Saturday, March 31, 2012

Top Selling Stock Investment Books

These are the top selling investment books in the stocks category:

The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, 2010 Edition

One Up On Wall Street : How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market

Stock Investing For Dummies

The How to Make Money in Stocks Complete Investing System: Your Ultimate Guide to Winning in Good Times and Bad

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

Stock Trader's Almanac 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Stocks has Warren Buffett Been Buying?

Warren Buffett, head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B), is the third richest person in the world, due to his astute investing. Many investors follow in the footsteps of this famous trader and investor by piggybacking on his investments. So what has he been up to lately according to reports filed with the SEC?

First let's start with what he has gotten rid of. He sold off his holdings in ExxonMobil (XOM), selling off over 421,000 shares for about $30.6 million. But he is not totally bearish on major oil companies, as he still owns shares in ConocoPhillips (COP), a stock which yields 3.4%.

In terms of what he has been buying, according to the latest free list of Warren Buffett stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, he purchased shares of DaVita Inc. (DVA), a provider of kidney dialysis services. The stock trades at 18 times current earnings and 12.9 times forward earnings. Earnings for the latest quarter were up 114.6% on a 13.1% rise in revenues. The company does not pay a dividend.

Warren Buffett also purchased shares of Liberty Media Corporation (LMCA), a media and entertainment company. The stock has a price to earnings ration of 13.1. Earnings were down over 50% for the latest quarter, however revenues almost doubled. Thsi stock also does not pay a dividend.

For a list of all the Warren Buffett Berkeshire Hathaway stocks, which can be downloaded, sorted, and updated, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.


By Stockerblog.com

Funds that Own Facebook Stock

It is now much harder for the wealthy to buy shares of Facebook in private transactions. SharesPost, one of the leading marketplaces for non-publicly traded companies, just announced that the company "will cease facilitating transactions in Facebook stock as of Friday end of day to help ensure the company's orderly transition into the public markets." This was done at the request of Facebook.

Yet, investors both big and small still have an opportunity to acquire shares indirectly, by buying stock in funds that own shares of Facebook. The options are mutual funds, which are priced once a day based on the net asset value, or closed end funds, which trade on exchanges all day long just like a regular stock.

WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has turned up two closed end funds that own shares of Facebook, on its free list of Facebook Stocks. One of the CEFs is GSV Capital (GSVC), which specializes in investing in venture capital backed private companies. The company name comes from Global Silicon Valley Capital. It owns a fairly diverse portfolio of innovative businesses, such as Bloom Energy, Dropbox, TrueCar, Twitter, and even SharesPost. It also owns a couple companies that have recently gone public, including Zynga (ZNGA) and Groupon (GRPN).

But most important, according to the company's fourth quarter Schedule of Investments as of December 31, 2011, there are 350,000 Class B common shares on the books at a cost of $10,465,981. The holdings represent 14.63% of the company's portfolio.

In the last three months, the GSV share price has risen from around 14 per share to 20 currently, an increase of 42%. Yes GSV has yet moved as much as another CEF that owns Facebook, the Firsthand Technology Value Fund (SVVC), which has increased in price from less than 15 per share to almost 37 today, a boost of 60%. It actually traded above 40 a couple days ago but had a pullback.

In terms of mutual funds that own Facebook stock, the T. Rowe Price Media & Telecommunications Fund (PRMTX) has approximately 1.2% of its portfolio in Facebook shares, a fairly small percentage compared to the closed end funds.

To see a list of over 25 of the companies that own Facebook stock, check out the free list at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, which can be downloaded, sorted, and updated.

Disclosure: Author owns GSVC and SVVC. No recommendations of any of the above stocks is expressed or implied.

By Stockerblog.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the First Week of April 2012

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, you have to be extremely careful, and may need to avoid the technique during those times.

