Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Credit Card Companies, Which one is the Best

If you have followed the major credit card companies profiles than you already know Mastercard and Visa have made decent strides since their IPO's a few years back, Visa more so than Mastercard. But comparing them in today's market and including American Express, which one is the best investment going forward? If we look at the earnings they all look positive and healthy among all three, although when you compare earnings per share Mastercard jumps ahead at over $25.00 per share compared to $7.47 (V) and $4.92 (AXP). Dividends are all close with American Express winning slightly with a little over 1% of the share price annually. AXP also takes the P/E ratio with the lowest at 17.6 which points to it being the most "valuable" of the three. We can continue to compare statistics without any one of the three jumping off the page in comparison so ultimately it comes down to opinion. I believe investing in any one of the three is a solid investment and will reap rewards in the future. The charts for all three are headed north with no slowing down in sight. If I had to pick one of them it would be American Express. The fact that it has the lowest price to earnings ratio as well as the overall business model of AXP just makes it the favorite in my eyes. American Express generally focuses on higher earning customers, which almost always translates into less bad debt as their customers are better in a position to make the payments. Not that Visa or Mastercard would be a bad investment decision and I'm sure someone could make arguments as to favor either one of them. Anyone have any thoughts? Which one do you see pulling ahead of the others?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MJNA will the hype push it higher?

For those of you who haven't heard of MJNA, or medical marijuana incorporated, they are a company that makes hemp products such as hemp oil and cannabis gum among others.  They also "evaluate and purchase value-added companies and products" as it states on their website.  Right now MJNA is trading at a dismal 0.19 but it does seem to be heading upward, most likely due to all of the hype with Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana.  Even though that's not really what the company is involved in.  Is it a buy or sell?  I picked up some shares anticipating the hype of legalization pushing the price higher.  After evaluating the charts and reading a little more about the company I think we will see a rise in value.  Be cautious though, I look for this one to be a bumpy ride that may not end up on top.  Just to share with you what I am looking for in this investment, I purchased it at .19 and will probably set up a sell limit order at .29 or so depending on how it moves this week.  That will result in close to a 50% profit if it pans out that way.  I would advise against putting a large percentage of your portfolio in MJNA, but if you have a little extra cash and want to take a chance on it then go for it.  My personal investment in this one is only a fraction of one percent of my portfolio just to give an idea.

UPDATE: I wanted to post an update to this one. Today is January 27th and MJNA has jumped to 0.39 as of right now, original post was January 21st so it has doubled in less than a week. Given the recent jump and the magnitude of the jump in price, I have decided to hold onto it for a while and see how high it will go. In my particular case, I have put a stop-loss order in at .29 since that was my original goal. If the price continues to rise I will gradually increase my stop-loss price trailing .08 to .10 of the current price. The way it is looking MJNA may very likely continue to increase in price so it may not be too late to buy into it. But again be aware that this is a very volatile stock so expect sharp jumps and dips.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gold in 2014 Buy, Sell, or Hold?

The price of gold took a drop in 2013 which could point to an opportunity to pick gold up at a valuable price in 2014, or it could signal that gold has been overpriced and it is now coming back to normal.  Which one is it?  That is the big question.  In my opinion, I look for gold to stay relatively even throughout 2014 and end the year close to where it is at now at $1254.10 per ounce or maybe slightly higher.  I think we will see gains and drops throughout the year but in the end it will stay relatively close to where we are starting out and hit no more than $1450 as the high for the year before settling back down to end between $1250 and $1300.  I believe gold as a long term investment is questionable and personally I chose not to include it in my portfolio.  I guess I see it as an "old school" investment that isn't usable other than to sell it to another speculative investor.  It doesn't do anything, doesn't generate a profit through wise business decisions, it can't be any more than it already is - which is speculation on future value to other speculators. With the world economy the way it is, the ability to transfer funds across the world in an instant, and even new types of world currency such as BitCoin surfacing, gold just seems out of date.  I look for gold to hold on for a few more years, staying relatively close to the current price within the next 10 years or so.  And ultimately becoming less and less valuable in the more distant future.  I think you could buy under $1250 with the intention to sell within the year and come out ok, hold what you have if you already have holdings in gold, but I wouldn't sell until the price takes an uptick later in the year.  Wait for $1300 to $1350 to sell.  Here is an article from Market Watch on the topic.

