Diary of a Stock Market Loser

I'm not impressed with myself.

This past week, I closed at my highest rating in the Motley Fool CAPS community stock-picking experience in months. But I'm still way behind most of you.

Even though my rating of 5.47 is the best score I've had since I started chronicling my performance nearly four months ago, that still means I lag nearly 95% of my fellow players.

Sure, things are better than when I was behind more than 99% of you a couple of weeks ago. But I still have a long way to go before I'll feel respectable.

These are my ratings over the past few weeks:

As I have done every week in this column, I'll go over some of my recent picks and pans.

Making moves and taking names
I made five new bullish calls, three of them as near-term plays on stocks reporting quarterly earnings this week. The first one is SINA (Nasdaq: SINA  ) . After watching most of the Chinese Internet stocks blow past Wall Street's profit expectations, I have little reason to believe that SINA won't do the same.

I also am initiating a bullish call on GigaMedia (Nasdaq: GIGM  ) . Despite the stateside crackdown on online gambling, GigaMedia is growing quickly in a world where markets are truly emerging.

Jack in the Box (NYSE: JBX  ) is my third earnings play. I like what I've seen out of the burger chains that have already reported this quarter, and Jack in the Box should come through even better than others, because its Qdoba chain is healthier and growing more quickly than its namesake burger joints.

My other two bullish picks are unlikely to be popular. Circuit City (NYSE: CC  ) and Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) have been battered, despite recent gains. However, Circuit City has agreed to open up its books, a move that improves the odds that at least one bidder will come through with an offer in the range of $6 to $8 per share. The old Circuit City was too cocky for its own good and kept turning down suitors. However, that Circuit City was in ascent. Today's Circuit City is slipping in the consumer-electronics-superstore space, and it has every reason to entertain exit strategies that enhance shareholder value.

Things can only get better
I also did quite a bit of pruning this week. I cut ties with my bearish calls on Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) , for starters.

That doesn't mean I'm sold on either company. I still see way too much cutthroat competition in both the GPS and online-marketplace realms. I just didn't want to seem greedy after scoring healthy trades in both stocks. I've also been trying to improve my accuracy rating in CAPS, and cashing out on small winners seems like a right approach for achieving that goal.

I probably won't jump on either one as a bullish call this week. I own a Garmin device, and I'm a huge fan of eBay's PayPal site, but I'm still not comfortable with either stock's valuation, given the potential for rocky fundamentals over the next few quarters.

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 to give Motley Fool CAPS a shot. The moment you start, you'll be way ahead of me. But that doesn't mean I'll stop fighting just because there's yet another person with a lead on me in CAPS.  

No, I'm not going to rest until my rating grows respectable. See you at CAPS!


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