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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ready... Set... Go !!!

Yes folks, it is a new year, a new month and time once again to take a look at some things I have been working on.

First of all, I mentioned a couple months back that MSN took away their great customizable screens that I have been using for years. So, this prompted me to look for alternatives.

This lead me to a couple very interesting sites.

Tradeking is a really cool investment site which offers decent, inexpensive, brokerage fees, charts, research, and community interaction. I particularly liked the community aspect of this site. You might remember my write-up last year about Covestor, which I still use and have the widget badges displayed on the side bar to the right. I am not yet sure Tradeking has anything like this but it is a nice complement to the platform. BTW, Covestor now has a trading platform where you can actually manage and trade your own portfolio and attract paying followers just as a broker would. Only catch is that you need mega bucks to invest and participate in this trading and brokerage community. So, if you got lots of cash just laying around, you can go there and participate. But, if you are like me, perhaps Tradeking would be a better alternative. Just a note; one can still register with Covestor and use it as I do without signing up for the new trading brokerage accounts.

Then we have

UpDown is a cool site where you can practice all you want. There are other sites similar to this such as Investopia which also made my worth while list of sites. Investopia however generates a lot of email and relies on hooks to get you to purchase stuff. These hooks are easy enough to ignore and you can find lots of really great information there.
UpDown just appeals to me a bit more in that they do not rely on the bait and hook model as much. I also like the idea of having a place to "play" with investing while not risking real money. It's a good learning tool.

Next we have

OptionsXpress is another very good and cool site that has a lot of what I was looking for, in the back of my mind, when I started this search. I just did not realize it. You see, this site specializes in option trading, which I do not do, however, they do have a really neat and specialized feature that, in the back of my mind, I had on my wish list.

That is "Chart Pattern Investing"!

Here you click on a pattern and effectively search for stocks which meet that particular criteria. Totally cool!

They too have excellent research and investment information and tons of features to help anybody, expert or novice, make informed decisions. Add to that, their cost is competitive (not the best but definitely within reason), and one has a winner of a site.

And last but not least we have...

Thinkorswim is perhaps the megatron of trading sites and software. I say software because in addition to all their great online features, one can also download trading software which has everything rolled up into one. This site has more information, terminology, features and stuff than I know what to do with. It is probably a day traders nirvana. Unfortunately I am not a day trader, I do not have that type of trading nerve and mentality, nor do I completely understand everything that goes along with it or everything on this site. So, if you are a day trader extraordinaire, dig in, if not, then though I am sure it is probably the best around, it is not for me.

So, have I settled on one of these sites to compile my watch lists?

No. But I have used them, Yahoo Stock Screener, and this site

Magic Formula Investing is based on "The Little Book that Beats the Market" by Joel Greenblatt. This is one of the first, and best books, on investing that I have ever read. It is also a good site to screen for well run, profitable companies.

By combining features, results from different screens I come up with, hopefully, a diverse list of stocks to choose for my watch lists. The diversity often spans not only sectors withing the market, but also trends and types of stocks.

So, how did I do last year? Overall, not too badly.

The monthly returns are from when I posted the monthly watch list until year end 2009.

Meaning, if you, or I, had invested equal amounts in all of my starting January 2009 watch list stocks, we would have had a return of 31%. Not too shabby. For the entire year, everything balances out to about 25%. Again, not too shabby.

Of course, I had my share of winners and losers and interestingly enough, both my biggest gainer, and my biggest looser, comes from my February Watch Lists.

Hopefully I will be able to do just as well, if not better, (keeping in mind one of my new years resolutions to do 50% better with my stock picking).

So with that in mind, here we go!

January 2010 Starting Lineup!

DO , Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc
NE , Noble Corp
USNA , USANA Health Sciences Inc
UTA , Universal Travel Group
BKE , Buckle Inc
CNU , Continucare Corp
LANC , Lancaster Colony Corp
SYNT , Syntel Inc
GHM , Graham Corp

January 2010 Bench!

FLR , Fluor Corp
MSFT , Microsoft Corp
ODSY , Odyssey Healthcare Inc
SOHU , Inc
BCR , C.R. Bard Inc
BMY , Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
CSCO , Cisco Systems Inc
KFT , Kraft Foods Inc
MMM , 3M Co
IDC , Interactive Data Corp

I'll cover these in more detail later this week but for now I'll leave you with a bumper sticker quote I saw the other day which seems to go along with my tag phrase of ... Be good. Do well. Have fun.

"Live so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral"


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