captpackrat: (bunniPod)
Microsoft's market cap (the value of all shares of stock combined) was $219.2 Billion as of market close this afternoon.  Apple, whose stock has been climbing rapidly, hit a market cap of $222.1 Billion.   This makes Apple the second most valuable company in America, behind Exxon Mobile (with a market cap of $278.6 Billion).

Personally, I don't think Apple is really worth that much.  Their Price/Earnings ratio is 20.8 to 1, compared to 13.5 to 1 for Microsoft and 13.6 to 1 for Exxon.  That means Apple stock costs about half again as much for each dollar of income as Microsoft or Exxon.  Apple's net income was $8.2 billion in 2009, compared to 14.6 billion for Microsoft and 19.3 billion for Exxon.

While all the stock analysts are claiming Apple stock is only going to go higher, I don't see this happening.  The numbers just aren't there.  Going by income and P/E, Apple should be worth about $125-150 billion, about on par with Google.

But never underestimate Steve Jobs and the hype surrounding him.  When he dies, Apple's stock is going to absolutely tank.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Yesterday was the annual Berkshire Hathaway stockholder's meeting.  I got up at 5:30 in the morning and my SO and I left home at 7.  The movie was scheduled to start at 8:30, so I thought we'd have plenty of time to get there.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Traffic was backed up all the way from the Qwest Center well out onto the freeway.  By the time we managed to find a parking place and walk to the Center, it was about 8:45 and we'd missed the first part of the movie.  After the movie, it was time for the Q&A period, which lasted until 3 o'clock.  I wasn't really interested in that part, so we went down to the exhibit hall.  This was really disappointing.  I guess I've been spoiled by the San Diego Comic Con, where companies give away all kinds of stuff.  There was almost nothing for free.  Bags of M&Ms with Warren & Charlie's pictures?  $5.  Little rubber wedges to stick under a wobbly table leg?  $1 for 4.  They didn't even give out samples at the Sees booth, something they do in their retail stores!

The one place that did give out samples was Ethel's Chocolates.  The line for this booth was huge.  They gave me a sample of their pecan brittle, which was fantastic.  The stuff cost $25 a pound, but it was so good I had to buy some anyway.

I also bought some stuff from Sees: a box of peanut brittle, some molasses chips, some lollypops, and a pound of chocolates. 

The exhibit hall was getting really crowded, and we'd already seen all the exhibits, so we left around 11:00.  After we'd already left the parking lot, I discovered the woman at the Sees booth charged me for two pounds of chocolates.  Feh.

I found out today that some 35,000 people attended the meeting.  That's the equivalent of 8% of the population of Omaha, all squeezing into the Qwest Center.  No wonder it was so crowded.

captpackrat: (Bush Miserable Failure)
From an article on MarketWatch:

Bush's final week as president left the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Index -- as of Friday's close -- down 5.5% on an annualized basis during his second term. In combination with the 1% gain eked out during his first four years, Bush leaves office with the stock market down 2.3%, annualized, over eight years.

The devaluation of the stock gauge gives Bush the dubious distinction of being the first president of the past five to oversee any decline at all, according to Wilshire Associates.

Ronald Reagan presided over a annualized gain of 12.1% in his first term, and then a climb of 16.1% during his second, translating into an overall annualized rise of 14.1% when he left office in 1989.

In his one and only term as president, George H. W. Bush presided over a 14.5% advance in annualized returns on the DJ Wilshire 5000.

Bill Clinton had the best results overall, at least in looking at yearly returns from the broad market gauge. The Wilshire rose 17.7% during his first term, which ended in 1997.

Of course, Clinton fared less well, in both political and in Wall Street terms, during his second term. Yet the index still climbed 13.5% for a collective 15.6% during his eight years in the Oval Office.

captpackrat: (Stock Market)

captpackrat: (Gas prices + bush)
Chart of the Day, a web site which has various financial charts, had an interesting one today. It's the Dow Jones Industrial Average compared to the price of gold. Although the Dow reached a record high in the summer of last year, in US Dollars, when you try to "buy the Dow" using gold, a totally different picture emerges.

