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Archive for January 11th, 2013

Sorting Through the News

Friday, January 11th, 2013

I’ve used Yahoo Finance for over 15 years.  I think it is the best single free news source for companies on the web.  If you know a better source, please mention it in the comments.

But there is a lot of low value data in their news feeds, so I created a utility to eliminate the bad stuff.  The link to it is in step 11 below.  I’m sharing one of my tools with you.  I hope it works well for you if you try it.

Procedure

  1. Using your browser, go to Yahoo Finance, and choose one of your portfolios.
  2. Hit the “End” key to go to the bottom of the screen, and hit “Page up.”  You will see a little link on the left labeled “more News” with a caret pointing downward.  If you to go further back in time, click the link.  If you want still more news, just keep repeating “End, Page Up, Click” until you cover the whole time you want news for.
  3. Hit Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C to copy the whole browser window
  4. Ctrl-V to paste into Excel
  5. Ctrl-F, search for “day and time”
  6. Using Shift, press Page Down to highlight all of the stories, Ctrl-C to copy
  7. Paste into a new sheet
  8. Widen Column B a lot, such that the only columns you see are A through D
  9. Click “Merge and Center” to demerge all cells
  10. Click on the Sort A-to-Z button
  11. Open the news screener, hit Ctrl-C to copy
  12. Flip back to the sheet you had open in step 10, and hit Ctrl-V to paste in Spreadsheet at cell D1
  13. Make sure to copy down new paste to cover all of your rows, or delete rows for which there is no news.
  14. Sort on the rightmost column
  15. Delete all the rows labeled “Here” in the rightmost column
  16. Delete all of the columns from “C” to the right.
  17. Enjoy
  18. Optional – With your cursor in cell A1, click the button to create a pivot-table.  Take defaults, hit OK.
  19. Click and Drag “day and time” into the row labels, and values
  20. Then click down arrow next to Row Labels on the pivot table, and choose “More Sort Options”
  21. Click Descending (Z to A) and choose “Count of day and time.”  Click OK, and you are done.
  22. Really enjoy.

After step 17, you would have something that looks like this:

day and time

symbols

AIZAIZ Crosses Above Key Moving Average Level at Forbes04:15pm EST
AIZDaily Dividend Report: WAG, AIZ, CPNO, RRD, FSP at Forbes12:57pm EST
AIZAssurant Board of Directors Declares Quarterly Dividend of $.21 per Common Share Business Wire11:52am EST
BPBP seeks judge’s ruling on size of Gulf oil spill AP05:53pm EST
BPMedical-benefits portion of BP Gulf settlement gets approval, Bloomberg says at theflyonthewall.com05:24pm EST
BPBP: Government overestimated size of spill AP04:32pm EST
BPCourt revives call for oil spill pollutant list AP01:24pm EST
BPSecond Acts in Finance and Business: The 5 Most Astonishing Comeback Stories at Minyanville12:00pm EST
BRK-BLessons From The Aborted Fiscal Cliff Drop And Seven Stocks For The Next Doomsday Debt-Ceiling Scenario at Forbes03:36pm EST
BRK-BWells Fargo: Q4 Record Profit, But Rock-Bottom Low Interest Rates Both Helped And Hurt at Forbes08:27am EST
CSCOMost active Nasdaq-traded stocks AP06:02pm EST
CSCOCisco “Surprised” at Trademark Lawsuit From University at AllThingsD05:04pm EST
CSCOU.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate Reuters04:53pm EST
CSCONo End to Set-Top Boxes in Sight at The Wall Street Journal03:42pm EST
CSCOEast Carolina University sues Cisco over slogan Reuters02:43pm EST
CSCOGet Ready to Profit From the “Dot-Com Boom 2.0″ at Investopedia02:31pm EST
CSCOUPDATE 1-U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate at Reuters11:21am EST
CSCOU.S. government warns on Java as security concerns escalate at Reuters11:03am EST
CSCOECU sues Cisco over ‘Tomorrow Starts Here’ at bizjournals.com11:02am EST
CSCOCisco sued by Eastern Carolina University for trademark infringement at bizjournals.com10:35am EST
CSCOUPDATE 1-East Carolina University sues Cisco over slogan at Reuters10:01am EST
CSCOCisco Sued for Trademark Infringement Over Marketing Slogan at AllThingsD09:54am EST
CSCOWhy Silicon Valley needs its new ANA route to work at bizjournals.com03:01am EST
CSCOTim Cook: China will be Apple’s top market at CNNMoney.com02:40am EST
CSCOSales Moves Beyond Face-to-Face Deals, Onto the Web at BusinessWeek09:30pm EST
CSCOForbes: Raleigh-Cary ranked 5th among new tech hot spots in the U.S. at bizjournals.com07:20pm EST
CVXAustralian Heat Wave Adds to Fire Risk in New South Wales at Bloomberg09:38pm EST
CVXChevron leads energy sector to slim gain at MarketWatch04:57pm EST
CVXYen Extends Weekly Slump While U.S. Stocks Little Changed at Bloomberg04:51pm EST
CVXChevron Strikes Optimistic Note for Quarterly Earnings at Bloomberg04:10pm EST
CVXStocks End Flat but Post 2nd Weekly Gain; BBY Soars 16% at CNBC04:00pm EST
CVXDow Now: Merck to Pull Ineffective Cholesterol Drug at Minyanville01:38pm EST
CVXStocks Struggle For Direction; On Assignment Jumps at Investor’s Business Daily01:35pm EST
CVXBernstein predicts return of oil M&A bonanza at Reuters12:21pm EST
CVXStocks Slip Near Midday; Watson Slumps On Downgrade at Investor’s Business Daily12:09pm EST
CVX Friday, Jan. 11: Global Markets Preview at MarketWatch09:55am EST
CVX Friday, January 11: Keep Your Eye on These at MarketWatch09:53am EST
CVXCramer’s Six in 60: CMI Gets Ahead of Itself CNBC09:53am EST
CVX Cramer’s Six in 60: CMI Gets Ahead of Itself at CNBC09:53am EST
CVXStock futures flat; Wells Fargo profit rises at MarketWatch09:20am EST
CVXIraq threatens to seize oil shipments, sue dealers AP08:08am EST
CVXAnalyst nudges up Chevron earnings view at MarketWatch07:57am EST
CVXAustralia Faces Soaring Temperatures as Fire Bans Enforced at Bloomberg01:14am EST
CVXIndonesia – Market factors to watch on Jan 11 at Reuters09:42pm EST
CVXChevron shares gain, Amex turns lower after hours at MarketWatch07:28pm EST
CVXChevron expects 4Q profit to beat 3Q AP06:50pm EST
CVX[$$] Chevron Sees Asset Gains, Higher Output Boosting Profit at The Wall Street Journal06:29pm EST
CVXTesoro, Valero lead energy stocks higher at MarketWatch06:18pm EST
CVXAfter-Hours Buzz: AXP, BA & More at CNBC05:51pm EST
CVXChevron sees higher fourth-quarter earnings at MarketWatch05:42pm EST
CVXUPDATE 1-Chevron sees higher 4th-qtr profit as output rises at Reuters05:29pm EST
CVXChevron says Q4 profit will be ‘notably higher’ than Q3 at bizjournals.com05:24pm EST
CVXChevron sees “notably higher” Q4 profit as output grows at Reuters05:09pm EST
CVXChevron Says It Expects Q4 Earnings to Be ‘Notably Higher’ Than Q3 at CNBC05:08pm EST
CVXCHEVRON CORP Files SEC form 8-K, Results of Operations and Financial Condition EDGAR Online05:02pm EST
