Friday, April 29, 2005

Job Updates

Patience is the key.

As seen today, the markets reacted badly to the economic reports of slowing economic growth and possible rising inflation. My positions all took hits, and my active portfolio is now only up marginally. I have been thinking about shorting something lately, but I doubt it. I do have more time now (Wednesday was my last day at work!) so I'll hopefully be able to research a bit.
I also need to catch up on some reading and improve my Excel skills; those are my two goals.

I haven't calculated my net worth in the past few days, but I would be surprised if it's over 23K because of declines in my portfolio (although I won $60 tonight in poker!). I have mentioned that I will be using some of my own money and any money I receive from graduation, but if the chance that the amount I receive is greater than the amount I spend- this will not count towards my goal.
So there's a possibility I might be over 25K by the end of May, but I won't consider the goal accomplished unless it's from only money I've earned.

Job Stuff
I met with a recruiting agency today and it went really well. She mentioned three potential jobs (one is more of a portfolio accounting job) and any interviews will be great! I'm also meeting with another recruiter (who has another potential portfolio accounting job) on Monday. I also applied for another job (Portfolio Assistant) in San Fran- hopefully I'll hear back from them.
I'm going to spend some time over the weekend looking for newly posted jobs and more recruiters to contact.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Market News

YTD the S&P is down 4.58%, hopefully this starts trending upwards in the next few weeks or so.
If you're a long term investor then this might be a good time to buy some stock. Energy and Transportation have had a good run, but there are some value opportunities out there: biotech/drugs, a few banks, and maybe some tech.
I'm liking what IBM has been saying these past few days. I think this definitely could be a value play if you believe that they are able to continue changing their overall strategy- going from hardware to software to services. They might be able to pull it off...
Today they announced a $5 billion stock buyback program (remember they won't necessarily use all of this or even any of this.), the CEO has been saying some strong remarks, and the top executives pay will stay at current levels until the company gets back on track. Over the past few days it has rebounded from around the $72 range to $77.

ERES: I would have made money if I had bought some puts (but I didn't). The earnings report was not that good: they missed by a penny, sales are declining, and they guided lower. In after hours they are up because the company also approved Blum Capital to buy up to 20% of the common stock.

My open positions are holding up pretty well. Overall I'm up 3.4% mainly due to LB (up 34.6%), everything else is generally even although I'm down 10.4% in EBF. They came out with a decent earnings report, and I think the stable dividend will stop the price from declining too much.

Time to catch up on some earnings reports!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


This market is not holding on to anything these days! LB finished the day on the plus side (up 1.84%, up 31.7% since I've bought it), but everything else finished in the red.
I'm watching two stocks that have earnings reports coming up: JSDA and ERES. I think ERES will have a volatile earnings report (I would guess on the downside) and I was thinking of buying a straddle. This is when you buy a call and a put with the same terms (expiration, strike price) in hopes of a big move in either direction. I was also thinking of buying a put, but I'll most likely do neither since I need more options experience.

I'll detail the meeting with the recruiter on Thursday or Friday, and my current status with my job. I also got another call from a different recruiter regarding a portfolio accounting job with an investment bank in San Francisco. We'll see how this goes.

I've decided that I'm going to take the Level 1 test in December! The total costs are going to run about $1,700- but it will definitely be worth the price. The fees are about $800 or so and the rest is for books.
It will tough test, but I think through hard work and dedication I can do it.

This is probably out of the blue since I haven't mentioned it, but it's set. I graduate in May and from May 30 to June 6 I'll be in Tokyo with a friend. I'm going to use some of my own money and most of any in-coming graduation money. I'm going because I think it will be a lot of fun and life's worth living to have experiences. I could be a penny pincher my entire life, but I know I will only live once- and I plan to have as many experiences as possible.


My school's website was down over the weekend so I was unable to get a study sheet my teacher posted for a midterm tomorrow. I finally got the sheet today, so this post should be short (I should study a little bit at least!).

La Barge (LB) had a great day today (up 10.47%) because they won a contract from Boeing. The size of the contract was fairly small, but it could lead to more things in the future- and investors liked the news.

This Wednesday was going to be my last day on the job, until one person moved on to a new job and one is leaning towards the same way. My work place is filled with drama, and I can't get into too many of the details but there's a chance I'll keep working for at least a month, but possibly three months. (But do I want to continue working there? I would say no, can't get into details but it's best to be happy...)

