Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What an ugly day, but it was a buying one

The Chinese market falls off the cliff and we jump after them. What kind of sense does that make? It still amazes me when EVERYTHING on my screen shows bright red numbers… BIG bright red numbers. Let’s all be honest here, it has been awhile since we have seen anything like this. Today was fascinating in a train wreck have to watch kind of way. The thing that kept going through my mind was that something, somewhere had to be selling at a good price.

Philip Morris, my old friend, closed at $82.67. I believed in them at $85.50 just a few days ago, so today seemed like a sale price. I picked up some shares at $82.47 in after hours. Either you believe in your picks and you push money into the pot or you don’t believe. But you can’t make any money unless you are in the pot. Well for me in Philip Morris I trust.

That’s it for today. Here’s to keeping you margin amounts small and your decisions solid. And to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Crocs stalls, Philip Morris treads water

So… As I watch CROX drop some more I am thankful that I got out of the margin loan when I did. The pattern the last few days is a quick up at the open and then steady drop for the rest of the day. The shorts are all over this one. If the Yahoo board is any indication then EVERYONE is making money shorting Crocs. Well, everyone but me. Without the margin loan I have been non-pulsed the past few days with the drops in share price. It helps that even at today’s close of $52.06 CROX is still above my cost basis. So I’ll wait. I did try and sell some March 55s calls, but no one wanted to give me $1.10 for them today. Not sure if I will try and sell them tomorrow or not.

Big MO, I think, is stuck until the spin-off happens at the end of next month. Oh, it ticks up and down but hasn’t really went anywhere for days. If there is some kind of run going into the record date (March 16th) for the spin I might be inclined to sell, but it would have to be a run. I am thinking that it would have to be in that $95 - $100 range and I am just not seeing that happen, but who knows.

I am setting with plenty of margin ability and no place to put it. Would love to put it to work, just nothing I have come across looks too interesting. With the Dow having a rough time the past few days I am in no big hurry but don’t want to let a good trade go unnoticed either. Recently there seems to be more articles and talking experts opining that a correct is due. Is it that a correction is due or a case of group think or people just getting out in front with a little CYA in case something does happen or something else entirely? Perhaps a continuation of the “Big Guys” conspiracy to rip the shares from the “little individual investor” at rock bottom, panic induced prices right before “they” let the Dow return to its record setting ways? It couldn’t really be that…right?

That’s it for today. Here’s to not losing sight of the big picture and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Linus has a blanket I have Philip Morris

Off and on, over the years, I run back to Philip Morris and stick shares of them in my trade account. My shares of MO that have been running with the DRIP I have never touched or even really thought about selling. But the shares that occasionally show up in my trade account are just that, trading shares of MO. Like Linus’ blanket I tend to hold Philip Morris shares when I have cash and I am unsure what to invest it in. The comfort comes from having followed MO, through good and bad, for over 15 years. Well that and the nice dividend that seems to have the consistency of time itself.

So two days ago, after having cut half of my CROX loose, I went running back to Big MO. $85.50 seemed like an ok price to pay with the spin-off coming the end of next month. In the coming months I look for MO shares to gain relatively quick after the spin. Announcements of a big dividend raise, increase in share buyback or the international part being spun-off too could all help propel MO shares higher post split. At least I hope some of this stuff happens and the shares go up.

The shares of Kraft I get next month are the great unknown. They are in the middle of trying to right the ship and most anything is likely to happen post-spin. They could make headway in improving the businesses, sell some stuff, buy some stuff, who knows. So the plan as of right now is to wait and see. Unless something really bad happens or gets announced I look to hold the KFT shares for at least 3 months. Now if the shares run up 20% or more a month after the spin then all bets are off.

Another factor in how long I may hold either MO or KFT post-spin is how well my CROX are doing. CROX have had it a little rough since earnings release. I have them off margin so will sit with them a bit and see. I’ll let you know how it all works out.

Do you have a comfort stock that you keep running back to?

That’s it for today. Here’s to security blankets, consistent dividends and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sold half of CROX position

Don’t get me wrong I would love to tell everyone that I knew today’s 3 plus percent drop was coming. But we would both know I was lying. The truth is that last night I didn’t have a strong feeling about what would happen when Crocs management started talking at 4:30 (Eastern). Not having a gut feeling makes me worry. I was fairly certain that Crocs was going to put up really big numbers (they did). My plan was to sell some when the shares spiked to $60. When the shares didn’t race to $60 before the start of the conference call I got spooked. The last thing I wanted was to see a chunk of my profits slip through my fingers. That has happened enough over the years that I could start a whole other blog just for those times. So I started to cash out. I sold 25% of my position early in after hours at $58.19, then left work. By the time I got home the price was in the $56s. With the price going the wrong way and $60 looking like a foolish daydream, I decided to sell another 25% at $56.58.

