Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Critique of Pure Cramer

I have said that I like Cramer. In 2004, he bullied me, through his columns, into buying GOOG. Besides that, he lets you into his trading head. He shows you the good, bad and ugly about himself. You can learn more from all that than from all the advice he hands out.

It's the advice that I have a problem with. It's all good advice, to be sure, but there's no way anybody's going to do all that stuff. Not us shlubs who listen to him.

He says, do your homework. Do an hour a week on each stock you own. What is he talking about? I could read balance sheets all day long and I still wouldn't know how to pick stocks.

But I'm sure thousands put in their hours religiously in the vain hope that success will be theirs. Cramer has told them so.

The central fallacy in his whole message is that ordinary people can get rich by doing what he did. As example, he maintains a model portfolio for all paying customers to see. What it shows is that not even he can do what he did.

But I admire and respect him, and I like him. I like his Pennsylvania, aw shucks act. They say he grew up in Wyndmoor, but he's got a South Philly swagger.

I like the way he enjoys everybody calling him moron, and how he calls 'em moron right back.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Restraint of Trade

Market down big, today. GOOG down big. OK. That's great. It doesn't matter to me, now. I have my long-term outlook back. Ask not what the next two days might bring. Ask what three years might do.

Yesterday, the market cracked, for all to see. The day before that, I was buying a couple of mutual funds. My Guinness World Record in Unfortunate Moves continues unblemished by success. But it's not a problem. Three years from now, it's going to look like, genius.

If I can just keep from selling anything.

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Exercise in Boredom

GOOG Today: (YAWN)

Question: How long can GOOG go sideways? Answer: 3 months.

Three months is a long time. Last week, I was out of town for a couple of days, and I toyed with the idea of not checking GOOG for the whole time I was gone. Two days. The malaise that came over me at the thought of not knowing the price of GOOG for that length of time convinced me that my trading motives are not pure.

I didn't even consider the ultimate scenario: five years. Total ban on GOOG. Take my stake out in stock certificates and put them in the safety deposit box. Put a filter on my computer to suppress any page that has the word "GOOG" in it. That should do it.

It's absurd, of course. To be able to go that long with no news of GOOG, I would have to be in constant communication with the Dalai Lama.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Avoiding the Plunge

I talked to a Vanguard Financial Advisor last week. That's what you do when you decide to stop your running around, get married, settle down, have kids and grow old.

Inside, I raged, raged. Outside, I tried to speak intelligently. The Vanguard Financial Advisor recommended that I put half of my investable funds into bonds. I thought, bonds are for old men! But I didn't say it. I knew he was telling me the right thing to do.

"Vanguard recommends that you sell your Google."

(My Google?)

"er, what about half?"

"Half would be fine."




And I'm not going to buy any bonds, either.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Gentlemen of the Realm

Every day, I have to look at GOOG's closing price in Yahoo! Finance. Then I check out the news items that seem interesting. Today, I clicked on a thing called, "Google Confirms Plans to Put Display ADs on"

Nothing really new.

But there were several comments, all from people who thought Google's use of display ads would betray its covenant with the universe. I know these guys. They're the same ones who used to dump on Microsoft for being evil. Then they wanted the Internet to be reserved for noble purposes. They stand for Purity. They express indignation. Display ads offend their nostrils.

In good fellowship, they exchange nostrums for warding off the evildoers. One said he had DoubleClick blocked by Mozilla Ad Blocker Plus. Another gave a link for a toolbar that enabled him to switch quickly to another search engine, without having to retype his query, if he suddenly discovered a display ad on his page.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

If p then q, or a consideration of causality

Instead of drinking Red Bull, I watch Fast Money.

And lately, I have observed, among several of the Fast Money traders, an opinion of Google that would appear interesting to anyone who puts out a blog called, "The Google Opinion". The feeling is that the Google brothers are nouveau riche flakes whose zany projects, like going to the moon, infect the whole organization with zaniness not to be tolerated by acceptable corporate governance.

Macke and that grinning snake, Tim Seymore, are the main miscreants who take this line. Ratigan doesn't care, of course, but if asked would probably say that he likes Google. Finerman would say that she would like Google, but it's not on her list. Adami looks at the camera in wonderment. But Najarian openly admits that he likes Google and will give you fifty reasons why. Bless his big bald head, he gets it.

Macke doesn't understand what Google is all about. He doesn't realize that all the cockamamie activities are directed toward one objective: capturing eyeballs, and charging advertisers for them. It's all about the buzz.

Macke frets because Google doesn't really make anything, like an IPhone. Seymore is contemptuous because Google doesn't sell something it dug out of the earth, like potash. To them, Google lacks manliness.

And that's why shlubs like you and me can still get into GOOG at decent prices.