Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Possible Militant Drugs Stopped

The U.S. Navy and U.K. forces have seized more than 20 tons of drugs on a hashish highway through the Indian Ocean.Since October,100 million dollars' worth of drugs have been halted.These could have funded Afghan militants.The drugs were seized in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden,where there have been many Somali pirate attacks.U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman Lt.Nathan Christensen declined to say where the drugs came from,but noted that many of the narcotics stopped along the route are going to and from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Good Signs

Peter Cook of Performance Trust Capital Partners sees good signs in the economy.The low gas prices are a 2-3% consumer stimulus,on top of a record pace in refinancing.In 2002-2003,there was a giant refinancing boom at the end of a bear market.Today we are making fewer houses and cars than the demand rate.This is what you see at the end of a cycle,Mr.Cook indicated.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Greetings

I will not be publishing next Wednesday,Christmas Eve.Have a blessed holiday season.A special greeting to our military men and women,many of whom are serving in dangerous places far from home.Have the best holiday you can,and we hope to see you soon.

Marine Air Group 14

This air group is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point,North Carolina.They fly AV-8B Harrier II jump jets,the TAV-8B trainer,the EA-6B Prowler reconnaisance aircraft,and the KC130J Hercules tanker/transport.Squadrons of MAG 14 include the Dragons,Bulldogs,Ace of Spades,Flying Tigers,Hawks,Banshees,Death Jesters,Moondogs,Seahawks,and Otis.

Manley's Outlook

Once the market feels we have our hands around this thing,it's not gonna wait for every little problem to be fixed,says John Manley of Citi Smith Barney.The models for a lot of the financials are basically good.The financial industry is gonna be a restructured industry,with just a few companies,Mr.Manley believes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Al-Qaida Figure Killed

U.S. troops killed a top al-Qaida militant and his associate,and detained five others,during a Baghdad raid on 11 November.The raid in the Mansour neighborhood resulted in the death of Hajji Hammadi,who was involved in the capture and execution of Army Reserve Staff Sargent Matt Maupin,20,in 2004,as well as the deaths of three U.S. Marines in a 26 June,2008 attack in Anbar province,Iraq.Also killed in the June attack were more than 20 Iraqis and two interpreters.Al-Qaida in Iraq has suffered numerous setbacks this year as the Iraqi people turned against it and helped U.S. forces combat the Islamic militants.

About Bear Markets

According to Carter Worth of Oppenheimer,bear markets have two phases:1.capitulation,and 2.apathy(healing).We are still in the first phase,since the markets are in the process of finding a bottom.The volatility we are seeing is unprecedented.Mr. Worth likes airlines,biotech and regional banks.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Old Cruise Missile

The Harpoon cruise missile is still in service 31 years after its introduction.The Boeing product is an all-weather,autonomous,over-the-horizon anti-ship missile,with a sea-skimming trajectory and active radar guidance.It can be launched from a variety of platforms,from submarines to surface vessels,ground defense sites and aircraft.Twenty-seven countries rely on the Harpoon for anti-ship defense.It has a range of more than 60 nautical miles and cruises at high subsonic speeds.The Navy deploys the AGM-84D Harpoon on Arleigh Burke class destroyers and Ticonderoga class cruisers,as well as Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighters.

Mike Holland's Tips

Mike Holland of Holland and Company says you're almost always wrong when you sell in a panic.The problems in the financial system will eventually be fixed.Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities may be the buy of a lifetime because of the deflationary environment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Piracy Menace

Admiral Mullen observed that piracy is a greater concern for the maritime forces.The overall number of attacks is growing and starting to have an impact on the commercial side.It's a growing issue and we're gonna have to continue dealing with it.The pirates are very good tactically and well-armed.It becomes very hard to get them off because they hold hostages.Countries have by and large been paying the ransom that the pirates ask,Admiral Mullen reported to the Pentagon journalists.

Admiring Pakistan

I have watched with admiration the Pakistani military,the admiral noted.I'm encouraged by what I see as the results.There's a reduction in insurgents crossing the Pakistani border into Afghanistan.I'm seeing very positive effects.We have liaison officers in Pakistan.We have been exchanging information with Pakistan for a long period of time.

Admiral Covers Issues

Admiral Michael Mullen,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,has addressed many issues for reporters at the Pentagon.He said that four percent should be the floor for the defense budget,given our national security challenges.I serve the sitting president.The President-elect said he will seek my counsel.I will give him the best advice I can,Admiral Mullen promised.The challenge of closing Gitmo,the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for enemy combatants,will become more and more evident,he predicted.

MetLife(MET) Says It's O.K.

MetLife(MET) says it is well-positioned to meet its obligations.It still has a well-diversified,high quality investment portfolio.The company says it has no direct exposure to the commercial-backed index.It is structured to tolerate a commercial real estate downturn.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Marine Guards Welcome Leaders

On a cloudy,damp night in Washington,U.S. Marines in their dress blues helped the president welcome leaders to the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy.As the motorcades arrived at the White House Friday evening,one Marine opened the limousine doors.Two others stood in the brightly lit portico,opening the White House doors for President Bush and turning to salute as he greeted the leaders.They opened the doors again as the president and the leaders went into the White House,then returned to their places on a red carpet with gold borders,waiting for the next arrival.The president and his Marines got quite a workout at this ceremony,which took about an hour.It was a crisp event despite the dreary weather,and a major memory for all involved.

