Month: October 2013

Would You Like to Buy This Business?

Dear Investor,

I have a business I would like to sell you.

Let’s run over the numbers first.

First and foremost, I have to be honest, this business has not implemented a budget in five years. I know that seems like an insane way to run a business, but I can assure you that management is comprised of highly intelligent, ethical people.

These folks would never take advantage of shareholders. They’re all highly educated. And their corporate presentations and conference calls are extremely well written. Trust me, they know what they’re doing.

Having said that I also need to disclose that this business hasn’t been growing much at all. Indeed, it hasn’t even maintained annual growth of 3% in the last five years. On top of this, management has been caught fudging the company’s financials by several outside auditors. An honest assessment of its topline shows zero growth for the last few years.

I know I mentioned before that management are highly ethical. I can assure you they have a good reason to overstate their growth numbers: if the numbers reflected reality, they’d all be fired! We can’t have that can we? So they just “massage” things a bit to make the company’s growth look better than it is and to downplay the rise in costs that are squeezing its margins.

Speaking of which, this company isn’t profitable. In fact, it hasn’t been profitable for five years… actually it has only been profitable a few years out of the last five decades. And those years were “profitable” based on some really massaged numbers.

I know this sounds strange, but those honest folks in management think the best means for this company to grow is to spend way more than the company makes in its topline revenues. Sounds weird, I know. But again, these are very intelligent and ethical people. And none of the analysts covering the company ever ask about this. So what’s the problem?

Oh, and I almost forgot, the company has debt. A lot of it. Currently its debt is running north of 100% of its total market cap. Of course, this is based on some unusual accounting practices. If this company actually followed GAAP accounting rule for its pension expenses its debt load if over 400% of its market cap.

So, would you like to buy this business? How much would you pay for it?

Oh, I understand, you’d like to do some more due diligence. OK, I’ll give you this company’s stock symbol so you can look at its filings (good luck finding accurate ones). Do you have a pen and paper ready? OK the stock symbol is:


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Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

Bad News For Bulls, But GREAT News For Traders

Investors need to be aware of a significant dynamic emerging in the markets.

That dynamic is one of corporations missing revenues estimates while beating earnings estimates.

The majority of investors focus on earnings when it comes to valuing the stock market or an individual stock. Indeed, Price to Earnings or P/E ratios might be the single most popular stock valuation metric in the world.

However, there is a danger to pricing the market based on earnings alone. Earnings can be massaged in countless ways to beat estimates. You can release loan loss reserves, massage depreciation numbers, implement one time charges or writedowns, reprice bonds, etc.

Indeed, a study performed by Duke University found that roughly 20% of publicly traded firms manipulate their earnings to make them appear better than they really are. The folks who were surveyed for this study about this practice were the actual CFOs at the firms themselves.

For this reason, when you look at the markets, you need to look at how many companies are beating sales estimates as opposed to simply earnings estimates.

Unfortunately the news is not particularly good for this today. As Bloomberg notes, of those companies who have reported results so far in 3Q13, only 38% of S&P 500 companies are beating revenues estimates. This follows just 46% who beat in 2Q13 and only 37% who beat in 1Q13.

Bloomberg notes that this is the first time there have been three consecutive quarters of less than 50% of corporations beating revenues estimates going back to 2009.

Moreover, taken as a whole, the market is trading at a Price to Sales ration of 1.6. Historically, before we entered the period of Fed-induced serial bubbles, the market has traded at an average of 0.8.

So the market is expensive. And the most sensitive economic indicator (sales) are falling and failing to beat estimates.

But this doesn’t mean there are no incredible opportunities to make money in the markets today.

It does mean that investors will have to look beyond simply “buy and hold” strategies (the P/S ratio predicts real annual returns of 2.6% going forward) to accomplish outsized returns.

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If you’d traded just $10K based on our recommendations, you’d be up over $30K today… just from 2013 alone.

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Phoenix Capital Research



Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

How to Double Your Money in 10 Months

Today I’m going to show you how to trade the market successfully.

It is commonly thought that in order to trade and make money in the markets, you need to trade all asset classes. I am always asked by people, “what do you think of Gold? Is the Dollar going up or down? What are you trading today?” and on and on from subject to subject.

The biggest problem with this is that it is hard enough to get good at trading just one item, let alone trading multiple items at once. Trading multiple asset classes requires a level of sophistication and understanding that 99% of folks simply do no have (you’ll note that even Wall Street traders tend to specialize in one asset class or theme).

So forget about becoming a “Master of the Universe.” Trading is not about having your money in every asset class under the sun (I’m talking about trading not investing here).

