Friday, October 30, 2015

Vanguard - I am throwing in some towels

It has been fun developing the basket strategies and it has been good for our future retirement since we have had a long bull run, but it takes a lot of time. Today Kathy and I filled out three in-kind transfer forms to close the following baskets:

  • Dividend
  • eCommerce
  • Long term holdings
I am please to report that each of them grew in value 20% or more, (eCommerce was up 35%). When these assets get to Vanguard our financial advisor there will liquidate them and place them in large ETFs or mutual funds.

Kathy and I have run through a number of financial calculators trying to to the retirement spending and will we outlive our money type of analysis. We have not arrived by any means, but in addition to the time it takes to manage my investments, I do not need to keep taking that level of risk.

If it sounds like I think I am smart, it is not so. We just happened to have some cash available right after the great recession and it would have been hard not to do well.

Why I have the premium LinkedIn, (LNKD)

Last month I upgraded to the premium LinkedIn. This was a fairly serious decision at five hundred something dollars. It is also something I thought I would never do, and the reasons are detailed in Part 2. Here is what I have learned since then. The interface problems were due to the browser I was using, Firefox. When I tried Safari, everything worked. Being able to actually use the product let me see what is possible.

I have done a number of test posts and on average get five times more hits than this blog. Within a month of focusing on the tool, I was able to grow my network larger than Twitter, Facebook or Google +.  Sometime in the next 30 days I am going to add to my position, wish I had done that last week :)

Part 2 This is what I thought on 3/2/15

LinkedIn is one of the Motley Fool forever stocks so I opened up a position. However, I am thinking about unwinding it. A number of things on LinkedIn just don't work at least using Firefox. This is the most aggravating case. I have no clue how many links/friends/follows or whatever I have but it is a lot, way past that 500 milestone. And they are not just Joe Anybody's they are primarily high performing members of the security community.

About once a week one of them will reach out to me from LinkedIn to my email. I click on the reply button type in a note and hit send or what every they call it and that spinning cog, spins and spins. Have even tried letting it run for 24 hours.

The same thing, (spinning and spinning), sometimes happens when I am searching for someone that is a high performing security person and they do not come up on the first screen. So I try putting in their country or their company.

The company I work for is buying some of their business services. I have wondered if I should ask for a subscription or account or whatever they call those. But what I really wonder is is it just me? I haven't heard anyone else complain. Does it only work with Explorer with accepting cookies, 3rd party cookies and such? Is it NoScript or Ghostery that is doing me in? Or it could be some weird karma, in my IT career there have been multiple times where I was the only one having the problem.

The bottom line: we should all be gun shy of investing in software companies where the software doesn't work. Now I just need to find out, does it or doesn't it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Water as a megatrend

I hold PHO in basket Ck, but over the next few weeks want to really focus on a water portfolio. It is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.

6/14/15 set a limit for 45 PHO @25.50 - California just set extreme limits on agriculture.

From the Ck basket notebook: 3/5/15 The limit on PHO hit, 80@25.00 Last Close 24.70. This is a very long view play for me. Water may be the most precious resource on earth, you can't eat or drink diamonds or gold and you can't live without water. It might make sense to set another deep limit, need to ponder that over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

OK, now I understand what a flash crash means - LIQD

Update: 4/30/15. This post is mostly about LIQD in my trading notebook, but occasionally I will take a look at other large drops and surges. Twitter dropped roughly 25% because of an earnings post and trading was suspended at their request. I need to rethink all these powerful Wall Street computers that can cause so much havoc.

Update: 4/22/15 This post is about a very rapid drop of a single equity, miniscule in comparison to the real Flash Crash. Turns out that was the result of one man manipulating the market. From the DOJ post: "Navinder Singh Sarao, 36, of Hounslow, United Kingdom, was arrested today in the United Kingdom, and the United States is requesting his extradition."

Recently, I decided to open a position in Liquid Holdings group. This is discussed in detail in the Ts chapter of my trading notebook; look for the May 14 2014 entry.

Whenever possible I use limit orders. This is for two reasons to get a slightly better price if I get lucky and also because I am often making trades at night from Kauai and the market is long since closed. I set a limit for LIQD  for 300 shares limit 1.85 when it last closed at 2.30. I always use Good Till Cancel (GTC), since I have a fire and forget mentality for small purchases.

Well a funny thing happened on the way to Wall Street and to be honest I do not totally understand it, but LIQD released a bunch of new shares at 1.25. Now we are only talking $600.00 or so, this was not a big position for me like say, IBM. But still, when I read the press release I expected to find myself down 40% or so.

Enter the LIQD flash crash. In the picture below, courtesy of Google finance, you see the vertical drop. Nobody died and left me smart, but when I see this pattern, I assume it is all those supercomputers and high speed trading on Wall Street.

There is an ancient adage that God protects fools and small babies. So, I am giving thanks. Here is what I think must have happened. In the screen shot below, the bottom LIQD is the original limit order for 300 shares @ $1.85. As we see, it settled at $1.30. What must have happened is as the drop started, it hit 1.85 which triggered a market order for 300 LIQD and by the time that went through the price point was 1.30.

Now we all know the famous saying, I can quit anytime I want to, but I don't want to. While the price was showing 1.25 I put the top order in for 500 more shares and ended up getting a price of 1.26. Now little of me with $1037.90 in the game after I include the commissions isn't all that concerned about buying a market order at 1.25 and having it end up at 1.26, but if I am Warren Buffet adding to my Wal-Mart position, I bet it is a big deal.