Morningstar Picks

Morningstar recommends the following mutual funds:MIDAX,UMBWX,HLMIX.They have shown modest volatility over time,weathering the turbulent markets well,according to Karin Anderson,mutual fund analyst at the firm.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Intrepid Rededicated

The USS Intrepid(CV11) was rededicated on Tuesday,Veterans Day,following extensive repairs.The old aircraft carrier has been a floating museum in New York harbor since 1982.She saw service in both World War II and Vietnam.She was even pressed back into service on 9-11,when she was used as a landing pad for helicopters responding to the attack,President Bush noted at the rededication ceremony.Also among the thousands attending were General James T. Conway,Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps,wounded service members,veterans of the Intrepid,Navy,Marine and Coast Guard officers and enlisted,as well as Gold Star families who lost members in Operation Iraqi Freedom.Anchored alongside the Intrepid was the USS Bataan(LHD5),an amphibious assault ship homeported in Norfolk,Virginia.At next year's Veterans Day ceremony,the USS New York(LPD21),an amphibious transport dock,will be commissioned,said David Paterson,Governor of New York.

Bob Doll's Picks

Bob Doll,Chief Investment Officer at Black Rock,recommends Johnson and Johnson(JNJ).We like its diversification;we like its valuation,Mr.Doll said.Hewlett Packard(HPQ) runs its business carefully,and Exxon Mobil(XOM) is very conservatively run and well managed,according to Bob Doll.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Veterans Day Honors

Aviation Boatswain Mate 3rd Class Daniel R. Verbeke of Exton,Pennsylvania died on 14 July of wounds received in December 2005 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.A crewmember of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt(CVN 71),Petty Officer Verbeke was 25 at the time of his ultimate sacrifice.Exactly one month later,another Daniel,Private First Class Daniel A.C. McGuire, was killed in action on 14 August in Anbar Province,Iraq.Pfc.McGuire,of Mashpee,Massachusetts,was a member of 3rd Battalion,6th Marine Regiment,2nd Marine Division,2nd Marine Expeditionary Force,based at Camp Lejeune,North Carolina.He was 19 years old when he died for his friends.

Please Note

Because of Veterans Day on Tuesday,next week's publication schedule will be altered.I will try to publish this newsletter later in the week.Thank you for serving,veterans.

GD Income Up

General Dynamics had a fine Q3,reporting sales increases in three of its four business segments.Net income was up 16% to 634 million dollars, from 544 million year over year.The defense contractor builds warships,submarines,information technology,business-jets and combat systems.The combat systems segment saw a sales drop of 1.2%.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Admiral Mullen To Stay

Admiral Michael Mullen will remain in his post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for at least the first year of the new presidency.The admiral will lead the effort to brief the incoming officials on global hotspots and the options for dealing with them.Admiral Mullen will utilize two charts.One of them shows historical challenges incoming presidents have faced,such as the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the 9-11 attacks.The other chart is classified and depicts current threats.The Joint Staff transition team supporting the admiral is headed by Marine Corps Brigadier General Kenneth F. McKenzie,Jr..Admiral Mullen sees presidential transitions as periods of alarming risk.He is doing his best to smooth out the international situation.Last week,he held talks with his Russian counterpart,General Nikolai Makarov.They discussed the future of NATO and missile defense in Europe in a businesslike way.

American Express Reports

American Express(AXP) has reported Q3 earnings of 0.74 a share,versus an estimate of 0.59.Its revenue was 7.16 billion dollars.The firm has set aside significant additions to its loan loss reserves.It aims to reduce operating costs and spending.The company had 1.4 billion in unpaid accounts,which was an increase of 51%.Cardmember spending is likely to remain soft through Q4.AXP is a holding of Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Raid Succeeds

U.S. troops carried out a successful raid on a building in Mosul in Northern Iraq on 5 October.The building is described as having been a major al-Qaida command and control center.Killed in the raid was Abu Qaswarah,the No.2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.Mr.Qaswarah,a native of Morocco,was in charge of al-Qaida in Northern Iraq,recruiting foreign fighters and directing them from Mosul,one of the few remaining al-Qaida strongholds in the country.A popular commander,he had been trained in Afghanistan.Four other militants died in the raid.

Genentech Reports

Genentech(DNA) reported earnings of 0.81 cents a share versus an estimate of 0.88.Revenue was 3.41 billion dollars versus an estimate of 3.36 billion.Its forecast for Q4 is 3.40-3.45 billion.Cowan and Company upgraded the stock from neutral to outperform.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Navy Professional Reading Program,Part III

The following titles are recommended:Eagle Against the Sun,by Ronald Spector;The Sherrif,by Colin S. Gray;The Crisis of Islam,by Bernard Lewis;On the Origins of War,by Donald Kagan;White-Jacket,by Herman Melville;The Pursuit of Victory,by Horatio Nelson.

GE Earnings

General Electric reported earnings in line with estimates.Earnings per share were 0.45,matching the estimate.Revenue was 47.2 billion dollars,versus an estimate of 47.342 billion.GE's infrastructure and NBC Universal earnings were up,while those of its consumer and industrial segment were down.CEO Jeff Immelt said that,while GE is not immune to the current environment,it is outperforming its peers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Navy Watches Pirates

Six U.S. Navy warships have surrounded the Ukrainian freighter MV Faina,which has been commandeered by pirates off the coast of Somalia.Among the warships is the USS Howard(DDG83),an Arleigh Burke class destroyer.The warships have been sending helicopters to observe the pirates,who are holding 20 hostages,including Ukrainians,Latvians and Russians.Another hostage appears to have taken ill and died.There are 33 tanks,as well as other weapons and ammunition,aboard the freighter,which the Navy is concerned will aid militants in the region.The pirates are believed to be armed with automatic weapons,anti-tank weapons and grenades.They say that no one can tell them what to do,and that they are prepared to die if need be.There have been about 30 pirate attacks in the area this year.The Navy leads patrols along the 1880 mile Somali coast-or about 3025 kilometers.The Canadian navy also patrols off Somalia.Somalia has the longest coast in Africa,and is near key shipping lanes.A Russian frigate should arrive on scene within days.