No, to be a successful trader, all you need to focus on is making money. And the easiest way to make money trading the markets is to find one thing that works and keep doing it.

I’m speaking from experience here. The Perfect Trade newsletter which I write, trades options on just one ETF. It sounds boring, but there is nothing boring about the profits.

On average, The Perfect Trade makes money 80% of the time. By focusing on this ONE trade and by using strict discipline in terms of position sizing and stop losses, we have produced a REAL return on invested capital of 160% so far this year.

That’s correct, 10 months into 2013 we have already more than doubled our money. In the last two months alone we’ve seen the following results:

Date Gain/ Loss
7/24/13 12.90%
7/30/13 -31.58%
8/6/13 46.15%
8/13/13 24.07%
8/20/13 33.80%
8/27/13 17.65%
9/3/13 -24.66%
9/11/13 2.20%
9/18/13 35.71%
9/26/13 -36.11%*
10/9/13 8.33%
10/15/13 12.05%
10/22/13 5.45%

It’s impossible to avoid losers. But by using careful position sizing (the * above was a trade where we used 25% of our usual position based thus minimizing the dollar losses) we’ve have a terrific run.

The rest of 2013 has been just as good. Like I said, we’re up over 160%.

In fact, this newsletter has gathered so much momentum that we’re closing the door to new subscribers this Friday at midnight. We simply cannot continue to produce these returns with a large client list.

So on Friday at midnight, we will no longer be accepting new orders for this newsletter.

So if you are interested in joining this newsletter you have until Friday at midnight.

After that the doors are closed and we will not be accepting any future subscriptions

To join now…

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Graham Summers





Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

How to Accurately Value a Company (Hint, Not Through P/E Ratios)

The following is an excerpt from our value investing newsletter Stock Picker Elite

On that note, I want to point out that some of the best businesses in the world are beginning to approach valuations that are attractive (see Figure 1 below).

In terms of valuing a company, there are two key metrics I like. One is Enterprise Value (EV) divided by Earnings Before Taxes Interest Depreciation and Appreciation (EBITDA) or EV/ EBITDA.

I prefer this metric to the more traditional Price to Earnings (P/E) valuation metric because both Price (Market Cap) and Earnings are not very accurate measurements of a company’s health.

Regarding price, consider the following… a company that has a market cap of $10 billion, earnings $2 billion, has $2 billion in cash and has $9 billion in debt will look cheap with a P/E of 5… even though its debt load could bankrupt it.

Enterprise Value clears this issue up by including a company’s debt and cash on hand in the valuation process: EV is a company’s market cap, plus its debt, minus its cash. As such it is a much closer approximation of a company’s health than market cap.

Regarding earnings, as I noted in last issue of Cigar Butts & Moats there are dozens and I literally mean dozens of ways to craft earnings to be better than reality.

For that reason I prefer Earnings Before Taxes Interest Depreciation and Appreciation (EBITDA) as a metric for a company’s earning potential.

I realize this term sounds confusing, but EBITDA is essentially the money a company generates before it pays taxes or manipulates the value of the assets on its balance sheet. As such it’s a much cleaner representation of the cash a company generates.

Thus, EV/ EBITDA is a much better valuation metric than P/E. For that reason I’ve priced the businesses in Figure 1 by EV/ EBITDA.

Another term you need to know about is earnings yield. For those of you who are unfamiliar with earnings yield, this is essentially a ratio made by dividing a company’s Earnings Per Share by its Price Per Share.

I like to use this ratio relative to the yield on the ten-year Treasury (which is considered risk free) to asset the benefit of owning a stock. Given the increased risk of owning a stock, the earnings yield should be dramatically higher than the yield on the Ten Year Treasury.

However, the cash a company generates does not necessarily equal the cash it pays its owners. So I also like to consider a businesses’ dividend yield relative to the yield on the Ten Year Treasury as well.

These three metrics (EV/ EBITDA, Earnings Yield, Dividend Yield) can be used to give a decent “back of the envelope” assessment of the value of a stock.

As you can see in Figure 1 above, some of the best businesses in the world are beginning to trade at attractive valuations from an EV/EBITDA and Earnings Yield perspective.

However, the dividend yield is generally less attractive for most of these companies than the yield on the Ten Year Treasury. And given that stocks are far more volatile, I believe there is simply too much risk here relative to the cash reward for owning them at this time.

I bring all of this up, because I want to make you aware that the bargain basement sale I predicted last issue is only just beginning. And while it is tempting to start backing up the truck to invest, we need to consider the old adage that the fact a stock is cheap doesn’t mean it cannot get cheaper.

