Shipping Sector Sinking : Capesize Rates Collapse with Coal / China Imports

“It looks like the market is going to continue being a big disappointment”

A deeper slump in earnings for ships that carry most of the world’s coal and ore cargoes would force owners to take vessels out of service, according to shipbroker RS Platou Markets AS.

Average daily earnings for Capesize ships fell to $3,735 today, the lowest in more than two years, according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London. Rates will probably remain low next year, according to Herman Hildan, shipping analyst at Platou.

“At the moment, they’re barely covering their operating costs,” Hildan said by phone today from Oslo. “It doesn’t make sense for owners to participate in fixing vessels” if rates fall further.

Signs of slowing growth in China, the world’s largest importer of thermal coal and iron ore, have caused a collapse in Capesize rates of about 90 percent this year. China’s economy will expand by 7 percent next year, the slowest growth in a quarter century, according to economist forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Customs data showed a slump in ore imports in November.

Hildan’s own estimates show Capesize vessels are currently earning $6,900 a day on average. Shippers would begin taking their vessels out of service when the daily rate falls below $5,000, he said.

The rate for the vessels, which can carry as much as 160,000 metric tons of iron ore, has averaged $13,923 in 2014, according to Baltic Exchange data. Analysts were expecting daily earnings of $18,500, according the median of estimates gathered by Bloomberg in January.

“It looks like the market is going to continue being a big disappointment” in 2015, Hildan said.

It is human nature to look for bargains - and destroy your portfolio as you gather losers into what used to be a ” nest” egg.

Look at Seeking Alpha and count the ” analysts” saying Dryships ( DRYS) is going to turn – how none forecast the sub dollar level it now enjoys.

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter(the section on shipping)

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter at http://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

 

Lor Loewen's photo.

Under Armour :Yahoo Finance 2014 Company of the Year

It started 18 years ago with one man hawking one shirt, a guy trying to persuade elite football players that it was simply better – that it would make them better.

Today, Under Armour (UA) is a $15.2 billion company run by that same guy, stalking the legacy giants of athletic gear, a made-in-America global brand that boasts one of the fastest growth records in consumer products and among the best stock performance in the market.

For these distinctions and how they were achieved — and for the way the company has turned potential setbacks into wins in 2014 — Under Armour is the Yahoo Finance Company of the Year.

The squishy retail sales trends of 2014 were a mere rumor for Under Armour, whose revenue and operating profit are on track to climb more than 30%, accelerating from their 2013 pace. Its share price has soared 62.5% this year. And Under Armour’s strong branding efforts, deeply rooted in its sports-performance heritage, earned it Marketer of the Year honors from Advertising Age magazine.

CEO Kevin Plank, that guy who came up with that shirt in 1996 that stayed dry under football pads, says, “These things don’t happen out of nowhere. There were a lot of years preparing for this.”

Speaking in a model retail store on Under Armour’s six-building industrial-urban campus on the Baltimore waterfront, Plank recalls: “Sporting goods, which is where we entered, was this pie – and there was no room in the pie. So we decided, in order to break in, we would make our own pie.”

After finding takers for his pioneering moisture-wicking shirt among some college and pro football players, he expanded in a methodical but ambitious way into other performance garments – ones that kept an athlete warm, or cool, or feeling strong thanks to their compression fabric.

The company took two years to enter the shoe business, starting with football cleats and adding one sport category per year for five years. Its women’s line, once an afterthought, has expanded impressively from almost nothing in 2004 to more than $500 million this year. Total full-year company revenue will top $3 billion for the first time in 2014.

Over the past four-and-a-half years, Under Armour is one of only four companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 to post at least 20% sales growth in each quarter. Since coming public in late 2005, revenue and earnings growth have averaged more than 30%, marking one of the elite growth stories of the past decade.

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Historical Stock Prices for Under Armour, Inc. (Weekly adjusted closing price from 1/5/10 - 12/15/14)

Historical Stock Prices for Under Armour, Inc. (Weekly adjusted closing price from 1/5/10 – 12/15/14)

Since its IPO, Under Armour stock is up a phenomenal 1,022%, compared to the merely amazing 408% gain by Nike (NKE), the global blue chip in athletic goods — which Plank repeatedly refers toonly as “our largest competitor” in a way that conveys suppressed competitive passion toward the $83.6 billion market-cap incumbent.

While its consistent growth trajectory from startup to the near-ubiquity of its UA logo might make Under Armour’s path appear effortless, this year began with a global controversy that threatened to undermine the brand’s very essence as a performance booster.