Q3 Results

In Q3,the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 4.4%.The S and P 500 Index was down 9%,while the NASDAQ Composite Index slid 13.3%.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Two Navy SEALs have died in combat in Afghanistan.Senior Chief Petty Officer John Marcum of Flushing,Michigan and Petty Officer First Class Jason Freiwald of Utica,Michigan were killed in an engagement with heavily armed militants.CPO Marcum had received four Bronze Stars for heroic or meritorious service in combat,while PO Freiwald had received a Bronze Star and Joint Service Commendation Medal for his previous performance.The SEALs were part of Naval Special Warfare Development Group,Virginia Beach,Virginia.

Advisor's Counsel

Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors says we are in a bear market and recession.You just don't make a lot of money in this environment.It's a preserve your capital environment.Wait until the market turns,then step in.It's better to buy them a little higher than to catch a falling knife.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Carrier Nears Japan

The USS George Washington(CVN 73) is nearing her new home just south of Tokyo.The Nimitz class aircraft carrier is scheduled to dock in Yokosuka on Thursday.Bringing up to 5600 crew members and 70 aircraft,the nuclear-powered vessel replaces the USS Kitty Hawk(CV),a conventionally-powered ship which will be decommissioned.About 200 protesters are expected to be on hand for the George Washington's arrival,which is welcomed by the Japanese government.The protesters object because the GW will bring more service members to Japan,and they fear a nuclear accident or radiation leak.The USS Houston(SSN 713),an attack submarine,was found to have discharged radioactive water in Japanese waters between July of 2006 and April of 2008.Although the leaks were extremely small,they have agitated some of the Japanese public.The George Washington will be the only forward-based U.S. aircraft carrier.She is part of the Seventh Fleet.


Morgan Stanley(MS) has an overweight rating on Johnson and Johnson(JNJ) because: 1.It has a robust drug pipeline,2.It has a big global footprint,3.It buys back 5-6 billion of its shares a year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Embassy Attacked in Yemen

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen was attacked today.A car bomb blew up at the embassy gates,killing 17 people,including Yemeni guards.A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks.The group is believed to be a front for al Qaida,as the attack bore the al Qaida hallmark of multiple explosions.The fact that only one American was killed does not make this event less significant,though many in the American media may believe that.The bravery and tragedy of the Yemeni deaths is just as real as if they had been Americans.The Yemeni people should have our full respect.

Navy Hero Dies

A World War II Medal of Honor recipient has died in Little Rock,Arkansas.Nathan Green Gordon,92,who served as Lieutenant Governor of the state after the war,received the medal for rescuing downed aviators in the South Pacific.Though under fire,he made three water landings and rescued 15 aviators in rough seas and rain.He flew a large seaplane,the Consolidated PBY Catalina,which was also called a flying boat.Immediately he received the medal in 1944,Mr.Gordon flew a 15- hour patrol.He was Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas from 1947-67,then practiced law in his hometown of Morrilton,Arkansas.

Business Hot Spots

The World Bank has named business hot spots based on less red tape and more investor protection.They are:1.Singapore,2.New Zealand,3.United States,4.Hong Kong,5.Denmark.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Commandant's Voice

One of those supporting sending more U.S. Marines to Afghanistan is General James T. Conway,Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.He said that 25,000 Marines in Anbar province,Iraq are probably in excess of the need.Attacks in Anbar are down markedly from two years ago.On the other hand,the general noted,the Taliban are growing bolder in their tactics in Afghanistan,and clearly doing their best to exploit security gaps where they exist.As well,al Qaida is shifting its focus to Pakistan and Afghanistan,having been largely defeated in Iraq.The economy of force,General Conway believes,is not necessarily working in Afghanistan.Without more Marines,militants may retake captured territory and subjugate the Afghan people.We need to maintain the momentum.Accordingly,Marines have been intensifying their mountain warfare training in the U.S. in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.It is the Marine Corps view,the Commandant stated,that if there is a stiffer fight going someplace else in a more expeditionary environment,that's where we need to be.Indeed,President George W. Bush has ordered a battalion of Marines to Afghanistan before the year's end,to replace a battalion-or 3200 Marines-that is coming off its extended deployment in November.

Business Indexes Released

The Institute for Supply Management has released its business activity indexes for August.The manufacturing index came in at 49.9,versus 50 for July.The service sector index read 50.6,versus 49.5 in July.A reading of 50 or more indicates growth;less than 50 shows contraction.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Anbar Control Transferred

The security of Iraq's Anbar province has been entrusted to Iraqi forces by the U.S. military.Less than two years ago,Anbar was an al Qaida haven,and more than 1,000 U.S. service members died in the fighting there.There are 25,000 U.S. Marines there now,and it is hoped that many of them can be used to bolster security in Afghanistan,now that Anbar has been quieted considerably.Major General John Kelly,commander of the Marines in Anbar,said the drawdown will occur incrementally.He has already sent four CH-53 Sea Stallion and four Cobra helicopters,as well as several detachments of Marines,over to Afghanistan.The Marines continue to work15-20 hours a day in Iraq,as it is still a dangerous place.They are continuing to train Iraqi police and soldiers,and they are a force for stability,General Kelly stated.

