Thursday, November 3, 2016

As Municipals and ETF Strategy

11/3/16 We shut down our Ameritrade accounts where we were purchasing bonds. Our bond trader left the company and his replacement could not find us an inventory of municipal bonds. When the account reached 50% cash, because of bonds being called, I had no alternative. Money has to be put to work. The new trader managed to invest half of that cash sticking to our specifications in a single day.

Why Municipals and ETFs?

It is a bit weird, I was pursuing the ETF strategy when I was profit taking and thinking about getting a CD to "store" the money for later. The guy at the bond desk, asked if I had considered municipals. I did have some already, but as I was sharing my bond requirements, I jumped online and started a screen. I found one that look attractive, highly rated, very fair premium, short duration, it was callable, but at today's yields, why would I care. That guy left the bond desk, (without even saying goodbye). When I moved to Seattle, we went to visit the Ameritrade office and told that account manager that I would like some help screening bonds by someone with a Bloomberg terminal account. He introduced me to Sam Houston, we hit it off, and we diverted all the money still on the sidelines to bonds.


As I approach retirement, I need to reduce risk. With individual equities, there is a risk of total failure. This has happened to me twice, Worldcom and some shipping company. ETFs allow me to have access to the stock market with less risk of a total loss, though it is certainly easy to lose money with ETFs. The As basket is about half ETFs, though I talk about individual equities a lot, the majority of my investment dollars are in ETFs. I have about as many of them as individual stocks but I make bigger bets. That does not mean I can't lose money though. I am tracking the losers and the analysis decisions from the worst performing in the final section of the blog past. Some online brokers are starting to offer selections of ETFs that can be traded for free ( no broker fee), so if they start coming back I can add to my position cheaply. And a bunch of these are international. Of course, the expense ratio needs to be carefully monitored.

Rules of the basket:

All ETFs
Solid international representation ex Canada (these are stored in basket Ck)
No bond funds
Everything else is in play

3/2/15 Let's list the ETFs that are worth less than when I bought them back in 2012.
CCXE, (materials), Last close: 25.87 down 21%
EWX, (emerging markets small cap), LC 45.39 down 2.44%
IDX, (Indonesia), LC 24.84 down 9.9%
REMX, (rare earth), LC 26.48 down -70.41%
RSX, (Russia), LC 17.37 down -45.6%
RSXJ, (Russia smal cap), LC 22.07 down -63.5%
Action: Let them ride

Update March 19, 2013 Reds that are less of a disaster
               5  30  90  180
CCXE   2     2    2
GERJ    1    1    1

This much falling action leads me to want to look at some of the ETFs in the green. Least green to  more green.
               5  30  90  180
EWX      3   2    3
EIDO    2    1     1
VIG      1    2     2

And even more green to even greener.
IVE      1     2    1    1
RWX    2     3
EWG    3           3    3
IDX            1    2    2

Decision: sell market 25 GAF, 55 ILF, 100 FXI, 200 EWY, 165 GXC, 85 VEU. This is a good thing anyway, the plan is to make As primarily fixed income. Set calendar to check again next week.

Analysis, we have some serious weakness developing in this basket.
Update February 24, 2013 Worst losers
On the main this basket (As) is doing well, but need to tune it just a bit. Here are the red, or losing ETFs in the basket from the biggest loser on top to only slightly down at the bottom:
3/19/13                            5  30  90
               5  30  90  180
REMX                            2
RSXJ      3   1    1     3     1   3    1
EPI                          1          2    3
EWZ      4          4           2   1    2
CCXE    2  3     2     2

Need to keep in mind, this is comparing losers to losers, and some of these are cyclic. A screener I use suggests similar ETFs VAW and XLB. If I was to switch, VAW is currently at 86.04 and CCXE last closed at 32.35.

GAF is a small investment and about the only exposure I have to the Middle East and Africa so I am going to let it ride for now. REMX is my worst performing ETF, but it is a small investment and I do not have any other exposure to rare earth, let it ride. ILF is exposure to Latin America, I will check for a replacement, but plan to let this one go as well.

The interesting thing to note is RSXJ, Russia Small Cap. It is down 16% for the year, but seems to be outperforming the other losers.
Decision: No action at this time.
3/19/13 The worst are still bad and continuing to lose, I am going to stay the course and not lock in my losses, but these are smelly.

Here is the list of commission free ETFs I currently hold in the basket:

ETF               Focus             MGT Fee  1/9/13
EPI                India               .83         -11.47
EWA             Australia         .52            9.09
EWG             Germany         .51            7.97
EWZ              Brasil             .59           -9.67
FXI                China             .72            9.76
ILF                 Latin             .5             -5.83
RSX               Russia           .62           -6.49
RWX              Real Estate    .59            6.69
VEU               World ex US .18           11.06

IJR                 Small cap       .16          14.74
IVE                SP 500 V       .18              .24
IWP                Mid G           .25            6.85
MGK              Mega cap      .12           16.05
VIG                Dividend       .13             0

ETFs that trade on commission

ETF      Focus           1/9/13
CCXE  Commodities -2.65
EIDO   Indonesia      -3.83
EWD   Sweden         16.48
EWW   Mexico         26.23
EWX    Emerge SM   2.78  
EWY   Korea           10.94
FXO     US Leverage 9.43
GAF     MEA         -1.63
GERJ  -0.06
GXC    China          14.64
GXF    Nordic          16.10
IDX     Indonesia        4.06
IJR     Small IDX     14.74
JKF     Large V       15.11
REMX Rare Earth   -39.16
RSXJ   -24.88
TUR   Turkey         48.70

ETFs that are down and action analysis

(List order: worst performing on the top)

REMX, this is a rare earth ETF, it was a portfolio diversity play pure and simple. I am down by almost 50% when all of my baskets are positive so in an insane way it is working. Don't have much financial exposure, let it ride.
Update January 1, 2013 13.16 up 5% in past 30 days
2/24/13 12.17, down 6.5% past 30 days
3/1/13   11.81

 RSXJ, Russia small cap. Down 30%, but very little financial exposure, do not lock in the losses and keep an eye on it.
Update January 1, 2013 15.24 up 6.8% in past 30 days
2/24/13 15.82 up 0.7% past 30 days
3/1/13   15.32

 EPI, I have never been able to make India work for me. I am down 15%, and have a significant exposure, but it has been up slightly for the last month. Monitor, this is my only India play so I hesitate to pull the trigger.
Update January 1, 2013 19.37 up 2.9% in past 30 days
2/24/13 19.02, down .9% past 30 days
3/1/13   18.19

 EWZ, the bloom is off the rose for this Brazil Index fund, down 16% and I do have a significant exposure. Set a calendar to monitor and be ready to take my losses.
Update January 1, 2013 56.06 up 8% in past 30 days
3/1/13  55.20

 RSX, another Russia ETF, down 13% and do have significant exposure.
Update January 1, 2013 29.97 up 7.4% in past 30 days
3/1/13  28.81

 ILF, Latin America, down 12% with moderate exposure. I think the picture for Latin America still has promise, let it ride.
Update January 1, 2013 43.84 up 5.3% in past 30 days
3/1/13  43.40

 GAF, emerging Middle East and Africa, it is up 3% for the past 12 months, so this is one to watch about growing the position. I am currently down 8.87%
Update January 1, 2013 73.57 up 9.3% in past 30 days.
3/1/13  68.48

 CCXE, basic materials fund. It is up 6% and is cyclic, this would be a good choice for a deep limit and add to the position, things like this seesaw up and down. Down 8.19%. Set a limit for 50@28.00.
Update January 1, 2013 31.83 up 5%, limit will probably not happen, let it ride.
3/1/13  32.30 added 20@market

 GERJ, Germany small cap, very thinly traded and I have a  small position. Down 7.76%. Limit order for 25@21.00.
Update January 1, 2013 22.91 up 4.5% in past 30 days
3/1/13  24.16  added 30@market

 EIDO, Indonesia index, up 17% in past six months. Down 5.38%. Limit order for 25@29.50.
Update January 1, 2013 30.26 up 1% in past 30 days
3/1/13  34.36 added 20@market

EWX, emerging market small cap, seems to be on the mend. Down 5%. Limit order for 25@43.00.
Update January 1, 2013 46.64 up 6% in past 30 days
3/1/13 47.20 added 15@market

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hostess Brands planning an IPO

Hostess brands, the maker of Twinkies has really turned their business around, according to the Washington Post, "Where the company just five years ago had 8,000 employees — 75 percent of whom were represented by unions — the company now says in filings that it has a “streamlined employee base” of roughly 1,170 workers. That workforce is the shadow of a once-vast empire, which shortly before its troubles totaled 22,000 workers across more than 40 bakeries." How do they do it? Robots make the Twinkies and HoHos. They are now planning for an IPO.

