Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stocks Update, July 17, 2008

It's been a wild week, so I thought it would be a good time for a stocks update. Colonial Bancgroup (CNB) skyrocketed around 50% within three days after I called a bottom in banking stocks, and I recovered my losses and ended up making 10%. JP Morgan upgraded CNB today, causing a 20% jump. It's fun knowing I beat J.P. Morgan to the punch. Too often, investment banks upgrade stocks after an already-large run-up in the price.

I also sold Embarq (EQ), not because I dislike the stock's fundamentals, but because of a potential political problem. Congress questioned EQ about customer privacy. Apparently, some Congressmen believe that EQ covertly tracked users' internet activity. While there have no proven allegations, and EQ deserves the benefit of the doubt, I'm not willing to take the risk of a political fallout, no matter how nice EQ's dividend is.

Pinnacle (PNK), my largest loss in terms of percentage in the "Closed Positions" category, jumped 20% today. I sold earlier because the actual dollar loss was small and the market was being irrational. I don't know if I'd jump back in just yet--the market seems to be indiscriminately devaluing casino and restaurant stocks.

My major positions now are in PFE and CCT, with much smaller amounts in BLV and DBV. Preferred shares took a bath this week. I still can't figure out why. I picked up more CCT as a result.

You'll notice that BLV, DBV and CCT are not listed below in "Open Positions." I bought these stocks prior to publicly disclosing my individual buys and sells, so old positions are "grandfathered" for purposes of this blog. Prior to the recent market lows, I reduced almost all my positions, including mutual funds. Now, I hold no individual position more than 6,000 dollars, not even mutual funds (although one international bond fund will probably exceed 6,000 dollars due to dividend reinvestment).

I also changed the format of the statistics below. I spoke with a friend of mine, who correctly told me the overall averages between categories made no sense, because they valued completely different items. In order to have a proper average, I would have to go through and add up each and every trade and then divide them by the total number of all trades. For now, I am listing averages in each category only. Clearly, my ability to predict the market in the short term is much better than my ability to discern where the market is going long-term.

Numbers below are based on mid-day prices on July 17, 2008.

Open Positions

EWM = -10.84
IF = -11.8
PFE = -4.38

[Average of "Open Positions": losing/negative average 9.0%]

Closed Positions:
Held more than seven days but less than one year (from May 30, 2008):
CNB = +10.0
EQ = -8.83
GE = -6.4
INTC = 0.0 (excluded from averages and overall record calculations)
PNK = -16.7%
PPS = -2.8

WYE = +2.4%

[Overall Record: Lost an average of 3.73%]

Held less than 7 days:
GE (1.0%); ICE (2.0%), MMM (0.5%), MRK (0.1%), PFE (1.3%), SCUR (15%)

[Overall Record: Gained an average of 3.31%

PFE = +0.5%
GE = +0.5% (Updated on July 14, 2008; bought at 27.15, sold at 27.30)
XLF = +4.3% (Updated on July 15, 2008)

[Overall Record: Gained an average of 1.76%]

Compare to S&P 500: losing/negative 9.5%
[from May 30, 2008 (1385.67) to mid-day July 17, 2008 (1254

The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only and does not constitute investing recommendations. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities or make any kind of an investment. You are responsible for your own due diligence.

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