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Monday, December 21, 2015

Support The Milk Pail Market During Construction

I just got back from the Milk Pail Market. Traffic was horrible as usual and much harder than usual to park and get out due to all the construction. (Construction pictures below)

We need to make an effort to help them get through this.  Follow and "Like" the Milk Pail Facebook page to get coupons and to show your support.

Here are some pictures I took today from the Milk Pail's parking lot along with a rendering of what will go in the open space that was between the Milk Pail market and the super ugly, $4,000 to $6,000 per month "Carmel The Village Apartments" where the owners make a bundle on rent while we suffer the traffic gridlock on San Antonio Road.
Best viewed in Full Screen
Best viewed in Full Screen
Traffic will continue to get worse in the Bay Area as city councils allow over development. I don't see an end to the over development either as local politicians are desperate for funds to pay huge pensions they promised workers AND reward developers for making campaign contributions.

You are not alone if you feel like a sardine in what was once a beautiful place to live. What we need to do is

  1. Support local businesses like The Milk Pail
  2. Voice our displeasure with the over development at EVERY opportunity.
  • Write your city council
  • Post on facebook and Twitter pages for anything related to city government letting them know how upset you are with this over development
  • Start a petition to change the name of "Mountain View" to "Brooklyn West" to reflect we are losing our views of the beautiful mountains so the top 0.1% who own these tech companies can cram more workers into their buildings so they can live here rather than places with lower density and less environmental impact from too many people.

It is AMAZING how big the hole is... it looks like the space will hold enough workers to fill all the homes in Los Altos. I may have to bite the bullet and buy stock despite its over valuation as driving to go shopping won't be fun.
Rent and Layout for 2b/2b "Carmel The Village" as of 12/21/15
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

AGEN Agenus Inc. up 12% on New Buy Rating

Nice jump today for Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN)  on this news:

Jefferies Starts Agenus Inc. (AGEN) at Buy; Sees 100% Upside
December 16, 2015 7:54 AM EST 

Jefferies initiates coverage on Agenus Inc. with a Buy rating and a price target of $8.00.

Analyst Biren Amin commented, 
"Agenus is developing a comprehensive Immuno-Oncology (IO) platform consisting of multiple checkpoints both fully owned and through partnerships and could be a leader in cancer vaccine development through the deployment of its QS-21 adjuvant which could increase the efficacy of cancer vaccines. AGEN is also partnered with Merck and Incyte across 9 novel IO programs totaling >$450M in milestones. Therefore, AGEN's $130M EV offers significant upside, in our view."

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Friday, December 04, 2015

SPX and SPY Just 2% Below Record Highs - Market Update

With today's big rally in the stock markets, the S&P500 is only 1.8% below its record closing high.
This is quite a recovery from just a few months ago when the markets were down double digits and I was buying shares for my newsletter portfolio. (see 
Here is a buy alert to my subscribers for Lam Research (LRCX) when it tested its August Lows a month later in September.

Fast forward to today.  Note how these charts below show buyers have shown up below the 200-day moving average, MA(200) when the price is just above the 50-day moving average, MA(50).   

Many consider it a very bullish "Golden Cross" when the MA(50) crosses above the slower moving MA(200).  At the rate the market is moving higher, this could happen soon and I'll be taking more profits.  If we fall, I still have some stocks with "Automatic Buy Levels" listed in the December newsletter that I'd be very happy to buy more of on weakness that hits my targets.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Santa Clause Rally!

Below are several charts showing the "Santa Clause Rally" that seems to be gaining steam. 

After buying the big decline a few months back, some stocks are already very, very close to taking profits already!

Santa Clause Rally! $SPY $SPX $LRCX $MSFT $GOOGL $INTC ChartsI sure hope nobody is missing out on all the fun as we are creeping back towards record highs again. Here comes Santa.....
Posted by Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

This is my buy alert for LRCX on the most recent decline below $65.

Monday, November 02, 2015

New Series I Bond Rates - November 2015 through April 2016

The Bureau of the Public Debt today announced earnings rates for Series I Savings Bonds and Series EE Savings Bonds, issued from November 2, 2015 through April 30, 206.

I bond fixed rates are determined each May 1 and November 1. Each fixed rate applies to all I-bonds issued in the six months following the rate determination.

