Monday, June 30, 2014

Update for Regional Bank, Lottery Ticket and REIT Basket Strategies/Bought 50 NKSH at $30.4

The regional bank, REIT and lottery ticket basket strategies are updated on the last Monday of each month. The price shown in the following tables will be from last Friday.

Last Update 5/26/14: Updates for the Regional Bank, REIT and Lottery Ticket Basket Strategies/ Bought 50 ONB at $13.29/Bought 30 MGIC at $7.9/BHB Stock Split

I frequently use a basket approach, particularly with industry sectors, that will vary in size as to the number of components. The focus will be on the total return of the basket, rather than individual components. Some of the advantages to this approach include diversification and risk mitigation. I am not concerned about a few mishaps provided other components are doing better than I anticipated when I made the initial purchase. As noted previously, I have been surprised by some of best and worst performers in the regional bank basket.

1. Update of Lottery Ticket Basket Strategy 

The Lottery Ticket Basket Strategy uses a deep contrarian value strategy, appropriately characterized as catching a "falling knife". A common criteria for the stocks contained in this basket is a smashed stock price at the time of purchase and an ugly looking chart, though I may occasionally buy one who does not fit those common criteria. Any technical analyst would most likely have a sell rating on the stock.

See 2004 Study by the Brandes Institute: "Falling Knives Around the World" 

Selections are made primarily on statistical criteria including price to book, price to sales, forward P/E, cash per share and/or free cash flow. I spend anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour researching a potential purchase prior to purchase.

For many selections, I may be pessimistic about the firm's future, but not as pessimistic as the market. I will also occasionally see a ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel. Since I expect failures, which are inevitable and unavoidable in this kind of approach, I limit my exposure to $300 per stock plus any prior trading profits. 

After experiencing some success with this strategy, I now have a requirement that my total investment in all LT holdings can not exceed my total realized gains for this basket strategy. My total exposure is currently slightly under $6,000.

The name of the strategy aptly describes the risk. It is somewhat analogous in many cases to playing a hand of blackjack for the purchase amount knowing that the card count favors the house. It is a form of entertainment and an alternative to a casino visit.

Based on the results to date, this strategy is far more likely to produce positive results even with the LB's skill at the tables. The primary purpose of the LT strategy is to entertain Right Brain, let it swing for the fences with up to $300, and to keep the Nit Wit from interfering with Left Brain's management of Headknocker's portfolio.

Snapshots of realized gains can be found at the end of the Gateway Post on this topic: Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Lottery Ticket Strategy: New Gateway Post

There were no additions or deletions since the last update.

Net Realized Gains: $14,024

Click to Enlarge:
Lottery Ticket Basket as of 6/27/14
Snapshots of Unrealized Gains as of 6/27/14 over 30%: 

AMOT +136.63%
RFMD +75.31%
FCA/A +69.52%
ING +56.06%
FCF +49.88%
AWCMY +40.98%

NPBC +31.32%
I have noted in the past that several of these selections have a tendency to crater in price after my purchase. I am obviously unconcerned by those events since I have so little exposure and the strategy is call a Lottery Ticket Basket for good reasons. Several stocks which have cratered have subsequently recovered in price.

One recent selection, Iridium Communications, went down steadily after my purchase and has subsequently recovered in price. Bought 40 IRDM at $6.82 This stock closed at $8.28 last Friday, but that is a decent percentage recovery (55%) from the $5.45 close on 11/13/13: IRDM Interactive Chart None of that matters when I own 40 shares.

2. Update for REIT Common and Preferred Stock Basket:

This basket is starting to contract, primarily though preferred stock deletions under the current trading guidelines. The first publication of this basket was made on 3/5/14: Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Equity REIT Common and Preferred Stock Table as of 3/5/14

I am using a blended strategy of including both common and preferred stocks. I am not likely to add back preferred stocks until there is another meaningful correction in their prices.

Since the last update on 5/26/14, I have discussed adding the following securities:

Added 100 D_UN:CA at C$28.8 (6/21/14 Post)

Bought: 300 DIR_UN:CA at C$9.53 (6/7/14 Post)

Added 200 HLP_UN:CA at C$10.2 (5/31/14 Post)

I have discussed selling the following securities:

Sold ROTH IRA: 50 EPRPRF at $24.65 (6/28/14 Post)

Sold 50 EXL at $13.68 (6/14/14 Post)

Sold 50 ARCPP at $23.75 (6/7/14 Post)

Sold 200 KMP:CA at C$10.45/Sold: 50 OFCPRL at $26.21, 50 CBLPRE at $23.81 (5/31/14 Post)

I have not yet discussed selling my 200 shares of Canadian Apartments which will be discussed in a later post, probably in about two weeks. That position has been deleted from the following table. This REIT was my lowest yielding Canadian REIT. I realized a gain for tax reporting purposes of USD$275.8, but my gain in CADs was higher at C$460.

