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My primary objective is income replacement! ... The objective is to start earning an income stream now, to replace the income that will be earned throughout the working years. I want that income to be reliable, predictable and increasing. The income stream will need to continue to grow to stay... More
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  • Monitoring A Large Portfolio 46 comments
    Apr 17, 2013 4:20 AM

    This instablog is more about housekeeping than it is about market strategies. Housekeeping is important if you wish to keep your house in order.

    If you've ever read the book, "What Works On Wall Street" by James O'Shaughnessey, you'd know that he researched and back tested many different strategies over four decades. He found that regardless of what strategy you chose, the best long term results came from portfolio's that held 50 positions or more, diversified among various sectors.

    I know there are those out there who are going to dispute that, or rationalize it, but his findings have been backed up by others, including Benjamin Graham who held at least 75 positions on most occasions.

    Lowell Miller, author of "The Single Best Investment" came to the same conclusion. I've also seen the same sized portfolio among other firms promoting dividend investments.

    Human emotion being what it is, we are geared to think positive and focus on success. Very few people plan for failure, but failure is what happens when you don't measure what you may gain, by what you may lose. A portfolio of this size protects you to the downside and when the downside is protected, the upside takes care of itself, without you having to fight for the same ground twice.

    There are some who can't imagine managing that many positions. I've read the comments, it's hard enough keeping up with 10, never mind 50. Well, perhaps you are doing it wrong and spending wasted time. This instablog is going to attempt to teach you how to work smart, not hard.

    The first thing you must understand is that these positions are added over time. You're not going to go out and buy 50 positions overnight.

    This is important! ... If you have to micro manage a position, you took on too much risk. Successful investors know how to buy quality companies that don't require the day to day monitoring that the micro managers use. When your management style is to micro manage, you get micro results.

    No matter how closely you watch a position, you aren't good enough to know in advance, prior to the market knowing, that a company is in trouble. Whatever it is you think you are going to know, will already be priced into the stock.

    I had a few exchanges with people who owned AT. I thought it was too speculative, and I always got the response that they were watching it closely. They had an "eagle eye" on it. They read the 10K's, the 10Q's, read every article that came out, followed the conference calls, listened to the analysts, and yet woke up March 1st, where the price gapped down 38% before the market even opened.

    Think about that! ... A 38% drop in price before the market even opened, and it's continued downward from there.

    http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=AT&p=D&st=2013-01-01&en=2013-04-16&id=p51099376581

    Before they even had a clue about what was going on, the news was already showing up on the tape. The tape tells all!

    You can't beat the tape unless you get lucky on occasion and luck isn't something you can use consistently. A lot of good it did micro managing that position, eh?

    The same thing happened to me a number of years ago. I was heavily invested in Canadian Trusts. I kept up with every snipit of news and comment I could find on the internet. I was so informed, I felt like I was as close to being an insider that an outsider could be. I was in control of my positions! Then one day I woke up, turned on the computer, and saw that every single one of my Trusts were down 20% in pre-market. The market wasn't even open yet!

    Your first instinct after "What the hell?" is to look for the news and try to determine what's going on. While I did this, the price kept falling. That day has gone down in history as "The Halloween Massacre." I was there! I suffered! ... A lot of good micro managing those positions did for me, hence I got smarter as a result of it.

    So, what to do now?

    I learned that one of the keys to long term success is to own quality. I learned that by owning about 50 companies, you limit the amount of damage any one company or sector can do to your portfolio. I learned that once you complete your due diligence, and you purchase the company, that day to day monitoring isn't going to prevent days like AT or the Canadian Trusts had.

    By sticking with high grade, quality companies, how much day to day monitoring do you think it takes to keep up with KO or PG for example? These companies are so closely watched, by so many people, that anything I do is redundant. I'd be kidding myself, and wasting my time, to think I'm smart enough to out-think the number of smart people following KO or PG.

    If you want to try to go ahead and out-smart them, then go for it. Personally, I can ignore following those companies closely because there's an Army of analysts already doing it, already reporting it, and anything else you think there might be is already priced into the stock.

    I also found that by buying the top two or three companies in each sector, you can accumulate a lot of positions without even trying. Therefore, I don't have to worry about KO or PEP being the better selection, I own both. I own PG, CL and KMB. VZ and T. EPD, KMP and MMP. MO and PM. The list goes on. And when you do that, it's easy to build a portfolio of 50 companies and maintain quality. That's the key! ... Quality! ... Best in breed.