Tomorrow I'll hopefully get into more details about a few things including: buying a put, phone messages, CFA decision, and Tokyo.
Random? Yes.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Stock Talk

Someone asked me if I planned to bet on any of the NBA series, and I don't think I will. The playoffs just started and there have been a few upsets. I would bet if I could bet on who will win the entire series, and not just the individual games. I checked sportsbook, and it looks like I can't do that but I'll check again later.

Stocks: NCC was upgraded last week based on valuation and I'll think about a sell price if it reaches the $36-38 range. I'm still sitting on a good amount of cash, and I'm carefully watching LB and NTE. Stocks on my watch list: TAXI, JSDA.OB, GPS, LTD, ARO, SRT, PFE, PLT, and SGTL.
I haven't had too much time to look into any, although I've been in ARO before so I know that one a little. The one that I might look into first is SGTL. They had a good earnings report a little while ago but got destroyed on Friday (down 10.66%) mainly because they said next Q's earnings will be lower than expected based on a forseen softness in the mp3 market (they supply some parts for the Ipod). It might be an interesting stock, but for more of a momentum play. I'm always on the look out for a stock that gets trashed from news that really isn't too bad.
When Adobe announced they were buying Macromedia the shares traded down from the $60 range to the $54 range. A tad bit oversold in my opinion, and as you can see Adobe has risen back up to the $60 range.

One more stock I'm looking into: ELAB. In earlier posts I mentioned that I bought this at $23 and sold a little over $30. I sold because Novartis announced they would buy out ELAB at $31 (I, and others, were disappointed and were hoping something north of $35).
Anyways, so I would then hold the stock for 9 or 10 months to get an extra 70 cents per share.
That return wasn't worth it, so I sold. Now the market has been tanking and ELAB is trading at $30. Maybe now it might be worth a buy? This is what I'm thinking: the deal will close by the end of the year so let's say in 8 months NVS will buy it out for $31. This is about a 3.33% return and annualized it's a 5.04% return (not taking into account commissions). In a market like this, that 5% return is looking nice (and it beats ING). Is this riskless? Of course not because the deal might not go through. But if I had to put a probability on the deal closing at $31, I would say it's north of 85%. Why? It looks like the deal will go through after U.S. reviews and NVS is getting ELAB fairly cheap. Most talk on the street (from what I've read in articles) says it's a done deal. Another downside: I commit a maximum of $3000 to make $100 and in this time frame (8 months or so) I might miss out on a market rebound. It's not all my money of course, but it's a nice chunk.
I haven't made a decision on this one, but if I do I'll post about it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Non-Financial Career Goals

First of all, thanks to everyone who sent emails with tips on job hunting. They were greatly appreciated!
I've applied to a few more jobs and I also have a meeting with a staffing agency next Thursday. Hopefully they will be able to help as well.

The market had a great day today! So it seems we were in a downtrend for awhile and now it looks like we're entering a choppy phase with lots of volatility. I'm still looking for some small-cap stocks to buy.

Non-Financial Career Goals
This site is mainly a personal finance blog, but I decided to make some other career goals.
  • MBA from a top tier school by the age of 30. Generally for the best MBA schools you need a few years of school experience (the average age is around 25).
  • Either have completed the Level 2 or finished the CFA program. The Chartered Financial Analyst program is one of the hardest tests for finance professionals. The test consists of three levels and it's basically one of those tests where only around 30% (or less) pass the first test. I know the first level involves studying about 13 different books (just parts though), and this should definitely be a challenge.
  • I love learning, reading, and going to school (as long as it's on a subject that interests me). So I really want to improve my math skills. Once I find a permanent job and housing, I want to enroll in math courses starting with Calculus and moving my way up. Some people find it odd to hear, but physicists are in high demand on Wall Street for their math skills and the way physics and financial instruments act/react.
  • Along with math skills, I do want to learn more programming languages. I'm interested in C++ because this is a highly valuable tool to know in the finance world.
I'm always on the look out to improve my own sets of skills. I think this is the way to get ahead in life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Inflation was the main story of the day as the market started off okay and then tanked. This is the time when it seems investors split into two groups: those who start to fear the downward trend and wonder (or go through with) selling; and those who don't panic but spend time looking for stocks to buy.
IBM is getting cheap, banks are getting cheap (some risk, since it's a rising interest rate environment), lots of stocks to look into around this time.

