Saturday, January 31

Google Victim of Human Error

Stocks and Shares - Google Glitch - This Site May Harm Your Computer

If you tried to use Google's search engine today and found that every result on every page displayed the message "This site may harm your computer" then you we4ren't the only one. I got it and thought either I had a nasty virus or Google had been hacked or had done something silly. It turns out it was the latter, Google messed up.

"12:38 p.m. ET: Google has posted an update to its official Google blog that attributes this fairly major "oops" to human error: "We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.""

So there we have it , Google is human after all!

Obama to Make Taxes Optional!

Online Stock Trading - Obama to Make Taxes Optional !?

In his latest move to bring about change we can believe in, US Savior Barack Obama has chosen Tom Daschle to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, as a result, in an extraordinary movement of unalloyed and barely credible generosity, Mr Daschle has decided to pay the $128,000 dollars he hadn't paid in taxes dating back to 2005.

"Daschle filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reduced deductions for charitable contributions. He filed the returns after Obama announced he intended to nominate Daschle to head the Health and Human Services Department."
"Most of the additional taxes resulted from unreported income from the use of a car service ... The unreported income for that service totaled more than $250,000 over three years."
"Daschle also had unreported consulting income of $88,333, in 2007. He also had reductions to charitable contributions totaling about $15,000 over the three years covered,..."

As Mr Daschle is only going to head the Department of Health it's probably no big deal that he has "some tax issues" it's not like he was US Secretary of the Treasury. As far as I know he has not claimed any bouts of 'forgetfulness' and there was no mention of an 'honest mistake'. To paraphrase notorious jailbird Oscar Wilde "To have one forgetful Secretary of State may be regarded as a misfortune; to have two looks like carelessness." So it's a relief to know that Mr Daschle was not forgetful.

Speaking of which please take the time to vote on whether you think forgetful Tim Geithner should be Treasury Secretary, over at GeithnerGate - the split is 80-20 against so far - please click here to vote - GeithnerGate

So, as Mr Obama does not seem concerned at his colleagues' rather cavalier attitude to paying taxes, is he going to make paying taxes optional? Only to be carried out as a last resort? A novel way of saving the economy indeed - but at least there would be no risk of embarrassing lawsuits or criminal convictions and of course people would have more money to go out and buy stuff, maybe even some houses? Now that certainly would be a cunning plan worth voting for, we could do with some change like that over here in the UK, I would certainly believe in it. I do hope Gordon Brown has been paying attention.

I am amazed at the way these things just keep getting swept under the carpet by the Obama administration, as if they didn't matter . It seems as if the incompetent self-serving people who have ruined the economy are now finding their way into government! Like Cramer said anybody else would be doing jail time by now.

Friday, January 30

Investors Chronicle Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Investors Chronicle and Newspaper Share Tips

Shares to Watch

INVESTORS CHRONICLE

Share Tips of the Week


Sell - Land Securities
Buy - Dragon Oil
Sell - Travis Perkins
Sell - Enterprise Inns
Buy - Ten Alps
Sell - Zetar

Share Tips Update

Buy - Renishaw
Sell - Barclays
Sell - Telford Home
Sell - Wolseley
Sell - easyJet

Company Results

Buy - Mattioli Woods, PZ Cussons, Manpower Software
High Enough - Games Workshop
Sell - BSkyB
Good Value - Advanced Power Components, NCC Group,

THE TIMES

Tempus

Legal & General - long-term hold
Mitchells & Butlers - Long-term hold
Robert Wiseman - buy back in

Tiddler to Watch - Petroceltic International


THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Questor


Royal Dutch Shell - Hold
Unilever - Buy

News

Informa down on rumours of sale of flagship title

Mothercare up 19p to 401p on news it is acquiring Ladybird brand from Woolworths

INDEPENDENT

Investment

Kazakhmys - Cautious hold
AstraZeneca - Buy
Mitchells & Butlers - Hold

THE DAILY EXPRESS

Share of the Day
- Z Group

News

Profits forecast lifts Paragon
Ad sales headache for WPP

Thursday, January 29

Million Dollar Traders Final Episode

Online Stock Trading - Million Dollar Traders Episode 3

Million Dollar Traders the programme devised by Lex Van Dam in which total beginners were given $1 million and let loose on the stockmarket, is finished but there is talk of another series being done. Episode 3 was a bit of a disappointment to tell the truth, focussing too much on emotional reactions for my liking and not enough on actual share trading and the mechanics of investing in stocks and shares.
Mr Van Dam's aim was to see if complete beginners could trade on the stockmarket as well as the professionals and given that the 3 that were left at the end (3 of the team walked out apparently in sympathy with Cleo when she was given the order of the boot by the evil Lex Van Dam - that's a joke by the way) managed to achieve a loss of only 2.4% in two months compared to an average loss of 5% by professional hedge funds, then it would seem that Mr Van Dam got the proof he required.

For the next experiment I suggest employing a trusty pin and a copy of the Financial Times. It might turn out that expensive professionals are not rquired at all.

Related post : online trading
Home : stocks and shares

Monday, January 26

Should Geithner Be Treasury Secretary?

Online Stock Trading - Geithner Approved - Have Your Vote


What do you think? Should Tim Geithner be US Treasury Secretary? Please take the time to vote in the poll here at - GeithnerGate - so far the vote is 87% against.


Timothy Geithner has been sworn in as Treasury Secretary just two hours after his nomination was confirmed by the Senate.

Geithner was approved by a vote of 60-34 vote, in spite of that the fact that his credibility has been damaged by his failure to pay over $34k in Medicare and Social Security taxes between 2001 and 2004. Since his nomination he has paid $42,704 in overdue taxes.

He has repeatedly described his failure to pay these taxes as “careless mistakes" and "avoidable mistakes" that were "unintentional”. Youwould think with the amount of money he kaes he could afford a decent tax advisor or tax attorney.

The large number of votes against Tim Geithner, is a sign of unease among Republicans and also a few Democrats about his tax problems and his forgetfulness. Also one suspects about President Obama's judgement.

Senator Charles Grassely raning member of the Senate Finacne Committe said “In the past, nominees who had tax issues as serious as this nominee’s, and some who have had less serious issues, have not attained Senate confirmation. I feel it is improper to judge this nominee by a different standard. I realize that times are tough right now, but if anything, that should be an incentive for us to raise our standards and not lower them.”

For some strange reasons however some people seem to think it's OK for the head of US Finances to suffer from memory lapses, claiming that income tax forms for the self-employed (which Mr Geithner was at the time) are very complicated.

According to President Obama however, Tim Geithner is "uniquely qualified for the post" as he has close ties with Wall Street, having played a significant role in the bail-outs of Bear Stearns, AIG and letting Lehmans go to the wall.

At the daily White House press conference, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked by why it was that tax-evasion landed Wesley Snipes in jail but seems to be of no consequence for the next Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner?

For a novel view on why Tim Geithner is the right choice for US Treasury Secretary and why not paying taxes is patriotic see - Tim Geithner Tax Cheat

Please vote here GeithnerGate . Thank you.

Dual Sim Phone Stockmarket Boost

Stocks and Shares - Dual Sim Phone Technology Could Help Stockmarket

It may be technology that will lead us out of this recession. A dual sim phone is one piece of technology that should prove very popular. Basically a dual sim phone has two sims (Subscriber Identity Modules) which means you've got two telephones wrapped up into one. So you can use one for business and one for your private life, without the need to carry two telephones with you. You have separate telephone numbers and get separate bills.

One of the factors increasing demand for dual SIM phones is that they are very useful for people who travel a lot as they often have to pay outrageous roaming costs. However, with a one phone with two SIM cards they can retain the home network number along with a visiting network.

