Saturday, March 4, 2017

Observations and Sample of Recent Trades (SCHE,TPVG, ADX, PFK) 3/4/17/Trump's Conspiracy Theory Ladened Universe/

Trump Just Another Wingnut-SAD:

Trump does not need any proof or facts before reaching a conclusion and then spreading his conclusion worldwide. 

The following tweets are reminiscent of Trump's Birther claims about Obama. Donald Trump’s birther tweets, in order. 

3/4/17 at 5:35 AM

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

3/4/17 5:49 AM

Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

3/4/17 5:52 AM 

I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

3/4/17 6:02 AM

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

Presidents can not order wiretapping. 

A FISA judge would have to approve a wiretap warrant. About the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court | Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court | United StatesCurrent Membership-Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

The wiretap can not be on a U.S. facility unless the judge finds probable cause that the phone lines or internet IP addresses were being used by someone spying for a foreign power or acting on behalf of a foreign government. 

In other words, as a predicate for the FBI to wiretap Trump's phones, a FISA federal judge would have found probable cause to believe that Trump was acting as an agent of a foreign power.

Trump sourced the claims from a Breitbart article summarizing some claims made by Mark Levin in his radio talk show. Trump's tweets give the false impression that his sources are senior FBI or Justice Department officials. Trump Relied on Breitbart News to Claim Obama Tapped His Phones - Bloomberg

Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower - The Washington Post

100 days of Trump claims - Washington Post ("In the 44 days Trump has been in office, we’ve counted 194 false or misleading claims.")

I did predict in my last post that it Trump would be back being Trump soon enough after reading those words off a teleprompter in his State of the Union address.

The fact that the President of the United States relies on alt-right publications and radio shows as sources of information is a known risk for the U.S., its economy and stock market.

Trump's conduct repeatedly and clearly shows that he does not form opinions based on acquiring reliable evidence and then evaluating the evidence in an intelligent manner.

Other risks highlighted by this latest Tweet Tantrums, other than reminding everyone that he acts like a spoiled five year brat,  include the possibility that Trump's presidency will implode or his bizarre and divisive behavior results in stock investors being significantly disappointed in their current expectations about the actual implementation of Trump's fiscal stimulus plans (e.g. $1 trillion in infrastructure; reduction in top corporate tax rate to 20%).


Another DHS Leaked Document Undermines the Alleged National Security Rational for the GOP's Muslim Ban:

TRMS Exclusive: DHS document undermines Trump case for travel ban | MSNBC

The hastily prepared Trump EO was IMO based on throwing red meat to Trump Nation rather than any legitimate national security concerns. It is what I would expect from a demagogue.

The delay in releasing a revised EO after the Ninth Circuit's decision and the leaked DHS memos reinforce that opinion.

New DHS report finds most US-based extremists radicalized years after entry | TheHill

If Trump was interested in preventing terrorist acts, his policy emphasis would instead focus on preventing radicalization long after children are brought into this country by their parents. That approach will not play well with his base however.

Trump knew when he proposed the temporary travel ban from seven predominately Muslim countries that migrants from those seven nations had not committed a terrorist act resulting in a death over a 40+ period covered by a Cato Institute study. Guide to Trump’s Executive Order to Limit Migration for “National Security” Reasons | Cato

Citizens from countries that were not on Trump's list did commit terrorist acts within the U.S. that resulted in deaths, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAB where the Trump organization just opened a new golf course and resort. Home - Trump International Golf Club 2016 - DubaiTrump's Immigration Ban Doesn't Include Countries with Business Links |

Little National Security Benefit to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration | Cato

Why not ship our home grown Caucasian terrorists to Raqqua, Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS?



Slight Change in Short Term Bond Positioning:

In her testimony last Friday, Yellen all but guaranteed a .25% increase in the federal funds rate at the next meeting scheduled for mid-March.

Yellen Says March Hike 'Likely Appropriate' If Progress Persists - Bloomberg

In my short term bond basket, I shifted into reverse last Friday by selling all treasury notes maturing between July 2018 through January 2020. All of those bonds were bought and sold near par value and had low coupons.

Snapshot of Transactions in my Fidelity Taxable Account:

Those dispositions included the one bond lots discussed in my last post, as noted in a comment to that post.

