November 2008

“There’s no denying that a collapse in stock prices today would pose serious macroeconomic challenges for the United States. Consumer spending would slow, and the U.S. economy would become less of a magnet for foreign investors. Economic growth, which in any case has recently been at unsustainable levels, would decline somewhat. History proves, however, that a smart central bank can protect the economy and the financial sector from the nastier side effects of a stock market collapse.”

Ben Bernake

The Professional Opinion
DJIA 9325.01

Bob starts the letter out admitting he was wrong in thinking the market would settle out at much higher levels than it is now. He did not anticipate the atmosphere of panic selling that gripped the world as fear of collapse of everything economic took hold.  Was an almost self fulfilling prophecy.

He goes on to say that anticipating market trends is always a difficult task and getting it right the first time every time is not possible. 

Bob also reminds investors that they should never steer far from investing basics:

1.  Don't put all your eggs into the same types of investments. A balanced approach of stocks and bonds reduces overall portfolio volatility and provides stability.

2.  Wide diversity is a good thing.  Avoid speculation.

3.  Don't use margin or borrow money as a means of investing.

4.  Patience is the key to understanding.  Invest in companies which over the long term produce profits.

Bob says the highest priority of his newsletter is to develop a strategy for recovery going forward.  He thinks the damage sustained is repairable for an economy with the potential for long term growth (In other words, please continue subscribing to the news letter).

In the meantime, there is much work ahead in attempting to establish another major market bottom. A couple of things to look for are an easing of the selling pressure, increased volume of shares traded and decreased volatility.  Bob thinks signs of some stabilization have started.

Bob continues to recommend a dollar cost averaging approach.  In the event he issues a new buy recommendation, he will let us know.

Economic Outlook

Real GDP is expected do decline into the fourth quarter of this year.  The housing slump, weak auto sales, falling jobs figures and tight lending have led to this conclusion.  The second quarter of 2009 looks to possibly be the first quarter where we will now see some economic improvement.

One party control of the presidency, house and senate is virtually a foregone conclusion and has already been discounted into the market going forward.

Low inflation and low interest rates have the potential for justifying a PE ration of up to 18 times the 2009 S&P operating earnings.

The Fed

The fed has been very accommodative, lowering the Fed funds rate to 1.0% after the last FOMC meeting. There is now a ton of liquidity in the market.  Banks need to start lending and liquidity needs to start filtering down through the rest of the economy, which is going to take some time.

Interest Rates - Fixed Income.

The fixed income portfolio has a weighted yield of 6.2%, a weighted average duration of 3.2 and a weighted maturity of 5.2 years. Duration is the weighted average of the times that interest payments and the final return of principal are received.  A duration of 3.2 implies that a 1% increase in corresponding interest rates would result in a 3.2% decline in portfolio net asset value.  Bob expects the economy to remain in a recession through the winter season and therefore interest rates should remain low.  This portfolio is for subscribers with no stock market holdings.  VFIIX, VFSTXC, VIPSX and VWEHX are used for the fixed income portfolio.


No changes to portfolios.

Conclusion (My Opinion)

I am less than thrilled.

John Asquaga's Nugget - Sparks, Nevada

Royalty free photo of the best carved pumpkins around.
Personal Portfolio
Year To Date Return

Change is What We Need!  or......  '1984' - Here We Come
Symbolism from our new community organizer. Yeah right.  To the portfolio maybe, but not to a Socialist style of governance financed by those who actually work for a living.   From each according to his abilities..........

How this candidate even had a chance says more about the unrest of the populace at large, the 'what can my government do for me' attidude of many and devolution to the Nanny State as a result of same than it does about the qualifications of an unexperienced community organizer with ties to some of the most unsavory characters populating the world landscape. 

Of course to be fair, the other side ran one of the worst  campaigns in recent history and spent us into a bottomless pit, making a joke of  'conservative' values. People vote their pocket book and the last 10 months were pretty bad.

Socialism has never worked, won't work and will not work. The proponents of same always say the same thing - Socialism has not worked because it just wasn't  executed correctly. They of course believe they will get it right and now have the keys to the cookie jar.

Oh, and have you heard the latest?  This candidate was saying the other day the United States needs a civilian equivalent to the US Military.  Now why would this candidate spout something like that unless he is a big fan of authoritarian rule and doesn't mind the idea of suppressing the masses to enforce his version of a Utopian state financed by spreading YOUR wealth around.

