Thursday, April 30, 2009

Verizon Is A Buy

Looking for a safe stock that pays a great dividend to invest in? Verizon (VZ) is your answer.
Verizon just delivered an excellent quarter and the future is bright. Verizon pays a outstanding 46 cent quarterly dividend, with plenty of cash flow to insure that it continues to pay and raise the dividend. The last quarter showed a 3.3% increase in EPS and a 19% increase in cash brought in from operations. 

Verizon saw continued growth in its wireless business. Its wireless business now accounts for 57% of revenues. I can't stress how important it is that Verizon is increasing its wireless business. In this recession, the one thing that we have seen people cut down on when it comes to telecommunications is landlines. More and more people are disconnecting their home phones and just keeping cell phones. It is my personal prediction that in the future, home phones will be a thing of the past and people will just have cell phones. Because the one thing people are keeping is wireless phones, it is important for a telecommunication stock to have most of its business coming from wireless. Which Verizon does. That way, Verizon does not take a hit in revenue as people continue to get unemployed and dump their land line phones. 

Verizon recently acquired Alltel, giving it the largest wireless consumer base and wireless revenue of any telecommunication company. Verizon is also number 1 in customer satisfaction, which is very important in the phone industry, guaranteeing that it will continue to see new and returning customers. Verizon purchased a huge amount of spectrum from the FCC, giving Verizon the ability to continue to support a growing customer base. Verizon also has the largest 3G network in America.

Verizon has a had a huge success in its new FIOS line. Verizon bundles Internet, t.v and phone for a low monthly cost. FIOS has added hundreds of thousands of new customers in the past quarter. Verizon also will see its competition weakened as AT&T losses rights to the IPhone. Rumours have been spreading that Verizon is in talks with Apple to acquire a deal for the new IPhone. Verizon boasts a very healthy balance sheet and was easily able to raise adequate funds to acquire Alltel. Verizon is the only American company to help build the Trans-Pacific Express Cable Consortium, connecting the U.S to mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, which will leave Verizon as a global leader in business solutions. 

Verizon is poised to greatly advance its business in the future. The fact that so much of their business comes from the solid wireless industry guarantees that Verizon will continue to bring in the cash to pay off its excellent dividend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Economic Hope

The GDP number was bad, worse than expected, yet we have a sense of optimism today amongst investors. Why? Because the inventories fell. So why does the fact that inventories in the U.S fell mean more than the GDP? After all the GDP is the key indicator of an economy's health. It is because, as we have discussed before, inventories is a leading indicator and GDP is a lagging indicator. No one cares about what happened in the past, we care about what is going to happen in the future. A drop in GDP means the economy did not produce much last quarter. However a drop in inventories means the economy will need to produce more in the future. Inventories are how much goods U.S firms have. If they have a lot of goods, that means they will wait to sell those goods before they start asking manufacturers to make them more goods. So if inventories are high, manufacturers will have to wait a year before other firms start putting in orders for more goods. If the inventories are low, then  firms need to order more goods from manufactures so they can sell them because the firms cannot make money if they do not have anything to sell.  That means manufactures will start seeing orders put in right away, not a year from now, helping the U.S start economic recovery quicker.

Thus, low inventories mean that in the future, firms are going to have to put in orders with manufactures to make them more goods. Low inventory levels is good because it is going to increase the manufacturing production in the future, when firms start asking for more goods. 

So while GDP showed that in the previous quarter, the economy did not produce a lot, the low inventories mean that the economy is going to have to produce more in the future. And that is what we care about, the future, not the past. Add the good news in inventories with the increase in consumer spending, and we are beginning to see more hopes of economic recovery.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Fall of The 401k

An interesting piece from 60 Minutes about the 401k retirement plan.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Carnival Of Everything Money

This weeks Everything Money Carnival can be found at 

Monday, April 27, 2009

"$1 billion a day for stimulus"

Hey, here is a good article from CNN to check on on the stimulus money.

NEW YORK ( -- The federal government has made available more than $75 billion for stimulus projects in the 10 weeks since President Obama signed the $787 billion recovery package into law.

Not all of that money has hit the streets, however. So far, $14.5 billion has been spent, nearly all of it to help states cope with rising Medicaid costs.

A analysis of the program's financial reports shows how difficult it is to quickly inject billions of dollars into the economy. Experts interviewed said they are not surprised by the pace of spending, though they had mixed views on whether the effort would boost the economy.

"There's a natural tension between using taxpayers' money in a prudent way and getting the money out the door quickly," said Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings Institution senior fellow.

The massive recovery package was designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, as well as assist states and people suffering from the recession by providing funding for education, Medicaid and other public services.

0:00 /4:23Bill Clinton on stimulus
The federal government is now tasked with putting $499 billion to work in coming years. The remaining $288 billion consists of tax relief, the signature program of which, the Making Work Pay credit, began earlier this month.

The Obama administration says it is satisfied with the pace of spending and should meet its goal of making 70% of the funds available by September 2010. So far, about 15% has been committed.

"We're ahead of schedule and making steady progress," said Liz Oxhorn, a press secretary for Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading the recovery effort. "We're pleased."

Still, the funding must pass over several hurdles before the federal government considers it "spent."

Some dollars can flow relatively quickly through existing channels to the intended recipient, be it state and local governments, nonprofit agencies or private contractors. It's also easier to get funds for projects that were already in the works and just needed funding.

Other money, however, remains in federal agencies' hands waiting to be distributed. Many would-be recipients are still wading through all the recovery program's requirements or waiting for guidance from federal agencies before they put in requests.

Lastly, a significant amount of funding won't be made available until recipients either sign contracts or file grant applications. And in some cases, new programs must be created before the money can flow.

How one agency is spending the money
Take the Department of Health and Human Services, which is distributing $137 billion. It has made available nearly $29 billion to the states, who've claimed $13.3 billion as of April 17, according to an agency report.

