I always enjoy receiving some mail from readers. It helps me know that you all are out there! Keep those cards and letters coming!
Gus B. writes, "I do not find all the stocks in your portfolio in your picks or all your picks in your portfolio. Am I missing something? It would help for me on your picks to give your entry and exit dates. What determines your entry price? Do you use technical analysis or just enter the next day at the opening?"
First of all, virtually every single one of the stocks in my trading portfolio is listed somewhere in my stock picks. You can check the "Current Trading Portfolio and 2003 Stock Picks" for most of the picks...it is a LONG page, and you need to scroll down to scan through the list. I am NOT an HTML expert in ANY fashion (!), and bear with me. For 2004, I started a new page for "Stock Picks 2004" and my more recent picks are there.
The only stock that comes to mind in my trading portfolio that is NOT in my list is Rite-Aid (RAD), which I picked up in 2002 on a pure VALUE play, before I really set up this system and this web page. I have sold portions of that investment as it has appreciated at my usual target prices, but it does NOT actually fit my current strategy. It HAS actually been wildly profitable for me, thus showing that there are many OTHER methods that may be even MORE profitable than this...and I am sure the jury is still out on what I am doing.
My entry and exit dates are reported in a running fashion on and under my trading portfolio information. Generally, my fashion is to wait until I am in the market for a stock and then to purchase a stock in the next day or so following that...sometimes in the next hour (!), based on stocks that are moving upwards and that I have usually posted that day. You can trace back my trading portfolio purchase dates on the blog, and I try to post each purchase withing minutes, or at least the same day.
I do NOT use any particular technical analysis when purchasing a stock. I generally buy "at the market" or even "at the opening" the next day. I am certain a good technician could improve on this.
Again, the VAST MAJORITY of my "stock picks" have NEVER been in my trading account. I just like to report on what I think are potential stocks of interest. For instance, I posted TASR, and UNFORTUNATELY NEVER PURCHASED A SHARE when it was about $29, before the 3:1 split...and now it is about $55 or so. So I miss a lot of potential winners as well.
Also unfortunately, I DO use a sort of seat of the pants approach when I purchase a stock when I have the funds and it is part of my strategy. I believe in a sort of Natural Selection in the portfolio. (Does this sound corny?). That is, if a stock is to move upwards after my purchase, then I probably selected and purchased correctly. If it moves downward, with my 8% stop, (a manual stop virtually always for me), it quickly exits my portfolio leaving me to find another stock.
I hope this answers your questions! Please excuse me for responding on the web...but I am sure others share your similar concerns. Please email me at email@example.com if this is unclear or if you have other inquiries. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Please remember that I am an amateur as well, and that you should do your own due diligence (investigation) of all the ideas I post...and consider consulting with an investment advisor if that would be available to make sure the investments are appropriate for you!