At the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, U.S. speed skaters’ poor performance was partly attributed to the highly touted aerodynamic uniforms designed by Under Armour. While the company defended the “speedsuits” design, the athletes switched to their old uniforms and a moment of triumphant arrival for the company was tainted.

Yet the fleeting controversy failed to compromise the brand broadly. The Notre Dame and Naval Academy football teams signed on to be outfitted by Under Armour, giving the company claim to both “God and country,” as Plank has put it.

The company also bid hard over the summer to sign NBA MVP Kevin Durant to an endorsement deal when his contract with Nike lapsed, offering a reported $250 million over 10 years. Nike ultimately re-signed Durant after agreeing to structure a contract that could reach $300 million. The duel was a telling statement that Under Armour has aggressive ambitions to target the top in every category it’s in, but also reinforced its status as the hungry up-and-comer.

Plank embraces this image, seeing it as the core of the Under Armour brand, which he says means, “underdog, go get it done, find a way” – sounding plenty like the intense locker-room motivator in the original Under Armour “Protect This House” ads.

Winning with women

The company’s boldest gambit of the year, though, might have been its attention-grabbing “I Will What I Want” marketing campaign focused on accomplished women overcoming doubters and challenges.

“We launched as this big, bad American football company,” Plank says, and as the key back-to-school season opened, “we tell the world that our brand was about a ballerina.”

That would be Misty Copeland, of the American Ballet Theater, whose commercial focuses on her defying doubters who said she had “the wrong body for ballet.” Another viral ad followed, starring model Gisele Bundchen going through a grueling kickboxing workout.

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“I Will What I want” marketing campaign on display at Under Armour’s NYC retail store. (Photo: Siemond Chan)

The women’s business, led by workout clothes, has certainly benefited from the broader trend of gym wear serving as always-on attire, with yoga pants in some sense becoming the new jeans. Yet Under Armour has lately outperformed even Lululemon Athletica (LULU), the company most associated with that look.

Aside from the women’s business, which BB&T Capital Markets sees rising to more than 25% of revenue over four years, shoes and foreign markets are the key opportunities for the next phase of the company’s growth.

While growing nicely in Japan, Europe, China and South America, about 90% of Under Armour’s sales still come from the U.S. Never shy about setting lofty goals, Plank wants half of revenue to come from overseas one day.

A year ago, Under Armour bought MapMyFitness, a digital health-tracking app — the company’s first-ever acquisition. The service, with some 30 million members, works across a variety of devices, and will serve as a way for Under Armour to explore “connected fitness” without betting on the cutthroat hardware business.

Under Armour pays no dividend, but it’s hard to object to this given its breakneck growth pace and the high returns it earns on investing in the business. The company has gone to significant lengths to assure its clothing suppliers adhere to fair labor standards. And its use of an old Procter & Gamble (PG) facility as its headquarters shows great commitment to downtown Baltimore, helping to revitalize an entire neighborhood.

The Company of the Year judging

The Company of the Year is selected by Yahoo Finance editors, using a mix of quantitative and qualitative factors to recognize a prominent American company that has excelled on behalf of investors, employees and customers.

This is the third year we have granted this honor. The 2013 winner was Walt Disney (DIS) and the 2012 winner was Gap (GPS). The evaluation process combines one-year and long-term financial results; stock-price performance; strategic vision and brand esteem; good corporate citizenship; and a demonstrated ability to overcome challenges.

This year, Under Armour was awarded the title over a handful of other high-achieving, well-managed U.S. companies, including Home Depot (HD), Marriott International (MAR), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Starbucks (SBUX).

[Under Armour sponsors the Rivals Camp Series of Rivals.com, part of Yahoo Sports. The sponsorship connection had no bearing on our Company of the Year evaluation.]

Running room – but beware stumbles

As successful as the company has been, there are at least two stark challenges ahead of Plank in the coming years.

One is Wall Street’s towering expectation for the company’s continued growth. After the stock’s upward charge this year, it trades for more than 70-times 2014 earnings and over 50-times the 2015 forecast. Under Armour’s average price-to-earnings multiple since coming public is around 35; Nike, a far more mature and slower-growing company, trades at 25-times fiscal 2015 profits.

A harder-to-quantify risk is that Under Armour’s brand might grow so powerful and ubiquitous that it, in a sense, undermines the underdog image it was built on. Perhaps only Apple Inc. (AAPL) managed to go from aggressive, maverick underdog to world domination without shedding much of its “cool” factor.

