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Dan's Reports
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  Fund fees revisited
  T class funds
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  Bear market protectors
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  Ignore bonds at your peril
  Coping with change
  Future of trust funds
  Dilution trumps
  Are fees excessive?
  Performance anxiety
  Top advisory model?
  81-106 a step back
  Poor fund classifications
  Pension shortfall
  A longer-term report card
  Information overload
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The Stingy News Weekly (12/21/2008)


May you, your family and friends have a happy holiday!  

Remember Scrooge's fine example, "He became as good a friend, as good
a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other
good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people
laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and
little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever
happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have
their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these
would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should
wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive
forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him."



Stingy Links
http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/articles/articlearchive.shtml

So, Scrooge was right after all
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/23/1071941734365.html
"It's a little-known fact that the first economic rationalist was
Ebenezer Scrooge. That's because economists simply can't
understand why people would do something as stupid as giving presents
at Christmas. Conventional economics teaches that gift giving is
irrational. The satisfaction or "utility" a person derives from
consumption is determined by their personal preferences. But no
one understands your preferences as well as you do. So when I
give up $50 worth of utility to buy a present for you, the
chances are high that you'll value it at less than $50. If so, there's
been a mutual loss of utility. The transaction has been
inefficient and "welfare reducing", thus making it irrational. As an
economist would put it, "unless a gift that costs the giver p
dollars exactly matches the way in which the recipient would have
spent the p dollars, the gift is suboptimal". This astonishing
intellectual breakthrough was first formulated in 1993 by Joel
Waldfogel, an economics professor now at the University of
Pennsylvania, in his seminal paper, The Deadweight Loss of Christmas."

What I like about Scrooge
http://www.slate.com/id/2110817/
"Here's what I like about Ebenezer Scrooge: His meager lodgings
were dark because darkness is cheap, and barely heated because
coal is not free. His dinner was gruel, which he prepared himself.
Scrooge paid no man to wait on him. Scrooge has been called
ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What could be more generous
than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate unfilled, leaving more
fuel for others to burn and more food for others to eat? Who is
a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no
servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?"

The case for Ebeneezer
http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer93.html
"As I became older, I decided that Mr. Dickens had given
Ebeneezer Scrooge an undeserved reputation for villainy, placing him in
such company as Uriah Heep, Iago, Dr. Moriarty, or Snidely
Whiplash, to name but a few. It is my purpose, in making this holiday
defense of my client, to present to you a different
interpretation of the story, that you will see the villainy not in my
client's character, but in Charles Dickens' miscasting of the true
heroes of the time of which he wrote, namely, the industrialists
and financiers who created that most liberating epoch in human
history: the industrial revolution."

US market may be past a bottom
http://www.fundsupermart.com/main/research/viewHTML.tpl?articleNo=3124
"While despair still prevails, there are finally certain hints to
suggest that the US market may have bottomed, or at least, is
in an advanced stage of bottoming."

News you can lose
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2008/12/22/081222ta_talk_surowiecki
"The peculiar fact about the current crisis is that even as big
papers have become less profitable they've arguably become more
popular. The blogosphere, much of which piggybacks on traditional
journalism's content, has magnified the reach of newspapers,
and although papers now face far more scrutiny, this is a kind of
backhanded compliment to their continued relevance. Usually,
when an industry runs into the kind of trouble that Levitt was
talking about, it's because people are abandoning its products. But
people don't use the Times less than they did a decade ago. They
use it more. The difference is that today they don't have to
pay for it. The real problem for newspapers, in other words, isn't
the Internet; it's us. We want access to everything, we want it
now, and we want it for free. That's a consumer's dream, but
eventually it's going to collide with reality: if newspapers.
profits vanish, so will their product."

Is the medicine worse than the illness?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122973431525523215.html
"The world ran out of trust in 2008 -- but there is no shortage
of money because the Fed is printing like mad. It's the wrong
approach, with potentially dire consequences, says James Grant."

Nanny State 2008
http://reason.tv/video/show/636.html
"Do you really want to live in a world where giant inflatable
apes are banned? Reason.tv takes a short, depressing look at nanny
state bans that were passed or proposed in 2008."

