Monday, December 31, 2007

50 for 2008

Happy New Year! 2007 was a banner year for my portfolio with Apple (aapl) being my largest winner and still my largest position. I also had a lot of success with TXN, GS, GRMN, LUV, ADBE, and CHK. I am reevaluating my portfolio today by asking myself the following question: Would I buy this stock today? If I answer no to that question, than I am dumping it and taking the loss in 2007. I am going to start the year with stocks that I am confident will go north. On that note, here is my finalized list of 50 stocks that should outperform the market in 2008. I will keep it on a watch list and periodically post the performance. Hope everyone has a great 2008 and thanks for reading!

Adobe Systems, Inc. (ADBE)
Amazon (AMZN)
American Express (AXP)
Apple (AAPL)
Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)
Best Buy (BBY)
Blackboard (BBBB)
BP plc (BP)
Cannon (CAJ)
Chesapeake Energy (CHK)
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)
Countrywide Financial Group (CFC)
Cypress Semiconductor (CY)
Dell (DELL)
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
Electronic Arts (EA)
Exxon Mobile (XOM)
First Solar (FSLR)
Focus Media (FMCN)
Gamestop (GME)
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN)
Genentech (DNA)
Goldman Sachs (GS)
Google (GOOG)
JetBlue (JBLU)
JP Morgan Chase (JPM)
Lifetime Fitness (LTM)
Logitech (LOGI)
Meritage Homes Corp (MTH)
Merrill Lynch & Co (MER)
Nike (NKE)
Nordstrom (JWN)
Novartis AG (NVS)
Pepsi (PEP)
Pfizer (PFE)
Research in Motion (RIMM)
Shutterfly (SFLY)
Starbucks (SBUX)
Sunpower Corp. (SPWR)
Target (TGT)
TASER International (TASR)
Texas Instruments (TXN)
Total (TOT)
Toyota Motor Crop.(TM)
Transocean (RIG)
Under Armour (UA)
Unilever (UN)
Verizon (VZ)
Whole Foods Market (WFMI)
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life is a gamble!

I was going to blog about Wynn Resorts (WYNN) today but they lost almost 3% so I will wait till next week.

Today news hit that Apple will announce (hopefully next month) an agreement with movie companies to rent films through iTunes. It looks like Apple is really trying to make Apple TV a success. With more applications available this could work. One thing I have learned in the past year is never underestimate Jobs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Get Ready for Another Blowout Quarter!


Amazon announced today the top best selling items of this holiday season. Apple has taken 5 of the top 10 positions, including #1 with the iPod Nano! Apple is going to be sitting pretty when earnings come around.

Disclosure: Long Apple

Monday, December 24, 2007

Exxon Mobil (XOM)


With $39.1 billion in net income for 2006, Exxon Mobil (XOM) is the most profitable company in the world. Currently trading around $94 a share, Exxon has been a good performer in 2007 and with consistently rising oil prices looks poised to have a great 2008. Lets take a look at the bull/bear perspective and you decide;

Bull:
Gas prices will have to drop below $50 a barrel for Exxon to loose money. With uncertainty in the middle east and an increase in demand gas prices will likely continue to rise. Technology will allow Exxon to find natural resources more efficiently creating higher profit margins.

Bear:
OPEC, pricing policies, political risks, government taxes, economic sanctions, and anti-trust laws all could effect Exxon's profit margin in the coming years. President Bush recently singed the 2007 Energy Bill calling for higher fuel efficiency. The growing concern of global warming and air pollution will increase the demand for alternative fuel vehicles and electric powered vehicles.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Starbucks (SBUX)


If caffeine is the best selling drug in the world then Starbucks is the biggest drug dealer. With over 15,000 "lounges" does Starbucks have room to continue its impressive growth or have they over expanded.

Bears:
Last weekend I was out shopping with my wife at a busy intersection and noticed there were three Starbucks within one block. Starbucks are everywhere and they have not come out with anything new or innovative in a long time. McDonald's has had a lot of success with there new line of premium coffees and posses a real threat to the Starbucks experience. Why would someone wait in line for 10 minutes to pay twice as much for the same product? With the new competition and over expansion Starbucks may have an uphill battle in front of them.

Bulls:
First, Starbucks is selling 14 times as much coffee per store as McDonald's. Starbucks also offers an atmosphere that McDonald's can not match. Second, Starbucks has room to expand internationally especially in Asian markets where coffee is popular. Finally, caffeine is addicting and in this fast paced world in which we live people are going to need there coffee and Starbucks will be happy to supply.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Going Green


President Bush signed into law today The Energy Independence and Security Act raising the minimum fuel efficiency requirements on automobiles. Hearing this news, I decided to check out some of the most fuel efficient cars on the market and some concept cars soon to be on the market. Here is a list of the most fuel efficient cars currently on the market.

The concept cars have a lot more flash and style, but are unavailable. The electric Chevy Volt is getting a lot of attention. I think the idea of being completely off gas is exciting not only environmentally, but monetarily. Another concept that could catch on is Toyota's Alessandro Volta. It seats three on a row with a "drive-by-wire" control. This allows anyone in the car to drive. It also can produce a 0-60 in four seconds. Not bad for a hybrid or a Ferrari!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trends


If you have ever read this blog before then you know that I like to follow trends, momentum, and volatility. The current market as a whole has been trending lower, and there is only two trends that i can see going higher in the near future. The fist one that comes to mind is anything green. The environment is going to be a major topic in the coming presidential election and if the Democrats take over the office green stocks will benefit greatly. Some of my favorites are FSLR, SPWR, & STP.

With the mortgage industry in the dumps and the economy heading towards a recession look for booze and gambling to do well in 2008. Historically, when life gets tough people get drunk and gamble. So, if that is the direction we are headed keep your eye on these stocks MGM, HET, WYNN, BUD, & TAP.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

50 Best Stocks of 2008

I have compiled a preliminary list of the 50 stocks that I believe will out perform the market in 2008. As you can see technology is the most concentrated sector followed by oil & gas and retail. A few companies that made the list have had a very bad 2007 and should recover nicely in 2008. I included a couple risky Internet based companies that look promising coming into 2008 like BBBB & SFLY. I have not finalized the list yet and a few may shift, but I will finalize the group and track it throughout the coming year. Please let me know if I missed any obvious players.

American Express (AXP)
Apple (AAPL)
Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)
Best Buy (BBY)
Blackboard (BBBB)
BP plc (BP)
Cannon (CAJ)
Chesapeake Energy (CHK)
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)
Countrywide Financial Group (CFC)
Cypress Semiconductor (CY)
Dell (DELL)
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
Electronic Arts (EA)
Exxon Mobile (XOM)
First Solar (FSLR)
Focus Media (FMCN)
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN)
Genentech (DNA)
Goldman Sachs (GS)
Google (GOOG)
JetBlue (JBLU)
JP Morgan Chase (JPM)
Lifetime Fitness (LTM)
Logitech (LOGI)
Merck & Co (MRK)
Meritage Homes Corp (MTH)
Merrill Lynch & Co (MER)
Nike (NKE)
Nordstrom (JWN)
Novartis AG (NVS)
Pepsi (PEP)
Pfizer (PFE)
Research in Motion (RIMM)
Shutterfly (SFLY)
Starbucks (SBUX)
Sunpower Corp. (SPWR)
Target (TGT)
TASER International (TASR)
Texas Instruments (TXN)
Total (TOT)
Toyota Motor Crop.(TM)
Transocean (RIG)
Under Armour (UA)
Unilever (UN)
Verizon (VZ)
Whole Foods Market (WFMI)
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

4.25%

The Fed dropped interest rates today another .25% to 4.25%. Big Ben did not calm investors that were expecting a 50 point drop. The DOW dropped 294 points closing at 13,432. It appears that the subprime mess is not going to go away anytime soon. There are a lot of stocks selling at bargain prices if you want to try and find the bottom. I am going to continue to keep my distance, but if Countrywide drops back down in the single digits I may pick up a few hundred shares. The rest of the week should be very volatile as speculators sort through the Feds minutes and try and make sense of the interest rate cut.

