Monday, July 28, 2008

T. Boone

It's no secret that The Stock Channel loves T. Boone Pickens. When he comes on in the mornings, Kernen and company shut up and listen. Not so much for what he says. They just like to hear him talk.

Of course, they listen to what he says, too. A couple of years ago, he came on and said, "Fifty dollar oil." They were on the floor. All of them.

I like Boone. He's made a good commercial, not being an adman all his life. He comes across well. Very believable. He has a plan which will be good for the country. And good for Boone.

I don't have a problem with that. I know he has windmills installed over half of Texas. Good for him.

Boone's plan doesn't call for him to be in charge of anything. He doesn't want that. That's what I like about him. He wants to be the thinker-upper. Doesn't want to be the decider. Anybody can be a decider.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Google's Quarterly Earnings Problem

I've given this a lot of thought and I think I have the solution for Google's quarterly earnings problem.


Google offers no guidance with its earnings releases. I don't know why. Maybe they have a really smart reason, such as: Giving guidance is stupid. Or something like that. Maybe Google wants to be a company of mystery.

Personally, I admire Google's stand. I never give guidance about myself to anybody. Still, it's a problem for Google because analysts don't like it when you expect them to guess your earnings, without getting any hints. This produces unintended consequences. Like today.

Anyway, I said I had a solution to the problem, and I do. I have made an analysis of Google's earnings for the past four quarters in relation to analysts' estimates and the surprising differences between them. And I have found that Google has a negative surprise every other quarter, and it is these negative surprises that cause all the trouble.

With this in mind, I propose, for consideration at the next shareholder meeting, that Google, henceforth, release its earnings twice a year, instead of four times. In this way, Google's earnings would be rendered entirely free of negative surprises.

This is no silly statistician's trick. Every company has its own particular rhythm and Google's is decidedly semiannual.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't mess with Larry, tonight

First of all, Heebner is down $2.75, today. That's after being down $1.35, yesterday. I know, they told me there'd be days like this with Heebner. I'd buy some more, except I'm afraid he'll have an up 6 day, tomorrow.

And what's more, Google embarrassed all the GOOG analysts today. That's got me pretty choked up. I'm worried about these guys. They've all got families. What are they going to do?

The fact that I'm down 8% is purely incidental. My puny problems don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Not when you think about the two guys the Stock Channel had on the air when the news came out. They were devastated. They fell all over themselves, trying to see who could praise Google the most. One of them got so energized, his rug almost came off.

The only thing I remember that he said was that Google's prospects, going forward, were "saturnine and dyspeptic."

I looked up "saturnine" and it means "suffering from lead poisoning". That's kinda the way I feel, tonight.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Google Eve

I'm getting in that Dover Beach mood, again. My plain is darkling o'er. I'm living on Google Earth, under a black Google Sky. Background radiation from last quarter's restaging of Krakatoa still licking around the fringes.

The analysts are saying good things about Google's chances this time. These guys are not as stupid as they used to be. The fact that they can guess Google's earnings to within a penny is remarkable.

Still, a tiny fear grips my bowel. At my back, I hear the whispered mantra of the picadillied short seller: "Gap gap gap..."

Yahweh or the Highway

I was wrong: the broad market did not rally yesterday. On the other hand, the bottom did drop out of Heebner - down $2.28.

I don't mean to be disrespectful of a deity who has a way of dropping in around mealtime, but I had to laugh. With one hand waving free. There must be some distinction in being targeted for divine intervention by someone who doesn't work for the government.

But this is not cause for despair. There is, after all, a natural hedge for omnipotent foofaraw - time. In time, the squiggles of Yahweh's little giggles will be made smooth and the chart will show more of the hand of Heebner than that of His almightiness.

Of course, eventually, the Old Bugger will yank that rug out from under us, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hee Haw

There's something I don't understand. Everywhere I look, there's another story about Ken Heebner being the hottest fund manager in the universe and his Focus Fund being the next best thing to Hallelujah Land itself. Even Cramer likes him.

What I don't understand is, ordinarily I would not be allowed to get in on such a good thing. I'm usually ineligible for success. Luck is not one of my talents.

I know it's a stupid attitude to take. Why shouldn't I get lucky, now and then? Well. I don't know. It's like I sense the hand of God in my investments.

The God I'm talking about is like Yahweh - omnipotent, wrathful, and something of a trickster, but not necessarily with my best interests at heart.

I'll try to explain. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a little Heebner. It went up, so I bought a little more. It kept going up for several days. I was happy, but I knew it could turn south at any time. So, I decided, when it did, I would buy more, but would stand pat while it was rising. It was a plan.

Almost immediately, it dropped $3.56 in one day. The next day, it declined again, but not so much. I was in the hole, just enough to get my attention, but I looked on it as a bargain in the making. In this market, I reasoned, everything is tanking. So I laid low, and waited.

