Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's been awhile

Since I last posted about the stock market.  Hell it's been awhile since I posted at all.  Sorry the muse has not grabbed me and there really hasn't been a whole lot of interesting stuff going on.  Money's been a bit tight so I haven't been hitting the poker tables or the Hard Rock at all.  Work has been busy but nothing like a year ago so I'm not putting in monster hours at work right now.  That may change before too long. 

Anyway the markets have been going up and up.  Some of my stocks have done well, a number have not.  I'm not that concerned, I've been picking up some nice dividend payers that keep growing as I reinvest while gathering a number of smaller mining companies that I think have a good chance to grow as they start producing.  Unfortunately when the gold prices fall as they have lately, the miners get hit and the smaller ones are hit harder.  I am probably too early to be in some of these stocks but I'd rather be too early to this party than too late.  When the price of gold and silver truly explode, and I fear they will explode, I want to be ahead of the curve. 

I was reading some interesting stuff about platinum and palladium and the projected shortages in the near future in them.  Both metals along with rhodium are used in catalytic converters among other things.  Apparently production in South Africa has been cut significantly and Russia has sold a lot of the metals they stockpiled.  China is buying cars hand over fist and while they were not putting catalytic converters in their cars before, they are now.  The air pollution there has become so bad that they may even have to retrofit older cars with converters as well.  So I decided to take a flyer on a couple of miners to take advantage of this trend.  Stillwater Mining (SMC) is a major platinum group miner and can really take advantage of higher prices BUT they invested in mines in Canada and Argentina over the past couple of years.  A copper mine in Canada makes some sense to diversify themselves but the Argentine mine is a long way from producing and the political climate there makes investors nervous. 

Many people are unaware that Argentina has nationalized the largest oil company in the country, YPF.   Hey what you do in your own country is your own deal as far as I'm concerned but the problem is YPF is 57% owned by Spanish company Repsol.  The government is taking over 51% of the company and they are taking it from the 57% owned by a company based in another country.  Really?  Now the people will be happy with this and the little stockholders won't mind but taking it from a major foreign company will not lead to other companies investing in your country.  It's one thing to negotiate a buyout but quite another to just expropriate another company's investment without so much as a nickel changing hands.  Now they may get away with it but I do know companies with major investments in Argentina are at least a little nervous.  Yamana Gold is in the process of bringing a big gold mine online there and has announced a 44% increase in reserves at the mine.  Some people fear the Argentine government may wait until Yamana is closer to actual production and then take it over or force the company to sell the property cheaply, especially if gold prices really do take off. 

So getting back to Stillwater, the people in charge are being challenged by the former governor of Montana and a hedge fund who both think management is killing the company with these new mining ventures and that the company should concentrate more on their current mines in the US instead of wasting money on new mines which may never produce.  This has driven down the stock price just when I was doing well.  I was up about 30% but now I'm only up 5%.   But I can wait.  

I also bought shares in a smaller miner, North American Palladium, who is producing from a mine in Quebec.  They are ramping up their production at hopefully the right time.  I'm up just a little bit in this one but I hope to be up a lot later.  Then again I can hope in one hand and .....  well you know. 

"I'll miss you most of all, scarecrow"

One of my fave movies is on and that line just was said, and no it's not the Wizard of Oz.   Funny how movies can play such a part in what we remember.  You hear a line or remember a line from a favorite movie and remember when we first saw that movie, what it meant to us etc.  Everything from "make him an offer he can't refuse" to "I'll have what she's having"  to "I love the smell of napalm in the morning, smells like victory" to "snakes, why'd it have to be snakes?" and countless other ones.  What are some of your favorite lines?

Not much else going on this weekend.  Watching a bit of basketball of course.  Not picking too many games right either.  I did get the Gators covering yesterday but who'd a thought Florida Gulf Coast Univ would beat Georgetown.  The PQ and I watched most of the 2nd half.  That alley oop dunk late in the game was just incredible.  I couldn't believe how high that guy jumped to get to the ball then throw it down with one hand.  What a play.  I really thought VCU would give Michigan a game today.  Boy was I wrong.  Michigan  looks like a final four team.  So does Indiana, Ohio St, Miami, Arizona, and maybe Louisville, Duke & Florida. 

Well that's all from sunny ole Florida today.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making plans

Well the PQ and I have been putting together our schedules for this summer to plan out the annual Neophyte birthday trip and extravaganza.  Over the past few years we have taken the opportunity around my birthday to travel the highways and byways (mostly byways) of the south in search of ................ nothing at all.  When we started this I was determined to see parts of Florida I had never seen before because after living here for more than 20 years I really had not been much of anywhere away from the coasts, main cities, or theme parks.  Which led us to such metropolises (metropolii?) as Cedar Key, Steinhatchee, Micanopy, Two Egg, Steam Mill, and Little Hope.  But we've seen parts of Florida I never expected to and really enjoyed the trip and relaxed along the way. 

This year we are switching it up a little.  We'll still be doing some travelling but we'll be seeing such cities as Mesquite (sorry Lucki, not in Texas), Littlefield, Springdale, and Hurricane.  No these cities are in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada which means we are going to VEGAS.   Not quite the byways of the south but hey, its VEGAS!!  We'll be there in mid July in time for the last few days of the main event of the WSOP.  I know visiting Vegas in the middle of the summer is probably not the brightest idea we've had but it works out well for us.  BTW, Hurricane Utah?? Really?? Maybe we should name a city Blizzard, Florida. Both are about as likely.  We also got 5 of the 6 days comped at Ballys so that cuts down on the expenses just a little bit.  So we are defnitely looking forward to this trip and the one we will take a few weeks after when we head back to New Orleans.

So even though it's 5 months in the future, we are ready to go on vacation.  We're setting up rental cars and checking into places to go.  Looks like we'll visit Zion National Park among other places.  To get there you have to drive a good way through the Virgin River Valley along I-15 which I've been told is very picturesque.  We'll be playing some poker, video poker, and the like while we also visit some of our favorite restaurants like Hash House A Go Go, The Bellagio Breakfast Buffet and of course, In and Out Burger.  Hopefully some of you will be around then as well.  You'll have plenty of opportunities to take some cash off a donk like me. 

Well unlike the PQ, I am working in the AM so it's time to sign off.  Hope everyone had a good weekend.