The 5 Best Stocks to Invest in Natural Gas for 2014
For investors looking to cash in on the natural gas boom in 2014, there are a number of ways to invest. One of the best plays is natural gas stocks.
Chesapeake Energy, (NYSE:CHK) – Chesapeake is the second-largest holder of natural gas reserves in the U.S. and is a potential takeover target, but strong financials and strategy will keep it independent for a while longer. The company’s share has nearly doubled over the past year and a half and is a current trend favorite among hedge funds and traders. While this is often a telltale sign that the company could stall, the long term play is there due to undervalued assets and plenty of room to grow. Keep in mind that all commodity driven stocks involve a degree of volatility to gain a decent position.
Westport Innovations, (NASDAQ:WPRT) – Westport makes natural gas engines for heavy vehicles. Due to a speculative rise a few years ago and a significant drop due to slow business development, Westport is a solid investment for 2014. The company has more cash than outstanding debt and insiders own a substantial portion of the company, both reassuring signs. Shares are emerging from the depths and investors could make an aggressive play based on valuation and outlook for growth as more heavy vehicles more to natural gas.
CF Industries Holdings, (NYSE: CF) – Cheaper natural gas is a solid move for heavy users like nitrogen producers. CF has received a huge bump from natural gas over the past five years. Its stock is up almost 400% and its dividend was recently amped up by 150%. The company is investing heavily to broaden its capacity to take advantage of cheap natural gas to rule our food creating profits for CF and American farmers since they’ll be buying cheaper American-made nitrogen for their crops.
Clean Energy Fuels Corp., (NASDAQ: CLNE) – Consumption of natural gas will boom in 2014 and investors looking for natural gas stocks to fuel our economy should consider Clean Energy Fuels Corp. Like Wesport Innovations, more trucking companies are making the switch from expensive, dirty diesel rule to cheaper, cleaner natural gas. Clean Energy Fuels is embarking on America’s Natural Gas Highway in efforts to build the infrastructure necessary to make the switch from diesel easier for the country’s trucking fleets. Customers ordered 70 percent more natural gas vehicles in the first nine months of 2013 than they did in 2012, and that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
Cheniere Energy,(NYSE MKT: LNG) – Cheniere is one of several natural gas stocks working to get more American natural gas into global markets. Increasing U.S. exports is a trend that will continue and Cheniere is presently building two LNG export facilities along the Gulf Coast. Investors looking for solid pure plays on the natural gas export boom should take note.
There are many options for investors looking to play the consumption side of natural gas as well as the production. The need to continually generate tax revenue, more jobs, find alternatives for coal and oil (and independence from OPEC) make natural gas investing one of the safest bets in the investing world today. Consider your risk comfort level and how aggressive you want to get before getting started, then find companies, a couple ETFs and you’re well on your way.
Social Media Stocks Slip As Trump Issues Executive Order
Social media stocks slipped yesterday after President Trump signed an executive order granting the government broader authority to crack down on social media companies. Twitter fell 4.45%, Facebook dipped 1.61% and Google’s parent company Alphabet dropped 0.08%. Twitter took the biggest hit because Trump said if the company doesn’t operate honorably, he hinted he would consider shutting the company down.
Trump says social media companies have gained “unchecked power” and have taken on the roles of editors and publishers of the content on their websites. His executive order would remove their “liability shield” if they engage in censorship.
What is Section 230?
Section 230 allows tech companies to moderate user-generated content on their site without becoming legally liable for it as a publisher typically would.
The law allows companies to engage in “good Samaritan” moderation of “objectionable” material. This, then, comes without the companies receiving a publisher or speaker treatment. Section 230 allows platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube to take down terrorist content. It also allows them to track and take down harassing messages while still enjoying other legal protections.
What the law doesn’t allow, and what Trump says the platforms are doing, pertains to selectively moderating what messages users see to silence conservative voices.
“They’re doing things incorrectly, they have points of view,” Trump said at the White House. “My executive order calls for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it that social media companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield. That’s a big deal,” he also stated.
Trump said the order would also prevent taxpayer dollars from going to any company that engages in what Trump referred to as deceptiveness. This is in addition to limiting these protections for companies that acted with bias.
Trump’s executive order comes just days after Twitter added a fact-checking feature. The social media site added the new feature alongside two of the President’s tweets about mail-in ballots and fraud. After Twitter added the fact-checking features, Trump then accused the company of engaging in “political activism.”
He also tweeted, “So ridiculous to see Twitter trying to make the case that Mail-In Ballots are not subject to FRAUD. How stupid, there are examples, & cases, all over the place. Our election process will become badly tainted & a laughingstock all over the World. Tell that to your hater @yoyoel.”
“Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election,” the president also said Wednesday night — on Twitter. “If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!” he then added.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that his company is taking a different approach to moderating content on his social media platform.
“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
The interest in updating Section 230 to remove the liability shield for publishers isn’t just a goal for Republicans. It actually has bipartisan support.
This past January, Democratic nominee Joe Biden proposed revoking Section 230 completely. “The idea that it’s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms. It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.” Biden also never responded to follow-up questions about this statement.
Even former Democratic candidate also Bernie Sanders supported the idea, adding, “Tech giants and online platforms should not be shielded from responsibility when they knowingly allow content on their platforms that promotes and facilitates violence.”