It sounds like this candidate implicitly believes he can create a new nirvana for us all  and is not above using good old  fashioned force packaged under a new name to ensure 'change' has a chance.  

For those who believe this garbage, I know a bridge you might be interested in investing in located just south of Reno.

Symbolism over Substance -  siren call for the new US of A

Portfolio Change

Continuing to do nothing in this extremely volatile market to me was the wrong approach so I thought the best thing to do was start selling mutual funds on up ticks and buying bargain basement dividend paying stocks (for the most part) on down ticks, which resulted in a portfolio totally out of whack with what I normally believe in. However, these are abnormal times.

Several months ago I started selling the international and sector funds which resulted in a 100% allocation to the US.

I also took a 5% position in GNMA's and 5% in a good growth and income fund.

This method of minimizing loss was working well enough until October, when everything took a dive.    

This is what the portfolio looks like now:

The Latest Back during the DotCom days,  I was week trading a number of quality stocks at ridiculously low prices.
I should have simply bought and held.  I keep a watch list of stocks I owned back then and after seeing these same stocks crater once again, I decided to start buying again for the long term.  This of course induced even more volatility into the portfolio and made any kind of normal asset allocation a virtual impossibility.

I managed to buy a couple stocks at or near the absolute bottom (so far) and have seen some of these purchases tank further but in the long term these should be decent buys.

Comments on a few of these stocks

- The only enricher of uranium in the US.  I traded this many times below 10.00 a share.  If I would have kept the stock, I would have seen over 20.00 a share.  Also, the company awarded Flour a one billion dollar contract to build more centrifuges for uranium enrichment. A bit of a gamble considering what got recently elected.

UNH - Health Care.  I originally bought this at $15.00 a share. The price at one time was over  50 a share. Should have held it.  The stock could do well if the dems are successful at nationalizing health care. It could also provide some nice returns when the economy revives without the umbrella of a Socialist state.

WMB -  Energy.  During the DotCom days I first bought this at $2.00 a share and spent some time trading it.  Should have held.  It has seen 40.00 a share since then.

MAS - Supplier of the likes of Lowes and Home Depot.  I have owned this stock for  years in various formats.  A great time to buy - have a look at the yield.

ITW - Tooling and Machinery.  I always liked the stock, just never got around to buying it.

Change - a Closer Look

Going to 60% stocks qualifies as a major change for me.  Change is what I need and I am interested in lowering the overall cost of the portfolio.  The fees mutual funds charge add up over time and I want to reduce the cost of same with individual stock ownership.  Cost is also something to bear in mind if you consider the likes of Adam Bold and the Mutual Fund Store or other financial managers who charge wrap fees to manage your portfolio.  They get their slice of your pie whether or not your account makes any money.

I continue to believe the finance and insurance sector is the most oversold and for that reason I over weighted this sector and think it is
a fairly safe area.  Even Socialists know the value of a dollar.


Finance and Insurance - 18%

BBV is the result of a buyout.  ETFC, ABK and MBI are speculation.  RF, C and BAC are holds.  
     Large Cap Diversified
- 20%


I think these are reasonable holds.  GE has been a big disappointment though.

Energy - 9%


    Bargain basement  prices and long term holds.

     I would be leery of coal.  Google 'Obama Interview Coal Bankrupt Audio'.  I think on this Bob and the Candidate agree.

Health - 5%


    If you are going to buy a health care stock, might as well buy a big one.

Small Cap Misc - @ 5 %


    Digital Signage,  Tech and Food.  Got to play a little.


Large Cap Growth - 16%


   The best available options for a couple retirement accounts.

Large Cap Value - 7%


   The best available option for a retirement account and if anything, now is the time for a good value oriented fund to shine.

All Cap - 9%


   I like Hodges and Low Priced Stock is performing better than I would have thought.

 Growth and Income  - 4.5%


   For more stability and less volatility. Five star fund.

 Stability  - 7%


   A GNMA fund for some security and stability. 

 That's all the Change I can make for now.

Was this a wise decision?   Time will tell.   If it wasn't,  I am sure my new government will save me by my by confiscating my 401K and replacing it with with a guaranteed return of 3% for the rest of my life.  

Annually adjusted for inflation, of course.  

Looking South from John Asquaga's Nugget in Sparks, Nevada

Change we like to see after months of little to no water in the high desert.