Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Diminished Thing

I still have no GOOG. It's been 22 days. I go to bed, I sleep. I eat, the food goes down. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

MSFT is now below where I sold it in order to buy GOOG. I bought it all back, today. How've you been?

Everything I sold to buy GOOG has gone down. So what am I getting so upset about? My decision last year to put 20% of my money in GOOG and then sell it ten months later for no gain was a brilliant move on my part. Zip-A-Dee-A.

I see GOOG receding in my rear view mirror. It's the fifth line down on my eye chart, now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My own private briar patch

GOOG: the lower forty.

Today, my challenge to the god of GOOG was undone. The boast, that the marker of my sale at 489 would not be penetrated, has been exposed for the cheap ploy that it was - a crass and self-serving attempt to provoke fate into proving me wrong. And so it did.

I said I would be loading up the Honda when it got to 450. I never thought it would actually get there. Now, I'm not so sure. The view is different, down here. Maybe if it goes to 400.

Ya hear that, GOOG?

Monday, February 25, 2008

From the Journal of Improbable Events

GOOG Today: 486.44 After hours: 484.00

In 1716, it snowed all summer in New England. In 1871, Chicago, Illinois, and Peshtigo, Wisconsin, both burned to the ground on the same day. And on February, 25, 2008, GOOG dropped below 489.

None of these things should have happened. But they did. Now, it is up to those who ponder strange events to see what can be made of it.

I make this: if you find yourself hoping that the stock you just sold goes down 20 points, wish for 200 points, instead. And then, wait for it to happen. It will.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Whacked, She Said

Two words I've been hearing lately: whooshed and whacked. Meisler uses them a lot. I first noticed that a few weeks ago, when she started saying that GOOG needed to be whacked. And then, when GOOG did get whacked, she expressed satisfaction that it did.

So, whacked is something that happens to a stock. Markets don't get whacked. And it's always bad to get whacked. Never good. Nobody says, hooray, my stock got whacked.

Whooshed is another matter altogether. Stocks don't whoosh. They may seem to whoosh, but there's always another word for it - they ramped, or went parabolic. Use your imagination.

Only markets whoosh. And a whoosh can be good or bad, depending on which way you are leaning at the time. A recent example is last Friday, when the indices all drifted lower until the last half hour when they whooshed. Up.

I missed it. I went to the bathroom and when I got back, the market had whooshed. It was a good thing I went when I did.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I wouldn't give a bucket of warm spit for my chances now

When, in a moment of terror, I sold all my GOOG, there was revealed in my soul a vein of self-destructiveness so hidden that I didn't know it was there. Some loathsome will to fail, masquerading as its opposite - the will to preserve one's silly self.

There was providence in it, I realized, as soon as I did it. The action in the stock, both before and after, seemed to turn on my deed. I knew immediately that I had established, then and for all time, a floor under GOOG, below which it will not go again. I didn't know I had that power.

But I do. Yesterday, I allowed myself to doubt that incontrovertible fact when GOOG whooshed down 20 points, and, today, when it kept dropping and briefly took hold of a four-handle before scooting back over 500. The technical boys all drew a line on their charts, right through my bleeding sale.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just Another Random Act of Kindness

Karen Finerman is my favorite trader on Fast Money. I don't get silly about it, I just like her. Actually, I like all the people on that show. Najarian is special - a big palooka with a lot of heart, brain and courage to come on a show like that. Macke talks fast and sometimes he's funny, but, when Najarian lets loose, you get a lot of useful information in a short period of time. Adami is cool inside, but he's a deep klutz. Ratigan, I admire as a man among men. And a woman.

Karen is my favorite. I felt sorry for her today. CROCS was down 16% after hours. She took it well, but I wonder how she manages it. She can't claim stupidity or amateur status, like me, but she does the same stupid things. I ought to write her and tell her about my recent experience with GOOG. It might make her feel better.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Waiting For Go Down

This was a stupefyingly nothing kind of day. Nothing was going on. Nowhere. I got an old dog-eared, paperback copy of Beckett's plays down from the top shelf, where it was situated between "Finnegan's Wake" and "The Long Dark Night of the Soul". I started reading "Krapp's Last Tape" again. That's the kind of day this was.

