2013 Investment Recap

I like to look back at the year and see how good (or bad) my investments were in stocks for the year. As the rest of the year is going to be crazy busy I wanted to type this while I couldn’t sleep last night. I doubt there will be any huge swings from now till 31 Dec.

I buy and hold-on to stocks vs. quick trades so my goal is not to make a quick buck on a flip. There were a few interesting surprises and fails this year. I am leaving my overall investment dollars out so you just get percentage gained. Overall my portfolio is up 21% which isn’t my best showing, but better than zero. If anything this reaffirms that I should stick to ETF and Mutual Funds for 2014 :)

Top 5 Performers:

  1. Tesla Motors (TSLA) 273% Gain – I bought into Tesla very early because I wanted one. My belief was that the company was ahead of the curve, taking big chances, and innovating where others had not. The price today is in my opinion HUGELY overvalued, but my belief is still there. This was a lucky purchase.
  2. Northrop Grumman (NOC) 85% Gain – Defense is always a safe bet in America or it used to be anyways. I saw the stock drop through the floor this year and bought while it was scrapping the bottom. Having worked with the company earlier I felt like they had a lot going for them and it was undervalued. Turned out to be a good observation.
  3. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) 68% Gain – They are going to rewrite the entertainment industry. I bought this stock early in January of the  year and sold when it hit 150…idiot…Lucky I bought it again shortly after realizing my mistake. The technology, originality, and ability to be EVERYWHERE is what makes Netflix a good pick in my book.
  4. Ford (F) 63% Gain – I drive German cars, but believe out of the American manufacturers Ford has the best chance at re-positioning themselves as a strong global player. While in Germany last year my rental car was commonly a European Ford Fiesta Sport Diesel. A damn fine car that I came close to purchasing when I instead picked up the Audi A3 TDI. Their inroads into tech and Sync technology reaffirms this. I wish them the best in 2014.
  5. Facebook (FB) 57% Gain – “Suck it Trebek!” runs through my head on this stock. I had to ride this one for a long-time before it started to tick-up again in 2013. I bought in after the IPO crash under the belief they had too much good data to be worth so little. The website sucks, I hate their company ethos, and I wish they weren’t so cozy with some agencies. All that said I think from a retirement perspective they have a long-road ahead of them.

Bottom 5 Performers:

  1. General Motors (GM) -24% Gain – Call this one greed and bad timing. As I watched the stock slowly climb its way out of the govt. bailout, I thought for sure it would jump. Instead it continued a quick slide down to the bottom of my portfolio. After a visit home to Michigan last year I realized just how poor a pick this was. The news was not good from my family home.
  2. Sony (SNE) -23% Gain – I bought an Xperia Z when my Samsung phone died during a quick Europe trip this year. The phone was (is) a phenomenal piece of technology. After being less than impressed with Android phones I was blown away at the technology and experience. I bought some stock thinking I had caught them in an upswing. Nope. Even after the great PS4 release the guys just can’t get a good footing.
  3. Zillow (Z) -20% Gain – I have owned two houses and helped my family buy/sell a few others. In every occurrence the first place we started for data was Zillow. When the IPO was announced I thought for sure they had a good thing going. Real Estate agents are a pain to deal with and I think Zillow still has some potential, but for now its number 3 on my worse performers.
  4. Riverbed Technology (RVBD) -17% Gain – WAN speeds and optimization is ALWAYS a bottleneck in architectures Spec Ops Technology deploys. The technology Riverbed creates is solid and in wide use by governments and commercial customers alike. I think the market is wrong (market as in finance, not tech) and 2014 will see this one bounce.
  5. Embraer (ERJ) -15% Gain –  I made some money on ERJ with the release of new planes this year. I kept some of my stock because I believed it would jump with the USAF/Hillary’s push for the Super Tucano platform. I misjudged the impacts and here I am with a 15% loss on the remaining shares. I believe that Embraer is in a VERY strong position for the coming years in light of the missteps by Boeing and Airbus for smaller regional platforms, but for now it is on my bottom 5.
Name Symbol Gain %
Tesla Motors Inc TSLA 272.89
Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC 85.11
Netflix, Inc. NFLX 68.39
Ford Motor Company F 63.13
Facebook Inc FB 57.57
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. AMD 33.7
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 32.54
Expedia Inc EXPE 27.41
Yahoo! Inc. YHOO 23.49
National Bank of Greece (ADR) NBG 22.99
SunPower Corporation SPWR 18.08
Apple Inc. AAPL 17.91
AeroVironment, Inc. AVAV 14.81
Ameresco Inc AMRC 11.27
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF VTI 8.37
Vanguard Total International Stock ETF VXUS 6.23
Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM 5.76
McDonald's Corporation MCD 3.26
Alliant Energy Corporation LNT 1.27
iShares Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Exp.(ETF) IEO 0.21
Red Hat Inc RHT -4.43
Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) RDS.A -4.44
Target Corporation TGT -5.85
Embraer SA (ADR) ERJ -15.4
Riverbed Technology, Inc. RVBD -17.13
Zillow Inc Z -20.25
Sony Corporation (ADR) SNE -22.98
General Motors Company GM -23.56