Thursday, May 31, 2007

Peru Stocks: There’s More to Peru than Machu Picchu

In the last few weeks, I’ve posted articles about the BAC stocks, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. South America has another country that has a few publicly traded stocks that have benefited from the high prices of metals and minerals. Peru does has a few disadvantages from an economic standpoint, such as having over 51% of its population considered poor, and almost 20% considered extremely poor.

But the country does have some positives, making a review of Peruvian stocks worth considering:

1. Strong exporter of copper, cotton, guano, sugar and oil.
2. Elimination of price controls.
3. Elimination of restrictions on foreign direct investments.
4. Continuation of privatization of state owned companies.
5. GDP grew 7.7% in 2006.
6. They signed the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement with the United States.
7. They have free trade agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Paraguay, and Thailand.
8. They are working on free trade agreements with Chile, India, Mexico, and Singapore.
9. Fourth largest South American country by population.
10. It is rated number 50 in terms of GDP purchasing power parity, ahead of Ireland, Finland, and Israel.

The Lima, Peru based company, Compania de Minas Buenaventura SA (BVN) is the largest publicly traded Peruvian mining company; they are in the business of mining and processing of gold, silver, zinc, and copper. They have a P/E of 12 and a forward P/E of 9.4, with a yield of 2.2%. They have paid dividends twice a year since 1997. The company has recently unwound a substantial portion of its hedging transactions.

Peru Copper Inc. (CUP), although based in Vancouver, Canada, owns Minera Peru Copper S.A., which has its operations in Peru. The company is in the business of acquisition and exploration of copper mining properties in Peru. The stock, which has a market cap of $574 million, has negative earnings. Return on equity and operating cash flow are also negative. A possible takeover offer on this stock recently fell through.

Northern Peru Copper (NPUCF.PK), is involved in the development of copper, gold and molybdenum properties in the northwest portion of Peru. Their corporate offices are also based in Canada, with their operations in Peru. Earnings have been negative for the last couple years. The stock has a market cap of approximately $272 million.

Southern Copper Corp. (PCU) mines for copper, molybdenum, zinc, and silver in the Andes Mountains of Peru, although their corporate offices are located in Phoenix, Arizona. The stock has a P/E of 12 and pays a high dividend of 6.9%, and payments have been made every quarter for over ten years.

Cememtos Lima SA SPO (CEMTY.PK) is a major cement producer in Peru. Unfortunately there is little financial information available on the company. The same is true of Telefonica Movi Peru (TMVCF.PK), the large Peruvian telecommunications company and Gold Hawk Resources (CGHRF.PK), a gold and silver mining company.

Mark Turner wrote an excellent article a few months ago about the Peruvian stocks, and their advantage due to their lack of publicity.

Author does not own any of the above.

eBay versus Postal Increase Follow-up: Six Ways to Save on Postage

In a previous article a couple weeks ago about how the new postage rates, which just went into effect, can affect the revenues of eBay (EBAY), I talked about how some eBayers were holding off on doing listings until they got a handle on the new postage rates, the aspects of packaging on rates, and the new costs and levels for postal insurance.

I just mailed a package today with $100 in insurance, but discovered that the package won't be signed for. In the past, anything over $50 sent insured always had to be signed for; the postal carrier would never leave it in the mailbox or on the doorstep. Now you don't get the 'free' sign-for service unless the package is worth over $200 [you can always pay extra for signature confirmation].

So for those eBayers who sell items in the $50 to $200 range that are used to sending their items insured in order to have the package signed for, plan on major changes. This includes those who sell coins, stamps, autographs, Pez dispensers, beanie babies, or any other collectible at an average price of, say, $150, here is what you would have to get from your customer in order to cover all your first-class postage and insurance costs, with the signature confirmation: $1.81 for the postage, $2.45 for insurance, and $2.10 for signature confirmation, for a total of $6.36.

So how can anyone, not just eBayers but any small business or individual that does a lot of mailing [but not by bulk rate, as that is a whole other ball game], cope with the higher postage rates? Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your postage down.

1. Two Ounces - First of all, if you are used to sending out two ounce envelopes, don't worry. You should actually be celebrating because the cost to send a two ounce envelope has actually dropped. Here's how it works. You used to pay 39 cents for the first ounce and 24 cents for each additional ounce for a total of 63 cents. Now you would only pay 41 cents for the first ounce and just 17 cents for each additional ounce for a total of only 58 cents, a savings of about 8%. This assumes, of course [although maybe I shouldn't say 'of course'], that you don't use a square envelope, an envelope containing a rigid object or an odd shaped envelope.

What is even more incredible is that the more ounces you send, the greater the savings. For three ounces, the savings over the old rates would be 13.8%. So if you do a lot of mailouts and you've held off on going over an ounce in order to save money, now is the time to go over. However, three and a half ounces is it; the post office figures that you can't fit four ounces in a regular size envelope, so then you would have to pay larger envelope rates.

2. Forever Stamps - Buy Forever stamps and put them away, for yourself, for your children and grandchildren. If you haven't heard of the Forever Stamps, they cost 41 cents, same as any other first class postage stamps being sold now, yet they will be good for the first ounce of first class postage forever! So if the Post Office doesn't go back on their guarantee, you can keep using them for the rest of your life, even if postage goes up to $5.00 per ounce. Since 1970, postage has gone from 6 cents per ounce to 41 cents, an average annual increase of 5.33%. So you can almost think of these as being similar to a U.S. savings bond, 'guaranteed' by the USPS never to go down in value.

3. Know the Rules - Stay away from the weird size envelopes, envelopes with clasps [yes, apparently there is a surcharge for that], and all the other weird rules and restrictions. Remember, you can send a two ounce envelope for 63 cents, as long as the envelope is standard and the thickness doesn't exceed 1/4 inch. If it does, you pay a surcharge.

4. Business Reply Envelopes - You would think that this would go without saying, but take advantage of business reply envelopes. Here's what I personally discovered. I've had a mortgage at a small bank and I've been sending in the reply envelope that comes with the bill, and on which I need to affix my own postage on. I happen to be in the bank recently and asked about envelopes, and they handed me a big stack of business reply envelopes. Obviously this won't save me a lot of money in dollars and sense, but if I can get Business reply envelopes from other banks and companies that I make payments to, it will start to add up.

5. Bulk Mail - If you are a small business that is doing a large amount of mailing, check into getting a bulk mail permit.

6. Buying Stamps at a Discount [the Big Secret] - Yes, it is possible to buy unused postage stamps at a discount from face value. Many stamp shops and many sellers on eBay sell older stamps that have never been used, sometimes way below what the retail price of the stamps are. Don't believe it? Go to eBay, type in 'Postage' or 'Postage below face' or 'Stamps below face' in the Search box, and look at what comes up. I just checked and found $225 worth of unused stamps offered at a current bid of $88 and dozens of other offers.

Why is this happening? A lot of times, stamp dealers will buy stamps from estates of stamp collectors and pay a major discount to the face value of the stamps, sometimes 50% of face value. They can then afford to resell them still at a 10%, 20% or 30% discount to those who want to use the postage. Sometimes small businesses have stocked up on rolls of stamps, and when rates go up, its easier for them to just sell the rolls at a discount and buy new rolls, instead of using the stamps with additional two cent stamps to add up to the current rate.

When looking at eBay listings, the two key terms you should be aware of are 'Below Face' and MNH, which stands for Mint Never-Hinged or Mint No Hinge. This means that the stamp has never been used, never cancelled and in mint condition. The hinge part refers to little hinges that collectors use to attach stamps to pages of albums. You lick them just like a stamp, so you obviously don't want any that have been hinged.

There is one other type of stamp that you may see offered, and those are the 'no gum' stamps. If the seller got these off of envelopes and packages he received in the mail that weren't cancelled, they are illegal to sell. If they are from flood damaged stamps or soaked off SASE stamps from envelopes that were never used, they are legal, however, it is a real hassle to try to glue these on envelopes whenever you want to send a letter.

Author owns EBAY.

$2.3 million for a Two Inch Chair: I Told You the Auction Market is Crazy

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the outrageous prices that art and collectibles were selling for at auctions. At a Sotheby's (BID) auction, a two inch high Faberge chair sold for $2.3 million. Sotheby's trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

How about a 21% Return per Year Over 6 Years

Can you guess what investment this is? It's a New York Taxi Medallion (license), which recently traded at $600,000 each, up from $190,000 in 2001, an average annual increase of 21%.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pfizer = 'The Constant Gardener' ? reported that there is a striking similarity between a clinical trial of Pfizer (PFE) and the movie 'The Constant Gardener', a movie about a pharmaceutical company's exploitation of Kenyans. The Pfizer stock trades on the NYSE.

Wendy's Worker Protects Chili, Gets Shot

The manager of a Miami Wendy's International Inc. (WEN) restaurant, told an irate customer that he couldn't have any more of the Chili sauce packets, of which he had already been given ten. So the customer shot the manager several times. Wendy's trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Vomit Triggers Wal-Mart Lawsuit

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) has received notice of a lawsuit against them from a woman who claims she was badly hurt from slipping on vomit on the floor of one of their Iowa stores. Wal-Mart trades on the NYSE.

Misinterpreted FAX causes Bank of America Evacuation

A fax that was sent to a branch of Bank of America (BAC) in Massachusetts, which was supposed to be an interoffice memo for a promotion, had a bombwith a fuse. The promotional information didn't come through on the fax, so it was misinterpreted as a threat, and the bank and surrounding businesses were evacuated. Bank of America is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Google Captures Yahoo

This is sort of a follow-up to the Street View story. Google (GOOG) captured the Yahoo (YHOO) sign in Times Square in New York. You can see a lot of other interesting street level locations such as Apple (AAPL) stores.

