Pardon my absence since just prior to Thanksgiving, but I had some website issues which I neglected and only recently got fixed (hired a freelancer in New Zealand–ah, the times we live in!)
Much has happened since then. For one thing I was featured at FORBES online. Marketocracy–of which I have written much here–approached me out of nowhere to remind me how brilliant I’ve been with my picks (I now have an 11-year record with them, far surpassing the market as a whole, in 2 different mutual funds I ran there).
I had been neglecting my Marketocracy funds the last several years after they shut the investor forums down. My funds suffered accordingly (I guess “Buy and Hold” doesn’t really work that well), but with the impending article I started getting active again, sold off my losers, and picked up others to match my “real world” holdings.
Marketocracy started offering a “mirror fund” to my own picks (and my own real world holdings) December 11, 2014, and as of this writing a little over 3 months later I am up 16.47% compared to the S&P500 increase of only 3.95% during the same period. Information on investing in this mirror fund–all buys and sells managed by me–are available at the Marketocracy site. (Minimum investment amount is $100,000. HOWEVER, “friends and family” can get in for $25,000. You can contact me at the blog to become my “new best friend”, I suppose, by commenting below–I will have your email then and we can private message…)
Just to get up to date here at the blog with my picks since Thanksgiving: they are China XD Plastics Company Ltd. (cxdc), Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (ASPS), Methode Electronics, Inc. (MEI), PRA Group, Inc. (PRAA), Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. (PHX), Bancolombia S.A. (CIB), The McClatchy Company (MNI), and InnerWorkings Inc. (INWK).
In 2005 I was asked by a television director, Matthew Burgess of Making Time TV, if I believed it was possible for dogs to â€˜commit suicideâ€™. My immediate reaction was to reply that it was impossible for a dog to premeditate its own death. I discussed with Matthew that whilst many animals appear to be able to â€˜senseâ€™ that their death is imminent it is wrong to humanise a dog in terms of human behaviour. It is also true that some infirm animals are known to seek out a quiet sheltered place to experience a final resting place in what we would call a dignified end to life. An example of this is that some African elephants, when they are nearing the end of life, are known to make one last journey to a place referred to as â€˜the elephant’s graveyardâ€™. Instinctively, these giants, the largest of land mammals on this planet, appear to know that this rather sad mission has to be made. It is also known that domesticated animals, pet dogs and cats, may search out a â€˜bolt holeâ€™ from which to leave this world. However, in contrast the people in the majority of human suicide cases are recognised not to have made the same type of instinctive decision. In the mist of acute depression suffers cannot make rationale decisions and â€˜ending it allâ€™ becomes a dreadful option because they cannot â€˜seeâ€™ a way out of their situation. So when I replied â€˜noâ€™ so emphatically my next step was to ask Matthew why he wanted to know whether I believed that dogs could commit â€˜suicideâ€™ or not. He then explained that a number of dogs, over a period of decades, had inexplicably lost their lives â€˜jumping offâ€™ Overtoun Bridge, near Dumbarton, in Scotland. Locals had believed in a range of conspiracy theories – dogs were mesmerised or attracted to the sound of water or some kind of â€˜optical illusionâ€™ – others believed that nearby electricity pylons produced something that confused the dogs. There was even the suggestion the bridge might be haunted as a local man, now sectioned under the Mental Health act, had thrown his baby off the bridge. However, I was looking for a more scientific explanation. The preliminary guesswork, based on my research as a human and animal behaviourist, eventually proved to be the most likely explanation….[Rest of article]
Interesting development for me in that FORBES Magazine interviewed me last week in connection with their upcoming December “Retirement 2015″ issue. I remain one of the “stars” at the Marketocracy site I’ve written about here (although not lately), and Marketocracy had passed along my name. I have given the FORBES writer the following 2 stock picks, which I will be purchasing myself today: Fonar Corp. (FONR), which engages in the design, manufacture, sale, and servicing of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, and Maiden Holdings, Ltd. (MHLD), which is an insurance company.
I now have a 10+ year record with Marketocracy. Those of you who are curious can see the records for my 2 “star funds” at the following links:
I decided to also put some what-the-heck money into Winnebago Industries, Inc. (WGO), also because it made the screen. Do people really still buy recreational vehicles? Winnebago is the leading brand of them, as far as I know. Maybe they’ve started making “hybrids” (?), because I thought these things got about 5 miles to the gallon and thus just don’t make sense at all–but the stock has been doing okay the last little while. Is it because We Boomers are prematurely senile and forgot we have a fuel crisis? Hey, I’d personally like to have one, but what with costing so much to buy and with the fact that I’d have to leave it parked in my driveway unless I went back into the work force…I just don’t know who is crazy enough to buy these things. Oh, yeah–me, I guess. Because I just bought a bunch of their stock and I can’t even “drive that around to visit the grandkids”…
[EDIT: I wrote this post a couple of days ago, aware that I would be traveling yesterday and unable to actually consummate my purchases until today. Turns out that BBSI plunged 34% yesterday and I dodged a bullet. I ended up buying it anyway–the PE ration is even better–but only half as much, since a plunge like that is “nervous-making”…]
Well, after a dearth of picks the last time I looked (August 27th), I found several this time around:
First up, I’ll be taking a half (limited confidence) position in both JMP Group Inc. (JMP), which is in the investment banking industry, and REX American Resources Corporation (REX), which is in the ethanol business, and which I actually purchased once before a couple of years ago, although I don’t recall how I did–I think pretty well.
I’m also going to take a full position in Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK), hoping to be able to get cheap airplane tickets to go watch the next Palin family brawl.
And BBVA Banco Franc (BFR), which provides financial services in Argentina–to the extent that Argentina HAS “financial services”. They defaulted a week ago and their market tumbled some 8%–making this a fairly risky pick, as so many of mine are.
The market is a little nervous-making these days, so…Good Luck!!
I’m going to jump back into AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (AFSI), which I bought in July, 2010, and sold a couple of years later, pretty much doubling my money. It has kept running up (me missing most of it) and now is back on my screen, so I guess I’ll try, try again.