I got a few good replies about my job hunting and problem with out of state jobs. If I apply to jobs in the NYC area, my cousin said I can use his address and this might work. I also plan to let the employers know that I'm willing to pay my own travel arrangements if they think I'm a qualified candidate. Another person suggested to taking a risk and actually moving to one of the cities, and then apply for a job.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Let the frustration begin!

It was a pretty good day in the market and NTE finally rebounded a bit (+6%). Overall I was up today about $126. I don't plan to change any of my positions at the moment, and I still want to find a few more small-cap stocks to buy.

My frustration with job hunting started today. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was afraid of companies not wanting to interview with me because of the geographic problem (I'm in San Jose, the jobs I want are in Chicago/NYC). Today I woke up a bit late and checked my messages: 2 new ones.
The first was from one of the research assistant jobs in NYC. I spoke to a woman from the staffing agency and, although it was a pleasant conversation, basically said they are looking for local candidates because of the client plans to have multiple interviews.
The other message was from a prop trader, and you need to put up some of your own money and I think this is pretty risky considering I don't have any trading experience.

I emailed me cousin (I think I mentioned him, he works in NYC in currency trading and he's helping me out) for some advice, so I'll wait for his email.
I was thinking:
1. Take a risk and move to Chicago or NYC and then start looking
2. Put a "local" address on my resume, so they don't automatically throw my resume out based on my non-local address
3. Okay I had a third one, but now I can't remember it....I'll post later
any suggestions?

Some good blogs:
NCN has a nice read on a few financial myths.
Footnoted always has a good blog, I really like this site.

Job Hunting

Before I get into the job stuff, I finally had a green day in the market (almost forgot what it feels like). I ended up plus about $135, and it was a decent day overall. Overall earnings seem to be coming in fairly well, and hopefully this will boost the market a bit.

Also the eBay sale I mentioned a few days ago ended. First, I had the cost wrong (I was thinking of a previous sale), so the actual cost was $64. But to make up for that, the auction ended at $200 for a profit of $136, which represents a 212.50% gain.

Over the weekend I applied to various jobs I found. I plan to follow-up through email on most of these jobs within 1.5 weeks or 2 weeks. The major thing that might hold me back is that most of the jobs I'm applying for are out of the state. This might stop some companies from contacting me, but if I'm persistent I might be able to get an interview.
The jobs are out of state mainly because it's hard to find these types of jobs in the San Francisco area. I'm mainling looking for equity analysis assistant and trader assistant jobs.
Here's the list of jobs I applied for:

Research Assistant in San Fran: this is a combo of office duties and research, and I know most of the entry level jobs will be like this one.

Research Assistant in Chicago: this one sounds excellent, I really want an interview for this one.

Research Assistant in NYC: this one only wanted local but I'm going to try to convince them to at least hear me out, it pays fairly well too.

Trader Assistant: helping option traders, I can learn a ton of info at this job!

Junior Trader Assistant: NYC investment bank, I might not be qualified (I think they want MBA students).

another Research Assistant in NYC, with a fairly big firm

Options assistant in NYC: helping with crude oil options

Trading Assistant at a NYC hedge fund: chances are minimal, but as long as it's greater than zero I'll apply

Trader trainee: options and derivatives, this one seems nice as well

Trader assistant: this is one of the top ones I want as well, they are in Chicago and I would support the equity traders.

Next steps: continue searching for jobs, then search for firms and see if they are hiring (this is how I got my current job), follow up, and well keep a positive attitude

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Future Goals

Side note: I have on eBay sale going on right now and this should add to my net worth. Total cost: $55, total estimated sale $125, total profit = $70 which is a 127% gain.

Future Goals

May 2005: $25,000

Current Age: 23

Here is my thinking. I'm assuming my salary is $40,000 and I'm assuming my take-home pay is 80% of this so: $32,000. By month this should be around $2,650. I'm going to assume that rent and other miscellaneous expenses will run about $1500/month. This should leave $1,150/month for investing. Per year this will be $13,800 but I will round up to $14,000.
Assuming 0% growth I will have (starting with an estimated $24,000) about $122,000
I plan to go for a growth target that might be slightly high, 15%.
Based on this growth target, my goal for age 30 will be:
Note: this does not take into account bonuses or raises in salary.

