It’s Not Yet Time for Stock Spring Cleaning! $WWE $GE $YELP

Gasp!  Guffaw!  Whammy!  No matter what you have in your portfolio, you’ve been the Undertaker to Brock Lesnar this past week $WWE.  You’ve been the Gators to the Huskies.  The Badgers to the Wildcats!  The ocean to Flight 370!  Buffering to HBO GO!  You’ve even had a worst first week than my own fantasy baseball team, Goldschmidt Happens (which accumulated a horrendous 4.96 ERA in Week 1).  You.  Have.  Been. Violated.

So where do we go from here?  Is it 2008 again?  Are we doomed?  What’s the next step?  ARE YOU FREAKING OUT?!

I’m not at the moment and I’m going to tell you why.  Yes, I have lost tens of thousands of dollars in the last three trading days.  Yes, I have an additional amount of sweat upon my bald brow as I open up my portfolio.  Yes, I have made mistakes by buying into dips a little too early before stocks dip more.  But until I see one measure change on my stock market barometer, THIS GUY isn’t going to freak out.  That measure is General Electric $GE.

You can read my past 150+ blogs to see how much I value GE as a Stalwart Beast.  It’s the pulse of America, the pulse of the market, and the closest you can have to a diversified mutual fund in the form of a stock.  So let me present you with how the most loved, the most diversified, the most common traded stocks, and how they have acted over the last month.  Be warned Cash-ists…it ain’t pretty.

Plummet

So yes, growth and risk and tech and almost everything else is bleeding worse than guests at the Red Wedding #GoT.  No bother.  The barometer of the market, General Electric, has only lost a mere 1%.  To me, this shows there was a sell-off and there was fear.  Mr. Main Street was even talking about the stock market, and we can’t have that.  After all, it’s common knowledge amongst us traders that the only time to truly panic is when our elevator boy starts giving us stock tips.  Well, the past month should have rattled enough cages to get rid of those in the market who thought they could just jump in and make money without due diligence.  This isn’t 2008.  This isn’t 2009.  There are opportunities here.

If you scan my past blogs, you’ll see that I encouraged you to up your cash positions a few months ago.  I myself was sitting around 30% cash (up from 20%).  With recent opportunities, I’ve dipped in my toes and nibbled on positions like Salesforce $CRM, Zulily $ZU, and Facebook $FB, which are companies I’ve always wanted, but missed past opportunities.  Granted, I didn’t always buy in the perfect position—but no one can time the market, so when GOOD companies suffer from BAD markets, I see value.  I see opportunity.

Old Cash Bauer never TELLS you what to buy, but lets you know my thoughts and lets you know what I plan to buy.  Yelp $YELP.  Facebook.  Twitter.  And on and on.

When General Electric begins to plummet, so will my heart and my investment strategy.  Until then, I will keep looking for GREAT companies to miss earnings, panic at the market, and other opportunities to buy when everyone else is selling.  This isn’t Spring Cleaning, my friends.  This is fear.  This is sweet, unadulterated fear.  And it’s time to ready your buys.

When I’ll Buy the Banks $WFC $JPM $C $ALLY

We have a place here in Dallas called the King Spa and Sauna.  It’s the largest venue of its type and boasts 9 different exotic Asian-themed saunas.  For instance, one sauna is a pyramid coated in 32 karat gold that helps remove toxins.  One is adorned by salt rocks and one helps tighten the skin at a blustery 35 degrees.  I went inside one that can literally be described as a HELL KILN, as I walked into a room that was 180 degrees and was so hot that I could barely breathe…until I could.

I emerged a new man…a phoenix from the ashes.  Sinuses gone, toxins removed, and a clear head prevailed.  The bad stuff had been removed and I felt reinvigorated after hours without a cell phone, without markets and high-frequency trading, without worrying about Apple $AAPL or Tesla $TSLA.  I mean, what is it about a plus size man being free to walk around semi-nude amongst only Korean-speakers that feels so free?

Sure the place is a little too kitschy for my own good.  I didn’t really let any of my colleagues know I was going.  I mean, at one point, I rested my neck on a wooden head rest as a mine cart of 800-degree stones was brought in on an ancient pulley system.  I mean, I PAID TO DO THIS.  I PAID TO BURN IN A FIERY PIT OF HELL.

In my spiritual Zen, I realized that I’m not currently invested in any banks.  I realized that the big old money makers weren’t making me any money.  Sure, I owned Bank of America $BAC sub-$7 and yes, I bought in Wells Fargo $WFC back when Warren let us know about his stake…but for a long time, I have been out.

