Friday, September 30, 2005

Science - Top 20 Employers

Science has just released their rankings of the top 20 employers in the biotech / pharma industry. Once again, Genentech ranks as #1 - not a big surprise. Check out the survey: click here. Notice the trend? Good employers = good stock performance.

I still like the biotech sector. This sector should produce solid good Q3 numbers. I still have positions in the following: Amgen, Biogen, Genentech and Genzyme. Biogen has been the disappointing one in terms of performance. They are planning to resubmit Tysabri for FDA approval, so it will interesting to see how that one plays out. I'm still looking to add to Amgen and Genentech on any pull back. In the mean time, I'll just sit back and wait for the Q3 numbers...

Friday, September 23, 2005

No Allocation for Global Cash Access Holdings

I wasn't able to get my hands on any ipo shares of Global Cash Access Holdings. This often happens with a well received offering. This is the start of the ipo season, from now to the end of the year, there's going to be a flood of new offerings. I just need to keep my eyes and ears open for the good deals.

On a different note, I found out my FICO credit score and it was a healthy 802. So credit wise, they think I'm good for it.

Edit: I just noticed that Global Cash Access Holdings(GCA)is trading at $14.77. Up only 5.5% from the offering price. Not bad, but I was expecting a much larger increase. Oh well, doesn't look like I missed much...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Global Cash Access Holdings ipo

I usually avoid ipo's because it's simply risky. Earlier this week, I placed an order for some ipo shares of Global Cash Access Holdings (GCA). The expected pricing range was $12-14 and tonight the shares were priced at $14, the high end of the range. That's a good sign. I won't know until tomorrow morning if I was allocated any shares. Hopefully I'll receive a small allocation, but not all that I requested. In a well received deal, you'll only receive a small fraction of the total shares requested. For example if you place a conditional offer for 500 shares, they may give you only 100 shares. If you receive the entire allocation of the shares requested then you're in big trouble. Sell right at the open. That's a sign of weak demand. So be careful with ipo's. Here's one of my favorite sites for ipo research, IPO Home, click here.

With all this pessimism brewing out there, I'm actually starting to get a bit more bullish. We'll see...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sold Apple

I decided to take my profits in Apple today. Overall I made a 10% gain over a one month period. The chart of Apple still looks great, but I had to play it safe with the potential condo down payment. So how do I play it safe with this cash? I'm going to try to get my hands on some Global Cash Access Holdings; it's an ipo scheduled to debut this week. All ipo's are risky, but I checked out the prospectus and it's a very profitable company. They basically transact cash for gamblers. Looks like this one has some potential for a little pop. Really, this is a very risky strategy on my part.

The market hates uncertainty and that's pretty much why the market sold off today. You had the German elections, another hurricane brewing and the Fed. Check out the stocks that went up today, those are the leaders. For example, Amgen still has a long way to go on the upside.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Still Waiting...

Yes, I'm still waiting for the condo docs. In the mean time, I've been playing with some numbers. It's definitely going to be a tight. Looks like I'm going to have to reduce my 401k and / or ESPP contribution in order to make the mortgage payments. I'm still playing with different scenarios, i.e. larger down payment, etc...

Here's a useful calculator. It shows you the difference between renting and owning based on various assumptions.
Click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My 401k Update

Well, here's a break down of my 401k holdings. I contribute 18% of my salary to the 401k plan. I've been contributing to this 401k for almost eight years. Yeah, eight years is a long time at a company. I like to weight my holdings towards the mid and small cap funds. The fund options are ok, but it could be better. I'm hoping the company will provide the Roth 401k next year, I certainly will take advantage of it. So max out your 401k if possible, it hurts in the beginning, but after awhile you don't even notice.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Trouble in Invitrogen?

The recent sell off in Invitrogen (IVGN) has worried me a bit. Stocks selling off hard with no news and an up market is usually a bad sign. I purchased this stock in 1999 when it came public. My cost basis is around $12 so I've done ok with it over the years. I did sell some in my IRA, but I still have a bit in my non retirement account. Hopefully it will find support around $75 (its 200 day moving average). I'm not doing anything yet, but keeping a very close eye on it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cash Poor

My cash position is very small at this point. I will need cash for a potential down payment for a condo and to help my parents renovate one of their apartments. This will amount to ~$60,000 within a month, so now the difficult decision... What do I sell? Do I sell now? I've looked at a margin loan, but the rate they quoted me was around 8% so that's out of the question. Fortunately, I've done fairly well with my individual stock holdings so I can cash in some stocks, but which ones? I still have a big holding in the company stock (through the ESPP plan) so this would be a good opportunity for me to diversify a bit. Exercising some stock options is another possibility. I'm still waiting for the condo docs so I don't want to raise cash for the condo portion just yet. Now I just have to wait for the pieces to quickly fall into place. I'm hoping they all fit...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Apple Gadgets

The condo decision has been a big distraction. I haven't been able to keep a close eye on my portfolio. I did check out the new toys from Apple. I'm not too crazy about the phone, but the iPod nano is gorgeous! It's going to sell like crazy... Looks great and priced just right!

The chart of Apple looks great as well. It continues to advance in a down market. That's always a good sign! Note: I have a small position in Apple.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Condo Flip Flop

Over the weekend I decided not to go for the condo. I was basically talked out of it by some friends and relatives. So I called today to get my $2,500 deposit back. The sales manager told me that it was not a problem. I knew demand was very strong since 60 units were reserved in the first week alone and this is only phase 1. She told me to really think about it some more since I still haven't received the condo docs. I have ten days to decide after receiving the condo docs. I was surprised to find out that comparable units have already increased in value. The unit I reserved was priced at $369,000 and now comparable units with a slightly less ideal location are being priced at ~ $450,000 due to the strong demand. That's a ~20% increase in value. Now with the price appreciation, everything changes.

Friday, September 02, 2005

No Condo Decision Yet

Today, I called the sales office to inquire about the condo docs. Once I receive the condo docs, I have 10 days to decide. They plan to mail the docs out sometime next week. Apparently, the demand for these condos have been very strong. It's only been a week and they already have reservations for about 60 units. These are phase I preconstruction units. The condo unit I reserved is a duplex unit occupying the first and second floor - it's about 860 sq Ft.. A lot of people have reservations about a first floor unit. I don't mind, it's less expensive than the upper units and it's a duplex. I do have reservations about the condo fees, it's going to be around $400 a month. A bit steep, but that's the going rate for the area. We'll see...