Saint Warren

Last week the Berkshire Hathaway head quit working for the Gates Foundation and donated a few billion dollars to their charity fund. However, the theory that Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett boss is charitable needs re-examination. Last Friday New York Times Business section reporter Matthew Goldstein wrote up mortgages paid by people living in mobile homes using a poor single mom in West Virginia as a case study, Ms. Kimberly Burnsworth, who has a son with muscular dystrophy. She has fallen behind on her $61,0000 mortgage for her trailer home after losing her job with the US census. The lender is 21st Mortgage, one of only five companies that offers trailer home mortgages. The company has been trying to foreclose on her home because she is behind on $507/mo that she owes She wants to resume payments but not be hit with the $14,900 for payments missed after she got behind during the pandemic and after the US census completed its work Overall she says she has already paid $130,000 in principal and interest on her loan although this is disputed by 21st.

Equity, Fairness Equitable, Letters, Scrabble, Equal

Image Source: Pixabay

About 22 million US people live in mobile homes full time and do not move them. There are only 3 mortgage companies that cover mobile homes usually for low amounts going to people like Ms. Burnsworth who are close to the edge financially. The Federal Government has $10 bn in its Homeowners Assistance funds for the most homeowners but the coverage of mobile homes is not included. And these are among the most vulnerable.

The Urban Institute, a think-tank, told reporter Goldstein that "35% of mobile homeowners work in industries which laid them off during the pandemic".While the federal housing agencies ordered delay in enforcing mortgage payments on fixed houses, mobile ones are not normally covered by the guidelines. States are trying to help the full-time mobile homeowners most of whom pay park operators who have been among the most active seekers of eviction notices.

Moreover, they pay a lot and get no consumer protection. Mr. Burnsworth is paying interest at 9.25% because she has a poor financial history, having already been bankrupt once. What she got was something called a "chattel loan" with lower protection than a normal mortgage. She also paid well over the odds since the average chattel fee is only 8.6%. While Ms. Burnsworth is white most of the users of these mortgages are Black, Hispanic, or Native Americans. In addition to mortgages insurers also provide guarantees to trailer parks, which Ms. Burnsworth did not need. She inherited the land on which her trailer sits. Mr. Buffett's rivals are in this shlocky business are Vanderbilt Mortgage. Berkshire owns two units of Clayton Homes plus the 21st business.


Today the WTI oil price rose further up over 1%.

*Tesla TSLA recalled essentially all the vehicles it has delivered in chia because of a recall over the cruise control turning itself on without the driver knowing, discovered by China regulators in modes 3 and Y of the electric vehicles. The recall is for 285,000 cars. The risk is that the car will accelerate and crash when cruise goes on by itself. This is good for rival NIO which gained 9% to $49+.

*Plug Power PLUG gained 6.75% today on analyst disarray over its outlook. It has been downgraded and reportedly sold by Amazon but today InvestorPlace called it a long-term winner. Its most recent result for Q1 2021-2 showed rising profits and lower sales from the prior quarter, good in theory. It is not exactly brilliant as its earnings are about 3¢/sh now. If you can make money when sales fall you will make even more when they rise.

*Wall St Journal writer Andy Kessler yesterday put out a note about geothermal fracking which did not mention our holding in this sector, Israeli-American Ormat which last week signed a big deal with Indonesia. It would not be getting that if it was HQ'd in Israel rather than Colorado. It today got rated sell by CFRA which just examined ORA for the first time.

*Azure Power rose 4.42% today to $25.80, after falling last week. AZRE sells solar panels to India.

*Energy Fuels, UUUU, today crashed 2%. It mines uranium and rare earths.

*Fund Atlantica Sustainable, AY, rose 0.8% today while its 44% owner, Algonquin Power AQN of Canada, fell 0.03%.

*Canadian Solar, CSIQ, recuperated by 12.32% today after its sub in the country where it makes its panels, China, CSI Solar Co., filed to list its shares in Shanghai on the “innovation board.”

*Brazilian Cosan CSAN, which exited gas stations by selling its JV shares with Shell, today fell 0.66%. It is my stock of the year.

*BP plc is down 3.2%. Royal Dutch Shell B is down 3.69%. Schlumberger Ltd is down 4.2%. BP; RDS-B; SLB.