Plank is undaunted by the high bar set by Wall Street, believing that with Under Armour sales still only one-tenth of Nike’s, “there is a lot of running room for us.” Quite true. But expensive stocks often make investors intolerant of little bumps along the way.

Plank also doesn’t feel the company is close to having to worry about compromising the brand’s underdog ethos. Under Armour’s mission statement says, “Make all athletes better,” Plank notes, which means remaining focused on performance and not simply settling for becoming a fashion or “basics” brand.

Plank points to UA’s entry into shoes with football cleats in 2006, followed over the next four years by baseball cleats, training, running and basketball shoes. The company went from nowhere to number one in American football cleats in eight years, with a 35% share.

Can Plank possibly believe his company can work its way to the top of each category it enters? Quoting the movie “Predator,” Plank says, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

 

Nike (NKE) shares got the boot from investors this morning ( Friday, Dec.19). The athletic shoe and clothing company said orders for December through April are less than analysts’ had anticipated, especially in emerging markets. On the flip side, Nike is reported second quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street forecasts.

Tax site  http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

 

Blackberry Reports : Why the BlackBerry Classic is critical to the new BlackBerry CNET Review

BlackBerry (BBRY) shares were sharply lower in early trading. The struggling smartphone maker reported a surprise profit in the third quarter, but a big miss on revenue. Sales were down more than 33% from a year earlier.

TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) – BlackBerry Ltd on Friday reported a small adjusted third-quarter profit and returned to positive cash flow, but shares fell as revenue declined more than expected.

Revenue fell to $793 million from $1.19 billion a year earlier, falling short of expectations. Analysts expected $931.5 million.

BlackBerry’s Nasdaq-listed shares fell 5.6 percent to $9.50 in premarket trading.

Cash flow was positive $43 million in the third quarter, while the company had negative cash flow of $36 million in the second quarter. BlackBerry had said it was targeting break-even cash flow by the end of the fiscal year in February 2015.

  • Cowen (Market Perform) likes BlackBerry’s margin improvement and BES license growth – ahead of the BES12 launch, BES10 licenses roughly doubled Q/Q to 6.8M, aided by the EZ Pass migration program (to be ended soon). “Software growth remains the critical driver of the long-term turnaround.”
  • S&P (Hold): “We are encouraged by a return to positive cash flow, reflecting margin improvement from cost cutting efforts. We see BBRY growing its mobile device management business … We anticipate BBRY focusing on growing its software offerings and expect its hardware business to remain at depressed levels.” MDM software rival MobileIron (MOBL +6.6%) is up strongly.

Colin Gillis, tech analyst at BGC Partners in New York, said BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen did a good job controlling expenses to boost the company’s cash pile.

“The fact that he overachieved by turning cash flow positive this quarter. That’s a great milestone,” said Gillis. “It gets easier from here.”

Excluding, a one-time non-cash debenture charge and restructuring charges, the company reported a profit of 1 cent a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected a loss of 5 cents.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $148 million, or 28 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 29. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 a share.

BlackBerry launched its long-awaited Classic smartphone on Wednesday, hoping to help win back market share and woo customers still using older versions of its physical keyboard devices. The phone resembles its once wildly popular Bold and Curve handsets.

Hint: It’s not about smartphone sales volume or market share.

The BlackBerry Classic, as its name implies, is a throwback to the company’s glory days. But the smartphone plays an important role in BlackBerry’s future.
BlackBerry hopes the Classic will drive interest and adoption of the company’s services and software.
Josh Miller/CNET
Wednesday’s BlackBerry Classic event kicked off like most other phone launches: a video played to hype up the BlackBerry name, CEO John Chen made a few remarks and then pulled out the Classic for a photo opportunity. But as the presentation went on, it was clear whom the company was targeting: the IT guy working in a highly regulated business.

The conversation dashed past the typical walkthrough of the Classic’s features, with a healthy chunk of time spent on the phone’s enterprise software capabilities. Guests touting the business possibilities included chief information officer for Citco Fund Services, the founder of Niederhoffer Capital Management and the chief operating officer of Ontario-based Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

It’s a far cry from Alicia Keys, the pop music sensation BlackBerry once played up as its “global creative director.”

CNET review: BlackBerry Classic – great keyboard, cramped screen

The change in tactic is part of BlackBerry and Chen’s attempt to transform the company from a device maker into one more reliant on software and services. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger and its mobile device management platform, BES 12, are the future, but the company still needs BlackBerry phones to keep it in the mobile game — and generating revenue.

