Friday, March 30, 2007

Eli Lilly Promoting Cialis in China

Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), which trades on the NYSE, manufactures and markets the impotence drug Cialis. They are now promoting their drug in a heavy marketing campaign in China, as an alternative to traditional herbs or divorce. The drug is now being called 'the weekender.'

Continental Airlines Kicks Girl Off Plane for Coughing

On a flight from Newark, N.J., Continental Airlines (CAL), which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, kicked a 16 year old student off a flight because she was coughing. Continental said that the pilot was acting in the best interests of the passengers.

A Tale of Two Traders

This was an actual conversation I heard between two traders. One is a short term trader, who we will call Trader A, and the other is a day trader, who we will call Trader B. They both have trading portfolios of around $100,000 each.

Trader B: So how did you do during the 500 point market drop a few weeks ago?
Trader A: I was only down $6,000.
B: Only!!!
A: Yes, I was fully invested and on margin, so I thought I would be down more.
B: $6,000! If I had lost that much in one day, I would have thrown in the towel, and probably never traded again. How can you deal with the stress of trading like that?
A: It wasn't so bad. I was able to make it all back within a few days. Why, how much did you lose?
B: I didn't lose anything. I was flat that day. [flat means being in all cash].
A: So how do you do your trading?
B: I never 'go home' with any open positions overnight. ['go home' means ending the trading day, even if you trade out of your home.] Sometimes I won't do any trades for a week. If I'm down more that $200, I close out my position.
A: Well, are you able to make much?
B: On average, I make about $500 to $1000 per day, and I'm happy with that.
A: So how do you do that?
B: When I think a stock is going to rise, I basically invest my entire account in that one stock.
A: You put all your money in one stock? How can you possibly deal with the stress of trading like that?

It's all a matter of perspective.

Planning your Wedding Portfolio

June is considered the most popular month of the year for weddings. Even if brides-to-be have started doing their wedding planning six months to a year prior to June, it’s not too late to plan your wedding portfolio. Let’s start with The Knot, Inc. (KNOT), traded on NASDAQ, which has a website that is the be-all and end-all of everything weddings. That includes calendaring services, shopping, planning checklists, and more. The price earnings ratio is 26 and the PEG is a favorable 1.55 [for those not familiar with the PEG, 1 is good, 5 is bad]. Their profit margin is over 32%. Get this: quarterly revenue growth is about 70% and quarterly earnings growth is over 885%! Are weddings back in style?

Now for the bling. For shopping online, there is Blue Nile Inc. (NILE). Also on NASDAQ, which sells wedding rings, diamonds, and jewelry online. They have a fairly high P/E of 53, and a moderate PEG of 2.5. Quarterly earnings growth is just 8.8%. That could be due to the competition from the bricks-and-mortar [regular storefronts, not Internet] competitors such as Tiffany & Co. (TIF), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Zale Corp. (ZLC), also on the NYSE. Tiffany pays a yield of 1%, has a PEG of 1.66 and a P/E of 25. Zale has a similar P/E but a PEG of 2.66. In addition, their earnings estimates are expected to be negative.

Then we just need some flowers to round out the portfolio. You can order them online at Inc. (FLWS). They have a fairly high P/E of 57 but an extremely favorable PEG of .98. Quarterly earnings growth is over 63%.

Congratulations. Now you are ready for your investment honeymoon.

Author does not have positions in any of the above.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

GlaxoSmithKline Fined for False Advertising of Soft Drink: Discovered by High School Students

According to an article by Reuters, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, was fined for mis-informing the public about the true content of vitamin C in its drink, Ribena, a non-carbonated soft drink made with black currant juice. The report stated that two New Zealand schoolgirls discovered the lack of vitamin C, and after they reported it, the NZ court fined the company over $160,000 for misleading advertising.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to Invest in Craigslist

Craigslist is the largest online classified ad company in the world, with over 5 billion page views per month. It was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark in San Francisco, as a local service to the community providing jobs, housing, and personal ads. It now has sections for 450 cities worldwide.
They have over 10 million new ads every month. It is considered one of the top ten web sites in the United States and one of the top job sites in the world.
Originally, there was no charge for the ads. now they charge for paid job ads, and in New York City, paid broker apartment listings. Newmark still refuses to run banner ads and has no interest in maximizing revenues.
In spite of the fact that Craigslist is private, there is a way to invest in the company. Many investors are not aware that in 2004, eBay Inc. (EBAY) which trades on NASDAQ, bought a 25% interest in Craigslist, ensuring a distribution of shares or share sales proceeds to eBay shareholders in the event Craigslist ever goes public.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Highest Yielding Natural Gas Utilities

Last week, I posted a list of the Highest Yielding Electric Utilities. If you are looking for high yield stocks, gas utilities are another way of rounding out your income portfolio. Yields are based on the annual dividend payments divided by the price per share. The following are listed in order of highest yield first.
The second one on this list, Laclede Group (LG) is one of the oldest publicly traded companies, founded in 1857. In addition, it is one of the original twelve stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Delta Natural Gas (DGAS) 4.9%
Laclede Group (LG) 4.7%
Keyspan Corp. (KSE) 4.6%
RGC Resources (RGCO) 4.3%
WGL Holdings (WGL) 4.2%
Atmos Energy (ATO) 4%
Atlanta Gas Light (ATG) 3.9%
Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) 3.8%
NICOR Inc.(GAS) 3.8%
Energy West (EWST) 3.8%
Cascade Natural Gas (CGC) 3.7%
Piedmont Natural Gas (PNY) 3.7%
TransCanada Corp. (TRP) 3.3%
Kinder Morgan (KMI) 3.3%
N J Resources (NJR)3.1%

Friday, March 23, 2007

$12,000 of Victoria's Secret Underware Stolen

$12,000 of Victoria's Secret underware was stolen from a New Jersey Victoria's Secret store. The gang of three shoplifters used special bags that would block the anti-theft detectors, and have still not been caught. Victoria' Secret is owned by Limited Brands Inc. (LTD), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Founder of Paypal Launched Rocket into Space

Elon Musk, co-founder of Paypal, launched his own private rocket into space from a small island in the South Pacific. Paypal is owned by eBay Inc. (EBAY) [the best business purchase they ever made in my opinion].

Author owns EBAY.

Alan Greenspan Auction Follow-up: Money More Important than Entertainment

Who says Americans care more about entertainment and sports than they do money and finance? Check this out.
Earlier this week, I posted an article about the Charitybuzz celebrity auction of breakfast with Alan Greenspan. At that time, the bid was only $16,000. Now it is up to $31,000. I compared a graph of Greenspan's bids to the bids of meals with three other celebrities, Richard Gere, Robin Williams, and Hank Aaron. All of these auctions run from March 20 to April 6 [so you still have time to bid]. As you can see from the chart, the bids for Greenspan have greatly exceeded the bids for the other three, as a matter of fact, his current bid is far more than the other three combined.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shift Happens: Really Amazing Facts

Did you know:

NEC (NIPNY) and Alcatel (ALU) are testing a single strand of fiber that can transmit 10 trillion bits per second.

25% of the highest IQ population in China is greater than the entire US population.

The United States is only 20th in broadband penetration.

1 of 8 married couples met online last year.

The young population will have 10 to 14 jobs by the time they are 38.

Over 3000 books are published daily.

If you haven't checked out the Shift Happens slide show yet, which is available at, you should really check it out. There is a lot more interesting trivia and facts. Thanks to for finding this.