Why is that?  Any well-diversified portfolio should definitely have a financial institution in it.  I figured the spotlight would once again be on the sector with the upcoming Ally Financial IPO $ALLY.  So why doesn’t Cash Bauer own banks now and what will it take for him to invest in them?

I drone on a bit, but I’ll buy the banks when I see two things.  Firstly, the minute our maiden Yellen announces that mortgage rates increase, I’ll be running to a computer.  Sure the market will dip on this “awful” news, but she will literally be talking about adding percentages and income to a bank’s bottom line.  This WILL happen, and I’d guess it does before the end of 2014.  I think that I’d be hard-pressed to find a better growth or Stalwart Beast than a bank.

The other thing I want to see is local bank closures.  We don’t need three Chase $JPM branches within three miles of each other.  While each branch offers an opportunity for profit and customer additions, it must also be constantly staffed and paid for.  There are way too many branches within certain areas of town.  ATMs are great—you can deposit and withdraw without paying a human being a salary.  But the costs of maintaining a branch are far too high for such small areas.  These are pre-recession problems that will need to be fixed.

I guarantee that rates will increase before we see closures, and that will be my first dabble.  I’m anti-Jaime Dimon for the whale scandal, but pro Bank of America $BAC for the solid comeback they’ve had, pro-Wells Fargo because Warren Buffett can do no wrong, and I’m anti-Ally because of the government involvement.  Citi $C in my eyes is the new RadioShack $RSH of banks.

Where do you bank?  What are your thoughts?  Who is your mortgage with?  What’s your dividend yield?  Figure out if you agree with my thoughts and then answer those questions.  I’ll patiently be waiting for a change to see when it’s time to invest.

Keep Calm, Keep Buying On $ZU $CRM $PLUG

Oh what a day to see some cracks in the market!  I have been monitoring two of my favorite stocks (Zulily $ZU and Salesforce $CRM) over the course of the last few weeks, and finally, FINALLY bit on them yesterday, buying them at the limit purchases that I felt were worthy and a bargain…a bargain if the market kept moving like it had been.

But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and I’ve lost 4.75% and 3.86% respectively over the course of the last two days.  But I’m a long term player and while I was a little rattled today, I know that these two companies are pristine and will one day make me back those minor losses (even if those extend in the morning).  I don’t know what kind of a trader you are, but I personally beat myself up when I buy into a loss.

Every few moments, I run the numbers to see how much I WOULD have lost or WOULD have gained if I had just been even more patient.  I tell you this because if you’re a newer trader, I need to let you know that this obsession and this frustration never go away.  But unless you’re a time traveler or a psychic, you can never time the market.  You can only study and research and find what entry point works for you.  Again, when Salesforce hits $70 in 6 months, I’ll laugh over these minor losses.  But for now, the red is real.

Many of you who read my blog weren’t around for the 2008 crash and only watched from afar.  But every morning, traders woke up wondering if this was the day things would turn.  Was there any green pre-market?  Was there any hope on the horizon?  And while many bought as stocks slipped down, down, down, there was no guarantee things would ever get better.  Many averaged out their positions only to take even more baths as the price fell even more.  As someone who observed (but didn’t enter) the market until one lucky day, I share some of the frets and worries you might share on days like today.

Stocks show bearish technicals.   Your favorite pundits mention “froth” and “overbought” every other sentence ($PLUG, $FCEL– more like Fuel-SELL, amiright?!).  The IPO market has gone absolutely insane.  What if things keep getting worse and we lose everything?

You’ve thought of that, haven’t you?  By investing in the stock market, you can lose everything you have ever worked for.  Those long shifts, that hard-earned overtime…that money can disappear if you invest in the wrong stock or buy at the wrong time.  That happens.  Fortunes and bankruptcies happen.

I’ve been on the right side of things for so long (as have my fellow traders and advisors) that I feel compelled to remind you that there can be dark times.  Stocks can go to zero and companies can cease to exist.  But to come back to the beginning of the blog, I know that strong companies like Zulily and Salesforce will suffer as the market suffers…but if they’re a strong and dominant company (i.e. the next Amazon $AMZN or the king of the Cloud), they’ll whether the storm.

Have your cash position ready.  Know the list of names you want to own.  The road may be bumpy, but it opens up to a safe and clean pasture (or cash-ture if you will).

As a side note, my 2-year contract with my former company for blogs has ended and not been renewed, therefore I will soon be moving to www.CashBauer.com.  I am grateful for my time with AtTheMoney.com and wish them nothing but the best.