I serve as the chair for SANS Rocky Mountain 2017 in Denver starting June 12, 2017. Hostess is led by billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos who drove the move to automation. I think he would appreciate the degree of cyber-security automation in the courses we offer.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Fixed to floating (F2F)

Bonds are not available. The Chinese are concerned about their political situation. The Japanese have negative interest rates. They are snapping up the bonds and all that is left for us is not attractive.

So you end up moving to preferreds. But fixed income has inflation as one of its risks. Apparently there is a type of preferred that is tied to an interest rate management. It is still niche, but worth knowing about:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Quitting while I am ahead

According to the AARP Bulletin May 2016, "Financial acuity declines after age 60 by an average of 1 percentage point a year."  Still making progress moving assets to Vanguard and having them balance and manage.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Watch your attitude Mr. Northcutt

When Kathy and I attended the Charles Schwab retirement seminar, one of the things they said was simplify and unify. I will confess that I have taken the opposite tact. I felt that you should not have all your eggs in one basket. eTrade is cool because they have 2 factor authentication, but eTrade, by some accounts is financially stressed. What if they fail? You certainly would not want to exceed the SEC coverage.

Yet complexity means you are not watching all those baskets closely. These days, the risk of someone hacking your account is probably far greater than the risk of that investment bank becoming insolvent. My friend Rudy, tells me there is a Chinese proverb to put all your eggs in a basket, and watch that basket closely. Hmmm.

Right, wrong or indifferent, we are in a time of transition. I have swigged the simplify and unify Kool-aid. One by one, I am closing the strategies and moving the assets to Vanguard. They are being invested in low-overhead, huge ETFs and Mutual Funds. They will never get the kinds of returns that I got when I was actively investing with strategies, but I do not have to think about this stuff. Kind of a win.

So where is the attitude problem? In addition to Vanguard, we have one of those classic financial advisor accounts. Lest I sound like I am a gazillionaire let me put this in perspective. We started the relationship back when Kathy was a public school teacher making something like 12k/yr. The advisor's kids went to the school, they had some special needs, (both turned out great by the way), and he offered to help the teachers invest for retirement without taking his fee.

So where is the attitude problem? Well a lot of water has passed under the dam at this point and we actually have a nest egg that matters. Since my health was failing we have chosen to invest in a portfolio that would allow us to receive money monthly including two annuities.

NOTE: annuities are complex and dangerous. However, they fall into the category of reliable payments. When you retire, you lump your assets into two groups. Reliable payments are things like social security, retirement plans, 401k, IRA, high quality bonds and annuities. The other group is ephemeral, stocks go up, (up being the key point), and down and cannot be relied on for monthly distributions, (let's skip the dividend debate for now).

So where is the attitude problem? Ah. We had our quarterly call yesterday with our advisor. And I was bored. This is about half of the money we are going to need to live on when we are not receiving salary and I was bored. So, today, I resolve to open up that PDF report and read it line by line. I do not know went wrong with me yesterday, but I repent and will focus today. I am going to watch my investment attitude.

Monday, April 18, 2016

CLOSED - Ts Mutual Fund Red/Green 2014 - 2016

4/18/16 I have transferred these assets to Vanguard to be placed in massive diversified ETFs or Mutual Funds. This was my lowest performing strategy and yielded an 11% increase net fees. 11% may sound good, but I had a huge time investment to get there. The biggest takeaway seems to be the more you trade, the less you earn.

NOTE: I am not an expert investor, this entire blog is nothing more than my trading notebook, this is not advice and I strongly encourage you to do your own research.

The basic strategy of this basket is to run it like a mutual fund, relatively small portions of many positions. The 2015 guiding principles of the basket are:

  1. No equity can exceed 10% of the basket
  2. No big purchases, as Jim Collins would say, shoot bullets - not cannon balls
  3. Trade fee must be less than 1% of the purchase I am making
  4. 20% max debt to assets ratio at time of purchase (this rule can be bent)
  5. Trade ideas can come from anywhere
  6. Use limit orders to buy and use trailing stops to sell when possible
  7. Every once in a while we kill a winner and use it to purchase a CD or Muni with a fairly short timeframe, NTE 2.5 years in this current flat interest rate environment, as interest rates rise, we will strongly consider longer periods of time. The key words however are every once in a while, the primary strategy is buy and hold.
  8. All money on the sidelines should be stored as aggressive limit orders for equities that are overall positive. The idea to try to get lucky if the Wall Street computers suddenly drop an equity. The risk of doing this is that if the market suddenly does a "flash" drop, we may not get the equity at the lowest price, but since we do not have high speed trading capability it is the best we can do.
  9. Never panic if an equity is underwater, (worth less than you paid for it), many times good companies recover. The only reason to sell an underwater stock is if we realize our thesis is not correct.
  10. Dividends are like icing on a cake. This is not the dividend basket, that is Ck, but who is to complain? They are not reinvested like Cs and Ck, instead the cash is used to expand the mutual fund.
  11. Use Red/Green Analysis at least four times per year. This is simply a relative check and is only used for trending. We do some analysis when we purchase, (open), add to, or close a position. But in the mean time if a stock starts to climb or fall, we might very well miss it. Everything is relative to the price, (or average price), we acquired the equity. Green would be stocks that are above the price we acquired them at, red is the opposite. The purpose of the analysis is to try to spot stocks that are increasing or decreasing in price. They are ranked by time intervals, usually 30, 90, 180, 365 days and 5 years.

  12. 10/30/15 Time to face facts, this is my least profitable basket. Too many positions means I do not know some of them well enough. Closing some of the reds: NUAN, CMI, LECO, RL, UNFI, WFM, GES. All are market orders, time to lock in the losses. Then start to think about a tax advantaged approach to unwinding some of the profitable holdings. All positions traded are long.

    9/7/15 Corning, I have held GLW most of my life, but sold it doing profit taking a while back. I think the price/performance means it is tine to do it again. 100 GLW Limit 17.20 GTC Last close 17.24.

    9/7/15 Red Green report
    Lowest performing greens best to worst
                    30    90   180   1    5
    VOD                           1   1   5
    CUDA                                  4
    IRBT                                     1
    FXE          1      1       2
    CMI                                      2

    Analysis, time to reduce inventory. Sell 50 VOD, 100 CUDA at market. Buy 15 FXE @ Market, last close 109.31.
                    30    90   180   1    5
    CTXS               2        5         5
    ATHN       1     1        2         2
    TSLA                         1         1
    BIDU                                    3
    PG                                         4

    No action taken.

    8/24/15 PANW 20 Limit 140.00, (they dropped 7% today, setting a deep limit current 152.50), SPLK 30 Limit 58.00.

    8/3/15 Splunk is becoming the SIEM of choice. Adding to my position. SPLK 20 Limit @ 67.00.

    8/1/15 iRobot is getting clobbered. But once you have a Roomba you never want to go back. In fact here in Washington we have two, one upstairs, one downstairs. And if you have a pet, you really appreciate these. Let's add to the position if a limit hits. IRBT 50 Limit 30.00 Last close 30.79

    6/11/15 Continuing pursuing a larger stake in batteries. 150 "Market" for PCRFY, (Panasonic). An odd thing happened though. The Market order was rejected by the broker, they said to use a limit order. So I looked up the price on Google Finance and made the market order for that amount, (14.33) and it executed.

    6/2/15 Red analysis, best performing stocks that are less than initially bought, descending order:
                    30    90   180   1    5
    UNFI                                    1
    GSK                                     4
    DBA         1
    MOO        1      2      1    1    2
    MCD                1                  3

    McDonalds is in its familiar place in one of the top 5 reds. MOO looks interesting and may be worth a gentle limit order to increase the position. MOO is part of the food and water is going to get more expensive thesis.
    MOO 15 Limit@56.50 Last 56.64

    Reds 6 - 10
                    30    90   180   1    5
    WFM                              1    2
    RL                                         4
    SE                                         3
    OII                                        1
    WMT                                    5
    YIKEs no member of the set has done well in the last 30 - 180 days and only Whole Foods has some progress for the year. The position for WFM was opened 03/2013. OII and SE get a pass because most energy is off.

