It's important as both a columnist and an investor to acknowledge what's worked and what hasn't among stock you've written about. Here's a look at how I've done since beginning my second tenure with Real Money in November.
Skulcandy (SKUL) and Rofin-Sinar Technologies (RSTI)
Sometimes you just get lucky in the short term. It's one thing to identify what you believe might be a cheap company, but quite another to experience instant gratification -- something that's happened with a least a couple of names that I've recently written about.
For example, headphone distributor Skulcandy is up 25% since I identified it as a promising value play in late January. Ditto with Rofin-Sinar Technologies, which is up 13% since I wrote about the firm some three weeks ago.
Krispy Kreme (KKD) and Callaway Golf (ELY)
A positive piece on ever-volatile Krispy Kreme yielded decent results, with shares up about 8% since I looked at the stock in December.
Ditto with a negative piece I published in December about Callaway Golf, which has fallen some 9% since my column ran. I owned ELY for several years, but finally gave up on it because golf demographics and the company's comeback haven't played out as I once believed they would. (My Real Money colleague Brian Sozzi has a more optimistic piece about the stock today.)
Office Depot (ODP) and Staples (SPLS)
I suggested in December that the proposed merger of Office Depot and Staples appeared in doubt due to overzealous U.S. Federal Trade Commission antitrust regulators.
Both companies' shares are down about 20% since then, and while the merger isn't completely off the table, the odds of it going forward appear to grow longer by the day.
LeapFrog Enterprises (LF)
I panned LeapFrog Enterprises (a stock that I'd owned previously) in a column back in November.
Despite the fact that LF was trading below net current asset value, I wasn't convinced that there was much of a future for this kid-oriented content company, which lives or dies by the whims of the average 10-year-old. But VTech Holdings apparently saw something that I didn't and last month announced a tender offer for all outstanding LF shares at $1 each.
That's certainly not much comfort to anyone who's owned the stock over the past few years, which saw LF tumble from nearly $12 a share in August 2013 to a 52-cent intraday shortly before VTech made its offer. But the bid still represents a 75% premium over what LeapFrog was trading for at the time, as well as 45% more than the stock was fetching when my column ran.
I professed little hope for casual-dining chain Cosi, another former holding of mine, when I wrote about the stock in November.
While I still don't see much of a future for Cosi, the stock is up 47% since my column ran. But make no mistake about it, COSI is trading less like a stock and more like an option on the company's continued survival.
Shares of VOIP provider Vonage are down 20% since I sang the stock's praises in November.
VG is an atypical stock for me -- and it hasn't worked out well in recent months even though the company put up some decent fourth-quarter results.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to investing, remember that you've got to take the good with the bad. Focusing on the winners and ignoring the losers isn't a winning proposition, nor is confusing skill with luck.