Oh my aching stock portfolio



  • None.
Well, last week sure did suck.

If you think your investments have had it bad lately, check out
my recent performance:

     date      dow     nasdaq   my port

   20000403   +2.75%   -7.64%   -11.31%
   20000405   -1.17%   +0.49%    +0.35%
   20000407   -0.03%   +4.19%    +5.30%
   20000410   +0.68%   -5.81%    -9.98%
   20000411   +0.90%   -3.16%    -8.13%
   20000412   -1.43%   -7.06%   -12.97%
   20000414   -5.66%   -9.67%   -17.42%

(summary produced with a Unix pipeline that's too ugly not to share. [1])

You'll note that I doubled the nasdaq's performance for several
days there. I rule! Too bad it was in the wrong direction.

So now I'm about 65% off my high of Mar 9 -- my net worth has
been cut in half in the last month or so.

I knew this could happen -- I took on a lot of risk by investing
on margin on very volatile stocks. But I'm disappointed that it
did happen, because I had kind of a mental rule that I would
start selling if my port dropped to a certain level, and it's
now at half that level, and I just recently started selling.
(currently about 35% in cash.)

I just couldn't bring myself to sell after everything had dropped
so much. And I wanted to stay invested so my gains would be long
term instead of short term (long term gains are taxed at 20% in
the states, while short term capital gains are taxed at 40%. [2])

But by holding and wishing that the market would recover, I
managed to lose all my paper profit from last year, as well as a
bit of the money I started with in 1998 (currently down around
20% from what I started with.)

So I went from about +140% to -20% since March 9, and now I have
to pay tax on the profits I took last year! Ow ow ow ow ow.

So, why sell now, instead of continuing to hold and wait it out?
Mainly because most of the stocks I held were tech/net stuff,
and nobody knows what a fair price is for those. Some of these
stocks could continue to drop a lot more from here, and I want to
make sure I still have some capital around to invest when it
bottoms out. I plan to see what happens in the next few days, and
buy or sell more depending where I think the bottom will be.

I'm really not happy about taking these losses, but I mainly did
it as an emergency capital preservation thing -- something I
should have done a couple weeks ago.

I don't feel very bad now about taking these massive losses, but I
was a bit depressed for much of last week, and that disappoints
me too: I didn't want to let this stuff get to me emotionally.
But it's hard to lose that much money, even if it was only on

I'm not the only one, this guy on raging bull's boards made and
lost a fortune:


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: None
>    Monday, 10 Apr 2000 at 3:41 AM EDT
>    Yowzers... I made over 1,200 trades last year... much more than I
>    thought. But guess what?? My taxes are much LOWER than I thought! :-)
>    I haven't calculated or double checked my gains, but it looks good, as
>    my ending balance was a little lower, and longer term holdings were
>    greater than what I first thought. It's a good day... maybe $200k in
>    taxes vs. $400k+ I anticipated. May the coming week KICK A$$!!!
>    Futures up nicely.
>    - Zen :-)


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 86482 by Mr.Gribknows
>    Monday, 10 Apr 2000 at 10:14 AM EDT
>    Mr. Gridknows: Unless a long term holding did 1750% last year, I feel
>    pretty good about my strategy. Warren Buffett is DOWN how much last
>    year?? ;-)
>    - Zen


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 86501 by Mr.Gribknows
>    Monday, 10 Apr 2000 at 10:49 AM EDT
>    About 1,300% after taxes. I do understand your point though... the
>    power of compounding is quite powerful over time. I will go more and
>    more in that direction as my port increases in value and I start to
>    take less risk.
>    - Zen


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 86744 by mlnrclb
>    Tuesday, 11 Apr 2000 at 12:05 PM EDT
>    mlnrclb: Maybe I'll write a book... "Zen and the Art of Volatility"...
>    or, "How to go from nothing to multimillions, back to a normal life,
>    all in 16 months" LOL. Who knows... maybe I'll have a sequel... if
>    SUNW is nice to me. ;-) My brokers both asked me if I wanted to work
>    at their firms, but that will not happen... suits and ties are not for
>    me. Computers and a t-shirt are.
>    TTYL bud,
>    - Zen

[ I must have missed a really negative article in here somewhere ]