    From my perspective, let them fight it out. If one company slacks up, the other is usually the beneficiary, and I already own it.

    Here is how I monitor my portfolio of nearly 50 companies. Every company I own is listed on a Quote Tracker. When you pull your portfolio up, it shows how every position is doing for the day. All I am interested in, is any position that is up or down 3% or more for that day. That's it!

    I ignore the positions that are up or down 2% or less. Those are normal trading ranges for most companies. In fact, those are quite common to see. But when you see a company up or down 3% or more on the day, that's usually news related. News that wouldn't have shown up anyway prior to the price showing up on the tape. So, I watch the tape.

    There are many weeks when you won't see 3% moves, so there isn't a lot of monitoring required. You'll see them most of the time around earnings time.

    When I see a 3% price move, it takes minutes to read the news and make a decision. This doesn't take a lot of time. If the news is good, decide if you wish to add or lock in profits, if the news is bad, decide if you wish to trim or buy more on the dip. You should already know in advance what your views are on the company. It doesn't take a lot of monitoring to keep up.

    Earnings announcements, dividend announcements and 3% daily price moves are all I monitor. I bet it takes me less time to monitor 50 positions than it takes for some people to monitor 10.

    I don't read 10Q's or 10K's. I don't waste my time with them. Why? Because everything written and known about the company in those reports are already priced into the stock. That's the advantage of owning blue chip companies. It means less monitoring for you because you have so many others following the company for you. ... Think about it!

    Now, if we're talking small cap companies, that's a different ballgame. Those need to be monitored more closely. They aren't as widely covered.

    The higher the quality of the companies you own, and the wider the range of analysts covering those companies, the less day to day monitoring that is required by you. Earnings announcements, dividend announcements, and 3% daily price moves is all I've been monitoring for years.

    My strategy is to work smart and not hard. By purchasing blue chip companies that are widely covered by analysts, I let them do the monitoring for me. If they see something they don't like, then they are going to start liquidating and that's going to show up on the tape immediately, and before I could find it on my own.

    It's easier to monitor 50 positions than most people think. The market will tell you what to do. You just need to learn how to be a good listener.

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Comments (46)
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  • Larry Harnar
    , contributor
    Comments (311) | Send Message
     
    Chowder,

     

    Such wisdom, all on one page. Watching over 60 positions in my dividend portfolio.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Larry
    17 Apr 2013, 07:01 AM Reply Like
  • Bob Wells
    , contributor
    Comments (4915) | Send Message
     
    Chowder...

     

    Love the quote..."micro manage your portfolio for micro results". I have
    found company reports to be useful on those nights where .... HA!

     

    Bob
    17 Apr 2013, 07:06 AM Reply Like
  • maybenot
    , contributor
    Comments (3085) | Send Message
     
    Chowder -- wow, I was hoping I was doing it more or less, kinda right regarding tracking!
    Watch the earnings, watch the divs, and watch for 3% changes. That seems to be the key. Thanks for sharing and helping me -- sure do appreciate it. ( 10K's / 10Q's / etc. -- my gawd, leave it for others who know and have the time).
    17 Apr 2013, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • almanack
    , contributor
    Comments (89) | Send Message
     
    "....When I see a 3% price move, it takes minutes to read the news and make a decision. This doesn't take a lot of time. If the news is good, decide if you wish to add or lock in profits, if the news is bad, decide if you wish to trim or buy more on the dip. You should already know in advance what your views are on the company. It doesn't take a lot of monitoring to keep up.

     

    Earnings announcements, dividend announcements and 3% daily price moves are all I monitor. I bet it takes me less time to monitor 50 positions than it takes for some people to monitor 10..."

     

    Thanks for another great instablog article Chowder. I think that your approach is excellent.

     

    With regard to your quote above, I think you might still need to elaborate a bit to help some people determine what to do with the good news of bad news.

     

    For instance, you are suggesting that if there is good news, you might take profits off the table or add to your position. Using KO as an example, you indicated elsewhere that the good news surrounding KO's 5% price move would suggest (for you) that you might add to that position.

     

    What if KO was already over-weighted in your portfolio... In a 50-stock portfolio, an even distribution would be 2% per holding. Do you try to keep your portfolio as close to an even distribution as possible?