Just under $13.2 billion has gone to states to help them pay for Medicaid services. That funding has been able to move so quickly because it was the first pool of money the federal government made available and it's being pumped through an established program. States have also received some funds for foster care and adoption assistance and for new community health centers.

But another $100 million for senior services -- such as nutrition programs at senior centers and Meals on Wheels -- is sitting unclaimed. States are in the process of requesting their share of the money as they figure out how to navigate the federal program and assess their needs back home.

And the $1 billion slated for prevention and wellness programs hasn't even been committed because the agency is still working out details, said spokesman Nick Papas. Specifics should be announced in early summer.

Meanwhile, the department is working to push more dollars out the door, Papas said.

"Recovery Act dollars are keeping community health centers open and helping care for more Americans in need," Papas said. "We continue to work quickly and carefully to distribute Recovery Act dollars in an open and transparent manner."

Does it need to be spent faster?
Handing out nearly $500 billion in a responsible manner is not easy, experts said.

"You can only spend so much money really fast," said Michael Ettlinger, vice president for economic policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

He's expecting a flood of money to hit the streets once the states file their requests and grant applications. But that doesn't mean the recovery bill isn't having an effect. The economy is already being helped by the program's tax credits, though that spending is harder to measure, he said.

Because the weak economy is expected to linger, there's a benefit to doling out the recovery dollars slowly, said Sawhill, the Brookings economist. Though she's disappointed with the pace of spending so far, she understands why it takes time.

"The fact that the money is not being spent all in the beginning is not a bad thing, though you do want to stop the downward spiral," she said.

Other experts are skeptical as to whether the recovery program will help at all. Alan Viard, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has questioned from the beginning whether constructing highways and bridges -- which the administration says will create lots of jobs -- will really stimulate the economy.

"I don't think the infrastructure spending is likely to spend out at a fast enough rate," Viard said.
Source: CNN

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things are Getting Better

Well no duh things in the economy still look bad... Ever since the rally started I have seen a flood of articles that say the economy is still bad. Well thanks, I didn't know that... Take a look at this article from MarketWatch:

The article tries to show you that why the market is looking up, bonds are saying something else. They are trying to show you the rally is false and uncalled for. 

And it is true, credit spreads are still very high. But they are decreasing  and that is reason to get excited. Every economic indicator is dismal, unemployment, housing, manufacturing, etc... We know that. Obviously things are still bad. BUT they are improving. So while credit spreads are still high, they are getting smaller. Things are getting better. Will they improve over night? No. But they are improving and that is why we have had a rally. 

If people show you indicators that are still dismal in efforts to convince you that the rally is a fluke, don't listen to them. No one is saying the economy is completely fixed, obviously indicators are still terrible, and so is the market. The market is no where near its 2008 high, yet people are screaming and yelling as if it is. As if it has jumped way too much. Well, it hasn't. Things are getting better in the economy and so are the markets.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Will We See A Pullback?

Everyone has been calling for a pullback to this great rally we have had, but I don't think it is going to happen, and here is why. Sure, the market really shot up, and I have always said that when a stock moves up really quickly, and nothing fundamentally has changed, then you can bet on a pullback. But with this market rally, I the market has fundamentally changed. Things in the economy are looking better, unemployment might finally show signs of a decrease in the rate that jobs are lost. Credit is getting better, home sales are jumping up, and manufacturing sales are getting better. Mortgage rates are so low that they are finally enticing new home buyers and making it able for people to refinance to a rate they can afford. Firms are taking aggressive cost cutting measures and banks seem to be getting their finances in order. The stimulus package is working, many small infrastructure businesses have said they have seen their orders increase thanks to the stimulus money. When the stress tests come out, I think we should be in for a pleasant surprise to find out most of our banks are going to be okay. The Treasury came up with a decent plan to help banks cleanse their balance sheets. In general, investor sentiment has really improved, we passed the moment where the earth was going to end and everyone was a bear. 

The story here is sure the market shot up in a heart beat, but so did the fundamentals. It is only when stocks shoot up faster than the fundamentals do that you see a pullback. The S&P currently is at 850 and earlier in the year it was at 930. I can say this, things look a hell of a lot better now then they did back in early January and the market hasn't even reached those levels yet. So if you are counting on a pullback simply because we "deserve" one, don't. People and institutions are too scared of missing out on another huge rally like the one we just had. Any small pullback should bring in a wave of buying, keeping us afloat. We did see a 40 point pullback a few days ago, and what happened after that? We've been rallying.

If a pullback does occur, it is because something will fundamentally change in the economy, not because the stock market is bound for a pullback. When the market changes along with the fundamentals, it is not bound to do anything.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earnings Update

All the bearish analysts were coming on t.v and in the news saying that the stock market was going to a huge dip because earnings were going to be so bad that firms would not be able to come close to expectations. The market will never bottom until earnings expectations come down far enough where companies can beat them. Well, it seems that time has arrived. So far of the S&P 500 companies, around 60% have beat the earnings estimate. Revenue has really taken a hit, and it many cases companies are not living up to the revenue expectations, but the important thing here is that the companies are becoming more efficient. Their eps are beating expectations because of cost cutting measures, and that is what you want to happen in a recession. You want consolidation and you want companies to cut excess costs.  Now, also along with the earnings, we have been seeing pretty good guidance. The overall tone has been either that sales are going to improve this year, or that at worst we have already seen a bottom.

You can take a look at some of the earnings companies have posted at CNBC.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Carnival of Everything Money

Welcome to the 11th edition of the Carnival of Everything Money. I wanted to give my thanks to everyone who is contributing to making this carnival a success! I would appreciate it if anyone who is featured in the carnival links back to this post. If you want to submit an article for next week's edition, the submission form is here. Just a reminder: I am not including articles that are not submitted with a category. If your article wasn't included, that's most likely why. Please change it because the more articles I can post, the better!


