What We Don't Buy, sent again

Mon, 2017/08/14 - 2:16pm | Your editor
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Oh What A Lovely War has been postponed. It means that American diplomacy and democracy need to be improved by the Trump Administration after the futile—or dangerous—threats against North Korea. Wall Street is up with a sigh of relief but the real market rise will move away from that bubbling cauldron to other lands, mostly in Asia.

To start with Japan chalked up an exceptional and world-beating 4% annualized growth rate in the June quarter despite the high yen exchange rate which was supposed to hold it back. My theory is that the country's long-lived aging population is fed up with low returns on savings and is spending more freely, perhaps for the good of the grandchildren.

China is diplomatically in clover as North Korea and Trump trade threats and insults. Economically it is probably not doing as well as Japan, or even South Korea. More on this for the paying subs below,

And in Washington DC, after the president produced a feeble attack on all sides over the Charlottesburg murder, his chief right-wing aide, Steve Bannon, of Breitbart, is reportedly on the skids.

Meanwhile the ominously named Pres. Lenin Morales is seeking to get into the hot market of brine-extracted lithium. Lenin M. designated four pilot sites and hired a German PR firm to bring investors into Bolivian brine. I think he needs to change his name.


For the first time in weeks there is only one company in our portfolio reporting today, so you get a special report on two stocks we examined and will not be buying and one we bought in error and have to sell.


*Eco-invest's Max Deml tipped a photo-voltaic specialist company from South Korea, Shinsung E&G Co. and he has added it to his photo-voltaic 30-stock index. Shinsung's ENG was founded in 1972 to build clean-rooms for electronic companies and was listed in Seoul starting in 1996. It began to diversify into solar crystal cells and spun out the E&G arm and ENG plus a joint holding company in 2008. In 2016 the group reacquired its 3 entities under Shinsung Solar Energy label and bought out holders of the other listed entities. It then renamed new parent Shinsung E&G early this year. It trades as KR7011930005.

There are no ADRs yet and no foreign listing, as South Korean rules on going global are very strict.

Shinsung E&G has its HQ in Seongnam near Seoul and factories there and has subs in the USA, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hungary (not far from where Max hangs out). CEO Lee Wan-Keun plans to offer more solar energy products beside cells and modules, like solar power stations.

Last year turnover at Shinsung rose 27% to KW 217 bn, about $165 mn and EPS soared 535 to 36.54 won/sh. Max recommends the stock at 2130 won saying its market cap is only 1.8x its annual sales level but warns that its p/e ratio is near 50.

We are passing on this idea until Shinsung creates an ADR because there is no way we can buy in Seoul. I was keen to find a bargain there after the near nuclear showdown last week but this ain't it.


*The U shares of Royal Bank of Scotland were not among those which RBS announced plans to redeem with its H1 report, saying it was not cost effective. RMS will not be able to redeem its U shares until 2027 under the prospectus, so I looked into them as a possible home for oursoon redeemable RBS high-yielding non-cumulative preferred: the L and the F shares from the parent, and the C shares from Nat West, now a sub.

There are many reasons NOT to buy the U shares which bear variable interest based on the Libor rate (London Interbank Offer Rate). It is being abolished within 5 years because of manipulation by the banks which deal in this benchmark, formerly used to set interest rates for some mortgages in the USA and and Europe. That means there will be no benchmark at all from 2022 to 2027 and the carry rate of 5.14% will be the maximum payable.

The other reason for not buying the U shares is that the minimum purchase is 10 shares with a face value of $10,000, meaning an investment of $100,000 (give or take a few grand depending on how the market feels right now.) It is only for institutional buyers and therefore doesn't belong here.

If any of you are qualified to buy its dusip is 780097AU and it bears variable interest at 2.32% over the 3-mo Libor rate, along with the carry rate of 5.14%. The share was recommended last week by Renaissance Research on www.seekingalpha.com, a website addressing retail investors, and was made an editor's choice.


*I am being cautious after finding that there was no US brokerage custodian who would accept the Blackrock-managed Canadian dollar denominated XFR in Toronto, the Blackrock C$ Floating Rate Note iShares ETF I researched it in Morningstar. It turns out that it was not supposed to have been bought by a US person. Under St Ronald Reagan the US passed a law against passive foreign investment funds or PFICs which apparently XFR can (maybe) be classified as. So the brokers don't want to hold it. And I was never supposed to have been allowed to buy it except the Fidelity brokers were very keen to get brownie points for booking the expensive trade (which involved currency conversion fees and high Toronto commissions).


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