Age 40: I will use the age 30 goal, but now change some of the factors. I will assume that my salary will be higher, but possibly expenses. To take this into account I will change the money left over for investing from $14,000 to $17,000. The growth rate will be changed to 12%.
Goal for age 40:

Age 50: Basically the same thing as age 40. I will up the $17k to $20,000 and change the growth rate to 10%.
Goal for age 50:
about $2,850,000

These are really flexible assumptions, since it's hard to forecast certain expenses and things like that. Right now I'm keeping that $25,000 goal in sight. Once May passes, I will focus on the goal for age 30 and most likely make smaller goals for that time period.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Net Worth Update

Wow what a day. I saw lots and lots of red (although my friend owns DNA, so she was happy today). Most of my stocks went down and NTE completely kicked my ass. It was down past 10% for the day, and ended the day down around 8%. No news was released so everyone is saying that all the tech stocks are tanking since some of the big ones (IBM, AAPL, SUNW) have had some disappointing news.
What to do?
I've thought about a few things: 1) sell everything and sit in cash, 2) sell a few positions and then short some stocks, 3) do some sort of option strategy to bring in some income, or 4) wait for the market to relax a bit and then buy aggressively. This reminds me of something the president of the company I work for told me. He's about 75 and worth around 15 million or so, but when he was younger and investing he went through a few year stretch where he just made some wrong decisions and lost a good amount of money. He thought about what happened, and knew that he could beat the market- so he did a very aggressive thing, he starting buying with his cash and when that ran out he bought on margin and creamed the averages the next three years.
Tempting, but risky...

Net Worth as of today
Wamu: $728
Cash: $11
ING: $4,951
IRA: $58
Scottrade: $16,468
Total: $22,216
I've dropped almost one grand from my portfolio and have entered the negative territory.

The max total from monies that I should receive shortly (transfers from paypal, some other payments, etc). $23,581

My goal by the end of May is in jeopardy. Along with the max total and my future paychecks, the amount is roughly $24,109
which is about $900 short from my goal.
Through my college career this is my third updated goal. My first goal was $15,000 but I hit that fairly early so I raised the goal to $20,000. Then I decided to go for $25,000.
I think this was within reach since I would have got there if the market has not been tanking these past few days.

Next, I need to think about my future monetary goals. My end goal would be $4 million by the age of 50. I figured that, by this time, if all of the money is in fixed income it would be able to generate at least $200,000/year.
In my next post I will try to detail out goals for ages: 30, 40, and 50.

A Tough Day in the Market

Things are just not going too well out there. Some of the bigger news involves Apple and IBM. Apple had good numbers, but people were expecting better guidance I think. They are down another 5.7% in after-hours. IBM missed expectations and this cost them big: they are down just over 5% in after-hours.
The drugs did fairly well and I wish I bought FRX (up 5% in after-hours) and PFE last week. I hesitated and instead went with finance stocks. I still might sell a few things and buy some PFE and FRX, hopefully if they drop tomorrow- but this seems unlikely.
It's in markets like these where you need to keep your emotions in check. The thing to remember is, something from one of my favorite books (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy): Don't Panic

The S&P 500, for the year, is down about 4.11%. My portfolio is up 3.94%, but if you add in my most recent purchases (they will bring the overall performance down since they were just added), then the portfolio is up around 1%.
The numbers aren't very pretty, but my main goal is to beat the S&P. My second goal is to end the year with positive returns. So far, things are on track.
This is the time when I will try to do certain strategies, such as covered calls, to add to my returns.

Here's one type of strategy I'm looking into:
The prices used were from a few days ago.
If you find any mistakes in my methodology or calculations, please let me know.
SFL: $20.07
Nov 20s Call $1.85; Nov 17.5 Put $1.35
Yearly dividend $1.80, expected dividends from now till Nov $0.90
Option net: write the call - buy the put = $0.50
Cost reduction in price = price paid for stock - option net - dividends
= 20.07 - 0.50 - 0.90 = $18.67
(Note: I didn't add this into these calculations, but theoretically the dividends and option net received would be gaining interest from now till November, in this case it would add almost $3)
The strategy: write the call, and buy the put.
Max loss: this would be if the price ends in Nov at $17.51 because the Put would be useless.
The loss will be around 6.21%
Max profit: if the price ends at $19.99 so the call will not be exercised, this will amount to around 7.07%
Annualized = 1.0707^(12/7) - 1 = 12.42%
Note: this does not take into account commissions, which would reduce the annualized gains (assuming one contract) to around 10.11%
If the price ends above $20, there will be some profit since the overall cost basis on the shares purchased is around $18.67
If the price ends below 17.50, I can exercise the put (or sell the put to close the position). If I sell the put I will gain some on this part.
If the price ends in the middle with the max loss of 6.21%, I can still do one thing: I can try the strategy all over again since I will still have the shares.
I think I covered everything, but I'm still looking into this strategy. I will also try to find a better stock to use. Something that is not too volatile, has a nice dividend, options, and good option premiums.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Time to start job hunting

