May 6, 2014 Comments

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 was down 0.9% and Toronto was down 0.6%. That hardly seems noteworthy given all the recent gains.

Constellation Software was down 3.8%. Toll Brothers was down 2.6%.

Recently I mentioned that I had placed orders to sell some preferred shares at about $26. These were shares I recently bought at their IPOs at $25.

My Canadian Western Bank pref. shares sold today at $26.00. They were not in the list above but I had mentioned them when I bought them and several times since. I only held these for 3 months (plus 1 week). I just collected a 1.0% dividend on April 30 and now I have sold at a 4% gain. So that’s 5% in 3 months. I could think of that as 20% annualized although I am not sure that is really a useful way to think of it because it’s not something I can repeat again in the next three months. They were to pay 4.4% annually, so I am happy to grab 5% in 3 months and move on. They still actually yield 4.2% which is not bad and so maybe I should have held. Time will tell if selling was a good move.

Most things in the market are hard to predict. So it’s fun when a prediction comes true. I said from the outset that the amount that Target was paying to come into Canada seemed very high. I said it would be a high cost operation. $1.8 billion to merely take over the leases on the Zellers stores! (which in my experience were in many cases located in tired old malls). I checked at the time with at least one real estate expert and they had no concerns about it. More like no clue. The smart play was selling off leases like Hudsons Bay / Zellers did and like Sears did. And it was smart to sell off real estate into REITs as Melcor and Canadian Tire (although only about 10%) and others did.

Now there is chatter that Target should pull out of Canada. I very much doubt that would happen, they have already spent the money now. The one-time charge to close up now would be several billion, I suspect. At this point I am fairly sure they will stick things out.

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