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 downloadable and sortable 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 2%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the market capitalization, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Kimco Realty Corp (KIM) ex-div date: 4/2/2012 yield: 4.0% market cap: $7.8B

MFA Financial, Inc. (MFA) ex-div date: 4/2/2012 yield: 12.9% market cap: $2.7B

Raytheon Company (RTN) ex-div date: 4/2/2012 yield: 3.8% market cap: $17.7B

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) ex-div date: 4/2/2012 yield: 3.4% market cap: $76.8B

First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (FIBK) ex-div date: 4/2/2012 yield: 3.2% market cap: $642.7M

Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) ex-div date: 4/3/2012 yield: 4.1% market cap: $55.6B

SYSCO Corporation (SYY) ex-div date: 4/3/2012 yield: 3.6% market cap: $17.4B

Campbell Soup Company (CPB) ex-div date: 4/4/2012 yield: 3.5% market cap: $10.4B

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) ex-div date: 4/5/2012 yield: 3.4% market cap: $6.5B

General Mills, Inc. (GIS) ex-div date: 4/5/2012 yield: 3.1% market cap: $25.1B

Pearson PLC ADR (PSO) ex-div date: 4/5/2012 yield: 3.5% market cap: $15.8B

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) ex-div date: 4/5/2012 yield: 5.1% market cap: $111.8B

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.

Monthly Dividend Stock List

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.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top Yielding Canada Stocks


Did you know that our neighbor to the north is the tenth wealthiest nation in the world based on Nominal GDP? It is also a net exporter of energy, one of the few developed nations in the world that can make this claim. Also, Canada has the world's second-largest proven oil reserves (Saudi Arabia is in second place).

Fortunately for income investors looking to diversify, Canada has over a dozen stocks with yields in excess of 3% according the recently updated free list of top yielding Canadian stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

One example is Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), the second largest bank in Canada. The stock trades at 10.6 times forward earnings and pays a dividend rate of 3.4%. The bank has over 1100 branches in Canada and over 1200 branches in the US.

Another example is Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), is a Toronto based communications and media company, which yields 4.2% and trades at 11 times forward earnings. The company has increased dividends eleven out of the last twelve quarters.

Enbridge (ENB) is a transporter and distributor of crude oil and natural gas primarily in Canada and the United States. The stock yields 2.9% and has a forward price to earnings ratio of 20. The company is even getting into the solar energy business, buying its first solar farm from First Solar (FSLR).

For a list of over fifteen high yield Canada stocks, which can be downloaded, sorted, and updated, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

Highest Yielding Israel Stocks

SodaStream International Ltd. (SODA), an Israeli company, went public at $20 per share a couple years ago and is now up over 71%. The company makes and markets home beverage carbonation systems, which can turn tap water into sparkling water and soda in just a few seconds. The product is marketed by major retailers across the United States and in other countries.

The stock doesn't pay a dividend, but there are many Israeli companies that do pay dividends. The payouts can help lower your risk by reducing volatility and accelerating your return of capital. According to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, there are more than half a dozen Israeli companies with high yields ranging from 1.8% to over 12%.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT), a manufacturer of defense systems and products, pays dividends quarterly and yields 3.2%. The company has been paying dividends since 1997. The stock trades at 8.8 times forward earnings.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL) is a cellular communications provider in Israeli that yields 5.9%, with dividends having been paid payable quarterly since 2007. The stock has a price to earnings ratio of 5.8.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), a developer and producer of generic and branded pharmaceuticals, has been paying quarterly dividends since 1997 and yields 1.8%. It trades at 7.1 times forward earnings.

The dividend paying stocks from Israel that trade in the United States can be found in a free list at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, which is available for download, sorting, and updating.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time it was written.


By Stockerblog.com

Supermodel Gisele Stock Index Still Outperforms

Gisele Bunchen, the wife of football star Tom Brady, is the world's top earning supermodel, according to Forbes.

Gisele, who receives most of her income in euros and Brazilian reals, is a celebrity endorser and spokesperson for numerous products of many publicly traded companies. Back in 2007, I examined these companies and built them into the form of a stock index, in order to compare Gisele's stocks with the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The following graph shows the return for both from last year.



If you look at the returns from January 2011 to today, the Dow is up 11.2%, yet the Gisele Stock Index is up an incredible 25.7%. This return excludes Apple (AAPL), which used to be part of the index because Gisele Bundchen appeared on the 'Get a Mac' advertisements to promote the new line of Macintosh's a few years ago. If Apple was still in the index, her return would be even higher.