Between the low dividends and the risk to the global economy I’ve outlined in last issue, these valuations, while attractive, are not nearly as attractive as I’d like.

When you can buy a business like Apple at a dividend yield of 4+% at a time when the 10 Year Treasury is yielding 2.0% or less, THEN it’s time to go shopping based on the potential risk reward.

This time is coming. But it’s not here yet. The macro picture for the world is dangerous. And high quality companies will not be spared the carnage if a market onslaught begins (which is looking increasingly likely).

Stock Picker Elite is our long-term value-investing newsletter based on the investment methodologies of the Godfather of value investing, Benjamin Graham, and his legendary pupil Warren Buffett.

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Best Regards

Phoenix Capital Research


Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

Was the Debt Ceiling Crisis a Lie?

The US can now collectively breathe a sigh of relief that we’ve averted the “debt ceiling debacle.”

The only problem is that this entire “crisis” was a lie. The US actually hit its debt ceiling back in May 2013, a full five months ago.

At that time neither the Treasury Department, nor the White House, nor Congress talked about this.

So for five months, the US debt level was frozen. The reason was because the Treasury was resorting to “extraordinary measures” to keep us below the debt ceiling. It’s interesting that no one in the media talked about this, nor that anyone seemed to care at all.

Then, suddenly we had yet another “crisis” in which the world would literally end if the political class didn’t get their way. The US would default if we don’t spend more money now!

Our President and other political “leaders” fussed about this for two weeks and basically wasted all of our time. The whole exercise was totally pointless outside of setting up an “issue” on which to campaign for the 2014 Congressional elections.

How do I know it was pointless?

Because the deal they made doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. All it did was make the debt ceiling unenforced for a few months… until February 17 2014 specifically.

So we hit the debt ceiling in May… manufactured a crisis in October… just to ignore the issue another three months…

THIS is the state of Government in the US today. The fact the media in this country goes along with this as “news” tells you everything you need to know about the “objectivity” of the fifth estate.

If you want to talk about a real debt crisis, let’s talk about the US Federal Reserve.

The Fed’s current balance sheet is $3.86 trillion. It will be over $4 trillion before the end of 2013 and over $5 trillion before the end of 2014.

THE FED is the debt problem. It is allowing the deficit and the debt to swell like this for the sake of benefiting a handful of banks and screwing the economy. QE doesn’t create jobs. It never has.

If you’re looking for actionable investment strategies on playing the markets, take a look at my monthly investment newsletter, Private Wealth Advisory.

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Best Regards

Graham Summers



Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

What the “Deal” Means for the Markets

The big news as far as the markets are concerned is the Government reopening and the debt ceiling being extended. The debt ceiling technically was hit last May but no one bother to discuss that in the media. Why let a potential good crisis go to waste?

So the “debt ceiling” debate was pushed back to February 17 2014… just in time for the usual BS political campaigns to start for the 2014 Congressional elections. Honestly, if the whole situation wasn’t so pathetic it’d be amusing.

The markets have largely priced in a resolution at this point which is why they’re pulling back this morning. Gold and the precious metals are up significantly and the US Dollar is falling.

We’re now at support on the US Dollar. Let’s hope it holds.

Between this development and the nomination of Janet Yellen to Fed Chair, the monetary backdrop for the US will be more spending and more monetization. Yellen is yet another academic with no banking or business experience what-so-ever. This makes three in a row (Greenspan, Bernanke, and now Yellen). The results speak for themselves.

By the way, I continue to hear how great the Fed is for stocks. However, since we were taken off the Gold standard Gold has outperformed stocks dramatically. In fact the only period in which stocks outperformed Gold as an asset class was the Tech Bubble.

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Best Regards

Phoenix Capital Research







Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

The Clear Evidence That Gold Is Being Manipulated Lower

At this point the Gold manipulation is outright absurd.

For years there have been rumors that Gold and Silver were being manipulated lower. For the most part these rumors were thought to be in the realm of “conspiracy theory” by most of the investing crowd.

However, at this point the evidence is clear. Someone is clearly manipulating Gold lower. This is happening almost every morning when someone dumps Gold in massive sell orders, pushing the precious metal’s price sharply lower.

The reason we know that this is a clear intervention, and not simply a large institution selling concerns the pattern of selling.

On Friday morning last week, someone staged an order to dump 5,000 futures contracts of Gold. That amounts to over $640 million in Gold. In one order. Placed all at once.

When it happened, Gold dropped $25 per ounce in a matter of two minutes. It doesn’t matter that the sell order was cancelled half way through, the damage was done and Gold continued to languish as it has (extraordinary given the systemic risks in the US and Europe today).