    What to do about Wal-Mart? It is in two baskets, this one and also the ecommerce basket and is down a bit over 5% in this basket.

    Green analysis lowest performing positive stocks descending order:
                    30    90   180   1    5
    PPC                                       1
    ERIE         2             2           3
    STX                                 1   2
    VEGI        1     1      1           4
    Closing position with Seagate. They have been losing share in the SSD market. ERIE is in a familiar spot, it is usually in the lowest performing greens or highest performing reds. VEGI is really worth watching, it is part of the food is going to increase in price thesis.

    Green analysis 10 - 6 lowest performing
                    30    90   180   1    5
    LIT                   2       4
    SEA                  3       3
    CHEOY     2              2   2    3
    QCOM       3                         1
    FEYE         1     1       1    1   2

    LIT, (Lithium), is part of the batteries are going to be important thesis. SEA is a small position, they say that shipping stocks can warn of an impending bear market or recession. It is good to see CHEOY heading in the right direction. I bought it in February 2012 and at first it went up, but then it went down. With an aging population it would seem cochlear implants are going to do well. QCOM is one to watch carefully, revenue has been pretty flat. Of course, what is not  to like about a dividend stock that has a snapdragon processor to sell. FireEye looks like it is headed in the right direction, I think a lot of the credit is Mandiant.

6/2/15 TSLA Limit 5@247.50 Last 248.35. Going to try to open a position in Intelsat, (I). The stock is really beaten down, but they have an incredible moat.
I 100 Limit@10.00. If these two limits hit, we will be down to 2% cash on the sidelines.

5/29/15 Down to 2% cash on the sidelines. May need to consider a sale. In the mean time, initiated two conservative limit orders:
15 SPLK 66.80 Last 67.08
20 FEYE 46.70 Last 46.76

5/21/15 I am bailing on ZLTQ Sell 65@Market. Want to open a position in Spectra Energy. I have it in other baskets, but am light on energy in this basket.
Buy 100 SE Limit@36.15.

4/16/15 Still another market order. TEVA got smacked around a bit on the merger. Added 25@Market, (63.69) to my existing position.

4/10/15 Yet another market order, I hope this is not becoming a habit. NUAN has been a bummer for me, it has lost 27% since I opened the position 04/01/13. Today I read a Seeking Alpha article on the stock that seemed to be compelling.
NUAN 60 Market 14.22

4/6/15 I did something that is not characteristic, a market order. Work has been more busy of late and I wanted to make sure I didn't space out. In the dividend portfolio I picked up Danaher, but I want more exposure to batteries. So today, I bought 200 DHR@ 11.69. I will follow that up with a limit order to increase the position:
LIT 200 Limit 11.50

4/3/15 McDonalds, (MCD), in this basket has dropped to position five in the list of stocks that are worth less than I paid for them. It was one of the first stocks I bought, (in another basket), over thirty years ago. Just over ten years it has doubled. But they are certainly struggling. It is the fourth largest position in the Ts basket. Fed Ex, Wells Fargo, Pao Alto are all bigger positions. I am wondering if I should close MCD and use that money for a better opportunity. But I also know this is an enduring brand. Back to 30 years ago, Kathy and I were both working so Hunter, (our son), was in a day care facility called "Dawning point". One day they went on a field trip; to McDonalds. Ever since that day, when we were driving and he saw the golden arches, he would loudly exclaim, "McDonalds". These were days when I was a GS7 in the government and Kathy was a school teacher. We did not have a lot of money, but I knew we should get some MCD. I think I am going to stick it out, if a stock has treated me well I should be patient. I surely hope the new CEO is going to be able to turn things around. Go big or go home, there is money in this account:
MCD 10 Limit 95.00 Last 95.83

4/1/15 Adding to existing positions: SPLK limit hit 15@ 58.99, ENH limit hit 10@60.99

Gosh it is great to have money to spend again, continuing to try to add to existing positions:
PANW 10 Limit 140.00 Last 141.18
ESRX 15 Limit 82.00 Last 84.20
SPLK 25 Limit 5.00 Last 58.13 A quick moment on the Splunk thesis. This is the tool everyone I know uses for Big Data applications for information security. I need to do research to find out if it generalizes to Big Data for other use cases.
WMT 45 Limit 79.00 Last 80.79

3/30/15 A CD came due. The good news is that gives me capital since this basket was almost fully invested. The bad news is that I have no idea what to buy. Today, (3/31/15), the market is off a bit, let's see if something we already have a position in has a buying opportunity.
SPLK 15 Limit 59.00
ENH 10 Limit 61.00
Changed FXE to 10 Limit 102.00 was 100.00

Closing my position in Catamaran to take advantage of the recent pop up. This is an odd day for the mutual fund, this basket has gone from being tapped out in terms of cash to fairly flush.

3/24/15 Pilgrim's Pride Limit hit!
PPC 25@ 24.00 Last 24.16

3/18/15 IRBT hit! 50@ 30.00 Last Close 32.08
3/14/15 Market is closed, but setting up for next week. IRBT has dropped some this week, let's try a deep limit and see if we can add to that position.
IRBT 50 Limit 30 Last Close 33.01

3/12/15 Limit hit:
OII 15@ 51.00

3/11/15 The sun is shining, the market is up, birds are chirping. For some reason Pilgrims Pride got slapped in the face today. Chicken is a pretty good place to make a bet, but only at the right price. I actually prefer Sanderson, but hey let's give it a shot. Fisher Investments says that choice of the stock is of minor importance, if you get the asset class correct everything will work out.
PPC 25 Limit 24.00 Latest 24.90

Two limits hit:
FXE 15@ 104 Latest 103.73
SLV 50@ 14.90 Latest 14.80
Clearly, I did not set these limits deep enough. Even so, I am pretty happy with the overall progress of the fund in commodities or basic materials. We have a position in copper and silver, these will be cyclical to some extent, but people need silver and copper. We have a stake in potash and seeds as well.  We have a growing position in water. I have zero expectations that any of these are going to break records, but they are needed. When I have the cash available to open new positions, I want a position in paper/wood building materials, (timber & forestry ETFs such as WOOD and CUT), but not today.

3/10/15 They are running for the exits today, you can hear the screams. UNFI is my hardest hit position. Last I heard people were starting to favor organic food.
UNFI 10 Limit 75.50 Latest 75.89

Two limit orders hit:
SEA 30@ 18.50 Limit was 18.50 Latest 18.49 This is a "marker" position, those who have mad skills in reading tea leaves say that where SEA goes, the market goes. I dunno, I do not have mad skills but I am happy to learn. I still have a small position.

POT 25@ 33.40 Limit was 33.60 Latest 32.96 This is a reminder of why we always buy with a limit. This is also a marker stock. When the whole basket of commodities drops, it indicates the global economy is a bit off and the general stock market might not be far behind. If you have money on the sidelines, that can be the time to buy. Obviously I do not have much money on the sidelines in this basket.

3/9/15 No blood in the water today, the market is continuing its bull run. I went down a rabbit hole and watched the Jim Rickards, (Death of Money), video. No, I am not about to sell all my shares and buy guns and gold, but he did mention Warren Buffet buying a railroad. Mr. Rickards said railroads are hard assets, (true), and are rolling pipelines. The pipeline statement may be true in theory, but the recent derailments in West VirginiaOntario and Illinois may cause some additional regulation since the "safer" CPC 1232 upgraded tank cars clearly are not safe enough. Since the industry spent about a billion replacing the older tank cars, if these have to be replaced that could cause a drop in that sub-segment of the industrials. Seven promising railroads are: UNP, CNI, CSX, NSC, GWR, KSU, PWX. The lowest debt is PWX, but it is not followed by many analysts. UNP looks like the best bet.
UNP 10 Limit 115.00 Last Close 117.17

Let's continue to look at the losers. Westport Innovations jumped 11% today. I am not going to put any more cash into WPRT right now. Clean engines are great, but word on the street is they are burning through cash.

For the first time in at least a year McDonalds is in the green. Every time something like that happens, it encourages my buy and hold mindset.
3/18/15 Last close 97.00 I am now down .08% sigh.

In order of least worst to "worser", my five best performing losers are: VOD, ATHN, SEA, POT, CTXS.
3/18/15 MCD, CTXS, VIVO, AZN, COPX, Vodaphone, (VOD), Athena Health. (ATHN), SEA are all slightly positive, (price is slightly high than it was when I bought them).

