Category Archives: Best Stocks

Bitcoin Today: Cryptos Gain as Regulation Takes Backseat, IMF Offers Boost

Bitcoin maintained its earlier gains in Tuesday trading, reaching as high as about $8,150 in morning action. Tuesday marked the third-straight day the No. 1 cryptocurrency by market value hovered above the $8,000 mark after a 15-day streak trapped below it.

Most other high-market cap cryptocurrencies traded into the green on Tuesday. Here are the stories you can’t miss in cryptocurrencies for Tuesday, April 17.

IMF Head Gives Bullish Boost

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde said in a blog post that cryptocurrencies have significant power to cut down transaction costs while underlying blockchain technology could improve efficiency and safety in financial markets. “Crypto-assets enable fast and inexpensive financial transactions, while offering some of the convenience of cash,” Lagarde wrote. “Some payment services now make overseas transfers in a matter of hours not days … The underlying technology of crypto-assets-distributed ledger technology, or DLT-could help financial markets function more efficiently. Self-executing and self-enforcing ‘smart contracts’ could eliminate the need for some intermediaries.”

Pornhub Tanks Verge

Adult entertainment website Pornhub announced it will begin accepting anonymity-focused cryptocurrency verge as payment on its site. In a release, Pornhub said it was an effort to “keep current with our community’s payment preferences.” The statement continued, “Pornhub users will now be able to use verge, which allows for anonymous transactions by obfuscating the IP address and geolocation of its users so that they are untraceable, to pay for all Pornhub purchases – including Pornhub Premium, the company’s HD, on-demand streaming service.” The deal wasn’t initially good for verge’s price though, as investors appeared to be selling on the news. The token tanked as much as 7% in afternoon trading before paring some losses. Verge was on Tuesday the No. 21 largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Blockchain Taps Goldman Exec

Cryptocurrency wallet and data provider Blockchain has tapped a former executive from Goldman Sachs to run its institutional sales and strategy, according to Coindesk. Breanne Madigan previously lead the bank’s institutional wealth services, where she managed relationships with funds holding about $1.49 trillion in total assets. Madigan told Coindesk she envisioned her role as “helping more traditional investors gain unparalleled access to the future of finance,” and that she had previously worked with “many of the largest and best-known hedge funds.” Blockchain operates in 140 countries and has opened 24 million wallets. It previously announced it plans to triple its headcount in 2018.

Kraken to Suspend Service in Japan

Kraken, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced it will shutter its services in Japan by the end of June amid growing costs with which the company hasn’t been able to keep pace. Kraken, which began operating in Japan in 2014, said the company and its employees “deeply regret suspending this long-standing relationship and hope to resume services for Japan residents in the future.” The statement continued, “However, at the present time, it is impractical to continue service for Japan residents. The decision involved careful consideration of revenue against the costs and resources required to maintain service.” Kraken noted that, as it grows quickly, resources have become scarce and, “after we have had a chance to better catch up to our rapid growth, we will consider the possibility of resuming service for Japan residents.”

6 ways you might get taxed in retirement

One common retirement misconception is that your tax burden will be negligible compared to what it was during your working years.

But that may not come to be the case. Depending on the income sources you have available to you in retirement, you could face a sizable tax bill year after year as a senior. Here are just some of the ways you might get hit.

1. Traditional IRA or 401(k) withdrawals

Saving in a tax-advantaged plan like an IRA or 401(k) is a smart way to build a nest egg. But while traditional IRAs and 401(k)s offer an immediate tax break for contributing, as well as tax-deferred growth on your money, once you reach retirement, the withdrawals you take are taxed as ordinary income — meaning at your highest possible rate. The only way to get around those taxes is to save in a Roth IRA or 401(k) or convert your existing savings to a Roth-style account. Go the latter route, however, and you’ll be liable for taxes when you make that conversion.

More:Tax refund got you excited? Don’t count on it if your student loans are in default

More:IRS hit with computer glitch on tax day

2. Social Security benefits

Seniors who collect Social Security and don’t have much other income can often avoid taxes on their benefits. But if you have other income sources, such as savings or a part-time job, there’s a good chance your Social Security benefits will be taxed.

To see if this is the case, you’ll need to calculate your provisional income, which is your non-Social Security income plus half of your yearly benefits. If your total falls between $25,000 and $34,000 and you’re a single filer, or between $32,000 and $44,000 and you’re a joint filer, then you could face taxes on up to 50% of your benefits. And if your provisional income is above $34,000 as a single filer or $44,000 as a joint filer, you could be taxed on up to 85% of your benefits.