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 86983 by scio
>    Wednesday, 12 Apr 2000 at 1:57 PM EDT
>    scio: I appreciate your thoughts and your membermark, but I am really,
>    really hurting right now. Premier and Mr. Gribknows have it right:
>    money management should be #1 priority w/ investments. They should be
>    membermarked; not me. I screwed myself and probably others bigtime. I
>    regret that greatly. Those brokerage firms were successful in stomping
>    out many high octane traders such as myself. I knew the market was due
>    for a serious correction, but my timing was off by 3 weeks... so now I
>    pay the consequences. I have only ONE hope left: SUNW going up at
>    least 20-30 points from here w/ earnings tomorrow. 20 points means all
>    the money will go towards my house. 30+ points means I still have
>    something left for investments. Anything less means I'm back at square
>    one... though holding everything I ever wanted, except for a home
>    (will still get it, but making a down payment & monthly payments
>    rather than paying cash). Regardless, I need a job now... and that's
>    not a bad thing. Question is what to do... work for others, start my
>    own business, or what?? Steady income is probably the best route... my
>    taste for volatility has been soured greatly. But we'll see... maybe
>    "Zen's Business Automation" is in the works. Or maybe I'll get the
>    strength to finish a Website or 2... doubt it though... would probably
>    give me ulcers trying to make enough money and find an audience. Who
>    knows... for now, I just look for a job and hope that it's one I will
>    enjoy... nice seeing all these IT worker shortage news bits. :-) If
>    not, then I move on to my next option. Anyways, yes... I'll probably
>    be around about as much as Ruby is... I'll miss the daily
>    conversation, but I can't afford to compromise my future employment,
>    nor my own health by spending all day online. In fact, I was probably
>    addicted to CMGIOT... not necessarily a bad thing... except when it
>    interferes w/ work and family.
>    Good luck bud... I'll really miss the daily grind, but unfortunately I
>    have to make money the old fashioned way now... unless an absolute
>    miracle happens.
>    - Zen


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 87043 by premier
>    Wednesday, 12 Apr 2000 at 2:36 PM EDT
>    Thanks folks... I'll keep in touch, but I don't believe I'll have much
>    of a port left... if any at all. I will however have many things which
>    I only rdeamed about just 1 1/2 years ago: a couple computers, Audi
>    A4, bigscreen TV, couches, exercise equipment, stereo, DJ equipment,
>    cash, a downpayment on a new home, a wedding, etc... I'm very, very
>    fortunate. Who would have guessed that $4,500 would turn into so
>    much?? I'm young, and I will enjoy myself greatly on this new
>    adventure... whatever it may be.
>    Again, thanks... I love you all. Never have I had such great friends.
>    I'll be around... just not nearly as much... unless SUNW performs a
>    miracle for me.
>    - Zen


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 87022 by rholle2
>    Wednesday, 12 Apr 2000 at 2:13 PM EDT
>    rholle2: When analysts put strong buy ratings on all the NASDAQ
>    stocks, but then 6 or so firms say that we're going to see NASDAQ
>    3650... all on the same DAY, well I do not doubt it for a minute. I
>    once knew a broker-dealer who offered me a job, and he use to tell me
>    that a particular stock will go up on a PARTICULAR DAY... NOT because
>    of news, but rather hinting that many brokerage firms would be buying
>    it up in a concerted effort. I didn't take the job because I wanted no
>    such association w/ these people. Certainly getting rid of daytraders
>    will help the more conservative brokerage firms in many ways; it would
>    also hurt their business, but the fact that they only want
>    conservative investors shows that the risk is probably well worth it.
>    I don't know... lots of factors. I'm just extremely upset at their
>    dishonesty... giving stocks Buys and Strong Buys, but then calling the
>    market overvalued. Shouldn't we see Sell ratings first??? Anyways, I
>    don't care... it was 100% my fault that I didn't manage my money more
>    conservatively and decided to take a lot of risk at the worst time
>    possible... and then take even MORE risk trying to get it all back.
>    Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. Back to square one... maybe this time
>    growing a business will become my challenge... my new avenue of wealth
>    creation... though wealth really isn't so important to me, which is
>    what really makes me wonder what the F$%K I was thinking when I had
>    $2.25 Mil to my name??? That's more than I would ever need for
>    anything! Anyways... no regrets... can't be doing that... on to new
>    challenges, for now.
>    - Zen