*I am slowly selling my Hikma preferred shares because HMLP are very rarely traded here.


*Astra Zeneca gained from preliminary reports by Oxford University showing that its covid-19 jab may be a useful booster shot to extend covid protection if given much later than the second dose. The result was more antibodies and T-cell response in this preliminary non-peer-reviewed finding. Most of the recipients were young at an average age of 40 and there were no tests for heart diseases. AZN stock gained 1.5% at the opening. Later the EU said that Indian-made covid-19 inoculations will not count for EU entry which is because India failed to deliver to Europe after it was hit with a 2nd wave.

*Irish Alkermes gained 1% at the opening. It is working on cutting alcoholism. ALKS.

*BiolineRX gained 5.4% today on no news. BLRX.

*Fellow Israeli small-cap Compugen rose by 4% at the opening, fell back to no gain, rose again by 2.85%, and fell backless. Now it is up 0.57% to $8.88. This is a hard call because the average Wall St. estimate is all over the map and CGEN is heavily shorted. It is now down 1%.

*Taking a clue from GSK, French Sanofi is offloading its consumer healthcare line to Germany's Stada Arzneimittel, a stock we used to own. Unlike Glaxo whose CEO is hated by analysts, SNY shares are up over a half percent on the news.

*Exelixis (a US firm, sold) lost 23% after an update revealed that its liver cancer drug failed in phase III trials to increase lifetimes. Needham retains it as a buy but cut its TP to $30 from $33. EXEL.

*Novo Nordisk held a conference call today on its diabetes and weight control products but I was unable to get into the call despite being both a shareholder and a journalist. NVO is Danish.

*India's Dr. Reddy's is up 1.6% on its new generics reported last week. RDY.

Technology & Telefonaktiebolaget

*Ericsson Telefonaktiebolaget ERIC gained 0.63% today after the Swedish firm joined the 5G Open Innovation Lab as a corporate partner. Accenture joined as a founding partner. Nokia NOK did not.

*Simulator pilot training firm CAE Inc of Canada got the permits needed to acquire military training firm L3Harris in the US, adding greatly to its US position. The stock, recommended by our biotech maven, crashed 2.85% because it will be earning more US and less C$s. It expects to initially earn in the low teens, adding to earnings, and presumably earn more later. The deal was announced in March and will close on July 2, Friday.

*Qualcomm QCOM will work with 40 telcos on 5G mobile according to Reuters, including Deutsche Telecom, parent of my cellphone from T-Mobile, and Apple.

*BCE was rated outperform by the National Bank of Canada with a TP of C$64/sh. It is now C$60.71.

*Korean Coupang rose over 2% today after eBay sold its shares. CPNG is now rated higher.

*Mercado Libre, another Amazon copycat, gained 1.81% today hitting $4176. MELI.

*Tomra Systems today traded both ways, TMRAY up 3.46% to $57.07 and TMRAF up 0.7% to $55.03. The Norwegian recycling systems stock is confusing.

*Israeli-American Tower Semiconductor stock gained 1.06% today to $29.32.TSEM.

*Taiwan Semi, TSM, gained 2.78% to $119.79.


*Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard had its target price raised to C$48 from 45 by Desjardins Securities and the share fell nearly 0.7% before recovering to $35.29 US. ANCUF.

*Orbia Advance Corp, still using its old Mexichem ticker, MXCHF, is showing as bid $3.6, ask $22.14. This is ridiculous. Orbia makes drip feed systems for agriculture.

*Grupo Bimbo, the Mexican bakery multinational is also not trading here. GRBMF has no quote at all, not even a ridiculous one.

*Canada's Nutrien fell despite being kept at buy by TD Ameritrade Securities today. Its TP was upped to C$72 from 69 by the brokerage which now belongs to Schwab. NTR.


*Antogasta of Britain, owner of Chilean copper mines, gained 0.61% despite fears of new taxes. The ANFGF share is owned by a Chilean oligarch family and it was downgraded today by an analyst from RBC of Canada talking to Barron's. It also produces gold, silver, and molybdenum plus green hydrogen.

*Gold was up at the opening but now is down a carat or two. 

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William K. 2 years ago Member's comment

An interesting report on the vultures.