Some telephone manufacturers seem to be not too interested in making dual sim phones but I predict this will change. The main manufacturer at the moment seems to be Samsung.

Thursday, January 22

Vote on Tim Geithner Nomination

Online Stock Trading - GeithnerGate Please Vote

I have created a blog devoted to Tim Geithner, the soon-to-be US Treasury Secretary. Tim Geithner, as you no doubt know already, forgot to pay some of his taxes. He described this forgetfulness as an 'honest mistake', but this immediately raises the question of whether a man who can forget to pay his taxes should be in charge of the US Treasury? Is this change we can believe in from Barack Obama? Does it cast a shadow over Obama's judgement? The US has a population of around 350 million, is there really nobody else who can do the job?

Warren Buffett was a name that was being put forward before the election and it is worth noting that Warren Buffett filed his first tax return at the age of 13 when he had a paper round.

The Senate Finance Committee confirmed Mr Geithner's nomination by an 18-5 vote in his favour. I am curious to see what the general mood is about Mr Geithner's nomination and so have set up GeithnerGate.com and would be grateful if you would wander on over there and leave your vote and also a comment if you feel so inclined. Thank you. Click here for GeithnerGate

Wednesday, January 21

KGB Geithner and Homer Simpson

Online Stock Trading - Former KGB Spy Buys London Evening Standard

The Russians are Already Here!

What a strange world we live in. "May you live in interesting times" say the Chinese, as a form of curse. Eighteen years ago we thought we were witnessing the collapse of communism and that Reaganomics and Thatcherism had won the cold war for us. It turns out that things ain't always what they seem.

The Western economic system is crumbling, largely as a result of Reagan's and Thatcher's laissez-faire policies, remember "You can't buck the markets!" and throughout the Western world governments are in the process of putting banks under State control and turning our capitalist economies into socialist states (not yet Communism, for, as we know, Communism is always for tomorrow, a bit like jam).

Now that the socialists have finally unveiled their cunning 18-year plan, they have progressed to step 2, controlling the capitalist media.

Former KGB spy turned Russian oligarch, Alexander Lebedev, has just bought the London Evening Standard. It is tempting to make KGB jokes, such as renaming the paper STANDARD EVENING TRUTH - but I will resist, as it seems that Mr Lebedev is one of the good guys.

Mr Lebedev will be hosting a press conference in Moscow tomorrow to explain his plan. His spokesman Mr Artemov last week told the AP that Mr Lebedev was an altruist who was "interested in supporting independent media ... media that have social value but are having some difficulties because of the financial crisis."

Good lord who would've thunk it! The KGB gave birth to an altruist interested in supporting independent media. Like I said, it is a strange world we live in.

One thing we do know is that there are plenty of Russian oligarchs around and no doubt plenty of Chinese billionaires too and we all know the Saudis have plenty of money. So all they have to do to make the most of the collapse of capitalism is to buy up all the media outlets and TV stations and Bob's your uncle they control all the news. A lot easier than sending tanks through the Channel Tunnel. Now that is what I call a cunning plan.

And in the interests of objectivity I must mention Tim Geithner, the guy now in charge of the US economy, who today said that it was imperative to restore confidence to markets whilst at the same time explaining just how it was he had forgotten to pay $34,000 in taxes.


How can you have confidence in a man who is supposed to run the US economy yet is incapable of filing a tax return (yes, I know tax returns are reaaallly complicated but the guy's being touted as being reaaallly clever - not clever enough it seems), which reminds me of some of Homer Simpson's timeless words of wisdom

"Marge, don’t discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel. "

When Marge found out Homer had been seeing another woman : "Marge I swear, I never thought you would find out. "

Tuesday, January 20

Worsening Wolrdwide Woe Whacks Bankers

Online Stock Trading - More Banking Woe for World Bankers

As the stockmarket in the US slumped despite the US Presidential inauguration fest - DOW down 332 points - , banks around the world were the worst hit yet again on fears that the global banking crisis is getting worse. Online stock trading is difficult at the best of times bu it seems hard to imagine that things could get much worse, particularly for the banks but it seems that the unimaginable is no longer so unimaginable.

In the US

Regions Financial Corp., operating S.E. USA reported a Q4 loss of $6.24 billion, stocks fell more than 24% to a 24-year low of $4.60.

SunTrust Banks Inc. fell 24.4%;
Fifth Third Bancorp fell 22.3%
Marshall & Ilsley Corp. fell 21.3%.

State Street Corp. reported a 71% drop in Q4 its shares fell 59%

Citigroup, reported a loss of $8.29 billion and fell 20% to $2.80.

Bank of America
shares fell 29%

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. fell 17%.

Last week, JPMorgan actually reported a profit for Q4, but defaults rose sharply in home loans, credit cards, commercial real estate. Shares fell 20.7%.

Even Wells Fargo fell 24%.

In the UK

Barclays fell another 20% to 72p - it was 180p just a week ago
Lloyds fell another 30% to 44p - it was 140p a week ago
Even RBS managed to fall another 10% after its 70% drop yesterday

To see what happened to UK banks yesterday have a look at - UK Banks Fund New Toilet

In France

Societe Generale fell 13%
BNP Paribas fell 13%
Credit Agricole fell 7%

It seems odd that this hasn't caused more of a stir but it seems like people may be getting used to it, and of course today was a Obamamania day

Monday, January 19

UK Banks Fund New Toilet

Online Stock Trading - UK Banks Have space toiletNo Clothes

UK banks were hammered again yesterday as it became known that RBS had found expensive new toilets down which to flush our money. In fact, as hammerings go, it is the biggest hammering I have ever seen in the twenty-odd years I have been interested in online stock trading (although it was more like telephone stock trading twenty years ago).


(..... The Emperor Has no Clothes!)

emperor has no clothes andersen


RBS 10 Year Chart with 200 and 400 Moving Averages



Barclays 10 Year Chart with 200 and 400 Moving Averages



LLOY 10 Year Chart with 200 and 400 Moving Averages



It seems like RBS and LLOY may be headed for nationalisation, even though they say they won't be.

It seems "Let Them Eat Waste" Gordon Brown is a bit miffed, he thought he had "saved the world" (his own words) - it turns out his bail-out package Version 1 was full of bank bugs and now needs a patch. Just what did he expect from bankers? That they would actually tell the truth or do something competent? Or did he just hope that things could only get better (remember that jaunty slogan? - it was the "change we can believe in" of its day.) Dear oh dear.

So who would want to own shares in a bank that may be nationalised, personally I think I'll pass on that opportunity tyvm.

Barclays, despite saying they will report profits of over £5 billion, and despite declining all offers of state help and intervention is now at 88p, that's a 16 year low (so much for long-term investing).

Talking about RBS and Barclays, a fund manager told The Times: “These are two broadly similar institutions. Yet one (Barclays) is telling us that annual profits are going to be better than we all expected at £5.3 billion (the bank is currently worth £7.5 billion), while the other (RBS) is saying that it lost £8 billion last year.”

Neil Dwane, CIO for Europe at RCM, part of Allianz, said : “The market is telling you that it does not believe a single word that Barclays management says. I would want to find out why their management credibility is a negative number. As a board, they are beginning to face a serious issue in that they have lost credibility with everybody.”

Barclays lost all credibility with me about 15 years ago when I had a business account with them, but that's another story.

According to Mr Dwane the difference in profits between Barclays and RBS is down to accounting practices. "RBS uses mark-to- market accounting, Barclays heads off potential writedowns by valuing its assets based on their worth at maturity."

Well, I'm not an accountant so I'll have to take his word on it for that one, but I do know a bit of German and one word that springs to mind is 'Schadenfreude' - there must be lots of people up and down the country, despite the fact that the demise of the 'blue chip' banks is a disaster for the economy, who are secretly happy that the truth is finally out about banks. We've known all along that they were smug useless bankers, we just haven't been able to prove it.

