Chatter Around the World – 5

Welcome to the Chatter Around the World weekly links update. This week feature two new updates on my blog.

New blog posts this week

Let jump into the articles that caught my attention this week.

The Newsmakers

Dividend Reads

Updates from My Portfolio Holdings

Have a wonderful weekend.

Expenses – Banking

I envy the Americans. Banks competing, and paying bonuses for their customer’s business caught my eye on BusinessInsider recently. The American banks, in my opinion have much better packages than their Canadian counterparts. Even Canadian banks like TD operating in US offer the customers free chequing accounts with zero balance, something that is unheard of, in Canada, unless your account holds a minimum balance totaling a couple of thousand dollars.There are only a couple of small banks in Canada (although both were bought by the Big-6 recently) which really allow you to have free accounts without maintaining any balance: PC Financial and ING Direct. PCF is owned by CIBC and ING is owned by Scotiabank. Problem with PCF is that your cheques are on hold for a period of 5-days, unacceptable in my opinion.

My Story

I had been a Royal Bank of Canada customer for over 10 years and paid $4/month without fail. Rain or shine, I paid the fees to the bank to hold my own hard-owned money. I finally decided that it was time to switch and started looking around and found that ING has the best package out there. Some of the feature include:

  • Free banking – there are no fees whatsoever
  • Free chequebook (first 100 cheques)
  • Free ABM access on the Exchange network
  • Free e-mail money transfers
  • Free overdraft protection upto $250
  • Better interest rates than most other banks
  • Plus they have an added incentive periodically. For e.g., when you switch your payroll, you get a $100 bonus.

Some may see ING as a hurdle since its mostly a self-serve bank. I do most of my banking online and seldom had to go into a branch and did not see this as a hurdle and perfectly fits my needs.

With the switch to ING, my annual banking costs have gone down from $48 to $0.

Recent Buy – IMG

I decided to add to my position in IAMGold Corp (TSE: IMG). IMG is a mid-tier ($2B market cap) mining company and its interests include six operating gold mines, a niobium mine, a diamond royalty and exploration and development projects located in Africa and the Americas.

Recent Buy Decision

IMG and gold bullion has been under quite a lot of pressure this year and the selloff has been quite severe. Instead of holding gold bullion in my portfolio, I decided to play gold by holding a gold mining company instead, since it yields something positive and also acts as an inflation hedge.

A summary of the stock:

  • Symbol: TSE: IMG (also trades as NYSE: IAG)
  • Quote: $4.72
  • 52-week Range: $4.00 – $16.45
  • P/E: 8.8
  • P/B: 0.48
  • Yield: 5.51%
  • 5-yr DGR: 33.62%
  • Payout: 41.9%
  • Book Value per Share: 9.90
  • Graham Number: 11.75

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. All opinions here are my personal opinions and should not be taken as financial advice. I am not qualified to be a financial advisor. Always consult with your financial advisor before investing in any of the companies mentioned on this blog.

Chatter Around the World – 4

Welcome to the Chatter Around the World weekly link update. On the blog front, its been an extremely productive week and I managed to crank out 5 articles this week!

New blog posts this week

Its been a busy week with a slew of companies releasing their quarterly earnings. As of Thu Jul 18, the S&P 500 has risen 0.6% this week although Fri Jul 19 could be a mixed bag with some tech giants missing estimates and the bond market shakeup with Detroit filing for Ch 9 bankruptcy protection. The following articles caught my attention this week.

General Reads

The Newsmakers

Dividend Reads

Updates from My Portfolio Holdings

Have a wonderful weekend.

Recent Buy – BCE Inc.

BCE Inc
I initiated a new position in BCE Inc (TSE: BCE). BCE Inc. is a communications company but provides much more than that and has an expanding business in content providing and entertainment.

Segments

BCE Inc. operates in four segments:

  • Bell Wireline – the largest segment of BCE Inc. revenue-wise; provides local, long distance & data services to residential and business customers.
  • Bell Wireless – Cellphone services under the brand names of Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile and Solo Mobile
  • Bell Media – created after acquiring CTV in 2011, this segment owns 28 TV stations including CTV, TSN, RDS etc. Bell Media also owns 33 radio stations and numerous websites in this segment.
  • Bell Aliant – provides local, long distance, internet, data, TV, wireless & IT services in Atlantic Canada, rural and regional Ontario & Quebec.

2012 Revenue Summary

Recent Acquisitions

BCE Inc. acquired Astral Media for $3.4B earlier this year (2013) which expands their horizons in content providing in television, radio and digital media. This acquisition complemented BCE’s existing media brands such as CTV, TSN, RDS and various radio stations.

Last year BCE Inc, along with Rogers Communications Inc., acquired MLSE – a holding company that owns Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Marlies (AHL) and the Air Canada Center in downtown Toronto. This has provided BCE with plenty of diversification in the sport and entertainment business.

Recent Buy Decision

BCE has had quite a selloff recently with the news that Verizon might enter the Canadian wireless market. The YTD stock price is just +2% after the selloff. From its 52-week high of $48.90, the stock has fallen almost 10%. Even if Verizon enters the market as a fourth major wireless provider, BCE is still very diversified and this provided a great buying opportunity.

A summary of the stock:

  • Symbol: TSE: BCE
  • Quote: $43.50
  • 52-week Range: $40.58 – $48.90
  • P/E: 13.53
  • P/B: 3.18
  • Yield: 5.36%
  • 5-yr DGR: 16%
  • Dividends paid since: 1949

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. All opinions here are my personal opinions and should not be taken as financial advice. I am not qualified to be a financial advisor. Always consult with your financial advisor before investing in any of the companies mentioned on this blog.