Tag Archive: Sell High


Pass the Maalox!

The Dow lost 651 points on Xmas Eve.

The Dow gained a record 1,066 points the day after Christmas.

The Dow lost 611 points Thursday morning only to finish up 260 points in the very same afternoon.

What’s the lesson for retail investors competing in an unfair market?

Don’t go all wobbly over the Dow Jones.

More to the point: Never panic.

And let’s not forget: Don’t morph into Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy when the market gyrates downward.

Just as important, never become a Pollyanna when the markets surge. Stay grounded.

Since October 3, the ever-downward market psychology has resulted in traders selling the rallies as opposed to buying the dips.

Buy Low, Sell High has been redefined … at least for now.

Algos Giveth; Algos Taketh Away

Almost DailyBrett clearly recognizes the Wall Street playing field is not level; it tilts downward to the “institutions,” the Buy-Side and the Sell-Side traders.

Similar to Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) in “Money Ball,” the Charles Schwab retail investor (e.g., me) is competing in an unfair game.

Isn’t the easy solution to simple not invest in Wall Street, stick your money in a bank with pathetic interest rates or maybe even under the mattress?

Having said all of the above, the markets remain the choice investment vehicle for the 54 percent of Americans who constitute the Investor Class. These optimists about America’s future devote discretionary revenues in stocks and stock based mutual funds to pay for retirement, health care, children’s education or that dream vacation.

There is a ton of advice out there about taming the markets – some counsel is sound, other “advice” is dubious.

What is the humble advice from Almost DailyBrett, who has invested in markets for 25 years and who taught Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at two major universities?

There are Bulls. There are Bears. And Pigs Get Slaughtered

 “Know what you own, and know why you own it.” – Investor Peter Lynch

  • Your author believes in building your own mutual fund, instead of always paying a fee for someone else (e.g., Fidelity) to manage your money. And when you do structure your very own mutual fund make sure you know why you own each stock (thank you Peter), and make sure you diversify these holdings (everything can’t be tech).

For example, Almost DailyBrett presently owns Apple, McDonald’s, Nike and Salesforce; just sold Boeing. Two are differing tech stocks, one feeds 1 percent of the world each day, and the swoosh just does it as the leader in athletic apparel.

  • Passive investing is a loser. Building wealth is work. Far too many just purchase mutual funds at work through pensions and 401Ks or IRAs at home and literally forget about them. Really? This is your money. What is being done with your money? What are your returns? Forget passive. Be active.
  • Use or consume the product/service of the companies you own (i.e., Apple iPhones, McDonald’s Big Macs, Nike running shoes …). Understand very clearly how a company makes money. If you can’t comprehend why shares are increasing (e.g., Bitcoin), don’t invest. There is a world of difference between investing and gambling.
  • The harder mental gymnastics is not when to buy, but when to sell. Think of it this way: On Wall Street, there are bulls, there are bears … and pigs get slaughtered. Set upside-and-downside sell targets for your stocks. When they reach these points, ring the register. Sure wish your author always followed his own advice.
  • Accept the algorithms. The big institutions (not you) have pre-programmed servers with instruction algorithms that automatically to the nanosecond buy or sell large blocks of stocks whenever certain market price points are triggered. The game is not fair. Accept it.
  • For the longest time the bulls have been running (e.g., November 2016 – October 2018), and corresponding market psychology has been optimistic (bad news discounted). Since the start of the bear market on October 3, the psychology has dramatically shifted to the negative (good news is irrelevant). If you invest, you will experience both moods.
  • Most of all: Don’t panic. Stay active. Remain calm. Sometimes strategic retreat is necessary. Sell underperformers and convert to liquid. Cash is always king. There will be a bottom. There will be a day to buy low with the hopes of selling high.
  • Know your level of risk. If you can’t accept gaining $10,000 one day, and giving $9,000 back in the next day (a $1,000 gain for those scoring at home), you shouldn’t be investing in markets. Pathetic bank interest rates or under the mattress is right for you.

Yes there will be a day when it is time to buy the dip, while those who try to sell the rally end up losing their … fill in the blank.

