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alstry (< 20)

No Doom and Gloom for Alstry



January 03, 2009 – Comments (12)

Again....I am not predicting the end of the world.  As a matter  of fact.....just the opposite......the beginning of something very new.....something very exciting,,,,,,something global.

Before you can be free of cancer, you often have to go through the distress of chemo.......there is nothing fun about chemo.....but being free from cancer is a wonderful thought.

My messages have been diagnosing a cancer and identifying chemo is on the way......NOT the patient is going to die.  At the beginning, many of you refused to believe that cancer was that has changed.  But before you can accept must know you have cancer and you must be physically and mentally prepared to handle it. Prepare...Don't Dispair.

Bankruptcy is viewed by some as the end of the world....for can be seen as a fresh start.


That is what successful trading is all about.

12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 03, 2009 at 10:34 PM, awallejr (29.57) wrote:

Problem is you only do half the act.  You just predict exaggerated things to happen (50% unemployment for example, now toned down to 30% as of late).  Nothing wrong with pointing out potential problems, but you ignore the other half, namely making suggestions on curing the ills or how to realistically invest.

My problem with certain "regular" doom and gloomers, which I include you as one, is that it gets tiresome just reading about how the sky is falling.  It's not that I don't want to hear it, it's that I want to read about ideas in dealing with it.  Ares/arbitrare, for instance, loves to replay Peter Schiff quotes over and over.  Problem is they simply say the same thing over and over.  Ares/arbitare, you and others pretty much then short 200 random stocks.  This is not helpful since basically only hedge funds can even do that.

To play into your analogy, all you really do is tell the person they have cancer over and over.

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#2) On January 03, 2009 at 11:17 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

I will  reply to your post one at  a time because I think you raise some very valid points.

First, I still think we will have 50% functional unemployment and at least 30% reported.  I am not sure why people have such a hard time coming to that conclusion.  50% of auto workers,  construction workers, mortgage workers have or will be soon out of work....extraordinary high percentages of airline, retail and finance workers are facing similar fates.  If you were making $100K per year and now you are making $30K and you can't make ends meet....even though you are not technically unemployed....from this persepctive you are functionally unemployed.

Second....I have made a suggestion to cure the ill....and I have made the suggestion over and over....time and time again.....and more than once.....namely is one word and  not too difficult a concept  to understand.

The sky is not falling, many of the people, businesses and municipalities in America are broke or on the brink of bankruptcy.  It is not the end of the world to be is not fun....but it is not the end of the world.  It has happend for thousands of years and we are still here.

I am only here to document the process for myself, stimulate  thought, and maybe come up with some creative solutions other than mine.  But all I hear is people whine about doom and gloomers and offer no suggestion of their own.

I have offered mine on any number of  occasions...but you and  others choose not to listen or appreciate it.  That's is your perogative...but don't criticize me for something that is patently false.

Third, they don't  say the same thing over and over.  They say different things each time leading to the same conclusion.  The more they say, the greater the confirmation they are right.  It is you that think they say the same things, when in fact they are different....the only thing the same is the conclusion.  At some point  you will get it......and then appreciate the suggestion.

To address your perspective of my ABSOLUTELY tell the patient over and over if they refuse to accept the appropriate treatment.

I have been there.....the patient finally accepted......she is alive today.....twenty years later.

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#3) On January 04, 2009 at 12:22 AM, awallejr (29.57) wrote:

Sorry Alstry, but it isn't a question of telling the patient to do chemo over and over but that they simply have cancer over and over.  What realistic investment advice have you given in all these blogs?  Afterall this IS an investment site.  Just saying "restructure" is generic and not useful.

I have made many suggestions.  Many are in replies, so you would have needed to also have read the relevent threads I suppose. I try to acknowledge the situation and advise accordingly.  I still like my portfolio thesis long term.  And my thesis is REALISTIC, unlike yours and others that random short.  Check back in a couple years and I am confident in the results of mine since the dividend accumulations will then have had time to have made a major impact.  I have put real money in many of my suggestions.  Lost some, made some, but long term feel good.

