investor receives every penny that he is or she is entitled to receive per the recovery process.

We have a great deal of empathy for the Madoff victims. That is why we have worked around the clock for more than a year to expedite this matter despite the unprecedented complexities arising from the Web of deceit spun by Mr. Madoff. Our concern for the victims was also the reason why we worked with Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee for the Madoff liquidation, to establish a special hardship procedure for particularly hard-hit victims requiring special attention.

That is why we are disappointed to see that certain attorneys are exploiting the plight of these victims to incorrectly direct their anger and frustration at SIPC. Sadly, this frivolous litigation will have the effect of making it harder for SIPC to focus all of its time and attention on aiding the Madoff victims.

That being said, SIPC is not now and never was a FDIC-like ‘insurance’ entity.

Regarding the question of 'net equity', which the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is now weighing, we firmly believe that the calculation being used by Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC of New York, NY, is correct.

This determination is completely consistent with past precedent on the matter.

SIPC has filed two extensive briefs with the Court, which explain our position in detail. At this time, we are awaiting the court's ruling on the matter. We look forward to the decision resolving this matter."

SIPC's primary brief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York proceeding can be found at http://www.sipc.org/pdf/519_Memorandum_of_Law-1.pdf.

Invest in Movies for Real


Last year, I posted a couple articles about how investors could do fantasy trading on the box office receipts of motion pictures through the Cantor Exchange. I even made 5.5% myself investing (fantasy investing) on the latest Sherlock Holmes movie, within one week.

Now the real trading with real dollars is going live around April 20, 2010, after receiving regulatory approval. If you want to practice in the mean time, you can still do so at practice.cantorexchange.com.

Guest Article: Oil & Iraq

While the Iraqi government has made overtures to its Kurdish counterpart in the north to end an oil standoff, much remains in doubt without an actual law keeping the industry in check - rules which this time the Kurds are pressing for rather than Baghdad.

For a long time, the northern Kurdistan region was seen as the most attractive oil market in the country but the latest bid rounds in December and subsequent contract signings in the south have made it suddenly “less clear that Baghdad actually needs an oil law with Kurdistan, because they’re actually doing pretty well on their own,” said David Bender, an analyst in the Middle East practice of the Eurasia Group’s Washington office.

Iraq’s government initially pushed for petroleum-sector legislation, but lately the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been motivated to act “so they don’t get sort of left behind, with this new international oil interest in Iraq,” Bender argued.

Thirty-eight companies from 17 countries have exploration and production contracts in the Kurdistan region, according to Ashti Hawrami, the KRG’s national resources minister. Several medium and large discoveries have been made, while one private sector refinery has been built and another is almost finished, Hawrami noted in a Feb. 4 government press release.

Baghdad has never viewed oil contracts signed independently by the Kurds as legitimate and blacklisted companies involved in the northern region’s oil fields from working in the south. Oil exports from the Kurdish area stopped last year when companies were not reimbursed.

In recent days, however, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been considering covering the development costs of foreign firms working in the north, according to media reports, which also cite that oil exports would flow again soon from the north’s Tawke field, operated by Norway’s DNO and Turkey's Genel Energy.

The central government’s ban on companies operating in the Kurdish area will probably remain until the implementation of an oil law, which outlines the sharing of profits, the signing of contracts and the role of Iraq ’s National Oil Company, Bender told OilPrice.com. He added the Kurds will presumably want to continue to forge contracts without Baghdad ’s involvement.

As of now, only small interests have been doing business with the KRG, “but if the Kurds ever want to attract major oil companies, they will have to come to some understanding with the Iraqi government,” added Bender.

Baghdad ’s interest these days in reaching out to Irbil , capital of the Kurdish north, is “more politically based rather than anything having to do with oil,” he maintained. With March 7 parliamentary elections looming, the Kurds may be the “king maker in whatever the next government is, and one of their prices is probably going to be some sort of progress on an
oil law,” he argued. He said eventually an oil bill will be passed but conceded it is “somewhat worrisome that there is no time table.”

Without clearly defined rules in the petroleum sector, heightened international participation in the Middle Eastern country’s oil market has forced dealing with certain issues through a budgetary process, Bender said. This year’s budget spells out that provinces will be paid $1 per barrel for oil or gas they produce, while the provinces, namely the Kurdish north, have to agree to export oil or face a fine, he continued.

The whole country’s proven oil reserves were last estimated at 115 billion barrels, and analysts have speculated Iraq will boast some six million to 10 million barrels a day over the next several years.

While different stakeholders argue over spreading around the oil wealth, some doubt the optimism of these predictions.

Robert Ebel, a senior adviser in the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, told OilPrice.com he has heard Iraqis boast that more oil will flow from their country than from Saudi Arabia .

“I take all that with a huge grain of salt because I don’t think it’s doable,” Ebel said, adding he has a “huge doubt” about how quickly Iraq can produce oil, sell it abroad and bring back money into the country. Responding to all of these contracts will take time, as well as a “tremendous amount of equipment” and personnel, he added.

And the key, Ebel said, is the fate of all that money. “Is it spent properly, or is it lost to the corruption and the variety of projects that don’t really have that much importance to the economy?”

While the petroleum law remains paramount, the dispute over the Kirkuk region is also a major stumbling block that may cause problems for the nascent oil industry. Kirkuk finds itself front and center in the fight between Iraqis and Kurds over certain disputed territories.

“In the case of the Kurds, Kirkuk remains an extremely volatile situation. Right now, the U.S. is sort of forcing Kurdish and Arab security forces to cooperate and even that is highly controversial,” Bender added. U.S. forces are set to depart next year. Whether such strategic cooperation between local militaries will continue is a lingering question, he warned, and “whether the security forces will start fighting is certainly a possibility.”

By Fawzia Sheikh for OilPrice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Metals, Oil Prices and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Guest Article: Making Sense of Today's Gold Market

Lets make sense of the Gold market

It's been about eight days since we did a video on gold, and given the market action today I thought I would look at what is causing the downward pressure in this market.

If you did not watch my last video on gold, I strongly recommend you click here to watch the video titled "Five Reasons Why Gold Will Not Make a New High This Time" as it will give you a bigger picture of how we see this market playing out in the next 12 months.

In today's short video we look at an indicator that we have not talked about before in any of our videos. The indicator, which is an overlay on top of the chart, is called the Donchian Channel Indicator.

Richard Donchian, who has since passed away, came up with this indicator in the late '40s. The reason why I like this indicator is the fact that it has successfully stood the test of time. I think you'll really enjoy seeing how it can help you make money in the gold market.

Also in this video, I point out one very important cycle that is in play now and where I think the next tradable low is coming into this market.

http://www.ino.com/info/530/CD3111/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=3

As always our videos are free to watch and there are no registration requirements. I would really like to hear back from you, with regards to your thoughts on the gold market. You can comment quite easily on our blog.

Also, don't forget to check out the February 26th - Beginner's Trading Terminology Webinar.

All the best,
Adam Hewison
President, INO.com
Co-creator, MarketClub

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Over 280 Stocks That Pay Dividends Monthly

It doesn't matter whether you are a retiree looking for income or an active investor looking for places to put excess cash, it is hard to ignore stocks that pay monthly dividends. The choices are numerous. There are over 280 different securities that pay monthly that are available for investors to choose from, most with very high yields. Technically, these stocks are real estate investment trusts, oil income trusts, closed end bond funds, and closed end income stock funds, which pay dividends every month. The advantages to having monthly dividends versus quarterly or annual dividend stocks are that your invested capital is returned faster, compounding happens quicker, there is usually less volatility, and many of these pay tax free income.