Jim DeSantis presents 3 Reasons That Can Cause Your Family Budget To Fail posted at Free Family Budgeting eBook from On Line Tribune, saying, "Money is the only tool you have to secure your future and the future of your family and to live a good life today. Unless you get spending under control and start treating your household like the goldmine it really is, you are destined to struggle financially for the rest of your life."

The Budgeter presents Four Steps To Create A Guilt-Free Budget posted at Keep Your Cash, saying, "A brief rundown on how to create a guilt-free budget"

ChristianPF presents Whats the best FREE personal finance software? posted at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog, saying, "Whats your favorite - stop by and vote!"


Raj Patel presents In Good Company If Quitting Credit Cards posted at DebtGoal.

Mr Credit Card presents Face Card Review posted at Ask Mr Credit Card.

PFCreditCards presents The Credit Card Debate posted at PF Credit Cards, saying, "Love it or hate it, credit cards are apart of our society."


MoneyNing presents 25 Debt Reduction Tips For Your Immediate Action Plan posted at Money Ning, saying, "There's no time to waste. Get your act together and fix your debt right away."


Todd presents The Best Movie Rental Service posted at The Personal Finance Playbook.

Amanda Milne presents Need a deal? Just ask! posted at Value For Your Life.

Vicky presents How to Save Money on Your Wedding Rings posted at Affordable Wedding Planning, saying, "For most people, the words "Las Vegas Wedding" conjure up images of eloping couples speeding through the desert to get married without anyone knowing, or weddings that aren't even remembered until a sobering realization the next morning."

Carrie presents Do I Really Need to Pay for Trash Collection? posted at It's Frugal Being Green.


Jim presents Consumer Reports America’s Best Brokers posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

MoneyNing presents Ins and Outs of a Stock Exchange posted at Investing School, saying, "Stock exchanges perform a critical function in the world of trading. Find out what they do by going through the article."

FIRE Getters presents What is the Rule of 72? posted at FIRE Finance.

Dorian Wales presents The Recent Rally in Stock Prices is Nearly Over posted at The Personal Financier, saying, "Stock markets around the world have surged by over 25% during March and April. I believe market players are already looking for a good excuse to start selling again…"

Zach Scheidt presents Citigroup - The Beginning and End of the Current Rally? posted at ZachStocks, saying, "Citigroup kicked off this rally in early March by stating they were having a "good year." The company may now be providing a catalyst that will send markets into a consolidation phase."

Summer Munyon presents How To Find The Bottom Of The Real Estate Market posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "If you want to know the beginning of the next phase of the market turn, just keep an eye on the green line in the graph below. You can visit this graph (updated twice per week) at The Market Bulletin."


Karin Le Blanc presents How To Expand And Strengthen Your Network posted at Internet Business.

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents How Much Life Insurance Do You Need? posted at Cash Money Life, saying, "This is a question everyone should ask themselves - particularly if they have a family that relies upon their income."

freefrombroke presents 50+ Personal Finance, Investing, And Money Tweeps Worth Following posted at Free From Broke, saying, "50+ people to follow on Twitter for money, investing, frugality, and personal finance information!"

Ryan Suenaga presents What Online Financial Services am I Using? posted at Uncommon Cents.

Prince of Thrift presents Happy Hour Hosts Sits Down with DebtFree4ever posted at Becoming & Staying Debt Free, saying, "The Fox Business Channel, co-hosts of Happy Hour. Rebecca Diamond, Cody Willard and Eric Bolling set down to answer a few questions for the blog."

Marjorie presents Local Currencies: What’s In It For You? posted at Wealth Junkies, saying, "Last month, three Detroit business owners got together to create a local currency called Detroit Cheers that will be accepted by more than a dozen Detroit businesses as a payment method. "

Jacqulyn Richey presents Hope for Distressed Homeowers posted at News - Las Vegas Real Estate by Jacqulyn Richey, saying, "With so many homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, the Making Home Affordable Initiative is a welcome relief. The program is designed to help 9 million homeowners avoid foreclosure."


KCLau presents Learning to be Happy with Less posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "How u can be happy with less material things"

Chris presents Is my money safe in a bank? posted at Home I Own.

Brian McKay presents Sovereign Bank $100 Cash Bonus posted at, saying, "Sovereign Bank will give you $100 for opening a checking account. You receive the promotional bonus when you open a Sovereign Premier checking account or an Interest Checking account and make a minimum deposit of $10 and request a Sovereign Check Card."


PicktheBrain presents Investing in Stocks for Beginners posted at Beginner Investing.

Steve Patterson presents Volatility Index Continues to Fall posted at FastSwings, saying, "Stocks continue to look good as volatility has decreased and stocks have continued to move higher."


Patrick @ Military Money presents Free Tax Deadline Extensions for Military Members posted at Military Finance Network, saying, "Tips on how military members can file for a free tax deadline extension."

Friday, April 17, 2009

11th edition of the Carnival of Investing Strategies

Welcome to the 11th edition of the Carnival of Investing Strategies. This is a carnival focused on different strategies of investing your money. If your article was included, please be sure to link back to this carnival.If you want to make a submission for the next edition, the form is here.

Frank B. presents Beginners Guide to Investing posted at Investment Basics.

Jim presents TradeKing Review posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Investing School presents Etrade vs Tradeking vs Zecco - Trading Commissions Comparison posted at Investing School, saying, "Have you written Etrade off just because the commissions are higher? Is Zecco or TradeKing better? This takes a look at these three stock brokers on a fees comparison."

Barry presents Bullish Days Ahead But Bear Is Lying In Wait For The Kill posted at Jeflin's Investment Blog.

Tyrone Solee presents Invest in Stock Market; The Warren Buffett Way posted at Millionaire Acts, saying, "Learn how Warren Buffett made his billions in the stock market"

Freddy presents Wall Street Slipped After Many Economic Data (April 14th, 2009) posted at Protege Analytics.

