Jim Cramer ( The Street ) Valeant Ranked HOLD ( Cooperman Hedge Fund Adds)



The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed – some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and generally higher debt management risk.

HIGHLIGHTS The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 35.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company’s bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.

Net operating cash flow has increased to $736.40 million or 19.02% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.70%.

VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTL has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year.

During the past fiscal year, VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTL turned its bottom line around by earning $2.67 versus -$2.62 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($11.32 versus $2.67). The company’s current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization.

In comparison to the other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTL’s return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500. Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock’s performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 43.73%, worse than the S&P 500’s performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company’s earnings per share are down 82.71% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, VRX is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.

US pharmaceutical companies are involved in the discovery, manufacturing, distribution, and research of generic and branded drugs. The industry accounts for 27.3% of the healthcare sector and is capital-intensive with exorbitant R&D costs. Most companies are mature and characterized by high margins and higher dividend pay-outs. Major players include Pfizer (PFE), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), and Eli Lilly (LLY).

The industry employs more than 400,000 in the US. The 50 largest companies control over 80% of the market. The industry faces unprecedented challenges from stringent environmental regulations and patent expirations on billion-dollar products. Industry experts believe that generic competition will wipe out more than $60 billion from US industry sales over the next five years as more than three dozen drugs lose patent protection. Merck lost a $3 billion patent protection for its osteoporosis drug Fosamax in 2008 while Eli Lilly lost an estimated 90% of Zyprexa sales. The FDA is rejecting more drugs on safety concerns and a lack of compelling evidence of definite advancement from existing drugs.

The industry depends on federal subsidies for cost reductions. The US government enacted the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) in 2003 to provide prescription drug benefits to the elderly and disabled. Medicare Part D, a component of MMA, which came into effect in 2006, altered the revenue model of pharma companies. Revenue from such programs is expected to reach $724 billion by 2015 as federal subsidies will lower co-payments and deductibles for specialty drugs.

Horizontal and vertical integration has created health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and pharmacy benefit management firms (PBMs). In order to cut costs and remain competitive, the US pharma majors have been outsourcing research to low-cost service providers in India and China.

The promising era of personalized medicine has begun. Dozens of exciting new drugs for the treatment of dire diseases such as cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s are either on the market or are very close to regulatory approval. The industry has shifted its focus from blockbuster drugs (chemistry-based drugs) to specialized products, geared towards specific disorders. According to government estimates, American drug purchases may reach $497 billion by 2016, supported by a rapidly aging population, inflation, and the introduction of expensive new drugs.

Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors to the list of investors pinched by the rout ofValeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX).

In a quarterly 13-F filing unveiled today, Omega revealed it added a new position in the controversial drug maker to its portfolio during the third quarter that totaled 484,915 shares worth $86.5 million as of Sept. 30. During that three-month period, the stock price ranged from an intraday high of nearly $264 to a low of $152.

Since Sept. 30, when Valeant closed at just over $178, the stock has dropped almost 60% to a recent $73.32. At the most recent price, Omega’s stake is worth roughly $35 million.

Today marks the deadline for big money managers to reveal holdings as of Sept. 30. Firms that wield more than $100 million need to hand over lists of equity holdings within 45 days following the quarter’s end.

Valeant wasn’t the only new position reported by Omega. The fund also added a new stake inPfizer (PFE) totaling 4.8 million shares and a position in Amazon (AMZN) worth $18.3 million.

Puerto Rico Tax Haven Welcomes Americans this – and every- April 15th

Valeant : Dead Company Walking ?


The Valeant saga is probably a long way from a resolution. Anyone that says they know how it will end is either delusional or looking to influence the stock. That being said, there are a few clear lessons to be gleaned from the story thus far:

  1. Organic growth is superior to growth by acquisitions—especially when growth by acquisitions is financed with large amounts of debt and even more especially when that debt is fueled by Wall Street bond offerings.
  2. In industries that rely on intellectual property, research and development spending is critical for survival.
  3. Accounting transparency is a big deal. I’m not saying for sure that Valeant is Enron Part II, but I will say that unscrupulous behavior is a lot harder to detect when its wrapped up in complicated financial arrangements.
  4. The more a company works to highlight non-GAAP (AKA crap) results, the more investors should focus on GAAP results instead. As Gretchen Morgenson pointed out last week in the New York Times, Valeant earned $912 million in 2014 GAAP profits, while its non-GAAP reported cash earnings were $2.85 billion.

