Thursday, March 29, 2018

Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: ENB, GDO, GIS, GJP, GJS, GJT, INTC, Synthetic Floaters, THQ


The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales rose 3.1% from a downwardly revised January number. The Pending Home Sales Index was down 4.1% Y-O-Y through February 2018. Pending Home Sales Reverse Course in February, Rise 3.1 Percent | The NAR noted that prospective buyers were feeling the pinch of higher mortgage rates and "swift price growth".

One of the potential negative surprises this year may end up being a decline in new home sales compared to 2017 due to the Triple Whammy (1) rising mortgage rates; (2) rising home prices; and (3) the tax benefit takeaways in the "tax reform" legislation. The median sales price in several localities is already above affordability levels for most  median income households.  (e.g. San Francisco: Only 12% of households can afford a median-priced house4th Qtr. Housing Affordability Report for California) I noted in my last blog that the median sales price for new homes last month was $326,800 nationwide according to the Census Bureau. 

U.S. seeks China trade moves on autos, financials, chips: source


GE Is Now Smaller Than Netflix - Bloomberg (last Monday, when the DJIA gained 669 points, GE's stock declined 1.38%, closing at $12.89 and hitting yet another 52 week low. This was the first close in GE's stock below $13 since July 2009. The stock traded at over $50 in 2000 and currently has a 52 week high at $30.54.) 



61% of republicans view Trump as a good role model for their children: Quinnipiac Poll (79% of republicans say Trump is honest-question 6; role model is question # 15)  

‘It’s chaos. . . . It’s not good for anything’: After rejecting Trump’s offer, Ted Olson admonishes him - The Washington Post

Trump’s Lawyer Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort as Special Counsel Closed In (talks "suggest"Trump lawyer worried about them talking in a Mueller plea deal)

John Dowd Is in More Trouble Than Trump With Pardon Report - Bloomberg

Judge says emoluments case against Trump can proceed

Is Trump's silence on Putin, Daniels telling? - CNN

Manafort associate had Russian intelligence ties during 2016 campaign, prosecutors say - The Washington Post

Mueller Draws Line to Russian Spy’s Work With Manafort and Gates - Bloomberg

Trump Aide Spoke During Campaign to Associate Tied to Russian Intelligence - The New York Times (referencing this document released by Mueller: Government's Sentencing Memorandum.pdf

Trump shares photos touting 'the start' of border wall (lying once again; "Officials have said that the project that Trump tweeted about is not considered part of his proposed border wall and instead is part of a construction project for a two-mile border wall in Calexico, Calif., that had already been prioritized since 2009.")

In a recent speech, Trump claimed that coal industry jobs are back. The True Believers cheered of course. Would they have cheered if the actual data was disclosed to them by Donald, which will never happen?  I seriously doubt that any of them would believe the BLS numbers even if they managed by some incredible happenstance to come across the data.

I suppose that one could argue that this claim is barely true provided you define "back" extremely generously to the point of absurdity. There are only 1,300 more jobs in the entire coal industry over the past year through February 2018. 

The February 2018 preliminary number is 52,200 total coal industry jobs compared to 50,900 in Trump's first full month as President. The coal mining job number hit a peak of 52,800 last September. 

The price paid for that negligible increase is more pollution (land, water and air). 

This is a snapshot of the BLS data: 

In February 2018, the BLS estimated that there were 161,921,000 individuals  who had jobs in the U.S. Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted The entire coal industry represented .000322% of that number.

Then you have the problem of Trump being completely incapable of evaluating the negative repercussions of his policies.  Trump's tariffs could ricochet on coal country - Mar. 6, 2018


1. SOLD 60+ Intel Shares at $52.29

Profit Snapshot: +$2,266.94 (excluding 50 shares sold on 3/19/18)

Quote: Intel Corp. (INTC)

Closing Price 3/28/18: INTC $49.60 -$1.59 -3.11% 

Last Discussed: Item 1 Sold 50 INTC at $50.51 (3/22/18 Post) 

Intel Realized Gains Starting in 2013:  (prior trades= $2,613.3)(no sales between 1/1/2007 and 12/5/13. I have no snapshots of prior trades before 2007)  

2. Synthetic Floaters:

Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Synthetic Floaters

After the transactions discussed below, I currently have the following positions in synthetic floating rate exchange traded bonds. 

