Stock quick hits: China Mobile (CHL) and General Mills (GIS)

Stock quick hits: China Mobile (CHL) and General Mills (GIS)

Stock Quick Hits #1

Welcome to stock quick hits! A series of posts where I look at stocks that seem vaguely appealing at the moment. Stocks like China Mobile!

I’ll do about thirty minutes of research and analysis on each stock. That means some background, a look through their financials and a quick calculation in my DCF spread sheet to establish a fair value. If a DCF isn’t applicable, then I’ll use some other metrics.

Then I’ll set a price alert at which point I’d want to revisit the stock and do a deeper dive and/or consider a purchase.

Full disclosure, there’ll be some stocks and industries I’m not 100% familiar with. That means you should take these quick hits as a first look from someone not well versed in a subject. In essence, I’ll be talking out of my ass 20% of the time. Keep that in mind!

China Mobile and General Mills are the first two to make the list. Both recently caught my eye after a couple tough weeks for both.

These picks generally won’t be stocks I think are awesome buys.

More like stocks I think can be good buys if the price is right. These are just companies I want to research more in the future. Doing a quick hit means I can create an alert for a price point so I’ll get an email when that price point is reached.

Since these stocks are ones I think have some issues, I’ll likely be conservative in my valuations.

I’ll try to do this regularly so if anyone has any suggestions for stocks for me to look into then let me know!

Let’s start with China Mobile! Continue reading “Stock quick hits: China Mobile (CHL) and General Mills (GIS)”

The average commute, the traffic, effect on wages and your life

The average commute, the traffic, effect on wages and your life

Ah, the commute, what a wonderful thing. Especially, when it comes with a little side of traffic. The average commute is a slog that’s part of every day life and can be quite a hassle.

Those of us with careers near a city are well versed in the subject. We spend a good portion of our lives sitting in our car behind other cars. Unfortunately, not everyone’s commute is an enjoyable romp through the country side. Traffic makes up a good part of many lives and our average commute.

We’re not just behind cars. There’s cars to the left of us and cars to the right of us. Cars taking people to work at a slower pace than they’re designed to move.

It’s not the driving to work that bothers me, it’s the traffic. The commute wouldn’t be so bad if it was a straight shot to the office.

I’m the type of person who actually enjoys a nice long drive. It’s fun to get out on the open road with a location in mind, enjoy some music and view the scenery. It’s not fun to be stuck behind dozens of cars that crawl like ants towards a bend in the road. What’s behind that bend? It’s probably more cars.

What got me thinking about the commute this time? It was a crappy commuting day!

My home is about 9 miles from work. On a weekend, where traffic is sparse, it takes me about 14 minutes to get from my apartment to my parking garage.

This particular morning, I left home at 8:30. As I got in my car, I got a text from a co-worker.

“Are you on this traffic on the highway,” she said, “I literally haven’t moved in 10 minutes.”

“Nope, haven’t left yet,” I responded, “I guess I’ll avoid the highway.”

“Good call,” she said, “there’s a car on fire, I think, I can see the smoke ahead of me and we’re not moving.”

“Glad I’m not stuck in that,” I said to myself and drove off determined to avoid the traffic. After all, I had the edge now, I knew information others didn’t, I’d get to work in no time at all.

I popped on a podcast and got on my way.

I pulled into my parking lot at 9:40. Continue reading “The average commute, the traffic, effect on wages and your life”

Portfolio Review – March 2018 – The Half Million Dollar Portfolio

Portfolio Review – March 2018 – The Half Million Dollar Portfolio

The Half Million Dollar Portfolio?

Less than $500 separated me from 500k before the market volatility in February shaved 16k off my total. However, since then, the market has turned around. We’re now back to a positive return for the year and things are finally looking good for me to cross that threshold. I might now have a half million dollar portfolio!

The market turning positive is a welcome sign to many investors. It reminds me a bit of what happened in February of 2016. Volatility spiked due to fears around China, oil prices and uncertainty around rates. Just like last month, that caused stock prices to fall. In the case of 2016, those falling prices turned out to be amazing buying opportunities. The stock market never looked back from the lows of 2016 until it hit the recent speed bump. Whether that turns out to be the case here is still an unknown.