Burned Hewlett Packard Keyboard: Wall Street Picture of the Week

A Hewlett Packard (HPQ) keyboard which melted, has keys that look like candy. You can see a lot of the pictures at

Google Street View

Have you checked out the new Street View that Google (GOOG) has come out with for their maps? It shows images of buildings and streets. You just click on the Street View button and move the little man to the street that you want to see. It's available for such cities as San Francisco, San Jose, and New York City.

If you are wondering how they get these images, they use such things as a Tele Atlas vehicle, which is a converted Toyota (TM) van with special cameras and global positioning equipment. The Tele Atlas is used for Tom Tom gps devices.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

369 Monthly Dividend Stocks

This is a list of all the stocks that pay dividends on a monthly basis. For purposes of this analysis, CEFs, REITs, and Oil Income trusts are considered ‘stocks’. The last time I produced this list about three months ago, I came up with slightly over 200 different stocks. I have been receiving many requests to update the list, which I’ve done, and I now have found 369 stocks, which I’ve listed in order of yield from highest to lowest. Because it has taken me a couple weeks to update this list, some of the yields may have varied slightly from the time I entered it.

I have identified the companies based in Canada, due to the tax withholding issues, especially if the shares are owned by a retirement plan. Any of the following that have the words ‘municipal’ or ‘tax free’ in the name most likely pays a tax-free dividend. Please be aware that the dividends from a large number of these on the list may not qualify as ‘qualified dividends.’ Check with your tax advisor and the company itself before investing.

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

As always, if you are aware of any that I have missed, please let me know by posting in Comments.

