Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random Thoughts From Your Vacationing Cheap Stocks Editor

It's been the summer of the vacation for your editor. Two extra weeks due to a job change...relaxing at the Jersey Shore, and becoming surer of a mini real estate, anyway.

On Long Beach Island, rentals are down any where from 15 to 25 percent this year. Why? People can't afford, (or don't want to afford) to come here. Home prices are through the roof, and those who bought with the hopes of renting out their new purchase were in for a shock this year. Homes purchased within the past few years can't rent for nearly enough to cover costs. Buyers who stretched themselves in the hopes of renting out their homes for the entire summer at X, were only able to rent for half the summer at Y. We foresee this leading to some quick sales. It's not necessarily a huge bubble about to burst, but perhaps a pricing adjustment.

For the first time in several years, we did not pre-pay for our heating oil this year. Just seemed high at $2.19 a gallon. It's even higher now, with oil in the mid to high 60's per barrel. Rather than pre-pay, we'd decided to invest the $1000 or so we'd spend into an energy related investment. In this case, the Vanguard Energy Fund. Call it a hedge. Only problem is, you editor still has not gotten around to making the transaction. Maybe when oil hits $55.

St. Joes Corp
After hitting the mid 80's, St Joes has pulled back to the $75 range. Still like and own this one, but have initiated a trailing stop. May have gotten ahead of itself. See the archives for our research on this company.

Zapata, Omega Protein
Interesting WSJ piece on Omega protein (60% owned by Zapata, also a company we own, and featured a few months back)and the battle between sport fisherman, conservationists, and Omega. Looks like limits may be coming for Omega's Menhaden harvest in the Chesapeake. Seems that stripers and other large fish feed on Menhaden. While limiting Omega's Chesapeake catch is not a good thing for the company, that is not the only place they fish. Stay tuned.

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