“It’s the Most Profitable Energy Company in the World… And You’ve Never Heard of It”

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OK, there’s two statements that really caught the eye of Gumshoe readers in this latest teaser pitch from the Oxford Club – first, that they say it’s the “most profitable energy company in the world” … and second, that they say it will triple by the end of the year thanks to a “shocking announcement.”

But if I’m being honest with myself, I have to tell you that the reason I had to cover this piece today because the subject line of the ad read, “I bet you can’t name this company.”

To which I feel professionally bound to respond, in my inimitably mature manner, “can so!”

So let’s get on it, shall we?

The ad is signed by James Boxley Cooke, aiming to get you to join the Oxford Club for $79. Here’s the pitch about what a spectacular and top-secret company this is:

“In short, a certain energy company, a business that I estimate not one in 20,000 Americans can even name, is about to make a major announcement that will launch one of the most explosive stock run-ups in recent history.

“If I told you the name of the company right now, you would likely have no clue what I was talking about.

“And yet, according to CNN, this company is nearly 12 times more profitable than Toyota… three times more profitable than WalMart… four times more profitable than ConocoPhillips.

“It’s more profitable than Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP and Chevron.

“And I’m talking bottom line profits here, not growth rate.

“Furthermore, this company manages to make more money than all these industry giants, on just a fraction of the revenue.

“It might just be the world’s most profitable company.”

Some details?

“According to their June 2012 annual report, they operate more than 6,988 wells producing natural gas, with reserves worth an astonishing $299 billion. They run 6,151 oil-producing wells. They own the largest gas transportation network in the world. They’ve installed 81 power facilities generating 37 gigawatts of power.

“They export more natural gas to Europe than any other company… And they own nearly a fifth of all worldwide supplies of natural gas.

“On top of that, they just rewarded shareholders with by far the biggest dividend increase in company history.”

And the ad says that for “one specific reason,” a “weird anomaly,” this fabulous company is three times cheaper than the competition. So who wouldn’t want to learn about something like that, right?

They also, of course, make absurd promises — such as that you might be able to “fund your entire retirement on just one stock.” That may sometimes end up being true for patient and persistent investors, but it’s certainly not something anyone should ever plan on … or promote.

They give a few examples of past wins they’ve had in their recommendations, stocks that doubled or tripled, and that’s just lovely — but of course, one stock that doubles or triples can’t “fund your retirement” unless you do something foolish like putting half your nest egg into that one stock…. and yes, like every other newsletter, I’m sure there are Oxford Club ideas over the years that they confidently expected to triple which instead fell by 50% or more (in our teaser tracking spreadsheets do have a couple 100%+ winners over the last few years like TAXI and KOG, but they also promoted possible 1,000%+ gains for a stock that turned out to be a real turkey in 2009).

Here’s another little excerpt from the long spiel about all the stuff this company does:

Irregulars Quick Take
Paid members get a quick summary of the stocks teased and our thoughts here. Join as a Stock Gumshoe Irregular today (already a member? log in at top right)
“Why Nobody Has Even Heard of (Let Alone Owns) This Stock… Yet

“The energy stock I’ve been talking about is a virtual baby in the energy business. Its first stock offering was less than 20 years ago.

“By comparison, Exxon Mobil’s origins go back nearly 150 years to the days of Standard Oil.

“But while Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and others enjoyed the benefit of a major head start, things have changed dramatically over the last few years.

“In 2012, this company’s oil exploration budget alone jumped to $6.1 billion. It will increase to $23 billion over the next three years.

“They’re opening an average of more than two new oil-producing wells every week… with 755 new oil producing wells coming online in 2011 alone.

“The firm operates gas and oil exploration projects in the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Bolivia, Russia, Algeria, Kuwait and more. As a result, they’ve set record highs for increases in gas reserves.

“The company now controls 18% of global supply. That’s approximately 35.6 trillion cubic meters, valued at around $300 billion….

“By dominating its markets, quickly expanding across the globe and consistently developing new resources, this company has created perhaps the greatest profit machine in the history of modern industry…..

“Earnings per share leapt 141%. Net profit jumped 141%. Dividend per share is up an astonishing 133%.

“Bottom line profits were nearly $45 billion. By comparison, Royal Dutch Shell had $30 billion in profits….

“Their current profit margins of 27.21% are more than double the industry average of 11.76%.”

And we hear from some outside sources, too, to help us believe that the Oxford folks aren’t just making this up:

“One of the few major analysts covering it called it a ‘mega-cheap valuation.’

“‘With the valuation insanely cheap at less than 2.7 times earnings, the stock will double as investors believe [this company] should be trading at double the current P/E multiple,’ they said.

“Forbes has called it the one ‘company investors cannot ignore.’ Adding, ‘What makes [this company] a buy is its position in the natural gas market, its massive reserves, and regional demand for the only clean burning fossil fuel around.’”

And what’s the reason that the stock is going to suddenly triple and become favored by the market? The short answer is, “it’s going to get a US listing” … here’s the longer explanation from the ad:

“To … bring the stock up to where it rightfully belongs, company executives have finally started loosening the strings.

“They now trade on the London Stock Exchange. They also have an ADR listed with The Bank of New York Mellon. Shares are traded on the over-the-counter market on the Nasdaq….

The Major Announcement… And Why it Could Triple Your Money

“This company has dominated almost every major market it’s gone after. Europe, Japan, India, China… You name it.

“But now, they’re about to go after another market…

“For the first time in company history, they’ve decided to enter the North and Latin American markets. Reports indicate they’ll target “a number of countries there, including, primarily, the United States.”

“Not only will Americans start seeing this company on billboards, TV ads and trucking gas and oil down the highways, but they’re about to see the company name on the front page of every financial newspaper across the country.

“Here’s why…

“In preparation for this big move into North America, our sources indicate that this company will soon make the shocking announcement that it will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s deepest and most liquid market.

“When this announcement hits the mainstream media, the stock will go roaring up the charts.”

Well, that’s a long littany of clues, and a lot of hype teasing the “most profitable company in the world.” So who is it?

This is, as some of you may have guessed, the Russian gas giant Gazprom (GZPD in London, OGZPY for the sponsored US ADR on the pink sheets). Gazprom’s oil subsidiary, Gazprom Neft, is also publicly traded, by the way (GAZ in London, GZPFY on the OTCQX in the US), but this teaser appears to be for the parent (Gazprom owns more than 90% of Gazprom Neft).

And what’s the “weird anomaly” that makes Gazprom so much cheaper, by most standard valuation measures, than other major oil and gas companies? Well, my guess would be that it’s the 50.002% ownership by the Russian Federation, which has strategic imperatives that aren’t necessarily the same as outside shareholders (Gazprom is one of Russia’s “National Champions” — companies that are expected not only to grow and be profitable but to benefit the Russian national interest). About 28% of the shares trade outside of Russia, in ADRs in London and NY mostly, and those shareholders are all quite aware, I’m sure, that Gazprom is controlled by Vladimir Putin and his government.

The plus side of that is, Russia won’t take Gazprom over and de-privatize it or throw the CEO in jail as they’ve done with private companies run by upstart oligarchs in the past … but that’s only because it’s not really private to begin with since the Russia government already has more than 50% of the shares and can therefore do pretty much anything they want with the company.