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Ackman’s Hot Streak Continues, Dumps Berkshire, Says ‘We Can Be More Nimble’
Bill Ackman’s hot streak continues. This comes after he announced that his Pershing Square hedge fund has returned an average of 25% this year. It also trounces the average hedge fund return of -7%. Additionally, this reveals that it sold its $1 billion stake in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The fund first invested in Berkshire less than a year ago and only weeks took a larger stake in the conglomerate.
Completely exiting the Berkshire position surprised many on Wall Street, as Ackman has long admired Buffett as a mentor. He recently said that Buffett had built Berkshire “to withstand a global economic shock like this one.”
It appears that Ackman, like many, may have felt frustrated by the lack of activity from Berkshire during the recent market downswing. Berkshire’s cash balance has ballooned to $137 billion. Many, including Ackman, had likely expected a portion of that cash to be used to scoop up bargains during the late-February selloff. The said selloff took markets down nearly 30%.
Instead, Berkshire stood pat, and that appears to have been enough for Ackman to pull the plug on his investment. While discussing the exit, Ackman said that due to Pershing’s smaller size compared to Berkshire, “we can be much more nimble… and so our view was generally we should take advantage of that nimbleness, preserve some extra liquidity in the event that prices get more attractive again.”
Pershing Square’s success over the last two years had thrust Ackman back into the spotlight. This, perhaps, turned the chapter on a period where he became more famous for his misses than his home runs.
He was invested in Valeant Pharmaceuticals as it collapsed. He also famously squabbled on live TV with fellow billionaire Carl Icahn over Herbalife. Then, he gave a nearly 3-hour-long presentation explaining why he thought the company runs as a pyramid scheme. He finally exited his $1 billion short position at a loss.
Ackman’s current hot streak started last year, when Pershing Square returned 58.1%. This is its best annual return since the hedge fund was founded in 2004. After years of letting others make the firm’s investment decisions, Ackman took back the reins in 2018 with a back-to-basics strategy he learned from Buffett.
He returned the fund to a strategy that invests in simple, predictable, cash flow positive companies. He said, “It’s very hard to lose money by buying great businesses if you pay a fair price. For a while there, we forgot that our main job was to make money, so we woke up, and now we’re back in the money making business.”
Making money is exactly what Ackman did earlier this year. He did so with “the single best trade of all-time,” as what many calls it. He correctly predicted that the coronavirus would wreak havoc on our economy. Because of this, Ackman made a $27 million bet that netted his firm a $2.6 billion profit in less than two months as the markets crashed.
Now, his war chest is full again. It appears that Ackman is ready to buy should asset prices come down again.
Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal
Presidential candidate Joe Biden is the latest Democrat to throw their support behind the ridiculous idea that housing should be free
During an appearance yesterday, Biden said he agrees with “forgiving” both mortgage and rent payments. He says this as the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic and 38 million Americans are without a job.
“There should be rent forgiveness and there should be mortgage forgiveness now in the middle of this crisis. Not paid later, forgiveness. It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.” said Biden
Tara Raghuveer, housing campaign director at People’s Action, a political network devoted to grassroots organizing, aired her opinion. She said, “The tenant is the most vulnerable person in the economy right now.”
She added, “The alternative to not canceling the rent is complete bottoming out of the market. And tens of millions of people literally never financially recovering from this moment.”
Calls for Housing Relief
Biden’s call for rent and mortgage relief echoes efforts by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar introduced legislation that would bar landlords and lenders from collecting monthly payments. It would also impose late fees “through the duration of the pandemic.”
Under Omar’s plan, renters and mortgage borrowers who skip payments wouldn’t need to pay back anything once the rent and mortgage forgiveness policy ended. And any lender or landlord who violated the plan would face penalties.
Correctly, housing industry experts point out that allowing renters to skip payments also needs to consider the consequences of the landlords not being able to pay their own mortgages on the property.
“If multifamily landlords, particularly the small mom and pop landlords who own just maybe one to four units can’t make their mortgage payments and can’t stay in business, those are affordable units that are going to be lost to the private market,” said Flora Arabo, the national senior director of state and local policy at Enterprise Community Partners.
“Rent forgiveness without rental subsidies could be pretty catastrophic for tenants,” Arabo said.
Omar’s plan addresses these concerns, supporters say. It does so because it creates a fund for landlords and lenders so that they could recoup any losses.
Not surprisingly, Raghuveer’s organization, People’s Action, worked with Omar in drafting the bill. The organization threw in more stipulations for landlords to collect those funds. These include providing information on their revenues, refraining from discrimination based on the source of income, and other tenant protections.
Biden’s support for the rent and mortgage forgiveness plans doesn’t really mean much. However, the biggest problem with these free housing proposals is that they demonize landlords. They let the tenants immediately skip payments, but force the landlords to deal with bureaucracy and red tape to receive relief funds.
According to the Census Bureau, individual investors own nearly 75% of our nation’s rental units, not massive corporations. Those mom and pop landlords likely aren’t any more sophisticated than their tenants. They would also find themselves in the same dire financial situation should they lose the ability to collect rent.
Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, said in a recent interview, “Rent cancellation proposals do not adequately address the problem and fail to recognize that many property owners are in the same dire situation as their residents — substantial loss of income amid ongoing financial obligations.”
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