Check out this list of companies that pay virtually no income tax. I have traded Chesapeake and think it is the best of this bunch. Interesting list.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ben Stein Vs Goldman Sachs


This past weekend Ben Stein, a modern day economic genius, wrote a piece in the New York Times questioning the independence of economist Jan Hatzius, a Goldman Sachs economist. Jan wrote a detailed paper describing how the mortgage meltdown could aversely effect other industries in the market. He hypothesized that the mortgage crisis could continue, creating enormous problems for investors, especially companies holding mortgage backed securities.

From an outsiders perspective there is nothing wrong with Jan forecasting the economic future of our markets, actually that is what we expect of our economists. The problem with Jan's prediction, as Ben lays out, is that the company that is signing his paycheck every week is shorting the mortgage industry. Goldman Sachs benefits every time a well respected (and highly paid) economist bad mouths the mortgage industry. Goldman Sachs is basicly a huge hedge fund answering to nobody and manipulating the markets by controlling the media. Goldman has billions of dollars invested in the markets and somehow managed to make money while every other bank were writing down billions in assets.

The most interesting part of this article is that Ben Stein is a shareholder of Goldman Sachs! I guess if you can't beat em, join em.

Friday, November 30, 2007

4 Days of Green

The market has been consistently positive for the past four days with big Ben giving the market a push today. I sold some Chipotle today because I wanted to free up some capital and feel like this rally will come to a close on Monday (if we close higher today). People are positive and global money is being pumped into the US economy.

I have been reading about the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 that the House passed a few weeks ago. One of the big issues inside this bill is the tax proposed on "carried interests" regarding hedge funds. This could have a negative effect on the liquid markets if private equity managers start getting hit with a higher tax rate. I will be keeping my eye on this bill (currently before the Senate).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cowboys


Quick Rant. One of the biggest games of the year and it is being announced by Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth! Amateur hour on the NFL Network. Plus TO just gave up a touchdown. Back to the game.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Strong Finish


The market has been all over the board for the past few weeks and today was no different. The dow ended up 215 points and all my positions ended in the green. The market is still consumed with the mortgage industry but with the surge of foreign equity in the financials hopefully the market can regain some confidence. I never lost my confidence in the market (probably should have) but it does feel like we are looking for bad news to run the market lower.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

My wife and I braved the crowds are ventured to the local mall in search of good deals and stock ideas. The holiday season can be a very telling time for retailers and disappointing holiday sales can be disastrous. The mall was very crowded with the usual suspects leading the way. Banana Republic, JCrew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Circuit City and the Apple Store were all packed. Some of the department stores were doing really well too, including Nordstroms and Dillards. The Apple Store was unbelievably crowded with hundreds of people clambering to save a few bucks. We walked in and the handed us a brochure with the days sales including $138 nano, $228 iPod Classic, $68 shuffle, and many more small discounts. This is one of the few times Apple puts anything on sale, so the apple groupies were there in flocks. With the continued success of the iPhone there is no reason not own a few shares of Apple.


The market rallied today with good indications coming from the retail side. The market closed at 1:00 today, leaving plenty of time to go shopping. Have a great weekend.

Disclosure: Long Apple

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where is the bottom?

Countrywide closed today at $9.42! At the beginning of the year CFC was trading around $45 dollars a share. I traded this stock in the mid 20's and made some nice coin. I have left it on my watch list just to use it as an indicator of where the housing and mortgage industry is trading. Usually a couple of large cap stocks from any industry can give you a pretty good idea of the way an industry is trending as a whole. So, what does this tell us? The mortgage market is hosed. Everyone knows that the mortgage industry is in trouble, but is the bottom in site? Well fortunately for us, stocks can not go negative, but this dog may still have some decline left. If I was looking for a long term investment Countrywide may be on the list (purely speculative of course). I am not going long right now, but I will continue to watch for a bottom.

Hope everyone has a great thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Get your Mac on!


As of yesterday, I am officially a Mac groupie. I received my MacBookPro yesterday and I love it. It is incredibly easy to use and Leopard is full of awesome features. I will not go into a full-blown review of the operating system (you can find one just about anywhere) but if you are looking for a new laptop take a close look at Apple.

Tech had a strong day today with the usual suspects including Apple, Google, and Research in Motion leading the pack. I have stayed long Apple through the market down turn and I am still confident it will recover along with the rest of the market. Housing numbers came out this morning and helped the market open strong. The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. Back to playing with my new Mac. See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What would Greenspan do?


In today's volatile market I tend to ask myself what would our old friend Greenspan do? I am currently reading his book, The Age of Turbulence, and it has been making me wonder what sectors Greenspan thinks will be stronger in the near future. Financials are getting killed along with housing stocks and anything with mortgage backed securities in there portfolio. I think (and Greenspan would probably agree;) technology, semiconductors, natural resources, and health care are the best trending sectors right now and likely for the next year. Financials could recover, but it is going to take some time so I am going to stay away from them for now. A few of my favorite stocks right now are aapl, grmn, tasr, txn, chk, ato, pfe, abt.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another down day


My dog Campbell thinks tomorrow is going to be better day in the market, so I am going to watch The Office and lounge. Catch you on the flip.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Negative Market

The market has been so negative lately, but earnings are still strong. Look at your favorite companies p/e ratios and you may find that they are at historic lows. I am a buyer at these levels and believe this is a temporary down turn. Lots of great buying opportunities. Financials and housing are way to volatile right now, but if you can pick the bottom or don't mind sitting on some stocks for a while, financials are really cheep.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rotten Apple


Apple is looking pretty rotten after a horrible past two weeks. It hit a high of $192.68 a few weeks ago and closed today at $153.76. What is going on? Who knows, but hopefully we have seen the bottom (although it could go lower). I may pick up a few shares tomorrow if it continues to dive. iPhone just launched in Europe which should help spur more blowout quarters (the weak dollar will not hurt too).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wedgie Proof Underware

Jared and Justin Serovich from Chicago came up with the Rip Away 1000!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bluetooth

This is a hilarious clip! Larry David is a genius. Hope everyone has a great weekend. I took a beating this week, but volatility keeps the markets fluid.

News & Links

HP will stop making digital cameras, and concentrate on the printing business (or printer cartridge business) according to Tech Crunch.

Check out infinite solutions for interesting computer related fixes and updates. He is the Mac Guyver of technology. He actually uses a cell phone, Ethernet cable, salad bowl, and tin foil to increase his Wifi connection. Niceee.

