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Learning to Invest / My Dumbest Investment


Subject:  Nokia (NOK) Date:  9/22/2012  12:58 AM
Author:  notehound Number:  3586 of 4353

I got back from a Scandinavia trip impressed by the disciplined industriousness of the Swedes and the Finns. I was truly amazed by the Finnish people and their tenacity.

Upon my return from Helsinki, I decided to buy a few hundred shares of NOK at about $7.00/share. I was confident that the folks who cleverly navigated the complex technological challenges of early cell networks and built the "tough as a tank," reliable cell phones of the 90's and early 00's would surely innovate themselves through the transition to smart phones.

Man was that a mistake.

I was an early Palm user - and for years loved my Palm Treo (which had touch screen features as well as handwriting recognition), and then watched Palm sit idly by while Blackberry ate their lunch. I should have known better than to trust Nokia to succeed where Palm had failed, even with Microsoft behind them (especially with Microsoft behind them?).

I'm still sitting on my original NOK position, now worth only $2.75/share. I hold the shares in an account I rarely trade, so by the time I thought about selling, the red ink was so bad I hated to lock in the losses. That's a disadvantage to having accounts at multiple brokers. It's easy to neglect a trade.

I plan to sell before the end of the year, though. I have booked some long term capital gains in that account this year and I think the NOK now qualifies as an offset.

I almost bought ETrade, too, as the beaten down stock of a great company (I have had excellent customer service from ETrade and I like their trading interface). Fortunately, I have been able to resist.

Looks like a few common themes run through some of the posts on this board. One theme - "value" plays, and another "hot new stocks." My worst picks tend to be in looking for "beaten down" great names. Believe it or not, I bought and sold Kodak at a profit before it went down for the last time.

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