So what will today bring? Well we won't have long to wait to find out. The Nikkei is down 3% at the moment. HSBC is down 8% and there is talk that they may need to sell shares to raise cash.

He who must be listened to says on his blog : "The fear of investors is that with taxpayers providing so much support to the banks, any spoils would go to the state in the form of fees, and to UK households and companies in the form of lending mandated by the Treasury at uncommercial interest rates.

As for shareholders they would receive the slimmest possible returns for years to come."

So not much incentive for anyone to buy their shares, except for a quick gamble that they might shoot up for an hour or two.

But, surely banks can't keep falling for ever? Well we could have said that back in November/December when they seemed to be rallying. Just how low can they go? I've got no idea and I would bet that a lot of people are exactly the same as me, just like those guys on Million Dollar Traders, if in doubt stay out.

Sunday, January 18

Time to Invest in Art?

Online Stock Trading - Alternative Investments - A Good Time to Get Yourself a Bargain in thOnline Stock Trading Alternative Investmentse Art Market?

With all the money being lost in stocks investments by billionaires, if you are looking for alternative investments, this may be a good time to pick up a work of art on the cheap. Billionaires are starting to feel the pinch and are no longer being so liberal with their cash in their search for snooty bling. So if you've got some cash tucked away for a rainy day this might be the time to start thinking about picking up a Picasso or a Gauguin or a proper painting by Courbet.

(Gustave Courbet - Le Chateau de Chillon - up for sale by auction for $148,000 - $222,00 estimate at Christie's - Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. -

As we have seen here in the UK, Roman Abramovitch is being a bit more cautious when it comes to buying players to replace his ageing Chelsea squad. There are even rumours that he might sell Chelsea to a rich Arab (denied of course).

Be that as it may , Christie's auction house is to make 25% of its 800 London-based staff redundant as the art market starts to suffer the effects of the credit crunch.

Sales are expected to drop by around 20 to 30% and the majority of those losing their jobs will be mid-level staff.

Its New York office has already cut back on staff.

Christie's business is mainly art, but it also organizes auctions for cars and fine wine. The fine art market has suffered as it appears that the Russian oligarchs and hedge fund billionaires who drove prices up have suffered from the credit crisis.

At 20th-century British art sale last month, only 57% of the lots were sold — compared to 81% in 2007. In cash terms £4.1 million was raised compared to £9.4 million last year.

Sotheby's, Christie's main rival, will also be reducing staff numbers along with other costs.

Both auction houses lost money recently through guarantee agreements, whereby sellers are guaranteed a certain amount from a sale even if the sale is close dfor les than that amount. It apears that Sotheby's lost $28.2 million in the contemporary art auctions last November from such agreements.

Christie's is privately owned by François Pinault, also owns luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and the Château Latour vineyard. There have rencetly been reports that Christie's may be put up for sale but these have been firmly denied.

Related posts about online stock trading

Saturday, January 17

Barclays Bank Bashed by Bears

Online Stock Trading - Barclays Melts in the Afternoon Heat

It was pretty cold on Friday afternoon, but that didn't stop Barclay's shares melting away and its market capitalisation shrinking by more than £2.7 bn in just over an hour. Its shares plummeted by over 24%, for reasons that are still not clear. There were fears that it may have to go cap in hand to the Government for a bailout, and also fears that it was a target of short sellers, now that bank baiting is legal again. See Barclays Downed by a Flock of Bears.

Barclays was also damaged by concerns it may be a loser if the Government creates a so-called toxic bank, or septic bank, although Robert Peston (he who must be listened to) says this is now unlikely.

Barclays quickly rushed out a statement saying that its finances were in excellent shape and annual profits to be announced in February should be well north of £5.3 bn. So that's alright then and the shorters will get their come-uppance on Monday.

Problems at Bank of America and Citigroup caused people to speculate that more bailouts, and even nationalisations, may be to come worldwide to prevent further bank collapses. So after defeating communism back in 1989 rampant capitalism is now defeating itself, quite a feat!

Friday, January 16

Miami.us For Sale by Auction

Online Stock Trading - Alternative Investments - Miami.us Up for Sale by Auction at $15,000

Trading domain names is big business, not quite as big as online stock trading but nevertheless some names are sold for large sums of money - iReport.com was sold to CNN last year for $750,000. In these uncertain times trading domain names is another way that people make money on the internet. The domain name, Miami.us, is currently up for sale by auction at Sedo. Miami is of course a big name for a domain trader to own but the .us extension is not as valuable as the .com, (Miami.com is estimated at at least $2 million) the reserve price of $15,000 has been met, however, and the auction ends on Jan. 18 at 12:55 EST, so if you fancy buying Miami.us then go have a look at http://www.sedo.com/auction/detail/miami.us/47902_us__

The person who buys the name may decide to use it as a website or may just hold onto it and sell it on at a later dater for more than he paid for it. Domains can be interesting forms of alternative investment.

The Miami.com site is operated by the Miami Herald so they might be interested in acquiring the .us site, even if it is only to prevent a competitor from getting it.

US geo domains are generally valuable but other countries are valuable too. Dubai.info was sold recently for $35,000 and .infos are worth a lo tless than .coms.

The biggest domain name sales so far in 2009 have been NudeTube.com for $167,500, Basket.com for $88,000 and Saws.com for $52,000.

For an interesting article about a domain name millionaire see Make Money Online Selling Domain Names

Flock of Bears Down Barclays

Online Stock Trading - UK Banks Slump in Last Hour on FTSE Index - Flock of Bears Blamed

UK banks Barclays (BARC), Lloyds TSB (LLOY), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), all slumped just before markets closed this afternoon. The shorting ban on banks ended today in the UK but it is not thought that this was the reason for the slump in prices.

Barclays was the worst faller - crashing 24% in the last hour to 98p. LLOY fell 6%, RBS fell 13%

What was the reason behind this sudden fall in the banks' prices? A flock of US bears are being widely blamed.

Reuters said "New government measures to boost bank lending could come as early as next week, a Treasury source told Reuters on Friday."

They want to unblock frozen credit markets.

"The Chancellor has always said something would be announced before the end of the month and it could come as early as next week."

Some people are even saying Barclays might be insolvent, they certainly have apile of toxic debt.

Barclays 7 Year Chart



Barclays 1 Week Chart



The weekend and Monday could be interesting !

FTSE and DOW RISE

Online Stock Trading - FTSE Index higher - Banks and Miners Rising

The FTSE 100 Index is higher by 95 to 4216 - thanks to banks and miners. The DOW Index is 103 points higher at 8316. But no-one is too optimistic that this latest rise will last.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is bes performer after CEO Tom Albanese said there will be no rights issue. Cost-cutting and asset sales will enable he co. to reach debt-reduction targets.

Xstrata (XTA) is also strong after it said it suspended another 6 ferrochrome furnaces.

The end of the shorting ban in the UK has passed without incident. Banks are up (after being down heavily this week) even though RBS's broking arm has downgraded its banking bandit chums HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays - all downgraded from "hold" to "sell" - Lloyds TSB on the other hand has gone from "sell" to "hold".

The sector has reacted with nonchalance to the bail-out of Bank of America and the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank, its all so passé - who needs all these banks anyway?

Ireland's government has taken over control of Anglo Irish Bank and criticized its management - will it pocket their bonuses?

Dori Media, maler of TV programmes, slumped on a profit warning for Q4 which is usually its strongest quarter. 2008 pre-tax profits are expected to be between $4 and $6m.

Invocas, which provides personal debt solutions, said it is in "early-stage takeover talks" after its shares rose sharply yesterday. It is "in very preliminary discussions" that may or may not lead to an offer.

