A Foodie Note and an Industrial Stock

Mon, 2014/08/11 - 1:58pm | Your editor

 

While I am not sure what an industrial stock might be, Barron's today quotes William Blair analyst Nick Heymann as favoring this sector. Only one of his selections is outside the USA and a smallish cap. He tips BBD/B in Canada at C$3.80/sh. Curiously enough, this is a stock I was recently credited with recommending the same stock in Investor's Digest of Canada, the Canadian Barron's. Naturally I am particularly proud of being treated as an expert on Canadian shares by this magazine published in Toronto. The article quoting me came out on August 1 while the Barron's one appeared August 11.

Today I got extremely positive news for my Kinder Morgan Partners stock, a purely USA holding which soared 17.87% so far today on news that the Kinder Morgan group will abandon the Master Limited Partnership structure and merge it into its parent. The Kinder Morgan outfit was not mentioned by the Barron's MLP panelists whose ideas were also published today.

 

At least one piece of good news from India as it moves toward privatization and liberalization is notable. It is not the ipo of Steel Authority of India Ltd, but the launch of Indian real estate investment trusts, of which more below for paid subscribers.

More on this good news and other developments follows from our stocks, along with more details on the Toronto share for paid subscribers and other news from India, Ireland, Israel, Britain, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Portugal, and Singapore, plus a company quarterly of exceptional juiciness and a recommendation for foodies.

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Portfolios Updated

Sun, 2014/08/10 - 6:53pm | Your editor

England was hit by a hurricane but we had already left on one of the worst flights I ever was on. FIrst they delayed loading us for 2 1/2 hours while the mechanics fixed one of the engines which had gone wrong. Then we arrived at JFK and there was no landing slot so we hung around another 45 minutes, at least in comfortable seats. Then one of our bags was not on the carousel and it turned out it was left in London. It was my husband's stuff, not mine, but among other things it means he doesn't  have his keys or his checkbook. Since he had already confronted a stolen passport, his holiday was not exactly a success; I had business in London and Paris and he came along for the (ha ha) ride, and to visit his London family and some friends.

So to make up for my month of travel I prepared tables today for the paid and pre subscribers. You can view the spreadsheets you are entitiled to see at www.global-investing.com. Now that I did the closed positions for the readers, I also have to do them for taxes, but that will be tomorrow, probably after BA gets my husband his keys and shoes and summer jacket, and all the dirty laundry for me. Visit www.global-investing.com to view the tables. You should click printer-friendly format if the spreadsheet is too wide for your screen.

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New Mexican Revolution

Fri, 2014/08/08 - 6:28am | Your editor

Mexico's Senate now has passed the historic reform of its energy and power sectors which will be open to private and foreign investment for the first time in nearly 80 years. The President is expected to imminently sign it into law. Much now depends on the implementation and regulations which will be politically fraught with pressures from Pemex and its powerful unions favoring the status quo. But symbolically, Mexico is now part of the world oil business. This is a new Mexican revolution. We own 3 stocks to benefit.

For all my readers who have been following the problems of my husband's passport, he now has a replacement which cost the earth but will enable us to return to the US this coming weekend. And for fans of our East End Pakistani computer repair wizard and his son the lawyer-to-be, a further visit has established that Dave is his English nickname but Daoud is his “real” name. We seem to have become customers of the family head because besides being an early IT expert, he was also a member of the UK press corps, a correspondent for a Pakistani newspaper. I only recalled that when I met him again to get a laptop de-virused yesterday. He still works as a journalist. The boy wants to be a specialist in intellectual property and has no interest in helping the downtrodden refugees and stateless persons.

 

More for paid subscribers from Ireland, Switzerland, France, Canada,, Britain, Jordan, Russia, Israel, Mexico, and Norway today. Two new stock picks and two company reports as well.

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Physical Gold Offer

Thu, 2014/08/07 - 9:50am | Your editor

Nudged by your editor and others, BullionVault.com, our advertiser, an affiliate of the World Gold Council, now offers 100 gram gold bars at very low prices, efficiently cast and delivered to your home in the USA or Britain. The World Gold Council, which groups gold-mining companies, sponsors investment vehicles for gold like the SPDR Gold ETF, GLD which saw huge inflows last month, and also backs our bullion trading and holding advertiser which now will deliver gold as well.

