Welcome to my first ever blog post on Seeking Alpha. I first got interested in investing when I was a junior in high school. I took an honors economics class where they had us do a stock trading simulator competition. Even though my partner and I didn't win the competition, I was fascinated by the project and learned some valuable lessons from that initial experience alone.
Once I got to college, I opened an individual brokerage account with Sogotrade and made my first investments in the stock market. Back then I had no idea what I was doing, and basically just bought stocks that were at 52 week lows hoping they would rebound for a profit. Needless to say, I got burned a few times by taking this approach. I closed my Sogotrade account once they changed management and were trying to get me to re-send my financial information through the mail. Overall, I lost a small amount of money on that account, but I learned more lessons about what not to do when investing in the market.
My approach to investing now centers heavily around value, fundamentals, and a preference for companies that control assets people either need or have a proven historical demand for (i.e. water, consumer staples, alcohol, cigarrettes, etc.). When I fully flesh out my Roth IRA, I expect a lot of those investments to revolve around companies that control fresh water resources. But today, I want to introduce my long positions in my individual brokerage account. I haven't set any official rules for myself as far as what I will and won't allow myself to do with this account. I'm viewing it as my "play money" at the moment. But having said that, I seem to be using it right now for practice in value investing.
China Mobile (CHL) is my most recent stock purchase. I'm going long on this company because it is China's largest telecommunications company and highly profitable. I also believe it trades at a value and have no concerns over the balance sheet. I'm getting good foreign exposure through this company. The biggest risk seems to be the high Chinese government ownership within the company. You never know what foreign governments might do with the assets they own.
Crown Crafts (CRWS) is a US micro-cap stock that I purchased shares in roughly one year ago. This company focuses on manufacturing baby products. I invested in this company because of the strong balance sheet, reasonable valuation, and competent management team. I am currently underwater a bit on my investment here, but because the company has little to no debt on it's balance sheet, I am not overly concerned and willing to wait things out.
Kimco Realty (KIM) was another recent purchase of mine. This company is classified as a REIT. The company owns real estate and leases their properties out to retailers in order to generate revenues. I invested in this company because of a low P/FFO ratio and an opportunity to make a contrarian play on the "retail-apocalypse" market overreaction. I am not expecting a quick turnaround here in terms of rising share price, but the company fundamentals are strong and I'm getting paid a solid dividend to wait.
Mind C.T.I. (MNDO) is a foreign micro-cap stock. The company is headquartered in Israel. Mind C.T.I. is part of the technology sector and trades at an attractive P/E ratio. Strong balance sheet with little to no long-term debt. I also invested in this company for a stable double-digit dividend yield. It has been a core holding in my brokerage account for a few years now.
Sturm Ruger (RGR) is a US small-cap stock. The company focuses on manufacturing firearms. I consider Sturm Ruger to be the most ill-timed purchase of all stocks currently held in my individual brokerage account. The current political climate has drastically reduced demand for guns when compared to the Barack Obama years. Still, there is potential upside in this name should any gun control measures be implemented in the future (because fear of gun control spikes demand for the company's products). I'm getting paid to wait with a modest dividend and I don't expect much further downside given that Sturm Ruger is a debt-free company.
Disclosure: I am/we are long CRWS, CHL, KIM, MNDO, RGR.
Additional disclosure: I am not a registered finance professional of any kind. Readers are expected to do their own research and due diligence before making any investment decisions.