1 Simple Reason to Lower Your Mortgage Rate That You Probably Didn’t Know

If you are wondering about lowering your mortgage rate, then you want to take a look at this infographic below. The biggest reason why is compounding interest, but this time it’s working against you.

Compound interest is great for dividend stock investors but a absolute nightmare for borrowers.

Take a look at what a 1% increase in your mortgage rate will cost you in the future:

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Source: Zillow

These 5 Stocks Have Been Paying Dividends To Shareholders For Over 80 Years

These companies have managed to boost distributions through two world wars, the cold war, several oil price shocks and countless recessions. Their strong business models have helped them to consistently find new ways to increase sales, pass on cost increases to consumers and gain market share, that has resulted in higher profits and dividends over the past century.

Investors should study each of these companies, in order to identify the characteristics that have enabled them to pay dividends every year for so long. This list is by no means a complete one of course, but it includes those rare companies that have listed their complete dividend histories, spanning back over decades:

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

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International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. The company operates in five segments: Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems and Technology, and Global Financing. The company has raised dividends for 18 years in a row, and has consistently paid them since 1913. The company sells for 12.40 times earnings and yields 2%. Check my analysis of IBM.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)

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Exxon engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, and manufacture of petroleum products, as well as transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. The company has raised dividends for 31 years in a row, and has consistently paid them since 1911. The company sells for 12.70 times earnings and yields 2.70%. Check my analysis of Exxon-Mobil.

The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)

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BNS, together with its subsidiaries, offers various personal, commercial, corporate, and investment banking services in Canada and internationally. It operates through four segments: Canadian Banking, International Banking, Global Wealth Management, and Scotia Capital. The company has paid dividends since 1892, maintained its distributions dyring the crisis of 2007 -2009 and has bee boosting them again over the past few years. The company sells for 10.80 times earnings and yields 4%.

Edison International (EIX)

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Edison International (EIX), through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation and distribution of electric power. It operates in two segments, Electric Utility and Competitive Power Generation. The company has raised dividends for 11 years in a row, and has consistently paid them since 1910. The company sells for 18.60 times earnings and yields 2.70%.

Kellogg (K)

 

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Kellogg, which has paid dividends for almost 90 years in a row, and has a listing of all the payments since 1925. Kellogg has also raised dividends for 9 years in a row. The company sells for 12.50 times earnings and yields 3%. Check my analysis of Kellogg.

Source: Dividend Growth Investor

36 Powerful Secrets to Success From Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett That Could Make You Very Rich

Warren Buffett is one of the most famous investors in the world for good reason. The 83 year old stock market genius ranks 3rd on Forbes Billionaire list with a personal fortune of $65 billion dollars.

How did Buffett do it? Well, for starters, he built a lot of good habits over the years. Here’s a list of 36 things you can learn from billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

1: Do the Right Thing Even if it’s Hard

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Buffett has become one of the richest men in the world while never sacrificing the highest ethical standards. “People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional,” said Buffett.

2. Believe In Yourself

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“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”

Warren was a shy kid in many respects but he always believed in himself when it came to money. He knew how good he was and had the faith and courage to follow his heart when he needed to.

3: Stick with What You Know

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Buffett only focuses on his “circle of competence & confidence” when considering investments. As a result, when he finally makes an investment, he has no doubt that he is right.

4: Do What You’re Passionate About.

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If you do this, there will be few people competing or running faster than you. The best way to be exceptional is with passion!

5: We Will Not Trade Reputation for Money

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Lose money and I will forgive you, but lose even a shred of reputation and I will be ruthless [Warren]. Wealth can always be recreated but reputation takes a lifetime to build and often only a moment to destroy.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

6: There Will Always Be Opportunities For Talent

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The best defense in a tough economy is to add the most you can to society. Your money can be inflated away but your knowledge and talent cannot. No matter the external circumstances, you are always in control of your talent, learning and passion for life.

7: Keep Learning

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Warren Buffett was a huge fan of Benjamin Graham and was always learning new things from his investing heroes throughout his life. Buffett spent his childhood reading everything he could about investing and his hard work paid off big time. Never afraid to learn new things, Buffett continued learning from those around him throughout his life and never once thought that he knew it all.

