Diary of a Stock Market Loser

Volatility is my friend. We just don't keep in touch the way we used to.

My challenge to claw my way back up in the Motley Fool CAPS community stock-rating experience continues, and this week volatility and I had a blast together.

Here's how my ratings have clocked in over the past few weeks:

Closing out the latest week with a rating of 3.32 may seem like a six-fold improvement from when I started providing weekly updates, but I'm far from impressed. I'm also far from finished. The ratings run on a scale from 0 to 100, so I'm only faring better than just 3.32% of you.

Let's go over some of my recent picks and pans in my modest attempt to get back on track.

Making moves and taking names
I'm feeling good about my picks in recent weeks. Before this morning, nine of my last 10 stock picks had outperformed the market. This includes two of my additions this week, GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) and Great Wolf Resorts (Nasdaq: WOLF  ) .

What do I like about GameStop? What is there not to like? The video game retailer has beaten analyst estimates in each of the past four quarters.

EPS

Estimate

Difference

Q4 2006

$0.82

$0.80

3%

Q1 2007

$0.18

$0.16

13%

Q2 2007

$0.14

$0.09

56%

Q3 2007

$0.33

$0.23

44%

Things have actually gotten pretty ridiculous during its two most recent quarters. That bodes well for the momentum that GameStop is carrying over into next week's earnings report. It also happens to be the company's seasonally strongest period, so some serious analyst trouncing come Tuesday can really make an already attractive valuation that much more drop-dead gorgeous.

Great Wolf Resorts isn't riding the same kind of upbeat wave. It's more of a turnaround situation. The company behind upscale family-friendly lodges -- complete with massive indoor water parks for its overnight guests -- is trading well below its $17 IPO price tag from 2004.

With the shares hitting a fresh all-time low this week, I think the time is right to get back into this former -- thankfully, former -- Rule Breakers recommendation. Some fear that the pricy resorts will suffer as disposable income dries up, but I believe that the allure of a self-contained destination will fare well in an iffy economy where gas prices of more involved treks hit home.

With a favorable merger approval decision due soon, I also decided to bite the bullet and peg XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR  ) -- another of my former Rule Breakers recommendations that the newsletter thankfully bailed on at higher prices -- as a winner again. The long-term outlook for XM is still going to be hazy, but a near-term pop is likely if the deal goes through and synergies start to be realized.

Things can only get better
I also did a little pruning this week. I decided to bail on my outperform pick on Technology Investment Capital (Nasdaq: TICC  ) . It's a compelling company. I even owned it personally through a good chunk of 2007. However, the company's model -- where it lends out money and support to tech-based upstarts -- is highly susceptible in this kind of market climate.

I also bailed on Hollywood Media (Nasdaq: HOLL  ) . The company behind Broadway.com reports earnings next week. It may not be pretty, given the stagehands strike that took place during the quarter, and I probably don't want to stick around for that potential carnage.

I also ended a successful long call on Audible (Nasdaq: ADBL  ) . Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) has all but wrapped up its $11.50 a share buyout, so it's dead money at that price.

What will I do next? You're welcome to follow along on my CAPS page to see how I'm doing even before next week's update.

Another thing you may want to do is give Motley Fool CAPS a shot. The moment you start you'll be way ahead of me. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop fighting.

I'm not going to rest until my rating grows respectable. See you there!


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