February Portfolio Update!

First off, a slight change to the blog. My PORTFOLIO section now includes trading costs. The cost of buying the stock, and the future cost of selling the position is included in the gain/loss. So if the share price is exactly the same as where I bought it, it will reflect a loss from the buy transaction AND the future sale transaction. I’m trying to make it as hard on myself as possible. I want any gains that show up to be REAL gains that I would actually have if I sold the position at the current price. The chart showing my performance vs. ‘Mr. Market’ has been updated to reflect the inclusion of trading costs. Now, on to the positions.

So let’s talk about Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK). They reported earnings yesterday, February 24th. They lost 16 cents a share, slightly better than the 18 cent loss wall street was expecting. The ‘good’ news is that they’ve sold a lot more assets than anyone thought they would, $700 million so far this year. They will be able to pay the $500 million in bonds coming due very soon, and they’re buying back some of their debt at discounted prices. That said, they only have about $300 million in cash at the moment. But with the current asset sales, and the $500 million to $1 billion they expect to sell later this year, they are, apparently, not in danger of going under anytime soon. (YAY!) Investors (and probably short coverers) saw this quarter as positive, sending the stock up almost 23% at the end of the day, to $2.69. Keep in mind that my average cost here is $8.38, so I’m in no mood to party over it just yet. I’m certainly not selling here.

My other disappointment is much more minor. Daktronics (NASDAQ: DAKT) reported earnings a couple of days ago. In my January portfolio update I said that I didn’t have much confidence left in DAKT, which was trading around $7.50 at the time. I thought that the analyst estimates for the coming quarter were low, and maybe I could get out of the position on some strength after the numbers were released. The analysts were expecting a profit of 2 cents a share, but the company reported a LOSS of 4 cents a share.

Before the quarter, DAKT had traded up to a little over $8.50, and I knew I should get out. But in this game, ‘knowing’ something and not acting on it doesn’t matter, not unless you learn something from the experience. DAKT is currently trading at just over $7. I have a limit order to get out at $7.75, if it can claw its way up. Should that happen and I don’t change my order, I’ll lose about 15% on the position. The 5.6% dividend is the only thing keeping this thing from tanking. The dividend is nice, but I don’t see this company growing profits, and I’m tired of hearing about the poor quarterly timing of revenues. 4 quarters make a year; you’d think that any timing issues would even out and produce some good news somewhere? Apparently not with this company.

I’d like to use Daktronics to illustrate a broader dilemma I have. I consider myself a very risk tolerant person. I buy stocks in pieces as they are going down, creating ‘value’, in the expectation that they will one day move back up. Of course this creates loss and pain initially. Having this as my primary strategy, it would be disastrous to be the kind of person to be ‘scared’ out of a position simply because it’s going down. Lower prices should signal ‘yay, I can get more’, not ‘holy crap, sell sell sell!’ Having said that, some stocks just turn out to be losers, and there’s no benefit to keeping them on the books forever.

I think a major key to my future success is going to be balancing the need to get rid of losers vs. the need to keep companies of value and give them a chance to run. I don’t feel as though I’m panicking out of DAKT at any price; I feel more like I’ve simply lost faith in the company and want to sell it into some strength. Perhaps another lesson learned here is to be more cautious with companies that almost no one talks about. Small companies are fine, and I have several on my radar, but other than the quarterly calls, there is almost nothing out there about this company. Far less than anything else I follow. It takes me almost no time to keep up with the articles and social media discussion about this stock every week, because there’s hardly ever anything to read.

I’m happy with 8point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: CAFD) I’m up 20% on the position. (23% with dividends)

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) is doing well, up 11%. I wouldn’t mind at all if it fell so I could get more on the cheap.

Ambarella Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA) is also doing well, up 16%. I got 2 buy points in, so it’s a big position for me. They report in a week. I hope I’ve seen the bottom in this stock, but I’d be willing to buy more at lower prices.

Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) has been good to me so far. Up 20% (22% with dividends). They’re holding a call today to discuss yesterday’s earnings release. (I’m writing this several hours before the market opens) It looks as though they had a slight miss on earnings, unless you give them the benefit of the doubt on impairment costs, and missed on revenues. I’m expecting a big move, one way or another. This doesn’t strike me as a ‘small move’ event. ETE is down pre-market, which is reflected in my numbers, but this one moves all over the place. Investors want to hear about the dividend, and the deal to acquire Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB). We’ll see. Current yield is about 17%, but because I bought it a bit lower, my yield on cost is 20%. If the dividend gets cut in half, it’ll still be great. I’ll buy the ensuing panic if it gets bad enough.

