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March 2012 - Page 3 of 12 - Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From

How to Earn a 9.25% Gain in 30 days While Waiting for Apple's
(Nasdaq: AAPL) Dividend

Although it's been one of the market's darlings for a decade now, dividend-oriented investors have long shunned computer giant Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) because, well … it didn't pay one.

That, coupled with AAPL's historically high share price, has always kept me from buying Apple stock – but, as a trader, it hasn't kept me from generating income with Apple options.

Last week, the cash-rich company finally took a step toward rewarding loyal shareholders by declaring a dividend – a quarterly payout of $2.65 a share, beginning with the fiscal fourth quarter, which runs from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2012.

Assuming the payouts continue, which they almost certainly will, that means Apple's annual dividend in fiscal 2013 will be $10.60 a share, which sounds fairly rich – except for one thing…

At its closing price of $599.34 last Thursday, Apple remains one of the market's highest-priced stocks, meaning the new annual dividend of $10.60 will equate to a yield of only 1.76%.

That's decent, but it's hardly near the top of the income-stock ranks. Plus, it'll be well over a year before you can collect the full dividend.

Fortunately, by using options, you can easily generate some significant income while waiting for Apple's new dividend to kick in – and multiply your yield at the same time.

Let me explain…

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Physical Gold and Silver Dividends Offer Investors the Best of Both Worlds

What if I told you there was a company that paid its shareholders in physical gold?

Would a "golden dividend" be enough to get you interested in gold stocks?

If not gold, what about silver?

Neither one of these options even existed when I first started talking about them just three months ago.

But thanks in part to billionaire resource investor Eric Sprott, today's investors can benefit from a dividend payable in physical gold or silver.

Sprott had sent a letter to silver producers, suggesting they reinvest some 25% of their earnings back into silver, rather than in cash at the bank.

That took my earlier discussion about gold and silver dividends to a totally new level: dividends in kind.

These aren't paper profits, but real, hold-in-your-hand gold and silver dividends.

For precious metals investors, these "hard asset" dividends make perfect sense.

Today, one innovative gold and silver producer offers investors the best of both worlds.

Finally: Physical Gold and Silver Dividends

In a bid to gain the "first mover" advantage, Gold Resource Corp. (NYSEAmex: GORO), a low-cost gold producer, is launching a gold and silver dividend program on April 10, 2012.

The company has already paid out $41 million in dividends to its shareholders over the past year and a half.

But now they are offering shareholders a unique option by partnering with Gold Bullion International (GBI). GBI is a New York-based precious metals provider to individual and institutional investors, with storage vaults in New York, Salt Lake City, London, Zurich, Singapore, and Australia.

Essentially, GORO shareholders can elect to convert their cash dividends into Gold Resource Corp. "Double Eagles" consisting of one ounce 0.999 fine gold and/or one ounce 0.999 fine silver rounds.

These "Double Eagles" will be drawn from GORO's physical treasury and placed into the shareholder's "individual bullion account" with GBI.

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How to Buy Foreign Market Dividend Stocks

There's nothing better than buying stocks with strong upside and getting paid with cold, hard cash.

It's true here in the United States and in foreign markets all around the world.

As we showed you in last week's article, buying dividend stocks that deliver a steady and growing income stream is a great way to do just that.
But the U.S. isn't the only country with world-beating companies.

In fact, adding a few foreign market dividend stocks will diversify your portfolio and help you sleep better at night, no matter what the U.S. market does.

Here's what you need to know…

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Stock Market Today: Housing Data Makes KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Homebuilder
Stocks a "Hold"

This week's housing market data ended with lower new home sales than expected, triggering a slip for KB Home (NYSE: KBH) and other homebuilder stocks in the stock market today (Friday).

Shares of builder KB Home tumbled more than 13% in early morning trading. Also pushing investors away from the stock was the company earnings report that missed analyst expectations.

For the quarter ended Feb. 29, KB Home's net loss was $45.8 million, or 59 cents a share, down from a $114.5 million loss, or $1.49 a share, a year earlier. Analysts expected a loss of 23 cents a share, according to Bloomberg News.

Signs of a housing market bottom have helped push KBH up 67% this year. As of Thursday's close it was one of the top performers in the S&P 500 Index year-to-date.

But new home orders slipped last quarter – and the company is saddled with debt. Net orders declined 8.1% to 1,197 homes. The cancellation rate rose to 36% from 29% a year earlier.

Its high debt level has prevented KBH from regaining profitability.

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How to Profit on the Natural Gas Surplus

The recent mild winter and the unparalleled potential in new shale gas production have combined to result in a depressed pricing market for natural gas.

The rise in demand for everything from electricity to petrochemical feeder stock, liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, and even usage in vehicle fuels, will start driving that price up over the next two years.

You already know that, of course.

We've talked about it many times before.

But now there's something else on the horizon that is likely to provide a boost to investor prospects even sooner.

Utilities, one of the main beneficiaries of the gas boom, are moving to capitalize on the accelerating transition in power generation.

And in the process, two important trends are emerging that will be of interest to retail investors.

First, the low current prices and the prospect of rapid increases in extraction rates, if the market warrants, are allowing electricity managers the opportunity to plan for multi-year cost projections.

That, in turn, is propelling the intensified replacement of aging capacity with new gas-fueled plants.

As Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (NYSE: PCG) CEO Tony Earley noted this week, infrastructure investment becomes a priority when projected fuel prices are low. The system has to be upgraded and replaced in any event, as large segments of it reach the point of "retirement."

Earley also has advanced the idea that the power industry needs to speak with one voice in its dealings with regulators and policy makers.

This need for solidarity has been reflected in comments from other leaders in the power industry as well.

As policymakers increase capital expenditure spending in infrastructure replacement and expansion, we are also likely to see a renewed interest in developing a consensus on where the next "generation of generators" is going to be moving.

And one of the drivers coming onto the scene moves right into familiar – and profitable -territory, at least for us.

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The Irony of China's Search for Energy

Kent was in Huntington Beach, Calif., earlier this week to present the keynote address on "The Future of U.S. Energy Policy" at the CoBank Annual Meetings.

I hope he didn't have to rent a car. If so, he's probably still suffering from sticker shock.

The average price of regular gasoline in the Golden State is around $4.32 – a record high for this time of year.

He probably would have been better off cruising down to Mexico to refill his tank instead.

Thanks to government regulations to artificially suppress the price, American drivers can find gasoline in Mexico for up to $1.50 a gallon cheaper than in the U.S.

But drivers also have to ignore U.S. State Department travel warnings. A willingness to cross the border anyway shows just how important inexpensive fuel is to drivers living on a budget.

It all comes back to the subject that Kent and I have written on with a lot of passion in the last few months.

The U.S. has lacked a cohesive energy policy for the last four decades, with every President since Nixon ignoring his own calls for energy independence and an effective strategy moving forward.

And as the global economy becomes more competitive, access to less expensive sources of oil wanes, and political tensions drive greater uncertainty, there's new irony to our lack of a real energy policy.

And it's leading to new competition for fuels in our own back yard.

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2012 Financial Crisis: Wall Street's Latest Scheme Uses Your Bank Account to Create the Next Crash

In 2008, reckless credit default swaps nearly obliterated the global economy. Now comes the next crisis – rehypothecated assets.

It's a complicated, fancy term in the global banking complex. Yet it's one you need to know.

And if you understand it, you will get the scope of the risks we currently face – and it's way bigger than just Greece.

So follow with me on this one. I guarantee that you'll be outraged and amazed – and better educated. You'll also be in a better position to protect your assets at the end of this article, where I'll give you three important action steps to take. So follow along…

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The Natural Gas Act: Another Washington Boondoggle

With gasoline fast approaching $4 a gallon and heading toward $5 this summer, it's no surprise that politicians are panicking.

In Washington D.C., everything is an emergency. Legislation is always the antidote.

So now politicians are pushing the Natural Gas Act as a solution to high gas prices, rather than allowing the market to work.

Of course, none of them want to take the time to understand the true reasons why gas is going to $5 a gallon.

That would require a basic understanding of business or economics, something few in Congress seem to have.

Instead, what you can expect is the typical Washington response-a task force to investigate speculation in the oil futures markets.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced one last week without recognizing the futures markets actually improve liquidity and oil production certainty.

It's how Washington works. The Natural Gas Act is just more of the same.

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New Wave of Foreclosures Will Sink the Housing Market Rebound

The long-anticipated housing market rebound will hit a speed bump this year as the number of foreclosures rises again.

With January's mammoth $26 billion settlement between five major banks and a group of state attorneys general, foreclosures that had been held up for a year or more are now moving forward.

The spike in foreclosures will arrive just as other data, such as the 5.1% increase in new construction permits reported on Tuesday, had begun to point to a housing market rebound.

"We expect to see foreclosure-related sales increase in 2012, particularly pre-foreclosure sales, as lenders start to more aggressively dispose of distressed assets held up by the mortgage servicing gridlock over the past 18 months," Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, told CNN Money.

RealtyTrac's February report showed new default notices – the first step in the foreclosure process – were up 1% from January. Default notices increased dramatically in some states, such as Pennsylvania (35%), Florida (33%) and Indiana (37%).

"The pig is starting to move through the python," Daren Blomquist, director of marketing for RealtyTrac, told CNN Money.

Distressed sales already account for about one out of three U.S. home sales.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported this week that 20% of home sales in February were foreclosures and 14% were short sales.

In a short sale, an owner who owes more on their home than it's worth agrees to sell for less, with the bank agreeing to accept the loss.

That's a far cry from a normal housing market, when distressed sales are less than 5%.

For 2012, RealtyTrac predicts a 25% increase in foreclosures, which will push the portion of distressed sales even higher.

And the picture doesn't figure to improve for quite some time. Paul Dales of Capital Economics estimates as many as an additional 3 million foreclosures over the next several years.

The Uneven Impact on the Housing Market

However, the impact of this wave of foreclosures will be felt unevenly.

All of the states that saw increases in new default notices were those in which the courts play a role in foreclosures. The robo-signing issues addressed in the bank settlement occurred almost exclusively in such states.

States that don't use a judicial foreclosure process didn't accumulate a backlog. In fact, foreclosure activity in those states was down 5% in February from the previous month, and down 23% from the February 2011.

But among the 26 states that use a judicial foreclosure process, activity rose 2% in February from the month before. Foreclosure activity was up 24% from the previous year.

That leaves little room for optimism in hard-hit states such as Florida.

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