3. Pension income

Though many companies are doing away with pensions, if you happen to have one, consider yourself lucky. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that money will be yours free and clear of taxes in retirement. Payments made from pensions — both of the government and private sector variety — are generally taxed as ordinary income. However, certain types of military or disability pensions may end up being partially or completely tax-free.

4. Investment gains

Investment gains are taxable in retirement, assuming those assets aren’t being held in a qualified retirement account. However, you can ease the burden by holding investments for at least a year and a day before selling them at a price that’s higher than what you paid. This way, you’ll bump yourself into the long-term capital gains category, which has a far more favorable tax rate than short-term gains, which are taxed as ordinary income. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid them when possible.

5. Investment income

Not all employers offer a 401(k) plan but if yours does it is usually a good investment vehicle. (Photo: Getty Images)

Some people make money off their investments by selling them at a profit. Others, however, make money by holding on to their investments and collecting dividend payments on stocks and interest payments on bonds. The bad news? Dividend and interest income is generally subject to taxes. The good news? Qualified dividends are taxed at a more favorable rate, and most dividends tend to fall into this category.

Furthermore, if you invest in municipal bonds (those issued by cities, states, and other localities) instead of corporate bonds, your interest payments will be exempt from federal taxes. And if you buy municipal bonds issued by your home state, you’ll avoid state and local taxes, as well.

6. Bank account interest

Many seniors opt to keep at least some money in a savings account, where they don’t face the same loss of principal that exists with other types of investments. And even though today’s interest rates are far from generous, if you’re housing a large sum of cash in the bank, it could impact your tax bill. In fact, bank account interest is taxed as ordinary income, so once again, you’re looking at paying your highest possible rate.

This isn’t to say that you should unload your savings account. Quite the contrary — you need an emergency fund in retirement just as you do when you’re working. Just be aware of the tax consequences that might ensue.

Nobody wants to pay taxes, especially when you’re on a relatively fixed income. But if you prepare for what could lie ahead, you’ll be in a better position to withstand that financial blow.

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3 Terrific Telecom Dividend Stocks

How many days might you go without your mobile phone? My guess for most of the population would be zero days — and for most an hour or so would be taxing.

And how many days might you go without your internet connection? I mean cold turkey, no internet, no browsing, no video or music streaming? Again, for most people, the answer would likely be naught.

Folks are so tethered either by wire or wireless connections that telecom companies have a lock on their customers. And sure, there is some competition. But for most markets, internet companies typically have no competition and swapping from one wireless provider for another is not very common occurrence for many customers.

This makes for a great recipe for strong, consistent and even rising revenues, which in turn provide lots of cash for strong, consistent and even rising dividends. And that’s why I love these 3 solid dividend stocks from the telecom market.

Telecom Dividend Stocks #1: AT&T Stock T Stock Is Still a Buy, But Investors Should Brace for Volatility Source: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Start with Ma Bell, also known as AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). AT&T provides the far reach of its vast wireless network around the U.S. and continues to expand its offerings via satellite with its Directv, U-Verse and internet services units. And AT&T is also in the works to expand its offerings to include content from Time Warner. Right now, that deal is in the hand of the courts as the U.S. government seeks to block the merger .

AT&T’s revenues are largely steady — but heavy. And margins are fat on its offerings, running at 13% and making for an ample dividend coverage with a payout sitting at only 41%. Little debt for now and ample returns on its capital-intensive assets make T stock attractive for years to come.

And the shares trade at a low price-to-book ratio of only 1.5 times and a mere 1.4 times its trailing revenues. This is a bargain for a dividend yield of 5.66% that’s been on the rise for the past five years.

Telecom Dividend Stocks #2: Verizon Stock Source: Via Flickr

Next is AT&T’s prime competitor: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). Verizon is actually bigger than Ma Bell in the wireless market — but trails in internet and related services. It also provides online content and other products and services via its acquisition of AOL and Yahoo.

In addition, Verizon also is a prime provider for communications for the U.S. Government. All of this makes for a similar story of ample cash to support a great dividend.

Revenues are solid, if not exactly rising by much. But VZ has even fatter operating margins than AT&T at 21.8%. And that profit rate along with minimal debt makes for a dividend that’s overly protected with a payout rate of only 31.6%.

Verizon’s dividend has risen steadily over the past five years and now yields 4.83%, making VZ a solid dividend stock to call up for your own portfolio.