Pengrowth Energy Trust (PGH) 14.2% [Canada]
Harvest Energy Trust (HTE) 13.7% [Canada]
Canetic Resources (CNE) 13.0% [Canada]
Boulder Growth & Income Fund (BIF) 13.0%
PrimeWest Energy Trust (PWI) 12.8% [Canada]
Advantage Energy Income Fund (AAV) 12.4% [Canada]
Enterra Energy Trust (ENT) 11.9% [Canada]
RMK Strategic Income Fund (RSF) 11.2%
Provident Energy Trust (PVX) 11.1% [Canada]
RMK Advantage Income Fund (RMA) 11.1%
RMK High Income Fund Inc. (RMH) 11.1%
RMK Multi-Sector High Income Fund (RHY) 10.9%
Penn West Energy Trust (PWE) 10.3% [Canada]
Enerplus Resources Fund (ERF) 9.8% [Canada]
Nuveen Equity Premium Advantage Fund (JLA) 9.6%
Nuveen Equity Premium Opport. Fund (JSN) 9.5%
Eaton Vance CRD Opportunities (EOE) 9.3%
Baytex Energy (BTE) 9.2% [Canada]
Pioneer High Income Trust (PHT) 9.2%
Nuveen Equity Premium Income Fund (JPZ) 9.1%
PIMCO High Income Fund (PHK) 9.0%
Calamos Convertible Opport. & Income (CHI) 9.0%
BlackRock Diversified Income Strategies (DVF) 8.9%
New America High Income Fund Inc. (HYB) 8.9%
ING GL Equity Dividend (IGD) 8.9%
High Yield Income Fund Inc. (HYI) 8.8%
Eaton Vance Senior Floating Rate Trust (EFR) 8.6%
PIMCO Floating Rate Income Fund (PFL) 8.6%
Scudder High Income Trust (KHI) 8.6%
Lehman Brothers First Trust Income Opp. (LBC) 8.5%
Nuveen Floating Rate Income Opportunity Fund (JRO) 8.5%
BlackRock Senior High Income Fund (ARK) 8.5%
Nuveen Floating Rate Income Fund (JFR) 8.5%
Alpine Global Dynami (AGD) 8.4%
Calamos Convertible & High Income (CHY) 8.4%
Eaton Vance Enhanced Equity Income Fund II (EOS) 8.4%
Nuveen Equity Premium Growth Fund (JPG) 8.4%
Nuveen Global Government Income (JGG) 8.3%
Van Kampen High Income Trust II (VLT) 8.3%
Van Kampen Senior Income Trust (VVR) 8.2%
Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Income (EFT) 8.2%
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 Floating Rate Inc. Strat. Fund II (FRB) 7.9%
BlackRock Global Floating Rate Income (BGT) 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%
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%
American Strategic Income Portfolio III (CSP) 7.7%
BlackRock Floating Rate Inc. Strat. Fund (FRA) 7.7%
Western Asset High Income Opportunity Fund (HIO) 7.7%
Precision Drilling (PDS) 7.6% [Canada]
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 (JTP) 7.5%
Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund 3 (JHP) 7.5%
Western Asset Global Partners Income Fund Inc. (GDF) 7.5%
Advent Claymore Convertible Secur. & Income (AVK) 7.4%
BlackRock Preferred and Corporate Inc. Strat. (PSW) 7.4%
Nuveen Real Estate Income Fund (JRS) 7.4%
ACM Income Fund Inc. (ACG) 7.3%
Western Asset Global High Income Fund Inc. (EHI) 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%
ACM Managed Dollar Income Fund (ADF) 7.0%
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 Government Opportunity Fund Inc. (AOF) 6.9%
Alliance World Dollar Government Fund II (AWF) 6.9%
Permian Basin Royalty Trust (PBT) 6.8%
RMR Real Estate Fund (RMR) 6.8%
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%
Putnam High Income Securities Fund (PCF) 6.4%
Van Kampen Income Trust (VIN) 6.4%
RMR Hospitality and Real Estate Fund (RHR) 6.3%
American Income Fund Inc. (MRF) 6.2%
BlackRock Income Opportunity Trust, Inc. (BNA) 6.2%
Scudder RREEF Real Estate Fund II, Inc. (SRO) 6.2%
AEW Real Estate Income Fund (RIF) 6.1%
AmREIT (AMY) 6.1%
BlackRock Income Trust, Inc. (BKT) 6.1%
Aberdeen Global Income Fund (FCO) 6.0%
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%
MFS Multimarket Income Trust (MMT) 5.9%
Gabelli Global Utility & Income Trust (GLU) 5.8%
Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGT) 5.8%
Western Asset Income Fund (PAI) 5.8%
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%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Bond Trust (BIE) 5.5%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust (BFK) 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%
Realty Income Corp. (O) 5.5%
Templeton Global Income Fund (GIM) 5.5%
American Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (XAA) 5.4%
BlackRock Florida Municipal Income Trust (BBF) 5.4%
BlackRock Investment Quality Municipal Trust, Inc. (BKN) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BPK) 5.4%
BlackRock Municipal Bond Trust (BBK) 5.4%
Colonial High Income Municipal Trust (CXE) 5.4%
Colonial Municipal Income Trust (CMU) 5.4%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipal Bond Fund Inc. (DSM) 5.4%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Inc. Opp. Trust III (OIC) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAD) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NXZ) 5.4%
Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NZF) 5.4%
Nuveen Municipal Advantage Fund Inc. (NMA) 5.4%
Nuveen Municipal High Income Opportunity Fund (NMZ) 5.4%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund (PMF) 5.4%
Reaves Utility Income Fund (UTG) 5.4%
Scudder Strategic Municipal Income Trust (KSM) 5.4%
Blackrock Apex Municipal Fund Inc. (APX) 5.3%
BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (BLE) 5.3%
BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (BSD) 5.3%
Dreyfus Strategic Municipals Inc. (LEO) 5.3%
MFS Government Markets Income Trust (MGF) 5.3%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities Trust III (OIC) 5.3%
Pioneer Municipal High Income Advantage Trust (MAV) 5.3%
Alliance National Municipal Income (AFB) 5.2%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (BFZ) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Bond Trust (BQH) 5.2%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (BNY) 5.2%
DWS Strategic Municipal Income Trust (KSM) 5.2%
MFS Intermediate Income Trust (MIN) 5.2%
Nuveen Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQM) 5.2%
Nuveen Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQS) 5.2%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund (PCQ) 5.2%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund III (PMX) 5.2%
Pioneer Muncipal High Income Trust (MHI) 5.2%
Putnam High Yield Municipal Trust (PYM) 5.2%
Putnam Managed Municipal Income Trust (PMM) 5.2%
Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) 5.2%
BlackRock California Municipal Bond Trust (BZA) 5.1%
BlackRock Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BKK) 5.1%
Colonial Investment Grade Municipal Trust (CXH) 5.1%
Dreyfus Municipal Income Inc. (DMF) 5.1%
DWS Municipal Income Trust (KTF) 5.1%
Federated Premier Municipal Income Fund (FMN) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley California Insured Muni Inc. (IIC) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Income Opportunities Trust II (OIB) 5.1%
Morgan Stanley Quality Municipal Income Trust (IQI) 5.1%
Nuveen Insured Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NVG) 5.1%
Nuveen Municipal Market Opportunity Fund Inc. (NMO) 5.1%
Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund Inc. (NPP) 5.1%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund III (PZC) 5.1%
Van Kampen Trust for Investment Grade Municipals (VGM) 5.1%
Western Asset Municipal Partners Fund Inc. (MNP) 5.1%
ACM Municipal Securities Income Fund (AMU) 5.0%
BlackRock Florida Insured Municipal Income (BAF) 5.0%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Bond Trust (BLJ) 5.0%
BlackRock New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (BNJ) 5.0%
Delaware Investments Florida Insured Municipal Income Fund (VFL) 5.0%
Inland Real Estate Corp. (IRC) 5.0%
Morgan Stanley Municipal Premium Income Trust (PIA) 5.0%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAC) 5.0%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NVX) 5.0%
Nuveen California Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NZH) 5.0%
Nuveen Insured Calif. Premium Income Muni Fund Inc. (NPC) 5.0%
Nuveen Insured Municipal Opportunity Fund Inc. (NIO) 5.0%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 4 Inc. (NPT) 5.0%
Nuveen Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NQU) 5.0%
PIMCO California Municipal Income Fund II (PCK) 5.0%
PIMCO Municipal Income Fund II (PML) 5.0%
PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund II (PNI) 5.0%
Van Kampen Advantage Municipal Income Trust II (VKI) 5.0%
Van Kampen California Value Municipal Income (VCV) 5.0%
Van Kampen Pennsylvania Value Municipal Income Trust (VPV) 5.0%
Van Kampen Select Sector Municipal Trust (VKL) 5.0%
Van Kampen Trust for Investment Grade Florida Municipals (VTF) 5.0%
ACM Managed Income Fund Inc (AMF) 4.9%
Alliance California Municipal Income (AKP) 4.9%
Alliance New York Municipal Income (AYN) 4.9%
BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust II (BCL) 4.9%
Blackrock Muni Intermediate Duration Fund Inc. (MUI) 4.9%
Colonial Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CFX) 4.9%
Eaton Vance Insured Municipal Bond Fund (EIM) 4.9%
Eaton Vance Municipal Income Trust (EVN) 4.9%
Federated Premier Intermediate Municipal Income Fund (FPT) 4.9%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Trust (IMT) 4.9%
Morgan Stanley Quality Municipal Investment Trust (IQT) 4.9%
Neuberger Berman Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBH) 4.9%
Nuveen California Municipal Market Opportunity Fund Inc. (NCO) 4.9%
Nuveen California Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NVC) 4.9%
Nuveen Florida Investment Quality Municipal Fund (NQF) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured California Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NPC) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Florida Premium Income Muni Fund (NFL) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NKO) 4.9%
Nuveen Insured Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQI) 4.9%
Nuveen Michigan Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NZW) 4.9%
Nuveen New Jersey Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXJ) 4.9%
Nuveen New Jersey Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NUJ) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NAN) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NXK) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Performance Plus Municipal Fund (NNP) 4.9%
Nuveen New York Select Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NVN) 4.9%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXM) 4.9%
Nuveen Premier Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NIF) 4.9%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NPI) 4.9%
Nuveen Texas Quality Income Municipal Fund (NTX) 4.9%
PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund III (PYN) 4.9%
Pioneer Tax Advantaged Balanced Trust (PBF) 4.9%
Van Kampen Municipal Opportunity Trust (VMO) 4.9%
Van Kampen Trust for Insured Municipals (VIM) 4.9%
Van Kampen Trust for Investment Grade New York Municipals (VTN) 4.9%
Western Asset Municipal High Income Fund (MHF) 4.9%
BlackRock Insured Municipal 2008 Term Trust, Inc. (BRM) 4.8%
BlackRock Insured Municipal Income Trust (BYM) 4.8%
BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust II (BFY) 4.8%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund (EVM) 4.8%
Eaton Vance Pennsylvania Municipal Income (EVP) 4.8%
Morgan Stanley California Quality Municipal Securities (IQC) 4.8%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Income Trust (IIM) 4.8%
Neuberger Berman California Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBW) 4.8%
Neuberger Berman New York Intermediate Municipal Fund Inc. (NBO) 4.8%
Nuveen California Performance Plus Municipal Fund Inc. (NCP) 4.8%
Nuveen California Premium Income Municipal Fund (NCU) 4.8%
Nuveen California Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUC) 4.8%
Nuveen Insured Florida Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NWF) 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%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NVJ) 4.8%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NVY) 4.8%
Putnam Investment Grade Municipal Trust (PGM) 4.8%
Putnam Municipal Bond Fund, Inc. (PMG) 4.8%
Van Kampen Ohio Quality Municipal Trust (VOQ) 4.8%
Western Asset Managed Municipals Fund (MMU) 4.8%
BlackRock California Insured Municipal Income (BCK) 4.7%
BlackRock California Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BJZ) 4.7%
BlackRock Long Term Municipal Adv (BTA) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Insured Municipal Income (BSE) 4.7%
BlackRock Pennsylvania Strategic Municipal Trust Fund (BPS) 4.7%
Colonial California Insured Municipal Fund Inc. (CCA) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Insured Municipal Bond Fund II (EIV) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Insured New York Municipal Bond Fund Inc. (ENX) 4.7%
Eaton Vance Michigan Municipal Income Trust (EMI) 4.7%
Eaton Vance New York Municipal Income Trust (EVY) 4.7%
Neuberger Berman Real Estate Income Fund (NRL) 4.7%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NKR) 4.7%Nuveen California Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQC) 4.7%
Nuveen Florida Quality Income Municipal Fund (NUF) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured Calif. Premium Income Muni Fund 2 (NCL) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured New York Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NNF) 4.7%
Nuveen Insured Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NEA) 4.7%
Nuveen New York Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQN) 4.7%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NRB) 4.7%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NXI) 4.7%
Nuveen Ohio Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NBJ) 4.7%
Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NPF) 4.7%
Nuveen Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 Inc. (NPM) 4.7%
PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund (PNF) 4.7%
Putnam Municipal Opportunities Trust (PMO) 4.7%
Van Kampen Massachusetts Value Muni Inc. (VMV) 4.7%
Van Kampen Trust for Investment Grade New Jersey Municipals (VTJ) 4.7%
BlackRock New York Municipal 2018 Term Trust (BLH) 4.6%
Delaware Investments Colorado Insured Municipal Income Fund (VCF) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Florida Municipal Income Trust (FEV) 4.6%
Eaton Vance Insured Michigan Municipal Bond Fund (MIW) 4.6%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFZ) 4.6%
Nuveen California Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NCA) 4.6%
Nuveen Georgia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NZX) 4.6%
Nuveen Insured California Premium Income Municipal Fund 2 Inc. (NCL) 4.6%
Nuveen Insured California Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NKX) 4.6%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NZR) 4.6%
Nuveen Massachusetts Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NMB) 4.6%
Nuveen Municipal Income Fund Inc. (NMI) 4.6%
Nuveen Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NUV) 4.6%
Nuveen New Jersey Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQJ) 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 Investment Quality Municipal Fund Inc. (NQP) 4.6%
Nuveen Pennsylvania Premium Income Muni Fund 2 (NPY) 4.6%
Nuveen Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio (NXP) 4.6%
Nuveen Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio 3 (NXR) 4.6%
Nuveen Virginia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NNB) 4.6%
Western Asset Intermediate Muni Fund Inc. (SBI) 4.6%
BlackRock Muni New York Intermediate Duration Fund, Inc. (MNE) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Arizona Municipal Income Fund (VAZ) 4.5%
Delaware Investments Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II (VMM) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured California Municipal Bond Fund II (EIA) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured New Jersey Municipal Bond Fund (EMJ) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured New York Municipal Bond Fund II (NYH) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Insured Pennsylvania Municipal Bond Fund (EIP) 4.5%
Eaton Vance New Jersey Municipal Income Trust (EVJ) 4.5%
Eaton Vance Ohio Municipal Income Trust (EVO) 4.5%
Insured Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PIF) 4.5%
Investment Grade Municipal Income Fund Inc. (PPM) 4.5%
MBIA Capital / Claymore Managed Duration Investment Grade Municipal Fund (MZF) 4.5%
Nuveen Arizona Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NXE) 4.5%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NGK) 4.5%
Nuveen Insured New York Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NRK) 4.5%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFM) 4.5%
Nuveen Maryland Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NWI) 4.5%
Nuveen Ohio Quality Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NUO) 4.5%
Nuveen Select Maturities Municipal Fund (NIM) 4.5%
Nuveen Select Tax Free Income Portfolio 2 (NXQ) 4.5%
BlackRock California Insured Municipal 2008 Term Trust, Inc. (BFC) 4.4%
BlackRock Maryland Municipal Bond Trust (BZM) 4.4%
BlackRock New York Insured Municipal 2008 Term Trust Inc. (BLN) 4.4%
Eaton Vance California Municipal Income Trust (CEV) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Florida Municipal Bond Fund (EIF) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Massachusetts Municipal Bond Fund (MAB) 4.4%
Eaton Vance Insured Ohio Municipal Bond Fund (EIO) 4.4%
Morgan Stanley Government Income Trust (GVT) 4.4%
Morgan Stanley Insured Municipal Securities (IMS) 4.4%
Nuveen Arizona Premium Income Municipal Fund Inc. (NAZ) 4.4%
Nuveen California Select Tax Free Portfolio (NXC) 4.4%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NGO) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NKG) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPG) 4.4%
Nuveen Georgia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPG) 4.4%
Nuveen Insured Massachusetts Tax Free Advantage Municipal Fund (NGX) 4.4%
Nuveen Maryland Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMY) 4.4%
Nuveen Massachusetts Premium Income Municipal Fund (NMT) 4.4%
Nuveen New York Municipal Value Fund Inc. (NNY) 4.4%
Nuveen New York Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio (NXN) 4.4%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 2 (NNO) 4.4%
Nuveen North Carolina Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3 (NII) 4.4%
Scudder Municipal Income Trust (KTF) 4.4%
Seligman Select Municipal Fund Inc. (SEL) 4.4%
BlackRock Florida Municipal 2020 Term Trust (BFO) 4.3%
BlackRock Virginia Municipal Bond Trust (BHV) 4.3%
Eaton Vance Massachusetts Municipal Income (MMV) 4.3%
Morgan Stanley New York Quality Municipal Securities (IQN) 4.3%
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NFC) 4.3%
Nuveen Connecticut Premium Income Municipal Fund (NTC) 4.3%
Nuveen Virginia Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund (NGB) 4.3%
Nuveen Virginia Premium Income Municipal Fund (NPV) 4.3%
First American Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II Inc. (MXN) 4.2%
Minnesota Municipal Income Portfolio Inc. (MXA) 4.2%
Nuveen North Carolina Premium Income Muni Fund (NNC) 4.2%
Morgan Stanley Insured California Municipal Securities (ICS) 4.1%
Nuveen Missouri Premium Income Municipal Fund (NOM) 4.1%
Western Asset Municipal Partners Fund II Inc. (MPT) 4.1%
DTF Tax-Free Income (DTF) 4.0%
Putnam Tax-Free Health Care Fund (PMH) 4.0%
BlackRock Insured Municipal Term Trust Inc. (BMT) 3.7%
PIMCO Municipal Advantage Fund, Inc. (MAF) 3.5%
BlackRock Florida Insured Municipal 2008 Term Trust (BRF) 3.1%
Mesa Royalty Trust (MTR) 2.2%

Author owns PWE and PWI.

