Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Uh Oh! Financial Bailout Influenced by Congress Stock Ownership According to Study

Many investors have been wondering why certain certain financial institutions and companies were bailed out and others weren't. Others wondered why the American taxpayers are bailing out any companies a all. Now a study has been released by a couple professors at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and Manchester Business School in Great Britain, which has has turned up some disturbing (in my opinion) information.

First, stock ownership appeared to be an indicator of whether members of the House voted for the two bills to bailout the financial sector. Second, stock ownership by a member of Congress in a given company was reportedly statistically significantly shown to affect the probability of receiving a bailout. There was also a correlation of the bailout amount and the timing of the bailout, according to the study. There was reportedly even a correlation between Congressional vote and serving on the Board of Directors of a particular firm.

The 65 page study can be found here.

Trade Your Stock Certificates for Steak

No, we are not talking about collectible antique stock certificates, we are talking about modern tradable stock certificates. The high-end steakhouse, Smith & Wollensky, located in mid-town Manhattan, has been offering food in trade for stock certificates, hoping to get customers who may have received bonuses in the form of stock instead of cash. Apparently, one one customer has taken them up on their offer, using two shares of Citigroup (C) for a cup of spinach soup.

Investment Opportunity in Iraq

Local officials in Tikrit, Iraq are looking for investors to put their money into one of over 75 abandoned palace villas built by Saddam Hussein. The villas are located on over 1,000 acres with orchards and lakes. The head of investments for the province think that the area would make a great tourism site.

The Stock That's Up 964% Year to Date

I can think of a few stocks that have risen substantially since the beginning of the year, but there appears to be only one stock with a market capitalization above $250 million that is up almost 1000%. Element92 Resources Corporation (ELRE.OB) is an exploration mining company specializing in uranium. The rise was probably due to the administrations change in policy on nuclear power plants.

Other high risers with over $250 million in market caps include Star Scientific, Inc. (CIGX) which is up 266% YTD, the highest amount for any NASDAQ stock. As for New York Stock Exchange traded stocks, Quiksilver Inc. (ZQK) is up 126% and Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (BEE) is up 115% from the beginning of the year.

Disclosure: A relative of the author own ZQK.

How Your Son or Daughter Can Get an iPad for Free

In case you've missed all the hoopla, the Apple (AAPL) iPad will be released this Saturday at an Apple store near you for only $499.

The accessories are already on sale, such as the CaseCrown Faux Suede Zip Sleeve Case, the TrendyDigital WaterGuard Waterproof Case, the MiniSuit Apple iPad skin case, and the Apple Ipad Screen Protector.

Some colleges are really jumping on the bandwagon with the iPad, such as Seton Hill University, which is giving them out for free to every student this Fall, along with a free MacBook! Who says it doesn't pay to go to college.

Author owns AAPL.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Yielding Stocks Under $5 (and Low Debt)

Income stocks are not necessarily the blue chip stocks (is there such a thing any more?) or the higher priced stocks. There are plenty of dividend paying stocks under $10 a share and even several under $5 a share. turned up a list of seven low priced stocks with yields above 3.5% and low or no debt, all of which have been paying dividends regularly for the last few years.

A couple of the items on the list are closed end funds, also known as CEFs, such as Credit Suisse Asset Management Income Fund Inc. (CIK), which currently trades for less than 3.60 per share and yields 8.9%. It is debt free.

In terms of regular companies, Euroseas, Ltd. (ESEA) is a dry bulk shipper that transports iron ore, coal and grains. The company has a debt to capital ratio of 24% and yields 5.3%. The stock currently trades for less than 3.85 per share.

To see a sortable list of the rest of the top yielding stocks under $5 per share, including one that yields more than 10%, go to

Author does not own any of the above.


Guest Article: Gold Going Higher?

Gold has had some dramatic moves in the last eighteen months and we expect it will have some equally dramatic moves in the future, but not right now.

While I recognize that gold is one of the few commodity markets that people are really passionate about, the purpose of this article is not to take sides either with the gold bugs or those who reject the argument that gold is forever. Rather, I want to discuss my interpretation of the markets cycle.

After spot gold made an all-time high against the dollar on December 2 at $1,226.37, gold has been in retreat mode. For the for the past several months gold has been in a broad trading range, seemingly unable to move one way or another. This process has created frustration from bulls and bears alike.

Here is the dirty little secret about the gold market. It can be a horrible investment and here's why:

Gold first started trading in the 80s while I was on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in Chicago as a member of the International Monetary Market, (IMM) which was at that time a division of the CME now the CME Group. When gold opened up the public clamored to buy into the gold futures market and guess who sold it to them? Thats right it was the pros- the guys who made their living trading. As a result, gold hit an all-time high of around $850 an ounce back then and it took almost 25 years for gold to move over that level, at least in dollar terms. I dont know what your timeline is, but 25 to 30 years is an awful long time to get even again.

So what is really happening in this market?

Everyone is aware of the problems in Europe with Greece, Portugal and a host of yet to be named countries. We all know that the huge amount of money being printed, coupled with the bank failures abroad contribute to the dollars declining value. These events, in conjunction with the American governments actions, also contribute to the devaluation of the dollar. The government claims that this is beneficial to exports, but the bottom line is that the purchasing power of the American dollar continues to erode in world markets.

Based on the declining value of world currency against gold you might ask- why isnt gold trading at $2,000 or even $3,000 an ounce? What is wrong with this market? This is because a great deal of what goes into the gold market is psychological and reacts to cyclic trends driven by both psychological and economic factors.

So what does all this have to do with the price of gold now? It has everything to do with gold and nothing to do with gold.

Here is what I've been able to observe in the last several years in gold and seems to be holding true. It is something that you should pay attention to if you're interested in the next big move in the gold market.

Before gold can move higher it needs to create what I call an "energy field". The most recent energy fields in gold were between May 12, 2006 and September 20, 2007. This 17 month energy field saw gold prices oscillate between a broad trading range bound by $730.08 (upside) and $541.80 (downside). That energy field produced enough power to propel gold to the new high of $1,012.40 on March 17, 2008. This marked the first time gold exceeded, in dollar terms, the highs set in the early 80s mentioned earlier.

The energy fields I have observed for gold are taking somewhere between 17 and 18 months to complete. If the energy field holds, then the December 3rd 2009 high of $1,226.37 should remain in place for quite some time. If the same cycle remains true then the recent lows that we witnessed, at $1,050, should also remain intact as they represent the 15 to 16 month cycle low.

With the lows in place the next question becomes when is the next cyclical high in gold? Based on the existing cycle, we can expect the next major gold high in 2011.

To summarize: I expect gold to be locked in a broad trading range for the next 12 months bounded by the December 09 highs of 1,226.37 and the lows of $1,050.00. If the gold cycle holds true, we expect that gold tops the $1,226.37 marker by April or May of 2011.

On the on the upside we will also be looking for gold to make a nature cyclic high in October or November of 2011. It's impossible to predict the future with any degree of accuracy; however when we look at the cycles in gold this reads as a pretty good bet.