Britannica Blog presents Do Americans Support Capitalism, and Which Capitalism? posted at Britannica Blog, saying, "I’m being asked to participate in a debate on whether America’s economic system should remain capitalist or embrace socialism."

Freddy presents Bad News Shook Wall Street (March 15th, 2009) posted at Protege Analytics.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glimmers of Hope In Earnings

There was some really good hidden news this week. Two important companies came out with earnings, Intel and CSX. Well, Intel was not exactly hidden, but not many people paid attention to CSX

I'll start off with Intel, which was hammered today for not giving a future guidance. Intel smashed earnings expectations. This is important because, as I mention earlier, technology stocks are some of the hardest hit during a recession and for Intel to bring in earnings 3 times higher than expectations says a lot. We know that Intel is becoming more efficient, which is what you want to happen during a recession. Intel also reported higher revenue expectations, which to me shows that maybe the earnings expectations have finally come down enough where companies can beat them and bottom out. But it is even more important that tech companies, including RIMM, are beating their expectations because the tech sector is such a leading indicator of the economy. 

So then why are Intel shares declining right now? I couldn't tell you; I think the shares should be trading on the upside. The reason stated for the decline is that Intel did not give a guidance, but was that really a surprise considering they didn't do that last quarter? Intel did not give a guidance last quarter and look what happened, it smashed earnings expectations. Intel did say that PC demand had bottomed out, which was all the guidance I needed to hear. At least we know, Intel can go no where but up now. Intel also owns over 80% of the market share, which puts in an amazing position to rebound when the economy does. Intel will be one of the names that will skyrocket when people are confident the economy is going to be on a rebound in 6 months. It will definitely outperform the market. The new emerging markets, such as India and China, will be increasing demand for Intel's products, giving Intel many more years of strong revenue growth. People are just caught up right now with the lack of future guidance, which is sending shares lower, but it will only be a matter of time before people realize the tremendous upside Intel has. 

As for CSX, they also smashed earnings expectations. The railroad giant posted earnings of 62 cents compared with expectations of 51 cents per share. Railroads tend to still make solid profits during a recession because they charge so much money to transport goods. But CSX is significant because it also shows how the expectations may have come down low enough where companies can beat them. CSX is even more important because it is in the transport industry, which like tech, is one of the leading indicators of the economy. CSX, like Intel, is a company that has gotten its game together. CSX is cutting costs and coming up with new innovations to make themselves more efficient like making some of their trains two freight cars tall, allowing them to carry more cargo in one trip.

Intel and CSX are among the leaders in two of the most important business sectors. During a recession, the one beneficial thing that comes out of it is that companies downsize and become more efficient. Until that happens, you will not see companies beat earnings and stocks begin to rise. With Intel and CSX, we are seeing hopes that it is happening. If companies continue to become more efficient, I think we are ready for a rebound in stocks, and a few months later, the economy. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Does Cooking At Home Actually Save You Money?

Probably one of the first things you think about when you want to cut down costs is cutting down on eating out. But have you ever considered the opportunity cost of making your own food? You always have to keep in mind that if you choose to do something, you are giving up the opportunity to do any other activity. That is an opportunity cost - what you are giving up by choosing to do something. 

For our case, say it takes you an hour to prepare dinner for your family, to pack lunches or go grocery shopping. Now, it's true you're saving money by doing these things rather than eating out. However, how much time are you spending on these things?

When I had a job at a restaurant in high school, I would always spend an hour cooking lunch/dinner so I wouldn't have to spend money eating out on my way to work even though eating out was quicker.  I can't count the amount of times my manager called and asked me to come in an hour early to cover a shift. I would always say no because I wanted to spend the hour cooking so I wouldn't have to spend money to grab food on the way there. In hindsight, I think I know I made a mistake. I made $8 an hour so every time I turned down an hour of work to make myself dinner, I missed out on $8 that I could have earned. I could have eaten out for about $4. Meaning I could have earned an extra $8 by working, spent $4 to eat out and netted a gain of $4. 

Now, by cooking my dinner at home, I was saving $4 by not eating out, which made me feel pretty smart. But now that I look at it, yes it is true that I saved $4 but I also missed out on earning $8, meaning in then end, I was losing money.

What I want you to take out of this story is to make sure that what you are doing to save money is actually worth it. Today everyone is so desperate to save money that it could be actually costing them money. Not every cost cutting idea is actually saving you money, like my idea of cooking instead of eating out. Be aware of the opportunity costs of the saving measures you undertake.

Carnival of Everything Money #10

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Carnival of Everything Money. I wanted to give my thanks to everyone who is contributing to making this carnival a success! I would appreciate it if anyone who is featured in the carnival links back to this post. If you want to submit an article for next week's edition, the submission form is here. Just a reminder: I am not including articles that are not submitted with a category. If your article wasn't included, that's most likely why. Please change it because the more articles I can post, the better!

editor's pick

Miss M presents Economic Self-Segregation posted at M is for Money.

Mike G presents How Much Is Your Toe Worth? posted at Money TLD, saying, "If you don't have disability insurance, then you may find that workers' comp payout way too low to support you!"

The Smarter Wallet presents Trading The Market: What Market Trends Are Stock Traders Riding On Recently? posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Len Penzo presents Ten (Extremely) Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Saving Money posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, "Do you have the courage to implement these extremely off-the-wall money saving tips?"


ChristianPF presents Free budgeting form posted at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog, saying, "This is a budgeting spreadsheet that I created for myself - feel free to download it..."

Tracey presents Financial Smarts: Budgeting 101 posted at GIRLS TO GROW.


Credit Shout presents Disney Rewards Visa Card Review posted at CreditShout.

Mr Credit Card presents Plum Card Review posted at Ask Mr Credit Card.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents American Express Rewards Credit Card Offers A $25 Sign Up Bonus posted at The Digerati Life.