Free Postage in Holland

An entrepreneur in Amsterdam has come up with a way for people to get free postage. In addition, they get free envelopes. The catch is that the envelopes will have advertising on the back. How come no one in the US is doing that?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Highest Yielding Electric Utility Stocks

If you are looking for income stocks, electric utilities can provide a relatively high yield, relative stability, and growth potential. With the price of oil down around $20 per barrel below its high last year and coal selling near its three year low, the cost of electrical generation has been reduced for many of these utilities. The following list shows the top ten utilities in terms of yield, along with the area it serves and the fuels which produces much of its electrical generation. Yield is calculated based in the annual dividend payment, divided by the closing price per share on March 21.

Great Plains Energy Inc. (GXP) Yield: 5.155%. Serves western Missouri and eastern Kansas. 73% coal.

Empire District Electric Co. (EDE) 5.151%. Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. 43% coal, 26% oil.

Duquesne Light Holdings Inc. (DQE) 5.0%, southwestern Pennsylvania.

Progress Energy Inc. (PGN) 4.78%, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. 30% coal, 35% oil.

UIL Holdings Corp. (UIL) 4.77%, southwestern part of the State of Connecticut.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (HE) 4.75%, Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. 61% oil.

DTE Energy Co. (DTE) 4.5%, southeastern Michigan. 72% coal.

TECO Energy Inc. (TE) 4.5%, West Central Florida and Guatemala. 49% coal.

Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (PNW) 4.4%, Arizona.

Southern Co. (SO) 4.3%, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. 67% oil, 11% oil.

Author owns PGN.

McDonald's challenging definition of 'McJob'

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, is unhappy with the definition that dictionaries have assigned to the word McJob. The Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it as "an unstimulating, low-paid job," is one of the dictionaries that McDonald's is targeting to get a definition change.

What is with these Hedge Fund Managers?

What is going on with hedge fund managers these days? Recently it was reported that a hedge fund manager was arrested for stalkinghis exmistress for over a year then posting personal details about her on an outside-the-norm website. There are a lot more worse aspects of this incident.

Then a few months ago, another hedge fund manager had reportedly married his own daughter. I have purposely left out further information on my posting about both of these weird incidents, and I suggest you check out the links to get more of the stranger details, if you so desire.

The F Word Used in an SEC Filing

James Altucher's Daily Blog Watch found this Dealbreaker blog regarding how Bob Chapman, the head of Chapman capital submitted a filing with the SEC which included the F word, quoting the CFO of Embarcadero Technologies Inc. (EMBT) Michael Shahbazian. If you want to read about this inappropriate behavior, you can read the filing with the SEC. There are actually four other occurrences in the last four years where this word has been used. The first three appear to be in reference to the titles of videos:
Pure Play Media
NuTech Digital Inc. (NTDL.OB)
Jill Kelly Productions Holding Inc (JKXJ.PK)
The other one is either a most unusual typo or the job of a hacker:
City National Bancshares Corp.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

220 Pounds (yes pounds, not ounces) of Gold were Stolen from a Japanese Museum

A 220 pound cube of gold worth over $2 million was stolen from a Japanese museum by three masked men. The cube was not guarded by sensors and was not covered with a case because the museum wanted to encourage visitors to touch it.

Free Real Estate - About as Low as You Can Go

The small town of Anderson, Alaska is giving away 1.3 acre lots for free. The only qualification is that you have to build a house on the lot within two years. The City Council was persuaded to do this by students who were working on a project to make the town grow.

13 Year Old's Nikes Win Smelliest Award

The Nike Inc. (traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NKE) sneakers of a 13 year old girl won the award for the smelliest sneakers in the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest. The sneakers were one and a half years old. Odor-Eaters is manufactured by Combe Incorporated, a privately held company.

A $16,000 Breakfast with You and Alan Greenspan

Would you like to have breakfast with Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Chairman, along with his wife, the famous television commentator Andrea Mitchell, at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.? This opportunity is being offered through, an organization which raises money for important causes through the auction of celebrity meetings. In this case, the charity being supported is the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, which is dedicated to advancing the human rights movement. The Greenspan auction closes April 6, the current high bid at the time this is being written is $16,000, and the next minimum bid is $18,500. The bidding started at $150 and has an estimateed value [which has already been greatly exceeded] of $10,000.

As If Airlines Don't Have Enough Problems: Dead Body Rides First Class

On a British Airways (traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BAB) flight from Delhi to London, a dead body was moved from coach to first class.

Real Estate Update: CondoFlip Web Site Retires

The famous website has retired. This was the site that allowed buyers and sellers of condos to list on look for real estate opportunities. However, after 2004, the site had lots of sellers and not many buyers, so they decided to finally pull the plug. They will be moving towards an online shopping gallery for condos called Condo Super Center.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Delinquency Rate for FHA Loans Reach New Record

Apparently its not just the sub-prime market that is having problems. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the delinquency rate for FHA loans reached a new record in the last quarter of 2006. They said that the delinquencies for all loans, including prime, subprime, FHA, and VA loans, increased on a quarterly and annual basis.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Celebrity Real Estate Increasing in Value

The sub-prime market may be suffering, but not the primo market. Ozzy Osbourne's house on Doheny Road in Beverly Hills, has has increased in value by almost a million dollars during the last 30 days to $14,652,700. According to, the Osbourne's home value went up by $951,086. In the last year, the house increased in value by 81%.

Other celeb abodes include Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's former BH home on Ridgedale Drive, which went up by $31,558 in the last 30 days. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's former Malibu beachfront home spiked $530,792 last month. Even the Buffy the Vampire Slayer house in Torrance, CA increased by $25,297.

This is in spite of the fact that the average California home has dropped in value by half a percent in the previous 30 days and average US home has dropped by a similar amount.

Gives a whole new meaning to the words Hot Stock

Some of the readers of my previous article on Sexy Stocks were wondering is there were any publicly traded stocks in the bordellobrothel business. These is actually one, located in Australia. On May 1, 2003, The Daily Planet(ASX:DPL), a world famousbordello in Australia went public at 50 Australian cents per share. The stock was structured so that it owned the property that the business operated out of. The stock more than doubled the first day of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange.
The company has expanded by acquiring a "gentlemen's club" and other real estate. On June 23, 2004, the company changed its name to Planet Platinum Ltd. (ASX:PPN). It is now trading at 11.5 Australian cents per share.

Three Tax Issues You Should be Aware of Before You File

Telephone Excise Tax Refund

This is a one-time payment available for your 2006 federal income tax return, and is designed to refund previously collected long distance telephone taxes. Individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible. You have a choice of a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, based on your total number of exemptions or you can use the actual amount paid over the last three years.

Two Extra Days to File and Pay

Taxpayers will have extra time to file and pay because April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2007, and the following day, Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. Holidays observed in the District of Columbia have an impact nationwide.

Unclaimed Refunds

The IRS has unclaimed refunds totaling approximately $2.2 billion for about 1.8 million people who failed to file a federal income tax return for 2003. In order to collect the money, a return for 2003 must be filed with an IRS office no later than Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Getting in to the Movies

The entertainment business has always been considered recession proof. During the hot summers, families would prefer to pay for movie tickets and sit in an air conditioned theater, instead of running the air conditioner at home. Teenagers will always be able to scrape together enough money for movie dates. Many thought that pay-per-view and video-on-demand would replace movie theaters, but it didn’t. Not even the Internet has replaced theaters. Smash hit movies have continued to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. This review is focusing on more of the pure plays in movie theaters and motion picture production. The large entertainment companies, such as Disney (DIS), have been left out [but will be covered in a future article] because they are involved in many other areas besides movie production. Many of these stocks may be box office flops, but hopefully you can find a blockbuster.

Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) The company, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, owns Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, and Edwards Theaters, which includes over 6400 screens throughout the United States. The yield of 5.8% is nice and the Return on Equity is an extremely high 2241%, but be careful. Quarterly earnings and quarterly revenues have been in a downtrend. Because of the company’s huge amount of debt, the stock has a negative book value. The dividend payout is twice the amount of earnings.

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) This company, of Shrek fame, is the largest independent developer of animated feature length films, of which they’ve produced over a dozen. The company was founded In 1994, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. Their blockbuster Shrek, won the first-ever Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film and Shrek 2 the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The P/E ratio is very high at 195, and so is the P/S at 7.5. Quarterly revenue growth was up over 18%.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) This Santa Monica, California based company, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, produces its own motion pictures and also purchases motion pictures from outside production companies. They are also involved in television programming. Although the P/E is a little high at 30, the return on equity is 26%, and the year over year quarterly earnings growth was 551%.

Carmike Cinemas Inc. (CKEC) This company operates almost 2500 screens throughout the U.S., with an penetration in the rural and smaller city markets. Pays a dividend yield of 3.1%, however, the earnings are negative. The P/S is a very favorable .58.

Genius Products, Inc. (GNPI.OB) Another Santa Monica based company, they produce, license, and distribute motion pictures and television programs on DVDs. P/E is a very low 4.95, P/S is 1.3. Quarterly revenue growth is 113%.

Image Entertainment Inc. (DISK) The company produces and purchases movies, television shows and other entertainment content for distribution on DVD. Negative earnings, reasonable P/S of .66, quarterly revenues have been dropping.

Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc. (PAE) This Canadian based company, which trades on the American Stock Exchange, purchases and acquires medium and low budget films which it distributes worldwide. Negative earnings, negative profit margin, negative operating margin.

Author owns DIS and DWA.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Taking a Swing at Golf Stocks

Spring is here; time to break out the golf clubs. Unless you live in the southeast, southwest, or west, then you probably play golf 365. There are a few ways to play the golfing industry, the manufacdturers and the retailers. Here are a few to line up to see if you can find a hole-in-one.

Adams Golf (ADGO.OB) P/S ratio is .6, quarterly revenue growth is 47%.

Callaway Golf (ELY) Dividend yield 1.8%, PEG a very reasonable 1.4.

Fortune Brands (FO) They manufacture a lot of different items with a portion of sales from golf. Yield 2%, PEG 1.4.

Golfsmith International (GOLF) P/S is a very low .4, Quarterly earnings growth 178%.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) They retail all types of sporting equipment including golf products. P/S .97, PEG .94 [lowest I've seen in a long time]. Quarterly earnings growth 86%

Author owns ADGO.OB, ELY, and GOLF.

Chiquita Brands Connected to Terrorists?

In case you missed the details earlier this week [I missed it; all I noticed at first was the $25 million settlement], Chiquita Brands International Inc. (CQB), according to the article in MarketWatch, apparently paid a Colombian terrorist organization, United Self-Defense Forces, $1.7 million to protect their property, according to the U.S. Government.

Want to Live Longer? Move to Hawaii, Minnesota, or Utah

A recent life expectancy study has shown that the state you live in can affect how long you live. If you want to live longer, you need to move to Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, or Connecticut. The two places to avoid are Mississippi and the District of Columbia.

First Apple Phone, now Google Phone?

Everyone has heard about the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone. Now there are rumors about Google (GOOG) coming out with a Google phone, which is supposed to be similar to a BlackBerry [BlackBerrys are made by Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM)]. This rumor supposed has something to do with Google's purchase of Android Inc. Is it possible that Google could become a hardware company?

Author owns GOOG and AAPL.

Foreclosure related Domain Sells for $25,000

According to a recent DNJournal report, sold for $25,000. Other business related domains that sold in the last couple weeks were at $48,888, at $37,913, at $19,900, and at $10,001.

Tully's Coffee Probably Going Public

If you live in the Northwest, you are most likely familiar with the Seattle-based Tully's Coffee, which has over 125 stores. They recently announced that they are planning to raise $50 million in an IPO.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Country Club Perk Stocks

A few weeks ago, I published an article about the stock performance of stocks with country club executive perks. I decided to check SEC filings again for just the last two days to see if any more stocks turned up which reported paying country club dues payments as executive perquisites. Just in the last two days, I found a lot of them, many of which are banks. Here they are:

PSB Holdings Inc. (PSBH) [they call them social clubs]
Bank of Commerce Holdings (BOCH)
Home Bancshares, Inc. (HOMB) [also provide gas for personal cars]
Tupperware Brands Corporation (TUP) [also pay for financial & tax planning]
Mercantile Bank Corp. (MBWM)
FreightCar America Inc. (RAIL)
Renasant Corp. (RNST)
Citizens Financial Services Inc. (CZFS.OB)

I have come to the conclusion that country club dues perks are not a red flag; it is extremely commonplace. And as I have mentioned in a previous post, I don't see anything wrong with some of these unusual executive perks as long as both the company and the stock perform extremely well [I'm not necessarily referring to the above]. Whatever it takes to retain and attract top executives.

Author does not own any of the above.

Richard Branson Investing in Cord Blood, Should You?

Richard Branson, of Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways fame, is now getting into the cord blood business, by setting up Virgin Health, a cord blood bank. So what is a cord blood bank, you ask? Well first, they aren't involved in the sub-prime market.

Cord blood is blood that comes from umbilical cords, and contains an extensive amount of hematopoietic stem cells. The blood is kept in depositories called blood banks. Cord blood stem cells are considered far superior to stem cells from bone marrow. Many parents have their newborn's cord blood preserved in the event it may be needed at some point in the future for treatment of their child's or the child's sibling's cancer or genetic disease. Over 75 diseases have been treated with cord blood. For a lot more detail on cord blood and how it is collected, stored, and used, go to

There are a couple ways to invest in the cord blood industry, the cord blood banks and the companies that use cord blood to develop cures. Here are several stocks that participate in the cord blood business. Please note, most of these companies have low market caps and are extremely speculative.

Cord Blood America Inc. (CBAI.OB) One of the cord blood bankers, this Los Angeles company is involved in the collection, testing, processing, and preservation of the blood from umbilical cords for use in future stem cell therapy. They own the Cord Partners umbilical cord blood banking company. Negative earnings, P/S is 1.7. Quarterly revenue growth year over year is 177%. Negative book value.

ThermoGenesis (KOOL) This California company designs, makes, and sells automated blood processing systems for the manufacture, preservation, and delivery of cell therapies. They are involved in a joint venture with GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (GE) to distribute the AXP(TM) AutoXpress Platform, a closed and automated system for harvesting mononuclear cells from cord blood. P/S 13.6. Quarterly revenue growth year over year is 18.8%.

Cryo-Cell International (CCEL.OB) This is a Florida based cord blood stem cell bank, specializing in the family market. P/S is 1.7. Quarterly revenue growth year over year is 15.2%.