Stobart, transport, said it was resilient despite the economic downturn, but said results across its divisions from October 24 were mixed. Road transport and warehousing have outperformed expectations, and volumes have increased at the rail freight division.

Investors Chronicle Stock Tips

Online Stock Trading - Stocks to Watch - Investors Chronicle Tips



INVESTORS CHRONICLE

Tips of the Week

Buy - London Capital Group, International Power, Nighthawk

Sell - RSA Insurance, Rio Tinto, Debenhams

Tip Updates

Sell - Aga, United Utilities
Buy - Taylor Wimpey, H&T, Alterian, JKX

Some Company Results

Good value - William Sinclair, Dart,
Buy - Vantis,
Fairly priced - Protonex

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Lex


HSBC in crossfire as financials fall
De La Rue up 4.1% ahead of next week's update
John Menzies damaged by cargo declines
Lamprell down 4.6% in spite of good news from its biggest client
Antofagasta up on China hopes

THE TIMES

Tempus


Mothercare - buy on weakness
William Hill - Hold
Vitec - A risky buy

Tiddler to Watch - Aukett Fitzroy Robinson

Further news

Fears of asset sell-off cause further slump in Hammerson
Carphone Warehouse up 8.5p to 107.75p on trading statement which was better than expected

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Questor

Aviva - Hold
Associated British Foods - Avoid

News
HBOS poisoned chalice causes problems for Lloyds TSB

THE INDEPENDENT

Hamish McRae

Talk of green shoots is not silly in the financial world

Investment

Carphone Warehouse - Cautious hold
Bloomsbury Publishing - Buy
William Hill - Hold

News

Standard Life up as investors lighten up on HSBC

THE DAILY MAIL

At a Glance
- Spectris soaring

Wren Homes down 1.25p in spite of news that Whitehall Consolidated had upped its holding to 8.53%

THE DAILY EXPRESS

Share of the Day
- ATH Resources

News
Cash call by Bank of America - shares in a spin

Thursday, January 15

Fake Chinese Currency Available Online

Online Stock Trading - Fake Chinese Currency On Sale Online

Fake currency from China, whatever next? After fake designer handbags, fake toothpaste, fake toys with lead paint, fake poisonous baby milk, the Chinese have now taken counterfeiting to its logical conclusion with fake Chinese currency, the renminbi, on sale on the Internet.

The Chinese state is proving ineffective in stopping the counterefeit trade, as fake currency is easily available, if you are looking for some just search on "counterfeit bank-notes for sale" on Baidu, China's largest search engine, allegedly, although I couldn't find any as it was all in Chinese. Why are the Chinese so good at political repression yet so ineffective against the counterfeiters? (Just thinking aloud.)

Many websites claiming to offer online trading in fake currency appear to have been blocked, but those enterprising souls at the Financial Times found sellers who said that Rmb100 notes ($15) were not available as a result of police action but there contact recommended Rmb50 and Rmb500 notes instead.

Prices ranged from 33% of the face value to just 10%. Cash os delivered by courier after payment into a bank account. This is described as "normal procedure for website sales of counterfeit notes". How about fake forex? Could online forex trading be fake too? What about those make money online sites? Pretty soon we will learn that everything is fake. Fake bloggers? Perish the thought. Somebody wake me up!

Now I'm just a simple soul, but I would have thought that selling a country's currency for 10% of its face value would have rather disastrous effects on that country's economy. If it happened here of course it could be quite useful, as I could certainly do with increasing my wealth 10-fold overnight.

Shares Magazine Stocks to Watch

Online Stock Trading - Stocks to Watch - Shares Magazine and Newspaper Tips

SHARES MAGAZINE

Cover

Shares Magazine chartist says BUY (12 tips for 2009): -
Buy - FTSE-100, Playtech, Game Group, Platinum, Brent Oil, Cotton, Pound/Euro, Pound/US Dollar

Sell - Dax Xetra, INmarsat, S&P 500, Euro/US Dollar

Agenda Pages

Sell - Wolfson, BBA Aviation, ARM, ARC, CSR, Schroders, Freedom4, Aberdeen Asset Management,

Buy - Gas Turbine Efficiency, Marstons, Premier Foods,

Banks - sell into recent strength

Avoid - OCZ Technology

Plays

Buy
- Mitchells & Butlers

Sell - Jessops

Tip Update - Uniq Take Profits

Small Caps

Buy
- Ark Therapeutics, CineWorld, Cattles, Kentz,

Avoid - Water Hall

Hold - Leed Petroleum

Feature

Small Caps : Telecomms Equipment: -
Buy - Pace and Sepura -----
Hold - BATM, Dmatek, Advanced Communications, and Spirent ----
Sell - Sarantel and Filtronic

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Worsening deb woes for top 350 listed companies

Amec issues forecast at the top-end

JJB warns of loss

Sales at Punch Taverns worse than expectations

Polar Capital under pressure

Fox-Davies buy note sends Cadogan Petroleum up 3.5%

Emerald Energy to join FTSE250 - up 1.6% - replacing Balfour Beatty, which is of to the FTSE-100 to replace HBOS

Centrica rumours send Venture Production up

THE TIMES
Tempus


Punch Taverns - for the brave only

Filtrona - Hold on

Vantis - Wait for proof of progress

Tiddler to Watch - E-Therapeutics

Further news

Circle Oil up 52% since Jan. 1 on talk it will reveal a 3rd discovery in Egypt. Premier Oil, owns 10% of the field

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Questor

Buy - Tesco
Buy - ETFS WNA Global Nuclear Energy
Buy - Cemex

THE INDEPENDENT
Investment


Hold - FirstGroup
Sell - Punch Taverns
Hold - Interserve

THE DAILY EXPRESS

Share of the Day
- Interserve

Wednesday, January 14

Size Matters to Financial Traders

Online Stock Trading - For Testosterone Filled City Traders Size Matters

A study carried out by Dr John Coates of the University of Cambridge and published in the PNAS finally demonstrates conclusively that in the male dominated world of city traders, size really matters. The size in question being that of your ring finger relative to your index finger. If your ring finger is longer, then you are in with a chance of being a better trader.

In the abstract to the study Dr Coates states "Our results suggest that prenatal androgens increase risk preferences and promote more rapid visuomotor scanning and physical reflexes. The success and longevity of traders exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens further suggests that financial markets may select for biological traits rather than rational expectations."
In other words inso far as concerns online stock trading a ring finger longer than the index finger points to improved performance in in men, unfortunately I have been unable to discover just how much longer it needs to be, or even which hand they used - the fingers on my right hand are not the same as the fingers on my left hand. What does that mean doctor ? Perhaps the full report will reveal all - but you've got to pay - but if you want it then have a look here - Ring Finger Second Finger Ratio in Financial Traders. I wonder if they used this finger ratio criterion when choosing the novices for the new BBC show Million Dollar Traders

It is thought that the extra male hormones in the womb lead to increased confidence and faster reaction times - so much so that this can be verified financially. Similar studies on athletes have shown similar results.

“A longer ring finger relative to the index finger is an indicator that a high-frequency financial trader is more likely to be successful,” Dr Coates said.

On average, traders with long ring fingers made six times as much as those with shorter ring fingers and some times up to 11 times as much and the length of their ring finger was as important as their experience.

In so far as concerns experienced traders, those with longer ring fingers earned on average £838,000 compared to £154,000.

So as we can see, size really does matter, and I predict an increase in the sales of ring finger enlargement devices and implants to unscrupulous digitally-challenged traders.

