Saturday, May 31, 2008

Q&A: Ask Lloyd a finance or investment question

Questions Answered:
  • How can I win the stock-picking contest at my school?
    *New*

  • Should we remain renters or buy a house?

  • Should we sell the farm and pay the tax?

  • Real Estate and Leverage: How much is best?

  • Should I buy-and-hold or trade?

  • How will U.S. stocks perform versus foreign equity markets?

  • Can sentiment predict market direction?

  • How can I use the PEG ratio to value stocks?

  • Is Baidu worthwhile buying now?

  • Is the Chinese stock market a bubble?

  • Have you read the new book, An American Hedge Fund?

  • Which should I use, a full-service or discount broker?

  • Will Keystone Automotive shareholders approve the $48 buyout by LKQ?

  • I'm new to investing. Is there a simple place for me to start?

  • Should I use an investment advisory service?

  • Are stocks with high price-to-book ratio worth buying?

  • I'm a kid. What stocks do you recommend I buy? (Momentum and Recovery Picks)

  • How do I get the money to invest?

  • Is buying high earnings-to-price (or low PE) stocks a good strategy?

  • Should a high-net-worth individual take out a mortgage to buy a home?

  • How can small investors invest in commercial real estate?


  • Invitation: Submit your questions about investing, the stock market, finance or other money-related matters, and I will try to provide meaningful responses based on my own research and perspectives. Please post your questions to this blog by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link immediately below. Thanks!

    74 Comments:

    Anonymous alpinegroupinc@yahoo.com said...

    Dear Lloyd

    Could you recommend any investment group where a small investor can pool their money together to purchase
    investment properties? such as shopping center, apartment etc...

    9:06 AM, June 14, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Lloyd,

    Consider an high net worth individual who's assets are fully invested in fairly liquid investements. Consider that the investments are already leveraged and are yielding around 15-20% CAGR. Should the investor decide to make a large purchase such as a home, would he be better off to

    (a) take out a mortgage for the purchase. Mortgage rate is less than the yearly investment performance

    (b) make the purchase by liquidating an asset thus reducing the overall investment exposure & net return

    (c) make the purcharge by liquidating an asset and equalizing the reduction in investment exposure by purchasing serveral future contracts to replace the value of the liquidated asset.

    4:21 PM, June 14, 2007  
    Blogger bommareddy said...

    Hi Lloyds,
    I have a big-question. Can we do ain investment based on high % of EPS? I want to invest in one of the Bank whose share is at 85 INR. For last 3 years it has 15% as EPS year. So does that mean, if it follows the same trend, then in 6 years, will I be able to receive my initial invest through EPS? Will all the EPS deposited in my bank accounts?

    Thanks,
    ANIL, INDIA

    11:15 PM, June 19, 2007  
    Blogger Reed said...

    Hi Lloyd,
    I work for a website that deals with investment information for the general public and I was wondering if you would like to be a part of our site in which we focus on "expert" opinions on investments of any kind. You would be considered one of these experts and your recommendations or opinions would be focused on our main page. We would give you links back to your own page so that you would also be able to gain traffic. We usually have over 3000 daily visitors and we are growing everyday. Please email me at reed.katz@gmail.com if you are interested in being a part of our website and I can tell you what our site is. Thanks for your time.
    Reed

    12:01 PM, June 21, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Lloyd-

    I'm a big fan of your blog--you educate so many people and that's exactly what I'd like to do with my upcoming book, An American Hedge Fund. I'd love to send you an advance copy for your review.

    The hedge fund industry is now a $2 trillion industry and yet, due to industry regulations, the general public knows little about them. This needs to change and that's why I've written, "An American Hedge Fund," due to be published on October 1, 2007. I promise this not the typical boring finance book!

    My claim to fame is that I turned $12k into $2 million trading waaaaay too many microcap stocks from 1999-2002, created a hedge fund, became the #1 Short Bias Hedge Fund from 2003-2006, starred in the TV documentary Wall Street Warriors (500 airings now!!), and began appearing regularly on CNBC all before the age of 25.

    This is no BS "How To" book--its the true story of a hedge fund created from scratch. People need to realize the hedge fund industry is not just about billion dollar blow ups and huge funds created by investment professionals who are already wealthy. My 'Rocky'-like story will surely inspire generations to come to take part in our true national sport, finance.