Is it all over for stocks?
http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/17/pf/end_of_stocks.moneymag/?postversion=2008121910
"Stocks look like a pretty good investment - certainly better
than they were a year ago. You absolutely shouldn't get out simply
because the recent return numbers are scary. The latest bad news
about the economy shouldn't drive you away either. Much of that
is reflected in prices now. Even for many not-especially-brave
investors, it's time to consider buying, not selling."

In defense of scrooge
http://mises.org/article.aspx?Id=573
"It's Christmas again, time to celebrate the transformation of
Ebenezer Scrooge. You know the ritual: boo the curmudgeon
initially encountered in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, then cheer
the sweetie pie he becomes in the end. It's too bad no one
notices that the curmudgeon had a point - quite a few points, in
fact."

Options expiration week
http://marketsci.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/options-expiration-week-stock-market-strength/
"As the graph shows, for the last 21 years, the week leading up
to options expiration (red) has been consistently bullish and the
weeks before and after bearish in terms of both returns and
percentage positive."

How sticky are wages?
http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2008/12/18/how-sticky-are-wages
"There's been a huge shift in power in recent years from labor to
capital: corporate profits have been rising much faster than
wages for some time now. It makes sense that capital would make
use of its newfound power to reduce labor costs in a deflationary
environment of rising unemployment. During the boom, companies
laid off workers because those workers demanded, and cost, too
much money. Now that workers have lost their negotiating leverage,
we might start seeing more across-the-board pay cuts."

GM and Chrysler will get $13.4 Billion
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGDw_DxtA_Fs&refer=home
"General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC will get $13.4 billion in
emergency government loans in exchange for substantially
restructuring their businesses, President George W. Bush announced.
Another $4 billion will be available to GM in February providing
Congress releases the second half of the $700 billion Troubled
Asset Relief Program fund originally set up to bail out financial
institutions. The automakers have until March 31 to meet the
conditions of the loans, including demonstrating they have a plan to
become profitable, or be forced to repay."

The age of obligation
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/85432b32-cd32-11dd-9905-000077b07658.html
"Excessive debt is the key to this crisis; it is the reason we
are confronting no ordinary recession, curable by a simple
downward adjustment of interest rates. It is the reason we still have
to fear, if not a second Great Depression, then very likely the
biggest recession since the 1930s. We are living through the
painful end of an age of leverage which saw total private and public
debt in the US rise from about 155 per cent of gross domestic
product in the early 1980s to something like 342 per cent by the
middle of this year."

Employee free choice act is unconstitutional
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122964977342320545.html
"The government-chosen panel could well impose terms that might
cripple the firm competitively. Consider that the takings clause
surely prevents the government from forcing any person to buy
real estate for twice its market value from a seller. That same
principle applies to this labor law: No government should be able
to force a firm to hire labor at $50 per hour when the company
is not willing to pay half that much."

Federal Reserve is damned either way
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/3834108/Federal-Reserve-is-damned-either-way-as-it-battles-debt-and-deflation.html
"The burden of debt increases as prices fall, creating
self-feeding spiral. This is what Fisher called the "swelling dollar"
effect. Real debt costs rose by 40pc from 1929 to early 1933 by his
count. Debtors suffocated to death. Brian Reading from Lombard
Street Research has revived this neglected thesis and come up
with some disturbing figures. US household debt is now $13.9
trillion, down just 1pc from its peak last year. Meanwhile household
wealth has fallen 14pc as property crashes, a loss of $6.67
trillion. The debt-to-wealth ratio is rocketing."

Deleveraging can save jobs
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122956350701216841.html
"One part of the solution to the current crisis is for Congress
and the Treasury to restore, temporarily, the option for
companies to deleverage by retiring debt at a discount without incurring
tax liability. Tax-code and regulatory changes in the 1980s
limited this option by treating the difference between the original
issue price of debt and the lower amount for which it's
repurchased as taxable income. The resulting tax liability on this
"phantom income" decreases liquidity and blocks necessary
restructuring of distressed corporate balance sheets. It also creates a
perverse preference for bankruptcy that destroys asset values,
jobs and customer relations. Finally, it puts American companies at
a disadvantage relative to their competitors in nations with
more accommodating tax structures, such as Germany and France. We
believe American enterprises should be encouraged to deleverage,
whether by exchanging newly issued or existing stock for debt,
or using cash from asset sales. This is the worst possible time
to impose a tax liability on companies trying to avoid layoffs
by reducing their interest payments on debt. Freed from a tax on
phantom income, thousands of companies will become stronger
through deleveraging."

