The Power of Positive Part #1

Problems create opportunity and opportunity creates problems.

See three problems in three years and how to profit from a $10 billion war chest being built by major banks… what to do now that the fiscal cliff has been avoided and insights on how to invest during the looming battle over gun rights.

We had an unexpected high number of enrollments for next week’s Super Thinking + Investing and Business Seminar.   What a great opportunity!  The problem?  Our scheduled meeting room was too small.   Like a cascading fractal… life’s problem’s created by opportunity create more opportunity.  This is the exponential power of positive!

In this case, the problem of a larger meeting hall brings opportunity in Eustis. Florida.

eustis florida

Merri and Mah at the Lake Eustis Park in Old Eustis.

This site has posted many messages about real estate value in Florida and especially in Lake County.

Like Ecuador… Florida real estate has one really big advantage… sunshine.    Plus Florida real estate prices fell more than in many areas of the US… so they will rebound higher.

This creates a special opportunity we’ll look at in a moment.    First back to Eustis…. because there is a special little known potential there in the name of the Lake Community Foundation.

In 2004, Florida Hospital Waterman relocated to a new site and donated its Eustis property to the Foundation.   The revenue from the sale/redevelopment of the property is designated for charities and a comprehensive plan has been created.

eustis map

The area is developing nicely but there is one large parcel (C) not yet sold and designated for a hotel.

This and the fact that Eustis is one of the few cities that has not allowed development along the waterfront makes it extra attractive for its small town (15,000 population) and natural feel.

Merri and I have been buying real estate in this area for over three years now.  We took a stroll along Lake Eustis visiting restaurants.

While our friends and readers in the north and Pacific Northwest were struggling in the cold and snow, we enjoyed mid 70s and clear skies.

eustis florida

Lake Eustis.

We dined outside at the Lake Eustis Deli.

eustis florida

There are numerous picnic tables and this is a perfect place for a casual lunch.

Eustis also offers some exceptional real estate values already without the little known benefit.

For example this house is offered for $199,000.

eustis florida

This is near the lake.

eustis florida

Here is a photo I took (with a telephoto lens) the six blocks from this house to the lake.

eustis florida

Yet it has been on the market for a year and I suspect it will sell for less.

We have asked our friend and real estate broker, Shirley Peacock, to have a list of Eustis properties for sale and to be available for seminar delegates.

We will look at how to spot value in problems at this weekend’s Super Thinking + Investing and Business seminar.

Here are a few examples we’ll review of recent problems and our positive take on each.

#1  Problem:  Real Estate Collapse and hard to get mortgages. Winning Idea: Invest in real estate for rentals

A January 22, 2013 article in USA Today entitled “Rental Investors pant for next hot home market”  tells how home shoppers are now seeing multiple offers, bidding wars and shrinking supplies of homes for sale as investors swoop in.

Major institutional investors are amassing a $10 billion war chest to pursue the single-family rental market, JPMorgan Chase estimated in a recent research report.

This site posted an article about investing in rentals in December 2011.  Here is an excerpt.

Rentals are rising from the ruins.

economist graphs

From November 5, 2011 Economist article linked below “Rising from the ruins”

This site has promoted the idea of investing in necessities at this time… food… agriculture… shelter.

This site has always promoted the idea of having assets in more than one country.

Let’s look at why rental opportunities in North America must grow.

Excerpts from a November 5, 2011 Economist article “Rising from the ruins” explains why” The housing market still looks grim, but the rental side hints at recovery

THERE are two things everyone knows about American economic recoveries. The first is that the housing sector traditionally leads the economy out of recession. The second is that there is no chance of the housing sector leading the present economy anywhere, except deeper into the mire. In the two years after the recession of the early 1980s housing investment rose 56%; it is down 6.3% in the present recovery. America is saddled with a debilitating overhang of excess housing, the thinking goes, and as a result is doomed to years of slow growth and underemployment.

The economic landscape is unquestionably littered with the wreckage of the crash. Home prices languish near post-bubble lows, over 30% below peak. The plunge in prices has left nearly a quarter of all mortgage borrowers owing more than the value of their homes; nearly 10m are seriously delinquent on their loans or in foreclosure. The hardest-hit markets are ghost neighbourhoods, filled with dilapidated properties. Housing markets are far from healthy. Yet current pessimism seems overdone. A turnaround in sales, prices and construction may be closer than many imagine.

Rental markets, by contrast, look far stronger. America’s rental vacancy rate stood at 9.8% in the third quarter of 2011, down from a high above 11% in 2009. Vacancy rates in some cities are strikingly low—2.4% in New York City, for instance, and 3.6% in San Francisco—which translates into rising rents. Nationally, rents rose 2.1% in the year to August, in stark contrast to house prices (see chart 2).

economist graphs

Strength in the market for rentals is beginning to seep into the more troubled owner-occupied sector. Rising rents help housing markets heal on both the supply and demand side, by encouraging renters to consider buying and through the movement of supply into the rental market, easing the glut of houses for sale. The Obama administration hopes to take advantage of better rental conditions to unload some of the more than 200,000 foreclosed-on homes held by the two government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (which account for roughly half of all such inventory), on to investors who may rent the properties out.

Rental-market strength is also rousing a long-dormant building industry. New housing starts rose 15% from August to September of this year, driven by a 53% surge in new structures containing five units or more. In the three months to September construction employment rose by 29,000 jobs. The sector is still some 2.2m jobs below its pre-recession peak, and new hiring there would help a dismal labour market.

Problem #2:  The Fiscal Cliff.   Winning Ideas: Borrow Yen. Invest in dollars.   The cliff was bound to be avoided and the dollar to rise. The yen was obviously too strong.

A December 12, 2012  message at this site said: Yen leverage has remained a wonderful overall long term strategy for 20 years.  Yen interest rates have normally been near or under 3% for 20 years!  Any  loan that was invested for more than 3% enjoyed pure extra profit!

Now the yen is too strong again (in my humble opinion).   Plus as you see below yen interest rates now are as low as 2%.

If I am correct, this is a good time to short the Japanese yen.

There are two easy ways to make this short yen speculation… one is through ETFs.

The way to short the yen is to borrow yen and use the loan to make investments that earn more than 3% in currencies that are likely to rise against the yen.

Since that article the dollar has risen from 82 yen per dollar to 90 yen per dollar bringing a double digit profit in a month. chart

Dollar yen chart at

Problem #3:  Government buying ammunition. Winning Idea: Shares in Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK). chart

Chart of ATK shares at

Shares of ATK have risen from $57 to $66 per share since we wrote:  I stumbled across ATK because of a potential problem. Numerous readers began sending me copies of websites headlines like this: Fears that federal authorities are preparing for mass civil unrest have increased after it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security is planning to buy a further 750 million rounds of ammo in addition to the 450 million rounds of hollow point bullets already purchased earlier this year.

The buzz is that the current administration is afraid of civil unrest in the USA and is arming up.

Perhaps so but my thinking focused on value instead of anarchy.  Instead of asking… is this true or not… what is the government’s intention… I asked… Who will make all that money?

For a fact… there is very little I can do about the government or its expenditures.  There is a lot I can do in my own actions and investing.

So I looked and found this news at   ATK Delivers 2 Billion 7.62mm Rounds to the U.S. Army from the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP).  ATK Delivers More than 350 Million 5.56mm Enhanced Performance Rounds Using Modernized Production Line Equipment
.   ATK Receives $131 Million in Small-Caliber Ammunition Orders

Over the past 10 years, the company produced an average return on equity of 31.51% by using financial leverage.

ATK debt is high but during the recession it never had problems with debt service.  All these facts suggest that  the shares of ATK are good value.

A little investigation found that stocks in the defense sector have been selling at historically cheap valuations and that ATK shares were selling a ratios far below the industry average. ATK Price/Earnings is 6.2 compared to an industry average of 13.2. ATK  Price/Book is 1.3 compared to industry average of  3.0 and its Price/Sales Ratio is 0.4 compared to 0.8.

The 10 year average P/E ratio for its shares has been 18% but is currently below 10%  about half  the ten year average.

These facts coupled with recent events in the Middle East suggest even more spending will be for defense.

Share the world’s  problems and how to gain the power of positive to turn them into opportunity this weekend in Eustis, Florida.

Multi Currency Value Investing Seminar

Old Accord Creates New Profits – Multi Currency Investments.

Learn about multi currency stock market breakouts at our Online Value Investing Seminar and save $502 or more.

The Value Investing Seminar is our premier course that we have been conducting every October and February for over 30 years.  Now you can join the seminar online.

Multi Currency Seminar

Improve Safety – Increase Profits

Learn how to improve the safety of your savings and investments by selecting good value and diversified investments in a multi-currency portfolio.

Few decisions are as important to your wealth as the value of the markets and currencies you invest in.  This has been our area of expertise since the 1970s and we have worked with and advised some of the largest currency traders in the world.

Gain Protection First – Against the Dollar’s Purchasing Power Loss.  In 1913 the The Federal Reserve Act created the Federal Reserve Bank to protect the purchasing power of the US dollar, which has since lost about 94% of its purchasing power.  Here is its price compared with gold since 1900.

priced in gold

Dollar chart from (1)

The Fed has let the dollar lose most of its strength plus has allowed interest rates to fall so low, that safe investments cannot keep pace with the drop in purchasing power.


Chart from Grandfather Economic Report (2)

Many investors have forgotten about the risk of a falling dollar because the greenback has been strong for the past five years.  This temporary dollar strength came after the great recession of 2009 just as there was temporary dollar strength after the great recession of the 1980s.  Then about six years after the recession, an agreement was made by major governments to weaken the dollar.

There was a severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The United States and Japan exited the recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect Europe and the UK through to at least 1985.  As a consequence between 1980 and 1985, the US dollar had appreciated by about 50% against the Japanese yen, Deutsche mark, French franc and British pound, the currencies of the next four biggest economies at the time. Then the governments reached an agreement and exchange rate values of the dollar versus the yen declined by 51% from 1985 to 1987.

Now the world is again in the same place.  The recession is over.  Europe is a bit behind in recovery and the dollar is 50% higher than before the recession and there is no reason for the greenback to be  strong.

The agreement in 1985 was called the Plaza Accord.   Over just two years the greenback dropped nearly 50% versus other major currencies.  The next accord will generate great profits for those who know what to do while it ruins the purchasing power of dollar back investments.

The strong US dollar and low interest rates have created one of the biggest stock and multi currency breakout opportunities in history.  Learn how to create a plan to profit from multi currency shifts ahead.

One reason for the potential gains is that stock markets and currency values are cyclical.  Due to low interest rates created by the 2009 economic downturn, the US and a few other equity markets have risen to some of their highest prices, ever.  These markets offer very poor value now.  The steep valuation creates incredible profit potential but also hides some enormous risks.  Learn how to develop an investing strategy based of earnings, cash flows, dividends and book values to increase potential for profit and reduce the risks.

Next Extra Profit Created by Value Breakouts

Over the history of US equity markets, the  price of overall markets have risen about 9.1 percent, respectively, compounded annually.  Yet over more than a hundred years of stock market activity,  a majority of the profits have come from just a very few dramatic breakouts.

Equity markets are ruled in the short term by emotions that create unpredictable ups and downs.  Numerous fears of defaults, worries of double dip recessions, high unemployment, concerns about fiscal cliffs, hold investors back.  Yet global population growth and advances in production and prosperity are relentless economic fundamentals that increase value.

When fear holds back a a fundamentally rising value, rising profit potential grows.  Values increase as prices stagnate.  Then markets break free and rocket upwards creating wealth, prosperity and growth.

Learn how to use value as a guide for spotting these breakouts that create fortunes.

Sign up for our current Value Investing Seminar xxxxx and learn the latest breakout possibilities in global equities, currencies, real estate and commodities.

For example the seminar shows the potential for a breakout of the Singapore dollar.

singapore dollar chart

US dollar rising against Singapore chart

The US dollar has been rising without valid economic reasons versus the Singapore dollar since the middle of 2011.  The rise has been especially strong since mid 2014.  This currency distortion creates extra value opportunity because the fundamentals for the Singapore dollar are strong and fundamentals for the US dollar weak.  This is exactly the type of breakout position we look for and share in this seminar.

Here are the currency fundamentals:

US GDP Growth last year: 2.2%

Singapore GDP Growth last year: 2.9%

US current account balance for last year:  -$758 billion or -2.5% of GDP

Singapore current account balance for last year: +$49 billion or +21.2% of GDP

US Budget Balance as % of GDP for last year:  -2.6%

Singapore Budget Balance as % of GDP for last year was a low: -0.7%

US Unemployment: 5%

Singapore Unemployment: 2.0%

US$ Interest Rate 10 year bonds:  2.19%

Singapore $ Interest Rate 10 year bonds: 2.57%

These are economic signs of a currency’s strength.  They show a classic indicator that it is a good time to borrow US dollars and invest in Singapore dollars.

Where to Invest

The seminar reviews many ways to diversify currencies for investors large and small.

For example almost anyone can invest in the Currency Shares Singapore Dollar Trust (FXSG)  managed by Guggenheim Partners.

Guggenheim manages a stable of currency ETFs under the Currency Shares brand.

These ETFs are traded on the New York Stock Exchange so even small investors can diversify in other currencies.

One of the ETFs is the CurrencyShares Singapore Dollar Trust (FXSG).  The investment seeks to reflect the price of the Singapore Dollar.  This provides a low cost, simple, cost-effective means of gaining investment benefits similar to those of holding Singapore Dollars.

Find out which breakouts are likely to take place next.

Merri and I have been able to help readers have better lives, less stress and to make fortunes during up and down markets for over 30 years.  The simple reason for this is that we aim for the really big profits earned at the start of a breakout.

In 2016 I want to kick off the year with you and share why I have confidence and enthusiasm about the breakouts that are near.

Here is a partial syllabus of this online seminar:

International & Value Investing Outside the Box.  This session shows how to take advantage of unusual currency breakouts.

Here is an example.  At our October 2012 seminar we told delegates that the Japanese yen was too strong and was likely to weaken early in the next year. In the next six months, the US dollar rose 13% against the yen.  On December 12, 2012 one USA dollar would buy 82 yen.  chart

Delegates who acted and sold the yen short picked up an extra 13% forex profit in nine months.

There is a second way they could have earned.  They could have borrowed Japanese yen at a low interest rate (2.5%) and invested the borrowed yen into a Dow Jones Industrial ETF for this six month period.

In this example $100,000 was invested and used as collateral to borrow $100,000 worth of Japanese yen at 2.50%.   The rate was 82 yen per dollar so to get $100,000, 8,200,000 yen was borrowed.

The $200,000 was invested in a Dow Jones Industrial ETF… a mutual fund traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The ETF rose, along with the Dow, 12.85%.

The Dow as shown in this chart rose over 12% from January to July 2013.

yahoo finance chart

The loan cost per year is $2,500 (2.5% on $100,000).    The $200,000 portfolio rose $25,700 (12.85% of $200,000).  In other words, the $100,000 originally invested grew $23,200 in six months.

That is the positive carry without the forex profit.  Plus there is a forex gain as well.

By July a dollar would buy 100 yen!

To pay off the 8,200,000 loan would have cost $82,000 at the rate of 100 yen per dollar adding another $18,000 of profit.

The portfolio is worth $223,200 less $82,000 loan payoff or $141,200. That translates into a total six month profit of 41.2%.

How to spot value from cycles.  Stocks rise from the cycle of war, productivity and demographics. Cycles create recurring profits. Economies and stock markets cycle up and down around every 15 years as shown in this graph.


The effect of war cycles on the US Stock Market since 1906.

Bull and bear cycles are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.  Economic downturns create war.

Here is the war stock cycle.  Military struggles (like the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War: WWIII) super charge inventiveness that creates new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and lastly during the Cold War, the internet.  The military technology shifts to domestic use.  A boom is created that leads to excess.  Excess leads to correction. Correction creates an economic downturn and again to war.

Learn how the Cyber War (WWIV) may change the way we live and act and how this will affect currencies and investments.

Details in the seminar include:

* How to easily buy global currencies, shares and bonds.

* Trading down and the benefits of investing in real estate in Small Town USA.  We will share why this breakout value is special and why we have been recommending good value real estate in this area since 2009.

* What’s up with gold and silver?  One session looks at my current position on gold and silver and asset protection.  We review the state of the precious metal markets and potential problems ahead for US dollars.  Learn how low interest rates eliminate  opportunity costs of diversification in precious metals and foreign currencies.

* How to improve safety and increase profit with leverage and staying power.  The seminar reveals Warren Buffett’s value investing strategy from research published at Yale University’s website.  This research shows that the stocks Buffet chooses are safe (with low beta and low volatility), cheap (value stocks with low price-to-book ratios), and high quality (stocks of companies that are profitable, stable, growing, and with high payout ratios), but his big, extra profits come from leverage and staying power.  At times Buffet’s portfolio, as all value portfolios, has fallen, but he has been willing and able to wait long periods for the value to reveal itself and prices to recover.

keppler asset management chart

This chart based on a 45 year portfolio study shows that holding a diversified good value portfolio (based on a  good value strategy) for 13 month’s time, increases the probability of outperformance to 70%.  However those who can hold the portfolio for five years gain a 88% probability of beating the bellwether in the market and after ten years the probability increases to 97.5%.

Time is your friend when you use a good value strategy.  The longer you can hold onto a well balanced good value portfolio, the better the odds of outstanding success.

Learn how much leverage to use.  Leverage is like medicine, the key is dose.  Buffett leverages his portfolio at a ratio of approximately 1.6 to 1.  This rate of expansion by the way is called the “Golden Ratio”.  It is a mathematical formula that controls the growth of most natural things; trees, the shape of leaves, the spiral of shells, as well as the way economies and societies grow.

We’ll sum the strategy, how to leverage cheap, safe, quality stocks and for what period of time based on your circumstances.

Learn to plan in a way so you never run out of money.  The seminar also has a session on the importance of having and sticking to a plan.  See how success is dependent on conviction, wherewithal, and skill to operate with leverage and significant risk.  Learn a three point strategy based on my 50 (almost) years of investing experience combined with wisdom gained from some of the world’s best investment managers and economic mathematical scientists.

Enjoy investing more with slow, worry free, good value investing.  Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies.  These are major foundations of the Behavior Gap, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose.  The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear.  The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress.

Learn how to put meaning into your investing by creating profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal goals.

Learn how to span the behavior gap.  Behavior gaps are among the biggest reasons why so many investors fail.  Human evolution makes fear the second most powerful motivator.  (Greed is the third.)  Fear creates investment losses due to behavior gaps.  Fear motivates us more strongly than desire.  By nature investors are risk adverse, when they should embrace risk.  Purpose is the most powerful motivator,  stronger than fear and greed.  One powerful way to overcome the behavior gap is to invest with a purpose.

Combine your needs and capabilities with the secrets and the math of our good value model portfolio.

Share ideas about my good value portfolio.  My personal investment portfolio comes from a continual analysis of international stock markets and a comparison of their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return.

Markets included in this portfolio are:

• Norway
• Australia
• Hong Kong
• Japan
• Singapore
• United Kingdom
• Taiwan
• South Korea
• China

These markets have been chosen based on four pillars of valuation.

• Absolute Valuation
• Relative Valuation
• Current versus Historic Valuation
• Current Relative versus Relative Historic Valuation   xxxxxx

The seminar also reveals how to use Country ETFs to easily construct a diversified, risk-controlled, equally weighted representative country portfolios in all of these good value countries.

To achieve this goal my portfolio consists of Country Index ETFs that track an index of shares in a specific country.  These country ETFs provide diversification into a basket of equities in the good value countries.  The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.

This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required.  You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices.  A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares.  You can invest in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index.  All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.

The seminar also discloses the results of a $80,000 share purchase cost test that found the least expensive way to invest in good value.  The keys to this portfolio are good value, low cost, minimal fuss and bother.  Plus a great savings of time.  Trading is minimal, usually not more than one or two shares are bought or sold in a year.  I wanted to find the very least expensive way to create and hold this portfolio so I performed a test.

The Test for Low Cost Trading

Research put every part of this portfolio in place, except knowing the best, easiest and least expensive way to buy.  A search for an optimal way to buy and hold boiled down to two methods.  One tactic to test was to use a unique online broker that appeared to offer the lowest cost deal.  The other approach was to use a community bank in Smalltown USA.  The small town bank that I use looks after my 401K trust account and their service is first class.  The benefit of small banks is that they still treat us as a human beings (instead of a number) and when we need, it’s easy to go right to the top to answer a question or get a problem resolved.  There are no call centers and the bank and the person looking after my account is just around the corner.

I created a test to see which offered the least expensive service.

Working with my banker in Smalltown USA,  I created two accounts, one at the online broker and the other at the bank. I placed $40,000 in each.

I set up the order for the country ETFs online, while my trust manager set up orders for the identical amounts of the same shares in his system.  Then we got on the phone, coordinated our timing and on a count of three each pushed the button “BUY”.

I share the results of this test in the seminar.  The savings you can gain on any purchase of country ETFs has the potential to be more than the cost of the seminar.

I have good news about the cost of the seminar as well.   For almost three decades the seminar fee has been $799.   Now because we have conducted the Value Investing Seminar online, you can save  thousands.  With the webinar, you save the cost of travel and accommodations, plus due to the fact that we don’t have to hire an expensive seminar room, we have dropped the fee from $799 to $297.  You save $502 on the fee alone plus eliminate the cost of travel and accommodations.

Enroll in the current Online Value Investing Seminar for only $297.

You can sign up for all three of the seminars that we’ll conduct this year and save even more.  As markets change we update the Value Investing Seminar, every four months, October, February, May.  Then we conduct the seminar in person in July or August.   The seminar available now has just been updated from our October 2015 seminar.

We have a special program for those who would like to join two, or all three of the seminars.

Two online Value Investing Seminars seminars: $397.  You receive the updated October 2015 seminar now and the February 2016 seminar online.

All online Value Investing Seminars in 2016 $447.  You receive the updated October 2015 seminar now and the February and May 2016 seminar online.


(1) Dollar chart from

(2) Grandfather Economic Report

(3) currency charts


Read the 2011 real estate rental article in our archives here

Read the entire September 14 ATK Message in our archives here.

Read the entire Dec 12, 2012 yen message in our archives


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