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Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Potash (POT) and Graham (GHM) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

That nickel was really burning a hole in my pocket today!

As you may know, I am currently down to 1 position.  In my 'trading strategy' my portfolio is supposed to vary between 5 and 20 positions.  It is quite a commentary that even with my efforts to replace positions, I am overwhelmed by this correction!

Anyhow,

To make a long story short, with the market apparently fighting back from a losing performance after the Fed cut rates by 1/2%,  I thought it might be safe (?) to get back into the water.

Almost.

Checking the lists of top % gainers this morning, I found two interesting prospects that I thought might be worth an investment: 

Potash (POT) and Graham (GHM).  (I have to thank Doug S., a frequent commenter and reader here of this blog who pointed out that Graham might be worth another visit!)  Both of these stocks have solid latest quarter results and Morningstar.com restated financials.  And both have been under pressure lately selling far under their previous price levels.

I purchased 70 shares of Potash at $95.84. Potash closed at $98.60, up $11.74 or 13.52% on the day.

I also purchased 420 shares of Graham (GHM), an old favorite of mine, at $16.3258.  GHM closed at $17.85, up $2.50 or 16.29% on the day.  Both of these stocks were trading even higher prior to the close when the Dow managed to swoon once again (what a  roller-coaster day it was in equities), to manage to close down at 9,258.10, down 189.01, and the Nasdaq closed at 1,740.33, down 14.55 on the day.

With the market still unable to shake the terrible selling pressures, even with my own purchase of these shares, the best I can do:

POTASH (POT) IS RATED A HOLD

GRAHAM (GHM) IS RATED A HOLD

Hopefully, I shall be able to hold onto these stocks for more than a few hours or days prior to having to once again yield to the terribly bearish forces acting upon our equity markets!

Thanks again for stopping by and visiting.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 3:47 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 6 October 2008
Global Payments (GPN) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

I was feeling a little like Chicken Little earlier today, feeling for sure that the 'sky was falling'!

All of my stocks were hitting sale points and one by one I sold every single one of them except Covance (CVD).  Perhaps that is the 'shake-out' everyone was looking for.  I didn't panic.  I just hit sale points!

I am literally now down to one position.

Global Payments (GPN) was the last to go.  And also my latest purchase.  I sold my 140 share position of GPN at $44.0805.  I purchased Global Payments just three days ago (!!!) at $48.30.  This represented a loss of $(4.22)/share or (8.7)% since my purchase.  Global Payments closed higher at $46.66, down $(2.27) or (4.64)% on the day.  With the stock rebounding well above my own 'Chicken Little' price, I do need to change my rating.  However, I do think that a small change this time is in order...

GLOBAL PAYMENTS (GPN) IS RATED A HOLD

As I sold each of my holdings today, I did so in what I would call a disciplined fashion.  I did not sell because of what I expected the market to do (if so the market reversed itself into the close to recover more than half of its dip), but rather simply based on the price performance.

I am literally down to one holding in my portfolio, Covance (CVD) which is still well above its sale point.

I now have four 'permission slips' to be adding new positions.  I shall try to be relatively cautious (?)  to avoid compounding my losses but shall look to pick up the highest quality stocks as I define them, that are performing well in a market that is also moving higher. 

This part is the arbitrary and judgement part of the whole formula.  As long as a stock fills the criteria I utilize, and the market itself appears to be moving higher, I shall consider picking up shares.  If I do so, I am sure to share with you my thoughts and the details of this purchase.

Meanwhile, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the website or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 6:36 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
ResMed (RMD) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

I cannot emphasize the above adequately.  In these difficult market environments, it is imperative for all of you to sit down with your professional advisers and determine your own individual approach to the stock market. 

One of all-time favorite stocks is ResMed.  I like to even point out that as a Peter Lynch type investment, I know their products.  I use their products.  And I like their financial results. 

