Shaving the tarnished, hedging the Russians

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, August 13, 2008

Just a quick note on some things I’ve done with my portfolio recently:

I continue to hold Vostok Nafta shares, though that has been an awful investment thus far, but I do hold some puts on the Russia index (as represented by the RSX). In effect, this is a bet that Vostok Nafta has a reasonable investment portfolio (and there will be some resolution to the TNK-BP fiasco, and no nationalization of farmland a’la the USSR’s collectivization), but the puts on the RSX are to protect from a real “hell in a handbasket” scenario of increasing strife between Russia and it’s former satellites and neighbors. We’ll see.

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And I’ve sold my position in Centamin Egypt — I got stopped out with about a 20% loss, which was the most I was willing to give to the Egyptians. They’re still proceeding nicely with the development of their mine and I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, but the gold price is not their friend of late and I didn’t want to watch it ride down. I do still have some exposure to physical gold, but now my gold position in my portfolio is far less than 5%. There’s a limit to how far down I’m willing to ride a company that I’m holding primarily for the hedge value of its assets.

So — no good news on any of these fronts, these are all losing investment so far. I continue to do a little tinkering with options positions here and there, but I’ll let you know if I make any more equity buy or sell decisions.

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