Over the past several months, I have diverted from the usual opinions of life in these United States and my own struggles with it into the areas of personal finance and our crazy stock market. I'm hoping that you have been reading, and in some cases, I hope you have taken my advice to heart - or pocketbook - however you see fit. So - let's see how some of my opinions have fared:
On December 31, 2016 I wrote that "precious metals are ripe through 2017," and backed the opinion up with some horrible ideas about President Trump and his goals. The particular investment I am in is an ETF that is 65% gold, with the remainder in silver, palladium, and platinum. Since January 1, the fund is up from $58.53 to $63.56; a gain of a little more than 8%. I'll accept that as a win, considering the risk involved. If you want your investments to gain more than 9% in six months, maybe you should try betting on football.
On April 12, I reiterated my stance on gold, as well as hi-yield corporate bonds, emerging markets, and municipal bonds.
The iShares hi-yield corporate bond ETF (LQD) was at 118.31 on April 12. Today, it sits at 120.05. OK, then.
The iShares Muni Bond ETF (MUB) was at 109.14 on April 12. Today, it is 110.65. Tax-free, mind you. (I have to find a positive in there someplace)
The iShares Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) was at 39.31 on April 12. Today, it is at 41.61.
Gold, we have discussed.
So, this particular idea package would have left you up in general, but you could have done better. Suffice it to say that these things should be part of a larger portion of your investments.
On April 18, I said that you should "stay on the sidelines" regarding shares of Goldman Sachs (GS). The stock was at 225.50. Today, it trades at 222.44. Sidelines would have been a good choice.
I said that Facebook (FB) appeared to be "fully valued." It was at 140.96. Today it is at 149.60. You win some, and you lose some. I still say, wait on this. You may get a better opportunity.
I said that The Home Depot (HD) was "a good choice" in the retail sector. It was at 146.91. Today, the stock is at 152.96. Alright, then.
I mentioned CarMax (KMX) and McDonald's (MCD) as well. CarMax was at 57.17, and has come down off its springtime high near 65 to settle at 59.61. McDonald's was a no-brainer, and is up to 151.48 from around 130 at the time I wrote about it. I can't take credit for that, since a blind chimpanzee with a pencil in his butt could have picked that one.
The riskier picks I have made are still on the table. I wrote about Highpower (HPJ) and Limelight Networks (LLNW) on April 18. Highpower had a little run, and it sitting at 4.75, which is near its price when I mentioned it. Limelight is up about 15% (from 2.50 to 2.95) but is still a huge speculative play. It could just as easily be back to 2.50 or up to 3.00. I'm holding it, as if I don't need the money for another five years, which I do not.
The other was DelTaco Restaurants (TACO), which I said "hold it" on April 18. The stock is volatile, as is the casual dining industry. If you're inclined to follow me, wait until the stock trades below $13 to jump in. It's at $13.50 now, and it's approaching my "Don't Buy" price. (ask me what that is, and I'll tell you) Until then, I'm continuing to make my weekly investments. With a new CEO and their growth plans still in place, I'm anxiously awaiting their earnings report in August. Other stocks in the industry have made significant jumps in price, and I'm thinking that rotation out of those names into smaller companies like DelTaco might help get the shares back to the P/E levels of McDonald's and Domino's.
Overall, I'd say it hasn't been a bad half-year. I'll continue writing about this stuff if you agree to do your own research and take my ideas and opinions with the significant grain of salt that they deserve.