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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan Defends their Recession Call

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, talks about the U.S. economy. Achuthan speaks with Tom Keene and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)
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Highlights:
  • Job losses for 35 to 54 year olds are approaching one million jobs lost since this "recovery" began.  This is where you make and spend the most money and is at the core to what is wrong. 
  • If you are doing well, then in the recent economy you are doing very well.  If you are near Wall Street, then "it is good to be close to the helicopters which are spewing cash."
  • The Fed would "not have four years of zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing forever and Q-ternity if everything was OK."
  • "We believe a recession began last year."
  • "Sometimes it takes up to two years" for final GDP revisions which can be large.
  • Past downward revisions to GDP were 2 to 4 percentage points lower after the last few recessions.
  • The Fed is using "trickle down theory" of the "wealth effect" hoping higher stock and housing prices will stimulate the economy.
  • The pace of growth in home prices will decelerate. 
  • The current GDP data shows US growth is lower now than in Japan during their "lost decades."
Feel free to add any items I missed or you think is important in the comments.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Jim Cramer Charitable Trust Performance

Jim Cramer's "Action Alerts Plus" Charitable Trust Portfolio Performance

The July 2013 issue of Mark Hulbert's "Long Term Performance Ratings" shows the performance for over 500 newsletter portfolios. He updates this report twice a year. I show a snapshot of it here.

2013 YTD:  On page 8, Hulbert shows "Jim Cramer's Actions Alerts PLUS" portfolio  gained 9.8% during the first half of this year.  That sounds good until you compare it to the Wilshire 5000 (Total Market) index which gained 14.0% with dividends reinvested.  You can buy the total market index with a low exchange traded fund (ETF) from Vanguard like VTI.
Performance Since Inception:  On page 8, Hulbert also shows "Jim Cramer's Actions Alerts PLUS" portfolio has ONLY gained 12.4% per year since 12/31/08 while the Wilshire 5000 (Total Market) index gained 16.8% over the same period with dividends reinvested. 

  • This means over the last 4.5 years, Cramer's stock portfolio underperformed the simple Wilshire 5000 exchange traded fund (ETF) from Vanguard (VTI) by 4.4% per year!
Jim Cramer Charitable Trust Returns & APR
Portfolio Performance
Year Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus Kirk's Newsletter Aggressive Core Portfolio 
Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio
More Data
2009 +28.5% +26.2% +33.5%
2010 +14.2% +14.3% +20.4%
2011
-9.5% -0.9% -3.9%
2012
+15.9% +13.6% +7.1%
2013 - 1H
+9.8% +10.2% +9.1%
Total Years 4.5 4.5 4.5
Total Return
69.0% 78.9% 80.4%

Good
Better
BEST!
4.5-year
Annualized Return
12.4% 13.8% 14.0%
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Compare my simple, easy to follow strategy to all the buys and sells for Jim Cramer's portfolio before you decide which strategy you wish to follow! 

Kirk's Newsletter Aggressive Core Portfolio  is made up of 80% in equity index funds (or ETFs) from Vanguard plus about 20% in fixed income that can vary from cash to bonds, depending on my outlook for interest rate risk.  It is very simple and easy to follow with only one portfolio change made in the last year.
Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio is made up of individual stocks, cash, bonds and ETFs.  The portfolio, like Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, usually has about 30% in cash (or very liquid fixed income) to take advantage of buying opportunities.  I make, on average, one trade a month.  I list buy and sell prices in my monthly newsletter for the portfolio so you can set "limit orders" ahead of time at your broker.


Compare my simple, easy to follow strategy to all the buys and sells for one of Cramer's portfolios before you decide which strategy you wish to follow! 

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dubai Gold Diet - Your Weight in Gold Campaign

CNBC's "matronly" Sue Herera just reported "50% of the population in Dubai is now considered overweight to obese and that is a HUGE, HUGE change." 