No matter what happens we expect gold will offer some great trading opportunities that investors and traders should be able to take advantage of.

As I always discuss- in trading one should approach gold or any other market with a game plan and proper money management stops. The key to success in this decade will be an investors willingness to move in and out of asset classes such as gold and be well diversified into more than one asset class. That way you wont be left holding the bag for the next 25 years. Our World Commodity Portfolio is a good example of this approach and one I believe will serve investors well in the coming years.

All the best,
Adam Hewison
Co-creator, MarketClub

Guest Article: Argentina Running Out Of Options In Falklands Oil Fight

Argentina Running Out Of Options In Falklands Oil Fight

As Argentina's oil battle with the United Kingdom rages on, the only other obstacle the South American country can throw at oil companies planning to drill near the Falkland Islands is to interdict U.K. ships or equipment - but regional expert Riordan Roett doubts the Argentines are “stupid enough to do that.”

This would be a “very dangerous move” on the part of the Argentine government, said Roett, director of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington . Argentina , which went to war with the U.K. in 1982 over Falklands ’ sovereignty, is “very careful” about challenging the British in reaching the islands, Roett noted.

The dispute between the old foes erupted in February when U.K. 's Desire Petroleum towed an oil rig from Scotland to the South Atlantic to drill near the Falklands .

Experts tout the area beneath the islands contains as much as 60 billion barrels of crude oil but there are many doubts about this claim.

Geologists and political-risk specialists say such a vast deposit is possible -- after all, the Atlantic Coast downward from Brazil boasts a great deal of oil – but whether the Falklands is the next place to find such resources will be a question mark for “a couple of years,” Roett said.

Oil and Latin American experts, moreover, have mixed opinions about whether U.K. oil firms actually need the Argentine government's help to siphon out any oil from the contested waters.

U.K. firms can do without Argentine infrastructure but much will depend on current technologies, Roett argued. If companies can retrieve and pour oil into super tankers, it can then be shipped back to the U.K. or wherever their clients are based “without worrying about Argentina -- unless the Argentinians were stupid enough to try to stop the tankers,” he said.

Even if commercially viable oil at current prices or natural gas is found, projects would “somehow require the use of infrastructure in Argentina” such as ports and pipelines, Daniel Kerner, a Latin America analyst at the Eurasia Group in New York, told At the very least, he said, this infrastructure would help make the project more viable, otherwise all of the needed equipment would have to be shipped in, he added.

The price of a barrel of oil when potential Falklands ’ reserves are brought up in another few years will also play into how challenging exploration will be, Roett noted.

“Is it worth the investment? Are there rigs available? The South Atlantic is not a particularly hospitable place to do any kind of deep-water drilling. So we still have to find out whether or not the technology which exists is applicable to the Falklands .”

Even though Argentina is pushing for a meeting with the U.K. , and the United States has encouraged such a move, Roett dismissed the chance of an exploration partnership because Kirchner's administration is “not a transparent government.”

The U.K. , with an election looming, would not want to seem weak by agreeing to negotiate either, Roett added.

Yet Kerner argued that such collaboration is “possible but it’s hard.” While this kind of a relationship would certainly assist with exploration, it’s the “most that Argentina can aspire to” and success will ultimately depend on the reservoir size and value, he maintained.

In the midst of this, it’s doubtful any Latin American country will cooperate with the U.K. , Kerner said.

Argentina ’s President Christina Fernández de Kirchner in fact has been rallying support from her continental neighbours, and in recent days began to mend fences with Peru , a country it fell out of favor with 16 years ago.

Kirchner has done everything in her power to make it difficult for companies pursuing the potential oil windfall. Kirchner forced boats using Argentine ports or passing through the country's waters en route to the Falklands to get special permits, and introduced a United Nations resolution reprimanding the U.K. for permitting oil exploration off the islands. The president also tabled a
bill that would impose a 30-day deadline on firms to sever ties with the islands or be run out of Argentina .

The U.N. has passed several resolutions urging both sides to negotiate but the British have declined, Kerner said.

Except for Latin America, most of the countries in the world recognize the British position on the Falklands , Roett told British sovereignty over the Falklands was declared in 1833. The Argentine military “ran into Margaret Thatcher in 1982. I don't think Christina Fernández de Kirchner wants to run into the British fleet here in 2010.”

The U.K. , which reportedly dispatched a nuclear submarine to the islands to safeguard oil exploration there, has “reinforced on the Falklands their military capabilities, particularly their air force,” Roett said. And the British are better prepared to dominate the air space over the islands, he added, but doubted the row will lead to actual war again.

That no significant international oil company is participating in the drilling, meanwhile, is telling, Kerner charged.

Apart from Desire Petroleum, Spain 's Repsol plans to start drilling in Argentine territorial waters -- but not in the contested area -- via its Argentine operator, YPF, which is leading a consortium.

Large IOCs so far are “moving very carefully” due to the risks associated with a “very unpredictable Argentine government,” Roett said. But if Desire Petroleum demonstrates there probably is a “reasonably large deposit,” companies will descend, he said.

With the world’s oil supplies shrinking, and more oil in the hands of producers like Saudi Arabia , Iran , Venezuela and Russia , places like the Falklands become especially important, said S. Rob Sobhani, president and founder of Caspian Energy Consulting in Potomac , Maryland .

With North Sea reserves dwindling and having already peaked, Sobhani said, countries like the U.K and Argentina see these South Atlantic reserves as a possible “game changer.”

By Fawzia Sheikh for who offer detailed analysis on Crude Oil, Geopolitics, Gold and most other commodities. They also provide free political and economic intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the First Week of April 2010

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. 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.

The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) ex div date: 4/1/2010 market cap: $51.1B yield: 3.9%

Erie Indemnity Company (ERIE) ex div date: 4/1/2010 market cap: $2.2B yield:4.5%

Kayne Anderson Energy Total Return Fund (KYE) ex div date: 4/1/2010 market cap: $841.7M yield:7.7%

The additional ex-dividend stocks can be found at (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 or

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.


Book Review: Ugly Americans

The book, Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions, is like a fast paced 180 mph ride on a Ducati motorcycle through Southeast Asia. The book is about a trader during the 1990's who worked as a derivatives trader right out of college for a major brokerage firm in Japan. The protagonist, "John Malcolm" (his real name was changed as were the names of most of the characters, although it is easy to look up who he really is on the Internet), started out as a order placer of Nikkei Index transactions, and eventually became one of the biggest traders in history, eventually making an enormous amount of money for the hedge fund he eventually ended up working for.

Malcolm has interactions with the Yakuza-operated sexrelated businesses (I had never heard of a sexualharassment club before), Japanese mobsters, extreme opulence and decadence with the money earned by many of the traders, major bankruptcies, and much, much more.

Although there is not a lot of technical information about hedge funds and trading, the book holds your attention. If you are looking for an interesting fast-paced read, check out Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions.

