October 15, 2021

Are roadside "take what you want and pay what you owe" stands doomed?

For some time now, Cropthorne Farm on B.C.’s Lower Mainland has sold eggs on the honour system. They load up a cooler with about eight dozen eggs and put it at the end of their driveway with a sign reading “$5” and a jar filled with some change in to get things rolling.

Whether it's corn or apples, honour boxes like this remain a point of pride and practicality for a number of small farmers across the country who think their time is better spent tending crops than manning a roadside stand -- and who firmly believe that most people are honest.

And it would seem that many are. Despite the hundreds of vehicles that rush by, nobody has ever stolen a single egg, lifted the cash or even shortchanged owner, farm owner Lydia Ryall says.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the norm.

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September 24, 2021

Is this finally the beginning of the end for BlackBerry?

After announcing that it would lay off close to half of its workforce and getting killed by last week’s whopper of an earnings warning, struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry may soon be acquired by a consortium led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial.

The going-in price? $9 a share -- way way below BlackBerry's price in the years before the iPhone ate its lunch

The company's shares closed below that number, however, suggesting that investors don't see much upside just yet despite trading volume that was close to triple the daily average.

Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa, who has a longstanding reputation as a value investor, plans to take a page out of Dell's book by taking the company private and refocussing it on the business market.

But that's not going to be easy.

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February 22, 2022

Mutual funds a popular RRSP choice

Decisions, decisions.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) season is upon us and there are a wide range of investment options available from which to choose.

So how do you plan on making these important investment decisions?

Well, one of the more popular investment choices seems to be mutual funds for RRSPs, according to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal.

The study revealed that 72 per cent of Canadians say they hold mutual funds within their RRSP, and that mutual funds make up about one-third (31 per cent) of all holdings held in RRSPs.

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November 23, 2021

Black Friday, indeed; RIM's stock is surging

Black Friday gets its name from one of two places.

It either comes from Philadelphia, where the day after Thanksgiving became such a pedestrian and vehicle traffic bog that Philly cops derisively gave the day its nickname back in the 1960s.

Or, it comes from what Black Friday has become, a shopping superday so lucrative it turns a massive profit for retailers, or helps them get “in the black.”

Perhaps 2012, though, will give Black Friday a more mystical, otherworldly connotation. Because believe it or not, RIM’s stock is surging.

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May 30, 2021

Facebook's disastrous IPO is the worst in a decade

You don’t need a Yale MBA to interpret Facebook’s stock chart, which might make RIM appear like the next hot thing on Wall Street.

Though what you might not realize is that Facebook’s IPO earlier this month, the most hyped of hyped public offerings, may just be among history’s worst.

According to the chart shown below, when compared against the ten largest IPOs of the past decade, Facebook’s return after five trading days was so lousy it holds one historical distinction.

It’s the poorest performing company IPO of the past ten years.

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May 23, 2021

Even Mark Zuckerberg is selling off Facebook stock

Here were the words of one top money man last week regarding Facebook stock:

“This baby’s got legs!”

I was speaking with the investor, who I’ll allow to remain nameless in light of how his prediction's turned out, ahead of the social network’s IPO, when speculators seemed to be split in two camps: 1) Facebook doesn’t earn; stay away, and 2) Anything with 900 million-plus users can’t possibly flop; get in while it’s still cheap.

In four days of trading, Facebook certainly hasn’t shown it has legs, and today a tough harbinger has hit the company. Even Mark Zuckerberg is selling.

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May 18, 2021

Facebook IPO to make 1,000 new millionaires

By the time you read this, Facebook is now public, which means for about $38, you can own 1/421,000,000 of the company that’s gone for sale today.

Certainly all eyes are on the social network’s Wall Street performance. All investors – and the chance to buy into Facebook is sure to bring out even grandpas and soccer moms – are now playing the waiting game: when to buy in, and at what price, for us to get rich?

It may be a long shot (Facebook’s earnings dilemma has scared off its share of money managers) but simply by going public today, Mark Zuckerberg’s site has made plenty of people a fortune.

Already, an estimated 1,000 people have become new millionaires thanks to Facebook’s IPO.

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May 11, 2021

Facebook IPO somehow already oversubscribed: report

This March, we detailed the wild and tumultuous ride of Apple stock, which would not stop hiking in value.

The moral was simple: at every turn over the past six years or so, the Apple stock price on any given day was a fool’s bet. The thinking went, at intervals over its stock chart, that there’d be no way shares could rise in value any more, and buying at such an inflated rate would be akin to lighting cash on fire.

Of course, Apple stock kept going up, jumping more than 1,000 per cent between 2006 and 2012, so really had you bought ownership in the company, even at its once-thought-of inflated rate, you’d be rich today.

Now, the same conundrum exists with Facebook, which is set to go public later this month. Most money managers hate the company as an investment, citing its bloated variables, but if that's the case how has the social network’s pending IPO already become oversubscribed?

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May 10, 2021

Most investors off base when it comes to risk: Report

Investors' perception of risk, rather than risk tolerance itself is what's affected by volatile market conditions, according to a new report by FinaMetrica, the Australian risk-profiling company.  

Thanks to industry-standard risk questionnaires that tend to be biased toward higher risk/return outcomes and advisors that are significantly more risk tolerant than their clients, most investors likely have portfolios that are more risky than they might have bargained for.   

Despite this, investors’ ability to withstand risk has remained fairly stable through the bull market of 2003-07 and the subsequent bear market, Finametrica says.

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March 14, 2022

Would you buy Apple stock, even now, at its sky-high value?

You know, you could probably single out any point on Apple’s stock chart over the past three years and say, “Incredible, but only a sucker would buy now.”

Surely, if buying high is forbidden in Investing 101, then what are we to make of Apple, whose stock value has been considered bloated nearly every day since 2009?

Each time, plenty say its worth could never get higher, and even Monday all the stories suggested that Apple, which closed at a nauseating all-time peak of $552 per share, was on fire but couldn’t possibly still grow.

At that point, Apple had been named the most valuable company ever. Of course, a day later at Tuesday’s close, the iPhone maker’s stock was up $16 to $568.10.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...