Of course now you are playing games with this new "functional" 50 versus "actual" 30 percent argument. Yup some industires banging out the losses because they over expanded, and some will increase because of changing economic circumstances (health  industry for example). Companies have cut their dividends, but others have RAISED them (T, MSFT, PVR, EVEP just to name a few offhand).

Acknowledge the challenges yes, but I want to read about realistic investment ideas that deal with them.  Maybe this is not the right site for me afterall.  Doubt I will renew any subscriptions.



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#4) On January 04, 2009 at 12:53 AM, alstry (< 20) wrote:


The fact that you like your portfolio is of no consequence to me....although I am glad for your sake it if it makes you feel better....and for your net worth if it makes you money.

In the past year, I have made 294 selections.  Within that time frame my average pick has outperformed the market by about 12%......despite miserable peformance over the past few months.  I doubt there are more than a handful of CAPs players even come close for this past year(that is the total time I have been playing).....

What more do you want my friend?

If you go back and read my blog, I have commented on at least five or ten companies over the past year.  That is far more than I give myself in real life.

At any given time, I rarely own an interest in over five different stocks. Often, my total personal portfolio is focused on one or two companies......but I tend to know those companies fairly well.....actually, extremely well.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

My style is not for everyone....probably most.  But we are all different....that's what makes CAPs so interesting.

For me, maybe that is why I am so compulsive on integrity....because when it breaks down....the game ends for us all.....and that would suck.....especially for me as I would have to find a new hobby and vocation.  For someone who loves what he does....that ain't easy.

But I will leave you with this parting thought.....

Would you rather make $20 million dollars focused in one company....or would you rather diversify your way to $2 million over 30 years?

Sometimes one good idea is better than 1000 mediocre ones.  That prinicipal has sure worked in my marriage.

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#5) On January 04, 2009 at 1:24 AM, awallejr (29.57) wrote:

What I want is REALISTIC suggestions and discussions. It matters not to me that you and others shorted random stocks that you darn well know you and nearly everyone here is incapable of doing. That is not useful.  And to pat yourself on the back for having done so in a virtual setting is, well, childish. 

When you start to express investment thesis with realistic picks and enter into realistic discussions, I might start to think otherwise.  But all I ever see from you is exaggeration upon exaggeration which is just not helpful.


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#6) On January 04, 2009 at 1:38 AM, BeachExec (< 20) wrote:

Alstry -

30% - 50% unemployment is doom and gloom. Functional unemployment. Real unemployment. Whatever way you want to define it or count it if you are predicting 30% - 50% unemployment then you are a doom and gloomer. In my opinion, you have no realistic view of just how bad it would be with that kind of unemployment. If you did, you would say it's doom and gloom. Not the end of the world. It will take something other than economics to literally end the world. But big time gloom with food lines everywhere, etc.

It aint gonna happen. Not here in the U.S. Not now. Not anytime as far as the eye can see.

Times are bad. Things are very likely going to get worse before they get better. But they're not going to get 30% - 50% unemployment bad. In fact, I believe that unemployment as measured by the Feds will not go beyond 9%. (How that measures to your way of measuring is anyone's guess, but I don't think it equates to 30% - 50%).

And the "restructure" that you're looking for? It's not going to happen either, at least not macro-economically. Many businesses will restructure out of necessity. Many households will as well. But before long the consumer will be back and will put legs, albeit shaky ones to start, under the economy again. Those who somehow believe frugality will have a long term run in the U.S. are kidding themselves and do not know the American people. Frugal we are not. (Well, I am pretty frugal, but I'm an idiosyncracy compared to the average American).

