That is where I am, after what is now a 21-week quest to climb out. I'm using Motley Fool CAPS, the community-based stock market simulation, where my bullish and bearish calls are stacked up against those of my fellow Fools for mutual enlightenment.
After a few weeks of gradual gains, my rating has slid down, down in each of the past two weeks. My current rating of 1.53 is not pretty -- only 1.53% of my fellow players are doing worse than I am. Put another way, 98.47% of you are beating me silly with your superior stock picks.
Here's how my ratings have clocked in over the past six weeks:
As I have every week, let's go over some of my recent picks and pans.
Making moves and taking names
I made four new market calls this week. All four companies report earnings next week, and I'm betting on better-than-expected results out of them.
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) has been under pressure lately, but the consumer electronics superstore chain isn't going away. Opportunistically speaking, most of its competitors have fared worse. Circuit City (NYSE: CC ) is doing the dog paddle in a penny-stock wading pool, while other tech retailers like Tweeter and Sharper Image have filed for bankruptcy. All this will give Best Buy a more attractive position after more of its weaker rivals fold.
Publishing software behemoth Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE ) is stepping up for its quarterly close-up. There'll be no need to Photoshop the results. Adobe has a great track record of beating the market, something it has done in all but one quarter in the past six years.
I also pegged Titan Machinery (Nasdaq: TITN ) to beat the market in the near term. The stock is already one of the hottest IPOs over the past year. A dealer of agricultural equipment is a good place to be when food shortages and higher harvest prices are bringing out the inner farmer in all of us.
But Winnebago is one of the few profitable players here, perfectly positioned for the eventual recovery. If the turnaround doesn't come quickly, smaller competitors are unlikely to make it, giving Winnebago a thicker slice of the market. Next week's report won't be pretty, but the stock has already taken such a beating that even mediocre news will be a big win.
Things can only get better
I did a little pruning too. I ended my bearish call on ParkerVision (Nasdaq: PRKR ) . It was killing me. No revenue, mounting losses, and questionable technology? How can I go wrong betting against that?
Well, apparently it has gone badly for the shorts. I am still skeptical about the company's prospects, but after seeing the stock climb 53% higher since I singled it out as a dud several months ago, I'm off to lick my wounds. I'll probably be back on the short end, especially since last month's quarterly report wasn't all that inspiring. I just hope I don't get burned twice.
I also ended a bullish call on Gaiam (Nasdaq: GAIA ) . That one didn't play out well either. The fitness media giant tanked after spinning off its residential solar installation arm to a lukewarm market response. Fiscal quicksand isn't all that tasty, I tell you.
What will I do next? You're welcome to follow me on my CAPS page to see, 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 I won't stop the struggle just because one more person is ahead of me.
I won't rest until my rating grows respectable. See you there!