No one and I mean NO ONE would place an order like this. It simply doesn’t happen. Anyone who is trying to unload a position of this size would do it in chunks over a period of time in order to not push the price sharply lower.

Put it this way, if you happened to own this much Gold and were looking to unload your position, you would not want the price of Gold to be lower because that would mean you make less per ounce sold.

So you would be very careful to unload this position with as little impact on the market as possible, so that you could get the best prices. You wouldn’t just hit “sell” and dump the whole batch in one go.

Again, no one would do this. That sell order came from intervention. Someone was trying to send a message to the market. Gold futures were halted for 10 seconds as liquidity dried up.

I keep hearing how this sell order could have been a “mistake.” If that were the case, it wouldn’t keep happening because the person who made the mistake would be fired.

The “mistake” has happened repeatedly over the last few weeks. So either some institution has a whole roster of numbskulls trading Gold, or the individual numbskulls at different institutions are all making the same mistake in roughly the same time period.

The odds of this are next to none.

Which begs the question, just who is trying to push Gold lower right now? Just about any sensible investor would be buying the precious metal to hedge against the default risk/ debt ceiling risk in the US.

We offer a Special Report on how to purchase Gold Bullion safe and securely with every subscription to Private Wealth Advisory. In it we outline why every investor should have some exposure to bullion, how to buy it and the key questions you should ask every bullion deal.

Along with this report, every Private Wealth Advisory subscription comes with:

  1. The Inflation Secrets Your Broker Won’t Tell You About.
  2. The Secret FDIC Legislation That Puts Your Savings At Risk.
  3. 12 monthly issues of Private Wealth Advisory.
  4. Real time investment alerts to Buy and Sell our recommendations as needed.

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Best Regards

Phoenix Capital Research






Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

Europe’s Lies Are So Bad, They Make the US Look Good Comparison

While the US continues to bumble its way towards a debt ceiling crisis (somehow our President doesn’t have time to meet work on solving this, but does have time to make sandwiches with volunteers and give press statements about how we wants to work), Europe continues to make us look good by comparison.

Remember how we were told time and again that Europe was saved? Remember how repeatedly we were told that the European Central Bank (ECB) would do “whatever it takes” to fix things?

Turns out all of that was a total load of BS. Indeed, the IMF just announced the following:

Nobody knows the true scale of potential losses at Europe’s banks, but the International Monetary Fund hinted at the enormity of the problem this month, saying that Spanish and Italian banks face 230 billion euros ($310 billion) of losses alone on credit to companies in the next two years.

Yet five years after the United States demanded its big banks take on new capital to reassure investors, Europe is still struggling to impose order on its financial system, having given emergency aid to five countries.

Remember, Spain was the banking system that was great right up until it demanded a 100 billion Euro bailout. Then only six months later, one of its largest problem banks (which had taken 18 billion Euros in bailout funds) announced it still had a negative valuation.

The entire EU banking system is insolvent. Unlike the US where the banks raised capital to address their problems, EU banks have not raised capital nor have they reduced their leverage (of 26 to 1 by the way). Instead, they’ve simply swapped garbage assets as collateral to the ECB, which counts this garbage at 100 cents on the Euro, and issues liquidity to the banks.

The whole thing is one giant lie. You have banks lying about what they own to the ECB which lies about the real risk of the banks which swaps out debt from EU countries that are lying about their finances in exchange for free money so the banks can keep lying.

Honestly, this whole mess makes the US look good by comparison. The bad loans, leverage and every other negative issue is worse for EU banks than for the US.

Makes you wonder why investors are piling into EU financials, doesn’t it? In general share prices in this space have doubled since the 2012 lows. The fact they’ve doubled on a colossal lie doesn’t bode well.

I expect we’ll see the European banking crisis back with a vengeance in the first half of 2014. Now that the German elections are over and Merkel has won, the “reality” of Europe should start leaking out (it’s not coincidence that the IMF released this report about Spanish and Italian bank woes just now after the German election as though this was suddenly “news”).

Best Regards

Graham Summers






Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

Central Planning, Lying Career Politicians, and the US Ponzi Debt Scheme

The political class in Washington has failed to reach a deal. They are effectively playing a game of chicken with the markets to see who blinks first. As usual, there are plenty of lies and spin swirling around this situation.

The US Treasury has stated it will run out of cash on October 17.

This in of itself is a strange claim as technically we hit the debt limit back in May and have been resorting to “extraordinary” measures since then. I don’t recall anyone in at the Treasury talking about the importance of the “debt ceiling” then, do you?