Here is a random selection of the hundreds to chose from:

Provident Energy Trust (PVX) 8.6%
MFS Multimarket Income Trust (MMT) 8.5%
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (SJT) 8.2%
ING Clarion Global Real Estate Income Fund (IGR) 8.1%
Eaton Vance CRD Opportunities (EOE) 7.9%
Strategic Global Income Fund Inc. (SGL) 7.9%
BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (BSD) 7.0%
Nuveen Municipal Market Opportunity Fund Inc. (NMO) 7.0%
Dreyfus Municipal Income Inc. (DMF) 6.5%
Realty Income Corp. (O) 6.1%

A couple things to keep in mind when you are doing your due diligence and homework on these investments. Be careful of the ones with high management fees, be careful of the ones with limited liquidity and which trade very few shares on a daily basis, and if you invest in the municipal bond closed end funds, make sure you know the consequences of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

To see the latest updated list of over 280 monthly dividend stocks, including a dozen that have yields of 10% or more, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Book Review: Hit and Run

Hit and Run by Lawrence Block has a very interesting plot. It is about a hit man who has $2.5 million in stocks and municipal bonds, who is ready to retire. He goes around the country killing people and collection stamps.

He just has one more hit, in Iowa of all places. The night before he does the hit, a presidential candidate is assassinated in the same state. He then discovers that he has been set up as the prime suspect. He has almost no cash and no usable credit cards. So now what does he do?

Hit and Run is a real page turner, and you will find yourself rooting for the bad guy. If you need a book to occupy yourself on a flight, this is it.

Museum of American Finance Upcoming Events

Museum of American Finance
48 Wall Street
New York City

March 9
David Walker on Comeback America
5:30-7pm

April 13
Making Green From Green Investing: Is investing in Green Truly Profitable?
Panel discussion in discussion with the Columbia Business School Alumni Club
6-8pm

April 17
Walking Tour: Wall Street Scandals
1-2:30pm

More info 212-908-4110
moaf.org

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Watch a Scary Movie, Get Paid $10,000

What some movie producers will do to get you to see their movie! Producers have tried all kinds of advertising to promote their movies, but this may be a first. An Indian filmmaker, Ram Gopal Varma, has just released his latest horror film, Phoonk 2. If you don't think the movie will scare you, you will be put in the movie theater all by yourself, while wired up to a heart machine, with a camera on you at all times. (You can't close your eyes.) If you are able to sit through the entire movie, you will win $10,000. Apparently, when Varma ran this same promotion with his previous movie, the contestant ran out of the theater after only 30 minutes.

Are Comic Books Replacing Stocks?

What is it about comic books these days? First, a rare example of the Detective Comics No. 27 comic book from 1939 with the first appearance of Batman goes to auction, and currently has a bid price of $425,000. (This auction isn't over with, so you still have a chance to buy.)

Then just yesterday, an Action Comics #1 comic, the first comic book in which Superman appeared, sold for $1,000,000. The cover of the comic shows Superman lifting up a car. Supposedly, a couple other Action Comics #1 comics have sold for $300k to $400k during the last year. That's a pretty large percentage increase.

Are people taking their money out of the stock market and buying 'graphic novels'?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Natural Gas Company is 120 Years Old and Pays 4.8%?


There is a natural gas utility company that is the eighth oldest listed stock on the New York Stock Exchange, and celebrated its 120 year anniversary on December 7, 2009. In addition, it was one of the original stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, back in 1896. How's that for a track record.

And the name of the stock is Laclede Group Inc. (LG), formerly known as Laclede Gas Company. This is a natural gas utility that yields 4.8%, and has a forward price to earnings ratio of 12.8. The company pays out $35.17 million in dividends, extremely well covered by the company's operating cash flow of $245.95 million. The company has increased its dividend every year since 2003.

Of course, there are plenty of other natural gas and propane gas utilities. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has turned up 25 gas utilities with yields ranging from 2% to as high as 8.8%, such as Nicor (GAS) yielding 4.6%, Spectra Energy (SE) yielding 4.6%, and Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) yielding 4.2%.

You might also consider investing in electric utilities, which also pay fairly high yields, many in excess of 5%.

To see a list of 25 gas utilities, you can get a free downloadable Excel database of natural gas and propane stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Fuel Cell Bloom Box

If you watched 60 minutes on Sunday, you would have seen the report on the Bloom Box, a fuel cell powered device that generates 'electricity in a box' wirelessly. It was invented by Bloom Energy, based in California. The device is already being tested by eBay (EBAY), Google (GOOG), FedEx (FDX) and WalMart (WMT).

Bloom Energy is privately held and has been funded by various venture capitalists, including Kleiner Perkins.

Urine Powered Cars

Speaking of environmentally conscious automobiles, based on a report from the Discovery Channel, researchers at Ohio University have come up with a way of generating energy from urine. They drop nickel-based electrodes into urine, generating hydrogen gas utilized in fuel cells. These urine cars could get 90 miles per gallon, and you could generate your own fuel after drinking a large cup of coffee.

Free Green Cars and Free Fill-ups for New Yorkers


If you live in the New York City area, you may want to check out the Project Driveway initiative, offered by General Motors. They are lending out 100 Equinox hydrogen fuel-cell cars. In addition, two new hydrogen refilling stations will be added, one in the Bronx and JFK Airport. The crossover SUV automobiles have a range of approximately 200 miles on a full tank of fuel.

NYSE Stocks Below $3 per Share

If your looking for bargain stocks but you want to limit yourself to those that trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYX), there are plenty to choose from; as a matter of fact, according to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, there are over 65 stocks that are trading for less than three dollars a share.

These include such companies as the drilling and oil production services company Flotek Industries Inc. (FTK), the geothermal power company Raser Technologies, Inc. (RZ), the drugstore company Rite Aid Corp. (RAD), the commercial real estate business Grubb & Ellis Company (GBE), and the bookstore chain Borders Group, Inc. (BGP), all of which are trading for less than $2 per share. Do your homework before investing in these as most have been generating negative earnings.

If the one and two dollar per share stocks are too rich for your blood, there are six that trade for less than a dollar a share. An example is Flagstar Bancorp Inc. (FBC) which trades for less than 70 cents per share and has a market cap of about $300 million.

To access the entire free list of low priced NYSE stocks, go to wsnn.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Another Domain Name Auction

If you are looking for interesting domains, Great Domains is having their latest auction, which includes some two character and three character names. In regards to financial related names for sale, some of the offerings include:

condoforclosures.com
priceplans.com
analyzes.com
bulkbuying.com
hardcash.net
taxarbitration.com
latestnumbers.com

For Those Interested in Financial History

The Chicago Paper Money Expo will be held on Saturday, March 20, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, Illinois, 60018.

At 11 a.m., on behalf of the Society of Paper Money Collectors Larry Shuffman will present "The People of Chicago and Their Support of the Liberty Bonds of 1917-1919."

At 1 p.m., at a meeting of the Chicago Coin Club, Lawrence Falater will present "Stock Certificates from Frauds, Scandals & Famous Bankruptcies."

Guest Article: Oil Market Summary for 02/16/2010 to 02/20/2010

An easing of the crisis in Europe gave energy markets a firm tone last week that enabled crude oil futures to gain nearly 8% amid mixed economic news and some concerns about supply.

A strike at French oil refineries lifted prices to a five-week high Friday, with the benchmark West Texas Intermediate finishing the week at $79.81. The French strike threatened to limit U.S. imports of refined products from Europe .

Earlier in the week, the show of solidarity by European Union governments regarding fiscal problems in Greece and other countries in the eurozone, eased concerns about the crisis there and downward pressure on the euro.

A move Thursday by the Federal Reserve to raise the discount rate – the rate it charges banks for emergency loans – did however propel the dollar higher against the euro. News on Friday that the core inflation rate in the U.S. actually fell 0.1% in January – the first decline since 1982 – dispelled worries that the Fed would need to tighten further interest rates to combat inflation and led to a lower dollar on Friday.

The weak consumer price index and another weekly increase in jobless claims provided further evidence that U.S. economic recovery continues to be weak.

The weekly report on oil inventories, coming a day late because of the Monday holiday in the U.S. , showed increases in crude oil and gasoline stocks but a bigger-than-expected drop in distillates, which includes heating oil. This news buoyed crude oil prices.

A coup in African oil producer Niger on Thursday added to some supply concerns at the end of the week to support higher crude oil prices.

Hedge funds and other speculative traders sharply increased their net long positions in crude oil futures in the week ending Feb. 16, according to trading data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, after having reduced them in the previous week.