I also sold 4 more short term treasury notes held in other taxable accounts maturing in the same time frame.

This is a minor adjustment to what I now view as the likely course for short term rates over the next 12 months. I previously viewed two .25% increases as the most likely outcome this year. I have now changed that opinion to three.

Part of the proceeds were used to buy treasury notes, at below par value, that mature between June and  September 2017. I will discuss those purchases in a subsequent post.

I do not anticipate selling any of the remaining securities owned in my short term bond basket.

A majority of Fed members predicted last December that there would be three .25% rate hikes in 2017: Projections: Figure 2 Dot Plot

I responded that a rate increase in March would probably need to happen for the FED to remain on track for three increases. A failure to increase in March would probably mean no more than two increases this year as I previously noted. With an increase in March, the next increase could then occur in either June or July and the last one in December.

Recent economic reports suggest that the economy is on firm footing and inflation is likely to move up during the year.

The ISM service sector PMI for  February was reported at 57.6, up from 56.5 in January. New orders expanded to 61.2 from 58.6.

U.S. unemployment claims hit a 44 year low for the week ending 2/25/16. U.S. jobless claims near 44-year low; rate hike expected this month | Reuters The labor market is tightening and wage gains will follow. 4-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims-St. Louis Fed

Yes, I know. Donald inherited one big mess that only he can clean up.


Intermediate Term Bond Positioning:

While I made a small change in my short term bond strategy by dumping some low yielding U.S. treasuries, I will continue to buy high quality intermediate term bonds.

I can pick up currently 1% to 1.5% over the current 2 year treasury note yield by buying high quality corporate bonds maturing in 2021-2022.

I do not foresee the FED increasing the FF rate to over 2% prior to mid-2019, but that prediction like every other one that I make is subject to change based on future developments.

And there are certainly identifiable risks now, which may come to fruition, that may cause high quality bonds to go up in price and down in yield, based on a flight to safety and/or deteriorating economic fundamentals. One of those risk is a U.S. initiated trade war. The Stock Jocks assign a zero possibility to that negative development, but the risks are clearly significantly higher than zero IMO.

I can hold those bonds until maturity. There are several investment grade bonds maturing in 2023 that now have YTMs between 3% to 3.5%.

Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates

I can buy more intermediate term bonds as I receive proceeds from maturing short term bonds and CDs, gradually raising my average YTM per bond as rates rise.

All of the bonds discussed below can now be bought at slightly higher yields.


1. Intermediate Term Bond Ladder Basket Strategy

A. Bought 2 Novartis Capital 2.4% Senior Unsecured Bonds Maturing on 5/17/22:


This bond was issued in mid-February 2017.

Issuer: Novartis AG
FINRA Page: Bond Detail
Credit Ratings:
Moody's at Aa3 Moody's changes outlook on Novartis' Aa3 rating to negative on share buy backs announcement; affirms ratings
S & P at AA-

YTM at Total Cost (99.87)  = 2.403%

NVS Analyst Estimates

I own 130+ NVS common shares and intend to keep at least that many long term.

The common shares went ex dividend for their annual distribution on 3/1/17. 

B. Bought 2 Equifax 2.3% Senior Unsecured Bonds Maturing on 6/1/21:

I bought this bond in a Vanguard account where my commission cost is $2 per bond. 

Issuer: EFX Stock Quote
FINRA Page: Bond Detail
Credit Ratings:
Moody's at BBB+
S & P at BBB+

YTM at Total Cost (98.407) = 2.698%

EFX Analyst Estimates

2016 Annual Report

2016 4th Quarter Earnings Report

C. Bought 2 Duke Energy 1.8% Senior Unsecured Maturing on 9/1/21:


Issuer:  Duke Energy Corp.  (DUK)
FINRA Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked at FINRA Page)
Credit Ratings
Moody's at Baa1  Moody's affirms Duke Energy at Baa1; outlook remains negative
S & P  at BBB+
Fitch at BBB+

YTM at Total Cost (96.987) = 2.532%

DUK Analyst Estimates

2016 Duke Energy's 4th Quarter Earnings Report

D. Bought 2 National Rural Electric Cooperative 2.55% Senior Unsecured (Monthly Interest Payments) Maturing on 3/15/22:


This bond was bought under Fidelity's corporate notes program. Bonds available under that program are new issues that are sold to retail customers at par value. 

