April 25, 2006

Portfolio Update I

Most analysts would say that I had a pretty good week.

American Physicians Capital rose 3.08 points in one week's time. My stake in ACAP went from $13,908 to $14,832, earning me nearly a thousand dollars. ACAP was my biggest winner.

Electronic Arts rose .48 points. Net gain: $144. GlaxoSmithKline went up two-thirds of a point, for another nice gain of $132.

Other nice performers were Boston Beer Company, rising 1.23 points for $615 in gain; ExxonMobil rising 2.36 points for $472 in gain, and the big mover, Union Pacific, rising 4.2 points, for a gain of $420.

The only "loser" in the bunch was Apollo Group, which experienced a net gain from Tuesday to Tuesday of zero. If the worst pick in my bunch stays stable, I can life with that. I'm also still convinced that Apollo is a "fallen angel" and worthy of investment attention. There were several points in the past week that I could have sold out of Apollo at a profit, but the rules of the game are I visit the portfolio once a week.

So in one week, I've turned $100,000 into $102,707. With a real trader, I've may have only barely cleared my loads and fees, which usually run between 2% to 3%. I remember that there was some e-trade company that is offering trades at $7 each, regardless of size, and maybe that would be the way to go; I'd have only lost $28 for a net gain of $2,679 in one week. Like I say, a good week.

So what to do for the next week? Some of my big movers -- ACAP, SAM, and XOM -- seem like definite holds. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is on APOL and hold on to some of it, too. But It's time to lock in the UNP profits. The cost is high enough that even a small drop is a problem. APOL is not doing anything, so I'm going to sell half my stake in that. A quick scan of the headlines reveals that the President is going to try and depress gas prices by cutting oil taxes, which is certain to get traction in this political climate. Time to sell XOM; otherwise, it would be a hold.

That leaves me with more than $36,000, which of course it only makes sense to reinvest. One stock that caught my eye was XM Satellite Radio (XMSR). It opened at 21.80 today and seems to be at or near a six-month low. I'll take a flyer on it for about $10K, buying 500 shares.

One to watch -- but not buy today -- is Unilever (UN). A lot of the foods you buy and the products you use in your home are made by this conglomerate. The stock behaves in a really spikey fashion and right now it's on the high end of that cycle.

So maybe the way to go is big, blue-chip. Auto manufacturers have been taking a bath recently; maybe this is a good place to pick up something cheap. Ford Motor Company (F) has split so much recently today's opening price is 7.00. At $7 a share, I can get a lot of it and really ride out shifts in the market like a penny stock. So I'll buy 2,000 shares.

I'll put the rest in the company that provides ambulance, rescue, and fire services here in Knoxville, Rural/Metro Corporation of America (RURL). It does so for a great many mid-sized communities around the U.S. and based on what they're charging me, they must be making a profit. They also announced that first-quarter earnings figures will be posted before the opening of the NASDAQ in a few days, which suggests to me that they have good news for their investors. That means I'm becoming one, again at a penny-stock price, this time of 8.00 per share -- 1,250 shares worth.

TL's test portfolio of stocks in companies-that-I-deal-with-or-which-make-products-or-services-that-I-like (and companies-that-I-think-are-doing-well-at-the-moment) now consists of:

ACAP: 300 @ 49.44
APOL: 200 @ 53.15
ERTS: 300 @ 54.87
F: 2,000 @ 7.00
GSK: 200 @ 53.38
SAM: 500 @ 27.41
RURL: 1,250 @ 8.00
XMSR: 500 @ 21.80
Cash: $1,412.00 (paid for 13 trades @ $7 each)
Total Portfolio Value: $102,616

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