US Oil Rig Count Slips, Price on Track to Close Flat for the Week

In the week ended December 15, 2017, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 747, down by four from the prior week and up by 237 compared with a total of 510 a year ago. Including 183 other rigs drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 930 working rigs in the country, one less week over week and up by 293 year over year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count released on Friday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for January delivery settled at $57.04 a barrel on Thursday and traded up about 0.6% Friday afternoon at $57.37 shortly before the close of regular trading.

The natural gas rig count rose by three to 183 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 57 year over year. Natural gas for January delivery traded down 3.6% at around $2.79 per million BTUs before the count was released and was essentially unchanged following the report’s release.

Crude oil prices are on track to post a loss this week after reports from the International Energy Agency, OPEC and the U.S. Energy Information Administration all indicated that while global inventories are falling, production next year in non-OPEC countries is forecast to rise.

The United States is tagged to raise production the most, but the industry is proceeding cautiously with plans for new drilling next year. As prices have risen over the past several months more producers have hedged portions of their 2018 production at a level that guarantees a better cash flow than they saw in 2016 and 2017. Many are likely to reward patient stockholders with either a dividend hike or a buyback.

Among the states, Pennsylvania added three rigs this week while North Dakota and Wyoming each added one. Texas and New Mexico each lost two rigs and Louisiana lost one.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 397, three less compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 70 rigs in operation, unchanged week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 48 working rigs, up one for the week.

ALSO READ: Why You Are Paying 50 Cents a Gallon More for Premium Gas

Janet Yellen: Rate hike could come ‘relatively soon’

This Christmas, get ready for a rate hike.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that the Fed could raise interest rates “relatively soon.” The Fed last raised its key interest rate in December 2015 for the first time in a nearly decade.

“The case for an increase in the target range had continued to strengthen,” Yellen said, while testifying before a joint Congressional committee on the state of the U.S. economy. It was Yellen’s first public comments since the election of Donald Trump, a big critic of Yellen.

Trump has lambasted Yellen, saying she should be “ashamed of herself.” He claims Yellen is creating a “false economy” by keeping interest rates very low.

However, that might soon change. Trump’s big spending plans could actually force the Fed to raise rates more, some economists say.

During questioning, Yellen affirmed Thursday that she plans to remain as Fed Chair until her term expires in early 2018.

“I was confirmed by the Senate to a four-year term, which ends at the end of January of 2018, and it is fully my intention to serve out that term,” Yellen told Congress.

She argued that the Fed’s independence from politics is critical for the economy’s health. Yellen also said the Dodd-Frank Act should not be repealed because she believes it’s made the financial system sounder. Trump wants to “dismantle” Dodd-Frank.

The Fed’s next meeting is scheduled for December 13-14. The central bank is widely expected to hike rates — a signal that the U.S. economy is getting healthier and can withstand higher borrowing costs.

In her remarks, Yellen noted that the job market maintained some momentum this year, wage growth is starting to pick and inflation is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Meager wage growth is a major reason why many Americans still feel left out of the economy’s recovery from the Great Depression.

Overall, economic growth also picked up to nearly 3% in the third quarter after averaging a mere 1% in the first half of the year.

It’s an important meeting for the Fed’s credibility, which has come under attack by Wall Street investors. Fed officials estimated at the beginning of 2016 that they would raise rates four times.

But after a slew of setbacks, such as volatile stock markets and low oil prices, the Fed dialed down its plans during the year. Now investors, and even some Fed officials, say it’s time to raise rates again.

Wall Street is ready for another rate hike: investors bet there’s an 85% chance of a rate increase in December, according to CME Group.

Cracker Barrel (CBRL) Stake Decreased by TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC

TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC trimmed its position in shares of Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL) by 7.5% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 46,626 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 3,769 shares during the quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC’s holdings in Cracker Barrel were worth $7,408,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Cracker Barrel by 1.2% during the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 34,690 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $5,512,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James & Associates boosted its position in shares of Cracker Barrel by 38.7% during the fourth quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 9,616 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,528,000 after purchasing an additional 2,684 shares in the last quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Cracker Barrel in the 4th quarter valued at $548,000. QS Investors LLC lifted its position in Cracker Barrel by 484.4% in the 4th quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 10,034 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,594,000 after acquiring an additional 8,317 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC lifted its position in Cracker Barrel by 153.1% in the 4th quarter. Jefferies Group LLC now owns 7,432 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,181,000 after acquiring an additional 21,432 shares in the last quarter. 87.41% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

How to Become a New Pot Stock Millionaire

CBRL opened at $161.77 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $3,910.43, a P/E ratio of 18.45, a P/E/G ratio of 2.23 and a beta of 0.62. Cracker Barrel has a 12 month low of $141.75 and a 12 month high of $179.12. The company has a current ratio of 1.02, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65.

Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The restaurant operator reported $2.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.42 by $0.31. Cracker Barrel had a net margin of 8.10% and a return on equity of 36.86%. The firm had revenue of $787.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $787.26 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $2.19 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Cracker Barrel will post 9.38 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 7th. Shareholders of record on Friday, April 13th will be paid a $1.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, April 12th. This represents a $4.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.97%. Cracker Barrel’s payout ratio is currently 57.35%.

Several equities research analysts recently commented on the stock. SunTrust Banks set a $165.00 price objective on shares of Cracker Barrel and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 6th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Cracker Barrel from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 6th. BidaskClub raised shares of Cracker Barrel from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Bank of America cut their price objective on shares of Cracker Barrel from $155.00 to $150.00 and set an “underperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday. Finally, Maxim Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Cracker Barrel in a research report on Tuesday, February 20th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have assigned a hold rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $162.50.

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Cracker Barrel Company Profile

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc is engaged in the operation and development of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store concept (Cracker Barrel). The Company’s segments include Restaurant and Retail. As of September 19, 2016, the Company operated 640 Cracker Barrel stores in 43 states. The format of its stores consists of a rustic old country-store design offering a restaurant menu that features home-style country food and a range of decorative and functional items, such as rocking chairs, holiday and seasonal gifts and toys, apparel, cookware and foods.

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding CBRL? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL)

It's Time to Get Greedy with JD.Com Inc (ADR) Stock

Six years ago, I wrote about a company I called, “my highest-conviction stock in the market.” That stock wasAmazon(NASDAQ:AMZN), and since then, it has octupled — returning 700% for investors. My reasoning was fairly simple:

Having streamlined, super-expensive [fulfillment] centers spread throughout the country ensures that when you order something from Amazon, it will get to you in just a few days … If I were a bright entrepreneur, I would look for other ways to succeed outside taking on Amazon. The cost would be too high, and the probability of success too low.

I’m starting to see the very same dynamics play out in Chinese e-commerce specialistJD.com(NASDAQ:JD), and it’s why I’ll be buying more shares of the company when Motley Fool trading rules allow.

A JD delivery drone on a red mat

A delivery drone from JD. Image source: JD.com.

Securing the entire delivery chain

Of all the reasons to own shares of JD, none is more important to the company’s moat — and my investment thesis — than this section of the company’s annual report:

We operated a total of 486 warehouses…in 78 cities as of December31, 2017, and our comprehensive fulfillment facilities covered almost all counties and districts across China as of the same date. We delivery a majority of the orders directly to customers.

This is a huge deal. Unlike a company relying solely on a network effect, which can switch from a virtuous to a vicious cycle one when it falls out a favor, or a brand whose value is often out of management’s control, JD’s key advantage is in the form of physical locations — to a scale that is completely unmatched in the Middle Kingdom.

The real moat here is low-cost production: Because of its fulfillment network, JD can offer next- or two-day delivery for lower internal costs than anyone else. Not only does that engender customer loyalty, but it also helps guard against counterfeit goods — a problem that is rife in China.

The biggest rivals aren’t major threats to narrow this moat right now.Alibabaenjoys wide margins precisely because it doesnothave to worry about building and maintaining huge delivery networks — though it is making moves in that direction. AndTencent– the $500 billion social media and gaming giant — has a history of working as partners with JD.

And JD is taking a page right out of the Amazon playbook. Last year, the company reworked its JD Plus premium membership program to include access to free e-books, special rebates, and…you guessed it…free shipping. It also recently threw in a premium membership to streaming giantiQiyirecently to sweeten the JD Plus benefits for members.

While we don’t have specific numbers on membership in JD Plus, there’s little reason to doubt that the benefits of the membership will continue to accrue, and could attract very sticky revenue over the long run.

The results are proving this out

Of course, there’s nothing exciting about an impenetrable moat of fulfillment networks if nobody is actuallybuying anythingon JD. That, however, is not a major problem for the company. Revenue, gross merchandise value — or GMV, a measure of everything sold on the site, and annual active customers have all been growing atveryhealthy clips.