Andrew Hall, the head of Phibro, is seeking new investors as he reorganizes his hedge fund operations in the wake of Phibro’s move from Citigroup to Occidental Petroleum. Hall, who specializes in energy trading, will manage the new Astenbeck Capital Management, named after a town in Germany where he owns a castle. According to the Financial Times, Astenbeck will take over management of two oil funds previously operating under Phibro’s aegis.

Hall was the energy trader who created a controversy while still working for Citi because of his $100 million bonus. The bonus was deemed politically unacceptable while the bank was receiving a taxpayer bailout and led to Citi selling Phibro to Oxy Pete.

By Darrell Delamaide of OilPrice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Metals, Crude Oil PricesAlternative Energy and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Top Yielding Electric Utilities Paying Over 5%

Investors like electric utilities for their safety, security, and income, specially since most yield between 4% to 7%. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has come up with a list of 30 electric utility stocks that pay a dividend of 4% or more. Historically, utilities have paid favorable dividends for many years with low volatility.

Here are some examples of utility stocks with decent CD beating yields.

FirstEnergy Corp. (FE) has a yield of 5.5%, and has a forward PE of 9.7.

Westar Energy, Inc. (WR) has a yield of 5.4%, and has a forward PE of 12.9.

The Southern Company (SO) has a yield of 5.4%, and has a forward PE of 12.9.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP)has a yield of 5.4%, and has a forward PE of 12.3.

You can access a free downloadable Excel database of high yield electric utility stocks, which you can add to, change, and sort, at WSNN.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Marriage in an Apple Store

Talk about an interesting venue for a marriage. A New York couple decided to hold their marriage ceremony in an Apple (AAPL) store, since they met there when they were first shopping for an iPhone. The wedding had 30 attendees and the priest dressed up as Steve Jobs. Are Apple stores going to turn into the latest pickup joints? Or how about Apple singles bars, with laptops set up at every table and in front of every other bar stool?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

George Soros Increasing His Investment in Gold


In spite of the fact that George Soros, billionaire and top trader, has suggested the gold is in a bubble, he has decided to increase the gold holdings that he has. As a matter of fact, he has decided to double his investment in gold, through investing in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD). He also increased his investment in Yamana Gold (AUY).

Microsoft to Offer Competitors' Browsers

Due to a recent agreement between the Europe's Competition Commission and Microsoft (MSFT), Microsoft will be offering users of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 the option of installing other Internet browsers besides the company's Internet Explorer. The choices are Internet Explorer, Google (GOOG) Chrome, Firefox, Apple (AAPL) Safari and Opera Software's (OPESY.PK) Opera.

Cloud Computing Stocks: A Growing Green Sector


You may have heard about cloud computing but never knew what it was, or how it can make businesses more green and cost efficient. Cloud computing means that instead of running software applications on your computer, you run the apps in the "clouds" in cyberspace, in other words through the Internet. All your programs and files are stored on an outsourced computer network residing on remote servers. Sometimes, certain aspects of cloud computing are referred to as platform as a service [PaaS] and software as a service [SaaS]. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has just updated a downloadable Excel database of 16 different publicly traded companies with some connection to cloud computing.

Do you use Yahoo (YHOO) mail or Google's (GOOG) gmail? Then in a small way, you are using cloud computing. In other words, you don't have an email server in your home or office, you're taking advantage of the cloud offered by Yahoo or Google. As a matter of fact, many companies, organizations, and universities have turned their email system over to gmail. If you have ever used Google (GOOG) Docs or Google Calendar, you have experienced another example of cloud computing. Google will be one of the major players in this field. The stock has a PE of 26, is debt free, and has over $24 billion in cash.

Here are a dozen of the economic and green advantages of clouds:
1. Server equipment cost reduction due to elimination of the necessity of on-site servers.
2. Staffing cost savings, since there is little or no need for on-site network administration.
3. Potential for lower software licensing costs.
4. Elimination of server maintenance costs.
5. Small initial upfront investment.
6. Built-in computer disaster recovery services & back-up sites.
7. Reduction in client station costs. In other words, no need to buy new computers for staff as long as existing computers can connect to the Internet.
8. If additional staff computers need to be purchased, they can be cheap 'dumb' terminals.
9. Clouds provide scalability; can easily grow as the company grows.
10. The ease of the sharing of resources.
11. Services can be automated.
12. Speed of access of data.

As for disadvantages, the one major concern is security of the data. So it is a matter of which is more trustworthy, your own company or a company that specialized in data security. Another option is the utilization of cloud computing within a large corporation. Everything stays 'in-house'.

One major company in this currently narrow industry is Salesforce.com (CRM), a provider of customer-relationship management services. They have been promoting 'the end of software'. Salesforce doesn't just market to the small and medium size-companies, they have major users of their services, including Corporate Express division of Staples (SPLS), Daiwa Securities (DSECY.PK), Expedia (EXPE), Dow Jones Newswires subsidiary of News Corp. (NWS-A), SunTrust Banks (STI), and Kaiser Permanente. Salesforce has a very high PE ratio of 117, a small amount of debt amounting to about $18 million, with almost $445 million in cash.

To access a free Excel spreadsheet database of many companies which are involved in cloud computing that can be sorted, added to, and changed, go to wsnn.com.

Author owns YHOO.

By Stockerblog.com

Guest Article: Libya Courting Oil & Gas Investors but Faces a Tough Sell Following Recent Government Fiascos

Libya Faces Tough Energy Sell Following Scant Oil & Gas Claims and Government Fiascos

The Libyan government has been sounding off lately about boosting the profile of its oil and gas market, but it’s questionable whether international companies will ignore the government’s missteps in the industry - not to mention the recent lackluster energy finds - and keep injecting money into the North African country.

The head of Libya ’s National Oil Corp., Shokri Ghanem, has his eye on expanding gas exploration and production in a bid to raise exports to Europe , as well as privatizing oil refineries and the petrochemical sector, according to an interview he gave this month to the Oxford Business Group.

Once an international outcast for its penchant for terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, Libya now wants foreigners to take a greater stake in the oil market and in turn encourage local firms to play a larger role as well.

More than two-dozen companies from around the world are betting on Libya these days, said Ronald Bruce St John, an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, a Washington-based think tank. He has served on the international advisory board of the Journal of Libyan Studies and the Atlantic Council Working Group on Libya . The government of Muammar Gaddafi has relied on foreigners to scout for new wells and bolster current production, “if they’re ever going to come close” to a target of three million barrels a day, he explained.

The burning question, though, is “how profitable would it be” for an overseas oil concern to forge ahead in the country’s hit-or-miss exploration climate, a situation made even more dicey by Tripoli ’s erratic policy moves, St John told OilPrice.com. Libya ’s national oil company chief has talked about the need for foreign investment over the last few years, he noted, but this time Ghanem’s words follow months of government bungling and less-than-stunning results in the oil and gas fields.

One of last year’s biggest shocks was Gaddafi’s suggestion to nationalize the country’s oil and gas interests, a consideration that seemed to echo the early days of the Libyan revolution when the industry was partially nationalized. These words set the stage for the National Oil Corp. to renegotiate long-term contracts in Libya ’s favor with major oil companies operating in the country, such as Italy ’s ENI, the United States ’ Occidental, PetroCanada , France ’s Total and Spain ’s Repsol, St John added.

International investors were also a little unnerved by the Verenex Energy Inc. fiasco, St John added. He said the small Canadian oil exploration player was the only company to make a sizeable discovery – more than two billion barrels of oil – under strict EPSA, phase four, contracts awarded after 2005.

But Libya ’s interference in negotiations between Verenex and the China National Petroleum Co. over the sale of the Canadian firm’s exploration contract drove down Verenex’s share price by 30 percent and forced it to sell the contract to Libya at 70 percent of the original offer to China , he said.

Dampening enthusiasm still more, no company under these 2005 agreements has scored big in oil apart from Verenex, St John maintained.

So where does this all leave Libya and its nervous investors today?

Ghanem’s latest declarations are obviously attempts to “put a positive face on an industry that has not been going well in the last 12 to 18 months,” St John said, adding that these events have prompted “great uncertainty” in the oil and gas industry, and “a lot of that’s their own fault.”

The oil chief is a little anxious that international companies potentially stumbling across petroleum finds may one day “cap the wells,” while unsuccessful players will pull out entirely, St John said.

