Matt Drudge gave a speech before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in 1998. He was already deemed an internet leader in both news and aggregated news distribution. His Drudge Report challenged the ethos of the newspaper society, which was just the beginning of dynamic revolutionary change in the news world order. The Drudge Report made friends, added enemies, created new futures and helped forced everyone in the industry to change many times over in order just to stay relevant.
The New Dogs on the Block
Last week, Durig Capital reviewed it’s own unique version of the Dogs of the Dow Strategy. Over the years, the Dogs of the Dow Strategy has been adopted by many investors looking to beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI).
This week, Durig Capital provides a brief update on 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, a deep discount retailer whose bonds we have reviewed in the past for our Fixed Income 2 (FX2) High Yield Managed Income Portfolio. 99 Cents Only Stores has recently been challenged by its outstanding debt obligations. Here are some of the highlights:
Deep discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores recently completed an arrangement with creditors which would eliminate many of their short term debt obligations.
Debt to equity swaps are a common method companies use to improve liquidity.
Under the newly agreed upon terms, 99 Cents Only Stores will issue common and preferred stock for some of its outstanding debt.
Recent Financial Statements
This week, Durig Capital takes a second look at an issuer involved in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. Magnachip Semiconductor (NYSE:MX) has been around for over three decades and is currently the largest independent supplier of OLED display drivers to panel makers for smartphones. The company is riding the wave of transition from LED to OLED in the smartphone world. This has paid handsomely as its full year 2018 results can attest (above). In addition, the company’s first quarter also posted continued wins for its Standard Products division.
This week, Durig Capital looks at one of the top propane companies in the United States. Ferrellgas (NYSE:FGP) is the second largest propane retailer and distributor in the country. Through a combination of acquisitions and colder winter weather, the company has posted solid numbers for its third quarter (ending April 30, 2019).
Last month, Durig Capital explored several variations of the classic Dogs of the Dow Investment Strategy. Later in the article, we examined the historical performance of these strategy variations, benchmarked against the performance of Durig’s own unique Dogs of the Dow Portfolio Strategy. The original strategy designed by Michael O’Higgins in the book “Beating the Dow” in 1991 was designed for just that; beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI).
Durig Capital is excited to introduce three new model portfolio strategies composed of a variety of ETFs, Mutual Funds, and Index Funds. Model portfolios have been growing in popularity in recent years, with many large investing platforms now offering an increasingly wide variety of model portfolios.
This week, Durig Capital looks at an oil producer who has built its company using non-traditional production techniques. Denbury Resources (NYSE:DNR) has been successfully using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques to build its name in the world of tertiary oil production. The company had a fantastic 2018 as well as a solid first quarter.
Communal News is one of the fastest growing free online digital platforms…where the readers have access to write on our open contributor platform. Between Communal News readers, Google News distribution, and distribution on all the main social media sites where people get their news, CN is the most open content publishing platform on the internet. We have added a wide variety of contributors (well over 600!) and in a very short time have seen over 2,000 articles published on the Communal News free online digital platform– not bad for a very new product launch!
Beyond Belief… this may be the most fascinating debt instrument we have ever reviewed.
Rising with the price of gold, the cash flow and yield of Gran Colombia Gold’s senior secured “Gold Notes” appears to be headed straight into the land of unbelief. Perhaps what we see here is either wrong… or something in this picture seems to have quietly escaped the attention or the view of most other investors in the high yield bond market. Granted, this is not a straightforward and easily understood issue because of the quarterly interest boost linked to its amortized quarterly redemption of principle when the price of gold is higher 1250 per ounce. However, it is precisely this “hard to be understood” feature that is driving its current push into the land of dreams.
First, why is gold moving up?
We talked with experts and they explain the dollar is weakening. They are pricing in rate cuts they expect to U.S. interest rates. Donald Trump lashed out at the Federal Reserve, comparing it to ‘a stubborn child.’ He and the stock market are pushing for lower rates. As rates appear to be going down, gold historically moves in the opposite direction of U.S. currency. This downward push in dollars is pushing gold up.