Putin on the Ritz & Making Money During War! $BA $PCLN $AAPL

War?  What is it good for?  BUYING STOCKS AT LOW PRICES!

Sure, you may have not even been born when that actual song came out, but nevertheless, my version is more pertinent for these upcoming days and weeks.  The world is in some hot water, my friend.

Do I think old rootin’ tootin’ Putin will advance?  NO.  But to be fair, I also rationally never thought that Lost would end the way it did, despite my hundreds of other rational and possible theories.  We are in an amazing time.  We might be on the brink of an absolute collapse of modern civilization (i.e. World War III) or just another buying opportunity for the United States stock market.  As an educated, above-average intelligenced gawazillionaire within the American economy, I’m going with the stance that this is a buying opportunity.  As I presented in a previous blog earlier this month that I, as an educated brainiac, rationalize that a leader of a country in the midst of peace and of the real world, would never ever ever start a new worldwide war.  But hey, that’s just me, and if you think different, then do the opposite of what I say.

Either way you look at it, I am taking some money off of the table.  I’m only selling those stocks where I have slight gains (0 to +5%) that I’ve had long enough that just didn’t pan out.  No Stalwart Beasts ($WMT, $TGT, $GE) of course—but several risk and growth stocks that definitely stand a better chance to go down with a worldwide crisis than others.

Fresh off of the worst week in a while, I’m definitely still in a buying mood for opportunity.  If a good company gets beat down enough by factors that don’t involve problems within their company, sales, or forecasts, then I’ll give a second look without Stalin (zing!).  But there are a few sectors I will run, sprint, vanish over the Strait of Malaca for, and here they are:

AIRLINES!  Good Lord, can you have a worse week for air travel?  You can’t turn on a TV without seeing minute by minute updates of Malyasia Airlines Flight 370 ($BA).  Sure things happen, but when an actual mystery unfolds before your eyes, you have even the most steadfast of travelers second guessing themselves before booking that next flight on American $AAL, Delta $DAL, or Southwest $LUV.  We always knew something like this has happened before, but to have this thrown in our face that here in 2014, where we communicate by touching a piece of glass that sends signals to outer space and back in a matter of seconds ($AAPL), that a plane could DISAPPEAR out of thin air!  Add this to innumerable cancellations and delays for the northeast ice storm over the past seemingly 100 years, and you have a sector that is plane trouble if war breaks out.

TRAVEL!  One of the stocks I took off the table earlier this week was Hilton $HLT.  I love the brand and the company but it’s been immovable since the IPO settled.  With tension in Russia (that looked a lot worse last Friday), travel seems out of the question at this point, especially to across the pond.  If troops are lined up at borders and we’re seeing militaries prepping, the last thing anyone wants to do is pack up their bags and go out for a bit of leisure.  “Oh honey, those nuclear weapon holding kooks over in Communist Russia are taunting the United States and about to gank Crimea from Ukraine without even asking!  Are you thinking Paris or the Hamptons?”  Listen for information about bookings, cancellations, and more while watching stocks like Travelzoo $TZOO (who have HORRENDOUS customer service), Priceline $PCLN, and Expedia $EXPE.

CRUISE LINES!  If war breaks out and troops are mobilized, how’d you like to be in the middle of the ocean with land a nice day or two away?  After all of the highly-publicized trouble Carnival $CCL has had in the last year, they might be prepping HUGE discounts.  I already let you know back in January that April is the prime month to book cruises (“Save a Ship-ton of Money by Buying and Investing Smartly $RCL $BP $TGT http://atthemoney.com/lifehack/), and that coupled with war talk could maybe even lead to the companies paying YOU to go on a cruise.  Not really, but you get the gist.

I’ve also cleared out several oil exploration plays and deepsea drilling stocks.  This just isn’t where I want to be with so much tension and so much unknown.  If the market falls, I’ll be there with a fistful of cash to jump back in or find more fruit bearing trees.  So if you hold these guys, keep a close close eye on them.  Set up your stop losses and be very, very weary.  Things can go bad quick, and while there are some shining Tsars in these sectors, they may be the first to feel the weight of the world if things go south.  And as you know, losing money and seeing red makes old Cash Bauer sickle to his stomach.  You can listen and take my advice, but if you ignore it, just Crimea river that you didn’t listen!