GJT: 200 Shares

GJS: 200 Shares
GJP: 150 Shares
PYT:  50 Shares

A. Sold 50 GJT at $20.55-ROTH IRA Account:

Profit Snapshot: +$72.55

Item # 3 Bought 50 GJT at $17.97-Roth IRA (3/28/15 Post)

Quote: Synthetic Fixed-Income Securities Inc. STRATS Trust for Allstate Corp. Securities, Series 2006-3 (GJT)

SecurityGJT is a Synthetic Floater in the Trust Certificate legal form of ownership. The security falls under the general category of Exchange Traded Bonds.

Remaining Position: 200 shares 

Par Value: $25

Coupon.85% above the 3 month treasury bill rate with an 8% maximum  

Interest payments are made monthly. 

Underlying SecurityAllstate SU Bond Maturing on 4/1/36

Underlying Bond Prospectus: Make Whole Provision at page S-5

The Trust Certificate matures on the same date. 

History This Account Only: The distribution is rising but the amount is of course meaningless to me. 

Last DiscussedItem 1.A. Bought 50 GJT at $20.03 (3/1/2018 Post)

GJT Trading Profits to Date: $648.5 (snapshots in Gateway Post for Trust Certificates)

Sample of Prior Discussions

B. Sold 50 GJS at $20.65-Roth IRA Account:

Profit Snapshot: +$44.05

Remaining Position: 200 shares

Item 1.B. Bought 50 GJS at $19.26-In a Roth IRA Account 

Security: GJS is similar to GJT except the float is .9% over the three month treasury bill rate with a 7.5% maximum coupon. Par value is $25. The GJS TC represents a beneficial interest in a 6.125% senior unsecured bond issued by Goldman Sachs that matures on 2/15/2033 that is owned by a grantor trust administered by an independent bank trustee.

GJS Prospectus
2033 Bond Prospectus 

The bond's prospectus has a make provision that makes it unlikely that GS will redeem this bond.

Underlying Bond-Finra 

Credit Ratings Underlying Bond: 

Moody's at A3
S & P at BBB+
Fitch at A

Quote:  Synthetic Fixed-Income Securities Inc. Floating Rate STRATS Series 2006-2 (GJS)

History This Account Only:

GJS Trading Profits to Date: $675.29

I own 100 shares in my Schwab Taxable account. In that account, the average cost per share is $18.46 with the last 50 share lot bought at a total cost of $18.35 per share (1/25/17). As with GJT, the interest payments of GJS have been trending up since December 2015, when the FED first increased the FF rate off of ZIRP. 

I also own 100 GJS in my IB account with an average cost per share of $18.33:  

Item # 1: Bought Back Synthetic Floater GJS at $18.4-Update For Exchange Traded Bond And Preferred Stock Basket Strategy As Of 11/11/15 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Item # 1.B. Bought 50 GJS at $19.26-IB Account 

Some Prior Discussions

Bought 100 GJS at 12.25 June 2009

Bought 100 GJS AT $13 October 2009-Sold 100 GJS at $15.6 in the Roth IRA November 2009

Bought: 50 GJS at $14.6 August 2010-Sold 50 GJS @ $16.20 October 2010

Bought Roth IRA: 50 GJS at $13.77 December 2012-Sold 50 GJS at $17.14-Roth IRA June 2013 

C. ADDED 50 GJP at $22.6-Used Commission Free Trade

Quote: Synthetic Fixed-Income Securities Inc. for Dominion Resources Inc. Securities Series 2005-6 Floating Rate STRATS

SecurityGJP is a Synthetic Floater in the Trust Certificate legal form of ownership.