Sun presents Visa Black Card: What Do You Get From It? [Card Reviews] posted at The Sun’s Financial Diary.


DebtLite presents Why Consolidate School Loans? posted at School Loans.

Dan at Everydayfinance presents 4.2% Mortgage Rates on the Horizon Says Study posted at Everyday Finance, saying, "This article highlights the amazing 4.2% mortgage rate prediction by industry economists and how to go about getting the best deal."

Brian McKay presents When to Refinance your Mortgage posted at, saying, "The time is right to refinance your mortgage. Rates are at historic lows - even lower than the rates several years ago that helped contribute to the housing boom and bust."


Peak Personal Finance presents 3 Smart Personal Finance Tasks You Are Probably Putting Off posted at Peak Personal Finance, saying, "Why not get started today?"

Raj Patel presents Cutting the Digital Services Bill posted at DebtGoal.

One Family presents Kids Video Game Software and Consoles – An Introduction for Frugal Families posted at One Family's Blog, saying, "A comparative review of frugal alternatives to popular but expensive hand-held video game console offerings from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft."

Barry presents Buying Groceries From Auctions posted at Associate Money.

Charlie Peters presents The Sneakiest Grocery Store Trick Yet? posted at Pay Less For Food.

Asgreen presents Small Splurges in a Recession posted at Always the Planner....


Richard M. Rothschild presents The Top 14 Low Cost Taxable United States Bond Mutual Funds (Low Minimum Deposit) posted at Bond Market Index Funds, saying, "The top 14 low cost taxable US fixed income funds with a $10,000 or lower initial deposit. Low investment management fees are very important with fixed income funds. Simply put, if you pay higher bond mutual fund fees, then these bond management expenses tend just to be a deadweight loss to you. When you pay more in bond mutual fund fees, you are just wasting your money."

James Fowlkes presents Mission Retirement - Part 1 posted at

MoneyNing presents Everbank Review posted at Money Ning, saying, "EverBank is one of the best banks and it offers a very high rate with its money market account and even checking account. You should check it out."

Pinyo presents Is It Safe To Invest In High Yield Corporate Market? posted at Moolanomy.

Investing School presents Etrade vs Tradeking vs Zecco - Trading Commissions Comparison posted at Investing School, saying, "Have you written Etrade off just because the commissions are higher? Is Zecco or TradeKing better? This takes a look at these three stock brokers on a fees comparison."

Dorian Wales presents The Recent Rally in Stock Prices is Nearly Over posted at The Personal Financier, saying, "Stock markets around the world have surged by over 25% during March and April. I believe market players are already looking for a good excuse to start selling again…"

Summer Munyon presents How To Construct A Well-Written Real Estate Offer posted at Really Better Real Estate, saying, "This weekend I received a text from a friend whose Tallahassee home I recently sold. She plans to place an offer on a home in TX this weekend and wanted to know the binder amount that she should place on the home. Literally, the text states that the list price is $350,000. She plans to make an offer of $300,000, and how much binder should she offer? Unfortunately, it’s far more complicated than a numeric reply with the “send” button."

Matt @ StupidCents presents Free Money? You Bet! | StupidCents posted at StupidCents.


Kathleen Gaga presents Street Smarts Marketing & Promotions: Money comes to you when you do this one thing! posted at Street Smarts Marketing & Promotions, saying, "What is the solution you offer your clients? Not what you think the solution is, but the actual solution. The greater the solution, the more money they are willing to give you."

Peter presents To Succeed Diversify And Create Multiple Streams Of Income posted at Bible Money Matters, saying, "Diversify your income streams to succeed and reduce risk!"

Darwin presents Is Shop To Earn a Scam or Legit Business Opportunity? posted at Darwin's Finance, saying, "This 2009 update on the ShopToEarn multi-level marketing outfit has stirred the pot and invited quite the contraversy.

Twenties Money Magazine presents 5 Pieces of Advice for 20 somethings posted at Twenties Money, saying, "5 pieces of advice for 20 somethings from bloggers over 30."

Rob presents Google PowerMeter posted at Energy Saving Gadgets, saying, "The Google PowerMeter underscores, why a company like Google is head and shoulders above a company like Yahoo! It's called innovation. Google does it; Yahoo! doesn't."


PFCreditCards presents Cost of Wells Fargo Business Checking vs EverBank posted at PF Credit Cards, saying, "I'm done with Wells Fargo. No fees, high interest rates, same hassle free as traditional banking. EverBank is for me."

Marjorie presents Keep Moving On Your Goals posted at Wealth Junkies, saying, "These days it seems that making any progress on goals, especially financial goals, is impossible. Even small steps, like contributing to an emergency fund, seem out of reach when meeting day-to-day bills seems like an emergency. But just getting by isn’t enough. It may be slow-going, but working towards a goal can make the difference in whether you feel stuck or successful. There are several ways to keep making progress — depending on what seems to be slowing you down on your current goals."

The Dough Roller presents Get Your Green On–13 Energy (and Money) Saving Gadgets posted at The Dough Roller, saying, "The technology that is available today is quite remarkable, and many green gadgets can not only lessen our impact on the environment, but also save money."


Ripe Trade presents Ripe Trade: Leveraged and inverse ETF pitfalls posted at Ripe Trade, saying, "This post explains the underperformance of leveraged and inverse ETFs because they are designed to track the underlying index based on a 1 day performance, these ETF’s wont track well over longer periods of time."


George L Smyth presents One Minute How-To - How To File A Tax Extension posted at George L Smyth, saying, "Ryan Thompson explains how you can get an additional six months to file your taxes."