Regarding CAPS, I actually own every single CAPS pick I have, most at considerably lower cost than in my profile. (I only started CAPS recently and added alot of picks all in one day, not really knowing what I was doing). I own a number of other stocks as well but haven't added them into CAPS as I'm trying to wait for when the price is closer to my real cost, which in most cases means the price needs to drop. This is a tell of sorts (yes, I play poker, too), in that I do expect a re-test of lows in the next 2 - 5 months or so. So I have some cash on the sidelines waiting. I believe one should always keep some dry powder as opportunism is a good way to invest. I consider myself a value investor, typically long term holds.



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#7) On January 04, 2009 at 4:52 AM, jgseattle (26.22) wrote:

BeachExec -

I hope your grandparents are still around and that they have had a long and happy life.  That is my case.  I can look at my grandparents and talk with them about generational differences.  My grandparents lived thru the depression and have a completely different attitude than people who did not have that experience.

I am hopeful that this credit contraction and experience WILL have an affect on a lot of people so they are like my grandparents, frugal.  When you experience not having you appreciate having and prepare so you can have al the time.  

Alstry is mixing and combining statisitics from the BLS.  If you include underemployed, unemployed, and people no longer looking for work because they cannot find any unemployment would be much higher.  would it be 30 -50% not sure.  

I think many people will be taking jobs that are not to their potential but sometimes you have to work and have food on the table.  I am personally starting a job search.  I was looking for 3 months for positions paying $100K, and did not find anything.  I stopped looking for the holidays and am visiting China, when I return I will start again looking for a job and will look at a larger gourp of position with less pay.  So should I be considered as underemployed?  Maybe.

P.S if you really want to see furgal I can take you visit famillies in China that will redefine the meaning of the word for you.

P.S.S  I once posted some questions for Alstry and he was generious with his time and thoughful reply.  He did provide an investment based on my attitude, CASH.  And if you do not think that is an investment you may rethink if deflation kicks in.  (not sure if that is my postion but I do appreciate his positions)

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#8) On January 04, 2009 at 5:01 AM, jgseattle (26.22) wrote:

also everyone remember CAPS is a game and the way it is structured requires you to make many picks to build points.  I suspect most CAPs players do not own all the stocks they pick in caps.  (I have a core position of 5 stocks and 5 mutual funds and currently have 10 other positions.)  This is a small fraction of the picks I have in CAPs since if I read a financial I make a pick in CAPS.  This is my way to track stocks and my closed positions are more or less the pool of stocks I am looking at to invest in the future.

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#9) On January 04, 2009 at 10:31 AM, BeachExec (< 20) wrote:

jqseattle -

Alas, my grandparents are not alive. My Mom's Mom lived to 98 years old but she passed away a couple of years ago. I would definitely say she was "frugal" in the sense that she never used credit (though must have had a credit card given her travels in her 70's and 80's) and her furniture and practically everything she owned was the same entering the 21st century as when my Mom's Dad passed away in 1967. He was also a no-credit person, and even waited to buy the family house until he could buy it with cash. But he was also a prominent and successful attorney who could do such a thing. Not an option for most people.

My grandmother is a real inspiration to me. Not her frugality necessarily (she was also quite well to do so could have been much less frugal but she would probably say "why spend what you don't have to?"). Her utter pragmatism about everything is what inspires me. As an example: when I was 21 and entering the job market fresh out of engineering school, my girlfriend at the time, later my wife, moved in with me. When my mom told  my grandmother, a devout Catholic, she said: "Oh, you can't allow that." To which my mom said: "Well, he is 21." My grandmother's response: "If he's 21 then you can't tell him what to do. He's his own man." It was never spoken of again. 

I am frugal in similar ways. My furniture, for example, is the same as when I bought most of it in 1992. I buy quality and I keep it. The only debt I have is home equity debt (well above water even in this market) and my auto loan (which, is at a low rate and occurred due to some personal circumstances at the time; I could have paid cash but chose not to; prior to this auto I didn't have an auto loan since my first car out of college and I'm only on my 3rd vehicle in my life; again, buy quality and keep it).