Guest Article: Crude oil still stuck at $80; natural gas falls below $4

Oil Market Summary for 03/22/2010 to 03/26/2010

Crude oil prices still found stubborn resistance above the $80-a-barrel level amid concerns about demand while natural gas continued its decline, to below $4 per million British thermal units, as burgeoning supply from unconventional sources depressed prices.

The natural gas Henry Hub benchmark futures settled Friday at a nearly six-month low of $3.87, down 31% so far this year from above $6 in January. Natural gas demand experiences a lull at this time of the year as warmer weather reduces heating use but the need for more electricity from gas-fired plants to power air conditioners is still weeks away.

Increased production of shale and other unconventional gas in the U.S. has pushed down prices. Rig counts have been increasing in spite of the slack off in demand, though the decline in prices has already prompted Chesapeake Energy, a major producer of shale gas, to consider suspension of production at some rigs.

Crude oil futures declined for the third day in a row on Friday after the U.S. Commerce Department revised its estimate for fourth-quarter GDP growth downwards, to a 5.6% annual rate from 5.9% previously, adding to concerns about demand for oil.

Gains by the euro against the dollar on Friday after European Union leaders once again affirmed their readiness to stand by Greece during its fiscal crisis were not sufficient to offset the bearish sentiment regarding oil demand.

Earlier in the week, a bigger-than-expected increase in oil inventories reported unsettled the market and pushed prices back down. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude oil inventories rose 7.25 million barrels in the week, much higher than consensus forecasts of 1.67 million barrels.

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract settled at $80 a barrel on Friday, compared with $80.58 last Friday.

Not everyone was gloomy about demand. The London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies was optimistic in its monthly report for March, saying demand could return to pre-financial crisis levels this year. But the research group sees new sources of supply keeping a damper on prices.

Non-OPEC producers are now supplying 1.5 million barrels a day more than they were before the crisis. Although OPEC is currently supporting prices by restraining output, the CGES said, spare capacity in the cartel has increased to 6 million barrels a day from 2 million bpd before the crisis. In addition, OPEC members have increased production of natural gas liquids by 500,000 barrels a day, a further damper on upward price pressure for oil.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission report on traders’ positions indicated that non-commercial traders reduced their net long position -- which anticipates an increase in prices – to 111,919 lots in the week ended March 23 from 124,143 lots in the previous week.

By Darrell Delamaide for who focus on Fossil Fuels, Alternative Energy, Metals, Oil Prices and Geopolitics. To find out more visit their website at:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bloom Box (Bloom Energy) IPO?

Bloom Energy is the Sunnyvale, California manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells that was featured on 60 minutes last month. Reportedly, the company's small fuel cells are as efficient as and as much as doubly efficient as a conventional power plant.

Questions have been coming in to me about investing in the Bloom Box, or more technically, How do I invest in Bloom Energy, When is the Bloom Energy IPO, What is the Bloom Energy stock symbol, What is the Bloom Box stock ticker. I have seen several supposed Bloom web sites which appear to be unauthorized sites, and maybe even worse, talking about the upcoming IPO of Bloom Energy or the initial public offering of the Bloom Box company. One site had a posting about a month ago that said that Bloom Energy was going public in two days. It hasn't gone public and hasn't even filed an IPO with the SEC to go public.

But investors still want in on the action. Investing in the company's customers would be futile from a fuel cell standpoint, as the effect on the bottom line would be negligible. Bloom's major customers include Google (GOOG), Coca-Cola (KO), eBay (EBAY), FedEx (FDX), Staples (SPLS), and Wal-Mart (WMT).

Investors could also look at Bloom's competitors that are involved in the development and manufacture of fuel cells, such as Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), United Technologies (UTX), Plug Power (PLUG), Westinghouse Electric division of Siemens (SI), and General Electric (GE).

Last but not least, you can take a look at the companies that Bloom does business with. The most significant example is Modine Manufacturing Company (MOD), a manufacturer of thermal management products. Modine, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has a forward price to earnings ratio of 90. Bloom Energy licensed Modine's thermal management technology for an up-front fee of $12.0 million last year. In addition, Modine provided transition services to Bloom Energy, including the sale of products, for an additional fee. Modine is currently selling for less than $12 per share.

If you like fuel cell stocks and other green companies, you should check out the lists at

Author owns EBAY, FDX, and SI.


Top Yielding Israel Stocks

During the last year, the First Israel Fund Inc. (ISL) has practically doubled, going from a little over $8 per share to above $16 per share today. Many investors have been looking towards Israeli stocks for buying opportunities recently. To help reduce risk, there are several stocks of companies based in Israel that pay dividends. came up with a list of Israeli stocks worth looking into. Please note that several of these stocks have very short term dividend track records, some dividends have fluctuated significantly, and some companies have skipped dividends altogether for certain years.

Blue Square Israel Ltd. (BSI), which trades on the NYSE, operates a chain of supermarkets in Israel. They have paid dividends at least once a year and generally twice a year for the last ten years, however, they skipped a dividend in 2009. The stock has a current yield of 10.9% based on the last two dividend payments. The P/E is 48.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL) is a cellular communications company that yields 8%. The company has paid quarterly dividends since June 2007. They trade on the NYSE. The P/E is 10.5.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT) makes and markets defense electronic systems and electro-optic systems. This company has paid dividends, usually quarterly for the last ten years and currently yields 2.8%. The P/E is 11.5.

Formula Systems (1985) Ltd. (FORTY), which trades on NASDAQ, develops and sells information technology solutions and services to large corporations. The stock has a yield of 9.3%, and the stock is going ex dividend on April 1. They have a very short dividend track record. The P/E is 16.

Ituran Location & Control Ltd. (ITRN), on NASDAQ, provides stolen vehicle recovery and tracking services. They have operations in Israel, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States. The stock has a P/E of 13. The stock yields 10% and has paid annual dividend payments since 2006. They recently went ex dividend.

MIND C.T.I., Ltd. (MNDO) creates and sells mediation, rating, billing, and customer care software for communication companies. The stock yields 11.6%, and has paid dividends annually for eight years. The stock just went ex dividend a few days ago. The company’s P/E is 1.6.

The mobile telecommunications company, Partner Communications Co. Ltd. (PTNR), which trades on NASDAQ, has a yield of 7.1%, based on last year's dividends. They have paid quarterly dividends since 2005. The P/E is 11.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) makes and sells generic pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical ingredients, and animal health pharmaceuticals. This is one of the longest dividend payers on the list, paying quarterly for over 15 years. The current yield is 1%, the P/E is 28.5.

If you like high dividend stocks, including those of other countries, you should check out the lists at

Author does not own any of the above.


Guest Article: Swoosh Goes Nike

Swoosh Goes Nike

In today's short video, we take a look at Nike and project what we see in the future for this market.

As you know, we've discussed energy fields in the past and just how important they are to markets and Nike is no different. There is a huge energy field under this market capable of carrying it much, much higher. In the video I discuss a specific target zone for this stock.