There are a lot of state oil companies in the world, including some that have partially privatized and kept a large government ownership, and I don’t necessarily object to all of these as a matter of course — there are some, including Petrobras (PBR) and Statoil (STO) that I’ve invested in over the years, too, and both of those have effective 50%+ control by the government, as do, I presume, the Chinese majors like PetroChina (PTR), though Chinese state ownership always seems a bit murkier. PBR, STO and PTR all trade at substantial premiums to Gazprom, which is partly a reflection of the operational opportunities and efficiencies of those companies and partly, I presume, a reflection of the relative investor concern over government interference from China, Norway and Brasil compared to Russia. Petrobras, by the way, is also a recent cautionary tale for state oil investors — they are still a huge and regionally dominant company, with large discoveries, but they are pressured on prices domestically and also strategically directed to invest heavily and rapidly in their deepwater offshore projects that are incredibly expensive (not that this is a bad strategy, but the costs are impacting near-term earnings and driving up debt).

The other risk, coming into investors minds more recently, is that Gazprom does also have some operational challenges — challenges that are leading them to invest very aggressively both in Russia and overseas to build their supplies. They went cash-flow negative in their last report (though they did have good earnings growth, thanks in large part to currency exchange rates), and reported a lower 2012 dividend than folks were expecting, but have still been growing quite nicely.

I can’t fully analyze a company this big for you in the few minutes we have together today, but the concern seems largely to be two-fold: Gas prices and demand have been down in Europe, which is Gazprom’s largest export market thanks to their easy pipeline access, with Europeans demanding lower prices now; and Gazprom is spending a LOT of money to develop fields and expand production both at home and abroad. So yes, the company is dirt-cheap, probably absurdly so, and pays a solid dividend that beats most oil companies (the trailing PE really is under 3, and dividend yield is around 6%) but there are reasons for it to be cheaper than most of the big oil companies. Whether or not it should be this much cheaper is, of course, your call to make — it is, after all, your money.

We’ve seen somewhat similar teases over the years for the most independent large Russian oil company, Lukoil (LUKOY for the ADRs), and though Lukoil has generally moved up pretty well over the years it has not closed the discount gap — it has moved up about the same as most oil companies have over the last five years, and is still trading at a PE ratio below 5, cheaper than pretty much any big energy company in the world (except for Gazprom, of course). So the fact that it’s cheap doesn’t mean it will stop being cheap anytime in the foreseeable future — Lukoil and Gazprom both have reserves, cash flow, earnings, etc. that should give them better valuations, but they also have challenges and political overhangs that could also give them even lower valuations, there’s no rule that says a cheap company has to become less-cheap on any given timeframe, particularly if the company is cheap for real and persistent reasons.

The biggest reason for the cheap valuation of Gazprom, I would argue, is the political overhang and the state control — and I can’t imagine that going away, though it does wax and wane in terms of the importance it holds in the minds of investors. A New York listing for Gazprom would very likely help the stock, at least in the short term, but I have heard no rumors or reports of that happening other than this ad from the Oxford Club, and frankly I think it’s still unlikely given Vladimir Putin’s focus on building Moscow into more of a financial center and strengthening the Moscow Stock Exchange (which is going public in an upcoming IPO) — I suspect that Putin will want Gazprom, Russia’s largest company, to trade more actively in Moscow.

It’s possible that Gazprom could get a listing on the NYSE, I don’t know, but if it does it might just take some of the volume from London and I can’t imagine that they would issue new shares that dilute the government’s control. That’s just my opinion, of course. I don’t think that would be anywhere near enough of a push to get the stock to trade at, say, seven times earnings instead of three times earnings — for that, we would need investors to revalue Russia in general and to change the way they discount Gazprom for being a “national champion.”

The bit from the tease about Gazprom tackling the US included a quote from an article, but that was a Russian article about the potential for Gazprom to export LNG to the US and Mexico. That might happen, but the more likely push from that is Gazprom partnering with Pemex to help them boost gas production in the Gulf of Mexico — shipping LNG from Russia to Mexico and the US would just be stupid. Gas is worth far more in Seoul, Tokyo, or even Rome or London than it is anywhere in the Americas, and US pipeline supplies of cheap gas from our booming shale regions are likely to depress investment demand for gas production in Mexico.

The “major analyst” they quote as calling Gazprom “Mega-Cheap” seems to be a Seeking Alpha contributor, though certainly other analysts have noted that it’s at a very low valuation — that SeekingAlpha article is here if you’d like to read the bull case, which is basically that the shares will double because investors will close the PE gap between Gazprom and other energy majors.

And the bullish Forbes quote is from a contributor who wrote a bullish article back in 2011, you can see that here. And yes, Gazprom is probably the one Russian company investors “cannot ignore”, but that’s also largely because it’s so freaking huge — Gazprom is 8% of the most widely traded Russia ETF (the Market Vextors RSX), and is a far larger holdings in other funds that aim to represent the Russian market like ERUS (19% Gazprom) or RBL (17% Gazprom).

If you want a less optimistic take, Reuters had a pretty good brief article here covering Gazprom’s most recent earnings, including quotes from some analysts who have concerns over capital spending and efficiency. There has also been recent concern about Russia loosening up the monopoly that Gazprom has over gas, partly to spur faster investment in LNG export facilities (an area where they are about as far behind the gas-exporting world as the US).

So there you have it — Gazprom’s cheap, no argument there. The Oxford Club folks seem to think it’s going to triple this year because folks will realize they’re too cheap and they’ll get a NY listing. I have invested in a few Russian companies over the years and own one now, but I can’t say that I know this company particularly well and I don’t really have any interest in buying a Russian commodity producer, even one as cheap as Gazprom — but that’s just me. What do you think? Let us know with a comment below.


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I check my net worth and my portfolio (combined from several different brokerage accounts) using Personal Capital at least once a week, it's free and brilliantly organized.
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108 Responses to “It’s the Most Profitable Energy Company in the World… And You’ve Never Heard of It”

  1. Also this, from Reuters yesterday:
    ‘A Kremlin energy commission will
    consider a request on Wednesday from a Gazprom rival
    for rights to export liquefied natural gas, chipping away at the
    state’s gas export monopoly which could lead to broader reform.’


  2. Travis; Thanks for all the articles. They are great. I had some direct experience of the management of GazProm some 15 years back and I echo your thoughts. They are a lumbering, bureaucratic monster that have Putin’s hand on the tiller. They blunder about threatening their customers ( Ukraine for example ) and seem not to realise that Germany et al can see an analogy when it is demonstrated to them. Their resources are enormous and they have superb infrastructure into their captive markets but shareholder value is a crumpled paper in the boardroom.


  3. Well if I want to triple my money I’d rather bet on a small biotech that promises it will be able to grow my hair back.


  4. Actually, LUKOY was primed to bust out in 2008, but got cut in half instead. It’s slow recovery still hasn’t made up for that 2008 loss. Once Europe becomes customers of our shale oil & gas industry, these Russian giants w/b fighting to keep their share of the export trade. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mexico discovers a few shale formations in the near future. WHAT PEAK OIL???


    • Gazprom may be a monopoly in Russia, but not in Europe or the world, where prices are set by world markets, not by Russia, and competition is plentiful, with Norway’s Statoil (also State owned) breathing down its back, followed by Libya, Algerian and Nigerian state-owned energy companies, and LNG deliveries increasing from multiple sources.


  5. A view from the UK. Yes, I agree Travis & Dave this company has grown by using its monopoly and state backing to eat up its rivals in Russia (think of the government campaign against its targets like TNK -BP or Shell just as it was going to make a profit). It keeps secret its prices and bullies its clients (Ukraine is being charged for not using gas!) and it made itself the only pipeline into Europe, successfully blocking any others. Europe has switched away from Gazprom’s high prices so Gazprom has the choice to lose market share or lower prices.
    Gazprom has not made its money using new technology or by introducing efficiencies or exploiting shale gas. It has made it by being a monopoly and in its own market it has absolute price control – domestic gas prices are higher than in the USA. If you look at its output figures they have fallen over quite a number of years. Typical monopoly behaviour – keep the price up by reducing the product. You could say that Gazprom, despite the state owning the controlling share, is so big it operates in its own interests. Gazprom effects the political landscape in Russia – it has managed to acquire enough assets to become the largest electric producer in Russia as well and has special tax exemptions.
    It is not going to go away but shareholders are unlikely to see value despite Putin saying state companies should pay out 25% of profits. If there are successful competitors to Gazprom (like if other Russian companies are allowed to also export LNG) maybe they will have to lower prices and become more efficient. Keep watching but buy elsewhere.