Secondly, the Government has effectively been running a Ponzi scheme with our debt for the greater part of 20 years. Over $5.7 trillion of our debt is owned by the Federal Government, ($2.1 trillion is owned by the Fed, $2.6 trillion is owned by Social Security, and over $1 trillion is owned by various Federal Retirement entities).

Indeed, the single largest owner of US debt is not in fact China, but our own Government. We’ve been running this kind of scheme for over 20 years.

Now this is not to say that a debt ceiling breach or a possible default on some payments are NOT huge issues. What I am saying is that the US Government can shuffle money around just as it has for the last 20 years to insure that we meet our debt obligations.

So the debt ceiling “we’re going to run out of money and the world ends” talk is not accurate. What is accurate is that playing games with your debt limits impacts other investors’ psychologies. And THAT is the real issue here.

The Fed has already screwed this up royally. Indeed, by engaging in QE, the Fed alters the very structure of risk in the financial system. Traders on Wall Street, knowing full well that the Fed would be soaking up Treasuries, rushed into new debt issuance with the intention of flipping over these assets to the Fed in the near future.

This became a self-fulfilling prophecy as the “front-running the Fed” trade became a dominant theme for Wall Street. By piling into bonds, traders forced prices higher and yields lower: precisely what the Fed wanted.

It is critical to note that a significant percentage of these investors had no interest in actually owning US debt as an asset class in the long run. They were simply looking for an easy trade that made money. As a result, interest rates were driven even lower by the “investment herd”.

We saw this when Treasuries dived soon after the Fed hinted at “tapering” QE. At that time, traders realized the “front-run” the Fed trade may be ending and dumped Treasuries. Rates rose, mortgage rates rose, mortgage applications collapsed, and the slew of other problems surfaced.

My point with all of this is that Central planning is always a disaster. We are now watching another Central-Planning debacle in the form of the debt ceiling fiasco. These folks got us into this mess, expecting them to get us out of it is foolish.

With that in mind, I’ve already urged my Private Wealth 
Advisory clients to start prepping. We’ve opened six 
targeted trades to profit from the US’s debt crisis.

We’ve also taken care to prepare our finances and our 
loved ones for what’s coming, by following simple 
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and personal security via my Protect Your Family, 
Protect Your Savings & Protect Your Portfolio 

I’ve helped thousands of investors manage their risk 
and profit from market collapses. During the EU 
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In fact, we’re currently on another winning streak 
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Yours in Profits,

Graham Summers

Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market

Stocks Just Took Out THE Line

The markets are finally beginning to realize that the debt ceiling debacle, economic contraction in the US, housing bubble 2.0 bursting, China slowdown, Japan stagflation and European banking crisis are not good for stocks.

With that in mind, the S&P 500 has briefly taken out the trendline that has supported it since QE 4 was announced.

Remember, the Fed is printing $2 billion per day and funneling it into the system. So if the markets begin to break down NOW, the only thing the Fed can do is print more money.

However, this combined with the debt ceiling debacle could make a REAL mess. Yesterday the US issued a 4-week Treasury bill that came darn close to outright failure. With investors beginning to question whether the US might indeed have a debt crisis on its hands, investors are beginning to shun some US Treasuries and T-Bills for others based on priority of payments.

Remember, every single Treasury and T-bill out there is utilized as collateral for millions of Dollars worth of trades. So if the big financial institutions begin to refuse to accept some US debt as collateral based on the perceived risk of a deb ceiling debacle there could quickly be capital call in the market similar to what happened when Lehman failed.

This is not to say that the US will default on its debt. Rather this is to say that the mess the Government created is affecting things behind the scenes in the financial system. And this is where the next crisis could emerge.

With that in mind, investors should be prepping now for a potential run of systemic risk. If you are not already receiving powerful investment insights and recommendations on how to navigate this mess, I strongly suggest you take our a trial subscription to Private Wealth Advisory our monthly investment advisory devoted to helping individual investors hedge risk and protect their portfolios.

Few newsletters do a better job of navigating crisis than Private Wealth Advisory. During the EU Crisis of 2011-2012, we locked in 74 STRAIGHT winning positions and not one single loser.

We just started another winning streak in May.

Since then, Private Wealth Advisory subscribers have locked in 14 straight winners trades with gains between 7% and 25%. During this period we haven’t closed a single loser.

I just outlined six new positions that will produce huge gains when the market collapses from the Debt Ceiling Crisis.

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  • 12 monthly issues of Private Wealth Advisory
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To take out an annual subscription to Private Wealth Advisory

Click Here Now!

Graham Summers


Posted by Phoenix Capital Research in It's a Bull Market