A selection of the stocks in her index include:

Volkswagon (VLKAY.PK) TV commercial spokesperson

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) Advertising campaign face for Ralph Lauren, owned by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

Vivo Participacoes (VIV) Celebrity endorsement - largest mobile phone service provider in Brazil and in South America

News Corp. (NWSA) Starred in the comedy, Taxi, in her movie debut, and The Devil Wears Prada, both produced by 20th Century Fox, a division of News Corp.

Procter & Gamble (PG) Celebrity endorsement, increased Pantene's sale in Brazil by 40%.

Disney (DIS) Celebrity endorsement - appeared in the 'Year of a Million Dreams' celebration photoshoot

For a free list of stocks in the Gisele Stock Index, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Other celebrity stock indexes you may be interested in include the Heidi Klum Stock Index, the Eva Longoria Stock Index, the Angelina Jolie Stock Index, the Jessica Alba Stock Index, the Nicole Kidman Stock Index, the Freida Pinto Stock Index, and the Supermodels Stock Indices.

Assumptions:
The Gisele Index is a price-weighted index, similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It includes reinvested dividends.

Disclosure: Author owned DIS, NWSA, and AAPL at the time the article was written. No celebrity endorsement expressed or implied.

By Stockerblog.com

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Unique Way of Getting Pre-IPO Facebook Shares

Interested in getting shares of the ever popular Facebook stock before the company goes public? Here is a unique way of getting some pre-IPO shares of Facebook: trade your house.

A couple has already done this, or at least tried. A couple in Los Gatos, California has offered to trade their 10,000 square foot house with six bedrooms for $29 million worth of Facebook shares. The house has five-an-a-half baths and Italian marble throughout the mansion. Plus, an eight car garage.

The buzz for Facebook appears to be greater than the Apple IPO or many of the dot com company IPOs. What sort of trades will we see next for this stock?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Fifth Week of March 2012

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, you have to be extremely careful, and may need to avoid the technique during those times.

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 downloadable and sortable 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 2%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the market capitalization, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) market cap: $3.9B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 3.94%

Edison International (EIX) market cap: $13.8B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 3.08%

Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR) market cap: $2.1B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 6.65%

Essex Property Trust Inc (ESS) market cap: $4.8B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 3.12%

Kilroy Realty Corp (KRC) market cap: $2.9B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 3.20%

Nucor Corporation (NUE) market cap: $14.0B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 3.33%

PG&E Corporation (PCG) market cap: $17.2B ex-div date: 3/28/2012 yield: 4.36%

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.

Monthly Dividend Stock List

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.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stocks with High Cash per Share

It is not enough for a company to have lots of assets. Cash is king and stocks with lots of cash generally means that the company is in solid financial shape. It also makes the companies more appealing as takeover candidates, since the acquiring company can use that cash to help close the deal.

So what companies are cash heavy? Superior Industries International (SUP) makes and markets aluminum road wheels. This debt free company, which closed on Friday at 19.44, has $7.10 in cash per share. The stock trades at eight times earnings. Revenues for the latest quarter were up 13.5%, with revenues shooting up 80.6%. The stock even generates a yield of 3.3%.

Insperity (NSP) is a provider of human resources and business solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. The stock has almost $11 in cash per share and trades at 29.62. The company is debt free and trades at 15 times forward earnings. Earnings rose 39% on a 13.7% increase in revenues. The yield on the stock is 2%.

Richardson Electronics (RELL) is a provider of engineered solutions, customized display solutions, and power grid and microwave tubes that has a huge amount of cash per share, $9.50 in cash and the stock trades at only 12.22. This debt free company trades at 26 times forward earnings.

If you like specialized stock lists like this, check out the free lists at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com, which can be downloaded, updated, and sorted.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Google Glasses

Have you heard about the latest rumored item from Google (GOOG)? The Google Glasses. These are Android-powered glasses that receive wifi, and will have a built-in camera with flash. Head tilts will control the glasses. They are expected to b released this year at somewhere between $250 and $600.