CVXChevron Issues Interim Update for Fourth Quarter 2012 Business Wire05:00pm EST
CVXStocks Rally, S&P 500 Closes at 5-Year High; Facebook Gains 2% at CNBC04:32pm EST
ESVEnsco Achieves #31 Analyst Rank, Surpassing Teradyne at Forbes11:47am EST
INTCARM CEO East Says Phooey to the ‘Transistor Cliff’ at Barrons.com09:26pm EST
INTCWill CEOs Give the Bulls What They Want This Earnings Season? at CNBC08:40pm EST
INTCIntel planning larger move into mobile at bizjournals.com04:38pm EST
INTCWall Street Week Ahead: Attention turns to financial earnings at Reuters04:37pm EST
INTCMicrosoft may have exited gadget show prematurely AP04:36pm EST
INTCKidder Mathews: Industrial market slowed in late 2012 at bizjournals.com01:18pm EST
INTCWhere are the hot spots for STEM jobs? (Hint: Don’t think Silicon Valley or Alley) at bizjournals.com01:06pm EST
INTC MarketWatch Week Ahead: Earnings Season Kicks Off at MarketWatch12:40pm EST
INTCWorldwide PC Shipments Fell 6.4% In Q4; 2012 Down 3.2% at Forbes11:59am EST
INTCLargest option buying in equities so far optionMONSTER11:29am EST
INTCSlim Gains in Markets Ahead of Earnings Reports at New York Times10:34am EST
INTCWhich Stocks Look Ready to Pop and Drop with Earnings Next Week? Indie Research09:20am EST
INTC10 Things You Need To Know This Morning Business Insider07:08am EST
INTCHoliday PC sales dip for first time in five years Reuters09:28pm EST
INTCUPDATE 2-Holiday PC sales dip for first time in 5 years at Reuters09:20pm EST
INTCInstant View: Holiday PC sales slide for first time in over five years Reuters07:05pm EST
INTCInstant View: Holiday PC sales slide for first time in over five years Reuters06:42pm EST
INTCHoliday sales of PCs slide for first time in five years: IDC Reuters06:40pm EST
INTCHoliday sales of PCs slide for first time in 5 years -IDC at Reuters06:29pm EST
INTCPC sales fall 6.4% in Q4, worse than expected at MarketWatch06:28pm EST
INTCCES: ARM Holdings To Expand Push To TVs, Servers, Networks at Forbes06:16pm EST
INTCApple rises, but Microsoft, Yahoo slide at MarketWatch04:36pm EST
LLoews Adds RG Advisors’s Gendelman as Head of Equity Investments at Bloomberg09:36am EST
LRobert Gendelman Joins Loews Corporation as Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Equity Investments Business Wire09:29am EST
ORCLUS government tells computer users to disable Java AP09:52pm EST
ORCLImpact of Island Air sale on Hawaii will depend on who the buyer is at bizjournals.com08:00pm EST
ORCLSplunk Gains on Speculation IBM May Consider Takeover at Bloomberg04:44pm EST
ORCLTop 5: Bay Area Software Companies at bizjournals.com03:59pm EST
ORCLOracle: Davenport Ups to Buy on Cash Flow, Hardware Promise at Barrons.com02:02pm EST
ORCLMalibu Makes Bid to Be World’s Mega-Mansion Capital at CNBC12:11pm EST
ORCLTop 10 Most-read Web stories of the week: 01/04 to 01/11 at bizjournals.com09:39am EST
ORCLSilicon Valley Exec of the Year for 2013 is… at bizjournals.com09:32am EST
ORCLOracle Announces StorageTek LTO 6 Tape Drives Marketwire08:00am EST
ORCLSAP Challenges Oracle by Boosting Flagship Software Speed at Bloomberg03:18am EST
ORCLGerman stocks – Factors to watch on January 11 at Reuters02:43am EST
ORCLSAP Challenges Oracle by Boosting Flagship Software Speed at Bloomberg07:32pm EST
ORCLSAP Steps on the Gas at New York Times07:11pm EST
ORCLCramer Navigates Treacherous Tech-Scape at CNBC06:12pm EST
ORCLSAP’s Move to Reinvent Real-Time Enterprise at CNBC05:13pm EST
ORCLExperts urge PC users to disable Java, cite security flaw Reuters05:06pm EST
ORCLExperts urge PC users to disable Java, cite security flaw at Reuters05:04pm EST
PSXCramer: This New Trend Multi-Year Game Changer at CNBC06:05pm EST
RGAReinsurance Group of America Larger Than S&P 500 Component SAIC at Forbes04:47pm EST
TELTE Connectivity to Report Fiscal 2013 First Quarter Results on January 23, 2013 PR Newswire04:30pm EST
TELTE CONNECTIVITY LTD. Files SEC form 8-K, Amendments to Articles of Inc. or Bylaws; Change in Fiscal Year, Other Event EDGAR Online07:33am EST
TRV Hate the Company, Love the Stock at CNBC02:30pm EST
VLOValero refineries closed for repairs, maintenance at bizjournals.com08:55am EST
VOD[$$] Save a Bundle on Your Tech Bills at The Wall Street Journal09:28pm EST
VODVerizon Wireless 4G LTE Network Expands In Albany Area PR Newswire02:33pm EST
VODRIM sees BlackBerry Internet Services affected by Vodafone outages, TNW says theflyonthewall.com07:54am EST