The Current I Bond Composite Earnings Rate is 1.54% and the Top Rate for older i Bonds is 5.17%!  (See Rates for Older Series I Bonds)


For more about how I Bond Rates are calculated, see 
Disclaimer: I own Series I Bonds in my personal account (some have base rates of 3.0%!  I also currently have them in my Newsletter Explore Portfolio.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Six Investor Sentiment Charts - Weekly Data

The time to buy stocks is when there is “blood in the streets” when others are fearful and selling. Two months ago, my sentiment charts were screaming BUY. 

I added to many equity positions.

Below is a brief summary of my longer Seeking Alpha article titled:

I've explained in past articles such as "SPY 8% Off Record High While WLI Rises To 6-Week High" why I like SPY as an investment for the long-term. I use fundamentals to pick individual stocks and SPY for my portfolio, but I seldom buy as they are making new 52-week highs. I try to buy when they are on sale and when the blood is running in the streets.

About a month ago, some of my sentiment indicators reached lows not seen in a year or longer.

To get better prices, I start with my list of "Explore Portfolio" stock picks then wait for market pullbacks and extreme negative sentiment levels to buy if they haven't quite reached the "low ball" prices I set ahead of time to buy during market panics and other periods of market inefficiency. Said another way, I like to take profits as markets make new highs then buy back shares when my sentiment charts loudly shout at once "Buy" as most investors are afraid and selling.

To see all six of my charts, go here.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lozano's Car Wash Coupons - 38% gain in Two Years

Here are the current coupons for Lozano's Car Wash in Mountain View, California.

The lowest price, best coupon for those watching their spending, is up 38.5% in just over two years while CPI inflation in the US is up less than 5%.
click images for full size
Compare it to the coupons for just over two years ago.

Notice how the very best price offered, the Tuesday Special, went from $12.99 to $17.99, a gain of 38.5% in just over two years!

Official inflation over this period is, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BEA) is less than 5% so why did the price of a car wash go up 38.5%?

Mountain View's minimum wage is currently $10.30 per hour with a goal of $15 per hour by 2018. See Mountain View boosts its minimum wage to $10.30, with $15 goal by 2018
Lozano's Brushless Car Wash is in Mountain View.
The minimum wage was $9 per hour before so my guess is most of the higher car wash prices are the costs to comply with Obama Care.  
It is good that workers have health insurance but it is not free.  We all pay for it.  I find I go much longer between car washes these days and I wash my cars more often at home.  If everyone does this due to the higher price, it is possible there are fewer jobs at the car wash than before helping explain why the economy isn't growing as fast as it has in past recoveries.

With the cost of Obamacare - ACA slated to go up 17.3% for me next year and higher minimum wages slated for Mountain View, I wonder what sort of prices we'll pay to get a car wash in 2016.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below or on my facebook page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Social Security COLA for 2016

There will be no Cost of Living Adjustment to 2016 Social Security payments.  For details including the tax rate and maximum income subject to Payroll Tax deductions, see:

Monday, October 05, 2015

Real Inflation at Lozano's Car Wash in Mountain View, California

You can get an idea of why the US economy is growing so slowly with this look at inflation at my local car wash.

Over the past two years, the lowest price for a "car wash" went up $4 or 31%  at "Lozano's Car Wash" in Mountain View, California.  (Map)

Lozano's is on the corner at the city limit of Mountain View with Los Altos across El Camino Real and Palo Alto across Del Medio Avenue.
Lozano's Car Wash Coupons

Over the last two years, the CPI-U index for inflation went from 233.396 in July 2013 to 238.654 in July 2015.  This is a gain of 5.258 or 2.3%, roughly 1.15% a year.
Inflation Data
If you applied this 2.3% inflation to the $12.99 price of a car wash in 2013, it would be $13.29.

What happened?  Is:

  • the government lying about inflation?
  • the owner of Lozano's greedy and charging what the market will bear when so many won't use their valuable water during the drought to wash their cars?
  • the owner of Lozano's paying more generous wages?
  • the owner of Lozano's passing on higher costs not represented by the CPI-U index?
  • All the above?
Also note that the major costs at a car wash are
  1. Labor
  2. Energy
  3. Water
They recycle the water but I imagine much is lost due to evaporation.  Energy prices are down so I think the biggest reason for the higher prices is higher labor costs.

