As if Yesterday Never Happened

This is precisely why I need to get out of the house more often. Either that or do something to diminish my ability to understand, comprehend and discern the babbled word.

Or maybe just learn how to work the “Mute Button,” but I’ve never been very good with technology.

Oh, and add recall to that list. Sometimes being able to remember details is a bad thing.

The past few days Microsoft has been on a roll, above and beyond the market.

You remember Microsoft. You know, the company that was everyone’s whipping boy. Although, to be fair, it is enirely possible that I’ve misinterpreted the expression “dead money” and the snarky tones and sneers may have always been completely unrelated to the stock.

Back when I was younger, it was incredible how popular you could suddenly become if you had a Spalding rubber ball, when one was desperately needed for a stickball game.

If you dont know what stickball is (or was), think basketball instead.

Steve Ballmer Casts a SpellSuddenly, Microsoft is everyone’s favorite stock and no one is owning up to their past.

Instead of “dead money” it’s “undervalued.” All of a sudden Talking Heads are taking note of its dividend, the very same dividend that has long been decried as insufficient and not enough to make purchase of shares appealing.

The jokes.

Zune, Bing, WIndows cell phone, Vista, Clippy, Ballmer, Skype. It just goes on.

No one wants to admit that the own, want or need a Microsoft product. You never hear anyone sing “Oh baby you, you got what I need'” when it comes to Microsoft. People are ashamed and embarrassed.

It’s like admitting you crave veal or sauteed infants.

I’ve lost track of how many “experts” and “analysts” have called for Steve Ballmer’s resignation, firing or execution.

When you think about it, what better testament to the depth and strength of a company when it could have such a long list of failures and abandoned projects.

Have you ever heard of Google? Ever looked at their long list of litter along the technology highway?

The difference is that when Google abandons a project they do so because of their collective attention deficit disorder. They just can’t behave otherwise. Even force fed doses of Googlin and Googlall are virtually useless.

In the case of Microsoft, my guess is that nothing that we’ve ever heard of is a total and abject failure. Probably every project and product has something worthwhile that will add value to something that may just be a glimmer in a dreamer’s mind at the moment, but a necessary cog to make the dream come true.

And make billions of dollars.

Suddenly the Windows phone business looks promising, ultrabooks and Windows 8 are arriving and the world has reversed its axis of spin.

I’ve blogged about Microsoft a number of times and also included extensive discussion of the stock in the Option to Profit book.

To be totally honest, I haven’t owned Microsoft since July 2011, despite the fact that it has long been my favorite covered call and douple dip dividend play.

Sometimes you stray.

Although I looked elsewhere, there’s not much argument against the fact that as long as Microsoft traded in a tight range, essentilly reacting only to macroeconomic events, it was a slam dunk when it came to selling call options and collecting quarterly dividends.

To my great delight, my oldest son, who penned a guest blog for me, independently decided to write about his reason for buying Microsoft shares, as his first equity purchase, and somehow was able to tie it in with the rationale for the mistreatment of local Occupy Wall Street crowds in the DIstric of Columbia.

That’s my boy. What better way to express your true oppositional and contrarian self than to buy shares of Microsoft?

At least I’ve changed my errant path and own shares again.

As is my habit when I enter into a new position or re-establish an old one, I sell weekly in the money or near the money calls. In this case, I sold near the money monthly calls, compromising my ethos a bit, perhaps out of remorse and guilt.

Despite the fact that Microsoft fell about 1% in the after hours market on Tuesday when it announced that fourth quarter personal computer shipments were going to be even less than the previous disappointing numbers, it quickly recovered by mid-day trading on Wednesday.

And then some.

In Eric Jackson’s recent article in Forbes magaine, “Crowd Sourcing the Top 2012 Twitter Stock and Market Picks,” I chose Intel as my top short pick for 2012, although I will not likley be playing that conviction, because I neither know how to short, nor have the conviction to put myself at such risk.

Bearish on Intel, yet not on Microsoft?

Notice, I didn’t say “Bullish on Microsoft.”

For me, Microsoft works best when it’s dead money to everyone else. Besides, the sneers are amusing. The non-verbal communication is so much better than the verbal kind when it comes to many of the typical faces seen spouting their “opinion du jour.”

I wish that I was wordly enough to say “opinion of the moment” in French, but “du jour” will just have to do.

I don’t know what will happen with my Microsoft shares come next Friday, but I’ve vowed not to go this long without Microsoft shares in my portfolio, ever again. 

I guess that in a way Microsoft is really no different from any other stock that’s being discussed by the universe of Talking Heads. What I’ve come to realize is that taking advice from these guys is about as satisfying as watching a bootleg DVD when the video and audio are out of sync by a scene or more.

Although you may be tuned into their every word, all bets are off when the transmission has ended.

Circumstances change, news pours in and today’s hotter than hot buy is now “a neutral position.”

I’m not really certain what that means. I’ve never understood if that meant that there was just no opinion regarding the direction of price movement or if that was just a nicer way of saying “dead money.”

Suddenly, the fact that the Talking Head is spewing advice that happens to be free is utterly meaningless and certainly reflective of value.

That’s not to say that all things that are free have no value, maybe just the spoken word. You want value for free? Get Eddy Elfenbein’s Newsletter and read his blog, Crossing Wall Street..

Although Microsoft is a keeper an should be a portfolio mainstay, I’m still not a believer in buy and hold. That disbelief essentially stems from my own inabilities.

“It’s me. It’s not you.”

I’ve never been good at discerning a good stock from a bad one, although I do recognize pure crap.

But I’m also fairly terrible at assessing a timely purchase based on an appropriate price. Compound that with the inability to know when to pull the trigger and sell and you have the makings of someone who should never talk to anyone about stocks.

Or write about them.

In summary, I’m no Eddy Elfenbein.

That’s why I rarely stray from my list of “Old Reliables” and the comfort zone that they provide.

I like consistency and that appears to be just about the last thing you get from the Talking Heads.

Now, if Microsoft happens to crash and burn tomorrow, I’ll just believe that yesterday never happened.

How convenient.




Check out Recent PortfolioTransactions



Today’s Trades Security Type Action Type
January 11, 2012 GMCR Option STO Weekly
January 11, 2012 GMCR Stock Added  
January 11, 2012 RIG Option STO Monthly
January 11, 2012 RIG Stock Buy  
January 11, 2012 MSFT Option STO Monthly
January 11, 2012 MSFT Stock Buy  
January 11, 2012 HAL Option STO Weekly
January 11, 2012 HAL Stock Added