Post of the Day
October 12, 2000

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Rat's Broadband Bandwagon

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Subject:  BB test...
Author:  BruceBrown

Okay, Albert and Otter are goofing with me.

"The sky is blue!" -- Bruce Brown

There, it's done.

Can I stop there? No way.

Not only is the sky blue today here in Wien, but the colors of the leaves are beautiful as they glisten in the sunlight. The wife has returned from the US and the family routine is back on schedule. One of those silly remote control cars was packed in the suitcase as a gift for my son, so now I'm having to sit with my feet up to avoid ankle pain.

I understand the fascination of focus on the broader index in terms of where is it going, where has it been, what's it doing today, what is the sentiment, oil, energy, Euro, highs, lows, gaps, supply, demand, volume, interest rates, bears, bulls, taxes, capital preservation, capital expansion, stages, basing, etc... .

It reminds me of an overly analytical golf player. Too often I want to grab that player by the shoulders and say 'get out of the way of yourself and just hit the stupid ball'. Now, that may seem simplistic and leaves me open to much justified challenge, but in essence what we are trying to do when we build an investment portfolio is to just hit the stupid ball. We've learned or should be learning what kind of a 'swing' we need to hit the ball or find the right investments at or near the right time. There are many methods and tools available to teach that swing that end up more or less allowing us to hit the ball and advance it to the hole. Each round of golf. Each hole. Each stroke. Each weather condition. Each player. Each match.

We've entered my favorite time of year as the earnings report cards roll in so that we can study how our 'shots' are flying. It's amazing today, as compared to a few years ago, that we can tap right in and listen to each live conference call with company management and hear their reports as well as the analysts questions about the state of the business. No concerns about the stock price, the index - just talk about the company and their business. In the end, that's what it's all about. We've invested in their business and are shareholders in the company. Either we're comfortable with our decision or we're not. I enjoy getting out of the way and letting them hit the stupid ball. However, the quarterly check ups give us a nice view of the 'swing' and can go a long way to contributing to our comfort level or discomfort level. Just as weather, golf course, mood, and other factors might weigh on our performance during 18 holes of golf - it's not the entire game. Sure, we could focus on one day, one week, one month, one quarter, one year? The company goes on in spite of all the conditions surrounding it. That's an amazing piece of data I saw posted on this board that only 15% of equities are held for a year or more while 85% of them are churned. Good grief! It reminds me of how often many golfers try to change their swing in mid round let alone mid season. How the heck can you hit the ball doing that and paying Uncle Sam his due?

Obviously, my strategy is the LTB&H of the best possible 'club swinging' companies I can find. That's not at all to push my strategy on anyone else, believe me. I will continue to make that disclaimer as it frequently gets challenged. There are many strategies available that take one to the end goal and I admire those that can execute their strategies well. I guess I could say that I am happy to be one of those in the 15% category of holding investments for more than one year. Others would find flaw in that enjoyment and rightly so. Two of my investments reported they were swinging the club quite well last night during the past quarter. Quite well indeed. Who am I to step in the way and prevent them from hitting the stupid ball going forward? As all the companies report and I listen to the CC's, review the balance sheets and income statements to see how the overall market place conditions are for each company and as a group, I can look forward to the next 18 holes they are set to play.


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