    If you like it, I'd love to print a blurb from you on the inside or back cover and hopefully you could post a review around press time in October.

    tim@timothysykes.com

    6:46 PM, June 22, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am a kid that wants to invest the $8,000 that I have in stock. Will you give me a suggustion on what to buy?

    4:30 PM, July 25, 2007  
    Blogger Clovis said...

    How come P/B reaches 15 is still worth buying like Boeing? Apple? Is good P/E always more important than the small P/B? Is there any benchmark P/E and P/B of each industries or sectors?

    2:51 AM, July 31, 2007  
    Blogger babhale said...

    Lloyd,

    Are portfolio advisory services a better way to invest or are mutual funds of my own choosing better?

    6:58 AM, September 17, 2007  
    Anonymous Amy said...

    Your site is great, it's very informative.

    But I'm really new at all of this. Do you have a simple place I can start or an article you've written that you can point me to?

    7:52 PM, September 19, 2007  
    Blogger awnman1 said...

    Lloyd: LKQ recently offered 48.00 for Keystone Automotive stock for a merger. Keys is currently @47.65. A vote is called on the 10th of Oct. Do you feel that the deal will be approved? As a holder I voted NO. Thanks for imput Awnman1

    5:45 PM, September 20, 2007  
    Anonymous Patti said...

    I'm following Elliott Wave for commodity trading. I also use information provided by our DTN service, receive sell signals from our ag commodity broker, and use various online websites for trends, opinions, profiles, etc. I'm presently paying $73 per option through my ag broker. I'm wondering what are the negative aspects and items to be careful of if I were to switch to a discount commodity broker? I have read that using a discount stock broker can end up costing an investor more than they realize if they trade small $ or amounts as the brokerage can benefit from the difference from delayed quotes an investor is aware of versus what the live quote is. Any advise? Thank you.

    2:10 PM, September 26, 2007  
    Blogger Clovis said...

    Waht do you think about Alibaba.com?
    It going ot be listed in Hong Kong. Do u think that alibaba can't be the next Baidu/Google? Casue it's B2B portal rather than Search engine like Google?

    8:07 AM, October 16, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Loyd, I read your articles Is now the Time to Buy Baidu Stock?" and "Are Stocks with High Price to Book Ratios Worth Buying?". Thanks for your insight. I have a started to pay a lot of attenetion to PEG ratios and have the following comments/questions:
    1) I might be calculating the PEG ratio incorrectly as I was unable to come tie to AAPL's PEG ratio used in your article, i.e., 1.6.
    Please explain how to properly calcualte the PEG ratio,. i.e., do I use next year projected earnings over current year projected earning or next 4 qtrs over last reported 4 qtrs?
    2) I hear people such as Cramer talk about growth rates for the next 5 years. Where is there a good source for the future growth rate for the next 5 years?

    12:59 PM, October 16, 2007  
    Anonymous Costa Rica Real Estate Prince said...

    I have visited your blog and it was great. I can so well relate to it for some reasons. Thank you so much! I just want to ask something, what are some factors should i look for when investing a property?

    1:06 AM, October 19, 2007  
    Anonymous stock investment blogger said...

    Thank you for giving us an opportunity to make a comment on your blog website. From stock investment point of view what you think in coming days will the US stock market will give at least 10 to 20% returns in next 1 to 2 years time.

    4:47 AM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger Liou said...

    Will you make a comparison between the buy-hold strategy and buy-sell strategy for ETFs?

    4:42 AM, November 04, 2007  
    Blogger Foxter said...

    Hi Lloyd

    Is penny stock worth investing in? Which tickers do you recommend to research?

    8:13 AM, November 05, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear Lloyd,

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on Cathay Merchant symbol(CMQ)and the recent delisting decision.

    JB

    7:40 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Liou said...

    Dear Dr. Lloyd,

    What should the investment strategy be when there is a recession coming?

    Wenqing from Taiwan

    2:44 PM, December 17, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello Lloyd:
    I'm a big fan of your blog. You are doing a great job of educating individual investors with your insightful articles. Keep it up!
    I've a question for you. I am interested in learning technical analysis. Which books would you recommend for beginners?
    Thanks,
    Sachin.

    4:34 PM, December 22, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    www.mcgillismusic.com

    My record company owns a large catalog of the Teen group Menudo and Sony is currently promoting the New Menudo with a huge promotion budget. How would you suggest I seek partners/investors to match the Sony push of Menudo and re-release all the Menudo songs owned by my company.

