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Author: BenHacker Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35357  
Subject: Re: BenHacker &or joelcorley Date: 5/24/2011 3:17 PM
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But getting back on point, in times like these with respect to acquiring new positions, do you guys find yourselves merely hoarding cash and building equity, that way should the day come when a good opportunity arises you can jump all over it?

Or do you find yourselves justifying taking on premium issues above par and call risk?


Hey YTM.

First let me say that I'm not generally a bond guy. I have always invested in stocks, and for that reason was very familiar with bonds, rates, and the investment class in general, but my default isn't really to focus on bonds or invest in them at all, so my answer may be very different than Joel's (and his will be better no doubt!).

I approach investing like this:

1) I generally like to buy equities if I feel that a reasonably likely and safe outcome is that I can reach a ~10% real return.

2) I will move that requirement down as I feel I'm getting more solid / likely (less risky) returns either because the investment is 'bond like" (very safe) or is actually a bond with a decent leverage and cash flow coverage profile.

3) Whenever I look at stocks, I look at the companies bonds to see what the bond market is saying, and also to see if maybe the bonds are a better deal.... but I have found generally that the equity if attractive, is always more attractive than the bonds.

So just buying a general bond today, if I wanted to get 5% real return, I'd have to find something in the (feel free to insert your own definition of inflation in here, there are enough opinions... my point isn't to argue mine) 8-9% range for a coupon (assuming you're buying at par).

If I can't get that, or unless it's super short duration, I probably will just sit in cash.

JBK is interesting because I think (hope?) that it will close to par shortly once the yield seekers figure it out and I get the appreciation to match the so-so income. But I'm close to selling.

Some muni bonds look interesting, and I linked to my thoughts on some of the BHAC issues... there are still some out just 10 years you can get 4% YTMs on which is ~6% after tax... almost good enough to think it might be an "ok" buy.

My issue isn't so much with call problems, as (at least for me) I am pretty much not buying anything that is close to getting called (due to my yield requirements), and I tend to not see any situations where the debt getting called would be a situation where I would still be interested in holding. I do think if you are making a deflation bet, call issues are big, but in that case the only real (IMO) deflation bet instrument is a US treasury strip which isn't callable anyway. Obviously, there are some middle of the road areas where calling is bad, and it is especially bad NOW for issues bought earlier, but I'm just not worried about it for issues I'm buying now... I may be mistaken in my assumptions.

Ben
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