Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick Update

Couldn't completely fight off the earnings roulette spirit in me. Picked up a small position in Research In Motion (RIMM) at $73.95 ahead of its earnings report. To put size in perspective, what I grabbed is one-third the size of my original position that was called away.

Edit: Well, looks like I shouldn't have gambled, hehe. RIMM down to $70 in post-market trading.

Quick Update On Google Trade

Just dumped the entire Google (GOOG) trading position today at $568.20. I'm completely out now. I am not sure at this point whether or not I want to get back in, but I'll keep my eye on it.

On a different note, Research In Motion (RIMM) reports earnings later today. If you recall, I no longer have a position due to my ill-timed sale of covered calls. I just might make a play, but more likely than not, I will see if I want to re-establish my position after their earnings are released.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick Update

Sold Goldman Sachs (GS) April $175 puts for $5.10. This is an attempt to buy back what was called away, as I had mentioned in the past in this post.

In other news, the Wet Seal (WTSLA) earnings release that came out yesterday was quite positive. I haven't yet had a chance to review the actual call unfortunately. Shares aren't up a whole lot, but everything seemed to be in order when I looked quickly at the actual earnings release.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quick Update

The Google (GOOG) trade has turned in my favor, and I just took a little bit off the table. Sold 1/6 of the rather large trading position at 568.43. I'll be keeping watch of the stock as I make my exit.

In other news, the earnings release for Wet Seal (WTSLA) is coming out later today. We know the company recently upped their earnings expectations to 0.08-0.09 EPS on account of stronger than expected margins. I guess we'll see if their margin improvement can be sustained and whether or not their clothing mix is looking good for the Spring season.

I'm tempted to sell a few shares ahead of this report, but I've decided to sit tight. Perhaps I have a fool's conviction. Off to the DMV and then off to work.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Added Some More Google

Added a little more Google (GOOG) to the trading position at $552.70. That's going to be it... don't want any more risk. Cost basis is now at $555.70 [corrected on 03/24 after discovering that I had miscalculated]. Sticking to my original belief for now, I guess we'll see how the rest of the day and week play out. The current price is still fairly far off from my stop, but you never know given how fast things can move.

In other news, Wet Seal (WTSLA) is announcing its earnings this Thursday. Hope all is going well. The stock has really been moving lately and is now at $4.70.

Okay, time to go back to sleep.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pub Quiz - 03/22/10

On a completely different topic than the title of this post, I picked up some Google (GOOG) today at 558.40. This is purely a trade, and it is based on my belief that much of the China issue has already been priced into the shares and as uncertainty wanes, shares should at the very least stabilize and probably move higher. If I'm wrong on this, it will probably be known soon, and I'll take losses. Otherwise, I hope to make some money.

Onto tonight's pub quiz. We sucked this time, probably in the bottom 20-30% with 10 out of 20 correct. I think we counted 11 correct, but the official score came in at 10... no idea why. No reason to contest it, since we were nowhere near the top score (which was a 5- or 6-way tie with 15/20).

1) What Italian word meaning 'baked earth' is now a common building material? [JC had a reasonable answer with which we accepted, but it was way wrong. Given more time to really think about it, I think we had a real chance on this one.]

2) What was the currency of Germany before the introduction of the Euro? [Clearly, we both knew this one, but we feel that this one they docked us for not being more specific -- whatever... we were not in contention at all.]

3) How many hotels are there on the Carribbean island of Mustique? [We guessed incorrectly.]

4) In 1992, which 42 year-old actress did Lancome drop as their exclusive spokesmodel after 14 years? [JC thought she knew, I had no clue, and we made a wild guess... and afterward, we realized there was about zero chance we would have gotten this one.]

5) What number is an improper fraction always greater or equal to? [Technically, given how the question was phrased it's unanswerable, but if you approach it as intended, it's obvious what they're looking for... anyway, we got this one.]

6) According to Harvard University researchers, which animal is the second most intelligent after human beings? [I really felt my answer was right, but it wasn't. Oh well.]

7) Who was the 40th U.S. president? [I had an incorrect answer down, but I changed it to a correct one, and then almost changed it back... good thing I am not of the 'first instinct is usually right' school of thought.]

8) Who pulled the thorn from the Lion's paw in the classic story retold by Aesop and Bernard Shaw? [So, this one was kinda b.s. in that they wanted a specific name... but, in fairness, not like either of us really knew.]

9) What is the first name of the founder of the Ford Motor Company? [We both knew.]

10) When the San Diego Chargers first played in the AFL in 1960, what city were they from? [We blanked on this one... given more time we probably get it.]