Size Mattters to Stock Traders

Post moved to here - Size Matters to Financial Traders

Stockmarkets Slump Again

Online Stock Trading - Stockmarkets Slump Again

US and UK Indexes fell sharply this afternoon (morning in the USA), with banking shares being particularly weak with Wall Street starting sharply down on bad retail figures and fall out from Geithnergate. There have been some particularly virulent calls for Geithner to go before he even starts, is this ‘change we can believe’ ? Or just more of the same ‘ole same ‘ole.

At 4:15 pm in London, the FTSE100 is down 266 points at 4,132 and the DOW Index down 292 at 8156. Don't forget the short-selling ban will be lifted in London on Friday 16 January.

NEW YORK

A deal appears to be imminent between Microsoft and Yahoo.

In the US stocks fell sharply after data showing retail sales fell in December twice as much as forecast.


LONDON MARKETS

FirstGroup (FGP) is down 15% at 360p, after saying revenue growth at Greyhound has suffered badly in the ‘challenging economic environment’.

Man Group said funds under management fell 21% in the Q3 as a result of further redemptions.

Banks got hammered again. HSBC is down 10% after weak trading in Hong Kong.

HBOS is down 14% as it winds up its presence on the FTSE. Barclays is down 16% and Royal Bank of Scotland is down 18%, Lloyds TSB is down 12%.

Amec managed to move up 5% after saying pre-tax profits should top £200m in 2008, at the high end of forecasts.

Property companies fell, commodity stocks are weak due to there being little sign of any recovery in metals prices.

In fact it’s pretty much a mess all round, a bit like back in October/November. Things weren’t too bad in December but now it seems all the steam has gone out and the expected sell-off has started again.

Punch Taverns fell 30% on like-for-like outlet profit down approximately 12% - it expects difficult trading conditions for the foreseeable future.

The OECD says the worst is yet to come and Mr Gurria Secretary General of the OECD says the ECB should ‘act tomorrow’. President Sarkozy said something similar a while back and that only served to make Trichet even more stubborn.

Bob Parker of Credit Suisse Asset Management said on CNBC : ‘Q1 will be the worst in terms of economic contraction.’

Tuesday, January 13

Geithner Runs Into Tax Trouble

Online Stock Trading - Geithner Opens the Doors to GeithnergateTimothy Geithner Geitner

It appears that, allegedly, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay his back taxes.

Questions were also asked about the immigration status of his housekeeper.

Barack Obama's team defended Geitner, saying the offences were "honest mistakes".

Republicans on the finance committee met today to discuss these new developments.

Geithner is due to appear for a confirmation hearing before the committee on Thursday, while one enterprising fellow has already created a site about Tim Geithner and tax advice called GeithnerGate

So not an auspicious start for Obama's administration, a forgetful Treasury Secretary.


"Plus ca change"

For Lex Van Dam's opinion of governments check out this wonderful post on Million Dollar Traders

BBCs Million Dollar Traders

Online Stock Trading - BBC's New Reality Show Million Dollar Traders


Lex Van Dam Hedge Fund Manager
The BBC launched its new reality TV show - Million Dollar Traders - last night in the UK. I suspect that we will soon be seeing the equivalent in the USA, if they haven't already done it.
The eight million dollar traders were selected from the general public. They had to be reasonably intelligent but have no experience of online stock trading - which made the programme   very interesting for beginners - see Stocks and Shares for Beginners - to see if they had required the mathematical skills one of the questions they had to answer on the spur of the moment was what is 32 x 32 ? (............................................................ Lex Van Dam)
They were then given a fortnight's intensive training (hardly enough but that's part of the fun), and put into a trading room with $1 million dollars and told to act like a hedge fund for 2 months and make as much money as they could!

Million Dollar Traders
(The Million Dollar Traders)
The first episode last night - which you can watch online here Million Dollar Traders - was highly amusing. After 2 days, one of them was reduced to a nervous wreck, crying for an hour and a half. One seemed determined to do everything wrong with an attitude of lackadaisical nonchalance, which showed it wasn't his own money he was flushing down the toilet. Another one waited a week before making his first quite complex trade, only to get it disastrously wrong.
The person who came up with this wonderfully entertaining idea was Mr Lex Van Dam (nice name!) who is described as a 'hedge fund guru' - he also came up with the money, stumping up $1 million from his own pocket. He may sound a bit nutty and being a millionaire guru there is certainly a lot to dislike - but he actually talks a lot of sense.
“What has become clear over the past year is that the experts don’t know,” he says. “If you just do what the experts tell you it’s probably the quickest way of losing your money.
“And if something looks too good to be true it probably isn’t true – like the Madoff fraud. You can’t trust the Government, and you can’t trust companies.” Well, a man after my own heart !
He says he wants to make a profit and is nervous about losing his million, but clearly, if he's got any sense he will have been hedging (behind the scenes) all the nonsense that his apprentices are getting up to. If not then he really is a brave fellow (or very rich).
The most interesting aspect is that the eight novices are thrown into the financial markets during the worst financial crisis in living memory - the BBC could hardly have timed it better.
The aim, apparently is to see if novices can perform as well, or as badly, as 'professionals'. Well time will tell, their first attempts were a disaster, but the BBC may have a surprise in store for us yet.
The first episode was very entertaining, as the magnificent eight grappled with the fear and greed of online stock trading and also their various ethical qualms about making money by shorting companies in the hope that they would go bankrupt. Is it pure coincidence that the stockmarket meltdown happened at the same time as these eight were trading? Perhaps Gordon can blame it all on them now?
What will they do next?
Home :Buy Stocks Online

Monday, January 12

Will Mecom Rocket ?

Online Stock Trading - Will Mecom Rocket Today ?

Will MECOM (MEC), the UK-based European newspaper owner, rocket today ? If the talk on the BBs is to be believed it might well shoot up 100% or more. Why? Because it has got rid of some of its debt mountain by selling its titles in Germany to one of Germany's oldest publishers for €152m (£137m).

Mecom has debts of around €650m and, before this sale, was in danger of breaching its banking covenants.

M. DuMont Schauberg has bought the Berliner Zeitung, Hamburger Morgenpost and several other titles at a price of €152m.

The deal was due to be signed on Monday night.

Take a look at the MEC share chart.

2 Year Chart


3 Month Chart


According to Simon Davies at RBS : “This is hugely good news for Mecom, although on its own it is not enough to resolve its balance sheet stresses.”

“They have got rid of what has been a problem company for them at a multiple that is very attractive for a trade sale and a significant premium to Mecom’s own valuation.”

Mecom has also been involved in informal discussions to sell its businesses in Norway and Poland, which may be worth between €400m and €460m.

The Mecom share price has fallen 94% in the past year, but rose on Monday 13% to 2p.

"Sources close to the group said it is also close to selling a further £60m of peripheral assets."

So tomorrow could be a wild ride for Mecom shareholders. For bronco riders only.

From what I can see most people are optimistic tomorrow will be a big up day, although one or two say the news was already in the price.

Top 60 Financial Blogs Worldwide

Online Stock Trading - Top 60 Financial Blogs

Have you ever wondered which are the most popular financial blogs in the blogosphere? I must admit I hadn't. I just thought there were so many of them it would be impossible to know. Well I wandered on over to tradinggoddess.blogspot.com and from there made my way to ValueWiki run by Jon and Zach and discovered that they had taken the trouble to list the top 60 blogs dealing with stocks and shares based on Technorati ranking and Alexa ranking.

To my even greater surprise I discovered that, despite having dropped 700,000 places recently, after all my hard work, the Alexa ranking of my blog would put me in the top 60 ! Just. My Technorati ranking is not so hot, but then I've never understood Technorati.

I suspect there is a flaw in Jon and Zach's analysis, as they only seem to include blogs they have heard of, as I wasn't actually on their list.

