Sunday, September 2

Week 374 - Bet With The House By Picking Companies In The 2 And 8 Club

Situation: In the U.S., capital-intensive industries with strategic importance are tightly regulated (see Week 230). Electric power grids and railroad networks are expensive to install, maintain and upgrade but those chores are absorbed by shareholders in private companies. Regulatory bodies grant these companies monopoly-like pricing power, oversee safety practices, and set rates high enough to pay for maintenance and upgrades. 

Since the Great Recession, international Money Center banks have also come under intense regulation to meet Basel III requirements for sustainability and reduce systemic risks. A more specific definition now replaces Money Center Bank, which is Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI). 

Looked at from the shareholder’s point of view, companies in these three industries have enough government regulation (and monopoly-like pricing power) that bankruptcy is no longer a material risk. One downside risk is that the US market for their goods and services is largely saturated. So, significant growth in the “bottom line” requires innovation and international outreach that will be overseen by government regulators. 

Mission: Use our Standard Spreadsheet to highlight members of “The 2 and 8 Club” that are in the Electric Utilities, SIFI banking, and Railroad industries.  

Execution: see Table.

Bottom Line: The safest tactic in gambling is to “bet with the house” whenever you can. Politicians are now in effective control of three industries: Electric utilities, railroads, and international Money Center banks (now called Systemically Important Financial Institutions or SIFIs). These industries are not in danger of being “nationalized” because politicians would much prefer that shareholders (as opposed to taxpayers) put up the large amounts of capital needed to keep these industries safe and effective. 

Risk Rating: 6 (where US Treasury Notes = 1, S&P 500 Index =5, and gold bullion = 10)

Full Disclosure: I dollar-average into NEE and JPM.

"The 2 and 8 Club" (CR) 2017 Invest Tune All rights reserved.

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