This bond is unusual in that it makes monthly interest payments. 

Credit Ratings: National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) - Ratings & Research

Moody's at A2
S & P at A
Fitch Full Rating Report July 2016 =  A

National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) - CFC InterNotes

National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) - About CFC

2. Continued Paring Stock Allocation: I have not seen anything yet that would cause me to alter my ongoing stock allocation reduction.

The stock market become riskier IMO as it continues to climb skyward.

The Shiller P/E recently crossed 30. That has occurred on two prior occasions that did not end well for the perma bulls. What to Make of These Twice-in-History S&P 500 Valuations - Bloomberg

Shiller PE Ratio and CAPE Calculator

Is the Stock Market Cheap? - dshort - Advisor Perspectives

A. Sold 143+ SCHE 


Profit Snapshot:  +$47.84

I sold this position solely as a source for cash ($3,366.3) that will be redirected into short term bonds and CDs.

B. SOLD 50 TPVG at $13.37:


Profit Snapshot: +$153.08

Quote: TriplePoint Venture Growth BDC (TPVG)

TPVG is a micro cap BDC. With this transaction, I no longer have a position in individual BDCs. I still have a tiny position in 2xLeveraged Long E-TRACS Linked to Wells Fargo Business Development Co. Index (BDCL).

I discussed selling another 50 share here:

Item # 3 Sold 50 TPVG at $12.33: Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: 1/16/17 (Gold, USBPRH, TPVG, SZEVY, CLDX, Tahoe Resources)(profit snapshot = $83.48)

C. Eliminated ADX: Sold 107+ Shares at $13.63:

Item # 5 Bought 100 ADX at $11.78: Update For CEF Basket Strategy As Of 2/26/16 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Quote: Adams Diversified Equity Fund Inc. (ADX)

ADX Adams Diversified Equity-CEF Connect

ADX is one of the stock closed end funds that survived the 1929 crash and the Great Depression.

Profit Snapshot: +$183.26: 

Seven shares were acquired with dividends, primarily the year distribution of $.84 per share.

1/1/14 To Date Trading Gains: $3,060.14

Snapshots at Update For CEF Basket Strategy As Of 2/26/16 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha and Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Observations and Sample of Recent Trades (ADX, BIF, NNNPRF, VEIRX): February 16, 2017/Trump the Befuddled

A. Bought 2 Schwab 1.5% Senior Unsecured Bonds Maturing on 3/10/18:


Finra Page: Bond Detail (link to prospectus provided)
Moody's at A2
S & P at A
Fitch at A
YTM at Total Cost (100.187 ) = 1.301%

SEC Filings
2016 Annual Report-SEC Form 10-K
SCHW Analyst Estimates

In late February, Schwab sold a 10 year senior unsecured bond with a 3.219% YTM.

B. Bought 1 Bank of Baroda .6% CD Maturing on 5/30/17:


Bank of Baroda is an Indian state-owned bank.

C. Sold 100 PFK at $26.19:

Quote: Prudential Financial Inflation linked Retail Medium Term Senior Notes (PFK)

Profit Snapshot: +$81.04


I discussed buying this lot here.

I sold this exchange traded baby bond on the ex-interest date.

PFK makes monthly interest payments at a 2.4% spread to an annual inflation rate.

Par value is $25.

The bond matures on 4/10/18. Pricing Supplement No. 122 dated March 31, 2006

This will be my last round trip trade in this security.

Realized Gains to Date:  $1,792.38

Snapshots at Baby Bonds - South Gent | Seeking Alpha.

Item # 3 Sold 100 PFK at $28.25 (2/27/13 Post)Sold Roth IRA: 100 PFK at $26.65 (12/31/13 Post)

Trade snapshots can be found here: Baby Bonds - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor but simply an individual investor who has been managing my own money since I was a teenager. In this post, I am acting solely as a financial journalist focusing on my own investments. The information contained in this post is not intended to be a complete description or summary of all available data relevant to making an investment decision. Instead, I am merely expressing some of the reasons underlying the purchase or sell of securities. Nothing in this post is intended to constitute investment or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or to sell. All investors need to perform their own due diligence before making any financial decision which requires at a minimum reading original source material available at the SEC and elsewhere. A failure to perform due diligence only increases what I call "error creep". Stocks, Bonds & Politics: ERROR CREEP and the INVESTING PROCESS Each investor needs to assess a potential investment taking into account their personal risk tolerances, goals and situational risks. I can only make that kind of assessment for myself and family members


  1. The border tax issue, which is the linchpin in being able to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20%, is dividing the Administration into two camps and faces stiff opposition from both Senate Democrats and Republicans.