After step 22, you would have something that looked like this:

Row LabelsCount of day and time
WFC

153

CVX

32

INTC

22

XRX

20

ORCL

17

CSCO

16

BP

5

VOD

4

AIZ

3

TEL

2

BRK-B

2

L

2

VLO

1

TRV

1

PSX

1

ESV

1

RGA

1

Grand Total

283

The purpose of creating the pivot table is to highlight stocks with a lot of news.  Stocks with lots of news, you typically know what happened.  I set my limit at 10 stories.  If there are more, I do a quick scan of the companies with a lot of articles and see if it is just one story written many times.  In this case, I deleted the stories from WFC and XRX — there was basically one story for each.  WFC earnings, and XRX’s CFO leaving to go to Apple.

That left me with only 110 articles to look at out of 467 at the start of this exercise.  As it was, I chose to read 10 of the articles.  It takes me 3 minutes to use the news screener (once you get used to it, it is fast), and it saves me tons of time, and helps me be more focused in what I read.

This is my way of wading through too many articles, eliminating robotic, and lower quality content.  Note: if you don’t agree with what I think is low value, you can change the headers in my spreadsheet in columns D through N.

I hope you enjoy this.

Full disclosure: long AIZ, BP, BRK-B, CSCO, CVX, ESV, INTC, L, ORCL, PSX, RGA, TEL, TRV, VLO, VOD, WFC, XRX

Sorted Weekly Tweets

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Basel III

 

  • Betrayed by Basel http://t.co/dzH7crDt Additional Liquidity & Capital will always lower the bank’s ROE; banks always protest over safety $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • International rules & regs r also easier to co-opt, b/c the normal political opponents r easier to shut out of the process $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • BaSell Illiquid Liquidity Rules (Under Basel 3) http://t.co/mIww29wC International acctg rules & regulations r easier 4 companies 2ignore $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Banks Win an Easing of Rules on Assets http://t.co/8eealPyW If u want stronger banks, their costs go up b/c liquidity reduces profits $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Rules for Lenders Relaxed http://t.co/HIaunjdU Basel III Regulators Cave 2 Banks;Ease Requirements for Meeting Guideline on Liquidity $$ Jan 07, 2013

 

Rest of the World

 