So, I have a lot to learn from this experience, but wrote it down in my trading notebook so I can ponder it.

1/8/15 They have dropped to .30, but went up 13% today. I think that counts as volatile. Oh well, it is a small stake and hopefully I will learn something.

4/22/15 Be interesting to see if they can turnaround. Here is what they are trying. Currently trading at .25.

Monday, February 9, 2015

My brain is my enemy (updated 2/9/15 original 10/3/12)

The chronicle of higher education ran a fascinating article on the impact of our brain chemistry and function on our investing decisions. I have long feared the impact of emotion when it comes to trading. This work appears to support the research in Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which outside of the Bible is the most important book I have read in my life. So what can we do?

We will never be S'chn T'gai Spock, the Star Trek commander that always used logic, never emotion. A suggestion in Kahneman's book is to establish rubrics or decision trees. So this is one thing I try to do in investing. I have learned that nearly all of the online brokerages treat you the same if you have $2,000 invested or $20,000 invested, the trade fee is usually the same, access to research usually the same and so forth. So, we can put our investment money in several different online brokerages trying to take advantage of their various strengths.

 So, we introduce the notion of baskets. A part of our total investment and it has some ground rules. And every investment decision has to be part of the ground rules. Let's talk about some simple examples:
  • All small caps, or all mid cap, or all large or mega cap. The advantage to doing this is from time to time in bear/bull cycles one or another size does better. By having them all together you can compare apples to appls.
  • All emerging, or all international, or or or
  • All &lt 5% debt to assets Easy to understand, but fairly primitive, but as we grow our experience and our portfolios, we can combine rules:
  • All pacific, except no Japan, mid-cap
  • All US, &lt 5% debt to assets, top 3 performers in the basket get $500 added every trading cycle Why is this important? People that are new to investing will commonly skip the idea of having a significant foundation of ETFs that are index based and jump straight to the idea of finding the "hot stock" ( or ETF). And sometimes Mr. Market and their intuition will reward them. Sometimes they have legal insider knowledge as customers of the product. But that approach will eventually and utterly fail as they purchase individual stocks of things they read about in Money Magazine or whatever. Instead, we know that our brains, at least the thinking fast part, are well designed to take us into bankruptcy.

  • I have been using this basket/ground rule strategy for several years and it has worked out for me to help protect me from impulse buys. It also helps me mark the point at which a strategy has to change or simply is not working out. 

    As an example, I have a paid service, (expires in June 2015) called the Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio (MDP). The ground rule was very simple, if they said buy and make it a 4% allocation in the basket, that is exactly what I would do. Same for sell directions. Then they had a staff turnover, Ron Gross has left, a new team with a new philosophy has come in. There was minimal explanation of what was going on, but a lot of sell and partial sell orders. The new philosophy is to look at other Motley Fools paid services and recommend the best picks. The problem with this is I am already overweight with respect to the Motley Fool. I have their mutual funds, when I look up a stock on Google Finance, there is almost always a pointer to at least one Motley Fool article. Nothing against the Fool, MDP is my best performing basket even though the service launched right as the great recession started. My first inclination was to say the heck with this and unsubscribe. And that is a fantastic illustration of my brain reacting to information. From now, until my subscription expires I am going to run a fake portfolio with their recommendations, but I am going to relax the ground rule of this basket. In June I have several decisions to make and now is the time to lay the groundwork.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Quick look, Ralph Lauren, MSFT

    2/4/15 Ralph Lauren got whacked today, earnings. The crazy thing is that it is largely currency related. Here is one guy's opinion on RL. Going to try to open a position in basket Ts:
    RL 10 Limit 140 Current value 140.99
    3/3/15 136.03, hmm, well I still have $1000 in cash sitting on the sidelines
    RL 5 Limit 134.00 Current 135.93

    2/4/15 Microsoft is currently trading at 41.97. I continue to struggle with their long term prospects. The news that they are going to support Raspberry PI with Windows 10 is huge. The Internet of Things is a huge Macro trend. You can buy wireless connected Crockpots for Pete's sake. If we get another dip, I think I will add to that position. Here is one person's bullish opinion on MSFT. Who knows?

    Looking back at some decisions made a few years ago:
    3/16/13 Microsoft dropped 1.15% today, so I added 25 shares to my position in Es. Last price was 28.00. Also added 20 shares of EBAY in basket Sk, last price was 53.68.

    Updates from March 2013:
    2/4/15 Ebay has also struggled a bit since March of 2013, current price is 53.83. The big news is that they are going to spin off PayPal. Really worth watching.

    316/13 Sold 400 SUP last price 19.05, this was a nice 18% profit.
    2/4/15 Superior Industries (aluminum wheels) has struggled, current price is 19.60.

    Friday, January 30, 2015

    FIk Value Strategy

    Thesis: A value strategy should be part of anyone's retirement oriented portfolio. I am finally ready to take this on, (1/30/15). The rules that comprise the strategy of this basket, (Version 1.0) are:

    • Do not limit purchases/sales to the advice from Motley Fool Deep Value, but pay close attention to them. Ron Gross made Kathy and I some serious dinero with MDP and that opened right as the great recession hit.
    • Seek out as much value advice as possible, run screens, take a peek at top holdings of value oriented ETFs and mutual funds. 
    • After initial build out of 10 equities no equity should comprise more than 10% of the basket, 
    • Avoid equities with dividend yield > 4%, that might not be sustainable
    • Factor debt and P/E into decisions, but the most important factor is underpriced, or unfollowed stocks
    • Use limit orders to buy and trailing stops to sell
    • This is not a dividend reinvestment play, use the cash to buy more equities
    • After initial buildout, up to 25% cash on the sidelines is fine, we are looking for buying opportunities. 
    • If there is enough cash on the sidelines, consider aggressive limits (10% lower than last close); bluebirds are rare, but they do happen.

    1/30/15 First pick: Horsehead Resources:
    ZINC 185 Limit 13.35 LC 13.44 NOTE: Beta is 2.19 consider a more aggressive limit, we might be in for some chop.

    Round one of a watch list, I am using the top 5 holdings of SCHV (which I hold).

    XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP               3.7%
    MSFT MICROSOFT CORP                    3.4%
    JNJ         JOHNSON & JOHNSON             2.8%
    WFC       WELLS FARGO & CO                2.5%
    GE         GENERAL ELECTRIC CO         2.4%

    ( potential bonus #6) PG           PROCTER & GAMBLE CO        2.3%

    Let's do the good ol red/green analysis, keeping in mind that past performance is not indicative of future results and this is only a relative measure constrained to this small, (diversified by sector), group of equities.
                           30       90       180     1     5      10
    XOM                                                      5        2
    MSFT                                              3     4        4
    JNJ                                                  2     2        3
    WFC                                               1      1        1
    GE                    1                                    3

    WOW! I am truly amazed. The blanks are where the companies are negative for that time period, would not have expected this in a bull market that favors the big guys. I think the path of prudence is to proceed carefully. I have a position with each of the equities, but opened those positions years ago. Where to start looking for purchase #2 in a value basket?

    Historically Wells Fargo has done well. Let's look at a few numbers starting with debt ratios:
    D2Equity 134.20 Interesting, guessing this is leverage? Pot calling the kettle black?
    D2Assets   14.67 (In terms of assets they are the 4th largest bank in the US)
    P/E 12.67
    Beta 1.09
    Last close 51.92
    They just had a banging quarter, so let's drill down on them solo as opposed to comparing them to other sectors. They are up 14% for the year, but down a bit recently. Let's try a limit order and see if that Beta and some market jitter will help us open up a reasonable position:
    WFC 60 Limit 51.00 Last close 51.92

    This is far from an aggressive bid, they dropped $0.81 on 1/30/15, now let's see if we can set something more aggressive up.
    WFC 80 Limit 47.00 Last close 51.92

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    Ck Dividend Retirement Strategy

    NOTE: This entire blog series is my trading notebook. I am NOT an expert investor, so be very careful trying to learn from me, I am just taking steps to make my notes and research available to myself and close family. You are very welcome to read and comment and even tutor me should you feel gracious :)

    Thesis: Last updated January 28, 2015

    Basket Ck is doing very well in the long bull market. The thesis is that dividends are an important part of a retirement strategy because the Fed flattened interest rates and they are one of only a few sources of decent yield.  While I am still working, I reinvest the dividends to grow the size of the basket, when I need the income I will have the money accrue in the account and transfer it to my bank to live on.

    Reinvesting Dividend Sidebar =================
    There are two interesting articles posted by Seeking Alpha, (I use them for ideas not guidance). I think the first one to consider can be summed up this quote from the article: "Had you purchased 100 shares or AT&T at the beginning of 2005, at a cost near $26, you would have collected $129 in dividends to allocate as you please." Yup the author is correct, as near as I can tell that is what the pros do. However, I am not a pro. I am a working man. I do my best to research a stock, buy it, and try to set it up to be as "fire and forget" as possible. The other article can probably be largely summed up by these two quotes: "Depending on the company, total return (price + dividends) may be much larger than price return alone." "Reinvesting dividends generates still larger returns. Over long time periods, price return may provide less than half the total return that you receive from an investment." I am not going to spend much time commenting, my bias, (and the reason for it), is fairly obvious, but make sure not to gloss over one part of the second quote,  over long time periods. If our basket is not oriented towards buy and hold reinvesting is not for us.

    A key point to a dividend strategy is not to panic, there may be times to close a worthless position, but not to freak out if there is a bear market, solid companies will still be paying dividends. I think the term bubble is overused, but the actions of the Fed probably do mean the prices of these equities are a bit higher than they would be otherwise, so if interest rates start to rise there may be a bit of downwards pull. I can accept that.

    Rules of the basket:
    - No equity can be more than 10% of the basket
    - US stocks that allow dividend re-investment only, or at least as much as possible
    - No equity with a debt to asset ratio > 35
    - No company that is losing money, too much risk they will have to cut dividends
    - Strong preference for companies that have been paying dividends for many years
    - Companies that are in other baskets are fine

    10/30/15 Signed forms to in-kind transfer to Vanguard. Basket was up 23.63%. Closing out this strategy, just do not have the time.

    8/24/15 WFC 100 Limit 45.75
    4/17/15 Limit order for Wal-Mart hit. The plumbinggate explanation is weak at best, but happy to add to the position.
    WMT 60@79.00 currently 78.15 so there may be even more opportunity. This was a core holding in the Es basket, but it was reduced over the Mexican bribery issue. All in all the fundamentals still seem to look good.