Seth Klarman one on one
http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/bulletin/2008/december/oneonone.html
"First, value investing is intellectually elegant. You.re
basically buying bargains. It also appeals because all the studies
demonstrate that it works. People who chase growth, who chase
highfliers, inevitably lose because they paid a premium price. They
lose to the people who have more patience and more discipline.
Third, it.s easy to talk in the abstract, but in real life you see
situations that are just plain mispriced, where an ignored,
neglected, or abhorred company may be just as attractive as others
in the same industry. In time, the discount will be corrected,
and you will have the wind at your back as a holder of the stock."

Counterfeiting vs. monetary policy
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/18/counterfeiting-vs-monetary-policy/
"The justifications for Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was to
prevent bank failure and maintain price stability. Simple before and
after analysis demonstrates that the Federal Reserve Bank has
been a failure. In the century before the Federal Reserve Act,
wholesale prices fell by 6 percent; in the century after they rose
by 1,300 percent. Maximum bank failures in one year before 1913
were 496 and afterward, 4,400. During the 1930s, inept money
supply management by the Federal Reserve Bank was partially
responsible for both the depth and duration of the Great Depression."

Pan Am dies, America lives
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/opinion/18Cohen.html?_r=2&ref=opinion
"The whole financial crisis is about the death of responsibility:
the buck stopped nowhere. Everyone profited from toxic paper.
Bernard Madoff, he of the alleged multibillion-dollar Ponzi
scheme, is only the latest example. Irresponsibility has also
characterized Detroit. I don.t see how you restore responsibility with
a bailout."

The great unraveling
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/opinion/17friedman.html?ref=opinion
"The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next
to me at an Asia Society lunch here in Hong Kong and asked me a
question that I can honestly say I've never been asked before:
'So, just how corrupt is America?'"

Fed reduces borrowing costs to zero range
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=acJaAVRY9cJ0&refer=home
"Treasuries rose, pushing yields to record lows, after the
Federal Reserve cut the main U.S. interest rate to a range of zero to
0.25 percent and said central bankers will do whatever is
necessary to ease the longest recession in a quarter-century."

The unwisdom of crowds
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/921taekw.asp
"At the very opening of the book, Bagehot illustrates with
exquisite simplicity how, at least in a boom economy, traders on
margin can "harass and press upon, if they do not eradicate, the old
capitalist." The old capitalist in question is the poor sap who
believes all this stuff about neither-a-borrower-nor-a-lender-be
and is foolish enough to be using his own cash"

Fat discrimination tax
http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/12/fat-discrimination-tax.html
"It made the financial news, because everyone knows it's not
really about health. But even the numbers don't add up. New York
Governor, David Paterson, has proposed a 15% tax on sugar-sweetened
sodas, calling it an obesity tax. That makes it sound like it
has a noble intention of public health concerns over obesity,
when, as the Financial Times noted, it's really just a way to raise
money to help address the state's $13.3 billion deficit. But
even that's pretty sorry math."

Unemployment: worse than it looks
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/dec2008/db20081212_666543.htm
"As U.S. jobs disappear at a rapid clip, the official
unemployment figure seems understated. While November's 6.7% rate is a full
2% higher than the same time last year, the rate remains well
below the 10.8% postwar peak, reached in November 1982. One issue
is that the official unemployment number captures only a slice
of the total joblessness in the U.S. To be counted as unemployed
in this statistic, a worker must not have a job, be currently
available for work, and have actively sought employment within
the last four weeks. In other words, a lot of the jobless are left
out of the government's tally."

The Perfect Ponzi
http://clusterstock.alleyinsider.com/2008/12/the-perfect-ponzi
"As the investigations into Bernie Madoff's gigantic Ponzi scheme
continue, one thing is becoming clear: The reason it lasted so
long and got so huge is that it was superbly executed."

Finding the gaps
http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12792451
"In short, to arbitrage, you need both access to credit and
confidence that market conditions will return to normal. Both are in
short supply. If we want the financial system to recover, we
need the arbitrageurs to come back."