The owners of GJP are entitled to receive monthly interest payments at the greater of 3% or 1.15% over the U.S. 3 month T Bill rate on a $25 par value. This security has a maximum coupon of 8%. Prospectus The underlying security is a senior unsecured bond issued by Dominion Resources that matures in June 2035.  

Interest payments are made monthly.  

The 3% minimum coupon is increased when the three month T. Bill rate exceeds 1.85%.   

I will try to explain this security now.
Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo) bought a 5.95% Dominion Resource  senior unsecured bond maturing in 2035. That bond is currently rated at Baa2 and BBB according to FINRA. Bond Detail This Dominion bond closed at $118.11 on 3/28/18, creating at that time a yield-to-maturity of 4.434% and a current yield of 5.04%.

Moody's changes Dominion Energy's rating outlook to negative from stable (1/3/18)
Dominion is a large electric utility company "with a portfolio of approximately 25,700 megawatts of generation, 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines."  The utility has about 6 million retail customers. Who We AreDominion Energy Inc. (D)D Analyst Estimates
Wachovia then created a Grantor Trust which sold trust certificates to the public at $25 per certificate. The trust then bought the bonds from Wachovia and currently owns those bonds. The owners of GJP have an undivided ownership interest in those bonds owned by the Trust administered by an independent trustee.
Assuming Dominion survives to pay off the bonds at maturity, the trustee will distribute the redemption proceeds to the owners of GJP which would equal $25 per share. So, the underlying bonds owned by the Trust and the GJP trust certificates would mature simultaneously.  
The Trustee then entered into a "swap agreement" with Wachovia, whereby the trust would swap the interest payments received from Dominion for the floating rate described above. In the event the bond is called by Dominion, Wachovia is entitled to a swap termination fee.
Dominion is unlikely to call this bond due to a make whole provision found in the prospectus

To redeem a 5.95% coupon bond early, Dominion would have to pay the present values of all remaining interest payments to the June 2035 maturity date and the principal amount ($1,000 per bond). So all of those amounts are aggregated and then discounted to present value using the treasury rate for a similar security plus a measly .15%. This present value formula results in premium penalty for an early redemption.
In the unlikely event Dominion does exercise its optional redemption right, then Wells Fargo would take all of the make whole payment as a swap termination fee. The swap termination fee would be calculated in a similar manner and could conceivably be greater than the make whole payment.

Underlying Bond Owned by the Grantor Trust: Bond Detail

The owner of GJP is exposed to the credit risk of this issuer. 
Two History This Account Only:

Links to Prior Discussions

Item # 2.A. Bought 50 GJP at $21.35

Item # 4 Bought 50 Back Back 50 GJP at $20-Update For Exchange Traded Bond And Preferred Stock Basket Strategy As Of April 1, 2016 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Item # 5 Sold 100 GJP @ $23.52 (2/4/11 Post)-Bought 100 GJP at $21.95

Since I first started trading this security in April 2009, the minimum coupon rate is actually close to being increased due to the rise in the 3 month treasury bill rate. U.S. 3 Month Treasury Bill-MarketWatch (add 1.15% to the 3 month T Bill yield)
GJP Trading Profits to Date: $824

3. Small Ball

A. Added 2 ENB at $29.95 and 2 at $30.89-Used Commission Free Trades:

Quote: Enbridge Inc. (ENB)

Last Substantive DiscussionItem # 2 Added 9 ENB at an Average Total Cost Per Share of  $32.18 (3/15/18 POST)

ENB is not working out so far. 

Investors have torched the stock. 

The downtrend accelerated after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it would no longer permit MLPs to recover a tax allowance in their interstate pipeline rates subject to FERC's review and approval.  