    4/6/15 Our family's financial advisor, Jack Farrington from Merrill Lynch was able to help me find the maker of batteries for the Kobalt too line. Here is what he said, "I have researched your Kobalt tool question and find that most of the tools are made by the Danaher Corporation. The company makes many things and these tools are a relatively small part of their sales. The stock symbol is DHR.  The company is a well regarded manufacturer.  It’s yield is 0.5%."
    DHR 30 Market 85.15
    The thesis is far more complex than just DHR and Kobalt. It is all about batteries. A robot car just crossed the entire United States, Telsa will one day be able to power a house with a battery. Renewable energy is becoming more and more important and batteries are how we store the energy. And batteries have a LONG way to go. This is going to be a mega trend over time.

    4/1/15 WMT trying to open a position, 60 Limit 79.00 Last Close 80.79

    3/10/15 Market was generally down today, the VLO limit hit: 20@ 58.00. Valero closed at 57.77. Let's set up a potential buy:
    PHO 175 Limit 23.25 Last Close 24.43

    3/6/15 Today WHR got smacked the hardest compared to the other equities in the basket. Put in a limit 15@185, who knows?

    3/5/15 The limit on PHO hit, 80@25.00 Last Close 24.70. This is a very long view play for me. Water may be the most precious resource on earth, you can't eat or drink diamonds or gold and you can't live without water. It might make sense to set another deep limit, need to ponder that over the weekend.

    3/3/15 The limit on FGL hit, 235@21.30 current price 21.56

    3/2/15 The limit on XLU hit, 45@44.50 closed at 44.36

    Valero, (VLO) got smacked today.
    VLO 30 Limit 58.00 Last Close 58.96

    Two remaining limit orders:
    BANF 40 Limit 54.00 Last Close 60.47, need to look for another candidate I think.
    PHO 80 Limit 24.70 Last Close 25.52, if I am serious, I need to sweeten the pot
    Change PHO 80 limit 25.00

    One last bit of business, I think I want to open a position in Fidelity and Guarantee, the idea as baby boomers exit and prepare to exit into retirement, they will want fixed income and annuities are one way to do that.
    FGL 235 Limit 21.30 Last close 21.44

    2/6/15 Set a very mild limit on Whirlpool, they have low debt and their stuff is in demand, when you need a fridge, you need a fridge.
    WHR 15 Limit 210.50 Current 210.59, it hit immediately, should have probably gone for an extra ten cents or so.

    PHO still has not hit grrrr. Change limit to 24.70, sure hope that Beta of 1.28 works in my favor.

    Siemens Energy has had some rough patches. They are going to have to do layoffs, no small feat in Europe. I am pretty sure they will drop, but how much? I have a position, but I think an aggressive limit might be the ticket as a defensive move. I decided not to take action at this time. Reason, while I like Siemens and I like Germany in general, there are hidden costs to ADRs that I do not understand.

    XLU got hit hard as well, let's add to the position with the same aggressive attitude:
    XLU 45 Limit 44.50 Current 46.52 NOTE dropped $2.12 already today

    1/19/15 Two of the four limit orders hit:
    IBKR 70@26.75 Last close 28.09
    VLO 50@45.00 Last close 45.40
    Two are still queued up, need market conditions to drop or chop to make these work:
    PHO 80@23.50 Last close 24.49 1/29/15 24.81 Change Limit to 24.20, I think people are starting to catch on to this water play.
    BANF 40@54 Last close 56.76 1/29/15 58.02, I guess this train has left the station. For today I am going to leave this limit as is in hopes of a miracle.

    On to new business. OHI is a health care REIT positioned to be a player as the baby boomers age. This is a gutsy, (or is that foolish), move on my part. They hit their lifetime high today, so my brain is screaming "buy high sell low". In addition they have a lot more debt than I normally invest in.
    OHI 90 Market Last Close 44.07
    UPDATE: 1/2015 90 shares@44.44 LC 44.40 It is only pennies, but it does illustrate why I prefer limit orders if I have to set up my trades at night when the market is closed.

    6/11/14 Post cleaning house, we are 10% cash. Time to really pay attention to this basket. Put in two limits for equities that are under market chop. BA 10 133.00 L 134.03 and CTBI 35 34.75 L 35.28.

    6/7/14 Cleaning house. When I first started this basket I purchased some foreign stocks (ADRs). It is not possible to re-invest the dividends, there is also an ADR management fee and foreign tax paid. If I had it to do over again I would have kept this basket all US stocks so reporting would be less complex and it would be easier to understand what I am really earning. This basket is up 24.44%, so now if a really good time to clean house and put some money on the sidelines if we start having buying opportunities.

    I have two ADR losers. If I look at the difference between cost basis and market value, I can get a pretty good idea of what my losses are, not counting trade fees and whatever the market does in the first few minutes tomorrow.
    CAJ   -  384.00
    VOD - 1369.91

    On the plus side:
    RY     624
    ABB   356.37
    CRH   404.55
    ORAN 307

    The numbers are close enough there should not be much of a tax implication, (I hope). I should not have to worry about ex-dividend since they are ADRs. Everything is a sell all market order. Hopefully, when the smoke clears I will have a cleaner basket.

