Diary of a Stock Market Loser

This is getting embarrassing.

Less than three months ago, with 99.45% of the stock-picking community on Motley Fool CAPS beating me in the market simulation, I decided to chronicle my inevitable climb to the top.

I guess I was too cocky for my own good. After my comeback peaked in Week 8 at 3.32 -- meaning that I was still behind nearly 97% of you -- I hit a new low this week. My rating is down to 0.21. I'm as determined as ever to work my way back up, but this isn't going to be easy.

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

As I have every week, let's go over some of my recent picks and pans.

Making moves and taking names
I made a pair of new calls this week. The first one was picking JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU  ) to beat the market. Hear me out. I'm a big fan of the airline itself. I just haven't warmed up to the stock until now.

I'll tell you what I see. I'm looking at a growing list of airlines in deeper trouble. I see older carriers having to cancel flights because of defects and sloppy maintenance on their older jets. JetBlue is mostly immune to these things.

I'm not sure if the airline sector will ever be a good long-term sector to invest in, but I think JetBlue has what it takes to succeed, and weaker competition will only help in what is a very cutthroat industry.

My other pick was to bet against eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) . The online auction giant reports earnings next week, and I'm braced for the worst.

Why? I'm glad you asked. The company is guiding investors to expect adjusted earnings to grow just 7% to 9% higher this year. Wall Street is looking for first-quarter profits to "inch" 18% higher to $0.39 a share. Assuming that eBay doesn't tweak its guidance, it doesn't look good. Even if eBay meets expectations, the assumption will be that the rest of the year will be far less than 7% to 9%. Yes, eBay has some exciting properties like PayPal, but I see its flagship auction business taking a hit, especially after controversial policy and fee changes that eBay broke in during the period.

Things can only get better
I also did quite a bit of pruning this week. I cut ties with my bullish calls on Kona Grill (Nasdaq: KONA  ) , Ninetowns (Nasdaq: NINE  ) , HouseValues (Nasdaq: SOLD  ) , and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) .

Yes, Google.

I'll probably get back on the Big G bandwagon soon, but I think the shares are vulnerable heading into next week's earnings report. Analysts see earnings climbing 23%. That may be a challenge given third-party statistics pointing to weak online advertising growth. The desperation of its smaller competitors to huddle together doesn't provide a whole lot of confidence. You also have, in Google, a company that doesn't provide guidance and has a habit of hiring at too frenetic a pace. If Google misses its profit target, it will be the first time that it misses estimates in back-to-back quarters.

Google shares are reasonably priced, so I don't expect a complete collapse. I'd just rather sidestep it for a week or two until I see what it's made of.

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 I'm not going to stop fighting just because there's one more person ahead of me.

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


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