Tag Archives: stocks

LotRO Mordor Beta, Hearthstone Frozen Throne, Gaming Stock Update, Tunnels And Trolls

gamr etf


Mordor Open Beta


This weekend the character model updates arrived on the LotRO beta server, and honestly they look very good. The newly aligned Standing Stone developers clearly have a mind for pushing improvements for LotRO.

Last weekend I played through the High Elf introduction on LotRO’s Mordor beta server, which involves a flashback to the Last Alliance at the end of the second age in Middle Earth.

In looks and animation, High Elf is sort of a cross between Elf and man. I found the intro sequences to be epic and entertaining, just long enough to serve the purpose, but not long enough to be boring.

Hardcore lore-monkeys and other serious-business types in the LotRO forum lambasted the High Elf production quality, however.

Some criticism, like the wet dog scraggly hair modeling, might be justified, although they have already improved that in the third beta weekend.

I thought the little story was fine. The elf does Night Elf-style dive-rolls. Most low-budget MMO’s these days don’t even have racial start areas.


Hearthstone announces Knights of the Frozen Throne


Blizzard announced Knights of the Frozen Throne yesterday. Frozen Throne might bring more deathrattle cards for my priest, which is nice.

Knights is especially exciting for players who like PvE story content in Hearthstone, because this xpack will bring that back after a year hiatus, and the discontinuation of adventures after Karazhan last year.

Also Blizz is running a promotion for the next week for double gold earned from quests. So if you’re on a break from Hearthstone, you should probably check in and knock those down for 100+ gold per quest completion.


Gaming Stocks


Last week I sold Blizzard (ATVI) at $59.50 near the recent high. Today I bought back into the GAMR ETF, as shown in the image above. After an almost $1000 gain, I was just holding too much Blizzard.

It was easier for taxes to sell it all instead of taking half off the table. Also, I do not trust the U.S. market right now, or the inflated Blizzard stock price, or the profit margins on Blizzard’s impressive eSports productions. If they are going to have a lackluster quarter, it could be this one.

Today Blizzard, EA, and TTWO saw big buying demand on a market bounce. They were well above any other stocks I track. Clearly a lot of people are eager to shove their money into video game companies.

If you’ve been wanting to get into Blizzard, today was a solid bet. Blizzard is bouncing off of the top line of a straight trend channel started last February. The MACD oversold indicator (at bottom of images) is also good.

I would rather see Blizzard break and fall down into that channel before I re-buy, i.e. around $54-55. Or I’d like to see a broad market meltdown or flash crash.

This year has been horrible for retail in general. A lot of stocks have been smashed. Food. Clothes. Now auto parts. Some of this weakness may bleed over into video games, or maybe just real estate, health care, and tech companies are devouring everyone’s lunch money.

For now, I opted for a more global diversity in my video game investment. It’s interesting that the GAMR ETF holdings do not have Blizz, EA, and TTWO in the top 10. I like that. I’m also still holding NVidia, Tencent, and Netease.

NTES was my gaming pick in my last blog post in May. It is currently up 11.47% since I purchased it. According to a chart comparison tool, NTES has outperformed Blizzard slightly during the last two months. I wouldn’t expect that to continue, but it’s nice.

I also sold Silver(SLV) for a small gain at 16.30. It’s now down to 14.73, and I’m looking at it again. The problem is that both it and the dollar are much lower, which is a big problem. It would be better to buy the dollar if it turns (symbol UUP).

Other names on my current radar are Patrick Industries (PATK) for secular need for cheap housing, a trend shaping up and good PE, PEG ratios, Autozone (AZO) for oversold due to panic over O’Reilly’s released numbers, and telecom ETF (VOX), which was picked by an analyst I like (Tom Lee), and it’s a Trump trade.

edit- Today, Monday morning, I bought a bit of JD.com (JD) at 39.90 on heavy volume against a very good stop out level at 38.40. This is a small, low-risk bet for big potential gain after a very strong last earnings report and a period of consolidation.

edit- Also,as of Tuesday the GAMR ETF now has Blizzard at #7, so apparently they are buying the current weakness.