ViaCell (VIAC) This Cambridge, Massachusetts company sells ViaCord, a product which is used to preserve baby's umbilical cord blood. They also research and other therapeutic uses of umbilical cord blood-derived and adult-derived stem cells. Negative earnings, P/S is 3.9. Quarterly revenue growth year over year is 25.9%.

Celgene (CELG) This New Jersey company is involved in the discovery, production, and marketing of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. They own LifeBank USA, a cord blood bank. P/E is 316, P/S is 21. Quarterly revenue growth year over year is 84.1%. Quarterly earnings growth year over year is 483%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Real Estate Industry: Turning around the Big Ship

In my opinion, the real estate market has a long way to go before bottoming out. Why? Because owning real estate is not like owning stocks. There is no liquidity. In addition, the real estate bubble took several years of froth before it peaked. I remember back in 2002, there was a lot of house flipping going on. People were buying two or three houses in new developments and reselling them before the houses were even built. I kept thinking this can't last much longer, but it did.

Then in 2003, I heard from friends about listing houses for sale and getting multiple offers of $10,000 to $20,000 above asking. I kept thinking this can't last much longer, but it did.

In 2004, people were telling me about getting five to ten offers of $50,000 to $100,000 over asking price. I read articles in the newspaper about a couple that bought a two bedroom, one bath fixer in Silicon Valley for $1.2 million. I kept thinking this can't last much longer, but it did.

Finally in 2005, I got cold called about a rental property that I owned, asking if I wanted to sell. I asked how much they thought I should list it for and they said it was worth $440,000. I said that I wanted to list it for $639,000 and they thought I was crazy. I then received a call from my former secretary who said she just got her real estate license. I told her I would give her the listing if she would list it at the price I wanted, and of course she jumped at the chance. That summer, I got two offers over the asking price. If that wasn't the top of the market, then I didn't know what was and nor did I care. As it turned out, it was the top.

Now I see examples such as a house in my neighborhood that was put on the market last year for $1.1 million, later reduced to $939,000, later reduced to $829,000, the listing expired and picked up by another broker who listed it for $799,999, yet it is listed on as being worth only $685,000. I'm sure you've seen and heard other stories in your area.

The froth in real estate lasted for several years before the turn, now I think we have to see blood in the street for several years before this is over. Readers of my previous article about shorting the sub-prime lenders,
and the followup article about the 26% return in four days, created an interest from readers about other possible shorts, or put purchases. The short party for sub-prime may be almost over but there are other areas of real estate where this drop could reverberate, such as residential construction. Here are three worth investigating as possible shorts.

Ryland Group Inc. (RYL) is a California based homebuilder and mortgage lender. Quarter revenues dropped by over 11% year over year, and their quarterly earnings sank by 40.4%. The stock is currently at 43.10, way above book value of 35.46. They owe almost a billion dollars in total debt.

Meritage Homes Corp. (MTH) is a single family homebuilder based in Arizona which concentrates primarily in the southwest, with developments in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas,Colorado, and Florida. [My personal opinion is that Nevada will get hurt the worst in terms of the real estate markets.] Meritagehad a 21% reduction in quarterly revenues and over a 90% drop in revenues. Operating cash flow is a negative $21.9 million.

Brookfield Homes Corp. (BHS) is a luxury and move-up homebuilder that operates in California and the Virginia area. Quarterly revenues dropped 29.8%, quarterly earnings dropped 49.8% and the stock sells for 2.3 times book value.

These stocks can be tracked at

Author does not own any of the above.

McAfee Releases Risky Web Site Countries List

The large software develop of virus protection and firewall software, McAfee, Inc. (MFE), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, came out with their list of counties with the riskiest web sites for scams and spam and spyware. They also came out with a free program which rates sites with red, yellow, and green colors. Countries rated the worst were Tokelau [.tk], Romania [.ro] and Russia [.ru]. The safest domain they found was .gov [for the US Government and its agencies].

Will Pi Day Affect the Stock Market?

Wednesday, March 14, is Pi day [3.14]. Pi is a number that is used to calculate the circumference of a number. It is a very long number which has been calculated to more than a trillion decimal places. There are a lot of fans of pi, and they are celebrating in San Francisco on pi day. Pie will of course be served.

This is as much as I remember of pi:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Smelly Web: Scents on the Internet

According to a forecast from the South Korean government, web surfers will be able to get smells on the Internet, in addition to audio and video. They also predicted that in five years, cell phones will last for two months without charging and eventually nano-robots will swim in blood.

Why Capella would be a Good Takeover Candidate

In a recent article about education stocks, I mentioned that Capella (CPLA) would make a good takeover candidate. Some of my readers were wondering why. First, let's look at the financials. Revenues have risen significantly over the last five years, a total of 263% during this time frame. EBITDA was up 22% in 2006 over the previous year, and net income was up 30.8%. Now let's look at one of the major metrics of higher education stocks, student growth, up 173% over the last five years. Major players have taken large positions in the stock, including Wells Fargo Bank with 14.4% and Maverton Equity Partners. Finally, the kicker is a big intangible, and that is its accreditation. Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), one of the big six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, that accredits both public and private schools, elementary through college. [More information can be found about accrediting agencies at]

Accreditation is a very big asset that is not recognized on their balance sheet. Anyone can go out and set up an unaccredited university. But most students will look for an institution that is accredited. If you set up a university, it can take several years before the accreditation comes through. Therefore, any company that wants to get in the higher ed business would be far better off buying a fast growing company such as Capella in order to hit the ground running. The acquirer would end up buying existing students and market penetration, in addition to the accreditation.

Author does not own the above.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

SEC Cracks Down on ScamSpam Stock Promoters

The SEC has suspended trading in 35 pink sheet stocks and is going after stock promoters that use emailspam to promote their stocks.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Atmospheric Price Sales Ratios

Short sellers are always looking for stocks that have a large market capitalization, no earnings, and either no or very low sales. The price/sales ratio measures the price of the stock based on its revenues. It is calculated on a per share basis by dividing the share price by the sales per share. A P/S below 1 is excellent. Depending on the type of company, a P/S of 1 to 2 is reasonable. A P/S of over 5 is usually unfavorable and means that the stock is very overpriced based in its sales.

Here are five stocks which have market caps of over $500 million, negative earnings, and very low revenues [and therefore extremely high P/S ratios]. Four out of five are biotech companies, so even with bad financials, they can still spike up from successful clinical trials and new drug approvals. Caution for potential short sellers: Just because a stock is over-priced, doesn't mean the stock can't become more overpriced.

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. (HTI) P/S 907
MannKind Corp. (MNKD) P/S 11,429
Medis Technologies Ltd. (MDTL) P/S 943
Miramar Mining Corp. (MNG) P/S 2734
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX) P/E 4772

You can track these stocks at

Author does not own or short any of the above.

The Third Largest US Stock Exchange is ... BATS?

In case you haven't heard, the third largest stock exchange by volume, after the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE] (NYX) and the NASDAQ (NDAQ), is a company called Bats, which stands for Better Alternative Trading System. This Kansas City based electronic exchange trades 300 million shares a day.

Author owns NYX.

$6,000,000 Profit in 6 years on Florida Swampland

Who says you can't still make money in real estate? A couple investors bought 18 underwater lots in 2001 for $445,000, then just resold the property back to the state of Florida for $7.2 million.

Starbucks Coffee versus Starstrucks Coffee

Shahnaz Husain, an Indian businesswoman, is planning on opening a chain of coffee shops called Starstrucks, much to the dismay of Starbucks (SBUX), which has filed a grievance with India's Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademark.

