Exchange Rates

I am going to Zagreb, Croatia this weekend.

I needed to exchange some money for it. When I bought the tickets SBB, the Swiss railways, gave me a coupon which waives their commission if one wants to exchange money. I used it today and ended up paying 447 sfr for 2600 hrk. If I use Google now, I find that it is worth only 412 sfr. All in all, a loss of 35 sfr !

Interestingly, there were several options open for me. It seems that the banks give better rates and I could have used my ATM card to take out money directly in Croatia. I could also have called the bank in advance and informed them about my need. They provide exchange for a reasonable spread of 2-4%. I would have lost around 17 sfr then … probably.

It is interesting that I started thinking about these options only when I was done making the exchange. I felt that SBB is the only option while I was on the counter.

I rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Monthly update: July 2014

Cash: 24.9K
Stock: 98.7K
Options: -1K
= 122.6K

I figured I will change the layout of my monthly updates. I was giving useless information at the cost of clarity.

I was not posting anything for a while and the situation will remain quite similar for a few more months. On the positive side, my thesis defence date has been fixed and I also landed a job at a reputed firm. They also pay an insane amount of money and so I am quite happy with the time I wasted on preparing for their job interview.

I started two starter positions. One in Coach and another in ITE plc. I am also looking seriously at GEA SA. Unfortunately, I do not have time to go into the details of my investment thesis. 

I hope I will have more time once I join my new job.

Monthly update: April 2014

April End - Cash report

I sold all of my Lancashire position at a small loss. It was not clear to me why Mr. Brindle resigned as the CEO of the company. I did not like the level of uncertainty when the stock is selling at 1.5 times book. I am sure that the Mr Brindle must have incorporated a value based philosophy in the entire organisation — but without him, I would never buy at these prices. The inevitable conclusion is that I should hold or sell. I felt more comfortable selling.

I added to Kinder Morgan (KMI) and Tesco (TSCO.L), while getting rid of my Land’s End (LE) holdings. All in all, a very subdued month.

Monthly update: Mar 2014

Following is the cash report for the month of March. Around 6,000 more was invested during the month. Altius, Lamprell, and Kinder Morgan were the stocks I bought.

Mar 2014

I finished writing my thesis. I am looking to graduate by July end. The job search is on. This is one of the reasons why I don’t get much time to either blog or find new ideas.

Monthly update: Feb 2014

It is increasingly difficult for me to take time off from work as I continue to write my PhD thesis at a feverish pace. The thesis is almost fully written but I will need to look for a job next.

The following is the cash report for the month.

Cash Report: Feb 2014

I made the following transactions this month.

Emeco Holdings 15000@AU$0.22
Altius 100@C$14.64
Fortress 200@C$3.4
Lancashire 200@£7.2
Tesco 300@£3.14
Nam Tai 200@$5.69
Sears Holdings 50@$32.92
WTW 100@22.7
SLD 100 WTW 17Jan15P strike $30 for $7.2

Following is my current portfolio.

Portfolio Mar 1, 2014

Monthly update: Jan 2014

A new year brings new promises. I will finish my PhD and start looking for a job. It will also mean that I will not have much time to research stocks or write pitches on SeekingAlpha.

Cash Report (Jan 2014)

Cash Report (Jan 2014)

I started new starter positions in Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL), Sears Canada (TSX:SCC), Sears Holding (SHLD), Fairfax (TSX:FFH) and Sears Home Stores (SHOS). In a few words, Emeco is cheap, Sears stub is a bet on Eddie Lampert and the value of the real estate and Fairfax is the new addition to my “owner operator” businesses.

I continued to add Altius, and Lamprell.

The situation with Weight Watchers (WTW) is very interesting. On the one hand, there are significant problems with the business e.g., does their product work, are apps going to kill it and so on … on the other is their fantastic track record and a sane management. I sold the company again at $32.91 at a very small profit. Since then the stock has fallen further and I am fighting myself on starting a position.

Three of the puts I sold (two on ArcelorMittal and one on Intel) expired, earning me sfr 899. Additionally, I received sfr 242 in dividends. I paid sfr 22 in commissions and sfr 5.33 on interests. This adds up to sfr 1,113 in profits for the month.

StockMarketEye has topped itself and the new update has a nifty tool to look at your portfolio historically. I have hence decided to include the current snapshot of my portfolio.

Open Positions (Dec 31, 2013)

Open Positions (Dec 31, 2013)

Open Positions (Jan 31, 2014)

Open Positions (Jan 31, 2014)