The Daily Dose: 11 Wisdoms Gained

What an absurdly grueling week!  I looked up at the trading screen on Throwback Thursday (or #TBT on Twitter) evening and realized I hadn't done that since Monday. During earnings season, if you want to have a high batting average, there has to be careful attention paid to structure and process. To me that equates to less trying to stalk tickers and be a Twitter god, and more grunt work on an earnings call. Between you and me I still can't tell if I am going or coming. However, I will say this much, there were at least 11 wisdoms learned this week...

If you keep doing the same thing, either in investing following a bad call or after missing out on a new job, you will make zero self progress. To grow as a person one has to learn from both triumphs and mistakes. Email box management, do it. Own your box, don't let it own you. Upper income households continue to hold the economy afloat given their appreciating hard currency (homes) and liquid assets that are on a non-stop trek higher. For example, earnings from Under Armour (UA) and VF Corp. (VFC) will stick out favorably compared to anything reported by Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), and mall-based specialty apparel retainers. Carter's (CRI) wins so expect pure dread from Children's Place. October has started slowly for legions of companies that have announced and guided.  A good example to read on is trucker Landstar (LSTR). Where I went wrong on Generac (GNRC) (was negative into print): put too much stock in Briggs & Stratton's (BGG) weak revenues in portable generators and didn't appreciate that it appears to be a Generac share gain story. Also, Generac's direct marketing efforts are changing perception on the need to own a home standby generator. Hershey (HSY) remains the way to play packaged food space, prices are sticking and costs are down.  Coco-Cola (KO) is not the name to play unless you believe an activist will be arriving shortly. I give up trying to understand Amazon (AMZN). The stock does NOT deserve its valuation, bottom line. I am unsure if the quarter announced Thursday evening is the knockout punch for this bubble, but the free cash flow and returns numbers left me disturbed. I said to buy Apple (AAPL) on Oct. 22. Yay, I rule! Thus far, Europe is delivering in line to company plans for the third quarter. Comments on earnings call while not bullish, aren't super negative on the prospects for Europe going into 2014. That said, it remains very difficult to remove costs in Europe. I am not the damn JC Penney Hotline. Do I have a relationship with the company? Yes. Do I have sources? Bet your sweet tushy I do. I don't trade this stock. My company Belus Capital Advisors does not trade the stock, we are a research firm. Our long-term sell rating is just that, a rating that I have carried for more than two years (carried over from my old firm) that is based on my long-term views for the company. I have shared some of the work I have done on the company in these pages consistently. Believe me, if something changes in my thinking I will let it be heard... LOUDLY.
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