Immediately, or so it seemed, it went up for a couple of days, so - at $56.42 - I wasn't in as big a hole as I had been in. Not wanting to squander my opportunity, I put in an order today to buy some more. Today, it closed up $2.08. My purchase was recorded at two cents under my cost basis. I'm basically flat on my whole stash of Heebner.

Now, I'm waiting for the other boot to drop. Tomorrow, the broad market rallies, and the bottom falls out of Heebner. It's a dumb joke, but I never said Yahweh was smart.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dear Landlord

So I was talking to my Financial Advisor the other day, and he showed me this chart that proved, over a period of forty years, I could pile up a ton of money. I told him I didn't have forty years.

He said, you have a thirty-year mortgage, don't you?

I said, indeed I do.

He said, well then.

I said, what.

He said, does it bother you that you might not be around to pay off that mortgage?

I said, frankly, yes. But I depend on the future kindness of some stranger to take over the payments, preferably when I'm dead.

He said, of course.

All in all, a very constructive conversation. We agreed to do it again. Someday, I'm going to do something he tells me to do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nothing Happening Here

Can you tell me what we're
waiting for, Senor?

I saw a commercial on TV, the other day, which showed a couple of people, dropping like rocks down this big hole, and the people were screaming, "We're still falling!"

I thought I had somehow been switched to the Stock Channel. But no. It was just another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear.

In the real world, nothing's going on. We've stopped going down, but we're not going up yet. We're stuck.

Everybody's waiting for the big whoosh. Until we see that big whoosh, we can't start moving up again. The big whoosh is the all-clear Klaxon we've heard tell about.

You can't make a big whoosh just by putting your lips together. It has to happen. There has to be pain and weeping of teeth.

But all the pain and weeping has been packaged and sold, and there's none left in the body economic.

Other times have seen the big whoosh. And it always cleared the air and set off the damndest stampede to the Pari-Mutuel window you ever saw.

Why can't we get our big whoosh? We, whom it would do the most good. When are we gonna get ours?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

After Hours

I got up this morning to the news from the Wall Street Journal that Google was mighty disappointed with the production of YouTube so far. Great, I figured. Now it will tank at the open and we'll have to deal with that for a while.

But it didn't tank. It dithered around, but held its ground all morning. And in the afternoon too, until the market went nuts to the downside. Only then, did it give up 13 points. Hardly seems fair.

But then, just now, I checked the price again and bedamned if isn't up 13 points in the after hours. For half a second, I had the mad thought that Yahoo! had sabotaged its own Finance System, making it work wrong so that Microshaft couldn't use it. But then I regained my balances and decided, of course, you can't keep a Joad in jail, and you can't keep a good GOOG down.

Bless the after hours! In celebration, I put a little Erskine Hawkins on the old YouTube. It's playing now, and it's taking me back to a time when "after hours" was a whole different thing.

Wake me up when it's time to go to bed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just Don't Focus

This was a day when Helene Meisler said that stocks have been going down lately because people have been selling. Doug Kass, a charmer from way back, called her "The Divine Miss M".

What else went on, today?

Actually, that's not exactly what she said. But if I told you what she really said, it would be merely interesting, and not funny. My aim is not to educate you. I just want to make you laugh.

GOOG has been quietly levitating, lately. Not drawing too much attention to itself. That's good. Not a short in sight.

CGM Focus is down a buck-eighty. And I sold the rest of my NUE and bought some more of a Vanguard fund that I own.

Did I say that CGM Focus is down a buck-eighty? I'm trying not to focus on that. I'm trying not think about Bill Miller.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Just Askin'

Everything today: do you really want to know?

Yesterday, I told you about all the good things that happened to me in the market. Would you like to hear about my day, today?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Big LeGOOGski

GOOG today: Back to where it once belonged.

I'm not ashamed to say it. I bought back the GOOG that I sold yesterday. I decided that I wanted the full position, after all.

I got up this morning and found the futures in the toilet and GOOG down around 519. Good. I thought I would let it soak, down to the vicinity of 500. But then it started going back up and I, impulsively as always, put an order in to buy at 525. And got it. And then it kept going up, almost to where I'd sold it yesterday.

The other thing that happened today is that I bought some more Golar LNG. This is the stock that Karen Finerman likes. I bought some a while back a few points higher, and yesterday, I wanted to buy some more. I put in an order for 15.40 and came up empty. I checked it again this morning and it was available at 15.91. I took another batch. And then it kept going up the rest of the day.

It's amazing. I'm motivated by greed to sell and fear to buy. I trade in the moment. There's no science or art in it at all. And yet, today, I made a little money.

I'm beginning to look forward to Google Eve in three weeks. The charthuggers are saying that the Gap must be filled. I'm not so sure. The Gap was all short-covering, in my opinion. The shorts got no skin in the game anymore. I think they're gonna stay home, this time.

Meanwhile, I'm studying my trading skills. I'm working on getting scared sooner.