If I would have known that CROX would drop to $53.98 today I would have dumped it all last night. The good news is that the selling not only eliminated my margin loan but left me with some cash. (Average cost of shares was $47.15. Selling at $58.19 and $56.58 gave me a nice return. ) Not having a margin loan hanging around costing me money also gives me some options. The plan, right now, is to keep what shares I have for awhile. I still would like to see CROX at $70 plus. Without the margin loan I can afford to wait this one out, after all summer is right around the corner and that is when Crocs should haul in the money. I hope.

That’s it for today. Here’s to cashing profits when you can and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Big MO finally saying bye to Kraft

Philip Morris (excuse me Altria for those of you just joining us) bought Kraft in 1988 for 12.9 Billion dollars and now they are giving it away tax free. MO shareholders of record on the 16th of March will get about .7 shares of Kraft (KFT) on March 30th. I picked up my first MO shares back in ’89 and have had the DRIP running the whole time.

So on March 30th I will be handed a few shares of KFT and will have to decide what to do with them. Right now I am leaning toward just starting Kraft’s DRIP and letting it run for awhile. Recently, Kraft has faced some challenges and are in the middle of trying to get things squared away. Investors seem to be underwhelmed with Kraft's efforts. Since the IPO back in 2001 (Philip Morris kept over 80%) the stock has been erratic to say the least.

The good news is those ups and downs can and do work in a DRIP’s favor. Over the years MO’s DRIP has shined the brightest when they were facing bankrupting lawsuits and the stock price tanked. (Case in point: Back in the beginning of 2003 you could have picked up shares for under $40 (if you had the stones). Today MO is trading in the 80’s.) For the past 15+ years I have owned MO it seems we have continually either been on the brink of losing a catastrophic court case or recovering from one.

Is MO a buy or a sell right now? Will Kraft be a buy or a sell after the spin-off? I don’t know. For me MO is an investment not a trade. What either will do in the short term is best left to a coin flip. Now long term, with the DRIP running, I think both will be good investments. Remember I am investing MY money and making MY decisions based off of MY research with a little gut feeling thrown in. When investing YOUR money make YOUR decisions based off of YOUR research and whatever else you want to thrown in.

That’s it for today. Here’s to finding companies that are worth living with long term. And to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

February Poll

The February poll is now officially closed. Many thanks to everyone that took the time to vote. The question was how much do you have in your emergency fund? What the poll showed didn’t match up to what I have been reading about savings. Several articles I have read have said that people just aren’t doing a good job with savings. The “pros” suggest that you have three to six months of living expenses in liquid accounts to fall back on in case something goes wrong. From the tone of the articles they make it seem that most people don’t have a rainy day fund. But, from the way people voted not everyone is forgoing the emergency fund. (I would guess that people who spend time reading financial blogs are more likely to have an emergency fund in place or be actively funding one. But like I said it is just a guess). This (unscientific) poll showed a full 63% of voters had at least three months or more of readily available cash.

The Breakdown:
3% of voters clicked on “Am I supposed to have one?” Let me address that, “Umm…YES.” Only 18% reported that they have less than one month set aside. Another 12% of voters were in that one to two month category. 21% of people have at least three to four months on hand. 15% said they were in the five to six month group. A big fat 27% of people taking the time to vote said they were sitting with over six months of living expenses stacked up in piles. 3% reported that they consider their home equity line of credit a good substitute for a “traditional” emergency fund.

Do you think that readers of financial blogs are more likely to have an emergency fund or at least be actively working on it?

That’s it for today. Here’s to solid rainy day funds and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Garmin trade ends on a positive note

Not a bad Valentine’s present. This morning GRMN was going crazy in the pre-market, up over 10%. I put in a sell order at $60, but never got filled. I was a little worried that most of that upside would disappear at the opening but I was wrong. When the bell finally sounded my streaming quotes screen was hypnotizing. Numbers changed almost faster than I could see. After a few minutes of staring I shook myself into action. I put in a 1% trailing stop in order to try and capture a steady move up. No such luck, the bids and asks were just too wild. The stop moved up some then was triggered at $58.68. I could have done better with just a limit order at $59 but I figured it was worth the shot. It wouldn’t be one of my trades if some money was not left on the table. As I am writing this GRMN is around $56-$57 so jumping out at $58.68 doesn’t seem like too bad of a deal. (Looking back I am really happy that I called it quits on SNDK when I did. Freeing up that margin money and rolling it into Garmin has made the SNDK loss back and then some.)