Your editor and the vast majority of BullionVault users prefer to keep their bullion safe inside a vault. Fully insured at the lowest costs, it's ready for instant sale at maximum value 24/7. But if you've bought gold on BullionVault, it's your property and you now have the right to withdraw it should you choose.

Now you can withdraw gold from BullionVault in the form of a Pamp Fortuna 100 gram bar which will be smelted for you and delivered for $200 for making the bar and shipping it to your confirmed address in the USA. In Britain, the charge is GBP 65.

These are cheap prices for gold bars, but remember you will have to pay insurance after taking delivery; leaving the gold with Bullion Vault (BV) means cheap insurance. And you will have to send the gold back if you want to sell it, whereas leaving it with the company lets you trade on 4 bullion markets anytime you want to. So I am not taking delivery, but some people may want to get their own gold bars at a significant discount from what banks or bullion dealers would demand.

If you are an existing customer and already own enough gold in a single vault, you'll pay £65 for bar manufacture and insured shipping to your UK home address or $200 if you live in the USA.

How can BV offer bars at such prices? It is a limited offer for about a month that may not be repeated unless it pays for the BV. It plans to batch up the orders received during that window and place an order with the bar manufacturer, meaning it will not have to finance stock.

The bar is a standard size from a respected London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) refiner. Batching orders will keep the operational burden to a minimum and keep prices low. You can withdraw bullion from BV in other formats or sizes but different rates and processes will apply.

To get a gold bar, or several, you need:

*A validated BullionVault account (identity and ownership of bank account proven).

*At least 100g gold held in a single vault within your BullionVault account.

*Enough money in your account to pay for manufacture and insured shipping.

*Proof of your residential address for shipping.

Bullion Vault will only deliver to a client's home address as proven by a recent credit card statement or utility bill. While only now available in the US and Britian, the offer may be made to other countries soon.

To buy a bar, visit www.global-investing.com to click onto the ad and:

1) open a BullionVault account

2) fund your account by by bank transfer (UK) or by wire (US)

3) buy gold in one of the secure vaults (paying a commission 0.05 to 0.50% depending on order size)

4) upload proof of identity, address and ownership of the bank account used to deposit funds.

BV is the world’s largest online gold and silver investment service, allowing private investors access to the professional bullion markets. BullionVault manages $2 billion in client property for over 50,000 active users. BullionVault gold and silver is securely stored in professional vaults. Because of this, the custody fee, which covers storage and insurance, is much lower than anything comparable.

Only BullionVault gives you the opportunity to buy gold and silver at the benchmark London Prices published on the LBMA website. It’s free to open a BV account and typically takes under a minute.

Bullion Vault is part-owned by the World Gold Council and a full member of the LBMA. BV has won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Its users rate it positively (4.7 out of 5 based on 106 reviews). Here are the telephone numbers if you don't want to do this on the web on your own:

UK and International: +44 (0)208-6000-130; US and Canada toll-free: 1-888-908-2858. Opening Hours: 9am to 10pm (UK), 4am to 5pm (EST), Monday-Friday.

Addresses:

Galmarley Ltd T/A BullionVault, Landmark House (12th Floor), Blacks Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DP, United Kingdom

BullionVault Inc., 575 Madison Avenue, 10th floor, New York NY 10022 USA. Note that my company gets a royalty if people join BullionVault, where I personally hold my physical gold, via our website, www.global-investing.com, which doesn't cost you anything.

More for paid subscribers follows including a batch of quarterly reports and good news and bad.

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Me and Warren Buffett

Tue, 2014/08/05 - 8:20am | Your editor

Today I face what the locals call an “embarras de richesse”, a pot of cash from my Sunday profit- and loss-taking (both because of taxes; I don't want to go into hock to Obama, Cuomo, and de Blasio, all off whom tax my earnings plus capital gains outside my IRA. That means half the money is in my IRA, by the way, because my investments in taxable and tax-free accounts are similar, both following my newsletter's advice.

So like Warren Buffett I am going into cash because the pricing on Wall Street doesn't offer enough temptation. In fact I will put the cash into our bond picks until the inevitable reversal I expect takes place, after which I intend to redeploy the money into new idea my team of journalist-detectives will turn up around the globe. Meanwhile I have yield recommendations which my readers know about, in foreign preferreds.

