Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Volatility offers opportunity

The equity market's extreme volatility may just be a chance to make changes to a portfolio. Maybe that's just a personal observation. As mostly a buy and hold investor my fortunes are mostly in line with or modestly ahead of the market, with the exception of some major holdings that go stratospheric, Apple or Akamai as examples. Otherwise it's all just in line with or slightly ahead of market averages.

The recent rise in the market has made me more active and the volatility, of collapse yesterday recovery today, just sent me active today. Why not sell a cloud company selling at 80 times earnings, VMWare, with a triple over the last year. I did. Why not sell a battery firm in Georgia, Exide, competing with firms in China and Korea at breakeven after being underwater forever. Once I had a huge gain here but sell it I did. Why not sell a meaningful position in Seagate at a gain after it must be in the hands of the arbitrageurs. I had been down on that one for the last six months and now the takeover talk has it up big.

Maybe I'm moving away from the intensity of stock picking to opportunistic stock selling. Quite a few stocks to deal with now, but maybe Vanguard here I come. That's the direction but that's not exactly right. Recent stock picks like LULU and RAX and NFLX and others that give short term serious, some massive, gains will always be attractive and losers can be sold on these maybe risky categories at a 15% decline if I can be so alert.

That's a risk.


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