Metric 2015 2016 2017 TTM CAGR
Revenue 181 billion RMB 258 billion RMB 362 billion RMB 387 billion RMB 40%
GMV 591 billion RMB 939 billion RMB 1,295 billion RMB 1,372 billion RMB 45%
Customers 155 million 227 million 293 million 302 million 35%

Data source: SEC filings. TTM = Trailing 12 months. CAGR = Compounded annual growth rate.

To put these numbers in perspective, the company’s revenue over the past 12 months is equivalent to $60 billion, while GMV clocks in at $213 billion.

After dipping slightly in 2016, the amount of revenue per active customer has increased 13% since. And the amount of merchandise purchased per customer has increased almost 20% since 2015. In other words, JD is not only gaining more customers, but each customer is buying more from the platform — and generating more revenue — over time.

All of these forces combine to give JD four different moats, of varying strength:

Low-cost production:This is the strongest moat andcomes from the aforementioned fulfillment network. High switching costs:Because of JD Plus and the ancillary services associated with it, the company’s membership program could gain moderately high switching costs,as no one in China can offer the same shipping deals as JD. Network effect:With an established fulfillment network, JD established a separate entity in April 2017 — JD Logistics. As more people flock to JD’s site, third-party vendors are incentivized to list on JD and use JD Logistics for fulfillment. This draws even more Chinese customers to the platform — creating a virtuous cycle. Brand:Because of the three aforementioned forces,Statista says the JD brand is worth over $14 billion — the 12th-most valuable in China.

A price to justify being greedy

Any student of Amazon stock history realizes a tension: The stock has never been “cheap” by traditional metrics. And yet, waiting for a good price has meant passing up incredible gains along the way.

On the face of it, JD appears to be pretty expensive, too. After changing the results into dollars, the company’s non-GAAP P/E currently stands at 87 and the price-to-free-cash-flow sits at over 120. That’sveryexpensive.

But JD is also aggressively investing in its future — whether through improved logistics and fulfillment, or ancillary services. We got a peek into whatmightbe possible when the company took its foot off of the spending pedal last year, when annual free cash flow peaked at $4.8 billion. Today’s stock trades at a mere 13 times that figure — avery cheap price tag relative to the company’s growth.

AndAlphabet– parent company of Google — also recognizes the tremendous opportunity here. The company announced this week that it was investing $550 million in JD. It’s a win-win for both companies, as JD gets exposure to a world-leader in data and AI, while Alphabet can reestablish a presence in the Middle Kingdom after abandoning its search ambitions due to government restrictions.

Of course — as with Amazon — there’s no telling if or when that free cash flow will balloon once again. But I’m putting my skin in the game so that I’ll be owning shares when that does happen. If you’re a growth investor with a long-term horizon, I suggest you consider doing the same.

RepliCel’s Therapy for Pattern Baldness Shows Success in Phase 1 Trials

RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. (OTCBB: REPCF) (TSX: RP.V) – could be changing the way we treat baldness and hair loss in the future.

A clinical-stage regenerative medicine company, RepliCel is developing a unique biologic product that harnesses a patient’s own cells to treat pattern baldness and thinning hair, as well as products for aging and sun-damaged skin, and chronic tendon degeneration. The company recently announced the successful completion of its first-in-human clinical study of autologous cell therapy for the treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia, commonly known as pattern baldness.

In a culture that praises youth and beauty, hair loss and baldness can be devastating. As a society we associate hair with youth and stamina, as well as relative attractiveness. Women in particular associate a “good hair day” with happiness and success; men relate thick hair to masculinity. However, hair loss affects 40% of women and 70% of men as they age – 2016 statistics record over 35 million men and 21 million women reporting significant and noticeable hair loss. While this trait is often genetic, environmental factors such as stress, diet, product use, as well as hormonal changes, can have a dramatic impact on not only hair loss but also hair regrowth, providing an entry point for treatment.

Screen+Shot+2017-04-09+at+9.44.08+PM.png

To date, the only over the counter medications approved by the FDA to treat hair loss are Minoxidil and Propecia. Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is currently used by 85% of hair loss suffers. In addition to a significantly smaller market share, Propecia has had disappointing results on women in the studies, with fewer than 20% of patients reporting improved hair growth. Moreover, it usually takes one year of continued use of either product to see results, and if the treatment is stopped, hair loss begins again.

RepliCel takes a different approach to cure baldness, using a patient’s own cells to replace compromised hair follicle cells in bald areas, similar in theory to the immuno-oncology approach which has revolutionized cancer treatments in recent years. Not only is RepliCel developing an improved and sustained treatment to traditional oral or topical solutions, but this technique acknowledges a trend toward a more holistic approach to treatments in general.

