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Fiber Cement Siding: Worth the Investment? – MSN Money

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a close up of a brick building: Fiber Cement Siding: Worth the Investment?


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Fiber Cement Siding: Worth the Investment?

A property’s exterior says a lot about it, and investing in the right siding can help attract buyers and help a home sell quickly. That’s good news whether you’re selling your own home or flipping a house to sell.

But which siding material should you choose? If your goal is to make your property look more attractive while increasing its resale value, fiber cement could make a lot of sense.

Fiber cement vs. other siding

A few key ingredients go into fiber cement siding:

  • Water
  • Wood pulp
  • Fly ash or silica sand as filler
  • Portland cement

Fiber cement is a popular siding option for a few reasons. First, fiber cement is extremely durable, and if installed correctly, it’s designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Fiber cement also looks great. Often, it mimics the look of painted wood, only it doesn’t require nearly the same level of maintenance as wood siding, which can rot over time. Wood is also subject to termite damage, whereas fiber cement is not.

The one thing fiber cement doesn’t always do the best job of, however, is insulate. In that regard, you may be better off with vinyl siding. But from an aesthetic standpoint, you might feel fiber cement offers a more natural look than vinyl.

What’s the cost to install fiber cement siding?

The average cost to install fiber cement siding is $19,700, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s definitely more expensive than vinyl siding, which costs $15,800 on average.

On the other hand, with fiber cement siding, you’ll get a better return on investment. The NAR reports that those who install fiber cement add $15,000 of resale value as a result, which means they recoup 76% of their investment. With vinyl siding, the cost recovery is just $10,000, which means 63% of that investment is recouped.

Should you install fiber cement siding?

Fiber cement siding looks attractive and has a relatively high cost recovery value. If your existing siding is worn and needs to be replaced or you’re completely flipping or building a house from scratch that needs siding, it’s worth looking at fiber cement, as it may offer more aesthetic appeal than vinyl.

That said, if you’re thinking of installing fiber cement siding for a home you plan to live in yourself, you should know there will be more maintenance involved. With vinyl siding, you’ll usually just power-wash your exterior once or twice a year to keep it clean. Fiber cement siding, however, may need to be recaulked or repainted every few years, so make sure you’re up for that level of maintenance (or have the means to outsource it) before moving forward. In addition to that, prepare to power-wash your fiber cement siding once or twice a year the same way you would vinyl siding.

The bottom line

All told, fiber cement could be a great addition to your home, one that contributes to its curb appeal for many years to come. The fact that it could add resale value is certainly something to factor into your decision.

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The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from Millionacres is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

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Amazon sees pandemic boosting holiday sales and investment in delivery – Reuters Canada

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(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Thursday forecast a jump in holiday sales – and costs related to COVID-19 – as consumers continued to shop more online during the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

A company executive added that heightened spending on delivery infrastructure would likely continue over years, and shares fell 2% in after-hours trading.

Since the start of the virus outbreak in the United States eight months ago, consumers have turned increasingly to Amazon for delivery of groceries, home goods and medical supplies. Brick-and-mortar shops closed their doors; Amazon by contrast moved to recruit over 400,000 workers and earned $6.3 billion in the just-ended quarter, its second consecutive record profit.

That has kept the world’s largest online retailer at the center of workplace and political tumult. Democratic politicians this month accused Amazon of holding “monopoly power” over merchants on its platform, which the company disputes. Meanwhile, more than 19,000 of Amazon’s U.S. employees contracted COVID-19, and some staff protested for site closures.

Amazon’s response now includes an estimated $4 billion in costs related to COVID-19 this holiday, up from $2.5 billion last quarter. It is testing employees for the virus and getting protective gear for new hires. It also is working less productively because of social distancing at its warehouses, which accounts for a big part of its pandemic expense, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said on a call with reporters.

Amazon forecast operating profit to be between $1.0 billion and $4.5 billion, short of $5.8 billion analysts were looking for, according to research firm FactSet.

Competition this holiday remains fierce for the company in retail – and in the cloud. A traditional bright spot, cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS) is dueling with smaller rival Microsoft Corp for business with a big potential during the pandemic, from remote work to cloud-based gaming.

In the just-ended third quarter, AWS sales grew 29%, while Microsoft reported a 48% rise in revenue for its Azure cloud.

‘TIGHT ON CAPACITY’

Still, Amazon’s sales are shaping up to hit a record level. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and richest person in the world, said in a press release, “We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season.”

The company reported that customers in its loyalty club Prime were shopping more often, renewing their membership at higher rates and, internationally, turning to Amazon much more for video entertainment. Merchants also expanded their budgets for advertising on Amazon in the third quarter versus a contraction during the pandemic’s spring peak.

The question for some analysts has been whether Amazon’s consumer division can keep up with still-growing purchases during the pandemic.

The company has long worked to avoid a repeat of the 2013 season when delays left some without presents on Christmas Day. Amazon now handles more deliveries in house, and this year it moved its marketing event Prime Day – usually in July – to October, letting customers place holiday orders early.

CFO Olsavsky told reporters that the company is “not totally insulated” from challenges its delivery partners may be facing this quarter, though the online retailer feels ready for the holiday season.

“We do think it will be tight on capacity industry-wide, and we’re no exception to that,” he said. “It does behoove shoppers to shop early.”

Olsavsky said on a call with analysts that Amazon’s fulfillment and logistics square footage would be 50% higher this year. He said the company already has spent heavily on expanding its transport capability, part of some $30 billion in capital expenditures and leases through the third quarter. The heightened transportation investment will likely continue over years to come, he said.

