No need to be psychic about investing

March 5, 2010

The SEC, naturally embarrassed about letting Bernie Madoff get away with it for a mere 14 years, has taken to putting press releases on its homepage announcing their upcoming securities fraud actions. This  one, though, is particularly good. SEC Charges Nationally Known Psychic in Multi-Million Dollar Securities Fraud Now, securities fraud violations are like potato […]


Leases great and small (Microfinancial)

January 25, 2010

I was reading a book about structured finance lately, which talked about the enormous advances that have been made in leasing. It is possible, through these companies and their special purpose entities to arrange the leasing of an entire factory and its contents, for years, without recording any of it as a liability or, worse, […]


Quiksilver has Heavy Debt-al Poisoning

December 3, 2009

Since I last proposed Callon Petroleum bonds, and following my success with the Bon-Ton junk bonds, I’ve been considering focusing more attention on this part of the market. Junk bonds, of course, offer massive yields, higher than nearly all dividend-paying stocks and certainly higher than normal bonds; however, defaults are a constant worry and the […]


Congress has Agoraphobia

November 16, 2009

The Greek word for marketplace is “agora,” so the word “agoraphobia” literally means “fear of the marketplace,” and Congress seems to be suffering terribly from it lately. Given what has happened over the last couple of years their reaction is unsurprising. Indexing, long touted as the safe long-term option for the passive investor, has shown […]


Bankruptcy for Fairpoint

October 26, 2009

Well, it’s official: Fairpoint has filed for bankruptcy. As Moyer’s Distressed Debt Investing states, the actual filing of a Chapter 11 is never a surprise. Although it may seem curious that its creditors reduced the size of their claim from 2.7 billion to 1 billion, the reality is that the creditors are going to become […]


Encounter at Fairpoint (with the bankruptcy lawyers) (Fairpoint, Windstream)

October 4, 2009

Those of you who watch Jim Cramer, of whom Seth Klarman said that he is a symptom of everything that is wrong with the financial world nowadays, will recall that last week he expressed approval of the safety of Windstream’s dividend. He also mentioned Fairpoint Communications (FRP), after qualifying his remarks with the fact that […]


An Unsustainable Dividend is no Dividend at all (eventually) (Calumet Specialty Products)

September 20, 2009

As you may recall, I commented on the dangers of being a yield hog, which is a constant temptation for those of us who seek investments that produce high and sustainable cash flows. Sustainable but not high is not good enough, and high but not sustainable is even worse, because when the cash flow runs […]


Coinstar, proudly suing people for their movies since 2008

August 12, 2009

My loyal reader(s) who have been following this blog may recall that I called Coinstar a candidate for shorting . At the time it was at 25.91, and it is now at 36.15. So, that’s probably not my best work, although I maintain that the company’s return on its investments is too low to justify […]


Capital One, Part Two

July 8, 2009

The deeper I get into investing, the more I find my interests are aligned with those of our corporate overlords. Thus, even though a piece of legislation is objectively progressive and fair, I also have to view it in terms of how it tilts the power away from the fat cats. Such is the case […]


He’ll be out in 2159.

June 30, 2009
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Well, it’s official. Bernie Madoff is to be locked up for 150 years. Although it’s not exactly investing related, the largest fraud in history cannot pass without comment. Madoff’s attorney must have been dreaming when he offered 12 years; Madoff’s fraud lasted longer than that, and it makes no sense to me that he should […]