April 30, 2014 Comments

Wednesday was another positive day in the markets with the S&P 500 up 0.3% and Toronto up 0.5% and with the DOW closing at a new record high.

Bombardier was up 5.5% to $4.41. Stantec was up 2.5%, Couche-Tard was up 2.3%. eBay was down 5.5%.

Melcor was up 0.5% on (as usual) very thin volume and at $22.90 is at a 52 week high.

The Wells Fargo Preferred shares rose 1% to $22.63 and I have now sold out of that position.

These perpetual shares pay $1.28125 per year to yield 5.66%. That is perhaps not a bad yield at all but I had bought these shares at $19.90 just a few months ago and so I am basically taking my quick profit and moving along.

The price movements in these preferred shares can be divided into two causes. 1. They tend to move up and down as the yield on long term government bonds move. Most of the reason that they got down under $20 was because the long-term U.S. bond yield had risen. 2. Additional price moves occur (or cause depending how you look at it) when the spread or the yield difference between these shares and the long term treasury yield changes. The other part of the reason for the sub-$20 price was a wider spread at that time. Just in the last two weeks these shares were as low at $21.70 (yielding 5.90%). The rise to $22.63 came despite the long-term treasury bond yield being essentially unchanged at about 3.50%. Therefore this recent price rise occurred as the spread over the Treasury bond declined from about 2.40% to about 2.16%. Wells Fargo has been a strong company all along and so it’s not clear why the spread should change that much. (There is also some impact as it gets closer to and then farther from its dividend date each quarter.)

The bottom line on these shares is that they rose a bit over 4% lately for no reason that I know of and I had a profit in them already and I don’t much like perpetual preferred shares in any case (due tot he interest rate risk) and so based on some orders that I had placed I have sold out of these shares. With the spread now at 2.16%, it (the spread) may not get much lower and any further price increase here would likely come from long term interest rates falling, and most forecasts suggest the opposite is more likely.

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