Monday, June 30, 2008

GOOG the Eskimo

GOOG Today: down $1.65 to $526.42

Full disclosure: I sold half my GOOG today. In the name of capital preservation and sleep preservation, I did it, but only if I could get my cost out at $535. So I put the order in yesterday and got it today. At close of business, I declared napalm.

Then, on Fast Money tonight, this guy from UBS comes on and says Google is going to be the big story of the second half. And their channel checks showed the mighty GOOG sucking in dough at a prodigious rate. GOOG makes the buck-sixty-five back in about two minutes. The outlook is bright.

Everybody's in despair
Every girl and boy

Friday, June 27, 2008

There Must Be Some Way Out of Here

When I need inspiration, or just want to feel dirty all over, I check out the Google Message Board.

The Google Message Board is a real place to me. It's like Casablanca, if Casablanca had been an Indiana Jones movie. Bizarro market place, filled with sub-terrestrial creatures, and camels. Everybody selling, nobody buying. Much confusion, no relief. Give me your sick, your slimy, your depraved of heart. That's the Google Message Board. To me.

Every time I go there, at first, I'm offended and put off, not by the sub-animal obscenity, but by the stupidity displayed. Then, after a while, I want to wallow in it, and I start firing off posts, replying to those most in need of one.

My aim, to be not subtle, but plain-spoken. To say things that can have more than one meaning. To play the fool in earnest.

I might say, "The offal is awful in here, don't you think?"

Or I might not.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is Everybody Happy?

In my neighborhood, all us neighbors are good neighbors. We accomplish this by never going outside our houses, except in a car.

But, once in a while, something happens which, at least, raises the possibility of direct, neighborly interaction. So it happened, last Thursday night, I was reading and my Internet went out.

I looked at my broadband modem and it looked dead. Two steady, unblinking lights, replacing the animated flickering it had when alive. I tried various ways of resetting or recycling the beast, but it was beyond recovery.

Meanwhile, I was thinking. That morning, there had been some kind of cable truck next door, for half the day, and now there's an orange cable running from the box out at the street into my neighbor's house.

My first thought was, a fly-by-night cable guy has diverted my broadband connection into my neighbor's house. But, seized with neighborly thoughts, I decided that an accident had more likely happened, which was not the fault of anyone, and which might have caused me some piddling inconvenience.

So, I called Comcast and initiated a process by which Comcast employees vied among themselves to see which one would actually try to help me.

But I am happy to say that, tonight, one week later, my service has been restored. Thanks to all who had a hand in it.

Now. What's been going on? I've been out of touch... OK, I know. We're going over the falls.

But I don't care. I got my new best friend - the Focus Fund. Monday, it went up $2.08. The next day, it went down $1.29. Meanwhile, the broader market was breaking down. Yesterday, it went down a nickel. Today, it went down $0.15. A quarter of one percent.

Let the chilly winds blow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And it comes out here

When I think of all the things that Google will bring us in the future, I think of a thundo tag on the stock. Maybe, two. Is that asking too much?

Of course, there's all these other things that Google's gonna bring us, too. Like, everything we're doing now on our computers and the Internet will be buggywhipped in the future. It'll be gone.

All we'll need is a browser. And they'll be everywhere. Universal Gateway to the Internet appliances.

And the Internet itself. It'll be like a vast... mainframe.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Against the Wind

Wish I didn't know now
What I didn't know then

When I was young, I was ignorant about investing. By accident and happenstance, I made money. Now, I know too much. I have access to learned opinions of all kinds, but they are putting me off my game, which is "Making Money Through Neglect of Your Circumstances."

I tried paying no attention, but that didn't work. I thought about turning in my TSC subscription, but that would be too radical a move.

I think I'm stuck. The old days are gone. I'll never achieve that level of ignorance again.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I have owned Ken Heebner's Focus fund for about a week now. Time enough to see some results, I'm thinking.

