Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

EPR Shares Are Down, but REIT CEO Upbeat on Charter, Box Office Growth

Monday, August 17th, 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — All the talk about potentially higher interest rates ahead has the market bearing down on publicly traded REITs. Greg Silvers, CEO of EPR Properties , said the best way to move forward is to simply ignore all the noise. "We know how to operate in those environments," said Silvers. "Really we are just looking for some of this to calm down and allow us to continue to execute our business plan." Shares of the Kansas City Mo.-based real estate investment trust specializing in entertainment, recreation and education properties have dropped nearly 2% so far in 2015. The iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF is down just under 1% over the same period. Earlier this month, EPR reported second-quarter funds from operations of $64.3 million, or $1.08 a share, beating Wall Street’s consensus estimate by two cents. Funds from operations take net income and add back items such as depreciation and amortization. The company said it had net income of $42.8 million, or 75 cents a share. On the top line, EPR posted revenue of $77.9 million in the period. Wall Street’s consensus forecast was $82.5 million. EPR also said its investments in the second quarter totaled $198.3 million, including $101.5 million in education spending, primarily on charter schools. "We have seen five consecutive years of double-digit enrollment growth. We still have over a million children on waiting lists for charter schools," said Silvers, adding that charter schools are now part of the "social infrastructure of who we are as a country" in addition to being a "great investment". Entertainment investment spending in the second quarter totaled $36.1 million, and was related primarily to investments in build-to-suit construction of three megaplex theatres. Silvers said the movie business has been fantastic so far this summer due to strong performance of Hollywood blockbusters. "Box office is up over 8%. We are headed toward a record year, over $11 billion in box office revenue. It has really been phenomenal," Silvers said. Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves

Click to view a price quote on EPR.

Click to research the Real Estate industry.

2 Surprising Reasons Why the Cost of Living Is Low in Central America

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — After reading more than 6,000 answers to questions about living in Panama, Nicaragua and Belize on our site, Best Places In The World To Retire, I can confidently report that the vast majority of our contributors tell us that it is cheaper to live in these places than in North America and that most of the time, it is much cheaper. You can get bananas for 5 cents each in Belize, a full-hour massage in Nicaragua for $10 and a housekeeper in Panama for $20 a day. Must Read: 8 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling There are many reasons why costs are much lower in Central America. There are two more subtle ones. The first has to do with health care. Quality health care services provided by dentists, doctors and hospitals cost less in Central America. For example, an expat in Panama told me her husband needed dental work that would cost $3,000 to $5,000 in the U.S. He got it done in Panama for $1,200. In addition to paying less for health care, our expats reported that they needed less health care in the first place. Here are some of the reasons why: Time after time, we heard from expats who reported that, after moving overseas, they lost weight. Some lost a lot. Many others reported no longer needing medication for high blood pressure. Why?  They ate better because of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. In most places, there is less fast food and processed foods. Many expats walk more often than they did before, as opposed to taking a car. They tended to make better food choices because they were less stressed, hurried or emotional about eating. They had significantly less of the bad type of stress, which has been linked to heart disease (including high blood pressure), asthma, obesity and diabetes. One frequently cited reason for the lower level of stress experienced by our expats was the overall lower cost of living (see above), which created a virtuous cycle of less stress in general, leading to better health, leading to lower costs. Because of the lower cost of living, some of our expats were able to quit work, which removed an entire layer of stress, not only about the job directly, but also about related items, such as driving in rush hour traffic. Must Read: 5 Big Dividend Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves Greater social life/community involvement /meaning. One of the most significant worries of potential expats is that they will be lonely after moving to another country. While it is true in many circumstances that friends and family are farther away, our expats consistently report that they are much more involved in the community than they were when they lived in North America. As a group, they very quickly make new friends (expats, by definition, have at least one thing in common), and tend to become more involved in charitable activities and organizations than before. That provides greater meaning, more perspective and a sense of belonging, all of which are good for your health. The second surprising way our expats reduced their cost of living is that, after moving overseas, a significant number said they didn’t have the desire to have as many material possessions as they did before. Here are some of the reasons: In some places, it is very difficult to go shopping because North American-style shopping doesn’t exist. That provides the "shock therapy" many of our expats needed in order to provide perspective and break their normal routine. The lesson of seeing so many local people who have so much less — many of whom are arguably quite a bit happier than people with many possessions — was enough to cause our expats to question the relationship between material goods and happiness. Many concluded that they needed less. There is less pressure to "keep up with the Jones." In addition to living among local people who have fewer material possessions, the expats in these places tend to be less materialistic. Why? Because they wouldn’t have moved to a place less centered on materialism in the first place if they weren’t predisposed to it. When new people come into the community, they tend to take on the cultural mores of those already there. The overall culture of Central America in general is not as materialistic. Our expats report that the local people place more value on family, free time and friends than people do in North America. Even eating is done not so much in a hurry, just to get it over with and many times alone, but rather is experienced more as an event with friends and family. When some of our expats try it, they like it. Some of our expats told us that they were just happier, so they didn’t need material goods to compensate for unhappiness elsewhere. So, not only did our expats enjoy the lower costs they anticipated, but they received an additional, unexpected gift, as well. Must Read: 10 Stocks Every Millennial Should Add to Their Portfolio Right Now