UPDATE: Gold up, but improving flows don't convince all

MarketWatch - 4:18 PM ET
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- Gold prices moved higher in electronic trading on Monday, building on gains seen last week amid signs of improving investment flows, though some analysts worried that those gains could short out if Chinese demand doesn't come through as expected.

Gold for February delivery (GCG4) rose $2.20, or 0.2%, to $1.254.10 an ounce, after gaining $11.70 to settle at $1,251.90 an ounce on Friday.

March silver (SIH4) added 1cent to $20.31 an ounce, adding to a gain of 1.3% on Friday and a 0.4% rise for the week.

In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, trading floors were closed for Monday. Electronic trading for metals and energy futures ended at 1:15 p.m. Eastern and will reopen again at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Gold ETFs tracked by Bloomberg saw inflows of 7.4 tons on Friday, the highest daily amount since October 2012, said analysts at Commerzbank in a note on Monday. They added that much of that gain was driven by the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD).

"If this turns out to signal a trend reversal, it is likely to lend buoyancy to the gold price," said the Commerzbank analysts in a note. "The high outflows from the gold ETFs observed since the beginning of last year were one major reason for the weak gold price." 
The analysts also noted that speculative financial investors are more optimistic about gold again. In the week ending Jan. 14, those investors expanded their net long positions for the third consecutive week to 28,300 contracts, the highest level in eight weeks.

There are some shaky signs to this potential rebound for gold, though.
"The metals continue to track the performance of the equity markets, which despite posting a green print on Friday, the breadth was limited to a few large cap stocks," said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals. "Overall, the equity market is struggling to validate value and capital flows have again 'ebbed' into the metals."

Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst with, said in a note that after a 28% drop in gold last year, gold has probably been boosted by expectations cheaper prices will result in higher demand from China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin Jan. 31.
Data on Chinese imports due midweek will be analyzed to determine the strength of that Chinese appetite.
Net long positions were also built up for other metals as well, noted Commerzbank, but also investors were looking ahead to a looming strike.

Platinum for April delivery (PLJ4) jumped $14.90, or 1%, to $1,469.00 an ounce. Members of South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) over the weekend reportedly voted to strike this Thursday at the world's top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum Ltd. , as well as Lonmin PLC (LNMIY) and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (IMPUY). .
"The strike action will see effects on palladium and rhodium supplies as well, while the AMCU has indicated to their members involved with gold production that they will also be given a strike mandate.," said Kitco's Hug. "The story has potentially profound issues in a market where the PGMs (platinum-group metals) are expected to be in supply deficits, pre-strike, but caution is urged as historically these actions have been short lived."

At the moment, noted Commerzbank, platinum costs over $200 per troy ounce over gold, and the last time the price gap was this wide was July 2011.

March palladium (PAH4) rose to $748.55 an ounce, while high-grade copper for March delivery (HGH4) was ended at $3.34 a pound, little changed on the day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coca Cola, KO not moving since split

I was poking around on Twitter earlier today and got onto a debate about Coca Cola (KO).  Warrior Investments (@warriorinvest) tweeted that KO is a strong sell and cited that coke is on the wrong side of the soda consumption trend in North America.  While I do agree that North America is trending away from soda, there are other factors that one must consider when deciding on investing in KO.  On the downside you have the fact that KO hasn't made much progress in the stock price since the 2 for 1 split, and the point that Warrior Investments made about the N.A. soda trend.  But on the positive KO is in something like 179 countries, and you have to consider that they realize the trending in North America and are most likely working on new products that will be better accepted, possibly healthier alternatives to the sugary drink to satisfy the demands of the market.  I am not willing to say you should go out and buy up a bunch of KO stock, but I certainly am not against buying it either.  KO is a solid company with good management, I am not selling my holdings in KO.  I would recommend either holding what you have or if you're thinking of buying, go ahead, I don't see it dropping too far anytime soon and I think it is a great long term investment if you're looking to balance your portfolio.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Banco Marco S.A. (BMA)

