The ASE Index has 49 members and Rocky had three simple criteria:
(1) A strong balance sheet — (i.e. not a lot of debt).
(2) A reasonable return-on-equity over the past few years.
(3) Some evidence of earnings growth over the past 8 years.
Amazingly, out of 49 stocks (Hellenic Coca-Cola excluded,) only two stocks passed these pathetically undemanding tests:
Metka S.A. — a manufacturer of heavy equipment used in mining and ports. Unfortunately, this stock is actually up 3% year-to-date, so the market knows this is a decent company.
Jumbo S.A. — a chain of retail stores that sells toys and baby products. (Rocky rarely pays retail. He likes wholesale.)
Iaso, SA, a company that provides obstetrics and gynecological services did not make the cut, however, it might have been a pairs trade with Jumbo SA. (Short the OB/GYN, long the baby toys?)
[Disclosure: Rocky never gives investment advice. However he concludes that while the Greek stock market may rally on a resolution of their debt crisis, he doesn't see any compelling investments...and the country seems to lack any listed world-class enterprises. As to the question, "What's a Grecian Urn?" the answer is around $30,000 per year. But that's evidently tax free, with an early retirement too.]
Rocky notes that Legendary Physicist Stephen Hawking reportedly is “up in arms” over a new EU tax on scooters for the disabled.
The new 10% import tax (perhaps to protect the burgeoning domestic scooter industry) was devised by a little known sub-bureaucracy (the “World Customs Organization.”) The WCO places scooters in the same tax classification as Formula 1 race cars.
Previously, the UK exempted equipment for disabled people from tax.
The USA fortunately rejected the World Customs Organization’s absurd analysis — which means that handicappers at the next Indy 500 can expect that race to proceed at Formula 1 speed, and not at the pace of a motorized scooter.
For the full story, click [here].