Monday, June 18, 2007

Beat The Street: Trading Day One

I'm not sure I really have an interest in the stock market, as these people are talking about $100k to get started plus $100k on margin. Plus, we haven't reached the closing bell of my first day as a trader yet, but in the hours since the opening bell and my trades, the 5 picks that I actually bought have lost more in total, than the 3 picks I considered and nixed have gained.

So who are these companies that are doing so well in the market, these companies that I would follow with my eyes and not with my wallet?

  • AAPL: Apple Inc. - Picked this one but held on to my money, as there's a lot of buzz around Apple TV and the iPhone right now. Sorry Steve, nothing personal; I just don't believe in your techno-unitarianism.
  • SPLS: Staples, Inc. - My experience with Staples shows strong support for the well-meaning underdog. Some students just don't know what to do when they don't fit the curriculum, and teachers can't help it if the curriculum doesn't make sense in the context of their prior learning. Does that mean it's wrong, or bad for business? NO!
  • MSFT: Microsoft is trading only slightly higher than Staples. I don't know if this means anything to anyone, but I see these companies as having more in common than differentiates them from each other. (Same goes for Kinkos FDX, Office Max OMX, and to a lesser extent Adobe ADBE).
Cheers to Staples, for embracing technologies like XML. Creative uses of this stuff will take the human element right out of b2b-type sales. My first exposure to this practice was at Financial Institutions in Warsaw. Anything that my vendors can do to help me with a) maintaining my own inventory, and b) saving time on the phone, I think those are both positive things.

Unfortunately I never found free implementations of these ideas; the only documentation available was related to protocol specs, and I wound up writing a lot of code myself, toward the end of my employment. As a consequence I was only involved in very early stages of the project, and years later, I don't know if it went anywhere. I'm almost afraid to call up Linda, who was hired to replace me, for the whole story!

Anyway, enough about Staples. More and more of my money (both real and imaginary) is spent on hard drives and storage media. I maintain that the disks are a good investment. I'm still on the fence about the stocks. But the extended warranty plan (CompUSA CPU, last trade $10.10 during the Buyout of Y2K)... well what was I thinking? The salesman told me it was a good deal, and a pretty girl agreed with him. Me, I still feel like I'm playing the lottery.

No comments: