As always, I am not recommending anyone purchase any particular stock. However, interest rates at banks are far below the rate of inflation. Keeping large amounts of money in your local bank causes the value to decline dramatically, even though the numbers grow ever so slowly. Therefore, I am recommending downloading Robinhood and investing in your favorite company, or perhaps companies. As a small incentive, if you use my link to download Robinhood, open an account, and deposit some money, you and I will both receive one free share of stock worth about $4. Here's my link:
I stumbled across an interesting confluence of events today. I am not certain how to interpret it. To begin with, on Friday I sold off everything except Ford Motor Company. I don't know why. At 3:55pm I had this sudden instinct that today was the day to convert everything into cash, so right before the market closed I sold off everything except Ford. This left me with $459.65 in available cash for withdrawal, for reinvestment, or just to sit idle collecting a tiny bit of interest. I have been hearing and avoiding rumors about Trump getting ready to crack down on China again (Bloomberg: Trump's China Fight Hasn't Changed Oil Markets). I have been very carefully avoiding the news lately, but we do live in a very connected age and this story happened to slip through long enough to invade my peace of mind.
I hate the thought of $460 sitting in my brokerage account doing nothing. So today I opened up the NASDAQ Dividend Calendar. Naturally there is nothing listed for today, because today the market is closed. This calendar lists something known as "ex-fill" dates. If you own a particular stock from the time the market opens until the time it closes on the right ex-fill date, your name is added to the payout list for dividends. You receive the dividend even if you sell the stock the next day. I started looking through the ex-fill companies for Tuesday, then went to Wednesday. On Wednesday I found a listing for a company with the ticker symbol CEO. The name of the company was listed as "CNOOC". I thought that was very strange. Then I noticed the next dividend payout was $5.20 per share. Naturally, with that kind of payout the company stock must be very valuable, and it is. On Friday it closed at $114 per share. This is way outside my price range. I normally look at companies with stock prices below $20, and preferably below $10. However, even at $114 a share, I could pick up 3 shares on Monday, sell them on Friday, and collect a $15 dollar dividend payment:
One of the problems with high value stocks is the price swings around the ex-fill date can be very extreme. I would hate to buy three shares of CEO, hold it long enough to collect the $15, then lose $20 when I try to sell the stock. I made that mistake a couple months ago with Patriot Transportation. So I went looking to find out exactly what kind of company is named, "CNOOC"
It turns out that CNOOC is a Chinese oil company: China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Now this is a very curious coincidence. Trump put out a tweet storm on Friday about China's decision to crackdown on Hong Kong protests. The ex-fill day for CNOOC is Wednesday, which means I would have to buy their stock before close of business on Tuesday to collect the dividend. If Trump imposes some kind of tariff or sanction, the price of CNOOC will probably drop on Thursday, but, it might drop as early as tomorrow if the computers controlling 95% of the trading in today's stock market kick off on the bad news, selling off holdings at tens of thousands of mutual funds, pension funds, and ETF management companies. I find myself wondering if this timing is not coincidence. Is there some small cluster of highly influential people in the Chinese and American governments hoping to inspire a sell off CNOOC right before the ex-fill date so they can grab up a few million shares at a discount and collect the dividend?
I have added CNOOC to my watchlist. I will be watching very carefully what happens tomorrow and Tuesday. If the price drops or remains stable, I will definitely consider buying 3 or 4 shares, even if I have to hold onto them for a month or so before the price recovers. CNOOC is a major player in offshore drilling. They are involved in projects all across the globe. They aren't going to die just because President Trump throws a few sanctions and tariffs at them. Most of their business has almost nothing to do with the United States of America, so the real-world impact of whatever punitive measures are applied to the Chinese oil industry should be minimal. I detest the Chinese political system. I respect the deep and powerful history of the Chinese people. I would prefer not to buy any Chinese stocks, but $15 is still enough to buy lunch, pick up a couple days worth of groceries, or reinvest in some company I prefer owning, like Ford Motor Company which currently hovering around $5 a share.