    1/10/15 Setting up orders for Monday.
    PSX 50 L 65 LC 67.31
    VLO 50 L 45 LC 48.65
    BANF 40 L 54 LC 59.11
    V 5 M LC 260.53
    IBKR 70 L 27 LC 29
    PHO 80 L 23.5 LC 25.13
    Opening a position with another water ETF. PHO just has not performed. Going to try CGW, started with a small investment as a gentle limit.
    CGW 175 L 27.40 LC 27.65

    1/9/15 We just switched from T-Mobile to Verizon via the Costco plan. Since phone contracts are a two year commitment I did some research on all the mobile carriers. I had not realized how big their network actually is. We already had a position with VZ but added 75 shares market last close 47.18.
    UPDATE: 1/10/15 market order went through bought at 47.27 LC on Friday 46.76.

    6/7/14 I just read a fascinating analysis of whether or not dividends actually affect stock price. Apparently analysts are of two minds. And the answer is, heck yes, what amazes me is if anyone is surprised. Anyway, this is a must read.

    5/15/14 Jeepers, Bristol-Meyers got slapped today, 25 BMY 47.5 L 48.65

    5/5/14 Looking to set up a trade for Monday. Exelon is in the basket. They have made a bit of progress this year and the polar vortex didn't hurt their chances of selling energy this past winter. Debt is not horrible for a utility company, P/E is 17, low beta so if I use a limit it should probably be conservative. Their dividend yield is 3.46% which beats what I get on my checking account :). I am 15.5% down since I bought it and do not have a major position. 50 L@35.70 L 35.84.

    4/15/4 (Hopefully buying, these are limits) SI 10 L@131.00 L 131.45, ADM 25 L@44.00 L 44.24

    4/10/14 Buying on dips, V 10@M 201.09, IBKR 50 L@21.50 L 21.88

    3/11/14 Market had some downward movement, DD 20@M, LC 66.01. NKSH 35@M, LC 36.86.

    3/8/14 Looking for dips. 3 positions were down enough to peek at, AXIT, no action and
    SI 10 Limit 129.00 LC 129.25. RY 15 L 64.50.

    2/12/14 I was reading the interview of Bruce Greenwald and he commented people are incredibly loyal to their toothbrush brand. The two leading brands are Colgate and Crest, or CL and PG. These are kept in the dividend - as a dividend reinvestment (DRIP) when possible. The idea is to continue to compound the earning potential until we actually need the money. PG's top brands are Pampers, Gillette and Duracell according to this article. But there are a few signs they are at the top of their rational value. When I compared them to CL, one thing I did not like to see was the amount of debt CL has. 15 shares PG@market, LC 77.49.

    One more Greenwald nugget, "character rules in investing. Smart helps, but discipline and resistance to the roar of the crowd . . ."

    2/3/14 Market is choppy, hoping for some limits to kick in. 25 BANF L47.5, 100 T L30, 100 NKSH L32.

    1/30/14 Another dip day, Boeing, (BA), got kicked in the teeth. 20 Limit@120. Last close 129.78

    1/24/14 Market dropped back a bit to day, BMY and VLO took the worst hits in the dividend basket.
    50 BMY Limit@45 last close 50.94
    50 VLO Limit@45 last close 49.04

    5/17/13 BMY was down 3% today, 25 Market, last close 42.77

    4/20/13 Red Greens
    Reds, best to worst
                  5     30    90    180   1    5yr
    SAFT     -      -       1      2      1     1
    RY        -       1      -       4      3     2
    KCLI     -      -       -       5      2     -
    CRH      -     -       3       1      4     -
    IBKR    -      -       2       3      -     -
    Decision: No action, all good companies, they are just bumping around, but as long as they are not in danger of going out of business and still pay dividends, let it ride.
    Action: Keep an eye on the Free Cash Yield on IBKR

    Greens, low to best
                  5     30    90    180   1    5yr
    SI           -      -      -       -      1     -
    MCD      -      3     1       3     2     2
    SLB       -       -      -       -     -      -
    CAJ       1      1     3       2     -      -
    SBUX    -      2     2       1     -      1
    Buy MCD Limit 15@98
    Buy CAJ Limit 35@37.25
    Buy SBUX Limit 30@57.5

    4/19/13 ADP Thesis
    Just opened a position in ADP 100 shares@Market last close was 65.23. I probably paid too much and will likely see a temporary drop, but expect it will continue climbing. My thesis is that they get to use float without some of the risks insurance companies incur. I will be adding a Google alert and am considering trying to make them a core stock over the next couple years.

    4/15/13 Perhaps the Boston Marathon bombing brought down the market. Our prayers are with the injured on those grieving the loss of a loved one.
    Added 50 PSX Market
    150 PROV Market
    70 NKSH

    4/4/13 Blood in the water
    The market traded down today. Bought on dips:
    25 PSX Market
    35 NKSH Limit 32
    60 PROV Limit 16
    40 ADM Market

    Set a limit in place to attempt to open a position on PAYX, 50 shares @32.00.

    Crazy Canadians

    3/23/13 Before I decided to use this online broker for our dividend mutual fund, I was using it for international ETFs in particular, Canadian. My thesis was and still is, well run government, debt under control and massive numbers of natural resources. And at one point some of these where way up. But when I started on the dividends, they were down, but I decided to keep them as they all pay dividends ( though FXC is a penny I think).
    CNDA -30%
    EWC -11.4%
    FXC -5.4%
    RY -1.8%
    FICDX +14.6%

    CWGL Who are you and what are you doing in my basket?

    3/23/13 As I was looking through the mutual fund, I noticed this equity, 20 shares worth a whopping $158.24. What? Turns out Leucadia spun them off.

    11/29/12 GIS

    Put a limit of 50 shares @ 39.00 on General Mills in basket Ck. Hopefully volatility will cause it to hit.