DOW 30 Value Screens
http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy.shtml 

High Dividend Yield Stocks                   P/E P/B P/S P/D Yield
============================================ === === === === =====
Bank of America  (BAC)                        2   5   2   5    5
Citigroup  (C)                                0   5   2   5    5
General Electric  (GE)                        4   4   4   5    5
Pfizer  (PFE)                                 3   4   1   5    5
Alcoa  (AA)                                   5   5   5   5    5
EI DuPont  (DD)                               5   3   4   4    4
AT&T  (T)                                     2   4   3   4    4
Verizon  (VZ)                                 1   3   3   4    4
Merck  (MRK)                                  2   2   1   4    4
JP Morgan Chase  (JPM)                        1   5   2   4    4
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/dogs.shtml 

Value Ratio Stocks                           P/E P/B P/S P/D  VR
============================================ === === === === =====
Alcoa  (AA)                                   5   5   5   5   0.6
General Electric  (GE)                        4   4   4   5   1.0
EI DuPont  (DD)                               5   3   4   4   1.1
Bank of America  (BAC)                        2   5   2   5   1.2
Pfizer  (PFE)                                 3   4   1   5   1.5
Chevron  (CVX)                                5   4   5   3   1.6
Caterpillar  (CAT)                            5   2   5   3   1.8
American Express  (AXP)                       5   4   3   3   1.8
Boeing  (BA)                                  4   1   5   3   1.9
AT&T  (T)                                     2   4   3   4   2.1
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/valueratio.shtml 

Graham Stocks                            P/E P/B P/D   G$   dG$(%)
======================================== === === === ====== ======
Alcoa  (AA)                               5   5   5   29.78 207.00
Bank of America  (BAC)                    2   5   5   27.56  99.73
Chevron  (CVX)                            5   4   3  103.72  46.39
General Electric  (GE)                    4   4   5   23.16  40.36
JP Morgan Chase  (JPM)                    1   5   4   42.49  40.14
American Express  (AXP)                   5   4   3   26.56  36.70
Walt Disney  (DIS)                        4   5   1   29.63  32.10
EI DuPont  (DD)                           5   3   4   32.80  28.11
AT&T  (T)                                 2   4   4   31.46  11.87
Kraft  (KFT)                              2   4   4   29.60  10.97
Caterpillar  (CAT)                        5   2   3   47.01  10.11
Pfizer  (PFE)                             3   4   5   18.80   8.64
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/graham.shtml 



S&P/TSX60 Value Screens
http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy.shtml 

High Dividend Yield Stocks              P/E P/B P/S P/C P/D Yield*
======================================= === === === === === ======
Biovail (BVF)                            1   3   2   2   5    5
Bank of Montreal (BMO)                   4   4   4   2   5    5
National Bank of Canada (NA)             4   4   4   0   5    5
CIBC (CM)                                0   2   2   0   5    5
Husky Energy (HSE)                       5   2   3   4   5    5
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)                3   3   3   5   5    5
Nova (NCX)                               5   5   5   5   5    5
Royal Bank (RY)                          3   3   3   4   5    5
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)               3   4   2   5   5    5
Telus (T)                                3   3   3   4   4    4
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/dogs.shtml 

Value Ratio Stocks                       P/E P/B P/S P/C P/D  VR
======================================== === === === === === =====
Nova (NCX)                                5   5   5   5   5   0.2
First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM)          5   5   4   5   3   0.6
National Bank of Canada (NA)              4   4   4   0   5   0.7
Husky Energy (HSE)                        5   2   3   4   5   0.8
Bank of Montreal (BMO)                    4   4   4   2   5   0.8
Petro Canada (PCA)                        5   5   5   4   3   1.0
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)                 3   3   3   5   5   1.4
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)                3   4   2   5   5   1.4
Telus (T)                                 3   3   3   4   4   1.5
Manulife (MFC)                            4   4   3   4   4   1.6
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/valueratio.shtml 