World Forecasts Cut

The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecasts for world growth.The new forecast for 2008 is 3.9,versus the old forecast of 4.1.The forecast for 2009 is now 3.7,versus the old forecast of 3.9.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Navy Arrives in Georgia

The USS McFaul(DDG-74),an Arleigh Burke class destroyer,has arrived off the Black Sea coast of Georgia with aid supplies.The McFaul was the first of five ships slated to bring humanitarian aid to the mountainous country this week.She was carrying 72 pallets of aid,including bottled water,milk,baby food,diapers and other hygiene items.Other NATO vessels are expected to follow suit.The Navy task force is commanded by Captain John Moore.The Georgian government is welcoming the U.S. help,unlike the Myanmar leaders,who turned the Navy away when a cyclone battered that Asian nation earlier in the year.They were suspicious of the aid.Georgia is a democracy located in the Caucasus mountains of Southeast Europe,just south of Russia.Its quarrel with two rebellious provinces,Abkhazia and South Ossetia,erupted into warfare recently,and Russia invaded Georgia in support of the rebels.The U.S. and its NATO allies have condemned the invasion.

Coal News

Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal has purchased PBS Coals,which owns 12 mines in Pennsylvania.The coal is needed for Severstal's U.S. mills.Severstal had recently purchased the Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore,Maryland from Arcelor Mittal(MT).

Please Note

Because of an appointment,I may not be in next Wednesday.In that event,I will try to post another day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Navy Cancels Program

The Navy has canceled its DDG1000 destroyer program.Only three of the advanced,stealthy ships will be built.The U.S. Marine Corps had desired them for fire support,but the combination of rising costs and a shift in priorities to ballistic missile defense led the Navy to return to its DDG51 program,the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.Paul Francis of the Government Accountability Office said it was a painful decision for the Navy to truncate the DDG 1000.It was a business case that wasn't executable.Why do ship systems get approved that can't be built for the money estimated?Representative Joe Sestak(D-Pennsylvania),a retired admiral,said we were going to the littorals;now we're going back to the blue seas.Mine is a statement of disappointment in the process.Whither the Navy of the future?The Navy hopes to restart the DDG51 in 2009.It wants a fleet of 313 ships by 2017.Besides ballistic missile defense,it is concerned about the Chinese navy build-up and detecting quiet submarines.

Empire State Report

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its Empire State Manufacturing Index.The August reading was 2.77,versus -4.92 for July.New orders were at -2.20,versus 8.67 in July,while employment was at -4.49,versus -6.32 for July.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Houston Being Repaired

The USS Houston(SSN713),a Los Angeles class attack submarine,is being repaired at its home port of Pearl Harbor,Hawaii.The Houston's nuclear reactor leaked a small amount of radiation over a two year period.The reactor has been shut down for the repairs.Most of the radiation leakage occurred in Pearl Harbor,but only amounted to as much radiation as is found in about eight smoke detectors.Another smoke detector's worth of radiation leaked in Japanese waters.The Japanese government dismissed the incident,saying it found no abnormality during its monitoring.The aircraft carrier USS George Washington(CVN 73)will still replace the USS Kitty Hawk(CVN 63)at Yokosuka,Japan in a matter of weeks.The George Washington is nuclear-powered,while the Kitty Hawk is the last of the non-nuclear carriers.About 50,000 American service members are based in Japan,which has generated controversy from time to time.


Bank of America(BAC)has initiated coverage of Genzyme(GENZ)with a buy rating.UBS has initiated coverage of Apple(AAPL)with a buy rating.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marine Loses Title

Brian Stann,an Iraq war veteran who was decorated with the Silver Star,lost his light heavyweight title in World Extreme Cagefighting last weekend in Las Vegas.He was defeated by Steve Cantwell,whom Stann had previously beaten.Stann has a career record of 6-1.Born on Yakota Airbase,Japan,the 27 year old is 6'1" and weighs in at 201.5 pounds.He is known as the Fighting Pride of the United States Marine Corps,the All-American.The fight went on for two of the five scheduled rounds.Cantwell got Stann against the wire mesh and rained blows on him,knocking him down,but not out.Stann admitted that Cantwell brought more technique to the match.I have no excuses,he confessed.To all my friends and supporters:I'm sorry I let you down.I'm a baby in this sport,and I showed it.Now it's my turn to come back,and I'm gonna do it,the Marine promised.Stann resides in Scranton,Pennsylvania.The loss makes his story even more compelling.He's a real Marine:not always winning,but owning up when he doesn't.

Double Upgrade

Both Citigroup(C) and Merrill Lynch(MER) have upgraded Amgen(AMGN) to a buy rating.The biotech stock has been doing well in recent weeks,following a long period of under performance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rice Speaks Out

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken note of Islamic militant activity along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.Dr.Rice said there's an uptick of terrorism against both people and troops.Militants cannot be allowed to do this.More needs to be done to stop them.Admiral Michael Mullen,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,has visited Pakistan four times recently.He says we need Pakistan to put more pressure on that border.The admiral has been trying to forge a common border security strategy by NATO,Pakistan and Afghanistan.NATO forces cannot cross into Pakistan without its permission,although they have responded to militant activity with air strikes and artillery on numerous occasions.Militant incursions into Afghanistan will likely go on until winter closes the Hindu Kush mountains and foothills.

Stack Stocks

James Stack of Stack Financial Management likes the following stocks:Johnson and Johnson(JNJ),Pepsico(PEP),Microsoft(MSFT),Charles Schwab(SCHW) and Stryker(SYK).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Kashmir to Kabul:The Struggle for South Asia

The conflict in South Asia is central to the history of our time.That is why I am following it so closely.The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps are intimately involved in this conflict with militant Islam,from ground to air to support at sea.If I have any news from that region,I feel I have to report it,rather than profile weapons or ships.The weapons and ships are,after all,only tools in the service of those who make history.

