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Sunday, July 22, 2007

 

Pleasant Summer Days' Musings

Sorry, but the next investment post will require some preparation, since I'll be relating the DELL tale and other stories, as well as answering readers' questions on "the formula" pouring in via e-mail. So this time we'll talk about the usual investments and pop culture, a welcome break for those readers not particularly oriented to the world of finance.

In that regard, I must convey my admiration for Ms Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Not only has she sustained the interest of the world's readers (of all ages) through seven fairly long novels of fantasy, she has managed to engage even those like me who have not read her books in the outcome of this fantasy. The early reviews of the finale in the series are about enough to make me wonder if I shouldn't do a fast catch - up. Anyway, she has ended the series on an appropriately high note and I suspect the world will hear much more from her in the future.

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Today being one of those too few, yet wonderful days on the Eastern Seaboard when it was warm and dry, but not hot, I got to sit outside for a few late afternoon, early evening hours with the stereo blaring and vodka martinis and newspapers at the ready. (Yes, I missed a wonderful come-from-behind Mets win - who'd a thunk it?) One of the albums I ran through (again) was my Louis Prima collection, sort of getting me in the mood for this coming week's Feast of St. Rocco. It reminded me again, amidst the fun of the wild and crazy Prima Vegas nonsense, of the great talent of his one-time spouse, the still working Keely Smith. She just had this pure tone, always in tune and swinging, despite her deadpan personna which was part of the act, of course. What a shame to have been too young to have seen them work together in person.

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Nice story in the weekend Journal about Elizabeth Edwards on the campaign trail despite her critical illness. Too bad the liberal media seems incapable of producing anything similarly sympathetic concerning someone attached to a Republican campaign. Sorry. Just my paranoia showing, I guess.

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Hillary is taking a beating for almost everything she says, and for everything she doesn't say about Iraq, and most of the criticism is coming from her left. Of course, it makes you wonder who those folks want to see as their nominee. For all the talk about the assumption that the Dems will take over the White House in 2008, can you think of anyone in that party other than Hillary who could expect to beat any of the three leading GOP candidates (or even Fred Thompson)? Other than the dark horse I have continually promoted, Bill Richardson, I don't think either Obama, Edwards or any of the other minor candidates would be a favorite in the general election. Hillary, borrowing from Bill's playbook (which she probably wrote), defies the conventional wisdom by refusing to move left for the primaries, keeping her eye on the general election, assuming she will be the nominee. This is her only path to victory and she understands that. She also understands that some credibility on the war will be a requirement for the next President. This is a woman who should never be under estimated.

So in the end, the Moveon.org crowd will still fall in line behind Hillary, and she knows it. If there are enough upsets in the primaries to allow Richardson to emerge as a compromise candidate, you might be able to criticise Hillary's strategy. Otherwise, it's her nomination to lose and she is doing the right thing to position herself in the middle to give herself the best chance in the general. If she is the nominee, I predict another election night cliffhanger vs Guiliani.

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The market had its ups and downs last week, but the formula did its normal thing. On Thursday, I bought 200 more shares of Peoples United Financial (PBCT) for my IRA at 17.51. Then on Friday, I sold 100 shares of Shaw Group (SGR) at 60.02. It was just a month ago I sold 100 at 45 and change so this stock has really been moving. This is why the formula was set up to sell in increments ( just like we buy in increments). I thought I got a great price in June, but you just don't know what's going to happen next, and if you think you do, you are kidding yourself. What I do know is that we bought this stock for 10.90 on 9/13/04, and we'll take a 450% gain in 3 years every time.


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