All that said, while belts have tightened and will stay tightened for a while yet perhaps, I do not believe that in the U.S. we will see anything like the frugality imprinted upon the generation that lived through the Great Depression. I find comparisons of now to then as completely simplistic, ignoring the 70 years of technologic and knowledge advancement that have come since. As a simple example, we communicate now in milliseconds across the globe and in fact are doing so right now if you are in China. Such advancements shorten cycles.

If you were searching for 100K jobs my question would be: were you making 100K before? My experience is that to find a 100K job one typically must be coming from a 100K (or near to it) job, and that is in a healthy economic environment. My experience is also that 100K jobs typically come from personal networking and experience whereby the employer already knows you're worth it due to personal experience with you in work done together. My job of the last four years is exactly that. "They" wanted me based on personal knowledge of my abilities and work production due to having worked together on something. Which put me in a strong position when negotiating the particulars.

A piece of advice, if you will allow me. Whatever job you find, it it's with a large business do also what I did: secure a champion. Once the salary, etc, was negotiated but before I accepted my current job, I secured from the person who is still my immediate superior to this day a promise to champion me within the company. I was able to do this "in advance" since the company really wanted me to come to work for them. She has thus far done just that, helping me to advance as she advances. Of course, the flip side is that I have to hold up my end of the bargain as well.

Good luck to you.



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#10) On January 04, 2009 at 10:53 AM, BeachExec (< 20) wrote:

Regarding CAPS, I realize it is a game. I choose not to play to win as I simply don't have the time. When it comes to games and leisure, I choose poker. Interesting side note, I play poker with "free money" that I won in a freeroll tournament. As of now I've increased it 30+ times over, though we're talking a pittance in the grand scheme of things.

Still, it is actual money. Which is one reason I find the CAPS "game" to be largely uninteresting -- it's not real money. Most serious CAPS players appear to have lots and lots of picks that they could never bankroll. To me it's really the antithesis of investing. It seems that timing the market, or attempting to, with a lot of picks is necessary to score top scores. I find it odd that TMF, which largely promotes investing not trading, would even have a game set up in such a manner.

I like the way you use it, tracking stocks that are essentially on your watch list based on your research. If I did the same, though, my goal would be to score poorly as price dislocations on companies I see as good investments -- but only at the right price -- would be my objective. I suppose I could put a red thumb on a stock that I am hoping will drop to my comfort level, but it seems counter-productive from a gaming perspective if I don't believe that company is over-priced but rather just doesn't meet my value criteria at the current price.

If I continue to use CAPS I will likely do as done so far, with CAPS picks being real money picks for me. I track watch list other ways. As most people also hopefully do, I pass on the vast majority of companies I consider.



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#11) On January 04, 2009 at 9:12 PM, jgseattle (26.22) wrote:


I have been in China for the last 2 years, supporting my wife in her carreer.  My last position in the states was just under $100K.  And I agree with you to find the best positions requires networking and I am pursuing that ave.

Exand on how I use CAPs - If I look at financials and do not purchase some impression is made.  Maybe this impression is to slim to make an investment decision so I put it in caps to track and to follow up on.  (read more financials, Q calls, news)

The other way I use caps is to track a sector position.  For example if in real money I buy BAC in caps I might add C and WFC for comparison of performanc so I can determine if my analysis was correct.  For example in real money I own BAM and have LUK in caps and track BRK in another fashion.

As for time in CAPs I have been spending a lot since I am not working and have played.  I suspect that will change once I get a job.

So to expand my network - Do you know anyone hiring in purchasing, vendor management, or large contract management in Seattle? 




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#12) On January 05, 2009 at 1:55 AM, BeachExec (< 20) wrote:

jqseattle -

No, sorry, I don't have any Seattle connections. I'm an east coast kind of guy (though am in San Diego on business at the moment).

As I said, I like the way use CAPS. Interesting.




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