US FERC will disallow tax allowance cost recovery for MLPs - Oil | Platts News Article & Story

While ENB is a "C-Corporation" rather than an MLP, it does have substantial ownership stakes in the MLPs Spectra Energy Partners (SEP) and Enbridge Energy Partners ("EEP") 

Enbridge Inc. does not expect a material consolidated financial impact as a result of FERC Revised Policy Statements

Spectra Energy Partners Does Not Expect a Material Financial Impact as a Result of FERC Revised Policy Statements

EEP does expect a material impact. Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. Announces Preliminary Impacts of Revised FERC Policy Statement ("Based on the foregoing preliminary analysis and estimates, EEP is adjusting its 2018 DCF guidance range to $650 million$700 million from $720 million - $770 million and 2018 total distribution coverage to approximately 1.0x from approximately 1.15x.")

Pipeline selloff deepens as DBRS warns Enbridge subsidiary’s credit rating could ‘significantly weaken’ | Financial Post

EEP probably needs to be rolled up into Enbridge. That can be done now at a much cheaper price than at anytime in EEP's history: Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. Cl A Interactive Chart

Enbridge claims that Enbridge Income Fund (ENF:CA) will benefit from this FERC policy change and that flow through benefit to ENB will offset the negative flow through impact from Enbridge Energy Partners: 

"Under the International Joint Toll mechanism, reductions in the EEP tariff will create an offsetting revenue increase on the Canadian Mainline system owned by Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. (ENF). Financial guidance at ENF remains unchanged; however, this could provide a further tailwind for financial results. The combined impact at both EEP and ENF are offsetting for Enbridge on a consolidated basis."

I own 200 ENF shares and less than 60 ENB. I have never owned EEP or SEP and have a policy to avoid direct ownership of MLPs due in large part to the K-1 tax hassles.  

Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. (ENF:CA)Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. Announces Monthly Dividend

There are two separate issues as I understand it. 

The first involves the pass through of tax savings into interstate pipeline rates that resulted from the corporate tax rate reduction to 21%. 

The second relates to a MLP being able to claim as a cost the tax rates that it would have paid but for the pass through structure. The FERC changed its long standing policy and will now disallow the rate recovery of those taxes where it regulates rates. If there had been no change in that policy, the MLPs would have been impacted by the first issue discussed above.

There will be a lot of variations in the impacts. 

MLPA Response to FERC Income Tax Allowance Decision – MLPA

Closing Price 3/28/18: ENB $30.36 -$0.08 -0.26% 

B. Added 10 GDO at $16.73 and $10 at $16.6 -Used Commission Free Trades

Quote: Western Asset Global Corp Defined Opportunity Fund

Dividend: Monthly at $.1085 ($1.302 annually)

Last Ex Dividend Date: 3/22/18

Current Position: 80+ Shares 

Total Average Cost Per Share: $16.9

Dividend Yield at Average Cost7.7%

I will be reinvesting the dividend, possibly for as long as the discount to net asset value per share remains over 5% and preferably over 8%.  Historically, I have turned the reinvestment option on and off based on the discount but am flexible as to the level.  

Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC Announces Distributions for the Months of March, April and May 2018  

The monthly ex dividend was on 3/22/18.  

So I bought 10 the day before the ex dividend date and 10 on the ex dividend date. 

Closing Price on  3/21/18: GDO $16.74 -$0.08 -0.48% 

Closing Price on 3/22/18: GDO $16.60 -$0.03 -0.19% (price adjusted for the monthly dividend)

Last Substantive Discussion: Item 2 Bought 50 GDO at $17.01 and 10 at $16.82-Used Commission Free Trades (2/22/18 Post)

I have nothing to add to that recent discussion.

