Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hot Stock Tip...

As a rule I ignore advice from others with regard to “hot stock tips”. I don’t day trade my portfolio like some friends of mine. I’ve been burned enough in the past having rode two glamour stocks right into the bankruptcy court where a Judge cancelled the stock.
(A Florida Real Estate Conglomerate called “Radice” and “PBA Airlines” which still exists after emerging from bankruptcy but without me as an investor because all the equity investors lost their shares in the filing).
Five years ago on advice from an engineer friend I bought some stock in “Plug Power” a company on the cutting edge of “fuel cell research”.
I “researched” that one at the time and discovered on my own that it had a "$ 20 Billion enterprise value" according to Fortune magazine. Well it never recovered from the NASDAQ downturn and is worth 15 % today of what I paid for it…I confess to having bought additional shares of it earlier this year because it is so cheap and I can recover my loss if it only goes to half of what I originally paid it. Friday it began to move upward on news that the President’s energy bill had cleared one house of Congress.
Which brings me to the “hot stock tip” I received on Friday night which came with the normal disclaimer, “I don’t usually give stock tips to people.”
The source was a young man who I’ve known for about six months from that damn club I belong to. "Stu", I’ll call him,is about 27 years old and works as an investment advisor for a company which requires you to have $ 2 million in manageable assets before they will take you on as a client. Stu sits in the sauna at the club for about an hour a day wearing one of those wraparound belts that is supposed to keep you from developing a paunch.
Usually I greet Stu by calling him “Warren Buffett the third” which always gets the obligatory chuckle from him.
Last night I was bragging about how well my portfolio had done this past week..even on days when the market had gone downward. Stu told me some things I wasn’t aware of. One that SUNOCO my largest single holding is going to split 2 for 1 this coming week. I suggested that when it did I might sell some of mine (because as a rule you shouldn’t have more than 5 % of your assets in any one equity and because SUNOCO has done so well in the last 4 years it is 12 % of mine). Stu recommended I hold on to all of it for the time being because after the split it will be more “affordable” and the price will run up some more.
Then came the stock tip. According to Stu a nearby company headquartered in Indiana, Pa went public on Friday and is a great investment due to the passage of the Energy Bill. The company is called “Superior Well Services” and trades under the symbol SWSI.
I found out everything I could about it yesterday. According to Stu they have more business than they can handle at the moment. The company currently owns 68 portable drilling rigs which are used for drilling oil and gas wells. It has been a “family owned business” since the 1870s.I discovered that it went up Friday 5 ½ points after opening around $13 a share.
I’ve decided to see if I can grab 60 shares on Monday morning at 9:30 AM when the market opens for under $1200.
Wish me luck!..

Addendum...October 8, 2005 If I were to sell SWSI today for what it is worth I would have an after expense return of 23.6 % in the approximately 10 weeks I have owned it.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Snap-On Smile..

Further proof that I am out of touch with advances in American culture came this evening when I saw on CNN a report on "the snap-on smile".
On the surface this sounds like something brought around once a week in a white box truck with red lettering to your local mechanic and promoted until he buys or leases it for his toolbox. Well it’s not.
The "snap-on smile" is an "advance in cosmetic dentistry" which is a by product of the movie industry in the same way Teflon and fuel cells are creations of space flight.
Forget all that bridgework and crowns and capping…get rid of all those annoying teeth whitening agents you have to wear for 8 hours before going out in public minus your nicotine stained teeth.
For $ 1500 to $ 3000 you can have "snap-on dentures" that you can put in and take out like daily wear contact lenses. Not only convenient but enhancing also. If you’re a woman you can have the look alike teeth of Gwyneth Paltrow or Julia Roberts. If you’re a guy Matt Damon’s or Brad Pitt’s look is available.
Of course your dentures have to be fitted by a cosmetic Dentist…and there will have to be some adjusting for speech and eating.
No doubt in the future a good time will be had by all these smiling faces..

Monday, July 18, 2005

Missing Baxter..

The current newspaper supplement mini magazine "Life" this weekend has an ad on the inside of the front cover picturing the face of an aging black lab. The ad promotes a new evening show about veterinarians on "Animal Planet".
My best friend had a black Labrador retriever named "Baxter" for 13 years. Over the past seven plus years Baxter became my other best friend. We used to watch tv together late at night and we played a lot of tug-of-war. I always loved the opportunity to let him out of the house and wait for his return early in the morning.
Baxter became very ill in his last year and was put to sleep about sixteen months ago.
I really miss Baxter whenever I think of him.
Nowadays I miss his former mistress as well.
Someday if I ever have a place of my own again I’m going to get myself a Lab to keep me company.

Monday, July 04, 2005

NASA Celebrates the Fourth...!

I stayed up much of last night watching our scientists prove that they could blast a hole in a comet if necessary.
It really is quite a remarkable feat when you think about it. The comet is looping between the Sun and Jupiter at about 6.5 miles per second going one direction. The "deep impact" transporting vehicle is moving at about 6 miles per second going in a converging planned orbit in another. A copper probe which is only about 40 inches long and 18 inches in diameter and weighing about 820 lbs is launched and steered at a point on the comet (about half the size of “Manhatten”) and manages to strike within 50 meters (slightly more than half the length of a football field) of its target 80 million miles away from Earth.
I was disappointed at the lack of “live” coverage of the event. No one would have been watching anyway I suppose just prior to 2 AM EDT. CNN cut away from whatever it was showing about 2 minutes before the scheduled impact to show it as “breaking news”.
The rest of America’s news organizations ignored it while it was going on.
What did the team of scientists at NASA’s California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory accomplish:
1. Ostensibly this was performed to get pieces of the innermost parts of the comet freed up in space so that spectrum analysis could be performed on their composition. The theory behind this is that the core contains minerals and elements from the earliest moments of the universe, thus a major contribution to the body of knowledge.
2. Militarily, the ability to do what I wrote about in the second paragraph. If you could substitute a nuclear weapon for the “copper” you might be able to “destroy something in space that was threatening Earth. NASA officials always steer the conversation away from this kind of talk because the US has a decades old international treaty that speaks against stuff like this. Nonetheless, many other NASA missions have had a secret military component.
An Australian reporter at the subsequent press conference said in a follow up question. “Just what is the US trying to say to the world through this demonstration?”
The NASA officials denied they were sending a message.

Speakeasy Speed Test