Mountain View's minimum wage is currently $10.30 per hour with a goal of $15 per hour by 2018. See Mountain View boosts its minimum wage to $10.30, with $15 goal by 2018

The minimum wage was $9 per hour before so my guess is most of the higher car wash prices are the costs to comply with Obama Care.  

It is good that workers have health insurance but it is not free.  We all pay for it.  I find I go much longer between car washes these days and I wash my cars more often at home.  If everyone does this due to the higher price, it is possible there are fewer jobs at the car wash than before helping explain why the economy isn't growing as fast as it has in past recoveries.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below or on my facebook page.

More coupons to show the price progression:

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Stock Market Update

Market update for Sunday October 4, 2014
All are down year-to-date (YTD) but they are up from the recent test of their August lows.

The markets are still testing the lows but I am quite pleased so far as it seems Biotech is again trying to take the lead.

It is also good to see some bank CDs are now paying 2.20%

The small cap biotech I added to significantly (~30%) to my Explore Portfolio last month VERY near "THE LOW" is up about 22% already since the August buy for my Newsletter Explore Portfolio...

It looks like the IBB index fund has a nice, successful test and could be leading again.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Bill Gross - Go To Cash

CNBC reported today at 3:06PM EST that the Bill Gross, formerly the manager of the World's largest bond fund, said "Go to Cash."

To be clear, this is NOT my advice!  To get my advice, Subscribe to my newsletter and/or read my free articles such as:

I recently bought Intel:

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Good News for Intel Stock - End of Inventory Correction

End of Inventory Correction is Good News for Intel Stock 

Intel (INTC Charts & Quotehas been in a bear market since the start of the year as it fell by 33% from $37.05 to the recent "Flash Crash Low" of $24.87.  Even though I own some shares dating back to my first purchase in 1993 when Intel was under $3, I feel very "Lucky" to have purchased more shares at $25 using money from taking profits when Intel was in the $30s. 

During the mini "Flash Crash" on August 24, 2015 I got some shares of Intel for $25.00 using a "Buy Limit Order" I had placed some time ago just for for this sort of event.  At $28.41 today, Intel is up 14% already.

Today we learned the good news that has helped Intel do much better than the market recently.

Inventory adjustments in semi industry coming to an end, says TSMC executive
Josephine Lien, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 2 September 2015]

  • The recent inventory adjustments in the semiconductor industry have nearly come to an end, and the possibility is high for the industry to swing back to a seasonal growth cycle shortly, according to George Liu, director of sensor and driver business development at TSMC.
  • Companies and market analysts have been revising their outlook for the 2015 semiconductor market growth, due to weak market demand resulting in higher-than-expected inventory levels in the industry. Nevertheless, chipmakers are about to finish clearing out their excess inventory, said Liu.
  • From a long-term perspective, the semiconductor market will continue to expand along with the global economy and the ever-evolving consumer electronics market, Liu noted.
  • In addition, Liu suggested that it is premature to conclude that the global smartphone market growth has begun to slow

My guess is Intel was down with all US stocks as people were selling everything on August 24th and August 25th.  Some speculation was people had to sell good stocks like Intel to meet margin calls due to share prices tumbling in Asia, particularly Chinese stocks.

Using Auto Buy Limit Orders listed on the "Auto Buy/Sell List" on page five of my newsletter, we actually got one stock, FNSR (FNSR Charts & Quote), below the limit order buy price because the market gapped down on the open to fill our orders!  Below is an excerpt from what I sent my subscribers shortly after adding more Finisar shares to our portfolio. (Note, we also added Intel)

You hate to see people lose money, but I sure like the opportunity to buy their stocks at great prices when they are too scared to hold them.  Of course, I'll be happy to sell these shares to them when they are more excited about the future and the stock prices are much, much higher.

Market Update for September 1, 2015 - Jim Cramer, Bob Brinker & Dennis Gartman Views

Market Update for September 1, 2015

Jim Cramer thinks it is a bear market and we'll go lower.  Bob Brinker is looking for a test of the recent (Aug 25) lows and Dennis Gartman says it is a bear market and he's net short.

 I'll have a good laugh if the lows for the markets are in and the markets leave all these snake oil salesmen (nobody can really time the markets.. they just make a lot of noise to get on TV and radio to sell ads and their own investment products.) in the dust.

Yesterday's close, down over 10% for all indices, vs. August 25th's close. The good news is today the markets are up.
Posted by Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter on Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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