Graham Stocks                            P/E P/B P/D   G$   dG$(%)
======================================== === === === ====== ======
Teck Cominco Limited (TCK.B)              5   5   0   39.72 583.66
Nova (NCX)                                5   5   5   34.41 463.22
First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM)          5   5   3   78.80 314.28
Inmet Mining (IMN)                        5   5   2   71.71 298.37
Petro Canada (PCA)                        5   5   3   81.67 201.93
Talisman Energy (TLM)                     5   4   2   25.53 120.09
Agrium (AGU)                              5   4   1   75.41  98.03
National Bank of Canada (NA)              4   4   5   56.05  94.21
BCE (BCE)                                 4   4   0   40.90  80.67
Bank of Montreal (BMO)                    4   4   5   52.21  73.74
Nexen Inc. (NXY)                          5   3   1   35.19  70.99
Magna Cl.A (MG.A)                         2   5   3   59.79  64.97
Canadian Pacific Rail (CP)                4   4   3   64.93  63.36
Canadian Tire (CTC.A)                     3   4   2   67.50  61.13
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ)          4   3   1   71.43  59.19
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)                3   4   5   64.79  53.70
MDS Inc. (MDS)                            1   5   0    9.41  51.59
Husky Energy (HSE)                        5   2   5   45.15  50.49
Manulife (MFC)                            4   4   4   29.39  47.99
Encana (ECA)                              4   3   4   78.20  45.08
Suncor Energy (SU)                        4   3   1   35.31  41.30
Sun Life (SLF)                            2   4   4   35.88  34.22
Telus (T)                                 3   3   4   43.81  31.76
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)                 3   3   5   36.19  23.10
Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL)              3   2   0   14.46  21.59
Royal Bank (RY)                           3   3   5   40.17  16.43
Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI)                    1   5   2    9.70  14.75
CN Railway (CNR)                          3   2   2   46.99   9.18
TransCanada (TRP)                         2   3   4   35.68   6.88
Bombardier Cl.B (BBD.B)                   4   1   3    4.16   0.47
More Info: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/graham.shtml 

*Notes: http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/strategy/notes.shtml 


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Books for Stingy Investors

Value Investing: A Balanced Approach
by Martin J. Whitman

Value Investing encourages investors to cast off the tyranny of
earnings and to focus instead on balance sheets and book values.
Well-capitalised firms can withstand an occasional headwind and
can be excellent values provided that they are bought for
reasonable prices. Safe and cheap are the driving factors for value
investors. Although Whitman's prose is occasionally a bit dry, his
useful ideas makes Value Investing well worth reading.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471398101/


Stock Research From Dan Hallett & Associates

The Rothery Report
http://www.rotheryreport.com/ 

The Rothery Report provides research on select deep-value stocks in
North America. Discover overlooked and undervalued stocks in quarterly
investment reports which provide detailed analysis of Canadian and
U.S. stocks.  Weekly email news and additional updates keep
subscribers informed about new opportunities and developments.

Rothery Report Performance (03/31/2001 to 09/30/2008)
  Average Capital Gain    Average Holding Period
          36.2%                   2.4 Years

Learn More
http://www.rotheryreport.com/store/store.shtml

Subscribe Today
http://www.rotheryreport.com/store/order.shtml 



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ISSN 1499-2795 Copyright Dan Hallett and Associates Inc., 2008.
All rights reserved. The securities mentioned in this report are not
appropriate for all investors. Consult your professional investment
advisor before making any investment decision.  While all reasonable
effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information and data
contained herein, accuracy can not be guaranteed. Past performance is
not a good predictor of future performance.  Results are not
guaranteed and we assume no liability whatsoever for any material
losses that may occur.  No compensation for suggesting particular
securities or financial advisors is solicited or accepted.  The
information in this newsletter, and in its related website, is not
intended to be, nor does it constitute, financial advice or
recommendations.  Investing in stocks can be risky and may result in
substantial losses.  A Dan Hallett and Associates Inc.(DH&A)
publication.  DH&A is registered as Investment Counsel in the province
of Ontario. DH&A, or related-parties may have an interest in the
securities mentioned.

 

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Disclaimers: Consult with a qualified investment advisor before trading. Past performance is a poor indicator of future performance. The information on this site, and in its related newsletters, is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, investment advice or recommendations. If you need personalized financial advice then please consider our private client services. The information on this site is in no way guaranteed for completeness, accuracy or in any other way.

A Dan Hallett and Associates Inc. publication. Norm Rothery, Ph.D., CFA, is the Chief Investment Strategist at Dan Hallett and Associates Inc. (DH&A) and the founder of StingyInvestor.com. DH&A is registered as Investment Counsel in the province of Ontario. Norm, DH&A, or related-parties may have an interest in the securities mentioned. More...