“After taking your PR classes for the past three years, I feel confident to go out into the world of PR communications professionals. I will miss your enthusiasm in the classroom every day, and writing your two-page executive memos! I can’t thank you enough.” – Graduating Central Washington University Public Relations Student

“I have learned more from your classes than all the other classes I’ve taken combined, and that’s not just including lessons having to do with school. You taught me to take pride in my work, and to put in the effort to do my best. I honestly do not know if I would be where I am today, or have the future that I see myself having if it weren’t for you.” – Another Graduating Central Washington University Public Relations Student

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Trust me when I say not all student reviews are so positive.

When they are, you treasure each and every one.

Most of all you don’t take them for granted because there is always another opinion.

What we call the “Rule of One.” There is always at least one student, who quite frankly hates your guts and even loathes the very ground you walk on. Sigh.

And then there is the student, who can quote back what you said.

In this world of texting, Snapchatting, mobile devices and old-fashioned laptops, breaking through and instilling even ein bisschen wisdom seems almost miraculous.

A professor can prepare. She or he can spend hours researching. And devote even more time to tinkering with PowerPoints and video. Finally, the time comes to deliver the lecture, coax questions and then ask two key rhetorical questions:

  1. Was anyone listening?
  2. Does anyone care what you have to say?

One of my students provided me with a thank you card with valuable “Kevin Quotes” including a smiley face.graduation2016

Here they are with an Almost DailyBrett commentary under each one. They are offered in the exact order chosen by the student writer:

  • “Buy on rumor; sell on news” Almost DailyBrett: This ubiquitous expression in the late 1990s directly led to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) promulgating Reg. FD (Fair Disclosure). Corporate chieftains could no longer “whisper” meaningful tidbits to favored financial analysts (e.g., Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley) allowing their clients to buy on the whispered rumor and then sell on the actual news.
  • “Your Brand Is In Play 24/7/365” Almost DailyBrett: Donald Trump in particular should pay close attention to this axiom. With instantaneous global communication through a few key strokes, digital communication can advance a personal or corporate with lightning speed, and destroy it just as quick.
  • “Digital Is Eternal” Almost DailyBrett: The complement to your brand being in play 24/7/365 is that all digital communications are permanent, enduring and can be resurrected by hiring managers, plaintiff attorneys and others who can hurt your reputation and/or career.justinesacco
  • “The Long and Short Program” Almost DailyBrett: The Olympics figure skating competition metaphor pertains to 10-K annual report letters and 10-Q quarterly earnings reports respectively. The former has more flexibility, while the latter must give precedence to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and include revenues, gross margin percentage, net income, EPS, cash-on-hand and dividends (if applicable).
  • “Don’t Be a Google Glasshole” Almost DailyBrett: Guess, I really did say that …
  • “Buy Low; Sell High” Almost DailyBrett. Every one of our corporate communications/investor relations classes began with this chant. One must understand profit margins.
  • “Do Not Buy Stock in Enron” Almost DailyBrett: Don’t buy a stock just because it is going up. You need to understand a company’s raison d’ etat before you commit funds. There is a real difference between investing and gambling. Those who gambled on Enron lost everything.
  • “How Does a Company Make Money?” Almost DailyBrett: Bethany McLean of Fortune asked this basic question to Jeffrey Skilling, now imprisoned former Enron president. The Harvard-trained chief executive needed an accountant to answer this most basic of questions. McLean smelled a rat.
  • “Stocks Are Forward-Looking Indicators” Almost DailyBrett: As Wall Street wild man Jim Cramer of CNBC Mad Money fame always states” “I don’t care about a stock’s past, only its future.”edwards1
  • “Tell the Truth, Tell It All, Tell It Fast. Move On” Almost DailyBrett: These 11 words are the crux of effective crisis communications. Disclosure is inevitable. You can manage or be managed. Former presidential candidate John Edwards is the poster child for failing to follow this advice.
  • “Corporate America Needs Better PR” Almost DailyBrett: Amen

Appreciate the nice words. Even more: Thanks for listening and learning.

https://www.snapchat.com/

https://www.sec.gov/answers/regfd.htm

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/the-internet-where-fools-go-to-feel-important/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/the-mother-of-all-weak-arguments/

 

 

Really?

