The Next Civil Liberties Scare

“Katrina is comparable in intensity to Hurrica...
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I’m amazed at how fast we’re moving to a system where the government controls everything. They’re nationalizing banks, socializing medicine, rewriting property laws and taxing our grandchildren as we speak. Here I thought the loss of property rights from the Kelo decision were bad for America. All this coming from lefties who have said for decades they distrust the government. Apparently that’s true only when they’re not in power.

Here’s the latest: they want to put a GPS in your car. They want to see where you drive, when you drive, how far you drive, and tax you based on your driving habits.

The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.

The device would tally how much tax motorists owed depending upon their road use. Motorists would pay the amount owed when it was downloaded, probably at gas stations at first, but an alternative eventually would be needed.

Of course we can trust the government not to abuse this information. Just like we can trust them with Katrina cleanup, the IRS, and the banking system.

Next step, no doubt, is to actually implant GPS technology into people.

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How to Kill the Christmas Spirit

The message of Christmas is simple: God loved us, so He sent His son to us. We’re celebrating His birthday.

Ways to celebrate this gift to us are many, and bring peace and joy to us, knowing that God loves us. We can spend time with those we love. We can spend time with those that need love. We can give gifts to show our love.

And then there are horrible ways to honor this gift. Here’s a sample from today’s news:

Focus on the shopping. Shopping is war.

Shopping is war.

The battle is not just among the jostling crowds at the sale bins and cash registers in these pre-Christmas days; it is also between warring factions of our own brains, some economists and neuroscientists say.

Recent studies suggest that each buying decision plays out in the brain as a fight between a pleasure center seeking the bliss of acquisition and an aversion center seeking to avoid the pain of paying.

Waste money on consumerism. With so many needy people around the world, lining up a day before Christmas to overpay for a limited-edition set of sneakers is a complete waste of time and money. Before you spend $2000 trying to get something that moths and rust will destroy, try to imagine how many low-cost sneakers you could buy for the millions of people in this world that have no shoes.

Criticize Santa. Criticize parents for lying to their children instead of nurturing imagination in children.

Vandalize a nativity scene. It’s a sad commentary that churches have to outfit baby Jesus with a GPS to catch petty thieves trying to ruin Christmas for others.

It’s easy to kill the Christmas spirit, but in doing so, you miss the gift that was meant for you.

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Mechanical Investing for December 2007

Hey! Finally caught up and passed the Dow Jones index! The overall portfolio went down over 8% and then back up 9% in just 2 weeks, so that was pretty volatile. Here are the numbers and changes –

  • Last 4 weeks: -1.3%
  • Last 3 months: 4.6%
  • Last 12 months: +9.6%
  • Year to date: +9.7% (Dow is +6.8% ytd from 12,463)

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
CELL $16.12 $16.96 1 +5.2% Brightpoint Inc. From the H52EarnPS screen.
MCY $53.85 $51.56 13 -4.2% Mercury General Corp. Sort of like putting it under a mattress. From the LPE_YLD screen.
MOS $68.30 $72.20 1 +5.7% Mosaic Company. From the RSPeg2 screen.
SIGM $43.82 $68.12 3 +55.5% Sigma Designs, Inc, a tech-video company. From the Screamers and RSPeg2 screens.

Selling these:

AXYS $31.37 $39.67 2 +26.5% Axsys Technologies. From the Screamers screen.
CASY $28.42 $28.37 2 -0.0% Casey’s General Stores. From the H52EarnPS screen.
CY $36.15 $33.68 1 -6.8% Cypress Semiconductor. From the RSPeg2 screen.
DV $53.75 $54.30 1 +1.0% Devry Inc. From the Screamers screen.
FCX $110.86 $96.47 2 -13.0% FREEPORT-MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD. From the H52EarnPS screen.
GLAD $18.33 $19.89 1 +8.5% Gladstone Capital Corp. From the LPE_YLD screen.
MDR $39.815s $52.29 6 +31.3% McDermott International. From the Screamers screen, then the RSPeg2 screen, but now the TREPPE screen. Split-adjusted.
MGA $92.83 $82.18 1 -11.5% Magna International Inc. From the H52EarnPS screen.
NE $53.44 $53.80 1 +0.7% Noble Corp. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
PAAS $33.80 $33.06 1 -2.1% Pan Americal Silver Corp. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
PCU $127.24 $110.06 1 -13.5% Southern Copper Corp. From the TREPPE screen.
RIG $124.30 $137.12N/A 1 +10.3% Transocean Inc. From the PEG_Minimalist screen.
SPWR $129.53 $127.82 1 -1.3% Sunpower Corp. From the Screamers screen.
TCB $21.01 $19.35 1 -7.9% TCF Financial. From the LPE_YLD screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ARTC $57.39 $N/A 0 N/A% Arthrocare Corp. From the RSPeg2 screen.
BG $117.94 $N/A 0 N/A% BUNGE LIMITED. From the H52EgPS screen.
BHP $74.71 $N/A 0 N/A% BHP BILLITON. From the TREPPE screen.
BOOM $63.99 $N/A 0 N/A% DYNAMIC MATLS. From the RSPeg2 screen.
BUCY $88.67 $N/A 0 N/A% BUCYRUS INTL. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
DLB $52.01 $N/A 0 N/A% DOLBY LABORATORIES INC. From the Screamers screen.
DO $119.64 $N/A 0 N/A% DIAMOND OFFSHORE DRILLING INC. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
DRS $59.81 $N/A 0 N/A% DRS TECHNOLOGIES. From the H52EgPS screen.
FLS $93.52 $N/A 0 N/A% FLOWSERVE CORP. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
KTII $113.05 $N/A 0 N/A% K TRON INTL. From the TREPPE screen.
LG $34.76 $N/A 0 N/A% LACLEDE GROUP. From the H52EgPS screen.
PBG $42.33 $N/A 0 N/A% PEPSI BOTTLING GROUP. From the H52EgPS screen.
PCLN $113.53 $N/A 0 N/A% PRICELINE COM INC. From the RSPeg2 screen.
PFE $23.58 $N/A 0 N/A% PFIZER INC. From the LPE_YLD screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
MDRBX $3.69s $5.1 3 +38% MDR Feb 2008 Calls. (was MDRBA but now split-adjusted) Sold in early December.
RZJDC $14.00 $12.60 3 -10% GRMN Apr 2008 Calls. Sold in early December.
AXVDJ $27.30 $97.90 .75 +358% ISRG Apr 2008 250 Calls. Sold early, replaced by CUBDJ.
RULAA $8.70 $11.95 2 +37% RIMM Mar 2008 106.62 Calls. Sold in early December.
CUBDJ $4.90 $4.80 2 -2.0% CUB 50’s Apr 2008 Calls. Replaces the AXVDJ options sold early. Sell in early January.
MQNDM $7.60 $12.40 1 +63% SIGM April ’08 65’s. Sell in early February.
MOSFO $10.60 $12.70 1 +19.8% MOS Jun ’08 75’s. Sell in early February.
RULFU $19.25 $N/A 0 N/A% RIMM Jun ’08 115 Calls. Sell in early March.
TEFFB $6.20 $N/A 0 N/A% TEF Jun ’08 110 Calls. Sell in early March.
QSUFY $25.90 $N/A 0 N/A% SPWR Jun ’08 140 Calls. Sell in early March.

The next trade will be December 31.

Mechanical Investing for October 2007

The news says this last month, will all the credit crunch and housing speculation, was one of the most volatile on record. I tried not to look until today, but it appears this portfolio weathered the storm ok. In fact, things are looking good enough I plan on diversifying a little and buy more stocks than I sell today, spreading the risk out a little.