Garmin reported that quarterly earnings doubled and the stock still dropped from today’s high. It seems counterintuitive for it to do so. We still have some time; it wouldn’t surprise me if GRMN got back to that $59 range by the end of the day. If it runs to over $60 tomorrow then I will feel a touch foolish…for a minute. I plan on keeping an eye on the stock. If down the road it drops low enough I will be happy to get back in.

The Numbers:
Garmin shares purchased on January 22nd for $49 per. All shares sold February 14th for $58.68. The difference gives a $9.68 profit per share (excluding commissions and margin interest.) $9.68 divided by $49 gives a 19.75% return for a 23 day holding period.

That’s it for today. Here’s to finding another quality trade and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Batman, Superman, & Crocs

Today was a busy day for Crocs watchers, at least on the reading front. For the classic tape watchers today may have ended as a “second guesser” type of day. The stock finished down 1.35% ($53.54) on above average volume.

A new Wall Street Journal article openly questions if Crocs can continue to expand at the current rate and if the stock can double again this year like it did last year. While the over all article didn’t slam Crocs it (for me) didn’t come across as hugely positive either. At any rate it didn’t have people rushing out buying the stock today.

On the bright side today brought us yet another licensing agreement. A deal announced with Warner Brothers will put the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on Crocs soon. Perhaps there has been so many licensing deal of late (NCAA, NHL, NFL, Nickelodeon) that the market no longer gets jazzed. (Looked that way today.)

Toward the end of the day a nice piece came out about the growth opportunities in Europe. It seems that Crocs is expanding nicely just across the pond. The Thomas Weisel firm sees the growth pattern in Europe mirroring that of the U.S. only running about 12-18 months behind as Crocs continues to ramp up their distribution channels. Their opinion is that Crocs may see 50% of revenues coming from international sales this year. (I would call that a good thing.)

Last but certainly not least Crocs picked February 20th as the official date to report numbers. They are scheduled to start at 4:30 Eastern. You can listen to the whole thing through a link on their web site (here).

Although it has hurt my eyes watching the stock fall the past few days I still think the company will have good things to say on the 20th. As the stock continues to have days where the chart is going almost straight up… or down it is not lost on me that Warner Brothers already has the Batman name on a rollercoaster along with a Superman coaster.

That’s it for today. Here’s to stocks that don't make us queasy and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Eating lunch out would kill my budget

$12.14 was the grand total and I was taken aback. My wife and I were at an all day seminar yesterday (Saturday) and we stopped in at Arby’s for lunch. Perhaps it was because we just don’t eat out often for lunch that the dollar amount got my full attention. We had a couple of sandwich deals that included sodas and those tasty curly fries. This was a treat, normally during the work week we both take our lunch to work. By the time we were in the middle of lunch the place was full.

The question: If that was a “normal” lunch cost for eating out ($6 a piece) how are people affording to eat lunch out everyday or even 3 times a week? Maybe I should stopping being such a cheap skate and allocate more of our budget to us eating out?

My lunch: I usually take a cold cut sandwich on white bread, some fruit (apples, oranges, grapes), chips, and some cookies that we bake at home. (Ok… my wife bakes at home every few days from store bought dough.) It is pretty much a variation of that everyday. A normal week with no coupons the week’s total cost less than $10.

The Math: If eating out is an average of $6 a day times five work days that equals out to $30 a week. Taking my lunch averages out to less than $10. That is a hypothetical savings of $20 a week. $20 a week amounts to $80 a month or about $1,000 a year in savings.

The point: If you are trying to stack money for an emergency fund or find additional dollars to put toward the credit cards or you are short on fully funding your ROTH then cutting back on eating out maybe a place to start. Take a look at how many of YOUR dollars are being spent on lunches during your week.

How much of your monthly budget do you allocate for eating out?

That’s it for today. Here’s a tip of the hat to all those “brown baggers” out there. Remember to keep an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crocs, Garmin, and freaking Waiting

Nothing exciting to update today and that is my problem. I spend all this time researching companies, looking at charts, planning my trade, and then finally pushing money into pot then there’s nothing to do but wait and see how the trade turns out. And that sucks. I know what “they” say about over trading your account and commissions eating away at you and all that other stuff that seems to, at times, zap every ounce of fun out of picking stocks and trading. Fine I’ll wait. But it still sucks and I still hate waiting.

