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Thursday, May 20, 1999

My First Double

by sondereg@systech.sri.com

Well, it finally happened. After literally weeks of waiting and sweating, I had my first stock double. I started investing for myself quite recently -- the 26th of February to be exact -- with a juiced RP4. Then I started hunting around for stocks in companies I believed in that might not be on the Dow. One of the stocks I picked was DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK), which I liked because of its aggressive expansion, laudable market position, and profitable business. So on March 11th I plunked down my cash and picked up a few shares.

For the first week, I hovered over the stock (and indeed all my stocks) checking it's ups and downs at least thrice daily. I would cackle at every point gained and sigh at every point lost. It was fun. Tons of fun. I know now why people like to day trade. It's fun to watch the stock go up and down and guess wildly at where it might be two hours from now.

But I held on through swings up and down, until a project at work went into overdrive and I didn't have time to really pay attention to the stock.

So the other day I thought I would check up on my investments. DoubleClick had doubled. More than doubled. It was up nearly 130%! The little impish day-trader part of my soul started screaming "SELL SELL SELL! This must be post-split hype!" How seductive that siren song can be! It was a giddy feeling to think I had doubled my money in less than a month! I was hoping for returns like that in years, not weeks. I logged onto E*Trade and greedily grabbed up-to-the-second quotes. I was salivating like Pavlov's dog in the cathedral bell tower on Christmas Eve.

Then I calmed down and looked at my over all portfolio, which was up 20% and change, and pistol whipped that little day-trading imp back into his corner. "Only sell when you think your money is better off somewhere else," I lectured him sternly. "A big gain short-term is not a cashing out place if the stock is worth owning in the first place." He didn't look very chastised to me, but his type never seem to learn.

As individual investors, we have no helpful sailors to lash us to masts when the going gets treacherous, and I learned that I must always be careful to not rationalize my way into selling something because it's "too good to be true." I still think DoubleClick is doing a fine job, and so I will continue to hang onto my stock.


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