“They need devices to underpin the core value propositions,” said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Abelian Research.

A familiar face

The BlackBerry Classic takes its design cues from the BlackBerry Bold franchise — the last flagship BlackBerry line that resonated with consumers. With its familiar trademark keyboard, it serves as a bridge for diehard BlackBerry users still typing away on their old Bold and Curve phones and gives them a reason to upgrade to the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

While the smartphone was clearly designed to cater to BlackBerry’s existing base, the company hopes to attract new users, touting the physical keyboard, messaging hub and longer battery life as attractive characteristics.

“I invite a lot of people who haven’t used BlackBerrys before to have a try at it,” Chen said. “I think you’ll like it and be surprised by it.”
But with a new generation of users weaned on touch-screen iPhones and Android devices, it’s unlikely that many will take a chance on a platform that still lags behind on games and other personal apps.

“We shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking they will go after a broad appeal,” Golvin said. He added the only potential customer growth could come from attracting former BlackBerry users into switching back.

“It’s wishful thinking,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis.

Interest in BlackBerrys has waned over the years. Over the past five years, it went from a peak of a fifth of the market in 2009 to just below 1 percent in the third quarter, according to Gartner.

A quiet launch?

But BlackBerry isn’t competing anymore in the mainstream smartphone market, a rough-and-tumble arena where Apple’s iPhone reigns supreme and rivals such as HTC’s One M8, LG’s G3 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 battle for second place. While Chen has said his goal was to run a profitable smartphone business, that doesn’t necessarily equate to huge volumes.

Just look at the BlackBerry Passport. The smartphone was launched with much fanfare in September, but aside from early preorder numbers, it has largely faded. AT&T, which vowed to carry the smartphone, won’t carry it until next year. Analysts regard the Passport as more of a novelty.

 

Given the demand from hardcore BlackBerry users, the Classic may get different treatment. But Chen declined to comment on whether AT&T and Verizon Wireless would provide marketing support for the Classic, which launches in the quieter post-holiday period in January. BlackBerry is taking orders for the Classic now on its own website, selling a version compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile for an off-contract price of $449. AT&T and Verizon haven’t provided specific availability and pricing.

Regardless, the BlackBerry devices play an important role. They remain a major financial pillar, making up 46 percent of the company’s revenue in the fiscal second quarter. The company reports its third-quarter results on Friday.

More critical is the role the phones will play in convincing big businesses to switch to BlackBerry services, according to 451 Research analyst Chris Hazelton. While BES12 is able to manage multiple mobile devices, including iPhones and Android smartphones, the BlackBerry Classic gives the companies reason to upgrade their systems.

BlackBerry is offering the Classic with different enterprise and security bundles, an example of how it hopes to make money off of its security aspect. It’s a sweet spot that Chen, who boasts a strong history with enterprise software companies, wants to get the company moving toward.

“It is very much enterprise focused at this point, and that’s absolutely the future of the company, which I think is a good thing,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Chen also has a more ambitious vision for devices, which goes beyond smartphones. “It’s also the precursor for the whole [Internet of things] market,” he said. “I don’t look at devices as just a phone business. I look at it as much broader downstream.”

Get Out of The Oil Patch Part 3 :Goldman Sachs : How Oil Projects Are Stranded

Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Please see our first Get Out of The Oil Patch dated Nov.30 for our 2015 forecast – here is a portion of that article:

- quote  Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL – unquote

Our advice beat several Wall Street Gurus: 

Oil’s drop has punished Icahn, Paulson • 10:37 AM

Carl Surran, SA News Editor
  • Even some of Wall Street’s big boys are taking a beating in the oil sector: Carl Icahn’s holdings of Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM) have tumbled $230M since late August, and John Paulson’s firm had one of its largest losses of the year on a bet that big oil companies would buy smaller ones.
  • Before TLM agreed to be bought by Repsol, which boosted TLM shares, Icahn’s losses stood at more than $540M as recently as Dec. 11, and he still will have lost ~$290M at the deal price; Icahn also holds stakes in hard-hit Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Transocean (NYSE:RIG).
  • Paulson was the biggest shareholder in Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) at the end of Q3, but his strategy could yet pay off, as many analysts expect consolidation in the energy sector as lower oil prices pressure smaller firms.
  • Also caught flat-footed by the oil price pullback was Prosperity Capital’s Mattias Westman, a longtime investor in Russia whose firm has lost more than $1B this year, in part on stakes in Russian energy companies Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY) and Lukoil (OTCPK:LUKOY, OTC:LUKOF)

There are zombies in the oil fields.