  6. All of what you say is key to this investment Travis, and why it IS, HAS BEEN, and may continue to be cheap. But the recent shifting of more funds into stocks, sentiment, yada yada, AND including a Wall Street launch, you have to consider if they can actually lure a lot of US money into Gasprom. Perhaps this will be easier than you or I think, now that buying momentum has been established, and a big gainer will generate the self fulfilling promotion needed to sail Gasprom all the way to “fairly valued multiples”.
    Vladamir Putin is now president of the G20, Putin’s agenda to replace the dollar in its role as a world reserve currency was communicated in a letter he gave the G20 membership in their meeting last Fall. I think it was reported on Zero Hedge. What an irony this Gasprom fundraiser will appear to be if such a resolution were to be approved, say in the Fall G20 get together.


    • Karen I am all so in my 60′s and I have been lucky enough to have started investing about 30 years ago. I started out letting the money guys do it for me and I never made enough to buy a setting hen with. My wife has one old fund that has not come back fro the 2000 crash. She hangs on for god knows why,but its hers alone so I just let old dogs lie. My advice is if you don’t have one get you a acct. with one of the cheap stock trader’s so your trading is cheap. Than look at place’s like Gumshoe to get ideals of what to buy. Do your home work and buy small ,100 share’s or less at first. Don’t make the mistake many do and only buy cheap stocks.Remember a $2.00 stock is that cheap for a reason. Don’t be afraid to sell if a stock starts falling for a reason. Good investing is not setting thinking a sinking ship will not sink. In the world of discount brokers you can all ways buy a stock back if you where wrong and sold to quick. Just don’t let the world pass you by because you are afraid to go buy a stock.
      Good luck and go make some easy money,its better than being a greeter at wally world.


      • Thanks so much for your kind advise. I do have an Etrade account that I dipped my foot in the water with about 5 years ago, and believe me when I say I was tentative, never ever bought over 100 shares! Didn’t want to lose money. Surprisingly it has remained a little bit over what I have put in there. It was down during the bust in 2008-2009 but has come back up. I’m afraid I am a buy and hold type of person, could never be a day trader, that is way too nerve racking for me. I am so happy to have found this site and want to learn from all.


        • There is a low risk way to make lots of income with minimum down side potential. I have been using it the last 10 years. This is the Municipal and industrial bond market. It is been possible to make 6% tax free with little risk of loss. It is a buy and hold strategy that works like a money printing press. I live very comfortable on this income stream and sleep well at night.


        • Think or swim from TDAmeriatrade offers an amazing piece of software for its clients.
          It allows you to learn to trade using make-believe paper money to trade all the various markets… options; Forex; Stocks; Equities and Equities Options There are lots of education videos available.


  7. As a brand new member and trying to get an economics degree in a short amount of time in the school of hard knocks, I value very much the expert opinions I see represented here. I have so very much to learn. We are in our 60′s and thought we had positioned ourselves well enough to survive and leave some to our two sons. Now with all the unheaval I see and making nothing on what we have saved, I have become scared and don’t know what to do. I am tired of having our money with money managers (had 5) they have all made money and we have lost money. I should have bitten this bullet a long time ago, but will not chastise myself and just start where I am and try to make a difference. Most of our savings are in bonds at the moment and I want to get out of them, but my husband asks me where am I going to put it? I really don’t have the answers. I subscribed to all these different newsletters and I think most of them are all marketing hype and I am sick of if you want the answer to something subscribe to another newsletter! I was so happy to have found this website, maybe in time before it is too late I will get more clarity. Thanks for allowing me to learn from all of you. And no I would not be interested in this stock period! :-)


    • I quite agree with you about this stock Karen, and I’ll add that I’m not too thrilled with Chinese stocks either.
      Do be brave however and dip your toes in the stock market. You really can’t beat the sense of empowerment you get from being in charge of your own account (for better or for worse! But a lot cheaper worse!)
      I took over my retirement accounts from the expensive stockbrokers in 2006 and consolidated them into one Schwab IRA . Trading fees were more expensive then but still so much cheaper than the awful fees I paid to the brokerage firms.
      I have some favorite stocks on the conservative side of my Schwab account that I will buy more of when I get more cash: PG – Proctor & Gamble, KO – Coca Cola (like them even better since the stock split) and JNJ – Johnson & Johnson. They’re all dividend-paying stocks and I set them to have the dividends reinvested. (I don’t know if you can do that with E-trade and I believe you can’t with Scottrade). While I do think of them as buy-and-hold stocks, I still keep my eye on how they’re faring in the market.
      I also have been happy with two foreign stocks: BNS Bank of Nova Scotia and SSL SASOL. They’re both dividend-paying stock but due to the way these foreign stocks are set up, I can’t get the dividends reinvested.
      A fund I’ve been happy with is TGLDX Toqueville Gold Fund. I own gold stock too but those companies might be too volatile for your tastes.
      I don’t buy stocks “at market price”; I use a limit price, even if it means I have to wait a few weeks before I get the price I want to pay (or don’t get it!), and I also set the timing to be “Good Until Canceled.”
      Hope this helps!


      • Scottrade is setting up a dividend reinvestment program…to be available in the
        near future. Scottrade is my favorite online discount broker..it has one of the
        easiest and consumer friendly web site; Ameritrade also offers reinvestment on
        some stocks. I also use the DRIP option (direct reinvestment) offered by some
        companies through their Transfer Agent…look on the company’s website for direct investment availability.
        Personally, I do not invest in mutual funds….you pay a high investment fee, often
        hidden, and you’re part of the crowd…not as easy to sell or know the funds price
        except at the end of the day…whereas a stock’s price is always available.
        except at the end of the day….


        • Thanks for the info on Scottrade and dividend reinvesting, ML.
          I have a (small) Roth IRA account there and am in the throes of rolling over an old 401k of my son’s into a Scottrade IRA for him. I’ve been researching what stock to buy for his account, bearing in mind that dividends couldn’t be reinvested. Now I might have to rethink!


        • I know – so sad about TGLDX. If only I’d had a crystal ball like the newsletter stock pushers; then I’d have known that gold stocks would have descended and I’d have sold TGLDX back then.
          I still have 1/3 of my GFI shares too. More sadness. However, the other 2/3 I’ve sold at very nice prices over the years. However, I’ve been thinking about the comment somewhere in this thread about not being married to your shares. Maybe GFI has to go, but what to replace them with? Or do I wait all over again for gold and mining stocks to rise again? They’ve done it before.
          Thanks, Travis, for pointing out how polite & helpful the comments are on the days’ articles. It’s so true and I always read them.
          Thanks everyone for your courteous participation in this site.


    • Karen, I really feel with you and I admire your courage to take your finances into your hands. The more you learn about investing, the less you will be lead by the nose by promoters.
      I am an old lady (77) and in my younger years I worked on Wall Street and have a formal education in security analysis. I would like to make a few comments that would make your task more manageble. I manage the retirement funds of my daughter, who is a busy corporate lady. I looked at her 401-K in 2009, and saw happened to it, so we decided to take it away from the company and invest it ourselves.
      To find good companies is only the first step. You have to build a balanced portfolio to reduce the risk of all your investments getting a hit at the same time. Your investments have to be monitored constantly, because industries, politics, economic cycles, technology constantly change.
      If you have portfolio of let’s say 25-30 investments, the monitoring will eat up your life.
      The most practical way to get diversification is to use mutual funds. Of course, not all funds are created equal. I research funds on the Schwab website. They have an amazing website that lets me rank, sort, compare by scores of criteria almost all the funds you can buy in the US.
      This gives you the benefit to have a professional monitor the holdings for you. It may be worth your time to get into their research website just to learn the the different metircs to evaluate investments in a quantitative manner. Next to each entry there is a little blue mark, if you click on it you get the explanation.