    Update December 8, 2012 No such luck, they are up about 3% over the past 30 days.
    Update December 17, 2012 41.73
    Update December 22, 2012 41.10, staying the course and hoping the fiscal cliff panic will cause this limit to hit.
    Update January 9, 2013 41.23, they did drop .04, but time to start thinking about a market order or a less aggressive limit. Decision: 50 limit@41.00.


    3/19/13 Added 30 shares SAFT ( boutique auto insurance) with dividend reinvestment. Tip from Motley Fool income investor. Thesis, unlike most auto insurance companies, Safety Insurance Group actually makes money on its underwriting, not just its investments.

    Update March 22, 2012 Reds, worst to best

                  5     30    90    180
    INTC                    2      2
    EXC      1      1     1      1
    FTE       2      3
    PBR              2

    Let's drill down on EXC. Exelon is an energy provider. They have a bit more debt than I like to see, but lower than the industry tends to have. And they are huge, operating in 47 states. But their financials are not as pretty as they were just a year ago ( which helps explain why this is a red). Decision: hold for now.

     Health and Status Analysis March 10, 2013

    Dividend Stocks ( DRIPed when possible) 55.60% of basket
    Dividend ETFs 20.31%
    FICDX 4.72%
    Fixed Income 11.73%
    Cash 7.65
    Portfolio return 90 days: 6.93%, 1 year 10.17%
    Open limit orders: CSCO, KMB, MCD, TAP, VZ
    ACTION: Close position on MOS, building cash for shopping in a downturn.

    February 24, 2013 Open Limit Orders
    CSCO 200@17 Last close was 20.90
    KCLI 50@ 37.25 - 37.87
    KMB 25@85.00 - 94.50
    MCD 25@85 - 95.25
    SBUX 50@50.00 - 54.17
    TAP 50@41.00 - 46.48

    New Positions:
    I did a screen for dividend payers with zero debt and found three that seemed to be fairly well rated:
    KCLI 50 Limit@37.25 3/23/13 closed and we are in the green
    TAP  50 Limit@41.00 3/23/13 48.96
    CAJ  75@Market, last close was 35.49

    I also added:
    Kimberly Clark (KMB) 25 Limit @85 3/23/13 95.66
    Cisco (CSCO) 200 Limit@17 3/23/13 20.75

    The only green I want to add to right now is Starbucks (SBUX) and only if a deep limit hits:
    50 SBUX Limit@50

    Red Report: While the basket is up, when ever you create a mutual fund there will be some laggards.
    Ticker       5   30   90
    CLF          -    -     -
    EXC         -    1     2
    FTE         -     -     -
    INTC        1   -      3
    PBR         3    -      -
    MCD       2    2      1
    Decision: 25 MacDonalds (MCD) Limit@85

    Sk Ecommerce (AMZN, EBAY, AAPL etc)

    Overall Thesis for Basket Sk
    While some big box stores have been struggling, online retail has been growing. I hope this is a long term trend and if so, want to be able to take advantage of it. And it has room to continue to grow. Online retail is about 6% of all commerce.

    10/30/15 transferring all assets to Vanguard. We are up 36%.

    8/24/15 V 50 Limit @ 67.50, AMZN 10 Limit 440.00

    6/17/15 Wal-Mart has continued to drop, but they have a lot of advantages. I think they are going to be a bigger player in ecommerce, they are certainly working on it. WMT 100@Market, Last close 72.73.

    4/1/15 Wal-Mart has been dropping a bit, last close was 80.79, let's add to the position:
    WMT 60 @ 80.00

    2/5/15 ODP is down 6% in after hours trading, market opens in 3 minutes. OK, I got up at 4:15 AM Hawaii time, set the trade up with my online broker. I wanted to do this manually since ODP was down in after hours trading. Well, the manual approach did not work. There were brief periods of time when ODP went above 9.43, but I could not react fast enough. Even if I used a limit or trailing stop it is not clear to me that an online broker can execute fast enough. Anyway, all of my tranches settled at 9.41 and change, so I lost $54.00 by not paying attention and making this trade before the markets closed yesterday.

    2/4/15 Staples and Office Depot may be merging. There are people that feel the main driver is Amazon. If I held Office Depot, I would sell and profit take right now. There was a quote in the IBT article on the subject that supports the overall thesis of this basket: "The big-box supply model “was prevalent 15 years ago, and it worked, but they’ve failed to move on with the times,” Mary Epner, a retail analyst in New York, said of Staples and Office Depot. “They’re caught up in the customer that was, not the customer who is now and will be five years from now.”

    I was totally in the zone with college work this morning and didn't get the memo. There is enough money in this trade that I want to do it live. So I will set my alarm for 0430, ah the price of being in Hawaii for two months is you still have to serve the East coast.

    Visa continues to dominate. I read a Seeking Alpha article about their moat and the probability they would increase their dividend payout in the future. I had been thinking about adding to this position, though in my dreams it was buying on a dip.
    V 10 Limit 249.88 Last Close 249.89

    1/28/15 Apple, (APPL) seems to still be driving the success of this basket, (it has performed well and I am overweight in comparison with other positions in the basket).  Only have two negative positions, (Live Person and Citrix). Put in a deep limit for Amazon, (AMZN), 10 shares, Limit 290.00 Last actual price 306.75. It will take a miracle, but a man has to have dreams.