     

    Conversely, what would constitute negative news for one of your blue-chippers that would result in a sell? I'd presume a buy-out or a negative move regarding the company's dividend distribution (cut or hold or an unacceptably low increase.)

     

    I also think that your monitoring approach is a little more involved than what you are describing. If a stock dramatically decreases their dividend distribution, their stock price might not move 3% or more. As such, you might miss that news. You'd have to observe that elsewhere. You have mentioned that you check the daily dividend activity on the WSJ (Here: http://on.wsj.com/yGCzL2) I do that, but I also set Google Alerts for dividend updates.

     

    Again, great article, I just think you ought to elaborate on your actions after you have monitored your portfolio.
    17 Apr 2013, 10:53 AM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Using KO as an example, it depends on where you are in your portfolio. If it were already an even weight position, I might do nothing. Someone in retirement might want to lock in profits. Someone in the accumulation phase might want to add to their position on start as a new position if they don't already own it.

     

    >>> If a stock dramatically decreases their dividend distribution, their stock price might not move 3% or more. As such, you might miss that news. <<<

     

    No I won't, it's part of the 3 step process.

     

    1. Earnings announcements
    2. Dividend announcements
    3. Price moves of 3% or more

     

    I keep a little spiral notebook that tracks all of my positions and when they are due to announce dividend increases. I mark down the date of the announcement and the amount of the increase every year.

     

    I know from history not to expect any dividend increases in May and I expect one in June. GIS announced their dividend increase last year on 6/26 in the amount of 8.2%. So, I'll monitor GIS the last week of June for another dividend hike.

     

    I know that CVX announced last year on 4/25 for an 11.1% hike, so I'm expecting to hear from them next week. I'll monitor that.

     

    As to the selling rules, I covered that in another instablog.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    It's all a matter of being organized, from setting objectives, to establishing a game plan, to researching prospects, to monitoring, to buying or selling. Once everything is in place, it's just a matter of working your plan.
    17 Apr 2013, 11:30 AM Reply Like
  • almanack
    , contributor
    Comments (89) | Send Message
     
    Great reply. thanks
    17 Apr 2013, 11:54 AM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (3644) | Send Message
     
    chowder,

     

    I like your idea of keeping a notebook with dates for when to expect dividend increases. I'm connected to my computer at the hip and can hardly write legibly any more, so I think I will put reminders into Outlook. Same process, different tool. Thanks!
    17 Apr 2013, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • Iwant2fly
    , contributor
    Comments (338) | Send Message
     
    chowder,

     

    GIS announced the increase on March 12th.
    General Mills Announces 15 Percent Dividend Increase, Extending Century-Long Dividend Record
    MINNEAPOLIS, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --General Mills (NYSE: GIS) said today that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend payable May 1, 2013, and also approved a 15 percent increase in the dividend rate effective with the Aug. 1, 2013, payment.
    http://bit.ly/11eB1t7;highlight=

     

    You won't have to wait!
    17 Apr 2013, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Oh yeah! I forgot about that. I wrote it down on the 2013 page, which I didn't look at. I was looking at the 2012 page when I wrote that comment. Thanks for reminding me because I forgot.
    17 Apr 2013, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • Cheesecake7
    , contributor
    Comments (131) | Send Message
     
    If I had applied this I would not have lost what I had gained or ridden a stock down. These are just simple little pearls. I wish I had known and applied. Since I am building my portfolio. This is all the better. It also makes it simple to show people how to do. I have 28 positions now. I doubled down on KO even though it is at a top. I also increased JNJ. I am not going to worry unless I see things change. I will also know now to monitor those 3% changes. I have even been able to start watching On Balance Volume. I forgot where you posted a article about that. I will probably find it here in a bit. I just thank you for the help and the spiral really does help. I copied all the Pay Dates too. I will also say I printed 83 pages of the Challengers and Contenders stocks. So thanks bunches, Sir Chowder!!!
    17 Apr 2013, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (3644) | Send Message
     
    Cheesecake7,

     

    Here is an in-depth explanation of On Balance Volume: http://bit.ly/11gDoss
    17 Apr 2013, 01:06 PM Reply Like
  • pyc435
    , contributor
    Comments (34) | Send Message
     
    Does anyone know of a software program or internet service that tracks all the information that you keep in your spiral notebook? I like handwritten notes as well, but I think some techno help would be good for this.
    17 Apr 2013, 12:05 PM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (3644) | Send Message
     
    pyc435,

     

    One good place for tabular information is Seeking Alpha's portfolio tool. There is a lot there and I found it to be well worth the time required to become acquainted with it.

