Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stock Picks

All's been quiet on ETCW! lately. Your wondrous authors have been too busy coping with real life to put much time into the ole' blog.

Anyway, in my spare time, I've been watching my fortunes in E*Trade (ETFC) float up and down...okay, mostly down...since late November. In fact, I managed to pick a local maxima when I bought it. As it has shed most of its mortgage debt, it's still probably a good buy considering how low the price is, though it's now turned into a long-term investment.

Also, I've been studying up a bit on technical analysis, for what it's worth. Essentially, it's a mathematical, analytical approach to stock analysis, though one that doesn't stand on its own. You need also be aware of prevailing economic conditions (our little recession), sector trends (such as booming oil), the quarterly earnings reports, and any issues with the company's management. So, that said, here's a little prognostication I'm going to make based on my rudimentary understanding of stocks.

Get ready to short Google (GOOG). Google's price is booming right now due to a much better than expected earnings report and a general sense of buoyancy in the tech sector (it's fared better than the Dow). GOOG's also pushed along by it's forward P/E as well as the general mysticism associated with the company. But, here's the problem I see coming down the pike. GOOG is approaching being overbought, and its momentum will start to burn out soon (see the Relative Strength Index plot). When this happens, the price will deflate, spurred on by lackluster advance GDP numbers for the 1st Q of 2008 to be released tomorrow. Another thing that's tipping me off is the slow convergence of the Slow Stochastic Oscillator (the chart below the RSI plot). Basically, when the blue line is above the red line, there is positive pressure, but when they start to converge, and the red overtakes the blue, the price is going to drop. Of course, just looking at this one tool you don't know if it's just a momentary pause, which is why you need to look across a variety of indicators. Additionally, checking out the Money Flow Index (GOOG), the divergence between the jump in price and the MFI is telling me that this is probably a weak advance. Now, that's a 1-year retrospective analysis, and I'm not looking to short Google for the next year. So, looking at the 3-month chart, the situation looks the same. All these factors put together, and you've got the making of a reversal. My superexpert financial advice: short Google.

Admittedly, this is a bit crude and elementary, but I think an empirical approach seems to make the most sense if you want to learn about stocks. Pick a few stocks to watch, learn a little bit, form a hypothesis, then watch what happens.

Don't want to buy stocks? Afraid of inflation? Get a hold of some TIPS.

Note: Past performance absolutely guarantees future performance. Buy Buy Buy.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Somehow, I got into grad school. I'll be going back to school in the fall, which means I have to fit in 3 years of fun I won't have over the next 3 years into 6 months of fun over the next 6 months. I hope you like that redundancy. I'm looking forward to commuting on the green line and being an awkward mascot gag at parties, like my man Testudo here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Steak-Umm in your mouth!

So I was recently on business travel in Colorado this weekend, and per usual, was casually perusing my computer for the next stock I can lose hundreds of dollars on while half-heartedly watching a CSI episode in the background.

But then, something caught my attention. Maybe it was the obnoxiously funky bassline or the male/female back-and-forth reminiscent of a radio commercial from the mid-90's, or maybe it was that I hadn't heard "Steak-Umm" uttered since I was 5 years old. It may also have been the lyrics to the jingle:

Guy: "You can Steak-Umm in the North!"
Girl: "You can Steak-Umm in the South!"
Together: "But the best part of all..."
"...is when you Steak-Umm in your mouth!" (emphasis added)

I don't want to start picking apart the logic here, but, well, it's confusing to combine two locational possibilities of having a Steak-Umm with the optimal place to Steak-Umm someone (or something), which is "in your mouth," or more suggestively, my mouth. I'd go so far as to say that many people wouldn't be too pleased if I starting Steak-Umming in my mouth in a public place, even if it were in the North.

Also tremendously disturbing is the use of "Steak-Umm" as a verb. You can't "verb" meat without causing a dry-heave in the audience. For instance,

"The best part of all is...
...when you pork in your mouth!"
...when you shrimp in your mouth!"
...when you ground chuck in your mouth!"
...when you sausage in your mouth!"
...when you crab in your mouth!"
...when you tuna in your mouth!"
...when you fowl in your mouth!"

Now, I don't blame Steak-Umms for going cheap on their first ad push in 300 years, but somewhere in the management chain there needs to be that quality control person who has at least a feeble connection to reality (and who also wants to keep their job). You would expect anyone above 13 years old to understand that Steak-Umming in someone's mouth might not be taken at "face" value. Ha! Welcome to PunTown. McDonald's made a similar mistake in their "I'd Hit It!" dollar double-cheeseburger marketing campaign. To any and all, that would mean that McDonald's wants you to fuck its sandwiches. But, hey, who has time to do 5 minutes worth of background research (i.e. Googling)? Print it, get it out the door, and watch the profits rollllllllllll in!

To capitalize on this fully self-unaware ad campaign, I suggest a strong follow-up:

"Steak-Umms, Come and Get Some!"

Google's sense of humor

Google's April fool's joke this year popped up on Gmail in the form of a back-dating capability, so that you can tell your girlfriend (or in my case, hot Moroccan boyfriend) you sent an email to her three weeks ago saying that if she didn't respond in three weeks she owed you $4,000. An ostensible three weeks later, I'd be rolling in the dough. Unfortunately, it's a joke, and I still need $4,000 to pay off my lost bet that Bengay would work better as a drink mixer than as a pain reliever. Google knows better than to trust people with the fabric of space-time.