May 13, 2004

Stock Purchase Circles... Revisited

Back in March 2003, I blogged about a hypothetical stock portfolio, where the buy/sell/hold decisions were based on the nature of a given company's Amazon Purchase Circles

It's been a good year for the Brianstorms Amazon Purchase Circles Portfolio:

This is now (5/13/2004):
That was then (3/8/2003): Price Today: % Change: Comments
Abbott Laboratories (ABT), $35.45 : Three out of the top ten books are Harry Potter books. The rest are manager how-to's and my-life-sucks-what-do-I-do kinds of books. Not a single advanced pharmaceutical science molecular chemistry biotech thingamajig techie book in the list. SELL. $41.00 +16% Amazon no longer seems to be tracking purchase circles for Abbott Labs. As for the company, HOLD (AMZN), $22.97 : Busted! Dreaming about mountain hiking in the Pacific Northwest, or reading Poems, or reading about Babies or books on Happiness. Nobody's readin' up on the business or the next-generation technology! SELL. $43.61 +90% Whew, I blew it with AMZN. Last 14 months have been fantastic for the company. As for the Purchase Circles, Amazon employees are dreaming less, and focused more on technical stuff. There's one novel in the top ten now, but it's mostly tech books or books about Amazon itself. BUY
Apple Computer (AAPL), $14.53 : It's changed over the years. Used to be mainly biographies about Steve Jobs and the founding of Apple (employees no doubt trying to find out how much of the Story of Steve is for real). Now it's how-to books on how to use Apple products. Nothing in the way of new product development or hardcore techie references. Dudes, it's time to READ DIFFERENT. Get back to basics and learn yer advanced C++ and DCS tactical databases. Your stockholders will be grateful. In the meantime, HOLD. $27.19 +87% Reading less Steve stuff, more Apple and technical stuff. But an interesting rise in political books, including Bushwhacked and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I guess Apple is Kerry-land this November! HOLD
Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK), $14.10 : Lots of marketing books -- the standard texts, like Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado. Hey, it can't hurt. Maybe it'll help their stock, currently at 14.10. Let's check back in a few quarters and see if reading those books helped their bottom line or not. HOLD. $35.41 +151% Autodesk is daydreaming, and thinking about politics. (Liars is the #1 ADSK book). None of the top five books have anything to do with technology or marketing. I guess when your stock goes up 151% you can afford to daydream... SELL
Boeing (BA), $25.84 : I'll forgive the Camping in Washington book considering the rest of the list is roll-up-the-sleeves-and-get-to-work stuff on everything you'd want Boeing employees to be thinking about. STRONG BUY. $43.62 +69% Wherefore art though, Boeing? We've gone from mostly-business and technical books, to daydream city: the #1 book is about . . . weight loss? Plus baseball books, Bushwhacked, a book on Scrabble (!?), a murder mystery, a self-help book on relationships... Ok so your stock went up 69%... I don't think it's going to do that again in the next year. But maybe if everybody loses weight something good will come of it. HOLD
Cisco (CSCO), $13.24 : The good news? Lots and lots of advanced nerdy Cisco techie books. The bad news? They're buying too many books on the history of Cisco! Dudes, this is the Apple trap, stop reading your own mythology and focus on the needs of the current customers, not past glories. HOLD. $21.76 +64% Way to go CISCO. All ten books are hardcore technology or business. BUY BUY BUY
Earthlink Corp (ELNK), $5.10 : The last thing they're thinking about is work. Top book: "Single No More: How and Where to Meet Your Perfect Mate". Second is "Jack and Jill" by James Patterson. The rest of the list is equally all over the place. Anybody been watching Earthlink stock lately? SELL. $9.51 +86% Daydreamers galore. Novels and the novel novelists who wrote them. Not a serious book on the lot. I don't care if the stock still goes up. SELL.
Electronic Arts (ERTS), $54.15 : Strictly business. Books about game design and game development dominate their list. And guess what. Their stock chart is appropriately impressive. Keep up the good work, gang. STRONG BUY. $50.72
(or 101.44 pre-split)
+87% ERTS is a creative, imaginative company so it's no doubt they read all kinds of stuff there. Nothing to indicate ERTS is gonna stop its march up the hill. ACCUMULATE