Later tonight I will start my job hunting and if you have any tips please share them! I know a lot of people out there have gone through the process of graduating college and entering the "real world". It should be an exciting time and very odd. I've always been used to going to classes, have summer vacation, and studying for tests. All that is over with (well almost, 6 more weeks).
From time to time I will post about the job process.

Tough day in the market. I added some NCC and KRB to my holdings. I might sell EBF soon because I originally bought it as a short-term play, but the market has been in a downtrend.

A point on commissions: I think you should always be aware of how much your commissions are in terms of percentage. I try to keep commissions always under 1% of my investment (I include the buy commission and the future sell commission). I've seen a good amount of investors who will be 25-30 shares or so and let's say the total investment is $700. Assuming $10 transaction costs the total costs will be $20. This commission is about 2.85% of the total investment- this is huge!
How to avoid this? I don't have too much money right now, so I focus on stocks that are under $35. I also want to be able to buy at least 75 shares. This, of course, depends on the stock price. If the price is low, then I'll buy 150-200 shares. For most of my transactions I try to buy 100 shares and my commission costs usually come out to be around 0.8%. I would want something lower, but this is the best I can do right now.
So keep those commission costs in mind! Also, check out discount brokers to save money on commission costs. From my last job, I've run into people who had around $2,000 in their accounts and would be paying transaction fees close to $20 per transaction (and quarterly fees).

My First Book Review

The market ended on a nice upswing as minutes from the March Fed meetings came out and it looks like they will continue with measured hikes instead of accelerating interest rate hikes.
This news (and trading) lifted the indices and most stocks.

The first book I wanted to talk about is somewhat technical, but I think it's one of the best books out there on valuation (and if you know a better one, please let me know).
The book is called Investment Valuation (2nd edition) by Aswath Damodaran. The book is about valuation of any asset, so it does cover a variety of subjects. The book goes into incredible detail and also uses real companies to show how to calculate certain things (like valuation based on a country premium approach). The book covers financial companies, private firms, distressed firms, new firms, stocks, options, and projects. He also breaks down the valuation of common stock and earnings multiples, book value, growth, cost of capital, and financial ratios (ROE, ROA, etc).
This book is for readers who want to learn more details about valuing any asset. He goes through all the major techniques (cash flow valuation, dividend model, gordon growth model, 2 stage dividend model, 3 stage dividend model).
Basically if I can only keep one of the books I have, this would be the one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I can't think of a title right now

The markets were a bit iffy today, nothing really major. I'm reading tons of conflicting opinions about the market: some say an uptrend will start soon, others say a slow downtrend for the rest of the year, what do you think? Feel free to post a comment.
I've read some statistics that show Aprils are usually pretty good months when March is a bad month, so far that's not working out. If I had to guess, it will depend on the coming weeks. Many companies will start to report earnings and this should push the market in a direction (hopefully up!).

I'll post an updated Net Worth and the end of the week or the beginning of next week. Based on some rough calculations I think I should hit the $25k mark by the end of May. The one thing that may stop this is that I'm quitting my current internship at the end of April. So I'll have some time where money will be flowing out, but not flowing in (assuming my stocks stay constant). The reason I'm not quitting in May is because I want to spend more time with friends, I need to study more for my future job, oh yeah I need to find that future job, and I'll throw in a stupid one- I want to sleep in a little.

Other things: I plan to spend most of my free time on Wednesday (which is only a few hours) to search for jobs. The two main sites I plan to use are CareerBuilder and Monster, if you know of any others please comment.
I'll get more into that later.

