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The New York Times Company Message Board

sage2123 275 posts  |  Last Activity: 5 hours ago Member since: Mar 1, 2009
  • Barclays recently downgraded the entire U.S. electric utilities sector to "underweight" on the threat posed by widespread adoption of solar-storage. These systems allow homeowners to use rooftop solar panels and a battery to cut all but the figurative emergency backup cord to their local electric grid, putting a severe strain on an industry that has been a defacto monopoly.

    The firm's sweeping case focused in large part on debt markets' apparent ignorance to challenge utilities are facing. We wanted to zero in on the astonishingly simple steps that makes Barclays lays out to make shaking up utilities quite possible.
    1) Solar prices come down
    For the past few years, we have been quietly living through a stunning drop in prices thanks to an unintended loop of massive European subsidies and capacity overexpansion in China. As a result, from 2006 to 2013, photovoltaic panel prices dropped nearly 70%.

    The next step is for storage prices to fall too. Cheap storage is key so that people can have power at night, when the sun is down.

    Right now, the cost of such systems — about $0.22/kWh is only competitive with retail electricity in Hawaii — the cost of vanilla electricity in California is $0.15/kWh. Barclays says Tesla has single-handedly brought down the cost of batteries over the past few years, from about $1,000/kWh in 2009 to $300/kWh in early 2014. If the company's gigafactory successfully ramps up, costs could plummet.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • May auto sales came in strong amid predictions Americans will soon buy cars and light trucks at a 17 million-per-year pace again. May’s employment report was solid, with 217,000 new jobs. And late Friday came news from the Federal Reserve that we’re whipping out the plastic again: Revolving debt grew at a 12% annual clip in May.

    After years of retrenchment, U.S. consumers are lightening up — but still not buying homes. And their aversion to housing is the gap between the recovery we have and the recovery we want.

    Take the jobs-report headline — that the U.S. finally employs as many people as in 2008. It obscures the less-pleasant fact that construction employment remains 1.72 million lower than its peak, at 6 million, and grew only 6,000 last month. Along with the 700,000-worker drop in government employment, construction is the difference between our 6.3% unemployment rate and one as low as 4.8%.

    A house is the only major item consumers aren’t buying. Existing homes sold at a 4.66 million annual rate in the first quarter, down from 2013’s 5.09 million. New homes, which create three to four jobs per sale, sold in April at a 433,000 annual pace, according to the Census Bureau, half of pre-bubble levels.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • sage2123 sage2123 Jun 9, 2014 1:35 PM Flag

    CTL is in the red, and WIN @ breakeven.

    Spoke too soon?

    Sentiment: Buy

  • sage2123 sage2123 Jun 9, 2014 1:14 PM Flag

    T now in the red.

    OK with me....will DRIP more shares at the end of the month when dividends distributed.

    Sentiment: Buy

  • This won't end well.

    America's sprawling 401(k) pension system will turn cash flow negative in 2016, threatening disruption for asset managers and selling of equities, according to analysis by Cerulli Associates, a research house.

    The $3.5 trillion system attracted fresh contributions of $300 billion in 2012, with $276 billion either withdrawn as cash by retirees or rolled over into individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Cerulli estimated.

    However, by 2016 it forecasts that inflows will be $364 billion and outflows $366 billion, with the deficit only widening year on year after that as the core of the baby-boomer generation retires.

    "This has significant implications for asset managers and other financial services providers," said Bing Waldert, a director at Cerulli. "It is going to be a disappointment for a lot of fund managers that have put a lot of effort into the DC [defined contribution pension fund] market.

    "For asset managers, the consistent contributions are particularly appealing and provide a source of positive flows even in poor markets when a firm may experience outflows from other segments of the industry."

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Reply to

    FTR goes ex-dividend tomorrow

    by sage2123 Jun 4, 2014 9:00 AM
    sage2123 sage2123 Jun 6, 2014 6:54 AM Flag

    You are correct khemprof, except we'll not see 1,000,000 jobs created.

    There is no incentive to create these jobs.

    Technology has eliminated the need for this degree of labor, and the firm's cost of carrying an employee is too high thanks to government taxes and policies.

    Sentiment: Buy

  • While stocks make higher highs and investors shrug at recent housing data weakness (because, well it must be the weather, right?), it appears there is one rather important factor that every one missing... Unless houses are now being made of stock certificates, Lumber prices have fallen for the last 21 days and stand at 10-month lows... suggesting real demand for the most basic building material in America is non-existent.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • I guess there are two different ways to view this....

    1. Half of all homeowners don't fit Toll's demographic, or

    2. The next economic downturn could add half of all homes to the overall supply inventory.

    Over half of Americans (52%) have had to make at least one major sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last three years, according to the “How Housing Matters Survey,” which was commissioned by the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and carried out by Hart Research Associates. These sacrifices include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care, running up credit card debt, or even moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.

    “Affordability issues are real and a major hurdle,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, an industry group. Home prices have increased 20% over the past two years while wages have barely gone up, he says. “Only by adding more new supply, via housing starts, can home prices be tamed,” Yun adds. In fact, construction of housing units has averaged around 1.5 million a year for the past five decades, he says, but it’s likely to be less than 1 million in 2014.