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Dear IRS posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Intel Earnings

The most important day this week is tomorrow when Intel reports its earnings. I have been wondering if it is safe to buy stocks before they report their earnings in hopes that they will beat the expectations. Intel is suppose to earn, a ridiculously low, 2 cents a share. Now, if Intel beats its earnings, it is going to give me the green light that if I can find companies where the earnings expectations have had such a huge drop from the previous year, and has had some catalyst for higher earnings, then they are a buy going into its earning release. I expect Intel to beat its expectations because its biggest buyer is in China, where the GDP is still a very high 6% so I don't expect a huge drop is business from China. Intel's Atom Processor has been a hit and I expect it to bring in solid revenue. Now, with huge companies such as Intel, the analysts are not usually wrong, but they might be tomorrow. If Intel can beat its earnings, than I think analysts will have finally pushed expectations lower than they should be. Watch out for Intel, it is going to show us how we can trade stocks in this earnings season.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

When Will The Economy Turn?

What direction is the economy going to take? We'll know the answer soon enough. I think we are in a critical transition period right now from an economy that has been in a free fall to one that is starting to stabilize. Earnings season has begun, and I expect the posted earnings to be bad, because as I just said, the economy has been in a free fall. If you are hoping to see good earnings as a sign that the economy has been improving, I doubt you will find it yet, as the economy is just now beginning to stabilize, so the past quarter has not been one where companies made money. Maybe next quarter, you will see improved earnings, but not this one. 

But there are two signs you should look out for. First, unemployment. If unemployment stops increasing so fast, you can take that as a great sign that the economy is turning. People will start spending more because they see that unemployment is not getting worse, and that they do not have to worry about losing their jobs. Now when I say unemployment is going to stop increasing so quickly, I do not mean we peaked at 8.5% unemployment. But I do mean, that instead of the amount of jobs we lose every month increasing, they will start decreasing. For example, lately we have seen unemployment numbers of 598,000 in January, 651,000 in February, and 663,000 in March. From now on, we will see jobs continue to be lost, but not more than 663,000 in a single month. So the rate of unemployment still has a ways higher to go, but the speed at which it increases should slow down, showing us that the economy is turning.

The next sign would be company forecasts. Transports, Oil, Tech, and Financials should be the companies you focus on because they are the ones that will see their business sharply increase as the economy begins to turn. Transports are important because in a healthy, flourishing economy, businesses are going to need to transport goods from one place to another. In a slow economy like today's, no firm can sell any goods so they are not transporting them across the country, and the transport business has seen its revenue drop significantly. If the transport industry gives a good guidance, then we can think that the economy is going to begin moving again.

Oil, is similar to Transport in that it really greases a healthy economy. A healthy economy demands oil for everything from fueling trucks, to making products. If an economy is at a standstill, oil demand falls. If oil companies increase their guidance, we will know the economy is starting to get better.

Financials are probably the most important companies to focus on. The economy simply cannot run if there is no credit. If firms can't borrow money, then they can't put in orders for large products, and then industrial companies have no one to supply their goods to, etc...  If they cannot start making large projects for future benefit, then their revenue won't increase and they will start laying off people. If financials give a strong guidance about an improvement in credit (and essentially and improvement in profits), then we know that soon enough, companies will begin to borrow money to invest it in a more productive future. Look for financials to be the first to turn, and the most important. Flowing credit will put an end to unemployment and start increasing jobs.

Lastly, tech is a high growth sector that lives off of a thriving economy. Consumers love to spend on technology because it is cool and useful. However, in a recession, that is the first place they cut down on. If tech makes a comeback, then we know that the consumer is not afraid to spend anymore, and consumer confidence is one of the most important barometers of a healthy economy. If tech gives good guidance, then consumer spending, which is 2/3 of the u.s economy, is likely to start increasing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carnival of Investing Strategies #10

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Carnival of Investing Strategies. This is a carnival focused on different strategies of investing your money. If your article was included, please be sure to link back to this carnival.If you want to make a submission for the next edition, the form is here.

Editor's Picks

Michael Haltman presents Mark To Market Eased: Making A Silk Purse From A Sow's Ear? Example Included posted at The Political and Financial Markets Commentator, saying, "These are complicated products that even the banks themselves, save for a few of the quants that created them, could either explain or describe. Products created with and about most every type of esoteric financial product available. Products with bid/ask spreads wide enough to drive a truck through. Products so illiquid that they may never trade and therefore can't be priced yet that allow the firms selling them to make huge money on them. You get the gist."

Darwin presents How to Profit from Employee Stock Options Regardless of Share Performance posted at Darwin's Finance, saying, "This article highlights how employees can capture income on their employee stock options regardless of how the shares perform in a down market."

Nesher presents Technical Indicators in Stock Trading posted at Internet Stock Trading for Beginners.

And More Great Reads

Lenox Ramsey Jr presents Closing Out Option Trades for Triple-Digit Profits posted at

Jared presents Honda Will Benefit from GM, Chrysler in Trouble posted at, saying, "Great article about Honda's current and future advantage. This could be a huge investment opportunity."

etrades presents Option Trading Gives You Better Returns posted at eTrades, saying, "In option trading you pay a premium to give you the right to buy or sell some shares in the future. You can then buy or sell those shares within the time specified at the price decided. You are obliged to make the purchase or sale within the specified time or risk the forfeiture of the premium paid."

Tushar Mathur presents Health Savings Accounts explained posted at Everything Finance, saying, "One thing is certain with healthcare: premiums continue to climb higher. As a result, more employees may find that health-savings accounts (HSA) have been added to their benefits packets this year, in some cases replacing HMO and PPO offerings."

ifvat presents Investing in the Stock Market posted at ifvat, saying, "If you want to start investing in the stock market, first spend quite a bit of time learning about investing and learning about the stock market. Don’t invest a dime if you don’t know what you’re doing. You could lose it all. Are you interested in learning more about investing your cash in the stock market? You should first be asking how does the stock market work to earn extra money and then keep working."

Silicon Valley Blogger presents $50 Sign Up Bonus When You Open A TradeKing Account posted at The Digerati Life.