    "White House split on import tax puts Congress in limbo"

    Where is the outline for the tax plan? It was supposed to be released by now.

    Trump might as well flip a coin to resolve the dispute since he lacks the knowledge to make an intelligent decision and has no willingness to learn.

  2. The wiretapping tweets are to reduce the image of what a president can do...So when his Russia dirt comes out, the shock is less. This is his grooming especially of his followers.

    It's part of why they seem so blind. The shock is preempted with this so when the real stuff, his comes out... They don't spot it because the clue humans use, shock and anger, has already been redirected. This is NOT about distracting. It's about grooming away the later reaction.

    IF we get the word out NOW... During grooming... It's when a grooming person sees grooming in real time that they get shaken out of their mesmerized state.

  3. LMH:

    Occam's razor: "Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."

    The hypotheses that has the fewest assumptions and explains everything is that Donald is mentally ill.

    1. Yes it's mental illness, neurosis. That illness is sociopath.

      There's a pattern they use that shows up across all of them. It looks strikingly the same. Victims of abuse are surprised when they compare notes to other people and it's the same pattern. Therapists can point it out.

      That's what I was describing (from ipad, so couldn't type easily and clearly).

      This is what grooming looks like. It preemptively does something that looks weird as all get out. That is impossible to believe so it's dismissed. And the point of the grooming is to remove your shock and anger so that later on, you don't react.

      For instance, gaslighting about something very simple is one way that you're shock and anger are worn down.

      They don't appear to "think out" what they are doing. It's just automatic, the same way you'd be kind to someone because it feels right.

      In this case someone gave him the idea he's being tapped. Or he has tapped someone for the Russians. Or something. He's got paranoia about Obama. That's a long time given. So he's annoyed that he's not getting the respect that Obama had. He knows what's coming (there's some kind of there there.) So he's making the playing field level by accusing Obama of rotten behavior (tapping him) as projection. It feels right to target Obama with his own issues. That's sociopath 101.

      So I wasn't being complicated. I was applying very basic sociopath patterns. My therapist friends/contacts have the same view of him and his actions.

      There is definite grooming they do instinctively. It's rarely talked about in our society, only the later effects are. We don't have language for much of it, which makes it seem more complicated. ... but a core part is the simple small shock so you don't react later.

      For instance, a spouse who reacts to something rudely that doesn't make sense but blames you when you weren't to blame... then claims you are being too sensitive and are harassing HIM. It's always there at the beginning with something small like that.

      Maybe that explains better?

    2. To come back to this...

      While I conclude that Trump was trying to distract by lowering the image of the office, so he wouldn't look so bad when Russia dirt comes forward (if it ever does)... (Other psychologists I know independently had the same impression.)

      And he did succeed at changing the topic.

      I have to agree with your thoughts...

      At the same time he was dumber than I expected with the manipulation. He didn't know enough and also think through enough to realize how much it'd backfire to accuse a former president of a felony that would be nearly impossible to commit. He got ire from even some Republicans.

      Sadly it appears that story is disappearing. And again he will get away with being who he is without repercussion. We all deserve better.

      He was on the ropes over Russia. Everyday that was the topic hours on end. This weekend, it's stopped. He succeeded with something outrageous that now is being let go of... while having stopped the ropes he was up against.

      People want to believe in things. They want to take him seriously and assume everyone must be serious. ... and with that they don't acknowledge the cognitive dissidence in their thinking when they don't look at lying and say "that person is dangerous to listen to or trust." Or all the other ways he raises flags.

      Education can teach a lot of things... but how to you teach people not to let cognitive dissidence take over?

      A real president would be outraged about Russia's interference in elections around the world, and be setting us up to investigate THAT and change that. THAT not immigration would be the topic. Not just defending that he didn't have anything to do with them.

      Ops, back to venting again.