Westaff may be the Next Private Equity Takeover

Westaff Inc. (WSTF), a NASDAQ traded company based in Walnut Creek, California, is in the business of temporary staffing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The company was founded in 1948, and targets clerical, administrative and light industrial staffing into both temporary and permanent positions. The P/E is a little rich at 23 but the price/sales is .15, which is extremely low. There doesn't appear to be any analysts covering the stock. The stock has been stuck around the 4.50 to 5.50 range for the last three month; however, for the last three month and six month time frames, the stock has outperformed its competitors, Adecco (ADO), Kelly Services (KELYA), both traded on NASDAQ, and Manpower (MAN), traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times, a private equity firm [H.I.G. Capital] and an industry executive [Michael Willis] have purchased almost half the outstanding shares of the company. There isn't much comment from any of the parties involved about what is going to happen next, but it appears that a complete takeover is a strong possibility.

Author does not own the above.

Education is a Good Investment, How about Education Stocks

OK, students, listen up! Benjamin Franklin said "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Most people agree that education is a great investment. But is there a way to invest in the education field? Fortunately, there are several stocks available to study up on. Private equity already has with the takeover of Laureate Education Inc. (LAUR) by its founder and CEO along with an investment consortium. You can follow up on the performance of these stocks at to see if they make the grade.

By far, the largest in terms of market cap is the Arizona based Apollo Group Inc. (APOL), which trades on NASDAQ. This higher education company owns The University of Phoenix, Inc., Institute for Professional Development (IPD), The College for Financial Planning Institutes Corporation (College), and Western International University, Inc. (WIU). The company has 100 campuses and over 150 learning centers throughout the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Mexico. Here are some of its good grades and bad grades in a nutshell.


1. Reasonable P/E 19.4
2. Return on assets 33%
3. Return on equity 62%
4. No long term debt
5. A reasonable PEG of 1.25, lower than the industry average of 1.56
6. Operating margin is 27.4% , higher than competitors
7. Owned by Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group

1. P/S is fairly high at 3.2
2. Quarterly earnings growth was a drop of 11.6%

Career Education Corporation (CECO), another NASDAQ stock, offers higher education in the U. S., Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. They also own American InterContinental University Online, Colorado Technical University Online, Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America, the Harrington College of Design, the Brooks Institute of Photography, the Katharine Gibbs Schools, and Sanford-Brown Institutes and Colleges. P/E 63, P/S 1.8.

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (COCO), which also trades on NASDAQ, operates 45 diploma-granting schools, 14 degree-granting colleges, 33 colleges in Canada, and two online schools, FMU Online and Everest Online. P/E 44, P/S 1.2.

DeVry Inc. (DV), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, is one of only two stocks on this list that pays a dividend, albeit a small one. They own DeVry University, Ross University, Deaconess College of Nursing, and Becker Professional Review. P/S 30, P/S 2.2.

ITT Educational Services Inc. (ESI) also trades on the New York Stock Exchange, operates 88 ITT Technical Institutes throughout the United States. P/E 29, P/S 4.3.

Capella Education Company (CPLA) owns and operated Capella University. Quarterly revenue growth 20%, quarterly earnings growth is 90% year over year. Sells at about 90% of book value. This appears to be a possible takeover candidate. P/E 31, P/S 2.9.

Strayer Education, Inc. (STRA) operates Strayer University which has 47 campuses in the eastern United States. This is the other stock on the list that pays a dividend, about 1.1%. P/E 32, P/S 6.4.

Author does not own any of the above.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lots of Dividend INCREASES in the Last Couple Days

In spite of the big drop in the stock market during the last few days, a lot of companies must be doing very well in order to increase their dividends. Just in the last three days, the following stocks reported dividend increases:
EastGroup Properties (EGP)
National Health Investors (NHI)
Equity Inns (ENN)
Devon Energy (DVN)
Redwood Trust (RWT)
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT)
Brown Shoe Company (BWS)
General Dynamics (GD)
Piedmont Natural Gas (PNY)
CapitalSource Inc. (CSE)
W. R. Berkley Corporation (BER)
Comm Bancorp, Inc. (CCBP)
Community Bankshares (SCB)
Lexington Realty Trust (LXP)

Author does not own any of the above.

Why Stock could be Up Substantially by Year End

If you have been a long time reader of my articles, you will know that I don't make specific stock recommendations, but I do come up with stock ideas worth further investigation. In addition, you may notice that when I cover various sectors or industries, I often disclose that I own a particular stock in that group. The reason this occurs is that I have enough stocks in my trading account to make Jim Cramer speechless; I had 69 different stocks by last count [the reason I have so many is a topic for another article]. Therefore, I am always looking to write about either stocks that I don't own or industries and sectors that I don't own stocks in, so that it doesn't look like I'm tooting my own horn, or my own stock, as it were.
Therefore I was quite happy to discover a stock that looks very favorable, that I don't own, and that is Inc. (AMZN). Here are some positive bullet points about Amazon:
1. Quarterly revenue growth year over year was 33.9%
2. Return on equity is 56.13%
3. Stock has a reasonable price sales ratio of 1.5.
4. The stock, which closed at 38.10, is within a couple points of its three month low.
5. The company just began their video download-to-TV service in conjunction with TiVo Inc. (TIVO) [Disclosure: I do own some TIVO which I have had for several years. I just can't seem to get away from my stock holdings].
SIDENOTE: Is there a merger in the works between Amazon and TiVo? I checked the headlines for Amazon for the last two days and out of the 20 headlines, TiVo was listed 8 times in the headline, and Amazon was listed once in the headline.
6. Amazon's Unbox software is Vista compatible.
7. Analysts' opinions are 11 sells versus 6 buys, the worst ratio it's had in the last three months. Out of favor so maybe a contrarian buy now?
8. Gross annual profit up 20.4% over the prior year.
9. Interest expense has been dropping significantly over the last three years, down 15% in '06 from '05.
10. Cash and current assets are increasing.
11. Long term debt is decreasing.
12. International sales have increased 28% in '06 versus '05.

Gold [real gold] Business Cards

A Japanese firm, Mitsubishi Materials (MIMTF.PK) is selling gold business cards made out of one gram of real gold. The cards sell for about $87 each.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sub Prime Stock Shorting Follow-up: 26% Return in Four Days

A week ago, on March 1 at 8am Pacific time, I posted an article, "Looking for a Sub Prime Lender to Short?" with a list of stocks in the sub prime mortgage business that would be worth investigating as shorts [these were not recommendations as I never make recommendations to buy or short stocks, I just come up with certain stocks worth looking into]. The stocks mentioned were Coast Financial Holdings Inc. (CFHI), New Century Financial Corp. (NEW), and Fieldstone Investment Corp. (FICC). If you had shorted those three stocks during the subsequent four trading days, the returns would have been substantial, even including the bounce on Tuesday. Here are the returns for each, assuming you had shorted them at the closing price on that day and closed out the position at the closing price today.
Coast Financial Holdings Inc. 7.43 7.14 down 4%
New Century Financial Corp. 15.85 5.16 down 67%
Fieldstone Investment Corp. 4.64 4.27 down 8%
Average of the three: 26%
A couple things to keep in mind. First, these stocks might not have been available to short. If your brokerage firm didn't have those stocks available to lend, then you wouldn't have been able to short them. The other option would have been to buy a put option [no pun intended].

