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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Flat Tire Stocks

I met some friends last night for dinner, to welcome them back to town. Somehow-- I swear I didn't start it-- we got to talking about investing.

I know I'm no guru-- I've read a few books and hold a few positions-- but they're completely innocent. They had an account with one of the big brokerages but canceled it when their broker did nothing with it (um... I'm pretty sure you need to TELL the broker what to do!). They also have a lot of stock with the company he works for. But they don't know if they're long or short (i.e., if it's stock or options), and have no idea how to judge stock, determine whether it's under- or overpriced, or even the tax structures for buying & selling stock.

Anyway, I had a tipple and they got a two-hour lecture. Wonder if I'll be invited out again anytime soon!

Karmic retribution: One the way home I had a flat tire. Dangit! Mr MacMuffin must have snuck over late at night and clawed it up to punish me for the negative online attention. We, Mr MacMuffin, here is MORE negative attention: you suck!

BUT-- as I was changing the tire, thinking of the hassle of buying a new one, and hoping the donut would hold for the miles I had to go-- I couldn't help but feel good. The markets were up yesterday, and so were my stocks (one jumped 11 bucks a share). The Fed did some good in the world, promising to take on $200 billion of bad mortgage debt. Single largest point climb since 2002. Today we've opened mixed, but we'll see how it turns around later. I'm optimistic.

Now, the one thing I've learned about markets so far is that investors are like preteens. THEY'RE IDIOTS. They run around like chickens with their heads cut off at the slightest titter, and they invest in things based on rumor, speculation, and the dream they had last night after the mutton plate. So ANYTHING-- anything that makes you just a little more level-headed and objective, especially if you can weather out the storm, gives you an advantage. Like not being in New York, not competing with the Jonses, and having to change your own flat tire.

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