And now, a sector which has been “relatively efficient and transparent” is following other parts of the Libyan economy that so far have rejected reforms, he warned, saying the oil industry seems to have fallen prey to conservative factions within the government coveting more control.

The Gaddafi government is arguably on an uneasy footing as it makes a play for more international money, noted Simon Henderson, a Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and energy policy program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Within the Libyan government there is resistance to encouraging more foreign investment in the oil market, but Ghanem’s argument is the country cannot go it alone, said Henderson . The North African country sorely needs foreign investors but wants them to view such requests as a partnership rather than as an invitation to take over sectors of the economy, he explained.

“The difficult challenge is at home, Arab nationalism is a very strong thing,” Henderson told OilPrice.com “Foreign investors are seen as diminishing Arab nationalism and therefore are resisted ideologically. And from a foreign investor’s point of view, selling the notion to your shareholders that you can get a good agreement with an apparent eccentric like Col. Gaddafi is questionable.”

For the most part, larger companies will probably “soldier on,” predicted St John, but smaller companies will be more careful about “how much, and how fast” they invest in Libya -- especially if there’s a better game in town.

By Fawzia Sheikh for OilPrice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Metals, Crude Oil Prices, Alternative Energy and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Over 35 Stocks With Tax Free Yields Above 7%

The best time to do your tax planning is immediately. One great way of reducing your taxes is putting your surplus funds in stocks that pay tax free dividends.

There are many stocks, which are primarily closed end funds or CEFs, which pay dividends that are tax free. This tax free income is generated from municipal bonds in the portfolio. Although many of the Canadian oil income trusts pay income that may be partially or completely tax deferred due to depletion and depreciation deductions, the tax free stocks that invest in munis usually generate dividends that are completely exempt from Federal taxes, and may be exempt from state income taxes.

Municipal bonds are issued by states, counties, cities, and other governmental agencies. Income from these bonds is exempt from Federal income taxes, and if the bonds are issued in your state of residence, the income is exempt from state income taxes also. Municipal bonds issued by Puerto Rico and other U. S. dependencies are exempt from state income taxes for residents of most states. There are over 200 different tax free income stocks, according to the recently updated list at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, with 37 of them yielding 7% or more. Just be cautious about investing in extremely high yield muni CEFs which may use leverage to attain their high yields.

Eaton Vance Municipal Income Trust (EVN) is one of the highest yielding CEFs, currently paying 7.8%. It has paid dividends since 1999.

For you New Yorkers, there is the PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund II (PNI) which pays 7%. It has paid quarterly dividends since 2002.

If you live in California, you might want to consider the BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust II (BCL) which also yields 7%. The fund has been paying dividends monthly since 2002.

Although none of the Massachusetts funds pay 7%, there is one that comes close, the Eaton Vance Massachusetts Municipal Income (MMV), which pays 6.8%. They have paid monthly dividends since 1999.

However, for Pennsylvania residents, there is one that pays 7%, the Van Kampen Pennsylvania Value Municipal Income Trust (VPV). This CEF has been paying monthly dividends since 1995.

You can download a free Excel database spreadsheet list of over 200 tax free stocks at WSNN.com. The list can be changed and sorted. Keep in mind that both yields and share prices fluctuate, and there is the possibility of bonds in the portfolios defaulting, as junk munis do exist, such as some 'dirt bonds' used to fund infrastructures of new housing developments (some of which never get built).

Author does not own any of the above.


By Stockerblog.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review of the MacWorld Expo


Last week, the annual MacWorld Expo was held at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Everything I read prior to attending the Expo made it sound like a letdown, and in some ways it was, primarily due to the fact that Apple (AAPL) was not participating. The exhibit hall seemed less than half the size of previous shows.

I'm not just talking about the lack of freebie giveaways. Last year I got an iPhone cover which retails for $25 and an H&R Block (HRB) tax preparation software CD which retails for about $30, both as free giveaways, and much, much more. This year, I was lucky to get a couple pens. (By the way, H&R Block didn't return this year.)

What i am referring to is the reduction in the variety of exhibitors (less than 250), and the number or attendees. Even the overall energy level seemed to have dropped over previous years.

But the exhibitors that were there still tried their best. One of the major vendors was IBM (IBM) surprisingly. But maybe not so surprising, as Apple is moving more into the business world. Other large firms exhibiting include American Express (AXP) , Cisco (CSCO), Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ), Microsoft (MSFT), Motorola (MOT), VMware, Inc. (VMW), Western Digital Corp. (WDC), John Wiley & Sons Inc. (JW-A), and Xerox (XRX).

The New York Times Company (NYT) was there also, trying to push trial newspaper subscriptions. Talk about old technology. I really like The New York Times online, I just don't believe in printed newspapers any more.

The area with the most activity was the apps section, which took up a small footprint of the total floor but was very crowded with visitors looking for the latest and greatest applications for their iPhones. The one that impressed me the most was the Business Card Reader. This great app allows you to take a picture of a business card with your iPhone 3G and it immediately imports the contact information into the appropriate fields of your iPhone address book. It even recognizes French, German, and Spanish. The app currently is on sale for only $4.99 as part of the MacWorld Expo special. It is designed for the iPhone 3G or older models with a macro lens attachment.

iPhone and iPod accessories seemed to be the overall de facto theme of the Expo as there were dozens and dozens of accessory vendors, selling everything from recharging battery packs, iPhone covers, skins, and earphones.

I still enjoyed the Expo, and the smaller size did have its advantages. I was able to check out every exhibitor at least once or twice within just a couple hours.

Author owns AAPL, MSFT.

By Stockerblog.com

Something to Spend Your Stock Market Profits On

Any Beatle's fans out there? Anyone out there with an extra $30 million to $50 million? If so, here's your chance to invest in probably one of the most famous recording studios in the world, Abbey Road. The studio is being sold by EMI Group, once a publicly traded company, now owned by Terra Firma Capital Partners.

What Debt Free Stock Yields Over 16%

It is amazing that there are still plenty of high yielding stocks out there, with high yielding being above 6%. However, when you see a stock yielding above 16%, you really take notice. But is the yield real?

An updated list of high yield debt free stocks was just posted by WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, and at the top of the list was BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT), which is technically a royalty trust, somewhat similar to the Canadian oil income trusts. The company owns overriding royalty interests in minerals in the Prudhoe Bay oil field located on the North Slope in Alaska.

If you look at the company on Yahoo (YHOO) Finance, the stock shows a yield of 16.5%, which is correct based on the latest quarterly payment. However, if you look at the last four quarterly payments, the yield is actually 9.1%, still very high though.

Another example is the investment management company, AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB), which is technically a publicly traded limited partnership. The yield based on the latest payment is 10.1%, yet based on the last four quarterly dividends is just 5.3%, still a decent payout.

If you like monthly dividends, there are plenty to choose from, such as Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) with a yield of 7.7%.

Just remember, some of these high yields may not be sustainable. Look what happened to Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd (NAT). It's last three quarterly dividends have gone from 88 cents to 50 cents to 10 cents.

To access a free list of high yielding stocks with no debt, which can be changed, sorted, and downloaded, go to WSNN.com. Almost all the stocks on the list yield more than 4%.

Author owns YHOO.

By Stockerblog.com

Guest Article: Five Reasons Why Gold Will Not…

Five Reasons Why Gold Will Not…

Gold has made some exciting moves recently, but what can we expect in the future? In today’s video, I point out five reasons that I do not expect gold to make a new high just yet.

If the current cycle persists, there will be some interesting trades to be had in this market and a possible new high before summer.

The video is free to watch and there are no registration requirements. I hope you enjoy this gold update and make a comment on the blog about how you feel about this video and this market.

http://www.ino.com/info/528/CD3111/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=3

All the best,
Adam Hewison
President, INO.com
Co-creator, MarketClub

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top Yielding Water Utilities

I keep reading more and more about how water will become scarcer and more valuable that oil. If that is true, then the companies that own water rights should do extremely well. In the meantime, you can earn dividends from your investments in water utility stocks.

