September, 2003: 2 22
Disclaimer - IMPORTANT - Read this first!
Investor's Journal is a diary focused strictly on investments and personal finance issues, primarily from a contrarian and retiree point of view. Follow along with an average guy's failures and successes as he learns, by trial and error, the fine art of value investing.

9/2/03-Courtesy of MSN Money, I've begun keeping track of purchases, in an "Essential Value Portfolio." It was started on 8/18/03, when the Standard and Poors 500 Index (SPX) stood at 1000.

Each week I'll review total current asset levels and likely purchase candidates, adding those with stand-out value for their price at times when the total portfolio holdings fall significantly below intended levels, and redeeming those meeting their sales criteria when the portfolio levels substantially exceed targets.

I'll be reporting here at least monthly on the current status of the portfolio, including new purchases or sales, the total invested, the current portfolio value, and the percentage gain or loss.

This is an actual portfolio of our holdings purchased or sold beginning August 18. The intentions are to achieve higher long-term total return than for the S. & P. 500 Index, yet with lower risk.

Since this is a record of real sales and purchases, all costs (except taxes) are included. Instead of recording recommended prices that may be considerably different than the actual asked (for our purchases) or bid (for our sales) prices on a particular day, of which many professional investment services are guilty, the reader will see the exact price paid or received. Commissions (generally $30 per trade) will be subtracted from the total return. Dividends will be included.

While the amounts will vary, initially each investment will be roughly $2500 or so.

The beginning Essential Value Portfolio stocks are:

The Shaw GroupSGR8/18/03300$8.75
Parlux FragrancesPARL8/28/03737$3.39
SFBC Int'l., Inc.SFCC9/2/0385$31.05

To date, total Essential Value investments, including commissions, have been $7852. The current (close-of-business) value of the portfolio is $7903, a modest 0.6% increase. (The S & P 500, at 1022, is up 2.2% since 8/18.)

9/22/03-Last June I put $12,500 into American Century Global Gold-Investors (BGEIX), as a hedge against inflation and market uncertainty. As of today, it's up to $16,073. So, I've placed an order to sell off $2900 (the rounded off excess over a 5% increase) worth of these shares. A few hundred of this increase will be used for margin debt reduction.

About $2500 has been employed, though, for purchase today of 75 shares of Home Depot (HD) (purchase price: $32.86 per share, plus the $30 commission), the latest addition to my Essential Value Portfolio. Home Depot is an excellent stock, with good long-term prospects and meeting "Value Line" timeliness, low risk, and technical criteria as well as those for Benchmark Investing.

As of early this morning, the Essential Value Portfolio was up over 15% since 8/18/03. After the Home Depot purchase, the average holding is still up 10.0% since slightly over a month ago. (Through today, the total investments, including commissions, in the Essential Value Portfolio have been $10,347. The current close of business value is $11,377.)

The initial (8/18/03) S. & P. 500 Index level was 1000. Today it stands at 1023, a comparatively slight 2.3% increase.

Disclaimer and Disclosure Statement
Much as I'd love it to be otherwise, I receive no payment of any kind for disseminating investment information unless, by some fluke, millions of folks, on the strength of these entries, start buying shares of stock I own, a possibility only slightly less likely than our being destroyed by a large meteorite. Do not follow any suggestions made in Investor's Journal as if I were a professional.

Neither I nor Investor's Journal will be responsible for losses by anyone who obtained ideas from this site.

This diary is intended for personal interest and general information only. You are advised to do your own research (as well as to consult highly compensated professionals) before spending money on anything.

I know of no reason anyone should take my financial musings seriously. At best I am a dedicated amateur providing a bit of investment-related insight and entertainment, at worst an amusing diversion.

My wife, Fran, and I may at times own shares of some of the assets mentioned here. But neither of us receive any benefit from reference to them, unless you count the mutual misery when we get it wrong, or the opportunity to gloat when we get it right.

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