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iPhone is two years old

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Not exactly, but close enough (here is a post I wrote on June 29, 2007 when iPhone started). Today the new iPhone 3G S is on sale at AT&T store, as I understood. This time iPhone did not generate as much buzz, but I heard my favorite tech writer Walt Mossberg was also standing in line (he already has a free iPhone from Apple for review, maybe he is buying another one for his wife/girl friend). Here is his tweets:

“Just gave up on iPhone line. Have to get to work. Should have ordered online. But scored a free bottle of water.”

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My Q1 2008 grades

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(Update Apr 2) Another news to make myself feel better, Chinese A share mutual funds declined 22% on average (read this Chinese news from Money-Courier). For comparison, Shanghai Composite index dropped about 34%, from 5261.56 to 3472.71 in the period. Note that index is not a good benchmark index because it’s skewed by some big cap stocks such as PetroChina (601857.SS).

(Original Apr 1) I was a decent student in elementary school, but from time to time I did get bad grade in an exam. The tough part for me was getting the report to my mom 🙁

The most miserable quarter
I’m sure lots of money managers will share my “most miserable” comments. My little portfolio shrinked about 25.23% from Dec 31, 2007 to March 31, 2008. Thanks to my bone headed bets on LFT and CROX stocks. For comparison: “In the first quarter of 2008, the Dow fell 7.55% and the S&P 500 index lost 9.92%. The Nasdaq was by far the worst performer among major U.S. equity benchmarks in the first three months of the year, dropping 14.07%.” (source: Business Week). To make myself feel slightly better, note GOOG and AAPL dropped about 33% and 25% in the same time period, respectively.

Lesson learned
1) In early Jan. I told my wife I need to unload LFT and CROX, so that I can sleep well in the night. I finanally was able to pull the trigger on them (LFT in Jan and CROX in Feb). A bit too late (CROX went from 75 to 19 in 3 months). But I’m glad I fufilled my words to my wife on this one (see below what if).

2) Trading cost: 7*45 = 315, not significant, but still sizable. Looked at other discount brokers such as TradeKing, IB but have not decided to switch. I will reduce trading times and increase the size of trading (make more sure bets), to reduce the trading cost.

Good things
Finally I was able to get back to In value I trust. I also got back to more solid stocks such as CHL, RIMM, SYT. And I was able to take some profits when I saw opportunity (don’t want be a pig).

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Forgot to buy VMW puts

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I thought about it early Jan. after reading from San Jose Mercury News that VMW is the No. 4 software company, in terms of market capital (about $30 b as of yesterday). But I put down the earning date (Jan 28) on my Google Calendar (not Yahoo), and it did not send out reminder email as Yahoo does. So I missed buying the puts before earning. Interestingly, here is today’s price change of the puts options for VMW (expires Feb):

$60: $0.85 => $7.30 (up $6.45, or 759%)
$65: $1.40 => $11.00 (up $9.60, or 686%)
$70: $2.65 => $15.80 (up $13.15, or 496%)
$75: $4.30 => $20.60 (up $16.30, or 379%)

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Apple earning

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Not so good. iPod growth slowed (finanlly). iPhone can not make up the hole left by iPod. As I read from MarketWatch, while Mac is exploding, but it has one problem: with economy slowing, people won’t blow extra 1000 bucks for Mac (why not just buy a Dell).

I think Steve should do everything to bring iPhone to China Mobile, but he is so stubborn about his 20% to 30% cut…

Interestingly, I thought about it buying Apple puts last Tuesday (see my post China ADR crashed, scroll to short ideas). No, I have not actually done that because I decided not to bet on earnings. I view that as more risker than shorting a stock when the trend is clear (EDU).

MacBook Air

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Sillicon valley stocks and St. Louis stocks

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Tech for Silicon valley and agriculture for St. Louis.

Silicon Valley Stocks
We went to Sillicon valley for the holidays and obviously, stock is one common topic in family reunion and friends gathering. Note stock options makes up a significant portion of employee’s compensations for some of the technology companies there.

I happened to read the San Jose Mercury News Jan 1, in which it has a nice summary of how Silicon valley stocks did in last year. In summary, the big tech (GOOG, AAPL) and IPOs (VMW, NetSuite) lead the Silicon valley stocks to a fairly good performance. Here are two articles I read: tech titan’s year; Valley’s big year for Wall St. debuts.

St. Louis stocks
I tried to look up St. Louis stocks 2007 performance at stltoday, the web site of St. Louis Post Dispatch, but could not find any. So I just list St. Louis companies I know.

I believe Monsanto (MON), one of the largest agriculture company in the world, is the No. 1 performer last year. MON is enjoying the global farm booming, and in a way the oil boom too. By the way, I live right across the street from the company. ADM and Bunge, another two agri play, also did well.

St. Charles based solar play MEMS (WFR) also faired well very amid the all the solar boom. Note WFR is a leader in this area.

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One company, multiple faces

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AAPL: is Apple a computer maker, an eletronic (fashion) gadgets maker, or music store? It’s all of the above. I did not realized it’s the No. 3 music retailer in the US until a few weeks ago (behind Wal-mart and Best Buy). The reason is it created the digital music market: iTune.

For graphical designers, Apple is a computer maker; for music lovers, Apple is the new “Sony” because the iPod is the new “Walkman”. For musicians, record and movie companies, iTune is the retail channel. I think that relation is similar to that between Cocacola and McDonald (Coke relies on MCD to sell its coke, Sprite etc.)

GOOG: many people misunderstood it when it went public in Summer 2004, it’s just another technology (search) company, right? Now we all know it’s the world largest advertisement broker (Internet). For many small business owners, it’s the place to put target ads (AdWord); for publishers and bloggers, its adSense let them make money. Of course for web users, it’s arguably the best search engine. For Bill Gates and his troops in Redmond, it’s the biggest threat.

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