As always, our videos are free to watch and there are no registration requirements. I would really like to hear back from you in regards to your thoughts on this video. Watch this video.

All the best,
Adam Hewison
Co-creator, MarketClub

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The High Yielders of the Dow

Income investors looking for large companies paying high yields don't have to look far. Twenty of the stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average pay yields of 2% or more, and five of them have yields of 4% and higher.

AT&T Inc. (T), which is at the top of the list, has a yield of 6.4%, and carries a forward price to earnings ratio of 11. The company pays out over $9.9 billion in annual dividends which is extremely well covered by the company's operating cash flow of over $34 billion.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) yields 6.2%, and has a forward PE ratio of 12. Verizon's dividend payouts of $5.6 billion are also very well covered by the $31.5 billion in operating cash flow.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours (DD) pays a yield of 4.3% and has a forward PE of 14.5.

Pfizer, Inc. (PFE) has a yield of 4.2% with a forward PE of 7.6.

Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) yields 4% and has a forward PE of 10.

If you like high yield stocks, you should check out the lists of high yield electric utility stocks and high yield gas utility stocks at

Author owns T, VZ, and PFE.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Bull and Bear Gifts: Great for Birthdays

Here is a list of gifts with the famous stock market symbols, the bull and the bear. They make great birthday presents for stock investors and traders.

Stock Market Bull and Bear See-Saw Sculpture

Wall Street Bull - Pewter

Bear and Bull Enamel and Sterling Silver Cufflinks

New York Stock Exchange Vineyard Vines Bull & Bear Tie

Gold Bull & Bear Cufflinks with Presentation Box

Bey Berk Bull And Bear Head Bookends

Jac Zagoory The Battle: Bull & Bear Pen & Card Holder

Limited Edition Wall Street Bull & Bear Stein

Ripple Pen The Street Bulls Bears and Pigs Rollerball Pen

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Fifth Week of March 2010

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. 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.

Nicor Inc. (GAS) ex div date: $1.9B market cap: 3/29/10 yield: 4.4%

Nucor Corporation (NUE) ex div date: $14.3B market cap: 3/29/10 yield: 3.2%

PG&E Corporation (PCG) ex div date: $15.9B market cap: 3/29/10 yield: 4.3%

SYSCO Corporation (SYY) ex div date: $17.0B market cap: 3/30/10 yield: 3.5%

The additional ex-dividend stocks can be found at (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 or

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.


Guest Article: Crude Oil Futures Slip as Funds Increase Bet on Higher Prices

Oil Market Summary for 03/15/2010 to 03/19/2010

Crude oil futures kept falling back from highs even though speculative funds increased their bets that prices are headed higher. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract ended the week at $80.68 a barrel, after nearing $83 earlier in the week, compared to $81.24 a week ago.

Saudi Arabia ’s oil minister, Ali Naimi, made it clear once again on Tuesday that the world’s largest oil producer prefers a range of $70 to $80 for oil prices. Speaking to journalists in Vienna prior to and OPEC meeting, Naimi said the oil-exporting group, which accounts for 40% of daily oil consumption, won’t let tight supplies push prices too high.

Further bearish factors were the increase of 1 million barrels in U.S. crude oil inventories in the weekly report from the Energy Information Administration and renewed strength of the dollar amid continuing concern about Greece ’s fiscal situation.

A report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday suggested that EIA collection methods for the oil inventory data may be flawed, according to internal agency documents obtained by the newspaper. Greece said on Thursday it might have to call on the International Monetary Fund for aid if its efforts to reduce its deficit are not successful.

But bulls were encouraged by the Federal Reserve’s reiteration that interest rates would remain low and by OPEC’s decision to leave production volume unchanged, indicating their belief that prices would remain firm. The benchmark oil contract settled at $82.93 on Wednesday.

However, the move by the Reserve Bank of India to raise its key rates on Friday drove oil prices down amid fears that China and other emerging economies might follow suit and dampen demand for oil.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported that non-commercial traders increased their net long position in light sweet crude to 109,314 lots in the week ended March 9, compared with 91,417 lots in the previous week. The increase in the net long position indicated that speculative traders expect oil prices to rise.

In the meantime, the Futures Industry Association, a lobby for the big futures and options traders, urged the CFTC not to follow through on its plan to adopt position limits for energy futures.

“FIA is not aware of any convincing or even credible evidence that large traders with speculative positions in energy futures markets have trumped market fundamentals as the determining factor in energy futures prices,” FIA president John Darmgard wrote in a comment letter on the CFTC proposal.

The FIA official went on to say that there is no evidence that position limits in agricultural futures have changed speculative behaviour in any way. Imposing limits on U.S. traders, the FIA says, will only put them at a disadvantage in international markets.

This article was written by Darrell Delamaide for who focus on Fossil Fuels, Alternative Energy, Metals, Oil Prices and Geopolitics. To find out more visit their website at:

The Almost Perfect Income Stocks

Income investors are always searching for the perfect investment. Although such an investment may not exist, there may be investments that are close. One type of stock that you don't hear much about is the Adjustable Rate Preferred Stock or ARPS, also known as a Floating Rate Preferred Stock or FRPS.

First, let's look at what a preferred stock is. It is an income paying stock, usually issued for $25 per share, which pays out a set dividend. The preferreds have no growth potential, unless they are convertible into common stock. If a company goes out of business, the bonds are paid off first, then the preferred stockholders, and then if there is anything left, the common stockholders.

The ARPS have other benefits over the regular preferreds. If interest rates in general go up, the rate on the preferred also goes up. The payout rate is generally based on the three-month LIBOR rate plus a specific percentage amount. LIBOR is the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is based on interest rates at which banks borrow unsecured funds from each other in the London wholesale money market, and is published by the British Bankers' Association on a daily basis. The three-month LIBOR is currently 0.26%.

Many of these ARPS preferreds even have minimum interest rate payouts, below which the rates won't drop. So if rates drop, the investor will also be protected on the downside, with the interest rate floor. Some of the ARPS are fixed-to-float preferreds, which means that the interest rates are fixed for a period of years, then floating after a particular date.

In addition, most of these preferreds are eligible to receive the beneficial 15% tax rate, after the required holding period. has developed a list of almost 20 of these Adjustable Rate Preferred Stocks in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, which can be downloaded, sorted, and changed. The database contains extensive information including the company, the Yahoo Finance symbol, the Standard & Poor's stock symbol, the par value (call price), minimum interest rate, the floating rate calculation, the maximum rate if any, the first call date, the current yield, and whether the dividend is cumulative or non-cumulative.

Cumulative means that if the company runs into financial difficulty and is unable to make payments for a while, the unpaid back dividends on the preferreds must be caught up and paid to the preferred shareholders before any payments can be made to the common shareholders. Non-cumulative means that the dividends do not accrue.

Many of these ARPS have call features, which means that on a particular date, the issuer has the right to buy back the preferred stock at the call price, usually $25 per share.