For the fourth quarter, Amazon said it expects net sales of $112 billion to $121 billion. That would mark the company’s first over $100 billion and follows a third-quarter revenue beat that analysts such as eMarketer’s Andrew Lipsman did not expect.

“While it was clear that the pandemic-driven shift to e-commerce would keep Amazon’s topline elevated, it surprised by easily surpassing an already high bar,” Lipsman said.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Grant McCool

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Cranbrook maps out investment attraction strategy for economic development – Cranbrook Townsman

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Cranbrook is eyeing a number of industrial sectors identified in an investment attraction strategy to bolster economic development over the next five years.

The strategy noted the city’s land-rich, regional focal point for the East Kootenay economy, identifying a number of existing and emerging sectors that are ripe for investment opportunities.

Those industries and sectors include renewable energy, defence, high tech, cyber security, aerospace, transportation and logistics, drones and unmanned vehicles (UAVs), Information Communications Technologies (ICT) including satellite and aerospace communication technologies, space exploration technologies, and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

Brad Robson and Lee Malleau, with WāVv Business Development Inc, delivered a presentation to mayor and council on Monday night, outlining the work being done in conjunction with the city’s economic development office to attract new industries to the region.

The strategy identified an action plan of concurrent progress on four pillars including business growth, investment and trade; investment readiness; regional development and marketing and communications.

“We make very explicit recommendation on how to go about doing that, supporting existing businesses, adding rigor and credibility around economic development and that leads to an improved investment environment along with key things like taking a look at your investment environment and making sure the city is investment-ready,” Malleau said.

Business retention, business expansion and investment attraction are key elements necessary to producing a successful deal flow, which was another important component of the investment attraction strategy.

The strategy also looked beyond Cranbrook by including nearby communities such as Kimberley and Canal Flats in order to maximize opportunities for the region as a near-shore destination for development.

Robson said he has been connecting with clients and potential investors through his network, noting the city’s rising profile as an opportune destination for growth and expansion.

Mayor Lee Pratt added WāVv Business Development Inc was brought in to help expand the city’s economic development network, as conversations that may ‘come to fruition’ are already underway.

“The idea was, we had to expand that network, and Brad is part of a very large network and some very influential people worldwide,” Pratt said. “We’ve had comments and conversations with some of these people that we never, ever would have had. So there are some things that have already happened along those lines that we haven’t really discussed yet.

“But like Brad said, he’s bringing the attention of these people to Cranbrook and they’re people with deep pockets. It’s good news, it just takes time to come to fruition.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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How to adapt portfolios in a low-rate world – Investment Executive

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Government bonds provided reliable ballast earlier this year when equity markets tanked in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Government of Canada seven- to 10-year bonds returned 9.5% in the first three quarters of the year, and long-duration (20+ years) Government of Canada bonds returned almost 20%, according to a report from FTSE Russell.

Seven- to 10-year U.S. Treasuries returned 11.5% as of Sept. 30, while long Treasuries returned 20.8% (in USD).

“It’s going to be really hard to extrapolate that going beyond this,” Taylor said, since he doesn’t see North America moving to negative rates anytime soon.

Phil Mesman, head of fixed income with Picton Mahoney Asset Management in Toronto, said strategies need to shift now, even though the 40% fixed income part of portfolios served investors well this year.

Replicating the benefit from government bonds this year would require a -10 basis point U.S. Treasury yield, he said.

“All of the backward numbers look great in fixed income,” Mesman said. “The typical advisor portfolio looks amazing but, at current yields and current duration, it makes sense to be a little more creative.”

Taylor said investors can look to investment-grade corporate bonds to find yield through active management. Beyond that, he said investors will have to consider alternative strategies such as options writing and private debt, as well as hard assets such as real estate, infrastructure and precious metals.

“We think there’s going to be a rework of the traditional 60-40 portfolio,” he said.

Mesman said he’s focused on long and short opportunities in developed-market BBB- to B-grade bonds.

The Federal Reserve’s willingness to purchase corporate bonds has made the market more expensive and masked credit risk, he said. This has created opportunities on the short side to both protect the portfolio and provide alpha in cases “where the real economy’s impact on financial assets has yet to be felt,” he said.

Jonathan Hausman, managing director and head of global strategic relationships with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, warned about the risks of wading into high-yield credit.

“That works until it doesn’t,” he said earlier this month on a panel at the Global Risk Institute’s summit.

Rating agency Moody’s warned investors this week that a record number of companies are in danger of slipping from investment grade to junk territory due to the uneven economic recovery.

Speaking on a webinar earlier this month, FTSE Russell director of fixed income research Robin Marshall also expressed concerns about a “high-yield value trap.” Canadian credit spreads were wider during the economic downturn in 2015-16 than they are now, he said — a “conundrum” given the depth of recession investors are now facing.

High-yield valuations have moved to “demanding” levels relative to current default risks, he said.

Hausman also pointed to strategies such as infrastructure and real assets to provide protection as well as some return on the fixed income side, which is hard to come by.

“That requires some creativity,” he said, “but not much creativity because that’s how folks get into trouble.”

A report from Richardson GMP this month also warned against relying on government bonds and made the case for long-short credit strategies. It pointed to Japanese and German bonds, which started the year with lower yields and “provided nearly no ballast at all” in March.

“With the U.S. and Canada yields now at similarly low starting points, it is unlikely that they can provide anywhere near the same historical hedging properties as in previous downturns,” the report said.

Rather than diving into lower-quality assets to find yield, the report recommended long-short strategies for investment-grade credit.

Mesman also warned about duration risk on government bonds.

“I think the risk of government bond yields going higher, particularly in the long end of the market — longer-dated government bond yields — that’s something that’s underappreciated,” he said.

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