Looking Back, and Preparing for the Next Idea

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 6, 2009

This past year of writing for the Gumshoe faithful has been a wonderful one for me, but not so much for the returns of the stocks that I singled out for extra attention here for the loyal Stock Gumshoe Irregulars.  As I’ve noted before, starting this additional little service for my contributors has served mostly, over the past six months, to provide a contrarian idea.

As in, you’ll do much better if you do the opposite of what I thought was a good idea.

That said, I still find many of the stories of these companies interesting, and personally I still hold a few of them.  For the year ahead, I’ll keep singling out investments, at least one per month, that I think look like good ideas.  I’m rejiggering the schedule, since I was sending out each month’s idea early in the following month and that didn’t make much sense to anyone, so I’ll now be sending out the January idea in January, the February idea in February, etc. etc.

The next “idea of the month” article will come next week — I had planned to include it here, but I couldn’t settle on a stock that seemed compelling enough, and I don’t want to “fake it” for you.  I’ve been looking more closely at some MLPs, and there are still some Closed End Funds that look compelling in the corporate bond space, and a bunch of companies that continue to have promising dividends even with the recent rally in the markets.

But let’s start today with a review of where we’ve been, and next week we’ll start the year with the January Idea of the Month … and hope that it’s a far sight better than last year’s ideas.  The monthly ideas of last year, all seven of them, together dramatically underperformed the S&P 500 — which was, of course, awful in its own right.

Seadrill (SDRLF)

The first idea I shared with you was Seadrill, the offshore oil driller run by Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen. I’m glad that I mentioned in the article and in subsequent notes that Seadrill was very much leveraged to enthusiasm for expensive deepwater drilling, and that it was a good buy with oil prices over $80 or so … I remain personally shocked that oil has fallen this far, and this is what I said back in May (when I ...

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