May 15, 2014 Comments

On Thursday, the S&P 500 was down 0.9% and Toronto was down 0.6%.

Most of our stock picks were down. Walmart was down 2.4%. Bombardier was down 7.4% after Air Canada announced it would not be replacing certain jets which “the market” was thinking it would replace with Bombardier’s new C-Series jet.

Most painfully for me, Liquor Stores N.A. was down 7.4% as the market continues to react to its Q1 earnings. If this does not turn around and continues to be a loser it will be something of an unforced error on my part. I had expressed concerns about management and noted the declining earnings but I still added to my position after concluding that the stock was cheap. Buffett has always said to restrict investments to the best companies and I failed to follow that advice in this case. I plan to update the analysis within a few days. I suspect the weather is not doing the company any favors in Q2 either. We are halfway through Q2 and today felt like Fall in Edmonton.

TD Waterhouse seems to be almost bombarding me with stock issues lately. A couple more today. In contrast, early this year it seems there were more like a couple per month. Smart companies issue shares when the share prices are over-valued and certainly not when the shares are under-valued (unless they HAVE to). So, this is a red flag of caution for me.

The TD site shows two REITs offering shares this week. Now I would ask what should we call an entity that pays out a high dividend but then turns around and sells shares to bring in new money? It seems the market values a company higher if it pays out a dollar and then brings that dollar back through share sales than it does a company that merely keeps the dollar in the first place. Both would look the same in substance and so my fear is that some of these REITs are practicing financial engineering designed to raise the share price. Now that may be fine in the short term. But in the long term value is created by earnings not from paying a dividend and then grabbing the money back.

On the Enbridge preferred shares that I attempted to buy at the IPO on Monday morning I got allocated only half of what I put in for. This could be because my order was delayed when their system was not working when I first tried to buy. (I placed my order an hour later by phone).

All of this share offering actively also seems to indicate that investors are eager to buy now that markets have risen so much. This is typical, investors sense less risk when share prices are higher and they perceive great risk when share prices have fallen a lot. Just the opposite of reality.

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