When priced in gold, the Dow reached its apex in 2000 and has been sliding ever since.

2000... Let's see... that was the year Bush was elected! Coincidence?  I think not.

Even Reaganomics was better for the economy than Bushwhackonomics.


Mar. 18th, 2008 01:32 am
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
January 12, 2007, Bear Stearns stock hit $171.66 a share, making the company worth over $20 Billion.

March 13, 2008, Bear Stearns closed at $57.00, making the company worth $6.7 Billion.

March 14, 2008, Bear Stearns closed at $30, making the company worth $3.5 Billion.

March 16, 2008, Bear Stearns was purchased by J.P. Morgan Chase for $2 a share.  Total price is $236 Million.

In just a few days, $6.5 billion just vanished into thin air.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
The stock market had been slowly creeping back upwards, and by Wednesday was set to actually finish February with a gain, the first in three months.

I had a hunch, though, and sold off all my shares of DDM (Proshares Ultra Dow 30, an ETF that follows the Dow Jones Industrial Average and doubles any gain or loss) for $77.05, even though it was still $6500 in the hole since November.  I hung on to all my foreign funds as well as the Excelsior Energy & Natural Resources Fund.

Turned out my hunch was right, the market was down 112 points Thursday and a whopping 315 today.  With less than 5 minutes left in the day, I put in a Limit Buy order for DDM, at $72.05.  In the last minute or so of trading, the price dropped below that level, triggering the purchase, before drifting back up to close at $72.10.  I managed to save myself a loss of $5 per share.

I still ended up $1300 in the hole for the day, but selling and repurchasing DDM saved me from losing another $2000.  I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't buy DXD (Proshares UltraShort Dow 30) on Wednesday; that could have made me another $2000 or so in profit, for a net gain of around $700 today, but that would have been significantly riskier and I'd have been unable to buy anything else with that money until Tuesday.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Totally insane day on Wall Street today.  Just before 1 PM (EST), the Dow was down 330 points to 11,645, a drop of  about 2.8%.  But then a spectacular rally began, with the market closing up 298 points (2.5%) from yesterday, a swing of nearly 630 points!  The Financial sector, which caused all this recent bear market, were leading the way up.

The NASDAQ was down nearly 4% midday, but also rallied ending up 24 points, 1%.  Technology has now become a major drag on the stock market, with Google down 6%, Palm down 9% and Apple down 10.7% from yesterday's close.

Advances lead declines 3 to 2 on the NASDAQ and almost 3 to 1 on the Big Board.  Volume was very heavy.

The European markets didn't fare too well again today, but the Asian markets were doing fantastic, with the Hang Seng up over 10%!  This is good news for me, since I have a sizable chunk (29%) of my funds in Asian/Australian funds.

If the ECB cuts rates tomorrow, we could see another good day in the market.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Sure enough, the stock market opened way down; the Dow started out 465 points (3.8%) in the hole.  Fortunately the Fed issued an emergency rate cut of 75 points last night, which saved the market from certain doom.  By 11 am, the Dow had climbed back to withing 50 points of Friday's close, after which trading became very choppy, dipping another 100 points or so and then rallying back to within 50.  About 25 minutes before the close, the Dow actually pulled within 30 points of Friday, but it couldn't hold on.  The Dow closed down 128 points, or about 1%.

The NASDAQ didn't fare quite so well, it opened down 119 points (5%) and closed 47.75 points down from Friday, about 2%.  Some of the biggest losers were in the tech sector, with Intel down 2%, Google down 2.7%, Microsoft down 3.2%, Cisco down 3.4%, Apple down 3.5%, Yahoo down 4.4% and Oracle down 6.8%.  Of the most actives on the NASDAQ, only Research In Motion and Starbucks posted gains, 1.7% and 0.05%, respectively. 

Apple released their earnings and sales data shortly after market close and is currently trading down another $18 (11.6%) in after-hours trading.

Declines outnumbered advances on the NASDAQ by 2 to 1, but on the Big Board the bears lead by only 18 to 13.

So far, I'm only down $1000 on the day (it'll be another 90 minutes or so before mutual fund numbers come in).  You know the market is in the toilet when you're happy that you've lost only $1000.


