Archive for the 'personal portfolio' Category

Tilson Mutual Funds – Getting bigger and gaining accolades

I am not a rich man – yet. For years, however, I followed the investment writings and newsletters of Whitney Tilson, a noted value investor running a hedge fund for accredited investors. I had even emailed him at one point to see if there was a way he could take my money. As someone that did not qualify as an accredited investor, I was quite excited when he sent me an email and told me that he was going to be launching a couple mutual funds. When those funds launched, I bought in right away, even though they had no ticker symbols and I could not hold them in my Ameriprise brokerage account. I just knew I wanted this guy’s thoughts and updates being sent to me as frequently as possible (and the updates from the fund company are indeed great).

Whitney Tilson

The good news is that these funds have really been performing quite well. In fact, they finally reached enough assets to get their own ticker symbols (TILFX – Tilson Focus Fund and TILDX – Tilson Dividend Fund).

And then, to top it all off, the Wall Street Journal’s Quarterly Mutual Fund supplement rated the Focus Fund #1 out of 883 entries in the Multicap Core Funds category with a one -year return of 19.98%! Yowzah!

I strongly recommend <a href=http://tilsonmutualfunds.com>both of the funds</a> for long-term buy and hold investors who want their money managed professionally and ethically. Here’s to hoping that staying in for the long haul someday helps me acheive “accredited investor” status.

What to do, what to do?

I received an email this morning from one of my trading services saying that they have sold out of one of my stock positions – Tidewater (TDW). Generally, I wouldn’t bat an eye about somebody selling a position that I hold but this service is what caused me to buy the holding in the first place. I hate losing the ongoing insight that comes from their continued research into the stock. The other kicker is this – I’m underwater on the stock by about 8% and haven’t held it very long. So even though this service bought the stock and was able to make a profit (triggering a sale only on the trailing stop), I haven’t yet made money on it.

I think I’m going to hold it a bit longer and watch another quarter or two of earnings. Opinions?

Personal Sell: Paychex Inc (PAYX): $40.07: 20060428

As much as it pained me to do so, I had to sell out of my shares in Paychex for reasons related to taxes. Basically, I had to pay the government before a refund check was scheduled to arrive and my only funds available were in my trading portfolio. I got pinched and I hate it. Shut up. I know I should keep a better reserve pile so I don't have to do this (it's just that I've always liked having as much money as possible really working for me at any given time).

This stock was the only stock left in my portfolio that I could sell and get long term capital gains treatment. Paychex was a good run for me, however, as my shares were purchased at $31.06 on February 25, 2005. This means I had a percentage increase of 29% in 14 months or so. Booyakasha.

Personal Sell: Disney (DIS): $27.82: 20060413

So I sold this stock for a few of reasons. Really, I felt it was the weakest story in my portfolio, I could get long-term capital gains treatment, and I needed the money for writing a check to the IRS this year.

My cost basis on the stock was $27.69 on 20050303. At a sell price of $27.82 a year later, I obviously did not make a ton of money on this one…

Since the time I sold, however, the stock has gone down a bit to a current price of $27.23. There just aren't many short-term catalysts on this one although I am still intrigued in how the digital strategy will play out.

Having Eisner out of the company and Iger getting much more chummy with Steve Jobs makes for an interesting mix and something which might be really fun to follow.

Personal Buy: Microsoft Corp (MSFT): $27.61: 20060322

I’ve been watching Microsoft for a long time and the offering finally became so compelling I did not feel I could pass it up any longer. My timing, however, could have been a bit better. Literally days after picking this up, Microsoft announced that Vista would not be out until early next year. It was previously scheduled to ship in time for Christmas. Ouch!

Seriously though, launching near Christmas for a company like Microsoft is just stupid. Look how badly they hosed the 360 launch this holiday season. Why would you want to release the new OS before all of you vendors have a chance to get their products full ready?

Anyways, here are some major reasons for owning Microsoft:

– 10 years ago, sales were $6 billion. Last year? $40 billion.
– MSFT is in the midst of the single largest product/platform expansion in their history. Even the delay of Vista can’t hold it up too much.
– With Sony continuing to flub the PS3 release, MSFT has more options in cornering the next-gen gaming console market.
– Did you know that Bill Gates now sits on the board of BRK? If that’s not an admission that the dude knows how to mint money, I don’t know what it.
– Software – with an installed base like that of Microsoft’s, beaucoup dinero. Yowzah!

Personal Buy: Tidewater Inc (TDW): $49.94: 20060309

Based on a recommendation from one of the trading services I subscribe to, I picked up a position in Tidewater. When an energy company decides to explore for oil and gas in deep seas, Tidewater is the premier service provider. If I get my own research on this posted soon, I will try and create a link to it. As it is, the only thing I have on paper is not something I can share as it is against the rules of the club. “The first rule of Fight Club: you don’t talk about Fight Club.”

Personal Buy: International Speedway Corp (ISCA): $46.69: 20060223

On February 23rd, I purchased a position in International Speedway Corporation (ISCA) at $46.69 per share. I originally discovered the stock as a 5-star stock on Morningstar.com about a month prior. The business intrigued me enough to present to our investment club at our February meeting. ISCA has a significant business moat in its ownership of 12 tracks, (including Daytona), solid long-term management, close relationships (familial) with the Nascar organization, long-term media deals, and obviously large unique land holdings and properties – an easy to understand business taking place in a market which has been growing for more than 50 years and does not look to change anytime soon.

Unfortunately, the Green Lantern Investment didn’t necessarily see it as clearly as I did. That’s fine. The point of having a group is to learn and vote together. We’ve done well in the past doing this and I’ve generally done worse going out on my own. What can I say other than I hope I am getting better. In the meeting, there was one conscientious objector, who chose to be the only vote directly against the stock. His objections were on the grounds that it supported cars, gas, and therefore generally negative environmentally unsound things. 3 people abstained from voting entirely, 2 of them on the grounds that they were against the possible track construction on the Kitsap Peninsula. Oddly, after the fact, they both now wish they had voted for it – or at least that’s what they told me. Oh well. They took a pass on it. I did not. I don’t feel like presenting it to the group again. Move forward, not backwards you know…

My initial research is posted in a word doc here.


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