NATO Strikes Taliban Militants

On 20 July in Helmand Province,Afghanistan,NATO troops killed an important Taliban commander,Mullah Sheikh,and two of his followers,near Musa Qala.On the same day,NATO airstrikes killed about 20 Taliban militants in Khost Province.Admiral Michael Mullen,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,analyzed the situation along the Pakistani frontier with Afghanistan.He sees a joining,a syndication of various terrorist groups,both within Pakistan,and in the ability to flow troops across that porous border.This intensifies the threat.As for an arbitrary timetable for withdrawing from Iraq,Admiral Mullen said the consequences of that could be very dangerous.Conditions on the ground are an extremely important consideration,the Chairman noted.


Citigroup(C) has upgraded Genzyme(GENZ) to buy from hold.UBS has upgraded Vera Sun Energy(VSE) to buy from hold.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Border Region Flares Up

According to the government of Helmand Province,Afghanistan,there has been a spike in mortar fire from Islamic militants in Pakistan.NATO troops have returned fire,resulting in more than 400 militants being killed since late April.Admiral Mike Mullen,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,says the Pakistani frontier is a safe haven that's got to be eliminated.U.S. commanders in Afghanistan want 1,000 more Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles and 10,000 more troops.There are 36,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan now.British,Canadian and Dutch troops have also seen combat.More than 400 American soldiers and more than 80 Canadian soldiers have been killed in the war.U.S. outposts are being set up near the Pakistani border to counter the flow of militants.Afghan troops serve alongside the NATO forces.

The Three Nots

David Darst of Morgan Stanley(MS) advises investors:1.It's not over. 2.It's not time to increase risk. 3.It's not the end of the world.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pakistani Frontier

Chaos reigns along the Pakistani frontier with Afghanistan.The Islamic militants have not been countered in an effective way.Indeed,they are threatening to seize control of the region.There seems to be a lot of confusion among the Pakistani authorities.It is hard to say what their policy is.Sometimes they respond with force;sometimes they negotiate.This is very harmful to the fragile government in Afghanistan.The militants have an extensive base for their activities for as long as the indecisiveness goes on.


Marine Pfc.Dawid Pietrek,24,of Bensenville,Illinois,was one of four U.S. Marines killed in action in Farah Province,Afghanistan on 14 June.A Polish immigrant,he was granted posthumous U.S. citizenship and interred in Arlington National Cemetery.He was a member of I Marine Expeditionary Force,based in Twentynine Palms,California.

Coverage Initiated

Morgan Stanley(MS) has initiated coverage of Lehman Brothers(LEH) with an overweight rating.Friedman,Billings and Ramsey(FBR) has initiated coverage of Adobe Systems(ADBE) with an outperform rating.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Charges Sworn

Charges are being sworn against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri,a Saudi of Yemeni descent,for his alleged role in the 12 October,2000 attack on the USS Cole(DDG67).Among the charges are conspiracy to violate the laws of war,murder,treachery,terrorism,destruction of property and intentionally causing serious bodily injury.The attack killed 17 U.S. was al-Qaida's operations chief in the Arabian Peninsula until he was captured in 2002.The charges against him must be approved by a Department of Defense official who oversees military tribunals.Although is a prisoner in the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay,Cuba,many others detained in Yemen in connection with the attack have escaped or been released.The USS Cole was repaired and remains in service.


Friedman,Billings andRamsey(FBR) has added Marvell Technology(MRVL) to its top picks list.Deutsche Bank(DB) has upgraded J.C. Penney(JCP) to buy from hold.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Electric Boat Gets Work

The Electric Boat division of General Dynamics(GD) has been awarded a 13.7 million dollar Navy contract.They will carry out alterations of Ohio-class nuclear submarines.The work involves the D-5 Trident ballistic missile and the submarines' attack weapons systems.Each of the 14 submarines,which are part of the U.S. strategic deterrent force,can carry 24 Tridents and has four torpedo tubes.They have a complement of 155 and can go faster than 25 knots submerged.Electric Boat is located in Groton,Connecticut.


Credit Suisse(CS) has upgraded Sunpower(SPWR) from neutral to outperform.Goldman Sachs(GS) has upgraded American International Group(AIG) to buy from hold.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Great Marine

Jack Lucas,a U.S. Marine who won the Medal of Honor for his courage at Iwo Jima,died on 5 June in Hattiesburg,Mississippi.He was 80.In the course of battle,Mr.Lucas,then 17,threw himself on two hand grenades,shielding three other Marines from the explosion.In consequence,he carried grenade fragments in his body for the rest of his life.There were more than 250 pieces of shrapnel in him.He even had two pieces in his heart and six pieces in his brain.Mr.Lucas was an inspirational speaker and an acquaintance of presidents.President Harry S. Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor in 1945.

Goldman Upgrades

Goldman Sachs(GS) has upgraded Murphy Oil(MUR) from hold to buy.It has also added The Mosaic Company(MOS) to its conviction buy list.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Essex Withdraws

The USS Essex(LHD 2) and her task force of three ships have withdrawn from the coast of Myanmar.After 15 attempts to convince the Myanmar leaders to allow aid to the cyclone-ravaged land,Admiral Timothy J. Keating,Commander,U.S. Pacific Command,said he was saddened and frustrated by the leaders' unrelenting position.Keating had personally flown to the capital,Rangoon,and offered to permit Myanmar personnel aboard Navy ships and aircraft.British and French warships were also turned away.The Navy remains willing to assist,Admiral Keating said.

