Action List Worth A Look

Our Canadian research comes from National Bank. Since November, 2009, they have produced an Action list where their analysts provide their best ideas. In conjunction with their recommendations, they also recommend when to sell these holdings based on price appreciation or earnings surprises.

From November 30th, 2009 to June 30th, 2010, 27 names have appeared on the list with 13 still on the list. In the last quarter, five names were removed while six were added.

In the last quarter, the NBF Action List returned 3.76% vs. -0.33% for the TSX. Since November 30, the Action List netted 6.13% vs. 0.81% for the TSX.

The Action List is updated daily. To get the current action list, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to email or send you a copy.

Have a great weekend. Your comments are always appreciated.

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Consider Corporate Bonds over Alberta Capital Bonds

The Alberta government announced the rate on Capital bonds on Friday with a rate of 3.3%. The rate is equivalent to what is available on 5 year GIC’s. Considering limited liquidity, you may want to consider buying corporate bonds or 5 year Fixed Rate Reset Preferred shares.

The rates on corporate bonds can be as high as 7% depending on quality and maturity and a select number of preferreds are yielding above 5% with preferrential tax treatment.

Call your Rothenberg Investment Advisor today discuss the various options available in the market place. Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated.

Claymore Gold Bullion Trust – A Great Way to Buy Gold

With India adding 200 tonnes of gold to their reserves, gold has hit an all-time high. It was highly anticipated that China was going to purchase this block of gold. With China publicly expressing its wish to increase its gold reserves over the coming years, one can only imagine that gold might appreciate significantly over time.

So what is the best way to play gold? You can buy gold producers but that takes on the risk of an individual companies performance. Some will outperform bullion while others won’t. For those that want exposure to bullion, consider the Claymore Gold Bullion Trust. The symbol is cgl.un on the TSX.

The units trade at a discount to its Net Asset Value (NAV). Today’s closing price was $10.00 and the NAV is roughly $10.40. Most Gold Trusts trade at premiums. Claymore will convert the units into an exchange traded fund if the units trade at a 2% or more discount to its NAV for 10 consecutive trading days starting at the end of November. Once this happens the discount should disappear.

If you buy gold outright as a retail investor, expect to pay a premium over what is quoted in the press. Couple that with any storage costs associated with buying bullion and you will see that Claymore’s product has merit. Another benefit for Canadian investors is that the units are hedged into Canadian dollars.

Typically, commodities move inversely with the US dollar. As gold goes up, the US dollar goes down potentially negating any upside to Canadian investors. In the interest of full disclosure, I do own some of the units personally.

Your thoughts about gold and where its heading are greatly appreciated.

 

 

Bonds Are Not Stocks

Bonds are not stocks.

The title of this post seems quite obvious in nature yet the amount of calls we received after Manulife cut the dividend on its common shares and how it affected the pricing and interest payments on their corporate debt was quite astounding.

Earnings per share for the company increased to $1.09 in the second quarter compared to $0.66 for the same quarter last year which is a positive.

The dividend cut will save the company $800 million per year. The savings is a positive for bondholders as there is more money available to make interest payments on their debt and pay principal back at maturity.

Unlike common shares or stock where a company can cut the dividend as it sees fit, the company cannot decide to stop making interest payments as part of a change to its strategic plan.

This is why bonds of a corporation are safer than common shares of the same corporation. There is limited upside but you have layers of downside protection. So what happened to the bonds on the day of the announcement? Not much. Manulife’s 10 year bonds dropped about 1% compared to 15% on their stock.

Corporate bonds move up and down in value based on several factors including interest rates, creditworthiness, and the spread between government bonds moving up or down. To learn more about bonds and how they differ from stocks, you can click on the following link HERE on our website that has an educational piece on bonds.

Your comments are always appreciated.

Jobs Numbers Better Than Headlines Suggest

The latest monthly job numbers in Canada showed a 44,500 decline while the economic consensus was a 15,000 exepected decline. The National Bank Financial Economic & Strategy Group pointed out some figures that suggest some very good takeaways.

Half the job losses were in the food and accomodation area in Quebec. The decline was also among 15 – 24 year olds in the province as harsh weather conditions contributed signficantly to the decline.

Ontario on the other hand created 13,700 jobs, the best number since September 2008. The other very interesting number is that total hours worked in Canada increased for a third consecutive month by a robust 0.3% contradicting the job loss number.

These number suggest that Canada is on track to show 3% GDP growth for the quarterand National Bank expects the employment situation to improve in the next couple of months.

The moral of this post is that it is important to read more than the headline. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated. Have a good weekend.

Fundamental Indexing Outperforms in Last Year

Fundamental Indexing is a strategy which ranks and weights companies, not by market capitalization but instead by four fundamental financial data points (cash flow, dividends, book value and revenue).

The portfolio gets rebalanced annually and typically overweights companies that are considered value oriented vs. growth oriented.

The strategy was developed by Rob Arnott and his company Research Affiliates. Many have argued that fundamental indexing is a flawed form of indexing. This post is not going to get into the case for or against fundamental indexing but the returns have been compelling against major indexes.

As of June 30, 2009, the TSX Total Return Index was down 25.69% while the FTSE RA Fundamental Canada Index was down only 12.22% outperforming the market by more than 13%.

The US equivalent outperformed the S & P 500 Total Return Index by more than 5% and the global equivalent outperformed by just under 2%.

The 10 year numbers are also quite compelling with fundamental indexing outperforming its benchmark by 2% – 4% in each of these markets. With these results, ignoring fundamental indexing as a viable strategy can cost you performance over the long run.

To learn more, you can click on the following link here.

To find out how to add fundamental indexing to your portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Your comments are always greatly appreciated.

The Week Ahead – August 3, 2009

The TSX is poised to show a 5% + increase for the month of July with less than 2 hours to go in the trading day while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost 9% for the month.

On the economic front next week, US ISM Manufacturing  numbers come out on Monday. US Pending Home Sales Month over Month and Year over Year for June will be reported on Tuesday, August 4th and June Factory Orders are being reported on the 5th.

In Canada, June Building Permits Month over Month are being reported on Thursday August 6th. The July Unemployment Rate, Net Change in Unemployment  and the Ivey Purchasing Mangers Index are all being reported on Friday.

It will be a very busy week on the earnings front with too many companies to list. For a complete list, you can click on the following link with the dates and earnings per share estimates.

Earnings Estimates

New Research Podcasts

Have a Great Weekend