High IQ Investors Outperform Other Investors

Here is some news that might make members of the Mensa Society look good. According to a recent study by Mark Grinblatt of the University of California, Los Angeles, Matti Keloharju of Aalto University in Helsinki and Juhani Linnainmaa of the University of Chicago, which was published in a recent issue of the The Journal of Finance, investors with high IQ's outperform other investors. The 'smart' investors have more diversified portfolios, they invest more of their portfolio in stocks, more stocks with high book to price ratios, and a greater percent of their stocks are smaller companies. Education and income were taken into consideration.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Fourth Week of March 2012

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, you have to be extremely careful, and may need to avoid the technique during those times.

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 downloadable and sortable 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 2%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the market capitalization, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Telefonos de Mexico (TMXLF) ex-div date: 3/16/2012 yield: 5.46%

Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CINF) market cap: $5.8B ex-div date: 3/19/2012 yield: 4.50%

Xcel Energy Inc (XEL) market cap: $12.9B ex-div date: 3/20/2012 yield: 3.93%

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.

Monthly Dividend Stock List

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.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Understanding Unemployment: Who's On First?

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right, 9% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%. [Except according to John Williams, it's about 22%]

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: Wait a minute. Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work, you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are out of work!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To who?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are all out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment, do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

And now you know why the government's unemployment figures are improving!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Forgotten Monthly Dividend Stocks: Former Canadian Royalty Income Trusts

Canadian Royalty Income Trusts used to be a popular investment, due to the high income and the tax benefits. But then the tax laws changed and glow went off these investments, and the companies switched from trusts to master limited partnerships and regular corporations. However, even though the original tax benefits are no longer there, these investments still have some benefits. There are several of these Canadian companies that pay high monthly incomes, according to the list of monthly dividend stocks at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

One interesting example is Provident Energy Ltd. (PVX), which is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and has been in business since 1993. The company extracts, transports, and markets natural gas liquids throughout Canada and the United States. The stock has a yield of 4.5% and provides monthly dividend payouts. The monthly dividend was just increased by 2.3%.

Pengrowth Energy Corporation (PGH) is another Canadian company that just increased its dividend from $0.069 per month to $0.07 per month, generating a yield 8.7% for the stock. The company explores for and produces oil and natural gas in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

To see other high yield Canadian oil and gas monthly dividend payers, and over 200 other monthly dividend stocks, check out the list at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Piggyback Off the Stocks of the Richest Man in the World

Forbes Magazine has published its billionaire list again and Carlos Slim Helu, or more commonly referred to as Carlos Slim, is again at the top of the list for the third year in a row. Slim is the Mexican businessman who is worth $69 billion.

In second place is Bill Gates of Microsoft (MSFT) fame at $61 billion, and third is Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK-A) (BRK-B) Warren Buffett at $44 billion.

One investing technique that has become popular is to piggyback on the stocks that are owned by the rich and famous. Taking a look at the stocks held by Slim, both directly and indirectly, there are several different ones to choose from in different industries, according to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

For example, he is owner of shares of, and on the Board of Directors of, Philip Morris International (PM), which makes and markets Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, and Chesterfield cigarettes internationally. The company has over 15% of the international cigarette market outside the US. The stock trades at 14.3 times future earnings and yields 3.6%. Earnings for the latest quarter were up 7.6% on a 9% rise in revenues.

Slim also owns Saks Inc. (SAKS), a New York based company which operates luxury fashion retail stores. The stock has a forward price to earnings ratio of 20.2 carries a price to earnings growth ratio of 1.36. The company recently reported a substantial quarterly earnings increase of 48% on a 6.8% boost in sales.

The New York Times (NYT) is another one of Slim's holdings. The stock trades at 10.9 times forward earnings. Unfortunately, recent quarterly earnings were negative.

To see a list of all the Carlos Slim stocks, go to WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. The list can be downloaded, sorted, and updated.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.


