Mr. Sensitive

August 30, 2010

Family Stock Index Change

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 12:17

As I mentioned in my 8/27 FSX update, Rubio’s Restaurants was taken private last week, and so as of last Friday’s close the Family Stock Index said goodbye to RUBO.  My decision to represent Mario the Elder and Ruby with a single stock was made when the FSX was first constituted back in April, and I had three reasons at the time for doing so:

  1. I wanted to fix the number of stocks in the index at 20
  2. I had only one parental component from my side of the family in the index (Mom) and I thought one from Katie’s side would be appropriate
  3. Katie thought RUBO was funny and they’re her parents

All perfectly good reasons at the time, and all invalid now.  Mom wiped out reasons #1 and #2 by herself, and now last week’s delisting has deprived us of RUBO.  Since I didn’t have a reason to keep them together, I decided to split Mario and Ruby.  It took some time to come up with suitable replacements, but I’ve found two stocks that satisfy the ingrown sensibilities on which I base these things.  If it doesn’t work out I’ll just fix it when I rebalance at the end of next month.

Ruby will be represented by Rubicon Minerals Corp., selected because its ticker symbol is RBY.  Rubicon is a gold exploration and mining concern and thus gives us some appealing exposure to the minerals sector.  RBY is being added at its 8/27 closing price of $4.27, nearer to the high end of its 52-week range of $5.24 to $2.91.  There are 213 million shares outstanding, which translates to a market cap just above $900 million.

Mario the Elder will be represented by Pep Boys, the purveyor of auto parts.  Despite its relative prominence, the company’s market value is under $500 million and thus solidly in the middle of the pack for the FSX.  My thinking on this one is more of the ingrown variety.  Try to keep up:

  • My girls have traditionally called their lone grandfather by a nickname I would transliterate as Pee-Pah, although a spontaneous transition to the more staid Grandpa seems well underway.
  • Trivial Pursuit for the Wii limits player names to four characters and Mario used Pepa when he played with us.  Reagan thus started calling him Pepa from time to time (pronounced like pepper with an -a instead of an -er) because that’s the sort of thing she does.
  • Katie says her dad is peppy.
  • He’s something of a car person (less of a car parts person, but I’ve got a deadline here , so let’s not nit-pick).
  • The ticker symbol for Pep Boys is PBY.  This sealed it for me because I had decided to use RBY for Ruby and I jump on weird resonance whenever it presents itself.

PBY will be added to the FSX at its 8/27 closing price of $9.37, which when applied to its 52.5 million shares outstanding yields a market cap of $492 million.

Because it represented two people, RUBO had been given extra weight at the 6/30 rebalancing, and so I was able to reallocate its contribution to RBY and PBY without adjusting the weight for the other components.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t, just that I didn’t.  Now we’ve got a month left in the quarter to see whether cars and gold work out better than restaurants.  I’d like at least a month with no more changes.

August 27, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:21

I don’t like it.  The financial markets rallied Friday when Fed Chairman Bernanke pledged to inflate the bejeezus out of everything in order to stimulate the U.S. economy and (implicitly) fight the threat of deflation, the boogeyman de jour.  I don’t like it.  I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.  The way you correct structural imbalances in an economic system–in any system–is not to push said system into an even more precarious state of imbalance.  There are enormous global trade, exchange rate, and interest rate deformities that must eventually be addressed and all Bernanke is telling us is that he’d rather do it later than sooner, even if that delay allows the problem to worsen.  Multinational companies are able to manufacture all the world’s goods in China and East Asia at artificially low cost and sell those products to jobless consumers in the West for a short-term risk-free profit, and all of it is subsidized by unprecedented debt-currency collusion between the governments of the U.S. and China.  It can’t go on forever.  U.S. debt will reach an unsustainable level (adding another $1 trillion plus this year alone), at which point a default or devaluation (just as bad for China) will occur, Chinese exports will be slammed, the Chinese economy will grind to a halt (the U.S. is already there), and political unrest will follow.  Everyone knows it can’t go on forever, but nobody wants to be the first to get off the ride.  It’s the housing bubble of 2004-2006 all over again.  I hate people.  So what happened today, make no mistake, may be be good for traders, but it is NOT good for investors.  None of this is.  In the meantime, savings bonds will be paying more than 10-year Treasuries before we know it.  Until they don’t pay at all.  My long-term investment advice: run.

The Family Stock Index rebounded with the broader market on Friday, and with a closing level of 913.67, finished less than two points to the downside on the week.  This came as a great relief after the FSX made a new historic low of 883.88 on Wednesday (that only covers the four months or so since inception, but still).  Just out of curiosity, I went back to March 2009, which happened to be an all-time personal low for me as well as a 13-year low for the market.  Based on current weights, the FSX would have bottomed out at around 550 then, so the tough times of late aren’t so bad in that context.  Of course, when I compare that to the level the FSX would have reached at the market peak in Fall 2007 (2200!), I’m left feeling more than a little daunted.  We closed above 900 this week, and we very nearly didn’t, so I’ll content myself with that for now.