Frank Vertin presents Just Buy Index Funds Directly posted at NO LOAD INDEX FUND, saying, "Buying an S&P 500 index fund through an investment counselor can substantially increase your initial purchasing costs and and drive up your annual management expense fees. Unfortunately, the vast majority of individual investors buy mutual funds and ETFs through brokers and investment advisers. Rarely do financial advisors recommend that you buy index funds with low fees. This is because low cost, no load mutual funds do not pay them as well as loaded, high fee mutual funds."

Larry Russell presents Most Individual Investors Are Poor Personal Portfolio Managers | Personal Investment Management posted at THE SKILLED INVESTOR Blog, saying, "Investors more easily understand investment costs that are directly measurable, such as fees deducted on investment statements. However, many investors ignore or are unaware of the opportunity costs of their sub-optimal investment behaviors. Opportunity costs are usually much more difficult to measure directly, but these investment costs can be even higher than more visible investment fees."

The Smarter Wallet presents Technical Trading Indicators Predict That The Stock Market Rally Won’t Last posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Leave Your Money in Your Retirement Accounts! posted at Cash Money Life, saying, "Withdrawing your money in a down market virtually guarantees you will not meet your retirement needs."

Cody Butler presents How Do Mutual Funds work? posted at Investment-For-Beginners Blog, saying, "A basic overview of the way in which mutal funds work and who they are for."

J.D. Bell presents Property Liens 101 posted at Tax Deed Investing.

Walter W. Fouse presents 7 Ways to Pick the Best Noload Mutual Funds and ETFs posted at Best No Load Funds, saying, "The vast body of investment research studies show that there really are better approaches to buying and owning mutual funds and ETFs. You do not need to frantically chase fund performance. Performance chasing simply does not work."

Tallahassee Real Estate presents How To Make An Offer In Today’s Real Estate Market posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "Regardless of who is receiving the offer, there is a definite plan one should follow if attaining the property at the best price is the primary goal. Too often, I see buyers and agents alike making amateurish mistakes that end up costing them the home that they wanted to buy."

Richard M. Rothschild presents The Top 14 Low Cost Taxable United States Bond Mutual Funds (Low Minimum Deposit) posted at Bond Market Index Funds, saying, "The top 14 low cost taxable US fixed income funds with a $10,000 or lower initial deposit. Low investment management fees are very important with fixed income funds. Simply put, if you pay higher bond mutual fund fees, then these bond management expenses tend just to be a deadweight loss to you. When you pay more in bond mutual fund fees, you are just wasting your money."

RJ presents Best Online Banks posted at Our Financial Planner.

Stock Trading Brokers presents SEC Considers Proposal for Uptick Rule posted at Stock Trading Brokers, saying, "Bring back the uptick rule. There was actually no harm done when it was there. When it's not broken, don't fix it. Now that people have shed light on it, of course there are criticisms."

Stephen Todd presents Currency Market - Online Currency Trading posted at Currency Trading, saying, "Currency Market - Online Currency Trading: Would you believe that currency trading is the biggest business in the world? Over three trillion dollars worth of transactions take place everyday in the currency market and online currency trading is now available to everyone. The market is fast and extremely volatile where literally fortunes can be made in the twinkling of an eye."

MoneyNing presents Everbank Review posted at Money Ning, saying, "EverBank is one of the best banks and it offers a very high rate with its money market account and even checking account. You should check it out."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carnival of Everything Money

For the first time, the Carnival of Everything Money is hosted at another blog! This week I Pick Up Pennies is hosting. Check out the carnival here.

What Is Behind A Sell Off?

I hear people wondering what the reason for sell offs are all the time. But sometimes there just isn't an answer except for the fact that there are simply more people selling stocks than there are people buying stocks. Jim Cramer did a good little segment about it that I want you guys to watch. If you want to be a solid equity investor, you need to know why markets move. You need to understand that when stocks are traded, it is someone selling their shares to someone else. Sometimes there is no significant news or events to anticipate. 

For example, say someone wants to sell 100 shares of Microsoft at $17.00 a share, but there is only one person out there trying to buy Microsoft at 17.00 and he only wants 50 shares. Now, someone else also wants to buy 50 shares of Microsoft, but only at $16.00 a share. The seller now has to sell half his shares at $17 and sell the other half at $16, which now drives the price of Microsoft shares down to $16.00. Microsoft stocks fell a dollar not because a fundamental change in the company, but simply because there was not enough people willing to buy the stock at a certain price level that day. The next day the exact opposite could happen, and someone who really wants to buy 100 shares of Microsoft will have to buy 50 shares at $16.00 and the other 50 at $17.00 a share, driving the price back up. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Street's Most Famous Banking Analyst Starts To Change Her Mind

This is a good article about how the banking sector might be heading up, which is going to turn the economy around. Meredith Whitney has been giving a lot of pessimist outlooks so the fact that she is starting to change her mind might be a sign that anyalsts will start upgrading stocks.
Bank earnings may show some improvement in the first quarter, though the sector still has far to go in recovering from the credit crisis, well-known analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.

"I think you’ll see a directional turn," Whitney said in a live interview. "Banks will make a little money, as little as a penny a share, but they won’t lose money."

For that reason, she said investors should be careful shorting—or betting on further declines—in bank stocks right now.

"Lay off on shorts, and don’t buy into selloffs," Whitney said. "The fundamentals are not getting any better but capital ratios should get better."

Whitney, a former analyst at Oppenheimer who has her own firm, is renowned for calling out the problems with banks' toxic assets before the issue became widespread.

Whitney said the banks should be seeing some benefits from the revised mark-to market rules in the first quarter.

She also said she expected home prices to fall another 30 percent, contrary to some predictions that housing may have bottomed.

"Home prices cannot bottom while liquidity is still contracting from the economy," she said. She did say that large banks should benefit from low mortgage rates and refinancing.

