Friday, November 30, 2012

INVN IvenSense

May be the 2nd fastest growing semiconductor company, but they fired their CEO and do not seem to be performing well. I closed my position 300 shares with a market order.

Wish I had done it earlier, they have dropped 20% in 90 days.

Update December 6, 2012  Roth Capital issued a buy on this equity. They closed today at 10.03.
Update December 17, 2012, maybe i goofed this one, they closed at 10.73
Update January 9, 2013, 12.79, I am pretty sure I goofed on this one

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One of my holdings that I am trying to grow carefully is Wells Fargo (WFC). I think they are an incredible bank. Here is a link to an interview with their CEO that has significant insights into the economy and is not to be missed.

From the article talking about how much Americans are saving: "In fact we think there's something between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion on businesses' and consumers' balance sheets that is sitting in our vaults. I've never seen it like this before. I've never seen the deposit growth the way we have it, and it's not because the yields are so high. It's security."

Update December 6, 2012, closed at 33.14 and is on a tear, lots of analyst support.
Update December 17, 2012, 34.38
Update January 9, 2013, 34.71, 20 limit@34.50

Meridian Biosciences (VIVO) Ts

Update February 4, 2013 closed today at 21.12, 20 shares limit@21.00.
Update January 9, 2013, 20.97, an article posted on the Motley Fool website points out a technical analysis of their Accounts Receivable and Days Sales Owed might indicate good things. Going to take some money off the sidelines, 30@Market.
Update December 17, 2012 20.30, sadly I have neither an executed order or an open order with this online broker ( Ts), so it is possible this trade failed due to human error ( mine) however, if that happens a couple more times we are going to figure out how to change brokers. Also, it appears they are going to be adding two more products to their medical diagnostic roster according to this article.

12/1/12 20.03
3/1/13   21.42

Meridian Biosciences (VIVO) got whacked today dropping by 5%. It is up about 9% in my mutual fund Ts, so in the spirit of buying on a dip I set a limit order for 30 shares @19.30


In a number of parts of the country, it is getting harder and harder to see a doctor. These guys make testing kits that you can use at home. They also have a good cash flow and balance sheet.

Charles Schwab ETFs: SCHH, SCHC, SCHE etc

SCHG (large cap) is up over 20%, but had a tiny drop of .3% today, 15@market
SCHP (TIPs) is starting to collapse like every other bond fund, 20 Limit@53.50
SCHE (emerging) is down 3%, 10@market

Update February 24, 2013
1) Many of the articles I read say that it is the time to be solidly into large cap stocks. Maybe so, let's start the research using low cost Charles Schwab ETFs:
CAP            5     30     90
S   SCHA    -       3       1
L   SCHV    1      1       3
L   SCHG    -       5       5
L   SCHX    -       4       4
M  SCHM   -       2       2
Too early for me to tell, but looks like trying to buy SCHV on dips for the next few weeks is not a bad idea. Here is the 30 day chart. They are pretty much rising and falling together, the SCHG  (yellow) could be a mild value play if it suddenly starting climbing.

2) Open Limit Orders
SCHA   10@37.50
SCHF    10@26.20
SCHV   10@32.15
"       "   10@34.00
VBA     15@72.00

Update February 5, 2013, market had a terrible day today, SCHF, SCHC, SCHG were hit the hardest on a percentage basis. SCHG (US Growth) seems to be doing the best overall, so added 20 shares @market. SCHG closed at 35.74 February 4, 2013.
Update December 21, 2012 SCHE ( emerging markets) was the most down for the day, closed at 26.28, put in a market order for 20 shares.


I am using Charles Schwab online brokerage to manage a large part of my investment which is based on index ETFs. I will log in from time to time and try to discern which ETF is the most down today and it was SCHH (Charles Schwab REIT ) so I added 20 shares as a market buy. The strategy for this basket is to use Charles Schwab allowing no trade fee for their line of ETFs. This allows me to add to my positions in small amounts on dips and using limit orders.

I am VERY pleased to report that at this precise moment in time, all of the ETFs are in the green. So dollar averaging, by buying on dips to add to the position will help me improve the odds I can keep some of these in the green. Of course the market is going to drop at some point, but if we are careful we can add to the position with that as well.

SCHE and SCHC are both slightly down, I am going to set limit orders for these:

  • SCHE 25@24.60
  • SCHH 25@26.00
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Ts Red Green zero point

    Tranche 3 January 11, 2013
    5 lowest green stocks in the account by percent since purchase
    Ticker  5   30    90
    GTI           1
    OTEX 1            2
    ITRN 2     2      1

    Thesis let market forces help you choose small bets

    The equities in the title are close to the red green neutral point in my Ts basket. Part of the small bet strategy of this basket is to let the market drive trading decisions. The hope is to use this to help find value priced stocks.

