I Love Catching Falling Knives


FALLING KNIFE DEFINITION: A slang phrase for a security or industry in which the current price or value has dropped significantly in a short period of time. A falling knife security can rebound, or it can lose all of its value, such as in the case of company bankruptcy where equity shares become worthless. A falling knife situation can occur because of actual business results (such as a big drop in net earnings) or because of increasingly negative investor sentiment.  Source: Investopedia

I do like the falling knives! I usually find the best opportunities in the companies who’s stocks fall hard, some deserve it, but sometimes is unwarranted panic selling. I got many of my current holdings this way. I bought the bulk of my Merchant’s during the last economic crash when all banks were being sold no matter how safe/dull their business practice was. Cisco (CSCO), Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), GE (GE) Google (GOOG), eBay (EBAY), Apple (AAPL)… I bought my stakes in all of these when people were overly pessimistic on them.  

Why Catch Falling Knives?

Often, you will have companies have some bad news, maybe an earning or sales miss, an unexpected one time expense… temporary problems even though the company’s business is sound, the stock will drop hard. This makes for a great opportunity.

Some of the ones I’m looking to buy now are Staples (SPLS), Merchant’s Bank (MBVT), 3D Systems (DDD), Stratasys (SSYS), Amazon (AMZN), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Sierra Wireless (SWIR) – either for the fact that they have fallen a bit, but still have sound fundamentals based on the current price or have decent dividends which help keep a floor on further downward pressure with great potential for upside.

But generally right now I’m putting together a nice list of potential ideas while keeping a wait and see attitude, waiting for the right time to strike.

MBVT is one that I’ve consistently held a core position while trading around it. I like it at $28.50 or less usually. At the last stockholder’s meeting (which I still need to post my write up on) they mentioned they are in the process of completely upgrading their computer system which will increase efficiency, customer service and lower overall cost. However, the whole cost of this upgrade is expensed this year so it could scare people (which it looks like is already happening) that just look at the numbers… could create a nice opportunity there.

Stock Market Pullback is Good for the Market

stock-market-downThe recent stock market drops are a good thing for the overall market.  I think the recovery has been too fast and based somewhat too much on the fed temporary easing… it has to end sometime.  

It’s about time for the markets to show strength on their own merits.  

Some smaller pullbacks now are better than another much larger crash later in the year.  Consider the pullbacks now as a good opportunity to sell some positions where the current price is high compare to the value of the business and make some buys of stocks that are selling at a discount.

There’s usually always some good deals in the market and they often become better deals when the overall market is going down hard. Make of list of companies that look attractive and judge them based on their current and future business prospects compared to the current price.

 I’ve already started too and plan to buy more if prices continue to go down more.

If you’re still nervous, consider investing in solid companies with reliable dividends.  For example, I like Merchant’s Bank (MBVT) with an over 4% dividend.  They are rock solid and have consistently paid a dividend for years.  Worst case scenario the stock plummets and I still get my 4% on my original investment and plus I get to buy more for a larger dividend.

Other stocks with decent dividends are Intel (INTC), Cisco (CSCO), Microsoft (MSFT) and GE (GE).  All of which I have current long positions in.

Merchants Bancshares Inc (MBVT) – Sell

merchants-bank-logoMerchant’s Bank (MBVT) has done very well over the last 3 months.  I believe it’s time to take some profits.  I sold a sizeable portion of my position in Merchant’s today, most of which I purchased back in early 2011, making a gain of about 65%, not counting dividend revenue which has been around 4% up until recently.

I sold about 1/3 of our position in Merchant’s but would be willing to buy it back at a lower price, which will most likely happen in the near term. I would look for a target price of $28 or less.

My feeling on Merchant’s are still quite positive, but I just believe the price is getting a little high and I believe that it will be lower soon.  Even though I sold half of my position, Merchant’s is still my largest position in our portfolio.

Merchants Bancshares Inc (MBVT) – Sell

merchants-bank-logoMerchant’s Bank (MBVT) has recovered from a recent sell off.

Since I bought the additional shares with the whole intention of selling once the share price recovered I sold some of those shares today for a quick 4.49% gain and will most likely buy again if the the price drops significantly again.

Again, I am still keeping the bulk of my position, which is still my largest position.