Banks, Listings, And Funds

The neighborhood was in lockdown yesterday, as President Trump came here to visit his hospitalized younger brother Robert, who died last night.

Things are definitely looking up over the website restoration, as a wholly extraneous issue has been resolved — my web access. The big storm two weeks ago zapped the electricity in my office. But what I didn't realize is that the storm also damaged my internet access because of surges that interfered with downloads and even passwords. I had no idea that could happen.

Anyways, on to news.

Hang Seng Bank of Hong Kong, a listed sub of the troubled HSBC Bank, has agreed to add Mainland tech companies which have multiple classes of shares with different voting rights.

These would be secondary listings. It started with Alibaba (BABA), which like many Chinese companies listed here, does not meet US auditing standards as China will not allow US access to its Chinese accounts. This is considered a good thing on the condition that HSNGY continues to limit the weighting for companies with unequal voting rights to 5% of the index total. The index is free-float adjusted, capitalization weighted, and covers the largest companies.

The new standards apply from September 7, Labor Day, when US markets will be closed. Being on the Hang Seng Index is essential to get investment from foreign funds. To the extent that this boosts the acceptability of Chinese stocks which may be barred from Wall Street. I approve, and it may help HSBC restore its mojo.

The Hang Seng Bank is one of the rare female-headed banks, whose CEO is Rose Lee Wai Mun. It also offers US securities trading, but only to non-US, Canadian, or South Korean persons. It reports on trades to the IRS. It also does IPO's.

Canada's Investment Reporter rates both Algonquin Power, (AQN), BCE, and Scotia Bank (BNS) as best buys for income. AQN yielded 19 cents per share in, or a yield of 4.8%. BCE yields 6% now, and raises its dividend every year. BNS yields 6.5% and its divvy “appears to be secure.” There is no certainty in a pandemic, but an international power generator, transmitter, and distributor is a good bet. It sells mostly in the US and Canada, and the products include regulated and renewable gas, solar energy, and hydro energy.

Investment Reporter did a full page article about Alimentation Couche-Tard (ANCUF), which was able to keep open its US and Canadian convenience stores during the pandemic peak. It reports in US$ (April year end), and saw a nearly 5% rise in cash flow (EBITDA) to $3.3 billion. It raised its dividend in March to 7 cents/sh, and it then expected to wind up 2020-2021 with a 13% rise in its adjusted EPS - which now is less likely. It trades at 20.5X earnings and has huge free cash flow, despite the panedmic.

Value Line, in its September issue, rates Schlumberger Ltd, (SLB), a 5 (the worst) for timeliness, but provides a 3 (midlevel) for safety and technical because of its three to five year recovery potential. I cannot afford to sell the Dutch Antillean oilfield services firm because I bought it right at the IPO entrance.

Value Line also rates Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) a best buy. Although, despite the issue's date, its writer did not know that the Qiagen deal did not go through.

Value Line strongly supports our bonus stock, Qualcomm (QCOM), which was purchased in order to gain from Qualcomm's Technology sub links to an unlisted Israeli distance diagnosis company, Tyto Care, which is operating in New York.

Funds

WesternAsset Emerging Markets Debt Fund (EMD) distributed 10 cents/sh last month, up 0.0662 cents of investment income.

Macquarie First Trust Global Infrastructure Fund (MFD) reported that income “has been a bit of a mixed bag,” as companies and municipalities may chop or suspend their pay outs. The key reason to stick it out is that the stock trades at a persistent ~12% discount to NAV, and invested only 39.3% in US bonds, followed by Britain (20.9); Canada (14.6%) , Australia (10.9%) , Italy (10.1%), and single digits in Hong Kong, Mexico, and Luxembourg.

It lost $1.11 in NAV in the half year to May 31; 11.89%, but its market value plunged 18.4% in the panic. It has $22.55 million in loans out to boost its payout, vs $38.1 million in the prior year. It looks for liquidity and uses leverage, which is a risk, but one that these guys know how to handle.

SPDR FTSE International Govt Inflation-Protected Bond ETF has positions in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK, but its biggest holdings are in Europe.

It is now loosening its rules to allow it to reach up to 45% of its weighting with large countries by using a bond index, rather than a cut off. This will cut risk and allow a greater divergence. The Trust has 173 positions and barely makes money.

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William K. 2 years ago Member's comment

Interesting and educational