None of these lessons are new. They’re commonsense, investing 101, which leads one to wonder why so many successful money managers have risked huge amounts on such an inherently sketchy business. Sequoia Fund’s stake in Valeant is a staggering 34 million shares. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital owns 20 million; SF-based ValueAct, 15 million; NYC-based Paulson & Co, 9 million; NYC-based Lone Pine, 5 million; and Greenwich-based Viking Capital, 5 million. New York’s Brave Warrior Advisors (managed by Glenn Greenberg, son of legendary baseball player Hank Greenberg) has reportedly tied up more than a third of its assets in Valeant. These are massive investments from some of the biggest, best-known funds in the world—and that is exactly where the problem lies.

These outsized bets are a side effect of liquidity. As assets under management grow, liquidity constraints reduce the number of potential stocks and bonds where a manager might make a meaningful investment.

Asset Protection Trusts – put your assets beyond the reach of ex-spouses, ex -partners, lawsuits and even the I.R.S – read more at http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Oil 5 Talking Points – All Point to Lower for Longer ?


Oil’s bounce back from the summer’s lows has the look of a bottoming in crude prices, but some strategists say the shakeout is not over.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a new low. The probabilities are that we see a new low or two or three,” said Jack Bass. Our 2015 results for managed accounts all did well by avoiding oil and natural gas and that continues to be our bias.

The negative factors that have pounded oil prices continue to hang over the market, and the world is still facing oversupply of about 2 million barrels a day. Strategists say the chief wild card that could send oil to new lows is Iran — and uncertainty about when and how fast it can bring crude back to the market.

This past summer, West Texas Intermediate crude futures touched a low near $38 in late August before moving back to $50 per barrel on Oct. 9. Since then, oil has traded in the upper $40s, giving the impression the worst lows of the bear market in crude are over. Brent, the international benchmark, hit a low at around $42 per barrel in August and temporarily rose above $54 in October.

“There was a bout of short covering, and oil was pumped up on geopolitical fears about Russia’s foray into Syria, but the fundamentals never changed. Production is still high all around the world, and the glut is getting worse, especially for diesel fuels,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

1. Iran as a catalyst

Major producers continue to pump at high levels, and demand continues to lag. U.S. shale producers have more resilience than expected, and the U.S. is still producing about 9 million barrels a day.

But it’s Iran’s oil production that some analysts say the market may not be pricing correctly. They also say Iran may be making blustery assertions about its oil production that it will not be able to meet.

The U.S. and five other nations agreed in July to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program, and this past Sunday the agreement was formalized based on Iran’s meeting its commitments to the deal.

An Iranian official this week said the country has already secured buyers from Europe and Asia for more than 500,000 barrels a day in new exports once sanctions are lifted. The final assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to be completed by Dec. 15.

“If they put that marginal barrel onto the market, there’s going to be a price impact from it. The Saudis have taken a lot of their market share from Europe in the last couple of years,” said Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays. “It’s going to be a fine balance. I wouldn’t be surprised at the end of 2016 if we look back at the end of the last year and be surprised that they put only 400,000 to 500,000 barrels back on the market, not 800,000 to 900,000 barrels.”

Iran has been producing about 2.8 million barrels a day, from a high of 4.2 million barrels, according to Andrew Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates. “It would surprise me to see 500,000 a day come out onto the market within a couple of months,” he said. “The market takes what they say with a grain of salt. We do know that they are going to be exporting the first minute they can.”

It could be the start of Iran’s oil returning to market that sends oil prices back to the lows, said Citigroup’s Morse. He said the oil market could hit bottom late this year or in the first quarter, but he does not expect Tehran to be able to quickly push the volume of new oil that it is promising.