After crude prices dropped 49 percent in six months, oil projects planned for next year are the undead — still standing upright, but with little hope of a productive future. These zombie projects proliferate in expensive Arctic oil, deepwater-drilling regions and tar sands from Canada to Venezuela.

In a stunning analysis this week, Goldman Sachs found almost $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects at risk. They looked at 400 of the world’s largest new oil and gas fields — excluding U.S. shale — and found projects representing $930 billion of future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. In the U.S., the shale-oil party isn’t over yet, but zombies are beginning to crash it.

The chart below shows the break-even points for the top 400 new fields and how much future oil production they represent. Less than a third of projects are still profitable with oil at $70. If the unprofitable projects were scuttled, it would mean a loss of 7.5 million barrels per day of production in 2025, equivalent to 8 percent of current global demand.

How Profitable Is $70 Oil?

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. Annotated by Tom Randall/Bloomberg

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. Annotated by Tom Randall/Bloomberg

Making matters worse, Brent prices this week dipped further, below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years. Why? The U.S. shale-oil boom has flooded the market with new supply, global demand led by China has softened, and the Saudis have so far refused to curb production to prop up prices.

It’s not clear yet how far OPEC is willing to let prices slide. The U.A.E.’s energy minister said on Dec. 14 that OPEC wouldn’t trim production even if prices fall to $40 a barrel. An all-out price war could take up to 18 months to play out, said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a financial research group in Washington.

If cheap oil continues, it could be a major setback for the U.S. oil boom. In the chart below, ClearView shows projected oil production at four major U.S. shale formations: Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian and Niobrara. The dark blue line shows where oil production levels were headed before the price drop. The light blue line shows a new reality, with production growth dropping 40 percent.

Even $75 Oil Crashes the Shale-Oil Party

Source: ClearView Energy Partners LLC

Source: ClearView Energy Partners LLC

The Goldman tally takes the long view of project finance as it plays out over the next decade or more. But the initial impact of low prices may be swift. Next year alone, oil and gas companies will make final investment decisions on 800 projects worth $500 billion, said Lars Eirik Nicolaisen, a partner at Oslo-based Rystad Energy. If the price of oil averages $70 in 2015, he wrote in an email, $150 billion will be pulled from oil and gas exploration around the world.

An oil price of $65 dollars a barrel next year would trigger the biggest drop in project finance in decades, according to a Sanford C. Bernstein analysis last week.

A pause in exploration and development may sound like good news for investors concerned about climate change. A vocal minority have been warning for years that potentially trillions of dollars of untapped assets may become stranded due to climate policies and improved energy efficiency. The challenges faced by oil developers today may provide a small sense of what’s to come.

However, these glut-driven prices can’t stay low forever. Oil production hasn’t slowed yet, but as zombie projects go unfunded, it will. This is how the boom-bust-boom of the oil market goes: prices fall, then production follows, pushing prices higher again. The longer this standoff goes, the more zombies will languish and the sharper the rebounding price spike may be.

Tax website http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Scorpio Tankers

STNG 

NYSE Update HOLD

HOLD
unchanged
PRICE TARGET US$9.00
unchanged
Price (17-Dec)
Ticker
US$8.19
Company Update

 Scorpio announces an update to its fleet

Purchase of four newbuild LR2s with two additional options
Agreements in place to sell three older vessels

Delivery of six newbuilding product tankers

• STNG agreed to acquire four newbuild slots from Scorpio Bulkers (SALT) with an option
for two additional vessels. These contracts were originally placed by SALT for Capesize
vessels at Korean shipyards, but will be modified to LR2 product tankers. Each vessel
will cost $51 million and they are expected to be delivered in 2016. The price for the
two option vessels is fixed at $52.5 million, and the options are declarable by May 31,
2015. If exercised, these vessels will be delivered in Q4/16.

• Management noted on the call that there are no related party or third party fees
associated with this deal. We estimate the purchase price for the ships are at a
modest discount to current asset values. No financing is in place for this acquisition,
and new credit facilities will be needed to fund this deal.

