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Glass half full? Glass half empty?

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Week in review 030109 to 030709

We are officially in Obama bear market (source: Bloomberg), in other words, the stock market (i.e., Dow industrial for most people) dropped 20% since President Obama took office in Jan 20. Yesterday S&P 500 briefly touched 666 (the number of devil), pretty scary, huh? I am sure this economy/financial crisis has been the hot topic in many kitchen table, or office cafeteria. The financial media is also taking the crisis as oppertunity — we have seen numerous experts, panel discussions, such as the “Help Wanted” talk last night on CNN money, which is mainly talking about the Feb. job (loss) number: 650,000. This number is actually small, if we put it into perspective that 20 million Chinese migrant workers already lost job since the end of last year (read my friend Bo Peng’s article if you are interested).

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IS Dow 14000 relevant?

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Yesterday Dow Industrial closed above 14,000 the first time in history. Many people, bulls, bears, analysts, CEOs, ordinary workers,…all get excited about this. Many US workers have 401k plan, and I bet some of that is invested stocks (indirectly through Mutual Fund).

But Dow Industrial is NOT a good indicator of the overall stock market. I read it first in Ken Fisher’s latest book “The Only Three questions that count“, this was also confirmed by Mark Faber (CNBC) and trader Mike. Here are the reasons:

1) The 30 stocks of Dow Industrial made up a tiny fraction of overall US stock market. It does contain stocks from different industries, but it’s not as diversified as S&P 500.

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My half year preliminary report

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I was very pleased with my portfolio’s first 6 months’ performance this year, while I don’t have exact number here (waiting for Scottrade to create June 2007 statement), my return is about 30%. My biggest winner is Crocs (CROX), which went up more than 100%, Mindray (MR) also helped a lot (went from $23 to $31). Some of the losers include: NINE, GSIT, SBUX (hate to say that because I think it’s a good company). And I made a mistake to let EDU go too early (sold at 37 and 40, it’s more than 50 now). So the No. 1 lesson is: keep the winners, sell the losers, not the other way around.

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