|What a difference a
month makes when our beloved community organizer finally figured out
that words mean things. Now he could just keep his mouth shut
for the rest the the year...
then let's not forget the tax cheat Geithner who seemed to think the
Chinese idea of a universal currency, not the US dollar was a good
idea. That of course roiled the currency markets, driving the
value of the dollar down. How much more incompetent can you
I'm afraid we might just find out.
comes around goes around and I suspect the political circus is going to
be most amusing the next couple years. If the conservatives can't make
hay out of all this and win back some congressional seats next
election, they don't deserve to be in power.
My Personal Game Plan
side-stepped the dot.com bust with some professional help,
missed the burst
of the commodity
bubble on my own, bailed out of international funds with comparatively
little loss and got totally caught up in the Sept cratering of
everything stock related. I
didn't see that one coming because I didn't understand the full impact
of sub-prime paper. Won't make that mistake again.
then I have been doing a fair amount of trading in volatile stocks (XL
in particular) and
using the profits to buy quality at greatly reduced prices.
As a result of this, I have about 60% more shares
than I did at the
end of 2007. If I would have stayed in mutual funds
Bob Brinker did, I would have about the same number of funds
and much heavier losses.
thinking that when turnarounds occur in market conditions such as this,
those turnarounds can be violent to the upside. If that happens, I
think all these good companies trading at penny stock prices will make
me a happy camper indeed. If the Sprint / Palm venture is
a success, that will be some thick icing on the cake.
PSPFX - US Global Investors
|Coming out of this recession,
financials are going to have to lead the way and I think I am
fairly well covered there.
Commodities should be close behind, copper in particular. I
don't have any desire to play the commodities market and
leave that to the pros.
made a lot of money off this particular mutual fund and will
buy back into it at some point. I don't know that now is the time but
if you are looking at an allocation into commodities (no more than 5%
of course), this one bears watching.
BLDRS Emerging Markets (ADRE)
ETF is more concentrated than most and has a beta of about 1.5.
I've owned this one once or twice and did well with
it. It has a large energy component:
|Volatile, no management fees
and pays a dividend. Could be a good choice for
energy and emerging markets.
What about those Home Builders?
an attempt to be forward looking in terms of identifying new growth
areas, I started hearing a bit of noise in the housing
sector. On second thought that noise might well have resembled a final
there seems to be the tiniest bit of recovery throughout the country in
home sales and construction. Not looking to spend much at all
this sector, I finally settled on Standard Pacific at $1.00 a
The company has a lot going
against it, not to mention another recent downgrade from Fitch:
downgrade reflects the current very difficult U.S. housing market and
Fitch's expectations that the housing environment remains challenging
for the remainder of the year and perhaps into 2010. The sharply
contracting economy and impaired mortgage markets are, of course,
contributing to the housing shortfall. The ratings changes also reflect
persistent negative trends in Standard Pacific's operating margins and
further deterioration in credit metrics, notably leverage (with some
debt reduction in recent years offset by erosion in tangible net worth
from non-cash real estate charges and operating losses).
flow from operations will probably sharply decline in 2009 and may
shift negative in 2010. Real estate impairments should moderate this
year, but will persist so long as home prices decline and the sales
absorption rate shrinks.
company had $626.4 million of cash at Dec. 31, 2008. Standard Pacific
generated $263.2 million of cash during fiscal year 2008 ($62.5 million
during the fourth quarter), which included $235.6 million of tax
refunds received during the first quarter of 2008. For all of fiscal
2009, Fitch expects the company to be slightly cash flow positive,
excluding a first quarter tax refund of $114.5 million. The company has
some near term debt maturities, which will deplete some of its cash
balance. Standard Pacific has the following near-term debt maturities:
$124.5 million in April 2009, $173 million in August 2010, and $175
million in May 2011. "
Here is a glimmer of the positive:
Well, that's my speculative pick for the month and it does add somewhat
in terms of diversification of the portfolio.
sure by now you have heard those annoying advertisements on the radio
urging you to send in your used gold, your valuables and even your gold
teeth for instant cash. Below is a post that has
circulating around for a while, supposedly written by an ex-employee of
one of those firms. I cleaned up the wording a bit,
it and changed the name of the company to 'Fools Gold'. It is
I am a former employee of Fools Gold. I did not know much about the
company before being hired.
On my first day I was taught the Fools Gold Scam from beginning to end:
We send you a 'Refiner’s Pack”, used by you to put your jewelry in
and it is 'insured for UP TO 100 dollars'.
This is according to how much we feel
your items are worth,
NOT what their appraised value.
We receive your Refiner’s Pack within 3-4 days
instructed to tell you that it takes 7-10 business days
for us to receive it ALTHOUGH
the package has
3. Your valuables
are appraised by hand, magnifying glasses, a small weight pad and a
bottle of mystery fluid.
Appraisals are not done with million
dollar equipment or specially trained jewelry experts.
