Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hidden Benefits of Being a Stockholder

One of my favourite Canadian web sites, RedFlagDeals, had an interesting post regarding the Lenovo and IBM Employee Purchase Program.

Within the post, there's a link that directs you to the IBM Stockholder Purchase Program web page where Lenovo offers discounts on its entire product line. You require a passcode to sign in to the IBM Stockholders store where you can apparently shop for ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops, ThinkVision monitors, ThinkPlus accessories from Lenovo.

According to IBM Investor Relations,

The IBM U.S. Shareholder Purchase Program (SPP) is a program that makes a wide range of IBM products available at discounted prices to IBM Shareholders. Please note that this program is available only to residents of the United States and Canada.

In order to participate in the program, you must be a current stockholder and have a current Stockholder Offer ID Number. Stockholder Offer ID Numbers are mailed to stockholders. If you are a stockholder, look for future offers in the mail.

Depending on the discounts available, the SPP could be an amazing perk to IBM shareholders in the market for IBM and Lenovo equipment.

Perhaps other companies also offer similar purchase programs for their shareholders so if you know of any, please share them with us.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Is the Bottom in for Bank Stocks?

With the value of bank stocks falling precipitously for numerous weeks and their dividend yields reaching highs not seen in recent memory, eager dividend investors jumped back in after the Fed cut announcement, causing a quick rebound in the bank share values.

Here are the 5-day hourly charts for the bank stocks that I follow for future reference:

Bank of Montreal:


Royal Bank of Canada:

Bank of Nova Scotia:

TD Bank:

National Bank of Canada:

Canadian Western Bank:


Bank of America:

But with headlines like "BMO, Scotiabank and Royal Bank likely to issue more capital: Citigroup" on FP Trading Desk still making the news, it makes you wonder if this is just a sucker rally (in an attempt to raise more capital at higher valuations) or the real deal.

I missed out on this week's big bounce so I'll wait to see if another shoe drops before initiating positions for the first time ever in these very tempting dividend-yielding stocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lucky Lotto 6/49?

Imagine checking your lucky Lotto 6/49 numbers and realizing that you just got 5 out of the 6 numbers plus the bonus number.

Oh, so close to winning the big jackpot but no luck there...
hey, at least second prize should be worth something worth while... right???

Well, maybe not. You might not be as rich as you think.

Check out the results from Wednesday's Lotto 6/49 draw:

An amazing 239 people hit the second best result! Unfortunately, they had to share the pot, and thus ended up winning less than the third prize winners. According to the CBC, the "winners will be splitting the prize, getting $1,193.70 each, compared to the $131,000 awarded to last week's winners." Now, that's got to hurt!

I just wonder if you can decline the use of your bonus number ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Visa IPO

After all the talk that Visa (V-N) would IPO in the $37-42 range, Visa was able to raise an amazing $17.9 billion for its IPO with its $44 offering price yesterday evening.

The shares hit the market today and here's what happened:

Want to learn more about Visa?
The Thicken My Wallet blog had a very good post on its IPO Offering document last week that's definitely worth a read.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Imminent Canadian Bank Mergers?

Back in 1998, the Canadian government rejected the proposed mergers of the Royal Bank with the Bank of Montreal and CIBC with the Toronto-Dominion Bank.

According to, the Finance Minister concluded that the mergers were not in the public interest as they would result in too much concentration of economic power in Canada in the hands of too few financial institutions, a reduction in competition in the Canadian financial services sector, and a reduction in the Canadian government's flexibility to address future concerns.

With the scandalous turmoil affecting American financial institutions and Canadian bank share prices dropping in value (particularly those of BMO and CIBC) thanks to concerns of their own credit woes, one has to wonder if Canadian bank mergers are just around the corner.

After all, the current crisis would provide the perfect excuse for the government to give in to industry demands and allow bank mergers to occur for the "best interests of the nation's economy."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sold AEM

I sold my AEM position on Thursday. I still expect AEM to fulfill the technical target established by the ascending triangle but I honestly believed (hoped) it would happen by now with the mania of gold hitting ~$1000. Anyways, I sold my shares to pay half of the property tax bill so in that sense, I'm happy.

Many of the gold / silver stocks look a bit 'tired' to me at this point in time so I'll be patiently waiting on the sidelines.

As for the market in general, the TSX looks like it's in a "sideways to slightly negative slope" market so the buy-and-hold mentality probably won't make you much money for the next few months. That being said, the active trader can make a killing in these volatile times if you stick to the right strategy.

Thursday's AEM Intraday Price Range: $70.90 - $73.85 (CDN).