      I use e-Trade for stock research. What I best like about them is that you can find out about insider trading. Not quite up to date, but often it gives you a general idea. This is my first step. If I see that the C-Suit has been heavy sellers all year, I save myself the trouble to look further.
      Good luck to you.


      • Suzanne—Are you making money with your mutual fund investments? The statistics say that managed funds typically do worse than the market.


        • I’ve been pleased with my mutual fund investments. Most of mine are index funds with extremely low expenses (Vanguard), the rest are managed funds with relatively low expenses (Vanguard and Fool funds). On average both my index funds and managed funds have done what I wanted them to do – some track the market and some do better or worse than that market as a whole but provide a measure of diversification.


    • Karen, give this web site a perusal: http://www.betterinvesting.org/public/default.htm NAIC is a nonprofit club based (but you can join as an individual) stock selection educator that will teach you how to evaluate stocks on your own, or you can just select their monthly picks. The price is very reasonable, and they follow the same principals Buffett uses, having learned from the same mentor he learned from (Benjamin Graham).

      Other than via mutual funds I was stuck with while investing for my 401K, I’ve never been inclined to buy bonds since retiring a few years ago.


        • Yes, I see the link leads to a site down message, so try again in a few days or just do a search of Better Investing. Here is the problem as they put it:
          Websites are Temporarily Down

          Due to an extreme weather event in Southeast Michigan, the servers supporting the BetterInvesting and ICLUBcentral websites and data services are currently down due to power and internet availability issues.

          We are investigating and will bring the sites up as soon as possible.
          Thank you for your patience while we work through these issues.


    • Hi, Karen —

      As President Clinton was wont to say, “I feel your pain!” I was in your position about a year ago, and I feel like I wasted too much time and effort in getting started. Hope the following tome helps you a tad.

      I agree with the other members about Scottrade ( http://www.scottrade.com ). The fees are reasonable: $7.00 per trade using their website, regardless of size of trade; and $0.00 or $17.00 for ETFs and Mutual Funds , depending on whether or not there is a load or built-in transaction fee. I think the minimum amount for a new account is $500.00.

      They handle traditional or Roth IRAs, and there are no annual fees, setup fees, or termination fees.

      Accounts have access to three research firms – S&P Capital IQ’s Stock Report, Thomson Reuters StockReport+, and Second Opinion Weekly Report. There is a relatively good charting service for technical analysis.

      There is software called “Scottrade Elite” for more involved technical analysis. Personally I’m not into technical analysis. It’s too complicated for me.

      They have a free dividend investment service where you can invest your dividends in stocks other than the one that gave you the dividend. It’s possible to invest all of your dividends (up to five, I think) in just one stock .

      The people at their local branches are great resources for information about their services, but they cannot recommend specific stocks.

      By the way – I’m not a Scottrade employee – I’m just a relatively satisfied customer.

      Other sources I use, pretty much in order of importance, are

      * http://stockgumshoe.com ( Of course! ) (It’s well worth the pittance for admittance to become an irregular member. There is a wealth of information in the comments by the membership, many of whom are experienced investors. The stocks talked about are frequently too esoteric for me, possibly because I’m still being educated but more probably because the stocks would seem to not be profitable in the relatively near future. However, I have discovered a few that I understand and are worth buying. )

      * http://investorplace.com (tons of great articles and sometimes good recommendations. Be sure to do your own research on the stock being recommended.).

      * http://www.fool.com (the commentary on individual stocks in the members section, which is free. I don’t recommend any of their paid services).

      * http://www.zacks.com (has free up-to-date buy-hold-sell recommendations).

      * http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/ (also has free up-to-date buy-hold-sell recommendations).

      * http://finance.yahoo.com and http://www.google.com/finance (all kinds of information – news, charts, prices, company information, etc.

      Some closing thoughts –
      When deciding to buy a stock based on a recommendation, always research the stock and look for a confirmation, or better yet, confirmations, from other sources that the stock is a good investment.
      Have only 5 or 6 stocks in your portfolio so that it’s easy to monitor their status. (Thanks, Alan!) Have another three or four researched so you can replace one in your portfolio if you think it’s necessary.

      Be diversified. Have most of your stocks in different sectors, such as energy, consumer staples, healthcare, basic materials, industrial goods, transportation, etc.

      At my age, (I’m old enough to be your father) I have to stick to well-known stocks with a history of good dividends and, hopefully, capital appreciation. Some candidates are McD, AT&T, JNJ, KO, VZ, INTC, and BA. (I’m not recommending them – do your own research)..

      I have two items that I look at as safety cushions – VFINX, a Vanguard Index of the S&P 500, which pays a dividend, and BRK.B, which is Buffet’s poor man’s version of BRK.A. BRKA is over $178,000 per share, BRK.B is just over $100.00 per share.. It does not pay a dividend, but I feel the downside won’t be as bad as the market as a whole if the market tanks. So far the capital appreciation has been good for me.

      If you take advantage of any “free” offers for news letters and stock recommendations, use a temporary email address in order to prevent a deluge of spam. http://getairmail.com/ is one that you can try.

      Follow Warren Buffet’s advice – Invest in great companies at a fair price, not fair companies at great prices. Take a look at http://www.buffettsecrets.com/price-to-pay.htm and http://www.coattailinvestor.com/ .

      Hope this helps!


      • As you sow, so shall ye reap. Great advice above and offered in the purest Gumshoe spirit. Like Travis, you have done your research, spoken your unbiased truth, added to the knowledge base expecting nothing in return.
        Congratulations Hi Pockets on a well deserved hat tip from our mentor.


    • Hi Karen,
      If you are short of time to manage a portfolio and rather spend your time looking for a part-time job for additonal income, check out the lazy portfolios at http://www.lazyportfolioadvice.com. That website is free and won’t attempt to sell you anything. It also contains links to other lazy portfolio websites.
      Good luck!


    • Karen,

      I hope you’re still reading comments directed toward you. I found myself clicking here when Travis linked up to this particular comment section to show how useful reading them can be. I too will congratulate you on taking full responsibility for what is YOUR retirement. I do still use a financial planner myself, but I have one who is very inexpensive. However, through some of the sites others recommend (it sounds like Scottrade is the winner there), you can certainly build a portfolio hat will allow you to sleep well at night, and furthers your retirement goals.

      A few quick things I wanted to mention; I also use Zack’s – a wealth of information available for research if you don’t mind getting a few emails every day trying to get you to subscribe to upgrades (which may or may not be worth the price, I’ve not subscribed to any). I also enjoy the Daily Reckoning, although you are really opening the floodgates on spam with that one, since you become a part of the massive Agora Financial mailing list. However, the ability to read Bill Bonner’s articles a couple of times a week is priceless. Try to search his stuff out on the web if you don’t want to subscribe. He’s a pretty savvy “big picture” guy who I find entertaining and intelligent. Morningstar has a free fund tracking service that allows you to see your funds’ ratings from them, as well as their performance over a set period of time – somewhat useful. And don’t rule out the very free MSN Stockscouter service. I find it handy to look at the rating to get a feel for what the general public’s feel for a stock is – a testing of the waters, if you will.