Author does not own and is not short any of the above.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Stocks That Pay Dividends Monthly (March 2007 Update: over 200 stocks)

Time for the quarterly update of the list of stocks, including exchange-listed closed end funds [CEF's], that pay their dividends monthly. Many income investors are looking for monthly dividend payments to support their income during retirement. Other pre-retirement investors want monthly dividend stocks for their IRA's for faster compounding.

This list is now up to over 200 different stocks, CEF's, REIT's, floating rate funds, oil income funds and Canadian royalty trusts, all of which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE] or American Stock Exchange [AMEX]. I've added over fifty new securities since the last update. The list is sorted by yield with the highest first, and Canadian companies are identified due to their tax withholding issues.

For a list of all the monthly dividend stocks in an Excel format which you can download, sort, add to, delete from, and change, go to

Harvest Energy Trust (HTE) 17.7% [Canada]
Canetic Resources (CNE) 16.7% [Canada]
Pengrowth Energy Trust (PGH) 15.6% [Canada]
Advantage Energy Income Fund (AAV) 15.1% [Canada]
PrimeWest Energy Trust (PWI) 13.6% [Canada]
Boulder Growth & Income Fund (BIF) 12.2%
Provident Energy Trust (PVX) 11.8% [Canada]
Penn West Energy Trust (PWE) 11.8% [Canada]
Enterra Energy Trust (ENT) 11.7% [Canada]
Baytex Energy (BTE) 10.8% [Canada]
RMK High Income Fund Inc. (RMH) 10.7%
RMK Advantage Income Fund (RMA) 10.7%
RMK Strategic Income Fund (RSF) 10.6%
RMK Multi-Sector High Income Fund (RHY) 10.6%
Enerplus Resources Fund (ERF) 10.0% [Canada]
Eaton Vance CRD Opportunities (EOE) 9.6%
Nuveen Equity Premium Advantage Fund (JLA) 9.5%
Nuveen Equity Premium Opport. Fund (JSN) 9.5%
Pioneer High Income Trust (PHT) 9.4%
PIMCO High Income Fund (PHK) 9.2%
BlackRock Diversified Income Strategies (DVF) 9.1%
New America High Income Fund Inc. (HYB) 9.1%
Nuveen Equity Premium Income Fund (JPZ) 8.9%
Calamos Convertible Opport. & Income (CHI) 8.9%
Van Kampen Senior Income Trust (VVR) 8.8%
Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Income (EFT) 8.7%
High Yield Income Fund Inc. (HYI) 8.7%
Precision Drilling (PDS) 8.7% [Canada]
ING GL Equity Dividend (IGD) 8.7%
Lehman Brothers First Trust Income Opp. (LBC) 8.7%
Nuveen Floating Rate Income Opportunity Fund (JRO) 8.7%
Eaton Vance Senior Floating Rate Trust (EFR) 8.6%
PIMCO Floating Rate Income Fund (PFL) 8.6%
Scudder High Income Trust (KHI) 8.6%
BlackRock Senior High Income Fund (ARK) 8.5%
Nuveen Floating Rate Income Fund (JFR) 8.5%
Alpine Global Dynami (AGD) 8.4%
Eaton Vance Enhanced Equity Income Fund II (EOS) 8.4%
Nuveen Equity Premium Growth Fund (JPG) 8.4%
Calamos Convertible & High Income (CHY) 8.4%
Nuveen Global Government Income (JGG) 8.3%
Van Kampen High Income Trust II (VLT) 8.3%
Western Asset Zenix Income Fund Inc. (ZIF) 8.2%
First Trust/Four Corners Senior Fltg Rate Inc. (FCM) 8.1%
Nuveen Preferred Convertible Income Fund 2 (JQC) 8.1%
BlackRock Enhanced Dividend Achievers Trust (BDJ) 8.0%
Eaton Vance Senior Income Trust (EVF) 8.0%
Evergreen International Balanced Income (EBI) 8.0%
Nuveen Preferred & Convertible Income Fund (JPC) 8.0%
Nuveen Senior Income Fund (NSL) 8.0%
PIMCO Corporate Income Fund (PCN) 8.0%
United Dominion 8.5 (UDM) 8.0%
BlackRock Global Floating Rate Income (BGT) 7.9%
BlackRock Floating Rate Inc. Strat. Fund II (FRB) 7.9%
Nuveen Diversified Dividend & Income Fund (JDD) 7.9%
Pimco Global Stocksplus Income Fund (PGP) 7.9%
Strategic Global Income Fund Inc. (SGL) 7.9%
Western Asset High Income Fund II Inc. (HIX) 7.9%
BlackRock Limited Duration Income (BLW) 7.8%
Blackrock World Investment Trust (BWC) 7.8%
Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (CRT) 7.8%
Eaton Vance Enhanced Equity Income Fund (EOI) 7.8%
Western Asset High Income Opportunity Fund (HIO) 7.7%
BlackRock Floating Rate Inc. Strat. Fund (FRA) 7.7%
American Strategic Income Portfolio III (CSP) 7.7%
Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund 2 (JPS) 7.6%
BlackRock Enhanced Government Fund, Inc. (EGF) 7.5%
Franklin Templeton Ltd. Duration Income Trust (FTF) 7.5%
Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund 3 (JHP) 7.5%
Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund (JTP) 7.5%
Western Asset Global Partners Income Fund Inc. (GDF) 7.5%
Advent Claymore Convertible Secur. & Income (AVK) 7.4%
Nuveen Real Estate Income Fund (JRS) 7.4%
BlackRock Preferred and Corporate Inc. Strat. (PSW) 7.4%
Western Asset Global High Income Fund Inc. (EHI) 7.3%
ACM Income Fund Inc. (ACG) 7.3%
40/86 Strategic Income Fund (CFD) 7.2%
Scudder Multi-Market Income Trust (KMM) 7.1%
Western Asset High Income Fund II Inc. (HIX) 7.1%
Gabelli Gold, Natural Resources & Income (GGN) 7.0%
ING Clarion Real Estate Income Fund (IIA) 7.0%
Scudder Strategic Income Trust (KST) 7.0%
ACM Managed Dollar Income Fund (ADF) 7.0%
ACM Government Opportunity Fund Inc. (AOF) 6.9%
Alliance World Dollar Government Fund II (AWF) 6.9%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Premium Income (PIA) 6.9%
Permian Basin Royalty Trust (PBT) 6.8%
RMR Real Estate Fund (RMR) 6.8%
Morgan Stanley Quality Municipal Income Trust (IQI) 6.7%
BlackRock Preferred Income Strategies (PSY) 6.7%
Aberdeen Asia-Pacific Income Fund Inc. (FAX) 6.6%
Western Asset Worldwide Income Fund Inc. (SBW) 6.6%
AIM Select Real Estate Income Fund (RRE) 6.5%
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (SJT) 6.5%
Colonial Intermarket Income Trust 1 (CMK) 6.4%
Flaherty & Crumrine Preferred Income Opp. (PFO) 6.4%
Neuberger Berman Real Estate Securities Inc. (NRO) 6.4%
Van Kampen Income Trust (VIN) 6.4%
Putnam High Income Securities Fund (PCF) 6.4%
RMR Hospitality and Real Estate Fund (RHR) 6.3%
BlackRock Income Opportunity Trust, Inc. (BNA) 6.2%
Scudder RREEF Real Estate Fund II, Inc. (SRO) 6.2%
American Income Fund Inc. (MRF) 6.2%
AEW Real Estate Income Fund (RIF) 6.1%
AmREIT (AMY) 6.1%
BlackRock Income Trust, Inc. (BKT) 6.1%
Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust (GDV) 6.0%
ING Clarion Global Real Estate Income Fund (IGR) 6.0%
Scudder RREEF Real Estate Fund Inc. (SRQ) 6.0%
Aberdeen Global Income Fund (FCO) 6.0%
MFS Multimarket Income Trust (MMT) 5.9%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust (BFK) 5.8%
Gabelli Global Utility & Income Trust (GLU) 5.8%
Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGT) 5.8%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Income (IIM) 5.8%
Western Asset Income Fund (PAI) 5.8%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (BLE) 5.7%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities (OIA) 5.7%
Real Estate Income Fund Inc. (RIT) 5.7%
Putnam Master Intermediate Income Trust (PIM) 5.6%
Putnam Premier Income Trust (PPT) 5.6%
Colonial Municipal Income Trust (CMU) 5.5%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipals Inc. (LEO) 5.5%
MFS Charter Income Trust (MCR) 5.5%
MFS Municipal Income Trust (MFM) 5.5%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Inc. Opp. Trust II (OIB) 5.5%
Nuveen Municipal High Income Opportunity Fund (NMZ) 5.5%
Realty Income Corp. (O) 5.5%
Templeton Global Income Fund (GIM) 5.5%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (BFZ) 5.4%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Income Trust (BBF) 5.4%
Colonial High Income Municipal Trust (CXE) 5.4%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Inc. Opp. Trust III (OIC) 5.4%
Pioneer Municipal High Inc. Advantage Trust (MAV) 5.4%
Scudder Strategic Municipal Income Trust (KSM) 5.4%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund (PMF) 5.4%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund (PCQ) 5.4%
Reaves Utility Income Fund (UTG) 5.4%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (BNY) 5.3%
MFS Government Markets Income Trust (MGF) 5.3%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund II (PCK) 5.3%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund III (PZC) 5.3%
Putnam Managed Municipal Income Trust (PMM) 5.3%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund III (PMX) 5.3%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (BNJ) 5.2%
MFS Intermediate Income Trust (MIN) 5.2%
Pioneer Muncipal High Income Trust (MHI) 5.2%
Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) 5.2%
Alliance National Municipal Income (AFB) 5.2%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust II (BCL) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley California Insured Muni Inc. (IIC) 5.1%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund II (PML) 5.1%
Western Asset Municipal (MHF) 5.1%
BlackRock Florida Insured Municipal Income (BAF) 5.0%
Eaton Vance Municipal Income Trust (EVN) 5.0%
Inland Real Estate Corp. (IRC) 5.0%
Nuveen Insured Calif. Premium Income Muni Fund Inc. (NPC) 5.0%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 4 Inc. (NPT) 5.0%
Nuveen Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NQU) 5.0%
Van Kampen Advantage Municipal Inc. Trust II (VKI) 5.0%
Van Kampen California Value Municipal Income (VCV) 5.0%
ACM Municipal Securities Income Fund (AMU) 5.0%
BlackRock Insured Municipal Income Trust (BYM) 4.9%
ACM Managed Income Fund Inc (AMF) 4.9%
Alliance California Municipal Income (AKP) 4.9%
Alliance New York Municipal Income (AYN) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Florida Premium Income Muni Fund (NFL) 4.9%
Nuveen Premier Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NIF) 4.9%
Nuveen Texas Quality Income Municipal Fund (NTX) 4.9%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NPI) 4.9%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust II (BFY) 4.8%
Eaton Vance Pennsylvania Municipal Income (EVP) 4.8%
Nuveen Insured NY Premium Income Muni Fund Inc. (NNF) 4.8%
Nuveen Insured Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 (NPX) 4.8%
Nuveen Michigan Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMP) 4.8%
Nuveen Michigan Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NUM) 4.8%
PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund (PNF) 4.8%
BlackRock California Insured Municipal Income (BCK) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Insured Municipal Income (BSE) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Florida Municipal Income Trust (FEV) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Michigan Municipal Income Trust (EMI) 4.7%
Eaton Vance New York Municipal Income Trust (EVY) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Ohio Municipal Income Trust (EVO) 4.7%
Neuberger Berman Real Estate Income Fund (NRL) 4.7%
Nuveen Florida Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUF) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured Calif. Premium Income Muni Fund 2 (NCL) 4.7%
Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NPF) 4.7%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 Inc. (NPM) 4.7%
Van Kampen Massachusetts Value Muni Inc. (VMV) 4.7%
Nuveen Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NMI) 4.6%
Nuveen New Jersey Premium Income Muni Fund Inc. (NNJ) 4.6%
Nuveen New York Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUN) 4.6%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Premium Income Muni Fund 2 (NPY) 4.6%
Eaton Vance California Municipal Income Trust (CEV) 4.5%
Eaton Vance New Jersey Municipal Inc. Trust (EVJ) 4.5%
Nuveen Maryland Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMY) 4.5%
Nuveen Massachusetts Premium Income Muni Fund (NMT) 4.5%
Nuveen Ohio Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NUO) 4.5%
Nuveen Virginia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPV) 4.5%
Morgan Stanley Government Income Trust (GVT) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPG) 4.4%
Scudder Municipal Income Trust (KTF) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Massachusetts Municipal Income (MMV) 4.3%
Nuveen North Carolina Premium Income Muni Fund (NNC) 4.2%
Mesa Royalty Trust (MTR) 2.2%