Garmin found its way up almost 3% today. Good. About time. I thought we would get something going into earnings that is why I stabbed at it when it was $49. Today is closed at $53.15. The plan is (if) when it hits $54 I’ll throw in a stop and let it play out till earnings. I’m still leaning toward exiting before earnings with a gain. Knock on wood. Waiting.

Crocs took a pause today, slipping almost 2% to end at $56.49. Blame it on Cramer if you need to, it doesn’t matter. I am not too troubled by today’s action. Have you seen CROX’s chart for the past couple of weeks? Earnings will be out soon and I’m thinking that the growth continues at a torrid pace. If the numbers are bad and the stock tanks expect a post shortly after that is titled, “The stupidity of not using stops.” Waiting.

What I need is another company or three to start researching. Something to help pass the time while I’m waiting. The truth is I don’t have anything lined up to go after Garmin. Guess I should be working on that this weekend. Did I mention that I am not particularly fond of waiting?

Have an idea or three on a company I should take a look over let me know. What do you do while you’re waiting to see how your trades turn out?

That’s it for tonight. Here’s to twiddling thumbs and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Carnival of Personal Finance is up and running

The new Carnival of Personal Finance is up at The Simple Dollar. Trent did a really nice job on this Carnival. All of his hard work shows in the quality of the finished production. Trent took a good look at each post submitted and then pulled a line out of that post and put it into the Carnival. So with this carnival you don’t just get a list of links you get a taste of how each article is written. Go take a look there are loads of good articles to help you be master of your money.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Crocs, Dora, and Ocean Minded

Crocs has yet to announce an official date for telling us about earnings but Friday the stock acted like blow out numbers had just hit the wire. A big fat 5.85% rise had us sitting at $54.79 for the close. And once again had me Daydreaming about $100.

After half of my position got called away last month I kept feeling that it was a mistake to have let those shares go. So a little hastily I jumped back in on January 30th. I admit I was more interested in getting in than getting a good entry price. My order was filled at $52.50, which for that day looked like a mistake. As the price continued to drop the next day my next order was filled at $50.00 and the previous day’s $52.50 looked like a bigger oops. Those two orders replaced what I had called away only at a much higher price. (Could someone please tell me why Mr. Experience gives the lessons after the test instead of the other way around?)

Besides a new 52 week high last week also brought us interesting press releases. Crocs signed an agreement with Nickelodeon. The deal puts Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants on Crocs shoes. From what I have read those will be available this summer in some markets. I think these will sell well to the kids and translate into bottom line dollars for Crocs.

The other big announcement was that Crocs is buying all of Ocean Minded LLC. Looking at Ocean Minded’s website I see they make flip flops. I am along way from an ocean and to tell the truth never heard of the company. I will use the distance excuse rather than admitting that perhaps they design for and target a less experienced (younger) market than myself. Anyway I am guessing that their flops are now going to be made with Croslite, maybe, I haven’t heard. Dora is going to make us some dollars, Ocean Minded I’m not sure about yet.

What is your take on the Nickelodeon and Ocean Minded deals? Can we see $100 by summer?

That’s it for today. Here’s to new 52 week highs and to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Garmin starting a move before earnings?

Maybe. My tealeaves were slightly a skewed and my crystal ball a touch cloudy this morning so I am without a plausible, convincing guess, (the kind that would make it onto a CNBC sound bite), as to why the upside this day. But, if you pushed me (or paid me) for an answer then I could say this with absolute certainty; (you can quote me from here) “Something had GRMN taking forward steps today. After careful study of today’s action and upward trend of today’s chart “we” are comfortable in saying that it had something to do with the buyers. “We” would like to see this stock hold steady above $55 before “we” would be comfortable in saying that it can reach $53. Just keep in mind that we (you) could see some retracement at any time from this level.” With that now being tested and edited for sound bite quality we can get to the ending numbers. The close found us sitting at $51.15, that’s a nice gain just shy of 3% for the day. Not a bad day regardless of what got us there.

Ever since I bought GRMN back on January 22nd I have been trying to formulate a plan. Well now I have one, at least for today. 10% that’s my whole plan so far. If Garmin can see its way to $53.90 or more before earnings release on the 14th then I will let them go. I am not opposed to holding through earnings like I was with Sandisk. My thinking is simply I’m on margin and 10% in less than a month ain’t too bad. (Bird in the hand and all that…) Stay tuned I’ll let you know how it pans out.

That's it for today. Here's to figuring out why stocks go up. And to keep an eye on your EveryDay Money.