03d55742-87b1-4ef4-ac6a-19d3a122ff42.png

Having recently completed Phase 1 studies, RepliCel President and CEO, R. Lee Buckler, stated “We are very pleased with the result of this first-in-human study and are excited to move this product forward into the next phases of development.”

RepliCel reported success in meeting its primary end points in the Phase 1 study, in addition to a five-year trial data set confirming the complete safety profile of a high-dose of dermal sheath cup cells (DSCC) for patients with pattern baldness. These data results set the company up well as it continues research and testing for the treatment of male and female alopecia.

This is good news for the millions of consumers looking for a treatment for their hair loss problem.

With some studies indicating that the alopecia or hair loss market could be worth almost $12 billion dollars in the next 6 years, the company is well positioned to offer alternatives and solutions to millions of hair loss suffers. With successful Phase 1 results for its hair regeneration therapy, and promising products in both the skin rejuvenation and tendon repair, RepliCel appears to be a company whose value will continue to rise, especially given its contributions in a growing market space.

Screen+Shot+2017-04-09+at+9.44.08+PM.png

Why Shares of Michael Kors Are Down 12% Wednesday

What happened

Shares of Michael Kors Holdings (NYSE:KORS), a global fashion luxury group, are down 12% as of 11:15 a.m. EDT, after posting strong fourth-quarter results. What’s going on?

So what

Michael Kors reported a 10.8% jump in revenue to $1.18 billion, topping analysts’ estimates calling for $1.14 billion — a result aided by a 2.3% increase in comparable store sales. Adjusted earnings per share checked in at $0.63, also ahead of analysts’ estimates of $0.60 per share.

“Fiscal 2018 was an exciting year for our Company as we established a foundation to support long term growth,”saidChairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Idol, in a press release. “We created a global fashion luxury group with the acquisition of Jimmy Choo and completed the first year of our Runway 2020 strategic plan for the Michael Kors brand, ending the year significantly ahead of our expectations.”

Shelves of high-end handbags in a retail store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

One of the driving forces behind the stock price decline Wednesday morning is due to fiscal year 2019 guidance. Management is guiding for full-year earnings per share to check in between $4.65 and $4.75, which only meets analysts’ estimates of $4.74 at the top end of the range, and flat comparable sales growth. Today’s 12% decline after a strong fourth quarter emphasizes how short of a leash Wall Street has with high end brick-and-mortar retailers still trying to figure out their e-commerce businesses.

Why Oracle Remains The Best Buy In The Technology World

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) hasn’t looked back since it decided to plunge with both feet into the world of cloud computing. Not that you can call it a stunning growth story just yet, but the database major has quickly maneuvered itself into a position of strength on the stickiness of its customer base.

What are the factors that will help Oracle succeed in this crowded landscape populated by the giants of tech? Indeed, what does Oracle offer that helps retain a large portion of its existing client base in the face of a global shift towards cloud? More to the point, why does Oracle’s current strategy bode well for its investors? I’ll try to answer those questions as I analyze Oracle’s strengths and opportunities in cloud.

Oracle’s Customers Are Not Leaving

As the cloud computing market grew, there was a perpetual fear of what would happen to companies operating on-premise infrastructure. Ten, twenty years from now there’s a good chance that none but a small percentage of users will be running their own infrastructure. Every additional billion dollars spent in cloud infrastructure is a billion taken away from the traditional on-premise segment.

Per Gartner, the global IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service – market for public cloud went from $16.8 billion in 2015, up 31% to $22.1 billion the following year, with Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Alibaba (BABA) in the lead.

Oracle, however, has managed to withstand the aggressive onslaught and hold on to a large chunk of its customer base. In the first half of fiscal 2018, Oracle’s software license and product support segment grew 3%; in fiscal 2017, it grew 2%.

Does that mean that Oracle’s existing business is totally safe from being disrupted? Absolutely not.

Revenue from new software licenses and hardware has been declining. In fiscal 2017, new software licenses declined by 12%, and it further declined by 2% during the first half of current fiscal. Hardware revenues declined by 11% in 2017 and declined a further 6% during the first half of the current year.

That’s a clear sign that Oracle’s customers are happy to renew existing licenses and product support, but aren’t necessarily using Oracle for further infrastructure growth.

I believe this trend is likely to continue over the next several years. Deployment and operating costs are constantly dropping, and the longer this continues, the more companies will shift from on-premise to cloud. In its 2017 State of the Cloud report, RightScale notes that 35% of the study’s respondents reported cost savings. Though that was down from 37% during the previous year’s study, it still shows a significant upside to investing in cloud infrastructure.

Not only does this allow Oracle some time to transition its customer base to its own cloud platform, but it also gives the company time to develop differentiated solutions. With a primary focus on increasing value and reducing TCO, or total cost of ownership, as well as complexity, Oracle is strongly positioning itself for growth. Which brings us to the matter of the transition it still needs to undergo.

The Transition

The first step here would be for Oracle to get its IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) revenues to offset what it makes from selling new software licenses and hardware.

During the first half of the current fiscal, IaaS revenue was $797 million, while new software licenses and hardware brought in $4.203 billion. Though the latter is nearly six times the size of the former, IaaS revenue grew by 25%, while new software licenses declined by 2% and hardware revenues declined by 6%.

There’s also another segment where Oracle is making gains – SaaS, or Software as a Service.

“This coming January, Oracle will deliver the world’s first autonomous database. We expect this innovative new technology to dramatically accelerate the growth of our PaaS and SaaS businesses and keep our database license business strong as well.” – Larry Ellison during the second-quarter 2018 earnings call

So far, the strong growth in its SaaS segment has masked the weakness in Oracle’s on-premise business, but the key to Oracle’s future lies in the growth of its infrastructure services. Larry Ellison clearly knows this, which is why he keeps talking about Amazon all the time, once in a while drifting towards Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and Workday (NYSE:WDAY), both of which are major players in the SaaS market.

And Oracle has been making several aggressive moves to get its infrastructure services segment growing.

“If you take a workload from Amazon running on Redshift and move it over to Oracle, your Amazon bill will drop by 80%. It will cost you five times more to run Redshift than to run the Oracle Autonomous. And this is not total cost of ownership, this is not labor, this is not – this is your Amazon bill, what you pay Amazon to do a piece of work, you can run on the Oracle cloud and pay $.20 on the dollar by moving from Amazon to Oracle.

We’re so confident of our cost advantages over Amazon that Oracle will provide our customers with written service level agreements that guarantee, that guarantee moving to the Oracle cloud will cut Amazon customer’s database bills in half or substantially more than half.” – Larry Ellison during the second-quarter 2018 earnings call

Oracle’s key differentiator has long been its database business, and the launch of the new product will further underline that distinction. Oracle Autonomous database promises to reduce manual input and maximize system availability, but the good thing here is that it’s playing the pricing angle.

A first-of-its-kind product from a market leader would typically mean a premium price tag, but considering the size disadvantage that Oracle’s IaaS business faces against Amazon and Microsoft, the focus on cost reduction seems to be a smart move that will attract more volume from a much larger user base. This move alone could help Oracle accelerate IaaS growth.

There’s already evidence of SaaS being a secure and growing business for Oracle on the strengths of its Enterprise Resource Planning and Human Capital Management products. The segment has posted growth rates above 50% for the past several quarters.

But its on-premise business, which includes new software licenses, updates and product support and hardware, still accounts for nearly 75% of overall revenue. PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and IaaS accounted for just 4% during the first half of 2018, up from 1% during the first half of 2015.

The strong growth in the SaaS segment has certainly given the company a lot of breathing space, giving it some extra time to get its IaaS segment into shape. The combination of existing customer base staying loyal, SaaS taking care of medium-term revenue growth, and IaaS growing due to new product launches and aggressive pricing is a good recipe for long-term success.

Chart
MSFT PE Ratio (Forward) data by YCharts

But the slow growth so far has made Oracle trade at a PE of just 21 times earnings and a forward PE of just 17, far lower than where other large tech giants are trading at, essentially making it the best buy at the current price point.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

About this article:ExpandAuthor payment: Seeking Alpha pays for exclusive articles. Payment calculations are based on a combination of coverage area, popularity and quality.Tagged: Investing Ideas, Long Ideas, Technology, Application SoftwareWant to share your opinion on this article? Add a comment.Disagree with this article? Submit your own.To report a factual error in this article, click here

First Eagle Investment Buys Imperial Oil, Alphabet Inc, Caterpillar Inc, Sells Grupo Televisa SAB, N

New York, NY, based Investment company First Eagle Investment buys Imperial Oil, Alphabet Inc, Caterpillar Inc, Huntsman Corp, Pentair PLC, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, Time Warner Inc, Western Digital Corp, MGM Resorts International, Molina Healthcare Inc, sells Grupo Televisa SAB, Nutrien, Chevron Corp, Coca-Cola European Partners PLC, Praxair Inc during the 3-months ended 2017-12-31, according to the most recent filings of the investment company, First Eagle Investment Management, LLC. As of 2017-12-31, First Eagle Investment Management, LLC owns 331 stocks with a total value of $42.5 billion. These are the details of the buys and sells.

New Purchases: CAT, HUN, MOH, MGM, AVGO, PCG, TGT, HYACU, TXMD, AXTA, Added Positions: IMO, XOM, SLB, GOOGL, COP, PNR, FOXA, OMC, TWX, WDC, Reduced Positions: NTR, CVX, CCE, APD, PX, PPL, V, NOC, MSFT, PKG, Sold Out: TV, DHR, HSY, PSX, FTV, AMAT, APH, PXD, BUD, T,

For the details of First Eagle Investment’s stock buys and sells, go to www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=First+Eagle+Investment

These are the top 5 holdings of First Eagle InvestmentMicrosoft Corp (MSFT) – 24,313,586 shares, 4.89% of the total portfolio. Shares reduced by 6.75%Oracle Corp (ORCL) – 40,738,675 shares, 4.53% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 0.15%Weyerhaeuser Co (WY) – 37,618,469 shares, 3.12% of the total portfolio. Shares reduced by 0.25%Schlumberger Ltd (SLB) – 19,128,265 shares, 3.03% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 9.89%American Express Co (AXP) – 12,851,346 shares, 3% of the total portfolio. Shares reduced by 0.68%New Purchase: Caterpillar Inc (CAT)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in Caterpillar Inc. The purchase prices were between $124.72 and $158.42, with an estimated average price of $138.66. The stock is now traded at around $151.08. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.11%. The holdings were 305,393 shares as of 2017-12-31.

New Purchase: Huntsman Corp (HUN)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in Huntsman Corp. The purchase prices were between $27.17 and $33.42, with an estimated average price of $30.6. The stock is now traded at around $31.48. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.09%. The holdings were 1,172,810 shares as of 2017-12-31.

New Purchase: Molina Healthcare Inc (MOH)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in Molina Healthcare Inc. The purchase prices were between $59.86 and $79.18, with an estimated average price of $72.08. The stock is now traded at around $87.59. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.06%. The holdings were 339,551 shares as of 2017-12-31.

New Purchase: MGM Resorts International (MGM)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in MGM Resorts International. The purchase prices were between $29.69 and $34.22, with an estimated average price of $32.19. The stock is now traded at around $34.47. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.06%. The holdings were 713,004 shares as of 2017-12-31.

New Purchase: Broadcom Ltd (AVGO)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in Broadcom Ltd. The purchase prices were between $239.5 and $284.62, with an estimated average price of $259.67. The stock is now traded at around $228.10. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.04%. The holdings were 59,764 shares as of 2017-12-31.

New Purchase: PG&E Corp (PCG)

First Eagle Investment initiated holdings in PG&E Corp. The purchase prices were between $44.45 and $69.2, with an estimated average price of $56.04. The stock is now traded at around $40.30. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.04%. The holdings were 369,296 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Imperial Oil Ltd by 44.59%. The purchase prices were between $29.51 and $32.38, with an estimated average price of $31.12. The stock is now traded at around $28.40. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.39%. The holdings were 17,514,595 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Alphabet Inc (GOOGL)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Alphabet Inc by 31.97%. The purchase prices were between $966.78 and $1085.09, with an estimated average price of $1032.42. The stock is now traded at around $1062.39. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.15%. The holdings were 248,124 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Pentair PLC (PNR)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Pentair PLC by 202.63%. The purchase prices were between $67.47 and $71.17, with an estimated average price of $69.58. The stock is now traded at around $68.28. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.09%. The holdings were 767,203 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc by 67177.33%. The purchase prices were between $24.97 and $35.24, with an estimated average price of $29.81. The stock is now traded at around $36.14. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.08%. The holdings were 982,249 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Western Digital Corp (WDC)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Western Digital Corp by 92.75%. The purchase prices were between $77.11 and $92.91, with an estimated average price of $85.29. The stock is now traded at around $81.45. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.07%. The holdings were 809,528 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Added: Time Warner Inc (TWX)

First Eagle Investment added to the holdings in Time Warner Inc by 2084.99%. The purchase prices were between $87.05 and $103.64, with an estimated average price of $94.52. The stock is now traded at around $95.39. The impact to the portfolio due to this purchase was 0.07%. The holdings were 324,383 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Sold Out: Grupo Televisa SAB (TV)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in Grupo Televisa SAB. The sale prices were between $17.52 and $24.64, with an estimated average price of $20.73.

Sold Out: Danaher Corp (DHR)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in Danaher Corp. The sale prices were between $85.26 and $94.62, with an estimated average price of $91.68.

Sold Out: Phillips 66 (PSX)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in Phillips 66. The sale prices were between $90.24 and $102.06, with an estimated average price of $95.03.

Sold Out: The Hershey Co (HSY)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in The Hershey Co. The sale prices were between $102.87 and $115.45, with an estimated average price of $110.01.

Sold Out: Fortive Corp (FTV)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in Fortive Corp. The sale prices were between $71.1 and $74.58, with an estimated average price of $72.58.

Sold Out: Applied Materials Inc (AMAT)

First Eagle Investment sold out the holdings in Applied Materials Inc. The sale prices were between $49.77 and $58.8, with an estimated average price of $54.2.

Reduced: Nutrien Ltd (NTR)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in Nutrien Ltd by 65.07%. The sale prices were between $46.6 and $51.63, with an estimated average price of $48.5. The stock is now traded at around $48.29. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -1.61%. First Eagle Investment still held 20,071,900 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Reduced: Chevron Corp (CVX)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in Chevron Corp by 86.25%. The sale prices were between $113.54 and $125.98, with an estimated average price of $118.57. The stock is now traded at around $112.62. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -0.6%. First Eagle Investment still held 359,182 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Reduced: Coca-Cola European Partners PLC (CCE)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in Coca-Cola European Partners PLC by 94.7%. The sale prices were between $37.89 and $42, with an estimated average price of $40. The stock is now traded at around $37.54. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -0.56%. First Eagle Investment still held 338,076 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Reduced: Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in Air Products & Chemicals Inc by 70.62%. The sale prices were between $152.2 and $164.62, with an estimated average price of $159.19. The stock is now traded at around $156.33. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -0.55%. First Eagle Investment still held 679,877 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Reduced: Praxair Inc (PX)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in Praxair Inc by 44.71%. The sale prices were between $139.9 and $156.36, with an estimated average price of $148.27. The stock is now traded at around $150.32. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -0.55%. First Eagle Investment still held 2,175,523 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Reduced: PPL Corp (PPL)

First Eagle Investment reduced to the holdings in PPL Corp by 84.26%. The sale prices were between $30.76 and $38.37, with an estimated average price of $35.91. The stock is now traded at around $30.30. The impact to the portfolio due to this sale was -0.45%. First Eagle Investment still held 991,862 shares as of 2017-12-31.

Here is the complete portfolio of First Eagle Investment. Also check out:

1. First Eagle Investment’s Undervalued Stocks
2. First Eagle Investment’s Top Growth Companies, and
3. First Eagle Investment’s High Yield stocks
4. Stocks that First Eagle Investment keeps buying

The Five Most Taboo Topics In Retirement: #2 Sex

Recently, I wrote an article titled Sex In Retirement that provides some good context for this taboo.  Long story short, the article suggests that sex, or sexual activity is rarely discussed when it comes to retirement planning and as a result, people can have a lot of misconceptions about it.  I go on to share that:

"its common for people to assume that as people get older, their desires and capacity for sexual activity either diminishes or is ‘dirty’. Rationalizations for these thoughts and beliefs can range from a belief that as people age they become less attractive (thus less desirable), that their bodies cant handle it, or that men and women of a certain age and with sexual desires are just dirty old men or sex-crazed cougars and shouldnt be thinking about stuff like that. 

 The problem with these outdated beliefs is that our sexuality is a big part of who we are.  Its not just our biological prerogative, its part of our personality, self-image, and form of communication. None of which just goes away because people leave work behind.

 In fact, studies suggest that sexual activity can last for some people into their 80s and even 90s.  This trend is likely to continue as people near, or already in, retirement are healthier and more active than previous generations.  Furthermore, research finds that keeping the romance alive in a relationship is an important part of a satisfying retirement.

and many of the same factors that can contribute to supposed sexless years of retirement are the same factors that affect sexuality in persons of any age.  Things like boredom with your partner, alcohol abuse, lack of energy, and overall health all play a role in ones sex life.

I feel its important to re-share this information as a means to begin to normalize the topic of sex in retirement in order to address issues and encourage people not to let natural aging or performance derail their desire for intimacy.  Thankfully, this is taking place in nearly every family room with commercials for some of the more common issues that people face.  However, like the money taboo, sex conversations can go much deeper and cause challenging situations and questions throughout retirement.

