Stock Market Today
An Apple Stock Dividend Hike Could Help Set Cash Hoards Free
If Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) actually does what many now expect – raise the Apple stock dividend as much as 56% – it could help inspire a trend of givebacks by other cash-rich companies.
Looking at the company's cash hoard of $137 billion – which could reach $170 billion by year's end – a survey of analysts conducted by Bloomberg News this week concluded that an Apple stock dividend hike of $4.14 a share is a likely possibility.
That would raise the stock's yield from about 2.40% now to a much more attractive 3.6% -
higher than 84% of the other dividend-paying companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
An increase in the Apple stock dividend would almost certainly boost the stock price, which is down about 35% from its Sept. 19 high of $702.10.
"The accumulation of cash has become excessive," Brian White, an analyst at New York-based Topeka Capital Markets Inc., told Bloomberg. "It doesn't matter which bearish scenario you forecast, they're never going to need this much cash."
Just How Big Will Your "Obamacare Surprise" Be?…Wait Until You See This Chart
When touting his signature healthcare reform law, the "Affordable Care Act," President Barack Obama promised it would "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
But a new congressional study says Obamacare has, in fact, increased the average family premium by $3,000 – and that's before the most costly requirements of the law take effect next year.
"Higher healthcare premiums are the last thing single young adults and working families can afford," the report stated. "Yet contrary to what the president promised, that is exactly what Obamacare is projected to do."
The Best Way to Invest in the Natural Gas Rebound
Today, let's talk about how investors can make some money off this.
As gas prices inch toward $4 per 1,000 cubic feet (or million BTUs) on the NYMEX futures market, we need to remember that this is not going to be either an accelerated rise or one that will be without volatility.
For reasons mentioned on Friday, gas prices will likely cap out in the mid-$4 range by the time we reach midsummer.
That means there are not going to be any across-the-board influences raising the entire sector. This is going to require some patience and selective investing.
So how does one structure an approach to this?
Oil Companies Hope for New Opportunity in Energy-Rich Venezuela
One of the biggest headlines recently related to oil companies was news of the passing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"El Commandante" as he was affectionately referred to by his countrymen, at least by those who approved of his leftist policies, was 58 and succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer.
Predictably, news of Chavez's passing has sparked ample speculation about what the future holds for Venezuela's oil industry and those oil companies looking to profit from a possible renaissance there.
Venezuela is South America's largest oil producer and an OPEC member. In what may come as a surprise to some investors, Venezuela could be called the Saudi Arabia of OPEC.
In other words, the South American nation is home to about 300 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, compared to about 270 billion barrels in Saudi Arabia. That is according to OPEC's own estimate.
Not only that, but Venezuela is home to the largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere.
Given those superlatives, it is easy to understand why some Western oil companies are cautiously optimistic about what the future may hold for them in Venezuela.
Why the Cyprus Bailout Could Set Banking Back 300 Years
Even by the standards of the EU bureaucracy, raiding the private deposits of Cyprus' banks is spectacularly foolish.
For a measly $5.8 billion euros, the EU has now put the entire Eurozone on edge-not to mention the entire global economy.
It revolves around something as simple as trust. And as a former banker, I can tell you that there's no substitute for the belief that your deposits are safe and sound.
It's a thin line and once it's been crossed it's nearly impossible to repair.
Now savers in Spain, Italy and elsewhere in the Eurozone are left to wonder about the safety of their own accounts.
Here's why savers everywhere should be concerned…
Investing in Silver Now is a Steal
Lately there has been quite a divergence in the behavior of those investing in silver compared to those holding gold.
One group is running scared, while the other is calmly stocking up.
It looks as if many of the weak hands holding gold in the form of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are giving up and liquidating their positions. A record $4.1 billion was yanked out of gold ETFs in the month of February, a record high, according to the BlackRock ETP Landscape report. This figure was almost double the previous record set in January 2011 of $2.6 billion.
But it is quite a different story in the silver market, according to South Africa's Standard Bank. For the week ended March 1, silver ETFs added nearly 68 metric tons to their position. That brought the total silver held within 110 metric tons of an all-time record high.
That compares to 59 metric tons of gold being liquidated from gold ETFs in that same time frame.
Demand for Silver Eagle coins from the U.S. Mint also continues apace. February sales did not match January's record rate, but were still a very robust 3,368,500 ounces.
So, why is investing in silver becoming the favored trend?
The answer is simple: Silver is cheap.
Investing in Mexico May Be a 100-Year Opportunity
A hundred years ago Mexico was a very different place.
Believe it or not, Mexico was once a free-market beacon of rapid economic growth. It had low taxes, encouraged foreign investment and had reformed its laws to become more business-friendly.
And under Porfirio Diaz, Mexico pursued a pro-U.S. policy, invested heavily in education and rejoiced when local and foreign magnates opened new job opportunities for the Mexican people.
Then it was all undone. Diaz was tossed out by a revolution in 1911.
Since then the news from Mexico hasn't been so good.
After more than a decade of unrest, the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) took over in 1929 and ruled the country with a kind of klepto-socialism for the next 71 years.
In the aftermath, the oil business was later nationalized, and run thereafter as a state-owned monopoly called Pemex with no foreign investment allowed. The education system became dominated by the teachers' unions, a central force of the PRI.
And in 1988, the telecom company was privatized to Carlos Slim, who gave Mexico a monopoly service with some of the world's highest telecom rates, thereby making himself the world's richest man.
In 2000, the PRI did manage to finally lose power. But the PAN governments of 2000-2012 never had a majority in Congress, and did little to improve conditions in energy, education or telecoms.
How to Invest in Graphene
How to Invest in Graphene