  • Morocco Stalled Tourist Drive Traps Lenders http://t.co/pUdxfQUg Is there anyplace in the world that hasn’t overlent on real estate? $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • A Protest Unites Far-Flung Activists http://t.co/hGR0J8IQ China does not tolerate protests that seem to be coordinated $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • Google Chief Urges North Korea to Embrace Web http://t.co/XjXOBr4c Wait till they learn how poor they r compared 2 the rest of the world $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Gold Lures Japan’s Pension Funds as Abe Targets Inflation http://t.co/ORqqGIuu Didn’t think Gold, Japan & inflation allowed in 1 sentence Jan 09, 2013
  • Japan to Buy European Debt With Currency Reserves to Weaken Yen http://t.co/qTW7RbqA Make a bunch of bad investments w/your monetary base $$ Jan 09, 2013
  • The Oslo Housing Bubble Syndrome http://t.co/UbXKjTvE Keep interest rates low to protect your exporters, and so inflate a housing bubble $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Pakistan Loving Fatburger as Fast Food Boom Ignores US Drones http://t.co/TlNm0DGc Something endearing about Pakistanis eating burgers $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Inconvenient Truths About Al Jazeera http://t.co/F8JdS1Co Perhaps it should be renamed “The Wahhabi Islam Ministry of Propaganda” $$ Jan 07, 2013
  • Record India Deficit May Limit Rate Cuts as Rupee Drops http://t.co/B9e24zwt India badly-run compared2 other EM Countries; feeling stress Jan 05, 2013
  • Chávez’s Appointed Heir Prepares 4 Battle http://t.co/JEvNVwJa Maduro Faces Factional Infighting Amid Campaign 2Win Venezuelan’s Hearts Jan 05, 2013

Fixed Income

 

  • Fitch Places Illinois GO Bonds on Negative Watch, Says Large Unfunded Pension Liabilities Unsustainable http://t.co/73qh5vg8 No Surprise $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • Is High Yield Overvalued? http://t.co/8ATkkF8B The high-yield category has increased risks and low absolute yields $$ High yield nulla est Jan 10, 2013
  • Fed Governor Tarullo pressing 4 banks 2fund themselves w/more long-term debt. http://t.co/vCT1tyy1 Good idea, I may have misjudged him $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Banks to Boost Liquidity With Illiquid Assets http://t.co/CzObiq31 Chart of the Day http://t.co/wD6VJRLi BBB bonds illiquid in crises $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Junk Bonds’ Fire Is Poised to Fade http://t.co/zSLNRXX3 Avg yields dropped below 6% 4the 1st time ever; Avg prices highest since 2004 $$ Jan 07, 2013

 

Jack Lew


·  10 Things You Need 2 Know About Jack Lew, Obama’s Next Treasury Secretary http://t.co/5kaGstrc Interesting summary of an influential guy $$ Jan 10, 2013

  • Is Jack Lew A Friend to Wall Street? http://t.co/SoK6kyw1 Like Tim Geithner, the new Treasury nominee may owe his views to Robert Rubin. $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Trading 1 type of cronyism 4another http://t.co/vCT1tyy1 & http://t.co/gx4cTK4U Lose Fed crony [Geithner], get political crony [Lew] $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Obama to Nominate Lew as Treasury Secretary http://t.co/D6rAids5 Strategy: nominate a lot of controverial ppl & wear down the Senate $$ Jan 09, 2013

 

Debt Ceilings, Platinum Coins, Etc.

 

  • This impresses me as 6 of one, a half dozen of the other. Both try to make something out of nothing. http://t.co/5afNZxY9 Jan 10, 2013
  • Platinum-Coin Punditry Poses Threat to Dollar http://t.co/0pyjh2x3 Takes my view that it will decrease demand in the Treasury market $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Only Thing Wrong With the Debt Ceiling Is the Lag http://t.co/L7LFyqeD First Congress decides on how much 2 borrow, then sets budget $$ Jan 09, 2013
  • Why we won’t mint a platinum coin http://t.co/xbDdI5IA The reaction of foreign $$ obligation holders would be swift & negative #rsvcurrency Jan 08, 2013
  • Rebranding the “trillion-dollar coin” http://t.co/YoqGgFWQ You can’t get something for nothing; this will makes foreigners distrust the $$ Jan 05, 2013

