Friday, July 25, 2008

Game Day at Shea

Went to the Mets vs. Cardinals game tonight, with the Amazin's coming out victorious of course. Of course it's the last season at Shea stadium (and at Yankee Stadium incidentally) and its a bit sad to see them tear down the stadium. Citi field looms in the background of Shea and beckons a new era for the Mets.

Its sad to see that sports are so often referred to as a business. Whatever happened to "for the love of the game?" Undoubtedly the new stadium will offer less seating and more luxury suites for those who can pay. That means more revenue for the team, but less accessibility for average fans.

What happens if the economy doesn't rebound in the coming years? Less luxury purchasers? Companies cutting back on client outings. Ill timed I suppose. Also how is Citibank feeling about paying all those millions for the naming rights to the new Mets stadium? After all the pain its been going through, wonder if the person responsible for that decision got the ax.

S'all for now.

One Love,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Financial Crisis: The Broken American Dream

It's been quite some time since my last post and much has transpired. The housing market in the U.S. has collapsed with Countrywide Bank being bought by Bank of America, BearStearns the fifth-largest investment bank collapsed and was absorbed by J.P. Morgan, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae have tumbled as a result of the housing debacle forcing government guarantees, IndyMac was taken over by the FDIC, Lehman Brothers is facing the way of BearStearns, S&L's like WaMu and Wachovia have had their balance sheets come into question. So where does this leave little investors like us?

They say don't panic. Easier said than done. Since the turmoil began last August, my portfolio has seen double-digit percentage declines and the bleeding has still not stopped. Following the "buy low, sell high" adage, I've bolstered these falling positions by purchasing additional shares. While I'm getting these shares at a "discount" this strategy will only bear fruit if a rebound occurs. So since I'm young I'm holding my breathe and blindly sticking to my guns. That's not to say I'm totally exposed to the market. I still have a considerable cash balance and just recently invested in a bond fund to diversify away from my stock exposure. Jumping ship and selling shares seems like the wrong thing to do. Interest rates are at all time lows so there leaves growth possibilities very low. I guess the only thing it would do is to stop the losses. This may be good for someone at/near retirement, but my time horizon is too long to have my money just sit and do nothing. No risk, no reward right?

So what happens if a rebound doesn't occur and we enter a prolonged bear market recession? Well the buy & hold strategies, the dollar cost-averaging and the long term views will end up destroying my retirement plan. No social security to count on, a fledgling 401k. What's a boy to do? Time will tell. I'll suck it up until I can take it no longer and decide what my next plan of action is.

So for those rate chasers, a mini-update. IndyMac failed so I wouldn't recommend pouring cash there (seeing that it might be a process to get it back), but here's the latest rates:
  • HSBC - 3.5%
  • WaMu - 3.3%
  • ING Direct - 3.0%
  • EmigrantDirect - 2.75%
  • Citi - 2.65%

Good luck investors!

One Love,