Asked about comments from another well-known bank analyst, Michael Mayo, who said earlier Monday that banks' debt problems are far from over, Whitney said: "I think that’s out there. There’s nothing out there that would cause anyone to believe they’d be different ... but tangible ratios could be better."

Mayo is former Deutsche Bank analyst who now works for CLSA's Calyon Securities, remains negative on the sector. His comments sent most bank stocks lower on Monday, which helped pull the overall market down.

Whitney also said that JP Morgan Chase booking a profit in the 4th quarter should not be viewed as a bottom for the financials.

Whitney did say that she thought that the upcoming stress tests by the government for the banks could mean a grim time for the financials at the end of April, when the tests are concluded.

"After stress tests come out, you’ll see some banks that didn’t pass," said Whitney. "I don’t think we get out of the woods until mid 2010, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a trading opportunity."

Among the other points Whitney made in the interview:
  • Peak to trough levels for home prices will be over 50 percent
  • Liquidity continues to be drained from the system
  • More consumers become stressed and unable to service debt burdens.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

9th Edition of the Carnival of Investing Strategies

Welcome to the 9th edition of the Carnival of Investing Strategies. This is a carnival focused on different strategies of investing your money. If your article was included, please be sure to link back to this carnival. If you want to make a submission for the next edition, the form is here.

Editor's Picks

Lenox Ramsey Jr presents 12 Keys to Trading Earnings for Profits posted at

Dana presents Diversification, Long-Term Horizon, Buy and Hold: Still Relevant? posted at Investoralist, saying, "Facing unprecedented market carnage, do old investment adages such as diversification, long-term horizon and buy and hold, still apply today?"

The Smarter Wallet presents S & P Index and Crude Oil Market Trends: Next Steps? posted at The Smarter Wallet.

More Excellent Investing Strategies

Tony presents Investing In Certificate Of Deposits posted at Understanding Certificate of Deposits, saying, "An investment in a CD is very safe since it has a set return."

Jim presents Guide to Social Lending Networks posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Mark Foo presents Personal Development Blog | The Most Fundamental Principle of Stock Investment – The Big Dreamer posted at The Big Dreamer, saying, "The one stock investment principle that all investors must understand."

ChristianPF presents How to plan for your financial future posted at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog, saying, "A few guidelines for planning your financial future..."

The Dividend Guy presents The Tyranny of Investment Fees posted at The Dividend Guy Blog, saying, "Investment fees eat away at your portfolio, and the worst part is is that it accelerates over time!"

Pinyo presents Alternative Investments, Correlation, and Diversification posted at Moolanomy.

Sun presents Should Gold be in Your Investment Portfolio? posted at The Sun’s Financial Diary.

Nickel presents Zecco: Still the Best Online Broker? posted at

Cody Butler presents Money Market Investing, What Is It And How Does It Work posted at Dream Life Coaching Blog. Ask your questions., saying, "A basic guide to money market accounts."

Dave presents The Shop Market Versus The Stock Market - Vox posted at Cheapo Groovo.

Lenox Ramsey Jr presents A Guide to Forex Leverage, and Employing it Safely posted at Forex Boost, saying, "A Guide to Forex Leverage, and Employing it Safely"

Diego Cervantes presents The Mutual Fund Toolbox: Top 50 Blogs, Portfolio Tools, and More posted at Bankling.

Torrey Brothers presents Perfect Time to Invest in Real Estate posted at Hot Wholesale Rehabs, saying, "Post explains why now is the perfect time to invest in real estate."

Ifvat presents The Beginner's Guide to Stock Market Investing Risk Tolerance posted at ifvat, saying, "Knowing your risk tolerance will help you establish an investment style and help you feel confident when you and your broker make investment decisions."

Etrades presents Basic Guidelines On Investing In Penny Stock That Matters posted at eTrades, saying, "Penny stock tips - Learn, learn, and learn. Study more basic guidelines on investing in penny stocks!"

Investing School presents Beginning with Options Trading posted at Investing School, saying, "Options can be an amazingly easy way to protect yourself and reduce risk. However, it can also be very dangerous if misused."

Diego Cervantes presents Day Trader Tweets: StockTwits vs. Twiticker posted at Bankling.

Verna Morris presents How to Build a Simple and Effective All-ETF Portfolio | ETF Database posted at ETFdb.

FMF presents Free Money Finance: Your Most Important Investing Decision posted at Free Money Finance, saying, "The key to great investing."

Thanks to everyone who submitted! Be sure to check back again next week!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What Will Earnings Season Bring?

Earnings season has arrived! 

Too many bears have been pointing out how earnings are going to be bad, companies are going to miss their earnings and their stocks are going to plummet. Now I agree that earnings will be low, and that plenty of companies will miss their earnings. But I think their stocks will still go up. Why? Because as I have said many times, the stock market looks forward, not backwards. 

When the earnings come out, make sure to read the company's quarterly report because deep inside the report lies something more important than the earnings. Its the outlook the company gives for the next quarter and year. The economy is going to get better this year, the credit markets are thawing, and the government's efforts to jump start the economy will work. All these reasons, are why I think that when companies report their dismal earnings, they will add on that they think they have seen the worse and that their future outlook things are going to improve. Since the market looks forward, the future looking outlook will be more important than the lagging indicator of earnings. 

Case in point: Fed Ex. Fed Ex reported horrible earnings just a week ago. Their profit dropped 75% from the previous quarter and they missed their earnings by 15 cents a share. Yet the stock had close to a 5% gain that day, showing that no matter how bad earnings are, if the outlook is improving, then the stock is going to rise.

So while everyone is saying earnings are going to be bad, and they probably will, they are missing the main point. The outlook is what matters. I think most management teams are going to believe that the economic conditions are going to improve and that the credit markets are improving. They will raise their outlooks and this stock market rally is going to continue.