Still it is useful to know which are the top 60 financial blogs as you can then check them out to see what they say, rather than wandering aimlessly around the Internet. So I shall be checking them out and you may wish to do likewise - see list above at ValueWiki, - who knows they may even add mine to the list !

The top 3 financial blogs btw are :-

seekingalpha.com
bigpicture.typepad.com
bloggingstocks.com

Poundland is Quids In

Online Stock Trading - Can You Buy Shares in Poundland?


Stop Press! For the latest news on Poundland and whether it's a good time to buy shares in it see - Poundland takeover of 99p land ! - click here




Stock Market Flotation

Update November 2013 - rumour has it that Poundland will be floated on the stock market early in 2014 at a price that values the company between 700 and 800 million UKP.

Poundland started life as just one shop in Burton-upon-Trent (West Midlands) in 1990. IT now has 488 stores, and plans to double this to 1,000.

In the year to end of March profits before tax and exceptional items jumped 20% to £32 million, while sales rose 15% to £880 million.

Poundland, which serves 4.5 million customers a week, recently said it is increasingly frequented by a wider range of shoppers, with 20% of customers coming from the wealthiest section of the population.

Poundland employs over 11,000 people and is the largest single-price retailer in Europe, it has just reduced its prices to 93p.

The company is chaired by Andrew Higginson, former finance and strategy boss at Tesco.

Poundland and pound shops are the new chic. Online stock trading and the stock market may be down but trading at Poundland is booming. Can you buy shares in Poundland? Well, Poundland is wholly-owned by Advent International a private equity company, so in simple terms the answer is no you can't. Have a look at pawnbrokers Albemarle and Bond instead if you are looking for stocks and shares in companies that should do well in a recession.

Poundland (in case you have led a sheltered life) is a shop where every item costs a pound. An 'item' may be a hammer or a box of 20 bottles of superglue - how they make a profit is a mystery to me, but they obviously do. It's a pity they don't have an online stock trading store.

Like-for-like sales at Poundland rose 3.9% over the five weeks to January 4 as Christmas shoppers went cheap, so if you are wondering where your Christmas presents came from, now you know.

Sales including new stores were up 24.3% year on year.

Other "value-for-money retailers" such as baker's Greggs, Domino's Pizza and budget clothing chains New Look and Peacocks also saw strong sales - while M&S suffered (tip to M&S - reduce your prices and stop paying your executives so much!).

Poundland has more than 2 million customers a week and is expanding its store base in 2009 significantly as the UK enters recession.

Poundland has more than 200 shops and has plans to add 30 new stores and create 1,000 new jobs.

CEO Jim McCarthy said: "We are well positioned to capitalise on the continuing strong customer trend to shop savvy and seek value for money."

Poundland has been owned by private equity firm Advent International since 2002.

Poundstretcher, Poundland's main competitor is owned by Instore and has not yet reported on Christmas trading. But sales for the 7 weeks from the end of August showed a 1.9% like-for-like increase.

Pawnshops are also doing well - Albemarle & Bond (ABM) is a pawnshop listed on the UK stockmarket
Home : Buy Stocks Online

Choosing an Online Stockbroker

Online Stock Trading - Choosing an Online Stockbroker

How to Choose your Online Stockbroker

Despite the Internet the number of people actually actively involved in online stock trading is relatively low and, given the carnage in the stockmarkets over 2008, I suspect it has got lower.

So what should you look for in an online stockbroker?

First and foremost of course honesty and reliable software.


My online stockbroker at the moment is TDWaterhouse, but I can't recommend them and will soon be changing.

Any online stockbroker must provide you with the resources needed to make educated decisions allowing you to allow you to trade stocks online with a minimum of aggravation. These resources include real–time charts, real-time prices, educational materials, streaming news, etc...

I suggest you apply the following criteria when deciding which online stockbroker or online stock trading site to use.

Fees/Commissions – Make sure the fees are low ! Read the small print. Try and avoid stock brokers that charge 'inactivity fees'.

Support – Customer support must be excellent and of course honest. They must be there to sort out problems not to cover up their mistakes. Test them out before signing up by phoning their support service with an imaginary problem.

Investments Offered – make sure any online stockbroker offers a variety of investments, stocks, mutual funds, options, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and fixed income investments.

Trading/Investment Features – Practical tools such as educational resources and real–time news, charts and quotes.

Security – Security is paramount - a secure website, fraud protection and a Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) membership are necessities.

User friendliness – The site must be easy and intuitive to use and offer online training.

As I said above, as I no longer have confidence in my current online stockbroker TDWaterhouse I am in the process of looking for a new one.

Home : Online Stock Trading

Candlestick Charts

Sunday, January 11

Amazon Kindle Signs USA Today

Online Stock Trading - Is Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader the new iPod?

It would seem that the success of Oprah's 'favorite gadget' the Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader is not going unnoticed. I have mentioned it here previously - see Amazon Kindle Mania but it appears that the Kindle is starting to take on the aura of the iPodAmazon Kindle Ebook Reader Keyboard. There is already a thriving market in 'second-hand' Kindles, due to new ones being so scarce. If you've got a new or refurbished Kindle you can sell it for more than you paid for it on Craig's List and other famous auction sites .

(The Kindle also has a Qwerty keyboard).

The Amazon will apparently be redesigning the Kindle and bringing out a student version, which will give it access to the $5.5 billion a year college textbook market in the US.

Sales of the IPod increased fourfold in 2004 after the introduction of the second-generation device. If Amazon were to achieve something similar then it would be selling 2.2 million Kindles this year, and that is just in the USA.

Plus there are the ongoing sales of Ebooks which people download to their Kindle. If you have just paid $350 dollars for the thing you are likely to want to use it.

This could according to estimates bring in over $330 million in earnings.

It is worth mentioning also that if you have blog you can sign a contract with Amazon to get your blog delivered to subscribers via the Kindle, a potential big money-earner for enterprising bloggers.

You can of course already get newspapers on the Kindle. The latest US newspaper to sign up to the Kindle service. Kindle owners can now access USA Today for $11.99 a month.

Weekend Newspaper Share Tips

Online Stock Trading - Weekend Newspaper Tips

Shares to Watch

SATURDAY

THE TIMES
Tempus

Commercial property set for lift-off says Anthony Bolton - President of investment at Fidelity International

Tiddler to Watch : TradeLabs

Robert Cole : Sell Marks & Spencer

Further news

Carphone Warehouse up 1.5p to 110.25p, on rumours of sale of its TalkTalk landline business

Capital & Regional down a further 10.75p to 48p (21% down since Tuesday) on news that John Gatley isleaving. C&R rumoured to have decided to wind down the fund with fire sales of assets.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Downturn worsens in UK and US
Aegis up on rumours of interest from Apax

SUNDAY

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Questor


Nighthawk Energy - Buy
Cattles - Hold
Thorntons - Sell

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

Midas

BAE Systems - Buy
Aero Inventory - Buy

Saturday, January 10

Peer to Peer Lending Explained

Online Stock Trading - Cut Out the Bank Get a Loan From Individuals

In these difficult economic times where credit is being well and truly crunched, many people are seeking alternative sources of funding. One way of obtaining a loan which is growing in popularity due to the widespread use of the Internet is so-called Peer to Peer Lending

What is Peer to Peer Lending ?

Peer to Peer Lending, also known as Person to Person Lending or simply P2P Lending, is lending between individuals. It relieves people of the necessity of borrowing money from banks (which has got to be good!). Peer to peer lending allows the man on the street to act as banker and lend his money to other men and women on the street, with the same risks and rewards.

How does Person to Person Lending work?

If you are need a loan and think peer to peer lending may be a solution then you first need to submit a loan application. After this, possible lenders bid to provide you with the loan. The procedure is similar to an auction, the lender offering the lowest interest rate obtains the contract.

