Goodbye Stock Binder

In a previous post, I mentioned how my Cheese Got Moved and I am in the process of being reassigned to a different department in my place of work, to report to a new boss fourteen years younger than I am, who joined our organization as an intern eight short years ago.

The good news is, my new department is hiring another new intern this summer, and if he too is destined to become my next boss eight years from now in 2025 if I remain with my current employer, I will put in my retirement papers for that December.  But that is eight long years away and I am in no big hurry to fast-forward through those years.

As the father of two children who I love very much, and another fuzzy child who walks on four legs, I am not in a hurry for eight more years to pass.  After all, assuming that I remain among the living through that time, that is eight more years closer to the end.

As Pink Floyd said in “Time,”

And you run and you run to catch up to the sun but it’s sinking; Racing around to come up behind you again.

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older;      Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

So what I have been doing the past eight work days, besides half-heartedly going through my work routine, is clearing out things that have no reason to move into my new office.

By the way, I did go to the top administrator in our organization and request a different office, which would require somebody else being relocated.  I have not heard directly, but I heard third-hand today that my request is being accommodated.

For those worker bee Middle Class Guys like me reading this, I think you would agree that having a window in your office is far superior than not having one, and if I do end up working in the same position through the holiday season of 2025, I would most certainly prefer to do so with a window to the outside world.

I have been a cubicle dweller before in a long row of identically sized cubicles, but have had office jobs with my own office since 2000, or seventeen long years ago.  Take it from me, it does not feel like forward progress being relegated to a windowless hovel down the hall from a young, inexperienced boss with a twenty-five by twenty foot office with a bank of windows, bookshelves and comfortable furniture.

Image result for cubicle hell

Back to my story…

I have been cleaning out so many things that could lead to future blog posts, relegating most of them to the recycle bin or my circular file.

One three-ring binder that I kept on one of my office bookshelves for years and years, but have barely glanced at for the past three, is my binder with stock prices.

I have kept this 3-ring binder with stock prices on an office shelf for the past five years.

I once followed dozens and dozens of stocks, looking up their prices regularly while contemplating whether to buy, hold or sell them.  I logged their prices on the printouts from Yahoo! Finance on the first day that I began tracking them individually, and all of them were printed in 2012 or 2013.

I wrote a while back about how I got sucked in by the Money Madman, and watched his show nearly every night.  As he advised, I followed stocks for a while before purchasing them, and most that I followed, I never purchased.

I did purchase many.

There are dozens of examples.  One is that I purchased Microsoft (MSFT) at around $28 per share back in July of 2012.  I sold it the following April for around $30, banking a $200 profit on my one hundred shares, plus $50 or so for the call option that I sold.

I purchased Microsoft for about $28 per share in July 2012.

Today, Microsoft trades at over $70, so I coulda woulda and shoulda held onto it.

I first purchased the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil TR Index Exchange Traded Note (OIL) in July of 2012 for about $21 per share.

I will note here that I always purchase stocks in lots of one hundred shares unless otherwise noted.

I followed OIL through ups and downs, finally having it called away at $24 per share after selling a covered call option on it, netting a little over $300.

My OIL ETF shares were called away for $24 per share in September 2013.

I should have left it at that.

Instead, I purchased one hundred more shares in the early stages of the downturn in oil prices, and now stand about 70% down on my current one hundred shares, down over $800 if I sold it tomorrow.

I could go on and on about the stocks that I followed.

For those of you who do not know or care a whit about stocks, this may be a good place for you to stop reading this post.

