Friday, August 22, 2008

Stocks Update, 8/22/08

Numbers below are based on prices at mid-day on August 22, 2008. Positions below have at least a $2,500 basis or current value of at least $2,500.

What's new? I don't list my mutual fund activity here, because activity is so sparse, but I added to my mutual fund positions in T. Rowe Price's EMERGING EUROPE & MEDITERRANEAN fund (TREMX). The fund is 61% Russian stocks and its value decreased after Russia invaded Georgia (imperial notions are considered bad for any economy). I cite TREMX and its majority Russian holdings because it's important to look at the actual composition of a mutual fund before buying it. Many people think they are diversifying when they buy funds with different-sounding names. Mutual fund companies are selling similar products and have to differentiate based on names and other advertising. I had a friend recently show me his portfolio, and he wondered why he had lost so much money over the last year when he felt diversified. I looked at his portfolio--almost all the funds held the exact same names (e.g., Google, Chevron, and other well-known big caps). Lesson: always look deep inside the fund, not just at the cover.

Having said that, I've taken my own advice and diversified. I recently opened new positions in Gold (GLD), China (GXC), and KOL (energy ETF).

My main regret so far? I wish I'd waited before going into the Malaysia ETF (EWM) and Indonesia Fund (IF). I've been averaging down, and it's getting expensive.

I continue to believe IF will be a good long-term hold over a 10 year horizon. Indonesia was part of OPEC until a few months ago. It left OPEC after being unable to meet its production targets. Although Indonesia is blessed with natural resources, including crude oil and natural gas, it now imports more oil than it exports. Once Indonesia is better run, gains should come. I also love its national motto: "Unity in diversity."

Malaysia is in an enviable situation with good weather, peaceful citizens, natural resources, and many entrepreneurial residents who understand Chinese culture and can attract investment from China and neighbor Singapore. I am hoping both EWM and IF will be lifetime holds in my portfolio.

What's my outlook for the market? Choppy, lots of sharks still circling around, and any chum thrown in the water may result in a feeding frenzy. In plainer English, the market will probably move sideways due to short sellers still making bets and hedge and mutual funds not moving in to buy stocks just yet. Any bad news may result in a temporary market capitulation. I'm a not a posterboy for the practice, but it's hard to be a "buy and hold" investor these days. My advice? Keep the faith, but diversify.

Open Positions

CCT = +1.82
EWM =-6.42
EWS = -9.31
EZU = -4.39
GLD = 0% (excluded from avg)
GXC = +0.32%

IF = -9.49
KOL = +6.88
SWZ = -6.51
YHOO = -4.69

[Average of "Open Positions": losing/negative average 3.53%]

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 average; insignificant movement)
PFE = -5.5
PNK = -16.7%
PPS = -2.8
VNQ = +2.37 [sold 8/7/08]
WFR = +0.9 (approx; based on partial sales week of 8/4/08 in two separate accounts)
WYE = +2.4%

[Overall Record: Lost an average of 2.82%]

Held less than 7 days:
DUK = (0%, excluded from avg) [8/07/08 - 8/14/08]; GE (1.0%); GOOG (0.8%) [7/28/08 - 7/29/08]; GRMN (-6.2%) [Sold 8/5/08]; ICE (2.0%), MMM (0.5%), MRK (0.1%), NVDA (8.0%) [8/12 to 8/13/08]; PFE (1.3%), SCUR (15%); SO (-0.3%) [Sold 8/5/08]; TTWO (4.3%) [partial sales on 8/5/08, 8/7/08, and 8/8/08]

[Overall Record: Gained an average of 1.68%

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 6.92%
[from May 30, 2008 (1385.67) to mid-day August 22, 2008 (1289.80

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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