     

    One way I use it is to track the price point at which I am willing to buy a stock. You first create a portfolio with all the stocks you want to buy. Once you add a stock, select "edit portfolio/holdings". Then add 1 share, use today's date, transaction type 'buy', and in the price column, enter the price you are willing to pay. When you finish, go back to the portfolio display and click the 'Holdings' tab. In the 'change since pur' column you will see the amount by which the stock must fall (green) to hit your buy price. If the stock is currently trading under your buy price, the number is red.

     

    I have several portfolios with this data. One portfolio is for positions I already have that I want to increase, and the other is for positions I want to start.
    17 Apr 2013, 01:15 PM Reply Like
  • Yield Hunter
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    thanks again for your insights. the more i read from you (and from others about these topics), the more you make sense. and this style, too!

     

    I distinctly remembering reading (could be Intelligent Investor or Security Analysis, but could be somewhere completely different) that he kept his positions to a minimum. I want to say that he had 5 positions at an average of 20% of his portfolio at one time, with the exception of when he invested mightily in GEICO (before it was even public) at over 40% of his portfolio - in 1 position! He admitted that this was much higher than normal, but he felt the opportunity couldn't be passed up. Anyway, for value investors, it makes sense to hold less positions, because there will be a point where the quality of "margin of safety" will drop, thereby raising the risk profile. Out of sincerest curiosity, can you cite something for the Graham's 75 positions, please? I wonder if there was a certain point in time when he changed portfolio styles (obviously, within "value").
    17 Apr 2013, 12:57 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I was re-reading Value Investing Made Easy by Janet Lowe. The book is based on "Benjamin Graham's Classic Investment Strategy Explained For Everyone."

     

    In the chapter on Building A Portfolio, Diversification Rule Number Two, it talks about portfolio size.

     

    It says ... An investor needs to have a reasonably large number of shares in the portfolio -- or as Graham explained, "adequate but not excessive diversification."

     

    It goes on to say that Graham held portfolio's of 75 or more stocks at a time. According to Graham, the safety of the portfolio had priority and was ensured by spreading the risk over a number of large stocks as long as they were bought at the right prices.

     

    As time went on, it was more difficult to find bargains. Perhaps during the age of the Nifty-Fifty Companies is where he couldn't find many values out there and didn't hold as many. I don't know.
    17 Apr 2013, 01:15 PM Reply Like
  • Yield Hunter
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    I knew you'd have a source, but I didn't expect it so quickly. Your problem is you know too much, always reading and learning stuff!

     

    The GEICO investment seems to have been during the 40s. But it could've been an exception. I absolutely agree in the value of having a broad-based diversification.

     

    As you said, you don't get a full 50 overnight. It could take years to properly diversify. But until then, my portfolio suffers from un-diversification risk. I assume there's no actionable advice you can give, but how about some emotional strengthening?
    17 Apr 2013, 01:21 PM Reply Like
  • Willy95
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    I think it was Buffet that had the concentrated portfolio and the large investment in GEICO.
    17 Apr 2013, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » You may be right Willy. I think that's where Buffett and Graham disagreed and the reason why Buffett would endorse Graham's book, but wouldn't co-author with him. I just read that the other day and forget the source.
    17 Apr 2013, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Yield Hunter
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    Certainly could be, thanks for pointing that out. After reviewing my notes, I saw that in Intelligent Investor, Graham recommends between 10-30 holdings. That's not to say he didn't operate his own funds differently. But I did not find anything about GEICO, so I'll now say it over in Buffett's name :)
    17 Apr 2013, 05:22 PM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (3644) | Send Message
     
    I'm pretty sure it is Buffett in GEICO, since BRK has large p&c insurance investments. I have a vague memory about this from a few decades ago.
    17 Apr 2013, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • Yield Hunter
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    See http://bit.ly/17HQwNI (on the first page)(if for some reason the link doesn't work, google "graham chapter 39: newer methods for valuing growth stocks") and
    http://bit.ly/11fpeL5 (control f "concentration," in that paragraph), Graham seems to have been heavily invested in GEICO.