By Stockerblog.com

Friday, March 09, 2012

Spotlight on a Startup


Many accredited investors are looking for alternatives to stocks, bonds, gold, real estate, and bank accounts. With excess funds available for speculation, investors are willing to take some risk with significant potential for the upside. The buzz around the upcoming Facebook IPO has caused investors with substantial amounts of capital to ask themselves 'where can I get in on the next ground floor opportunity'?

Investors who are willing and able to take a chance on these opportunities are taking closer looks at early-stage venture capital opportunities. What goes on in a startup? What are the opportunities and challenges with startups? In order to give readers an inside look at a startup, we decided to interview Lief Storer, CEO and founder of a San Francisco based company called BoomBotix Inc.


Let's start by having you describe your current product line. What is it that you are selling?

Boombotix makes portable speakers designed for life in motion. Our current product offering is the Boombot line which is a skull shaped speaker inspired from Japanese Urban vinyl toy design. We’ve fused together modern audio technologies with a fun aesthetic that we thought would really resonate with our target demographic.

How did you happen to come up with the idea for the product?


I was an engineer by day and artist by night. I painted skate decks, canvas, and sneakers typically going for an urban-surrealist style. My company flew me out to Taiwan to work on programming LED illuminators. I was at this place called the Dream Mall when I discovered all these blank Do-it-yourself toys and that’s when I started working on this toy as a new medium.

I blew out my knee skiing and I started to ride my bike to work to rehab. During my healing, I was painting a lot and I discovered this toy called the Skully that was basically a tennis ball sized skull with asymmetrical eyes. In looking for an alternative to my DJ headphones for riding, I thought I’d hack together my own hand-made speaker using an iHome audio portable speaker and a Motorola walkie-talkie belt clip. I made my first prototype as a weekend project and my life went on another adventure from there.

Who is your target consumer?


I think our product line will do great in mass market, BUT our core market is 12-28 years of age with an active lifestyle, a passion for music and technology. Smartphone users are getting younger and few companies are really addressing accessories that hit home with this market. We are not just addressing the way a product looks, but adapting our products to the lifestyle of this market. To really understand it, you have to really get in their shoes and understand what their day-to-day life consists of.

Any direct competitors?


It really depends on how you look at it. On one side of the spectrum, there are a number of brands that are offering mobile audio solutions whether it is headphones or speakers. Most notably, we would say Skullcandy and Jawbone are major competitors to us in the space. We’re trying to distinguish ourselves with software AND hardware solutions that have substantial barriers to entry supplemented by a close tie to our core community.

How do you go about marketing your product?


With very few resources, we have relied on social media and grassroots marketing. Major tradeshows like CES, Interbike, and Surf Expo have been good for us as well, but they are also tough on cash flow when there is no marketing budget. Our key to success has been to really pursue relationships where people are just happy to use our product and promote it knowing that we can’t offer them much more than that. The bike market has been great for finding customers that truly love the experience that Boombotix offers.

When did you first start your company and was it hard to get started?


I came up with the idea in 2009 and I spent about a year designing and sourcing a good vendor in China. It was REALLY hard to get started. It's really intimidating to raise cash when you’ve never done it before. I funded the company to get to the point of having our first production quality prototype. Once I had a piece that looked and sounded as amazing as I envisioned, raising investment got easier, but it is still hard as hell in today’s economic climate!

Tell us a little about your background, such as where you went to college, previous jobs, etc.


I went to UC Davis for Optical Engineering. It was a unique program that let you bounce around a lot of different departments. Out of college, I was the lead engineer in a new LED Lighting division at DiCon Fiberoptics. That job taught me so much about product design and marketing. It was essentially a startup division that had the backing of the parent company. A lot of the skillsets I learned there, I transferred right over to Boombotix and was able to spec and design my own product. I pride myself in my eye for design and I think my artistic side has really allowed me to share my vision with everyone around me much better. It’s really important as an entrepreneur because if nobody GETS your vision, there is no way you can expect them to help execute it.

How did you happen to locate it in San Francisco?