Banco Marco(BMA) is not necessarily a well known name in the US, you can pick up shares through the NYSE as ADR shares.  It is a leading bank in Argentina with the most extensive private sector branch in the country.  BMA provides general banking services to a nationwide customer base.  Banco Marco from South America has seen a 52 week high of 32.85 in October and has since dropped down to 22.53 as of today.  Even though it has fallen throughout the last couple of months it will soon be on the rise again.  Overall since last year it is up 28% even considering the recent drop which is not too shabby.  Some of the leading stock ratings companies have buy or strong buy ratings on BMA, Sabriet Investment Research has them listed as a "strong buy" while others such as The Street rate it a "buy".  I would expect to see BMA reach its previous 52 week high of 32 per share sometime during 2014.  If you do the math that's over a 40% gain if you were to buy near today's quoted price.  Right now BMA has a P/E of 3.6 which shows good valuation and a return on equity of over 25% which shows good management efficiency.  On another positive note, it has a market cap of over 1.3 billion dollars.  Generally you can relate the mid and larger cap stocks to being less volatile due to the large spread of wealth distributed amongst more investors and investment firms.  I say buy it, but then again for some reason I usually have a soft spot for stocks in the financial sector.  At least in this case there are many ratings firms that agree, this one is a "buy".  Happy investing, and good luck.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AZZ, will they rebound after last earnings announcement

AZZ is one company that I have been following and investing in for some time now.  They just released third quarter earnings which were lower than expectations.  The stock price dropped 15 percent, down to just over 40 per share.  Given their track record for continually increasing revenue and net profit numbers along with their obvious desire to continue expanding the reach of their respective industry this should be seen as a great time to get into AZZ.  It won't be long before it is on the rise again, over the last 10 years the stock price has increased over 1000 percent.  Yes that was one thousand not a typo.  Solid company with a solid future, get in while the price is still low and look for a substantial increase after earnings report of first quarter which will be around June.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Recap on my picks from 5 years ago

So i was going through some of the old blog posts earlier today and I must say I am a little impressed with myself.  Most of these posts were from 2009.  SIRI, Sirius Satellite Radio I said buy when it was just under a dollar and facing delisting from Nasdaq, and that when it surpasses the dollar mark it would take off.  It is at 3.79 and it surpassed the 4 dollar mark a couple months ago.  AZZ, AZZ Incorporated I said was a buy and since that post it is up over 250%.  Ford I couldn't buy enough of at under 4 per share and i estimated 15 per share and it's there now.  Ok, enough tooting my own horn here are a couple for the future.  I am really liking XIN, it just dropped to under 5 dollars.  I think we will see it go to 8, possibly 10 dollars in the next couple years.  NBG, another one I think we will see gradually increasing.  For the long term I wouldn't be surprised to see it go from the 6 dollar range to over 20 dollars possibly more depending on how long you are willing to wait.  I think AZZ is still a good bet, it's continually growing and not afraid to invest in expanding the reach in their market.  SRCE, 1st Source Bank is another one with a bright future.  They have recently seen a boom in the price so I wouldn't buy just yet.  But when the price rebounds to around 28 dollars I would buy and expect it to climb back to 35 dollars or more.  I am going to be looking forward to reviewing this post in a couple years to see if I nailed it too, but relax, I am confident it will be close.  Thanks for reading, and subscribe for future updates.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to Start Buying Stocks

I thought i would post this for any readers thinking about investing in the stock market but not sure where to start.  There are a few ways to go about it.  You could go and talk to a local investment specialist.  Going this route will give you personalized advice but it is one of the more costly ways to start.  There are many online brokers with excellent information for beginners at a much more affordable price.  Etrade is good, they have reasonable fees and good charts and company information.  My personal favorite is sharebuilder.  At sharebuilder there are no minimums on the purchases and no minimum starting account balance.  So you could literally start with just a few dollars.  Scotttrade is another popular one with great charts and stats.  Some of these sites run ads on this blog if it is something that you may be interested in.  Whichever way you decide to start, don't be afraid to dive in.  It's really not that difficult.  The only advice that holds true to almost any stock is to look at the profit margin and make sure the company is profitable.  Sure there are some stocks that will go up when the company isn't turning a profit but those are more risky and better left to experienced traders.