Investment Contrarians


Is eBay a Real Powerhouse on the Stock Market?

By for Investment Contrarians | Apr 22, 2013

Is eBay a Real PowerhouseWhen it comes to the recent pullback in the market, many people naturally wonder if this is the time to start accumulating certain companies, especially technology stocks. The answer, of course, is far more complicated. Obviously, each individual must assess their goals and risk profile before considering any investment.

My goal is to be on the lookout for companies that can continue to grow corporate earnings over a very long period of time. One area that has interested me for a long time because of this ability to grow corporate earnings is in technology stocks.

Recently, many technology stocks have not benefited from the surprisingly strong rally in the overall market. A major reason for this is that many investors are focusing on dividend yield rather than corporate earnings growth. Additionally, many technology stocks are not seeing exceptional corporate earnings growth, as the global economy is still somewhat weak.

Not all technology stocks are the same. There are vast differences between technology stocks, and an investor needs to dig deep when evaluating which firms can grow corporate earnings over a full decade.

One company that I have liked over the past few years has been eBay Inc. (NASDAQ/EBAY). While many people believe eBay is still primarily a place to sell your knick-knacks, they’re wrong. During the latest quarter, the company reported total revenues were up 14% year-over-year. (Source: “Q1 2013 financial highlights,” eBay Inc. web site, April 17, 2013.)

eBay is transitioning into a real powerhouse through its “Marketplace,” which is where retailers sell fixed-price online goods. The company is now looking at adding same-day delivery services for these goods, … Read More

Huge Cuts Coming to This Market Sector, What This Means for Your Investments

By for Investment Contrarians | Feb 15, 2013

Huge Cuts Coming to This Market SectorMarch 1 is a very big day for many people. Unless Obama and the Republicans make a deal prior to that date, billions of dollars in spending cuts will be enacted.

Of all the areas that will be hit, I think the defense market sector will bear the brunt of the cutbacks and the future viability of corporate earnings in this sector is certainly in doubt.

At this point, Pentagon officials are now planning for $46.0 billion in cuts for the remainder of 2013. The total amount to be cut in the military market sector is $1.2 trillion over the next decade. (Source: Nissenbaum, D., “Pentagon Readies Budget Ax,” The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2013.)

The U.S. Department of Defense has already laid off approximately 46,000 part-time workers. We could see additional layoffs, as well as furloughs. There are thousands of other workers employed at private firms in the defense market sector that will be affected, as budget cuts will crimp corporate earnings.

Clearly, for the defense market sector, the future is cloudy at best. Corporate earnings for most companies throughout the defense market sector will have difficulty growing. When total revenues are declining, higher corporate earnings are extremely rare.

Unfortunately, this pain is actually needed for the long-term fiscal health of the country. While corporate earnings will be reduced and jobs will be lost in the defense market sector, continuing to spend such a massive amount of public funds in this area is irresponsible and clearly not warranted at this time.

Looking at 2011 data, the U.S. military spending was 41% of the total for the entire world. … Read More

An Alternative Way to Profit from Higher Home Prices

By for Investment Contrarians | Feb 14, 2013

Profit from Higher Home PricesWith the recent data over the past few months showing home prices continuing to rise, many investors might believe they’ve missed the boat. The homebuilder stocks have seen a substantial increase in corporate earnings, resulting from higher home prices and elevated production levels; this has led to a massive increase in their share prices.

The market is a forward-looking mechanism. Investors predicted the increase in home prices that we are now witnessing and the resulting rise in corporate earnings in these homebuilder stocks.

Yet another data point just came out, finding that 87.5% of single-family homes in 152 cities had an increase in home prices during fourth quarter 2012 compared to the same quarter in 2011. The number of residences exhibiting higher home prices is increasing, as only 79.0% of metropolitan areas showed an increase in home prices for the third quarter 2012. (Source: “Fourth Quarter Metro Area Home Prices Show Strongest Performance in Seven Years,” National Association of Realtors web site, February 11, 2013.)

While housing inventories are at 12-year lows and the interest rates of mortgages remain low, home prices are set to continue rising for the near future. Firms that are leveraged to higher home prices will see significant increases in corporate earnings.

However, there are still firms that can benefit from higher home prices and that are able to continue growing their corporate earnings over the next several years. But these companies might not be the ones that come to mind for investors when they think of the real estate investment industry.

One company that I have mentioned before when it was trading much lower is … Read More

Where to Look for Income in 2013

By for Investment Contrarians | Jan 11, 2013

Where to Look for Income in 2013Over the last few years, the aggressive monetary policy plan by the Federal Reserve has left many income investors in a difficult position. The low level of interest rates has reduced the income-generating potential of traditional fixed-income products.

Increasingly, more people are creating an investment strategy, looking for stocks with a solid dividend yield to add income to their portfolio.

For dividend yield investors, 2012 was a great year. In total, the S&P 500 corporations paid $281 billion in dividends in 2012, a record high, according to analyst Howard Silverblatt at S&P Dow Jones indices. (Source: “Dividends Galore: Expect Another Record Year in 2013,” Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2013.)

The total paid out in dividend yield was a 17% increase from 2011, and a 14% increase from 2008, which was the previous high until 2011. As I’ve written before, special one-time payments played a large role in dividend yield for 2012. More corporations announced special dividends in December 2012 than at any other time since 1955.

Even though dividend yield taxes are going up, I still believe that due to the low interest rate environment, more institutions will be creating an investment strategy that will focus on placing their funds with companies that pay out a solid dividend yield.

Part of creating an investment strategy is to anticipate what other investors will do. While I do believe interest rates will eventually rise, this most likely won’t occur in 2013. For many people, this will leave an investment strategy to still favor dividend yield over the relatively low rates of fixed income.

With the 10-year Treasury yielding approximately 1.9% and … Read More