The Urine Battery

Now this is something you don't see every day: a battery powered by urine. Sinapore scientists have created a credit card size battery that runs on urine. It produces 1.5 volts and runs for about 90 minutes.

Austria Stocks

A week ago, I wrote an article about German stocks. Today, I’m writing about its next door neighbor, Austria. Austria is one of the few countries that have declared permanent neutrality and everlasting neutrality. In the last several years, the Austria has been moving towards privatization. Joining the European Union has helped the country’s economy. Austria is rated number 34 in terms of purchasing power parity, ahead of Hong Kong, Switzerland, Greece and Norway.

Telekom Austria AG (TKAGY.PK), provides land line, mobile, data, and Internet telecommunications services throughout Austria. has a forward P/E of 19.8 and a PEG of 1.8. The stock has paid an annual dividend since 2004. Earnings for the latest year were up over 66% over the previous year.

The oil and gas company, OMV AG (OMVKY.PK) has a forward P/E of 10 and a PEG of 1.05. They recently reported a quarterly earnings increase year over year of 25% on a revenue increase of 13%.

Erste Bank der Oest SP (EBKDY.PK) is a major Austrian banking company with a forward P/E of 12.6 and a very favorable PEG of .74.

It is even possible to invest in the Vienna International Airport (VIAAY.PK), the largest airport in Austria based on number of flights. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get financial information on the company.

Author does not own any of the above.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs On Stage Together Next Week

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft (MSFT) and Steve Jobs, founder of Apple (AAPL), will appear on stage together next Wednesday at a conference in Carlsbad, California. This link also has a great picture.

Google Founder's Wife Determines if Warren and Jimmy Buffett Related

The wife of the co-founder of Google (GOOG) Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, set up a company called 23andMe which allows people to check their DNA ancestry. Both Warren Buffett and Jimmy Buffett submitted their DNA to the company to see if they are related. Google is an investor in 23andMe.

Stock Markets Up on Memorial Day

One Monday, May 28, when the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ were closed for Memorial Day, all but one of the Toronto Stock Exchange indices were up. In Paris at the NYSE Euronext, all indices were up.

Wall Street Jokes of the Week

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.

Coca Cola Creates World's Largest Float

Coca Cola (KO), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, created an ice cream float with 10 tons of ice cream fifteen feet high, making it a Guinness Book of World Records winner.

CKE Restaurants Suing Jack in the Box over TV Ads

CKE Restaurants Inc. (CKR), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, owns and operates Carl's Jr., Hardee's, and La Salsa restaurants. They are suing Jack in the Box Inc. (JBX), which also trades on the NYSE, because of TV ads that it says suggest Carl's Jr. and Hardee's use the rear end of a cow to make Angus beef hamburgers.

Oceanview Lots in Hawaii for only $40

Yes, you read that headline correctly; although actually the lots are really only $39.95 each. The lots are being sold by Lo'ihi Development Co. in Hawaii. What's the catch? They are located 3,000 feet below sea level on an underwater volcano.

Best Company to Work For in America: Wall Street Video of the Week

The tradinggoddess has come up with a YouTube video from an Oprah show which talks about the best company to work for in America. Can you guess what company this is before clicking on this link? I'll give you a hint. It's stock trades on NASDAQ.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bidding on Auction Stocks

Here is some auction trivia. What is the auctioneer company that handled the liquidations of former highflying companies Webvan, Enron, and Napster after the dot com bubble burst? The answer is DoveBid, a privately held Los Angeles based company which was founded in 1937.

Auction stocks, whether ‘bricks and mortar’ or online, are hard to find. There are dozens of online auction sites but few that are publicly traded. As a matter of fact, Yahoo Auctions, which used to be an important commerce service of Yahoo (YHOO), along with Yahoo Autos and Yahoo Shopping. However, June is the shutdown month for Yahoo Auctions in the United States and Canada, with June 3, 2007 being the last day to place a listing.

The largest online auctioneer is obviously the world famous eBay (EBAY), which trades on NASDAQ. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar, a computer programmer as AuctionWeb in September of 1995. The urban tale that eBay was started by Omidyar to sell his fiancĂ©e’s PEZ Candy dispensers was a story created by a PR manager. Actually the first item that was sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. eBay’s most valuable asset is Paypal, considered to be the largest online money transfer company in the world. The stock has a P/E of 37 and a forward P/E of 21, with a PEG of 1.2.

Since Christie's went private in 1999, Sotheby's (BID) is now the largest publicly traded fine art auctioneer. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange with a great personalized stock symbol: B I D. It is the world's second oldest international auction house, founded in 1744. The stock has a PE of 21, a PEG of .9, and pays a small yield of .9%. Their quarterly revenue growth year over year was 53.5%. Inc. (OSTK) is primarily an online marketer of surplus, returned, and new merchandise. In addition, it has a small auction division and has also hosted several charity auctions. Their quarterly revenue growth has dropped by over 12% and they are generating negative earnings. Inc. (AMZN), which trades on NASDAQ, is very borderline auction company, as auctions makes up a very small portion of its total business. As a matter of fact, I had a hard time even finding the auction section, and the categories I clicked on didn’t have any bids on the listed items. But Amazon is a very, very successful marketer of not just books but just about every type of consumer product. The forward P/E is 56 and their PEG is 2.7. Quarterly earnings were up 117% on quarterly revenue growth of 32%.

Author owns YHOO and EBAY.

Getting a Deal from the IRS

If you are looking for auction bargains, check out the IRS auction site, which sells cars, motorcycles, boats, real estate and timeshares.

Saks Shoe Dept. Gets Its Own Zip Code

The New York Saks Fifth Avenue shoe department is so big [8,500-square-feet] that it is getting its own zip code. The zip code will be 10022-SHOE. Saks Fifth Avenue is owned by Saks Incorporated (SKS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Delta Airlines: Floating Hospital for Birth

A baby was born on a Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) flight from Germany to Atlanta while the plane was still in the air. The birth was assisted by two doctors on the flight. The new Delta shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Home Sales Tank Again

According to the latest news release from the National Association of Realtors, total existing home sales dropped in April by 2.6% over March, and are down by 10.7% over April of last year.

This drop is is primarily due to the banks' tightening of standards for obtaining mortgage loans and cutting back on issuing sub-prime mortgages. The biggest area of decline was in the Northeast where existing home sales sank by 8.8%.

Google's YouTube used by Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has created a video which has been posted on YouTube. YouTube is owned by Google (GOOG) which trades on NASDAQ. The video asks users to vote for her presidential campaign theme song.

SEC Chairman Levitt Sold Ties on eBay found an interesting bit of trivia. The former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt used to sell his old ties on eBay (EBAY), which trades on NASDAQ. However, his staff members would find and buy his ties off of eBay and wear them in to work as a joke.

All You Can Eat Candy Shops

Japan now has a new kind of shop for grown-ups, all-you-can-eat candy shops. The shops are designed to bring back childhood memories.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hot Chile Stocks

Forget BRIC, how about BAC, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile? I’ve already covered Brazil and Argentina in previous articles. Now it’s time to write about the ‘narrow’ country.

According to the Central Bank of Chile, Chile has had strong economic growth during the last few years due to the higher price of copper, one of their major exports. They are continuing with privatization, free trade and foreign investment. Unemployment started dropping in 2005 and inflation has not been above 5% since 1998. Besides copper and gold, the country also exports lumber, fresh fruit, processed food, seafood, and wine [there seem to be a lot of counties getting into wine production now]. Fortunately, there are several Chilean stocks with ADR’s that trade on the New York Stock Exchange, and most of them pay a dividend.

Masisa S.A. (MYS) is a forestry and lumber company, with a P/E of 42, a PEG of 1.2, and a yield of .6%. Year-over-year quarterly earnings were up a huge 177% on just a slight 1.9% revenue growth.

Chemical & Mining Co. of Chile Inc. (SQM), also known as Sociedad de Chile SC, produces and sells potassium nitrate, iodine, lithium carbonate, plant nutrients and other industrial chemicals. They have a P/E of 28 and a yield of 1.7%.

Banco de Chile (BCH) has a P/E of 14.6 and a PEG of 2.1. They are paying a nice yield of 3.6%.

Compania de Telecommunicaciones de Chile S.A. (CTC) is a $4.2 million telephone company [market cap] which with a P/E of 28 and a yield of 1.7%. Quarterly earnings were up over 25% year-over-year.

Enersis S.A. (ENI) provides electricity to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. It carries a P/E of 31.7 and a PEG of 3.1%. They also pay a yield of 1.1%.

The banking company Banco Santander-Chile (SAN) has a P/E of 16 and a PEG of 1.2.