     

    Nevertheless, I was way off - I was vaguely remembering http://bit.ly/17HQwNL which is a Buffett Partnership Limited letter, pages 10-12. I have heard that this was referring to GEICO, but I don't know where I heard that, and I'm too tired to continue looking for it.
    18 Apr 2013, 12:28 AM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It looks like later in his career, he was influenced by one stock ... GEICO. Not many GEICO's out there. ... Ha!

     

    I see where Walter Schloss also held between 60 and 100 positions. It seems to be a recurring theme in most of the success stories I read about long term investing.

     

    Again, accumulating this many companies happens over time. If we stop and think about it for a minute, if our selection process of purchasing quality under valued positions is successful, it normally takes 3-5 years for a company to go from under value to over value. What do you do then?

     

    I surmise that we buy more under valued companies which would increase the number of positions we own.

     

    I'm not selling KO, CL or O because they are over valued, and I believe they are, because I'm benefiting from the stream of income each of them throw off. So, I'll look to add more companies, thus increasing the number of positions I own.

     

    Are we having fun yet? ... Ha!
    18 Apr 2013, 02:51 AM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (12284) | Send Message
     
    "for value investors, it makes sense to hold less positions, because there will be a point where the quality of "margin of safety" will drop, thereby raising the risk profile."

     

    That might appear to be true, intuitively, but is there any empirical evidence to support that claim?
    18 Apr 2013, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Robert, that margin of safety refers to those who worry about share price, not those who buy quality companies at a good price and hold them as long as the company's fundamentals remain in play.

     

    Wall Street has done a wonderful job of conditioning our minds to always be cognizant of share price. Fear is probably one of our strongest emotions and Wall Street plays to that emotion. Some have convinced themselves that's the way to go.

     

    Almost everyone says Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investor's of all time and he says the ideal holding period is forever. Well, I agree with that as long as the company continues to be one of the leaders in their field.

     

    That "margin of safety" simply isn't true if you are buying companies as opposed to buying stocks. KO hasn't been under valued in over 20 years. It hasn't stopped them from selling Cokes.

     

    It took me a long time in price rehab to learn how to not worry about share price anymore, and worry about whether the company is meeting their objectives or not. ... I have peace of mind at last. ... Ha!

     

    I read where Roger Conrad, a contributor here on SA, has a position in SO that is up over 1,000% since he bought it years and years ago. Over that period of time, it has been under valued and over valued many times, but he never sold it. It continued to be one of the leading utilities.

     

    We can't get returns like that if we're going to run scared because the price ran up

     

    The phrase, you can never go broke taking a profit, is another Wall Street cliche we use to camouflage our fears. Our fear of losing a profit.

     

    One can never participate in the long term success of a quality company either if they are going to cash out and settle for peanuts, but Wall Street won't pass that word around.
    18 Apr 2013, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • Yield Hunter
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    "Wall Street has done a wonderful job of conditioning our minds to always be cognizant of share price."

     

    Sometimes people are in a position where they can realistically need the money in a few years, but they do not need it now. Then, price does matter now, in that such an investor ("speculator") will not want to lose on his principal. Would you recommend to just park the money in an FDIC-insured account and let inflation eat away?

     

    "That "margin of safety" simply isn't true if you are buying companies as opposed to buying stocks."

     

    I feel like margin of safety can apply to DG, as well. You like KO because it has a certain reputation, which builds your expectation. In addition, it has financial strength, product moat, global reach, etc etc etc. If KO with the *same exact* metrics was priced at $1,000.00 per share, you likely would not buy it, you would not reinvest the dividends into such a position, and you might even think about lightening the position. Thus, your margin of safety has been lost. I think of it as you just have a different guide for defining safe. (Perhaps 6 of 1?)

     

    RAS- I have never come across anything. If and when I do, and I remember this comment stream, I'll post it ;)
    18 Apr 2013, 04:49 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Yield Hunter, if one is in need of the money in the near future, then it shouldn't be invested in something where they are concerned about the share price.

     

    I have funds in a 401K that I can't get my hands on until September of this year. So, I have it in bonds. I'm not concerned that they won't provide price growth, I simply want those funds available to transfer into the Ira later this year where I will purchase more dividend growth companies.

     

    I suppose how we define safe is where confusion comes in during our discussions. I never consider the term "safe" when it comes to share price. I suppose it's because I can't define it, I can't measure it and I don't know how to manage it.