    Thanks

    4:02 PM, December 27, 2007  
    Blogger mr_orange said...

    Dear Lloyd,

    I am 28 years old and married. My wife and I are both electrical engineers with jobs that pay well. What are your thoughts about using real estate as a mechanism to replace our W2 income? To date we have purchased 11 units, all of which appear to be steadily helping to replace our income. Is real estate the best vehicle if this is our goal? I have not found other investments with such handsome cash yields that offer a similar amount of “leveragability.” We would like to be financially independent asap to free up time for activities that are the most meaningful for us rather than activities that offer the best time for money trade. I look forward to your thoughts and opinions about this topic.

    Another question I have is about the “proper” amount of overall leverage for our property portfolio. Is it wise to lever to the max with exotic strategies (like wrap notes for properties purchased subject-to) or would we be well-served to de-lever our portfolio so that we don’t need to keep as much cash on hand to cover downside risk associated with leverage. I am struggling with the correct amount of property to purchase given our cash reserves. Any guidance you can provide about this topic is greatly appreciated as well.

    Regards,

    Bryan

    10:57 PM, January 04, 2008  
    Anonymous awnman said...

    Lloyd:

    In Sept. I asked you about the merger of LKQ and Keystone. Well The deal went thru, not to our satisfaction. Now the anouncement of Joe Holstein, CEO< COB. signing of a 5 year consulting deal upon his departure from the CO is puzzling. I and several other investers feel a deal is afoot to bring the EX CEO COB of the old Keystone on board as the new CEO. I think that if it ture it would blow the lip off the aftermarket and recycle parts business. I might add, with his track record it would be the best possible move he has ever made. Any commenents? If goes this way keep a close eye on the stock. $$$$$$$ to the good. Maybe some good old investigative reporting is due on this deal. Awnman1

    5:26 AM, January 19, 2008  
    Anonymous greg said...

    Hello,
    I have a question about Energy trusts. Are they like RETTS? Where they pay profits as dividends?
    I have been tracking some. If you look at the charts the prices are pretty stable. However dividends can be as high as 16%.
    Does this mean if you were to buy $1000 you would make $160 in dividends?
    Are these pretty good investments?

    Thanks Greg

    3:39 PM, January 27, 2008  
    Blogger science guy said...

    What is the downside to selling my looser stocks and buying them back later? If I sell the stocks today and take the loss, wait 30 days to buy them back (since I do not think they will go up in that time) and ride them back up when the market turns. I think it is a double win. I get the tax benefit from the loss (waited 30 days - no wash sale) and get the benefit of the capital gain. Obviously the one problem is that if the stocks rise in the 30 days I'm out.

    4:10 AM, March 19, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    next year will sell family farm--will probably get in excess of 200,000 tax preparer says pay the tax and invest the rest ok is that correct and where do we invest husband is 68 and me 63 would certainly like income as we are enjoying this time of our life--

    5:47 AM, April 30, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear Lloyd

    We are from Australia. My husband and I are 40 years old. We own a small business, and our income fluctuates between $80K and 100K pa. We live within our means and have no debt. We save approx $30K to $50K a year. We have no kids and will not have any. We do not contribute to superannuation because we want to be able to use the money for investment as we handle that ourselves. It's just a choice despite being less tax effective. That means we handle our entire savings and investment plans.

    We have currently a nest egg of about $400K mostly in common stocks via direct investment or cash. We are renting which is currently much cheaper than buying.

    My question: Wealth building and flexibility is more important for us at this stage than buying a house. However, I am wondering if we should invest in real estate so as to diversify and have some place to live further down the line. Real estate prices are very inflated and to invest one would have a negative return which doesn't really make financial sense to me. I am wondering how you see the buying vs renting scenario, and if you think we are on the right track to a comfortable retirement in about 15-20 years?

    Many thanks
    Karen

    6:14 PM, May 24, 2008  
    Blogger Eugenia said...

    I just started taking my second finance course in college. Our teacher has set up this competition on Virtual Stock Exchange where each one of us has to build their own portfolio and the one who has the best return of investment at the end of the course wins (one trimester long). I'm new at this so any advice on which stocks I should buy?

    5:01 PM, May 25, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

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    Check out the site at http://www.finkker.com

    Email me if you're interested in discussing this opportunity, support@finkker.com.

    2:28 PM, June 04, 2008  
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    2:08 AM, June 06, 2008  
    Blogger James said...