What’s interesting about these dips is how quickly they’ve corrected. We see a quick dip, it doesn’t last long and then it starts rising again. That’s great for people who like seeing their portfolio go up and up on paper. It’s not great for people looking to keep buying stocks at a good valuation as a long term hold. A rallying stock market usually means things are looking good and there are some good things happening here. The economy is strong and earnings are growing at the best clip since 2011.

What interests me is how the market and investors and I will react to a prolonged downturn. Quick bounces are easy to get used to as that has been the case for quite some time. Investors keep buying whenever they see a drop because they “know” it’ll recover pretty quickly. The question is what will happen that one time in the future where the recovery takes a few years. I’m not complaining about rising prices but as a long term investors I’m always looking forward.

It’s nice to see these rising totals each month but the cynical part of me knows that it can’t last. Since I’m in it for the long run, I’m not overly concerned nor am I making any specific moves. I’ll continue to stick with my asset allocation, contribute monthly and buy things that my asset allocation tells me to buy. If we see a recession, I’ll do the same. Until then, I’ll enjoy seeing the numbers grow on paper.

Market returns will very likely propel me beyond the new milestone but contributions play a big part as well. My bonus was paid out in February and my 401k contribution for that paycheck was bumped to 50% meaning a big boost in money flowing into the market for this month. Combine that inflow with rising stock prices and baby, you got a stew going. Let’s check if that stew bubbled up to 500k this month.

As a reminder, my portfolio was at $482,642.91 last month. Continue reading “Portfolio Review – March 2018 – The Half Million Dollar Portfolio”

Tidbits: eating all of the fat on the keto diet

Tidbits: eating all of the fat on the keto diet

What is The Keto Diet 

Let’s talk about the keto diet guys!

Why? Just because I’m giving it a full out try again for various reasons which I’ll delve into later. I’m a big fan of nutrition and food. In fact, it’s my second passion behind finance so I’ll talk about it from time to time.

The plan is to have tidbits be my series of off-topic posts. If you’re here for the finance talk you can always ignore these!

What is the keto diet?

In simple terms, it’s a diet that avoids carbs. On the ketogenic diet, a person aims to stay under 20 carbs a day. In order to do that, a diet change must occur to replace carb laden foods with other things. Note that the 20 carbs is net carbs so it doesn’t include dietary fiber as your body doesn’t digest that.

That means instead of cereal, you’re starting your day with a nice bite of this.

Continue reading “Tidbits: eating all of the fat on the keto diet”

Time in the market dividend review – February 2018 – bond yields aren’t terrible now?

Bond yields have continued their rapid ascent to start year. This isn’t a great thing for current bond holders especially if you’re in long term bonds. However, it does mean that bonds are starting to look more attractive to future investors. Luckily, I’m a combination of the two. I have a small allocation to bonds right now and will  buy more in the future. It’s not great to see bond values drop but I don’t mind the higher yield.

There’s an inverse relationship between bond yields and bond price and that has certainly shown itself in recent months. My largest bond holding, the Vanguard total bond index has fallen nearly 2% YTD due to rising interest rates. Bond funds with higher duration have fallen even more. Most of my bond holdings are short to intermediate since I don’t view them as a vehicle for appreciation but one for safety and diversification. My bond allocation is low right now and I have no plans to change it in the near term. As always, I may certainly revisit that if bonds become more attractive again in light of rising rates or if I want to adjust my risk profile.

February is generally a light month for me and this year is no different. The bonus of  rising bond yields is a potential to grow that. That’s due to the fact that I can now buy bonds at a lower price and a higher yield. Recently, my bond allocation has gotten above target with the stock market turbulence. That means purchases of bonds have stopped but I’m sure I’ll return to purchasing bonds again soon.

My dividend employee Steve usually takes it easy in the first two months of the year as he prepares for March. March is a big month for me as a lot of my mutual funds and individual holdings pay out then. I started the year with a low total with $80.14 in dividends in January but it was still a 44% over the previous year. That’s not a bad start in my mind.

Last year’s February came in at $79.60 and was made up of bond dividends and the payout from Apple. I only hold 50 shares of Apple but likely own a lot more overall due to it’s immense presence in every mutual fund and ETF known to man.

Apple has since raised it’s dividend by 10% and my bond holdings have grown in tandem with my portfolio. That means February should see a decent lift this year so let’s take a look.

February Dividends

bond yield dividends Continue reading “Time in the market dividend review – February 2018 – bond yields aren’t terrible now?”