 

Economic Policy

 

  • Fed’s Plosser Says Stimulus May Backfire, Fuel Inflation http://t.co/qtp04uVT “‘stimulus’ may not help speed up the process…may prolong” Jan 12, 2013
  • James Buchanan, a Star Economist Who Understood Obamacare http://t.co/qn34aQPO Bureaucrats have a natural interest in seeing gov’t grow $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Economist Who Argued Public Officials R Ruled by Self-Interest Dies http://t.co/fx8ss0r7 James Buchanan founder of Public Choice Theory Jan 10, 2013
  • Button-Down Central Bank Bets It All http://t.co/Udzx5QCF What does it mean when central banks downgrade asset quality? Very trendy $$ Jan 09, 2013
  • US Consumers Obligation to spend http://t.co/stw01ER3 America’s Cars and Appliances Are Getting Old, may presage demand 4 durable goods $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Why Austerity Works and Fiscal Stimulus Doesn’t http://t.co/nJhXmjFK Austerity exalts free actions of humans; stimulus exalts bureaucrats Jan 08, 2013
  • The Education of John Boehner http://t.co/OgUWkXUw Leverage 4the next clash: GOP willingness 2let the spending sequester take effect $$ Jan 07, 2013
  • Ending the Era of Ponzi Finance http://t.co/oaPG7s8h 24 pgs PDF | John Mauldin has Daniel Stelter describe what’s unsustainable in policy $$ Jan 05, 2013

 

Companies

 

  • Mohawk Chief Lorberbaum Emerges as Billionaire With Tiles http://t.co/lQeR5B45 $MHK CEO owns 14% of the company; he’s a clever acquirer $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • What’s at the Center of the Debate Over Herbalife http://t.co/B4GV7Fi5 Ackman is hoping the FTC will declare $HLF 2b a pyramid scheme $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • News Corp. Tabloid Swaps Sex for Cats Among Brands Buffing Image http://t.co/4wILocCG No one is immune from aiming 4 irrelevance $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Buffett Railroad Sees Crude Cargo Climbing 40% http://t.co/JmbE7HmT Makes up for a loss of revenue in hauling coal $$ FD: + $BRK.B Jan 08, 2013
  • Secret Goldman Team Sidesteps Volcker After Blankfein Vow http://t.co/mTCwjoZ8 Wagers ~$1B $GS own funds on unaffiliated stocks/bonds $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Bill Ackman Says Just Getting Started Exposing Herbalife http://t.co/Cp40Zuqu Most of my summary acctg test #s look okay on $HLF. ?? $$ Jan 07, 2013

 

Housing  Finance

 

  • The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title http://t.co/b7hkmKDX Long article about people stuck w/homes b/c banks won’t foreclose $$ Jan 12, 2013
  • Rules Set for Home Lenders http://t.co/jg7QqiwQ Rules seem overly lenient; has the CFPB been co-opted already? That was fast $$ Jan 10, 2013

 

Market Impact

 

  • Hedge Funds Squeezed With Shorts Beating S&P 500 http://t.co/55EpCxpb Positive momentum has led many shorts to cover, performance drags $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Finra to Shine Light on Dark Pool Trading http://t.co/Nt9OjmIb Does FINRA have the talent to analyze this? That would surprise me. $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • In Search of Family Ties http://t.co/g5SGaY1Z Families w/control can b valuable if they r interested in growth & not milking da biz $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • What’s Hot…And What’s Not (in mutual funds) http://t.co/W3blerlL Hot: Low Vol, Local $$ EM bonds, Active Bond ETFs Not: Vol ETPs, 130/30 Jan 07, 2013
  • Above the Market’s Leading Investment Indicators http://t.co/j54Dl3vu Long-term val’n measures like Q-ratio, CAPE10, Total Cap/GDP, etc $$ Jan 07, 2013

 

Other

 