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    2:57 AM, June 09, 2008  
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    4:48 PM, June 30, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sell Italian bonds. Italian public debt has reached a record high at 1646,7 billion euros.It is worse than 1992 when the country went very near to declare default(insolvency)

    8:25 PM, July 06, 2008  
    Anonymous Rahul said...

    Thanks for such a nice post.

    6:08 AM, July 08, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear Lloyd, I really enjoy your investment blog. I was reading your "Real Estate and Leverage: How much is best?" piece and found it very interesting. I wanted to pick your brain on a few things I have been grappling with over the the years:

    1) I totally agree with you about not leveraging a property beyond the negative operating cash flow (after debt service, reserve charge for repairs, depreciation & amortization). However, I hear conflicting advice from others about real estate. I am pretty cashed up -- I work at a Wall Street firm and never reinvested my yearly bonuses the past 7 yrs. I am getting advice that I should just buy a place and rent it out even though the rental income would not cover all the mortgage payment. I don't think this is a very good idea but I keep hearing that if you can cover about 60-70% of your mortgage, the remaining 30-40% can be written off with depreciation come tax time. Do you agree with this at all or do you unequivocally recommend an investment should always be undertaken if you can at least break even on the mortgage payments?

    (2) I grew up in Washington State and am aware that the market has yet to soften like everywhere else in the US. I noticed a ton of condominum projects in the Seattle downtown and Bellevue areas. I was shocked to find how expensive they were and never really thought of Washingtonians wanting to live in a condo. Every real estate broker is telling me that Seattle will be the next New York City (I'm a big seller of this story). I don't like condos because of monthly fees. Do you think there is upside in downtown condos as an investment? What is your view on all the condos being built in the Seattle downtown and Bellevue areas?

    (3) What are your thoughts about the Washington, D.C. area? I went to university there. It will always be a renters market because of the nature of the city (i.e. fresh college grads moving there for work and it being a very transient city in general). I'm thinking of investing there, but noticed a lot of supply on the internet. Moreover, the market has gone up probably 150-200% the past 10 years. You think I should be patient and continue to wait? I never thought of D.C. of having high income wage earners, other than lawyers, who would have the ability to buy such high priced property in DC these days. Empirically, the prices in DC don't make sense to me. What is your view?

    5:03 PM, August 08, 2008  
    Blogger Steve Selengut said...

    Hi Lloyd, any use for a whole series of investment training articles? Any interest in "sponsoring" my investment workshops...

    Contact me directly if you have any interest... most of the articles are posted on my website:
    http://www.sancoservices.com/freezineinvestmentarticles.htm

    Workshops are described here: http://www.kiawahgolfinvestmentseminars.com/

    Please give it some thought, Steve

    10:17 AM, August 13, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi, would you advice an investor to purchase the shares of travmatixc.com ?

    5:43 PM, August 20, 2008  
    Blogger LL said...

    Lloyd,

    I have approximately $40k to invest. My significant other says I should just payoff a car, I want to invest it for retirement income. Any suggestions on how I might be able to do both without throwing my money away on such a worthless asset like a vehicle? By the time I receive my funds we will owe approximately $19k on the vehicle she is suggesting we pay off with a rate of 6% and term of 72 mths. Our payment is $480. Thank you in advance.

    5:00 PM, September 03, 2008  
    Blogger astra8282 said...

    The question is not how to pick the best stock, but perhaps it should be how to pick the best index fund. This way you have the potential to get higher results then an individual stock. Astra from FoundMoney.com

    7:45 AM, September 10, 2008  
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    9:24 AM, September 26, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Lloyd have you heard what was going on with AC Energy Inc. it trades now over the counter as ACEN. I found out about it early last year on the Motley Fool website as a great upcoming company. They manufacture self charging batteries for cell phones, computers, Ipods things like that. I thought it was a great idea at the time, but didn't buy any stock. I recently heard some very positive rumors regarding this company, but I can't find out anything about it. I can't find their website but they are trading. Have you heard anything about this company?

    5:36 PM, February 28, 2009  
    Anonymous Penny Stocks said...