Tetra Tech Gets Work

Tetra Technologies(TTI) has been awarded a four year contract by Petroleo Brasileiro(PBRa),the Brazilian state oil company.Tetra will supply completion fluid,which is used in the oil extraction process.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Defining Battles

The U.S. Marine Corps has fought several defining battles.It is humbling to contemplate these historical achievements,accomplished at the ultimate cost.World War I:Belleau Wood,World War II:Iwo Jima,Korea:Chosin Reservoir,Vietnam:Khe Sanh,Iraq:Fallujah(November-December 2004).They are famous,but are all too real to be legends.

7 Investing Commandments

Gene Marcial of Business Week magazine advises:1.Buy panic.2.Concentrate holdings.3.Buy angelic losers.4.Forget timing the market.5.Follow the insider.6.Don't fear the unknown.7.Always invest for the long term.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Message From Jimmy

I had just received my POW-MIA flag and put it up.Picking up the morning paper,I read that Staff Sergeant James K. Caniford was being interred in Arlington National Cemetery today.He was briefly my neighbor before he joined the Air Force.Jimmy was shot down while on a mission over Laos in 1972.For decades,he was listed as missing in action.Recently,they managed to locate and identify his remains.Was it a coincidence that I flew that flag for the first time on the day of his burial? I think that was a message from Jimmy:"I am home now,but don't forget the many others who aren't."

Cruise Missile Retrofitted

The Navy has retrofitted hundreds of cruise missiles with an upgrade that makes them a more precise and effective weapon.The AGM-84k Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response,or SLAM-ER,is launched against land or sea targets from F/A-18,P3C and S3B aircraft,as well as South Korea's F15K.The 1463 pound weapon has been utilized in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.It matches its Imaging Infrared seeker's target image with a reference photographic target image.The aim may be further refined by the pilot of the launching aircraft.SLAM-ERs have a range of over 150 nautical miles.They are manufactured by Boeing(BA).

Exelon Excels

Exelon(EXC) has been upgraded by two banks.Deutsche Bank(DB)has raised it to hold from buy,while Credit Suisse(CS) has raised it from neutral to outperform.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Essex Stands Ready

Since last Tuesday,the USS Essex(LHD 2) has been ready to assist the typhoon victims of Myanmar.She is about 60 nautical miles from the devastated Irrawaddy Delta,full of relief supplies and the helicopters to deliver them.She can produce 200,000 gallons of fresh water a day.Many of her crewmembers are veterans of the Tsunami and Bangladesh cyclone relief operations.Captain Brent Canavi commands the Essex and Rear Admiral Carol Pottenger is task force commander.The Myanmar leaders have so far rejected the aid,saying that it has strings attached.

Billionaire Buys

Billionaires have been buying stocks.Warren Buffett has increased his stakes in Kraft Foods(KFT),Burlington Northern(BNI) and Ingersoll Rand(IR).Nelson Pelz has bought a stake in Starbucks(SBUX).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Retired Admiral to Lead GD

Jay L. Johnson,a retired admiral who served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1996-2000,has been selected to head General Dynamics(GD),a major defense contractor.Mr.Johnson will become CEO on 1 July,2009.He has been with Dominion Virginia Power since 2000.General Dynamics builds ships and submarines for the Navy,as well as Gulfstream business jets and the Light Armored Vehicle for the Marine Corps.Mr.Johnson served two tours in Vietnam as a naval aviator and commanded a carrier battle group.He is 61.

Safety Stocks

InvesTech recommends these stocks for decent prices,strong balance sheets and solid growth:EnCana(ECA),Walgreens(WAG),PepsiCo(PEP).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Navy Strikes Somali Militants

At 3 AM on 1 May,a U.S. Navy ship fired at least four cruise missles into Somalia.Killed in the strike were Islamic militant Adenhashi Ayro,his brother,10 associates and 12 civilians.Mr.Ayro had trained in Afghanistan and lead the resistance against Somalia's transitional government.Mr.Ayro's group,the Al-Shebab insurgency,had desecrated the graves of Italians buried in Somalia,killed a BBC reporter and an Italian nun,attacked aid workers and protected the East Africa cell of Al Qaeda.In 1998,they targeted U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.


Bank of America(BAC) has upgraded Radio Shack(RSH) to buy from hold.JP Morgan Chase(JPM) has upgraded Marathon Oil(MRO) to overweight from neutral.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Truckers Roll By

While I was sweeping my walk on Monday morning,I heard a lot of angry truckers blasting their horns as they passed by my town.They were headed to Washington,D.C. to protest the high price of diesel.The horns didn't bother me.I couldn't see the truckers,but I heard them express what they understandably felt.It was a bit of economic history in sound.

Marines Roll In

Since March,some 3,000 U.S. Marines have been rolling over the desert into Helmand Province,Afghanistan.They have been building up supplies at remote bases,preparing for the seventh spring offensive by the Taliban since the war began.NATO has fought the Taliban to a standstill in the province.A British soldier said he was definitely feeling better with the Marines there.Some of the Marines,members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,swept into a village in this southern province by helicopter and humvee,then patrolled on foot,expecting improvised explosive devices at every turn.


Morgan Stanley(MS) has upgraded Schlumberger(SLB) to overweight from equal weight.Credit Suisse(CS) has upgraded Tenet Healthcare(THC) to outperform from neutral.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ships Status Report

Aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy(CV67) was decommissioned on 1 August,2007.She is being held for detention.Destroyer USS Kidd(DDG 100) was commissioned on 30 May,2007 in Pascagoula,Mississippi.She is homeported in San Diego.Amphibious warfare ship USS New York(LPD 21) is to be launched in December.As I reported earlier,she was commissioned in March in Avondale,Louisiana.


Friedman,Billings and Ramsey(FBR) has upgraded Trina Solar(TSL) to market perform from underperform.HSBC has upgraded Freeport McMoran(FCX) to overweight from neutral.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Carrier Series

The carrier special I mentioned earlier is actually a 10 hour series.It was filmed on board the USS Nimitz.Check your T.V. guide for details on this PBS broadcast,which will air beginning April 27 in the Washington,D.C. area.

