as part of our
The famous financial scholar, Coolio, once opined, "Ain't no
party like a west coast party, 'cause a west coast party don't
Well, there ain't no columns like my Friday columns, because in
Friday columns I don't talk… at least not that much.
Instead, I rely on some carefully selected graphics to do the
talking for me. After all, a picture is supposed to be worth a
thousand words. And each week, I like to put that theory to the
This week, I'm dishing on consumer debt, increasingly special
dividends, the emerging markets of India and China, plus the
biggest - and most profitable - finger exercise of the past two
So without further ado, let's get to it…
Hey Congress, Get Your Act Together. We Did!
While Congress can't figure out how to stop its deficit
spending, consumers keep taking steps to get out of debt.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's latest report on
household debt and credit reveals that total consumer debt fell
As of September 30, 2012, we only owe a measly $11.31 trillion,
compared to $12.68 trillion at the height of our debt
Student debt remains one area of concern, though. It's still
increasing - up $42 billion to $956 billion - which is bad news for
). But the overall trend is improving.
Will consumers fall off the wagon? Probably. Nevertheless, some
fiscal restraint goes a long way.
Congress, you should try it, too. Just a friendly
Last Call For Special Dividends
Shocker! The potential for dividend tax rates to soar on January
1 is actually benefiting investors, just like I predicted three
In November, 173 companies announced special dividends, compared
to only 72 during the same period last year, according to Standard
& Poor's resident number cruncher, Howard Silverblatt.
The payouts have been big, too, averaging about 7% of the
current share price.
For latecomers to the trend, here are three opportunities I just
Dividends & Income Daily
readers to take advantage of the situation.
Hurry up, though. It's only going to last for a few more
A Tale of Two Emerging Markets
Last week, I noted how the most beloved emerging market, China,
continues to disappoint. And how the most unloved Asian market,
Japan, is getting its rally on.
Well, it's time for another compare and contrast exercise with
China. And this time, we're using the world's second most populous
While China's stock market is in a death spiral, India's Sensex
Index keeps charging higher. (I guess China can't be the first in
The problem is that very few Indian stocks are available on U.S.
exchanges as American Depository Receipts (ADR). So momentum
traders looking to profit from the trend have to settle for the ETF
Here are two options worth considering: the
WisdomTree India Earnings ETF
) or the
iShares S&P India Nifty 50 Index Fund
Forget Peak Oil, We've Hit Peak Texting
On Monday, the best finger exercise ever invented - texting -
celebrated its 20th birthday. At such a young age, though, the
first generation technology (known as SMS) is ready for
Total text messages sent and received fell for the first time
during the third quarter, according to independent mobile analyst
and consultant Chetan Sharma.
Of course, we haven't tired of our finger workout regimen. We're
just using new technologies, like
) iMessage and other platforms that send texts over the internet
instead of wireless networks.
That's bad news for wireless carriers like
). Text messaging represents a major profit center, with some
carriers charging up to $0.20 for a single message, even though
they only cost a few cents to transmit.
No wonder unlimited data plans are going the way of the dodo
bird. Carriers need to replace lost revenue. I guess all good
things really do come to an end.
That's it for today. Before you sign off, do us a favor. Let us
know what you think about this weekly column - or any of our recent
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