     

    When I think about safety, my first first thoughts are about the financial soundness of the company I invest in. I constantly talk about investing in companies that rate 1 or 2 for "safety" by Value Line. It's about the company being on sound footing economically. It's their credit rating that I relate to when thinking "safe."

     

    In looking at your comment ... >>> Anyway, for value investors, it makes sense to hold less positions, because there will be a point where the quality of "margin of safety" will drop, <<< ... this didn't make sense to me because if a position grows exponentially, and price is way up there, I may peel of shares of KO, but I wouldn't sell all of it. So the number of positions really wouldn't be affected, only the size of the position and whether I would keep adding to it or not.

     

    I only disagreed with your "margin of safety" comment because the conclusion was that it meant you owned fewer positions, or at least that's the way I interpreted it, and I didn't get that.
    18 Apr 2013, 05:20 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (12284) | Send Message
     
    "It took me a long time in price rehab"

     

    I love that phrase! Chowder, you certainly do have a way with words!

     

    Robert
    19 Apr 2013, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (3644) | Send Message
     
    chowder,

     

    I have found the financial tables in 10Ks and 10Qs to be mostly over my head, not being an accountant. However, for those who invest in MLPs, there can be very important information in plain English that the investor should know. I am speaking from experience about Incentive Distribution Rights and Management Incentive Fees. These rights and fees can have a material impact on distributions to limited partners.
    17 Apr 2013, 01:24 PM Reply Like
  • SDS (Seductive Dividend Sto...
    , contributor
    Comments (3049) | Send Message
     
    Chowder,
    Thank you for the post. Your "forced" me to blog on the same subject with more details in http://seekingalpha.co...
    SDS
    17 Apr 2013, 02:00 PM Reply Like
  • Sir Duke
    , contributor
    Comments (108) | Send Message
     
    Great post! I like the idea of keeping a notebook/ excel to track dividend announcements. Going to implement that right away.

     

    My iPhone app is loaded with all my positions and it takes 10 seconds to scan through and see if anything is +/- 3%. I check it daily but nothing ever seems urgently actionable. Not being glued to a computer screen 24/7 is one benefit of long-term investing. I imagine there are other benefits too...
    17 Apr 2013, 02:28 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (12284) | Send Message
     
    Chowder, everything you wrote makes perfect sense.

     

    I have never tried to "monitor" all of my positions, in as much detail as some folks would do, because I figured it wouldn't really make much difference. You have given me the reasons why what I did intuitively is the right way to go. Thank you!

     

    Robert
    18 Apr 2013, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » An interesting aside: I haven't looked at my quote tracker since the market opened. The market is now closed. I see where the DOW was down 81 points and the S&P 500 down 10 points.

     

    All of my portfolio's were up on the day!

     

    That's the Psychology of the Market at work. When people are afraid, the "flight to quality" begins, people start thinking survival and safety.

     

    I thank Abraham Maslow and his Motivational Hierarchy for teaching me those lessons, and I learned to apply them to investing. ... Ha!
    18 Apr 2013, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • Cheesecake7
    , contributor
    Comments (131) | Send Message
     
    I am still in "price rehab" but it was an eye opener that "price stability" is not the issue. I guess I was foolish enough to believe there was some sort of stability in that when I first got going and that is why I lost a lot.. It really isn't stability of price but stability of company and dividend that is important. Thank you for helping me see this and the flight to quality as much as possible. How to find continuing companies that will be that stable in the future I think is what I will focus on from now on. This is really becoming an education for me. Thank you.
    20 Apr 2013, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • PinkPixieStix
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    Very informative as are all the instablogs and comments of yours that I have read. I am baffled by your use of ‘tape’. What is the ‘tape’?
    23 Apr 2013, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » >>> What is the ‘tape’? <<<

     

    Ha! Ha! ... In the old days people had a ticker tape machine in their office where the price and volume would spit out quotes all day long.

     

    Nowadays, the tape is that thing that scrolls along the bottom of the CNBC page, your quote tracker, or a price and volume chart. Anything that shows the quoted price and volume.