Although the payment for your item(s) is dated within 24 hrs of testing
your jewelry, we sometimes DO NOT
actually send the check until 3-4 days later.
We claim a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your jewelry returned, BUT
THE CATCH IS that the guarantee
requires contacting us within 10 DAYS from when your check
DATED. This begins with the time it takes for
accounts payable to issue the check and also includes the
time for you to receive your check.
**** THE COMMERCIALS STATE YOU GET YOUR CHECK IN 24 HRS.****
you are lucky you will receive your check around the 7-10 business days
AND more then 97% of the time
Customers are outraged when they lay eyes on the amount of the check.
Some customers even receive a check for one penny
(TRUTH). That can include items of great value (Diamonds, Platinum/
Gold and Sterling).
They sometimes even receive your valuables and like them so much THAT
WE CLAIM to not have received the
items just so the TOP people or
even FAVORED people can
get first dibs on your items.
we tell you your items never even got here, we issue an INSURANCE CLAIM
for UP TO 100 dollars
FORBID your items are worth more then a 100 dollars) and when you call
in to check on the status of your items, we tell you:
”YOU SHOULD HAVE
ADDED EXTRA INSURANCE ON YOUR ITEMS BECAUSE WE NEVER GOT THEM.”
We do not use an actual insurance company. We use customer
service reps as claim department agents.
For those who receive a check within the 10 day time frame,
LUCK trying to get in touch with a customer
service representative before your 10 days are up.
After 10 days your items are “ALREADY MELTED” or "NO LONGER AVAILABLE
For the “LUCKY” people who do get in touch with us within the alloted
time, we already know what you are calling about. Customers want their
items returned because the check amount is so insultingly
The first thing a Rep will ask you is “HOW MUCH WERE YOU EXPECTING TO
This way we know how much to “BONUS” you.
of a BONUS:
issue low-ball checks just to have you call us back if you are smart
to realize that you just got scammed. For the smart ones we are paid to
offer a bonus up to 3 times the original amount of your of your
original check and you accept.
For example: Sally Smith
receives a check for $27.86 for a Rolex watch (which we don't issue
value for), a class ring, a ring with diamond chips, a pair of earrings
with emeralds, as well as a few sterling silver pieces and maybe a few
items that were really of no value.
Now Sally Smith calls the customer service department where she speaks
to a rep who seems 'so
concerned' and will see if she
can better the amount by speaking to
then place the caller on mute and speak to our neighbors or doodle on a
sheet, or twiddle with our hair for about 45 seconds while we are
supposedly speaking to our supervisor about Ms. Smith’s complaint.
then come back with an offer to BUMP UP YOUR MELT DATE or any other
lies the customer service representatives can think of and offer you a
total amount of $53.20, which is a little under double the amount of
your original check. If you accept, the representative makes a $15.00
bonus off of the transaction. If the representative offers
under triple the amount of your original check, she makes $10.00 in
accept the offer, the deal is done and you are told that the call is
recorded (by the way, most of the
time the record button does not work). It is a way to make
feel binded by verbal contract. IF you do not
accept the deal, you have to return your check
takes sometimes up to a month to receive your items back
after we receive the check.
If you only want the items that we do not find of any value back, you
may have to pay a 10.00 shipping and
handling fee to have your own items
varies depending on sales for that week.
IF sales are good,
there is no fee. If we are slow, you must pay.
Gold is definitely not a trustworthy or credible company to do business
with. You are probably better off taking your items to a local pawn
shop or shopping around for other companies. With the economy the way
it is, Fools Gold seems to be a way out of financial stress for some,
but in actuality becomes a stress of its own.
I would advise
you think twice before sending in valuables or items inherited
of sentimental value. It is not worth it.
I am not doing this as a way of bashing their money making process :)
but to issue a warning.
I guess the picture speaks for itself - your
official greeter at the Casper, Wyoming airport.
month my foul mood over all things financial and our government's
in dealing with it spilled over into of all places, a Canadian
woodworking forum where I found rather disparaging remarks regarding a
certain web page of mine.
I had a few choice rejoinders for
that particular bulletin board and I will have to hand it to the
Canadians, they are quite capable of generating love letters in return
with all the impact profanity could have without the profanity itself.
Well written too.
Anyway, I decided to turn a negative into a
positive and provide further instruction and pics on some of my
wood turning preferences.
As a result of this the page views
which the Cairn Terrier usually dominates in a big way, was shattered
this woodworking page by well over 100%. The other wood working page
shot up as well.
What does any of this have to do with finance?
think it is a lesson on the severity of impact that negativity can have
on the world at large from politics, to finance, all the way down to a
lowly bulletin board.
participate in negativity is my usual preference but it is pretty clear
it is something that not should be ignored when your finances could be
affected by it and I think the media at large and our community
organizer in specific were in large part responsible for driving up the
last few months of losses.
On the plus side, negativity sure is a great way to drive up your web
In the interest of saving the company money, we elected to motorvate
around in which one of these fine vehicles?