As mentioned before, I sold out of Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) at $33.50, for a 43% gain. I’m waiting for it to hit the mid 20’s to get back in. FYI I don’t see the ThingMaker 3D printer being a success for Mattel. There’s been some buzz about it, but, meh…

My last post was at the end of January, when Fitbit, Inc (NYSE: FIT) was at $16. I said I’d be very interested at $10 to $12. Yesterday it dipped just below $12, and yes I’m getting itchy to buy some.

As you may have noticed, I spent a lot more time on what was going wrong, than what was going right. But things are going well. I’m down $108.47, whereas if I’d simply invested in ‘the market’, I’d be down about $370. (Check out my PORTFOLIO to see how I calculate that) So I’m feeling pretty good about things, but certainly not cocky.

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

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

November 2015 Portfolio Update

Time for a portfolio update! I’m pretty excited about this one. Why? Because I’m in the black, what’s why! My portfolio is finally making a profit! As I write this, well before the market opens on Thursday, November 05, 2015, I’m up $140. A small number, granted, and it may fade away if some of my favorite companies continue their downtrend. (So I can buy more) At one point I was down almost $600 smackers, so I can be happy in the moment.

First let’s talk about Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT). On Monday the 2nd of November, 3 days ago, Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EIGI), announced that it had reached an agreement to buy Constant Contact for $32.00 a share. CTCT closed the Friday before at $26.10. So $32 bucks, how do I feel about that? There were rumblings from various law firms claiming that that wasn’t enough, and rumors that perhaps another company was going to bid more, but I don’t buy any of it. I’m out… same day as the announcement, for $31.80, thank you very much. I bought it for $23.21 in late July, and I’m more than happy with a 37% gain.

What I’m not so happy about is that my position is CTCT was so small; I’d only gotten one buy in, and hadn’t had the chance to average down into a fuller position. (a theme we may see repeated in this post.) But at least it’s not a problem to cry over. So of course I looked into Endurance International. Why wouldn’t I? I REALLY liked Constant Contact, was enjoying seeing their commercials from time to time, and had high hopes for the company. Maybe this Endurance International is something to look into. EIGI’s chart looks great, from my perspective. Of course the chart is the first thing I look at to get a handle on a company. The second thing I generally look at is the balance sheet. I looked at EIGI’s and simply closed the browser. No thanks. Moving on…

Now to the only poorly performing name in my portfolio: Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK). They reported earnings yesterday, took a $5.4 billion write down on the value of their fields, and lost 5 cents a share, but that was better than expected loss, so that’s something. The company seems to be on track to cut capital spending and lower production, both good things in this commodity environment. The company is spending less money, and doing more with it. That said, I’m in this thing at $13.61, the average of 2 buy points. It’s now at $7.46, for a 45% loss. Ouch. Given its recent trading activity, the stock price MAY have stabilized. I have a buy order in at $5.75, because I still think things will get better long term, and I’d like to lower my average price. Doing so would take on considerably more risk, of course.

Daktronics Inc. (NASDAQ: DAKT) is slowly gaining back ground since it got hit on earnings in late August. I bought it at $10.10 a couple of months before said earnings, and at $8.30 after, for an average of 8.99. It’s worked its way back to $10.04, almost to where I bought it in the first place, so I’m up almost 12% on a fair sized position. I’m crossing my fingers for when they report again later this month. Other than my conviction that this is a well run company in a good industry, there’s not a lot of information out there between quarters due to its small size. We’ll see.