Water utilities decent yields between 1.5% and 6.5%. Maybe they aren't as high as electric utilities or gas utilities, but there are over a dozen water utility stocks with dividends that were turned up by WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. Here are a couple examples.

American States Water Company (AWR) is a $600 million market cap utility which produces, purchases and distributes water in both California and Arizona. The company pays a yield of 3.2% and have a forward PE of 16.2.

SJW Corp. (SJW) is a San Jose, California water utility with a market cap of over $400 million. It yields 3.1% and has a forward PE of 20.5%

To see a list of the rest of the top yielding water stocks, which you can download, add to, change, and sort, check out WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

The Office Romance Stock Market Indicator

A survey done by Vault, a career web site based in New York, said that last year, 80% of office workers avoided workplace romance due to the recession. This year, the office romance avoidance rate has dropped to 69.7%.

Chile Coin has Country Name Spelled Wrong

I think we know why this guy was fired. Thousands of 50 peso Chilean coins were put into circulation with the name of the country spelled wrong. It was spelled 'Chiie' instead of 'Chile'. The managing director of the mint has been terminated and the coin has become a hot collectible.

Giving Up iPods for Lent?

British Bishops are suggesting to their followers that they give up their Apple (AAPL) iPods for Lent. This is part of the Lent carbon fast which includes flushing your toilet less and using candles instead of light bulbs.

One Square Inch of Land for $1: What an Investment

If you have never invested in real estate before, now is your chance. A young man in Detroit, Michigan, who works as a web designer, is making an offer you can't refuse. He is selling square inches of a lot that he owns for a price of only one dollar an inch. Such a deal.

There are a total of 10,000 plots available with about 6% already sold. The buyers of the plots are referred to as 'inchvestors'.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Altucher Agrees With Stockerblog about Greek Stocks

If you missed my article last week about stocks of companies based in Greece, you should check it out. I wrote about how it may be time for a turnaround, as Greece is getting bailed out by the European Union. James Altucher, in his latest article in DailyFinance, agrees with me.

The Stock That's a Screaming Buy

First, let me get the disclosures and disclaimers out of the way. I own shares in the following stock. It is a 'screaming buy' for me. I am not recommending it as an investment for you as most of you who are aware of from previous articles, I never make any recommendations; however, occasionally I strongly suggest that you take a closer look a certain stocks.

For example, back on March 8, 2007, when I wrote the article ‘Why Amazon.com Stock could be Up Substantially by Year End’. The article listed twelve reasons why Amazon.com (AMZN) looked extremely favorable. The stock closed at 38.10 that day, started shooting up in April and never looked back, now trading around 120 per share.

So what is the stock I am writing about? It is eBay (EBAY), which closed at 21.77 on Friday. This is the company that owns PayPal, the online payment services company. Remember several years ago when eBay took a lot of grief for buying PayPal? Now look at it; it is driving the company.

PayPal's total payment volume, also known as TPV, jumped above $20 billion for the latest reported quarter. PayPal operates in 190 markets around the world, with over 80 million active accounts, supporting 24 different currencies.

The Merchant Services division of PayPal grew by an incredible 50% for the fourth quarter. So what is Merchant Services? This is essentially the checkout process that you see when you purchase something online, whether you are buying from a small, medium, or even large companies such as Wal Mart (WMT), 1-800-Flowers (FLWS), and Blue Nile (NILE). Usually you see a choice of VISA (V) or MasterCard (MA), and often in addition, Discover (DFS) and American Express (AXP).

A major bank or other financial institution would normally process this whole checkout procedure. But PayPal is moving in on this business in a big way. With PayPal handling it, consumers can still use a credit card to check out through PayPal even if they don't have or don't want to use a PayPal account. Smaller merchants are realizing that they have been paying a lot in monthly fees to some merchant service company in addition to being subject to a minimum monthly dollar amount in transactions. Whereas with a basic PayPal plan, no monthly fees and minimums.

So for the Merchant Services business of PayPal, the company's total payment volume grew at a rate of ten times the market growth rate for ecommerce in general, with the international services growing at 80% over last year, boosting non-US volume to 40% of PayPal's total TPV.

The international business is significant, with the cross border trade amounting to about one quarter of all of PayPal's total payment volume.

Oh year, I think the company also has some kind of an online auction business. But seriously, the eBay marketplace portion of the business is holding its own. Revenues for the eBay Marketplace increased by 15% for the latest quarter, with sold items growing by 11% worldwide over last year. Gross marketplace volume grew by almost 50% over last year in the Asia Pacific region. And in Europe, the number of live listings has practically doubled.

Same store sales growth for the fourth quarter for top-rated sellers grew by over 10% in the United States, 25% in Germany, and 35% in the UK.

There is even an eBay app for the iPhone, which has been downloaded practically 7 million times, which has generated more than $600 million in GMV during 2009, a 200% increase over the prior year.

I look at the eBay marketplace business a practically a utility. People will always have stuff they want to sell, and people will always be looking for stuff to buy. Whether we are in a recession or a booming economy, the eBay transactions will always continue.

As for eBay's other businesses, it has completed the sale of its 70% interest in Skype for about $1.9 billion. StubHub had a 54% fourth quarter increase in ticket sales over the same quarter last year. The classifieds business increased by 20% for the year. Revenue for Shopping.com, Rent.com and other businesses was up 7% for the latest quarter.

As for the company in general, revenues grew by 16% to $24 billion for the latest quarter, with non-GAAP earnings per share increasing by 9%. The company generated almost $600 million in free cash flow. And most important of all, the company is debt free. (I just love debt free companies.)

The company has $5.2 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and non-equity investments, amounting to about $4 in cash per share. The line of credit is paid off. Did I mention that the company has no debt?

The company reported financials on January 20. If the stock market and the economy had been stronger at the time, I think eBay would have performed better over the last few weeks. So if you are looking for a company to do your homework on, take a very close look at eBay.

Author owns AMZN and EBAY.

By Fred Fuld at Stockerblog.com

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Guest Article: Crude Oil Prices Take a Dive After a Week of Gains

Oil Market Summary for 02/08/2010 – 02/12/2010

Crude oil prices took a dive on Friday after a week of gains from U.S. blizzards were undercut by another move in China to tighten monetary policy.

China ’s central bank raised reserve requirements for its banks for the second time this year as it tries to curb lending and avoid asset bubbles from forming in an overheated economy. China is the world’s second-largest importer of oil, after the U.S. , and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, so energy markets are very sensitive to any change in conditions there.

Blizzard conditions in the U.S. Northeast had propelled West Texas Intermediate prices back up above $75 earlier in the week. But a decline of some 1.5% on Friday pushed prices down near $74 a barrel again. Still, oil was ahead about 4% on the week.

A revised forecast from the International Energy Agency raised expected demand for crude this year by 120,000 barrels a day to 1.6 million. However, the IEA said the increase was due to growth in emerging economies, with demand remaining flat in industrial countries, despite the unusually severe winter. The new moves in China raise question marks about that anticipated increase in demand.

U.S. data on inventories, which came out late due to snow-related government closures in Washington , showed gasoline inventories rising by 2.3 million barrels, about 1%, much more than expected. But analysts said that may be due to the simple fact that people aren’t able to drive in snowbound cities. Distillate inventories, including heating oil, fell less than expected despite the inclement weather.

A pledge by European Union leaders that they would do what it takes to keep Greece from sliding into default briefly took some of the pressure off the euro, but markets remained concerned at the lack of detail about any rescue plan. A weakening euro means a stronger dollar, which puts downward pressure on energy futures. The crisis in southern Europe threatens economic recovery in the EU and further dampens optimism for energy demand.

Bloomberg reported that Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is proving to be a formidable adversary for hedge funds and other participants in derivatives trading as he pushes for reform, including restrictions in energy futures trading. Despite, or perhaps because of, his 18 years at Goldman Sachs, Gensler is insisting on position limits for energy trades and trying to close any loopholes that would let funds slip through on end-user exemptions, Bloomberg said.

Source: http://www.oilprice.com/article-chinas-monetary-moves-undercut-crude-oil-rally.html

By Darrell Delamaide for OilPrice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Alternative Energy, Metals, Crude Oil Prices and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Has Warren Buffett Been Buying?