Shoe Detective $FL $NKE #HBO

This blog won’t work unless you imagine me speaking in a rambling, word-spacing, Matthew McConaughey Texas twang, so remember that.  We’re here to make some money in the stock market and the only way to do that is to start asking the right fucking questions.  So knock the Rust off of your tradin’ brain, and let’s investigate a company I feel offers some potential (potentiah, if you’re playing the accent game).

I never understand why anyone would ever buy something at full price.  One of my life mantras is that “everything, no matter what it is, will one day be on sale.”  Cars, houses, shoes…

While I have always loved brand named stocks like Nike $NKE and Under Armour $UA, I REALLY love the stores that sell those brands and more.  Those stores aren’t as specific.  On Nike’s website and stores you can only buy…Nike.  Those other all-encompassing stores seem able to discount through their own means (coupons, frequent buyer, point accumulation).  They can have their own in-house financing.  They can carry BOTH Nike and Under Armour and MORE.  One such store that’s been on my radar has been Foot Locker $FL.

I have a surely unpopular opinion as to why Foot Locker $FL has been surging as a Growth stock versus some of their competition, and I beg you to hear my argument.  Foot Locker is up +12.73% YTD and up +41.49% over the last year whereas competitors are nowhere close to these gains so they’re definitely doing something different and for the better.

Foot Locker markets towards minorities.  Before you guff and gaff about that statement (c’mon, it’s 2014 people), let me offer a bit of evidence:

Sneak attack? Release of Nike Air Jordan Gamma Blue 11s cause brawls in shoe stores nationwide (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/release-nike-air-jordan-gamma-blue-11s-brawls-shoe-stores-nationwide-article-1.1556245#ixzz2vesfXqog) 12/23/13

Fights break out in Florida over Nike shoe release (http://www.khou.com/video/featured-videos/Fights-break-out-in-Florida-over-Nike-shoe-release-140361163.html)  2/24/12

Pepper spray, fights break out over Nike Air Jordan shoes (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/12/nike-air-jordan-fights.html#sthash.ask0DlmV.dpuf) 12/23/11

Now before you stab me and put antlers in my head at the base of a tree, let me ask you to use your observational skills—don’t worry, I’ll help.  Note that all of the fights are over Nike shoes.  Note that this is a nationwide issue and note that it is consistently happening throughout time.  Now watch the embedded videos and let me know what you see.

I’m not saying that these fights are only minorities.  I’m not.  I’m just looking at reputable sources (LA Times, KHOU out of Houston, NY Daily News) and seeing their pictures and videos.  I call it like I see it.

The best thing for a stock investor about those “non-tax-payers” is that their priorities are wrong.  Like my police officer son says and sees each day, the inhabitants of the ghetto and projects often have the nicest TVs, rims, and videogame systems.  They get paid, and while living in government subsidized housing (courtesy of moi and you), they use their funds for silly possessions to gain status.  They don’t use Amazon $AMZN or price shop.  They’ve been raised on Foot Locker and know nothing else.  HEY.  Nothing wrong with that!  I just want to be on the receiving end of those funds…and that’s why I like Foot Locker.

Foot Locker is expanding and added 138 stores in 2013.  I personally have seen three pop up on my normal Dallas route and all of them are in parts of town that I normally don’t stop over for a glass of wine.  AGAIN, nothing wrong with that!  They know their customer and their demographic.

The conference call reiterated over and over how the NBA and basketball leads their sales charge and we are well into the midst of another NBA season.  This stock isn’t likely to go down any time soon (short of a correction) so you might want to put this one in your drawer for an arid Louisiana afternoon.

Wake Me Up, Before You $GOGO $AAL $DAL

I recently did something I’m not proud of.  In fact, I have barred my girlfriend from speaking about it and have drank what I can drink in order to erase the deed from my mind so that I might “alter my history.”  I literally cannot believe I’m about to tell you this factoid about me.  But you know what, Gentle Cash-ist?  I’ve always been honest and straight up with you and this blog will be no different.  Let me sum up the courage real quick as I uncork a bottle of vintage red.  Let me gather my thoughts and prep myself for humility.  Ok.  Here goes.  Reader, friend, admirer…in the last month (don’t think less of me), I flew coach on an American Airlines $AAL flight.

Criticize me all you want, but if we want someone to blame, it’s easily Ricardo, an employee of mine for the last four years.  He waited a little too long to book tickets to my last sporadic Vegas trip ($LVS, $WYNN, $MGM) and ended up seating me amongst blue collared parents, newlyweds, and frat boys.

