Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chinese portfolio torture

It's a true burden of the anal-retentive that we have to feel like we're "on top" of so many things.

Take my portfolio, for instance.

I do well; beating the market several years in a row now (though losing money and "beating" the market is pretty weak tea). And yet, one week of weak performance bums me out.

The ongoing odyssey of visiting companies continues ... and the information isn't all that happy. Healthcare is definitely seeing a slowdown -- hospitals don't want to pony up cash, people are losing jobs (and their insurance) and people are worried about paying co-pays and taking time to recuperate. Even if you add in some folks who rush to get medical care in anticipation of layoffs and losing insurance, the trend is down, down, down....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This and that

You know, travel is an odd thing.

On one hand, it's a real p*i*t*a to sleep in someone else's bed, put up with the nickel-and-dime hotel shakedowns, and sit in flying metal tubes with 150 of your new closest friends.

On the other hand, it's really the only way to see what's going on in parts of the country that are not your own. And being out on the West Coast and New England was interesting to me.

Hotels? Well, there are people there ... but they certainly aren't full. The airplanes? They're pretty full. The restaurants? They're pretty empty. I was at a pretty tony eating/shopping area in Glendale (part of the LA megaplex) and it seemed near-vacant. A great sushi place in San Clemente ... I was the only one there. A great Chinese place in Oakland ... almost empty.

But the crappy Chevvy's in Richmond, CA was full. Figure THAT one out!

In the meantime, companies continue to spew out layoffs like a frat boy on a homecoming bender. Things are still going to get worse before they get better.

Oh, and I wonder where the Dow would be if it were a proper market cap-weighted index instead of a ridiculous price-weighted index. It's an odd little quirk of our system that we place so much weight on things that are trivial (P/E's, the Dow, etc.) and so little attention to things that really matter (cash flow, ROIC, credit spreads).

Probably a metaphor there...

Friday, January 9, 2009

End 'o the line

Well, I figured this was coming ... but I won't be able to continue writing for paid external sites (like Investopedia) so long as I'm a sell-side analyst.

As I said, I assumed it would have to be this way ... having a senior analyst writing without direct supervision/review is every compliance officer's worst nightmare.

So, what of this blog? It's all up to you guys, really.

If I hear from you (either email or posts) that you'd like me to continue, I'll try. I'll try to do company-specific analysis (but NOTHING in my coverage industry, nor anything covered by my firm) like I have done for Motley Fool and Investopedia.

If I don't hear from you ... well, I'll probably still use this as a place to scribble random thoughts, but I won't be pretending to do anything on a regular/consistent basis.

So, lemme know!