If you have been wondering what stocks Warren Buffett has been acquiring for Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B) during the last several months, here is what he has been stocking up on.

Wells Fargo (WFC) added to position

Wal Mart (WMT) added to position

Wellpoint (WLP) new position

Nestle (NSRGY) new position

Republic Services (RSG) new position

Exxon Mobile (XOM) new position

Travelers (TRV) new position

Get more information on Berkshire Hathaway at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

Top Selling Investment Books

The top selling books in the category of Investing - Stocks are the following according to Amazon (AMZN):

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig, Warren Buffett

Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even by Jim Cramer, Cliff Mason

How to Make Money in Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times and Bad, Fourth Edition by William O'Neil

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Revised and Updated) by Burton G. Malkiel

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

Author of article owns AMZN.

Guest Article: Is Gold Poised to Go Higher or Lower?

Is Gold Poised to Go Higher or Lower?

A lot of folks are calling in and e-mailing our company in regards to the gold market, so I thought I would create a new video showing you where we stand..

This short video shows two important elements that are in play right now and how they could determine the next big trend in gold.

The video is free to watch and there are no registration requirements. I hope you enjoy the video and make a comment on the blog about how you feel about this market.

http://www.ino.com/info/524/CD3111/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=3


All the best,

Adam Hewison
President, INO.com
Co-creator, MarketClub

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Joining S&P 500

For less than $100, anyone can now ride on the coattails of Warren Buffett, founder and head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-A) (BRK-B), the top performing investment company. Prior to the 50 to 1 split of the B shares recently, the stock was off limits to many investors. And for many of the investors to which the stock was on limits, even the B shares at over $3500 per share was too high priced to tie up much money with.

Now the company is joining the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, setting off a buying spree. (Some investors think that when it is announced that a company will be joining the S&P 500, that the price will rise because of all the buying from index ETFs and funds.) Ironically, the credit rating for Berkshire Hathaway was just cut by Standard & Poor's from AAA to AA+.

You can find more info on Berkshire Hathaway and other very high priced shares at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

As of this morning, the B shares are up over half a percent, whereas the S&P 500 is down 1.1%.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greece Stocks: Time for a Turnaround?


Now that the European Union has reached an agreement to bail out Greece, maybe now is the time to look at Greek stocks. Many of these stocks have suffered since October when news of Greece's economic woes started coming to light. Now with increased confidence, companies based in Greece warrant further investigation.

Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA (OTE) is a major telephone and Internet service provider in Greece and southeast Europe. The stock has a forward price earnings ratio of 8 and a yield of 6.9%.

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company SA (CCH) is an Athens, Greece based company, which is a distributor of Coca Cola products in Europe. The stock has a forward P/E of 12, and a yield of 1.5%.

National Bank of Greece SA (NBG) is a large Greek banking company based in Athens. They also provide asset management, brokerage, and investment banking services. The stock has a forward P/E of 7.

Alpha Bank Sponsored ADR (ALBKY.PK) is another large bank based in Greece. The bank's subsidiaries include leasing services, financial services, investment services, information services, insurance, hotels and real estate.

Hellenic Petroleum (HLCPF.PK), an oil and gas company, markets petroleum products and distributes natural gas.

MJ Maillis SA Sponsored ADR (MJMSY.PK) makes and markets packaging materials, tools and machines, including steel and plastic strapping systems, pallet and shrink-wrapping systems, and carton sealing systems.

Public Power Corporation S.A. (PUPOF.PK) is a major electric utility in Greece, generating electricity through lignite, oil, hydro power and natural gas.

If you want to check out stocks from other countries, or if you just like high yield stocks, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Picture is Mount Olympus in northern Greece.

Guest Article: Congress Pushing for Radical Steps to Shake up Iran with New Energy Sanctions

Iran Unfazed By Congressional Threats of New Energy Sanctions

U.S. lawmakers are toughening their stance on Iran ’s energy industry with new economic penalties, but experts doubt the Islamic regime will pay much attention and is more likely to open the doors even wider to other players eager to replace fleeing investors.

Long on Congress’ radar screen, Iran is being targeted by two bills: The Senate’s Dodd-Shelby Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act passed in late January; and the House’s Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act approved in December.

The bottom line is these bills, once signed into law by President Obama, will pursue financial institutions and businesses that do business in Iran ’s energy sector or help the regime build its refining capacity.

To an outsider, the stakes appear high.

After all, Iran , an OPEC founding member, holds the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves and the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Not to mention, its pariah status in the world makes luring investment difficult at times.

Despite that, the country is not all that concerned about the latest congressional maneuvering, observers charge.

“I think these measures are a good thing to do but let’s be honest [that] the impact is going to be not necessarily immediate, and that the first instinct of Iranian leaders will be to ignore it,” said Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an Iran expert.

Iranian leaders are confident East Asian firms can fill a void left by major Western companies, Clawson told OilPrice.com. Iran is a major producer, but its oil fields are quite old and it has to do an “extraordinary amount” of drilling, he said. This makes the country a “very attractive place for international oil field services companies which are not represented there,” Clawson maintained.

Countries like Russia , China , Malaysia and India may potentially step up to the plate, Alex Vatanka, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, said. “The Russians and the Chinese are sitting there thinking: ‘Great, Iran can’t deal with the West; the market is ours to be had.’”

Venezuela , a long-time U.S. foe, is close allies with Iran too, a Washington source familiar with Iranian issues said on the condition of anonymity. Venezuela has enormous petroleum and refining capacity and is not about to “go along with any embargo,” said the source.

The Islamic regime, moreover, believes it can get by without access to Western technology, Clawson noted.

But Iran , which draws 80 percent to 85 percent of its income from oil revenue exports, does indeed look to the West for technology and financing, Vatanka argued. Energy issues are seen as strategically important to Iranians, which means U.S. countermeasures will have an impact across the board, he said.

While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government may yearn for Western advances to

boost its oil and gas sector, “from a political point of view, they won’t give up their nuclear program just for the sake of energy technology,” Vatanka added. Iran produces just above five million barrels a day and aims to boost that to more than six million barrels, he said.

“Their threat perception is totally different,” he noted. “It’s not even looking towards the West.” Rather, he said, the Iranian government is focused on battling a “domestic issue” in the form of the country's rising opposition.

In some ways, the United States ' unilateral sanctions on gas shipments to Iran would actually be a “lifeline for Ahmadinejad,” asserted Patrick Disney, assistant policy director at the National Iranian American Council in Washington . The government has sought to cut gas subsidies for years, which drain 10 percent to 20 percent of the annual gross domestic product, but a “popular backlash” prevents such a move, Disney explained.

“If the U.S. goes after Iran ’s gasoline imports, the government will have a free hand to drop these subsidies, blame the United States and free up tens of billions of dollars per year,” he maintained.

In this latest round of U.S. sanctions, Western companies probably will walk away unscathed, experts say. That's because they have either not injected a huge amount of capital into the energy sector there or have already pulled out of the country, Vatanka noted.

The congressional bills will affect the top suppliers of refined petroleum to Iran , including the Netherlands , United Kingdom , France and Switzerland , a Washington source said.

The ultimate impact of the proposed law depends on its enforcement mechanisms, the source told OilPrice.com. As it stands, Obama can “literally preclude [certain Western] corporations from operating in the United States . So every British Petroleum gas station, for example, would be closed in the U.S. ”

The White House is studying the final language of the bills, and wants “flexibility” to deal with those countries invested in Iran but also working with the United States in non-proliferation efforts regarding Iran , noted the source.

In the end, it’s doubtful the president would actually “bring the ax down on British Petroleum in the U.S. like that,” conceded the source.

Right now, though, Congress seems to be pushing for radical steps that will shake up Iran once and for all.

By Fawzia Sheikh for Oilprice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Alternative Energy, Metals, Crude Oil Prices and Geopolitics. To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do Your Valentines Day Shopping: How About 24 Bottles of Champagne for $392,000

There is not much time left to do your Valentine's Day shopping. BillionairesLife.com has come out with a list of eight great gifts for your Valentine, including 24 Bottles of Champagne for $392,000.

