PAPER

Yesterday, mud; today, paper. Twenty-First Century stuff of a high order.

Boise (BZ) reported healthy earnings and a special 40-cent-a-share dividend yesterday. This is good if you own the stock (suggested here at $4.15 in 2008 and then again here a few months later at 53 cents). It closed last night at $7.69.

And it’s probably good if you own the warrants, which you might have bought for as little as 2 cents (they closed last night at 70 cents). The warrants are now “in the money.” They give you the right to buy the stock at $7.50 anytime up to next June 18. Some investors will be heartened by the encouraging earnings and dividend and might bid the price up higher in hopes of even better things – and more dividends – ahead. But once that 40-cent dividend is paid, the company will be worth 40 cents a share less.

The closer the warrants come to expiration, the dicier the gamble. I’ve by now sold about three-quarters of mine, in a sophisticated strategy (see if you can follow the math) known as, “I’d kill myself if they expired worthless and it turned out I had passed up a 35-fold gain only to see it waste away to zero!” But I still have a meaningful chunk because I’d kill myself equally dead if the stock hit $9 or $10 or even $12 by June 18 and I’d sold all my warrants at 70 cents – when, with the stock at $10, they’d be worth $2.50; at $12, $4.50.

DYAX

Alan F.: “We’ve had lots of updates on DCTH and DEPO, but nothing recently on DYAX, which is the one that isn’t doing so well. Sell and cut our losses, or hold on?”

☞ First suggested here a year ago at $3.19 (and for a while topping $5), DYAX closed at $2.41 yesterday. Guru says it’s not unreasonable to think the stock would be back above $4 in a year or two – their product is on an upward sales trajectory and they have about 15 partnerships with drug companies. “Some of those will turn out to be valuable,” guru says. “So the issue is that DYAX continues to put one foot in front of the other. But at the moment, no one cares – and the company hasn’t given anyone a strong reason to care.”

COMPETING WITH EUROPE

Myriam Miedzian at the Huffington Post, in part:

Capitalism Uber Alles: How the American Working Class Got Brainwashed

. . . Our country has long been admired for its extraordinary social mobility, but as Arianna Huffington points out in Third World America, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and France now have greater social mobility — university education is free, or at minimal cost in Western Europe. Compared to other advanced industrialized countries which all provide universal health care, we are at the bottom in life expectancy and infant mortality. Americans have three months unpaid parental leave — Swedes have 13 months, paid. Unlike Western Europeans, we have no government legislated paid vacations. In Germany, the world’s largest exporter after China, workers get 6 weeks a year off. Americans average 13 days.

American conservatives delight in predicting the imminent demise of socialistic Western European benefits. But these benefits are part of the social contract within which all major European political parties, including conservatives, operate. While large national debts are leading to some cuts in benefits, these cuts do not represent reneging on that contract, just as cuts to education in the U.S. do not represent reneging on government funding for education — which is part of our social contract.

A look at the divergence in political thinking between Western Europeans and Americans provides much of the answer to why we lag so far behind. . . .

☞ Think about it: We are more than triple their population – and we have all those amazing agricultural exports – yet Germany, with its 6-week vacations, universal health care, and strong labor unions, outcompetes us in the world market. How can that be?

We’re number one! But in obesity. China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Can the solution really be to borrow $700 billion to extend tax cuts on income above $250,000? Get rid of the minimum wage and social safety net, cut back on education, deregulate polluters, and increase military spending?

Food for thought.

 

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