  • Well done, Henry. I write this as one who enjoys BI, though I was won over bit-by-bit. Keep up the good work. http://t.co/cWecMkPh Jan 10, 2013
  • Check These Out at the Library: Blacksmithing, Bowling, Butchering http://t.co/teaqR76s Who knew Libraries would try 2b so relevant? $$ Jan 08, 2013
  • Excellent Police http://t.co/qKpoliWR What the Baltimore P.D. can teach your office about multitasking and incentives. $$ #whoknew Jan 07, 2013
  • East St. Louis Cops Outgunned as Cuts Let Killers Thrive http://t.co/zHGmesXX Cut the Federal budget; don’t cut the local budget $$ Jan 06, 2013
  • Keystone Pipeline Clears a Big Hurdle in Nebraska http://t.co/Y1WqqCiE Local review says small impact on the environment at most $$ Jan 05, 2013

 

Wrong

 

  • Wrong: Buffett Says Banks Cleared of Excess Risk Pose No Threat to US http://t.co/KWtOOcxo Excessive reliance on Fed funding $$ Jan 10, 2013
  • Wrong: Why we need a currency war with China (and Denmark and Singapore … ) http://t.co/b8XqDqfa You may as well say “Smoot-Hawley” $$ Jan 07, 2013

 

Replies & Retweets

  • RT @cate_long: While savers forgo ~$200B in interest payments “@nytimesbusiness: Fed transferred $88.9 billion to Treasury in 2012 http: … Jan 10, 2013
  • @NickTimiraos Steep yield curve helps too, though it isn’t *that* steep thanks 2 QE-infinity Jan 10, 2013
  • @Kathleen_Hays Not necessarily. My friend Caroline Baum shared this article w/me: Is Jack Lew A Friend to Wall Street? http://t.co/SoK6kyw1 Jan 10, 2013
  • RT @ajkurki: @AlephBlog Absolute yields below 1st percentile of all observed observations since mid-90s (BofAML data). What could go wrong?! Jan 10, 2013
  • @cabaum1 Dear Caroline, thank you for replacing my bias w/a good article. Rubin’s influence is significant; didn’t know Lew was part of it Jan 10, 2013
  • @CharlesSizemore That it did. Jan 10, 2013
  • @CharlesSizemore I’m sorry, Charles. In my busyness, I didn’t catch that, and I should have. Apologies. Jan 10, 2013
  • Not a chance $$ RT @CharlesSizemore: Is Sears the Next Berkshire Hathaway? http://t.co/NNro3uuu $SHLD $BRK-A $BRK-B $WMT $HD #WarrenBuffett Jan 10, 2013
  • @EddyElfenbein Just a general mindset, but the penny stock promoters irritate me to the max. Jan 10, 2013
  • Investment banks r bull market babies $$ RT @ReformedBroker: Morgan Stanley still searching for a reason to exist $MS http://t.co/Zux43Z7C Jan 10, 2013
  • @howardlindzon @researchpuzzler Happy new year to both of you as well. May you have joys and constructive challenges. Jan 10, 2013
  • @howardlindzon @researchpuzzler Have fun reading tonight’s Aleph Blog piece then ;) $$ (Not published yet) Jan 10, 2013
  • Eisenstadt discovers momo RT @researchpuzzler: “Go to it then.” Arnold Bernhard, in 1959, sounding like @howardlindzon http://t.co/jyCz1Fhi Jan 10, 2013
  • @Kelly_Evans It’s okay… given all that you do, an occasional blip is fine. I make lots of mistakes…. Jan 09, 2013
  • @Fullcarry I *don’t* think it will be an equilibrium. Besides, equilibria are rare in economies, they are ultracommon in journals though Jan 09, 2013
  • @Kelly_Evans Perhaps you mean inversely? Jan 09, 2013
  • @Fullcarry My problem is that most of the major central banks r doing this, not just Japan. What happens when all CBs have corrupt $$ bases? Jan 09, 2013
  • @moorehn @katierogers There were more revenues behind the Bowie bonds than the worth of the platinum in a coin. $$ Jan 09, 2013
  • @macrotourist Thanks, did not have time to listen to the webcast, but the slides are interesting. Jan 08, 2013
  • @LaurenLaCapra you’re right, wasn’t thinking — tweet deleted Jan 08, 2013
  • You can say that again. $$ RT @profithuntergrp: @AlephBlog agreed Iceland proved it early on – do the hard thing! Jan 08, 2013
  • Something looks wrong w/slide 3 — the bar lengths don’t compare with the numbers next to them. $$ http://t.co/kECnkBA0 Jan 08, 2013
  • Shouldn’t black holes be stable? They exist because all mas in a given area collapses under its gravity… http://t.co/4xJVsykF Jan 08, 2013
  • @JacobWolinsky It is more accurate, so I made the change… Jan 07, 2013
  • @munilass Do you have any opinion on BAM? I’m a little skeptical because credit risks r more correlated than life, P&C, etc. Jan 07, 2013
  • I just left a comment in “Lou Simpson’s top stock picks – MarketWatch” http://t.co/uTBPy1QW Jan 07, 2013
  • @JacobWolinsky That’s a fair point. I’ll delete the last tweet, & send out a better one. Jan 07, 2013
  • I just left a comment in “Lou Simpson’s top stock picks – MarketWatch” http://t.co/nC1KnTr2 Jan 07, 2013
  • RT @ModeledBehavior: A trillion dollar coin really feels like the U.S. jumping the shark. We’ve been on for too many seasons, the plots … Jan 05, 2013

