Crazy Free

I decided to pause my 3Rs series to review one particular event of this past week.  No, not the political spectrum (guilty pleas/verdicts in the US and a new PM in Australia) but the bloodbath incurred in the discount broker space following JP Morgan’s announcement of the commencement of a free trade platform.  In the event you missed it, the Tuesday morning market shudder (per Seeking Alpha) was:

Online brokers slump in premarket trading after JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) says it’s introducing a mobile investing app bundled with free or discounted trades.

TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) slides 6.5%, Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) -4.9%,  E*Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC-4.5%, Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ:IBKR-3.5%.

JPMorgan +0.7% in premarket trading.

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Organize – or not

It appears the current theme is organization.  I had to chuckle a little at Dividend Portfolio’s post as I could be the poster boy for his conundrum.   Although finding an elegant solution, I have to side with Mr Robot when he says, “Seems like a nifty feature. I’m afraid I can’t use it since I’m use the free version hosted on wordpress.”  Good old WordPress …   Me?  I have my directory in a Google Sheet and a couple of times per year I go through it all to ensure they aren’t not too stale.  The sites I personally frequent go on my front page allowing for ease of access.  I rotate these out periodically.  Cumbersome? A little.  But functional and the price is right.

Then I caught Mike’s post on decluttering his watchlist.  Now here I am, two for two.  It appears that Mike is ahead in the game since he completed his mission.  In a logical manner, no less.  There is one corner of my desk allocated to notepads.  Obviously I’m a serial procrastinator as several of these have been here for awhile.  Some I’ve entered into a spreadsheet.  Others I’ve discarded.  The remnants I’m still trying to figure out why I thought an idea was good to begin with.  Maybe by Christmas I’ll have the corner cleared.

Then there is always an outlier in the mix.  I could only shake my head the process detailed by Indian Value Investor.  He must have been an overachiever at an early age.  I have to admit he has me beat.  Hands down.  I think I made it through 30 or so reports this year, cross referencing maybe one.  I have, however, spent the better part of this week researching one question – scouring SEC filings, press releases and earnings call transcripts to find the answer.  Indeed the answer was found but only after the markets were closed.  At least that’s one idea I can execute next week.

As with investing styles there is certainly no ‘one-size fits-all’ in the DGI world when it comes to community, review and research.  And that is the beauty of it.

Next question: How much longer can I delay cleaning out the garage?  🙂

 

Moral Investing

Making the headlines this past week was the atrocious scene along our border.  Being an event driven investor, I had to at least take a look at the situation to – at a minimum – determine my exposure and whether strategy adjustments are  necessary.

I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but (outside of ETFs) have never invested in tobacco stocks.  I have minimal exposure to wine and spirits.  While I’m not casting aspersions on those that do, I figure there are more than enough alternatives that better fit my preferences.

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Road Trip Musings

Settling in at home after wandering the country a little, provides an opportunity to reflect on my observations, discussions and tenor of the people I engaged with.  I thoroughly enjoyed the visits and sometimes lively discussions and following are a sampling of these.  There is but one potential action item for my portfolio review – which is less than normal for these adventures.

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When a Dividend Increase Really Isn’t

As a kid I enjoyed a good riddle every now and again but as the years went by thought I’d outgrown them to a large degree.  Until now.  One of the companies in my portfolio announced a dividend.  In reviewing the announcement (specifically the SEC 6-K filing), I noticed the dividend amounted to an increase of 13.16%.  Not shabby – in fact it exceeds the average of my portfolio (12.08% current).  So imagine my surprise to find the amount to be credited resulted in a 15.23% reduction!  Hmm … kind of blows away the increase, doesn’t it?   Of course I had to investigate – it appears like that’s what I seem to do.

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Trump-World

Inside this feeble brain resides a significant amount of skepticism.  Perhaps from age or maybe the result of life’s encounters – the result is there is a difficulty in accepting anything at face value.  Especially when it’s a moving target – otherwise known as a changing story line.  Another case in point is the curious case of ZTE (ZTCOY) which exploded into our consciousness in major form this past week due – in no small part – to tweets from the president.

To set the stage, ZTE agreed to enter a guilty plea and pay a fine to settle a 2017 case that they violated export sanctions by shipping products with US components to Iran.  On April 16, 2018 the Commerce Department enacted a ban on American companies conducting business with ZTE for seven years  as a result of ZTE allegedly breaching said settlement.  In addition, the US military had previously raised concerns of potential espionage by ZTE’s equipment on or near military bases.

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