Jan. 22nd, 2008 12:20 am
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
The US markets were closed today for MLK, but the rest of the world was still trading.  And it was an utter slaughter.

The FTSE 100 (UK) down 5.5%, Brussels SE BEL-20 down 5.5%, Amsterdam SE EOE down 6.15%, CAC 40 (France) down 6.8%, Australia All Ordinaries down 7.26%, RTS (Russia) down 7.38%, Hang Seng (Hong Kong) down 8%.

If the US markets open down 5-8%, that'll be a drop of over 600-1000 points on the Dow.  Futures contracts are already down about 500 points.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
According to my final statement for 2007, I purchased (and sold) just shy of $1,000,000 worth of securities last year.  o_O
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Ugh, I'm getting slaughtered here.

The Dow is now down over 2,000 points since October.  That's a loss of nearly 15% in just over 4 months.   The Nasdaq has lost 18% and the S&P 500 is down 15%.  I think we're way past a market "correction"; I think we're now getting well into bear territory.

captpackrat: (Stock Market)
The Fed went with a 25 point cut, which was pretty much what the market was expecting.  What they weren't expecting was that it wasn't a unanimous decision, one board member voted against the rate cut.  This, along with news of possible renewed inflation, sent the market into a tailspin for a half hour or so.

Unfortunately, I had an appointment at 2:00, 45 minutes after the Fed announcement, so I couldn't sit there all afternoon and monitor my stocks.  I'd purchased my shares of UYG at $54.50 a couple days ago and just before the announcement it had reached $55.46, a tidy little 1.8% increase.  Alas, after the Fed announcement, it crashed down to $53.46, a loss of about 1.9%.  I didn't want to sell at a loss, and I knew I wouldn't get home before the market closed, so I placed a limit sell order with a target of $54.55, which would basically pay for the commission fees, then got in my car and drove off.

As I pulled into town, I remembered Sirius offers the audio portion of CNBC, so I tuned to it.  The market had gone from being in the hole to being up 170 points!  I started kicking myself because I knew that it was too late to cancel my sell order; it would have gone through long before I could reach a place with a computer.  I was certain I'd missed out on thousands of dollars that I could have made had I issued a market-on-close sell order instead.

First thing I did when I got home was check the stock prices.  I was soooo relieved when I saw that the closing price was only $55.01, only 46 cents more than I'd sold it for.  It turned out I had been beating myself up all afternoon over just a few hundred dollars.

At least my other ETFs and mutual funds (mostly foreign) did exceptionally well.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
The Fed meets again tomorrow afternoon.  The last time they met, everyone was expecting a 25 point rate cut.  When the Fed surprised Wall Street with a 50 point cut, the market went nuts.  This time around, again the consensus is for a 25 point cut.  I'm betting on more.

Last time around, I threw all of my available cash into the Nasdaq just prior to the announcement, which made me several thousand a few minutes later, but it is financials who stand to benefit the most from a Fed rate cut.  This time I've thrown my money into the ProShares Ultra Financials ETF (UYG).  It's a risky move (and it's already cost me $200), but if the Fed gives another 50 point cut, which some analysts think may happen, I could hit the jackpot.

Normally I'd stay waaaaaay away from the financial sector (I prefer tech, energy and materials), but this time is an exception.

6 months

Oct. 2nd, 2007 07:17 pm
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
The past 6 months have been a real roller coaster ride in the stock market.  I've made a lot of money, lost a lot of money, and made a lot of money, and I've learned a few things along the way.

For the first 3 or 4 months of trading, I felt like I had the Midas Touch; virtually every stock I touched turned to gold.  I had made over 12% profit in just that short period of time.  I had about half of my money in mutual funds and the other half in stocks.

Then the Sub-Prime Bust hit, and my Midas Touch backfired.  It felt like everything I touched would turn to dust.  I lost about 1/3 of my profits in a single morning before I managed to dump almost everything.  Whenever the market would seem to rally and I would try to get back in, it would crash again, sucking away more of my profits.  As the market bottomed out, I'd lost nearly everything I'd made in the previous 4 months.  I had pulled all my money out of the market, save for a single mutual fund which seemed to be escaping the worst of the disaster.  I began becoming very cautious with my investments, sticking mostly to ETFs and dumping them a few hours or days later.  I became thrilled to earn $50 in a day.