Data as of 3/22/18: 

Closing Market Price: $16/6
Closing Net Asset Value Per Share: $18.36
Discount: -9.59%
Average Discounts: 
1 Year     -6.38%
3 Years   -8.64%
5 Years   -9.16%

GDO Page at CEF Connect 

Last SEC Filed Shareholder Report: WA Global Corporate Defined Opportunity Fund Inc

Closing Price 3/28/18: GDO $16.67 +$0.12  +0.71% 

C. Bought 10 THQ at $16.1-Used Commission Free Trade:

Quote: Tekla Healthcare Opportunities Fund (THQ)

Fund Sponsor: Tekla Capital Management LLC
SEC Form N-Q: Holdings as of 12/31/17

Last Discussed: Item 2.A. Bought 10 THQ at $16.96-Used Commission Free Trad (3/8/18 Post)

Dividends: Monthly at $.1125 ($1.35 annually)

Dividend Yield at $16.1 = 8.36%

Dividend Yield at Total Average Cost Per Share ($16.99) = 7.95%
Last Ex Dividend Date: 3/19/18 (pay date 3/29/18)

I am reinvesting the monthly dividend, with the last one credited to my account today:  

Data Day of Trade 3/23/18):

Closing Price: $16.13
Closing Net Asset Value Per Share: $17.85
Discount: -9.64%

THQ CEF Connect Page

Closing Price 3/28/18: THQ $16.27 +$0.17 1.06% 

D. Added 2 GIS at $44.4-Used Commission Free Trade

I discussed General Mills in my last post. Item # 3.A. (3/25/18 Post) 

GIS sold yesterday $1B in stock as partial funding for its Blue Buffalo acquisition. The price was $44 per share. General Mills Announces Pricing of Public Offering of Common Stock in Connection with Pending Acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products

Current Position: 22 shares

Average Cost Per Share: $49.58
Dividend: Quarterly and Currently Frozen at $.49 per share ($1.96 annually)
Dividend Yield at Average Cost Per Share: 3.95% 
Dividend Reinvestment: Yes  
Next Ex Dividend Date: 4/9/18 

I am expecting the dividend to be frozen for 2018 and probably through 2019. GIS has also halted its share buyback program. The reason for the freeze and the buyback suspension is to pay down debt incurred as a result of the Blue Buffalo acquisition. 

My most recent profit harvesting was to sell a 10 share lot bought in this buying program at $56.18. Item #2.A. Sold 10 of 25 GIS at $56.18-Used Commission Free Trade  (12/21/17 Post) I have now bought back 7 of those 10 shares. My next buy will be 3 shares somewhere south of $44. 

My largest  gain involved selling 52 GIS shares on 3/23/2016: 

That lot was sold at $60.36: 

Closing Price 3/28/18: GIS $44.35 -$0.96 -2.12% 

4. Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy:

A. Bought 2 Tyco Electronics 2.375% SU Bonds Maturing on 12/17/18:

FINRA Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Issuer:  Wholly owned subsidiary of TE Connectivity Ltd.  (TEL)

This bond is listed under the debt section of TEL's 2017 Annual Report:

Page 87:  TEL Annual Report

TEL Analyst Estimates
TE Connectivity Announces Results for First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018

Credit Ratings:

Moody's at Baa1
S & P at A-

Bought at a Total Cost of 99.965

YTM at TC Then at 2.42%
Current Yield at TC =  2.3758%

B. Added 1 Nextera Energy Capital 2.3% SU Bond Maturing on 4/1/19:

FINRA PAGE: Bond Detail (not linked)


I now own 2 bonds.

Issuer: Wholly Owned Subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) who guarantees the notes

NEE Analyst Estimates
Nextera 2017 Annual Report (debt at page 103)

Credit Ratings: "NEECH" stands for Nextera Capital

Note that Fitch and Moody's give the same ratings to Nextera and NEECH, but S & P rates NEECH SU notes at BBB+ and the parent at A-.

Bought at a Total Cost of 99.624

YTM at TC Then at 2.674%
Current Yield at 2.3087%

I own 9 Nextera Capital SU bonds that mature on 9/1/18. So part of what I am doing involves anticipating the maturity of those 9/1/18 and extending now the maturity by a few months through the purchase of Nextera bonds maturing in 2019.