But NO stock is immune to the market rampage going on today, this past week, and the past six months.  As I write the market is trading at 9,649.17, down (676.21) points on the day.  The Nasdaq is at 1,797.77, down (149.62) points.  You can't make this stuff up!

Trying to stay to my relatively rigid trading system in the midst of this chaos is a bit of a challenge.  But I am doing it.  In other words, ResMed has been flirting with an (8)% loss as I wrote earlier today.  Unfortunately, the stock declined adequately to give me that loss and I sold my position. 

Specifically, I sold my 140 shares of ResMed (RMD) at $39.682.  I had purchased these shares just two months ago (!) on 8/6/08 at a cost basis of $43.33.  Thus I incurred a loss of $(3.648) or (8.4)% after my initial purchase.  With my own sale of ResMed, and the awful current stock market condition, without regards for my own admiration for the company, the great underlying fundamentals, and their wonderful products (do I have seller remorse or what?),

RESMED (RMD) IS RATED A SELL

These past two sales have happened rather quickly.  I am now down to only two positions (!), my Global Payments (GPN) which is also approaching a sale point, and my Covance (CVD) which is well above a sale position for the time being.  Thus, being under five positions, I actually have a 'buy signal' to add three new positions to my portfolio to get it back to the minimum of 5.

I am not nuts however :).

Thus, I shall be waiting for a little better environment before dipping my toes back into the water so to speak!  I hope that all of you are holding up to the terrible stresses and financial performance of so many of the stocks out in the investment environment.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 1:29 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Copart (CPRT) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

As part of this blog, I have always kept all of you up to date with my stock purchases and sales. 

A few moments ago I sold my remaining 180 shares of Copart (CPRT) at $33.7488.  My cost basis was approximately $33.72, so this was essentially a sale at 'break-even'.  Copart (CPRT) has 'come back' somewhat since my sale a few moments ago (another case of my own bad timing), and is currently trading at $34.80, down $(2.84) or (7.55)% on the day.

With my own sale of shares, and the overall weak tone of the market, I cannot in good faith rate this stock a 'hold' even though there is nothing wrong that I am aware of, rather the stock is sinking along with the rest of the market.  Thus,

COPART (CPRT) IS RATED A SELL

If the market tone should improve, as long as there is no adverse news from this company, I would in my own amateur way be upgrading this stock.  One has to wonder if there are any stocks truly worth rating 'hold' today!  As I write, the Dow is at 9,802.01, down (523.36) on the day, and the Nasdaq is at 1,829.34, down (118.05).

This sale today was not based on any particular belief of mine about the company, the stock, or the stock market tone or decline.  Instead, the sale was triggered by my own trading rules governing sales of holdings.

Let me explain.

After an initial purchase of stock within my portfolio, I set a limit of (8)% prior to selling my holding completely.  I also sell portions of shares as they appreciate--currently selling 1/7th of my holding if the stock should appreciate 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240%, etc., at each of those levels. 

The tricky part comes in about selling a holding after an partial sale or two of a stock.  This is what happened with Copart (CPRT).  After my initial purchase of Copart back a year ago on 9/27/07, at approximately $33.72 (the 210 shares were purchased in two lots pennies apart in cost), the stock went ahead and appreciated enough to trigger my first sale at a 30% gain on 5/29/08. 

Since I had a sale at a gain, my tolerance for a loss was raised with my sale point moved to 'break-even' instead of an (8)% loss level.  And that was exactly what happened this morning.

So I am now down to 3 positions, 2 under my minimum of 5.  Thus, I technically have a 'buy signal', actually two 'buy signals' but instead of buying anything, I am sitting tight, licking my wounds, and watching as my ResMed stock (RMD) approaches that (8)% loss level for me and gets unloaded.

Ouch.

We have a very ugly stock market to deal with.  I shall continue to share with you my thoughts, actions, and observations.  (I feel a little like the radio-man on the deck of the Titanic announcing the progress of the iceberg.)