According to the International Business Times:

  • Because of the increasing obesity rates in the UAE, many health campaigns have been launched in the UAE, but Dubai’s campaign could be the most successful for individuals looking to lose weight. 
  • According to Agence France-Presse, the “Your Weight in Gold” campaign is paying one gram of gold for every kilogram, 2.2 pounds, of weight lost. 
A gram of gold is worth about $45 at current prices.
  •  In order to get paid to lose weight, individuals must lose at least two kilograms, 4.4 pounds, before Aug. 16
  • The campaign does run during Ramadan, with its customary fasting from dawn until sunset, but does not mean the program will result in a fortune lost for the municipality. As AFP notes, while individuals cannot eat or drink any liquids until sunset, many Muslims tend to indulge in large feasts after the required fasting.
Local media Wednesday quotes Dubai official Hussain Lootah as saying there is no limit on the payout for the golden losers, who must sign up and weigh in Friday. 

The minimum drop is two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, to cash in.

Today Gold is selling for $1,228 per oz.  

II: Investors Intelligence Survey of Bulls and Bears vs. DJIA

Investors Intelligence Survey Data of Bulls-Bears vs. Weekly DJIA

The “Investors Intelligence Survey“ or IIS is one of the oldest weekly sentiment indicators used today. Charts of the Investors’ Intelligence Survey (IIS) “Bulls over Bulls plus Bears” versus the market are key tools for stock market technical analysis or sentiment. The IIS began in January 1963 by A.W. Cohen and has been published every week ever since.
click for larger Image
More info at Investors' Intelligence Sentiment Indicator

Long Term Results that Speak for ThemselvesSince 9/30/98 inception, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 450%vs. the S&P500 UP only 106% vs. NASDAQ UP only 101% (All through 6/30/13)
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  • "Auto Buy" and "Auto Sell" levels set ahead of time for target buy and sell levels for my securities.  This allows you to place "limit orders" with your broker in advance so you can go about your business.
  • All questions about what I write answered by Email.  If what I write is not clear to you, just ask! 
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Detroit Bankrupt & Chicago's Municipal Bond Ratings Slashed

I read a hear a lot of nonsense that only "Wall Street" benefits from low interest rates while "Main Street" suffers. This is not true. 
  • Low rates allow the Federal Government to keep spending on payroll rather than slash jobs. 
  • Low rates also give cities and states time to refinance their debt and offer lower rates on municipal bonds that they issue to pay salaries under deficit spending.
    >>We had riots in California when UC Berkeley students were asked to pay more towards their subsidized education.
  • Low rates help the stock market.  Pension funds, especially CALPERS for California public employees, are under funded.  A rising stock market makes it easier for CALPERS to meet their pension obligations without raising taxes or slashing benefits.  >>Slashing pension benefits would lead to riots similar to those seen in Greece when the Greeks were forced into austerity to get loans from the EU to avoid bankruptcy.
The Fed hopes they can cause real estate prices to recover so property taxes go up giving states and municipalities more money. The trouble is, even with artificially low interest rates, many municipalities are still in trouble.

Moody's slashes Chicago's Muni Bond Rating

Mounting pension liabilities have cost Chicago another cut in its credit standing as Moody’s Investors Service reduced the general-obligation debt rating for the nation’s third-largest city by three steps to A3, citing a $36 billion retirement-fund deficit and “unrelenting public safety demands” on the budget. 
Moody’s also placed the city’s $7.7 billion in general-obligation bonds under a negative outlook, indicating another cut may be made. The moves follow a review that began in April, when the New York-based rating company said it was reevaluating the credit effects of municipal retirement obligations.
Detroit may file for bankruptcy within days if emergency manager Kevyn Orr can not reach agreement with the city's bondholders, pension funds and other debtees over restructuring $20B of long-term liabilities. The plan is to offer secured creditors much of what they're owed but to provide pennies on the dollar to unsecured bondholders, unions and pension funds. Municipal-worker retirees would be especially hard hit, receiving less than 10% of what they're owed.
Detroit Pension Funds Sue to Block City Bankruptcy Filing
Two Detroit pension funds sued the city’s emergency manager and the governor of Michigan, asking that a court find a bankruptcy filing would conflict with the state’s constitutional protection of public retirees’ rights. 
The General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit filed the lawsuit yesterday in state court in Ingham County, Michigan, seeking a judgment that Governor Rick Snyder can’t authorize a bankruptcy filing that could reduce pension benefits