What People Moving Abroad Feared, and What Actually Happened

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — If you’re thinking of moving overseas, you already know that it’s a big decision. With big decisions come big worries, but which of your worries are likely to become a reality?
The Web site Best Places In The World To Retire conducted a survey of 389 expats (mostly people who moved from the U.S. and Canada to Panama, Belize and Nicaragua) to find the answer to this and other questions. In a study the Web site recently released, Expats: Expectations & Reality, there is a comparison of what respondents feared would happen if they moved abroad with what actually did happen after they moved. Some of the results may surprise you.
The Worries About Moving Abroad
Is your perception of expats that they are daredevils, without fears or anxieties? The Expectations & Reality study shows otherwise: Almost 80% of respondents reported one or more significant worries about moving overseas. The top three were: 

I won’t be able to learn the language or get by with English.
The infrastructure will be too primitive.
I won’t be able to get access to high-quality health care.

There were also more generalized worries:

"Our biggest worry was that we might be making a mistake selling our house and most of the things in it. What was really hard was parting with items that for so long you felt you just had to have, like glasses from a cruise or a plate you bought while on a holiday…" — Clyde Page, from Canada, living in Panama

Perhaps not surprisingly, women were more concerned than men that they would miss their family and friends too much (about 31% for women vs. about 18% for men) and that they would miss First World goods and shopping (about 23% vs. 16%). 
However, less predictably, men were twice as likely as women to worry about being treated badly by the locals (almost 8% to almost 4%) and more than twice as likely to worry about being treated unfairly due to corruption (about 26% vs. about 12%). 
Americans were substantially more anxious about social issues than Canadians. About 15% of Americans reported a fear of not being able to fit in socially and make new friends, while only 8% of Canadians had this fear. 
Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves

What Happened: Which Fears Materialized And Which Didn’t

"All my suppositions were dead wrong and I am so glad. My expectations became more realistic the more time I spent here and I let myself experience the country as it is not as I thought it should be." — female, age 65-plus, single, semiretired, from U.S., living in Panama for two to five years

When asked which of the items on the list of worries had materialized, a whopping 41.5% of respondents said none.
Among fears that were realized, the top one had nothing to do with language difficulties, infrastructure or even health care. It was shopping.
"I miss First World goods and shopping" was what almost 20% of respondents said had materialized. The surprise here is that while women predicted that they would miss First World goods and shopping more than men, there was a very similar percentage of men and women reporting missing it. 

"I didn’t realize how much I miss the shopping in the USA until I moved here to Belize." — Edward Banas, from U.S., living in Belize for two to five years

What happened to the more than 30% of respondents who had worried about language issues? The reality of having a language problem dropped to slightly more than 6% of respondents, a decrease of 80%. 

"Once in Panama, I found the local people to be very friendly and engaging. I met so many new people, both expats as well as Panamanians, and found myself learning Spanish as never before and living a new adventurous life I never had before." — Danny Blank, from U.S., living in Panama

Very importantly, the fear of being in an unsafe place dropped more than 80% compared to the reality, from about 21% who feared moving to an unsafe place to less than 4% who reported being in an unsafe place. Contrary to what you would expect, it was the women in the survey who reported the least reality of safety problems. Even though slightly more than 20% of women said they had feared moving to an unsafe place, only 2% of women reported that they moved to one.
What happened to the roughly 15% of Americans who had fears of not being able to fit in socially or make friends overseas? The reality reported by the Americans was less than 2%, which happened to be almost exactly the same reality as reported by the less-worried Canadians.