Navy Motocross

Over the weekend,the Navy sponsored a dirt bike competition.The Navy Moto X World Championships were held at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.ESPN carried the event,which the Navy used as a recruiting tool.It ran several ads on the broadcast emphasizing the adventurous side of Navy life.The event itself was a perfect fit for the Navy's slogan "Accelerate your life."The Best Trick competition was won by Scott Murray.Matt Buyton won the Step-up event,and Broc Hepler took the gold helmet in the Moto X Final.I didn't think I'd like it,but I found it did have a certain apppeal in the end.A dirt bike event is a good diversion,as well as a magnet for potential recruits.

Goldman Upgrades

Goldman Sachs(GS) has added Lockheed Martin(LMT) to its conviction buy list.It has also upgraded Halliburton(HAL) to a buy from neutral.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not Enough Ships

The U.S. Navy is in need of many more ships.It has a goal of 313 warships by 2020,but only has 279 now.Until then,there is moderate risk that the Navy and Marine Corps may not be able to respond to a crisis.Indeed,the ships that they do have are being heavily taxed by their current missions.

FBR News

Friedman,Billings and Ramsey has named Danaher(DHR) a top pick.It has also initiated coverage of Patriot Coal(PCX) as an outperform.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Carrier Special

Watch your T.V. guides.PBS will be airing an aircraft carrier documentary in the near future.They've broadcast one in the past,and it is unclear whether this is a new production,but it looked new to me.No doubt carriers are more photogenic than other warships.They've got the action and the human drama,with their large complement and screaming aircraft.

Naval Air Station Lemoore

NAS Lemoore,California is home base to several strike fighter squadrons.They fly variants of the F/A-18 Hornet.The squadrons are known as Bounty Hunters,Tophatters,Fighting Redcocks,Fist of the Fleet,Black Aces,Mighty Shrikes,Warhawks,Stingers,Eagles,Flying Eagles,Rough Raiders,Kestrels,Blue Diamonds,Argonauts,Vigilantes and Black Knights.NAS Lemoore is just south of Fresno.


Citigroup(C) has upgraded Yahoo(YHOO) to buy from hold.RBC Capital(RY) has upgraded Union Drilling(UDRL) to outperform from sector perform.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Income Tax Time

When you're doing your taxes,remember our military men and women.They are worth every dime we spend on them.The same applies to our national parks,monuments and forests.Think about them,and the stress starts to fade.

Navy Personnel

As of October 2007,the Navy had 337,690 active duty personnel.There were 51,428 officers,281,872 enlisted and 4,390 midshipmen.Mobilized reserves totaled 5,805.The Department of the Navy employed 175,416 civilians.

Morningstar Recommendations

Morningstar(MORN) recommends these food companies:General Mills(GIS),Kellogg(K),Campbell Soup(CPB),Kraft Foods(KFT) and ConAgra Foods(CAG).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Holidays

The spring holidays are fast approaching.A special greeting to our military men and women,many of whom have pulled repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.We cannot thank you enough.Despite the years of absence,you are still vivid in our minds.Have a blessed spring.

Evolved Seasparrow Defends Ships

The RIM-62 Evolved Seasparrow Missile(ESSM) provides the Navy with the most advanced defense against antiship cruise missiles.The ESSM is highly maneuverable,with supersonic speed and greater range than its predecessor,the RIM-7.Its MK139 warhead is expressly designed to destroy hardened antiship cruise missiles.That is why it is a defensive weapon of choice for eight NATO allies and Australia.The Evolved Seasparrow is made by Raytheon(RTN) and an international consortium.

Goldman Upgrades

Goldman Sachs(GS) has upgraded JC Penney(JCP) to buy from hold,and Medco Health(MHS) to buy from neutral.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Admiral Fallon Resigns

Admiral William Fallon has resigned from his Middle East command,which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates,it wasn't just one issue,but an accumulation of problems the admiral had with the Bush administration.The military isn't totally different from the business world.Sometimes even the best of leaders don't fit into their position.Consider Chuck Prince,who resigned as CEO of Citigroup(C).No one disliked him.He just wasn't able to turn the firm around fast enough.He wasn't stupid or dishonest.It just didn't work out.

Basketball Success

Navy played a notable season in the Patriot League.They achieved a regular season record of 16-13.It was Navy's best record since the 2000-2001 season,when they finished 19-12.Guard Greg Sprink shot 21.2 points a game and was the Patriot League's player of the year.Coach Billy Lange was voted coach of the year.Congratulations to the blue and gold!


Merrill Lynch(MER) has upgraded Oracle(ORCL) to a buy from neutral.Wachovia(WB) has upgraded Pier One(PIR) to outperform from peer perform.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Aggravating Election

If I am aggravated about the votes of Michigan and Florida Democrat voters not counting,you can imagine how those voters feel-I don't even live in those states.These voters are being disenfranchised by the stupidity of their leaders,who refused to follow the rules.Making a point at the risk of nullifying the votes was extremely childish,to say the least.Hopefully some arrangement can be reached by the time of the Democrat's convention this summer.Those voters deserve no less than their constitutional rights.