• We believe this is a modest positive to the story as it expands their fleet in a sector
that we think has good prospects going forward (LR2s) at a price below NAV.
• Scorpio also announced they have agreed to sell three of their older vessels, the STI
Harmony, STI Heritage and the Post-Panamax Venice, for total consideration of $74
million. In connection with this deal, STNG will record a write-down of $2.6 million for
Q4/14.
• Finally, the company announced that they have taken delivery of the LR2 STI Condotti,
which is on charter for 55 days at approximately $30,000/day. The company took
delivery of the MR tankers, the STI Battery and STI Soho which are on 120 day
charters at $18,000 per vessel/day. The three Handymax product tankers, the STI
Finchley, STI Clapham and the STI Poplar, are on 120-day charters at $14,000 per
vessel/day. With these six deliveries, the company now has 25 newbuild deliveries
expected through 2016.

Valuation
Our forward, normalized NAV (2016E) is $8.77 per share. As such, we believe the stock is
somewhat above fair value and feel there are more underfollowed names that are better
ways to play the tanker market. Our $9 price target is based on a 1.0x multiple to our
forward, normalized NAV.

Blackberry A ” BUY” CNBC Video

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/blackberry-39-39-classic-39-224400946.html

Economic Updates : 2015 Forecast / Deflation

Two New Articles

1) Outlook for U.S. and global economies next year is cautiously optimistic

Blackberry Launches The Classic – earns a ” BUY” rating

BlackBerry today announced the BlackBerry Classic, making official the smartphone that CEO John Chen has teased for the better part of a year. The Classic has a throwback look, as its name alludes, with a full QWERTY physical keyboard, physical navigation keys, and a nearly indistinguishable design from BlackBerry smartphones from years ago, such as the Bold. The Classic is significantly smaller than the Passport, which BlackBerry launched earlier this year, and is actually possible to use in one hand, unlike the gargantuan Passport. BlackBerry says this phone will appeal to those looking for the traditional BlackBerry experience that made those devices so popular so many years ago.

The Classic has a square, 720 x 720 pixel, 3.5-inch touchscreen perched above the keyboard and navigation keys. It’s a bit smaller than the 4.5-inch screen on the Passport, and much smaller than the average smartphone’s display, but it makes it possible to use the Classic in one hand and still have the physical QWERTY keyboard. The phone is powered by an aging dual-core Qualcomm processor from 2012 paired with 2GB of RAM. That likely won’t cut it for modern mobile gaming, but it should be fine for plowing through thousands of emails a day, which is what BlackBerry expects Classic users to do. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back of the phone, with a 2-megapixel unit on the front.

The Classic runs BlackBerry 10, which offers productivity tools like the Hub, Assistant, and Blend. It also can run Android apps, which are accessible through the Amazon Appstore that’s preloaded on the device. BlackBerry diehards will be happy to know that the BrickBreaker game is also available on the Classic and can be played like it was on older BlackBerry smartphones.

THE CLASSIC IS A VERY SPECIFIC DEVICE FOR A VERY SPECIFIC SMARTPHONE USER

Appropriately, BlackBerry announced the Classic in the heart of New York’s Financial District, an area of the country where BlackBerry smartphones are still a fairly common sight.  Perhaps even more so than the Passport, the Classic isn’t a device that’s going to appeal to the mainstream smartphone consumer, but rather it’s for people who like BlackBerry devices and aren’t looking to browse the web or play a lot of games on their phones. BlackBerry hasn’t been on the minds of consumers for years, so now the company is doubling down on its core business users, and the Classic looks like the strongest play for that field yet.

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry says the Classic is available starting today “through local carriers around the world”, though it doesn’t seem like any US carriers are offering the device. The Classic is also available unlocked through BlackBerry and Amazon’s online stores for $449.

Before the morning’s proceedings got underway, BGC Partners‘s Colin Gillis raised his rating on the stock to Buy from Hold, and raised his target to $12.50 from $11, citing a positive track record built up by Chen since he took over last year, and that sales of another device, the square-shaped “Passport,” seem to have gone well, and that the company could be at break-even on a cash flow basis when it reports fiscal Q3 results this Friday morning:

While we view the company is in the early stage of turning the business around, management has built up a track record of credibility with investors over the last year by quickly reducing costs and preserving cash, focusing on its core strengths of security and physical keyboards, successfully launching new products, and forming strategic partnerships to fill the gaps […] Sales of the Passport phone could be a source of upside in the quarter even though the company had a limited initial production run that effectively sold out. We expect sales of the Passport phone to provide $270 million in revenue with 450K units sold at an average price of $600 USD. This is 52% of our $518 million hardware revenue estimate, and we expect that the Passport should have a positive impact on overall average selling prices. We mention the phone has been well received in its target market, with 444 5-star reviews out of the 508 total on Amazon for an overall 4.8 rating. We expect the Passport to have a positive margin contribution […] The company is launching its classic phone today, continuing its emphasis on serving its core customer base by highlighting a physical keyboard […] Our view is that BES 12 and the Blackberry sales force need to turn free trial customers into revenue in order to sustain our current positive outlook […] The company is nearing the target date to turn cash flow break even before the end of the fiscal year, and it is possible the company achieves this milestone when it reports on Friday December 16th premarket if there is upside results driven by Passport […] The final reason for our upgrade is that the company has a market capitalization of $5 billion, and any modest level of success in the market can have a meaningful reflection in its current revenues, cash flows, earnings and share price. The nature of a company turning itself around is one of volatility, but the current path for Blackberry is clear and may prove profitable. Our downgrade was based on the thesis that the market may provide a better entry point- that thesis has materialized and now we are raising our rating back to BUY.

Disclosure : Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts hold long positions in BBRY

Oracle and FedEx tipped for Wednesday releases

Wednesday – Oracle

Last quarter Oracle’s (ORCL) long serving frontman Larry Ellison stepped down from his role as CEO and appointed 2 co-CEO successors. Heading into Oracle’s first quarter in the post-Ellison era Estimize community members are expecting the technology company to continue growing steadily and slightly outperform Wall Street’s earnings expectations.

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Wednesday Estimize contributors are looking for a 1 cent gain in earnings per share while year over year revenue rises 3%. These results would maintain Oracle’s rate of sales expansion over the past 5 quarters and represent a slowing of profit growth to a rate between 1% and 2%.

Wednesday – FedEx

At one point this summer crude oil was trading at over $100 per barrel. As we enter the final stretch of the year that price has collapsed to just $56. As a major player in logistics FedEx’s (FDX) financial performance is greatly impacted by the price of oil, falling gas prices throughout the fall could provide FedEx an opportunity to post gains to its bottom line.

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Over the past 3 months EPS estimates and revenue projections from both Estimize and Wall Street have been rising. With the final picture clearing up the Estimize community’s EPS forecast is settling at $2.16 per share, 2 cents lower than the Wall Street consensus, but still an impressive 38% higher than the number FedEx reported in the same quarter of last year.

On the top line Estimize analysts are calling for $11.99 billion which is marginally higher than Wall Street’s prediction and would mark a 5% improvement from last year’s total.

Stay Out of The Oil Patch Part 2 This Time It Ain’t Different

The U.S. stock market is showing signs of fatigue

iShares S&P/TSX Energy (XEG : TSX : $12.25), Net Change: -0.18, % Change: -1.45%
Canadian Natural Resources* (CNQ : TSX : $33.17), Net Change: -1.07, % Change: -3.13%
Suncor Energy* (SU : TSX : $32.13), Net Change: -0.43, % Change: -1.32%

Another week, another drop in the price of oil, oil sector stocks - As We Forecast , the C$ and Canadian equities.

The S&P/TSX lost another 5% last week and erased nearly all its gains for the year.

To make things worse, the U.S. stock market is showing signs of fatigue, and macro risk indicators that
s are all flashing red. With oil prices becoming a gauge of investors’ risk appetite, it seems that only a bottom in prices could halt the slide in global equities.

But with WTI breaking below the key resistance of US$60/bbl, investors are bracing for the worst. There are not many historical parallels of supply-driven oil shocks. Past periods of price weakness have been demand-driven. That said, the current experience shows :
similarities to the 1986 oil shock, when OPEC boosted production to gain market share. Last week, OPEC cut its 2015 customer
demand forecast by 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 28.9 million b/d – that’s the lowest level in 12 years. The downward
revision reflects the upward adjustment of non-OPEC supply as well as the downward revision in global demand. In 2015, nonOPEC
oil supply is forecast to grow at by 1.36 million barrels a day to 57.31 million a day. Growth is seen coming mainly from
the U.S., Canada, and Brazil, while declines are expected in Mexico, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Separately on Friday:
International Energy Agency (IEA) released its oil market report for December. The IEA cut its outlook for 2015 global oil demand growth by 230,000 b/d to 900,000 b/d on lower expectations for Russia and other oil‐exporting countries.
This is the second consecutive year of growth below 1 million b/d. The IEA believes, “barring a disorderly production response, it may well take some time for supply and demand to respond to the price rout.” The IEA adds, “As for demand, oil price drops are sometimes described as a ‘tax cut’ and a boon for the economy, but this time round their stimulus effect may be modest…The resulting downward price pressure would raise the risk of social instability or financial difficulties if producers found it difficult to pay back debt. Continued price declines would for some countries and companies make an already difficult situation even worse.”