Is gold being pushed out by cryptocurrencies?
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For this week’s bond review, Durig Capital ventures into the auto world to look at one of the leading auto rental companies in the U.S. and around the world. Hertz Global (NYSE:HTZ) had a fantastic 2018 and 2019 looks to be shaping up much the same.
- First quarter 2019 is the seventh consecutive quarter the company has recorded year-over-year growth.
- Total revenues were up 2% (during one the company’s historically slow quarters), up 4% on a constant currency basis.
- Revenues in the U.S. grew by 7%.
- Cash flow provided by operating activities grew by 28% over first quarter 2018.
- First quarter 2019 interest coverage of 3.4x.
This week, Durig Capital explores a popular variation of the classic Dogs of the Dow investment strategy, introduced by Michael O Higgins in the early 1990’s. The strategy has been widely accepted by some for its simplicity and repeatability, yet denounced by others for the exact same. Durig Capital believes less complicated is better; fewer moving parts mean fewer potential points of failure, and has done well historically with it’s own unique version of this simple strategy, discussed later in the article.
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Could Deutsche Bank be too big to fail? The bank’s stock hit a record low as UBS downgraded it to sell.
Deutsche Bank is the biggest bank in Germany, followed by Commerzbank, the bank that Deutsche just tried and failed to buy. Commerzbank opened merger and acquisition talks this week with others banks. Both banks are at best only marginally profitable which is becoming normal in Germany’s banking sector.
This week, Durig Capital reviews its own version of a time-proven investment strategy. The Dogs of the Dow investment strategy is a simple way for investors to design a portfolio around the “dogs” of the broader Dow Index, and rebalance it annually. Durig Capital’s Dogs of the Dow (DoD) portfolio has, since its inception in June 2017, resulted in a less volatile portfolio with excellent returns when compared the the broader Dow index.
This week, Durig Capital takes a look at a unique oil and gas producer. California Resources Corporation (CRC) produces oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) strictly within the state of California. Most people know that California is one of the largest states (physically) in the U.S. But most probably don’t know that it represents the world’s 5th largest economy. Against this backdrop, CRC produces oil, natural gas and NGLs and sells all of it in the state of California. This looks to be a great situation for CRC – a local buyer for all of its product and a huge appetite for more. CRC, a spinoff of Occidental Petroleum in 2014, has spent the past few years recovering from the oil doldrums of 2016 and it looks to be on the upswing. Some of the highlights from its most recent quarterly results in bullet points above.
After one year of placing restrictions, Facebook decided to remove the ban on cryptocurrency and blockchain based ads.
In January, 2018 the social media firm Facebook decided that the ads involving blockchain technology, Educational information, industry news and event that are related to cryptocurrency must have prior written approval before displaying ads.
With the launch of several new products, Bitcoin future contacts hit a new high in future volumes. This is the same Bitcoin that in November of 2018 had us asking Where is the Bitcoin Bottom?
Even though on a technical basis it appeared ready for a bounce, the news for Bitcoin has just been getting better as more and more large American companies become involved.
Here are some reasons why Bitcoin is having a great 2019:
Börse Stuttgart, Germany’s second biggest stock exchange and the 9th largest in Europe, has sanctioned two new ETNs (Exchange-traded Notes)- Litecoin (LTC) and XRP. According to a company press release, this is the first kind of announcement in Germany.
Börse Stuttgart has declared that like ETFs, ETNs are also strictly regulated, a transparent and protected instrument that can be used by an investor to invest in different assets or they can buy or sell ETNs based on the cryptocurrencies Litecoin and Ripple.