I was running the business out of my parent’s garage until March 2010. My CFO had me go into the office of another tech-toy startup where I met Mike North. He was a super cool guy with a lot of amazing projects under his belt and he offered me some studio space. As soon as I got in there, I brought more hands on deck and it made sales skyrocket. We quickly outgrew the spot and I found a sweet studio on 23rd and Mission that I thought would be the ultimate headquarters for a startup like ours.

What is your current staffing level like?


We have six people in the office every day and we’re always churning in interns to help us with social media and PR. We like to keep a small team of really talented individuals that understand the scrappy startup life and just love getting their hands dirty. After all, even the CEO takes out the garbage.

Can you give us an idea of what your growth has been in terms of products sold and revenues?

Just to give you a ROUGH idea, at our 18-month mark, we hit the half-million in trailing revenue milestone. In one year, we had 127% growth in sales and we are currently on pace to shatter last year. Our goal isn’t to spike it and burn out but rather sustain year after year of triple figure growth and continue fostering relationships that we have.

How did you get your original funding for the company?


By clawing and scratching at friends and family and taking out loans. I’m so thankful to have the support of everyone around me.

What do you consider your biggest challenges relating to running a start-up?


Being a boss. Before this job, I had absolutely no management experience and human capital is by far the biggest variable. I’ve always been strong with interpersonal relationships, but managing people was completely new. Every time that I’m not happy with someone’s performance, I try to always ask myself, “Is it their fault, or can I do something better as a manager to help make them better at it?”

Every day, your mood dictates your organization. If you’re down about something, your entire team will be too. Be stoked, be inspiring, and sell the future.

Can you let us in on any new products on the horizon?


I’m very excited for the waterproof watch we’re making for the iPod nano. I get tons of compliments on the prototype, but it’s got some work to get the bugs out. We’re also just starting to get into advancing our software to allow audio networks to be created on the fly and that is the technology that I think is going to set our sound systems apart from the rest.

Are you still looking for more funding?


We’re looking to raise $1.5 million to float us through 2013. Most of the funding will be used to finance inventory production and keeping our team fed. We’re fortunate enough to have a good amount of investors hovering around so now we get to be a little more selective about whom we bring on to our team. We really are looking for investors that have more to offer than just cash.

What is your long-term goal for the company?


First and foremost, we want to make key innovations in mobile audio technology. We think there are a lot of shortcomings of current hardware/software products and we would like to fill the voids and really define our niche in the space. Beyond that, we also want to create a lifestyle around our products and ultimately have a big impact on culture. We are not really thinking of exit strategies, but selling to a conglomerate or going public are viable ways to cash out for our investors.

Anything else you would like to add?


Yes. If you are trying to pronounce our name, its Boom-bah-tics. The name is derived from creating a field of science around the mobile audio.

If someone wanted to get in touch with you, is your contact information on your website?


Not my direct contact, but you can certainly reach out to investors@boombotix.com and it will likely find me. You can reach out directly to me on my LinkedIn.

Thank you for your time and enlightening us.


No investment recommendation nor any investment promotion is expressed or implied by either Stockerblog.com, the interviewer, BoomBotix Inc., or the interviewee.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Third Week of March 2012

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, you have to be extremely careful, and may need to avoid the technique during those times.

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 downloadable and sortable 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 2%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the market capitalization, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Ameren Corp (AEE) market cap: $7.7B ex-div date: 3/12/2012 yield: 4.9%

Public Storage (PSA) market cap: $23.2B ex-div date: 3/12/2012 yield: 3.2%

BCE Inc. (BCE) market cap: $31.2B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 5.4%

BRE Properties, Inc. (BRE) market cap: $3.7B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 3.1%

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR) market cap: $7.5B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 4.1%

EnCana Corporation (ECA) market cap: $14.6B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 4.0%

Extra Space Storage, Inc. (EXR) market cap: $2.5B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 3.0%

Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) market cap: $9.3B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 3.3%

Leggett & Platt, Inc. (LEG) market cap: $3.2B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 4.9%

Mercury General Corporation (MCY) market cap: $2.4B ex-div date: 3/13/2012 yield: 5.6%

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.