Where does this lead?  I don't really know.  I do know that my own crazy system is doing what it is supposed to do.  It is leading me out of equities into cash, perhaps keeping my capital a little bit intact as the great bear of this correction ravages the account values of little investors like me across this nation.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the website or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 12:04 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 3 October 2008
Estee Lauder (EL) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

I thought a picture of a rollercoaster, this one of the Colossos from Germany, might best describe my own feelings of the market as euphoria alternates with depression in what I would have to describe as one major financial 'bi-polar' disorder.  This morning with stocks climbing in anticipation of the House approval of the $700 billion bail-out (?rescue), I picked up my 5th new position, Global Payments (GPN) which I wrote about here on this blog in an earlier post.

Moments later I realized that my Estee Lauder (EL) was now hitting a sale point with an (8)% loss after my initial purchase.  I went ahead and sold my 140 shares of Estee Lauder (EL) at a price of $45.532.  These shares had been purchased just weeks ago on 8/14/08 at a cost basis of $49.93/share.  Thus, I had a loss of $(4.40) or (8.8)% since my purchase triggering (manually) my sale of the shares.  EL actually rebounded slightly after my sale, closing today at $46.13, down $(2.12) or (4.39)% on the day.

With my own sale of these shares, and with the fundamentals of the entire market more uncertain, I cannot reduce my 'rating' to just a 'hold', thus,

ESTEE LAUDER (EL) IS RATED A SELL

Now, once again under my 5 position minimum, I literally have a 'permission slip' to be adding a new position to my portfolio.  Generally after a sale on bad news I would be 'sitting on my hands' but in this case, I shall be looking for a new stock to purchase.

I shall do this Monday, pending an improvement of the overall market tone.

Meanwhile, I shall sit back, lick my wounds, and be simply amazed at the incredible volatility in stock prices we are witnessing.

Have a good weekend everyone!

By the way, if you are ever in La Crosse, stop by Grounded and you might catch me discussing a stock or too with Todd the proprietor!


Yours in investing,

 

Bob

 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 5:50 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Global Payments (GPN) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

Yesterday I wrote about my sale of Greif (GEF) on an 8% loss.  As I reminded my readers, my portfolio management strategy demands that I unload shares that hit pre-specified losses.  After an initial purchase, stocks that dip 8% are sold.  This limits my losses and enables me to preserve my gains. 

Also, I commented once again about the other part of my portfolio management strategy, that while not actually trying to 'time' the market, is designed to respond to market influences by shifting either into or out of cash and equities depending on the performance of my own holdings in my portfolio.

To accomplish this, my portfolio is planned to shift between 5 and 20 positions.  When I sell a stock on 'good news' (which for me means a partial sale on reaching an appreciation target), I interpret this transaction as an indication that something is 'right' about the market, and give myself a 'buy signal' to be adding a new position to the portfolio.  I do this as long as I am under my 20 position maximum.  At the maximum number of holdings, I plan on ignoring this sale and placing the proceeds into cash (or paying down any margin!)

On the other hand, I also use sales of stocks on 'bad news' (either fundamental news that is negative or a sale on a decline in the price of a stock as I did with Greif when it reached an (8)% loss) as a signal that something is 'wrong' with the market and that leaving the proceeds of that sale in cash would be the correct approach.  I utilize this strategy as long as my holdings are above 5 positions.  At the minimum level (which I was at yesterday), a sale of a position would result in only 4 positions and in this particular situation a 'buy' signal is generated to get me back to 5 holdings.

Yesterday no stocks came up on my 'radar' and I sat on my hands with the proceeds.  Today, however, with the atmosphere a little more optimistic that a 'bail-out' or 'rescue' of the financial companies might well pass the House of Representatives (?), stocks are moving higher with the Dow, as I write, is trading at 10,673 up 190, and the S&P is at 1,140.95, up 26. 