      Once again, good luck, and stay connected with Travis for his excellent advice and analysis. Stock Gumshoe is a great service that really gives you an opportunity to find out things that would otherwise cost you a fair bit of cash to find out. And you get witty analysis along with it. A true win-win. Best of luck, and enjoy your investing future.


    • Hello Karen,
      I too became disillusioned with my returns from an investment advisor ( an independent with LPL)
      I decided to do some research and discovered i was in mediocre funds with high costs that seemed to benefit my advisor more than myself.
      I moved everything to Fidelity. They have good research tools and many funds and Etfs trade for free.They also have portfolio tools to let you check for overall diversification.
      i wouldn’t rule out all mutual funds. there are some good ones from Fidelity and Vanguard with no load and less than .75% annual fees.
      Look at VDIGX for dividend growth or Villx for a balanced fund and Pondx for an income fund.
      Do not buy any individual Chinese stocks. i learned this the hard way with PUDA.
      You should always do you own research .If you take the time and use common sense you can have safe and steady returns without paying someone else 2% of your portfolio whether you are making or losing money.


    • When I was in college (early 1960′s) and worked in the evening at the home office of a
      brokerage firm I took a break once and went to have a beer with several account reps. One
      said to all of us: ” I had a big transaction today; I made money, the firm made money and tow out three is not bad”. In the New Testament Matthew probably understood economics and
      finance best. Matthew 24 cover this situation. Matthew 25 covers most of the others.
      I suggest you read both chapters once weekly. Especially Matthew 25 whenever you are
      going to make an important trade.


    • I’ve been pleased with Merrill Lynch for stocks and ETFs – I keep some cash in BofA and a linked investment account with Merrill Lynch so they give me 30 trades a month for free (I never use that many) and some pretty good research tools. I use Vanguard directly for funds and ETFs – no costs to buy or sell their products.
      I recently reviewed my personal performance as an investor in individual stocks. I’d thought I’d done well with my stocks (and have certainly not done poorly), but especially for the last 4 years I would have had even better performance just putting the money I’ve allocated to stocks in a broad stock market ETF or fund (VTI or VTSAX) which was a bit disappointing to discover.


    • Hi Karen,
      you might also want to check this out if you want something other than/aswell as stocks

      I found the Bank on yourself program the early part of 2011 and started putting the monies I had been using for my IRA (above and beyond my employer match ) into that. SO I still had a large amount of money still in the IRA and because of my age couldn’t get at it without all the penalties etc.
      I was given some ‘good advice’ at the end of 2011 which led me to getting out of my Vanguard funds into a stable income fund’ cash’- this just before everything actually went UP-UP-UP…so I didn’t lose any money BUT I sure didn’t make any of the gains either. So I suppose that is LOST money…No advice when to get back in and with no confidence I hve been sitting on the sidelines. But now I’m of an age I will check into the Bank on yourself program and how to move into another of their ‘investments’- single premium.


    • I have been told that this is a stupid plan, (because it does not protect against inflation) however I have bought an annunity. As I age the house will pay off, the student loans for my kids will pay off. I might need less later on. Or have more. Unless inflation gets really bad and SSI is over. You being a new member I got to say, Travis and the think-o-lator are the best. The people commenting are great. They are a very smart crowd. I always like it better when he does the think-o-later, make’s it seem more magic like. I like that. The reason for the annunity is I think we might be Japan, A long period of deflation. I might be very wrong on this one, but it’s a done deal now. I keep a very small trading account , keep 10% stop losses on anything I buy. Because I’m bad at it. Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at. Sometimes I will re-buy what I just lost 10% on and lose again. But sometimes I get lucky. Sometime’s I will come out ahead, it usally moves beyond all the loser’s. I keep trying, Travis keeps you moving in the right direction.


    • Welcome to the family. I started about 10 years ago doing my own investing [64] now because all brokers did was lose money and make nice commissions churning the account. That being said I READ all the teasers then get the real scoop from Travis. The reality since I joined here my portfolio has increased approx 15% per year and I am up many times that. The key is we will never have the education like he has but twe can get smarter. I started out as a buy and hold then learned there is a time to let go. Yes building dividend income is good for retirement but sometimes that great dividend champion becomes a laggard so moving the funds to another better performing one makes sense.good luck on your journey. We are all in the same boat albiet more or less money to invest


  8. great article on oxford club. I belong but have not got into anything because of your article’s. thanks for the insight and I also don’t want the company either.


  9. This is a nice assessment. Just a few short years ago most of us in this sector of the world were criticizing the ‘commies’ for having state run monopolies that were inefficient and bureaucratic. What’s changed in reality is….nothing. Gazprom is cheap for a reason. I certainly wouldn’t bet on it and certainly not because some mediocre analyst at a financial newsletter came up with an idea for which they had to hire a specialty copywriter whose focus is on hyperbole! If you were to take a survey of all of the investment newsletters out there with their ‘success rate’ on their reco’s, they would be dismal performers on the average. I saw some stats last year and the AVERAGE numbers for the success rate on reco’s was under 50% with the very top tier around 61%. Those aren’t good numbers. I’ve subscribed to newsletters in the past and I’ll say from experience that most of the time one is better off learning the skills to analyze businesses, investments and economic cycles and picking their own securities via the aid of Investors Business Daily or Value Line and following a discipline; Or do what I’ve done and deal in local 100% secured investments in first mortgage liens on income property for consistent and solid double digit (or at least high single digit) returns. Leaving one’s money in the hands of a “money manager” is a sure ticket to disappointment and possible travail. The best course is to learn, educate oneself & take the helm….but don’t take risk!
    Eric J.
    Bradenton, FL


  10. I believe that there are several stocks at the present time available on the US exchanges that offer a lot of up side potential over the next 1 to 5 years. One that comes to mind is Cal Dive International (DVR). A company that I feel is undervalued at $1.84 at this posting. I believe that things in the Middle East will explode (possibly this year) which will drive oil and gas prices to the moon temporarily. This will put pressure on the US government to release oil and gas permits more aggressively and issue permits to build ports for export faster. We will see (in my opinion) the kind of stocks mentioned earlier of good solid companies soar at that time. I might also add that investing in the right kind of ETFs as oil and gas prices rise will make loads of returns when the world realizes that we don’t need OPEC to supply all the gas and oil needed for many years to come and prices pull way back. With that, I would never invest in any company that a government controls and obviously has it’s own agenda and not the interest of investors in mind. Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the energy markets this year. I believe that there’s going to be a lot of money to be made right here at home.


  11. Olivan Leach is a smart guy, and most likely an Investors Business Daily subscriber at one point in time. That is their philosophy, Buy into strong companies within current industry uptrends. Unless you are willing to oversee the market every hour it’s open, don’t bother with the day trading mentality. The obvious current boom is in natural gas stocks, and I recommend the pipeline transmission companies, as the producing companies are extracting 50% more gas than they can move to market. Go LONG on companies such as NI, EDP, WMB, RRC, COG, MWE, CQP, TGP, GLNG, EEP. avoid ETP.
    We will become wealthy with patience and long holdings having these stocks and a few others I failed to mention . Oh BTW I live in the hotbed of Marcellus shale producing country in SW, PA. An amazing amount of investment here by RRC, MWE and more planned by NI, WMB. and others. The pipeline transmission companies are set to achieve large returns once they finish projects that will get gas to Gulf coast. RRC alone has raised it’s reserves to like 28 % higher than just a year ago. There are gas processing plants slated for the WV panhandle and a cracker plant by Shell Oil in Beaver Co. PA. They need to get the Utica gas out of Ohio across the Ohio river and sent south to the Gulf, which will highly benefit GLNG and TGP. Just so much money to be made in this industry, but not overnight. Go Long Be Happy.