POT is fairly interesting they just got picked up by a major fund, (Ray Dalio's Bridgewater).
POT 25 Limit 33.60 Last Close 33.78

SLV, like many other commodity ETFs has had its lights punched out. But silver is not just for jewelry, it is important for electronics. I even have travel socks with silver in them. Let's up the ante a bit.
SLV 50 Limit 14.90 Last Close 15.08

3/3/15 Two of the limits hit, there is blood in the water in the market:
CORR 70 Limit was 8.80 but when it executed it was at 6.81 WOW, WOW, WOW
SYT 10 Limit was 69.00 executed at 68.69

3/2/15 The iRobot, (IRBT), limit is looking doubtful. The limit is at 25 and it closed today at 33.47. It is a good idea, of course, to have some deep limits in case of a big drawdown, but the flip side of that coin is that there is not a lot of money on the sidelines in this basket. Let's go a bit deeper into the red than we did on 2/27/15 and look for signs of momentum. Three interesting losers, (worth less than I paid for them), are CORR, SYT and VMW.

I have a pretty heavy position in VMWARE since everyone I know in the industry uses it, I was shocked when that one sunk in the red. However, the pace of innovation seems to be slowing a bit, I am not going to attempt to add to that position.

CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust, Inc. is doing fairly well in terms of managing their debt, a tough trick for a REIT.
CORR 70 Limit 8.80 Last close 8.87

Syngenta pays a dividend and seeds seem like a good place to be.
SYT 10 Limit 69.00 Last close 69.98

Now that the shipping ETF SEA is in place it would be fun to see if we could increase that position.
And it pays a dividend which is a plus. SEA 30 Limit 18.50 Last close 19.44 (I realize it is somewhat unrealistic, but if we killed one deep limit we can replace it with another even if it is small).  And this is all I can do until I scare up some more cash.

2/27/15 The Splunk limit hit @67.96 share. This is a long term play on "big data". Took a few minutes on this lovely Saturday to look at the five best performers that are in the red, (they now trade for less than the price I bought them at). In order from best to worst they are: FXE, RL, AZN, FEYE, LECO. The interesting one of this set is Fireeye, they are up 46% in the past three months. I have a fairly large position, I think I am not going to take any action, there is not a lot of cash left on the sidelines in this basket.

2/24/15 SEA closed at 19.00 Now I will start to think about the Baltic Drygoods Index a bit more.

2/23/15 Everybody is telling me I need to buy HAL. I don't know, I understand the price is down and their impending merger can help them reduce costs. However, there is an oil service company, Franks International, that has low debt and reports earnings in a couple days. I think putting in a deep limit could be a good idea.
FI 100 Limit 14 Last close 16.30 (yes, this will take something close to a selloff miracle)
FI 100 Limit 13.75 (Man's gotta have dreams)
To fund this, I canceled my two limit orders on iRobot, (IRBT).
3/10/15 18.10 The miracle hasn't happened, canceled, repurpose the money with a limit on FXE.

2/19/15 I just read yet another article tying pull backs and recessions to the Baltic Drygoods Index. So what the heck, if I open a small position on an EFT largely based on this it will force me to look at it.
SEA 105 Limit 19.00 Last close 19.27

Wal-Mart has been under stress lately, I have a small position in this basket, the larger position is in the eCommerce basket, they sell about 1/7th of what Amazon does online. Let's see if we are able to add to the position on the cheap:
WMT 10 Limit 80.00 Last close 83.52 (who knows)

2/17/15 The time could be right to open a position on the Euro thanks to our pals in Greece.
FXE 20 Limit 112.10 Last close 112.16 Bid Ask 111.80 112.56
2/17/15 Bought@112.09 Now we just need to be exceedingly patient, this is going to be volatile for a bit, watch for the long term.
3/10/15 106.78 Hmmm, looks like the big wall street computers are in charge here, over the past 30 days there have been a couple cliff like drops. Going to cancel the Franks International limit and use that money to see if I can get FXE. They are only a few coins away from their 52 week low.
FXE 15 Limit 104.00 Last Close 106.78

Novo Nortis, (NVO) is becoming the diabetes treatment king.
NVO 60 Limit 43.50 Last close 43.76
3/10/15 46.59

2/11/15 The COPX limit order hit. I should have been more patient and left the more aggressive limit order. Still, when dealing with commodities you have to be patient and accept the cyclical nature of the beast. Status:
450 shares, bought 2/10/15 6.61 current value 6.41
2/16/14 7.00
3/10/15 6.79
What about trying again with CU?
CU 80 Limit 14.50 Last  close 16.48

2/10/15 Thinking about opening a position with Modine.  They are down a bit, but seem to be a solid company. To protect myself, I need an aggressive limit.
MOD 100 Limit 11.00 Last Close 12.66

2/9/15 McDonalds, (MCD), got smacked today, but I am not going to try to add to that position. They need to make some changes starting with a CEO that sticks around.
3/10/15 They are up a but over 5% in the past 30 days and for the first time in a year are in the green for my investment. What changed?

Athena Health, (ATHN), got smacked even harder than McDonalds, they went down over 8 dollars (~6%). I guess anyone with a short position is dancing in the streets. ATHN closed at 136.26 and the bid ask spread is 128.66 136.28
ATHN 15 Limit 124.00 (ya gotta have dreams)

One of the limit orders, Cummings, (CMI), finally hit at 135.

Splunk, (SPLK), seems to be regaining momentum, glad I did not close the position.
3/10/14 61.83 they are up a bit over 9% in the basket/

2/5/15 IRBT took a hit today. I want to carefully add to my position.
IRBT 25 Limit 28.50 Current 29.37
3/10/15 34.48

2/4/15 The big news of the day is the potential merge between Office Depot and Staples. I am going to wait till the dust settles and I can see what kind of debt the resulting company has.

RBT Bearings dropped just a bit today, let's put in a limit to try add to that position:
ROLL 15 Limit 59 Current 59.57
2/16/15 Not going to happen, canceled the order so I have cash to try NVO.
3/9/15 63.26 I am up about 34%, but am suffering not-buyers remorse. Good company with less debt than competitors. They have done three acquisitions in the past two years: Western Precision Aero LLC, Climax Metal Products, Turbine Components Inc.

1/31/15 This is Saturday, markets are closed. IRBT gives earnings report next week. I am up 9%, but only because of my early purchases, ALL of the add to position via limits were clearly way too tight.
IRBT 50 Limit 28.00 (52 week low is 29.73), Last close 31.55

1/30/15 Good news the Symantec, Oceaneering and Athena Health limits hit, so I have added to those positions:
SYMC 50 Limit 25 Execute 25 Last close 25.13
ATHN 10 L      140  EX     138.83 LC      141.61
OII       40 L              EX       53.00 LC       52.36

I have several robot focused stocks, (IRBT, ISRG), but want more exposure. There is an EFT called ROBO. It has a high fee,  is currently losing money and is lightly capitalized. Not exactly comforting, but trying to think long term. This is going to be a rule 8 order, come on bluebird!
ROBO 80 Limit 23.50 NOTE 52 week low is 23.80, Last close 24.86
2/4/15 ROBO current 25.33. I am not willing to sweeten my bid and may withdraw soon. The index they use is proprietary. Let's see if there is another way to take this on.
3/9/15 25.80 Sigh, standing firm though, it is unwise to sweeten the bid.

1/27/15 Rule 8 of this basket is that all money on the sidelines must be tied to a limit order in the hopes that in a correction they will hit. However, in a bull market, the numbers we start with can become unrealistic, so I audited the limit orders today.
Symbol   Limit   Last close  Action, if any
COPX       6.00     6.25          2/4/15 current 6.65 If I want this, (and I do), I probably need to change the limit to 6.60. That is still under the bid - ask spread currently at 6.63. Need a down day or some negative copper or commodity news to make this happen.
CU           14.80   15.41       1/31/15 upped the limit to 15.00 2/14/15 current is 16.05 lets up the limit to 15.50.
CHEOY   30.00   32.66         Change Limit, (CL) 32.55 NOTE Beta is 1.5
ATHN    135.00  145.75        CL                          140.00
INTU        64.12   87.50         CL                            87.50
SYMC      18.05   25.94         CL                            25.00
TEVA       41.12  59.06          Cancel - I am not a super big fan of ADRs
ISRG      340.00 509.06         CL                           495.00
BSX         11.00   14.74         Cancel - they have more debt than I like to see

Now we need to look for two replacement players for the just in case of a market drop. I found one of them, Cummins:
CMI    5@135.00  142.27    NOTE Beta 1.78, maybe it will hit on a swing
3/9/15 140.95, It will take one heck of a swing *grin*. But mostly this is a good news story, the basket is up 20% and we are overweight on this equity.