"I miss my friends, but not enough to move back! It is sooo easy to make friends here in Boquete, you have to be a recluse not to make new friends!" — Charlotte Lintz, from U.S., living in Panama
"Okay. I do miss great pastrami and corned beef." — Philip McGuigan, from U.S., living in Panama

With the exception of missing First World shopping (where the worry and the reality were essentially the same), every worry respondents said they had before moving overseas turned out to be greater than the reality they experienced once there.
Does this mean that there is nothing that should cause you concern about moving overseas? Of course not. It just means that if you are like the survey respondents, your reality will likely be better than what you fear. 
To see the entire set of results, download Expats: Expectations & Reality.
 (The study summarizes the responses of 389 expatriates living in Central America, the vast majority of whom live in Panama, Belize and Nicaragua. The survey was hosted on SurveyGizmo and was conducted between April 17 and April 27. Among respondents, 73.5% said their home country was the U.S., while 12.9% came from Canada, 4.6% from the U.K., 3.9% from elsewhere in Europe and the remainder from other countries.)
Must Read: Debunking 4 Common Myths About Retiring to Central America

Next Week’s Focus: FOMC Announcement and Earnings from Facebook, Twitter

Friday, July 24th, 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The earnings parade is in full swing, and there are a number of key economic data points on deck next week.  Traders will be focused on the Federal Open Market Committee’s announcement Wednesday to look for more clues on the timing of an interest-rate hike, which will affect commodities, commodity-based stocks and exchange-traded funds, as well as the financial sector.  Other key data due next week include the S&P/Case-Shiller Pending Home Sales, GDP, the Consumer Confidence Index, and the Chicago and Dallas manufacturing surveys. The theme so far this earnings season is the tremendous moves in names such as Google  , Amazon  and Netflix  due to blowout quarters and strong guidance. Conversely, if companies show weak reports, such as Caterpillar’s  , the market is showing no mercy, which is reflected in the stock price. All eyes will be on Twitter   on Tuesday as the stock and company continue to struggle. Over the past six quarters as a public company, Twitter’s post-EPS move was 16.2%. On Wednesday, reports are due from industrial conglomerate Eaton  , payment processor MasterCard  and Facebook  . While Caterpillar disappointed, Eaton’s management team is solid and could produce a better result. Visa  blew away its quarter, and MasterCard looks to be in good shape as well, as the payment processors continue to outperform. Facebook is up 450% since it hit a low in August 2012 and is up 25% on the year as the company continues to improve on several verticals. On Thursday, energy stock Occidental Petroleum  and Starwood Hotels & Resorts  deliver earnings. Occidental Petroleum has been trading in sympathy with the energy sector as crude struggles to find a bottom, while trends in the travel industry remain strong. Must Read: George Soros’ Top 5 Dividend Stock Picks for 2015

Click to view a price quote on SPY.

Click to research the Financial Services industry.

Dump Portfolio Losers, 1 of 4 Ways to Fix Your Retirement Plan

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Too many Americans just don’t seem to get it when it comes to retirement savings, which could cost them when their working years are done.
A study from E-Trade says 40% of working Americans would rather spend money on themselves than on their retirements, and that rises to 58% for those under the age of 34. Workers said they would use only 28% of employee bonuses toward retirement savings.
Read More: 4 Changes to Retirement Plans You’d Better Know About for 2015
That study mirrors a long list of others that conclude Americans aren’t taking their retirement savings seriously. An October study from Wells Fargo said 34% of middle-class Americans hadn’t contributed anything to an employee retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA plan, and that 41% of Americans age 50 to 59 have also not saved anything toward retirement. A full 61% of all middle-class Americans in the Wells Fargo study say they are not sacrificing "a lot" to save for retirement.
"Saving for retirement isn’t easy," says Joe Ready, a director at Wells Fargo. "It requires sacrifice, and it’s not something people can push off and hope to achieve later in life."
E-Trade advises people to change the way they think about retirement savings and take creative but diligent and disciplined steps to saving.
Must Read: Dow 18,000: Why This Market Rally May Never Happen Again
Continue Reading on MainStreet

New Jersey Online Gambling Underwhelms in First Year Running

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Internet gambling in New Jersey has been underwhelming in the year since it began, and it is now under attack by opponents looking to shut it down.