Starting my usual search routing, I checked the list of top % gainers and came across Global Payments (GPN), an old favorite of mine (trading at $47.87, up $6.81 or 16.59% as I write), and with 'permission slip' in hand, went ahead and purchased 140 shares at $48.2395 in my account.  (You can see that the stock has already dipped about $.40/share since my purchase). 

GLOBAL PAYMENTS (GPN) IS RATED A BUY

Let me share with you briefly a few of the things that led me to this decision today.

First of all,

What exactly does this company do?

According to the Yahoo "Profile" on Global Payments (GPN), the company

"...provides payment processing and consumer money transfer services worldwide. The company�s Merchant Services segment provides credit and debit card transaction processing services, including processing Visa, MasterCard, Discover credit cards, and cards issued by other card associations; and check-related services comprising check verification, guarantee, and recovery services. This segment also offers proprietary software products to establish revolving check cashing limits for the casinos customers in the gaming industry. In addition, it sells, installs, and services automated teller machine and point of sale terminals; and provides authorization, electronic draft capture, and file transfer services, as well as offers merchant accounting and various back office services."

What about the latest quarterly result?

As is often the case (when the market appears to be functioning somewhat normally), it was the announcement of earnings yesterday after the close of trading that resulted in the sharp rise in the stock price today.

On October 2, 2008, Global Payment announced first quarter 2009 results.  For the quarter ended August 31, 2008, sales climbed 30% to $405.8 million, up from $311 million last year.  Earnings came in at $57.5 million or $.71/share, up from $43.6 million or $.54/share last year.

O.K. this was a nice result, so what makes it so special?  From my perspective, results must always be evaluated in the context of what the street was expecting!  In this case, analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been expecting sales of $395.7 million (the company beat expectations) and profit of $.60/share (again the company beat expectations!)

Furthermore, to add some icing on this great cake of results, (now that is an awful image don't you think?), the company raised guidance for fiscal 2009 to revenue of $1.64-$1.68 billion, compared to the $1.27 billion in revenue in fiscal 2008.  Earnings estimates were also raised to a range of $2.37 to $2.45 from the $1.98 in 2008.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of doing better than what everyone was expecting and to top off the announcement, to raise future expectations and estimates as well!   Needless to say, in the context of a market already rebounding today, this gave this stock the extra momentum to make a very nice move---and move higher it did!

What about longer-term results?

If we review the Morningstar.com "5-Yr Restated" financials, you can see why this has been a stock that has been a 'favorite' of mine for literally years!

Let me explain.  First of all, revenue has steadily improved from $629 million in 2004 to $1.27 billion in the trailing twelve months (TTM).  Earnings have also not 'missed a beat' increasing from $.80/share in 2004 to $2.01 in 2008.  The company has been paying a dividend of $.08/share, but unfortunately, has not been in the habit of raising it.

Total shares have been very stable with 75 million in 2004, increasing to only 78 million in 2008.

Free cash flow has been positive and relatively stable at $210 million in 2006 and $227 million in 2008.  The balance sheet is solid with $456 million in cash and $161 million in other current assets, easily covering the $217.8 million in current liabilities yielding a current ratio of almost 3.0. 

The company has a nominal amount of long-term debt reported at $101.3 million.   What this means is that this company could easily 'write a check' with available cash and pay off ALL short-term and long-term liabilities almost 2x over!  We don't get to see this kind of balance sheet too often!

What about some valuation numbers?

According to the Yahoo "Key Statistics" on GPN, the company has a market cap of $3.86 billion, making it a mid cap stock.  The trailing p/e isn't bad at 24.12 (from my perspective), with a forward p/e (fye 31-May-10) of only 18.51.  With the rapid growth in earnings estimated (and estimates are still moving higher--see above), the PEG works out to a very acceptable 1.22 level.

As I noted earlier, there are 79.66 million shares outstanding and currently (as of 9/10/08) there are 3.61 million shares out short, yielding a short ratio of 5.2 trading days (above my own '3 day rule').  Thus, this is significant imho.