The big news for the index itself is that RUBO went private this week.  I really liked that ticker, and now I’m going to have to find new representatives for Mario the Elder and Ruby.  I always try to be positive, but Jenny and Reagan are assisting in the search, so insults may ensue.


  • Charlotte (BOOT) +12.1% (Charlotte rebounded hard yesterday and today on heavy volume.  Maybe life in Chicago won’t be so bad after all.)
  • Nicole B. (NI) +5.9% (A new 52-high for Nicole in the midst of a struggling market.  Greek Fire, indeed.)
  • Jenny (LEN) 5.5% (Interesting that housing stocks like LEN would rally when the declines in home sales were what triggered the sell-off early in the week.  Jenny loves school, though, so who cares that nobody wants to buy a house?)
  • LEE +5.1% (Slammed early in the week–down 9% at one point–I held at $2 and bounced.  Plan Vier is on schedule and the stairs have been beaten into submission, so I was due a break from the relentless decline in my stock.)


  • Justin (WOLF) -4.3% (Justin has volunteered to pimp me to the publishing world once more, so he’s about to get a face-full of the shame and failure that entails.)
  • LULU -6.9% (It’s hot again, and she’s fat still.)
  • ZERO -11.8% (Zero and I have been neck-and-neck in the race to see who can suck it up worse in 2010, and he pulls back in front with this week’s performance.  I’m all for self-actualization, but reaching for a price that matches his ticker symbol would be taking it too far.)

Just the facts:


Name 8/27/10 Change
Charlotte $13.54 +1.46
Dustin $40.91 -0.76
Icarus $9.39 -0.28
Jenny $13.47 +0.70
Justin $2.00 -0.09
Katie $10.03 -0.14
Lee $2.28 +0.11
Lisa $8.44 -0.34
Lucas $1.63 -0.06
Lulu $35.53 -2.62
Machis $8.68 -0.01
Marcus $11.24 -0.21
Mario $19.53 +0.05
Marisa $18.22 -0.17
Nicole B. $17.47 +0.97
Nicole L. $55.82 +0.53
Reagan $22.78 -0.15
Wilson $6.19 -0.06
Zero $0.28 -0.04
Zondro $4.92 +0.05

August 20, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:18
Tags: ,

The overall market was solidly lower on the week, with the S&P 500 down by 1.3%.  Corporate profits continue to be strong if unspectacular, but concern about the health of the U.S. economy just grinds away at sentiment.  The disconnect between the welfare of American multinational corporations and the welfare of the American people is growing, and the market seems to believe, as I do, that the imbalance can’t persist forever.  Maybe it will be business as usual in ten years, or maybe not.  But one has to wonder how bad the prospects of ordinary people can become before they start really wondering how it is that the prospects of the companies whose products and services they buy can be so great.  If a Democratic politician ever manages to explain to the American people that benefits benefit them, regulations protect them, and corporations aren’t their friends, strange things could happen.  Yes, people are dumb and they generally don’t know what’s good for them, but you have to throw them a bone every now and then.  Republicans and their corporate masters are really hoarding the bones, and they may come to regret it.   But enough of that for today.  The bottom line is that multinational companies have decided they don’t need prosperity in the U.S. in order to make money, and either the market is slow on the uptake, or it thinks the strategy is wrong.  That’s how I explain the lack of reward from the market for strong profit performance.

The Family Stock Index just stinks, which is why I’m avoiding it.  While the 1.2% decline in the FSX is in line with the broader market, the Friday close of 915.36 is the second-worst in the index’ history.  Breadth was decent, with decliners besting advancers 11-to-9.  I guess it’s all my fault.


  • Lisa (KID) +9.1% (She was like a coiled spring after last quarter.  And school is starting back up, a positive for those of us besieged by kids on summer vacation.)
  • Marcus (MCS) +5.0% (Speaking of school, Marcus will soon be back at work for real.  He’s good at what he does, and the market does reward that sort of thing from time to time, believe it or not.)
  • Wilson (WILC) +4.3% (Classic relief rally.  Wilson was revealed as the secret hall-pee-er this week and I didn’t kill him.)


  • Reagan (REGN) -2.7% and Jenny (LEN) -4.2% (Obviously, they would rather watch documentaries with me that be educated by the State of North Carolina.  Sorry, girls, but it’s the law.)
  • ZERO -9.3% and Charlotte (BOOT) -10.3% (They are such caring people, really.  It’s going pretty well in Chicago, or so I hear, but they knew I was getting beaten up by the market and they didn’t want me to be the worst performer in the FSX for a second straight week.  Thanks for trying, guys.)
  • LEE -10.7% (Back to the levels I plumbed when I was knocked out with the last major gout attack.  Now I’ve got gout and mono, so when you think about it, I should be even lower than I am.  This is the market showing mercy, really.  Yet somehow I’m not grateful.)