Memorial Ship Christened

The USS New York(LPD 21),a vessel forged in tragedy,was christened on 1 March in Avondale,Louisiana.The ship's bow stem,or front edge,contains 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center rubble,and she stood up to Hurricane Katrina.An amphibious transport dock,the New York carries 699 Marines and their equipment,including the MV22 Osprey,a vertical take-off and landing aircraft.Her sister ship,the Arlington(LPD 24),is under construction,and evokes the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon in Arlington,Virginia,as well as Arlington National Cemetery.The USS New York's home port will be in Norfolk,Virginia.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dividend Increases

Among companies increasing their dividends are Allstate(ALL),Colgate Palmolive(CL) and Waste Management(WMI).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tremendous Success

It was a real moment of pride for Americans when a Navy cruiser launched a SM-3 missile that intercepted a wayward spy satellite.Congratulations to the men and women of the USS Lake Erie.Their alertness and precision may well have saved lives,money and embarrassment.Bravo Zulu for a job well done!As far as can be ascertained,the satellite was obliterated,fuel and all.

Aircraft Delivered

The EA-18G Growler is being flight-tested.It was delivered to the Navy ahead of schedule,under budget and under weight.This electronic attack aircraft is built by the Hornet Industry Team of Raytheon(RTN),General Electric(GE),Northrop Grumman(NOC) and Boeing(BA).Its excellence has earned it the 2007 Flight Awards Defense Product of the Year.Based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter,the Growler detects,identifies,locates and suppresses hostile emitters with onboard weapons such as the HARM missile.It should enter service next year.


Bear Stearns(BSC) has an outperform on Wal-Mart(WMT).Cowan and Company has upgraded Imclone Systems(IMCL) to outperform from neutral.

Next Week

Because of an appointment,I may not be able to post next Wednesday.Instead,I will try to post another day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One Navy Pilot To Another

President George H.W. Bush has endorsed Senator John McCain(R-Arizona) for president.President Bush was a naval aviator in World War II,while Senator McCain was one in the Vietnam war.It was so good to see those two patriots and good public servants together.They are truly of a stature that is becoming rare in the ranks of government today.It's a blessing to have such leaders among us,spreading their integrity.

UBS Upgrades

UBS has upgraded Glaxo Smith Kline(GSK) and Safeway(SWY) to a buy from neutral.


A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in action in Iraq.Petty Officer 1st Class Luis A. Souffront,of Miami,died on 7 February.He was 25.Petty Officer Souffront was assigned to a SEAL team in Virginia Beach,Virginia.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary's Report Card

Senator John Warner(R-Virginia) was asked if Senator Hillary Clinton(D-NY) was qualified to be commander-in-chief.He said that Senator Clinton came to military hearings well-prepared and asked good questions.In my view,perhaps that is as qualified as many U.S. presidents were when they took office.

Navy Professional Reading Program,Part 2

Here are more titles recommended by the U.S. Navy:D-Day by Stephen F. Ambrose,The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna,1776 by David McCullough,Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy by Dennis J. Ringle,The Great Wall at Sea by Bernard D. Cole,To The Shores of Tripoli by A.B.C. Whipple

Buy Recommendations

Citi-Smith Barney(C) recommends Raytheon(RTN),Sempra Energy(SRE) and MetLife(MET).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Torpedo Contract

Lockheed Martin(LMT)has won a Navy contract for torpedo support.The deal is worth up to 35 million dollars.LMT will receive,inspect,process,issue and maintain the torpedoes,which are manufactured by Raytheon(RTN).

S and P Recommendations

Standard and Poors has given a strong buy recommendation to CVS Caremark(CVS) and Burger King(BKC).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

KBW Upgrades

Keefe,Bruyette and Woods have upgraded PNC Financial(PNC) and Prudential Financial(PRU) to outperform.

Aircraft Carrier To Be Delivered

The USS George H.W. Bush was christened October 7,2006.She will be delivered to the fleet this year.The last of the Nimitz class of carriers,she has two nuclear reactors,about 80 aircraft,and a complement of 5680 personnel.Northrup Grumman(NOC) is her builder.

Hope For Quebecor World

Quebecor World(QBRWF) is the kind of corporate neighbor everyone wants.While providing hundreds of good jobs,it has low environmental impact.That is why everyone in the Fairfield,Pennsylvania area is pulling for the Canadian firm.Their recent bankruptcy filing doesn't mean they are going down the drain,fortunately.It is something many good companies have had to do at some point in their histories.In the end,it can be a second chance for them to be everything they have dreamed of-perhaps even better than would otherwise have been possible.It can truly work out for the best,given their optimism and the genuine concern they have for their workers.The financing they have received is a vote of confidence in them by prestigious financial institutions.There is little doubt that Quebecor World will justify that belief with a complete recovery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buy Recommendations

Citigroup(C) recommends General Electric(GE).Deutsche Bank(DB) recommends General Motors(GM) and IBM.

Navy Professional Reading Program

Here are some titles recommended by the U.S. Navy:The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman,Imperial Grunts by Robert D. Kaplan,From Beirut To Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman,Lincoln On Leadership by Donald T. Phillips,Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan,A Sailor's History Of The U.S. Navy by Thomas L. Cutler

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chukchi Sea Leases

Some environmental groups have objected to the February 6 lease sale for oil and gas drillers in the Chukchi Sea,which is off the northwest coast of Alaska.They are especially concerned about polar bears,which are threatened by the shrinkage of sea ice from global warming.Yet the local residents,especially the aboriginal peoples,have the right to determine their own economic destiny,and,after all ,have been stewards of the area far longer than any organizations have been in existence.

Fortune's Picks For 2008

1.Electronic Arts(ERTS) 2.St. Joe(JOE) 3.Dick's Sporting Goods(DKS) 4.Genentech(DNA) 5.Merrill Lynch(MER) 6.Berkshire Hathaway(BRK.B) 7.Annaly Capital(NLY) 8.Petroleo Brasileiro(PBR) 9.Jacobs Engineering(JEC) 10.General Electric(GE)