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Some rambling comments which you may or may not find useful.

what do I look for regarding the handful of small, semi-speculative stocks that I purchased?

One possible answer is to decide why you bought each, and sell it
when that reason is no longer true. Decide the rule now while you like it,
not later when you are anguishing about selling.

For any stock which does not have a good economic moat, set a maximum hold period.

You may find yourself wondering what to do with losers on the
speculative side of the portfolio. An easy rule of thumb is that
the stronger the balance sheet, the more certain the bounce.
If it's good quality stuff, dips lead to rallies.
If it's momentum/excitement/growth/hype, dips lead to dips.

Oddly, this isn't just an old saw--I've done statistical tests.
Value Line ranks roughly 1700 of the biggest companies in the US.
They're all ranked by safety, from 1 (safest) to 5 (weakest), which defines
"safe" primarily as balance sheet strength but also includes a history
of only moderate price volatility. If, every month since 1986, you
had bought the 10 safest ones (ranks 1 and 2) which had gone down the
most in price in the prior 3 months, you'd have averaged a return of 21.4%/year.
(this is the average return from doing this on 5298 possible trading days).
If you had bought the 10 least safe ones (ranks 4 and 5) which had gone
down the most in the prior 3 months, you would have averaged -12.7%/year.
This loss rate gets worse with longer hold periods...it's not just a longer wait for the bounce.

The moral of a story: Never catch (or hold) a cheaply made falling knife.

Jim
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