For those of you who have purchased stocks or would like to, the list of the hundred or so that I followed included:

  1. AA        Alcoa
  2. AGNC   American Capital Agency Corp.
  3. AI         Arlington Asset Investment Corp.
  4. ARR      Armour Residential REIT, Inc.
  5. AT        Atlantic Power Corporation
  6. CEL      Cellcom Israel Ltd.
  7. CIM     Chimera Investment Corp.
  8. CLM    Cornerstone Strategic Value Fund Inc.
  9. CRUS   Cirrus Logic Inc.
  10. CSCO    Cisco Systems, Inc.
  11. CYS      CYS Investments, Inc.
  12. DELL    Dell Computer
  13. DIS       Walt Disney Company
  14. DUST   Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X ETF
  15. ERF      Enerplus Corporation
  16. F           Ford Motor Company
  17. FSC       Fifth Street Finance Corp.
  18. GDX      Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
  19. GDXJ    Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF
  20. GGN     Gamco Global Gold Natural Resources & Income Trust
  21. INTC     Intel Corporation
  22. IVR       Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc.
  23. JMI       Javelin Mortgage Corp.
  24. JNPR    Juniper Networks Inc.
  25. LUV      Southwest Airlines Co.
  26. MSFT   Microsoft Corporation
  27. MORL   UBS ETRACS Monthly Pay 2X Leveraged Mortgage REIT ETN
  28. NLY      Annaly Capital Management, Inc.
  29. NVDA   NVIDIA Corporation
  30. NTI      Northern Tier Energy LP
  31. NYMT  New York Mortgage Trust Inc.
  32. OIL      iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil TR ETN
  33. PER     SandRidge Permian Trust
  34. VPMCX Vanguard Primecap Fund
  35. PRGMX  T. Rowe Price GNMA Fund
  36. PWAV    Powerwave Technologies Inc.
  37. REM    iShares FTSE NAREIT Mortgage Plus Cp Index
  38. SLV    iShares Silver Trust
  39. SLW   Silver Wheaton Corp.
  40. TICC   TICC Capital Corp.
  41. TWO   Two Harbors Investment Corp.
  42. VIIX    VelocityShares Long VIX ETN
  43. VXX    iPath S&P 500 VIX Futures ETN

NUGT, or the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares has its own section of hundreds of pages.  I have bought, sold and held shares in this crazy volatile fund off and on for years.  As of now, I have 275 shares, which was actually 1,100 shares as of a few months ago, and was 550 a few months before that.  All without buying or selling one share.

I am not proud to report that I hold these shares, which have fluctuated by more than $5,000 up in value and more than $5,000 down in a single day in my case.

NUGT went up by 25% on June 3rd last year, from $75 to $94.

It is the most fucked up, risky, crazy stock that I know of, and I had hoped to admit owning shares to my readers once I already sold them for a healthy profit.

NUGT is a three-times leveraged daily fund based on gold miner stocks. Not only affected by the daily price fluctuations of gold any given day, it is also affected by the geopolitical issues that determine who can mine how much gold and where.

NUGT plummeted 24% on February 16, 2016, from $57 to $43.

If you want to own a stock that often goes up or down by ten percent or more in any given day, sometimes twenty percent or more, NUGT is about the best one that you can buy.

Image result for NUGT
Source: Clay Trader

As a matter of fact, a trade that I executed last year for two hundred shares that were “called away” after I sold a covered call early last year resulted in a $7,500 capital gain, which was great last summer when I sent some extra money to our mortgage, to my wife’s and my Roth IRAs, and paid for a vacation to Michigan’s upper peninsula with it.

Not so great when I had to pony up nearly $2,000 to the IRS a few months ago, half due to that profitable trade and half due to having cashed out savings bonds to pay for our son’s first semester at a private Chicago-area college.

Being a stubborn middle aged Middle Class Guy, I am determined to hold onto my NUGT shares until I can realize another profit.  I do not know if and when that will actually happen, but it is something that I have dreamed about many a time.  When I write many a time, I truly mean many a time.  Like a thousand times.

Anyhow, I do not see the wisdom in relocating my binder where I tracked the above listed stocks as well as a few others that never made it into the binder, and only its pockets.

Writing this made me realize that I have, indeed, bought and sold a lot of stocks.  Out of the forty-two listed, I have owned over half of them at one time or another.

Some, I made a few hundred bucks on, like Disney, Ford, Southwest, Armour, New York Mortgage Trust, Two Harbors and Cirrus Logic.