The ARPS preferreds will fluctuate but because of the variable rate feature, they shouldn't fluctuate as much as regular preferreds. But these fluctuations can create opportunities, as many of the ARPS are trading below their $25 par value issue price.

An example would be the Goldman Sachs Series C Preferred (GS-PC), which was issued at 25 per share, and is currently trading below 24. Please note that the Yahoo Finance stock symbol is shown, which may be different from the ticker your brokerage firm uses. (The S&P symbol would be GS-C.) The shares came out at a yield of the three-month LIBOR rate plus 0.75%, subject to a minimum yield of 4.00%, or a dollar a share per year. The dividends are non-cumulative. The stock has a call date of 10/31/2010, and based on the current price, the stock yields about 4.17%.

Currently, the LIBOR rate is around a quarter of a percent. So in the Goldman Sachs example, if interests rates rise and the LIBOR rate jumped up to 5%, then the yield would be adjusted to 5.75%.

Another example is MetLife Preferred Series A (MET-PA), also issued at 25, and issued with a yield calculated at the three-month LIBOR rate plus 1%, subject to a minimum yield of 4.00%. The stock has a call date of 9/15/10. Based on the current price of the stock, the yield is 4.23%.

Remember that even though these ARPS should be more stable than regular preferreds, they can still drop in value as you can see from the current prices for many of them. Since they were hammered during the market crash, many haven't fully recovered, and there may be some interesting prospects worth looking into.

For a detailed list of adjustable rate preferred stocks, go to

Author does not own any of the above.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: Sway

When I first started reading the book, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, I first thought that this was a copy of the Malcolm Gladwell style of book. But as I started getting into it, I realized that the book has a completely different approach and provides very useful information.

One of the most fascinating stories in the book was about the $20 experiment. A professor would auction off a $20 bill to his students, starting at a one dollar initial bid, and it would end up selling for over $200. It runs like a regular auction except that the second highest bidder, in addition to not winning, has to pay what he bid. The authors cover why this happens and how it can affect your decisions, especially with regards to owning stocks.

The book also covers group dynamics and why it is good to have one dissenter. There is even a section on why people would turn down free money.

What I really like about this book is the fact that all their stories are backed up by scientific research, and all research is annotated at the back of the book.

Find out why you think the way you think. Anyone who runs their own business or trades stocks should read Sway.


Autism is a terrible tragedy that affects many families. I have a relative who is severely autistic, so I know what families go through. There are several publicly traded pharmaceutical companies that are trying to help those afflicted by discovering and producing drugs to treat autism.

Occasionally a positive side affect appears with someone who has autism. If you missed the following video, you should check it out.

Many Banks Still Not Paying Back Any TARP Funds

During the last month, I had two friends call me to say hat their banks had lowered their credit cards limits to their current balances. One of them told me that he had called up his bank to ask for a credit line increase and they told him that they couldn't give him an increase but would actually have his limit decreased instead. These guys had long term relationships with their banks for many years, and one even had a FICO score of over 750.

I'm still hearing about homebuyers having problems getting financing, and I'm hearing it from both real estate agents and homebuyers.

What is it with banks? It's still hard to get credit, in spite of the fact that numerous banks received TARP funds, the funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The government has an unusually named website called, which provides various reports showing how the TARP funds are being used (and paid back). If I am reading the report correctly, and it's in a fairly simple format, it appears that there are over a dozen banks that haven't paid back a dime.

There are also a few non-banks listed, such as Chrysler; when are they going to start paying back anything? (I still can't figure out why the government bailed out a non-publicly traded non-bank company owned by a private equity firm.) AIG (AIG) also showed up as a zero in the Life-To-Date Payments column.

Of course. there are some names on the list that have paid back a substantial amount of money to the government. Goldman Sachs (GS) has paid back $318,055,555.44, Bank of America (BAC) paybacks were into the billions, J P Morgan (JPM) has paid back almost $800 million.

Thank goodness, many of the big companies are coming through with their payments and paybacks.


Friday, March 19, 2010

How Old is the Oldest Stockbroker?

Sean Glickenhaus is in his mid 90's and has been trading since the 1920's. In the following video, he talks about a comparison between the Great Depression and what is happening currently.

YouTube a Pirate Site According to Google Execs

A bunch of internal communications and emails were just unsealed relating to Google's (GOOG) purchase of YouTube. Emails showed that some Google execs referred to YouTube as a 'pirate site'. This whole unveiling came about from Viacom's (VIA) (VIA-B) $1 billion lawsuit relating to the uploading of copyrighted material without authorization.

Cure for Fear of Flying

OK, I will admit it. I developed a severe fear of flying back in 2001, for several reasons, nothing of which had to do with 9/11, although that didn't help. Unfortunately, I was in a situation where I had to make several flight since that time and I had to literally sweat it out. Of course, I ended up canceling and postponing flights whenever I could as the fear kept getting worse.

Part of the problem was being on flights where the turbulence was terrible, finally culminating in a flight that I would rate a 10 on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is the worst. I was on a flight from Washington DC to California, and about 10 minutes before take-off, the pilot came out of the cockpit, walking down the aisle, and said "I have an announcement to make." This was after 9/11 and there weren't many people on the plane. He said "We are going to hit some bad turbulence that is really, really bad. I wanted to prepare you ahead of time." This was a first, as I'd never seen a pilot come out to make an announcement.

My first thought was that I really appreciated that fact that the pilot let us know what is going on. There is nothing worse than a flight with a problem where the pilot doesn't let the passengers know what is going on. (Once I was on a regional airline flight where the plane flipped to a 45 degree angle, and the pilot said nothing, so after we landed, started to depart the plane, and as I was leaving, I asked him what the hell happened. His response: "Caught in the vortex of a 747.")

Anyway, getting back to my 10 out of 10 flight, I almost stood up to get my bag out of the overhead container to leave the plane and try to find a train to get back home. But I wanted to get home quickly and thought I could put up with it, so I decided to stay.

The flight was fine for a while until we started going over the Rocky Mountains. The plane started bouncing all over the place, creaking with the wings bouncing up and down, It kept going on and on, then all of a sudden, the plane went into a nose dive and dropped about a thousand feet. (The plane had TV screens which showed maps, altitude, etc.) Everyone on the plane screamed, men, women, children.

We leveled out but the plane was still bouncing like crazy. I thought the turbulence would never stop. The plane then took another 1000 foot dive; more screams. I actually can't even remember what happened after that. I just vaguely remember having the turbulence continue over the Sierra mountains. Of course, it was practically the finally straw for me in terms of flying.

Fortunately, last year I discovered a course that is very effective for treating and curing the fear of flying. The course is called SOAR and is available at The course was created by a pilot and licensed therapist who has been providing these service since 1982. The course is available as video DVDs, audio CDs, MP4 downloads, and online. The course is available in parts but I would strongly recommend that you get the whole package. The cost is about the price of a coach plane ticket. The course worked for me and I highly recommend it.