    Tranche 1 consisted of:

  • ROLL
  • BRCM
  • ALV
  • BSX
  • IDX
    I compared one month, three month and six month performance and BSX did the best followed by IDX. I used market orders and bought as close to 5.00 as possible.

  • Update December 8, 2012, looks like I lost money on this one, they are down 1.66% in the past 30 days last close was 28.51
    Update December 17, 2012 BSX is up to 5.74, up 11.67% for past 30 days and IDX is 29.17 up 1.43% for past 30 days.
    Update January 11, 2013 in a little over a month ROLL is up 14.75%, BSX 11.89, ALV, 9.11%, BRCM 7.89%, IDX -3.07%

    Tranche 2 GSK, WFC, TEVA, CMI, ITRN and the last two won and I repeated the process.

    Update December 8, 2012: Cummins (CMI) is up 3.66% in last 30 days, last close was 101.69 Ituran (ITRN) is up 1.17% for last 30 days, last close was 13.08
    Update December 17, 2012 CMI 105.75 and ITRN 12.93
    Update January 11, 2013 CMI is up 4.84% in past 30 days, 8.47% in the account. ITRN is up 7.84% in 30 days, 6.9% in the account.

    I also did profit taking with Panera (PNRA) and used the money buy a one year CD from the bank of Baroda at .5% interest, but PNRA was up 26%.

    I also set a limit for one share of Intuitive Surgical @500.00 it has been dropping and this may be an opportunity to add to that holding. By the way MAKO has become the lowest performer in the mutual fund. Gosh.

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Red Green play of the day Ts

    I got an alert that ASH had dropped over 4% in the first hour of the day. That leads me to believe that this will be an active day on the market. I went up to my mutual fund, basket Ts and sorted the equities by the day's gain and loss.

    One rule of this basket is no big bets. I try to place trades in the $500.00 - $1,000 range. I chose the stocks that are positive ( green ) that had the largest drop so far in the day and set some deep limits, who knows?

  • HAIN 10 shares @ 57.00
  • GS 5@112
  • MA 2@470
  • NOV 10@68

    Facebook update. My limit may not work, FB is screaming in the upwards direction, 25.70 at last count. But, what goes up due to Wall Street computer algorithms also comes down so we will see.
  • Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Facebook Ts

    Update January 10, 2013 30.59, 51% increase over 90 days, that is awesome. But to keep me cautious since this is real money, I just read a Wall Street Journal blog saying Facebook's era is over. Not sure I agree.

    Thesis 11/24/12

    Update 3/29/13 Closed the position in Ts. We were up 20% and it has been dropping for a month and I thought I might as well protect the principle and lock in profits.

    The US stock market has been on a long bull run so it pays to look for value picks. One strategy near the later stages of a bull run is to increase your positions in large safe positions in the hope money will flow to them and if you do start to decline into bear territory hopefully they will hold up better. I found a blog post suggesting that GE, Wells Fargo, Google and IBM might be good choices. I already have positions in all four and heavy positions relative to my portfolio in Google and IBM. This blog post recommends Yahoo and Microsoft. I am not at all sure that is a smart move.

    But another strategy would be companies with good ideas and product that can move fast. What about Facebook (FB)? I use Facebook and so do a gazillion other people. The lockup is over, so if there are some large sales the price could go down. I am currently up 30%, but would be willing to add to my position if I could get a decent price. It is in the mutual fund, basket Ts which might have been bad strategy, it might have been better to put in the online retail basket, but it is done. Hmmmm. Decision: set a deep limit, which may not hit, this has been a good month for Facebook. 50 shares @ 20.00 Good Till Canceled. This is currently the only open order in basket Ts.

    I will try to keep mulling this over, but I am comfortable with a bit of money on the sidelines right now. Sometimes cash is a smart place to be.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    The market does not seem to like President Obama

    Wow, the market really dropped today. That means it is time to buy. First I went to my mutual fund basket Ts. I picked six positive performers that got nicked today. One of the rules of that basket is to buy on dips. Everything is a market buy meaning I am using up about half of my allowable market buys for the year, but I want to lock in the dip. We have more money on the sidelines than we are supposed to so this will help line up with the rules for the basket. All buys are supposed to be between $500 and $1000, this is a "NO BIG BETS" basket.