Author owns PWE and PWI.

Movie Theaters' Movies on Demand

Three companies are working on a motion picture delivery system that will allow theaters to change the movies they are showing instantaneously, using satellite downloads with broadband delivery, instead of using hard drives. The three companies are Universal Pictures [a subsidiary of NBC Universal which 9is owned by General Electric (GE) and Vivendi SA], Warner Bros. Entertainment [a subsidiary of Time Warner (TWX)] and Digital Cinema Implementation Partners.

Trains that Float through the Air: How to play that market sector

Yes, high speed trains that are levitated and extremely fast supercomputers are possible through something called high temperature superconductors, also known as HTSC. The big advantage of HTSCs is that electric current flows through them with no loss because they don't have any electrical resistance. Much promise has been shown in the area of ceramic superconductors. The disadvantages are that they are brittle, expensive, and hard to make.

However, a company called American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC), which trades on NASDAQ, has found a way to make bendable ceramic high temperature superconducting wires. Although the company's work is extremely promising, the stocks financials are not so favorable. Negative earnings, price/sales ratio of 10.5, selling at five times book value, and quarterly revenues are down 30% over the same period last year.

Stock Market Percentage Drops around the World

If you compare the various stock market indexes around the world, looking at the drop from the high for the last 52 weeks, you will find that the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is off 10.4% form its 52 week high, with the Japan Kikkei 225 stock index in "second place", down 7.9%, and the NASDAQ third on the list, down 7.3% from its high. Surprisingly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped the least of all the major worldwide stock market indexes, down only 5.8% from its high.

Here is the worldwide stock market index list, showing the drop from the high for the last 52 weeks:

Hang Seng Index Hong Kong -10.4%
Nikkei 225 Index Japan -7.9%
DAX Frankfurt -7.0%
CAC 40 Paris -6.6%
FTSE 100 London -6.0%
Dow US -5.8%

Hello! What's the deal with the Apple Hello phone?