What Googlers are Thinking About the Stock Market

What Google (GOOG) searchers are thinking about stocks:

What Google searchers are thinking about the stock market:

Houses Made Out of Old Tires Don't Get Much Respect

A couple in Colorado that built their house out of old tires and other old garbage got a rude awakening from banks that they won't be able to refinance their house. Without comparable comps, in other words, other houses made out of the same materials, the banks can't get an accurate appraisal. Apparently, owners of log cabins, underground homes, dome homes, and other out-of-the-ordinary homes are experiencing similar difficulties.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Diamond Stocks: A Girl's Best Friend?

Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth and come in a variety of colors including blue, yellow, brown, green, purple, pink, orange or red. The major player in the diamond industry is the De Beers company, which was formerly a publicly traded stock but is now privately held.

However, there is an indirect way to invest in De Beers, through Anglo American (AAUKY.PK) which owns 45% of De Beers.De Beers company owns twenty mines in Africa, producing 15 million carats of diamonds every year with in excess of half coming from its Venetia mine. Anglo American has operations in every major continent around the world, with interests in platinum, gold, diamonds, copper, iron ore, coal, and nickel. The company has had a net profit margin of 14% for the last year, with a 20.6% annual operating margin increase.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) is a a natural resource company that explores for and produces diamonds, titanium, potash, copper, silver, lead, zinc, bauxite, and uranium. A significant source of their revenues comes from petroleum and natural gas. The stock has a forward price to earnings ratio of 14 and pays a 2.1% yield.

Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (HWD) is a Canadian based miner and retailer of diamonds. It owns a 40% interest in the Diavik Diamond Mine in northern Canada, and markets diamonds through retailers under the Harry Winston brand. The stock has a forward PE ratio of 110.

Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. (MDM) explores for and produces diamonds, primarily in northern Canada. The stock has recently generated negative earnings and has a low market cap of about $130 million.

In addition to the miners of diamonds, there are also the retailers. Zale Corporation (ZLC) has over 690 stores in 50 states. The stock has recently generated negative earnings and has a low market cap of about $118 million.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF), founded in 1837, is one of the top jewelry companies in the world, with over 60 U.S. stores and over 100 international locations. The metric carat as a weight standard for gems was developed by a Tiffany gemologist. The New York City flagship store is home to the 128-carat Fancy Yellow Tiffany Diamond. The stock has a forward PE of 20, and a yield of 1.7%.

Blue Nile Inc. (NILE), founded in 1999, is a leading web based retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, and the largest online retailer of certified diamonds. The stock has a forward PE of 44.

Signet Group plc (SIG), owns 1,400 jewelry stores in the United States, under the trade names of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry. The company has recently generated negative earnings.

Speaking of jewelry, if you like gold and silver, you might want to check out the list of gold and silver ETFs at

Author does not own any of the above.


Madoff Attacked in Prison

Notorious fraudster, Bernie Madoff, had broken bones and cuts on his face, a collapsed lung and broken ribs. Prison officials claim that he suffered the injuries by falling out of bed. However, the Wall Street Journal reported that he had actually been attacked by one of the other prisoners, who supposedly had a personal beef with Madoff.

Don't Miss the Financial Scandal Exhibit

Museum of American Finance to Open "Scandal!" Exhibit

On April 29, the Museum will open "Scandal!: Financial Crime, Chicanery and Corruption that Rocked America," a richly informative exhibit about the history of financial scandals in America. All are welcome to attend a reception to open "Scandal!" on Thursday, April 29, from 5 - 7 pm. For information, please contact Lindsay Seeger at 212-908-4110.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warren Buffett Giving Jimmy Buffett a Run for his Money: Warren is Now a Rock Star

Did you know that Warren Buffett, head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B), is now a rock and roll star with long hair and a bandana on his head? If you don't believe it, check out the video below. He will appear about two thirds of the way through this music video (actually a Geico commercial).

As a matter of fact, Warren Buffett also recently appeared in a second, longer music video. Check it out below:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feds Using Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter to Gather Evidence

Department of Justice staff are receiving instruction on how to use Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter for evidence gathering and proving or disproving alibis. A 17 page slide show presentation has been prepared for this instruction.

By the way, do you know what Twitter user has the most followers? Ashton Kutcher who has 4.65 million followers.

What a Way to Split Real Estate: Husband Gets House but Wife Gets Roof

We've heard about the real estate market falling apart but this is ridiculous. A woman won a court order to get all her possessions from her home after splitting with her husband. Since she paid for the roof, she got to take the roof along with all her other other personal possessions.

Natural Gas Stocks: Hot Air or Hot Air Rising?

Yes, we've had some bad weather in the East. But with the ending of Winter and the onslaught of Spring, natural gas futures fell to their lowest level in about four years. If you look at a chart of natural gas, you will notice that since July of 2008, gas has been in a constant downtrend. However, the natural gas stocks, utilities, and publicly traded limited partnerships have been bouncing all over the place during the last couple years.

Income investors like natural gas stocks for several reasons. First, they pay a decent dividend with over 15 paying more than 4%. Second, they provide diversification from electric utilities. The average price to earnings ratio for all these stocks is less than 15. And in terms of gas stocks, in addition to natural gas companies, investors can also choose propane distributors.

There are plenty of natural gas and propane gas utilities available to invest in. has turned up about 25 gas utilities with yields ranging from 2% to above 8%, such as ONEOK Inc. (OKE) yielding 3.8%, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. (PNY) yielding 4.1%, and TransCanada Corp. (TRP) yielding 4.3%.

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 in the form of a free downloadable Excel database of natural gas and propane stocks, go to

Author does not own any of the above.


Guest Article: A Sneak Peek At The S&P 500

This week could be shaping up to be an extraordinary week in the markets. I strongly recommend that traders everywhere take precautionary measure measures to protect capital.

While the S&P 500 made new highs for the year last week, it did not do so in a very convincing manner. In today's short video I show you some of the elements that I think should be cause for concern.

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 this video.

All the best,

Adam Hewison
Co-creator, MarketClub

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guest Article: Crude Prices Stagnate Amid Doubts About Global Demand

Oil Market Summary 03/08/2010 to 03/12/2010

Crude oil prices tread water for the week as uncertainty about demand continued to weigh on the market. Prices were down slightly on the week, with the benchmark West Texas Intermediate settling on Friday at $81.24 a barrel, compared with $81.50 a week ago.

Not even relatively bullish forecasts for oil demand, such as the International Energy Agency’s report on Friday raising its forecast by 70,000 barrels a day for 2010, or the decline in the dollar could propel oil prices forward.

One analyst even predicted crude oil prices dipping below $60 a barrel in the second half of the year. Ronald-Peter Stöferle, a raw materials analyst at Austria ’s Erste Bank, said that oil is relatively expensive by historical standards, and current prices are not justified by demand.

Moreover, Stöferle notes, OPEC seems to prefer a price between $70 and $80 a barrel to keep unconventional sources such as shale oil and oil sands, or alternative energy sources like solar and wind, from becoming economically competitive.