Also as noted, the company pays a small dividend of $.08/share yielding 0.2%.  The last stock split was a 2:1 split back on October 31, 2005.

And the Chart?

If we look at a 'point & figure' on Global Payments (GPN) from StockCharts.com, we can see that the stock, which moved sharply higher from $18 in September, 2003, to a peak of $54 in March, 2006, dipped down to a low of $29 in March, 2007, and has been 'working hard' to build a slowly increasing base.  The company just broke through resistance in its current move higher.  It doesn't appear to be over-extended and appears to have some suppport at current levels.


Summary:  What do I think?

Well obviously, I liked this stock enough to buy some shares :).  But seriously, if it weren't for the terrible volatility in the current market, the uncertainty regarding the success of the 'bailout' and the difficult credit crisis, this stock ought to be flying higher.

The reported a great quarter last night which beat expectations, they raised guidance, and they have a record of steady financial results for the past five years (or more!).   Their fundamentals also appear solid with plenty of free cash flow and a great balance sheet.

Their chart appears to be solid, and hopefully ready to move higher.  Wish me luck!  Of course, like any investment, I shall sell even shares of this great company should they decline (8)%!  And I shall start selling on the upside (1/7th of my holding) should the stock instead appreciate and move higher!

Thanks again for visiting!  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.  If you get a chance, be sure and visit my Covestor Page, my SocialPicks page, and my Podcast Page.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 1:00 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 2 October 2008
Greif (GEF) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

One of the greatest strengths of this blogging effort that I have been working on this past five years (!) has been the requirement for me to put into words a trading strategy that hopefully would respond to investment environments in both the best and worst of times.

Probably my first defense with any investment is to limit losses.  After an initial purchase of stock, I limit my losses to (8)%.  I do this manually.  Brighter minds I am sure could develop this loss limit automatically.  It wouldn't take that much effort.

In a declining market, the first stocks often to go will be the latest purchases.  They will be the ones which will be sold as they hit their loss limits faster than other stocks which may have hopefully appreciated some sort of buffer in their price.

This is the story of Greif (GEF), a stock that I have written up several times on this blog, a company of outstanding financial results, raised expectations, and a solid balance sheet.  Unfortunately, like virtually every stock in the market, the greatest force on any individual equity is the "M" in the CAN SLIM formula---the market itself.

Thus, to make this long story shorter, my investment in Greif (GEF) which amounted to 140 shares purchased just a couple of weeks ago on 9/16/08 at a cost basis of $66.16 passed my own loss tolerance and were sold this afternoon at $59.61.  This represents a loss of $(6.55) or (9.9)% on my investment.  As I have said above, I monitor my stocks intermittently and enter these sales manually.  The stock dipped below my (8)% loss level, and was sold as soon as I realized what the stock price was.

With my own sale of my shares of Greif (GEF), and with the stock market environment still ever-so-worrisome,

GREIF (GEF) IS RATED A SELL

It would be unfair of me to advise anyone to hold a stock with the overlying market so weak.  In an otherwise strong market, my own sale on the passage of some sort of technical price point would merit a reduction to "HOLD".  I share the concern of so many investors and although I believe that the company is terrific---I am truly sad to see it leave my portfolio---I shall continue to keep it on my own investing horizon so that hopefully I can once again in the future, assuming continued financial success from the company---call myself a 'shareholder'!

My own portfolio management system asks me to find another stock to buy to get me back to my 5 positions.  I shall certainly keep this in mind and once we see some sort of positive action in the market, with possibly some sort of resolution of this credit crisis, I shall be back in the midst of things, looking through the lists of top % gainers to identify a new name to share with you, or perhaps an old name that once again, like Greif (GEF) looks attractive for an investment.

Thanks so much for visiting and reading my sundry posts of this amateur struggling to deal with the pessimism and gloom the market offers us today.  My committment to investing is not short-term.  I have been in stocks for the past 41 years and look forward to many more. 