8: Listen to Yourself, Not the Crowd

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Buffett learned at an early age from his father that it is important to listen to yourself rather than seek the affirmation of others. Although he was heavily criticized for not investing with the crowd in technology and Internet stocks in the late ’90s, he stuck to what he believed and turned out to be right.

9: Always Stay on The Side of The Minority in Your Life’s Path

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We get worried when people start to agree with us. The best fruit is found out on the limbs. The road less traveled makes all the difference. You will likely be greatly rewarded and you’ll certainly experience a lot more excitement.

10: Be Willing To Be Different

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Don’t base your decisions upon what everyone is saying or doing. He worked in Omaha, not Wall Street, and he refused to tell his parents where he was putting their money. To Warren Buffett, the average is just that — what everybody else is doing. to be above average, you need to measure yourself by what he calls the Inner Scorecard, judging yourself by your own standards and not the world’s.

11: Don’t Become Dependent on The Kindness of Strangers

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This means be a thoughtful spender. To invest if you can and make lots and lots of trusted relationships where you give. Strangers, distant relatives and surface-level friends may not be there for you when you need them but people that you were good to will often be there.

12: Be Frugal

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Warren Buffett was notoriously disciplined with his approach to money and even when he had made his first million he would watch every penny like it was his last. Despite having a multi billion dollar net worth he only paid himself a very modest salary of $100,000 per year. Warren would watch his expenditures like a hawk and was aware at all time of exactly how his money was being spent. Throughout his life he has never indulged himself with many fancy things despite being the richest man in the world.

13: Be Careful Who Your Friends Are

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“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” -Warren Buffett

Warren would always surround himself with other successful people and would take advice from people that were smarter than him. He knew full well that if you hang around with successful people that their attitudes, positive energy and success will rub off on you.

14: You Are Who You Associate With

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If you want to succeed financially you need to associate with people who are most conducive to encouraging and cheering on your financial journey. If the people you associate with see money as evil, object to capitalism and find wealth a foreign concept then your financial health and well being is going to be influenced by their views. Whether we like it or not we are all influenced to some extent by the people we spend our primary time with. If you aspire to achieve financial security then you need to find a mastermind of people in your life whom you can all encourage and help each other.

15: Never Suck Your Thumb

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Gather in advance any information you need to make a decision, and ask a friend or relative to make sure that you stick to a deadline. Warren Buffett prides himself on swiftly making up his mind and acting on it. He calls any unnecessary sitting and thinking “thumb sucking.” When people offer him a business or an investment, he says, “I won’t talk unless they bring me a price.” He gives them an answer on the spot.

16: There Is More To Life Than Money

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Warren does not see money as the only measure of a man’s success.“When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”

17: Never gamble with your money

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“Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” – Warren Buffett

This is a simple lesson that Warren always took seriously. The big investment risks that Warren took during his life were always strongly weighted in his favor thanks to his diligent and meticulous research.Trying to hit a home run with your money every time is a losing proposition with long term consequences. To chase investments that offer a high rate of return you must also assume that it also comes with a higher rate of risk.

18: Converse Like a Real Human Being

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We tend to let our many subsidiaries operate on their own, without our supervising and monitoring them to any degree. That means we are sometimes late in spotting management problems and that both operating and capital decisions are occasionally made with which Charlie and I would have disagreed had we been consulted.” Buffet goes on to share that this hands-off approach creates an “owner oriented attitude” that far outweighs the periodic downside.

19: Admit Mistakes and Move On

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There’s something about seeing the big boss fall on his sword that allows everyone to move on. This is quintessential Buffett, turning to self-deprecation as a mechanism to disarm. For startup ventures where course corrections are a way of life, nothing says “we’re all in this together” like a senior executive uttering the three words “I was wrong.”

20: The Power of Humor in Business

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Buffett recognizes this dynamic and the fact that if he wants to hold the reader over the course of 20 pages, he damn well better entertain as well as inform. But to say that Buffett has honed the art of a sound bite sells him short. He knows how to apply the techniques of compelling storytelling to put forth his position in a way that engages others.

21: Money Does Not Buy Happiness

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“There’s nothing material I want very much.” ~ Warren Buffett

There is nothing material that Warren Buffett really wants. Instead of trying to purchase things to make himself happy, he has become know for giving his money away, which brings him more happiness than material goods and money. Too many times people think that more money will make them happy. Buffett shows us that this is not the case. Money does not make him happy. He doesn’t want material items.

22: Rich Is A State Of Mind

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“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” – Warren Buffett

The difference between being poor and being rich is really just a state of mind. Poor people think thoughts of poverty and lack, rich people think thoughts of abundance and prosperity. Your beliefs are going to determine the way you perceive wealth, the decisions you make and the way you act towards it.

23: Success Is More Than About Your Bank Balance

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When asked by CNBC what is the secret to success, Buffett replied “If people get to my age and they have the people love them that they want to have love them, they’re successful. It doesn’t make any difference if they’ve got a thousand dollars in the bank or a billion dollars in the bank… Success is really doing what you love and doing it well. It’s as simple as that. I’ve never met anyone doing that who doesn’t feel like a success. And I’ve met plenty of people who have not achieved that and whose lives are miserable.”

24: Spend Less Than You Earn

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Buffett is famous for living a simple and frugal lifestyle. He is the only billionaire I know that still lives in the same house he bought back in 1958 for $31,500. He drove a 2001 Lincoln Town Car for years which he bought second hand. Buffett has a net worth in excess of $52 billion and yet lives off an annual salary of $100,000. The relative percentage of his spending based on his overall net worth is minuscule.

25: Avoid Consumer Debt

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Clever marketing has convinced our society that to be happy you have to have more, be more and do more. It is a fool’s game to spend today so that you can work tomorrow to pay it off. It is a losing proposition because one day your working days are going to be over but the debt is still going to be hanging over your head. Buffett abhors consumer debt instead choosing to use debt wisely by leveraging it in investments.

26: Watch Small Expenses

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Warren Buffett invests in businesses run by managers who obsess over the tiniest costs. He one acquired a company whose owner counted the sheets in rolls of 500-sheet toilet paper to see if he was being cheated (he was). He also admired a friend who painted only on the side of his office building that faced the road. Exercising vigilance over every expense can make your profits — and your paycheck — go much further.

27: Limit What You Borrow

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Living on credit cards and loans won’t make you rich. Warren Buffett has never borrowed a significant amount — not to invest, not for a mortgage. He has gotten many heart-rendering letters from people who thought their borrowing was manageable but became overwhelmed by debt. His advice: Negotiate with creditors to pay what you can. Then, when you’re debt-free, work on saving some money that you can use to invest.

28: The Numbers Don’t Lie

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Buffet said that he limits contact with the managers of businesses that he invests in, choosing rather to examine the company’s financial records. By relying on the numbers he is able to focus on neutral information and prevent outside noise from affecting his decisions.

 

29: Always Reinvest Your Profits

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Warren Buffett learned from an early age to always reinvest his profits and have his money make more money for him. Warrant Buffett saw money as a worker that he controlled. Warren Buffett built his enormous fortune by continually reinvesting his profits over and over again until he got to where he was today. Starting small at a young age, Warren kept on reinvesting the money he made from his businesses into the stock market. He started with nothing and kept on reinvesting his money to make more money until he became what he is today.

30: Spell Out The Deal Before You Start

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Always agree on the specifics of any deal before starting on it. Buffet notes that your bargaining position is greatest before beginning work on a job. So, even with friends and relatives, make sure everyone understands and agrees to the details of the deal in advance.

31: Be Persistent

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With tenacity and ingenuity, you can win against a more established competitor. Warren Buffett acquired the Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983 because he liked the way its founder, Rose Blumkin, did business. A Russian immigrant, she built the mart from a pawnshop into the largest furniture store in North America. Her strategy was to undersell the big shots, and she was a merciless negotiator. To Warren Buffett, Rose embodied the unwavering courage that makes a winner out of an underdog.

32: Know When To Quit

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Once, when Warren Buffett was a teen, he went to the racetrack. He bet on a race and lost. To recoup his funds, he bet on another race. He lost again, leaving him with close to nothing. He felt sick — he had squandered nearly a week’s earnings. Warren Buffett never repeated that mistake. Know when to walk away from a loss, and don’t let anxiety fool you into trying again.

33: Assess The Risk

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In 1995, the employer of Warren Buffett’s son, Howie, was accused by the FBI of price-fixing. Warren Buffett advised Howie to imagine the worst-and-bast-case scenarios if he stayed with the company. His son quickly realized that the risks of staying far outweighed any potential gains, and he quit the next day. Asking yourself “and then what?” can help you see all of the possible consequences when you’re struggling to make a decision — and can guide you to the smartest choice.

34: Know What Success Really Means

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Despite his wealth, Warren Buffett does not measure success by dollars. In 2006, he pledged to give away almost his entire fortune to charities, primarily the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He’s adamant about not funding monuments to himself — no Warren Buffett buildings or halls. “I know people who have a lot of money,” he says, “and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.

35: Giving Back to Others

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“If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” ~ Warren Buffett

Instead of being self absorbed and lost in the money he has acquired and saved, he thinks of others, gives to charity, and funds various philanthropic causes. There is definitely more to Warren Buffett the billionaire than investment advice and knowledge on saving money. While Buffett is no doubt an investing guru and can teach us big lessons in finance, it is his life lessons that resonate so deeply in our hearts.

36: Believe in America

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“These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have,” he wrote. “But most major companies will be setting new profit records five, 10 and 20 years from now.”Unlike most investors, Buffett doesn’t tweak his portfolio depending on which party is coming into office or where we are in the economic cycle. This may make him seen naive. But it also has him putting money to work now, when many others have lost faith in the U.S. economic system. It’s a move that will likely make him a winner down the road yet again.

3 Reasons Why Telsa Stock (TLSA) Is Still A Good Buy

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“Is Tesla still a worthy investment?,” asked a friend of mine who read my article which I wrote back in June of last year.

A lot has happened since then. Tesla stock has doubled in price and Elon’s presence in the media is omnipresent. This guy is one of the smartest entrepreneurs around. And, Tesla has started selling in the largest car market — China.

Despite the incredible run for the past eight months, I believe that Tesla remains one of the best investments for the future. It is definitely a bold prediction for the scary souls but I am betting on the brilliance of Musk’s vision to bring a radical change in the world dominated by the Internal combustion engines run by gasoline.

Tesla remains one of the most shorted stocks on the Wall Street. And, shorts are living painful life for the past year or so. While the car looks stunning and Musk’s vision is bold, I am making my predictions on various factors that I consider important for a great investment.

1. Supply vs Demand

While most of its nemesis are losing value, a recent article suggests that a used Tesla costs more than a brand new car. This is a testimonial of growing consumer love for this car. It also proves that Tesla’s problem is not to find ways to sell cars but rather how to make more cars for the growing consumer base.

2. Musk’s vision

Media has tagged Elon Musk as an elitist who talks about ideas that are beyond comprehension for most of us mere mortals. He talks about hyper loop connecting San Francisco with LA and he dreams to build a colony on the Mars. Indeed these are big dreams but he is cognizant about the reality that Tesla won’t survive simply by catering to the rich. It has to find ways to build cars for the masses as Henry Ford once did a century ago.

His vision is simple yet profound:

1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
4. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric-power generation options

He knows that Windows wasn’t household product in its first two releases. Apple I and II never lived long before Macintosh captured hearts of millions. He is precisely following the history by working on several revisions of Tesla cars including roadster and Model S to build car that all of us can afford. That car will sell in $30,000 range.

I have no doubt that he will execute on his vision to build affordable car in few years.  Although company is not making much profit, revenue is soaring and it will keep soaring in the next five years.

3. Trend is your best friend

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Tesla has had an incredible stock price run in the past year. It has low float(meaning less number of shares outstanding in the market).

Tesla has an impressive sales growth of 761% last quarter vs the same quarter a year ago and a composite 132% sales growth for the past three years.

The company reported selling 6900 Model S. This is 20% over the previous forecast of 6000 Model S cars.

In addition, gross margin is improving steadily every quarter.