Sozzi: How Driving a Car May Never be the Same

Friday, May 9th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Where has the majority of the innovation in the auto industry been centered in the last couple of years? Ask yourself if all of this sounds familiar from reading Car & Driver magazine, attending glitzy auto shows, or listening to a slick pitch from a car salesman. Infotainment system: Ford  led the infotainment movement with its Sync system from Microsoft , but now the likes of Tesla  and General Motors  have installed larger touchscreens in the center consoles that are helping to control life while navigating the urban jungle. Soon, you will be able to order Dominos  pizza from a Ford sync system, as seen here. I expect on-demand ordering via the car, and autos that are connected to one another, to be waiting in the wings. Exterior: If you were to carefully look at the newest models shown at the recent New York International Auto Show or Beijing Auto Show, the exteriors have more holes to bring air into the car to keep it cool. Combined with weight reduction initiatives, automakers continue to find interesting ways to boost fuel economy. Creature comforts: Taking a page from Apple’s  playbook, automakers are paying greater attention to the driver experience inside the car. From heated steering wheels to well-placed cupholders to video screens that alert, to runaway shopping carts, cars are better able to adapt to the driver’s needs and the curveballs thrown from the outside environment during a trek to work. Unknown to many motorists, and dare I say auto executives, are smart highways and dirt repellent paint. Although the concept of a smart highway addresses the innovation not being brought to crippled and outdated U.S. infrastructure, they are likely decades away from becoming reality due to cost. On the other hand, dirt repellent paint is already being tested, and could be a premium option to check off when ordering a new car. Smart Highways Being hyped by an industrial designer in Europe, a smart highway has three characteristics: The highway is embedded with technology that can visually communicate when the road is slippery and generate electricity for its own lights. Dynamic paint is used on the road to communicate weather and traffic changes. Yes, there is an “Innovation Priority Lane”, a lane where an electric car is automatically charged as it speeds down the road. Aside from this Euro-derived idea, a U.S. company called Solar Roadways has been testing roads embedded with solar panels. Costing $6,900 for a 12×12 panel, the hypothetical highway would reduce the need for asphalt, concrete, electricity for road lights, and even salt during a storm as the road is heated. Dirt Repellent Pain Developed by a firm called UltraTech International, and tested in concert with Nissan, this paint repels water and oils. According to Nissan, it “prevents splashes from puddles or road spray.” The product reminds me of a still relatively new waterproof hoodie from Under Armour , and should scare the merchants at Pep Boys  and AutoZone  that are responsible for stocking shelves with wax and soft cloths. — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Click to view a price quote on PBY.

Click to research the Retail industry.

Sozzi: New Alien Vans are Invading the United States!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The old adage in geeky analyst land is that pickup truck sales are a wonderful indicator of both the health of the U.S. housing market and by extension, the economy. More dirt, gravel, and lumber piled into the bed of a construction worker’s new Ford  F-150 or General Motor’s  Silverado sure sounds like a sign of a good economy. However, I encourage you to lift your eyes up from the huge Tesla  info-attainment system for a hot second and recognize this: the United States is being invaded by HUGE alien-looking vans as it continues to recover! Well, in truth, these alien vans I reference are actually cargo and passenger models from Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Nissan, and Dodge that are replacing outdated pieces of junk from yesteryear: Let me tell you, the market for these huge, underpowered and overweight alien vans is on fire. Consider these stats supplied  by Mercedes-Benz, the maker of the Sprinter line – the classiest of the group: Since 2009, the van market has grown 35%. Sprinter sales are up 155% during that time. Mercedes-Benz sold 163,000 Sprinters worldwide in 2013, with the U.S. (22,000) second to Germany (36,000) in terms of units sold. Sprinter sales rose 17.5% year over year in February. I am sticking with my muscle cars. But, what would YOU rather drive around in 2016 as an Amazon  same-day delivery person; an alien van or an all-aluminum Ford pickup truck that was born from the minds of Alcoa ? Tweet me your responses @BrianSozzi and yes, you will receive a retweet, not just a weak favorite. Read on to see 2014′s Alien Vans: 2015 Ford Transit Goes on sale this summer. Cargo van can be had for $30,560. Available in three different roof heights, and with windows. 2014 Ram ProMaster The demand is so strong that this is a new model in the Ram lineup. Yes, you could put a pallet straight in through the swinging back doors with ease. Cost is roughly $38,175. 2014 Nissan NV Cargo Weighs in at a whopping 6,862 lbs. Cargo van price: 26,665. Passenger van price: $32,985 to $33,235. 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 Arrives with dealers (the company has 244 dealers for this vehicle) in January 2015. The model is 4.3 inches higher (for real) than the prior iteration. Starting price: $36,915 up to $60,000. — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Click to view a price quote on F.

Click to research the Automotive industry.

