Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Distinguished Aviator Dies

Captain Allard Guy Russell,U.S. Navy Retired,88,an aviator whose encyclopedic career spanned more than 40 years,has died in Sarasota,Florida.He joined the Navy in 1940 after studying at the University of Washington.Captain Russell flew combat missions off of carriers in World War II and Korea.He flew a dive-bomber in support of the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal.When the USS Saratoga was torpedoed,he flew missions from a Guadalcanal airstrip,living among the Marines.He always considered himself a Marine,as well as Navy,after that experience.
After the wars,Captain Russell became a Navy test pilot,flying 125 different aircraft.He specialized in night flight operations,racking up about 6500 total hours of military flight time.A pioneer in computer-aided carrier landing in all-weather,Captain Russell also accepted exchange assignments with the Royal Navy.He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses,five Air Medals and a Presidential Unit Citation.
After retiring,Captain Russell worked as an administrator for Bell Aircraft,Hughes Aircraft and Boeing.He flew many mercy missions in his later years.A father of four,he was married to Edith Russell for more than 67 years.He was a member of the Navy League and the 1st Marine Division Association of SW Florida.

Advisor Sceptical

Derwood Chase of Chase Investment Counsel is sceptical of the recent rally.He says we haven't seen the exhaustion of selling you usually see for a bull market to begin.Stick to good quality defensive stocks.Technically,I think the market is very likely to test the March lows.We consider it a high risk market,Mr.Chase warns.He likes TJX,Wal-Mart and Schlumberger.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Admiral To Command NATO

President Barack Obama has appointed Admiral James G. Stavridis,U.S. Navy,to be the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe.He will replace General Bantz J. Craddock,U.S. Army,on 2 July.Admiral Stavridis will be the first naval officer to serve as SACEUR.The post is traditionally filled by an American,while the NATO Secretary General,a civilian, is a European.The NATO alliance is currently fighting in Afghanistan,peacekeeping in Kosovo,and searching for pirates off the coast of Somalia.Admiral Stavridis is presently serving as Commander,U.S. Southern Command.

Berkshire Adjustments

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been adjusting its portfolio.It increased its stake in Johnson and Johnson by 3.9 million shares;lowered its stake in United Healthcare by about 2 million shares;added 500,000 more shares of Union Pacific;and also added to its holdings in Burlington Northern,Wells Fargo,U.S. Bancorp and Nalco Holdings.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Big Op Underway

At U.S. urging,the Pakistani army has launched a major attack on the 4,000 Taliban extremists in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.Operation Black Thunder is an all-out assault on the militants,with U.S. troops fighting on the Afghan side of the border.The Pakistanis have killed at least 700 Taliban,and hundreds of thopusands of refugees are fleeing the battlefield.The operation is an air-ground assault.
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan,U.S. Army General David McKiernan,is being replaced by Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal,U.S. Army.Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,made the announcement.General McKiernan will stay on until Lt.General McChrystal is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.The U.S. authorities wanted a fresh set of eyes for the new AfPak strategy,which is similar to the Iraq tactics of General David Petraeus.Lt.General McChrystal is a special operations expert,having served as Commander,Special Operations Command.He is said to understand all aspects of the operation:diplomacy and aid,as well as unconventional warfare.General McKiernan has a more conventional background.Former Vice-President Dick Cheney praised the choice of McChrystal,saying you couldn't find a better replacement.

Conviction Buys

Goldman Sachs has added a number of stocks to its Conviction Buy list.Massey Energy has been added,with the coal sector being raised to attractive from neutral.Liz Claiborne was also put on the list,as was Research In Motion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Anbar Casualties

Iraq remains a hostile environment for U.S. troops,despite their imminent drawdown.Two Marines and a sailor were killed in action in Anbar province at the end of April.They were among the 18 U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq in April,the bloodiest month of 2009 so far.Thousands of Marines have served in Anbar,which is known for attracting foreign fighters who entered the province from Syria.No change in the drawdown plans has been announced because of the April toll.

Dividend Increases

IBM has raised its dividend by 10% to 0.55 a share.Other firms who have raised theirs are 3M,Wal-Mart,Johnson and Johnson,and Exxon Mobil.