 

FWIW

  • My week on twitter: 63 retweets received, 2 new listings, 50 new followers, 56 mentions. Via: http://t.co/SPrAWil0 Jan 10, 2013

 

The Order of Battle in Financial Planning for Ordinary Folks

Friday, January 11th, 2013

I sat down to talk with a young couple with three kids about personal finance.  This taxes me, because I’m not a financial planner.  I can remember most but not all of the rules on the taxation of various investments.

But this is the way that I handled it:

Do you have your risks covered?

  • Life insurance on the husband, because the wife stays at home with the kids.  Bright lady, highly employable, but she wants to raise the kids.  Not enough insurance for this family.
  • Disability insurance — covered by his employer.
  • Health insurance — ditto.
  • P&C insurance for cars and house — difficult to avoid, but wise to check.

Do you have a buffer built of 3-6 months of expenses?

Remember my stoplight rule:

  • Less than 3 months expenses in the savings fund? Red light. Defer all discretionary expenditures.
  • 3-6 months expenses in the savings fund? Yellow light. Some discretionary expenditures allowed, so long as you don’t dip back into the red light zone.
  • More than 6 months expenses in the savings fund? Green light. Discretionary expenditures allowed, so long as you don’t dip back into the red light zone.

When my friends asked me how to define a month of expenses, I said take half of your discretionary expenses over a year, add it to your non-discretionary expenses, and divide by 12.  In this case, it revealed that they weren’t tracking their income and expenses, and so I suggested getting Quicken.

They need to build the buffer.

After the buffer comes expenditures that improve life, or reduce long-term costs.  Use cash payment to get discounts.

After that, invest the excess.  50-50 stocks and bonds in index funds is an excellent start, with annual rebalancing. Or 25-25-25-25 cash-gold-stocks-bonds works really well across a wide number of economic environments.

The most important thing is to spend less than you earn, build the buffer, and then invest, or reduce debt, whichever is more promising.  How you invest is secondary.  The first priority is to be wise with your spending money, and then, save.  Especially in a low interest rate environment, the biggest benefit of saving is saving, and not what you earn.

One more note: there are two ways to make sure you spend less than you earn.  The first way is to budget strictly.  The second is to make sure your cash balance grows over every six months.  The latter has been my way.  It is more flexible, but it requires that people have limited desires, viewing spending as a necessary evil at best.

Disclaimer


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.


Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.


Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of.

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