Criminals are getting nabbed for discussing crimes on social networks. First rule of fight club is never talk about fight club. Gizmoto has the story.

If you are getting ready for post Thanksgiving shopping get a head start by checking out the specials @ blackfriday.info or click here.

Undicided who to vote for in 2008. Take this quick quiz called the "Match-O-Matic" from ABCnews.com and all you have to do is go to the polls.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Seinfeld Standup

Everyone needs a good laugh when the market is getting crushed.

Tech is getting pounded

Tech stocks and financials are taking a beating this afternoon along with every other sector. Bernanke did not do anything to calm the markets today.

The DOW is currently down about 200 points

Apple is down 12.34
Google is down 48.99
RIMM is down 13.23

The list goes on and on.

Elements of Branding

This is pretty interesting if you are interested in marketing or advertising. Click on the picture to follow the link.

branding definitions
Built by Kolbrener, a branding company

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dow did a 360

The Dow dropped 360 points today following a strong day yesterday. The housing fiasco is still driving the market lower, although it is effecting the entire market (including tech). Apple gave back all of yesterdays gains dropping $5 to $186.30. Wallstrip featured apple today, see below. None of my positions were up today, so I am going for a run and hopefully tomorrow will be better. On days like this I have to remind myself that I am an investor and not a trader, think long term.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Very Strong Close


Good day to be long. The market closed strong today, ending with the Dow up 117 points, NASDAQ up 30, and the S&P up 18. Tech lead the way again with apple jumping 5 bucks to $191.79 and Google up 16.14 to $741.79. Google is up nearly everyday on growth and anticipation of the g-Phone. It is going to be hard to compete with the iPhone, but they may just change the way we pay for and use our phones.

Volt


Oil may hit $100 a barrel this week as fighting continues in oil rich countries. Electric automobiles can not come soon enough. GM has introduced an electric rechargeable concept car called the Volt that has been getting a lot of attention. The Volt is projected to get about 40 miles on a single charge, which should cover most Americans commute. This concept may be counterproductive if the electric companies can not find an alternative source of energy like wind or solar (many electric companies currently use coal). GM is projected to build as many as 60,000 cars in the first year with a target price between $20-30k. Sign me up.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Down Day

The Dow closed today down 51.70 today on continued credit worries. The regular group Google, Bidu, and RIM continue to climb higher despite the broad market concerns. No big movements in my portfolio today, but most positions were slightly lower.

Tech Crunch has an interesting article on the value Second Life. With many social networking sites going for tens of millions it is very difficult to put a value on a site like Second Life and since I have never played the game or gone to the site I will not try.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Have a great weekend!!

Catfish Investing


I am looking at some bottom feeders today. Countrywide & Merrill Lynch are trading very low (and for good reason). When I look at a play based on problems in a sector I usually want to look for the sector leaders because they seem to rebound faster and there is less risk of a complete collapse. Countrywide fits that criteria, but it is hard to find the bottom, and I don't like to chase stocks lower because then you have to play the waiting game. I am going to pass for now, but I will keep my eye on both.

Mortgage Rant

Take some personal responsibility for your dumb financial decisions. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. You knew when you bought that million dollar house with nothing down that you were getting in over your head. Now that house is worth 800k and you want someone to bail you out or you are going to walk away. That is not the way it works. Take some personal responsibility and pay your bills. You traded your financial future for granite countertops and hardwood floors and now it is time to make good on your bet. If the government bails you out by artificially inflating home prices the ones that are going to get squeezed are the old (on fixed income) and the young fist time home buyers who can not afford an entry level home.

Jim Cramer on Market Manipulation

This video has been out for a long time, but I felt with the market acting so volatile the past few months I would take another look at it. Cramer basically says that his hedge fund (closed now) would manipulate the market on the short side. Although this is highly illegal it happens everyday.

Get a Job


According to the Labor Department employers added 166,000 jobs in October. This is nearly double what economists had anticipated. The current unemployment rate is 4.7%. This is a good sign that the credit crunch has not spilled over into other parts of the economy. This market is still trading lower in early morning trading. The DOW is currently down about 60 points @ 13,508.

Should be a great weekend for football with the highly hyped Indy vs patriots game on Sunday. The Cowboys are playing Phili in Philadelphia on Sunday night. Should be some great football.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dow down 362 points!


The Dow closed down 362 points
NASDAQ closed down 64 points
S&P 500 closed down 40 points

Today was a blood shed, with financials and anything related to housing spilling the most. Everything in my portfolio ended in the red but Dreamworks (DWA) which for some reason has been moving against the market. I guess Wall Street had a sugar hangover today and decided to take some risk off the table. I have been staying away from financials and housing stocks so today mainly hurt my mutual funds (I am afraid to look at how much) but my speculative investments were not damaged to bad. I know I am completely insane for looking at this stock, but Countrywide is looking really cheap right now. I am going to hold off for now, but if it drops another 10-20% I may pick up a few shares and forget about them for a year. Countrywide is not going anywhere, so it is likely a safe bet (especially with Buffet buying at $18).

Doomsday for CROX

The inevitable finally happened. Crox is down today $22 or 29% due to disappointing revenue and 2007 outlook. I think everyone knew this stock was greatly overvalued and that one day it would tank. Well today is that day. I don't like to see stocks turn this fast, knowing that a lot of investors lost big, but that is the risk we all take when investing in growth stocks. Here is a Wallstrip from the good old days when Crox was on fire...



Here's a ranking of the top 10 stock gainers in the past decade according to Market Watch.

Company.........Cumulative gain (%)
Chico's FAS......3,790.889
Apple...............3,504.444
Frontier Oil......2,367.556
Oshkosh Truck.2,153.455
Clean Harbors..1,995.059
Echostar...........1,870.947
Gilead..............1,816.260
American Eagle.1,737.162
Holly Corp........1,706.189
XTO Energy......1,629.161

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cash Call!

Ever thought of going completely to cash? Check out this article from the New York Magazine and you may do it tomorrow. It is all about managing risk. Know your tolerance and don't overextend. Here is my favorite part:

"The Derivatives-Related Meltdown, Part II
Anybody who glances occasionally at the financial pages these days knows that mortgages issued to home buyers are packaged together (in a process called securitization) into a collateralized-debt obligation, or CDO. That’s what’s known as a derivative, a security whose value depends on the value of other securities. The price of the CDO, you see, is “derived” from the prices of the underlying mortgages. (It works with credit cards, too, or bank loans—any kind of debt will do.)

In principle, the idea of a CDO makes perfect sense. In buying $5 million worth of a CDO, an investor has essentially lent money to an entire portfolio of homeowners, instead of placing all his eggs in one basket, say, by funding a single $5 million mortgage. In the real-estate-crazy environment of the past decade, the CDO market took off like a rocket. But the buyers of these derivatives made a critical error—they confused the spreading of risk with the elimination of risk. A booming economy made this confusion not just possible but irresistible. With relatively few defaults in the first half of the decade, investment firms, including many hedge funds, came to see CDO returns as a sure thing and loaded up on them, often borrowing money to do so, taking on debt to buy debt and thereby setting up a potentially deadly chain reaction. The readiness of the secondary market to buy all these mortgages encouraged the lenders to run wild and lend to anyone who walked through the door, leading—inevitably, in retrospect—to a decline in loan quality. Analyst Christopher Wood of Asia-Pacific investment house CLSA succinctly defines the problem in his highly readable newsletter Greed & Fear: “[Securitization] has one fatal flaw, which will ultimately prove to be its undoing … it removes the incentive of those making the loan to worry about whether the loan is a good credit.”