This is not as easy as it may seem. The fund doesn't release its closing price every evening until the next morning. So, when I bought my first batch, I didn't find out till the next day that I'd paid up from the previous close though, by that time, it was already down again, which I didn't find out until the next day. Heebner is a wily cuss, I'm thinking.

Anyway, I figured, if it went down, I would buy another batch. By Wednesday, it was down a buck-fifty from where I bought it. That wasn't much of a decline, but I was itching to buy another piece. So I placed an order mid-afternoon Wednesday, thinking I'd get the closing price of $56.30.

The next day, everything went nuts to the upside. CGMFX, as it is known in the trade, achieved a price of $58.94, which was better than $56.30 by $2.34. I rejoiced. Hallelujah Land seemed right around the corner.

Then I found out that the cutoff period for buying the fund, each day, is 11:45 AM. In the morning. I'd placed my order in the afternoon. So, the price I got was $58.94 which was worse than $56.30 by $2.34. And I was thinking that Ken Heebner, when he was a kid, probably hiked his britches up too high. I thought about it some more, and and then I got over it.

It was, I told myself, the spirit of performance yet to come. The future was bright. Friday, everything went nuts to the downside. All my Vanguard funds were down 2 1/2 to 3 %.

I had to wait until Saturday to get the news on CGMFX. I braced myself. I figured it would be worse than Vanguard. I looked it up in Barron's and didn't believe what I saw - it was down 31 cents. After being up $2.34, it was down 31 cents. Half of one-percent. I checked it several times on the Internet to be sure it was right. It was right.

And I'm thinking Ken Heebner can wear his britches any way he wants to.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Maxim and Counter-Maxim

Another of Cramer's principles that sticks in my craw is the one that says your money is gone, really gone, if your stock goes down, but if it goes up, your gain doesn't exist unless you sell your shares.

Any fifth grader can see a violation of parity, here. If your stock moves, up or down, then the money is either there or it's not, and the direction of the move shouldn't have anything to do with it. Goose and Gander.

But that's an academic objection. In the real world, anybody who rode JDSU into the ground knows what Cramer's maxim means. It means, the money is gone and it's not coming back.

I call that Post-Bubble Wisdom. A cautionary principle. But it's not very true. Most stocks that go down come back up again. And many stocks go up and come down and then go up again, higher than before. Over time, stocks in general go up.

So I was pleased to read a post on Real Money, last week, pointing out that a stock's price is only what some fool is willing to pay for it, at the moment. Everybody knows that, but saying it brings a little common sense into the situation. Sitting on a loss is not such a bad thing when you look at it that way. I always found it edifying.

If I believe in my investment choices, and they are not invalidated by the day's news, then I will benignly neglect them, confident that they will find their true level by the time that I need the money.

This applies to all stocks except old Just-Didn't-Stay-Up.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Forbes. Good.

I read a Forbes column last night that was really good. Actually, 19 articles by a dozen people I never heard of who are evidently well-known in the business. The Idea-Quotient was way over what we're used to.

I found myself thinking thoughts like, "To beat Google, Microsoft will have to give up Windows, and it won't."

I'm not one of these You-should-read-it people, but you should read it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Potato Man

Today, I read the distilled wisdom of J. R. Simplot, posted by Esquire, along with his picture. He's an old man. Made his money in potatoes.

He said,

"I got no religion in me. I could never see through it. Basically, I'm a facts man; if I can't see through it, I say it's not possible."

More importantly, he said,

"You want a potato big enough to get a long fry."

Useful information. And then, this nugget:

"Put bets down on the right people and give them responsibility."

The other thing I read today is a piece about Ken Heebner. Good thing, because I just established a position in his CGM Focus fund, last week. The first time in years that I've bought a fund that wasn't Vanguard. I'm betting Heebner is the right person, and I'm making him responsible for a piece of my money.

OK, I know that hot hands can get cold. My Vanguard Financial Advisor pointed that out to me. Several times. Better, he implied, to buy something that you know is cold. That way, you won't be disappointed.

I'm betting on Heebner. When CGMFX goes down, I'll buy more. And I'll never sell any of it. Until I need potatoes.