1/24/15 I have wanted to put a mining company in the portfolio for some time. I just downloaded the Forbes 15 stocks to buy in 2015 and found the case for AUY compelling. I spent a couple hours doing market research and it certainly seems like a small investment makes sense. I am going to try to open a position with a limit order:
AUY 400 Limit 4.00 Last close 4.11

I got a note from the broker that Raven Industries just paid a dividend. In terms of stock price this is one of the worst performing equities in the basket. However it is a good company and they pay dividends.

1/21/15 Corning GLW maker of optical fiber and gorilla glass just fell off their all time high by a little bit. I used to hold this, need to dig out my old paper trading notebook to see why. But I decided to open a position. 150 shares Market, at that time it was 24.08.

1/20/15 Cochlear, an implant hearing aid company has been underwater for me for a long time, but is now positive. Going to try to add to my position with a limit on 30 shares@30 dollars Last Close 30.33. 1/28/15 limit hit.
3/9/15 34.06

1/19/15 The IRBT conundrum. Good news and bad news. Samsung is in the market with a robotic vacuum cleaner. This will likely steal market share from Roomba. However, their telepresence robot is starting to get some traction. Also, it appears their robotic hand could have two revenue streams, one in consumer robots they sell and also licensing the hand to other companies.

I first opened a position with IRBT in April 2012 when it was 28.76, last close on Friday1/16/15 was  32.00. Added to the position 7/23/14 and the last close for that day was 35.36.

The question on the table is do we add more to that position? It is trading a lot close to its 52 week low than high:
IRBT 30 Limit@31.75 Last close 32.00

Decided to add to my position with two underwater stocks worth slightly less than I paid when I opened the position. I looked at my notes and they seem to be great companies with promise. And they are important to our world. This is also the logical extension of this basket. If we believe they are well run companies with a product relevant for our time, they we can expect the product will go up. Intuitive Surgical and Intuit were both underwater for several months, but no longer.

Oceaneering International (OII)  is a deep diving company. They do have some exposure to the oil companies and that might hold them down for a bit, but with patience I expect to see them climb.
OII 40 Limit 53.0 Last Close 53.90
1/21/15 1200 54.01 Maybe I should have used a market order, but as the song says "There are too many fish in the sea".
3/9/15 52.66 I think they may be back in play. They are down a bit over 5% for the past 30 days. Let's try a limit.
OII 15 Limit 51.00 Last Close 52.66

Seattle Genetics creates specific antibodies for difficult to treat problems such as relapsed Hodgkins and non-Hodgins tumors. Some of their products are approved, others are in trial and they have a pipeline.
SGEN 50 Limit 31.00 Last Close 31.37
1/24/15 32.30
3/9/15 34.93 We are still red, but they are up over 5% for the past 30 days.

Speaking of thesis being wrong, tomorrow when the markets open, I am closing my position in PNR. I thought I knew what I was doing, but further study has convinced me I should only play water via ETFs.
UPDATE: 1/20/15 Talk about cake with the icing on top, we had four executes. As I understand it, (I was busy grading papers), the market started to tank, (which is why the limits hit and then went positive).
IRBT 31.74
SGEN 31.00
OII 53.00
PNR closed position@64.74

UPDATE 2/5/15 McDonalds, (MCD)
1/19/15 Even if they do not go up, they may not lose much and possibly pay a dividend, my poster child for this behavior is McDonalds. MCD has even been in the green for a couple of weeks in 2014, but they tend to range -1 to  -4% of what I paid for them, but there is that 3.72% dividend so all is forgiven.

2/5/15 NASDAQ just published an article that is a must read for anyone invested in, or considering investing in MCD. In short they are installing a new CEO and he understands they need to revamp their menu.

1/14/15 Copper has been hammered lately, but who is to say the beating is finished, (or not). Let's use an ETF to spread the risk and put fairly aggressive limits in place:
CU 80 Limit 14.50 Last  close 16.48
1/16/15 LC 15.56
1/24/15 LC 15.50 *** Just upped the limit to 14.80
COPX 450 Limit 5.00 Last close 6.72
1/16/15 LC 6.29
1/24/15 LC 6.28 *** Just upped the limit to 6.00

1/10/15 I spent some time looking at the losers. They are all great companies so I am not going to take action. After all, since we are in a bull market even though "the sky is falling", I left this basket alone from July 2014 till January 2015. When I went active I was pleased to see that some of the "dogs" from July were fully positive now. Of the current losers the one I am most tempted to cut loose is Sasol, (SSL). It has a number of forces weighing on its stock price:

  • The energy sector is getting pounded
  • Since it is a foreign stock it suffers from the very strong dollar
  • The tax on dividends with foreign stocks
The tax issue is forever, but one day the price of energy will rise and the strength of currencies tends to change. Since one of the rules of this basket is buy and hold when possible, I am not going to lock in my loss by selling it. Fully expect it will be at least five years or so before it has an honest chance of being positive or close to positive, but at least for now, they pay a generous dividend, (which gets taxed, potentially by both sides, South Africa and the US). But they operate in over 30 countries, (significant diversity), one day, if the US economy is in a slump, they could help the basket. Sometimes one has to take the long view.

1/14/15 Two sectors I want to increase my interest in are water and copper. In terms of water I already have PHO, the largest ETF in the sector. Today, I put in a market order for PNR, a hundred year old company that does municipal supply as well as reclamation and treatment.
PNR 50 Market Last close 65.31
To make room in the portfolio I sold Ruckus, it just has not performed:
Sell RKUS 220 Market

On to copper yesterday I put in a limit for both CU and COPX, both are ETFs. The limit is because copper has been severely beaten  down by the market. I will keep a close eye on these because it is a bit like I am trying to time a market bottom, I am not, but it feels that way.
1/13/15 CU 80 Limit 14.5 Last close 16.48
1/14/14 Last close 15.14 Lost 1.38

1/13/15 COPX 450 Limit 5.00 Last close 6.72
1/14/15 Last close 6.19 Lost .53

Juniper, (JNPR), This equity is my best performing underwater, (worth less than I paid for it), position.  It is very good technology and I think it will turn green or positive for my investment. So while it is still fairly cheap, let's try a gentle limit:
JNPR 70 Limit 22.00 Last close 22.25

1/9/15 Most analysts believe that GSK is going to underperform. I choose to be contrarian. They are one of two companies approved to try an Ebola vaccine on front line workers. Now we all know they will be under tremendous pressure not to make a profit, or at least not a big one. Even so, bragging rights can be very useful
50 shares, Limit 42.50 Last close 42.88
1/14/15 Last close 42.85
2/11/15 Current 46.17

1/8/15 In descending order five stocks that have lost value since I bought them are CTXS, MCD, AZN, GSK, PPO. PPO seems to be trying the hardest and the world needs batteries. I bought 20 with a limit of 43.75 Last close 44.09.
1/14/15 Last close 42.67

I continue to be amazed McDonalds can't get it together, they move up a little, down a little, but it would seem like the have the infrastructure to grab market share. 1/14/15 there are some signs their turnaround has a long way to go and their ad campaign may not have the traction they hoped for.

1/7/15 I realize it has been a long time to have posted, but sometimes the less you do, the better off you are. Took some baby steps tonight:
ERIE 10 shares market Last close 191.25 (this went negative almost the day after I bought it, I just looked the other way and it is solidly positive.
STX 25 market, you would think people are going to keep wanting mass storage, LC 63.86
PANW 10 market, they have one of the brightest minds in the firewall business with a heck of a track record, LC 121.85
And a Limit in case there is a bad day, ATHN 10 L135, who knows?

7/23/14 Earnings misses, I love this little game and yes I am aware of the risk of anchoring, I ponder it all the time and am aware I am very prone to it. That said, Juniper continues to add to their market share in network devices and we own iRobot products in both houses and LOVE them. Opened a position in Juniper, (JNPR), 100 shares @ market, Last Close 22.28. Added to iRobot position, (IRBT) 25 shares @market LC  35.36.

7/22/14 Well, I was wrong on PPO, it has dropped six positions. Set a limit order to open a position for VOD 50 @33.00 L 33.32 and TRMB 50 @ 31.50 L 31.87. TRMB and VOD were recommendations from Sean Fowler.

