Stock Market Check-Back for August

Hello!

Today, I’m reporting in on how our imaginary stock market portfolio did in the month of August. But first … a shameless promotion:

Shameless Promotion!
Give a boost to a creative project Library Life Hack is working on with Canadian writers Natasha Deen and Trent Wilkie, and illustrator Daniel Schneider: it’s a comic book set in Strathcona County, Alberta — the origin story of a wild west female superhero named Boy.

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P.S. Let me also say that if you’ve ever wanted to be a comic book character yourself, this is your big chance …

And now, back to business. Our portfolio performed in August much the same as it did in July. Four stocks are in negative territory, and the star of the show continues to be Magna International, with a stellar 63% gain over its Jan 1 price. Canadian Tire and Sparton Corp. are in second and third place, at 36% and 35% gains.

Overall, the Canadian stocks have performed very well, cruising from a 3% gain on Feb 1 to a 34% gain as of Sept 1. (This despite a 35% loss from AEterna Zentaris.) The US stocks have held their own, wavering a few percentage points in each direction. It would be nice to see them start to gain a little bit of ground — but we’ll see what the final quarter of the year brings.

Company Name Closing Price
Dec 31
Closing Price
Aug 31
% Change
AEterna Zentaris Inc. 2.38 CDN 1.55 CDN -35%
Bombardier Inc. 3.76 CDN 4.79 CDN +27%
Callaway Golf Co. 6.50 US 6.92 US +6%
Cameron International Corp. 56.46 US 56.79 US +1%
Canadian Tire Corp. 81.00 CDN 109.85 CDN +36%
Cott Corp. 8.03 US 7.99 US 0%
Indigo Books & Music 10.68 CDN 10.60 CDN -1%
Koninlijke Philips Electronics 26.54 US 30.82 US +16%
Magna International Inc. 49.68 CDN 80.96 CDN +63%
BlackBerry 11.80 CDN 10.64 CDN -10%
Ryder Systems Inc. 49.93 US 55.61 US +11%
Sherwin-Williams Co. 153.82 US 172.40 US +12%
Sparton Corp. 13.87 US 18.77 US +35%
USG Corp. 28.07 US 23.34 US -17%
Westjet Airlines Ltd. 19.81 CDN 21.96 CDN +11%
Total Value $CDN $179.11 $240.35 +34%
Total Value $US $343.22 $372.64 +9%

Stock Market Check-Back for July

Hello! Here’s the update on the imaginary stock portfolio we put together back on Jan 1. You’ll also be able to find this in the Check-Back section.

And the round-up for July: only three stocks in negative territory (good), but two of those in double digits (not so good). One the up side, Magna International continues to lead the pack, with a 58% gain since January. The second place finisher is Bombardier Inc., which is up 32% and the bronze medal goes to Sparton Corp., which is up 28%. Overall, nine of our fifteen stocks are showing double-digit gains over the last seven months, which is great.

AEterna Zentaris has taken a pounding, it’s true. However, last week they announced that they’ve recruited and dosed the first patient for the Phase 3 clinical trial of a drug that treats endometrial cancer. I’ve come to realize that pharmaceuticals are a tricky stock market bet. When a drug starts clinical trials, there seems to be a lot of speculation that drives up prices — even though nothing’s really been proven at that point.

Company Name Closing Price
Dec 31
Closing Price
Jul 31
% Change
AEterna Zentaris Inc. 2.38 CDN 1.44 CDN -40%
Bombardier Inc. 3.76 CDN 4.96 CDN +32%
Callaway Golf Co. 6.50 US 7.18 US +10%
Cameron International Corp. 56.46 US 59.50 US +5%
Canadian Tire Corp. 81.00 CDN 98.25 CDN +21%
Cott Corp. 8.03 US 8.37 US +4%
Indigo Books & Music 10.68 CDN 10.98 CDN +3%
Koninlijke Philips Electronics 26.54 US 31.79 US +20%
Magna International Inc. 49.68 CDN 78.55 CDN +58%
BlackBerry Ltd. 11.80 CDN 9.02 CDN -24%
Ryder Systems Inc. 49.93 US 58.07 US +16%
Sherwin-Williams Co. 153.82 US 174.17 US +13%
Sparton Corp. 13.87 US 17.77 US +28%
USG Corp. 28.07 US 25.13 US -11%
Westjet Airlines Ltd. 19.81 CDN 21.96 CDN +11%
Total Value $CDN $179.11 $225.16 +26%
Total Value $US $343.22 $381.98 +11%

Stock Market Check-Back for June

Hello! Here’s the update on the imaginary stock portfolio we put together back on Jan 1. You’ll also be able to find this in the Check-Back section.

June wasn’t the greatest month for many of our stocks — four of them are in negative territory right now and only three gained on their May prices. But overall, with a 22% gain on our Canadian stocks and 11% on the US ones, the portfolio is still performing admirably.

The big winner in June is Magna International, which has gained a whopping 51% since Jan. Behind it are Bombardier Inc. and Sparton Corp., both with 24% gains. I’m a little concerned about Research in Motion, which has bounced between a 40% gain and a 6% loss in the first half of the year — but we’ll see what happens in July.

Company Name Closing Price
Dec 31
Closing Price
Jun 30
% Change
AEterna Zentaris Inc. 2.38 CDN 1.93 CDN -19%
Bombardier Inc. 3.76 CDN 4.68 CDN +24%
Callaway Golf Co. 6.50 US 6.58 US +1%
Cameron International Corp. 56.46 US 61.87 US +8%
Canadian Tire Corp. 81.00 CDN 92.54 CDN +14%
Cott Corp. 8.03 US 7.81 US -3%
Indigo Books & Music 10.68 CDN 11.04 CDN +3%
Koninlijke Philips Electronics 26.54 US 27.19 US +2%
Magna International Inc. 49.68 CDN 74.86 CDN +51%
Research in Motion Ltd. 11.80 CDN 11.08 CDN -6%
Ryder Systems Inc. 49.93 US 60.79 US +22%
Sherwin-Williams Co. 153.82 US 176.60 US +15%
Sparton Corp. 13.87 US 17.24 US +24%
USG Corp. 28.07 US 23.05 US -18%
Westjet Airlines Ltd. 19.81 CDN 23.00 CDN +16%
Total Value $CDN $179.11 $219.13 +22%
Total Value $US $343.22 $381.13 +11%

Stock Market Check-Back for May

Hello! Here’s the update on the imaginary stock portfolio we assembled way back on Jan 1. You’ll also be able to find this in the Check-Back section.

May was a good month for our some of our stocks and a volatile one for others. But overall, our portfolio is looking great. The two stocks that were in negative territory at the end of April are recovering nicely.

The big winner in May was Magna International, with a 39% gain. (Clearly, their stock price didn’t suffer after the press reported an explosion at their plant on May 1.) As a group, our Canadian stocks are doing really well, and they continue to outpace their US counterparts.

If you’ve followed along since the beginning of the year, you’ll know by now that stock prices jump around a lot, month to month. I understand why “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing” offers a lot of advice on the psychology of investment. You really do have to take the long view and ignore the fluctuations in price, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Company Name Closing Price
Dec 31
Closing Price
May 31
% Change
AEterna Zentaris Inc. 2.38 CDN 2.15 CDN -10%
Bombardier Inc. 3.76 CDN 4.70 CDN +25%
Callaway Golf Co. 6.50 US 6.85 US +5%
Cameron International Corp. 56.46 US 60.87 US +8%
Canadian Tire Corp. 81.00 CDN 96.76 CDN +19%
Cott Corp. 8.03 US 8.19 US +2%
Indigo Books & Music 10.68 CDN 10.90 CDN +2%
Koninlijke Philips Electronics 26.54 US 28.27 US +7%
Magna International Inc. 49.68 CDN 69.14 CDN +39%
Research in Motion Ltd. 11.80 CDN 14.45 CDN +22%
Ryder Systems Inc. 49.93 US 63.04 US +26%
Sherwin-Williams Co. 153.82 US 188.53 US +23%
Sparton Corp. 13.87 US 16.62 US +20%
USG Corp. 28.07 US 27.33 US -3%
Westjet Airlines Ltd. 19.81 CDN 23.25 CDN +17%
Total Value $CDN $179.11 $221.35 +24%
Total Value $US $343.22 $399.70 +16%

