Every now and again events are thrown our direction which necessitate a change. Being one who abhors change, I tend to procrastinate until the absolute last minute. I knew the drive in my laptop was on its’ last legs a year ago when I bought a new one. Last week it bit the dust. I did perform regular backups so data loss was minimal. What loss exists is not due to Wanna Cry but their evil twin, Micosoft (MSFT). Though I have an Office license, my use (legally) of an upgraded version resulted in the inability to perform a backward migration. It appears my best recourse is to purchase an upgrade. My frugal nature has an issue with this solution (being held hostage?). Meanwhile, seeing if Google fills the void. I did add a sheet to my Dividends spreadsheet (Div Dates) which – assuming I get the hang of conditional formatting – has the potential of automating my watch list.
Berkshire’s Annual Meeting was last week and as usual I had my ear to the ground as to his tidbits of information. Points worth noting (my opinion only):
- He’s pulled back a little on Wells Fargo (WFC) and withdrawn the application to exceed a 10% stake. My guess is he’s waiting for the dust to settle to avoid another Salomon Brothers (interim CEO) type of issue.
- His IBM stake has been reduced. He stated in one interview that he sold at the high and made a little money … I’m in at $145 and would be a buyer if it hits that level again. I like Watson and his potential. But it requires a long view as they reduce their reliance on legacy systems.
- He’s a buyer on Apple which I’m a hold on … I think it’s a little rich but like Warren, I like the ecosystem.
- Outside of LUV, airlines have me scratching my head.
Other than the system migration, things are getting closer to normal. The cash from liquidating UL and LB (Loyal3 closure) was used for the Singtel purchase, the sale of Orchids Paper was deployed into additional shares of Power Corp of Canada, and the remaining Loyal3 cash was used to increase my Invesco position (owner of Powershares ETFs on the news of their purchase of Source – a UK provider of ETFs). Which leaves me with a larger cash position than normal as I haven’t deployed my tax refund or my regular monthly investment yet. But I did get the first dividend from the stocks I moved from Loyal3 as per normal in my brokerage account. And my first dividend from Mexico. Later this month I expect my first Hong Kong and Luxembourg dividends. I am, however, keeping an eye on tax reform out of Washington to identify any course corrections necessary with my foreign holdings strategy.
In an address last week, Jamie Dimon commented that regional banks should seek merger partners to weather the coming liquidity crunch. Putting aside the issue prejudice (he has a potentially biased agenda), the basic point of his message was as the Fed unravels QE and normalizes the banking sector cost of funds (deposits) will go higher. Cost reduction through consolidation is one way to address the forthcoming issue. He does have a point which calls into question my regional bank strategy – notably in the realm of reduced merger premiums.
But it also calls into question part of the Trump agenda – namely getting the Fed out of the economy reduces liquidity enough to result in more bank mergers which was the one thing reduced regulations purported to avoid … oh, what a tangled web we have weaved.