The stock can pullback in the short-term but the trend is bullish and stock can have another leg up if Tesla can beat the estimate on February 19th.

Elon Musk has hired Gilbert Passin, VP of Manufacturing, who is considered a wizard. Passin used to work for Toyota and Volvo. Passin’s job was to create his own team, his own plant and his own manufacturing process — from scratch in an old Toyota plant in Fremont, CA that Musk bought with a Federal loan.

Passin and Musk have so far delivered on their dream to build a new car company unlike any other Electric Vehicle maker. The stock can go in any direction in the near future considering its hyperbolic run.

Disclaimer: I am not a stock broker or a trained investment adviser. I just write this to share my thoughts about investment, so please make your investment only after seeking advice from a trained professional.

Source: Street Smart Finance

6 Undervalued Chinese Stocks to Buy in 2014

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (the “SSEC”) – the “Dow Industrials of China” – has been stuck in a bear market for almost five years.

But Chinese stocks are one of the best-looking trade setups right now.

Take a look at this chart of the SSEC…

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While the S&P 500 has gained 165% over the last five years, Chinese investors have lost 40%.

Remember, though… all markets eventually turn. Bulls turn into bears, and bears become bulls.

The bull has been running a long time in the United States. It’s starting to look a little tired, and it may be time to hand the baton over to another market with fresher legs.

After resting for five years, it’s tough to find a “fresher” bull than China’s.

If you can believe the financial statements, many Chinese stocks are trading at single-digit price-to-earnings ratios and at good discounts to book value.

Their balance sheets are flush with cash. And it’s easy to find Chinese stocks that pay dividends greater than 4%. Chinese stocks are cheap.

Fundamentally, you won’t find a better setup anywhere else on the globe.

6 Chinese Stocks to Buy

PetroChina (PTR) – 4.1% dividend yield

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PetroChina, China’s only super major, has a history of strong financial growth and is well positioned to take advantage of China’s growing demand for diversified energy sources.

Currently trading at only 9.3x earnings, the PTR stock looks like the rare gem that offers growth at a value price.

Read the full PTR stock analysis

China Life Insurance (CFO) – 1.7% dividend yield 

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The company has posted truly impressive growth rates as of late; revenues have surged from just over 166 billion yuan in 2008 to 371 billion yuan over the trailing twelve months while net income before taxes has almost doubled in the same time frame.

Read the Full CFO stock analysis

Soufun Holdings Limited (SFUN) – 3% dividend yield

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Soufun operates a real estate internet portal that serves real estate developers in the marketing phase of new property developments, as well as to real estate agencies.

They also allow companies that make housing related products like home furnishing and improvement products as well as companies selling consumer products like furniture and electronics.

Earnings are up over 80% this year and sales on fire rising by about 50%. SFUN has posted four consecutive earnings surprises and analysts recently raised their estimates for 2014 and 2015 profits.

Read the full SFUN stock analysis

Tal Education Group (XRS)

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TAL  Education Group benefits form the focus on education by offering tutoring services for kids in grades k-12. They operate a network of 270 learning centers and 247 service centers in China and also have 5 call centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

XRS also operates eduu.com, an online education platform that serves as a gateway to its online courses on topic such as college entrance examinations, high school entrance examinations, mathematics,  English and Chinese composition.

The high level of interest in education is powering strong earnings growth with profits up over 38% this year and in the most recent quarter the bottom line was up 66% year over year.

Read the full XRS stock analysis

Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd (QIHU)

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The company provides Internet and mobile security products in the People’s Republic of China and is growing a very high rate.

In the most recent quarter this company had sales growth of over 100% and earnings surged by more than 200% year over year.

They are now the undisputed leader in smart phone security in China with over 70% market share.

Read the full QIHU stock analysis

China Mobile Limited (CHL) – 4.2% dividend yield

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China Mobile’s trends seem to be going in the correct direction. Revenue per share and book value per share have increased steadily and consistently over the past 10 years.

At the same time, the free cash flow per share has increased, giving management more money to invest in the business or return to shareholders.

The dividend has increased more than 6 fold in the past 10 years, from $0.31 in 2003 to $2.01 last year. 

Read the full QIHU stock analysis

Sources