  • Mastercard (MA), 2 shares
  • Amazon (AMZN), 3 shares
  • Goldman Sachs (GS), 5
  • Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), 1
  • Price Smart (PSMT), 10
  • Portfolio Recovery (PRAA), 5

    Why did I burn so many of my allowable market buys? Well, by the end of the week I may be calling this a dumb move, but these are some of the strongest, best performing assets in the mutual fund. Even if the market continues to drift down, my thesis is these will recover faster than most of the other assets. Anytime you have a portfolio, you expect to have winners and losers. By adding to the postions of the winners and a dip, the hope is they will help the overall portfolio.
  • Monday, November 5, 2012

    CMG and Shophouse

    I do not hold Chipotle (CMG). I did, made a frightful amount of money on it, not because I am smart, because I was lucky. I like their restaurant concept, especially the bowl without the burrito.

    Back to efficient markets, not only do the Wall Street computers know just about everything about everything, but day by day that information is available to people to you and and me. Here is an example, I was looking at CMG on Google Finance and it pointed to this blogpost. I do not know who Mr. Prewitt is, but he clearly put some effort into his analysis. What I learned from his post was the idea of Shophouse. WOW!!! And the cool thing is that next month we will be in DC in the Washington Hilton, so it is a short walk to Dupont Circle. I can't wait to try the restaurant.

    Does this mean if we like the Asian version of this we would by the stock? Oh, no, no, no. However, it does mean that after I get to taste that food and I am VERY EXCITED, I will follow CMG a lot closer.

    Meanwhile, in Gotham City, CMG is considering menu changes that could drive revenue. One idea is serving breakfast or having drivethroughs.

    • Update November 21, 2012 CMG announced a stock buyback closed at 275.40
    • Update December 3, CMG closed at 263.50, I am setting a buy around at 210.8
    • Update December 10, 2012 I did get to eat at the Shophouse at Dupont Circle. It was OK, not great, mostly a college crowd.
    • Update December 17, last closed at 286.74, up 9 dollars for the day, I am sticking with a buy around 210.8 and Mr. Market can school me why I am wrong.

    Basket Ts ( Mutual Fund)

    Ts is my "mutual fund". It takes more of my time than any other basket. I am not even sure it is a good idea, but a heck of an experiment.

    Put in a limit order for 10 shares of Terradata (TDC) @ 63.00. I do not know if it will ever hit, but didn't hurt to try, I have more money on the sidelines than the rule for basket Ts recommends.

    Limit order to buy 2 shares of MasterCard (MA) @464.00

    Sell Ruger (RGR) Market, If President Obama prevails, this will drop fast though it may recover later, I would rather be spared the ride.

    The big news is that I am closing my position in Starbucks (SBUX) and buying a CD with the proceeds at .5% interest for one year from Bank Hapoalim.

    Rules for basket Ts

  • Must be hosted on a low cost online broker, max trade fee is $5.00
  • Initial positions may not exceed $2,500
  • Additional buys should usually be about $500 - $1,000, no big bets
  • When making additional buys, keep the capital gains "birthday" in mind
  • Try not to exceed 10% of money on the sidelines
  • Any equity that passes 20% profit is a candidate for closing the position on the birthday and purchasing a CD or bond
  • Equities in Ts may exist in other baskets
  • Most of my analysis focus is on the lowest performing 15 winning ( positive ) stocks and the 10 losing ( negative ) stocks
  • It is allowable to add to positions of positive winning stocks on big dips
  • No more than 15 market price trades per year, use a limit to buy
  • Use market orders to sell
  • Losses may be harvested to manage tax liability
  • Ignore the efficient market hypothesis?

    I am not an expert in investing. This is my trading notebook for myself and close family. You are welcome to any of my research, but do your own research and form your own opinions.

    I just read that in article by Value Investing. I am not wise enough to say they are wrong; I surely have my share of mistakes. However, I do know that Wall Street has their share of computers and databases, they may not know everything, but they know a lot.

    The article is worth reading, as an investor I need to always challenge my beliefs. And they make some good points, especially with stocks that do not have much analyst following. Here is a seeking alpha write up of best and worst performing stocks of late. If I understand the Value Stock Guide article correctly, there may be a gem somewhere in the worst performing list, find a thinly followed small cap stock; research the company and open a small position. Not sure that I have the smarts to buy a stock just because it is in the worst performing list :).

    5/1/13 Found some web site that tracks what Hedge funds are doing. They claim to be beating the S&P by 20% or some such. I guess the idea is to hang onto the hedgefund coattails, ( the smart money), and invest in the stocks they invest in. Strikes me as an odd approach and apparently they want you to buy their research to get a detailed look. I think it would be easier to look at the top holdings of some of the better performing ETFs and Mutual Funds, BUT that doesn't make it a good idea. To make money in the stock market we have to buy the right stock at the right price. I doubt they know how they acquired the stocks, limits, puts, calls, some combination. Anyway, what a glorious week to see so much green on the balance sheet. What I am trying to remind myself, ( learn, Stephen, learn), is NOT to make the classic small investor mistakes.

