Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sell on the news?

Buy on the rumor?

(ADDED later: I should probably mention, Borders declared Chapter 11 this morning. Hard to see how they can come back...)

It's been five weeks since I bought Barnes and Noble stock, and at one point this morning, it was 15% higher.

I wanted to see if I could pick a stock, when it seemed obvious that it was underpriced. Ironically, it was B & N, who isn't exactly a friend of independents -- but who made a whole lot of money at Christmas, but who's stock hadn't budged. As far as I could tell, their overall financials were solid.

I thought that when Borders declared bankruptcy, that people would realize that B & N was likely to pick up market share. It even seemed like a bit of a hedge bet, because either the Nook was successful, or the paper books were successful, or both -- and it didn't seem likely that both would fail in the short run.

So -- the worst thing that can happen to a gambler is to have a big win. It just encourages him.

One: I didn't bet so much that it makes much difference.

Two: I'm still really skeptical that it is possible to 'pick' stocks on a consistent basis.

I have been looking so closely at the book trade for so long, that I saw this as an opportunity.

Still, I think I might trust the next time I have this impulse.

For now, I'm hanging onto the stock. It'll probably drop (second thoughts) and then start straying upward for awhile. But long term, I don' think B & N is in a super strong position, so I'm going to want to sell at some point.

That was fun.


Anonymous said...

Out of the million stocks you could have bought, you bought B&N? Clearly because you watch their stock all the time. Because you're a bookstore owner, and they are a bookstore owner. This is not exactly "diversification", Duncan.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, pretty odd.

What's next? Buying Walmart stock?

But because I'm in the book biz and because I was paying attention, it seemed to me that B & N was underpriced.

Matt said...


You'll have to send me a primer on how to get into stocks... you know a tutorial for beginners.

Duncan McGeary said...

You put all your money on black....or of the two....