E Golden Oldies

Reader Bert R from Long Island wrote:

“When I was one and twenty I heard an old man say, 'never try to the market, son. Keep good merchandise, compound your dividends, and as long as the company remains strong, just sit.'

“Now what did the old man know? He wasn't with it. He didn't know how to maneuver money, take a short profit and go on to another winner. You have to have action or it's no fun.

“Being a novice in the stock market I could easily see how wrong the old man was about how to make money. So I took the sensible way of trading instead of holding good stocks. That was good for old people. Never did I realize that I would grow old too.”

Bert was reacting to my active selling at the end of this year which was not to take a short profit in fact but to take a big loss to offset gains made earlier this year. I pay taxes not just to Uncle Sam, but to New York State. I also pay taxes to New York City; he does not. Being a pensioner myself, gains from the stock market count against my Medicare coverage. I don't trade to have fun. It is not fun to take losses. I trade to cover my non-IRA gains. Mostly I buy and hold.

- I wrote to subscribers on Wednesday about my golden oldie portfolio of venerable tech stocks. Apart from Blackberry, IBM, and Microsoft, it includes lots of telcos like Verizon and AT&T, GESchlumberger, and Teva, which I am terribly ahead on, as I sold the shares I bought more recently under LIFO rather than FIFO. (You have to tell your broker to do this.) All except BB I bought before I started this newsletter. I bought Blackberry but I didn't write it up here as I didn't use one. My daughter in law's mother, an MD who needed secure linkage, used Crackberry.

- Chilean SoQuiMich, SQM, was asked to explain to the Santiago Stock Exchange about special circumstances or events explaining why its shares fell 9.35% on Wednesday. It replied with a copy to the US SEC that it had no idea. Bert R asked me the same thing. SQM fell a further 6.08% Thursday.

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