Let me be clear on one thing.  When I have a trip that I look forward to and that I plan for, I make most of the arrangements myself.  I comb through Priceline $PCLN or Travelzoo $TZOO and I find the deal.  Just because I’m rich doesn’t mean that I like to waste money—that’s why I’m rich.  So when a distant relative of mine told me within one month that she was getting married in Las Vegas and that I had a limited window to get there, I trusted Ricardo to get me the best deal.  He failed (and is no longer living in the good old US of A).

So onto the American Airlines plane I went (thank God not on Spirit $SAVE).  Ricardo at least had enough sense not to give me a total hell.  And as I sat amongst the legion of middle-classers and prayed no one would photograph or recognize me, my girlfriend popped out her computer and logged on.

“I’ll get you a nice buffet later,” I hissed.  “Don’t waste my money on Internet on a 2.5 hour flight!”

“It’s only $10,” she replied.  “And it’s the only option for me to catch up on work.”

She had a point.  Because right now, plain and simple, $GOGO (the in-flight Wifi system) is a monopoly.  No matter what airline you fly, you have one choice if you want to connect your phone or computer to Wifi.  ONE CHOICE.  We are total slaves to our Androids and iPhones ($AAPL).  We cannot live a moment without Facebook $FB or Twitter $TWTR or Instagram or porn or whatever.  We MUST be connected to every single thing and any given second.

So if we have reports that 2013 made the most profit in a long while for airlines (+$7.4 billion), it doesn’t matter where that profit came from (i.e. the moderate cost of jet fuel).  What matters is that the planes kept flying and the passengers kept being crammed on board…and that they used GOGO if they were…bored.  Let me let you reread that a few times to get the brilliance of that pun.

I won’t invest in airlines (though Southwest $LUV is tempting, as I said in an earlier blog).  A one cent increase in fuel can spell millions of dollars or losses for a company that translates to earnings and hits me where it hurts.  Also, we’re in the midst of some of the most bizarre weather (Icepocalypse, fog, high winds, anyone?) that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime with flights literally being hit or miss.  I don’t want to be a part of that industry.

But if another study is telling me that profits and flights are at an all-time high, I know that once an American (or human) body gets afloat in the air, that the hankering to check email and more will afflict them.  Just like I’ve seen nonstop charges on my credit card for GOGO every time I Foursquare myself or my girlfriend into an airport.

Guys, $GOGO is risk.  It’s plain and simple risk.  Think back over the last year how many times you’ve flown, where you’ve flown, what airline you used, and whether or not you paid that $10 fee to surf while you hovered amongst the clouds.  After your transaction went though, how did you feel?  Satisfied?  Pleased?  Or angry?

It’s a monopoly and in all honesty maybe only good for short-term gains, though it had its share of them yesterday.  But that’s why we have the Risk portion of the #CashPie, isn’t it?  If we stick by our principles and our percentages, and you’ve used the service and loved it, then maybe…maybe it’s worth throwing some of your Risk funds at it?

SOURCE:  (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101465497)

If War, I’m Russian to be Putin in More Money in Stocks

Oooooh weeeee!  Tensions are mounting between Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the world.  That asks a whole lot of questions about the upcoming few months and what the markets will do and it has me as giddy as a school boy.  Why, you ask?  Because inevitably traders and the public will panic, stocks will temporarily dip, I’ll move my cash into some unwarranted discounted stocks, and life will resume.  Why, Cash?  Because wars are different these days.  I had a history professor who once told me:

World War III will be fought with nuclear weapons.  World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

I know this.  You know this.  President Obama and Putin know this.  I’m salivating even more at the upcoming panic because for the most part, Putin is a sane man.  He might have a few screws loose and want dominance for Mother Russia, but all in all he still understands how things works.  In the end, things will end ok.

This is why I’m even more excited about this conflict than I was with Kim Jong Un and North Korea a few months back.  That guy is a bonafide lunatic and lunacy brings unpredictability.  We didn’t know if he was going to have a wild virgin orgy to the tune of Gangham Style and then launch nukes because the Snake People told him too.  We just didn’t know.  Like my police officer son always tells me—you can’t reason with crazy people.  They might truly believe you’re a fire monster from Mordor or that you’re on Jupiter.  They’re insane and they justify that insanity in their minds.

But Putin…good old rootin’ tootin’ Putin is NOT a lunatic, as far as I can tell.  So yours truly will use this ‘IMPENDING CRISIS’ as another opportunity to put together a shopping list of stocks that I want, need, and must have if we are to have a Russia-infused pullbackestan.