Everyday I check certain blogs, but I haven't added them to my list until today. I suggest you check some of them out.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Jones Soda

All the talk about Jones Soda reminded me of one of my favorite ways of finding potential stocks- going to the mall!
This type of finding stocks is normally associated with Peter Lynch and his Common Sense Approach. Basically it involves keeping your eyes open to stores and products around you. You need to have a slight investment mind-set whenever you go out because it can add to profits. I used this approach when I go out. One time when I was at the mall I noticed one of the very busy stores was Aeropostale. I kept my eye on the store and it was busy every time I was there. I ended up buying the stock after I looked further into it and sold for a nice return in a relatively short amount of time (but I should have held a little longer).
This is just another (possible fun) way to find a new stock. Another example are those Ugg boots girls were raving about. If you noticed this in early 2003 you would have made a killing in Deckers Outdoor (DECK) as they rose incredibly fast.

Other news: DHL did lose my tickets but Clear Channel will replace them for me. I also (finally) finished my taxes and I think I might get a refund of a few hundred dollars. This means I was stupid in waiting so long to do them!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Plans for the weekend

A decent day in the market, and I think I basically broke even.
This weekend I will hopefully have enough time to research some stocks. I've been complining a list and there have been some bigger names I want to look into: NCC (small position), KRB, FRX, and PFE. I've been also interested in Jones Soda (JSDA.OB) because I like their products. This stock has been soaring lately, so I might wait for it too cool off. I'm also going to look for something a little more stable that pays a decent dividend. One I might look into is TAXI. I've been watching this since $9 and it has been moving up lately. I sometimes run into people who ask why I invest in companies that pay dividends since I'm young. One of the reasons is that the companies I invest in pay high (and risky) dividends such as the tankers and REIT's I've bought earlier. Another reason is because it allows me to own a stock and receive some money back. Since I don't have too much money, dividends allow me to bring in more money to save up and buy another stock. If I bought a non-div stock, I will need to rely just on capital gains but dividends allow me to own the stock and also start saving up for a new purchase. Hopefully I explained this in a clear way.

This weekend I will be spending a good amount of time looking for stocks and searching for jobs.
I need to find things in both areas!

2005 Updates and I still hate DHL

So DHL is fairly sure they lost my package, and the one thing I hate about this is that three different times they said they would call me back and they didn't call back at all!
Tomorrow I'm calling the Sunnyvale manager to see if he can help and then if he can't I need to file forms to claim my loss. The other thing that bugs me is that I paid $170 for four tickets, but the value of these tickets (as determined through eBay auctions) would be close to $400!

Anyways, here's my 2005 updates on various financials.
Stocks (NTE, LB, EBF)
2005: +10.73%

2005: Total costs of $286 and total revenues of $549 for a return of 91.95%

Sports betting (NCAA's and previous betting)
2005: Started with $160 and ended with $253 for a return of 58.13%

So far things are looking pretty good, although I doubt I will bet on sports for awhile (I usually stick to NFL and NCAA's, but I might go with some NBA playoff games/series).
With eBay, I will continue to look for items to sell.
Stocks- I think I can add to my gains through reinvestment of dividends, finding more stocks, and writing calls.

Net Worth Update
  • In hand: $15
  • IRA: $55
  • WaMu: $1,000 (I will transfer some to ING soon)
  • ING: $4,500
  • Brokerage: $17, 375
Total: $22, 945

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Two good finance links

I know I said I was going to put some book reviews up, but as you can see I haven't got to that (but I will).
I did want to post a few links, one I just came across and the other I've known about for awhile.

The first one is deals with financial statement footnotes and I think it's pretty damn good (plus the author has a highly rated book out)
The blog is called Footnoted and if you're interested in that subject, I suggest you check it out.

The other site has a great amount of financial information and it's a site for a business teacher from NYU. Mr. Damodaran is a fantastic writer and his site has tons of useful info. I've read one of his books (Investment Valuation, which I recommend) and he sometimes puts books on his website.
For instance, at one point you were able to download the entire second edition of Investment Valuation for free (book form costs $60 or so off Amazon). I think a few of his other books are available this way as well.

DHL is starting to piss me off

Okay so overall my stocks ended up a bit (and I didn't write that NTE call because they report earnings early May and that's the month I was going to use, and I think the earnings report might send the stock up a bit- hopefully. Oh and I got lazy).

