Monday, October 22, 2007

Financial Update

Well, I’m close to pulling the trigger on my Microsoft stock.  In at under 28.5/share – I was thinking Halo3 would boost it to $32, but with it hovering near 31$ I may take the profit.  I’m also happy to say that with the SP500 having snapped back in a big way, all of the buying I did in August looks smart now.  Of course I hold my index funds long-term, so I won’t be trading those.  Alas, I’m not perfect … my Etrade stock (ETFC) continues to get beat like a drunken sailor.  I thought it was cheap at $15/share and was buying.  Now its hovering at $10.5  -- well I stubbornly continue to believe that its undervalued (despite its disappointing earnings this last quarter and the charge its taking next quarter for exiting the wholesale mortgage business).  I believe a year from now the mortgage mess will be behind it and its forward price earning ratio will reflect its status as a strong growth company driven by its brokerage/diversified financial services offerings.  The latest quarter saw record growth in ETrades customer assets and ultimately Etrade makes a profit proportional to the amount of money people put in their banking/brokerage accounts.  Thus the two key metrics for evaluating Etrade’s long term earnings are 1. total customer assets and 2. the percentage of said assets that Etrade skims as profit (through banking fees, trading commissions, interest spread, etc.).  With strong growth in total assets and no reason to assume smaller profit margin on those assets (after the current credit-market/mortgage debacle subsides) it seems that ETFC has a bright future. 


Also, even though I think the stock will continue to under-perform in the short term (the next 4-6 months) I can’t bring myself to sell at a time when the sentiment for banking is so low … my fundamental trading precept is to sell when investor sentiment is exuberant and buy when sentiment is totally depressed.  So yes, I will be looking to add to my ETFC position.  I will be buying if ETFC sinks below 9.5.


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