Target $TGT:  I wrote a full blog on why I love Target on any pullback any why it’s a solid Stalwart Beast in lieu of Wal-Mart $WMT “Does Target SwimSUIT You for Value?! $TGT $WMT $COST” (http://atthemoney.com/swimsuit)

Disney $DISFrozen smashing all kinds of records and soon to be released to DVD and Blu-Ray.  Upcoming Star Wars.  Upcoming Star Wars merchandise.  Disney’s brilliance in marketing Star Wars to the masses for a whole new generation.

Costco $COST:  I missed my entry pre-$100, and have regretted it ever since.  A must own.

AT&T $T:  Near 52-week lows and still the $AAPL leader.  Solid dividend that gets juicier every cent the stock ticks down.

Chipotle $CMG:  Pretty sure the breakfast edge (the cheapest meal with the largest margins of the day!) are already built in, and it’s run up far too much to jump in at this point.

Salesforce $CRM:  I’ve devoted my Tech Giants to the likes of Apple, Google $GOOG, Facebook $FB, and Tesla, and totally missed out on several entries here.  I hoped to jump in on disappointing earnings the last quarter, but amazing numbers cloud-ed my plans.

Radioshack $RSH:  Ha ha, I am kidding.

Not mentioned, but that are always on my BUY list include:  more Tesla $TSLA, more Amazon $AMZN, and more Apple $AAPL.  If you’re a new investor, I need you to notice that I’m focusing most of my attention (and funds) on the Stalwart Beasts.  They rarely plunge and plummet, so if some random news (QE, fiscal cliff, war with North Korea, war with Russia, if 12 Years a Slave hadn’t won Best Picture) yanks them down a bit, it’s a bonus for all of us.

There’s a knocking at the door.  It’s not a polite, tap-tap-tap, but a forceful KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK.  Who’s there?  Who is at our door?  And how have I avoided a ‘knockers’ pun at this point?  We approach the door, already knowing in our hearts who it is.  We hold our breath, unlock the deadbolt, and swing open the door and unveil someone we both expected and didn’t expect…hello Mr. Opportunity.

Diss-Count Dollar Store Stocks $SKT $TJX $ROST

Where were you in the midst of 2009?  Where were you shopping?  Where were you eating?  Where were you living?  What were you doing with your money?

If you’re like most Americans, you weren’t doing much at all.  You were hemming and hawing about pay cuts, increased healthcare costs, and the prices of EVERYTHING.  So maybe you adjusted your lifestyle.  Maybe you bought your Christmas wrapping paper at Dollar Tree $DLTR instead of Wal-Mart $WMT.  Maybe you bought a used car with 100,000 miles on it from Carmax $KMX instead of straight from the Ford $F dealership.  The point is, we all struggled (except me thanks to smart investments) and we all overcame adversity.

These days, life is better for all of us.  We no longer have to make extreme adjustments to exist.  If Chipotle $CMG tells us they’re upping prices by a buck, we don’t freak out.  If home sales prices climb, we still buy new homes ($TOL, $DHI, $KBH).  Maybe now we pay that extra ten cents a can for Del Monte corn instead of Wal-Mart’s Great Value knockoff, that may or may not have even come from a crop?

So why is it a shock to anyone that the “discount retailers” are suffering?  When T.J. Maxx $TJX (who also owns Marshall’s and HomeGoods) misses Q4 and earnings estimates, why are we surprised?

Here’s the rub:  You don’t HAVE to shop there anymore!  I’ll never forget when the CEO of Tanger Outlet Malls $SKT spoke one of the truest statements ever spoken in the midst of our recession.  His immortal words say,

“In good times people love a bargain, and in tough times, people need a bargain.”

Dare I say we are back in good times?  Not GREAT times, but good times?  The American consumer is now telling us that the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.  It’s no longer worth it to dig through aisles and clothes racks of single styles and sizes and fighting with the non tax-payers just to save a few bucks.  It’s not worth it to hunt for clothes.  You’re now making enough to order Macy’s $M online!  You’re now making enough that you can buy name brand!  You can find a style you like and order it online in any size and any print!  You don’t have to live like a savage anymore!  When that’s the case, why would you still shop at dollar retailers?!

Everything is cyclical and the market has many yins and yangs.  If luxury is soaring, you might expect discount suffers.  If used car sales surge, you might expect new car sales suffer.  Everything in our world is connected.

So it’s time to clear your portfolio of Ross $RST, Big Lots $BIG, T.J. Maxx, and every single business that has the word “dollar” in it (Dollar General $DG, Family Dollar $FDO, Dollar Tree).  It’s time to shop like a civilized American and not scavenge and pick through remains and styles of yesteryear!  It’s time to have some pride!  It’s time to reinvest in the economy!  It’s time to start investing in companies that market to those with income and money, and not scavengers.

