A Tale Of Two Cities! (Christmas Retail)

In the US Christmas retail sales plummeted.

The holiday shopping season was one of the most dismal in years and even the after-Christmas period, when consumers normally rush to stores to use gift cards and seize on big sales, isn’t expected to be enough to save retailers from a terrible year.

No so in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

One Of My 2009 Predictions (Japan) Is Already Coming True (in 2008)…

I wrote a blog entry on how my 2008 predictions fared, and what I think will happen in 2009. Well, wow, I did not expect one of them to happen that quick.

My prediction was that in 2009 Japan was going down. It seems Japan is already going down. The headlines read "Japan November industrial output falls ‘off the cliff’".

Before people panic and say, "OMG this will happen to us", you need to go back into my predictions on why this is a Japanese problem.

Paul Krugman Calls Germany Dumb! (I say he’s DUMB!)

I am going to defend the German government.

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck vilifies Britain’s financial stimulus plan in an interview with American magazine Newsweek, saying that making VAT cuts won’t solve the problem, but rather will build a national debt that will take at least a generation to pay off. The problem? Everyone seems to be against Germany’s solution.

Paul Krugman, the recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, referred to Steinbrueck as dumb, saying that a refusal to cooperate with debt-financed stimulus packages can cause severe damage.

New Geeks

As you know we recently put out a call for some new InvestorGeeks. We had a strong response again this time, and after deliberation and discussion amongst the founders we have decided on our new Geeks. There will be six in all. I won’t be introducing you to any of them today, they’ll take care (more…)

Reasons for Investing in Gold & Silver

Gold & silver, or precious metals (PM) as they are referred to in the investing community, are a kind of commodity. Physical commodity investing is not usually done as a long term investment. This is because a commodity has no value besides its intrinsic value. It will never increase in quantity nor quality as an investment or product, unlike stock ownership in a company where the corporate earnings can potentially increase with time.

So why am I investing in such stupid and “boring” investments? Because, on an inflation-adjusted basis, gold needs to exceed $2090 in 2006 dollar to overcome its 1980 peak.

Popular Moving Averages in the Blogosphere

There are about as many variations on the moving average as there are investors using them. While it’s generally understood that no one configuration is going to be the holy grail of predicting stock prices, each investor has their own baselines or favorites that they come back to.

Below, I’ll talk a little bit about how I’ve been using MAs lately. Then I’ll look at some of the MA setups which seem popular online today and make some observations based on them.

Hunting for Tenbaggers; Catching AERT

Ah, the tenbagger. That mythical creature from stock trading lore that grows 10 times in price. This is what dreams are made of. I like a quote from Jason Kelly’s book, The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing. “It takes only $10,000 and two tenbaggers to become a millionaire.” It’s simple in concept really. Find a fast growing company, hold on to it for 5 or 6 years, and sell it for a long-term windfall. The equivalent of 50-60% annually. It’s every investor-boy’s fantasy but mysteriously elusive. In fact there may only be a few stocks a year that turn out to be tenbaggers. So the question is how do you find them? Maybe I can help.

TD Ameritrade Has Most Mutual Funds Available

I was recently disappointed because I couldn’t purchase the Mairs & Power Growth Fund (MPGFX) or Artisan International Fund (ARTIX) through my T. Rowe Price Roth IRA. After doing some sleuthing on Morningstar I discovered I could purchase both of these funds through TD Ameritrade, from whom I have a standard brokerage account.

I was ready to transfer all my assets over from TRP to TD Ameritrade and it turned out that transferring a Roth IRA was extremely bothersome. So instead of jumping into anything I thought I had better check to see if there was another discount broker that offered more funds, because I didn’t want to have to do this again. I spent some time at it, and put together a screen using the Morningstar Premium Fund Screener (more info) that would show the number of funds each major discount broker had available, and which funds were covered by all of them. The results were fascinating.