  4. South Gent,

    Food for thought: The Great Rotation (Interview with BOAML's Michael Hartnett)

  5. Personally I do not trust Trump as far as I could throw him. And I expect the world to fall apart (figuratively, I hope) after the mid-term elections. Yet, I will say when a man does well when done so.

    I fully expect Mr. Trump's infrastructure private/public partnership to be funded by Making America Great Again Bonds (MAGAbond). Revenue generated by this federally backed muni to pay said bonds with the feds only stepping in when a project fails for whatever reason. Think FDIC insurance. The FDIC has $25 billion insuring trillions in deposits. The American investor will buy the bonds making an increase in federal funds almost not needed.

    1. NB: Obama's Build America Bond program was not renewed due to GOP opposition.

      The Alt-right also oppose the resurrection of this program:


      The GOP is now talking about some kind of public-private partnership where private companies are given tax credits to build infrastructure and then charge for its use (e.g. toll roads, toll bridges, etc.).

      I don't foresee a material increase in infrastructure spending this year.

      The FDIC had $83.162 Billion as of 12/31/16, representing at that time 1.18% of insured deposits:

      Page 85:

    2. Thanks for the info on FDIC. That number was one from the passed I pulled for an example of federal insurance.

      A simple google search of 'making america great again infrastructure bonds' show an incredible number of article going back to at least this past summer promoting MAGAbond. Federal muni bonds was and imo still key to his private/public partnership.

      On a side note, there was not very many of Mr. Obama's programs vetted through Congress. Most everything can be wiped out with a pen. And citing a 2010 article from breitbart....not really fair for where we are 7 years later. I bet breitbart (staff) and those in the admin. may be of a different mind today.

      Thanks again, Natty

    3. Natty: I have not seen any proposals about creating tax free U.S. bonds. While tax free bonds would have a lower yield than taxable ones, the government also loses tax revenue that would partially offset that advantage. The government can currently issue taxable bonds at very low rates.

      The Build America Bond program was passed with congressional authorization but had a time limit. Municipal governments issued taxable municipal bonds under that program that were partially subsidized by the federal government.

      The federal government paid 35% of the interest:

      As a revenue raising measure, there has been in the past, as noted in the following linked article, GOP proposals to tax municipal bond interest in part.

      If adopted, that kind of proposal would municipal governments less likely to raise money for infrastructure projects since they would have to pay higher interest rates.

      I have not seen any proposals to resurrect the Build America Bond program.

      I can think of alternatives to that program that does not require the government to subsidize interest payments.

      One possibility for private-public partnerships is for the government to guarantee private activity bonds to build approved infrastructure projects that allow private companies to generate income from the completed project. That would be different than the current GOP proposals for tax credits which costs the government revenue.

      The private activity bonds would pay taxable interest, though at a low rate given the government guarantee, so the federal government raises tax revenue without having to fund the project by issuing more debt itself.

      I have not seen that idea expressed anywhere.

      This could work on a few projects where the income generated by public use of the projects could be used to pay interest and eventually the principal amount of the bonds.

  6. ADXS:

    $9.9 =$0.68 +7.38%
    Pre-Market: 9:14AM EST

    I initially bought 40 shares at $7.9:

    1. Bought 40 ADKS at $7.9:

    Shortly after that purchase, the shares doubled in price and then gradually declined below my purchase price, whereupon I added some shares in my Schwab account using a commission free trade.

    The moonshot after purchase was due as I recall to the Amgen collaboration being announced which I mentioned in a comment to that post:

    "Amgen And Advaxis Enter Global Cancer Immunotherapies Collaboration"

  7. I published a new post:

  8. I've been shopping in the pref space and cannot find any bargains. I guess last year was it for now.

    Looking at fixed income, yields seem really low. The only upside seems to be not going down if the market pulls back. We know it will, but when?

    I'm thinking the market will pull back by April or May and maybe just park in cash until we see where this all goes. Hard to commit new capital at this juncture and price level.

    1. Brian: Interest rates throughout the maturity spectrum are likely to trend up. At some point, that will cause another significant decline in potentially perpetual preferred stocks and longer duration bonds.

      It is more of question of when that decline starts, not whether it will happen IMO.

      The ADP employment report released earlier today supports that interest rate forecast.

      I discuss that report in my comment that I just published to the latest blog.