Rocky occasionally peruses his favorite magazine store for investment truths using the “Magazine Cover Contrary Indicator.” Unfortunately, Rocky’s local store doesn’t sell Time, Newsweek or Business Week. Rocky’s local magazine store sells mostly lurid “periodicals,” “videos,” and cigars.
Hence, Rocky needed to develop his own contrary media indicator — independent of bulls, bears, and cleavage.
He found one!!
Bloomberg Radio occasionally adjusts their hourly market summaries. Bloomberg no longer even mentions the overnight change in the Japanese Stock Market (up 15% year-to-date); but instead they quote the “yield spread” on defaulted Greek Bonds. For Rocky, this is a very bullish omen for Japanese stocks. And it also means that Greece is irrelevant. (Rocky also noticed his local magazine store has increased its inventory of extremely lurid Shukanshi.)
[Disclosure: Rocky NEVER gives investment advice and he reminds readers that sometimes a "Cigar is just a cigar." However, he confesses that this "radio indicator" contributed to his decision to recently buy some Japanese stocks (currency-hedged) such as the DXJ and NKY Japanese Stock ETF's. He may stay with this position for a long time, or he may spit it out tomorrow like a bad cigar.]
Rocky’s been busy lifting large boulders, and then seeking medical assistance for the consequences of lifting large boulders. He apologizes for his recent blog silence, and offers another “Guess this object” contest as a goodwill gesture to his loyal readers. As always, the reader who correctly guesses the object will receive a unique prize of dubious monetary value.
Hint: The dimensions are 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. The yellow material is chamois (genuine). Inside of the object is a flashlight and a Poland Spring water bottle filled with 50% anti-freeze (Prestone) and 50% water. A piece of asphalt shingle is on the top of the object. And the stripes are “designer” duct tape.
[Disclosure: Rocky rarely uses duct tape with designer colors. As Trophy Wife will attest, he's strictly a grey-sort-of-guy.]
Rocky never provides investment advice. But for once he’ll violate this rule and offer some advice to Congressman Ron Paul.
Members of Congress must file financial disclosure forms which show all of their assets and investments. Rocky studied Rep. Paul’s portfolio from 2003 to the present. http://www.legistorm.com/memberdisclosure/413/Rep_Ron_Paul_TX.html
Ron Paul’s portfolio violates every principle of sound money management. It is not prudent. It is not sensible. It is volatile. It is speculative. And it may give a window into Ron Paul’s perspective on the economy and free enterprise.
From 2003 to the present, Ron Paul’s stock portfolio owned only gold stocks. He owned some real estate. He had some cash. And he owned mutual funds that make money ONLY WHEN the stock market declines. He did not own any gold bullion. And more recently, he purchased more gold mining stocks and added to his bearish bets on the stock market using leveraged bearish funds.
In 2003, the value of his portfolio was between $860,000 and $2,300,00. (The disclosure form only provides a range of values.) In 2010, his portfolio grew to $2.4 million and $5.5 million. (Gold stocks have declined between 15% and 30% in 2011, so his portfolio has declined commensurately. He will declare that loss next year.)
So, over an an 8-year period his portfolio has appreciated by about 12%/year. (And after this year’s losses for gold mining stocks, it will be a bit less than that.)
Not so bad, eh?
If, instead of being such a wiseguy, he had instead just purchased gold bullion, his return would have been 55% better — returning an impressive 18.5% per year! (It’s very strange that Ron Paul doesn’t own any bullion. And a skeptic might wonder whether he owns bullion, but failed to disclose it.)
[Disclosure: If one extrapolates the profile of his portfolio, one must conclude that he either nailed the bottom of the gold market, or he has really lousy long term performance. Remember that (even after this 10 year old rally) gold has appreciated at only about 5% for the past 30 years, while stocks have returned about 11%, and long bonds have returned high single digits. More troubling, however, is the notion that a President of the United States would personally profit from a DECLINING stock market and a declining economy! Even Barack Obama's assets include some S&P Index Funds....]
From OpenTable (the restaurant guide/reservation service):
“Bistro Z is the premier destination restaurant in Westchester County. We exceed all of our guests expectations by serving only the finest quality food.”
Rocky wonders: “How LOW can expectations be?”
The term Roach Motel (“where roaches check in, but they don’t check out!”) was coined by Black Flag pesticides in a decades-old advertisement. Judging from Rocky’s recent experience, Groupon membership is quite similar.
If you’re about to spend $2,000 on a Kaplan SAT prep class, save your money. Rocky shares an untold, hair-raising secret which will improve one’s SAT score for only $4.99.
Last weekend, Rocky drove his youngest daughter to her SAT test. The crazed, competitive, collegiate- co-ed-to-be carried the consummate commodities: pencils, calculator, wristwatch, ID card. She also carried the non-essentials: banana, bag of veggie chips. bottle of water. Additionally, she brazenly brought the backup bag: a dozen spare pencils, spare batteries…
The duo set out on the drive to the test site when Daughter suddenly screamed: “Stop the car. I need to go back home!”
Was this a case of sudden-onset diarrhea? Or perhaps a life-changing revelation that she wanted to skip college and launch the next Apple Computer Company?
“Dad – I need a spare Scunci for my hair,” she said.
(Scuncis are those elastic bands that hold long hair in a properly coiffed manner. As Rocky is bald, he views them as useful only as sling shots and holding car tailpipes in place when the rubber hanger fails.)
“You’ve GOT to be kidding,” said Rocky, thinking that Trophy Wife’s frequent caveats about Bad Hair Days had finally hit home. (Rocky failed to imagine the dire consequences of a Scunci that goes “snap” — somewhere between reading comprehension and vocabulary. Would Daughter suddenly be blinded by her ample golden locks? Might Rocky suffer legal liability if an out-of-control Scunci went sailing across the room and injured a fellow test-taker?”)
Grumbling about “women,” he drove back home and waited patiently (listening to NPR’s Car Talk), while Daughter ran inside to get a spare Scunci.
Later that day, Rocky asked Daughter about the test, and he also asked which was more useful: the banana or the spare Scunci…
“It’s really good that I had a spare Scunci,” Daughter said. The desks were incredibly tiny and my pencils kept rolling off them and falling on the floor. I used the spare Scunci to tie my spare pencils together and it surely boosted my score by at least 100 points!”
[Disclosure: Indiviudal results may vary. Unlike the Kaplan Prep Class, the Scunci Company doesn't offer refunds if SAT scores fail to improve.]
An old Dell computer has sat in the corner of Rocky’s home library for months. Rocky promised Trophy Wife that this unsightly dust magnet would eventually “disappear,” yet even Rocky’s trusted Computer Guru won’t carry the box away. The Computer Guru explained that no charity would want such a relic.
What to do? Rocky lists some possible uses for the “low profile” desktop computer:
1. It weighs about 15 pounds. Perhaps it can be used as a “medicine ball” … to be tossed back-and-forth in the gym?
2. In lieu of bricks, it could be placed in the trunk of a car…providing added traction for winter driving.
3. It can be donated to Habitat For Humanity and used as a substitute concrete block for new construction.
4. It can serve as a step stool to reach the top shelf in the pantry.
5. It can be used as a space heater to warm up the bathroom floor on cold mornings.
6. It can serve as a standing platform for meditation and yoga. Alternatively, smashed with a sledge hammer, it can provide a more effective release for life’s frustrations.
7. It could be buried in the backyard as a time capsule for future generations to find.