Have you seen the commercial on TV starting out with Lucille Ball answering the phone saying "hello"? It then shows a series of famous actors saying "hello" from many historical movies and television shows.

At the end, it shows the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone, however I didn't see the name iPhone anywhere on the ad. Does this mean that the iPhone may be called the Hello Phone?

Let's look at the domain name. This domain name has been subject to some dispute in 2002 between Hola S.A., a Madrid based company and Hello Limited, a London based company [both publishers of Hello Magazine in Europe], and Idealab, a Pasadena, California based technology incubator. Idealab created Picasa, which was acquired by Google (GOOG) and Google now shows up as the owner of the domain. If you go to, you are brought to Google's Picasa Hello picturing sharing site which allows users to share pictures with friends without doing any uploading or making any attachments.

So the question remains, is there a connection between Apple, Google, and Hello, or is this just a bad connection?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Full bodied stocks, rich with a hint of spice, abundant with complexity bearing nuances of acidity

Are you looking for full bodied stocks, rich with a hint of spice, abundant with complexity, bearing nuances of acidity? Then maybe you have a taste for winery and vineyard stocks. Unfortunately, most of them look like they may have turned to vinegar.

Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) The largest seller of wines in the world, their wines include Estancia, Ravenswood, Simi, Almaden, Banrock Station, Hardys, Inglenook, Vendange, Arbor Mist, Robert Mondavi Winery, Franciscan Oakville Estate, Blackstone, Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Ruffino, Alice White, Nobilo, Hardys, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, and Stowells. They also produce and sell beer and liquor. Price sales ratio is a favorable .92 and the P/E ratio is 14.6. However, on Friday, March 2, the company announced that their 2008 profit would fall well below expectations, due to a glut of Australian wine and extensive competition in Britain. Both Moody’s and Fitch have lowered their ratings on the company.

Scheid Vineyards Inc. (SVIN.PK) This Salinas, California based company, which trades on NASDAQ, is involved in the production and sale of wine grapes and bulk wine, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. The stock has a price sales ratio of about .9 and a P/E of 7.6. Quarterly revenue growth year over year almost doubled, up 93%. This thinly traded stock trades well below its $40 book value per share.

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. (W V V I) This Oregon based company, founded in 1983, owns and manages vineyards and a winery. Their labels include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Oregon Blossom. Price sales is 2.3 and P/E is about 26. Quarterly revenue growth year over year was down 8.6% and quarterly earnings growth was down over 28%.

360 Global Wine Company (TSIX.OB) This Sonoma, California based company, founded in 2002, is a producer and seller of wines. Their wine brands include Viansa, and their Viansa winery receives over 1,000 visitors per day. Although their price sales ratio is a reasonable 1.1, their loss per share is significant: net loss per share was over $25 for the six month period ending June 30, 2006, versus about $13 per share loss for the same period during the previous year.

Author does not own any of the above.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stocks with the Biggest Drops in the During the Aftershock

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 120 points today, the aftershock from the big drop on Tuesday of 416 points. So, here are the stocks which suffered the most:
Advocat Inc. (AVCA) -28.24%
Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. (GIFI) -25.32%
Credence Systems Corp. (CMOS) -25.00%
Boston Communications Group Inc. (BCGI) -22.84%
AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (AHS) -15.06%
DexCom, Inc. (DXCM) -14.61%
Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NOVN) -13.18%
PIMCO Commercial Mortgage Securities Trust Inc. (PCM) -12.27%
Vicon Industries Inc. (VII) -12.18%
Netlist Inc. (NLST) -11.60%

Buying opportunity or the beginning of the end.

Author does not own any of the above.

Swiss Invade Liechtenstein! Liechtenstein Stock Down!

Yes, it's true. The Swiss army accidentally invaded one of the smallest countries in the world, Liechtenstein, which has no army. The only Liechtenstein stock I could find was Liechtenstein Landesbank, which was down 1.44%.

Oh Rats! Not Another Restaurant Scandal!

If you've turned on your TV today or checked out some of the news sites online, you may have already heard about this, but if you haven't, there were several rats running around a New York City KFC/Taco Bell restaurant that were caught on video. KFC and Taco Bell are owned by Yum Brands (YUM), and the stock is down about a half a percent near the close. Yum has closed the restaurant and promised to investigate.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

LunarEclipse Stock Market Indicator

This evening, I was sitting in front of my computer reviewing my last two articles, one about the one-day crashes and the other about the astrologerpredicting the stock market, when a moderate size earthquake occurred. Right after that, I noticed the news about the total lunareclipse coming up this Saturday evening. Then I wondered, is there anything to this placement ofplanets and the stock market (and maybe earthquakes). So I checked the one day crashes against the previouseclipses, and found that aneclipse occurred within 90 days prior to a one day stock market crash. Since there is aneclipse coming up this weekend, what does it mean? Did the one day stock market crash come early, or will there be another one within 90 days? Here is the list of theeclipse dates, the stock market crash dates, the percent drop, and the number of days between theeclipse and the stock market crash.
[Eclipse] [Crash] [% Drop] [# days prior to stock market crash]
10/7/87 10/19/87 -22.6% 12 days
9/16/97 10/27/97 -7.18% 41 days
8/8/98 8/31/98 -6.37% 23 days
1/21/00 4/14/00 -5.65% 84 days
7/16/00 10/12/00 -3.64% 88 days
1/9/01 3/12/01 -4.1% 62 days
7/5/01 9/17/01 -7.13% 74 days
7/5/01 9/20/01 -4.37% 77 days
6/24/02 7/19/02 -4.6% 25 days
3/3/07 ?????

FamousAstrologer Predicts Huge Stock Market Crash

Theastrologer, Arch Crawford, who is reported to have told his clients about the 1987 stock market crash in advance, has said that because Saturn was in opposition toNeptune at the close of the New York Stock Exchange (NYX) on Wednesday, in addition to several other reasons, the stock market will have another big crash. He claims to have many hedge fund managers as clients who subscribe to his newsletter for $5000 per year.

Was the Crash on Tuesday All That Bad? No.

If you read the general press and even the financial press, you would get the impression that the one day drop of over 416 points was terrible. However, if you compare it the the other big one day drops in modern Wall Street history, you will discover that the drop was not all that bad.

In terms of number of points, the drop was only the seventh worst. But if you look at percentage drops, the performance was even milder. Tuesday the 27th ended up in 10th place, which means that there were nine other days in the last 20 years that were far worse.

Here is the list of one-day-drop days, sorted by percentage drops with the worst one first. Point drop shown after the date, then percentage drop.
10/19/87 -507.99 -22.6%
10/27/97 -554.26 -7.18%
9/17/01 -684.81 -7.13%
8/31/98 -512.61 -6.37%
4/14/00 -617.78 -5.65%
7/19/02 -390.23 -4.6%
9/20/01 -382.92 -4.37%
3/12/01 -436.37 -4.1%
10/12/00 -379.21 -3.64%
2/27/07 -416.02 -3.3%

Looking for a Sub Prime Lender to Short?

Altucher's Daily Blog Watch discovered this interesting website, The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter, which tracks the number of US lenders that have gone out of business, the top 25 sub-prime lenders, mortgage banking news, and the most important, the Ailing Lenders List. Here is a list of the publicly traded companies that are connected to the some of the lenders on their list:
Coast Financial Holdings Inc. (CFHI)
New Century Financial Corp. (NEW)
Fieldstone Investment Corp. (FICC)

Author does not own and is not short any of the above.