Saturday, July 5, 2014

1978 - Brutal dictator steals the world cup.

In 1978 I saw my very first football match on television. I cannot remember whether it was in black and white or in colour, but it was a memorable experience for me as a little kid. Not in the least because my parents, always strict with bed-time, let me stay up way past my bed time. I understood that somehow, this football match was so important, my parents wanted me to see it.

It was the 1978 World Cup Final between Argentina (hosts) and the Netherlands. In the very last minute of the game, the Netherlands were oh so close to being crowned world champion. But the goal post was unforgiving. The conditions under the junta regime were atrocious. This also resonated on the field. From wikipedia: "During the game, the referees repeatedly ignored Argentine players running off side for up to 10 meters and catching the ball with their hands." The Dutch players feared for their lives, because of the hostile atmosphere in the stadium, and a military junta that demanded a win.

It will not bring back the victims from the regime, but: This Wednesday, the Netherlands can have their sporting revanche. It will be 36 years late, but it will taste so sweet. This time, General Videla will not be here to rig the results, Argentina. Hup! Holland, Hup!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Someone threw a party in our street today, and 50,000 people showed up. We attended last year as well, the event took place very soon after we moved into our house. The weather was awesome, and there is free food everywhere. Xander and Amy got a photo op with Justin Trudeau.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Toronto stock market adventure so far.

Three years ago I began my Toronto Stock market adventure. So it's a good time to reflect. There is some good news: I beat the TSX market index by quite a bit. The bad news is that in 3 yrs time, the index was overall just flat.

The big spike in portfolio value (blue) of feb 1 2012, was thanks to a takeover of Gennum by Semtech. The price of Gennum more than doubled that day.

A 13.8% return is modest for a 3yr investment, but it beats the lousy interest on saving accounts these days. I remember saving as a child in the Netherlands, and getting a hefty 10% annual interest from 'the Zilvervloot'. I also traded on NYSE and Nasdaq. Even though the US stocks were more profitable than my Canadian stock, I failed to match either NYSE or Nasdaq performance.

Anyway, my lessons learned so far:

  • Got burned by Arise, a solar panel company. It went bankrupt soon after I bought it. Don't get suckered into green tech: they don't all have Tesla like stock performance. They typically falter.
  • You need a lot of patience with irrational market sentiments. Why is AAPL still not valued properly? It's my biggest US holding, and I lost money on it.
  • Take over bids tend to be good news, with an instant hike in stock price. It happened to me a lot. I think a lot of Canadian industries are consolidating.
  • Often, the real money can be made on dividends, instead of stock price. It pays to concentrate on companies that pay their investors well.
  • My biggest money maker was a US stock: Stratasys, which makes 3D printers. When I bought it, it was expensive, but still it tripled in value in a short period. Market leaders in brand new industries tend to do well. (I missed out on Tesla, but that would be in the same category.)