  • Last 4 weeks: 7.4%
  • Last 3 months: 8.8%
  • Last 12 months: +13.2%
  • Year to date: +12.7% (Dow is +12.3% ytd from 12,463)

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
MCY $53.85 $53.85 11 +0.0% Mercury General Corp. Sort of like putting it under a mattress. From the LPE_YLD screen.
MDR $39.815s $55.42 4 +39.2% McDermott International. From the Screamers screen, then the RSPeg2 screen, but now the TREPPE screen. Split-adjusted.
NOV $64.53s $73.18 1 +13.4% National Oilwell Varco Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen. Split-adjusted.
PFE $26.10 $24.89 8 -4.6% Pfizer Inc. From the LPE_YLD screen. Looks like a loss, but with dividends, it’s actually break even.
RDEN $24.76 $27.59 1 +11.4% Elizabeth Arden Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
SIGM $43.82 $49.349 1 +12.6% Sigma Designs, Inc, a tech-video company. From the Screamers and RSPeg2 screens.

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ARTC $57.39 $55.91 1 -2.6% Arthrocare Corp. From the RSPeg2 screen.
CLB $101.74 $127.56 2 +25.3% Core Laboratories NV. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
FDP $27.61 $29.76 2 +7.85.0% Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. From the H52EgPS screen.
FOSL $33.95 $38.42 1 +13.1% Fossil Inc. From the Screamers screen.
PKOH $20.80 $27.54 5 +32.4% Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. Originally from the H52EgPS screen, then RSPeg2, but now TREPPE.
SFD $32.76 $32.02 1 -2.2% Smithfield Foods Inc. From the H52EgPS screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ARTC $57.39 $N/A 0 N/A% Arthrocare Corp. From the RSPeg2 screen.
AXYS $31.37 $N/A 0 N/A% Axsys Technologies. From the Screamers screen.
CASY $28.42 $N/A 0 N/A% Casey’s General Stores. From the H52EarnPS screen.
CMI $132.58 $N/A 0 N/A% CUMMINS INC. From the TREPPE screen.
DO $114.11 $N/A 0 N/A% Diamond Offshore Drilling. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
FCX $110.86 $N/A 0 N/A% FREEPORT-MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD. From the H52EarnPS screen.
FMER $20.13 $N/A 0 N/A% FirstMerit Corp. From the LPE_YLD screen.
KWR $23.86 $N/A 0 N/A% Quaker Chemical. From the H52EarnPS screen.
NOK $37.82 $N/A 0 N/A% Nokia. From the RSPeg2 screen.
NSIT $26.26 $N/A 0 N/A% INSIGHT ENTERPRISES INC. From the H52EarnPS screen.
PENX $37.83 $N/A 0 N/A% PENFORD CORP. From the RSPeg2 screen.
TPX $36.62 $N/A 0 N/A% TempurPedic. From the Screamers screen.
WTNY $26.77 $N/A 0 N/A% WHITNEY HLDG CORP. From the LPE_YLD screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
MDRBA $7.38 $7.80 1 +5.7% MDR Feb 2008 Calls. Sell in early December.
RZJDC $14.00 $14.90 1 +6.4% GRMN Apr 2008 Calls. Sell in early December.
AXVDJ $27.30 $N/A 0 N/A% ISRG Apr 2008 250 Calls. Sell in early January.
RULAA $8.70 $N/A 0 N/A% RIMM Mar 2008 106.62 Calls. Sell in early January.

The next trade will be November 5.

Mechanical Investing for September 2007

With all the volatility this month, I thought it would be bad… but the month was basically a wash, a little higher than before. The market, though, has started to pull away a bit. My goal continues to be to beat the market, but that’s not currently happening. It’s September, so I’m easing back into some options again, buying out of the money calls.