I used CADs to buy that security and received CADs when I sold the units (technically not shares). However, for tax reporting purposes, both the purchase amount and the proceeds are converted into USDs. Since the CAD declined in value against the USD during my holding period, I had a lower profit for tax reporting purposes than my actual profit in CADs.

My goal for purchasing securities on the Toronto exchange is to earn income on my CAD stash and to realize gains from trading in CADs, thereby increasing my CAD stash over time for diversification purposes. I do not mind receiving a greater profit in CADs than the amount used for reporting gains after converting CADs into USDs.

I will also discuss in a subsequent post selling 50 DLRPRE at $25.5 for the usual reasons.

I have sold my small position in VNQ profitably and will deploy the proceeds into a higher yielding security.

Click to Enlarge:

Equity REIT Basket as of  6/27/14

3. Update for Regional Bank Basket Strategy:

This strategy is explained in my Gateway Post on this topic:

Snapshots of realized gains and losses can be found at the end of that post.

The dividend yield showed in this table is calculated by Yahoo Finance based on last Friday's close. My dividend yield for each position will be different based on my total cost numbers. In most cases, with FNFG and VLY being notable exceptions, my dividend yield will be higher.

Dividend Yields 5% or higher: Based on Total Cost
NYCB: 8.44%
UBCI: 7.66%
WASH: 7.56%
CZNC: 5.39%
FNLC: 5.38%
TRST: 5.1%
CCNE: 5.%

I am not tracking reinvested dividends in the following table. The unrealized gains per holding do not include reinvested dividends.

Over the life of this basket strategy, I anticipate that the dividends will provide 40% to 50% of the total return. I am generally keeping my total exposure between $40,000 to $50,000.

After a number of adds, I am now over my minimum $40,000 allocation after a bout of profit taking last year. 

I have not been impressed with several of the 2013 4th quarter and the 2014 first quarter earnings reports from regional banks. While net interest margin has not contracted much, it is yet to show any expansion either for most banks. Chart: Net Interest Margin for all U.S. Banks - St. Louis Fed

One ETF will own several of the small cap regional banks and REITs that I own now or have owned in the past: PSCF | S&P SmallCap Financials Portfolio

In 2013, my dividend total from this basket totaled $1,932,93, up from $1,896.25 in 2012 and $1,660.57 in 2011. I will have to increase my current exposure in order to exceed the 2013 amount this year, given my light exposure for the first four months which was several thousand below the "minimum" level.    

Regional bank stocks are in a funk this year as interest rates started to go back down. One of the regional bank ETFs, KRE, closed at $40.61 on 12/31/13 and at $40.33 last Friday, but has closed as low as $36.84 (2/3/14). SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF ETF Chart That ETF has now worked its way back over its 50 and 200 SMA lines.

The abnormally low rates benefited banks some when deposit yields were repriced down, but even 5 year bank CDs taken out in 2008 at higher rates have now matured, and the positive impact of that repricing is no longer present. Instead, the decline in rates compresses net interest margin. When rates were rising last year, regional bank stocks were in an uptrend based on the common belief that higher intermediate and long rates would be a net positive for them, particularly when short terms were likely to remain near zero through mid-2015 and then rise slowly and modestly in 2016-2017. The rate spike starting last May impacted intermediate and long term rates. Short term rates remained anchored by ZIRP. 

I have used the downdraft in prices earlier this year to add positions to my basket. Some of the stocks have started to move back up in price some.

My worst performing position is First Niagara (FNFG) whose stock was driven into a multi-year decline by a boneheaded mistake made by its former CEO that was sanctioned by the Board of Directors. First Niagara: Just Another Incompetent Bank Board of Directors (12/8/11 Post).

The current FNFG CEO has embarked on a spending spree to upgrade FNFG's systems that will retard earnings for several years and have uncertain benefits. That plan caused a slide in the price earlier this year, FNFG Interactive Chart. (price went from $10.48 on 1/22/14 to $8.22 on 2/3/14). FNFG is easily the worst managed bank in my basket. I am hoping that another bank will end the misery of FNFG's shareholders by making a generous acquisition offer, sending the current management team and Board into an early and much deserved retirement where they can not inflict further harm on the innocent. Perhaps, that "hope" is born from early onset dementia. I am reinvesting the dividend which was cut in half a few years ago to help finance the indefensible acquisition of HSBC branches for $1B in cash which was called a "home run" by the now departed CEO who engineered it. First Niagara Dividend Slash (12/7/11 Post); First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (FNFG) Dividend Date & History - There was earlier this year a downgrade by Moody's from Baa2 to Ba1: Moody's downgrades First Niagara Financial (senior to Ba1)

The problem for earnings growth among regional banks is highlighted by regional bank earnings for the first quarter. For several small banks more dependent on mortgage originations, the uptick in rates last year hurt their mortgage origination business and caused Y-O-Y declines in earnings. So, a rise in intermediate and long term rates may help net interest margin but hurt in other areas of the business. The actual impacts are more complex than the normal assumptions made by many investors. 

Money center banks have sources of income that are not meaningfully available to small banks whose bread and butter primarily involves taking deposits and lending those funds to small businesses and individuals. 

Since my last update, I bought 50 shares of NKSH, discussed below, and sold 50 shares of LARK after a brief pop in the share price. Sold  50 LARK at $23.5 (6/28/14 Post)

Realized Gains 2010 to Date: $15,982.65 (snapshots in Gateway Post)
Dividends Received 2010 through 2013)=$6,623.72

Click to Enlarge:
Regional Bank Basket as of 6/27/14
Comparison Data From the St. Louis Fed:
Net Interest Margin for all U.S. Banks
Net Interest Margin for U.S. Banks with average assets under $1B
Net Interest Margin for U.S. Banks with average assets between $1B and $15B
Return on Average Equity for all U.S. Banks   (abbreviated to "ROE")
Return on Average Assets for all U.S. Banks (abbreviated to "ROA")
Nonperforming Loans (past due 90+ days plus nonaccrual) to Total Loans for all U.S. Banks (abbreviated to "NPL ratio")
Charge-Off Rate On All Loans, All Commercial Banks
Assets at Banks whose ALLL exceeds their Nonperforming Loans (coverage ratio over 100%)(ALLL=Allowance for loan losses)

A. First Bancorp (FNLC): The First Bancorp raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent per share. The new rate will be $.21. I recently bought back 50 shares. Bought:  50 FNLC at $15.6 (5/24/14 Post). At a total cost of $15.6 per share, the new dividend rate results in about a 5.38% yield.

B. Bought 50 NKSH at $30.4 (see Disclaimer): I bought this stock last Friday and decided to discuss it here, rather than in the weekly blog, since I am not discussing much of anything new in this update other than repeating my negative opinions about FNFG's management and Board.

First, I want to emphasize that National Bankshares is a micro cap bank holding company whose stock is thinly traded with a large bid/ask spread. The market capitalization is slightly over $200M.

I placed a limit order to buy 50 shares at $30.4, when the ask price was $.5 per share higher, and I would not have been surprised with a partial fill. I was fortunate to get a fill for the entire 50 share bid:

2014 Bought 50 NKSH at $30.4-Satellite Taxable Account
I also own some other bank stocks in this account including CBU and partial positions in FNB and NBTC.

Shortly after my trade was executed, the stock moved up and closed last Friday at $31.24 +0.48 (+1.56%). Volume was heavy at 17,162 shares.

This bank holding company is headquartered in Blacksburg, VA. NKSH is the holding company for the National Bank, "a 123-year old community bank with 25 offices throughout Southwest Virginia".

This bank pays dividends semi-annually, with the last payment of $.55 per share going ex dividend in May. National Bankshares, Inc. Declares Semi-Annual Dividend

The next payment is generally made in November and is slightly higher than the first payment. National Bankshares, Inc. (NKSH) Dividend Date & History - Taking just the last two payments, the total is $1.13 per share, which would translate into a dividend yield of 3.72% at a total cost of $30.4 per share.

For the 2014 first quarter, National Bankshares reported net income of $4.4M, compared to $4.22M in the 2013 first quarter:

Net Income Per share: $.63
Net Interest Margin: 4.12%
Efficiency Ratio: 47.56%
ROA: 1.61%
ROE: 11.92%
NPL Ratio: 1.85% (down from 2.35% as of 3/31/13)
Coverage Ratio: 136.51%

This bank reports its capital ratios in its 10-Q filings. These ratios are excellent:

Click to Enlarge:

Page 43: 10-Q

This bank has been on my monitor list for some time. Recently, the shares have declined sufficiently for me to take a nibble. The shares were trading over $38 last summer and over $36 as recently as 4/11/14: NKSH Interactive Chart

I am not aware of any analyst estimates. The bank reported net income of $2.55 per diluted share in 2013. If I assume very modest growth this year to $2.65, which appears to be a reasonable ballpark type number, then the P/E based on that $2.65 estimate would be about 11.47 at a total cost of $30.4 per share.

Other relevant information includes the following:

I view it as important that a bank remained profitable during the recent Near Depression period and at least kept from reducing its dividend. Historical earnings information can be found in the 10-K's filed with the SEC. I found the relevant information in NKSH's 2010 Annual Report. Between 2006-2010, NKSH's net income and annual dividend rate increased each year. That is impressive under the circumstances.

Click to Enlarge:

Page 11: form10-k_2010

And, NKSH did not participate in the TARP program.

There is one detailed article about this bank, published by Seeking Alpha in December 2012. I left some comments to that article.