This week, Durig Capital looks at one of the leading producers of steel products in the United States. AK Steel has been working diligently over the past few years to increase its competitiveness in the marketplace. Its design of its own ultra high-strength steel (UHSS) has produced excitement amongst the company’s automotive customer base. In addition, AK Steel’s acquisition of Precision Partners a few years ago has been very lucrative as that acquisition has now resulted in approximately $50 million in additional future revenues. The company recently released its first quarter results for 2019. Amongst some of the highlights:
This week, Durig Capital takes a look at an industrial designer, manufacturer and marketer of aftermarket parts for light vehicles, commercial trucks and other industrial uses. Tenneco Inc. recently posted a fantastic fourth quarter and full year results in large part due to its recent acquisition of Federal-Mogul. Highlights include:
Later this year, Tenneco will create two separate, market leading companies from its acquisition of Federal-Mogul. Federal-Mogul brings strong brands, products and capabilities that are complementary to Tenneco’s portfolio. Creating two new product focused companies with stronger product portfolios will allow each of them to move faster in executing on their specific growth priorities.
This week, Durig Capital reviews the largest underground gold and silver producer in Colombia. Gran Colombia Gold has staged an amazing transformation from just a short three years ago, when Durig Capital began to carefully follow this issuer. After completing a well-timed and skillfully crafted restructure of its balance sheet early in 2018, the company has consistently continued to smash its production targets, and has once again impressed us with its most recent results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2018.
This week, Durig Capital reviews a Canadian heavy haul transportation and crane company. Entrec Corporation provides heavy haul transportation and crane solutions to the oil and gas, construction and power generation industries, among others. Entrec’s most recent results for both its fourth quarter and full year 2018 showcase healthy growth in the company’s U.S. operations. And given the volatility in oil and gas late last year, the company’s results are even more impressive.
This week, Durig Capital reviews a traditional print-based marketing company that is undergoing a transformation. Quad Graphics (recently rebranded to just Quad) is in the midst of implementing its Quad Transformation 3.0 plan. This plan is helping to add core marketing expertise to the company’s service offerings. This has been accomplished mainly through acquisitions. The company’s most recent financial results show some of the progress on this plan.
This week, Durig Capital takes a look at a company that provides communications services for consumers and businesses across the U.S. Frontier Communications has spent most of 2018 making progress on its transformation initiatives that are designed to reduce costs, increase profitability and improve the balance sheet. The company recently released its fourth quarter and full year results for 2018. The company is showing progress on its initiatives.
Frontier Communications’ April 2022 bonds are currently trading at a significant discount, giving them an outstanding yield-to-maturity of about 23%. These bonds provide investors with an excellent opportunity for diversification into the essential service of internet connection. Considering Frontier’s solid free cash flow and excellent interest coverage, these 2022 bonds make an ideal addition to Durig Capital’s Fixed Income 2 (FX2) High Yield Managed Income Portfolio, which historically, has done well in a rising interest rate environment, shown below.
- List: America’s Largest Companies
- Lyft’s IPO is set to price tonight and the stock should start trading on Friday after a market clearing price has been determined. The proposed maximum share price is $68, which would value the company at $19.3 billion, but there are reports that it could be higher due to strong demand.
This week, Durig Capital takes a look at a company that provides compressions services and equipment for the oil and gas industry. CSI Compressco (CCLP) has had multiple successive quarters where the company has increased revenues and its latest quarter did not disappoint. Included with this increase were several other notable achievements.
With the continued demand for LNG and the current and planned LNG terminals in the U.S. and Canada, CSI Compressco looks to be perfectly positioned to take advantage of this demand. In light of the company’s solid performance in 2018, the company’s short-term bonds maturing 2022 are an ideal candidate for additional weighting in Durig Capital’s Fixed Income 2 (FX2) High Yield Managed Income Portfolio, shown below.
- Trump claimed that if it wasn’t for the decisions of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, the U.S. economy would have expanded above a 4% annual rate in 2018. “Frankly if we didn’t have somebody that would raise interest rates and do quantitative tightening, we would have been at over 4[%] instead of a 3.1[%],”The Fed kept its key policy target unchanged at 2.25% to 2.5% on Wednesday.
