Tater’s Takes: Super Busy

August 25th, 2010 by Potato

I’ve been super busy lately, and I’ve shifted my leisure habits from blogging, writing, and finance lately to playing StarCraft and fiddling with Flash animations (which had even fewer views than I had suspected, and zero comments… I guess I only find myself funny because I’m sleep deprived?).

Anyhow, this picture should give you an idea of how the diet has been going this week:

3 batches of delicious cookies!

Ok, actually it wasn’t all that bad. I did get back on the bike, and aside from the last day of cookies (and tomorrow’s chocolate party), I have been pretty good with the diet. I caught up on my sleep over the weekend, which also helped a lot with feeling better and getting a workout in. However, according to my “aggressive yet totally doable thesis timeline” I was supposed to defend my thesis last week. As you have not seen a post to that effect (or even that I’ve finished the first draft of my thesis), you know that I didn’t defend my thesis last week. That made me sad, and cookies are good friends when you’re in your little box of sadness.

Despite the recent spate of results coming out of so many companies, I haven’t had time to go over any of them in any kind of detail, and haven’t listened to a single conference call this quarter. So I’m not really in much of a position to come up with any good investing posts, but that won’t stop me from spewing out a few half-baked thoughts in this quasi-weekly roundup:

BP: They capped the well, the stock recovered very nicely from the bottom… and then the stock went down and down and down again. I have no idea why. I’m ambivalent on it at this price: it’s not cheap enough to be interesting for me to buy more, but especially with the well capped so the liability is no longer infinite, I wouldn’t want to bail at this point…

DR.UN: Medical Facilities is a neat little income trust that I flagged a few months ago as one to watch for the next quarter or two to see how things go. They got really cheap there for a while, yielding up around 15% (which would likely become a ~11% dividend after conversion). I skimmed their quarterly release and things looked ok — not great, but ok — but I didn’t have time to really read it in detail. They’ve since gone up about 10%, and I’m no longer sure how much of the value is there…

The Banks: the Canadian housing market looks like it’s finally following the rest of the world back down to reality. Now, the Canadian banks have very little risk of complete loss associated with that event, but I doubt very much that even the CMHC makes the risk zero. AFAIK, they will at the very least face a reduction in their mortgage portfolios as the number of Canadian homeowners follows the American trajectory from ~69% back to the historical ~64%, and the sizes of those associated loans shrink. Once the downturn gets into full swing, they’ll probably have a few bad quarters/years until things shake out. So even though they already are starting to look cheap again, I’ve been sitting on my hands on the assumption that they’ll get cheaper in the next few years. Unfortunately, I suppose that could be described as fruitless market timing, and that this idea is already baked into the prices… that said I do still have some exposure to Canadian banks (I still hold TD), though I think I’m slightly underweight compared to the index.

Conversely, the American banks may have hit bottom already. BAC is making the top picks of several analysts, but I haven’t had time to do any research to see if it might be fore me… likewise Manulife has been getting cheaper by the day, yet again, I can’t say yet if it’s cheap enough. With these though, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to — these entities are just so big, with so many moving parts and black boxes, I don’t think I could ever fully get my head around them with the skills and tools I have at my disposal right now.


An interesting article on how scarce helium is on our planet, and how a bone-headed move by the US government is causing a large part of our reserves to be sold off at rock-bottom prices, making helium too cheap to bother recycling… for now. To be fair, we can manufacture helium from nuclear processes, but not in large quantities, and certainly not cheaply.

Also, Netbug has relaunched his blog, with a slightly new address.

3 Responses to “Tater’s Takes: Super Busy”

  1. Rachelle Says:

    I was thinking some more about calories and diets. Fat people are just more likable, that’s why the calories are attracted to us. Skinny people are mean and cranky and scare the calories away.

    I can’t help being so lovable… can you send me me some of those awesome looking cookies :)

  2. Potato Says:

    That must be it!

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