In any case, this analyst expects oil prices could rise further in the first half of this year, even hitting $100 a barrel, but will average only $72 a barrel over the second half due to weak demand and other factors. In particular, he thinks too many hopes are pinned on growth in China ’s economy. “We are critical of the blind trust in the Chinese economy as recovery and growth engine,” Stöferle said, adding that China cannot be a “messiah for the global economy.”

The IEA’s forecast for an increase of 1.6 million barrels a day in crude oil demand this year to 86.6 million barrels a day was quickly eclipsed by another report on Friday. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which declined in March to 72.5 from 73.6 in February, indicated that consumers remain uncertain about the future. Analysts had expected a small increase for the month.

The euro gained ground against the dollar, rising above $1.37. The dollar, already weak, declined further after reports that San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank president Janet Yellen, considered a “dove” on interest rates, will be nominated as vice chairman of the Fed. This would increase the likelihood of U.S. rates remaining low.


By Darrell Delamaide of who focus on, Fossil Fuels Metals, Crude Oil Prices and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at:

Solar Energy Stocks: Will They Get Hot Again?

Solar energy is basically energy from the sun. It is probably one of the oldest forms of energy utilized by civilization, as the Greeks and Chinese arranged their buildings toward the south to provide light and heat. Greenhouses are a great example, converting solar light to heat, which allows production of certain plants and crops all year long. They were first used during the days of the Romans.

Solar energy is the generation of energy from the sun, usually utilizing heat engines or photovoltaics. The generation of electricity using solar energy is referred to as solar power. Solar power plants can be either concentrating solar thermal plants or huge megawatt photovoltaic plants. Current uses of photovoltaics are numerous and include all kinds of products such as battery chargers, solar powered parking meters, emergency telephones, traffic signs, and even solar panels embedded on road surfaces.

The following is a list of the pure plays and semi-pure plays in the solar energy business. Companies which have a very small portion of their business in solar were excluded (e.g. GE, PG&E). Many of these companies are very low cap and should therefore be considered very speculative.

Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS) is a designer, installer, marketer, and seller of solar power systems for residential and small commercial customers. This Los Gatos, California based company, which was founded in 2001, utilizes grid-tied solar power systems, which are connected to the utility grid so that excess energy produced during low usage periods flows backwards through the utility's electric meter.

Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is involved in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of solar module products, serving the residential, commercial, and industrial markets. This Ontario, Canada based company distributes its products internationally including the People's Republic of China. It also produces specialty solar products such as solar-powered bus stop lighting and solar-powered car battery chargers.

China Sunergy (CSUN), based in Nanjing, China, is a designer, maker, and seller of silicon wafer solar cells.

DayStar Technologies (DSTI) is a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of Photovoltaic Foil products that convert sunlight directly into electricity. It produces thin-film copper indium gallium selenide solar products for centralized utility markets tied to the grid. This is an extremely low cap stock.

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) is a designer, developer, and seller of materials, products, and production processes for the alternative energy generation, energy storage, and information technology markets. It hs two divisions: United Solar Ovonic and Ovonic Materials. United Solar Ovonics produces PV laminates that generate converts sunlight into electricity thereby generating renewable. Ovonic Materials designs, and produces materials and products based on the company’s materials science technology and battery technology. This Rochester Hills, Michigan company was founded in 1960.

Entech Solar, Inc. (ENSL.OB) makes and markets solar energy systems that provide both electricity and thermal energy through the use of its proprietary photovoltaic technologies, their SolarVolt and ThermaVolt systems. This Fort Worth, Texas based company was founded in 1984. It has an extremely low market cap.

Evergreen Solar (ESLR), which trades on the NASDAQ, is a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of solar power products in Germany and the United States. It produces proprietary "String Ribbon" solar cells.

First Solar (FSLR), which trades on the NASDAQ, designs and manufactures solar modules through its proprietary thin film semiconductor technology. It manufactures photovoltaic solar modules using a thin film semiconductor process based on cadmium telluride, which is cheaper than silicon, to produce photovoltaic modules, and is the largest manufacturer of thin-film cells in the world. As of the end of 2008, First Solar had a backlog of long-term contracts totaling approximately $6.3 billion in sales. They plan to be competitive on an unsubsidized basis with retail electricity by 2010. Their cost per watt is 98 cents versus crystalline-silicon photo-voltaics, which averages $2.90 per watt.

Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) develops polysilicon-based photovoltaic modules for solar power systems. Also develops other clean energy technologies.

JA Solar (JASO), a Shanghai, China based company, which designs, manufactures, and sells monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells.

Kyocera (KYO) is a Kyoto, Japan based company that produces residential and industrial solar power generating systems, solar cells, and solar modules, along with many ceramic products.

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR) produces wafers for the semiconductor and solar industries.

Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (SOLF), based in Qidong, China, makes and markets photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic modules.

Spire (SPIR) is a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of solar equipment, solar systems, biomedical products, and optoelectronics.

SunPower Corporation (SPWR) is a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of solar electric power products.

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) designs, develops, manufactures, and markets photovoltaic cells and modules.

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), based in Changzhou, China, makes and markets monocrystalline photovoltaic solar modules

XSunX (XSNX) is a developer of the commercialization and licensing of processes for the manufacture of semitransparent photovoltaic technologies.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (YGE), based in Baoding, China, makes, markets, and installs multicrystalline polysilicon ingots and wafers, photovoltaic cells, PV modules, and integrated PV systems.

To see free sortable and downloadable lists of various green stocks, go to

Author does not own any of the above.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Fourth Week of March 2010

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. 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.

Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (PNY) ex div date: $2.0B market cap: 3/23/10 yield: 4.1%

Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) ex div date: $9.6B market cap: 3/23/10 yield: 4.7%

Portland General Electric Company (POR) ex div date: $1.4B market cap: 3/23/10 yield: 5.3%

Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) ex div date: $94.3B market cap: 3/23/10 yield: 4.6%

The additional ex-dividend stocks can be found at (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 or

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.


Friday, March 12, 2010

How Have the High Priced Shares Performed?

Back 0n August 21, 2008, we published an article called Top High Priced Share Stocks, which listed all the stocks trading in excess of $100 a share, that had P/E ratios less than 20, PEG ratios less than 1, market caps above $15 billion, and all but one paid a dividend. Remember, this is just before the market took its big dump.

Surprisingly, an interesting correlation turned up. The higher the higher priced shares, the better the return, and the shares that traded close to the $100 breakpoint did the worse. All the stocks that traded under $135 per share were down, and the others were up.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) the large investment banking firm, had the highest priced shares on the list at about $154 per share. It is now trading at $175, an increase of 14%.

CNOOC Limited (CEO) is the explorer and producer of crude oil and natural gas off the coast of China which was trading at $143 per share. It is now at $165, a 15% increase.

Transocean Inc. (RIG) provides offshore contract oil and gas drilling services. It was trading at about $133 per share, and is now at $85, down 36%.

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (DO) is another offshore oil and gas drilling contractor including deepwater drilling traded at $114 per share. The stock is now at $89, down 22%.