Distribucion y Servicio S.A. (DYS) is an operator of supermarkets in Chile. It has a P/E of 41, a PEG of 2.4, and a yield of 1.1%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Wall Street and Stock Market Domain Names

Are you looking for a Wall Street related, finance related, or stock market related domain name? Go to and check out the list of domain names that are for sale. There are over 60 listed including,, and

Thursday, May 24, 2007

US to Open (Potato) Trade with Cuba: Time to Buy Cuba Stocks?

Cuba is planning to buy 100 tons of seed potatoes from North Dakota. The US trade embargo prohibits most trade with Cuba, however, a small amount of sales of food products to Cuba has been taking place for the last few years.

In regards to Cuba stocks, there are only very few ways to play the 'Cuba going capitalist' play. I will probably do an article on Cuba related stocks shortly.

Facebook Partners with Microsoft and Amazon

The famous social networking site, Facebook, is partnering with Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN), both of which trade on NASDAQ. The partner sites will have links posted on the Facebook site.

Viewers Mad at New Corp's Fox

There were many viewers who were upset when American Idol was extended 3 minutes past 10 pm. They were upset because they used DVD players, VCR's, and TiVo's (TIVO) to record to show, timing it to stop at 10 pm. Fox is owned by News Corporation (NWS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. TiVo trades on NASDAQ.

Time Warner's TBS Web Site has Panic Button

The TBS web site for Office Fun, a site with movies, games, wallpaper and other timewasters for you or your staff while they are working, has a Panic Button on the left. You are supposed to click it when your boss walks by. When you do, a fake spreadsheet pops up. TBS [Turner Broadcasting System] is owned by Time Warner Inc. (TWX).

So if you are walking by your staffs' cubicles, and you see a spreadsheet on their computer with a title that says: Table 2 State by State Laughter Quotient, be suspicious.

More on GOOG: Banning Essay Writing Ads

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) will be banning ads from companies the provide essay writing services, due to so many complaints from universities. However, Google has taken a lot of flack from the companies that provide those services.

Google Providing 100 Most Popular Searches Each Day

Google (GOOG), which trades on NASDAQ, will be providing the top 100 most popular searches each day, although excluding certain items such as celebrities and weather. The new service is called Hot Trends.

eBay may have Bigger Problems than Postage Increases

Last week, I wrote an article about how the increase in postage may affect the revenue, on a short term basis, of eBay (EBAY) which trades on NASDAQ. However, that may be a minor problem, compared to what might be looming on the horizon.

I always thought that eBay would eventually turn into something like a utility, where earnings and revenues would steadily increase and they would eventually start paying a regular dividend, as long as they kept their servers and customer service up and running. People will always have stuff to buy and sell. eBay, as an online auctioneer, practically is a de facto monopoly , just like utilities. Unfortunately, utilities are affected by the actions of government, and it seems to be happening with eBay.

The April 23 issue of Forbes Magazine had a great article, which I highly recommend as a great read, about how the IRS may start cracking down on the self-employed. But what really caught my eye was on page 37 where it mentioned that the IRS may eventually require eBay and other 'middlemen' to start reporting gross sales of those who sell more than 100 items per year. A hundred items per year is not that many, less than one every three days.

So if this goes into effect, would someone like a housewife who sells off 25 of her kid's old toys, clothes, and other household goods every quarter have to reconcile this on her tax return? [Is there a CPA in the audience? What is the tax consequence of selling a personal item that has been used at either a profit or loss?] I have a friend who inherited a couple hundred books from his father, and gave his kids the job of selling them off on eBay, one at a time. I wouldn't even want to speculate about what the taxation of those transactions would be [inheritance cost basis, etc.], if there even is any, but there would still have to be some kind of accounting to match up what is reported to the government.

Would some sellers create new accounts with eBay when they approach 99 transactions, creating more hassles for eBay? [Who wants to be a Power Seller now?] Would eBay be responsible for trying to aggregate these accounts? If this sales reporting proposal isn't nipped in the bud, it may not be a stake in the heart of eBay but it would certainly be a stake in their foot, causing them to stumble.

Author owns EBAY.

German Stocks with Dividends

Because of the recent news about Daimler Chrysler (DCX) selling off its Chrysler division, many investors have turned their attention to Germany. Here is some financial trivia about Germany:
1. It is the world's largest exporter of goods.
2. It has the largest population among the EU member countries.
3. It has the largest economy in Europe.
4. It has the world's third largest GDP economy.
5. It holds the largest capacity of wind power.
6. It is the largest exporter of wind turbines.
7. It is the world’s fifth largest consumer of energy.
8. They are phasing out out all nuclear power plants by 2021.
9. The first Nobel prize in physics was won by a German for the discovery of X-Rays.
10. According to the CIA Factbook, it is ranked fifth in the world in terms of purchasing power parity.

Fortunately, there are several German stocks which, in addition to providing growth potential, also provide income through dividends. Please be advised that there are tax withholding issues with regards to dividends from foreign stocks.

Of all the German stocks which have American Depository Receipts [ADR's] that trade in the U.S., Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) has the highest yield, paying a generous 4.5%. They have a P/E of 22.7 and a PEG of 2. The company recently reported an earnings drop of about 58% on a revenue increase of slightly over 4%. Earnings were down due to significant cancellations of landlines. In spite of the earnings drop, the shares have been on a tear for the last few days.

Second highest in terms of yield is a relatively unknown name in the U.S. Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG (PV) is a German company which manufactures and markets vacuum and pump technology products. These vacuum products are used for analytical uses, not to vacuum your carpet. They have a P/E of 21.5 and a yield of 2.6%.Latest quarterly earnings were up 23% on a revenue increase of 7%.

BASF AG (BF) is a large chemical and plastics manufacturer with a similar yield. They have a P/E of 13.7 and the quarterly earnings growth was up about 9%.

Paying a yield of 2.3% is the electric and gas utility, E.ON AG (EON). Not only do they provide power to central Europe and United Kingdom, but they also have power operations in the Midwestern United States. It has a P/E of 12.6 and a PEG of 2.3. Quarterly earnings year over year were up a substantial 50% on quarterly revenue growth of 6%.

Other dividend payers which have yields of less than 2% are as follows:

Allianz (AZ) The insurance company. 1.9%

Daimler Chrysler (DCX) 1.7%

Deutsche Bank AG (DB) 1.6%

Bayer (BAY) The chemical and pharmaceutical company that makes Bayer aspirin. 1.5%

Fresenius Medical Care (FMS) 1.3%

Siemens (SI)The electronics conglomerate. 1.2%

SAP (SAP) The software company that competes with Oracle. 1.1%

EPCOS (EPC) An electronics company. 0.9%

By the way, if you are looking for a great resource for information on foreign stocks that have ADR's that trade in the United States, check out

Author owns DCX, DT, AZ, DCX, BAY and SAP.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

High Yield Healthcare REITS (updated)

U.S. Census Bureau defines baby boomers as the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Almost 8,000 Americans turn 60 years old every day. The baby boomers are the largest segment of the U.S. population, and account for about 39% of adult Americans. In addition, parents of boomers are living longer.

Health care expenses represent 15.3% of the GDP of the United States. Healthcare for boomers and their parents will increase substantially over the next decade. Investors may be scarred off of real estate in general, but some are taking a close look at high yielding health care real estate investment trusts [REITs] for both income and growth. These REITs generate dividend yields that are quite high. The following is a list of ten Health REITs with a yield of over 5.5%.

Healthcare Realty (HR) 8.4% historical, 4.7% projected due to special dividend paid
Cogdell Spencer (CSA) 7%
Universal Health Realty Income Trust (UHT) 6.5%
LTC Properties (LTC) 6.3%
Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI) 6.3%%
Senior Housing Properties (SNH) 6.3%
Health Care REIT (HCN) 6.2%
National Health Investor (NHI) 5.9%
Nationwide Health Properties (NHP) 5.7%
National Health Realty (NHR) 5.6%

Author does not own any of the above.

Yahoo Hot Jobs says People Not Taking Vacations

According to a survey, U.S. workers are not taking all their vacation days that they are entitled to. The reasons given were having to much work to do, the high price of vacations, and wanting to save up their days. The survey was conducted by Yahoo Hot Jobs, a division of Yahoo (YHOO), which trades on NASDAQ.

Things Go Better with Coca Cola Stocks

Did you know that there are a lot of ways to invest in Coca Cola stocks? There are several Coca Cola bottlers, both within the United States and all over the world, most of which trade on the stock exchanges here. The nice feature about these stocks is that they all pay a dividend.

Coca Cola (KO) pays a decent yield of 2.6% and has increased dividends in each of the last 45 years. This is the famous company that got all the others started. It is one of the largest manufacturers, distributors, and marketers of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world.

Coca Cola Amatil (CCLAY.PK) is the Coca Cola bottler for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, including New Zealand, Fiji, South Korea, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Yield is 2.2%.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (COKE) which yields 1.8%, distributes and markets carbonated and noncarbonated beverages, primarily of The Coca-Cola Company. Distributes in North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida.

Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) has a dividend rate of 1.0%. They distribute Coca-Cola classic, Diet Coke, Sprite, Dasani, Fanta, Schweppes, and caffeine free Diet Coke. Distributes in North America, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Monaco.

A distributor of Coca Cola products in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil, Coca Cola Femsa SA (KOF) pays a small dividend of 1%.

Coca-Cola Hellen ADS (CCH) is an Athens, Greece based company. Distributor of Coca Cola products in Europe. Their yield is 0.8%.

This Santiago, Chile based company, Embotell Andina SA (AKO-A) pays a dividend of 0.6%. They are a distributor of Coca-Cola products in Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

Author owns KO, KOF and CCLAY.PK.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Company Finds $500 Million Undersea Treasure

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (OMR), which is a small stock which trades on the American Stock Exchange and is in the business of finding and retrieving undersea sunken shipwrecked treasures, disclosed that they retrieved $500 million from a shipwreck last year, and they have just discovered another shipwreck off the coast of England.
This company currently has negative earnings, a stock market capitalization of about $314 million, and should be considered very speculative.