Telecom Dividend Stocks #3: BCE Stock Source: Shutterstock

Last of the three is BCE Inc. (USA) (NYSE:BCE), which stands for Bell Canada Enterprises but is known simply as Bell Canada. The company is the largest communications company in Canada. It dominates wireless, wireline and internet communications as well as television and other content products and services.

The story with BCE is similar to AT&T and Verizon with lots of cash being generated from its communications assets. But it does have an advantage over its U.S. rivals in that revenues continue to move higher — making a case for a bit more growth for investors.

Margins are fat with operating profits running at 22.6% and debt is low like its southern peers. But the downside is that with some added growth in revenues comes from additional spending. This means a somewhat less defended dividend with a current payout rate of 92.1%

But given revenue growth and the positive operating margins — I see the dividend as safe. It has been bumped up nicely in the past 12 months to a current yield of 5.45%.

BCE makes for a great dividend payer that along with AT&T and Verizon would make for a nice payout trilogy.

Neil George is the editor of Profitable Investing and does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above.

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BOJ May Get More Policy Freedom If Abe Quits: Ex-BOJ Kiuchi

The Bank of Japan will likely find it easier to make its inflation target less binding if recent scandals throw Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from power, according to Takahide Kiuchi, a former board member at the central bank.

“If the unusually strong administration changes, the Bank of Japan could get a little more freedom,” Kiuchi said in an interview Tuesday. The BOJ has faced “considerable political pressure” these past five years, he said.

“If the Abe administration is replaced by another administration, it could become easier” to re-frame the inflation target as a medium- to longer-term goal, said Kiuchi, 54, who is now executive economist at Nomura Research Institute Ltd. in Tokyo. The BOJ, which is by law independent from the government, has said it wants to reach its price goal at the earliest possible time.

The BOJ’s policy path could come under fresh scrutiny as speculation intensifies over Abe’s future because of scandals that have prompted a series of public apologies and driven his poll numbers to near record lows. Kiuchi, who served on the BOJ’s policy board from 2012 to 2017, was one of its perennial dissenters, saying that achieving 2 percent inflation isn’t feasible and that trying to do so could have a negative impact.

Still Half Way

The BOJ has yet to hit its 2 percent inflation goal despite five years of bold easing

SOURCE: The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

NOTE: Japan's core CPI excludes fresh food prices. The figures are adjusted for the effects of a sales tax increase in April 2014 using a BOJ method.

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In a Bloomberg survey of 49 economists before last month’s BOJ policy meeting, 68 percent of those expecting the central bank’s next move will be monetary tightening forecast such a move in January 2019 or later.

While BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has repeatedly said he is committed to easy policy to reach the price goal, Kiuchi suspects that the bank is moving toward normalization, citing its reduced purchases of government bonds. If Abe steps down, the price-target change could come around next year, Kiuchi said.

Abe must win a leadership vote scheduled for September by his political party to stay on as premier. While Abe has said he would stay in his job and work to restore public trust in the government, a poll published by the Asahi newspaper on April 16 showed respondents would prefer to see former Defense Minister and Abe critic Shigeru Ishiba as the next leader. Ishiba said in an interview in June last year that it wouldn’t be good if the unprecedented easing policy continued indefinitely.

The BOJ could scrap its negative rate policy in late 2019, provided that the government delays a sales tax hike scheduled for October of that year, Kiuchi said. “What will likely come first is the termination of negative rates or a reduction in the purchases of exchange-traded funds,” he said.

See also: Kiuchi says BOJ will stay on ‘virtual normalization’ path

It may be in 2021 at the earliest when the BOJ begins to cut its corporate bond holdings accumulated as part of its stimulus, Kiuchi said.

Ahead of such changes, the BOJ may also redesign its long-term interest-rate target if there is little risk that that would cause the yen to rise, Kiuchi said.

One option would be for the bank to scrap its zero percent target for the 10-year government bond yield and make it a goal for the five-year yield instead, he said. The latter rate would be “far easier to control” partly because it’s less sensitive to developments in overseas bond markets, he said.

“This will depend on market conditions so it’s hard to tell when that could happen,” he said of the possibility of a change to the 10-year yield target. “But it will probably come ahead of the termination of negative rates.”

Quotes from this Article

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018

Although 2016 wasn’t exactly the greatest year for healthcare stocks in general, there really aren’t very many true bargains to be found in the industry. However, three healthcare stocks do appear to be priced well below what they’re worth. Here’s why Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), Lantheus Holdings (NASDAQ:LNTH), and Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) look to be ridiculously cheap right now.

Image source: Getty Images

Gilead Sciences: Cash flow king

Shares of Gilead Sciences are trading below 7 times trailing 12-month earnings and forward earnings. Those are the lowest multiples for the biotech in more than a decade. Gilead’s stock has dropped like a brick over the past 18 months because of slumping sales for its hepatitis C virus (HCV) franchise.

Lower revenue doesn’t mean Gilead is strapping for cash, though. In fact, the big biotech remains a cash flow king. In the first nine months of 2016, Gilead generated operating cash flow of nearly $13.2 billion. That kind of performance allowed the company to build up a sizable nest egg of $31.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of the end of the third quarter in 2016. Gilead’s cash position is undoubtedly larger by now.

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018: ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ARIA)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Healthcare shares gained around 0.73 percent in trading on Monday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA), and VCA Inc (NASDAQ: WOOF).

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Medivation Inc.(MDVN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    RBC’s Simos Simeonidis and Matthew Eckler try to find the right comparison for Pfizer’s (PFE) purchase of Medivation (MDVN):

    Scott Eisen/Bloomberg News

    We were obviously wrong with our Sector Perform rating: while we knew an M&A transaction was definitely a good possibility, we just could not get to this level of valuation using a realistic Xtandi model and thus could not recommend the stock. The only way for us to get to $81.50 (or even to $60-$70/share) would have been to assign very significant value to talazoparib. And we could not do that given the amount of available clinical evidence.Medivation shareholders who held on to their shares past the $50′s, did just that, were proven right and are now rewarded for it, since they believed that someone would be willing to pay for this asset just months ahead of Phase III data. The key question is why would a company be willing to part with what they claim/think may be a multibillion dollar drug that works in multiple cancers. We believe the obvious answer is because they’re smart and understand drug development risk better than most. We’ll know in a matter of months whether Pfizer/Medivation is like Amgen (AMGN)-Onyx (carfilzomib) or not.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Last night, Bloomberg reported that Sanofi (SNY) had made a bid for Medivation (MDVN) but had been rebuffed, while noting that other companies–perhaps Gilead Sciences (GILD), Amgen (AMGN) or AstraZeneca (AZN)?–were also on the prowl. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Peter Lawson explains why Medivation might be biotech’s most wanted:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Medivation Inc (NASDAQ: MDVN) is said to have spurned recent takeover approach from France’s Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE: SNY), according to sources as reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday. Sanofi wants Medivation’s treatments for hard-to-cure cancers, the sources said. Medivation shares surged 8.46 percent to $49.60 in the after-hours trading session, while Sanofi shares fell 0.59 percent to $42.02 in after-hours trading.

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Biogen Idec Inc(BIIB)

Advisors’ Opinion:


    Breakups have the potential to create a lot of value. Just look at what Biogen (BIIB) did with its hemophilia franchise. Spun out as Bioverativ (BIVV) , shares started trading earlier this year. The stock has climbed some 23% on seemingly no news, Cramer noted.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Biogen (BIIB) tumbled to the bottom of the S&P 500 today after getting cut by two analysts.

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    Biogen dropped 4.7% to $278.96 at 4:19 p.m. today, while the S&P 500 declined 0.2% to 2,381.38.

    Leerinks Geoffrey Porges cited the “slower than expected ramp for Spinraza” in cutting Biogen to Market Perform from Outperform, while Morgan Stanly’s Matthew Harrison wrote that his decision to cut Biogen to Market Weight from Overweight was “not a downside call, but a timing call.”

    Biogen’s market capitalization fell to $60.2 billion today from $63.2 billion yesterday. It reported net income of $3.7 billion on sales of $10.2 billion in 2016.

    Barron’s Teresa Rivas recommended buying Biogen in December after the company released positive trial data on its Alzheimer’s drug.


    Biogen (BIIB)

    Biogen discovers, develops and delivers innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune disorders.

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    While that’s fine for clinical trials, it may make it difficult for Ionis’ drugs to compete with drugs that work as well but don’t have side effects that need to be monitored. Of course, for Spinraza, which Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) and Ionis recently got approved for spinal muscular atrophy, side effects aren’t an issue because there aren’t any other treatment options at the moment.