What’s going on behind closed doors in retirement? (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Im reminded of an article I read several years ago, where a son got a phone call in the middle of the night from the nursing home where his mom with dementia was living.  They asked him to come in to discuss a recent incident with his mother and another patient.  When he got there, he was informed that his mother was caught having sex with another male patient, who wasnt her husband / his father.

It was the first time that I was made aware of the fact that the last faculty for patients with Alzheimer or dementia to lose is their desire for touch.  Which also brought up more questions.  Does that make it okay? Should the guy tell his father (her husband)? Should they move her to another facility?  Should they take legal action?  What if it happens again?

This led me to another article on the topic by Dr. Gillian Leithman where she asks the question, Is it adultery if youre spouse doesnt know you anymore?.  In the article she references the work of Rabbi Richard Address, the director of Jewish Sacred Aging, who recommends that couples have this discussion when determining living wills or making end of life decisions.

She writes, He advises people to consider writing an open letter to my spouse granting him/her permission to enter into a new relationship should one be stricken by an illness that leaves one incapable of being fully present.

Its definitely not your typical retirement or legacy planning conversation which is why its important to just start thinking and talking about these things.  It doesnt mean the topic will be easy or resolved in one sitting, but rather that its a real part of life and should be open for discussion.

Have you have thought about this or been impacted by factors like these?  Please share your story or input in the comments sections below.

Overall, sex can become a taboo topic if you arent familiar with the common problems that arise with aging and some of the challenges that longevity and disease can cause. Join me for taboo #3 Religion next (coming soon) or check out taboo #1 Money

If You Do Only 1 Thing This Social Security Month, Do This

Social Security plays a role in the lives of nearly every American, between the benefits that tens of millions of retirees and disabled people receive and the payroll taxes that are taken out of the paychecks of hundreds of millions of workers. These workers, their spouses, and other family members rely on Social Security benefits to protect them financially, and for many people, Social Security represents the majority of their income after they retire.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants everyone to know more about the benefits they’ve earned and has declared April to be National Social Security Month. So as the month draws to a close, there’s one thing you can do to make sure you get the most out of Social Security for yourself and your family.

Three Social Security cards with a brass key on top.

Image source: Getty Images.

Open an account on the “my Social Security” website

The SSA has embraced online innovation and sought to shift many of the things it used to do by paper onto its internet site. The my Social Security program is designed to help you manage your benefits effectively and efficiently while minimizing the chances of identity theft. In the past, the SSA sent out Social Security statements in the mail each and every year, but now, the agency is urging everyone to create a my Social Security account to access that information more securely on their computers or mobile devices.

Signing up for access is relatively easy. You’ll need some basic personal information in order to verify your identity, and you need an email address to set up your account. However, the process doesn’t take long.

What you can do with my Social Security

There are several things that the SSA’s online system lets you do. The most important is seeing your Social Security statement. On the statement, you’ll get information on what your estimated benefits are based on your past earnings record and assumptions about your future earnings. You’ll see how much you’ll be projected to get in monthly benefits at your full retirement age, as well as the higher monthly payments you’ll get if you wait until age 70 and the lower monthly payments from claiming earlier at age 62. You’ll also find out how much you’ll be entitled to receive if you become disabled, and learn what benefits your surviving family members will get if you pass away.

You also can access your earnings history using my Social Security, which provides the basis for estimating your retirement and disability benefits. There, you’ll see all of your earnings dating back to the beginning of your career. If you see problems, then the website gives you instructions on how to contact the SSA to correct the issue. It’s vital that this information be absolutely accurate, because your Social Security payments in retirement will be based on the 35 highest-earning years of your career after indexing for inflation.

Finally, my Social Security can help you replace missing documents. For instance, if you’ve lost your Social Security card or had it stolen, then the SSA can walk you through the process you’ll need to follow in order to get a replacement.

Make the most of my Social Security

Perhaps the most useful aspect of my Social Security is that it serves as a good central clearinghouse for information about Social Security. In conjunction with the broader ssa.gov website, my Social Security is a valuable tool you can use to find out more about your particular benefits and how the program will help you.

Even if you don’t sign up for online access, you still will get a Social Security statement in the mail every five years. But with so much to gain and no reason to wait, it’s smarter to get yourself set up with online access. That way, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your benefits and make sure you and your loved ones get every penny from Social Security that they deserve.