     

    I like using the old fashion term, "tape."
    23 Apr 2013, 04:02 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Allan Schwartz
    , contributor
    Comments (12284) | Send Message
     
    Here's the wikipedia page on ticker tape:

     

    http://bit.ly/10xlO9M
    23 Apr 2013, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • geneh
    , contributor
    Comments (387) | Send Message
     
    Without the ticker and the tape, how would New York have ticker tape parades? Lots of other terms become obsolete over time. Eventually no one will know the meaning of clockwise as digital displays replace old circular clock faces. My laptop has a "return" key, but there is no carriage to return. How many kids no what carbon paper is for?

     

    Chowder, I always enjoy reading your words of wisdom. I have just over 50 stocks in 5 different accounts (a trust account, IRAs and ROTHs for my wife and I). They are a mix of blue chips, MLPs, and REITS spread across many business categories. I avoid bonds because my wife's retirement (old style defined benefit) and 2 Social Securities provide our "bond" income. Cash reserves back that up and then dividend paying stocks.

     

    I plan to retire soon, but hate to give up the paycheck.
    1 May 2013, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • carmelitadd
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    awesome article! I always enjoy them. It is so great to learn something and cement in my mind that what I am doing is OK. Thank you very much!!
    12 May 2013, 11:40 AM Reply Like
  • Babylove23
    , contributor
    Comments (64) | Send Message
     
    Great article. Because I have different stocks in different accounts I put them all into one Portfolio here on SA. That way I can check what they are doing for the day, or their performance over a period of time.
    I usually scan the list in the morning for heads up on any big changes that need looking into. I also use a program I've come to really like called StockMarketEye. It does a lot of the work for me - downloads input from the brokerage. Thank you for your articles. I like your laid back style.
    15 May 2013, 01:52 AM Reply Like
  • Ong Kang Wei
    , contributor
    Comments (595) | Send Message
     
    Fabulous article once again Chowder! Finally got the time to spend more time on SA. You make a great writer!
    16 May 2013, 11:50 PM Reply Like
  • Dick-Y
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
     
    Pardon my "ignorance." You mention using a Quote Tracker in the article, Chowder. Which one do you use?
    Thank you,
    Dick
    23 Jun 2013, 08:05 AM Reply Like
  • chowder
    , contributor
    Comments (7097) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I use a quote tracker by Med-Ved. It is or was available through TD Ameritrade.

     

    I didn't use it as a trading platform, but I do use it to track all of the portfolios I manage. I've used it for years. TDA wanted to do away with it and people raised hell. They said they would keep it up and running, they wouldn't update it. I don't need it updated since it's not a trading platform for me.

     

    http://bit.ly/Z8IN6G

     

    By the way, I'm heading up to Boston next month to visit family. How bout getting the Sox on a winning streak for me. I hate going home when they are losing.
    23 Jun 2013, 03:46 PM Reply Like
  • Dick-Y
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
     
    If only I had that power . . .but, we keep rooting for them. Quite a turnaround from last year.

     

    Thanks for the reply about Med-Ved. I don't use TDA, but I'm going to see if it's available elsewhere.
    23 Jun 2013, 03:56 PM Reply Like
  • Stock Market Mike
    , contributor
    Comments (1759) | Send Message
     
    Great insights and advice in this article. One day I'll be skilled at managing portfolios. For now, I rely on luck and jumping the gun. That said, I consider myself more of a trader than an investor.

     

    IMO anyone paying attention and doing adequate micromanaging should've pulled out of AT after a 20%+ drop. That would've spared the agony of the really bad news. (the 38%+ drop and all that followed.)

     

    As an example, I bought into Marvell (MRVL) at $10.60. It climbed to $13, then dropped. That was my signal to get out. Got out on a rebound to $13.50, but I was prepared to close my position in the low $12's if necessary. It's been downhill from there indicating that some micromanagement is warranted.

     

    That said, you should at least have a vague idea of what the companies you own do, and the headwinds they face. In MRVL's case, the headwind was the CMU lawsuit that would likely have a ruling (one way or the other) in August. I believed the ruling would go the other way, but with my understanding of law being on par with preschoolers, I don't take chances. $13.50 rolls around (a nice gain going into a time of potential volatility), time to bail!
    30 Sep 2013, 01:42 PM Reply Like
  • Vern1234
    , contributor
    Comments (261) | Send Message
     
    I confess.

     

    I've been bit more than once. AT is one.

     

    I learned to not invest so much in any one position, to buy bigger and better, and to try and be lucky.
    30 Jan, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • pappyJack
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
     
    Love your stuff,please keep it up!
    15 Mar, 11:27 AM Reply Like
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