“These shut-in wells have been building pressure. They can surge production beyond what is sustainable, and if they want to show the world they are there, which is highly likely, that is possible,” he said. Morse said he expects Iran could produce 300,000 to 500,000 barrels a day more within a half year of sanctions being lifted.

Iran also has about 40 million barrels of condensates in floating storage. “I just think the market has underestimated how much oil could come back on the market immediately upon having sanctions released,” Lipow said.

2. Inventories bulging

A second thorny issue for the market is buildup of inventories. Last week U.S. government data showed a surge in crude stocks of 7.6 million barrels of oil, but it is also the buildup of refined products that analysts are watching.

Barclays, in a report, said that global refinery runs grew faster than demand by about 57 percent during the second and third quarter. That created a buildup, pushing refined products into storage in offshore tankers.

Refining capacity has been added around the globe. Saudi Arabia, for instance, shipped less crude in August but more refined oil products. According to JODI data, Saudi Arabia exported 1.3 million barrels a day of refined product, compared to 1.1 million barrels the month earlier.

The U.S. has also increased refined-product exports as well and is a net exporter of about 2 million barrels a day. Barclays expects the rate of build in refined products to slow.

“Fundamentally speaking, we remain in an oversupply situation, and refining margins are weak and likely to get weaker, especially in distillates, and the stocks remain at high levels,” said Cohen. “So any sustained price move tot he upside is going to be met by with skepticism by the market and that’s why we continue to maintain our range bound price forecast at least until the third quarter of next year.”

3. U.S. shale gale

A third bearish factor for oil has been, and continues to be, the resilience of the U.S. oil industry. Saudi Arabia and OPEC vowed last fall to continue producing and to allow the market to set prices in an oversupplied world, a factor they were hoping would curb non-OPEC production.

But U.S. production, despite shut-in rigs, has not fallen that much. Analysts had been expecting some companies to lose some funding in bank redeterminations this month, but it seems the industry is doing better than expected, and the impact is relatively minor.

“We think for WTI there’s downside risk for the first quarter based on the fact we think U.S. production may not roll over like people think,” said Cohen. “We need to see prices go lower as a disincentive.”

Analysts now expect the companies facing lending reviews to have a difficult time in the spring after more months of low oil prices. The U.S. industry is made up of so many companies drilling so many unconventional wells that the trigger of falling prices is not an automatic one, since producers are profitable at all different levels.

“High-yield companies are well-hedged through the first quarter, and then their hedges go off, and it’s not clear they have the cash flow to keep drilling,” said Morse.

Cohen said the pressure from a long period of low prices will pinch companies. “U.S. production is likely to be lower,” he said, adding the hit to shale producers will be worse next year after several more quarters. “It will be worse, not just for those that have their borrowing base redetermined.”

4. Biggest producers producing

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s biggest oil producers, and both of them have taken a full-throttle approach to lower prices in an effort to gain or hold share.

Saudi Arabia led OPEC in its plan to use market pricing as a weapon to slow overproduction. When OPEC meets in early December, analysts see little chance of a change in policy.

In fact, rhetoric around that meeting could add downward pressure on prices.

“The Saudis have been adding more to inventories. I don’t really see them backing down from the 10 million-barrels-a-day production level. They continue to be open to a cut if other producers are willing to cut first,” said Cohen. “They’ve taken a very tit-for-tat approach. They want to see a plan and a credible plan before doing anything.”

The strain of low prices is wearing on both Russia and Saudi Arabia. “They (Saudi) can shield the blow by issuing more debt, which they have done,” Cohen said. “The amount of debt they are issuing this year is basically the equivalent of a $10 bump in oil prices.”

Morse said the producers will not be able to sustain production in a low-price environment forever. “Definitely at some point, in the winter of 2016/2017, it looks like the world moves into a net inventory drawdown, helped by U.S. shale, helped by production in Mexico, the North Sea, Oman, Russia … all showing decline rates instead of staying stable,” he said.