Yours in investing,

 

Bob 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 1:43 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
More Thoughts! Market Turmoil Part II

It is late Tuesday night and rather than sleeping I thought I would take the time to share with you some of my own reactions to the market volatility that we are all observing.

It is not reassuring to me that the market can drop almost 800 points one day and then recover 500 the next.  I shall need some Dramamine for this motion sickness soon.  Hang on, the ride isn't over!

I haven't read the 100 pages of the bail-out or "rescue" suggested by the Paulson/Bush plan and amended by our legislators.  What I do believe is that the free-wheeling days of hedge funds and derivatives is long over.  And it is about time.

I also believe that the philosophy that "Government is the Problem" and that less regulation is always better is being shown to be a set of beliefs that are now obsolete.  The failure of the financial markets may well have been contributed by the deregulation and the repeal of Glass-Steagle advanced by McCain ally Phil Gramm.

And no Americans are NOT whiners.

The greed and corruption that got us into this bind will not be easy to undo.  While it is helpful to address the symptoms of the disease with acquisition of these questionable mortgage backed securities by the Fed, it is not unreasonable, much like a sovereign investment fund, to insist on equity for that investment.  

This isn't any more about socialism than it is about America becoming an oil company just because we as a nation decided to acquire a petroleum reserve to protect us against the vagaries of markets.

And since much of the source of our problems derives from the collapsing real estate market, the displacement of home-owners who can no longer afford their mortgages, and the subsequent 'upside-down' nature of their loans, it would also behoove all of us to address these home-owners regardless of whether it was they or their lenders who were at fault. 

To paraphrase the defenders of the current Iraq policy, it doesn't really matter much about how we got into this predicament, it is far more important to determine what we are going to do now to get us out of it!

Thus, it may be useful for the government to make banks whole by refinancing the mortgages under stress at reduced terms to keep homeowners in their homes and to reduce the need for fire-sale disposal of these homes adding to the declining price of housing and the additional failure of other home-owners in dealing with their own mortgages.

We cannot address only the banking system without addressing the homeowners who are at the bottom of the feeding pyramid and who are the ones who shall either be paying or not on these mortgages.

Much has been said about how we are going to spend the $700 billion and what we are going to need to do about cutting the budget to adjust for this expense.  Actually, we need to make sure that our economy is healthy.  Spending on infrastructure projects may well provide jobs and a nice stimulus to the economy more than any simple check mailed to each taxpayer.  

And the rapid and timely end to our involvement in the Iraq conflict may also assist us in restoring our own financial health while encouraging our Iraqi allies to take over in their own self-determination and resolution of the conflict.  As much as we would like to bein Iraq indefinitely, our nation cannot afford this for much longer.

These are just a few of my amateur thoughts this evening.   I haven't been blogging much but shall keep you posted about my own trading activity and look forward to a time as the investment climate improves, that the kind of stocks we like to find will once again appear with more regularity on the top % gainers list---where we can once again discover and discuss them with you!

Until then,

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 11:49 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Some Thoughts on the Stock Market Turmoil

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.

It seemed appropriate to at least comment on the stock market's extreme volatility this week and how it has affected my own approach to investing and portfolio management.  As you all know, and as I write over and over, I am an amateur investor.  That means that like many of you who read this blog, I am not trained nor am I licensed to manage anyone's investments, receive compensation from anybody to select investments and time purchases and sales, nor am I as knowledgeable on market information as someone who has passed appropriate licensing boards to reach those levels.

But I can share with you my own amateur take of the tremendous stresses being put on us each day and the wild swings of multi-hundred point dimension we are observing.  Like a person with a bipolar disorder, the mood swings in the market have been going from severe depression to unbelievable euphoria, and everything in between.

If you read my blog entries regularly, you will know that I have taken advantage of the bull market in financials with a trade in Citigroup that netted me some profits on Thursday.  I did this outside my regular trading strategy.  