So about 1.5 weeks ago I ordered some concert tickets (Weezer). I ordered 4 tickets and my friend bought 2. Each ticket, after service fees and shipping costs, came out to about $43. I'm going to use two and sold the other two on eBay (they went for $190). Now I'm having problems with DHL getting my tickets. I paid extra for air service and they should have arrived last monday. My friend did regular mail and his arrived two days ago! So basically it came down to me paying an extra $17 and I still don't have the tickets. My friend was nice enough to let me use his two tickets for the eBay buyer, and now I'm in the process of dealing with DHL. I've talked to four people so far and one was suppose to call me today but didn't. Now someone is going to call tomorrow and tell me the situation. It seems the tickets are in Santa Clara (I'm in San Jose) so they are close- we just have to find exactly where they are!
It's frustrating, I might stick with FedEx.

Decent Day in the Market

Well it was off to a rocky start with oil going higher, but the indices ended in the positive territory.
NTE beat sales guidance so it had a nice day as well as LB.
Tomorrow should be a good day for the NTE 30 call, I just need to decide what month to use. I still need to research some more stocks so I can invest some of my extra cash. I'm going to start looking into FRX as a value play. It's looking really cheap when compared to historical standards, so I'll check that out.

In choppy, downward markets like these, it makes me want to start shorting stocks. I won't get into a detailed definition, but you basically want the stock price to go down.
There's an okay article at on shorts
So I should look into shorting, so far I've done it one time and it paid off.

I saw a show last night on the Travel Channel (i love this channel) on Vegas and betting and I wanted to share a few things. The experts say that if you really want to play slots, then you should stick to video poker since it will have lower volatility and you have some choice in the play. The other machines use a random generator and the outcome is already known before you pull the handle or push the button (the spinning "bars" or matching symbols are just for show since the outcome is known).
With the other games, they suggest to stick to games where you have some choice like poker or blackjack. They also mentioned a few things about a couple other games and I think I want to learn a little more about craps.

Work stuff: Drama in the work place! Basically a few people might leave, some aren't very good workers, and lots of headaches. A few more weeks for me then I'm out! The portfolio managers want me to stay and that means a lot to me, but I need to move on (plus I don't think they can afford another full-timer; it's a small company).
I've fixed up my resume with the help from some people off Craigslist (great site), and now I need to start sending the resumes out.
I've found a few sites that are basically recruiters, so I might send my resume to these sites. I also need to find out about certain trading companies (stock trading); some of them seem fishy but I'm not exactly sure.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

eBay Sales

Two more eBay sales ended today for a nice profit.
Both of them were concert tickets for two different shows.
One had a cost of $51 and ended for $75 (+47.1%)
The other one had a cost of $85 and ended for $195.50 (+130%)
I also have a few books and other items that I might put up soon.
The eBay money is in my paypal account and I will transfer it over soon.

So far this is pretty good news because I think my end goal of $25,000 is in sight. The deadline for the goal is the end of May and my current net worth is around $23,300.
Upcoming money: possible tax refund, bonus from work, weekly work paychecks, and further eBay sales. This total should be around $2,500 and this will bring the total to almost $26,000.

I graduate in May, but I will stop working at my current job at the end of April. I'm doing this to spend more time with friends and to look for a full-time job out of this area. So the lack of a paycheck will add to my expenses. Other expenses will involve moving out expenses, clothing (I want to buy a few suits and more work clothes- shirts & ties)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Back from Mexico

I came back from the cruise today, although I'm definitely not used to being on land!
The cruise was really fun and everyone had a great time.
Catalina was very cool and Mexico was pretty neat as well. The weather was awesome and food was everywhere!
I'm still trying to get caught up on all the news since I really don't know what has been going on the past week or so.

The one thing I'm worrying about is graduating. It's already April and I graduate at the end of May. I'm behind where I want to be, but I think I'm ahead of the average finance student.
I've read a good amount of books outside the classroom on topics I'm interested in (stocks and options), but I need to get this information into my head.
I'm definitely behind schedule in this department. I wanted to have a good amount of information by the beginning of semester, and now the semester is almost over!

Here's basically my plan for the next few months:
April: besides retaining the info I read, this is when I'm going to start looking for a job.
May: graduate and hopefully have a job ready by the end of the month.
June: during the first week, travel a bit in Europe

The most important part is probably finding a job. The type of job I want will involve either options or stock research/trading.
Now I know most of the big firms have already completed their recruiting (they finished late last semester), but I want to work for a small to mid size firm.
I have a cousin in the finance industry and he is trying to help me find a job through his contacts.
I need to send my resume to recruiters and start applying for online jobs.
I'm going to target certain cities: San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, Boston, NYC, and London (low on my list, but it would be cool).
I will use this blog to also detail my job hunting activities.