  • [By Todd Campbell]

    A new and highly anticipated study byCelgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG) shows that its promising multiple sclerosis drug could soon reshape the $19 billion multiple sclerosis market. On Friday, management reported that ozanimod met its primary endpoint for reducing MS relapses better than Biogen Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BIIB) Avonex, and importantly, it did so without any new safety risks.

  • [By George Budwell]

    Shares of theDanish drugmaker Forward Pharma A/S (NASDAQ:FWP) gained 48.2% yesterday as the result of a settlement and licensing deal with Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB)involving an ongoing patent dispute over the multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera. Per the terms of the deal, Biogen will fork overa non-refundable$1.25 billion licensing fee, and possibly pay 10% to 20% royalties on Tecfidera’snet sales to Forward starting in 2021.

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ALNY)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY) jumped as much as 14.5% today after announcing earnings after the bell yesterday. As a development-stage biotech, it wasn’t the revenue or the earnings that caused the spike, but the progression of Allnylam’s pipeline.

  • [By Chris Dier-Scalise]

    On Thursday, the Vetr crowd downgraded Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) from 4.5 stars (Strong Buy), which was issued two days ago, to 3.5 stars (Hold). Crowd sentiment for Alnylam at the time of the downgrade was edging positive, with 66 percent of Vetr user rating bullish.

  • [By Cory Renauer]

    Treating diseases that have a genetic component by altering the expression of the responsible genes is a promising new field of medicine, but it has been much less straightforward than biopharmaceutical companies had expected. Two contenders in this area, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY) and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS), saw a mix of setbacks and success in 2016.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) shares shot up 53 percent to $114.87 after the company impressed investors with encouraging data from a phase 3 clinical trial. Alnylam, a company dedicated towards treating a wide range of debilitating diseases through ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference (RNAi) therapeutics, said after Tuesday's market close that a phase 3 study called APOLLO met its primary efficacy endpoint and all secondary endpoints.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Yesterday, after markets closed, it was announced that US Federal District Court Judge Sue Robinson ruled to issue a permanent injunction against Praluent, the PCSK9 mAb for hypercholesterolemia from partners Regeneron and Sanofi, due to infringement of patents from Amgen. The court has imposed a 30-day suspension (stay) on the injunction to allow for settlement or appeal of the District Court decision. Sanofi and Regeneron have announced their intent to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The injunction decision is consistent with our counter-consensus published views communicated on 25 January 2016 (“Downgrade to Sell on evidence of likely infringement of Amgen’s PCSK9 patents”) and subsequently. Based on consultation with expert legal counsel, we now put >75% probability Amgen will prevail on appeal and/or Praluent is ultimately removed from the US market, and/or Amgen achieves a settlement substantially in its favor. We currently model $3.3 bn in non-risk-adjusted 2022E US revenues for Praluent, while consensus models $1.2 bn in 2022E US revenues. We reiterate our view from 25 January 2016 to preferentially own Amgen, The Medicines Company (MDCO) (Buy), and Alnylam (ALNY) (Buy) over Regeneron for exposure to PCSK9 inhibitor market dynamics as outcomes trials approach.

Top 5 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Amgen Inc.(AMGN)

Advisors’ Opinion:


    Finally on Friday, Tiffany (TIF) reports, and Cramer is betting on positive news now that the company has an activist involved. He was also bullish on Amgen’s (AMGN) analyst meeting, saying investors should use any market weakness earlier in the week to buy.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) saw its short interest increase to 7.78 million shares from the previous level of 7.38 million. Shares closed most recently at $145.34, in a 52-week trading range of $133.64 to $176.85.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Biotech stocks have been particularly unloved during the past year, with the iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index ETF (IBB) gaining just 7% to the S&P 500′s 20% rise. Today, however, Amgen (AMGN) is getting a lot of love from the market after releasing Street beating earnings and reporting that its anti-cholesterol drug reduced heart attacks.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Investors have turned to the pharmaceutical industry for solid dividend stocks for a long time. However, biotechs typically weren’t high on the list when it came to dividends. Over the past few years, though, Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) have risen in prominence as attractive alternatives for dividend-seeking investors.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    In September of 2016, Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced that the FDA had approved its Amjevita as a biosimilar to Humira for multiple inflammatory diseases that included RA and several other related inflammatory diseases.


    That’s why Cramer said he’ll be listening for news coming from Celgene (CEL) , Amgen (AMGN) , Allergan (AGN) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, and Regenron (REGN) , all of which are set to present. Of the four, Cramer said he’s sticking with Allergan and Amgen.