Still, it all held together until mortgage defaults began to cut into the yields of these CDOs and holders looked to sell them, only to realize their value had slipped. Forced liquidations as a result of that “price discovery” were a primary factor in Bear Stearns’ hedge-fund calamity in August. And it’s not over yet: The aftershocks of the mortgage meltdown are still being felt, as banks such as Citigroup and Deutsche Bank announce multibillion-dollar write-downs.

Each time one of these write-downs has been announced, the market has had a curiously positive response, taking the news as a sign that the worst was over and the banks were cleaning up their books. But because these derivatives are linked to other debt, there’s no reason to be certain that trouble won’t bleed into other markets. Among other things, the liquidity crisis froze the market in structured investment vehicles (SIVs), a nifty bit of financial engineering that banks use to profit from the spread between short-term debt and long-term debt. No one yet knows how nasty these losses could turn out to be because SIVs are stashed, Enron style, off the books.
"

thanks Jason for the link

Taking it to a whole new level!

Happy Halloween!

Housing Forecast



DOW is currently up $126, thank you big Ben

Fed cuts interest rates by .25%


The Fed just announced that they have lowered the interest rate .25% to 4.5%. The Dow was up nearly 70 points before the announcement and is now trading almost flat. It is always interesting to see how the market is going to react to interest rate activity. A lower interest rate allows investors to invest more on margin and pay lower interest expense. This is a great thing for investors, but the flip side is the reason the Fed is lowering interest rates is due to the economy as a whole (including credit markets, ie housing). The real test will come in a few days when the beige book comes out and we see what the Fed was discussing during the past 48 hours. The Fed notes will give us a better look into where the Fed sees the economy going.

I have a standing limit order on Chipotle to sell a few shares, although it does not look like it will hit the number. I still like Chipotle, but I am up over 10% in less than two weeks. It may be time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Big Picture

I was reading The Big Picture and came across a comment made by a reader regarding the housing meltdown and the loan performance by area. Here is the comment:

"It's a new paradigm, and everybody who doesn't buy, now, will be priced out forever. Anybody who does buy will be rewarded with a lifetime of riches, as their property will continue its 30% yearly price increase.

Renters, and anybody born in a future generation, will not be able to afford a $10,000,000 starter home in 15 years. They will live in tent cities, and Hondas.

This asset bubble is different than all of the others - it will never slow down, or pop. The gains are permanent."

Hilarious.

Chipotle!

Another great quarter for Chipotle! Earnings of 62 cents a share beat expectations of 53 cents, and are up over 72% from prior year. Chipotle stock rose over 3% in after hours trading. Tomorrow could be a huge day for Chipotle if the Fed lowers interest rates and the market reacts positively. Chipotle also announced that they will be opening a location in Toronto in 2008. You know the Canadians are going to love our burritos.

Tech continues to look very strong!

Tech stocks are having a great day today with some of the standouts including Adobe, Baidu, Google, & Garmin. Apple hit another home run with Leopard, announcing today that they have sold over 2 million copies since its release on Friday.

"Analyst Keith Bachman, of BMO Capital Markets, estimated that 200,000 of those sales included Macs that were pre-installed with Leopard. And coming off a quarter in which Apple sold 2.16 million Macs running the previous operating system called Tiger, the question facing Apple is whether Leopard will be a force in adding to Mac sales during the end-of-the-year holiday shopping season." Click here for the complete story. Apple is currently up over $4 trading around $189.

Trick or Treat


The Fed is meeting today to discuss among other things the lowering of the Federal interest rate tomorrow. It is widely believed that the Fed will lower interest rates again, but it is unclear how much (most economists are predicting 25 points). The market has been anticipating another cut since the 50 point cut in September. More importantly the Fed needs to come out with some calming words that can give the market some confidence heading into the holiday season. I am not sure Ben Bernanke fully understands the power of his words. Look for the markets to be calm, slightly to the down side until the announcement.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Romo?

Slow news day today. Gap gets caught using child labor. Oil hits all time high and the Fed will hopefully lower interest rates this week. I think that about sums it up. Oh yeah, Tony Romo was seen this past weekend getting wild with Britney Spears. Nice..

Tech continues to look strong and oil keeps pumping. I may sell off some stocks tomorrow and trigger some gains. I think the market is getting a little finicky.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Congratulations Boston


The Boston Red Sox just won the World Series! Maybe next year my Rangers can make a run (it is not looking good:)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Apple Store

I just got back from the Apple store and the place was packed. The new Leopard software has some really user friendly upgrades. Vista does not even compare. The salesman said the line to pick up the Leopard software last night was huge. He said people were coming in to get the software but many were picking up new laptops, macs and iPods. I don't see the end for apple any time soon. This company has so much potential it is scary.

Disclosure: long AAPL

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bobble Head



I think I know what I am getting my wife for our anniversary! Girls like bobble heads, right? check it out

Friday Afternoon!!

Survived another week of work & market fluctuations. Since it is Friday, take a break and check out this site Faces in Places. Have a great weekend. I also updated my links so take a look and let me know if I missed anyone.

Time to Sell?

Why do investors get out of positions to early? GS, ADBE, & GRMN are a few of stocks that I pulled the trigger on to early. On the other hand, I have managed to get out of some losers before they crumbled. I guess you just have to try and hedged your exposure and asses your risk. If a stock jumps 10-15% in a few days it is hard to stay long.

AAPL, CMG, & DWA are all having nice days. The market has been looking weaker with the recession talk and housing still getting hit hard. Countrywide recovered a little today on positive forward outlook, but the earnings are pretty bad. This is probably a good long term play if you have the stomach for it.

Other stocks I am looking at include Southwest Airlines (LUV). LUV is trading pretty low due to higher fuel prices, so I am going to keep my eye on oil futures and may trade on dips.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Googolplex?

Brainstorming a $208 billion dollar company:

"Sean and Larry were in their office, using the whiteboard, trying to think up a good name - something that related to the indexing of an immense amount of data. Sean verbally suggested the word "googolplex," and Larry responded verbally with the shortened form, "googol" (both words refer to specific large numbers). Sean was seated at his computer terminal, so he executed a search of the Internet domain name registry database to see if the newly suggested name was still available for registration and use. Sean is not an infallible speller, and he made the mistake of searching for the name spelled as "google.com," which he found to be available. Larry liked the name, and within hours he took the step of registering the name "google.com" for himself and Sergey (the domain name registration record dates from September 15, 1997)." See complete story here.

Still Bullish? Amazon


Amazon announced Q3 earnings yesterday with surprising results. Third quarter earnings increased 41% to $3.26 billion. Although investors sold off the stock yesterday on lower forcasted earnings, today analyst H Terry of Credit Suisse raised the price target from $100 to $120. Amazon closed today down .52 cents to $88.21.

Another rough day

The DOW is currently down nearly 80 points & Nasdaq is down 31 points. Today is looking pretty uneventful except Chipotle (CMG) which is up $5.45 (4.41%) on news that it will be joining the S&P Midcap 400.