No Problem for Banker with Supermodel on Computer Screen during Live TV

Last week, we wrote about a banker at the Private Wealth department of Macquarie Bank in Sydney, Australia who was caught during a live television taping viewing images of scantily clad supermodel Miranda Kerr on his computer. We even posted a video in the article, which showed the actual incident.

Here is the follow-up to that story. The fury sparked a Save His Job campaign worldwide, as the banker may not have been entirely at fault. So he will not be fired, and the banker and the bank express their apologies.

If you have never heard of Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel, you can check out this clip from a CBS special below.

Guest Article: Dow in 2010 = Dow of 1929. Video Analysis

Is It Déjà Vu All Over Again for the Dow?

In today’s short video we examine the crash of 1929 and the similarities to today’s Dow. This video is not meant to scare anyone, but to educate investors and traders of the possibilities that may exist in today’s market.

We could be, repeat, could be very close to a tipping point similar to that of 1930 when the Dow had ended a 50% correction to the upside. I invite you to watch my latest video and see what makes sense to you.

As always our videos are free to watch and there are no registration requirements. If you agree or disagree with this video please feel free to comment on our blog.

http://www.ino.com/info/515/CD3111/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=3

Every success,
Adam Hewison
President, INO.com
Co-creator, MarketClub

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

5 Stocks Under $5 per Share

Investors love low priced stocks, and if they can buy stocks for less than $5 per share with favorable financials, they are ecstatic. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find those types of stocks. Here are a group of five that have market caps over $275 million, have a debt to capital ratio of less than 14% (that means really low debt), and selling for less than book value (that means that if the company went out of business today, sold all assets, paid off debts, and distributed all proceeds to shareholders, the shareholders would receive more than what the stock is trading at).

Denison Mines Corp. (DNN) has a market cap of $431.4M has a debt to capital ratio of 0.04% and a price to book ratio of 0.55.

Adaptec, Inc. (ADPT) has a market cap of $367.1M has a debt to capital ratio of 0.10% and a price to book ratio of 0.91.

Satyam Computer Services Limited (SAY) has a market cap of $3.3B has a debt to capital ratio of 5.14% and a price to book ratio of 0.91.

Cowen Group, Inc. (COWN) has a market cap of $275.2M has a debt to capital ratio of 11.47% and a price to book ratio of 0.54.

New Gold Inc. (NGD) has a market cap of $1.7B has a debt to capital ratio of 13.18% and a price to book ratio of 0.94.

Do your homework on these thoroughly, as some of the above have generated negative earnings. If you like low priced stocks, don't forget to check out the list of 11 stocks under $10 per share at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Fourth Week of February


One popular stock trading technique is called 'Buying Dividends,' which has generated a lot of interest from investors. This is the process 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. This technique generally works only in bull markets.

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. WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has compiled a free downloadable and sortable Excel list of the stocks going ex dividend during the next week or two. WSNN.com came up with many dividend paying companies, all with market caps over $250 million, and yields over 3%. Here are a couple examples showing the stock symbol, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Dominion Resources, Inc. (D) ex div date: 2/24/2010 market cap: $22.2B yield: 4.9%

GATX Corporation (GMT) ex div date: 2/24/2010 market cap: $1.2B yield: 4.2%

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) ex div date: 2/24/2010 market cap: $15.8B yield: 3.5%

Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) ex div date: 2/25/2010 market cap: $29.3B yield: 3.3%

Other ex-dividend stocks can be found at wsnn.com. (If you have been to the website before, and the latest link doesn't show up, you may have to empty your cache.) 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.

Dividend definitions:

Declaration date: the day that the company declares that there is going to be an upcoming dividend.

Ex-dividend date: the day on which if you buy the stock, you would not be entitled to that particular dividend; or the first day on which a shareholder can sell the shares and still be entitled to the dividend.

Record date: the day when you must be on the company's books as a shareholder to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is normally set for stocks two business days before the record date.

Payment date: the day on which the dividend payment is actually made, which can be as long at two months after the ex date.

Don't forget to reconfirm the ex-dividend date with the company before implementing this technique.

Author doesn't own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What Stock Goes Up When the Market Drops, and Also Pays a Dividend

There are a couple stocks, actually Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs, which go up when the stock market drops, and on top of that, they pay a dividend. One of them is UltraShort Utilities ProShares (SDP), which utilizes futures contracts, options, forward contracts, swap agreements and similar instruments to seek a return that is twice the inverse of the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Utilities index for a single day. This means that when utilities drop, this ETF should increase in price.

SDP pays a small yield of 0.25%, with dividends being paid since June 2007. A large portion of the dividend payouts are generally due to capital gains. Although payments were made in June and December of last year, there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid in the future.

The performance for last year was down, primarily because of the strong move in in utilities and stocks in general since March of last year. However, it has far outperformed the bear market category. If you consider investing in this type of ETF, remember that it is designed to provide a return on a daily basis, not long term, and not for income.

Another bearish ETF which pays a dividend is UltraShort Telecommunications ProShares (TLL), which has a yield of 0.36% based on its latest dividend payment. The ETF has a goal of providing twice the opposite return of telecom stocks. This ETF doesn't have as long a dividend track record as SDP and its performance underperforms the bear market category.

Author does not own any of the above.

By Stockerblog.com

Homebuyer's Credit for Existing Homeowners

Most homeowners have ignored the news about the First Time Homebuyer Credit, thinking it doesn't apply to them. However, it does; the amount of the credit is up to $6,500. If you are thinking of taking advantage of the bottom of the US real estate market, which you should, now is the time to do so, in order to take advantage of the credit. Here are all the details.

Q. What is the credit?

A. The first-time homebuyer credit is a tax credit for individuals and couples who purchase a new home after April 8, 2008, and before May 1, 2010. There are several versions of the credit depending upon when the home was purchased:

For homes purchased in 2008, the credit, with some exceptions, must be repaid and takes the form of a $7,500 interest-free loan.
For homes purchased in 2009 prior to November 7, the credit is for a maximum of $8,000 and, with some exceptions, does not have to be repaid, but it's only for new home owners who have not owned a home in the prior three years.
Beginning November 7, 2009, an additional category of new homebuyers, long-time residents (who owned their own homes), was added. The credit for this group is a maximum of $6,500, which, with some exceptions, does not have to be repaid.

Q. How much is the credit?

A. The credit is 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $7,500 ($8,000 if you purchased your home in 2009 or early 2010) for either a single taxpayer or a married couple filing a joint return, but only half of that amount for married persons filing separate returns. The full credit is available for homes costing $75,000 or more ($80,000 in 2009 or early 2010). Long-time homeowners who buy a replacement home after Nov. 6, 2009, or in early 2010 may qualify for a credit of up to $6,500, or $3,250 for a married person filing a separate return.

Q. Which home purchases qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit?

A. Any home purchased as your principal residence and located in the United States qualifies. You must buy the home after April 8, 2008, and before May 1, 2010 (with closing to take place before July 1), to qualify for the credit. For a home that you construct, the purchase date is considered to be the first date you occupy the home.

For homes purchased after April 28, 2008, and before November 7, 2009, taxpayers (including spouse, if married) who owned a principal residence at any time during the three years prior to the date of purchase are not eligible for the credit. This means that you can qualify for the credit if you (and your spouse, if married) have not owned a home in the three years prior to a purchase. For homes purchased after November 6, 2009, long-time residents can also get the credit under a special rule for a qualifying replacement home. To qualify, you must have owned and used the same home as your principal residence for at least five consecutive years of the eight-year period ending on the date you buy your new principal residence.

If you made an eligible purchase in 2008, you claim the first-time homebuyer credit on your 2008 tax return. For an eligible purchase in 2009, you can choose to claim the credit on either your 2008 or 2009 income tax return. For an eligible purchase in 2010, you can choose to claim the credit on either your 2009 or 2010 return.

Q. Can I apply for the credit if I bought a vacation home or rental property?

A. No. Vacation homes and rental property do not qualify for this credit.

Q. Who is considered to be a first-time homebuyer?

A. Taxpayers who have not owned another principal residence at any time during the three years prior to the date of purchase are considered first-time homebuyers. For example, if you bought a home on July 1, 2008, you cannot take the credit for that home if you owned, or had an ownership interest in, another principal residence at any time from July 2, 2005, through July 1, 2008.