6/30/14 MannKind got FDA approval today and surged 10%. The limit order on CORR hit, 100 @ 7.40. This was a recommendation from a Merrill Lynch advisor. As of 1/14/15 MNKD is down to 5.52 making it one of my worst performing positions in this basket. I am going to hold on to it though, diabetes is a major problem and in theory an inhaler based solution, Afrezza, beats a needle solution.

Top performing reds, best to worst
               30    90   180   1   5
PPO          1      1      1   1   1
CTXS       3      3           3   3
CORR      2       2      2   2   4
WMT                            4   5
CTRX      4                        2

Odds are PPO is going to be in the green soon and this may be one of my last chances to add to my position. PPO 15 Limit@47.5 L 47.71 WMT 10 74.75 L 75.12.

6/27/14 I have been watching MannKind since Jack brought them to my attention. They got thumped today, so 110 shares Market at 9.52. These guys called it the best saying expect volatility. What a crash and recovery in the space of a few hours, they hit 8.20 and closed at 10.00. WOW! And we are still waiting to see if they get approval for their insulin inhaler, Afrezza.

6/26/14 Bed Bath and Beyond took a serious thumping today. Using a limit to try to open a position, 20 56.25 L 56.51. Got it the next day at 56.25. 1/14/15 BBBY closed at 74.15.

Wal-Mart dipped a bit adding 15 @Market L 74.98.

Seriously contemplating shorting AMD, they are up almost 3% today. Not going to do it, the stars are not precisely aligned.

6/21/14 Haven't run a red/green in a while and it is going to cost me. Best performing tranche of reds, best to worst in tranche.
               30    90   180   1   5
PPO           1     1      1    2   2
LECO        2                   1   3
CTRX        3                       4
TREX                            3   1
ERIE                2     2     4   5

PPO is up 28% over the past six months and the megatrend for batteries is off the charts. 10 @ Market, L 47.42. Let's clean up the limits a bit and come back to the analysis. The rule of the basket is to keep the cash on the sidelines from things like dividend payments stored as aggressive limit orders in case the market gets frumpy. However, we do not want to live in fantasy land, let's take a look.

10 FDX FEDEX CORPLimit $134.80 147.84148.29 = It will take a miracle, but it would be great! Leave it. 1/14/15 172.225

25 UNFI UNITED NATURAL FOODS INC Limit $60.00 60.5175.50 = hmmm, this was a limit to open and it is bouncing around. I am sorely tempted to convert to a market order, but I am going to leave it. 1/14/15 77.87 within sneezing distance of 52 week high.

50 SYMC SYMANTEC CPLimit $18.35 20.85 = This is also a limit to open, but I am tech heavy, leave it.

10 QCOM QUALCOMM INCLimit $76.58 79.40 = Same tech heavy comment, want it at the right price

25 SPLK SPLUNK INC Limit $38.75 51.66 = Fantasyland, cancel. I only have 25 shares of splunk and missed its comeback, oh well. SPLK seems to be off its magic touch, but I am going to hold on to the position I have.
UPDATE 2/9/14 60.48 though down 3% for the day.

20 ROLL RBC BEARINGS INCORPORATEDLimit $51.00 59.84 = it's a stretch, I will leave it for now *****  but when I do the lowest performing greens it is a candidate for replacement

20 AZN ASTRAZENECA PLCLimit $68.75 75.37 = another stretch, but a man has to have dreams.

10 ALV AUTOLIV INCLimit $91.48 100.26 = dreams

20 TEVA TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES Limit $41.81 52.95 = cancel and replace

50 CHEOY COCHLEAR LTD Limit $25.00 Last close was 28.56 = hmmm I am committed to the company and the concept, let's change the order to 25.25 in hopes we get lucky and try to put that 1.39 beta to work. NOTE: this is rare for me, I am down 12% with CHEOY.

20 PANW PALO ALTO NETWORKS INCLimit $50.00 79.00 = cancel and replace

5 ISRG INTUITIVE SURGICAL INCLimit $340.00 396.00-= dream

10 SNN SMITH & NEPHEW PLCLimit $76.40 89.50 = cancel and look for a replacement

20 DDD3D SYSTEMS CORPLimit $40.00 53.12 = leave this time, but revisit

10 INTU INTUIT INCLimit $64.8179.0080.99 = leave

20 PRAA PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOC INCLimit $42.50 50.00 = leave

10 BIDU BAIDU ADS Limit $140.00174.00 = leave

50 BSX BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORPLimit $11.0012.69 = leave

Let's run the lower performing greens and see if we can find some replacement players.

               30    90   180   1   5
ATHN      2                    1   1
SLV         4      3      2    4   4
VIVO       ALL NEGATIVE relative to the other positions
NUAN     1       1      1    3   3
CORR      3       2      3    2   2

NUAN is up 13.8% in the past 5 days, 25% in the past 30, market order add 25 to my position, last close 19.47. CORR 100 7.40 L 7.51. The megatrend for dividend payer Meridian Bioscience (VIVO) is good, let's go for a mild limit, 50 20.15 L 20.28

We still need one more replacement player for the canceled order, let's run the next tranche, 2nd lowest performing greens, best to worst.
               30    90   180   1   5
LULU                                1  NOTE: LULU is up 8% in last five days
AZN         3      1      1    1  5
RAVN      1      4            2  2
MCD                2      2    4  4
CTXS      2       3      3    3  3

Yikes this is clear as mud. I think I will pass on LULU. 10 AZN M L 75.47, my position on this drug maker is pretty light. 20 CTXS M L 64.93, guess I am tech heavier. 25 RAVN 32.5 L 33.68, kinda conflicted on this one, DoD doesn't hand out the cash like the used to, but they don't have debt and have started to pay a dividend, if I get them for the right price, it is probably cool. OK time to log out and scare up some lunch.

6/11/14 Things are a bit bumpy, tried a limit to add to TREX 25 31.00 at the time I put in the order it was 31.43, executed at 2:13 EDT currently 31.09. Let's try a little fishing, United Food got whacked and organic seems to be a growing trend. 25 shares with a deep limit of 60.00 L 63.06.

6/5/14 Smith and Nephew PLC got crunched today taking a five percent hit. Added to my position, 10@Market, Last was 91.80.

6/2/14 There was some chop in the market today, so I went looking for opportunity. Not much there for this basket. NOV did some strange stuff by spinning off its distribution business called NOW. But some data sources say they are down 9%, others say they are up .2%, I am not going to play in a game I do not understand. No action taken today. I did read a market minder post that this lack of action in the market tends to make us less excited. Guilty, but oh Lord, please make me guilty of detachment in the most volatile times as well.

5/14/14 Still working aggressive limits with the money on the sidelines. Splunk has taken a beating in recent weeks, but it is a solid technology and betting against search is probably not a winning concept. That said, I am overweight tech in this basket.
25 SPLK 40.00 L 44.32
15 ROLL 53.00 L 58.58 Solid well run company, looking to add to the position cheaply
5 CMI 145.00 L 151.70 I think diesel has some running room
300 LIQD 1.85 L 2.30 OK, I have probably lost my mind on this one, but here goes. I was reading this article on hedging against rising interest rates. The author was making a case for custody banks with State Street as the poster child. That research took me down a rabbit hole that included SEIC, SCHW, AXAHY and oddly enough, Liquid Holding, a cloud financial platform, (whoops he is talking tech again). Though I know Schwab, (SCHW) very well, I only know what I have read about Liquid today, so this is pure speculation and I can almost hear Graham and Dodd tsk, tsking me. But it is less than $600.00 and who knows, sometimes you have take a shot and it does meet all of the rules of the basket. Update 5/15/14 Well slap me with a Q-Tip! Now Graham and Dodd are openly laughing. They are selling additional shares at 1.25. OK fine, 500 more @market, 1.25.

5/9/14 The market is bouncing, some dividends came into the account and the rules are cash on the sidelines be put into limit orders in the hopes of, so here are the latest aggressive limits:
- ALV 10 L@92.00 L101.03
- ISRG 5 L@340.00 L 350.23
- PANW 20 L@50.00 L 58.10
- CHEOY 50 L@25.00 L 27.50

Put in a limit to open a position with TREX. Their building material just keeps getting better. I was amazed at the improvement in the deck in the, (now sold, Virginia house. My thesis is that as landfills all over the country are filling up, having a good product that is 95% recycled wood and plastic is a good place to be. No debt, but high P/E something like 41.8. No dividends so when I have to start chasing income, this will be a candidate to help pay the rent. So we can only come in with a limit order let's try 50 TREX 30.00 L 33.74 Update 5/15/14 Got it, 50 @ 30.