November 24, 2007 Recap

Daily Recap

Bad news in the housing sector continues to worry investors, but rumors of upcoming fed rate cuts rallies the market back from early losses. Continued deterioration in the housing sector could lead the fed to down tick the federal discount rate before the fed meets next week. The discount rate is the interest rate the fed charges banks to loan money.

Market Clips

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is the newest internet spun billionaire. Starting the social networking site four years ago while a student at Harvard, Facebook today announced they have sold a 1.6% stake to Microsoft for a reported $240 million dollars. This purchase values the company at $15 billion dollars.

Merrill Lynch & Co. reported Q3 earnings yesterday that included a $7.9 billion dollar write-down in mortgage backed securities. This is the companies first loss in six years.

Does size matter?


Apple has a lot of growth potential! See Gizmoto for the complete story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TASR

Bought this morning @ $16.56

Currently trading for $17.49

Up 5.6% in half a day! If every trade was this easy, I would be very wealthy.

Early Bird

Bought some TASR today on a dip @ $16.56. Taser came out with steller earngins today with sales rising 56% in Q3. This is one that I am going to put on the side burner and try to forget about. In one year this stock could double (or be a dud:) Here is Howards take on it.

Overall the market is down a bit giving back some of yesterdays gains. I am going to take a look at Amazon which is down do to forward looking statements. Earnings are strong so this may be a buying opportunity.

Currently holding: AAPL, CMG, DWA, TASR, & a bunch on mutual funds

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bullish

The market today was flat and turned bullish toward the close. More great earnings from Amazon and Apple. Both these companies are very bullish. I have been covering Apple pretty consistently and Amazon has been on my watch list for a while. I may pick up some shares tomorrow.

Currently I am reading "Into The Wild" a book about a young mad who ventures out on the road to live a life of travel and adventure(sounds appealing but he ends up freezing to death). Why do men have this instinctual desire to explore & travel, while women have the exact opposite? Good book if you get the chance.

Betting vs. Investing


Investing is calculated betting. When you purchase a stock you have hopefully done sufficient research to make an intelligent decision (based on the best available data). The main difference in gambling and stock picking is that investing is based on facts, not luck (although luck helps). Before buying any stock I always do my research which includes a lot of reading and analyzing. The hardest part of investing is sorting the filler data from important helpful data. Investing is calculated and precise. It requires knowledge, skill, and a little luck to become successful. You have to feel the feelings and live the experience to become a good investor. Most investors will say you need to think logically and not make decisions based on emotions. This is true for the most part, but sometimes you have to listen your intuition and sell that dog or double down.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apple Blows Up!


Apples new strategy for selling iPods and Macs this holiday season is to make there investors very wealthy. Apple blew away estimates and recorded another fantastic quarter. With earnings of 1.01 a share and revenues of 6.22 billion apple easily beat estimates (see below). Apple shares are up nearly $12 or 7% in after hours trading.

Does money grow on trees? (AAPL)


Apple announces earnings tonight with analysts expecting 86 cents a share, on revenue of 6.071 billion for Q4. AAPL was up today (2.31%) $3.94 on anticipation of earnings. iPhone sales should be the major focus as we roll into the holiday season. I may take a trip by the apple store tonight to do a little product research (ie check out the new gadgets).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ugly Day

Dow gave back 366 points today on recession concerns. Concerned yes, worried not yet. Another week in the red will get me a little worried. This is a strong market, so I am not going to worry and just think of this as a buying opportunity and have a great weekend. Is it bad that I am more concerned with my fantasy football games this weekend than the Dow?

What makes a stock great?


Today I picked up a little Chipotle (CMG) on the dip. I also had lunch at Chipotle and the place was packed. Chipotle still has a lot of room for growth and could easily add another 20-30 points. Cramer thinks Chipotle will not go much higher, but we will see what the market says. With this momentum it can be hard to stop. Earnings will be released on the 30th.

While I was eating my burrito today I began to compare Chipotle's success with another one of my families favorite restaurants, PF Changs (PFCB). PF Changs owns the highly successful PeiWei chain of restaurants. Why is Chipotle selling for nearly 74 times earnings hitting all time highs, but PFCB is only selling for 21 times earnings hitting all time lows? Two words: Quarterly Growth. CMG's quarterly growth is yoy is 85% while PFCG is only 14.7%. CMG is a growth stock that has huge potential and more importantly momentum.

Disclosure: Long CMG

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Adios Analog!


Best Buy (BBY) announced yesterday that they are no longer going to be carrying analog TV’s. This could not make me happier. More stations need to convert to HD, pronto. I recently bought a 40’ LCD that I love, but I only get a handful of channels in HD. The sports are amazing especially golf and football, but I need everything in HD. Once you go HD you will never want to watch regular TV again. I have blogged about Texas Instruments DLP technology before. This is a great trend to follow. Check out Mark Cuban's blog here (yes, Dancing With The Stars Cuban). He owns HDNet that has some pretty great programming and he gets into more specifics on his blog.

Best Buy is a great stock that still has some growth potential. According to business week “more than 60 million U.S. households currently rely on an antennas or analog cable.” This is a huge market that is just beginning to be tapped.

Thanks to Keith for the link.

Craiglist Post

I have received this e-mail from a number of people regarding the craiglist post last week. I decided not to blog about it then because everyone I know that reads this blog sent me the e-mail, but wallstrip has its own twist on this post. Funny stuff.

New Trading Software

I finally downloaded the new active trading software offered by my brokerage company and it has made my trading so much easier. I loaded it last week, and I have seen immediate results. I find myself trading more (I guess that is the idea) and following my positions more carefully.

The market has been in the red for the past few day and today looks like it is not going to break the pattern. Pretty heavy in cash right now, looking for some bargains on trending stocks.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Timmmmmbeeer


Market is down 160 points due to earnings releases today. The bears are eating this up.

The banks are going to team up to try and revive the credit market. Lets see if 100 billion dollars will have an effect on the credit "Crisis." The number of defaulting sub-prime loans is less than 1 percent. I wonder how many stock options have been written with financial companies undervaluing there holdings.

1/15/2007

The 2006 extended tax deadline is finally upon us. This has been one of the tougher tax seasons, but I survived.

The Dow is in the red, currently down 106 points, with no big movers in my portfolio.

Sold Garmin today at $114.99, bought 10/3/07 @ 96.97

Happy with a 18.58% return in 12 days. Annualize that...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Interesting Facts

From the US Department of Health & Human Studies come some very interesting numbers, here are a few I found surprising:

- 24.4% of Blacks aged 12 or older were current smokers
- Among the 21 major occupational categories, the highest rates of past year major depressive episode among full time employed workers aged 18 to 64 were found in the personal care and service occupations (10.8%) and the food preparation and service related occupations (10.3%).
- From 2004 to 2006 an annual average of 6.3 million women (9.4%) aged 18 to 49 needed treatment for a substance use problem.
- An annual average of 943,000 persons aged 12 or older were recent initiates of hallucinogens (i.e., they had used hallucinogens for the first time in the 12 months before the survey).
- In 2006, an estimated 20.4 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users
- Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2006 survey (50.9 percent). This translates to an estimated 125 million people, which is similar to the 2005 estimate of 126 million people (51.8 percent).
- More than one fifth (23.0 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking (having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey) in 2006.
- In 2006, among young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate of binge drinking was 42.2 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 15.6 percent.

