New Year, More Focused Investor/Blogger

So it’s a couple of weeks into 2016, time for the ‘new year, new me’ jazz. First let me go over some of the slight changes made to the blog. The first is pretty small, but informative. In the portfolio section I now include a weekly chart that shows my progress verses the market. It’s a fairly crude Excel chart, but it gets the point across. As of the moment, I’m winning. I’ve lost less money than if I’d just ‘bought the market’. Yay… I guess. But as a value investor I expect to have losses starting out, so I’m not too concerned. Take a look at it to see how I calculate my performance vs. Mr. Market.

Another change is the ‘Trades’ section of the website. When I write a blog article (blarticle?) I like it to have some meat to it. It might be a write-up of a company I feel is undervalued, or a full going-over of all my positions. Something well thought out, a couple of pages of financial and literary genius. That’s what I strive for, so those blog articles don’t come out every day (or every week for that matter). When I have some thoughts I simply want to jot down, or commentary on a trade I’ve just made, I now have somewhere to put it. Check out the ‘Trades’ section for these slightly more off-the-cuff pieces.

As for a quick portfolio update, here are the ones worth mentioning. Check out my portfolio for all the numbers and positions. I have written articles about most of the companies I mention below, feel free to check them out.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) is still kicking my butt. Were it not for my poorly timed investment here, I’d be patting myself on the back, declaring victory against the market, waiting for a call from CNBC to have me on to discuss my techniques.

I’m not so sure I have much confidence left in Daktronics (NASDAQ: DAKT) anymore. It seems like the company’s earnings aren’t going anywhere, and the position has moved against me. I bought in twice, at $10.10 and $8.30. It’s now in the mid 7’s. I’m not inclined to buy more down here, not out of fear, but because I’m not convinced the company is going anywhere anytime soon. They report earnings in Febuary, and the analyst estimates seem pretty low, so a good number might make the stock pop. I’m not sure yet, but I’m starting to consider dumping this one on some strength. I think there are better opportunities out there.

I sold First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) in December, and haven’t really talked about it other than updating my portfolio. Of course now I have a section on the site specifically for that. But why did I sell? I bought First Solar in July for $45.50, and sold it in mid December for $63.52, for a nearly 40% gain. Nice, to be sure, but a little bitter/sweet. There’s a story behind that. As First Solar got near $60, I put in a sell order around $62, as that was close to the top of its ‘range’. I figured that without any great catalyst, the stock would do what it usually seemed to do, and come down to around $50, where I would buy it again. Great plan huh? But then the government decides to extend the solar tax credit that would be falling off a cliff at the end of this year, and solar SOARS!!!! My limit order to sell got filled at $63.52, and FSLR reached a tad over 72 a couple of weeks later. If I were a mystic financial guru and sold it at 72, my gain would be darn close to 60%. But fortunately FSLR is now back below $59. I have an order to get some in the mid $50’s. I really like this company, so I’m crossing my fingers.

I bought into Ambarella (NASDAQ: AMBA) a couple of days ago, and yesterday GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) announced job cuts and weak sales, so I may get a second buy in sooner than expected. Those following along might remember that I was trying to get AMBA at around $47 a few months ago, before it shot up to the mid $60’s. This market and GoPro fears allowed me to get in at $42.25.

I am on the verge of buying Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE). Any significant weakness from here on out and I think I’m in. If I can start accumulating in the low 7’s, I think that I’ll thank myself later.

As for what I’m keeping an eye on, I’m following Potash of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT) and Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT). I’ll probably do a write-up of one or the other soon. I also like Skechers U.S.A. Inc. (NYSE: SKX), both the product and the chart, though it has a ways to go down before I’d think of buying.

I hope you join me on this journey in the new year. I’m looking forward to it.

As always, feel free to look at my portfolio and see how I’m doing. Usually I own or plan to own stock in many of the companies I write about. Please READ MY DISCLAIMER. Make your own decisions, do your own research, and never rely on any single source for information. I am not a financial professional; do not rely on me as such.

Thank you,
Michael, the Stock Picking Bartender

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