Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy! Go Away!

Day 1 of closed markets has come and gone.

- lack of open market = very productive at work
- no need to watch Fast Money = 1 hour freed up to catch up on TV shows. I watched latest Homeland and Walking Dead. both very good!!
- less business tweets flooding my twitter from various news sources, but mostly replaced by just as many Sandy tweets ... hahaha

- somewhat boring day. is it sad I get my Mon to Fri entertainment from watching investor shows?
- potentially increased volatility down the road. I'm not looking forward to Wednesday, when markets re-open, coinciding with quarter end. We could be getting a lot of pent up volatility
- lack of earnings driven reaction. From the sounds of it, tomorrow earnings will continue to be released, with or without the open market. Some companies have said they will push back earnings, but not all have.

Sandy has made everyone realize how vulnerable humans really are to mother nature. I started thinking about my food supply, and quickly realized if I lost power, there wouldn't be much I could eat, except fruit, instant noodles (uncooked) and some candy. Maybe its time to buy some emergency food supplies like jerky, granola bars, and such...

To all the east coast readers, stay safe, wherever you may be in the storm's path.

To Sandy, go away already, so life can go back to normal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canadian Government Intervention in M&A Activity

This week we saw 2 major deals blocked by the Canadian government. Is this an ominous sign for the CNOOC Nexen deal?

First, we saw the CRTC block the takeover of Astral Media by Bell, and its parent, BCE. It was a deal that would have, by estimates, resulted in Bell controlling 33-45% of all English speaking content in Canada. The deal was widely expected to be approved by industry watchers, as evidenced by the 16% drop in Astral Media shares when the rejection was announced (ouch...).

In a decision broadly reminiscent of the late 90s actions by the government to block 2 major bank mergers (anyone still remember Paul Martin? lol), the Canadian government has put its foot down yet again to ensure adequate levels of competition and prevent a concentration of market power. Personally I believe the CRTC made the correct call here, as the Herfindahl Index, a measure of competitiveness within an industry, would increase significantly if a single company controlled nearly 50% of the market.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Portfolio Activity

Just a short portfolio update about what's been going on lately.

As my Twitter followers saw, the past two weeks saw increased activity in my Dividend Growth Portfolio (DGP). In the first week of October, I sold Abbott Labs after a healthy run from high 40s to just past 70. Around the same time, I also sold Honeywell, for a small profit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dividend Growth Portfolio, September 2012 Update

With the conclusion of September, is the end of Q3
Off in the distance, end of year I see
Summer has departed, winter not yet here.
Dividends keep growing, a few left in the year.

If you recall, in the August update, I mentioned that there were a few companies for which I was expecting dividend hikes by end of the year. Indeed in September, two of them were realized. Both Microsoft and McDonald's raised their dividend by double digit percentages mid month. That just leaves Boeing, Becton, and Emerson to raise in Q4. I believe all three will raise with or shortly after their Q3 earnings reports.