  • Last 4 weeks: 2.8%
  • Last 3 months: -0.5%
  • Last 12 months: +4.5%
  • Year to date: +5.4% (Dow is +7.5 ytd from 12,463)

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
CLB $101.74 $113.0 1 +11.1% Core Laboratories NV. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
FDP $27.61 $26.24 1 -5.0% Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. Sort of like overripe fruit. From the H52EgPS screen.
MCY $53.85 $53.16 10 -1.3% Mercury General Corp. From the LPE_YLD screen.
MDR $79.63 $95.47 3 +19.9% McDermott International. From the Screamers screen, then the RSPeg2 screen, but now the TREPPE screen.
PKOH $20.80 $27.43 4 +31.9% Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. Originally from the H52EgPS screen, then RSPeg2, but now TREPPE. Getting a little long in the tooth, though.
PFE $26.10 $24.97 7 -4.3% Pfizer Inc. From the LPE_YLD screen. Looks like a loss, but with dividends, it’s actually break even.

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CFI $11.85 $9.97 1 -15.9% Culp Inc. Well, they can’t all be winners. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
DO $92.90 $107.83 1 +16.1% Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. From the TREPPE screen.
ISRG $206.66 $223.56 1 +8.2% Intuitive Surgical Inc. From the Screamers screen.
MLI $37.30 $35.20 1 -5.6% Mueller Industries Inc. From the H52EgPS screen.
NVT $64.37 $66.58 1 +3.4% NAVTEQ Corp. From the Screamers screen.
PCU $96.95 $107.53 1 +10.9% Southern Copper Corp. From the TREPPE screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ARTC $57.39 $N/A 0 N/A% Arthrocare Corp. From the RSPeg2 screen.
FOSL $33.95 $N/A 0 N/A% Fossil Inc. Dinosaurs? Nope, fashion accessories. From the Screamers screen.
RDEN $24.76 $N/A 0 N/A% Elizabeth Arden Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
SFD $32.76 $N/A 0 N/A% Smithfield Foods Inc. That’s fun, they’re a “hog producer.” From the H52EgPS screen.
SIGM $43.82 $N/A 0 N/A% Sigma Designs, Inc, a tech-video company. From the Screamers and RSPeg2 screens.
NOV $129.06 $N/A 0 N/A% National Oilwell Varco Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
MDRBA $7.38 $N/A 0 N/A% MDR Feb 2008 Calls. Sell in early December.
RZJDC $14.00 $N/A 0 N/A% GRMN Apr 2008 Calls. Sell in early December.

The next trade will be October 1.

Mechanical Investing for August 2007

I was traveling this week on business, so I didn’t get a chance to trade until today. Ouch, it bit me, too. I would have been better off investing in chocolate this month, at least I’d retain some of the capital. 🙂

Interestingly, some of the gurus over at the Mechanical Investing board have started working on models that predict volatility, and this month’s volatility was predicted a few weeks ago. I’ll have to pay more attention to that.

  • Last 4 weeks: -1.6%
  • Last 3 months: -0.3%
  • Last 12 months: +4.8%
  • Year to date: +5.0% (Dow is +6.5 ytd from 12,463)

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
MCY $53.85 $52.76 9 -2.06% Mercury General Corp. From the LPE_YLD screen.
MDR $79.63 $80.62 2 +1.18% McDermott International. From the Screamers screen, but now it’s on the RSPeg2 screen.
PKOH $20.80 $26.21 3 +26.21% Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. Originally from the H52EgPS screen, but now on RSPeg2.
PFE $26.10 $23.87 6 -8.61% Pfizer Inc. From the LPE_YLD screen. Looks like a loss, but with dividends, it’s actually up a little.