I need to get out more often. Away from this trading pit. I wonder what life is like in Outremont, Glendale or Sherman Oaks - I think the people there must be refined and fond of repartee.

In those places, I imagine music in the cafes at night, and revolution in the air. I used to go to places, but they're all gone, now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Most likely, you'll go your way, and I'll go mine"

Just because I asked a friend about her,
Just because I spoke her name somewhere...

Enough about GOOG. Without the dream, it's just another stock. This is no longer a blog about GOOG.

If your interest is confined to GOOG, I understand - you're excused. But if you were hanging around the site because you like to hear me talk, that's your business. I'm fine with it.

Anyway, last night, after hours, I sold the SPY. Then, this morning, I sold the VTI. I remind myself of the Pequod's Second Mate, Stubb, who said, "It's hard to stop killin' when you've been killin' steady." I looked around for something else to buy.

I took a little Goldman, and a little Conoco for the IRA's. Names I saw in Cramer's blog, today. I owned Goldman a couple of years ago and sold it for 147. When it ran, I was a little upset for a while. Now, it didn't bother me at all to give 180 for it.

Maybe, some day, I'll be that way about that other stock I used to own.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My New Best Friends

Yesterday, I noticed that the market wasn't going down anymore. There was no fear in the air. I checked Kass and he was buying. Meisler was saying one more whack ought to do it.

So I committed 30% of my cash to SPY and the Total Stock Market Whizbang Fund, VTI. They're my new best friends. They closed agreeably.

This morning, Warren Buffet - bless him! - came out with a modest proposal to MBIA in which he would accept the risk for all mortgages that had no discernable risk, in exchange for the company. The last I heard, the company was thinking it over.

But the market got a laugh out of it and the general good spirit engendered caused everything to go up in the morning. I was a market genius for about three hours. I thought about selling for some quick walking around money, but I held off.

Then the bloom came off the rose, and if you've ever seen a rose without its bloom, you know what I mean. If I had sold everything in the morning, like I should have, I'd have been buying it all back in the afternoon. But, no.

I got home in time to see Fast Money. They were all bummed out about the day. Something, in the rarefied air that only they breathe, stank. I perked up. Everybody testified about their bummedignation and they all agreed that GOOG should be shunned.

It made my heart fibrillate. The idea that GOOG might go down set my mind reeling with possibilities, long since foreclosed. But I resolved that I would make no move toward reconciliation unless it went to 450. Maybe, 475.

You see, I just like SPY and VTI for a trade. I wouldn't want to hold them for the long term.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

GOOG is like death to me now

If I don't think about it, I'm OK.

I loved GOOG unwisely, but too well. I had to get over it. And I did.

But I'd go back in a minute if it would come crawling back on its hands and knees.

I can't figure it out.

Is GOOG is like some raven, at my window with a broken wing?

Or am I like some raven at GOOG's window?

The Random Walk of Life

He got the action,
He got the motion...

What am I going to do with me?

My choices and actions over the past year resemble the flight of a fruitfly in rut. I looked up Brownian Motion in Wikipedia to see if I could learn anything.

I learned that, in 1785, Jan Ingenhousz described the irregular motion of coal dust particles on the surface of alcohol. He must have been having a really bad day.

I'm not that bad. My bottom line, right now, is 6% off my personal all-time high, set on 11/6/2007, when GOOG closed at 741.79. Money I hardly knew.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Slow Money

I knew I couldn't do it.

I knew I couldn't go for any length of time without checking the price of GOOG. Not while I still owned the stock - it would have been financial suicide. Still, I held out for the weekend.

Monday night, I went to bed restless. At 3 AM, I woke up my wife and told her I needed to check the price of GOOG. She went back to sleep. I went upstairs to my little office. The computer screen lit up the dark room: 495.43.

In search of an encouraging word, I watched a Real Money video where Farnoosh Torabi interviewed Cramer about GOOG. He was somber. He shook his head and explained how Hedge Fund Managers would look at the situation: what kind of multiple to apply was the big question. He mused: 20? 25? I turned it off.