Author does not own the above stock.

Nokia's Lighting Warning Phone

Would you buy a cell phone that would warn you about lightning? Nokia Corp. (NOK), which has ADS's that trade on the New York Stock Exchange, may be coming out with a phone [that they have recently patented] that would notify you if lightning is getting close.

Stanford Pushes Fair Use of Disney to the Limits: Wall Street Video of the Week

Stanford University has published a 10 minute video utilizing many Disney (DIS) characters to explain copyright law under Stanford's Fair Use Project. I was unable to play the video from the article but there is a download link if you scroll down to the second comment, which I was able to play.

Good News for Apple iPod Owners: Beatle Music

This is good news for owners of iPods, which are made by Apple Inc. (AAPL), which trades on NASDAQ. Did you notice in the headline that it said 'Beatle' music and not 'Beatles' [plural] music? This is because EMI Group (EMIPY.PK), which trades in London and on the Pink Sheets in the U.S., and which Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) is attempting to buy, is releasing just the Paul McCartney and Wings songs in a digital format. By the way, did you know that McCartney left EMI to join Hear Music, the music division of Starbucks Corp. (SBUX)?

Many are hoping that music from the other Beatles won't be too far behind.

Stocks for Kids

The best time to buy stocks for your kids is immediately. However, if you want to get your children to take up an interest in investing, you may want to be selective in the type of companies you buy and maybe even frame the stock certificate for them. Here are a group of companies that you might want to consider getting for your young ones, broken down into three categories.

When buying stocks for children, there are a few things you need to consider:

1. How much to invest: Most brokerage firms have a minimum investment to open an account of $500, and some have much, much higher minimums. If you are on good terms with a stockbroker, you could probably get away with much less.
2. Certificate or No Certificate: Brokerage firms charge a fee to issue a certificate. I’ve seen fees of $25 to $80 per certificate.
3. Framing the certificate: If you really want your kids to develop an interest in stocks, it may be helpful to frame the certificate [in a removable frame] for you child’s bedroom, especially if the certificate has an interesting appearance.
4. Holding title: Most investors use either Uniform Gifts to Minors Act [UGMA] accounts or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act [UTMA] accounts. UGMA’s allow the custodian to control the stock until the child reaches age 18. The UTMA account gives the custodian control generally until the age of 21, with the possible exception of California, which is somewhat unusual.
[Several years ago, when I looked into UTMA’s very closely, I read in several publications that California laws allowed a UTMA custodian to control the funds until age 25. I read the actual law but found it very confusing. I called six different banks and asked them what the maximum UTMA age was. Three told me 21 and three told me 25. I went with a bank that told me 25 of course, but I strongly recommend that you contact an attorney, whether or not you live in California, to determine which account is the best one to go with.]
5. Dividends: To Cash or Reinvest. I strongly recommend that if the company has a dividend reinvestment plan that you take advantage of it for your child.

Here are a group of companies that you might want to consider getting for your young ones, broken down into three categories: stocks for younger kids, stocks for teenagers, and stocks for kids with certain interests. Included is a description of the company’s stock certificate. However, don’t judge a stock by its certificate. [As an example, he old Planet Hollywood shares had a color picture of one of their restaurants but the company went bankrupt.] Keep in mind that some of these stocks with low market caps are extremely speculative. Do your homework before investing in these; you want the company to be around when your kid’s reach the age of 21.

Stocks for Young Kids

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. (BBW) colorful certificate with bear logo and buttons

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) for kids who like their soup, the certificate features a Campbell Soup can

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) several Disney characters in color

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) the top of Shrek’s head in color

Gymboree Corp. (GYMB) company title

Hasbro Inc. (HAS) Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game

Hershey Co. (HSY) Mr. Hershey

Jack in the Box Inc. (JBX) an early store, Jack, and a hamburger and French fries in color

Mattel Inc. (MAT) kids playing with Hot Wheels, Barbie, and other toys in color

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) hamburger, fires, and two workers

Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. (TR) woman between two globes

Topps Co. Inc. (TOPP) company logo

Wendy's International Inc. (WEN) company logo, two globes

William Wrigley Jr. Co. (WWY) what appears to be a South American native in headdress

Stocks for Teenagers

Apple Inc. (AAPL) black apple logo

Coca-Cola Co. (KO) reclining woman

eBay Inc. (EBAY) colorful logo

Marvel Entertainment Inc. (MVL) woman holding harp

Oakley Inc. (OO) woman with wings

Pepsico, Inc. (PEP) woman holding globe

Six Flags, Inc. (SIX) Statue of Liberty

Sony Corp. (SNE) woman surrounded by electrons

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) the big W logo

Special Categories

Orbital Sciences Corp. (ORB) For kids interested in outer space: view of the solar system in color

Quiksilver Inc. (ZQK) For kids interested in surfing or snowboarding: surfer and snowboarder

Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. (LVB) For kids who like playing the piano: company logo, and woman with harp

Author owns DIS, DWA, MAT, MCD, AAPL, KO, EBAY, and ORB.

Hershey Sues Dealer over DrugCandy

The famous chocolate manufacturer, Hershey Co. (HSY), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has sued a San Jose man for trademark infringement because he made candies mixed with marijuana that were packaged in wrappers that looked similar to the real Hershey candy. The man has also been sentenced to prison.

How to HireAnEmployee

The has come up with a list of 11 important steps that should be followed when hiring an employee.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Off to the Races: Horse Racing Stocks

The Preakness that was held this last weekend in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the second part of the Triple Crown, thoroughbred racing's most famous series of horse races in the United States, which starts with the Kentucky Derby and ends with the Belmont Stakes in New York. Horse racing revenues are a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar gambling industry. By the way, if you want a free horse race handicapping program, go to

Unfortunately, there aren’t many publicly traded horse racetracks left. Here are a few of the purer play stocks which might be worth placing bets on.

Canterbury Park Holding Corp. (ECP) operates year-round pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast and live horse races, along with track concessions and a card club, at the Canterbury Park Racetrack in Minnesota which it owns and operates. The stock has a P/E of 20.5 and recently released their financials. Their latest quarterly earnings year over year were down over 23%.

Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) owns several racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and Churchill Downs Simulcast Productions. Their P/E is 20.5 and their PEG is 3.6, with a yield of 1%. Latest quarterly revenue growth was up over 32%.

Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. (DDE) owns Dover Downs Raceway, a harness racing track with pari-mutuel wagering. The company has a P/E of 17 and pays a yield of 1.3%.

Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) owns several horse racetracks and off track facilities. Quarterly earnings year over year was up 11.6% on a 2.4% revenue growth. The stock sells at 80% of book value.

MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG) owns racetracks in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. They have a forward P/E of about 20, and a PEG of 1.3. Quarterly earnings were down by over 83%.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) owns racetracks and off-track wagering facilities in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario. The P/E is 13 and the PEG is 1.6.

Author does not own any of the above.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Woman Arrested for Using DHL to Smuggle Drugs

A woman in Tajikistan was arrested for trying to smuggle heroin in a refrigerator by sending it through DHL. DHL is a division of Deutsche Post AG (DPSTF.PK), which generally trades in Europe but also trades on the Pink Sheets in the U.S.

You think Domain Names are Hot? A Fight over a Phone Number

Several domain names have sold for hundreds of thousands and even millions recently; however, two plumbing companies are fighting over a phone number, 867-5309, which was made famous in a song by Tommy Tutone in the 1980's.

Possible Good News for Muni Bond Investors

The United States Supreme Court is now considering a case to determine if the resident of the state of Kentucky has to pay state income taxes on an out of state municipal bond. If they rule in favor of the investor, this would be a huge benefit to those who put their money in municipal bonds. It would mean that New Yorkers could buy California munis and not pay state income tax on the interest, and vice versa. This would mean that muni investors could greatly diversify their portfolios out of state. You can see an analysis of this court decision at

Cosmetics Stocks: Looking Good

All you have to do is thumb through women’s magazines to see that the cosmetics, makeup, and skincare industry is big business. I looked through my wife’s Glamour Magazine and discovered that there are 16 pages of ads, mostly for cosmetics, before you even get to the table of contents. Here is a list of companies in that industry that are worth taking a gander at. I have excluded the large conglomerates, such as Unilever NV (UN) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) to focus more on the purer plays

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL) has various brands including Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, American Beauty, and Good Skin. Their forward P/E is 19 and their PEG is 1.75. They just reported their earnings showing a quarterly earnings growth year over year of 58%. The yield on the stock is 1.1%.

Avon Products Inc. (AVP) is a well known multilevel marketer of cosmetics, fragrances, skin care, and toiletries, along with various other products. They recently reported that their first-quarter profits nearly tripled. Their P/E is 39, with a forward P/E of 20. The PEG is 2.1, and the company pays a yield of 1.9%. The short interest ratio is 2.2, and the short interest has dropped by 4.5%.

Revlon Inc. (REV) sells cosmetics, skincare products, perfume, and other personal care products through mass volume retailers, pharmacies, supermarkets, and department stores. It might not be considered a small cap as such [market cap over half a billion dollars] but it sure has a small stock price, selling for less than one and a half dollars per share. Earnings have been negative, and the company has $1.4 billion in debt. Interestingly, the stock is owned by Ron Perelman, Del Mar Asset Management, and Eaglerock Capital Management.

L'Oreal Co. ADR (LRLCY.PK), based in Paris, France, is the largest cosmetics company in the world. It has a forward P/E of 23 and a PEG of 2.5. Their ADR’s trade on the pink sheets.