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), is another one where I wish I had more. I bought in early July for $45.50, and after the GREAT quarter they reported last week, it’s now at $58.66 for a gain of almost 29%. I have a dilemma with this position. I really like the company, I think it has a great future in a great industry, and Wall St seems to really be behind it after the great quarter. If I had a larger position, I think I’d be perfectly willing to stand pat and ride any short term weakness out, and take a longer term view. But with my measly little position, what should I do? It goes against my discipline to ‘average up’ into a current position, so I flat out refuse to do that. Here’s what I’m thinking: hope it rides the current exuberance to about $61, where I think it will hit some resistance/profit taking, then buy it back lower, but more aggressively. Say at around $56 and then $51, and then possibly 46? What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot, of course. It could continue to shoot up without me, or my plan could go perfectly, until I aggressively buy a bunch in the 50’s and it keeps going down. Anyway, that’s the current plan, sell around $61 and see what happens. Why didn’t anyone tell me this was going to be hard?

Speaking of First Solar, I am exceptionally pleased with my position in 8point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: CAFD). I’m up about 9.5% on a fairly large (for me) position. I got two buy points in for an average of $12.80. It’s trading at $14.01 now, and it seems that people are starting to see the value here. This is a stable company with stable earnings that they are simply going to hand over to you. My yield on cost here should be about 6.5%, and it will surely grow when First Solar and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) drop additional projects down to them. Now I’m not a dividend investor, but that’s hard to ignore, and it may be hard to give up when it comes time to sell after the price appreciation I’m expecting.

I’m up almost 9% on Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT), so there’s not much going on there. I’m willing to buy more on weakness, still believing in the turnaround story. The holidays are coming up, and Mattel has something to prove.

I bought PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) in late September, for $32.25, and it’s now at $37.60, for a gain of about 16.5%. So here’s another dilemma. I only got one buy in, so my position is, again, small. I’d like it to go down into the mid 20’s, so I can average into a larger position. But then again, it’s kinda hard to WANT to see a 16.5% gain turn into a loss, even if my conviction is that it’s only temporary, and in the long run things will be even better with a larger position at an even better price. But I certainly don’t want to sell PayPal now, because I don’t have a strong a conviction that it WILL go anywhere near those levels. The only thing for me to do here is wait and see, and be happy/sad either way it moves. That sounds odd, but there it is.

Last week’s post was all about Ambarella Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA). I said I would buy into weakness around the GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO) earnings call. Well, I got that weakness, down to $49.00, but I was trying to buy it closer to $47.00, so I didn’t get in. It’s now shot up to $57.02. Remember this is a stock with a 52 week high of nearly $130.00. So of course I’m hoping this one tanks again, because it’s against my discipline to chase a stock that’s ripping higher. That’s just not what I do. And if it DOES come down, and breaks that $49.00 support, I have a feeling it just might fall well below $47.00 anyway. This is a wait and see situation.

So this has been a week or two of wishing that my positions were larger. But the overall market has been doing very well too, so I’ll bet I’m not the only one. I’m still happy with my conservative approach and the cash in my account. I’m still testing these waters, and right now they feel warm and cozy.

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

September 2015 Portfolio Update

Well, it’s been a boring couple of weeks for me in the market. I’m not really getting a lot of volatility in my positions lately, so this update shouldn’t take long.

I bought into 8point3 Energy Partners (NASDAQ: CAFD) last week. Those of you who come and check out my portfolio will already have seen that. In any case, it’s only a few cents from where I bought in at $13.58. I have an order in to snag some more at $12.20. The dividend yield might keep it from getting there, but who knows. I might up that price target if I’m feeling antsy. The yield where I bought it is about 6.2%. I’m not really a dividend investor, but dividends are nice, and the hope is that others will recognize this as a stable dividend company and jump in, raising the price for me.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) is doing better than it was. You’ll remember that I lowered my buy target from $6.25 to $5.75 because I was afraid. Yes, out of fear. Well, the $6.25 target WOULD have gotten filled, as the stock hit a low of $6.01 on August 25th. The price is currently $8.61, so if this uptrend continues, I’ll be kicking myself, and perhaps learn a lesson on fear. My cost average on the stock is $13.61.

My other positions haven’t really done much of anything since my last update a few weeks ago.

I’m still waiting for PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL) to come down to my price target of $32.25 for an initial buy. Those of you who read my article about it know why I’m interested, and this recent news about them getting into funding for online gaming sites is pretty good news too.

As far as what I’m looking at for the future, well, that’s complicated. While the majority of my trading account is in good old cash, I don’t really have the funds to buy more companies (except for PayPal, which I’ve accounted for), and keep my powder dry to buy more if/as they go down. I believe over the next several months the market will tank some more, giving me the opportunity to own more of the companies I own now, at better prices. Of course I could be wrong and Wall St. might not cooperate, but basically I’ve picked my horses; I just want/need the market to stumble.