This week’s bond review focuses on one of the nation’s largest publicly traded hospital companies. Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CYH). CYH has spent the past few years divesting hospitals in an effort to reshape its portfolio towards urban and suburban markets. The company continues to make that shift and has now added urgent care centers in some of those markets to help drive additional patients to its hospitals. Its fourth quarter and full-year 2018 results look to be an indicator that the transformation is gaining a foothold.
This week, Durig Capital looks at a longtime company that has adopted a new name to reflect its new direction. Pyxus International, formerly Alliance One, is well into its “One Tomorrow” transformation plan, where it has added new products to its product base of leaf tobacco. The company has entered into producing e-liquids, cannabis and cannabis related products.
- General Electric (GE) warned industrial free cash flow will be negative in 2019 as problems persist in its troubled but core GE Power business. GE stock tumbled to its lowest level in weeks.
- The company is “selling its future” to try and maintain the present. GE appears to be selling higher return assets to pay for its lower return order book, with deteriorating net income.
- Oil dominates Venezuela’s economy, accounting for almost all of its export earnings. Its biggest customers have been the US, followed by India and China. But over the past decade, oil production and prices has collapsed and the country is in a deep economic crisis.
This week’s bond review delves into the retail sector with a specialty retailer of durable consumer goods who also offers its customers financing on their purchases. Conn’s Inc., which is headquartered in Texas, has a market presence that stretches across the southern United States. Conn’s set some records in its most recent quarterly results (third quarter for its fiscal year 2019).
- Record third quarter retail gross margin of 41.2%
- Record quarterly credit segment revenues of $89.9 million.
- For the first nine months of fiscal year 2019, the company registered its second highest nine month operating income ever
- Excellent interest coverage of 2.4x.
- Uber $76 billion: Uber Technologies Inc had $50 billion in total bookings for its ride-service and food-delivery businesses last year, a testament to the size and global reach of the company as it prepares to woo investors in one of the biggest public stock listings to date.
- What the IRS audit programs looks for, including duplicate information, deductions, income level, credits, and other outliers from the median information: If you file something on your return that doesn’t compare to others in your income bracket, the system will flag your return, and it will be reviewed by a human. Just because the DIF system flags your return, it doesn’t mean it is an automatic audit. You could easily have a one-time bump in income from an inheritance or you make a substantial charitable contribution that is unusual for others in your income bracket.
This week, Durig Capital looks to the healthcare industry, where a medical supply logistics provider has made some key acquisitions to broaden its revenue sources. Over the past 18 months, Owens & Minor has acquired Byram Healthcare, a direct to patient medical supply distributor, along with Halyard’s surgical and infection prevention (S&IP) business. Combined, these two acquisitions are slated to add $1.45 billion in annual revenues for Owens & Minor. The company’s last reported quarterly results (third quarter 2018) show revenue growth coming through these most recent additions.
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: “Meanwhile, far-left activists succeeded in forcing Amazon to abandon plans to create a second headquarters in the New York City area, which would have brought 25,000 jobs and injected billions of dollars into the local economy. Where has common sense gone?“
- Retail sales sank 1.2% in December, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday. It’s the largest drop since September 2009, a few months after the end of the Great Recession. Economists expected sales to be flat.
Recently, the “Meituan” take-outs increased the commission: from the original 18% to 22%, an increase of 4% commission. Such a blatant increase in commissions, which led to domestic criticism, domestic consumers and businesses have expressed dissatisfaction.
- Markets anticipate a trade deal is coming and the truce will be extended. All sides want a settlement so we believe it will be achieved. Mnuchin and Lighthizer are set to meet their Beijing counterparts on Thursday with the goal of hashing out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs against China are set to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
- Sears needed a miracle, and on Thursday, they got it. A federal judge approved the sale of Sears Holdings to chairman Eddie Lampert, through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments, for $5.2 billion. The deal is expected to save 425 stores and 45,000 jobs.
