Drowning in Cash, Big Oil’s Biggest Challenge Is How to Spend It

By Bloomberg – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Big Oil’s big payday has finally arrived. The question now is how to spend the extra cash.

Investors will be reading the third-quarter tea leaves to discern whether executives plan to boost dividends and buybacks, hike spending on shiny new mega projects, or perhaps even do both.

What they do know is that fresh sources of oil and gas are needed over coming decades to meet the world’s insatiable demand for energy. Spending too much would defy the new-found commitment to financial discipline, while spending too little could choke new supplies and raise crude prices. Higher prices, in turn, may brighten the appeal of green technologies that would hasten the industry’s demise.

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Corporate Earnings Repatriation

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

A loophole in the new U.S. tax law could allow multinational corporations like Apple Inc. to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on profits stashed overseas, according to experts.

Stemming from a Republican overhaul of international business taxes, the loophole involves the tax rates – 15.5 percent or 8 percent – that companies must pay on $2.6 trillion in profits they are holding abroad.

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Interest Rates Walking on Narrow Ledge

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

There is a huge shock in store for those who have been lulled to sleep by a stock market that has become accustomed to no volatility and only an upward direction. And that alarm bell can be found in the price action of Bitcoin, which recently tumbled over 40% is less than a week. For the implosion within the cryptocurrency world foreshadows what will happen with the major averages as the Federal Reserve futilely attempts to stop monetizing the exploding mountain of U.S. debt.

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Corporate Americas Share buyback Binge only force Keeping Stock Market Bull Alive

By Sol Palha – Re-Blogged From http://tacticalinvestor.com

Share buybacks are nothing new; they have been around for decades, and in most cases, one would view this type of action under a favourable light. However, for the past few years, companies have used this technique as a ploy to hide stagnating earnings or even falling profits.  The idea is very simple, and the rewards are lucrative as most corporate officers have incentive-based rewards. Corporations borrow money for next to nothing and then use this to purchase huge blocks of shares; the number of outstanding shares drops and the EPS magically rises. Each year for the past six years the amount of money allocated towards share buybacks has soared, because as we stated, this is the fastest way to increase EPS without doing a single thing – magically.

In the good old days, companies would invest the cash they accumulated or the money they borrowed into activities that would improve the bottom line and not resort to financial gimmickry to create the illusion that all is well.  Instead of investing in their own business, corporations have been funneling huge amounts of cash towards share buyback programs.  Total payouts to shareholders which include dividends and share buybacks have increased at an unbelievable rate of 20% per year for the S&P 500 since 2009.

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December FED Rate Hike?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

It looked as if the FED had decided to go all in with money printing. And, it looked like the FED officials were lying through their teeth with all the jawboning since Janet Yellen became FED Chief. Not only was the FED continuing with ZIRP and QE money expansion, but also Negative Interest Rates. But something may have changed the last couple of weeks.

Since a month ago, interest rates have gone up. It’s not enough to call it a spike, but up nonetheless.

US Treasury Yields 110815

Short rates – on 3 month T-Bills – went from a low of -0.04% to a recent high of 0.06%, although they have settled back a little to 0.04%. However, over the rest of the yield curve, from 6 mo and 2 year up to the 10 and 30 year maturities, yields are up by a quarter percent or more.

The odds of the FED actually raising rates “officially” at their December meeting, are starting to look good.

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56.5% Tax on Dividends & US Competitiveness

Here are a pair of articles of interest – Re-Blogged From NewsMax

Top Tax on U.S. Dividends Actually 56.5 Percent

The top federal tax on dividends is stated at 23.8 percent, one of the highest rates in the developed worlds, but the total tax is actually much higher — 56.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

The current federal top marginal tax rate on dividend income is 23.8 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more and for married couples earning at least $250,000 and filing jointly.

That figure represents a 20 percent rate on dividends plus a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income to fund Obamacare.

But 43 of the 50 states also levy a tax on dividends, with the highest rate, 13.3 percent, in California, followed by Hawaii (11 percent).

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Investing in Up or Down Markets

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Stock prices can be analyzed in a number of ways, to determine whether they are high, low, or fairly priced.

The Price to Earnings Ratio (PE) takes the most recent price of the shares and divides it by the most recent earnings, usually for the last 12 months. This Trailing PE allows you to compare a company’s price today with its price last year or 5 years ago, on an apples to apples basis.

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