My main reason for selling a reasonably balanced bunch of gainers and losers (outside the IRA) was that my performance has been too good lately. In the past 12-mo our gain has been 10.84% on our holdings, according to the Dow-Jones newsletter tracking newsletters, Hulbert's Financial Digest. The performance level is relatively comparable to the 5-yr performance level of 11.33% and the 10-yr of 12.14%. That is our steady Eddie side.

But the range of outcomes this year has been very mixed compared to historic ranges. The level of huge gains and huge losses is much greater than normal vs our track record. That is what is scaring me.

 

Today we have interesting but unclear news from our advertiser, www.bullionvault.com, a very cheap and safe and legal way to buy physical gold. You can click through to their site from ours. Now they will offer US clients with enough funds to cover the shipment of their bullion the right to take certified delivery of 100 grams or more of their gold. The cost of course depends on what insurance the client ultimately takes on the bullion delivered. I could should I wish too just put my gold into my existing bank safe deposit box.

I am not really interested in having bullion (as opposed to jewelry) around the place. Others may be more interested, but until I get the costing details from the advertiser I would not advise taking delivery mainly because I think owners should be ready to trade their gold, and because it all depends on the cost.

But having said that, hard money investors might be reassured about the bona fides of bullion vault, which is one of the World Gold Council's investments to market the gold its members mine. The best known of these marketing entities is the SPDR Gold Fund, GLD, but this is another very respectable and straight gold investment vehicle.

 

More for paid subscribers on our trades and news from Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Singapore, China, Mexico, Luxembourg, and Britain including a good quarterly report and a mixed one from our companies follows. There will be no blog tomorrow as I am returning to London with my passport-less hubby. He will have to spend a fortune getting a new passport for the return to the USA. But the malefactors did not get his wallet which would have been worse.

I am grateful to all the readers who told me to never carry my passport with me. In France you are legally required to have an identify paper with you and a passport is the thing you use if you are a foreigner.

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Identity Theft

Mon, 2014/08/04 - 5:10am | Your editor

We were slow on the uptake yesterday and it took 4 hours from when the pair of miscreants cornered my husband for us to realize that they had opened his fanny pack and stolen his UK passport. (He is a British subject not an American although we live in the USA. Luckily they missed his wallet.) He filed a declaration yesterday afternoon with the French police who kept asking if the baddies were Eastern European or African, but they barely spoke to us so we think they were probably French.

Now mon mari is at the Paris UK consulate to try to get a passport replacement fast. About 15 years ago my US passport was stolen out of my backpack on the RER fast train so this is a familiar problem here in Paris. I think the passports are fed into the underground for use by terrorists or (I hope) displaced persons.

After that horror we went to a concert at the Billettes Church Cloister on the Rue des Archives, mainly because the rush of Chinese tourist groups kept us from visiting my favorite Paris Church, the Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de la Cité, builkt in only 8 years during the 13th century by Louis IX, later St Louis, to house Jesus's Crown of Thorns which some Jerusalem gonif had sold him. It is now available for veneration at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Louis paid for the relic about 5x what the perfect light-filled royal chapel with its brilliant stained glass and painted columns to house it had cost him.

The Billettes Cloister is the only remaining medieval cloister left inside Paris, and it is alongside a 19th century Lutheran Church which on Sunday afternoon is full of emerging market Evangelical preachers and their flock. Martin Luther of course jumped over a Cloister wall to begin his career. The Cloister concert featured 2 soloists and 5 choristers singing secular and religious music from the high Middle Ages, led by senior choirmistress of Franco-African heritage with magnificent corn-rows. All the singers, who were unaccompanied by instruments, were women, 5 sopranos and 2 altos. In the Middle Ages they would have been boys or chaps like post-operation Abelard. It was comforting after the passport panic and the audience was encouraged to join in a few numbers with easy verses like Hallelujah.

More for paid subscribers about the Trinity-minus-one plus other news from China, Holland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Britain, Japan, Israel, Colombia, Portugal, and Switzerland today.

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Paris on My Mind

Sun, 2014/08/03 - 8:45am | Your editor

Being back in the City of Light where I lived so long, I am having deep thoughts about investing prospects, not because I have been reading the Piketty book, because I haven't boought it yet, but just because my tracked performance has been so much better than usual and I am more likely to be gaining from luck than smarts. What this means for paid subscribers follows. Read more »

Beating the August Doldrums

Fri, 2014/08/01 - 7:12am | Your editor

The afternoon after I last filed my blog I headed for the computer repair shop a few blocks from where my husband was born to pick up the notebook, which I am now writing on. The store owner, whom we have known for about 15 years, had flown off to Pakistan because his grandfather had died, and we met the person more or less in charge of the business in his absence, Dave, aged 14. I know Dave is not an Islamic name but that's what he calls himself. The young man is not into IT; he has determined to become a lawyer and has already at his quite young age enrolled in university level summer school programs in law at Cambridge (and last year in Oxford) to reach his goal more rapidly. (In Britain people study law as an undergraduate subject rather than after their BA.)