  12. I too have been investing for awhile and I like all these “tease” suggestions, now that I get them for a very modest “irregulars” subscription. The suggestions all sound great, but my big winners have been precious metals. With the currency wars, it seems that those winners will go and go. Got in when gold was $330/oz; now it’s $1,650/oz. I expect it to soften to, say, $1,400 or so, and then hit $2,000/oz this year. Haven’t seen any “teases” about precious metals, yet that’s what would interest me the most.


  13. I thorouhgly enjoy your analyses as I tend to believe the build up of these stocks. I am a housewife who decided I could guess as well as some broker, but could have made mistakes without you. Thank you.


  14. Karen I didn’t mean for you to get into day trading. Oh far from it. Day trading is a fools game. Buy and hold though as far as I see it went out the door when we have markets falling apart like we have the last few years. I just can’t see setting there and watching a big co. go down 50 ,90% and not selling. When you pay less than $10 to sell or buy it just don’t make me feel to well to not move on untill it gets better. As far as being afraid to loss money,we are all afraid to loss. It is called learning though and some times its a cheap education we are paying for. So its better to loss some times than to never know what we can do if we just set and wait to die in a broke pile.
    Good luck Karen


  15. I am definitely not interested in Russian investments and fairly cool to China as well. Not because I don’t believe one can be successful there but because I believe the Russian Oligargchy that controls oil and gas is something to avoid. In China one has to avoid the small companies and only deal with the Airlines, Bidu, Oil companies etc. as many of the small companies tend to be run in a dishonest fashion.


  16. Many thanks for your efforts – especially when you look at the Motley Fool’s teasers.
    Especially the long lecture I listened too last week — what a waste of time — and I killed it before I got to denouement.


  17. I don’t know how I came upon your website, but it is an absolute blessing. I had inquired after one newsletter and have since been absolutely inundated by constant pushing from every aspect. Each one stated they had the answer to my family’s future security. And with each newsletter I became more nervous. You’re intelligent and thorough analysis of these hyper pushing newsletters, have made me able to relax and understand what’s going on. I have since I canceled all but one and that one I’m waiting for their Blockbuster news so I can send it onto you and get the real truth. Thank you for sharing your ‘smarts’ in an easy-to-read and straightforward way. It has taken me a long time, I’m well into my 80s, but I’m finally learning to look more deeply into investments. I’ve always done that with people.


  18. I want to echo the comment made by Olivian Leach…that buy-and-hold went out long ago. We are NOT obligated to keep a stock as it loses half its value. A sell costs me only about $8.00 with an online account, and another $8.00 to buy it back if I want to do so.

    So I think a wise approach is to sell any stock that falls about 12% below its high. I do not allow an argument with myself. I simply sell.

    Karen…selling at a 12% drop is called a “stop-loss” policy. This policy very effectively stops the losses. Funds from the sale can then be put in some other stock (that is NOT falling, but in an up-trend pattern).

    Another way to think is this: Never marry a stock. Get rid of losers as quickly as you can.


  19. With so many negatives in the world right now, anyone that doesn’t have at least a decade before they might need to start using their life savings is foolhardy to gamble in stocks. Everyone, including Jim Cramer, thought that Apple was the savior for both our GDP and investors. We have learned that even the giants can fall. There are millions of baby boomers retiring every year, and my guess is that they won’t risk their life savings on risky investments. Most American corporations, like our Federal Government, carry significantly more debt than cash. Revenue might be good, but that may be temporary if our economy stays sluggish. Just ask CEO’s of Hostess Brands or American Airlines. About the only thing that one might be able to count on is that in the future, natural resources are going to rise in price. Those commodities that sell on the Chicago Board of Trade that are at multiple year lows are going to be sound investments. Natural gas and lumber are just two examples that are going to do well into the future. Both have exchange traded funds, UNG is one example in natural gas and CUT is an example in lumber. Another sure thing is that interest rates are going up in the future. When that happens, exchange traded funds like TLF and TBT that bet on bond values going down are going to rise. The only risk in these types of investments are timing, since no one knows when interest rates will rise or when economic recovery is going to occur. There are numerous companies that pay solid dividends like CXS, ARLP, LMT, VZ and others where earnings are sufficient to maintain or grow the dividends, however, be wary of companies where the earnings are less than the dividend. That could pose not only a risk for a decrease or termination of the dividend, but could also result in a large decrease in the stock price.


  20. Blue in Florida says:

    For decades the USSR sucked excellent oil out of Baku and other neighbors and never really exploited their own vast supplies of oil and gas. Why? Russia has the dirtiest oil in the World, which should stay in the ground! Putin runs business like the Mafia, crushing all who dare to defy him. Pipelines out of Baku and other incredible resources around the Black Sea and elsewhere could easily feed the “Stans” countries all the way to China. Why did the Soviets want Afghanistan so badly? We all sit around and watch as our current government follows a Putin-like strategy: Shutting down the life-blood TRP pipeline for no sane reason, holding up permits on trillions of dollars of oil and gas projects, cutting deals with Buffet and his railroad to further kill the TransCanadian and tens-of-thousands of jobs, and on and on. Canada must have condensates, which we have enough to gag on and we must have dirt cheap tar sands oil. Why again is production of NGL being slowed by our fearless leaders and what authority do they have to run oil corporations like Putin’s State operations?


  21. Interesting comment on UNG, By A.M Deist. UNG was $500 less than 10 years ago, now about $18. The most recent quarterly report 10-Q, shows $23 million in Treasury and Money market funds:

    What is this? I believed that it was a “natural gas fund”. Am I wrong or are these more deceptive marketers? ( like the “Oil Trust” bandits. MV Oil Trust is $26, with 13 years to go in the trust payments, and supposedly yields 10.4% ($2.70 per year). Except that they cleverly deceive us by not telling us that $2 per year will be lost in the next 13 years, since this will have no value at the end. MVO would then really yield 70 cents per year, or 3%, NOT 10%!) cheers


    • Roger: UNG wasn’t trading 10 years ago, however in 2007 it was trading in the $51 range. The reason for the drop was that spot natural gas prices came near ten year lows during winter 2011-2012. If you noted in my original comment, I didn’t suggest buying a natural gas ETF 10 years ago, however, I am suggesting one might want to do so today.


      • Hi A.M. – If you look on the marketwatch.bigcharts site http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=ung&insttype=&freq=2&show=&time=13
        It appears that UNG was trading 10 years ago, at $500. Yes it may be a better investment now, but the question remains, what happened? It seems there is no “investment” per se, it is all US treasuries and CD’s, when you go to the SEC edgar site for quarterly reports. Thus it is all leveraged options, which can be very volatile, and such, are not truly tied or backed by the commodity, yes? It’s not like shares in a gas producer company. Same with BOIL, someone is making a futures contract on your behalf. YES?


        • Roger: You are correct about BOIL, UNL and UNG doing futures and option contracts. The reason, however, that it is a good investment now is because it is at multiple year lows. And you are right that some of the products are very volatile. But, from what I have seen, these funds track natural gas prices, and there isn’t a commodity that will stay at multiple year lows for an extended period. While economics works on a supply-demand curve, it seems that when supply rules, demand starts going up because of cheaper prices, or supply starts dropping because of the costs to produce that supply versus the gains to be made by selling it at low prices. There is one thing that you can put in the bank. No commodity will ever go bankrupt. It might go out of existence, but if that happens, the price will skyrocket before it is gone. The main risk to commodities is that there will be a replacement that could significantly reduce demand, but that normally takes decades. We have been talking about coming off oil for probably more than 100 years, yet we are no closer than we were 100 years ago.


