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Stock Opinions by Paul Tepsich

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Markets. He is currently cautious. Stocks are near their all-time highs, and yet we have got sub- 2% US GDP growth, Central Banks are talking more devilishly, and negative interest rates are quite a way out the curve. A potential risk is the prospect of inflation. Since the crisis of 2008-2009, but intensifying over the last 2-3 years, there is global competitive currency devaluation. Most Central Banks and governments saw the US economy as the best of all evils and the strongest of the bunch, and they wanted to export their deflation to the US. Feels this has really been intensifying in the last few years. Most Central Banks and nations have devalued their currencies, trying to export more to the US. The question becomes, is the US economy strong enough to import deflation from China, Japan, Europe, and even Canada. He is not so sure. If he is right, and inflation is not the issue, the back end of the interest rate curve should hold quite well. The interest rate curve has flattened from about a 2 year to a 30 year. He is seeing people with zero in fixed income and government bonds, which is a massively unhedged portfolio. He is currently looking to add 30 year bonds, which provides a huge cushion to a portfolio for a) deflation, if it comes, and b) if risk assets start selling off because of a flight to safety into government bonds.

Unknown
COMMENT

Canadian chartered bank’s new 5.5%-5-year rate reset preferred shares? Most retail investors get some fixed income through preferreds, but the preferred market is not a fixed income vehicle, it is a senior equity security. This can be very dangerous. They are complex instruments. They have been sold as fixed income because most investment advisors either don’t comprehend a more traditional fixed income, or just can’t get their hands on it. They also get paid a sizable commission. In this past year, rate resets got hammered because people thought rates were going to go up. For preferred shares, if the regulator decides there is a triggering event on that particular bank or issuer, those preferreds turn into common equity of the bank. All that risk then runs down to the common shareholder making it all more volatile.

Unknown
COMMENT

Short-term trade? A short-term trade is kind of speculating on gas and oil, which is something he doesn’t do. A much better way is to trade a company over a 6 or 7 week period buying into lows and selling on highs. You could also get exposure through high-yield debt. (See Top Picks.)

oil / gas
COMMENT

For 3 to 5 years? A very interesting company. Not overly diversified and sitting on a fairly good chunk of cash. Has some assets, nickel mining and oil/gas and power, in Cuba which have been phenomenal. Has fallen down on its nickel mine in Madagascar. The CapX, which is mostly behind them right now, has kind of blown their brains out. They have 3 bonds outstanding, 2018, 2020 and 2022, and are trading at roughly $.50 on the dollar, very, very distressed with a high yield. They are in a position where they could, and should, buy back debt in the open market. If the nickel market turned around, this has a lot of leverage to nickel.

integrated mines
COMMENT

2019 bonds for a small portion of a portfolio? This company has kind of fallen on hard times. They are holding about 7X leverage, which is high. Thinks the bonds trade at around 7% which is not overly cheap. If you do this, it will require more diligence.

electrical / electronic
COMMENT

The units have done pretty well over the last little while. Noranda is tricky, and is hard to wrap your mind around. It is effectively a “pass-through” for zinc processing. Really a toll booth. Not sure he would be jumping into this, especially after its recent movement. The “units” effectively have a priority to receive dividends.

investment companies / funds
HOLD

An extremely well-run and well diversified business. They own businesses such as College Pro Painters and a home security business. Pretty big in property management in the US, especially the southern US.

other services
COMMENT

A Blackrock bond fund for an 81-year-old? He doesn’t know this corporate ETF, but ETF’s are a good idea because they are very low cost. He would recommend going into a government bond ETF, and put it out across the entire curve, 2 to 30 years. Then you could look at another ETF, that would perhaps have some corporate bonds in order to give you a little bit more yield.

E.T.F.'s
COMMENT

First preferred 5.9% noncumulative 1st preferred series B? Wouldn’t classify this as a secure fixed income security, so it should be a very small portion of your fixed income portion. Wouldn’t be a buyer of the stock, but might consider this “preferred” as a Hold.

investment companies / funds
COMMENT

C series preferred? This company has had a really rough go, and maybe just coming off the mat. Not a huge fan. It has been very poorly run for a number of years.

transportation equip & components
PARTIAL SELL

Lost 28% in this. Sell or Hold? Last year the preferred market was down. This should not be a large part of your fixed income portion, and you should take some off the table, and reapportionment into a traditional fixed income security such as government or corporate bonds.

E.T.F.'s
COMMENT

Probably a good way to get exposure to the high-yield market, because it is extremely opaque. He currently has around a 10% weight in high-yield debt in his private client portfolios. High-yield in general has a strong risk adjusted return over a 5, 10, 20 year timeframe as an asset class.

E.T.F.'s
COMMENT

He likes this. He doesn’t mind being further out on the curve.

E.T.F.'s
TOP PICK

7.5% bond maturing Nov 19/17. Probably one of the only exploration/production companies on the continent that is in a net cash position. It will have about $900 million in cash when they do the Murphy Oil joint venture, and have about $800 million of debt. The bond is worth $550 million. More senior to it is a bank debt of about $250 million. The $250 million debt matures after the bond in 2019, which is not a position that bankers usually like. The loan has a “springing” maturity, which means if any of the bonds are outstanding 6 months before they are due, the bank debt becomes due immediately. The company likes the bank debt which has a very attractive terms. Thinks the company is going to do a combination of paying down all this bond and maybe refinance with the new bond for $150 million.

oil / gas
TOP PICK

A chemical company. Waiting for approval of a merger with Superior Plus (SPB-T). This is an all share deal. Once the regulators approve this, shareholders will end up with .135 shares of superior for each share they own. Trading at a 15% discount right now. Thinks there is huge upside synergies once the 2 companies are merged. Dividend yield of 2.84%.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS
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