Review: Stock Gumshoe

If you're reading this blog, it's likely that you have at least one email account full of teaser emails from various financial and investment newsletters. Perhaps you receive a few emails a week from investment sites like The Motley Fool or Morningstar, goading you to sign up (for a monthly fee) to find out what their stock picks are. If you're tempted to sign up, you might first consider going to a blog I've recently discovered, Stock Gumshoe.

As most teaser emails contain many hints about what investments the newsletter is selling, it's possible to figure them out without actually paying $1000s a year. That's what Stock Gumshoe does. The blog gets the same emails as you do, as well as those readers contribute, and it determines what the investments are. Then it tracks them so you can see whether it was a good investment or not.

Here's the good:

1. It's completely free. You can visit the site any time, or can subscribe to emails.

2. The "sleuthing" process is written out in detail, so you can see all the steps the author took to determine what the teaser stock is. (That is, you can see that it's not just a blind guess).

3. Although very well written, if you don't have the time or inclination
to read everything, just scroll down on each post until you see what the investment in question is.

The not so good:

1. Although the Gumshoe is very thorough (see #2 above), because the person does not actually subscribe to the newsletters, he might be wrong. That is, the revealed investments are (very) educated guesses. The blog, however, appears to have a very good track record.

The bad:

1. Nothing much to say here, unless perhaps you happen to be a subscriber of one of the sleuthed newsletters, in which case it might not feel too good to know that information you're paying for is available for free. But, of course, see #1 above (the not so good).

Bottom line:

Stock Gumshoe is a great little blog that can potentially save you a lot of money by revealing those tempting stock picks newsletters tease you with. And as it's a free service, there's nothing to lose.


Bought a Certificate of Deposit

As it's very probable that the Federal reserve will cut interest rates again at the end of January and stocks probably will not do very well in the next two quarters, I've decided to buy a 6 month 5.1% APY Online CD from Washington Mutual.

I hope they don't go out of business, as I really like their service. Yeah, deposits and CDs are insured up to $100,000, but I wonder whether insurance companies will be able to pay if big banks start going under.

Still, I think the CD is a safer investment right now than most other things, and the yield on my savings account, now at 4.75% APY, will probably drop soon after the rate cut. While it doesn't exactly put me ahead of inflation as the real inflation rate is much higher than what the Fed says, for consumer prices for things like food and gas are rising sharply, hopefully it'll have me losing less money than just keeping it in my savings account.

Despite my belief that stocks won't do as well in the near term, I have been eying Pfizer (PFE) for a while, and would like to buy it when it's under $20/share. It's got a lot of cash, a great, steadily rising dividend, and its price has been battered because its patents are expiring on some profitable drugs. It's pretty likely, however, that it'll develop new profitable drugs in the future, and I'd like to get in near the bottom.


Monthly update

Ad income: $0.38 (is this good for two blogs less than a month old?)


Savings account balances: $2,131.49
Scottrade cash: $23.24
Firstrade Roth cash (CAMXX): $100.52
Sharebuilder cash (BDMXX): $0
TradeKing cash (RUTXX): $40.81

Note: I've transferred my Sharebuilder account to TradeKing, which cost $50. However, TradeKing is supposed to reimburse me. Cash doesn't reflect this. Also not reflected is gift spending, which was on credit cards (will be paid off fully in January) and money I owe to my girlfriend, who bought gifts on my behalf. This should be under $200.

Total cash: $2296.06

Stocks and Funds:

Blackrock Enhanced Equity Yield Fund (EEF): $113.12
Janus Smart Growth Portfolio (JSPGX): $770.61
General Electric (GE): $74.14
Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG): $669.87
Reynolds American (RAI): $593.64
Royce Focus Trust (FUND): $148.66
DuPont (DD): $484.99
(RJA): $448.13

Other Investments:

Prosper.com: $100 (will describe this in a later post)

Total Stocks/Mutual Funds: $3403.16

Total Investments and Cash as of 1/1/08: $5699.22 (18.22% gain over last month, not that great considering what I started out with, but I'm happy it's growing rather than shrinking. I would be extremely happy if I gain, from month to month at that rate.)

Pretty much all my gains this month came from work. All stocks, with the exception of FUND, which gave a pretty big dividend, lost value. EEF and RAI are both ex-div.