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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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adventures in gambling: six week mark
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I spent part of the week reading backward through the economic turmoil since September, since me and my brand new, totally amateur, deeply fun portfolio are still getting to know each other.

Continued from: Adventures in Gambling, The One Week Mark, or, how I thought hey, the stock market is doing really bad! I should be doing this too!



1.) The stock market still has no logic, but it does have (and this was cool, because I noticed it, too) these places that the stocks settle and stay for a while. This reminds me of that problem that people have when dieting, combined with the theory your body likes to be a certain weight and fights it when you go too high or too low. Stocks get comfy at a certain price and don't seem to like being pushed outside their zone. They have a day or a few days high or lows, but then they resettle around the same general area they were before that. It's weird. Which makes a lot of the discussions on stock make a lot more sense if you think of it as basically happiest when inert and really pissy when you try to move it too much.

StockGuru called this resistance, which makes sense in a weird way, or would if the stock market was, say, alive. Which I suppose on some level it could be considered so, with a hivemind going on that are all trying to do exactly the same thing, which is make money as quickly and easily as possible.

2.) I still love Ceragon ridiculously. I have voting papers! I feel very powerful and grown-up. I have no idea who any of the people I am voting for are. And I may have to have amireal pronounce their names for me. My love is pure.

3.) ETFs are still a mystery in an enigma wrapped in a tortilla. I understand in the most layman possible way what they are, but that's as far as I get.

4.) Analysts--still need antidepressants and a decent diet. Get them a salad and some vitamin supplements, for the love of God. The perpetual state of panic can't be good for their health. You would think Lehman panic would have burned them out, but no, they are all over the automobile industry like a hooker just offered dollar blowjobs along with futures.

5.) Timing the market is still the most bizarre thing I've ever seen, because I keep wanting to say, "YOU REALIZE WHY THEY GO DOWN AFTER GOING UP, RIGHT? WE CALL THIS GRAVITY. OR SHORT SELLING. IT HAPPENS AT THREE EVERY FREAKING DAY EXCEPT REALLY BIZARRE DAYS TWICE A MONTH." Yes, I know it's more complex than that. Really. But it's also somewhat true, too.

6.) I still dislike the auto industry like whoa.

7.) I am still having a good time.

8.) Current loss is running at about 7 percent. Forty-eight percent of that seven percent is due to live trading I did last month, which I have resisted with much handwringing because yes, fun, but seriously. That's a five and a half percent better that last month that was running 13.25% loss of principle, but that has very little to do with me and a lot to do with a.) not trading in real time, b.) slightly less overall volatility (and I totally use the word non-ironically) in the stocks I picked and c.) One of my choices this month was one that I got, by sheer luck, on it's low swing, and its normal range is a bit higher than what I got it at.

9.) Reading on investing is more and more surreal. I mean, not the practical advice--buy for long term, don't panic, walk away from the computer and go troll someone (which again, analysts and brokers would benefit from. I never thought I would say that, but seriously, they need it.), and breathe, look at the history!

Yeaaah. The thing is, I agree, I think, but from reading, I have this vague suspicion that the stockmarket of the thirties in a much younger industrialized nation with basically a new and growing economy is going to have some key differences in how this ends up shaking down.

10.) Investor panic. Still exists. The neat part is, now, the oddest things set it off. Bailout not happening! Eh. Martof doing evil Ponzi scheme! Uh huh. Auto industry bailout that everyone wanted so much! SELL SELL SELL (huh?) then wake up the next morning and reverse it all. I randomly tracked fourteen stocks on my list that are relatively safe from instant death, and there was no logic to how that worked or even why they would go down in exactly the same percentages when as far as I could tell, they were not connected by anything but the name 'stock'.

New Things

I keep two separate spreadsheets, one for work, one for home, tracking current value and performance and whatnot, so I can keep a running tally of losses (I have grown so used to red parenthesis that when Alcoa went really positive, I had no idea what it meant. Then I did a little dance of joy. Oh, that's over, and I'm back to being excited when I seem to be losing less than usual.)

Now, Alcoa, which I started with the first Monday in December after a lot of reading and research and in the end, with a toss of the dice.

Alcoa was a sentimental buy; like Ceragon, I just got attached. But I got attached thirty-two years ago, as until recently, it was local to my childhood. I grew up with an operating Alcoa plant in the same town my mother was a caseworker in. My cousins' father and brother both worked there; most of the men in our area were either farmers or Alcoa or like my dad, construction/painting/building. My mother's coworkers had husbands there; we had a senior educational class trip there. I still have the aluminum coin-shaped thing they made from powder in front of me in my jewelry box. Then and now, that was freaking awesome. It was powder. And like Superman with a piece of coal, they squeezed it into a coin the size and shape of a silver dollar.

Rockdale Alcoa closed this year, so I added that to my automatic investments every week this month. I don't live there anymore, but I remember that plant as a fixture of the background of my childhood, and I wanted to own a little of that.
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I am about 25% terrified by you and 75% delighted by you.

I bet that twenty-five percent keeps envisioning me jumping off a building yelling "THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT" amirite?

6.) I still dislike the auto industry like whoa.

Sing it. I work for the Bankruptcy department for auto loans for a major bank. That's all I have to say on the matter.

Yes, I technically work in the banking/finance industry. Yes, most of your stock talk is going right over my head. No, I don't want to ask coworkers about it - somehow asking bankers about stock during an economic crisis seems like it would not be good for my health.

Most of it goes over my head. I do a lot of staring and thinking, this is the most insane thing I have ever seen. And people make money on this? HOW?

Like that.

6.) I still dislike the auto industry like whoa.

Yep. I grew up in Michigan. This summer I bought a Honda Fit, and it's so much better than the US cars I bought before, it's not even funny. I'm pro-union, but I'm also pro-environment, and the auto industry (US especially) has been digging their own grave in that area like they expect to find a dwarven gold horde at the bottom of it. Argh!

My 401k's been losing less than the market overall, but I'm still looking at it and going, "I'll be retiring how?"

This. Losing less than the market is still, you know, losing. *sighs* I'mm entertaining myself by tracking mine. Plus, it's dividend season, so near the end of the month, I'll see (tiny) dividends! Tiny, tiny dividends appear. It will be cheering.

5.) Timing the market is ...more complex than that.

Except that, really, it's not. I'm fascinated by this -- you're outperforming the market with common sense and sensibility -- and can't wait to see what happens next month.

Just wait. I will totally be one of them on a building jumping LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING WITHOUT STOCK OPTIONS or something in a month.

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