          • A.M. – I agree that nat gas is probably one of the best commodity opportunities. I have worked with Westport in Canada, almost 15 years ago, and it really has not gone very far in that time. The question in my mind is are we better “speculating” with a BOIL or UNG, or with a gas company, with resources in the ground, instead of a peice ofpaper for a “futures” price? Something “in the ground” somehow feels better to me. The the questions is, which company is “the best” to invest in?
            Thanks. Roger


    • BonnieEmber: You had better google Gazprom risks before jumping into the fire. Don’t believe everything you read in newsletters. There are great investments in Russia, but even if Gazprom does come on our exchange, I would be wary. And if you believe it is a good investment, you should having your broker buy it on the London or Frankfort Exchange and not wait. It might not get listed in the United States.


  22. Dear A.M.

    This is a very young company compared with the 150 year old Chevron.
    Might as well get onboard, while she is still unknown in America.
    Once a few analysts pick her up, & she is in the Limelight, she will do well.
    There is too much global demand for LNG. Fed Ex, Wal Mart, et al are converting their Trucks to LNG.
    …that is until 3D printing, makes trucking goods, obsolete.

    So, enjoy the ride up & thank you for your comments.

    Please share everything that you see from the Crow’s Nest, as well.
    If you went through the wringer, in ’08, like most of us, This may just be the Newbie Stock that we all need.
    Time alone will tell.


    • Bonnie: As I was saying Gazprom (GXPFY) has many risks. It is down 10.9 percent from its closing price on January1st this year, even though natural gas and oil are both up.


  23. BonnieEmber: I totally agree with you on the bright future of Natural Gas. That said, I feel that an ETF like BOIL is a much better investment than a Russian Company. It also offers options for covered calls to help lower downside risk while waiting. And if you like Russia for investing, YNDX is a much better bet. Like Google in the United States and Baidu in China, YNDX is the one in Russia. I agree with your comment about the future of natural gas. There are about four industrial commodities that are at multiple year lows. Natural gas dropped when fracking started exceeding the demand, but demand is going to catch up and exceed supply in the future. It is also with little doubt that interest rates are going to rise in the future. ETF’s like TLF and TBT are good investments for the future in that area. You can have your Gazprom. I will stick with BOIL.


  24. Roger: Of the top 10 companies involved in natural gas, there are only two with more cash than debt. The largest XOM pays a dividend of 2.6%, while CVX pays a dividend of 3.1%. Were I to pick, I would invest in CVX. The concern I would have, however, would be a market selloff, which will take all boats down. I feel more comfortable with a pure play on natural gas, since it isn’t as risky to S&P selloffs.


  25. Roger: Here is a prime example of why I like BOIL rather than a company. Today, natural gas was up, but all the major companies that deal in natural gas were down. I am bearish on our markets with an unknown future and a clear end to QE coming sooner rather than later.
    xom -1.68%
    chk -6.78%
    wprt -2.36%
    cvx -2.09%
    clne -2.59%
    boil +7.12%


  26. I’ve owned Niska for over a year, rode it down from much higher. My bad, but one aspect of owning a low price high yield stock is that you sure accumulate a lot of shares fast if you’re re-investing the dividends. Some of us older guys have to reach for returns, but if I had 30 years to invest for retirement I would not bother with most of the crap newsletters promote. Instead I would invest in stocks from a high quality company with a history of increasing dividends over many years.


  27. Roger: The proof is in the facts. I have made 12.9% in the past two months on BOIL. I sold covered calls and didn’t maximize my profits, but lowered my downside risks. I am now taking reverse positions in oil and natural gas, as world economies and higher temperatures will put a strain on both. I also like the 10 year treasury bear because the FED is going to end buying treasuries sometime soon, and rates are going up. Also, the two largest buyers of our debt are now the FED and American citizens, and both are going to take a bath when rates rise. Irrespective of what the FED does to unwind its holdings, they are going to lose billions, and I am hoping our Congress doesn’t use taxpayers dollars to bail them out.


    • Dean: Most of the royalty trusts have a greater payout than they do earnings. Dorchester Minerals is one that has been touted as a good one by some gurus, and Jim Cramer is ususally talking about Kinder Morgan. Permian Basin (PBT) is one of the very few that has greater earnings $1.16 than it’s 5.8 percent 73 cent payout.


      • I started a number of years ago with a Broker when the discount brokers did not exist.
        I was put into mutual funds but when allowed, did it myself. With Fidelity. But kep a small account with a broker. Could ask for advice that discounts do not give. Somehow managed to increase my small holdings. Got out in time in 1987 but not so swift in 2000 an 2008.
        Over time, I did start to eliminate the funds and chose stocks not always well. Remember Worldcom? And Viatel?
        Now I am in retirement and hold high dividend stocks, and MLP’s such as Kinder Morgan and EPP which give good dividends or payouts. But, I hold them in IRA’s as the IRS paperwork on them is so difficult (for me) But, beware to keep the income low as I have learned that if it is over $2000 a year in an IRA you have to report for tax. Do not know whether that rule still exists.
        High dividend paying stocks are the best for people like Karen as well.
        I do subscribe to a number of investment papers also. Just for ideas.


        • claudina wrote: “But, I hold them in IRA’s as the IRS paperwork on them is
          so difficult (for me) But, beware to keep the income low as I have
          learned that if it is over $2000 a year in an IRA you have to report
          for tax.”
          Last I saw (during my 2012 income tax preparation), It is NO MORE
          THAN $1000 per year income from MLPs.


  28. Whenever we deal with a state owned company, I suspect that beside business interests
    they must abide to state dictated instructions, sometimes for political reasons. If they will be in NYSE . the business side perhaps will prevail. In the meantime I wait. Sergio Minerbi


  29. This has been a great discussion. Speaking of managing our own $: I use Sharebuilder via the internet. Low trade prices, friendly and helpful folks. I use Sharebuilder and Motely Fool for research purposes. I’m about to retire from teaching and need to roll over a 50K account. I’m a bit nervous but would rather manage this $ myself than pay fees to someone who may not really have my back…I’ve got another IRA that I’ve been managing for my husband and have been using the Motley Fool funds, which are doing well, especially the American Fund.


  30. WHAT IS NEW about Gazprom and its stock AFTER the above comments were written is the EXPECTATION that Gazprom will RAISE its dividend to about triple its present level. This expectation follows public statements by Putin. Before these public statements Gazprom stock price was slowly and gradually falling. After these statements the price has been slowly and gradually rising. It looks as if it will soon rise to where I bought it after reading OxClub’s extremely vigorous (almost hysterically intense) recommendation to buy it early this year.

    Can we believe Mr. Putin? After all he took Robert Kraft’s ring, documented on video recording, then denied taking it, and finally offered to have a replica made. The replica should be worth far more than the original, whether or not Kraft realizes it. So I think that Putin is reasonably sincere and realistic–and, therefore reasonably believable. Is Putin substantially less believable than US corporations are about their businesses? Probably about the same. So, I will continue to hold Gazprom, believing it will rise in expectation of increased dividends, and even more if a higher dividend is announced.


    • Loong While KOS has a good quarterly revenue growth and more cash than debt, they have a negative return on equity and negative earnings. I would limit my investment to companies that offer dividends, have zero debt, good growth and a low PEG and EV/Revenue. That said, I would be very careful in this market because there is no visibility of the future. The Republican House of Representatives could very easily put the United States back into a recession. Why take unnecessary risks?


  31. I joined The Oxford Club in late January of this year. Along with papers that were sent to me was recommendations to buy TRQ & GTI, which I did. In less than a month, they were almost 50% down. I cancelled my membership. In May, I received in the mail another solicitation to join The Oxford Group and another buy on GTI. I was appalled!
    I still own both stocks with about a 60% loss. The Oxford Club is a joke!


    • Here is how to use the OxClub’s investment advice. Follow what Alexander Green writes and identifies as having written. Ignore all other advice.


