more about stocks

a friend IMed me the other day asking why i feel compelled to publish information about what i am buying and selling. she is a finance professional, so i took her concerns seriously. that conversation was the impetus behind putting the disclaimer up there in the tabs.

there are a couple of compelling reasons behind publishing my trades and talking about stocks. for one thing, it makes me a bit more accountable to my own behavior. whenever i write about something critically, i force myself to look more carefully, to more thoroughly run through arguments in favor or against. or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. writing here forces me to be more honest with myself usually.

and in all honesty, i am still very much learning about markets. i believe i will always have that feeling, because it’s an observational knowledge and the behavior of the markets is perpetually changing. this is another compelling reason to share. i get a deeper understanding, more rapidly,  when i attempt to explain things i have learned, especially in the context of blogging and other intarweb knowledge sharing  activities. i believe there is a large amount of disinformation or lack of critical thinking in mainstream financial press, and reading and becoming part of the dialog on a large number of blogs has helped me get a clearer sense of these systemic biases.

i can see some potential dangers. i tend to favor contrarian strategies, and occasionally spend a lot of time in conversation defending my positions or economic opinions. in a way this a good thing, in that i have to do more research and strive for a better understanding than i might have if i were always siding with conventional wisdom. the pitfall is investing so much time in defending my own reasoning that i fail to recognize when a situation has changed. flexibility of thinking is the best way to make money in markets, not winning arguments.

another danger i addressed in the disclaimer. writing about a stock i buy doesn’t mean that i think everyone else should run out and buy it as well (ok that’s not true, because i DO want everyone to buy them and push the prices up 😉 ). a good example is that i manage an account for my mom, and there are things i do with my own money i would not do with hers. she has done really well, but i stress out a bit more about her account than my own, even though it’s a lot smaller and less volatile. things i do, i cannot necessarily recommend for anyone else.

i am trying to think of the best way to keep my trading info updated here. for now, i think i will point anyone who cares to my stocktickr page. i just updated the list, with correct buy prices, and will attempt to keep it current. perhaps a project for the future is a plugin to keep the information in the sidebar here on the blog. there is also an rss feed for that page. (i just noticed that if you don’t have a registered account, the information on the page is TWO days old. that’s not very useful. ok back to the drawing board. the rss feed is up to date though).

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