    5/18/14 The Amazon Limit of 5/7/14 has hit, Wal-Mart is still hoping and waiting. I am going to try to open two new positions with GTC limits. Akamai has a really cool business model of bringing home pages closer to the customer. They also have not racked up a lot of debt. I am going to see if I can get the position open with a limit and add to it on dips.

    20 AKAM 53.00 L 53.33

    Digital River is a company you have probably run into if you are buying online from some of the smaller vendors. I hate that word cloud, but they provide payment services to companies that cannot have or do not want to have their own payment infrastructure. The have been around a long time. The problem is I am just a touch nervous about their debt level. We will try to get in with an aggressive limit, knowing full well it may not hit and that is OK.

    200 DRIV 14.75 L 15.70

    5/7/14 20 WMT 76.00 L 78.01, 10 AMZN L@290.00 L 292.71

    2/23/14 2 Factor Authentication will be important to online commerce, it is not an all and end all, but it sure beats clear text passwords. Whether or not it will be simple SMS messages or more advanced apps remains to be seen. However, I want to open positions on Symantec, (SYMC) and Verisign, (VRSN). Just completed some research and according to early results, these are the two most common mobile 2 factor apps. Right now they are a small part of the revenue stream, but if online commerce and mobile apps continue to grow, they should be good for both companies.

    • SYMC 250 Market LC 20.53
    • VRSN 65 L 54.50 LC 54.99

    3/11/14 AMZN dropped a bit today, 5 M@368.42

    1/30/14 Would like to add to Amazon position at a good price, they dropped over $10 bucks on Tuesday. 5 Limit@375.00 Last Close 384.20

    11/30/13 I am concerned about Apple. I had a thesis that Apple TV might be the next big, big thing. After several months of research, I honestly do not think so. Have a pretty major investment in AAPL and sure hope the holiday season is very good for them.
    AMZN 393.62   **** WOW ***

    8/1/13 Opened a position in Yahoo (YHOO)
    5/17/13 Limit 10 AAPL@ 430.00 last close 434.89
    4/4/13 Opened a position on Discover DFS, 40@42.60 last close 43.21
    2/4/13, AMZN 259.98, EBAY 55.69, AAPL 442.32 Decision: buy 5 shares of  AAPL and turn in for the night.
    Update January 10, 2013, AMZN 266.35, EBAY 52.76, AAPL 523.51
    Update December 17, 2012, last close was 253, just for fun, I put in a limit for 10@235, a man has to have dreams.
    Update December 10, 2012, it gets crazier my AMZN 5 share limit order hit at 248.50
    Update December 10, 2012 Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle Fire and I guess that caused their stock to drop a bit over 2%, even though the market was generally up. I added five shares to basket Sk at 247.33 with a market buy.

    8/2/13 Dell and minor actions

    Dell looks like it will go private, set a trailing stop for the entire position at 5%. UPS Limit@87 and GRPN Limit@8.25 both dipped today. We will see if the market allows us to add to those positions.

    Yahoo (YHOO) Thesis 8/1/13

    Why Yahoo in the ecommerce basket? Because they are working so hard on mobile apps. Opened 200 shares @ market (28.03).

    DFS Thesis 4/6/13

    I really had not been paying attention to discover. We hold V and MA in this account, but Discover Financial Systems is a $21B market cap company that has the Diner's card. They rebranded the card in 2009 and the people that use it tend to be loyal to it because of perks you can earn. The company is also into home and business loans. They have an approved buy back plan for $2.4B (there are 497.50 shares outstanding) and the dividend has been increased to a yield of 1.8% or .20 share each quarter. Debt to assets is 26.58, higher than I like to see, so I will open a moderate position.
    4/6/23 43.07

    AAPL Thesis 2/4/13

    I use 20% as a lens to try to understand the market. Apple is only down about 3% for the year. However, the following chart really has my attention, because this successful company has been moving in a different direction than Amazon or Ebay. So this is either a buying opportunity, OR, Wall Street knows Apple's demise is near. Since nothing I know and I work in tech, gives me any reason to believe they are going to have a major FAIL, I am leaning towards buying cautiously.

    April 6, 2013 1 year AAPL is blue, AMZN is red, EBAY is yellow.

    4/6/13 423.20 Yikes, it keeps dropping. Earnings is 4/23/13 and many analysts say they are expecting them to miss earnings. I still believe the thesis and still lean towards buying cautiously, but am losing money on this investment.
    4/7/13 According to this article, Apple will sell more devices than Microsoft this year.
    8/1/13 455.56 with two hours left in the trading day, still down, still in for the long term

    AMZN EBAY Thesis 11/27/12

    This URL, if accurate suggests that Amazon took 14% of the Internet traffic for Cyber Monday. That was enough to convince me to add 10 shares.

    From the article, "Amazon tops the list with an amazing 14% of all Internet users interacting with Amazon managed shopping sites every day. This includes as well as a growing empire of Amazon owned branded sites such as"

    4/26/13 AMZN dropped almost $20.00 today. Have a limit for 15 shares@253.00. Read an article that really got my attention today that Apple made more in a quarter than Amazon has in its entire life. Not sure if it is true, but those are certainly words to ponder.

    The other question is should we add to our position in the number two online retailer eBay? It is approaching a 52 week high, but is down a touch today. Decision add 10 @Market.