Then came the Fed decision in early September.  I decided to gamble on a rate cut and threw all of my available funds into QLD, the Proshares Ultra QQQ ETF.  I rolled the dice and the Fed came back with a 50 point rate cut!  In a matter of minutes, I'd made over 5% profit!

The market has rebounded back to where it was prior to the crash with the Dow back above 14,000.  If I'd left everything alone, I'd have probably not lost anything (since gains and losses don't really count until you sell), but I'd have probably stressed out a whole lot more.  Despite that, I've nearly regained everything I lost, and am currently at about 10.5% profit, though I do have more realized gains than I did before the crash.

Right now, I'm still feeling rather gun shy.  About 2/3rds of my money is currently in cash, earning a pitiful 1% per year.  I'm still reluctant to just jump in and I keep waiting for the market to come down a bit before I jump back in, but that's really not been happening lately.

Currently I have only 1 mutual fund, the one fund that I've had from the start and the only investment that didn't go entirely insane over the credit crunch, the Matthews China Fund.  I've increased my investment in it to 15% of my portfolio, and it has in turn given a 44% profit.  Annualized, that comes to 237%!  The remainder of my investments are ETFs, the BLDRS Emerging Markets (ADRE), which has made me 16.4% (231% annualized), iShares MSCI Australia (EWA), which has made 11.9% (138.71% annualized) and iShares MSCI Canada (EWC), up 8.9% (a mere 41% annualized).

My biggest percentage gains so far have been the ProShares Ultra QQQ ETF (which Microsoft Money cannot even calculate the annualized percentage, it's over 100,000%!), the ProShares Ultrashort Financial Sector ETF (SKF), 11,063% annualized, and Penthouse International (PHSL.PK), 1,874% annualized.

I've been exceptionally pleased with the Matthews China Fund.  While it did suffer a bit during the Sub Prime Bust, as did just about every market worldwide, it recovered much faster than the US and is still climbing like a rocket.  It has jumped over 8% in just the past week and in the past 6 months has outperformed the Dow nearly 7 to 1! 
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Logged into my brokerage account this morning and saw that the market had opened up about 1/2%.  Knowing that more often than not, when the market opens big, it'll close lower, and knowing that the past several months the market has closed lower on Friday (and this is a Friday before a 3-day weekend), I decided to play against the market.  I bought 1000 shares of DXD, the ProShares UltraShort Dow 30, an ETF that uses short-selling to make money in a bear market.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at about 13,350 when I bought in.

Despite what I would have thought to be discouraging remarks from Fed chairman Bernake and President Bush (at least it seemed non-positive to me), the market started climbing, reaching a peak of 13,428, sagging a bit, then climbing back up to near it's peak with just 15 minutes left in the day.  At this point, I was down nearly $600 on DXD.  Of course, gains and losses don't count until you actually sell anything, and I was certain things were going to turn around.

And in the last 5 minutes, they did.  The market fell about 75 points from its high, ending the day slightly below where I'd bought in, giving me a gain of about $150 on DXD alone.

Whew.   Wild ride, indeed.

I'm planning on hanging on to DXD at least through Tuesday.  Ford and GM, two of the 30 DJIA components, will be releasing sales figures then and scuttlebutt has it they won't be that great, which should knock the Dow down a bit.  I'm also betting on some profit taking after the past couple bull sessions (which had unusually low volume) and the fact that historically September has been a bad month for the market.

The VIX is still pretty high (23.38), so the ride is likely to be rough for a while.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Ugh.  Stupid French.

BNP Paribas, which said last week that their exposure to the US subprime market was "absolutely negligible", set off a major retreat in the markets today when they froze three of their hedge funds because of credit concerns.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 387 points, 2.8%, and the S&P 500 fell nearly 3%.  The NASDAQ managed to pull off a morning rally back into positive territory before getting mauled by the bears, ending the day down 2.16%.  The VIX (Volatility Index) hit 26.90, its highest point since 2003.  Declines outnumbered advances 4 to 1 on the big board.