Enron Corporation (ENRNQ.PK), $0.049 : Busy reading books about options, futures, and derivatives trading. Looks like they're back to work trying to learn a thing or two. No books on bail bonds or defense attorneys, surprisingly. AVOID $0.04 -18% Whatever happened to Kenneth Lay, anyway? AVOID
The Gap (GPS), $13.73 : This one's a toughie, a nontechnical, retailer. So what kinds of books should they be reading? Probably books about trends, fashions, pop culture perhaps? There are some of those in The Gap's list, but too many novels and leisure-time books for my taste. HOLD. $22.16 +61% Fashionable books for a fashionable company. HOLD
Intuit Corp (INTU), $47.74 : Not one, not two, but three books in their top ten list, three books on Six Sigma!. Four books on UI design and usability. Couple books on Intuit products. But the #1 book is about crime stoppers. What's up with that? Until I figure that one out, HOLD. $43.08 -10% Intuit employees are buying a lot less serious books these days. I love the fact that the #9 book at Intuit is Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money -- That The Poort and Middle Class Do Not!. HOLD
Microsoft Corp (MSFT), $23.56 : Eeeesssssiiiinnntttt thaaat eeeenterrrresssteeeeng. The number one book, costing $85.60, is Yookoso! An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese (Student Edition + Listening Comprehension Audio Cassette). So like is MSFT moving to Japan or something? Or acquiring someone big in Japan? Hmm. Like Apple and Cisco, there's too many books here on Microsoft the company itself. Stop believing the hype and get to work innovating on new stuff. HOLD. $26.10 +11% All technical or Microsoft-related titles. Just watch: the stock's gonna go up 25% or more in the next 12 months. Which means, BUY.
Qualcomm (QCOM), $35.18 : Busted! Daydreaming about everything but work. What's their number-one book? Pat Welsh's Southern California Gardening: A Month-to-Month Guide. Then there's books on how to get the most out of your stock options. And on and on. Normally, they'd get credit for buying a book called Getting Things Done but the rest of the list is just too scatter-brained. SELL. $64.67 +84% Diets, self-help, Lies -- nothing in there about technology and staying focused on work. And yet their stock goes up 84%. Can it still go up? Given the wireless boom, yes it can, goofy books or not. HOLD
SBC Communications (SBC), $20.49 : So what's on the minds of the phone company employees? How to Bamboozle the CLECs? How to Annoy Your Customers? No! Surprisingly, they're mainly buying technical books, telecom and javabeans and cisco this and that. There's a little bit of Harry Potter and Who Moved My Cheese but their list is dominated by work references. A hopeful sign. ACCUMULATE. $24.68 +20% Like Abbott Labs, SBC no longer seems to have anything listed in its Purchase Circles. What are they hiding? HOLD
Symantec Corp (SYMC), $43.54 : All techie books. Interestingly, the #2 book is After The Merger. Hmmmmm. Someone buying Symantec, or is Symantec buying someone? Hmmm. All those techie books are paying off. BUY. $47.89
(or pre-split $95.78)
+120% Phooey. SYMC too no longer has purchase circle info. But given the virus wave we're going through, it ought to keep SYMC busy over the next year. ACCUMULATE
3M Corp (MMM), $124.50 : Good grief! Eight out of the ten books listed are about Six Sigma! They're even buying the Six Sigma Pocket Guide! Major Six Sigma Company here. Who knows, maybe it's working. We'll see. ACCUMULATE. $84.51 (or 169.02 pre-split) +36% Good grief! How far down we've come in a year. Wither Six Sigma? More like Sick Sigma now. (Speaking of which... check this out.) Self help, novels, Lies, Dude, Where's My Country?.... 3M ain't what it used to be. SELL
Verio, Inc. (owned by NTT; then $17.63) : Acquired by NTT in Japan a while back, but Verio's purchase circle list was just too great to not mention here. #1 book in the list: How the Internet Works. #2 book: How Compuers Work. While there are some techie books in there, my eyes glazed over when I saw Nancy Reagan's I Love You, Ronnie in the list, and I stopped looking. SELL. $22.84 +30% Politics, novels, self-help... daydream city. SELL.
Wachovia Corp (WB), $35.11 : You know it's bad for a bank stock (for any stock, really) when the first book is Who Moved My Cheese and the second book is Harry Potter. After that, it's all your standard self-help/biz book fluff. You sure you want Wachovia to watch ovuh ya money? SELL. $45.59 +30% Another company whose Purchase Circles are now missing at Amazon. Oh well. It looks like Wachovia has indeed been watchin ovuh yuh money. HOLD

Posted by brian at May 13, 2004 04:49 PM



Posted by: Justin at May 26, 2004 04:48 PM

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