5/6/14 Athena got soundly whacked today, 5 ATHN L 105.00 L@109.20

5/4/14 Setting up some trades for Monday. I finally swallowed my foolish pride, (I wanted to wait till it was 50 something), and re-opened a position with Wal-Mart, 20 L@78.75  L79.12. 5/6/14 added to that position. 20 L@76.00 L 78.01. Read a survey tonight based on Consumer Reports saying Wal-Mart ranks last as a supermarket. Interesting, I love supercenters. Wegman's was first, Trader Joe's was second and I love them as well. I suppose TJs is my favorite, but the selection is limited, I would not be able to run my kitchen solely from Trader Joe's; but they sure have style! I was shocked when the people of Kauai voted down a local supercenter. And now I hear the locals complaining about high food prices.

Lowest performing greens better to worst performing green.
               30    90   180   1   2 (Palo Alto is a recent IPO)
PANW      2      2       1   2   2
MCD         1      1       3   4  5
WFM                              1  4
ATHN                             1  1
CUDA                        2   3  3

I initially bought McDonalds in this basket 10/28/11 at 97.01 per share. I have a decent amount. It has been slightly underwater, (red), for most of the time I have held it. It is a dividend payer. Their debt to assets is higher than I like to see, but in tough times their value menu is hard to beat. P/E is 18.42 which is not bad these days. When I look at their 30 and 90 day performance a limit order is not likely to work, they have a low beta, so hoping to get a good price is not likely to happen. 20 Market L 101.43

Next tranche greens better to worst in tranche

               30    90   180   1   5
INTU                1      2   2   1
FFNW       1                   3   4
CHKP                3      1   1   2
SYMC       2                        5
HURC                2      3        3

Opened the Intuit position on 4/1/13 65.26. Last close was 75.29, it is negative for the past 30 days. Debt is very acceptable, P/E 31.61, it is a dividend payer, but the yield is about 1%. Google finance says the beta is .77, but it seems to be bouncing around some. We have a decent size position already, let's try a limit.  10 L@74.80 L 75.29.

4/30/14 Slim pickings today. Vista Print got trashed, but I am not going to open a position because of their debt load. GSK had a minor dip, 15 L@55.00 L 55.38. I am going to try to open a position with Starbucks (SBUX). I have had this in the past and did some profit taking, 20 L@70.00 L 70.62.

4/28/14 Barracuda got trashed today and lost 50% of of its yearly gain in a flash. But it is a great technology, heck we use it at SANS for our spam solution and I wish, oh I wish we had chosen it as our web app firewall. So I opened a position, 60 L@65.70 which executed at 25.67??? Maybe I should try something more aggressive. 40 L@25.00 L 25.53 GTC, who knows? NOV and BIDU got smacked today, let's set some limits to add to the positions:
NOV 15 L@76.75 L 77.31
BIDU 5 L@150 L 150.93   4/30/14 L 153.50, they have a high beta 2.05 so this ought to work.

5 Top performing reds, best to worst. This is purely a relative measure, looking for something with momentum. Changing the format, blank means negative for the time period.
               30    90   180   1   5
SGEN                                 1  
DDD                                   2
RAVN                            1   3
BRCM             1       1         5
CTXS       1     2       2         4

20 BRCM L@30.00 L30.40
15 CTXS  M  L58.78

4/23/14 Market continues to dip creating some possible buying opportunities. Intuitive Surgical took a hit today. I used to hold that stock, did some profit taking. Going to try to reopen a position with a limit order. ISRG 10 L@350.00 L 377.01 4/28/14 L 367.80 going to modify order to Market so I have this position, it is a good company.
Added, (hopefully), to some other positions, IRBT 25 L@34.5 L 35.71, CHKP 10 L@67 L 67.61, PANW 10 L@67.5 L 67.61.

BTW, I am clearly overdue for a red green exercise, CHKP snuck by me, it is up almost 50% in a year, I had a position, but failed to add to it as the stock developed momentum.

4/15/14 ATHN 5 M@138.62, CMI 5 M@141.25, BIDU 5 M@152.75

4/10/14 Buying on dips, FEYE 10 @M L 50.40, ATHN 5 L@135 L 141.53, SGEN 20 L@39 L39.22, VIVO 35 L@20.70 L 20.77

4/3/14 Market dipped a bit, looking for opportunities, PANW L 10@65.75 Last 66.14, ATHN L 10@160.00 L 162.83, BIDU L 10@150.00 L 155.65.

3/24/14 Both of the limit orders for RDWR and FEYE have executed. Symantec dropped 12%, but added 4% back before I was able to open a position.

3/20/14 The market is generally up, not of lot of buying opportunities. Guess, (GES) is the 9th worst performing equity in this basket. Read this article in Forbes, probably will not get better soon. I am only in for 40 shares, plan to let it ride. Noticed that Fireeye, (FEYE), is still crashing, I just opened the position 3/8/14 and it is the 8th worst performing equity in the Ts basket so the limit must have it. Good technology, not sure what Wall Street is thinking, 10 shares@Market, 68.68 and will set up a limit 15 shares@64.00. Radware, (RDWR) has been moving up, hoping for a swing, 50 L@17.75, the ticker was at 18.01 five minutes ago.

3/11/14 For some reason the market dropped a bit today. The only buying opportunity I could see was IRBT; 25@Market, LC 41.84. Now this may be a bit risky, Seeking Alpha has an article saying that 90% of their revenue comes from Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner. We love our Roomba, and run the vacuum almost every day.

McDonalds, (MCD), really rocked today and the related ARCO as well. Wonder what is up? Unrelated, but I was driving back from Vasser nursery in Puyallup with my haul of huckleberries for our new patch and passed a McDonalds saying "Two Big Macs for $5" Yikes. But I made a mental note to visit a McDonalds and get a feel for what is going to since you sure can't do that from their web page. Got it done on 3/15/14, here is the writeup.

3/8/14 My colleague John Pirc, posted a link to an interview on Facebook. As the CTO of NSS Labs he is in a good position to know what works and what doesn't, (though superior technology is not a guarantee of stock performance, Betamax vs VHS etc). Anyway, One of the technologies he mentions is Fireeye, (FEYE), which got hammered on Friday, probably because they are taking a second round of financing. I would be interested in opening a position, I have followed the technology from the beginning, but this is a time for a deep limit, 25@L 75. This probably won't hit, the bid ask spread is pretty tight, but I will check on it from time to time on Monday, can always switch to a market buy, in the mean time with apologies to baseball, swing, FEYE, swing.

3/4/14 Yet another good day in the market, really not much to buy. Unless I have a long view planning on holding on to most of my equities for five years, this is a dangerous time to buy, since we seem to be nearing a top, (and yes I know timing the market is impossible), but the only way I know how to play this is to look for stocks with momentum. I am focusing of the best performing stocks that are worth less than the day I bought them. I have to always keep in mind that these are just relative to each other. Nevertheless VMW and RDWR look interesting and VMW in particular.
                5    30    90   180   1   5
VMW       2     1      1      1    1   2
CTRX      -      -      3      -     -   3
MCD       -      4      -       -    -    4
RDWR     1     3      2      1    -    1
GES         3     2     -       -     2   5
Update 3/20 GES has dropped, see writeup for 3/20. MCD is now in first position for reds. Not going to add to this position, it is at the limit allowed by this basket. MCD is followed by RDWR as the second best red.

Let's see how VMW has performed against the greater market, we will use SPY as proxy for S&P 500. Let's do a snap for past 90 days and also one for past 5 years.

This may be a moment to think about placing a bigger bet. Great product, market leader, low debt. However, they do not pay dividends so this bet depends on the stocks appreciation, but that does seem likely. 25@Market, LC100.80.

I am going to pass for today on adding to RDWR. Need to do more research.

Let's look at the lowest performing greens, descending order
                5    30    90   180   1   5
HURC      2     3      1      -     -   4
VIVO       -    -        -      -     -    -
STX         3     2      2     1     1    1
LECO      4     1      3     2     2    3
TILE       1      4     4     3     3    2

Seagate stands out to me. Let's take a closer look. They have a bit more debt than I like to see. P/E is fairly reasonable for these crazy times. Obviously, they have very solid products.  20 STX@M LC 53.18.

2/27/14 Another good day in the market. One of the health care stocks, Catamaran, (CTRX) was down 11% today, added 30@market@45.94. Palo Alto, (Panw), dipped a bit, added 10@Market@72.52.