On my end, I lost over $3,200 today, my worst market performance to date.  About half of that came from Apple, whose shares fell 5.7%.  Beta of 1.1, my ass!

There are a couple bright spots, however.  Most of the analysts on CNBC seemed to agree that the most recent bear attack was mostly fear-related.  There's not really anything wrong with the economy or the stock market, it's just people started panicking.

I also recently discovered a way to cash in on the bears without having to resort to tricky options or risky margins.  The relatively new Proshares Ultrashort ETF series uses short-selling to make money when the market is down.  I only discovered them this afternoon, too late to really recoup much of my losses, but I now know that I can ride out bear markets and still make a profit.

Tomorrow should be fun.  Not.   The Dow has closed down the last three Fridays, and ended last week with a massive 300 point drop.  I'll need to wake up early to follow the action all day.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)


Jul. 27th, 2007 09:28 pm
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Another horrible day on the stock market.  The Dow Jones Industrial average was down 1.54%, the NASDAQ down 1.43%, and the S&P 500 was down 1.6%.

I was hoping things would improve today, which is why I purchased several ETF's near the close yesterday, and indeed, the Dow was up 37 points within the first hour.  But then things just went to hell in a handbasket.  By noon most of the trailing stop orders had already triggered, though I still took a small loss on them.  My shares of Apple sold off just after noon as they started falling.  Unfortunately, because of Federal regulations, I can't spend money from the sale of a stock unless it is more than 3 days after I purchased it, so I could only use the remaining cash in my account to buy new stocks.  On the hopes that they would bounce back, I issued a limit buy order on Apple and snagged a few more shares on a downtick, and it looked like I could turn a small profit on it, but the stock just crashed out in the last few minutes of trading, soinstead I lost a few hundred.

All in all, I lost over $1300 today.  I'm still doing far better for the past 4 months than I would have had I kept the money in the bank, but this stock craziness is not doing much to help my stress levels. 

After the stop orders went through, I now have only 1 stock, Apple, and 1 ETF, Diamonds (DIA) and two mutual funds, the Buffalo Science and Technology Fund (which I can't sell without a penalty until September) and the Matthews China Fund (which I can't sell for another week).

I'm going to be a lot more cautious next week.  This whole credit crunch and subprime crap is really hurting not just the US markets, but overseas as well.
captpackrat: (Stock Market)
Wild ride on the stock market today.  More subprime fallout, credit concerns and lower housing sales trashed the Financials sector, ExxonMobil missing their earnings killed the Energy sector, the Materials sector was down on falling commodities prices, and Transportation was down because of rising oil and gas prices.  This dragged the entire rest of the stock market into a downward spiral.

At its worst, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 449 points (3.3%!), though a rally in the last hour reduced the damage to 311 points, a 2.26% loss.  The broader S&P 500 faired worse, with a 2.33% loss.  The small-cap Russell 2000 did even worse, down 2.59%.  143 of the 147 S&P industry groups were negative today, with declines outnumbering advances 5-1 on the NASDAQ and 10-1 on the NYSE. 

I was all set to reap huge profits from Apple (AAPL), which issued a very good quarterly report last night, and indeed, their stock was up $8.74 a share, which netted me over $1300 for the day.  Unfortunately, all my other stocks managed to wipe out that profit.  With mutual fund returns still 90 minutes out, I'm ahead by only $536 on the day.  The mutuals will probably wipe out most (if not all) of that.  I suppose it could have been worse, if I hadn't followed my hunch about Apple last night, I'd be down $700 (and more when the mutuals come in)

Since its so hard to get in and out of mutual funds, I'm selling off everything I can and sinking the money into ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), which are diversified like mutuals, but have lower expense fees, no load fees and can be bought and sold instantly like stocks.  I've also set 2% trailing stops on all my stocks and ETFs, that way a monster of a day like today won't hurt as much.

EDIT:  Mutual fund returns are in for a net loss of $500 on the day.  Ouch.  If not for Apple and some well timed trading, that would have been over $2000 in the hole for the day.


captpackrat: (Default)
Captain Packrat

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