Since I am familiar with the behavior of 14-year-olds all I can say is that Dave is a stunning product of British free education in a depressed part of London combined with tough parental pressure. He speaks posh with no trace of an accent or dropped aspirates. I assume his name is an Anglicization of Daoud but I didn't dare ask because it would not have been politically correct.

And as you can see the computer is now working fine although I suspect Dave had no role in the replacement of my broken screen after I dropped the thing.

Today is the August 1 and I am in Paris where the start of the holiday month is taken very seriously indeed. Last night when we went out to eat there were almost no available tables in the Marais neighborhood where we used to live and we finally wound up at a great Chinese restaurant opposite the Tour de l'Horloge on the Rue St. Martin, called Iris. It proved that even a basic Chinese meal in France is miles better than one even in New York City. But the August effect no longer is confined to French firms. Everyone rushes out results.

To quote the CEO of one of our companies during a conference call today, “we try to keep summer calls short”. Unfortunately companies like his are also anxious to report before compulsory vacation begins in most of Europe where the 2-week period allowed to American workers is considered barbaric and equivalent of slavery. More from this company on its last quarter from Ireland, and similar reports others in Spain, Israel, Canada, Colombia, and Brazil, plus mere news from Finland, Mexico, Singapore and many of the same countries again.

Yesterday saw a long-expected reversal of US market rises because better growth is expected to result in less support for financial markets from the Fed. And the USA grew 4% annualized in Q2. It is a good-news-is-bad-news phenomenon not helped by messy quarterly results especially from banks aboard.

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Cornering Putin

Wed, 2014/07/30 - 6:03am | Your editor

Today the Cold War resumed as both the USA and the European Community imposed new economic sanctions on Russian companies and banks, because the Putin government had violated international treaty commitments by furnishing eastern Ukrainian separatists with banned weaponry. And because it was not changing tack despite the horrible results including the death of hundreds of innocent airline passengers.

The impact of sanctions is greatest on companies which operate in the Russian energy sector, but there are further implications affection some of our holdings as well. They are detailed for our paid subscribers below.

Having studied the Russian language for two years when in college, chatting over tea with little old Tsarist ladies who had escaped the Revolution as children, I developed what then (and now again) is called a St. Peterburg accent. But if I ever got to chat with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, I would not trust the Russian I had barely used for decades, and would revert to my first foreign language, which was German which he speaks fluently.

Cornering Putin, what I would tell him is that expansionist populist hysteria coupled with corruption masking itself as socialism is not a good long-term foundation for political power. Good propaganda produces short-term foreign and economic policies. The outcome is dangerous: embargoes, deprivation, more crude nationalism, and perhaps a slide into a war nobody wants.

Saying this has far more impact in German anyway, because that was what how the Nazis tried to run Germany.

 

More for paid subscribers from China, Finland, Mexico, Canada, Portugal, The Netherlands, Britain, Japan, Colombia, Brazil, and Spain, plus fund updates.

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Id Al Fitr in the East End

Tue, 2014/07/29 - 7:18am | Your editor

Today after Eid El-Fitr I have hopes of getting my notebook computer repaired here in the East End by my friendly Pakistani expert. I managed to break the monitor screen when I dropped it Sunday. He is working on getting the spare parts needed from Samsung and then installing it on my computer. I am terribly dependent on technology as I wander around Europe.
When I went yesterday afternoon to the computer shop, the area was full of people dressed to the nines to go to parties celebrating the end of Ramadan. The level of smartness and cost in ladies' outfits was wide, with some of them meeting the sophisticated standards for bridesmaids in a US wedding. The men were more boring, either in long white robes or Bangladeshi suits, but one little fellow barely more than 5 was dressed in a perfect British 3-piece white suit.
Many little girls barely older than he was both had their hair covered (although they were well below puberty) and also wore adult makeup, lipstick and mascara, which I found jarring. This may represent a compromise between their old-fashioned mothers and their new British freedom. Read more »