25 x = 375

20 x = 300

I made up my mind and went back to bed. I slept like the kudzu had my pasture. The next morning, I put in orders to sell everything. At the market. I got 489, even. I felt better, immediately. When it turned around and headed north of 500, I waved it on. I was jubilant. A fool and his money had been reunited.

Actually, it wasn't a disaster: in the profit column, a 17% gain over the whole position - broken down as 159% for the 100 shares I bought in 2004, and 0% for the load I bought last year; in the loss column: a dream.

The only thing that will save me now is The Mother of All Recessions. When everything gets taken out and shot. I ain't dead yet.

I love this game. I'm just glad I don't have to do it for a living.

Monday, February 4, 2008

No Mas!

GOOG Today: I didn't look.

I don't want to know what happened today. I don't want to know what happens tomorrow or next week. I know that, soon, there will be a bounce of some dimension, but I don't care. I'm over it.

I'm going to see how long I can go without knowing the so-called price of GOOG. It won't be easy - the information is everywhere.

Maybe, after a year or two, I'll take a look. If it has gone to zero, then I will apply to become a greeter at my local Merrill Lynch office.

It's been fun. I'll see you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tough Love

After I retired, four years ago, I put the bulk of my proceeds into conservative mutual funds, but held a little back to do some trading. Last year, I took stock of my performance and the performance of my mutual funds.

My funds had made 7 or 8 % a year. I didn't write home to tell everybody about it.

In my trading, I had taken on relatively small positions in a bunch of stocks I had no conviction in, and last year I realized that I had small gains in a number of them, but the profits were overwhelmed by bigger losses in a few of them. I was getting nowhere, slowly.

But, by that time, I knew what worked for me and what I needed to get better at. I decided to concentrate my mind: I turned in all my mutual funds for cash and swapped all my stocks for a few shares of GOOG.

For all of 2007, my mutual fund deal was a mistake of historic proportions. In 2008, I became a market maven for the move.

Buying GOOG, on the other hand, was an immediate success - it went up and all those stocks I sold went down. Until lately.

In retrospect, what I should have done is, sell GOOG with the same gusto that I applied to flushing the funds.

But I told myself I was a long-distance runner in GOOG. I had a thing going on with GOOG. I was in love.

I should have sold GOOG and never looked back. But I couldn't. I traded a few shares, a couple of times, but quickly bought them back at the first opportunity. I couldn't stand the thought that GOOG might keep running up without me.

I need to let GOOG go, sometime. I know that. I'm not talking about when it's over the hill. I need to let it go sometime when it's still young and frisky and going higher, but maybe a little ahead of itself temporarily. That's when I need to do it.

Give it up and get over the idea of owning it, like Cody did. And then, maybe, someday somewhere down the road, I'll find it again, in chastened circumstances, down on its luck and needing a friend, and I'll throw open my arms and welcome it back like the Prodigal!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Down Like a Dog Blues

GOOG Today: Down 48.40

It's gotta hurt, right? Down 48. It knocks the wind out of you. I'm down to a pitiful 23% profit. What if I had a loss? I'm pathetic.

After the market closed, I went to TSC and searched for GOOG. I couldn't find anything. There was precious little written about it today. Everybody scattered when they heard the news.

A penny shy. One stupid penny. I would be glad to donate a penny for each of my shares to Google so they could hit the mark. I'm sure every other shareholder would be willing to do the same. Why didn't they ask us? Are Sergey and Larry too proud to accept a little gratitude from those of us who buy the stock? I'd even give them back the 49 cents they sent me last year.


Let's see. First off, Ballmer and Yang will share an office. That way they'll get to know each other really well and it will set a great example to the rest of the troops on both sides about how to get along, er, integrate the two companies. Yang will teach Ballmer how to speak Chinese and Ballmer will show Yang how to stomp around the stage during meetings. The Wizard of Ozzie, who has just learned how to say, "Great software!", will now have the task of turning all those Yahoo! content mongers into .NET programmers. I can't wait.