3 Amazing Clues That the Housing Market Recovery Has Abruptly Slowed

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The U.S. housing market recovery has slowed, and not many average investors are taking notice. Consider what close to eight months of sluggish new and existing home sales, due to price gouging homebuilders and higher mortgage rates, has done to early cycle (companies selling products needed early on in the building process) housing stocks. One-Month Performance Lumber Liquidators : -8.40% Owen’s Corning : -2.98% Mohawk Industries : -0.14% Beazer Homes : -4.23% Pulte Homes : -1.28% Toll Brothers : -2.81% Hovnanian : -5.56% When Owen’s Corning recently warned of weak roofing sales I made a mental note. When Whirlpool  needed increased marketing to move appliances in the U.S. last quarter, I began working the phones of contacts on the ground. Then I went looking for odd clues at home improvement retailers to justify the information I was receiving. Holding housing stocks that are 10% off from their peak? I suggest doing a bit of grassroots research such as I did below at Home Depot  to gauge whether the key spring season for housing could be surprisingly mediocre, hurting the outlooks for the companies mentioned above. Turn up the sound on these Vines!Plants in the parking lot = Home Depot hoping to catch the attention of those on the highway. Clearance on stuff you need to complete a house…  …and to repair and remodel a house.  — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Click to view a price quote on LL.

Click to research the Retail industry.

Sozzi: 7 Bone Crushing Realities for Anyone Eating Out This Summer

Monday, April 28th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Save those digital pennies guys - taking a Tinder-sourced date to Buffalo Wild Wings , Denny’s , Panera Bread , McDonald’s , Domino’s  and other eateries will cost much, much more this summer. While beef, dairy, chicken, and avocado price inflation have dominated the headlines of late, there are three surprise ingredients that will whack your wallet in one way or another. Sugar: after reaching a three and a half year low in January of this year, sugar prices have rebounded to the tune of 15%. Might want to swap that sweetened iced tea for tap water at the table. Tomatoes: due to persistent drought conditions in California, tomato prices are expected to increase by at least 20% this year. Coupled with the aforementioned spike in beef, chicken, and dairy prices, dollar menu shepherds McDonald’s and Burger King  could be staring at an entire list of loss leaders on the drive-thru board. Read: Two-Thirds of Shoppers Don’t Trust Retailers After Data Breaches Cocoa: make sure to order a heavy dinner so there’s no desire for a chocolate-themed dessert. Cocoa prices have gained 12% from January. Hershey  and Cheesecake Factory  can’t be too thrilled by this development. What will restaurant operators likely do to protect their profit margins? Don’t instantly think the action plan involves immediately boosting menu prices: Portion sizes could be shrunk. Recipes may be reworked to include fewer ingredients. Menu items could be completely removed. Yes, menu prices will head higher, something already outlined by Chipotle  (3% to 5% increase pre-summer) and McDonald’s (2% increase). Score one for those owning a farm and able to sustainably raise their own food.– By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Click to view a price quote on BWLD.

Click to research the Leisure industry.

San Diego Chargers Are NFL’s Blackout Grinch

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — Welcome to San Diego, the one place in the U.S. where National Football League team owners still think that keeping the home team off of local television will get them a new stadium.

After we took the time to congratulate owners on 12 weeks without an NFL blackout and the UT San Diego ran an editorial demanding public support for a new Chargers stadium, the Spanos family that owns the Chargers threw out all that goodwill with the Thanksgiving leftovers by taking the team’s Sunday game against the Cincinnati Bengals off the air. The Chargers were 5,300 tickets short of a sellout as of Thanksgiving afternoon, which automatically triggered the NFL blackout rule that demands games be sold out 72 hours before kickoff if they are to be televised.

Don’t blame the NFL and its backward blackout rule for this one, however. Blame the Chargers and the Spanos family for engaging in a spite war with their hometown and flat-out refusing to use the tools that would allow them to avoid such blackouts. …

Click to view a price quote on CBS.

Click to research the Media industry.


The Cheapest Way of Retiring

Friday, August 16th, 2013

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — In my previous two-part article (click here for Part 1, or Part 2), I detailed the importance of saving over the long term. While everyone’s scenario is different, I assumed we had a 30-year-old single investor, saving for 30 years in a Roth IRA. You can read about the amazing results from the beginning.

But contrary to its purpose, saving can actually be rather expensive. Between management fees, commissions and taxes, the amount of lost savings can be overwhelming. Luckily, we eliminated the main management fees by choosing a self-managed retirement account. Furthermore, we used a Roth retirement account, which allows for tax-free withdrawals starting at age 59-1/2.

Management fees on ETFs and mutual funds are much cheaper than those associated with investment specialists. The only way to avoid management fees in ETFs and mutual funds is to simply not invest in them….

Click to view a price quote on SCHB.

Click to research the Financial Services industry.