Did you just say that to a hiring manager?

Please tell me you didn’t just say that to a hiring manager?

Do you expect this person/organization will now magically hire you?

Have you ever heard of ROI?

Would you know ROI even if it bit you?

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)?

June is the traditional month for white weddings, skating the Stanley Cup, college-and-university graduations, and oodles of newly minted graduates sending out cover letters, resumes and hopefully preparing for interviews.

people1

Are hundreds, if not thousands, also warming up the tried-and-true: “I really work well with people”? Maybe these folks should take that phrase and $4.00 to Starbucks for a grande mocha with no whip. Or maybe just the $4.00?

If you are pursuing a career in public relations, employee communications, marketing, investor relations etc., wouldn’t working well with people (e.g., target audiences, stakeholders, colleagues) be a minimum prerequisite for any job?

If the hiring manager returned fire, and asked you to provide examples of how you really work well with people, would you be gasping for air?

Maybe you should be approaching this interview in a different, less-predictable way.

Maybe you should put yourself in the shoes of the manager and rhetorically ask: “What’s in it for me?” At that moment, you realize that really working well with people doesn’t pay the bills.

Think of it this way: the hiring manager’s organization has to expend its limited capital to hire you. You offer your precious college degree. That is only your ticket to play the game. And you “really work well with people.”

What else do you bring to the party?

Buy Low, Sell High

The cardinal sin of job candidates heading into interviews is being clueless about how a company or agency makes money.

If an organization is going to spend capital for your salary and benefits, wouldn’t it be a good idea to know where this money comes from?

Almost DailyBrett strongly suggests that job candidates arm themselves with two differentiators:

1.)   Experience above-and-beyond the college degree

2.)   A working knowledge of the organization that is taking the time and effort to interview you and check your background (let’s hope it is a clean background).

Your resume, which can exceed one page if you have the data to support a greater length, should highlight with quantifiable results your work experience, particularly communications-related internships, projects and jobs. Be prepared to discuss your experience (e.g. summer internships with a PR agency), what you accomplished and how you interacted successfully in a team environment. (Isn’t that better than the generic: “I really work well with people”?)

If the hiring manager’s organization is publicly traded or if the hiring manager’s agency represents publicly traded clients, then you have a literal treasure trove of research available to you with just a few clicks on your mobile and laptop device.

incomestatement

After answering questions about your direct experience, can you imagine posing interrogatives to the hiring manager based upon your knowledge of the company’s income statement, balance sheet, CEO annual report letter or the company description in its required 10-K filing to the SEC?

Ditto reading the financial and industry analyst (they are not the same) reports about the company or the clients, represented by an agency.

If a company is going to hire you, wouldn’t it be nice to know that the organization has the means to pay you going forward. Don’t forget the axiom: Last hired, first fired.

“Why do you want to work for us?”

There is a nearly 100 percent chance that you will be asked some variation of the above question.

For some this question is a wicked curve to use a beisboll metaphor. For you, it should be a lazy soft ball ready for you to clobber it.

This “Why do you want to work for us” question is a great opportunity to reveal that you have done your homework. “Reading financial analyst reports this past weekend, I noted that (insert company) name is a market leader in the provision of … How can I use my digital and conventional media skills to support the company’s business strategy?”

All interviews come to a close with the hiring manager asking the applicant if she or he has any questions. And of course you will be ready, particularly with questions that show interest in the opinion of the hiring manager. (People love talking about themselves. It’s human nature).

people

And instead of sneaking in the traditional-causing-the-eyes-to-roll “I really work well with people,” you could instead talk about how you have been a team player and provide specific examples of how you have worked with others in accomplishing great goals.

Every organization needs good people, who work well in team environments, who bring solid experience to the table and who know the difference between revenues and net income (yes, there is a difference).

And they also know what the acronym, ROI, stands for.

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interview-you/qt/working-with-people.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/15/the-20-people-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work/

 

 

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