C. Bought 1 Citigroup 2.45% SU Bond Maturing on 1/10/20-In a Roth IRA Account:

FINRA: Bond Detail

Bought at a Total Cost of 99.281

YTM at TC Then at 2.861%
Current Yield at 2.4677%

I now own 2 bonds.

D. Bought 1 ERP Operating LP 2.375% SU Bond Maturing on 7/1/19:

Finra Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Issuer: Operating Entity for  Equity Residential (EQR)

Equity Residential Reports Full Year 2017 Results
Q4 2017 Results - Earnings Call Transcript | Seeking Alpha

Credit Ratings:

Bought at a Total Cost of 99.633

YTM at TC Then at 2.669%
Current Yield at 2.3837%

E. Bought 1 Treasury 1.75% Coupon Maturing on 10/31/18:

YTM = 1.944%

I now own 2 bonds.

Currently, I own three different treasuries maturing on 10/31/18. Once I decide to add one with that maturity date, I will simply pick the one with the highest YTM.  The other two have .75% and 1.25% coupons.

F. Bought 1 Wisconsin Energy 2.45% SU Bond Maturing on 6/15/2020-In A Roth IRA Account:

Finra Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Issuer:  WEC Energy Group Inc (formerly known as Wisconsin Energy)

WEC Analyst Estimates
WEC Energy Group posts strong 2017 results
WEC Energy Group
2017 Annual Report

Credit Ratings:

Fitch Affirms WEC at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable (12/15/17)

Bought at a Total Cost of  99.095  (includes $2 Vanguard Commission)

YTM at TC Then at 2.873%
Current Yield at TC = 2.4724%

5. Intermediate Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy

A. Bought 1 Northern States Minnesota 2.15% First Mortgage Bond Maturing on 8/15/22-In a Roth IRA Account:

FINRA Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Issuer: Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of  Xcel Energy Inc. (XCEL)

Credit Ratings:

Bought at a Total Cost of 96.316
YTM at TC Then at 3.048%
Current Yield at TC = 2.2322%

I now own two bonds.

B. Bought 1 Centerpoint Energy Houston 1.85% General Mortgage Bond Maturing on 6/1/21-In a Roth IRA Account:

Finra Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

This bond barely qualifies as an intermediate term. My cut off for planning, allocation and weighting purposes defines an intermediate term bond as maturing between 3 and 10 years from the date of purchase. 

Issuer: Wholly owned subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP)

Credit Ratings:

Bought at a Total Cost of 97.154
YTM at TC Then at 2.783%
Current Yield at TC = 1.9042%

C. Bought 1 Healthcare Realty Trust 3.75% SU Bond Maturing on 4/15/23:

FINRA Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Issuer: Healthcare Realty Trust Inc. (HR)

Website: Healthcare Realty Trust - Medical Office REIT

Portfolio Overview - Healthcare Realty

2017 Annual Report (debt at page 47)

Credit Ratings:

For REITs, it is difficult to receive a high investment grade credit rating since so much money is paid out to common shareholders.

Bought at a Total Cost of 99.824

YTM at TC Then at 3.788%
Current Yield at TC = 3.7566%

This issuer has a 3.875% SU bond maturing in 2025 that has a higher current yield and YTM: Bond Detail I bought 1 of that issue back in April 2017 and still own it. I also still own 2 of HR's 3.5% SU bonds maturing on 8/1/26 that were bought in May 2017.  

For this issuer, I am willing to own up to 10 SU bonds when looking solely at the credit risk issue. I am more concerned about interest rate risk for its 2023-2026 maturities. 

I would be in a good spot going forward if I had my entire portfolio invested in high quality bonds with a weighted average yield of 3.5%. Anything more than that would just place me in a better spot. 

I owned the common shares briefly in 2015:

Item # 2. Bought 50 HR at $23.95 Update For REIT Basket Strategy As Of 8/11/15/Interest Rate Cycles And REIT Stock Prices - South Gent | Seeking Alpha-2. Sold Lower Yielding HR at $26.33: Update For REIT Basket Strategy As Of 10/19/15 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

DisclaimerI 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.