Friday, September 19, 2008

It's a Wonderful Day

...When you're almost irresponsibly long AIG, ETFC, and energy.

I've never listed my full portfolio here and I don't plan to, but here are some things that I have been doing lately:

  • I sold more of my once-huge BWLD position today as the stock notched a new 52-week high. I still hold some BWLD, but the stock is definitely fairly valued here, so there are better opportunities for this money elsewhere.
  • I sold COP $75 calls this morning that I had purchased during the oil panic of last week. I bought the contracts for $.40 and sold for $1.70 - having a nice win after losing on my TTWO position definitely helped.
  • Speaking of TTWO, I bought equity earlier this week at $15.50, but my big options position will expire worthless this afternoon. Long-term prospects are great and share valuation is ridiculously low, but I don't expect a near-term catalyst (or at least I'm not willing to bet on one via options after getting burned).
  • I progressively backed up the truck with AIG this week, buying different lots at different times. My first purchase was at $7.50 - ouch. But thanks to averaging down, my average cost is now $3.25/share. In addition to the temporary end of short selling and general euphoria, shares are rallying today as some investors are attempting to block the government's dilution of the company. I see it as a win-win; even if the company is diluted and liquidates, the sum of parts is much greater than the current valuation (I have seen $10 cited as a reasonable estimate). If the government agrees to less or no dilution (considering that the 11% interest on the $80 billion loan should provide them with some nice income anyway), shares will obviously be worth even more.
  • I added to my CIT position today (increased it by 75%, it's still a small portion of my portfolio) when the stock was down earlier in the day. Wells Fargo provided CIT with a $500 million line of credit yesterday; I see that as a sign of confidence and relatively-clean books. Also, CIT has asket to be added to the list of companies that can't be shorted (I don't understand why it was left off in the first place). If their request is granted, the near-term floor should be right here at 10.
  • I added to my ETFC position earlier this week; my average cost is now just above $3. Like CIT, ETFC has done a better-than-average job of selling assets to create a capital cushion, and their retail business is thriving. Continued writedowns on mortgage-based assets they still hold may be a short-term issue, but I see no bankruptcy risk anymore, which the market still seems to imply.
  • Other energy: At the end of last week, I held COP, MRO, and CEO shares. I sold the COP earlier this week to avoid a margin call, but still hold MRO and CEO, with costs of about $40 and $118. $100 oil seems to be the sweet spot for integrated companies (MRO), and CEO (CNOOC, a Chinese oil company) doesn't have to deal with as many government controls as PetroChina does. It also pays a nice 5% dividend.

I have a few other positions, but that covers my major actions of the past two weeks. With all of the aforementioned purchases, I have fairly long-term timeframe; with a predator-free trading environment for the next few weeks and ample government-provided liquidity, financials may finally get their act together.

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