January 21, 2014 Comments

On Tuesday the S&P 500 was up 0.3% and Toronto was down 0.3% and the Canadian dollar slipped a bit lower.

Bombardier fell 3.9% after announcing layoffs. I think this company needs new management. But it is also an inherently tough industry. Of more interest, the Bombardier perpetual pref. shares that we have on our list fell 1.8% to $21.95. I had placed a hopeful order at $21.80 almost a month ago. It got very close to that today. My order expires tomorrow, so I can only hope that a few more owners of these shares are spooked by the news at Bombardier. These shares do come with interest rate risk (all perpetual pref shares will get hammered if interest rates rise a lot. They also come with company-specific risk. But I don’t think Bombardier is at much risk of insolvency, though that cannot be completely ruled out given its weak balance sheet and tough industry. You might think that the government would never allow Bombardier to go bust. The same could be said of General Motors Corporation. But the governments did in fact allow GM to go broke and its shareholders were wiped out and a new company bought GM’s assets and changed its name to the very similar sounding General Motors Company and pretended that it “emerged” from bankruptcy. (Not that I think Bombardier is at risk of that, I just say you cannot rule it out). On the balance of probabilities I expect the pref shares are a reasonable investment.

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