REDUCING CAPEX IS THE NEW NORMAL.

Bankers Petroleum* (BNK : TSX : $2.59), Net Change: 0.09, % Change: 3.60%, Volume: 1,717,990
Bankers Petroleum has reduced its 2015 capital guidance to a maintenance level in order to average 21,000-22,000 b/d, in line with its 2014 average.

The company will spend approximately $218 million in 2015, which is within its cash flow and debt utilization means in a $60/bbl realized Brent price environment.

The company intends to reduce its rig count from six to three rigs by early 2015 but remains positioned to respond quickly when oil prices recover by potentially reinstating drilling rigs.

The three focus areas of the company will be: 1) execution of its horizontal drilling program;

2) acceleration of its secondary recovery program; and

3) targeting capital for operational improvements that will result in reduced costs (with projected cost savings of $2-3/bbl in the next two years).

The company remains well positioned for low commodity prices in 2015 with a reported September 30, 2014, cash balance of $88 million and only $104 million drawn on its $224 million line of credit. With the budget, Bankers continues a theme of fiscal responsibility, cash preservation and maintenance of 2014 production levels. In the interim, the company has the
ability to operate within its means while maintaining current production levels. Bankers plans to release its Q4/14 operational
update Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

the dramatic plunge in oil prices has made some shale projects unprofitable. Investors are waking up to the realization that not all shale oil is created equally.

Drilling for oil is extremely capital intensive. Companies often borrow money to fund the exploration and drilling. Now that oil is sitting at just $55, it’s likely to get much more difficult for shale players to get the financing they need after years of low interest and bond rates.

Investors are betting that at least some of these more speculative shale companies won’t survive if oil prices stay low for a prolonged period.

Don’t take our word for it. Just look at the junk bond market, which has been rattled by the energy turmoil. High-yield energy bonds have tumbled almost 10% this month alone, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“It becomes a vicious spiral. If bonds stay where they are, it’s going to be very difficult for these companies to raise new capital to continue to live,” said Spencer Cutter, a credit analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

high yield debt
High-yield U.S. corporate energy bonds have tumbled in recent weeks amid the oil price meltdown.

Cash flow negative: Huge energy companies like ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX)have plenty of financial flexibility to weather low oil prices, but that’s not the case for many smaller, highly-leveraged players.

Some of them are cash flow negative, meaning they aren’t generating enough revenue to offset the heavy investments they are making. Up until now, they’ve plugged those holes by selling stock or raising equity.

But $55 oil has changed that equation. Few investors are willing to provide affordable financing.

For example, the bonds of SandRidge Energy (SD), Midstates Petroleum (MPO) andResolute Energy (REN) are trading at distressed levels of just 50 cents or 60 cents on the dollar, according to FactSet.

“It’s hard to go from cash flow negative to cash flow positive on the turn of a dime when the commodity you’re selling falls by 45%,” said Cutter.

 

Defaults ahead:

The cash crunch is likely to be exacerbated by pressure from the banks, which may start reeling in credit revolvers currently cushioning shale companies’ balance sheets.

“Banks are not notoriously friendly in these down cycles. The lack of financing alternatives could speed up the demise” of some companies, said Tim Gramatovich, chief investment officer and co-founder of Peritus Asset Management.

Gramatovich predicted a “considerable” amount of defaults among high-yield energy bonds due to the looming cash crunch.

It is human nature to look for bargains - and destroy your portfolio as you gather losers into what used to be a ” nest” egg.

Look at Seeking Alpha and count the ” analysts” saying Dryships ( DRYS) is going to turn – how none forecast the sub dollar level it now enjoys.

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Gold and Precious MetalsThe largest gains for our clients came from the exit from the gold producers at $18oo an ounce and continuing until we hold no gold and no gold miners . This from the author of The Gold Investors Handbook.2015 – We continue to be on the sidelines for this sector – regardless of the gnomes of Switzerland . As a safe haven gold simply wasnot there for investors despite turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.How much more frightening can the prospect for peace be than to have wars in multiple locations? Secondly the spectre of inflation – on which I have given numerous talks – simply failed to materialize. In fact economists and portfolio managers such as myself are now more concerned about deflation – and the spectre is a Japanese style decades long slide in the world economy.
Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter athttp://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ EnergyI am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

 

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

 

Lor Loewen's photo.
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