In addition, under a special rule, long-time homeowners who buy a replacement home after Nov. 6, 2009. or in early 2010 can also qualify. To qualify as a long-time resident, you must have owned and used the same home as your principal residence for at least five consecutive years of the eight-year period ending on the date you by your new principal residence. For an eligible taxpayer who, for example, bought a home on Nov. 30, 2009, the eight-year period would run from Dec. 1, 2001, through Nov. 30, 2009.

Q. Can a dependent on someone else’s tax return claim the first time homebuyer credit if they otherwise qualify?

A. Different rules apply depending upon whether a dependent buys a home after Nov. 6, 2009, or on or before that date. Dependents are not eligible to claim the credit on any purchase after Nov. 6, 2009. However, a dependent who buys a home on or before Nov. 6, 2009 may qualify for the credit.

Q. Can a minor buy a home and claim the credit?

A. Usually, no. However, different rules apply to purchases after Nov. 6, 2009, and those on or before that date.

Minors are generally barred from claiming the credit on home purchases after Nov. 6, 2009. To qualify for the credit, a purchaser must be at least 18 years of age on the date of purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement. A dependent is not eligible for the credit, regardless of age.

For purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009, the tax law does not bar a minor from buying a home and claiming the credit. However, taxpayers who do not otherwise qualify for the credit do not become eligible for the credit simply by using a minor child’s name. In addition, under state law, children under the age of 18 generally are not bound by any contract they sign and cannot be required to comply with the terms of the contract. Thus, it is extremely unlikely that a seller of a home, or a lender if financing is required, would enter into a bona fide sale of a home to a child. Merely using the child’s name to purchase a home does not qualify the child for the credit if, in substance, the child is not a bona fide purchaser of a home. (11/19/09)

Q. When do I have to buy a new home to get the credit?

A. The credit is available for eligible home purchases after April 8, 2008. You must enter into a binding contract to buy the home before May 1, 2010 and close before July 1, 2010, in order to obtain the credit. For a home you construct, the purchase date is considered to be the date you first occupy the home.

Q. How do I apply for the credit?

A. The credit is claimed on IRS Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit (revised December 2009), and filed with your 2008, 2009 or 2010 federal income tax return. If you have already filed a 2008 or a 2009 tax return without claiming the credit, you can amend your return to claim the credit using Form 1040X with the December 2009 Form 5405 attached. Certain additional supporting documentation will be required when filing claim for the credit with your 2009 or 2010 return or amended return.

Q. Are there income limits?

A. Yes. The credit is reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. The credit is phased out based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). Different income limits apply to purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009 and those after that date.

For purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009, for a married couple filing a joint return, the phase-out range is $150,000 to $170,000. For other taxpayers, the phase-out range is $75,000 to $95,000. This means that the full credit is available for married couples filing a joint return whose MAGI is $150,000 or less and for other taxpayers whose MAGI is $75,000 or less.

For purchases after Nov. 6, 2009, for a married couple filing a joint return, the phase-out range is $225,000 to $245,000. For other taxpayers, the phase-out range is $125,000 to $145,000. This means that the full credit is available for married couples filing a joint return whose MAGI is $225,000 or less and for other taxpayers whose MAGI is $125,000 or less.

Q. Can a taxpayer claim the first-time homebuyer credit after entering into a contract for the purchase of a residence but before closing on the purchase?

A. No. Taxpayers cannot claim the credit before there is a completed sale and purchase of the residence. The sale and purchase are generally completed at the time of closing on the purchase.

Q. Can a taxpayer claim the first-time homebuyer credit if the purchase is pursuant to a seller financing arrangement (for example, a contract for deed, installment land sale contract, or long-term land contract), and the seller retains legal title to secure the taxpayer's payment obligations?

A. If the taxpayer obtains the "benefits and burdens" of ownership of a residence in a seller financing arrangement, then the taxpayer can claim the credit even though the seller retains legal title. Factors that indicate that a taxpayer has the benefits and burdens of ownership include: 1. the right of possession, 2. the right to obtain legal title upon full payment of the purchase price, 3. the right to construct improvements, 4. the obligation to pay property taxes, 5. the risk of loss, 6. the responsibility to insure the property and 7. the duty to maintain the property.

Q. I purchased a home that qualifies for the first-time homebuyer credit. I will be renting two of the bedrooms and reporting the rental income on Schedule E. Will I still qualify for the credit if I use the home as my principal residence?

A. Yes, if you meet all first-time homebuyer eligibility requirements. See Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, for more details.

Q. I purchased a duplex home with two separate dwelling units. I will live in one dwelling and will rent out the other dwelling unit and report the rental income on Schedule E. May I qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit, and what amount do I use for the purchase price to determine the amount of the credit?

A. Yes, you may qualify for the credit for the dwelling unit that you use as your principal residence. To determine the amount of your credit, you must allocate the purchase price of the duplex between the two separate dwelling units. You may not use the entire purchase price of the duplex to determine the amount of your credit.

Q. If two unmarried people buy a house together, how do they determine how much each may take of the credit?

A. IRS Notice 2009-12 provides guidance for allocating the first-time homebuyer credit between taxpayers who are not married.

Q. I am a single co-owner of a home. How do I get this credit?

A. Depending on the year of purchase, you will claim the credit on your 2008, 2009 or 2010 federal income tax return.

Q. I don’t owe taxes and/or my income is exempt from tax and I do not have a filing requirement. Do I qualify for the credit?

A. The credit is fully refundable and, if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer, having tax-exempt income will not preclude eligibility. Although there are maximum income limits for qualifying first-time homebuyers, there are no minimum income criteria. Thus, someone with no taxable income who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer may file for the sole purpose of claiming the credit for a refund.

Q. Does the first-time homebuyer credit apply to homes located in the U.S. Territories?

A. No.

Q. Would I be considered a first time homebuyer if I owned a principal residence outside of the United States within the previous three years?

A. Yes. A taxpayer who owned a principal residence outside of the United States within the last three years is not disqualified from taking the credit for a purchase within the United States.

Q. If qualified, are homebuyers required to claim the first-time homebuyer credit?

A. No.

Q. Who cannot take the credit?

A. If any of the following describe you, you cannot take the credit, even if you buy a new home:

Your income exceeds the phase-out range.

You buy your home from a close relative. This includes your spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild.

You do not use the home as your principal residence.

You are a nonresident alien.

Also, if the home is purchased after November 6, 2009, and you are a minor, you are generally barred from claiming the credit. To qualify for the credit, a purchaser must be at least 18 years of age on the date of purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement. A dependent is not eligible for the credit, regardless of age. For more information on this, please see the Q and A "Can a minor buy a home and claim the credit?"

Q. Does previously inheriting a home and living in it automatically disqualify me as a first-time homebuyer if I buy a different home on or before Nov. 6, 2009?

A. Yes, an ownership interest in a prior principal residence would bar you from being considered a first-time homebuyer. As long as you owned and used the prior home as your principal residence, you are not a first-time homebuyer. There is no exception for taxpayers who did not buy their prior residences.

Q. If I claim the first-time homebuyer credit in 2009 and stop using the property as my main home before the 36 month period expires after I purchase, how is the credit repaid and how long would I have to repay it?

A. If, within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full amount of the credit is due at the time the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence is due. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year's tax return. See Form 5405 and its instructions about repayment of the credit.

Q. If a person does not actually make the payments on a home that’s their principal residence, but the deed and mortgage documents are in their name, can they be considered a first-time homebuyer?

A. Yes. If a taxpayer purchases a home to be used as a principal residence from an unrelated person and has not owned a home within the previous 36 months, the taxpayer is eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit regardless of who makes the mortgage payment.

Q. Do taxpayers affected by Hurricane Katrina or other disasters qualify as first-time homebuyers if their principal residence (i.e. main home) became uninhabitable more than three years ago and they have not formally disposed of the uninhabitable home or purchased or built a new home in the interim?

A. Yes. They may be eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit when they purchase a new principal residence.

Forbes $400 Off Offer

Forbes Limited Time Discount