Catching up on Old Ideas: Buy, Sell, or Hold (or something more wishy-washy)

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 7, 2011

Before I get into the point of today’s Friday File, I want to welcome the newcomers to the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, and to especially thank those who joined up during our charity membership drive just before Christmas — we managed to raise a total of just over $2,600 for our two charities, and I was delighted to send out those contributions from Stock Gumshoe to the Western Mass. Food Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Thank you! This has become a very rewarding tradition — a great way to raise some money for worthy causes, and also to increase our membership rolls by a bit at the end of every year to keep Stock Gumshoe going.

When folks ask about the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, or join up for the first time, one of the early questions is often “what do I get” — well, many of you probably know that what you get is, mostly, more of the same. When writing to the Irregulars I am usually more willing to sneak in a bit more of my opinion, and to share a broader array of thoughts in the weekly Friday File articles, but it’s still all just more thoughts coming (mostly) from the same person.

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What you get that’s tangibly different, though, beyond the good feeling that comes from helping to fuel the whole Stock Gumshoe machine, is these weekly Friday File articles and, once a month, the “idea of the month” article that highlights some investment that I like (or, sometimes, several investments). Sometimes these ideas come from the pages of the teasers I cover every day, sometimes they come unbidden from the brain of the Gumshoe, sometimes I’d be hard pressed to say where the idea originated, but I always try to cover them in some detail and give you some idea of why I like the investment (and, of course, some of the “other side” of the story, too — like why I might be wrong).

But what I don’t do is actively manage a portfolio of recommendations for the Irregulars — I’m not your financial adviser or your portfolio manager, so I track these picks the same way I track the teaser picks that are made by the various newsletter teasermeisters, which only seems fair: I assume that we buy the stock at the close the ...

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