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    Working on the Ts Mutual Fund

    November 4, 2012

    Since I have done some profit taking, I have some cash in my tiny mutual fund. Tonight I moved a small amount of money off the sidelines and added about $500 - $1000 of each of these to my existing positions:

    PCAR: this stock has shown strength in 2012. 15 shares, Limit, 44.70
    • Update December 17, 2012 44.31
    TEVA: largest generic drug producer. 15 shares, Limit, 41.00
    • Update December 17, 2012 38.39
    FDX: Like Fedex is going anywhere? 10 shares, Limit, 90.00
    • Update December 17, 2012 91.02
    SUP: Hey, they make great wheels. 39 shares, Limit, 17.20
    • Update December 17, 2012 19.04
    GS: Cause they are scary smart. 5 shares, Limit, 120.00
    • Update December 17, 2012 123.49

    These represent five different performance levels in the mutual fund. PACCAR has performed the worst year to date, but seems to show some strength, Goldman Sachs, the best, but they were off a bit on Friday and I have hopes of adding to my position on a dip.

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Had a bond from the good ol days called today

    Drat! I had a 10k bond at 6% called today. As I mentioned in the recent Risk Appetite blog post, I am overweight on stocks and ETFs so that was not an ideal situation for my portfolio. Even though the stock market has been good to you and I for a long time now, I felt I needed to put that money into a smoother return than stocks, so I added that to the sum we are putting in one of the annuities. Sigh!

    Being a small investor with a demanding day job makes it really hard to drive strong returns from the overall market and as you approach retirement age it seems to make sense to quit taking as many chances.

    Risk Appetite

    There must be a person, or perhaps an office somewhere that writes the main copy of the financial analysis about why the market went up or down on any given day.

    I follow the Canadian TSX market about as closely as the US, because they have their debt under control and all those natural resources ( though their economy appears to get jerked around by the US and Euro economies). In an analysis I was reading it said that economic news increased risk appetite so the market went up.

    Just a few seconds ago I was reading Google Finance and it said:"Asian shares advanced to their highest in nearly two weeks with risk appetite returning on signs that a trend of global recovery is stabilizing, particularly in the United States and China." Awesome, but just how do they know that the news of the day is actually the force driving the market. Earnings reports, I understand, inflation and the concern that a fairly sizable economy will default on its debt, I understand. Risk appetite, that I have less understanding of.

    I get risk appetite at the personal level. As you start approaching retirement you want to smooth out your returns and try to be conservative to ensure that one blazingly bad day in the stock market will not wipe you out. I am in the process right now of trying to set up two single pay annuities that will pay Kathy and I until we die. I realize it is a TERRIBLE investment in terms of returns compared to X, Y and Z. However, we were lucky enough to have made a couple investments in cyber security startups that did well and also lucky enough to have worked for a great company that pays well. So, as part of our portfolio, we can afford to have a couple of low return ( right now about 4% ) income streams. Now, that is all I am going to do right now, because I believe interest rates will go up and I will have the opportunity to work with CDs and Municipal bonds at a more reasonable interest rate. But the majority of my portfolio is in stocks, but that is OK because investors have risk appetite and the market went up today right?

    Thursday, November 1, 2012


    Apple and Amazon have been kicked about a little so I added five shares of both as a market buy.

    Now, is it time to cash in on Ruger? I have not held the shares for a year, my brother in law tipped me that people were buying guns like crazy in the fear that President Obama would get re-elected and ban assault rifles. It sounded like a conspiracy theory at first, but I went to a gun show and these people truly believe what they are saying. They I looked at the company and it is very well run, they have a low debt load, they are living the manufacturing dream. In fact their stock got hit because the demand is so high, they had to quit accepting orders. When does that happen?

    I really hate paying capital gains. I feel I pay too much tax already, why would I consider a self inflicted wound without a really good reason?

    My thesis at this point is that if the President wins I am going to take a massive hit in the stock price. However, I need to keep in mind that Wall Street has every little jot and tittle factored into the price and RGR is 94% Institutional Investor owned. Yes, the President has some authority, but there is another party in Congress, called the Republican party and they have typically support the right to arm bears(SIC).

    So, it is unlikely gun control, even what many people might consider a sensible ban on assault weapons will be a slam dunk. Good company, there is demand for the product, it is unlikely that government legislation will overly interfere with them. There is risk in the decision, but I am going to hold the equity.