Others, I lost money on, like one of my all-time favorites, Northern Tier Energy, which was a master limited partnership, but got sucked up by Western Refining last year and those shares are currently being sucked up by another company, Tesoro.  I opted for the cash buyout, wanting to reduce my $3,500 in debt to E-Trade that was due to purchasing extra shares of NUGT on credit about a year ago.

I would have held Northern Tier Energy LP into retirement. I originally bought shares in April 2013.

Some stocks, like Annally, I have owned for over five years and still hold, perhaps waiting years or decades more for it to climb back up to around $16 per share, where I bought it at after getting swayed by the Money Madman.

I originally purchased 200 shares of Annaly Capital at $16 per share after a strong buy recommendation from the Money Madman.

One of the stocks, Powerwave Technologies, went all the way down to zero, yet I still “own” it in my E-Trade account, where I refuse to pay a transaction fee to wipe it out of my holdings.  When it goes to zero for years, it should just disappear, yet it remains listed to this day when I look at my account.

Since E-Trade has recently reduced its transaction fees to be more competitive, I may just have to pay the extra $6.95 to wipe it off my account, creating another write-off for next year’s tax return.

A Bankruptcy filing notice mailed to me in early 2013 regarding Powerwave Technologies.

After flying on Southwest for many years, and always observing the cattle call boarding and every flight being full, it was one of the first four stocks that I purchased on the night when I opened my account.  I held this thing for YEARS waiting to break even, finally selling it at $10 per share after waiting throughout most of 2011 and 2012 for it to hit that mark.

Image result for luv southwest
Source: Seeking Alpha

Today it trades around $60.  Another instance of me missing out on some great gains due to lack of patience.

The post that I had planned to write in early 2013, nearly four years before I actually started Middle Class Guy was “I do not LOVE LUV.”

I sold my Southwest shares for $10 a pop or $5,000 less than they would be worth today.

I stupidly began purchasing the VIX, or the volatility index about five years ago.  Not just once, but twice.  Stocks were extremely volatile at the time, and I thought that the government might shut down due to lack of a budget a few times.  How wrong I was.

The two VIX-based stocks that I purchased were the iPath S&P 500 VIX Futures ETN (VXX) and VelocityShares Long VIX ETN (VIIX).

In the sense of full disclosure due to my current anonymity, I thought this was an obscure way that I could make off like a bandit unbeknownst to nearly anybody.

How many people do you know who trade the volatility index?  Moreover, I sold call options on my shares a few times, selling a derivative of this derivative.

Did I do well on it?

Fuck no!

One I sold for a loss a few years ago, offsetting my income tax burden by a bit for taking about a $2,000 loss.  Last year, I sold the other one, also for around a $2,000 loss, which offset my $7,500 gain on some NUGT shares sold.

I purchased VXX, following the VIX (volatility) index back on February 1st in 2013.

Then there is my old nemesis, the stock that I love to hate, NUGT.  My holdings in this stock have gone from the $15,000 or so that I invested, up to over $40,000 at one point.  Did I sell it?  NOOOO!

I sure should have sold my NUGT shares last August 10th for $175 per share.

I wanted to sell it when the value of my shares reached $100,000, so truth be told, I probably would not have even sold it if my holdings reached $70,000 or $80,000, waiting for the shares to climb back over $200 per share.

Instead, the shares plummeted early this year, and the stock did a reverse split giving us investors one share for every four that we held at the time.

NUGT plummeted to $8 per share by this past April.

If I sold it tomorrow, I would be down about $10,000.  Talk about major pain for a Middle Class Guy!

Meanwhile, there is some professional out there in New York or London or even in downtown Chicago laughing all the way to the bank.  Perhaps another guy trading on his laptop or the latest iPhone.

Fuck him!

Well, I am being beckoned to help prepare tonight’s dinner.  Next time I mention that I am a great stock picker, but not such a great stock seller, you will have some inkling of what I mean.

I will recycle all of the pages of my years of following those stocks because, after all, it certainly did not seem to help.

But it has been documented for posterity, if not for prosperity.






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