We are supposed to be one of the most progressive nations in the world. Scary statistics. Get off the drugs people.

100 Oldest Domain Names

Here you go..

Media Power


I don't want to come off as a conspiracy theorist, but the media has tremendous power over the financial markets. Turn it on CNBC or Bloomberg and watch the reports with a suspicious perspective. Before a correction the media will start getting real negative and jump on any bad news and beat it to death. Subprime mortgage of late is the best example. The media tried to scare investors out of the market and kept calling for a 10% correction. When you start hearing that talk it is time to start liquidating some of your more risky positions.

Take a look at the cover of this weeks Barron's (picture above) and judge for yourself.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Come back kid, tech


Tech rebounded strong today after a sharp drop yesterday. Apple ended up 3% along with Garmin, up 4%. Nice gains going into the weekend. I am going to put on some limit orders to sell Garmin. I am up over 10% in less than two weeks. I sill like the stock, but when you get a jump like that it only makes sense to bring in some profits. Yesterday, Goldman Sachs raised the one year target price of Apple to $190. This stock has more momentum then the Patriots (who are going to get schooled by the Cowboys this weekend!)

Disclosure: Long Apple, Garmin & Dallas Cowboys

Have a good weekend

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crazy Day


A ton of volume today around 2:15 as traders decided to take some gains and news came out on Baidu. The Dow opened strong and held the gains for most of the afternoon, until the news hit the tape and everything went crumbling. I guess my buddies down on wall street left me out of the loop again. I am still holding nice gains in all positions and plan on holding out for more upside. It is going to take more than Baidu news to slow this bull market.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Show me the MONEY!


Garmin & Apple are unstopable! (watch, they will be down tomorrow) My portfolio is holding up strong and I am going to add some positions tomorrow.

I am looking very hard at TASR. I have been sitting on the sidlines watching this thing skyrock. Time to jump in.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Apple


Apple is still my largest position and I don't see that changing for a while. The new product line is sharp and iPhone sales should be strong over the holidays. Microsoft launched a new line of Zunes today. Apple has this market nailed for a reason. Microsoft did not bring anything new or innovative needed to win over iPod fans. Now that I think about it Microsoft has not brought anything new and innovative to the market in a long time. Vista has been a giant disappointment, although it is still the main software for all new computers (besides apples of course). Apple is innovative, creative and sexy. Good luck Microsoft!

Disclosure: Long Apple

Heavy Lunch

Today has been a strong day for my portfolio, although the market has remained relatively flat all day. Yesterday I picked up a little Garmin (GRMN) and Dreamworks (DWA). Garmin has performed well today, up over 5% and Dreamworks has stayed pretty flat, down 1%. Garmin is new to this blog although it has been on my hit list for a while. Recently it fell almost 20% after Nokia announced it was purchasing Navteq Corp. for $8.1 billion (Garmin was rumored to be looking at this buyout). Buying opportunities everywhere, just have to know where to look.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dream Works


Bee Movie is beginning to get some buzz! This looks like it could be a huge hit for dream works (DWA). Currently trading at a 52 week high around $34 this stock could go much higher once the buzz about the Bee Movie gets stronger (the apple effect). Jerry Seinfeld returns to the screen as the voice of the main bee along with Renee Zellweger as his sweet honey (sorry it's just too easy). It looks pretty funny and the word around the playground (according to my undercover stock picker nephew) is this going to be the biggest movie of the fall. Look for this stock to go much higher.

Disclosure: going long

TASR


"Don't taser me bro!" The line made famous by the UF student, Andrew Meyer, tasered at a John Kerry Forum. Watching the video is a bit disturbing when you realized they had him handcuffed when they tasered him.

This recent tasering has brought the use of nonlethal weapons to the forefront and since this in a stock blog and not a political platform I will take a quick look at TASR. Taser International, Inc. produces tasers and other nonlethal devices for law enforcement, military, correctional facilities, and Americans looking to fry someone. Taser recently released three new products one of which you can shout from a 12gauge shotgun (picture above).

The stock has been on a run recently gaining another 4% today. Currently trading around $17 TASR looks prime to go higher.

The UF situation is unfortunately not an isolated incident. TASR has had many lawsuits filed against them for producing the weapons most of which have been dismised. If you live under a rock here is the video from UF.

10% Correction! What a Joke

The analysts were screaming for a 10% correction a few months ago and they got it. Two months later we are back over 14,000 and the bulls charge on. I guess the speculators came out of the market when we hit 14k earlier this year and wanted to get back in on the low, so they talked down housing until the market could not take it any more. With no decline in May they were looking for a correction and they got it. This market is strong in my opinion but it is amazing the power of momentum and media.

Back to the Daily Blog


Guess who's back, back again. Sorry for the laps in blog posts. Life can get really crazy. Back in school getting an MBA. Should be challenging but stimulating.

Some really interesting movements in the market recently. Tech stocks have been moving nicely and financials are recovering. Housing stocks are still getting nailed but most investors are just ignoring the obvious. Sold some positions in Goldman Sachs and Adobe yesterday with double digit gains in both. Looking for some new stocks. Thinking tech or natural resources.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Since I began this blog on May 15, 2007 the markets have been all over the board. Over all the stocks I have portrayed on Market Anomalies have been successful, up almost 9%. Some of the leaders are Under Armor (UA) up 38.32%, Apple (AAPL) up 15.40%, Whole Foods Market (WFMI) up 10.65%, Lifetime Fitness (LTM) up 11.14%, and Wynn (WYNN) up 31.29%. I still like all these stocks and think they will go even higher under the right conditions.

With the good comes the bad and I have covered some losers like IMH (a real estate REIT) down 62.53% and FIG down 39.7%. Both of these stocks have been beaten down with either bad news or sector collapses.

The housing market is weak and is going to take a long time to repair, so if you are a long term investor there are some great buys out there. If you are looking at picking up some housing or lending stocks I would go with the big players like Countrywide, KB Homes, or DR Horton. All have been beaten down and although they could still go lower they look pretty cheap right now. Financials also have taken a hit this past month. In a downward trending market I like to buy the biggest of the bunch, so Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase are the financials I like right now. To see a big rate of return on most of these companies you are going to have to hold them for at least 6 months to a year. In the short term here are three stocks I am looking at right now that have momentum:

1. ADBE – Adobe has some great products out on the market right now and has the PDF market covered. Trading around $42 currently I have been buying this stock in the high 30’s and I think it has potential to go higher.
2. PEP – Pepsi is a great stock to own in a rollercoaster market like we have been experiencing lately. You will not see huge fluctuations in this stock which can help you sleep at night in today's market.
3. CHK – I like Chesapeake Energy in the natural gas sector and think it could move much higher.

So there you have it a little recap of the past few months and a look toward the future. I will be looking at some new stocks coming up soon, so check back often.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Get out your soldering iron!

It appears someone figured out how to unlock the iPhone from AT&T, but it requires soldering and software modifications. Apple should take the hint! Imagine if Apple sold the iPhone on all networks. The main reason I don't buy an iPhone is everyone I know is on Sprint. If I came off Sprint I would loose my mobile to mobile ability. Take the hint apple!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Huge Day!