Stock Market Check-Back for April

Hello! Here’s the update on the imaginary stock portfolio we assembled way back on Jan 1. You’ll also be able to find this in the Check-Back section.

April was a pretty good month for our stocks. Only two of them are in negative territory, and some of them are doing spectacularly well. The juggernaut for April is Research in Motion, up a walloping 40% since the beginning of the year. However, Cott Corp. isn’t far behind at 36%, followed by WestJet at 25% and Magna International at 22%. It’s also worth mentioning that Sherwin Williams has gained almost $30 per share, with Canadian Tire and Magna International gaining more than $10 per share in the last four months.

The Canadian stocks are still outperforming the US ones, and that gap is starting to widen.

On the down side, AEterna Zentaris is still lagging. The company appointed a new CEO two weeks ago — we’ll see if this can produce some positive impact in May and June.

Company Name Closing Price
Dec 31
Closing Price
Apr 30
% Change
AEterna Zentaris Inc. 2.38 CDN 1.85 CDN -22%
Bombardier Inc. 3.76 CDN 4.00 CDN +6%
Callaway Golf Co. 6.50 US 6.70 US +3%
Cameron International Corp. 56.46 US 61.55 US +9%
Canadian Tire Corp. 81.00 CDN 91.50 CDN +13%
Cott Corp. 8.03 US 10.95 US +36%
Indigo Books & Music 10.68 CDN 11.49 CDN +8%
Koninlijke Philips Electronics 26.54 US 27.60 US +4%
Magna International Inc. 49.68 CDN 60.60 CDN +22%
Research in Motion Ltd. 11.80 CDN 16.50 CDN +40%
Ryder Systems Inc. 49.93 US 58.07 US +16%
Sherwin-Williams Co. 153.82 US 183.11 US +19%
Sparton Corp. 13.87 US 13.89 US 0%
USG Corp. 28.07 US 25.99 US -7%
Westjet Airlines Ltd. 19.81 CDN 24.68 CDN +25%
Total Value $CDN $179.11 $210.62 +18%
Total Value $US $343.22 $387.86 +13%

Let’s Get This Party Started

Hey! Happy New Year! And welcome to Library Life Hack. This blog is a year-long experiment into determining the actual dollars-and-cents value of a library card.

Over the next 52 weeks, I’ll be talking about new skills that I’ve picked up through the use of library resources. What will I be learning? Skills that are useful to me, and skills that I hope might be useful to some of you. Ideally, in the true spirit of a life hack, these should be skills that save us time, money, or both. Expect posts on roasting your own coffee beans, learning how to speak another language, packing a decent lunch, building a sofa bed from scratch and knitting a sweater in a weekend.

How will it work? Each time I post, I’ll add up the consumer purchase price of the materials I’m using, plus any other money saved along the way. This will go onto the Math page. At the end of 2013, you and I will get to see what my library card is worth.

When you think about it, public libraries are one of the great original life hacks. Abraham Lincoln is said to have educated himself almost solely with borrowed books. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie believed so strongly in public libraries that he funded and built 2500 of them, over the course of 46 years. If they time-travelled forward, I have no doubt that the wealth of knowledge housed in a modern library would astonish and delight these two great men. But enough background. Let the hacking begin!