Lest us also not forget my blog at the beginning of this month, “These Olympic Sponsor Stocks are Sochi-eap! #Sochi $KO $MCD” (http://atthemoney.com/sochi/).  As I do every Olympics, I took the main publicly held sponsors, showed you how they’d been acting, and then told you what I’d do at that point.  Let’s say you listened.  Let’s say you said, “Oh Cash Bauer, you Soothsayer of the South, I shall buy ALL of these stocks because I believe worldwide exposure could help move the needle!”  Well Gentle Cashist, let’s see how you would have done:

Sochi2

There’s a million excuses for why we’re seeing what we’re seeing (Yellen, yada yada), but all I care about is the green.  Beautiful, glorious green.  I’ll see you at the money.

Does Target SwimSUIT You for Value?! $TGT $WMT $COST

There’s definitely some opportunities out there to scoop up some of our Stalwart Beasts.  You know those stocks…the ones that mosey along, never drastically move up or down, pay you a good quarterly dividend, and for the most part put you in the green each year.

Target $TGT has been in the news of late and always for negative reasons.  We had our security breach over the holiday season which forced customers like myself to get a new Chase $JPM debit card.  We had job cutting at headquarters.  We had an abolishing of healthcare for part-time workers.  Questions about the minimum wage.  And on.  And on.  And ON.

But through all of this, I still shop at Target and prefer it over Wal-Mart $WMT for a plethora of reasons.  I’m willing to spend a little more on products if it doesn’t mean rubbing elbows with the non-taxpayers (besides I make it back with my tainted and compromised Red Card which gets me 5% off).  I get Pharmacy Rewards for all of my “old man pills.”  Best of all, Target hasn’t joined Wal-Mart’s Third Reich of return policies.  If I buy something, Target will happily scan my credit card and use it as a receipt whereas Wal-Mart treats me like the maggots treat Sam Walton’s corpse (they chew it up and poop it out).  Despite the hiccups, I spend an insane amount of money at Target and that won’t change.

World catalysts have made me my money.  I try to find things that can disrupt or reward a company that the average investor might not see.  Many of my catalysts are simple things—the holidays, the weather, the Olympics, the Super Bowl…you know the things in life that are either so regular or so cataclysmic that they could move a stock price.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue came out last week, and it shouldn’t surprise you that it made national headlines or that I’m having to have my right wrist in a splint.  This was the 50th anniversary after all, and articles and pictures were everywhere.  I made it as far as the Kate Upton zero-G spread before I had to take some heart meds to calm down.  In the midst of the coverage, I heard this little nugget of info that cocked my ear:

“The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (SI.com/Swimsuit) franchise reaches more than 62 million people annually, and more men 18 to 34 than the Super Bowl.” 

Hold up.  You mean to tell me that this issue reaches more people than the Super Bowl?  Hold up.  You mean this is a monumental milestone issue that might sell more than previous years?  Hold up.  FIND ME A WAY TO PLAY THE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE.

So I scoured the web and checked my sources and came up with zilch.  I decided to take a break and check the weekly ads and lo and behold, a little nugget fell into my lap.  Observe:

SITarget

So Target, the recent bastard of retail, has exclusive rights to sell Sports Illustrated swimsuits.  That’s something, isn’t it?  Cash, water you talking about?!   That’s not enough to move the needle in terms of sales or projections, but certainly enough to tell you that Target has a sharp marketing department and isn’t throwing in the beach towel any time soon, right?!  This is a glimmer of hope.  This is a way to reinforce that the company is in the NOW and is savvy and sexy and looking for avenues to make money that the other guys haven’t thought of–and it reaffirms that Target is a company I want to further aquaire.

The stock is down 12.6% in the last 6 months, yet still pays a 3.1% yield ($.43/share per quarter).  I’ve never been shy about telling you to own one of the Big Three (Wal-Mart, Target, or Costco $COST), and NEWSFLASH, two of those three are currently on sale.

But when I’m buying a stock and I’m looking to make money, I want a company that is in the NOW.  I want a company who works to move away from tragedy.  I want a company that makes it convenient for me to shop.  Hell, I’m 700 words in and I didn’t even get to the anecdote about how a manager exchanged a single serve Keurig ($GMCR) for a better model without charging me the difference because she saw my Target debit card had been affected in the breach.  That’s customer service, and that’s the bossman knowing they made an error that needs to be fixed.