What the dollars were:


Name 8/20/10 Change
Charlotte $12.08 -1.38
Dustin $41.67 +0.51
Icarus $9.67 -0.11
Jenny $12.77 -0.56
Justin $2.09 +0.06
Katie $10.17 -0.29
Lee $2.17 -0.26
Lisa $8.78 +0.73
Lucas $1.69 -0.01
Lulu $38.15 +0.27
Machis $8.69 +0.04
Marcus $11.45 +0.55
Mario $19.48 +0.08
Marisa $18.39 -0.28
Nicole B. $16.50 -0.07
Nicole L. $55.29 -0.17
Reagan $22.93 -0.63
Wilson $6.25 +0.26
Zero $0.32 -0.03
Zondro $4.87 +0.01

August 13, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Comic Books,FSX — lbej @ 17:20
Tags: , ,

So that happened.  The economy is headed back into recession, Cisco’s customers are grumpy, and China and Apple maybe aren’t going to have a World’s Finest superhero team-up to save us all.  Stock prices were under attack last week, as if, perhaps, by weird alien creatures.

You know, for example.  The Family Stock Index took a real beating, losing 6.7% to close at 926.85, a performance significantly more dreadful than the 3.8% loss on the S&P.  Unlike last week, the breadth was terrible as well, confirming the downward move, with 19 of 20 components lower.  We’re now back at a one-month low.  I blame myself, or rather, the enemies secretly spritzing my headquarters with microbes.   On to the damage report.


  • Wilson (WILC) +0.7% (Yeah, I don’t know.  He looks a little better in light of all the hall-peeing from the other dog, but not a lot better.  He’d do it too except his pee is neon and I’d catch him.)


  • Katie (CATY) -11.7% (No kisses from me the whole week.  It’s got to be torture.)
  • Marcus (MCS) -12.8% (Not the best week for my bigger little brother.  Bad behavior from his not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife seems to have the perverse effect of invoking for him the times when she hasn’t been as unambiguously despicable, all four of them.  His corporate avatar doesn’t like it.  The market wants MCS to stay the course.  For the record, so do I.)
  • LEE -14.4% (Ten straight days with a fever now–a personal record.  Unfortunately, not the sort of record the market rewards.)

Dots and dollar signs:


Name 8/13/10 Change
Charlotte $13.46 -0.81
Dustin $41.16 -0.45
Icarus $9.78 -0.47
Jenny $13.33 -1.06
Justin $2.03 -0.18
Katie $10.46 -1.38
Lee $2.43 -0.41
Lisa $8.05 -0.71
Lucas $1.70 -0.19
Lulu $37.88 -2.18
Machis $8.65 -0.01
Marcus $10.90 -1.60
Mario $19.40 -0.67
Marisa $18.67 -1.66
Nicole B. $16.57 -0.23
Nicole L. $55.46 -3.01
Reagan $23.56 -1.29
Wilson $5.99 +0.04
Zero $0.35 -0.03
Zondro $4.86 -0.03

August 6, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:15
Tags: ,

The last few days the fever gets down into the 99s midday and I think it’s going to break, and then it doesn’t.  Right now I’m at doesn’t.  I’m not feeling the most insightful, but time is money.  No, wait.  Time is space.

Confused?  It was a confusing week in the market as well.  The S&P 500 finished 1.8% higher, but I didn’t sense much conviction in the week’s action.  To be fair to the market, my thoughts seem to be melting and melting doesn’t help with in-depth analysis.  The Family Stock Index lost ground on the week, down 0.9% to close at 993.62.  This comes after we ended the day on Monday above 1021, so the reversal is particularly stark.  I feel like crap, though, and rumor has it that Zero is sick as well, so maybe we got off lucky.  Advance/decline ratio was 3-to-2, after all, and I take that to mean there could be enough hidden strength to get us back over 1000 next week.


  • Lisa (KID) +5.3% (I said I thought Lisa was oversold last quarter and the market seems to agree with me.  Or maybe the weather was really nice at the beach this week.)
  • Reagan (REGN) +2.7%  (I’m making the children watch Ken Burns’ Civil War series with me this week, and Reagan is two-for-three on falling asleep.  The market likes her strategy.)
  • Marcus (MCS) +2.5%  (Another week, another solid gain.  Up 45% in a month.  Nothing to say that hasn’t been said.)


  • LEE -3.4% (I take this as an endorsement of my future plans, laid out at least in part this week.  Because I feel awful.)
  • Lucas (LEI) -13% (When you’re a kid there’s something ominous about turning the calendar from July to August, because you can see what’s coming.)
  • ZERO -15.7% (Not only is Zero sick, but he’s sick in German.  That’s like the worst kind.)

More numbers:


Name 8/6/10 Change
Charlotte $14.27 -0.41
Dustin $41.61 +0.53
Icarus $10.25 +0.19
Jenny $14.39 -0.38
Justin $2.21 -0.01
Katie $11.84 +0.08
Lee $2.84 -0.10
Lisa $8.76 +0.44
Lucas $1.89 -0.29
Lulu $40.06 -1.42
Machis $8.66 unch
Marcus $12.50 +0.30
Mario $20.07 +0.05
Marisa $20.33 +0.62
Nicole B. $16.80 +0.30
Nicole L. $58.47 +1.31
Reagan $24.85 +0.66
Wilson $5.95 +0.12
Zero $0.38 -0.07
Zondro $4.89 -0.03

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