Monthly Dividend Stock List

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.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Saturday, March 03, 2012

How I Bought Apple Stock Before It Went Public

Back in 1980, when I was working for an investment firm, I was using an Apple II computer, made by a private company at the time called Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL), utilizing the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. I couldn't believe that calculations could be done so easily on a small machine and then printed out. Previously, the investment company I was working for was contracting out to a 'service bureau' which would process our calculations on a mainframe computer and would charge us based on the amount of time spent on the computer. The Apple II was a lifesaver, a time-saver, and a money-saver for the company. That spreadsheet program allowed me to develop tax and cash flow analysis programs.

I was so impressed that I wanted to invest in this little Apple company, but unfortunately, it wasn't publicly traded. Fortunately, I read in a Forbes Magazine article that a publicly traded venture capital company, which would now be referred to as a closed end fund or CEF, owned shares of Apple. The fund was the called the Nautilus Fund, based out of Boston, Massachusetts. I immediately decided to buy some Nautilus for myself and some relatives. Apple went public in December with an underwriting handled by Morgan Stanley (MS) and Hambrecht & Quist, and Apple shares were spun off to the Nautilus shareholders.

Apple went public at less than $15 per share, immediately started trading at $22 per share, and closed at $29 at the end of the day. It was the largest Initial Public Offering in history at the time since the Ford Motor IPO in the 1950's.

Sometimes, the only way to invest in a 'hot' company is through a private equity company, since the chances of getting shares on the IPO are almost impossible. The few publicly traded venture capital companies gives smaller investors an opportunity to participate in this potentially very lucrative investment arena.

This is now especially true of Facebook shares. Investors now have numerous options to invest in Facebook ahead of time, before the IPO. There are dozens of closed end funds and regular mutual funds that now own shares of Facebook, according to the free list at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.

Since the average investor has no chance of getting Facebook IPO shares, funds that own some Facebook stock are the only alternative. I wrote an extensive article called 27 Ways to Buy Facebook Stock Before It Goes Public, which appeared a couple weeks ago and explains all the various ways of getting Facebook ahead of time.

Disclosure: Author owns AAPL.

By Stockerblog.com

Stocks Going Ex Dividend the Second Week of March 2012

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, you have to be extremely careful, and may need to avoid the technique during those times.

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 downloadable and sortable 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 2%. Here are a few examples showing the stock symbol, the market capitalization, the ex-dividend date and the yield.

Avery Dennison Corporation (AVY) market cap: $3.3B ex div date: 3/5/2012 yield: 3.51%

BlackRock, Inc. (BLK) market cap: $35.4B ex div date: 3/5/2012 yield: 3.06%

Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) market cap: $12.7B ex div date: 3/5/2012 yield: 6.77%

American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC) market cap: $6.9B ex div date: 3/5/2012 yield: 16.31%

MDU Resources Group Inc (MDU) market cap: $4.2B ex div date: 3/6/2012 yield: 3.04%

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) market cap: $11.6B ex div date: 3/7/2012 yield: 3.09%

British American Tobacco PLC ADR (BTI) market cap: $98.6B ex div date: 3/7/2012 yield: 3.97%

CME Group Inc. (CME) market cap: $19.3B ex div date: 3/7/2012 yield: 3.05%

Cablevision Systems Corporation (CVC) market cap: $4.4B ex div date: 3/7/2012 yield: 3.84%

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.

Monthly Dividend Stock List

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.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.

By Stockerblog.com

Boomerang

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World is the latest book by Michael Lewis. You remember him, he's the guy who wrote The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine and The Blind Side. Lewis's latest book covers the financial disasters in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and of course that country in the United States called California. The chapter on Greece is especially timely.

If you want to know how and why these various countries got caught up in the financial crisis, this book has the answers. Lewis was able to obtain extensive interviews with very high-up government officials, along with opinions of the regular average citizens.

Lewis includes a little humor in this book. I especially found it funny about the Icelander who removed his luggage from the overhead container on a plane and knocked Lewis on the head without apologizing. One thing that Lewis does well is explain finances in a very easy-to-understand format.

If you want a great read for your next plane ride (just don't get knocked on the head by luggage), get Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World.

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