Week One
It took a while to decide where I should start, but I eventually settled on opening with a topic that would potentially generate some money, even if it’s only in the theoretical sense right now. This week, we’re going to talk about learning how to play the stock market.

My crash course in stock market investment came by way of a book by Jason Kelly called “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing”. It was first published in 1998, and he releases an updated version about every three years. (The very newest one came out about a week ago.)

This book lives up to its name. It’s a quick 320 pages and it explains, in simple and tidy language, exactly how the stock market works and exactly how to invest in it. It’s comprehensive but there’s no fluff — just easy-to-understand, common sense instructions. By the end, I was pretty confident that I could use the book to build a real-life stock portfolio.

For the purposes of this blog, however, we’re going to build an imaginary portfolio and track its progress for the next year.

Here’s how it works: First, I followed Jason Kelly’s advice to locate a group of stocks that I thought had good potential. Next, I used his worksheet to whittle down to 15 winners. This worksheet compares stocks across 30 criteria. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but these are standard numbers and ratios and they aren’t that hard to locate.

For US stocks, the bulk of the information that goes into the worksheet can be found in three publications: Value Line Investment Survey, Standard & Poor’s Outlook and Investor’s Business Daily. And this is where library access REALLY pays off.

These are three outstanding investment periodicals. And a year’s subscription to them will set you back just over $1000. Unless, of course, you have access to a library. You’ll find them in the business reference section of most larger libraries, where you can research them for free. Cha-ching!

With Canadian stocks, you can find most of the worksheet information by digging a little between Google Finance, Yahoo Finance and the annual reports of the companies you’re looking at. (What you’ll have to live without are the ratings that are specific to Value Line and Standard & Poor’s.)

Meet the Library Life Hack Dream Team
This imaginary portfolio contains one share of each of the 15 winning stocks. We’ll be checking in on them once a month.

Company Name Ticker Symbol Closing Price Dec 31
AEtna Zentaris Inc. AEZS 2.38 CDN
Bombardier Inc. BBD-B.TO 3.76 CDN
Callaway Golf Co. ELY 6.50 US
Cameron International Corp. CAM 56.46 US
Canadian Tire Corp. CTC.TO 81.00 CDN
Cott Corp. COT 8.03 US
Indigo Books & Music IDG 10.68 CDN
Koninlijke Philips Electronics PHG 26.54 US
Magna International Inc. MG.TO 49.68 CDN
Research in Motion Ltd. RIM.TO 11.80 CDN
Ryder Systems Inc. R 49.93 US
Sherwin-Williams Co. SHW 153.82 US
Sparton Corp. SPA 13.87 US
USG Corp. USG 28.07 US
Westjet Airlines Ltd. WJA.TO 19.81 CDN
Total Value $CDN $179.11
Total Value $US $343.22

And ta dah! That’s our first library life hack. If you want to try it for yourself, here’s the complete information on this week’s library materials:

The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing
Written by Jason Kelly
Published by Plume
Released Dec 25, 2012
ISBN 0452298628

Value Line Investment Survey
Found at valueline.com

Standard & Poor’s Outlook
Found at spoutlook.com

Investor’s Business Daily
Found at investors.com

And now, the numbers. The current cost of the book on amazon.ca is $12.27 and on chapters.indigo.ca, it’s $12.92. That averages out to $12.60. Value Line Investment Survey is $598 US for an annual online subscription. A year of Standard & Poor’s Outlook online is $200 US, and a year of Investor’s Business Daily is $269 US. Once you do the conversion to Canadian dollars, that’s a whopping $1067.86 saved by using a library.

I’m pretty jazzed about this year-long experiment. But you know what? I’m even more jazzed that you took the time to read this post. If you like, leave a comment and if you have a life hack you want to see me try out, drop me a line at LibraryLifeHack [at] gmail.com.

Next week, we’re going to tackle some simple ways to home-roast your own coffee beans — which leads to a great cup of coffee at a better price. In the meantime, have a great week, and Happy 2013 to you!

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