This week, Durig Capital reviews its own version on a time-proven investment strategy. The “Dogs of the Dow” investment strategy was introduced by Michael B. Higgins in the early 1990’s as a simple way for investors to design a portfolio around the “dogs” of the broader Dow index, and re-balance it annually. Durig Capital has created its own version on this investment strategy which has historically resulted in a less volatile portfolio and has produced excellent returns since its inception in June 2017.
Since its inception (June 6, 2017) Durig’s “Dogs of the DOW” Portfolio has generated a total return of 14.26% (as of January 22, 2019). Over the same time period, the greater Dow index generated a return of 11.37%. So, Durig’s “Dogs of the DOW” portfolio returned 25% more than the index.
Most notably, during the selloff in the fourth quarter of 2018, Durig’s portfolio was down -5.23% while the greater Dow index was down -11.30%. These figures are as of January 22, 2019.
Year-to-date in 2019, the Durig portfolio was up 1.56%, while the greater Dow index was up 4.71% (as of January 22, 2019). This statistic, along with the results from fourth quarter 2018 illustrate the portfolio’s reduced volatility.
- Advertising: Cost per click on Google properties — the rough measure of what Alphabet charges advertisers for each ad served on its websites — dropped 29 percent from last year and 9 percent from last quarter. That’s the steepest rate of annual decline in at least 16 quarters and suggests a growing threat from Amazon could be causing a pricing squeeze.
- YouTube: The number of YouTube channels with more than a million subscribers nearly doubled in the last year. The number of creators earning five or six figures grew by more than 40% year-over-year. YouTube has nearly 2 billion monthly logged-in users.
- Credit Cards: Providers are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make it easier to not just choose your rewards, but offer the rewards consumers want the most. In this drive for hyper-personalization of our rewards, artificial intelligence banking is benefiting all parties involved.
- Flavors: Artificial intelligence to create new flavors and products through a research collaboration as the use of artificial intelligence just might provide the key ingredients that make that next meal taste better.
This week, Durig Capital ventures to the technology sector to review an issuer involved in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. Magnachip Semiconductor (NYSE:MX) has been around for over 30 years and is the largest independent supplier of OLED display drivers to panel makers for smartphones. The company’s latest reported quarterly results (three months ending September 30, 2018) were excellent.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 13% year-over-year.
Gross profits were up 10.8% over the prior year period.
Operating income increased by 17.9% over Q3 2017.
Revenues were up 16.6% year-over-year and were at the highest levels since Q4 2012.
Interest coverage over 3x for the third quarter.
- iPhone installed base is now over 900 million, adding almost 75 million over the past year. Predictions were that the iPhone installed base would hit one billion by the end of 2018, for instance. Apple may have missed that estimate, but it did grow the iPhone installed base by 9% over the past year.
- Apple Subscription – Over the last four quarters, its sales of apps, movies, games, Apple Music, AppleCare, iCloud subscriptions, and Apple Pay fees have generated roughly $39.6 billion for the company, with a 62% margin in the most recent quarter.
- The President of Venezuela’s opposition-dominated National Assembly Juan Guaido will announce new boards of directors for state oil company PDVSA and its U.S. business, Citgo, UPI reports. U.S. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the he’ll hold PDVSA’s proceeds from crude oil sales to the United States, adding that the company could avoid being sanctioned if it recognized Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
- Saudi Arabia is determined to restore the balance on the oil market and is cutting deeper than required in the OPEC+ deal, with February crude production likely close to 10.1 million bpd, compared to the 10.3-million-bpd ceiling in the production cut agreement.
- State and Property tax deductions capped at $10,000. On this year’s tax forms, deductions for state and local taxes — known as SALT deductions — is the one that is going to impact middle class taxpayers the most. It will particularly affect those living in states like California and New York, which both have above-average state income tax and property tax rates.
- If you paid a lot of state and local taxes in 2018, buckle up this tax season — new laws cap how much of those payments you can deduct on your federal tax return. That means more of your income could be taxable this year.