    • TRQ has negative earnings, a current ratio of .32, and more than ten times their debt to cash. GTI has great fundamentals with positive earnings, a current ratio of 3.94, a book value greater than the stock price and a great price to sales ratio. The only discouraging statistic is their almost –90% quarterly earnings growth. Were I going to keep either of these two stocks, my recommendation would be to sell TRQ and put the money in GTI.
      But if you like speculative stocks, you might take a look at ONVO. They are working with 3D printers to make skin and human organs for transplant. They also have great fundamentals with more cash than debt and positive earnings. For full disclosure, I own ONVO. I am down 6% from my buy price, but am looking for long term growth.


  32. Karen:
    Hoping you are still reading this section on comments, I welcome you to the Gumshoe club. I don’t know of a better place to be in in this business. At 74, I only started messing with the stock market about 5 years ago. I did an experiment selecting the stock myself and did pretty good, I only lost about $1000. But I learned the lesson. Before you buy any stock, anywhere or by whichever means, RESEARCH tirelessly. Mainly, look at that stock’s past history. I use Yahoo Finance for that. And now I have set up a procedure: I only invest in DIVIDEND stocks with established performance with high dividend (above 9%) and little or no volatility. Take a look at CODI, WIN and STON. Also, don’t disregard canadian stocks. The CA stock market is NOT prone to the hocus pokus of the US version, or outright thievery.


    • It’s REALLY important advice about not getting married to a stock. You can usually buy back on a later dip. Think of it as an opportunity to re-buy the stock at an n% discount. If you bought 100 shares @ $10, and are stopped out at £8….. so long as you still believe in the stock, you’ll likely be able to buy back on a dip at $7, so have gained 14 ‘free’ shares. Sooner or later they will come back (if its a fundamentally strong company like the sort Travis and Warren Buffet tend to invest their hard earned in)
      Print it out and stick it on the wall in front of your screen.


      • PS A great example is SAND. Travis loved this stock for an age. Eventually I bought in and went away on hols …..just before he got divorced (from the stock) It crashed next day. Oh how we laughed. Thanks for that one stinkalator :)
        Fortunately I set a stop, so If he ever falls in love with it again, Ill be able to buy extra shares….always accentuate the positive.


  33. Karen: Two things of which I am almost sure is that interest rates are going up in the future and natural gas prices are going to rise. There are exchange traded funds that let you take advantage of these rises if you are a believer as I am. Why take risks if there is an alternative.


  34. Hi Karen
    Welcome to the club of “better late than never”. I made the leap 1 year ago. Have done all the same stuff we all do trying to get educated. Gumshoe was my first great move, Irregulares the second. Have payed to much for a lot of nothing useful. Keep an open mind and make it your own. Like the rest of the world everything is constantly changing. Just to point you to a free site looking to enlighten new traders and get some different perspective goto tastytrade.com, to check it out. Live streaming all day, many different segments on different subjects and all content is archived and free. Under the shows tab my favorites are “where do I start” “strategies for your ira” “Liz and Jny” “market measures” . They present the markets and trading from a math position and tell it like it is plus they make it a point to label BS as BS. It’s maybe not for everyone but the more you learn the more they make sense. Good Luck on Your new journey.


  35. Before you join any website go to Stock Gumshoe and if it has not been addressed yet, then go to the publication and ask real or scam. Most of them are scams.


  36. Hi Travis A few days ago you mentioned some of the Uranium stocks being strong going forward. One of them was Uranium-One.Whats your take of them being taken private?They seem to be ready to do that inan aggreement with JSC ATOMREDDMENTZOLOTO and EFFECTIVE ENERGY NV (ARMZ.)in the 3rd.Q How will that affect existing shareholders? Looking forward for advise from a more experienced investor.Thanks


  37. I bought Gazprom the first time the Oxford Club claimed that they were going to list on the NYSE and then later read an article from Gazprom saying they were not interested in listing in the US. Consequently the shares fell and I lost quite a lot selling before they fell even further. I am not impressed.


  38. As an owner of a private investmentcompany in Norway and Usa, investing among other things in Energy and Commodities and a Lifetimemember in the Oxfordclub I registrated the article about the unknown company that had over 6400 wells and with such a low price evaluation.I really wondered what company it could be,so I was really surprised when I found out today it was Gazprom. First about the shareprize..There is no doubt about that the shareprice is fairly low and that the dividend of 6% is fairly good… 2) Mr Putin is a great tacticion,but even HIM need the customers outside the Russian Federation.A proof for that is that his european customers have managed to get the prices down.3) When the Oxford Club by it,s President personally goes out with a certain date to move on a share you Should Listen.To my knowledge the Oxford Club is ranged as number 4 in the world as an analysing house.Chief Analyst Alex Green doesn.t have to proof himself.He is a Winner… Now In the end I wanna give you my personal pennystock favourite… It is named Nordic Mining,thicker is:NOM in the Oslo Axcess List…Price is at moment 0,65 Norwegian kroner and I think we have a 10 times your money here in 2-4 years…Good investing Ove J.Aspen Chief Broker O.J.Aspen Oil LLC


    • Your confidence in the Oxford Club should be shaken when I tell you they have just recycled the same presentation from February 2013. They have just released that presentation with the same predictions for end of the year (2014). Just knowing they are making the same presentation year after year, on the same stock. makes me question their veracity.


  39. IF the US can get it’s act together and encourage exporting natural gas,
    Europe would be a big customer in order to get out from under Russia.
    Gazprom would take a big hit, methinks.


    • It is happening already. I suggest buying Golar (GLNG) on dips. More money made liquifying and shipping it than in the rest of the chain.


  40. What’s the latest thinking on Gazprom? My husband is thinking of buying; I told him No and now I have to back up my words! Has anything changed from what has been mentioned above to make it a buy???


    • If you like Russian stocks, look at Yandex (YNDX), the Russian Internet company like China’s BIDU, compared to Gazprom (GZPFY). While GZPFY has been touted for a couple of years as a great investment, it was selling for $23.76 on Dec 31, 2012 and is selling today for $21.97, while YNDX was selling for $21.54 on Dec 31, 2012 and is selling for $43.30 today. Also, while GZPFY has great fundamentals, with a trailing P/E of 3.94, price to sales of .51 and price to book of .71, it has a low 4% quarterly revenue growth and 2.8% earnings growth. Compare that to YNDX forward P/E of .96, quarterly revenue growth of 40.5% and earnings growth of 116.5%. Furthermore, on Yahoofinance, there are no analysts following GZPFY, while there are 19 analysts following YNDX, and their mean price target for the stock is $1,484.01 a share.
      Another consideration is that there continues to be major oil and natural gas finds in the world. An article “The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?” By Michael Snyder, on July 23rd, 2013 reported the following: Australia just had a major find that is touted as the largest find in 50 years. If the 233 billion barrel figure is accurate that would make it nearly 10 times larger than the Bakken formation, 17 times larger than the Marcellus discovery and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford deposit down in Texas. It would also mean that Australia now has more “black gold” than the nations of Iran, Iraq, Canada and Venezuela.
      Both GZPFY and YNDX are subject to stock market fluctuations, the economies of Russia and other world countries, and energy price fluctuations. You might also want to consider that most of the large cap Russian indexes have been flat in the past year, such as ERUS, RBL, RSX, but the small cap exchange traded fund RSXJ was at $15.24 on Dec 31, 2012 and is now selling at $40.22. If you want to invest in a Russian security, RSXJ might be a better investment.


      • Wow! Thanks for such a comprehensive reply, AM. You’ve given my husband some useful material and it’s much appreciated.


  41. They are sending out the same promo again in Jan14 – a year after your report. And it has gone down 5% – not doubled or tripled!!!!!!


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