Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mark's stock report: A whole lotta meh

The last two months were generally not too good for my stocks: Overall, I came out with $9,486.43 of my $10,000, so while my proverbial nest egg isn't gone, it's certainly not getting any bigger. What's most interesting is how they landed at that number -- I hit on two stocks, really missed on one, and had one that looks really bad, but I actually almost broke even on. Here's how my stocks fared, from best to worst:

Cinemark (CNK), 112 shares -- bought at $22.76, currently at $27.20, +19.51%

Easily my best stock. The price has risen quite steadily since I bought it, and it also paid out a 21-cent dividend in the middle of November. The two big positive events were Cinemark's purchase of 32 theaters from Rave Cinemas and strong third-quarter results as a result of growth in Latin America. Neither of those things were part of the reason I bought the stock -- all the strong attendance I expected this fall won't show up in an earnings report for a few months -- but hey, I'll take it.

News Corp. (NWS), 100 shares -- bought at $24.86, currently at $25.22, +1.45%

Modest growth here, but that's fine for me during a volatile time for the market. Their road to get back to my purchase price was pretty rocky, though: First the stock rose after an Australian regulator cleared News Corp.'s attempt to buy out a pay-TV service there, then fell when it was rumored to be interested in buying the LA Times and Chicago Tribune (Wall Street rightly thought that was a bad idea). It reached its lowest point when News Corp. was first rumored to be buying a share of the YES sports network, but jumped up when Rupert Murdoch sold all his nonvoting shares. Things are never boring with ol' Rupe, that's for sure.

Microsoft (MSFT), 84 shares -- bought at $30.18, currently at $26.62, -11.81%

Just bad all around. There was initially some good news about Windows 8's success that helped buoy the stock price for a little while, but traders hated most everything else Microsoft did, including buying a couple of small mobile media firms and especially paying out a dividend. It's still getting some buy recommendations, though, so maybe I was just ahead of the curve?

Fisher Communications (FSCI), 67 shares -- bought at $37.18, currently at $25.11, -32.46%

So this drop is actually really misleading. In actuality, Fisher's stock was steady for almost all of the time of this contest -- its gigantic drop was due almost entirely to a huge $10 dividend it paid out in October. If I actually held stock in the company, I would have received the dividend, but since I am only a mock owner, I don't get the dividend, but instead just get the theoretical stock drop. So this one looks really bad, but if I were really a stockholder, I would have come out just below even.

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