Today is going to be a huge day for the market! Big Ben is going to speak, hopefully relieving some concerns over the recent credit crunch. Ben has to make a statement today in order to keep the bears at bay. The fed needs to calm investors and restore some confidence in the domestic market. The dollar is week and credit is shot, but Ben needs to reassure investors that this is just a temporary setback and the worst is over.

On lighter news Apple has summoned the press to the Apple compound to reveal something. There has been a lot of speculation on what exactly Steve Jobs is up to, but the consensus is likely an upgrade to the mac. Apple stock rallied yesterday and has a nice start today on anticipation.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Gphone?

What are the folks over at Google (GOOG) up to? It has been rumored that they are in discussions with cell phone service providers and manufactures to produce a gphone (or perhaps a googphone) following in the footprints of the successful iPhone (AAPL) . What is Google planning on doing different? One of the major differentiations would be the service provided. Google may be able to offer free service to consumers who are willing to be berated with advertising. It is no secret that Google is interested in becoming a player in cell phone applications business including Google maps, Google talk, and Gmail. Apple CEO Steve Jobs even approached Google for map applications on the iPhone. Great reads from Webbalert (video blog), Ars Technica , & WSJ.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

7.26.2007

The housing market is getting slaughtered today on news that new home sales have decreased substantially. It is said to be the worst downturn in 16 years and the largest one month drop in 5 months. Is this a buying opportunity or a sign of things to come? Housing and mortgage stocks look cheep right now, but is that because they don’t have the financial legs to sustain a turn in the market or has Wall Street accurately valued these stocks? Wall Street loves to find a weakness (subprime) and talk about like it is the end of the world until a report comes out that says the trend has turned. It is very difficult to find the bottom of that curve. The best way to invest in a downward trending industry is to look for quality stocks and invest over a period of time. When you invest in quality stocks you lower your risk of a complete collapse. When you invest over a period of time you are able to lower your cost basis by purchasing on dips. Or option #2 is to buy Apple stock!! up 10 points taday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Correction

The risk of running with the bulls!

Today’s correction was no surprise to most of us, but AT&T coming out and saying the iPhone’s first weekend of activations was less then anticipated was very surprising.

AT&T Inc. -- the sole provider of the new product -- said it activated 146,000 iPhones, while analysts had expected at least 200,000 during the first weekend.

The most important word in this report is “activated.” The iPhone is selling, but what analysts underestimated is the number of people who bought the iPhone and either sold it on e-bay or using it as an iPod. From what I have read the iPhone is not the easiest phone to activate, so a delay in activations is not a deal breaker. This may hurt Apples bottom line in the long run (due to contracts with AT&T) but the iPhone has definitely not been a disappointment.

Sub prime is continuing to take a huge hit, but is likely just the shorts trying to tear down anything they can. The demand for housing is not going to stop especially with the population growth. Countrywide (CFC) is one of the largest mortgage companies so it is likely a safe bet. With unemployment at all time lows, who is not paying there mortgage? Maybe everyone is buying the iPhone! Estimate- September 1 CFC is trading at $40

Disclosure: Long Apple & Countrywide

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bernanke the Bear

Bernanke told congress today that overall economic growth this year will be lower than expected. Of course the markets overreact, but this appears to be only a temporary slip as the bulls still looks very strong.

Bought some JP Morgan Chase (JPM) today on stellar earnings report, beating estimates by .12 cents. The stock dropped however due to future expected losses in home equity defaults. Buying opportunities everywhere.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Unilever

Unilever (UN) produces many of the products that you may use everyday. Slim Fast, Vaseline, Dove, Hellmann’s, Axe, Country Crock, Wishbone, Lipton, Surf, and Ponds are just a few of the product lines that Unilever produces. Here is Unilever’s profile provided by Yahoo.

Rumor has it that Colgate (CL) is interested in acquiring Unilever. This rumor does not make a lot of sense, due to the fact that Unilever’s market cap is nearly three times that of Colgate’s. Colgate would have to team up with a private equity firm to make this deal happen or purchase just a section of the company (personal care business estimated at $35b).


Unilever appears to be a strong company with many attractive and appealing brands in its arsenal.
Disclosure: buying UN long on dips

Monday, July 9, 2007

$$ Top 5 Summer Money Reads $$

This summer when you are lounging by the pool or on the beach with SPF 45 smeared all over you pale body pick up one of these books. They may not help with that sunburn but they will help your stock picking. Some are classics that deserve another look, while others are new this year.
1. The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman
As suggested in the title this book analysis the effect that technology has had on the globalization of business. Technology has created an even playing field for the entire world, allowing workers in India to compete for US jobs and vise versa. The World is Flat is a great read for anyone wanting a global economic outlook from a fresh perspective.

2. The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier
“A book you can finish in a short plane ride,” is the author’s accurate description of this short but effective book. Having a recognizable and identifiable brand is essential to the success of any business. The Brand Gap is a quick and entertaining read that will leave you with a different perspective on what a brand really is.

3. The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason
A classic every serious investor should read.

4. The Warren Buffett Way, Robert G. Hadstrom
Although I am not a Warren Buffett enthusiast or fanatic, I do admire his overwhelming success. His conservatism on investing is different from my approach, but I do have an appreciation for his thoroughness and analytic abilities. I am currently reading this book myself and really enjoying it. There are a ton of Warren Buffett books out there, but The Warren Buffett Way differentiates itself by taking a broad look at not only his success but also his mentors.

5. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Very interesting looks at how data can be misunderstood and misrepresented do to inadequate analysis. Written by a New York Times journalist and a young MIT economist, the blend of intellectual energy spills on to the pages. Freakonomics questions and analysis many taboo subjects including abortion and the Ku Klux Klan. This is a great book to read in a group because you will want to discuss it in detail when you are done.

This list is just a few of my personal favorites, if you think I have overlooked any great pieces of literature or you have read anything recently that should join the list please feel free to add a comment.

Vegas baby, Vegas!!!

Classic Swingers!

Vegas Baby! Vegas!!

According to the most recent census bureau release North Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the country. With continuous multibillion dollar resorts’ going up annually it is no surprise that Vegas tops the bureaus list. Investors have been gambling on the success of Las Vegas stocks for a very long time. Recently gaming stocks have been out performing the market due to strong earning and investor confidence. Should investors double down or walk away with a gain? It’s usually safe to bet on the house, but there are many variables that effect gaming stocks. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the best gaming stocks sin city has to offer (WYNN & MGM):
Wynn (WYNN) resort and casino is currently the most expensive (2.7 billion) mega resort to be constructed in Vegas. If you are looking for a new Ferrari after hitting it big at the roulette table the Wynn has you covered. The Wynn differentiates itself from the other mega resorts by servicing exclusively to high end gamers and business travels. The Wynn is well equipped with an 18 hole golf course on site, Ferrari & Maserati dealership, high end shopping center, and numerous award winning restaurants. The Wynn does not have a gimmick or a theme like many of the large strip casinos. The Wynn is trying to attract a different type of demographic which obviously does not include families.