Peer to Peer Lending attempts to correct the inefficiencies of normal bank lending whilst at the same time allowing individuals with funds to lend, so as to obtain a better return than they would if they deposited their money with a bank and allowing borrowers to obtain a better interest rate. Basically, peer to peer loans cut out the middle man (the bank or lending institution) and reduce the spread between the rates offered for deposits and loans.

All parties involved benefit. Borrowers because they get a loan at a lower rate than at a bank. Lenders because they receive higher returns on their money. Returns of around 10% are not uncommon.

Which companies offer peer to peer lending?

I can’t recommend any peer to peer lenders personally as I have never used their services, but there are plenty of companies around on the Internet.

If you think you might like to lend some money, you can start lending with as little as $50 ! So in these troubled times it could be worth taking a closer look at.

Bear in mind also that Peer to Peer Lending is normally for people with reasonable to good credit ratings. If your credit rating is less than perfect you may wish to consider bad credit signature loans instead.

Friday, January 9

FDI Alleges Fraud by Lennar

Online Stock Trading - Lennar Fraud Allegations

After Bernie Madoff and Satyam, we have now an alleged fraud at Lennar Corporation, accused by The FDI of operating a Ponzi scheme. This is having an effect on the share price of course, which is down 21% today.


[NB : Just on CNBC : According to Lennar all this is the product of short sellers working together with an "angry litigator" Nicolas Marsh.]

The Fraud Discovery Institute Inc. has just released the "Top 10 Red Flags for Fraud at Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN)", the USA's second largest housebuilder. They have released a 30-page report, a video on YuTube, and are highlighting alleged multiple fraudulent activities.

Co-founder Barry Minkow says, "You can sum up just how outrageous the fraud and abuse are at Lennar Corporation by simply listening to company President and CEO Stuart Miller who on a recent conference call said that Lennar Corporation had improved their cash reserves to $1.1 billion, up from $642 million a year before. What Mr. Miller conveniently left out was how the company obtained the $1.1 billion cash. It came from the June, 2008, NewHall/LandSource bankruptcy that has created 5,000 victims. Although Lennar Corporation ended up with hundreds of millions of cash through the debacle, the public must ask how many people, companies and communities were destroyed in the process of improving Lennar's balance sheet."

The red flags include:

- How Lennar Corporation tried to bury the Forest Lawn Mortuary.

- How Lennar Corporation treats JVs like a Ponzi scheme -.

- How Lennar COO Jon Jaffe received a $5,000,000 third trust deed loan in late 2007 that over-encumbers his home.

- How Lennar Corporation provides vague and less than transparent responses to the SEC inquiries about off-balance sheet, joint venture debt.

- How Lennar has exhibited a pattern of deceptive business practices.

$1000 Houses in USA

Online Stock Trades - Buy a House for $1000

Homes for Sale

Is this the bottom in the Real Estate Market?

If you’ve got some cash then this could be the time to be getting back in to the real estate market. You can now buy a house in some parts of the USA for $1000.

According to Realtor.com there are houses for sale in Flint, Michigan, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Detroit for under $3,000, most of them are foreclosures of course and are being sold by the lenders that repossessed them. (Couldn’t they have sold them to the people already living in them for $3000 ? – I guess it’s that old principle of not bailing out poor people.)

To see what I could get if I lived in the US I went to Realtor.com and searched for houses in Cleveland between $1000 and $3000 - it came baccleveland real estatek with 42 properties includng the one pictured here for $2000 (no I don't get a commission for listing it).

According to Heather Fernandez, speaking for Trulia.com "Foreclosures have turned banks into property management companies. And it's often cheaper for them to give these homes away rather than try to get market value for them."

In Detroit a three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow of about 1,000 sq. feet is up for sale at just $500. It needs totally refurbishing, at an estimated cost of $15,000 - $20,000. But it last sold for $72,000 at the end of 2007.

Lenders are no longer trying to make money on these deals. They just want to get rid of them, to avoid maintenance costs and property taxes.

In fact, lenders are often paying realtors to list the properties and the small amounts of money made on the sale are going straight to the real estate brokers as commission.

The houses are almost always in need to refurbishing – requiring wiring, plumbing, new heating systems etc... etc... Lots of people who are being foreclosed have a very low opinion of bankers and make sure they trash the house before they are thrown out.

It is often a legal requirement for buyers to refurbish these homes to make sure they comply with building regulations. In Detroit, for example, buyers need to carry out work before they can get a ‘certificate of occupancy’ without which the house is not legally inhabitable.

But despite these costs they are still bargains.

In Cleveland, McMullen Realty has a four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house for $1,900. It has been visited by vandals, but it is structurally sound.

It was last sold in March 2008 for $16,677 !

According to Tonya Stoudamire of Zillow.com "East Cleveland has a beautiful housing stock. These houses just need someone to come in and love them a little."

In Birmingham Alabama you can get a fire-damaged 1923 one-bedroom, one bathroom home for .

Comparable homes in good condition sell for about $100,000.

So if you are thinking about splashing out with your credit card but are worried about the refurbishing costs you should also bear in mind that buyers can sometimes get government help to finance repairs.

Check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for details.

So if you’ve got some cash and don’t mind doing up some run-down houses then this could be a good time to get in at the bottom. Warren Buffett’s maxim of ‘be greedy when other people are fearful’ may well apply to the real estate market as well as the stockmarket.

Home : Buy stocks Online

Newspaper Share Tips Investors Chronicle

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips

Shares to Watch

INVESTORS CHRONICLE
2009 Tips of the Year

Buy Eros International, London & Stamford, Faroe Petroleum, Redhall, Mitchells & Butlers, Shire, Renishaw, Talvivaara

Company Results

Central African Mining High enough
Speculative buys - Niger Uranium, Rift Oil
Good value - West Pioneer

Funds
Tip of the Week M&G Corporate Bond Fund

Tips for 2009: -
Defensive CF Arch Cru Portfolio, M&G Strategic Corp. Bond Fund, Ruffer Total Return, Invesco Perpetual Corp. Bond

Aggressive Frontier Multi Asset Platform Plus FundHexam Global Emerging Markets, Sarasin AgriSar, First State Asia Pacific Leaders

THE FINANCIAL TIMES
Front Page


Madoff What is a Ponzi Scheme? demanded £100 m from UK

Further news

Challenge to HBOS deal dropped
Capital restructure gossip at Thomson Reuters
AEA rises as overhang clears
Aegis up on Bollor bid theories

THE TIMES
Tempus


Hays - Buy on weakness
Weir Group - Hold
Autonomy - Hold

Tiddler to Watch - IPSA

Further news
Prudential down over 7% on fears of payout cuts
New setbacks for Entertainment Rights
Silence Therapeutics rises sharply amid news of drug trial and after securing financing

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Questor


Scottish & Southern - Buy
Pennon - Take profits

Further news

Prudential down as investors prefer Aviva

THE INDEPENDENT

Investment

Autonomy - Buy
Hays Group - Sell
Sports Media Group - Sell

Further news
Premier Foods hit by equity issue fears
Alliance Pharma up 21% to 4.375p following upbeat statement

THE DAILY EXPRESS

Share of the Day - Punch Taverns

News
Tullow up on Ghana promise

Thursday, January 8

Amazon Kindle Best Selling Device

Online Stock Trading - Amazon Says Kindle Ebook Reader is Best-Seller

amazon kindle ebook reader

Just before Christmas I wrote a post about the Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader and how Amazon had a hit on its hands, particularly since Oprah endorsed the Kindle as her "favorite gadget" - see Kindle Ebook Reader Mania. Well it turns out that the Kindle is Amazon's best-selling electronic product. It is also top of the category of the "most wished for" - presumably because they are very difficult to get hold of and there is a booming second-hand market where Kindles are selling for more than their original price.