Shiseido Co. Ltd. (SSDOY.PK), based in Japan, is the oldest cosmetics company in the world, founded in 1872. Their products include Pureness, The Skincare, Benefiance, Bio-Performance, Suncare, and White Lucent. The stock trades on the Pink Sheets and unfortunately difficult to get financial information on.

Author doesn’t own any of the above.

Are You Working Too Hard? How About Same Income, 4 Hour Work Week?

Timothy Ferriss owns a million dollar business who used to spend an enormous amount of time running his company, working from dawn to midnight. He was able to change all that to a four hour work week and still maintain his income. You can check out his site at or his book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It might make a nice gift for your workaholic friends.

Is Yahoo Asleep at the Wheel?

What is going on at Yahoo (YHOO), which trades on NASDAQ? I have a side business online that is listed in one of the Yahoo directories. Last week (May 8, 2007), I received the following email from Yahoo. Pay special attention to the date in the first sentence of the letter.

Date: Tue, 8 May 2007 05:03:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Yahoo! Express
From: Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert

Dear Yahoo! Directory Submit Client:

Your Yahoo! Directory Submit listing expired on

Apr 28 2003

This is your final warning. We have been unable to charge your
credit card the annual fee associated with Yahoo! Directory Submit for
the upcoming year. Unless you provide us with a valid credit
card number immediately, your site will be removed from the
Yahoo! Directory within five days.
By paying the recurring annual fee, you are guaranteed that your site
will be re-reviewed by the editorial team on a yearly basis.

To update your credit card and billing information, please go to the
Listing Management Center:

Your site currently appears in this category:

etc. etc.

At first I thought this was a scam. I did mouseovers on all the links and they all linked back to URL's. I then did a reply, asking questions about this letter to confirm it is genuine, and apparently, it is.

It's been four years since they have charged me for this service and now they are finally following up? I could see maybe getting behind by maybe three or four months, although even that would be hard to believe, as I would think that their billing system would be automated. Four years! Four years? No wonder the stock has been suffering.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wall Street Joke of the Week: GM versus Toyota

In case you haven't seen this one that's been floating around the email grapevine:

General Motors (GM) versus Toyota (TM)

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Increased Postage Fees May Hurt eBay Short Term

I know literally hundreds of people that earn their living, either part time or full time selling on eBay (EBAY), which trades on NASDAQ. The postal increase that went into effect on May 14 has been a nightmare for eBay sellers. These are some of the comments I am hearing:

"I've held off for a couple weeks posting any eBay items until I can get a handle on the new postal rates so I can enter them in my listings."

"I went into the post office [prior to May 14] to get a copy of their rates and they said they didn't have any to give me."

"They have raised the limit on insured mail to $200 in order to have return receipt service."

"I do a lot of mailouts, and now the postage amount can change by the size and thickness of the envelope."

"For sending boxes, they're now charging by zone. I used to be able slap on the same postage on every package of the same product, since I knew the weight, now I have to look up the zone."

In regards to my own personal experience, a couple days prior to May 14, I scoured the web site for the new rates, but could not find them. I did find the press release which gave out a limited amount of examples of what rates would be. Today, I went to the post office to mail a DVD. I told the clerk that I wanted to send it the least expensive way. She narrowed it down to four choices: letter rate, large envelope, package, and media mail. Media was immediately ruled out because it is so expensive; I now think it is only useful for heavy books that weigh over a pound. She then said it was too large for letter rate, and too thick [slightly over a quarter inch] for large envelope rate, so I had to send it by the more expensive package rate. When I got back to my office, I checked the PO website, and realized that I was probably overcharged. It seems to me that it would easily qualify for the large envelope rate, and maybe even the letter rate.

However, there are some quirks. If it doesn't bend easily, like a photograph with cardboard, it is charged a "nonmachinable surcharge" [sorry autograph dealers]. If it has clasps, it is also subject to a surcharge. If is has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter or it contains a pen, it is subject to a surcharge. If this seems confusing and a hassle to you, then you can imagine how the eBay sellers feel.

I think there will be a short term revenue drop for several reasons:
1. Sellers have been holding off on listings until they get their new postal rates entered.
2. Buyers may be temporarily scarred off by the sticker shock of the higher postage rates that they have to pay for the stuff they buy.
3. Buyers may bid slightly less because they are factoring in the postal rates on their entire purchase.
4. Sellers may hold off selling until they get the size and shape of their boxes and/or envelopes optimized for their products.

In the next couple days, I will be publishing an article about several ways of dealing with the higher postage rates.

Author owns EBAY.

Stocks in the Other Big South American Country: Argentina

Most investors know that the 'B' in BRIC stands for Brazil. But there is another country in South America experiencing growth. Argentina is the second largest country in South America and the eighth largest in the world. From an economic standpoint, the country has come back from 25% unemployment, defaulted government bonds and a 75% devaluation of their peso which took place in 2002. With economic growth averaging around 9% over the last couple years, it appears that their may be investment opportunities there. All of these companies that are Argentina based have ADR's [or ADS's] that trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Investments and Representations Inc., also known as IRSA, also known as Inversiones y Representaciones S.A. (IRS) has the unforgetable stock symbol of IRS! This is a Buenos Aires based real estate developer which is involved in residential properties, raw land, shopping centers, office buildings, and luxury hotels. It has a P/E of 23 and a srice sales ratio of 3.8. Their quarterly earnings growth year over year was up 388% on a 53% increase in revenues

Telecom Argentina S A (TEO) is a Buenos Aires based company. One of the largest providers of telecommunications services, and the primary company that serves the northern part of Argentina, including half of Buenos Aires. They also provide Internet services, directories publishing, and wireless services in Argentina. It has a forward P/E of 20 and a very high PEG of 20.

The other large telephone company in Argentina, Telefonica of Argentina, Inc. is (TAR), which provides domestic and international long distance services, public telephone services, and Internet services. P/E is a very high 333 and the price sales ratio is 8.88. Their yield calculates out to over 11% but that can't be relied upon because it is based on the first dividend they have paid in five years. The company has about $800 million in debt with only $96 million in cash.

Transportadora de Gas Del Sur S.A. (TGS) provides natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Argentina. It has a P/E of 11 and a P/S of 2.8. Quarterly earnings year over year were down by over 26%.

YPF S.A. (YPF) is involved in the exploration, and production of oil and gas in Argentina. P/E is 11, P/S is 2. They pay dividends at least once or twice a year and their current yield is 9.2%. Quarterly revenue growth was up slightly but earnings were down over 45%.

Apco Argentina Inc. (APAGF) is a way of investing in Argentina by investing in a United States company. This is a Tulsa Oklahoma based company with its primary operations of the exploration and production of oil and gas in Argentina. It has a P/E of 17, a P/S of 11.2, and even pays a yield of 1.6%. They have $50 million in cash and no long term debt.

Author does not own any of the above.

What's with All the High Auction Prices for Art and Collectibles?

What's with all the high auction prices for art and collectibles? Usually you don't see these types of high prices unless we are in a rip-roaring bull market. Are auction prices preceding the stock market now? here are a few of the high ones:

Andy Warhol painting get $73 million bid.

Titanic Life Jacket Sells for $119,000

Abstract artist Mark Rothko painting sells for $72.8 million

Two of Anna Nicole Smith's diaries sold for $500,000

Wall Street Picture of the Week: GM's New Hybrid

General Motors (GM), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, is coming out with an SUV hybrid. around December or January. The cars will have V-8 engines. You can see a picture of it here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Former Head of Time Warner Division Arrested in Vegas

Chris Albrecht, former head of HBO, a division of Time Warner (TWX) which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, was terminated from his position. According to the police report, he was assaulting a 37-year-old woman. You can see the actual police report at

Wall Street Video of the Week: Beating Starbucks with Bikinis

A coffee shop in Oregon is trying to beat out Starbucks (SBUX), by having its female workers wear bikini tops to help sales. You can see a video of the shop here.

Short Sellers will do Anything for a Buck: Fake Memo Causes Apple to Tank

A fake internal memo that appeared to come from Apple Inc. (AAPL) saying that iPhone would be delayed until October caused the stock to drop about 2.2% in around five minutes. Apple immediately came out with a real memo saying it wasn't true. You can see what the fake memo said here.

How to Invest in Soccer Stocks

Soccer is a fast growing sport in the United States. In Europe, soccer is called football or European football. {The Europeans call our football 'American football'.] There are two publicly traded soccer stocks. Unfortunately, they don't trade in the U.S. OL Groupe (OLG.PA), also known as Olympique Lyonnais Groupe, which trades on the Paris Bourse, owns the French soccer team, Lyon.

Goals Soccer Centres (GOAL.L), which trades on the London Stock Exchange, owns soccer synthetic grass arenas which hosts leagues, corporate events, and kids games. In Germany, there is Borussia Dortmund (BVB.F), which trades on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and was Germany's first publicly traded soccer team. If you don't want to go through the hassle of buying the German shares, you can own it indirectly by buying the investment banking company, Morgan Stanley (MS), which owns 16.5% of the company.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Google Bought: The 10 Best YouTube Videos

For those who thought that Google (GOOG), which trades on NASDAQ, overpaid for YouTube, check out this article at Forbes which includes the ten videos. Some are old favorites, some I hadn't seen yet. Thanks to COOReview for referring this article.

Real Estate Prices Down Again

For the second quarter in a row, real estate prices dropped on a year over year basis, according to a recent news release by, which discussed the real estate market for the first three months of 2007. Values dropped nationwide by over 1% on a quarter by quarter basis.