Long Term Results that Speak for Themselves

Since 9/30/98 inception, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 450%

vs. the S&P500 UP only 106% vs. NASDAQ UP only 101% (All through 6/30/13)

  • Subscribe to my service NOW and get the July 2013 Issue for FREE!  
    Your 1 year, 12 issue subscription will start with next month's issue.
  • Get email alerts when I buy or sell securities for my explore portfolio
  • "Auto Buy" and "Auto Sell" levels set ahead of time for target buy and sell levels for my securities.  This allows you to place "limit orders" with your broker in advance so you can go about your business.
  • All questions about what I write answered by Email.  If what I write is not clear to you, just ask!
  • Only $155 per year via PayPal & $150 if you send a check.

Monday, July 15, 2013

ECRI WLI Growth near 2.3 Yr High & SPY Sets A Record High

This morning I posted a new article at Seeking Alpha titled:

S&P500 & SPY At New Record Highs While ECRI's WLI Near Multi-Year High

In that article I pointed out the current records for the S&P500 and SPY:
"On Friday July 12, 2013 the S&P500 closed at a new, all-time closing high of 1680.19. The S&P500 made its all-time intraday high on May 22, 2013 at 1,687.18."
AND
"This chart shows SPY currently is only 0.06 below its all-time intraday high."
Since posting that article, SPY has made a record, new all-time intraday high shown in this graph.
Click to view full size images here on the blog
  • Subscribe to my Newsletter service NOW and get the July 2013 Issue for FREE!  
    Your 1 year, 12 issue subscription will start with next month's issue.
  • Get email alerts when I buy or sell securities for my explore portfolio
  • "Auto Buy" and "Auto Sell" levels set ahead of time for target buy and sell levels for my securities.  This allows you to place "limit orders" with your broker in advance so you can go about your business.
  • All questions about what I write answered by Email.  If what I write is not clear to you, just ask!
  • Only $155 per year via PayPal & $150 if you send a check.

More  S&P500 Charts

More 
SPY Charts


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ultratech Secures Repeat Advanced Packaging (AP) Order

Ultratech Secures Repeat AP Order Win With OSAT Customer

Major Asian OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) Company Orders Ultratech AP300W for High-volume Advanced Packaging Applications

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ultratech, Inc. ( My UTEK Charts), a leading supplier of lithography and laser-processing systems used to manufacture semiconductor devices and high-brightness LEDs (HB-LEDs) announced that it has received a repeat order from a leading outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) company in Asia. The AP300W lithography system built on Ultratech's customizable Unity Platform™ will be utilized for wafer-level packaging (WLP) applications to support growth driven by communication devices. As the advanced packaging technology requirements evolve, OSATs will play an important role in establishing the supply chain. This major win further confirms Ultratech's ability to deliver operational flexibility, technology leadership and highest economic value for its customers.

"Demand for thinner mobile communication devices such as smartphones and tablets are driving much of the growth in WLP," according to Jan Vardaman, president and founder of TechSearch International. "Many of the suppliers of the integrated circuits used in these products depend on OSATs to meet their production needs. It is expected that the OSAT expansion will continue over the next several years to address this growth opportunity."

Ultratech Vice President, Advanced Packaging Technology/Nanotechnology Market Manish Ranjan said, "Ultratech has maintained a leading market position over the last decade by delivering outstanding production performance with superior cost-of-ownership solutions. We look forward to working closely with our customers in the OSAT segment to support their high-volume production ramps."

Certain of the statements contained herein..... http://seekingalpha.com/news-article/6982112-ultratech-secures-repeat-ap-order-win-with-osat-customer



SPECIAL!  
Long Term Results that Speak for ThemselvesSince 9/30/98 inception, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 450%vs. the S&P500 UP only 106% vs. NASDAQ UP only 101% (All through 6/30/13)

  • Subscribe to my service NOW and get the July 2013 Issue for FREE!   Your 1 year, 12 issue subscription will start with next month's issue.

Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter Performance

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