The past year has been an interesting one that's for sure. I started seriously investing in August of 2008, meaning I started managing my own investments in stocks and bonds where as previously I had only invested in employer retirement accounts with some choices limited to a few funds.
It has been exciting times since then and while I really wish I had started earlier, to be honest I feel very lucky to have started in a time when stocks are cheap and Mr. Market is manic.
I figured I would disclose a few of the positions I have which have done pretty well. Of course I also have some positions which have been flat or lost value to date, but the gains out pace the losses and I think in the long run most of the losers will be winners.
Value Vision (VVTV): Multiple entries with an average price of $0.563
Current gain of 428.27%
I initially discovered VVTV by reading OldSchoolValue, there was some concern about the off balance sheet commitments they had which no longer made it a net-net, but the stock was so beaten down that I actually increased my position even after that news. So far that has paid off but Value Vision is far from out of the woods. I have been seriously considering exiting this position lately.
Ford Preferred Series S (F.PR.S or F-S): Purchase price of $6.17 current gain of 353.91%
These are shares of a trust that holds Ford bonds. While they are preferred shares, the shares are of the trust not Ford. So in the event of liquidation you are essentially a bond holder. The coupon is 6.5% on $50 face value. The coupon payment is in arrears, meaning they are currently not paying it and previous coupon payments are owed with interest. Who ever holds the shares when they pay the owed coupons will get all payments regardless of how long you have owned it. Upon maturity (2032) the holder would get face value $50. When I first found these they were trading at $4 a share but I had already invested all my excess cash. By the time I was ready they were up to about $6.
I decided I would stop buying if the price went over $10 which it did very quickly after it was obvious Ford was not going bankrupt in the near future. On Friday they were trading at $29 which is little over 0.50 cents on the dollar.