5. World demand

Oversupply hit the world market at the same time demand from the emerging world and China was dampened. China reported GDP of 6.9 percent for the third quarter just below last quarter’s 7 percent pace, but worries about Chinese growth and demand have pressured prices.

The World Bank this week said it expects oil prices to remain weak through next year, and it cut its expectations for crude. The World Bank’s quarterly commodity sector report pared its average oil price forecast to $52 per barrel this year from an earlier estimate of $57. It sees an average price of just $51 in 2016.

The Bank said Iran’s return to the market will dent oil prices, but it also noted weak global growth.

“All main-commodity price indices are expected to decline in 2015, mainly owing to ample supply and, in the case of industrial commodities, slowing demand in China and emerging markets,” the Bank said.

Besides overproduction, high inventories and weak demand, Morse said another factor that could weigh on prices are the speculative investors who could slam the oil price once Iran brings oil back onto the market.

He said WTI could average $40 per barrel in the fourth and first quarters, and Brent could average about $44. Barclays expects Brent to average $53 per barrel in the fourth quarter and $63 in 2016 after a recovery in prices in the second half.


November 2014 – How Did We Do On Our Stock Market Forecast ?

JACK A. BASS MANAGED ACCOUNTS – YEAR END UPDATE AND FORECAST  As written – November 2014 – 40 % cash position You Can Judge : Our 2014 Year End Review and Forecast Gold and Precious Metals The largest gains for our … Continue reading

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The Five Worst-performing S&P 500 Stocks In The Past Month.




Here’s a list of the five worst-performing S&P 500 stocks over the past month.

5. CF Industries Holdings Inc (NYSE: CF)

CF Industries’ stock has declined 16.8 percent over the past month, as the company continues to suffer from falling fertilizer prices. Now trading at around $46, the stock has put quite a bit of distance between its share price and the $71 target that Barclays set for the stock back in August.

4. Columbia Pipeline Group Inc (NYSE: CPGX)

Columbia’s shares have fallen 17.2 percent over the past month and are now down 38.3 percent year-to-date. Disappointed investors can take comfort in the fact that the president of the company apparently sees the decline as a buying opportunity and recently purchased nearly 30,000 shares at a price of $24.31.

3. NRG Energy Inc (NYSE: NRG)

NRG has had a rough year this year, declining 41.5 percent in 2015. Things haven’t gotten any better for shareholders in the last month, as the stock declined another 18.1 percent on news that Moody’s has placed NRG Yield Inc (NYSE: NRGY) on review for a credit downgrade.

2. Wynn Resorts Ltd (NASDAQ: WYNN)

Investors in Macau-exposed names endured another month of weak gaming revenue numbers, fears over the health of the Chinese economy and concerns over increasing government regulation. Wynn’s shares dropped 20.9 percent in the past month and have declined 59.0 percent year-to-date.

1. Joy Global Inc (NYSE: JOY)

The honor of the worst September investment so far go to Joy Global. Slumping commodity prices and Chinese construction forecasts, as well as Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT)’s disappointing guidance drove Joy Global shares down 31.5 percent over the past month, the worst monthly drop of any stock in the S&P 500.

Joy global is now down 65.8 percent year-to-date, the second worst performance of any S&P 500 stock in 2015. CONSOL Energy Inc (NYSE: CNX) shares have fallen 67.6 percent year-to-date.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

for better advice on protecting your portfolio profits read http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Glencore in Freefall

  • Shares of FTSE 100’s worst peformer plunged more than 30%
  • More substantial restructuring needed, Investec warns

Glencore Plc plunged as much as 31 percent, extending a rout that’s wiped more than $14 billion off its value this month and highlighting investor concerns that it’s not cutting its debt load quick enough.

Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg’s debt-reduction plan announced three weeks ago and the move to sell a stake in its agricultural business reported by Bloomberg on Friday has failed to stanch the bleeding. Investec Plc warned Monday that there was little value for shareholders should low raw-material prices persist.