Two areas in Florida had the biggest drops and the Santa Barbara area was the third worst with a drop of almost 12%. Interestingly, the highest appreciation took place in two areas in Oregon and two areas in Washington, with the Corvallis area of Oregon up over 17%.

The state with the most expensive metropolitan areas is, where else, California. The state with the least expensive areas is Illinois.

German Adult Toy Company Loses Soccer Star Suit

The German company, Beate Uhse (BEUHF.PK), which trades very rarely on the Pink Sheets in the US, but generally trades on all German stock exchanges, just lost a lawsuit filed by two German soccer stars, because the company, which owns a chain of adult shops, was marketing two "toys" which they named with the first name and last initial of the two soccer players.

What is most unusual about this company is that they have copyrighted their stock certificate, which features very scantily clad women, and have defended their copyrights vigorously against anyone who publishes an image of the certificate on the web, according to a German friend of mine who deals in antique stock certificates. I was actually going to publish a scan of the certificate, of which I own a few, but I didn't want to deal with the copyright hassle, although I do consider it fair use. If you really want to see what it looks like, a Dutch company, HUGO VAN DER MOLEN'S, has a picture along with a few other stock certificates of the same "style".

The company was founded by Beate Uhse-Rotermund, a very entrepreneurial woman who got her pilots license at age 18, became Germany's first female stunt pilot, flew during World War II, and was still flying in her seventies. After WWII, she started selling products door to door to make a living, then expanded to mail order, finally to a chain of retail shops.

I Guess the Real Estate Market Really Is Dead: Sold House has Dead Body

A house that was sold by a bank in Spain included an extra bonus for the buyer, the dead body of the former owner.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wall Street Slide Show of the Week: Snow White Destroyed in China

An amusement park at the Shijingshan Amusement Park in Bejing, China destroyed a statue of a woman that looked like Snow White, along with destroying statues of seven dwarfs. The park said it wasn't a copy of the characters made famous by Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Amazon Buys DPReview (AMZN), which trades on NASDAQ, recently bought DPReview, a camera review and informational web site.

Google Ad: 'Click Here, Get Infected'

A security researcher ran a Google (GOOG) ad which said "Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!" Shockingly, over 400 people clicked on the ad. He is now running a different ad for research purposes, but has not yet revealed what the ad says. Google trades on NASDAQ.

Is the Video Store Industry Dying?

One of the smallest industry groups is the video store industry. Not only is it hard to find video store companies, of the ones that are out there, it's hard to find any that have market caps above $100 million. With the growth of video on demand through cable companies and the easy of video downloads on computers, seems to have had an impact on retail video outlets. Is it possible that there may be a stock that has developed a niche in this area and become a survivor.

If you just look at the stock prices of the two largest, Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Blockbuster Inc. (BBI), their stocks are down over where they were a year ago. Let's look at them more closely. Netflix offers movie rental subscription services exclusively online and has over 6 million subscribers. The stock has a P/E of 28 and a PEG of 1.2. Their latest year over year quarterly earnings growth was up 124% on a revenue growth increase of over 36%. Their balance sheet is in decent shape with over $380 million in the bank and no long term debt.

Blockbuster has attempted to combine the retail rental of videos, video games, and DVD's through both their stores and online. They recently reported their financials, stating that their first-quarter loss widened; this is in spite of the fact that their revenues went up by 5%. Although they have almost $400 million in cash, they have almost $1 billion in debt. This is one of those strange high institutional holding stocks that I had talked about in a previous article, with 129% of the shares owned by institutional and mutual fund owners.

Trans World Entertainment Corporation (TWMC) sells videos, video games, and music through mall-based retail entertainment stores and five online websites. Their trailing P/E is 14.4, their forward P/E is 58.5 and their PEG is a high 5.9. The company just reported that its chairman and CEO was paid $2.8 million last year who also receives rental income from the company for property and aircraft that he owns.

Movie Gallery Inc. (MOVI)is an Alabama based company which is a retailer and renter of DVD's and videos. They have a forward P/E of 12.2, over a billion dollars in debt, yet less than $33 million in cash. Their book value is negative $7.43 per share.

Author does not own any of the above.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Now If We Could Only Find a Correlation Between Sunspots and Stocks

An interesting writeup on correlations shows that there is a correlation between sunspots and the number of Republican Senators. I will have to look into whether there is a sunspots and stocks correlation.

I Didn't Even Know There was a Religious Boycott of Starbucks

Apparently there has been a lot of Christian backlash against a quote that appeared on the coffee cups of Starbucks (SBUX), which trades on NASDAQ. One writer describes why there is no need to get in a tizzy about the company.

Hawaiian Airlines Loses $500,000 Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s (HA) subsidiary, Hawaiian Airlines, lost $500,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The amount was awarded to a flight attendant due to an incident relating to a pilot. Hawaiian Holdings trades on the American Stock Exchange.

A Book for Business Travelers about Surviving Airport Screening

I just came across an interesting book called I Might As Well Be Naked: How to Survive Airport Screening With Your Clothes On by Natalia Ippolito, a former security screener with the TSA. This 190 page book intersperses a lot of info and tips with true stories of actual airport incidents, some strange, some funny, some both. In addition to check-in tips and packing tips, it also covers what to wear and not wear, dealing with laptops, and traveling with your family. The book has a checklist at the end of what can and cannot be packed [did you know that scissors are allowed in your carry-on if they are the right type]. It also has info on finding out if your name is similar to one that is on the no fly list and what to do if it is. It also talks about how to get an "exit card" which allows you leave the security area to return back to the airline counter, then bypass all the lines returning to security. The book can be ordered through the publisher,, or all the major booksellers.

Recreational Vehicles: Is this the Worst Industry?

If you look at the returns for the six major recreational vehicle manufacturers, during the last 12 months and even the last five years, two thirds of the stocks are trading at lower prices. It appears that high gas prices do have a strong effect on the sale of RV's. Investing in RV stocks might even be a play on lower gas prices, if you think they are going lower.

Coachmen Industries, Inc. (COA) has the Coachmen, Sportscoach, Georgie Boy, and Viking brands. It is also in the modular home business. The stock has negative earnings and a yield of 1.1%.

Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. (FLE) is the number one manufacturer of RV's including American Eagle, American Heritage, Southwind, and Tioga. Extremely high forward P/E of over 470.

Monaco Coach Corporation (MNC) has the the Beaver, Holiday Rambler, Monaco, McKenzie, R-Vision, and Safari brands. It has a forward P/E of 19 and a PEG of 3.25, with a yield of 1.5%.

National R.V. Holdings, Inc. (NVH) makes luxury RV's such as Dolphin, Sea Breeze, Tradewinds and Tropi-Cal. The company has negative earnings.

Thor Industries, Inc. (THO) makes the Airstream and Dutchmen motor homes. The stock has a P/E of 14 and a PEG of 1.15. It pays a slight yield of .7%.

Winnebago Industries, Inc. [WGO], a famous name in RV's, has a P/E of 28 and a PEG of 1.3; it yields 1.2%.

Author does not own any of the above.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Google Earth May Get Sound

You may be able to get sounds overlaid on your Google Earth. Google Earth is a free service, offered by Google (GOOG) that provides satellite aerial photographs of the globe. A California company has produced sound software that can be used with Google Earth, so you can hear birds over rainforests, etc.

Google Discovers 10% of All Web Pages Malicious

Google Inc. (GOOG), which trades on NASDAQ, researched 4.5 million random web pages and discovered that 10% of the pages contained malicious code called "drive-by downloads".

Outsourcing of Local News to India

The web site which covers the local news in Pasadena, California has hired two reporters in India to cover the Pasadena City Council meetings. They watch the meetings on the web then write their stories on what they see and hear, all done from India.

Can I Invest in the Post Office? Postal Rates Going Up Again

In case you haven't heard, and there hasn't been much news on this that I've seen, postage rates are going up Monday, May 14. First class rates for the first ounce are increasing by 2 cents, to 41 cents. Postcard postage is going from 24 cents to 26 cents. Priority mail is going from $4.05 to $4.60. Some of the new rates can be found at the USPS web site.

ED Stocks Pointing Up

If ten years ago, someone had told you that a United States Senator and presidential candidate [Bob Dole] would be advertising an aphrodisiac for men on television, you would have thought they were crazy. Every evening when I watch TV, I will see at least one ad, and sometimes several ads, for a pill that treats erectile dysfunction [ED], also known as impotence. And this is during prime time. Do you realize that seeing such an ad would have been unheard of just ten years ago, since Viagra wasn’t approved for use in erectile dysfunction by the Food and Drug Administration until March 27, 1998.

Viagra, which has the chemical name sildenafil citrate, was the first drug approved to treat ED in the United States. It is manufactured by Pfizer Inc. (PFE), which manufactures and markets numerous other drugs including Lipitor for elevated cholesterol, Norvasc for hypertension, Zoloft for central nervous system disorders, Celebrex for osteoarthritis, Zyrtec for allergies, and many others. This is one of the highest paying major pharmaceutical stocks with a yield of 4.3%. The P/E is 10.5 and the PEG is 2.5. Latest year over year quarterly earnings from continuing operations were up over 245%, however revenues were down over 7%.

Another player in the ED market is the famous aspirin maker Bayer AG (BAY), which produces vardenafil, or more commonly known as Levitra. This German stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has a P/E of 27 and a PEG of 1.6. It pays a small yield of 1.5%.

Last but not least is Cialis, with the chemical name tadalafil, that is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company (LLY). Cialis is sometimes referred to as the weekend pill because its potency lasts for 36 hours. Lilly has a P/E of 27 and a PEG of 2.3. They pay a dividend yield of 2.9%.

Please note that sales of the above three products make up only a small portion of their company’s total revenue. The stocks can be tracked at

Author owns PFE and BAY.