    Nice Blog. Keep posting more

    Regards

    2:59 AM, March 02, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have a question. My friend gave me the following scenario in which he stated that his stocks were up 28% last year while his 401(k) went down 30%. It doesn't make sense to me. Am a wrong? Here's what he said,

    "My stocks were up 28% last year but my 401(k) went down 30%. My stocks were up between 10-60% per year for the 5 years previous. My company’s stock more about tripled….twice, and when my 401k got to be too much of 1 stock (single stock fund in this case), I pulled out. It’s heavily tanked recently with pretty much everyone else in the country. I’m still trying to find the bottom to jump back in. Plus, I invested in energy (oil) up to last spring (should have waited until summer) and have done international heavily for the past 5 years (net importing isn’t favorable for a country’s currency, so international stocks do well even if they go down due to currency fluctuations). The past few years, I’ve expected something like this pullback in the market (though admittedly not nearly to this degree).
    My 401k is a subset of my stocks. Second, when I pulled out of my company stock (though not completely) in the 401k, a good chunk of that went to cash. Some of it went into other investments (bond funds, international, etc), so those dropped as has the entire market (including my company stock, which went down more than the market). So it has dropped significantly."

    4:36 PM, March 06, 2009  
    Blogger Van Valkenburg Art Studios said...

    I am 60 years old with no retirement savings. Should I sell my house ($70,000 equity) and buy a house outright that needs work, mostly cleaning? Or should I stay in my house and keep the equity I presently have? I live in a nice neighborhood.

    1:50 PM, March 14, 2009  
    Anonymous AndrewPerrott said...

    Hello Lloyd,

    I dont agree with the conclusion that miller just uses puts. he could simple use a pric based hedging strategy that puts ona hedge every time the market dips a bit. If this happens and goes back up then he gets out at a small loss on his hedge and this could create a lag on his performance during bull markets

    8:01 AM, March 21, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello Lloyd, i have some money in a traditional IRA i am 42 now what should i do with it?

    10:43 AM, May 28, 2009  
    Blogger Store said...

    I have some money I won't need for at least 3 years. Is there anything wrong with investing it in the ProShares Ultra Funds, specifically UYG, UYM, and URE. These are down 90% to 70%, and I can't think of any reason they won't recover to at least 70% of their highs, giving a very large return.
    Thanks very much

    5:22 AM, May 29, 2009  
    Anonymous Lauren said...

    Hi Lloyd,
    I really love your blog. I recently started my own and have been writing about investing too.

    My question is the following: how do I buy stocks in Xylitol? Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that I want to invest in, but am having trouble finding out how to go about buying stocks in it. Would you recommend buying stocks in the products that use it, or in a chemical company itself?

    I really appreciate your help, and if you get a chance, check out my blog at http://laurensilverman.wordpress.com/
    THANKS!

    3:07 PM, September 20, 2009  
    Blogger Larry & Carol said...

    I was told by my broker that foreign etfs would not protect me against a depreciating dollar because most of them use ADRs that are denominated in the dollar, yet many articles suggest such ETFs as BWZ and WIP and emerging market ETFs can be used to hedge against the devalued dollar. Who is right? Thank you, Dr. Larry Craft (LLCSC)

    12:54 PM, November 10, 2009  
    Blogger Pierre said...

    Lloyd, are you in NYC? I am producing a musical comedy called NATIONAL PASTIME... Dec 7th at 3pm and Dec 10th at 3pm we are having readings of this great comedy. It was performed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame a number of times over the years, and now is moving forward as a musical. If you are in NYC or know some great fans in NY or both -- join us!
    my email is: pierre@algonquintheater.org

    10:09 AM, November 30, 2009  
    Blogger Pierre said...

    Lloyd, can you shoot me an email... like to get your input if possible on entertainment field and show funding -- a baseball comedy! I think your input could be great as a baseball fan and a person who works in finance!
    pierre

    pierre@algonquintheater.org

    8:41 AM, December 02, 2009  
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    I was told several years ago that I am one of several board members of a charitable foundation. I have never been involved in a decision nor have been notified of any meetings. All decisions are made by the one individual who created the foundation. Is this legitimate?

    11:04 AM, February 26, 2010  
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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    A large brokerage company sold a stock I held because it said that the price dipped too low to cover all the fees my account built up over time. They took the proceeds to cover some of those costs and now indicate I owe the balance (over $400). I was riding out the market and did not authorize the trade. Am I liable for those fees?

    7:12 AM, May 17, 2011  
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    Lloyd,

    I am a student currently on a 4 month co-op term. I'd like to invest approximately $6,000 for my tuition due at the end of August. Could you recommend a strong stock to invest in for strictly a 3-month period?

    Thanks very much!

    Sydney

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