When I first started trading in 2003, the market was emerging from a long bear run, and I focused much of my trading attention on energy stocks. I continue to follow the sector closely, which I'm sure has been noticed by consistent followers of the column.I like this sector because in spite of all the instability in oil-wealthy regions, oil-related companies have performed consistently well. Today, I would like to take a look at NuStar Energy ( NS), formerly part of Valero Energy ( VLO). The company operates refined product terminals, refined product pipelines, crude oil pipelines and crude oil storage. NuStar closed Monday at $60.44. The company provides some of the key infrastructure for oil refineries to bring their refined product to consumers. Without any immediate alternative, Americans will continue to consume large quantities of oil. As much as this may hurt the environment, it's simply a reality of the times. Additionally, as a limited partnership, NuStar benefits from a more lenient tax structure and pays its shareholders an excellent 6.6% dividend. A dividend of that magnitude attracts investors in any market condition. The shareholder value in this stock makes for a great deep-in-the-money play in the face of a tumultuous macreconomy. To capitalize on this, I will place a limit order for 10 contracts of the March $55 calls (NSCK) for $5.50 or better.
As a society, we are becoming more advanced than our parents and grandparents. Our children will bypass our achievements, making every generation more productive to society than the one before. Nonetheless, while the prevalence of higher education is flourishing in present-day society, it's important to realize that other mechanisms of learning are just as essential to our productivity. Formal education may make you book-smart, but as we all know, our lives do not follow textbook examples. Social experiences teach us street smarts, mental experiences teach us emotional lessons. In conjunction with the ebb and flow of daily life, we develop a widened perspective of what it is to be "smart." At the age of 40, Jason Lewis is still extending his knowledge after a 13-year journey around the world. Longer than medical school and the completion of a Ph.D., Lewis' adventure has given him a degree perhaps more valuable than a diploma. The journey was supposed to take three and a half years, which seemed feasible. After two years of planning, Lewis embarked on the adventure with Steve Smith in July 1994. Soon thereafter, they lost their way to the English coastal town of Rye. After navigating their pedal-driven watercraft across the English Channel, and cycling through Portugal, they pedaled across the Atlantic Ocean towards Miami. Fortunately, the perfect storm didn't arise on their cross-oceanic trip, but Smith did get swept overboard by a large wave. In addition to Mother Nature's push, the two survived an encounter with a whale. After arriving in Miami, they separated and Lewis strapped on inline skates for his journey across the country to San Francisco.
Tragically, Lewis was hit by a car in Colorado, breaking both of his legs, which forced him to take a nine-month break to recover from an almost fatal injury. Smith rejoined Lewis in San Francisco to pedal boat to Hawaii, where the two separated for good. Lewis continued to Australia, where a crocodile attacked him and bit off part of his paddle. His journey continued with a hike through the Himalayas, a bike ride through Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, all with barricades along the way. Lewis was accused of being a spy and imprisoned in Egypt and was forced to bike through Tibet at night to avoid detection by Chinese roadblocks. After completing the 16 different legs of his journey, with rests ranging from weeks to months in various places around the world, he arrived in Greenwich, England to welcoming family and friends. Looking back on the journey, he realizes how much he has learned from his experience. Often, the most important education to get is experience. Learning who you are is more precious than any degree or high-paying salary. Clearly, our education is never-ending; just by living, we expand our knowledge every day. The Players Club understands the importance of education, in all respects -- formal or informal. By guaranteeing recurring cash flow to professional athletes, we strive to provide the financial stability necessary, which will ultimately afford our athletes the time and freedom to continue discovering their own identities and expanding their knowledge. Always remember: life is a journey, enjoy the ride!