Having said that, I’m adding money to my trading account when I can, and it’s always good to keep an eye out for great companies. Here’s some I’m looking at. Which one would you like to see a write-up of? Email me.

Proto Labs, Inc, (NYSE: PRLB)
Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT)
GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO)
Ambarella, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA)

As always, feel free to look at my portfolio and see how I’m doing. And 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

August 2015 Portfolio Update #2

Given the recent volatility in the market, and the fact that I haven’t posted anything in almost 2 weeks, (been busy at the bar, no joke) I’ve decided to write a second August portfolio update. And what an interesting couple of weeks it’s been, especially the last few trading days. The DOW dropping over a thousand points, rebounding, subsequent drops… it’s been wild. So what’s changed with me and my portfolio?

Well, three of my positions have been relatively unaffected. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) has bounced around a little, but not enough to hit my lower, second buy point at $37.40. I’m considering raising it closer to $40, but with the current volatility, perhaps I should leave it alone. Maybe I’ll up it a buck, maybe not.

Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT) and Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) haven’t seemed to move around too much, which I see as a good sign for them, though I still would like to see lower prices so I can snap up some more shares. I’m a patient person. I read an awful lot about Mattel having to cut its dividend if things don’t turn around. Maybe fear over that will give me an opportunity to get some shares on the cheap.

Now for what’s a little more interesting. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), interesting and painful. So my average price is $13.61 for 59 shares. Last update I told you of my buy order for $6.25. Well, I lowered that to $5.75 the day before yesterday, JUST before the $6.25 order would have been filled. It never got to my lower order, and is now about $6.80. I’d love to tell you that my decision to lower the limit order was based on something other than fear, but I’ll cop to it. I was afraid to own more of this company. CHK is the first company I bought, back in April, and I didn’t think there was much chance of it going bankrupt. Now a lot of people are ready to sign the company’s death warrant. If oil and natural gas prices don’t rebound for a long time, it’s a possibility.

While I have absolutely no plans for selling what CHK I have, I’m cautious about buying more. If the price continues to go down, I believe I’ll make one more purchase to lower my average cost, but I don’t see myself buying in four times, like I’d be willing to do in a more stable company.

Daktronics Inc. (NASDAQ: DAKT) is another interesting point in my portfolio. The company reported earnings of 9 cents a couple of days ago, missing the analyst estimate of 14 cents. That’s a pretty large miss, percent wise, and of course in this market the stock got hammered. In the conference call they talked about some of their customers being cautious in this economy, but their bookings are still strong. It seemed like some of their missed revenue came from working around their customer’s schedule, that sort of thing. I bought in at $10.10 in early June, and yesterday at $8.30, for an average price of $8.99. It’s at $8.50 as I write this. I’ll have come within 12 cents of ‘calling the bottom’ in this if it doesn’t go back down. (Surely 24 hours later it’s safe to pat myself on the back for that one. Right? Right?)

Anyway, I have one more buy slated for DAKT should it come down more. (Only three maximum buys here, because the company is so small.) Still deciding at what price to put the limit order. The 5 year low is at $6.32, so part of me wants to put it just under $7. But then again with the way things are moving in this market lately, maybe just hold off and see what happens. I really like the prospects for this company, so I’m glad to get the lower price I got yesterday.

What’s on the horizon? What am I looking at for the future? I have limit orders in for two companies that I don’t currently own. 8point3 Energy Partners (NASDAQ: CAFD) at $13.25, and PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) at $28.25. I mentioned 8point3 in my write-up of First Solar. I might do a write-up of PayPal soon.

So while I’m down about $440, I think I can handle some more pain if it comes my way. In fact, I’m sure of it.

As always, feel free to look at my portfolio and see how I’m doing. And please READ MY DISCLAMER. 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

August 2015 Update, Just Getting Started

It’s been almost a month since I started this blog, and I’m happy with the views I’m getting and the interaction from my fellow investors. I figure it’s about time I went over how I’m feeling about my investing results. Of course everyone can see my portfolio, usually updated daily, but I’ll go over each position so you can get inside my head a bit. I’ve already written a much more detailed analysis of each company mentioned below, feel free to look them up.

I’ll start with the big red elephant in the room: Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK). I’m writing this just after listening to their Q2 conference call, on Wednesday, August 5th. The call didn’t really give me much new information to work with. The company is lowering costs, increasing efficiency, etc… They’re trying to improve their balance sheet, and might sell some assets to do so, but reiterated that they won’t have to dilute shareholders to keep afloat. There was some positive talk about a new pipeline coming online in November that will allow gas from their Utica interests to be sold for better prices in the gulf coast, for export. A few weeks ago the company cut the dividend as well. I see that as a positive. I didn’t buy the stock for the dividend it provided.

The basic story here is the same: can the company survive this low commodity price environment? I still think they can. When prices improve, Chesapeake should be very well positioned to take advantage of it. I have 2 buy points in this company, at $15.17 and $12.30. I have a limit order in at $6.25. With the price currently at $7.03 and falling like a rock, all indications are that my order will be filled and I’ll soon have an average price of about $9.50. I was well aware that this was something I’d be holding awhile to see returns on. With hindsight of course I wish I’d waited before jumping in, but I’m comfortable with my position.

I’m happy with my position in Daktronics Inc. (NASDAQ: DAKT). It’s up about 14% on my small initial buy. I had no near term catalyst for this to rocket up (not that it has), and planned to simply accumulate some shares of a great company in a growth industry. Nothing has changed; if it goes significantly lower than where I bought it, I’ll pick up some more. My limit order is for $8.30, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) reported earnings this week, and things seem great at this company. They earned 93 cents a share, while the analysts were expecting 36 cents. This position is up about 14% as well. Great bookings out to the end of 2016, improving technology, improving cash position, just about everything I wanted to hear. And it seems that their position in 8point3 Energy Partners (NASDAQ: CAFD) is going to be very beneficial to them. I REALLY like this company. I bought in at $45.50, and it’s now at $51.92. If it runs up to around $60 on the back of this great quarter I might consider selling, then hope for a pullback to get in again. I wish I’d bought more, but it didn’t come down to my second buy point. Hopes and wishes, perhaps not the most effective concepts in investing, but I’m sitting pretty on this one!

I bought Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT) and Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) very recently, and they haven’t done much. Ok, Constant Contact is up 10%, and that’s great, but it’s probably going to be pretty volatile, so that doesn’t really mean much. Mattel is essentially unchanged. I have orders in to buy both at lower prices and would be happy to get them.

I’d like to take a moment to talk about some of the responses I’ve gotten to this blog. I’ve connected with a few like-minded investors, many through StockTwits.com (http://stocktwits.com/StockPickingBartender), some through a few other places, and I love discussing all this with them. I personally know very few people who I can talk about investing with. “You have a blog about the stock market? Ya, ok, I’ll look it up. Hey did you see that pitch/catch/hit/goal/whatever?” Always feel free to comment or message me, I love it.

A few people have asked me: why bother? Why bother writing up a detailed analysis of a company if you’re only investing $375 in it? Or even if you follow your plan and buy in 4 times, you’ll have less than $2000 bucks in the company. What’s the point?

I understand the question, really. Say I invest a thousand bucks in a company and it doubles, or maybe it goes bankrupt. Either way, I only gain or lose $1000. Chump change right? Well, not exactly, but certainly not life changing. When I’m 80 I won’t look back on it and think that thousand dollars had any real impact on anything. So WHY bother?

Because while I’m starting small, I don’t feel as though the amount invested should have any impact on the process. I’ll still need to do the work involved in buying, owning, and selling a position, no matter the size. I feel fine making these small investments while keeping the majority of my trading account in cash. I happen to LOVE cash, and I’ll keep adding more to my account. Eventually I’ll be at the point where my initial buy will be $2000 instead of $375. It might take awhile, but I think I’ll be happy to have had the experience of smaller investments to build upon.

And as far as writing a detailed analysis for anyone to read… I love to write, and it helps me think about what I’m doing. Not only am I showing others what I do and how I do it (good or bad), but it’s like opening the process up to myself. It’s a Zen, flower power, ‘pass the dutchie ‘pon the left hand side’ kind of thing. Thanks for reading, and good luck out there.

As always, feel free to look at my portfolio and see how I’m doing. And 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