I haven't been able to discover the exact numbers for sales but one interesting fact is that on Amazon there are 7390 customeer views written about the Kindle which compares to only 446 for the no. 2 best-seller the Canon Power Shot A590IS - one of the best digital cameras around. The Apple IPod was only No. 3 with a mere 162 customer reviews.


There is an interesting analysis on Seeking Alpha - showing how interest in the Kindle has held up well since the boost given by Oprah's endorsement - "All things considered, the strength of the Kindle’s online interest around the holiday season has been remarkable."


The point of all this is of course that Amazon could make quite a lot of money from the Kindle and associated e-book sales !




Home : Buy Stocks Online

Shares Magazine 2009 Tips

Online Stock Trading - Stock Picks for 2009

Shares to Watch in 2009

SHARES MAGAZINE

Best investments for 2009: -

Buy Insurance Stocks, Gold, Early cyclicals (non-food retailers), Corporate debt, S&P 500, Crops, German bunds, Chinese assets, Carbon

Sell Bank stocks, US Dollar, Pharma & Utility stocks, Italian BTP's, Volatility (VIX Index), Restaurant stocks, Eastern European assets, Coal.

Buy - Clean Air
Buy - Iofina
Speculative buy - JJB Sports
Hold - Dmatek
Avoid - BlueStar, Securtech, Broca, ZTC
Buy - Naya Bharat Property
Buy - Focus Solutions

Plays
Sell- JD Wetherspoon
Buy - Ashtead Group

Plays Updates
Buy - AstraZeneca
Hold - Healthcare Locums

Small-Caps
Buy - Porvair
Sell - Speymill
Buy - Autonomy
Buy - RM Group
Hold - IDOX
Sell- Aveva
Avoid - Alexon, Lookers, Clinton Cards, JJB, Theo Fennell, Pendragon and Jessops

Commodities
Speculative Buy - Dana
Hold - Venture
Hold - Petra Diamonds

Sector Report
Restaurants Buy Clapham House ---
Sell Carluccio's and Individual Restaurant Co

FINANCIAL TIMES

RBS holds talks over sale of China bank stake

Lex
Satyam's (Satyam means Truth by the way) fraud - Satyam unlikely to survive as an independent company

Time Warner - charges, inc. a $25bn non-cash impairment, will cause the group to make a loss for 2008

THE TIMES
Chancellor to print more cash

Tempus
Supermarkets serve up some cheer in a time of famine

Tiddler to Watch - Leni Gas Oil & Gas

Further news
BP slides on negative profit perceptions

DAILY TELEGRAPH

Premium Bond payouts halved

Questor
Amec - Buy
Davis Service - Hold

THE INDEPENDENT
Investment


Thorntons - Sell
Axis-Shield - Hold
Alexon - Avoid

THE DAILY MAIL

Pfizer on the prowl for Shire

THE DAILY EXPRESS

Share of the Day

Clapham House

Further news
Investors fear 50% dividend cut by M&S
Cash call by Scottish & Southern spooks the market
Domino's Pizza benefits from people staying in watching primte time rubbish
Footsie down on recession fears [lol - who writes this stuff ?]

Wednesday, January 7

Truth About Satyam Computer Services

Online Stock Trading - The Truth According to Satyam Computer Services


ramalinga rajuAnother day another scandal. Satyam is the Sanskrit word for Truth. The Chairman of Satyam Computer Services, Ramalinga Raju, obviously got his definition of truth from that other organ of undiluted truth, the Russian newspaper Pravda ('Pravda' is the Russian word for truth). Moral of the story, be very wary of anyone associating themselves with the truth.

Personally, being something of an admirer of Sanskrit and India philosophy, I think it is a great pity that Mr Raju should seek to profit from the Sanskrit language by associating his fraudulent activity with Truth.

It turns out that Satyam Computer Services, an Indian outsourcing company serving over 33% of the Fortune 500 companies, has been inflating its earnings and assets for years. This admission has not gone down too well!

The chairman, Ramalinga Raju, has resigned after stating that he had systematically falsified accounts. Mr. Raju said that $1.04 billion (over 90%) of the cash and bank loans the company listed as assets for Q2 were nonexistent. Are there any connections between Mr Raju and Bernie Madoff we wonder? For the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Fraud see - Madoff With Your Money

Revenues for the quarter were 20% lower than reported, and the company’s operating margin was a fraction of what it declared.

Satyam acts as back office for some of the largest banks and other companies in the world, handling everything from computer systems to customer service. Clients have included General Electric, Nestlé, General Motors and the US government. Satyam is also responsible for some of its clients’ finances and accounting.

The revelations will have repercussions throughout India’s outsourcing industry.
Beneficiaries could be the three largest outsourcing firms - Infosys, TCS and Wipro. Satyam is the fourth-largest.

In his letter to the Bombay stock exchange, Mr. Raju said “What started as a marginal gap between actual operating profit and the one reflected in the books of accounts continued to grow over the years. It has attained unmanageable proportions as the size of company operations grew. It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten.” So that's alright then.

Mr. Raju expressed his “deep regret” and said that neither he nor B. Rama Raju co-founder and managing director had “taken one rupee/dollar from the company.” He said that neither the board nor his or the managing director's families had any knowledge of the situation.

Satyam has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2001, and on Euronext since January 2008. The company has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers since its listing on the NYSE. Just what is it that auditors do exactly ?

Satyam has also been accused of installing spy software on some World Bank computers. Satyam denies the accusation but the World Bank has confirmed that Satyam had been banned.

On Dec. 30 Forrester Research said “Firms should take the initial steps of reviewing the exit clauses in their current Satyam contracts,” in case management or direction of the company changed.

The scandal has raised questions over accounting standards in India, but let's face it India hardly has the monopoly on crooks, incompetence and shady practices.

In October, Mr Raju surprised analysts with better than expected results, which he was pleased the company had achieved "in a challenging global macroeconomic environment, and amidst the volatile currency scenario that became reality.”

But by late December he had little support from the board and four directors have resigned in recent weeks.

The share price is down around 77% today.

Monday, January 5

Newspaper Share Tips for 2009

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Share Tips for 2009

After a disastrous 2008 for shares you may wish to take all these share tips with a large pinch of salt, but here they are anyway

THE INDEPENDENT

Share Tips

Being daring this year : how much worse can it get?

2009 Tips: - Begbies Traynor, Bodycote, BHP Billiton, Falkland Oil & Gas, Mitchells & Butlers, Goldman Sachs, Yamana Gold, Royal Bank of Scotland, Vectura

THE SUNDAY TIMES

Share Tips for 2009

Standard Chartered, BG Group, Babcock International, ICAP, Autonomy, Compass, Croda International, Silence Therapeutics, and Carphone Warehouse

HSBC analysts have come up with a 'New nifty 50' for Europe in 2009. UK names include BP and Royal Dutch Shell; BHP Billiton; Rolls-Royce, Smiths Group; British American Tobacco; Reckitt Benckiser; Unilever; Tesco; WPP; Vodafone; and National Grid. They are not expected to deliver short-term bumper returns, but they should prove a safer haven in the medium to long-term in volatile markets than many of their mid-cap peers.

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Stock Picks for 2009

Premier Foods, Land Securities, Barclays, British Airways, C&C Group, BP, Aberdeen Asset Management and Croda

The Sunday Questor Column
Hammerson Sell

Petra Diamonds Hold

Cadbury Hold

Questor stock picks for 2009


Bunzl, Rolls-Royce, BG Group, Centamin Egypt, Primary Health Properties, and Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

Midas


Severn Trent Buy