One of those Big Three should always be in your portfolio.  They should grind away, never soaring ahead, never plummeting down.  Ebbs and flows…that’s what a Stalwart Beast is.  Right now, you can Tyra Banks some profit and get two of them about 10% down and of them, I love Target.

 

SOURCE:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sports-illustrated-swimsuit-2014-50th-180400214.html

Candy Crush-ing the Competition $KING $ZNGA #IPO

When talking about the upcoming King IPO (the makers of the Candy Crush Saga, in case you’re awakening from a coma), comparisons inevitably spring up between them and Zynga $ZNGA, the makers of Words With Friends and more.

In a nutshell, here’s the difference between Zynga and King.com.  First and foremost, Zynga only has any current valuation because of the promise of real money gambling.  While their stand out games, Words With Friends (aka Scrabble), Scramble With Friends (aka Boggle) and Hanging With Friends (aka Hangman) dominated the majority of 2013, the games were merely rehashes of previous, successful games without a professional license.  Investors who bought at the Zynga IPO never realized that the company figured out waaaaay too late they needed to add “coins” to maximize profits and that said coins didn’t provide a sense of urgency and a need to purchase.  This is where the Candy Crush Saga (note I didn’t say just Candy Crush) adapted and overcame.

By making an addictive, thematic game that forces the buyer/player to advance along the magical and ever increasing monotonous madness, King.com has capitalized on what makes our country terrible…and amazing.  When the obsessed and drooling player of these games is hard-pressed to advance and only has to press a mere button (WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD FIVE MOVES?), how could a company not capitalize on this?  DELICIOUS!

Buying an extra 5 turns for $.99 doesn’t even guarantee advancement!  Whether you pay a mere $.99 to add the 5-extra moves, the Lollipop Hammer, or the Free Switch, NONE OF THEM GUARANTEE YOU WILL FINISH THE LEVEL.  This is momentous in the pick up and play portable videogame profitability!  YOU CAN PAY AND STILL BE AT THE SAME SPOT YOU WERE YESTERDAY.

Here’s another reason I like King.com that I’ve mentioned before (see my Gamestop $GME doom and gloom posts).  When a hot, new, and addictive game comes out, the App Store $AAPL takes two button presses and a password to buy it.  This wholly trumps getting in your car, driving to a store, pulling out your credit or debit card, looking at your currency and seeing it being depleted, buying the game, and driving home to load the software.  With successful app games, a transaction can occur in less than three minutes.  SWEET!

Zynga was pigeonholed by games the consumer had seen before and never felt an urgency to spend money on.  That’s why the company is a humongous failure.  Again, if we get news the hunt for real money gambling ends tomorrow, Zynga could quite possibly go to zero (assuming they don’t unleash a new and addictive game a la Candy Crush).  But where I like King.com is that they haven’t invested everything on Candy Crush.  They haven’t sat idly by and become a one trick pony.  Nope.  In fact, as of today, 2/19/14, King.com owns a whopping THREE of the TOP TEN grossing apps on the Apple App Store.  That’s 30%!  DIVINE!

KingTops

Diversification.  Continuous roll out of new products.  Crack-like addiction.  Integration with the greatest social network of all, Facebook $FB.

I’ll tell you my other reason for being bullish on this company.  I’ll never forget being on a subway in Beijing in early 2013.  America (and some of my close Twitter friends) loved and smooched Zynga games (as did I).  But as I stood tall around those hundreds of Chinese people on a small subway car, with my large body dominating a portion of the train car, holding a strap on the ceiling and surveying everyone on board like some sort of a hairless hulk, I remember looking down on my subjects and seeing one thing:  Candy Crush.  This was long before the phenom spread like wildfire here in the States.  Back then, I didn’t even know the name of the game.  I just knew that every Asian person I met, immersed in their phones, were playing a Tetris-like candy and color coated game with a fervent madness.  I knew they weren’t playing Words With Friends or Angry Birds or anything else.  I knew that the game they were playing CONSUMED them.  And as someone who can invest in vice and addiction, I knew that should the maker of this game ever become public, I’d give them a second look.

I’ll watch the amount of shares sold and the IPO price with great calculation.  I’ll watch the success of the App Store and the Top Grossing Charts.  I’ll watch what my colleagues are playing and buying.  I’m here to make money.  If cocaine or meth ever became a publicly traded entity, I’d invest in those as well.  Cash Bauer has a sweet tooth…for profit, no matter the forum.  SUGAR CRUSH!

I’ll see you at the money.