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February 2010

Recs

2

Home Despot's new dividend policy gives the stock potential for income investors

February 24, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: HD , LOW

I'm more interested in Lowe's than in Home Despot, because the former is more focused and has better customer service and inventory management. However, HD does yield 2.9% and it raised its dividend by 5%. It also indicated that it was targeting a payout ratio of 40%, up from 30%.  [more]

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Fed hikes discount rate to 0.75%, market panics

February 19, 2010 – Comments (0)

The spigot that controlled the flow of money into the U.S. economy has been jammed all the way in the open position for months now, plus the Fed was basically pouring more money into the economy on top of that. Now, it appears that the Fed has turned the dial controlling the gushing flow of money two clicks to the right.  [more]

Recs

4

Buffett: latest buys and sells

February 17, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: BDX

CNN Money has news on Berkshire's latest sales and purchases. Buffett is reducing his energy holdings. He also divested his other railroad holdings, possibly not by choice. He's been trimming Johnson and Johnson and Procter and Gamble.  [more]

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4

Global warming might actually increase snowfall in the Midwest

February 10, 2010 – Comments (9) | RELATED TICKERS: CMP

Interestingly enough, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post blogs that many climate change scenarios could see increased snowfall in the US. Snow requires moisture in the air as well as cold temperatures. And global warming could get a lot of moisture into the air, according to the US Global Change Research Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The current snow storm can't be attributed to SUVs, as Klein says, but heavier snowstorms in general are actually quite consistent with global warming. I suppose this scenario would be good for Compass Minerals, but they'll do just fine if weather patterns stay normal.  [more]

Recs

2

Compass pointing the right way after all

February 09, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: CMP

As I'm sitting in two feet of snow in Washington DC, Compass Minerals (CMP) is up over 8% on good quarterly results. The stock had fallen to $65, and is now back up over $70. Salt sales in the quarter were down, but some variability in salt sales is normal. Their fertilizer sales may be starting to rebound - they pushed a price increase through and are seeing increased volume.   [more]

Recs

4

Pitching Lowes

February 07, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: LOW

Lowe's is not a popular stock with the CAPS community. However, this home improvement retailer is very efficiently run and has a wide moat. Given the size and fragmentation of the home improvement market, Lowe's can easily coexist with Home Depot and consolidate the market. They're set up for an eventual duopoly. And, while Lowe's is smaller, it is much better managed than Home Depot - HD did a fair bit of diworsification during the boom years, whereas Lowe's stayed focused.  [more]

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Enterprise GP Holdings update

February 05, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: EPE.DL

After getting above $40, EPE has dropped to the point where I'd think about buying more in the last few days (I likely won't because I reinvest my distributions and this is already my largest holding). The fundamentals of the underlying MLPs are pretty sound. THe MLPs are likely moving in sympathy with oil prices. However, the underlying MLPs, EPD and ETP, are more gas pipelines than oil pipelines. They are both somewhat exposed to gas prices. However, they aren't that exposed - and besides, gas has been up the last few days. So the recent drop in EPE and the underlying MLPs is a bit puzzling, but it's not a terrible development. Again, these firms are only somewhat exposed to commodity prices. Their liquidity is strong. I don't see anything to panic over.  [more]

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Musings on FPA Crescent's short holdings

February 03, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: ISRG , APOL

I just bought a fairly large chunk of FPA Crescent (FPACX) for my IRA. I appreciate its flexible nature and its proven ability to preserve capital in down markets. I was going through their portfolio holdings, and I noticed that they are short Intuitive Surgical and Apollo Group, albeit these are pretty small short positions.   [more]

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