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CAE $82.51 $65.14 1 -21.71% Cascade Corp. From the Screamers screen. Ouch. Screamers do that.
CMCO $34.14 $23.60 1 -31.04% Columbus-McKinnon. From the RSPeg2 screen. Ouch.
MCK $59.51 $59.74 1 +0.33% McKesson Corp. From the H52EgPS screen.
PENX $30.45 $32.86 1 +7.72% Penford Corp. From the Screamers screen.
PFGC $32.98 $28.30 1 -14.09% Performance Food. From the H52EgPS screen. Ouch.
RNR $58.99 $55.78 2 -5.34% RenaissanceRe Holdings. From the Peg_Minimalist screen. A casualty (heh) of the marker volatility.
RS $46.37 $49.39 4 +6.4% Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. From the TREPPE screen.
XL $84.73 $74.01 1 -13.27% XL Capital Ltd. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CFI $11.85 $N/A 0 N/A% Culp Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
CLB $101.74 $N/A 0 N/A% Core Laboratories NV. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
DO $92.90 $N/A 0 N/A% Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. From the TREPPE screen.
FDP $27.61 $N/A 0 N/A% Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. From the H52EgPS screen.
ISRG $206.66 $N/A 0 N/A% Intuitive Surgical Inc. Maybe they perform operations by really good guessing. From the Screamers screen.
MLI $37.30 $N/A 0 N/A% Mueller Industries Inc. From the H52EgPS screen.
NVT $64.37 $N/A 0 N/A% NAVTEQ Corp. From the Screamers screen.
PCU $96.95 $N/A 0 N/A% Southern Copper Corp. From the TREPPE screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
No more options until October.

The next trade will be September 4.

Mechanical Investing for July 2007

The latest bull market shows some signs of slowing, but it’s mixed. Three month returns are positive but less than the previous month. But 1 week returns are high, and the market is up high this morning. But hey, I’m beating the market again.
🙂

  • Last 4 weeks: +1.4%
  • Last 3 months: +9.0%
  • Last 12 months: +9.2%
  • Year to date: +8.4% (Dow is +8.3% ytd from 12,463)

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
MCY $53.85 $55.50 8 +3.1% Mercury General Corp. From the LPE_YLD screen. It’s fading… fading…
MDR $79.63 $85.04 1 +6.8% McDermott International. From the Screamers screen, but now it’s on the RSPeg2 screen.
PKOH $20.80 $28.93 2 +39.1% Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. Zoom! From the H52EgPS screen, but now also on RSPeg2, TREPPE, and Screamers. I sold off a portion to rebalance.
PFE $26.10 $25.69 5 -1.6% Pfizer Inc. From the LPE_YLD screen. Looks like a loss, but with dividends, it’s up 2.9%.
RNR $58.99 $61.61 1 +4.4% RenaissanceRe Holdings. From the Peg_Minimalist screen. Renaissance Holdings… could it be a codpiece? No, it’s insurance and reinsurance.
RS $46.37 $57.24 3 +23.4% Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. From the TREPPE screen. Fading… fading…

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
AVT $36.40 $41.46 4 +13.9% Avnet Inc. From the RSPeg2 screen, but now also on TRPPE and H52EgPS. It gave back some of the winnings near the end, so i guess it’s out of steam.
BUCY $70.05 $73.10 1 +4.4% Bucyrus International Inc. From the RSPeg2 screen. Bye-bye, Bucky.
CRDN $68.27 $75.16 1 +10.1% Ceradyne Inc. From the TREPPE screen. Very nice for 1 month; odd it’s no longer on the screens.
CRY $14.55 $13.28 1 -8.7% CryoLife Inc. From the Screamers screen. Eww. Biomaterials, implantable devices, and BioGlue made from bovine blood protein. I’m not going to cry that it’s gone.
LTR $47.81 $51.86 2 +8.5% Loews Corp. From the Peg-Minimalist screen.
NAFC $39.22 $50.36 2 +28.4% Nash Finch Co. From the H52EgPS screen. Zoom! But gone.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CAE $82.51 $N/A 0 N/A% Cascade Corp. Dishwasher soap? Probably not. Material handling equipment. From the Screamers screen.
CMCO $34.14 $N/A 0 N/A% Ah, Columbus-McKinnon is back. From the RSPeg2 screen.
MCK $59.51 $N/A 0 N/A% McKesson Corp is back. From the H52EgPS screen.
PENX $30.45 $N/A 0 N/A% Penford Corp. From the Screamers screen.
PFGC $32.98 $N/A 0 N/A% Performance Food. From the H52EgPS screen. Sounds like maybe they race bananas.
XL $84.73 $N/A 0 N/A% XL Capital Ltd. You can tell it’s a cool company because it starts with ‘X’. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
No more options until October.

The next trade will be July 30.