11) In which U.S. city did the 1929 St. Valentine's Massacre occur? [We took an educated guess, and it was correct.]

12) What English actor became the seventh screen James Bond on November 14, 2006? [JC got it... I really could not remember his name.]

13) In what U.S. city can you visit blues clubs along the famous Beale Street? [I suck, because I put my answer down instead of JC's correct answer. I should just trust her answer over mine whenever I'm not 100% sure.]

14) What ancient people worshipped the goddess, Isis? [We both knew.]

15) Starring in the 2000s reality TV show, "The Simple Life," with Paris Hilton, who is Nicole's famous father? [JC knew this one.]

16) Who sculpted The Thinker in 1904? [We both knew.]

17) True or False: Statistically, you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider? [We guessed poorly.]

18) What is the name of Batman's Gotham City Police Commissioner? [JC came through once again... man, I suck.]

19) What was the name of the family ranch in TV's 'Dallas'? [We had no idea.]

20) What do you call the final point contested in a tennis match? [I got this one.]

So, anyway I called up my sister and her boyfriend to see how they'd do... and hot damn, they got 16 out of 20. Why the hell are they not from around here? We'd be cleaning up if it were the two of them and JC. Haha, I could be their official cheerleader.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of eating at Kaita Restaurant in San Jose's Japantown. It was only by chance that we ended up there, as our original plan was to go to Minato. Upon arrival at Minato, we saw a lot of people waiting outside, and we were both pretty hungry, so we decided to find some place else.

In the end, I'm glad we got to try it out. I felt the food was on par with that at Minato, and they had actual sushi that was decent enough; for the record, Minato only serves sashimi. I had chicken terriyaki, which was nothing special, but good in my opinion. I also had tuna and yellowtail sashimi, as well as Ika and Ikura pieces. I thought the sashimi was really good as was the Ika. The Ikura was very average, and I probably would not get that there again.

Also, they do serve Yebisu despite not being in their menu. Huge plus! We only thought to ask because they had a newspaper review clipping on their wall, and the picture showed some food with a bottle of Yebisu in the background. Anyway, if you haven't ever had that beer before, you really should try it. It's our favorite Japanese beer.

So, that's it for the quick review. If you want fairly simple Japanese food, and you're in SJ, check out Kaita (or Minato, which I still like quite a bit).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Going Nuclear

Established a small position in Cameco (CCJ) today at 28.10. This is a long-term purchase with shares yielding 1%. While the company is not small, it's probably not one that you've heard much about.

I feel that nuclear energy has a lot going for it, and from what I have read, the current administration has been a proponent. After looking at several companies over the past few weeks, I decided to go with Cameco. The total invested wasn't enough for me to want to diversify within this space, so I just picked a single horse.

On a different note, Gamestop (GME) came out with good earnings today and an even better future outlook. I've been wrong on the stock so far, but at least now, with the recent upward move, I'm not down nearly as much as I was.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Un-Boll Weevil-ble Trivia

Tonight, JC and I went over to Trials Pub in San Jose to give their Trivia Night a try. We had fun, and we did alright, especially given that we were only a two-person team; they allow up to three per team.

Every team was given 20 minutes to answer 20 questions. The winning team got 15 out of 20 correct, and our team, Team Un-Boll Weevil-ble, had a fine showing (probably top 20-25%) with 11 out of 20.

Here were the questions from tonight:

1) By what name is the pay-for-hire spy, Simon Templar, better known as? [we had no clue on this one]

2) In what country was St. Patrick's born? [we did not get this one either, though our guess wasn't too bad]

3) Where are British coins minted? [I had a correct educated guess]

4) Which famous actor married 18 year old Oona O'Neill and had eight children together up until his death in 1977? [we didn't know this one]

5) Who painted "The Three Dancers" in 1925? [I wrote down what I thought was correct, but JC came in with strong reasoning as to why I was wrong, and we had a correct educated guess -- I'd say 90% credit goes to JC]

6) What is the name of Tarzan's chimp companion? [I knew this one, surprisingly JC did not]

7) Which Edvard Munch painting was stolen in 1994 and stolen again in 2004? [we both knew this one]

8) What book starts with 'Call me Ishmael'? [we both knew this one]

9) What Shakespeare play has the line 'Frailty Thy Name Is Woman'? [JC came through on this one]

10) Which M*A*S*H character comes from Crabapple Cove, Maine? [we had no idea]

11) What was the name of the 3rd Austin Powers Movie? [we really should have gotten this one, but man we couldn't come up with it. Ugh.]