Siemens AG (ADR) (SI) is the huge German electronics and electrical engineering conglomerate. It traded for $110 per share. It is now at $94, a 15% drop.

Hess Corp. (HES) is a developer and producer of oil and natural gas. It traded at $109 per share. The stock is now at $61, a drop of 44%.

Continental AG (CTTAY.PK) is a German auto parts maker. It was trading at $103 per share. The stock is now at $51, a 50% drop.

If you like really high priced shares of stock, you should check out the list at

Author does not own any of the above.


Homeless Exec Survives on Airline Points

A Southern California executive who lost his job, lost his condo, and declared bankruptcy, is now homeless. However, he does have one important asset, over one million airline reward miles, and he is using those miles to live on.

He is using his United Airlines (UAUA) miles to purchase stays in hotels, the ones that provide the free breakfasts of course. He can even use his miles to buy food, clothes, and gas.

No More Budweiser Baby Bottles

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is suing a company called Baby Beer Bottles, Inc. for trademark infringement for its marketing of the "Bunwiper Baby of Beers", a baby bottle that looks similar to a beer bottle, with a "real, reusable, working nipple." Anheuser-Busch didn't like the degrading of the positive image of its beer brands. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the site has been taken down, but a screen shot is still available.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Utility Generates Electricity from Wind, Solar, Geothermal & Waves (6% yield)

If you are looking for a green utility, you need look no further than Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (HE), which gets its electricity from a wide range of green and environmentally conscious sources, including wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, wave, hydroelectric, municipal waste, and other biofuels. They even use sugarcane waste as a source of fuel. If automobiles can be run on chocolate, then electrical generators can certainly be run on sugarcane.

Hawaian Electric pays a strong 6% yield, paying about $115 million in dividends, which are well covered by the operating cash flow of $284 million. The company carries a forward price to earnings ratio of 11.7. Last month, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved the cost recovery of the company’s new biodiesel-fuel generating plant at Campbell Industrial Park, which should increase utility revenues by 1%.

For investors who like green companies, it might be worth taking a closer look at Hawaiian Electric. If you like stocks with high yields, you should check out the free list of high yielding utilities at, that can be downloaded, changed, and sorted.

Speaking of green companies, I will be speaking at the Las Vegas Money Show in May, giving a presentation on green stocks. You can register free online. Hope to see you there.

Author does not own the above stock.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Stocks that made Carlos Slim the Richest Man in the World

Now that Forbes has announced that Carlos Slim Helu has become the richest man in the world, investors are looking at the stocks that he owns and is connected with. Here are the primary companies that Slim is associated with.

Approximately one half of the shares of Teléfonos de Mexico (TMX), which is also known as Telmex, is owned by Slim and his family. This huge Mexico based telecommunications company, at which Slim has served a Chairman, has a forward price to earnings ratio of 10 and pays a yield of 4.4%. Earnings for the latest quarter were up 67.7% year over year.

Slim has also served as Chairman of América Móvil (AMX), which is the fourth largest mobile network operator in the world and the largest corporation in Latin America. It also operates the largest mobile operator in Mexico. The stock has a forward PE of 11 and a yield of 1%.

About 6.4 percent of the shares in The New York Times Company (NYT), the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the United States, is owned by Slim. The stocks has a PE of 16.

He is also on the Board of Directors for Philip Morris International (PM), which has over 15% of the worldwide non-US market for cigarettes. The company has a forward PE of 12 and a yield of 4.6%.

If you want to see the shareholdings of the third richest man in the world, Warren Buffett, you can get a sortable list at

Author does not own any of the above.


New World's Richest Billionaire

It's not Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft (MSFT). It's not Warren Buffett, founder of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B). It is Carlos Slim Helu, with a net worth of $53.5 billion according to Forbes. Slim has major holdings in various telecom companies, including America Movil (AMX), of which he owns a $23 billion interest.

Slim's net worth spiked by $18.5 billion, putting Gates in second place and Buffett in third place.

Lindsay Lohan Suing E*Trade

Famous celebrity, Lindsay Lohan, has filed a suit against E*Trade (ETFC) for $100 million because she claims that she has suffered pain and suffering from the portrayal of a baby named Lindsay on one of E*Trade's 'babies commercials'. The ad appeared during the Super Bowl. Lohan wants $50 million in exemplary damages and $50 million in compensatory damages.

Back in 2007, we featured the Lindsay Lohan Stock Index.

Robber Gets $6 from 11 People in California

We have all heard the news about how the economy in California is real bad. This female robber can prove it to you. She held up eleven people at a grocery store in Riverside County, California with a semi-automatic pistol and got a TOTAL of only $11.

Car Powered by Chocolate

All kinds of fuel have been used in automobiles, everything from hydrogen to alcohol. But who ever heard of a chocolate powered car? Researchers at the University of Warwick in England have come up with the first sustainable automobile fueled by chocolate.

It is a Formula 3 racing car that can go 135 miles per hour. The car, named Lola, cost $200,000 to make. Even the radiator makes oxygen out of ozone. In addition to chocolate, it can run on potato starch and carrots.

Is it time to buy chocolate futures?

Top Selling Stock Market Movies

If you are looking for some recreational movies relating to the stock market and Wall Street, which you can watch on DVD or Blu-ray, you should check out the following;

Wall Street

Boiler Room

Wolves of Wall Street

Rogue Trader

Barbarians at the Gate

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Other People's Money

Wall Street Cowboy starring Roy Rogers

Madoff and the Scamming of America

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bogus Website for Madoff Victims

'Hey man, this website is totally bogus, dude.' The Securities Investors Protection Corporation, more commonly known as the SIPC, has just announced an alert that a look-alike website,, which is the site for the International Securities Investor Protection Corporation, may be as phony as Bernie Madoff's company and appears to be targeting Madoff's victims.

According to the SIPC:

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund mandated by Congress to protect the customers of insolvent brokerage firms, said today that it is alerting international regulators about a "look-alike" Web site for a fictitious organization that is mimicking the SIPC Web site in an apparent attempt to target Madoff victims.

The so-called "International Securities Investor Protection Corporation (" copies several aspects of the SIPC Web site artwork and structural design. It is soliciting Madoff victims to submit claims, which SIPC is warning could result in "phishing" or other identify theft problems. The phony group claims to be based in Geneva and also maintains that it has ties to the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, among others.

In one section of the Web site, the group includes a supposed testimonial from a Madoff victim who is reported as having received funds from the organization. In a link from the homepage of the site that leads to a photo of a huge stack of U.S. currency, the group falsely claims to have collaborated with Interpol to recover $1.3 billion in Madoff money from a hideout in Malaysia.

SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said: "We know from information provided to us by individuals that this bogus group is already attempting to obtain funds and confidential financial information from investors in the U.S. SIPC wants to be as clear as possible that Madoff victims and other investors should not share any personal financial information via this Web site or rely upon it as an information source. We intend to use every available means to shut down this illicit operation."

Thanks to The Hastings Group for reporting this info.

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