    What’s more, at least 15% of American homeowners (or residents of 78 counties across the country) were living in housing markets where the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home requires more than 30% of the monthly median household income — long considered the maximum for rent/mortgage repayments. Housing costs above that threshold are “unaffordable by historic standards,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at real estate data firm RealtyTrac. In New York county/Manhattan, mortgage payments represent 77% of the median income and in San Francisco County represents 70%.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Just did a little research, and since FTR reinstituted its dividend back in 2004 I have received $9.875 per share in dividends.

    These monies have been reinvested in new shares through DRIP.

    This has also greatly lowered my cost basis as FTR shares have traded lower for many years.

    I do realize that share price has been under pressure due to risk concerns, and the dividend has been reduced twice.

    I still like FTR's yield and the reduction in dividends has strengthened the balance sheet and made FTR more stable.

    This strategy is not for everybody, but there are worse places to put your money.

    Frontier is just one of many investments in the family trust and has been a part of it for almost 50 years.

    Sentiment: Buy

  • Should see some decent gains today.

    Go FTR!

    Sentiment: Buy

  • After the Connecticut telecom regulator released AT&T’s (T) 2013 financial statements, BMO Capital says that the revenue and EBITDA of AT&T's wireline assets in the state, which are being acquired by Frontier, surpassed the firm's expectations. The firm now believes that Frontier's revenue and EBITDA guidance for the assets is significantly conservative. It keeps a $6 price target and Outperform rating on Frontier.

    Sentiment: Buy

  • Reply to

    6th largest homebuilder in the country

    by primemeridian Jun 3, 2014 7:23 AM
    sage2123 sage2123 Jun 3, 2014 9:30 AM Flag

    oops....Habitat for Humanity is 16th.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Not to worry, Japan is only the 3rd largest economy on Earth.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Reply to

    6th largest homebuilder in the country

    by primemeridian Jun 3, 2014 7:23 AM
    sage2123 sage2123 Jun 3, 2014 8:49 AM Flag

    With industry consolidation and shakeouts still occurring, Habitat for Humanity has dropped to 13th with app. 3,500 homes built annually.

    Toll is 13th with app. 4,300 homes built. Those are 2013 numbers.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Lets see.... the combined population of these three states is.....

    60 million....or 20% of the entire U.S. population.

    New Jersey could be downgraded again because of its growing budgetary imbalance and underfunded public pension, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services warned on Monday.

    S&P had already cut the state's rating to 'A+' in April. Wall Street's two other main credit rating agencies soon followed in slicing the state to a single-A rating. That put New Jersey among the three lowest-rated states, along with California and Illinois.

    S&P will resolve its negative creditwatch in 60 to 90 days following the outcome of state budget deliberations, it said on Monday. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on May 20 that he plans to slash pension contributions after having to reduce revenue projections by at least $2.7 billion through fiscal 2015.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • But... the pent-up demand? The post-weather spend-a-thon? US Construction spending rose a mere 0.2% MoM - missing the 0.7% expectations by the most since March 2013. Aside from January's plunge, this is the lowest growth in spending since August of last year.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • sage2123 by sage2123 Jun 2, 2014 7:29 AM Flag

    Shades of "dancing on the bottom"?

    •Toll Brothers reports solid results as demand remains solid despite leveling off.
    •A further improvement in the housing market is anticipated.
    •Yet the current valuation is already reflecting a lot of future good news.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • sage2123 sage2123 Jun 1, 2014 9:56 PM Flag

    Housing is a big part of any economy, and despite historic attempts to boost home buying it just isn't happening.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • The bad news keeps piling up on the housing front, this time with glum statistics from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which declared Wednesday that many of the nation’s housing markets are stalling.

    The third installment of Freddie’s “Multi-Indicator Market Index” (or MiMi), which sizes up homebuying activity and other factors, found that only 10 states and the District of Columbia fall in the “stable” range, as do four of the 50 metro areas included in the index – San Antonio, New Orleans, Austin and Houston.

    The outlook for the rest of the housing market looks bleak. “Less than half of the housing markets MiMi covers are showing an improving trend, whereas at this time last year more than 90 percent of these same markets were headed in the right direction,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s chief economist, said in a statement.

    The index draws from various data sources, including Freddie’s own business with more than 2,000 mortgage lenders across the country, to assess the health of the single-family housing market. The company said it benchmarks a market’s performance against that market’s historical norm, taking into account home purchase applications, employment, mortgage delinquencies and other factors.

    Sentiment: Sell

  • Bonita Springs-based Source Interlink Distribution shut down Friday, laying off as many as 222 people here and 6,000 nationally.

    Source Interlink Distribution, which delivered magazines and other publications to grocery stores, book stores and other retailers, is one of two major divisions of Source Interlink Cos. and had been based in Lee County since 2003. The other division, a magazine publisher of titles such as Motor Trend, Hot Rod and Outdoor, was acquired in May 2007. It was rebranded Friday as The Enthusiast Network.

    "It is with deep regret that we had to make this decision especially due to the impact it will have on our customers and the 6,000 employees and their families that have supported us over 20 years," Source Interlink Distribution CEO Michael Sullivan said in a written statement. "We will certainly do everything we can to provide resources during this difficult time."

    Sentiment: Sell

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