12) What popular breakfast food was brought to America by the Irish? [JC nailed it]

13) Yugoslav Wars from 1991 to 1995 began when Serbia invaded which two states? [we got one of the two, and argh, we really should have gotten the other one]

14) What is the profession of Mike Stone, the man who Priscilla Presley left Elvis for? [we had no idea]

15) The wars Britain fought in Southern Africa against the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic were called what? [we did not know, but I think I really should have gotten this one]

16) Who was the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip? [we both knew]

17) What drink consists of Tequila, Cointreau, and a strong squeeze of lemon/lime? [after a little debate, we got it correct -- I'd say 75% credit goes to JC]

18) What whiskey is made from potatoes? [we got this wrong]

19) What word starting with 'K' means destroyed in German? [JC to the rescue]

20) What Australian animal has fingerprints that are are virtually indistinguishable from those of humans? [I got this one right]


I think we'll do this again, but next time, I'm going to make sure we have a third team member. I'm sure we could have gotten a few more questions correct with a third person to help fill in the gaps.

Carson City Dollar

Taking a break from doing this year's taxes. Looks like I'm going to have to call up one of my mutual fund companies, as it looks like they don't have my 1099's available for some reason. I never did get anything mailed, and I don't see it available online despite them having them available from previous years. Strange.

Anyway, for Christmas, JC had one of my coins professionally graded. I bought it as a teenager many years ago when I was pretty big into collecting coins, and it's been my favorite coin ever since. It is an 1891 Morgan Dollar minted in Carson City in uncirculated condition . You can see the CC mint mark below the eagle on the reverse of the coin (probably need to click on the images to see them in full size in order to read the letters).

Another thing to note is that this coin is what is called the "Spitting Eagle" variety. There was something a bit off with the die that produced it, which led to a little bit of extra metal being added making it look as if the eagle is spitting. It's a common variety for this year, so while cool looking, it doesn't add any premium to the coin's value.

I remember buying it for about $120 as a mint state coin. Now that it's been graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service, I am proud to say that it's an above average quality coin. It came in at MS-63 (uncirculated coins grade from 60 to 70). From what I understand, there is only one MS-67 ever graded by PCGS (one of many coin grading outfits), but there are quite a few that are MS-60 through MS-65.

The values of this particular coin moves up quickly with each grade level increase. Here are the latest estimates from the PCGS guide.

MS-62 $490
MS-63 $700
MS-64 $1,200
MS-65 $4,000
MS-66 $14,500

Too bad the grader didn't give me a 64 rating... now that would have been sweet.

Here are some pics I took of the coin. It really is a pretty coin. The more I look at it, the more I want to get back into collecting again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick Update - Covered Calls

Sold Goldman Sachs (GS) March $175 calls at $2.60 covering most of the position. No real reason other than getting a bit cautious in the face of a quick run-up in the markets. If the shares are called away, then the plan is to sell the $175 April puts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sold Form Factor

My order to sell Form Factor (FORM) at 17.77 hit earlier today, so I'm out now. Basically, taking the money and running. Hard to pass up a quick 9% gain. Still looking to add more Linear Technology (LLTC), but I'll give the market some time to slow down before I do anything else.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Silver Bar Arrival

So, the Johnson Matthey 100oz silver bar arrived last week. I didn't realize that it would take as long as it did due to having to wait for a personal check to make it to them and clear the bank. One thing that I have to say is that Apmex customer service was great (both on the phone and over online chat), and they were really good about updating the status of my order promptly.

In any case, if anyone is interested in buying precious metals, I would definitely give Apmex a try. As for my shameless ad plug... if you are interested in precious metals, try clicking on the gold/silver related banner ad that is very likely to show up above this post. I don't have any experience with Goldline or any of the other advertisers, but you might as well check them out too and form your own opinion.

Now, for a pic... this is what just under 7 pounds of silver looks like.

It's not that large physically (roughly 6" x 3" x 1"), but it's definitely a lot heavier than you would think just looking at it. Anyway, if silver comes back down I will probably add a few more bars. But, at current prices, I'll stay away.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Building Position in Linear

Added to the Linear Technology (LLTC) position at 26.83. I am going to continue to add to this until I've got a full position. My cost-basis is now at 26.99. Shares yield over 3.4% at current prices, and I believe that over the longer-term this one will work out well. I guess we'll see.

And, while we're talking about stocks, Wet Seal (WTSLA) posted strong same-store-sales figures (along with most of retail). It's still my largest single-stock position, and I continue to feel strongly about its prospects.