“In the current climate, debt is fast becoming the most important consideration,”Hunter Hillcoat and Marc Elliott, analysts at Investec, wrote in a note to investors. “Glencore may have to undertake further restructuring.”

The slump on Monday was the most since the company’s initial public offering in 2011. The company has been forced to sell new stock and scrap its dividend as part of the $10 billion debt-reduction program as China’s economic slowdown hurt demand for commodities and sent prices slumping. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said last week that Glencore’s recent steps to reduce debt and bolster its balance sheet are inadequate.

Glencore fell to a record low and was down 28 percent at 70.48 pence by 1:54 p.m. in London. The stock slumped more than 16 percent for the second time in a week and has declined 76 percent this year, the worst performance in the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

Glencore’s 1.25 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of 1.25 percent bonds maturing March 2021 fell 7 cents on the euro to 74 cents, the lowest since the securities were issued in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cost of insuring Glencore’s debt against default rose 29 percent to 711 basis points on Monday, according to data provider CMA.

The company counts Qatar Holding LLC, CEO Glasenberg, Harris Associates LP and BlackRock Inc. among its biggest shareholders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from filings.

The shares have been battered after investors retreated from commodities as China’s economy expands at the slowest pace since 1990. The Bloomberg Commodity Index last month reached the lowest in 16 years and the Bloomberg World Mining Index on Mondaylost as much as 2.5 percent to touch the lowest since 2008.

Glencore has hired Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG to sell a minority stake in its agricultural business, a person familiar with the situation said Friday. The sale is part of the debt-cutting program announced earlier this month that included selling $2.5 billion of new stock in an attempt to reduce the company’s debt to $20 billion from $30 billion.

That might not be enough, according to Investec.

Investec Warning

“The challenging environment for mining companies leads us to the question of how much value will be left for equity holders if commodity prices do not improve,” Investec said in a note. The bank warned that if major commodity prices remain at current levels, almost all of Glencore and Anglo American Plc’s equity value would evaporate in the absence of substantial restructuring.

Anglo American, owner of the world’s biggest platinum and diamond producers, dropped as much as 8.8 percent to a 15-year low in London.

Goldman Sachs said that should commodity prices fall another 5 percent, the metrics needed to maintain Glencore’s credit rating would be out of the required range.

Chinese Market

Billionaire Glasenberg has said no one can read the Chinese commodity market. The nation’s industrial profits dropped 8.8 percent last month, the most in at least four years, signaling weakening demand. The biggest consumer of commodities is struggling with excess capacity, sluggish investment and weaker manufacturing.

Moody’s Investors Service earlier this month cut its outlook to negative on Glencore and affirmed the company’s Baa2 debt rating. Standard & Poor’s has reduced its outlook on Glencore’s BBB level to negative, saying China’s slowing economy will continue to weigh on copper and aluminum prices, which are near six-year lows.

Trading Alert : Leon Black’s Sell-Everything Call

Depression - an idea whose time has come back!


When financier Leon Black said his Apollo Global Management LLC was exiting “everything that’s not nailed down” amid rising valuations, he made headlines. Two years later, other private-equity firms are following suit — dumping stakes into the markets at a record clip.

Firms including Blackstone Group LP and TPG Capital Management have been capitalizing on record stock markets around the world to sell shares, mostly in their companies that have already gone public. Globally, buyout firms conducted 97 stock offerings in the second quarter, more than in any other three-month period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Since Black made his comments in April 2013, the MSCI World Index has gained 18 percent, stretching valuations even higher. Headwinds that threaten to rattle global equities are everywhere — from the Greek and Puerto Rican debt crises to an eventual increase in U.S. interest rates.

“It’s clear that we are currently in an environment of frothy valuations,” said Lise Buyer, founder of IPO advisory firm Class V Group. “The insiders — those with the most knowledge — are finding this a very good time to take some money off the table.”

This year, private-equity firms sold $73 billion of their buyouts to the public, a record amount over a six month period, Bloomberg data show.

Hilton Deal

The biggest such deal this year came in May when Blackstone sold 90 million shares, or $2.69 billion worth, of hotel-chain Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in a secondary offering. Blackstone took the company private in 2007 for $26 billion and did an IPO in December 2013, raising $2.7 billion. After the latest sale, Blackstone’s stake in Hilton fell to 46 percent from 82 percent before the IPO, Bloomberg data show.

The largest European exit so far this year was the $2.46 billion IPO of online car dealership Auto Trader Group Plc in London, where Apax Partners sold shares. In Asia, private-equity firm China Aerospace Investment Holdings Ltd. sold 2.3 million shares in a $2.12 billion IPO of China National Nuclear Power Co.

While the firms have been trimming their stakes in public companies, they’re doing fewer initial offerings in the U.S. PE-backed IPOs have had the slowest start to the year since 2010, selling $8.2 billion in stock.

The reason: Many of the larger companies that were swooped up during the buyout boom that ended in 2007 have already gone public. Today’s selling is largely private-equity owners getting out of those assets.

Fundraising Spree

“It’s been a lot more about harvesting public positions than creating new ones through IPOs,” said Cully Davis, co-head of equity capital markets for the Americas at Credit Suisse Group AG. “The markets are open and the financial sponsors are pretty astute about timing their exits.”

Buyout firms were also motivated to exit older positions as they seek investments for new funds, said Klaus Hessberger, co-head of equity capital markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The funds raised $438 billion last year, a post-crisis record, according to an April report by research firm Triago.

Selling to companies or other buyout shops was still the more popular way for private-equity firms to unload assets over the quarter. They sold $57 billion of assets in 284 sales in the second quarter, compared with $39 billion for stock sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In an echo of Leon Black, Frank Maturo, vice chairman of equity capital markets at UBS AG, said, “Private equity is selling everything that’s not bolted down. With the robust valuations in today’s market, they are accelerating monetizations of companies they own.”

Get Out Of Natural Gas and Oil Stocks – worse to come – Updated Dec.25

In this Dec. 17, 2014 photo, workers tend to oil pump jacks behind a natural gas flare near Watford City, N.D. Natural gas, the nation's most prevalent heating fuel, is getting cheaper just as winter is arriving because of mild temperatures and plentiful supplies. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Natural gas, the nation’s most prevalent heating fuel, is getting cheaper just as winter is arriving because of mild temperatures and plentiful supplies.

The price of natural gas has dropped 29 percent in a month, to $3.17 per 1,000 cubic feet on Tuesday from nearly $4.50 in late November. That’s a steep drop even for a fuel notorious for volatile price swings.

The lower prices are expected to linger and could reduce electricity prices and heating bills in the coming months. Natural gas is used by half of the nation’s households for heating and to generate 26 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Natural gas often rises as winter weather approaches, and a frigid November sent the price higher. But December warmed up, and temperatures for the rest of the winter are expected to be close to normal.


Oil falls, near $60 on supply glut, strong dollar

A customer waits as an employee of state-owned Pertamina refuels his car at its petrol station in Jakarta

In 2013 and 2014 a theme of my speeches to investors has been the problems facing exploration and production companies in natural gas . Then I projected that companies unprofitable at $4.00 would be in difficulty – today it is a crisis – expect bankruptcies and mergers to be the story in 2015..

Natural gas futures slid in New York  Thursday Dec.24 -to the lowest level since September 2012 after a government report showed U.S. inventories fell last week by less than forecast.

The Energy Information Administration said stockpiles dropped 49 billion cubic feet in the week ended Dec. 19 to 3.246 trillion. Analysts estimated a decline of 63 billion while a survey of Bloomberg users predicted a withdrawal of 59 billion.

“It’s so small because it was warm,” said Aaron Calder, senior market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston. “We expected some power generators to switch more to natural gas because of lower prices, but we didn’t see that. Meanwhile, the market continues to be flooded by production.”

Brent oil fell on Wednesday ( Dec .23), trading around $60 per barrel weighed down by strong supply in the United States and a rising dollar.

Brent for February delivery was down $1.50 to $60.19 at 1327 GMT after gaining $1.58 on Tuesday. It hit a low of $59.93 earlier in the session.

U.S. crude was down $1.17 to $55.95 a barrel, after closing $1.86 higher in the previous session.

Trade was thin as many in the European and U.S. market were off for the Christmas break.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 19. Analysts had expected a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

In Europe, gasoline stocks reached their highest in five months in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub, data from PJK International showed.

A supply glut in the United States and elsewhere has helped push oil down some 46 percent since it reached this year’s peak above $115 per barrel in June.

“There was a large build in the API data and there are high stocks for now, although strong U.S. GDP growth should help demand,” said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

The dollar index stayed close to its highest since April 2006 after a revised third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product report surprised with the fastest growth in 11 years.

A strong dollar makes commodities priced in the greenback more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Now investors face more volatile markets and securities that no longer move in lock-step. At the same time, investors must cope withslower growth in China, minuscule growth in the euro area and negative growth in Japan.

Such widespread sluggish demand — along with ample supplies of oil and most everything else — is the reason commodity prices are falling. They have been since early 2011, but many people failed to notice until recently, when crude oil prices nosedived.

Normally, less demand and a supply glut would lead the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, beginning with Saudi Arabia, to cut production. As the de facto cartel leader, the Saudis would often reduce output to prevent supply increases from driving down prices.

Of course, this also cost the Saudis market share and encouraged cheating by OPEC members. Saudi leaders must grind their teeth over the last decade’s unchanged demand for OPEC oil, while all the global growth has been among non-OPEC suppliers, principally in North America.

The Fools In Chesapeake ( CHK)

Yesterday Chesapeake announced it would spend a billion dollars on stock buy backs – this is foolishness bordering on gross mismanagement – like the captain of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs. Companies must husband their funds – the best will survive and cherry pick assets from corpses – to mix as many metaphors as I can.

No Glory for Prophets

My best call in 2014 was to reverse on Quicksilver ( KWK) and sell out at $ 2.50 – it is now down a further 90 % to pennies.Many more companies will follow – don’t hold on for a recovery. That sell call earned me the most email – all negative- for the year and no thanks from investors.

The millions of dollars – per well – now at work -have to complete their drilling and this will bring on additional natural gas supplies in the U.S. that in turn will pressure oil prices well into 2015. LNG exports from the U.S. ( starting in about 12 months by Cheniere at the gulf coast in the U.S. ( and projects in Australia) will pressure international prices and also depress oil.

Planned Australian LNG projects threatened by energy price crash

Woodside's Pluto LNG Loading jetty, Pluto LNG onshore gas plant.

Handout/ WoodsideWoodside’s Pluto LNG Loading jetty, Pluto LNG onshore gas plant.

Planned Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, including the costly Scarborough floating vessel, are at risk as sinking energy prices make investments unviable, analysts said.

A nearly 50% slump in Asian LNG prices this year has pressured any project without a Final Investment Decision (FID). Just last week, Woodside Petroleum Ltd  delayed the FID for its US$40-billion Browse floating project with Royal Dutch Shell and BP.

The next cab off that rank could be ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton’s  US$10-billion Scarborough project.

Scarborough will be “commercially challenging” to justify given a raft of competing LNG projects, said Noel Tomnay, global gas and LNG research head at Wood Mackenzie.

“China’s growing pains as well as slugs of LNG coming into the market: that’s a fairly wicked combination. It would take a very brave soul to ignore the prevailing market.”
BHP and ExxonMobil were not available for comment.

The future for other Australian LNG projects without FID is also uncertain.

GDF Suez and Santos are seeking alternatives for their Bonaparte floating project, Woodside has indefinitely delayed its Sunrise project, while Shell has yet to commit to its Arrow project where it has cut hundreds of positions.

Coal Will Continue To Contract

Coal is going to be used for the next 50 years – but high sulphur mines will close and electrical generation will rely on cheap natural gas . Stay away from trying to pick the bottom in the sector.

You Have Options:

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/ 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, 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)


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


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