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How to Rent a Fortune

With a 37% gain in The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) since late July, we’ve done really well with our targeted investment in real estate.

And with very quick gains of 9% in Brazilian-food processor BRF SA (NYSE ADR: BRFS), 5.2% in South American agricultural play Adecoagro SA (NYSE: AGRO) and 1.6% in high-tech agribusiness player  Neogen Corp. (NasdaqGS: NEOG), we’re doing well with our plays on (pockets of) accelerating U.S. inflation.

Today we’re going to combine the two concepts and employ a very simple formula we believe will add to your profits…

  • Featured Story

    Buy, Sell or Hold: Deere and Co. Thrives on Strong Global Trends and Flawless Execution

    Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) beat earnings estimates by a mile last week. It reported $1.58 earnings per share, beating most analysts' estimates by 50 cents! In addition, the company raised its earnings outlook.

    In typical fashion, Deere continues to be conservative in guidance. And as I will explain below, the agricultural cycle this year is poised for a large upside surprise, as it is at the very beginning of a prolonged secular pickup.

    The bottom line of Deere's performance last quarter is a prelude of things to come. Agriculture is zooming, and thus machinery in that sector is - and will continue - to command premium pricing. At the same time, global inflation is picking up slightly, but is still very subdued, which will help margins some more.

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  • Deere & Co.

  • Healthcare Reform Losers: Companies Providing Retiree Benefits Face Multi-Million Dollar Tax Costs After sending letters of protest to Congress in the months prior to the healthcare law's approval, U.S. companies are now facing multi-million dollar after-tax hits this year due to a tax provision in the new legislation, labeling them healthcare reform losers instead of winners.

    Part of the new healthcare law places a federal income tax on government subsidies given to companies that provide retirees and their spouses with drug benefit plans. The 28% subsidy was created as Medicare Part D, adding a prescription plan for senior citizens to the Medicare Act of 2003. To encourage companies to continue offering retirees a drug plan, the tax-free subsidy reduced companies' costs. Fewer senior citizens then went through Medicare's prescription program - which would have cost taxpayers much more than the subsidy price.

    Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT) and Deere & Company (NSYE: DE) are just two of the businesses that fought the new stipulations. The manufacturers estimate the tax will cost them $100 million and $150 million this year, respectively. Other companies who will pay handsomely include AK Steel Corp. (NYSE: AKS) with $31 million in charges, and Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) with an estimated fee of $42 million.

    Consulting firm Towers Watson & Co. (NYSE: TW) estimates these taxes could cost companies about $233 per person receiving drug benefits - a hefty price tag when a company gives benefits to 40,000 retirees, like Caterpillar.

    Overall, more than 3,500 companies offer drug benefits to 6.3 million retirees. Although the tax won't be effective until 2011, accounting practices force companies to recognize the fees in the period in which the law is signed. That means the tax could nab $14 billion from corporate profits in a year when companies were hoping to recover from huge losses during the recession.

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  • Freakish Winter Freezes Some Profit Plays, Heats Up Some Others This article was supposed to be about investments that would allow you to profit from the typical cold-and-snowy weather that's part of the winter routine at this time of year.

    But as everyone from Southern California to the Middle Atlantic East Coast states, and the Great Lakes to the Deep South, is painfully aware, this year's winter has been neither "routine" nor "typical" - not by a long shot.

    Indeed, the so-called "snowpocalypse" of 2010 has been so fierce that pundits have already coined new terms to describe it. This run of winter bluster has actually nullified some of the usual "winter plays" - those that can be found almost every year - while at the same time creating other opportunities you might not ordinarily think of.

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