With somewhat less success, I have been shifting some of my holdings to get out of sectors that appeared to be dragging down my particular holdings.  Moves like the correction in the oil market pulled down Lufkin which I sold out of my account.

But my overall investment strategy remains intact.  I continue to look for companies with what I call quality characteristics--things like steady revenue growth, earnings growth, possibly dividends and dividend growth, stable outstanding shares, positive free cash flow and a solid balance sheet.  I like to see companies report results that beat expectations and hopefully find them raising guidance as well.  I enjoy finding a stock with reasonable Price/Sales and Return on Equity %'s.  And I hope to invest in companies with a stock chart that appears to be continuing to appreciate in price.

While that is a lot to ask of an investment, there are so many different potential investments anyhow, and so little of my own money to invest!  So why not?

In addition I continue to respond to the sales within my own portfolio that determine whether I shall be adding a position (if I am under 20 positions and generate a sale on 'good news'), or backing off a position (if I am over 5 positions and I generate a sale on 'bad news' which for means either selling a stock on a decline to a 'sale point' or the announcement of fundamentally 'bad news'.)

I am currently at 5 positions in my own Trading Account (which you can review if you like on my Covestor Page).

So while I don't have the foggiest idea about what shall be happening as soon as tomorrow (will the Administration and the Democrats get together in some sort of $700 billion bail-out or will they be symied at this attempt?)  I do know that I shall have the directions develop from my own portfolio. 

I just need to listen and observe closely and I shall know my own next step.

Thanks again for visiting and bearing with me!  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 9:27 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Citigroup (C) "Trading Transparency"

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website!

What a difference a day makes.  While just a day or two ago I was contemplating selling everything and going to cash---perhaps in my mattress---today I got back a bit of my usual bravado and tried a 'trade'.

The market by the way closed today at 11,019.69, up 410.03, and the Nasdaq was up 100.25 at 2,199.10, and the S&P closed at 1,206.51, up 50.12 on the day.  Wow.  THAT was quite a bounce.

Anyhow, this afternoon as I was watching the market, all of the financials seemed ready to 'roar' ahead.  In fact, as this report relates, it was quite a move and it was the financials that provided the engine for the move: 

"Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rallied the most in six years on prospects the government will formulate a ``permanent'' plan to shore up financial markets, while regulators and pension funds took steps to curb bets against banks and brokerages.

Traders erupted into cheers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 617 points from its low of the day after Senator Charles Schumer proposed a new agency to pump capital into financial companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 4.3 percent as 68 companies in the gauge rose more than 10 percent.

Wachovia Corp. soared 59 percent, Citigroup Inc. added 19 percent and Bank of America Corp. jumped 12 percent, sending the KBW Bank Index to its biggest gain since July. Morgan Stanley erased a 46 percent tumble and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recovered most of a 25 percent slide after the nation's three largest pension funds stopped loaning shares of the brokerages to investors betting on their declines."

Quite frankly, I thought that the financials were oversold.  And that efforts were being made to stabilize their prospects.  With this in mind, I took a 1,000 share position in Citigroup (C) at a cost of $14.81.  A little more than an hour later, with Citigroup rallying strongly, I went ahead and sold the entire position at $16.86.  That was a gain of $2.05 or 13.8% all in an afternoon on that position!  I don't think I can easily repeat that trade.  Just as much luck as good timing :).

With my own purchase and sale of Citigroup shares,

CITIGROUP (C) IS RATED A HOLD

In any case, I wanted to share with you my 'unorthodox' move in the context of a disciplined trading portfolio. 

I guess I am very aware that my performance is 'public' what with my Covestor Page available for perusal.  And anything that can add a little bit of zip to my portfolio is something I am looking for.

Back to reality for the time being :).  I must be very cautious about over concluding anything with my good fortune.  Sometimes the worst thing a gambler can have happen to him is to get lucky when he enters a casino.

Thanks again for visiting my blog!  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them right on the website or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.

Yours in investing,

 

Bob 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 6:19 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2008 6:22 PM CDT

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