Wynn stock has been on a steady rise the past year hitting an all time high of $114 in February. With a p/e ratio of 14 and a profit margin of 39% the Wynn has strong financials. Being the new kid on the block should help the Wynn’s numbers for the next couple years until the next mega resort pops up.
Since the Hilton-Blackstone deal was announced this past week rumors have been flying about our next sin city stock, the MGM Mirage. Here is MGM’s profile provided by yahoo finance:

MGM Mirage, through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and operation of casino resorts in the United States. It offers gaming, hotel, dining, entertainment, retail, and other resort amenities. The company operates casino resorts under the names of Las Vegas Strip, Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor, Treasure Island, New York-New York, Excalibur, Monte Carlo, and Circus Circus Las Vegas. It also operates other casino resorts under Circus Circus Reno, The Laughlin Properties, Railroad Pass, MGM Grand Detroit, Beau Rivage, Gold Strike-Tunica, Gold Strike- Jean, and Nevada Landing names. In addition, the company has 50% interest in Silver Legacy, Borgata, and Grand Victoria resorts. Further, MGM Mirage owns and operates golf course, Shadow Creek, Fallen Oak, and Primm Valley Golf Club. As of April 13, 2007, the company owned and operated 19 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi, and Michigan. It has strategic alliance with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. MGM Mirage, formerly known as MGM Grand, Inc., was founded in 1986. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. MGM Mirage is a subsidiary of Tracinda Corporation.

The MGM has looked strong the past year doubling since last October. Trading at a premium do to buyout speculation, MGM is an excellent gambling stock. Do you feel lucky?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Week in Review

After a week of being out of commission, I am glad to say that I am back up and operating. I lost all the files on my hard drive including my pictures and word documents! Back up your important documents as often as possible, you may be next. I think I am going to take a serious look at a MacBook for my next laptop.

Anyways, the markets looked quiet this past week. Travel and hotel stocks were active with the announcement of Blackstone Group buying Hilton hotels for $26 billon.

Apple also had a great week with reports that the iPhone may live up to the hype. It has been tough not to take some gains off the table, but I am going to hold on a bit longer. Steve Jobs is always full of surprises so this stock is fun to follow.

Alcoa Inc. (AA) will kick off the next wave of quarterly earnings on Monday. Keep a look out for international stocks this week. The dollar has been abnormally week the past quarter which should create strong earnings for international stocks usually underestimated by wall street.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Closer Look At The iPhone

The iPhone will go on sale on the 29th! This should be an exciting week to trade aapl.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Texas Instruments DLP Projection TV: Amazing

The stock is performing pretty amazing to! Trading around $38 TXN is at a 52 week high and has the legs to sustain the growth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Whole Foods CEO Blogs about the FTC challenge of Merger!

Whole foods (WFMI) CEO John Mackey gives an in-depth analysis over the FTC’s challenge and handling of the Wild Oats (OATS) merger. The frustration level must be boiling over down in Austin. Mackey lets the FTC know exactly how he is feeling about the challenge of the merger. Although I really doubt this helps his cause, it is quite entertaining to see the CEO of a 5 ½ billion dollar corporation complain about being bullied.

Executive Summary:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently filed a complaint challenging the merger of Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats. Whole Foods Market intends to fight this complaint in court. My blog posting provides a detailed look into Whole Foods Market's decision-making process regarding the merger, as well as our company's experience interacting with the FTC staff assigned to this merger. I provide explanations of how I think the FTC, to date, has neglected to do its homework appropriately, especially given the statements made regarding prices, quality, and service levels in its complaint. I also provide a glimpse into the bullying tactics used against Whole Foods Market by this taxpayer-funded agency. Finally, I provide answers in my FAQ section to many of the questions that various Team Members have fielded from both the media and company stakeholders.
As stated in our initial press release about Whole Foods Market's challenge to the FTC's complaint, we set an intention as a company to be as transparent as possible throughout this process. This is my first detailed effort at transparency. We will provide additional information as we field new questions and receive updates on the proceedings from the FTC and the courts.


Read the full blog $$here$$

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jim Cramer Says Bet on Apple's iPhone

Cramers take on the iPhone

Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc.

IMH was upgraded today by Roth Capital from hold to a buy. Roth Capital also raised its price target to 7$ a share. IMH is a REIT dealing with Alt-A & commercial mortgages. Here is IMH business summary provided by yahoo:

Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company acquires, originates, sells, and securitizes various mortgages. The company�s operations include long-term investment, mortgage, commercial, and warehouse lending. The long-term investment operations primarily invest in adjustable rate and fixed rate Alt-A mortgages and commercial mortgages that are acquired and originated by its mortgage and commercial operations. The long-term investment operations retain adjustable rate and fixed rate Alt-A mortgages that are acquired and originated by its mortgage operations, as well as invests in commercial mortgages that are primarily adjustable rate mortgages. Its long-term mortgage portfolio consists of mortgages held as securitized, collateral, and mortgages held-for-investment. The mortgage operations acquire, originate, sell, and securitize primarily Alt-A adjustable rate mortgages and fixed rate mortgages from correspondents, mortgage brokers, and retail customers. Correspondents include savings and loan associations, commercial banks, and mortgage bankers. The commercial operations originate commercial mortgages, primarily adjustable rate mortgages with initial fixed interest rate periods. The warehouse lending operations provide short-term financing to mortgage loan originators, including the mortgage and commercial operations, by funding mortgages from their closing date until sale to pre-approved investors. Impac Mortgage Holdings has elected to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes and would not be subject to federal income tax, if it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Irvine, California

I like this stock because the Mortgage crisis of the past few months has been over hyped on Wall Street creating great buying opportunities for the long term investor. IMH is currently trading at $6.45 up $.17 today on the news.

Disclosure: Long IMH

Friday, June 15, 2007

Uncle Sam Has His Eye on Publicly Traded Partnerships


Per Market Watch:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced legislation this week that would require publicly-traded partnerships to be treated as corporations for federal tax purposes. Under current law, income distributions from publicly-traded partnerships are taxed at the capital-gains rate of 15% -- below the top corporate tax rate of 35%.

The senators said that allowing publicly-traded private-equity funds to enjoy favorable tax treatment would be unfair to other corporations. Their legislation was unveiled ahead of the initial public offering of Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest private-equity firms. It currently plans to list as a publicly-traded partnership and be taxed at 15%.

A 20% tax swing would have a huge effect on all publicly traded partnerships. Investors took notice today trading many PTP lower including (FIG).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Going Green? Prove it!

A very interesting post here by the Green Wombat questioning Google's carbon footprint. My carbon footprint is a 10 1/2 Nike.

Market is looking strong, but Apple is taking a hit.

"Hargreaves holds an "Outperform" rating and $130 price target on Apple's stock."

Blockbuster vs. Netflix


Citigroup upgraded Dallas based Blockbuster today on news that the company was cutting its online movie rental prices by 1$. Blockbuster will lower its three movies at a time rental package to $16.99, a buck cheaper than its biggest competitor Netflix. According to the associated press “at the end of the first quarter, Netflix had nearly 6.8 million subscribers, while Blockbuster had about 3 million subscribers enrolled in its Total Access program.” Blockbuster is aggressively seeking out new customers through advertising and now price cutting although Netflix is still the dominate player in the online rental market. Netflix will likely match the Blockbuster price cut in the near future lowering its profit margin.

Today’s news sent shares of Blockbuster (BBI) up over 10% while sending Netflix shares down over 5% (NFLX). With such thin profit margins it is going to be hard for either company to produce strong earnings.