## Saturday, April 30, 2005

### Ahh... the Weekend.

Well, I’ve been working pretty long hours this week. So, I’m relieved that the weekend has begun. Tonight, I went to the Buddha Lounge in Mountain View. It’s a recently opened lounge that replaced some pool hall downtown. It wasn’t too bad there. I thought it was pretty chill inside. Nothing too fancy or special about it, but I had a good time. The bartender made some decent drinks, so I heard; I only had a few beers.

Here’s a puzzle or problem that I ran into recently. Since I’m a moron, I requested the help of a friend, The Marquis, to help me fully understand why it works out the way it does. Lucky for me, I'm excellent at feigning intelligence and managed to avoid looking like a complete moron. Alright, here it is.

On eBay, if you fail to sell an item, you are provided with a Second Chance to do so. Now, say you have the following sales record (S = Sold, N = Not Sold, S2 = Sold on Second Chance, N2 = Not Sold on Second Chance).

S N N2 S N S2 S S N S2

Your sales failure rate is 4 for 10. Now, what if you considered any second chance as part of the same sales attempt? If you did so, you’d have the following sales record:

S (N N2) S (N S2) S S (N S2)

This would mean that your sales failure rate is now 1 for 7.

Now, in general, take any sequence of eBay sales results. Using counting method 1, say your sales failure rate is A for B. And, say that for the same sequence of eBay sales results, your sales failure rate is X for Y using counting method 2.

Why is it that, in general, (A – X) is always equal to (B – Y)?

Something to think about, I suppose. Anyway, off to attack that Party Poker bonus!

## Thursday, April 28, 2005

### Market Update

Today's big news... GDP for Q105 shows a slowdown in economic growth. Apparently the latest number indicates that we might have hit a few speed bumps in our path of expansion. Also, unemployment claims rose from 299K to 320K.

This is clearly disappointing... and the market's reaction is gloomy. The majors are all sporting approximately half-percent declines as I report this around 7:05AM PST.

For all of us who are currently long the market... today's not so pretty a sight.

That said, what's positive today?

EBAY is advancing quite strongly for such a down day. It has really shown some serious strength recently. In the sub-31 range, I've been seeing serious buying. Also, when bad news can't push a stock lower, it's probably nearing a bottom if it hasn't already seen one. EBAY has ignored bad news recently, ranging from Amazon's poor quarter the other day to today's economic reports.

Altria Group (MO) -- Phillip Morris, for those who don't keep up -- is on the move as well. The CEO is once again talking about a break-up of the company into two, or maybe three parts. As a shareholder, I'm all for this move. Sometimes the sum of the parts is greater than the whole... this is especially true when it becomes difficult for the world at large to provide a valuation for the whole due to major uncertainty (legal issues, for example) in one of its parts. This isn't the first time the break-up idea has come up. Months ago the company mentioned the possibility at an investors' conference.

And let me finish with a brief update on AskJeeves. Today, Deutsche cut its rating on the shares. Basically, the firm concludes that a rival bidder is unlikely. Well, Diller, I guess the butler is all yours.

Until next time...

## Tuesday, April 26, 2005

### Morning Market Watch

 It should be obvious by now that I'm on some kind of blogging binge. I wonder when the novelty will wear off.Anyway, it's just after 7, and I'm watching the markets with a buddy of mine... call him Spud. Let me say this right off... this guy has brass balls. Assuming you're not rich... if you're trading in positions with sizes that rival the GDP of a lesser developed country, you've got some serious nuts; or, maybe you are nuts.So here's the situtation... Spud is long eBay. We're talking about a large position. He's sweating every tick. When you have a lot on the line everything is exagerrated, it's quite amazing. If I were working on my psychology doctorate degree, I think I'd have enough material with Spud and his latest swing trade to write my dissertation. But, let's give the guy a fair shake... at least his cost basis is sub-32. He's not the bagholder that's got eBay from nearly 60 a share.I, too, am long eBay (at a price even better than Spud's)... but, my position is boring. However, boring is good. I don't want to think twice about heading to the bathroom to take a piss, because I'm afraid of a move in the markets. I don't want to live that way. But, to each his own.Anyway, the April Consumer Confidence number came out about 15 minutes ago... it wasn't good. But, thus far, the market hasn't really moved too much in reaction.Time to catch a nap before I head off to work.