2/20/14 The market has been very good this week, it is hard to find a good value.
Best performing reds
              5    30   90
MCD      -     2     -
STX       4     -     4
BRCM    3     1    2
CTXS     1     3    3
VMW     2     -     1

25 Market BRCM LC 30.95

2/12/14 Intuit dropped $3.00 today on earnings guidance. 15 shares @market, LC 69.72

2/11/14 IRBT rose 11% today, woo hoo! Zolmax must be scratching their heads. A number of analysts have theories as to why, here is my favorite. We have two Roombas and one Scooba. Now if they would just create a robot that shovels snow. If they have such an impressive patent portfolio, I wonder if it is possible GOOG or AMZN will buy them.

Lowest performing greens, descending order
                 30   90 180 365  5yr
VIVO          -     -     -     -    -
TEVA         1    1     2    2    4
SSL            3    3     3    3    2
HURC         2   2      -    -     3
TILE           -   -      1    1    1

What is the point of this exercise? Every once in a while I open a modest position in an equity and then it pops when I am not looking and triples in value. That is good news, but it happened to me once when I had only invested a little over $500. The ONLY thing I am trying to do is spot trends. The last time we ran this on the fund, 1/23/14 the order was HURC, TEVA, SSL, SLV, RDWR.

  • Which way did RDWR go in comparison with the rest of the fund and where are they going?  They have dropped to the 8th position in the red part of the fund. Here is one analysis! That could cause them to rise a bit. Since early 12/13 I have had a limit@16.00 for 30 shares. LC was 16.62, change limit, 30L@16.50, hopefully it will hit 
  • Should I ditch VIVO, there is certainly a trend here! I am going to hold the line.
  • Is there a play I should make on TEVA? Once again no action at this time.
Best performing reds, descending order
                 30   90 180 365  5yr
MCD           -     -     -     4    4
STX            -     2    1     1    1
LECO         -      -    3     2    2
BRCM        1      1    2     -    3
GES           -      -     -     3    5

On 1/23/14 the descending order was LECO, MCD, VMW, BRCM, CTXS.
  • What is going on with VMW? They have dropped to 7th position in the reds. We have a deep limit in place already, hold the line.
  • What is up with CTXS? They are in the 11th position in the reds. LC was 56.05 10L@56. Citrix is well positioned as technology to reduce the risk of data loss on mobile devices like laptops and smart phones. Also, if the data is never on the hard drive of the desktops, malware cannot easily exfiltrate the data. 

2/3/14 Buying on dips. Looking for stocks trading in the green or positive zone, put fairly aggressive limit orders in place. Wired some money to the account in case a bunch of these hit. Here is the current status:

1/29/14 Seagate is happy up over 4%. Market wobbled today, probably somebody coughed and the traders thought it was the sound of a bubble bursting. Palo Alto, (PANW), got hit a bit hard, adding 10@Market to my position. Palo Alto is one of the leading vendors in the Next Generation Firewall space, I think they are a good bet. Their secret weapon is Nir Zuk who knows just a bit about perimeter security *grin*. Vmware, (VMW), took a hit, looking for some luck, 10@85 GTC, last close was 92.50. I know a few people that use Vmware including almost every SANS Instructor and most of our labs rely on virtual machines.

1/28/14 Seagate dropped today, it is still in the trading day, but right now they are down 6.71 because they did not make their numbers. Their debt is higher than I like to see, but I did want to pick this up and this seems to be the right time. 30@Market, currently 51.37. After the market closed I put in a limit for 20@50. Close today was 51.54.

1/24/14 Market dropped a bit today. In a sense this is good news. While the market kept climbing and climbing, I mostly did not actively manage any of the baskets. But now we are running into a bit of chop which opens opportunity. There is only so much liquid money in the accounts so I need to manage these moves carefully and try to make the best opportunities "hit".

That said, my guess is the "Bad News Bears" are going to try to tell us, (still), the sky is falling. If they can drive the price of great companies down, this could be an opportunity for those of us willing to put new money into the market in a downturn. However, I only want to make small investments, trying to put a limit of $2k for each order. Instead I want to spread it out out over many great companies. That way, if one equity in the basket fails, the basket survives.

To be sure, there is risk, even near certainty of not being able to make a massive score, but I have baskets for that as well called start ups. And please do not contact me for angel funding, Kathy and I are done. Our last startup investment is Zimperium and we are thankful to be on that train. This is that whole risk reward thing illustrated. If it works, we could do very well, if not, we could stand at the shore watching the ship sink.

  •  FDX 10 shares limit@132 last close 134.58
  •  CMI 10 shares limit@120 last close 126.31

Want to consider opening a position in Western Digital. All these compliance regulations to store data mean they need disk drives. I like Seagate, but the financial numbers seem to favor WDC:
30 WDC limit@80, last close 85.00.

1/23/14 Baidu, (BIDU) dropped over $11 today, added 10 shares to my position@Market.
Open orders:
WFM    10@49.98   51.50
BSX      50@11       13.65
RDWA 30@16        18.35
Odds are these are not going to hit. Let em ride for now in case of a bluebird event.

Five "best performing reds" best to worst.
                 30   90 180 365  5yr
LECO        3    4      2     2     2
MCD          -    5      -      3     5
VMW        1    1      1     2     1
BRCM      2    2       -      -     4
CTXS       -     3       -      -     3

Decision: 10 VMW limit@97.00 last close 97.7

Lowest performing greens best to worst
                 30   90 180 365  5yr
HURC       5     -      -      -    2
TEVA       1     2      2     2   5
SSL           2     -       3     1   3
SLV           4    -       -      -   4
RDWR       3   1       1     3   1

Five best in the fund excluding BSX ( already have an order in place)
                5   30   90
Z             -     -      3
PRAA    -      2     -
DIS         -      3     2
ITRN      -      1     1
SMN       1     -      -

1/10/14 Whole foods dropped almost a dollar today. Put a limit for 5@50, last close 52.54. ROLL had a bit of a dip, 5@68.5 last close 68.82.
Five "best performing reds" best to worst, this will be short term, just looking for a trend.
                5   30   90
MELI      -     -     -             5th positive position
MCD      -     1     2            2nd negative position
HURC    -     -     -             6th positive position      
LECO     1    -     1            1st negative position
GES        -     -     -            7th negative position
Decision: 1/10/14 take no action
Decision: 1/23/13 MercardoLibre is facing some headwinds, Venezuela is devaluing their currency *again* and Amazon and eBay are making some traction. Sell and close the position. (1/24/14 dropped 5.45% )
Buy 10 LECO Limit@71.00 last close 71.63

Lowest performing greens best to worst
                   5   30   90 180 365  5yr
TILE          -     2     2    2     1    2
SLV           -     -      -    5      -    3
TEVA        1    3     3   3      4    -
RDWR       2   1      1   1      2    1
Decision: RDWR 30@Market, last close 18.45, TILE 25@Market, last close 20.80. I have held RDWR since June 2012 and it was soon in the red, but that might have been an interface problem with my online broker, (RDWR had a stock split). I didn't worry much, I know the technology and it is pretty good stuff. However, I also didn't pay much attention to it and therein lies my mistake. In the last 90 days, it has appreciated 30%. Better late than later!

1/6/14 There is nothing magic about the red green process, but over time it has allowed me to spot and take advantage of trends. Be careful, this is only about trying to spot trends, I bought these equities at different times, so this is not an apples to apples comparison. Keep in mind these numbers are relative to each other, the ONLY thing this analysis is useful for is trying to spot a trend when I do not have a Wall Street Supercomputer.

Let's start with the five worst performing equities in the basket. Any chance one of them might be making positive progress? Best terrible performer to worst terrible performer order:

                  30  90  180 1yr  5yr
NUAN        1    -       -     -      4      
LQDT         -     -       -     -      2
IDX             -     -      -      -      3     
WPRT         -     -      -      -      1
SCPZF        2    -      -       -      5

Analysis: not much t say, find it interesting that five years ago, all five were doing better than they did in 2013. I did buy 35 NUAN@market, hoping they are turning around.

Not related to Red/Green, but Qualcom, QCOM, had a very small dip, adding to position with 10 shares@market.

If I was to run the top performing reds ( negative gain since I bought them), I would see MCD, ISRG, TEVA, CTXS, RDWR. No point in running the report. Most of these bounce back and forth between slightly red to slightly green. More of their history is shown here.

Final decisions and then bedtime. Sell 55 LQDT@Market, sell 10 ISRG@Market.