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    Cs 2015 Low cost ETF Strategy (and friends from earlier strategies)

    Strategy: This basket is mostly based on ETFs that can be traded at zero cost. So when there is a down day, I can buy 15 shares, ( I mostly shoot BBs instead of cannon balls). Dividends are reinvested when possible. I also added a floating rate fund to reduce volatility as well as a few short term CDs. There are also energy shares (MUR, CVX, XOM with XOM having the largest position by far). Finally there is a strong position in IBM, it wasn't actually part of the strategy, it was inherited from a previous strategy that did not work. The basic idea is to use the stocks to grow the portfolio in good times, expect the ETFs to be slower to go up or down and the floating rate fund and CDs to reduce volatility so I can sleep at night.

    8/24/15 SCHA 50 Limit @45.50, (start setting them deep, we could be in a correction), SCHE 75 Limit 17.50

    8/3/15 Blood in the water, IBM 15 Limit @ 158.00

    5/7/15 The limit orders expired, MUR, SCHH, and SCHE. Need to reset that money.

    4/1/15 Added 15 shares of XOM market order 84.35

    3/17/15 AT&T, (T), limit hit. 75@ 32.85 Last close 3/28/25 33.59

    3/10/15 They are screaming and running for the exits. As the market dropped some of the limits hit:
    XOM 35@ 84.79
    SCHF 10@ 29.67 (International equity)
    MUR 20@ 48.90
    DSUM 60@ 23.52

    Setting up a new limit, this is betting large for me. We are going to set a pretty deep limit.
    CVX 40 Limit 98.00 Last close 103.02

    3/6/15 Blood in the water people! All of my investments are dropping like stones, *grin*. Or could this mean buying opportunity time? The Murphy's oil limit hit, 20@48.90, they closed at 48.60. Great company, hard hit sector, let's get serious about an aggressive limit.
    MUR 50@45.00. Last Close 48.60.

    DSUM also hit 60@23.52. I am not going to attempt to increase my exposure to China at any price, my friend Richard sent me a link to an article about China that scared me pretty badly.

    When I surveyed the "carnage" on the battle field SCHH was hit the hardest.
    SCHH limit 40@34.00 Last Close 38.59.

    As usual SCHE took another hit. It is one of the few equities in this basket in the red. Let's try a deep limit in case it really dives.
    SCHE 100@20.00 Last Close 23.95

    3/4/15 SCHE limit hit, 10 shares@24.50

    3/2/15 Limit on XLU, (utilities ETF), hit@44.50, it has been dropping all month. Murphy oil got hit pretty hard today,
    MUR 20 Limit 48.90 Last Close 49.11

    1/30/15 SCHE 30 Limit 23.50 Last Close 23.90
    Open limit positions: CVX, DSUM, SCHA, SCHE, SCHE, SCHV,XOM

    1/29/15 XOM Exxon Mobile has managed their debt, they are huge and may be well positioned to survive the drop in oil/gas prices. Hopefully, I can add to my position with a limit order:
    XOM 25 shares, Limit 85.50  Current price: 86.83 ** I know this is an aggressive limit and it may not hit, but XOM was down over a dollar just today and I want to price in some safety.

    1/28/15 DSUM, (Chinese bonds), has been going down since I bought it. However, I am going to add to that position at the cheaper price. I think it helps diversify the basket. Also, the Price Waterhouse Coopers report from 2013 expects China to become the number one economy in the world. NOTE while this is a 2013 report they have done some updated analysis.
    DSUM 60 shares Limit 23.60 Last close 23.95

    SCHA and SCHD are still open limit orders.

    Trying to add to my Murphy Oil position:
    MUR 40 Limit 42.50 Last close 43.40
    Update: 1/29/15 Bought 40 Unit price 42.46
    As near as I can piece together this is what happened. Some near market close on 1/27/15 the supercomputers bet that MUR was not going to make their earnings. They were wrong. The limit hit, MUR beat the earnings estimates are the stock is recovering somewhat from being trashed by Wall Street. Keep in mind that energy is a long term play especially oil. It has taken a beating and probably will for sometime because of the low prices.

    1/13/15 We received an unexpected check and I do not want to leave that much money on the sidelines so we are going to fire a few cannon balls. Energy shares are being hammered, I am willing to be overweight in that part of the basket, but am using a limit order, if they do not hit I can keep that cash for small purchases on my ETFs on days they drop, the so called buy on dips strategy.
    MUR 190 shares Limit@48 Last close 48.51 Good till canceled
    CVX 100 shares Limit@98 Last close 108.21 Good till canceled
    XOM 50 shares Limit@90 Last close 92.10 Good till canceled

    SAMBX has been losing money. Here is my thesis which may well be flawed.
    3/2/15 8.87 (so far 2015 has been positive).

    The bulk of the money in this basket is in ETFs that can be traded at no cost. When one of them drops on a given day, I try to add a few more shares. Dividends are reinvested. All of them are positive except for the emerging market. So I will add to that position.
    SCHE 90 shares  Limit@23.80 Last close 24.00 Good till canceled.

    The result of all this is fire and forget, I will set a calendar reminder to come check on this basket in six weeks or so. If they all hit most of they money on the sidelines will be gone and I will have to wait till some of the CDs come to to make further investments.

    1/26/15 Had a few dips in ETFs where I can trade with no broker, they were significantly down so I used market orders to lock them in.
    SCHO (US T-bills) 7 shares@50.73
    SCHD (US Dividends) 25 shares@39.90

    Also opening a position with SFREX, (global REIT), with 3k, when the dust settles, I will update this.
    UPDATE 1/28/15 closed with 273.47 shares, 10.97 share