It is Saturday evening, and I really SHOULD be doing something better than working on my BLOG...but if you have been a BLOGGER, well, you know what I mean. As always, please remember that I am an AMATEUR investor, so please take all I write with a "grain of salt" and consult with your professional investment advisors to make sure that your investment decisions are appropriate and timely for you.
Received an interesting email from John L. who writes:
Some questions for you, if you don't mind:
What is your basis / plan for picking stocks.
What is your average holding period for each stock.
Are you a value or growth investor.
What is your current reading list.
How long have you been investing.
How have you performed in 2003 and mid-2004.
John....thanks for writing! Let me try to answer these questions the best that I can.
First: "What is your basis/plan for picking stocks"
As a rule, I pick stocks from the lists of stocks that are making the greatest percentage gains that day. I prefer to pick stocks over $10...but have bought less expensive stocks on occasion. Then, I screen the stocks through several criteria: basically, recent quarter with increasing revenue and earnings, a look at the Morningstar.com review also looking for increasing revenue, earnings, free cash flow, solid balance sheet. (I don't always get EVERYTHING I look for, but the more that is there, the more I like a stock). Then, I usually run it through the "Key Statistics" portion of Yahoo, where I look at PEG ratio, Price/sales, outstanding short interest....and number of shares outstanding. Finally, I would like to see a stock with a solid Point & Figure chart...showing it trading ABOVE its support level, instead of struggling with its resistance level.
I only buy a stock when I CAN buy a stock :). My system allows me to purchase a stock given that I am below 25 in my total portfolio size...and that my last transaction was a sale of a portion of my existing holding at a GAIN. I use this as a signal that it is safe to once again commit some new funds. When I do PICK a stock, there may be several that meet my criteria that day. At that point, quite frankly, I am a bit of a seat of the pants player....that is, I buy a stock that I think INTUITIVELY will be a good purchase....sometimes I am right and other times...well you know the rest of THAT story!
Second Question: What is my average holding period.
O.K. I confess that I do not know. In my Current Trading Portfolio that I recently updated, my holdings have been "held" for varying periods of time, however, this does NOT take into consideration my many sales on losses...sometimes after holding for as little as one day! My long-term plan is to have a portfolio that is held quite long...that grows and allows me to "prune" some profits on a regular basis. That is my "fantasy" at least!
If you read the blog on a regular basis, I continue to post virtually ALL of my transactions as fast as I make them...so you will soon get a better feeling. I am a bit weak on statistics of my own portfolio here.
Third Question: "Are you a value or growth investor?"
I would like to think of myself as a hybrid between the two. I hate to be pegged. I am certainly a growth investor, but maybe GARP is a better term..."Growth at a Reasonable Price"...but in reality, I am a Growth and Momentum investor...because the current price momentum, THAT day's price performance, is the first place I start! Also, I believe the appropriate description is earnings momentum as well...as I am looking for stocks with consistent PAST earnings and revenue growth as a key to predicting FUTURE results. Does THAT answer your question?
Fourth Question (I am feeling like I am being interviewed....lol): "What is your current reading list." On a fairly regular basis, I like to read the Investor's Business Daily...less frequently I get to the Wall Street Journal. I subscribe to Money Magazine, Kiplinger's, John Dessauer letter, Smart Money Magazine, and am letting my subscription to Worth lapse. Book-wise, I have been profoundly influenced by William O'Neill's "How to Make Money in Stocks"...but also feel kin to a lesser known book by Gene Walden, "100 Best Stocks to Own in America". Unfortunately, the latter has NOT been updated recently.
Fifth Question: "How long have you been investing?" I started investing my first personal purchase in 1967 when I purchased 5 shares of Global Marine for $62/share. In 1968 I purchased 5 shares of Litton Industries for a similar price and proceeded in losing my shirt on both investments. I have tried many different things, lost a bunch of money in options about 8 years ago...and more recently started following the percentage gainers list as an indicator of possible future gains. Since January, 2003, I have been trying to use this particular technique exclusively in my "trading account." I have some money, especially retirement funds, under management that I do NOT take ANY responsibiility for. This "Current Trading Portfolio" is the extent of my current investing strategy.
Sixth Question: "How have you performed in 2003 and mid-2004?"
Again, I am not closely monitoring my performance, but if we look again at the Current Trading Portfolio site, as of June 22, 2003, I was showing realized losses of $(2,951.52) with a paper gain of $14,632.35. The overall portfolio "value" was $46,935 on 6/30/03.
By 12/24/03, I had a taxable gain of $1,192.31 with a paper gain of $23,821.71. My Account Net Value at that time was $51,462.01. My trading accout has approximately 45% equity position with margin balance present.
As of 7/10/04, my account Net Worth is $55,712.95. I am at 44.40% equity. My paper gains stand at $28,344.73, and for 2004 I have net short term loss of $(920.40) and Net Long-term gain of $2,476.16.
I hope that helps answer your question. I am NOT an accountant...so I have not been calculating my return. Each month I kick in about $500 into my trading account...unless margin balance is threatening a call and then I add additional cash. I also have been paying off my van each month so I have been withdrawing about $600/month to write payments.
John, I hope that answers the bulk of your questions. Thanks so much for stopping by! If you or anyone else have any other questions or comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org