>    By: zen_warrior
>    Reply To: 87224 by IQ0
>    Thursday, 13 Apr 2000 at 3:29 AM EDT
>    Wow... I'm overwhelmed by the TREMENDOUS support and good will... I'm
>    just speechless.
>    I'm just amazed that so many people think so highly of me, even after
>    my significant loss. Yeah, I have still done very well... have a whole
>    lot more than what I started with, at least in assets, but boy did I
>    lose my head, and get overly confident and greedy. There is no excuse
>    for me losing all that money... margin and options just were way over
>    my limit. But... wow... I don't get it?? Why such incredible support
>    for me? You're right though... if I did it once, I can do it again. I
>    turned a little into a lot, and I can certainly do it again. How many
>    times must one double an initial $1,000 before they are rich? Just 10
>    times: 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k, 32k, 64k, 128k, 256k, 512k, 1.024 mm. 10
>    doubles, and you are a millionaire. Of course it only takes one fall
>    to screw it all up... and that's what makes the path a very difficult
>    one. Tell you what... I'll do my damnest to keep at least $4,500 in
>    there. Let's repeat history. I'm game. Only problem is income... The
>    idea of a newsletter is intriguing, whatalife. I thought about it
>    before, and didn't like the idea of charging money for such a thing...
>    but I do need to make money somehow. I don't know... maybe there's
>    another line of business which will work for me and still give me time
>    for the market?? I'll think about it. Any ideas are welcomed... just
>    email me anytime: zen_warrior@ragingbull.com It's weird... I feel so
>    responsible for others' welfare in this market. I'll do my best. Until
>    then, PWAV keeps getting cheaper, and SLVN holds up like reinforced
>    concrete... sure wish I followed my mind and stuck w/ that value play.
>    Instead I let people pi$$ me off and I dump the darn thing. Oh well...
>    Hmmm... I still have some nice domain names... boy this is tough...
>    Take care... and thanks to everyone for such incredible support... I
>    really am in shock right now.... extremely overwhelmed.
>    - Zen

this one's also interesting, but it's a bit longer so I won't include it:


These raging bull citations were made using this shell script:


Misc other articles, if that isn't enough to read:

   Dot-coms in deep depression

   Valley investors sure of a rebound

Hmm... this message is less organized than I would like, but I want
to record this stuff and if I don't send this now I never will.

[1] Here's the command I used to get dow, nasdaq, and my %ages:

   devo: gerald> for f in 20000[34]*yahoo-portfolio.html ; do echo $f \ \ `lynx -dump $f | egrep '\^DJI' | head -1 | awk '{print $4}'` \ \ `lynx -dump $f | egrep '\^IXIC' | head -1 | awk '{print $4}'` \ \ `lynx -dump $f | grep -A 1 Totals | tail -1 | awk '{print $3}'`; done | sed 's/-yahoo-portfolio.html//'

   I grab daily snapshots of my portfolio from Yahoo Finance,
   because my HTTP archiver doesn't capture them by itself yet. :(

[2] Excellent US tax info: http://www.fairmark.com/

Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@impressive.net>

Re: Oh my aching stock portfolio


  • None.


At 08:31 AM 4/17/00 -0400, Gerald Oskoboiny wrote:
>I'm not the only one, this guy on raging bull's boards made and
>lost a fortune:

My mistake was to _finally_ get into QQQ (a NASDAQ index) at the wrong time.
I thought tech stocks were way over-valued, but I've been saying that for 18
months, and the prices just kept going up, so I finally do it (figuring yes
they'll be a dip, but I'll ride the continued rise before the dip), and
wammo! But I'm not too concerned. Most of the NASDAQ 100 companies will be
around and doing well a year from now, and I can hold long for that length
of time and longer. So it's kind of annoying, but you got to take the long
My only speculative stock (a bio-tech) that tanked, tanked big time, but I
didn't have that much money in it.  This has encouraged me to be much more
disciplined in doing research and analysis when buying, instead of some of
the gut decisions I was doing.

>>    By: zen_warrior
>>    Reply To: None
>>    Monday, 10 Apr 2000 at 3:41 AM EDT
>>    Yowzers... I made over 1,200 trades last year... much more than I

That is insane. I heard one of the Gardner's cite a study that 80% of day
traders LOSE money.
Regards,          http://goatee.net/~reagle
Joseph Reagle     E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65  BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin

HURL: fogo mailing list archives, maintained by Gerald Oskoboiny