Tunnels And Trolls App Still WIP


I checked on the T&T app this week, and apparently Metaarcade is still working on it.

They’ve put up a few updates in the last week, however, and the blog post suggests the team is fighting the 90-90 rule:

The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.

Yes, that sounds about right. I’m in the same situation with my own game project, which is currently looking great. The hardest problems still need to be whipped into shape, however. My next blog post will be about that, with my first module ready for play-testing.


Gaming Stocks Continue To Rip, But U.S. Markets Look Iffy

stock chart
Gaming companies reported excellent results this spring earning season, sending Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony, and NVidia yet again to all-time highs. NVidia and Netease (Blizzard’s partner in China) were both up close to 5% today.

Jim Cramer discussed NVidia at length today, noting the huge movement into artificial intelligence, and that NVidia (NVDA) is really the only pure AI investment opportunity. Google is in AI, but is much more diversified. NVidia killed earnings yet again in this quarter, and I’m up 25% already, again.

At this point, however, you may be a little too late for U.S. gaming equities in general this year. The old adage is: “sell in May and go away“.

Some indicators are showing a current slow-down in the U.S., great investor complacency ($VIX), and a narrowing market (fewer big stocks keeping it afloat), in addition to the upcoming seasonal weakness. “Bad!”

There are good opportunities for gaming stocks in Asia, however, which also avoid risks of Donald Trump insanity. Big money managers like Jeffrey Gundlach are pointing to Asia (emerging markets) as well in the last few weeks.

Sony ($SNE) and Netease ($NTES) are both breaking out as of last week, as shown in the image above, so lets look at those.

The image shows two types of buyable breakouts. Sony is breaking to an all-time high past levels the stock previously was rejected. Netease is breaking out of a three-month consolidating downtrend.

In my experience, the Netease breakout is far more reliable, which is demonstrated by the much stronger move out of the bounding trend line. Netease just reported strong earnings results, so there is less risk of a bad surprise for quite a while.

On the other hand, Netease distributes Blizzard’s games in China, while Sony has the Playstation. That’s kind of better. Sony is also more diversified and doesn’t have the threat of China’s government slapping regulations, investigations, or other problems on companies, so it’s a safer bet in many other ways.

If you look at Sony’s longer term chart below, you see the same big pullbacks as Netease current has, and then the results in the following months. The pullbacks would have been better times to buy. In my past couple years of focusing on the stock market, this pattern is gold. It works almost every time. If it doesn’t, you sell again before you take a significant loss.

stock chart

Barron’s recommends Sony. The Sony P/E ratio looks high, but Baron quotes 18 on forward-looking earnings. I bought Netease a few weeks ago as my first new investment since I re-bought NVidia a few months ago.

I still don’t think it’s too late on the Netease breakout, or I would not have made this post. I worry about over-exposure to Blizzard, but I’m not ignoring the NTES chart. I’m looking for more charts like it, actually, like the current chart for silver (SLV).

The SLV chart alone isn’t enough. The USD dollar collapsed in the past week, confirming weakness and supporting price of all commodities in $USD. Copper also has extended weakness despite some miner strikes, which pressures production. Silver production is partly a byproduct of copper production.

I’m starting to wonder if computerization of market trading (the trend towards computer programs managing investment funds) is creating self-fulfilling prophecies on these patterns that make them even more reliable. After all, traditionally, artificial intelligence tends to be very predictable. So, profit?

As far as gaming, I’m still playing Hearthstone. I made rank 15 this month much earlier than usual. I’m chipping away at golden Priest and max level Rogue.

My elf school game project is coming along very nicely. I’m not satisfied with incorporating Tolkien-style elves, or some random video game-style elf race, so I’m looking more at the Nordic tradition.

Since my game teaches Spanish/English, approaching white race issues is interesting. The game protagonist would probably be the equivalent of a ‘mudblood’ in Elfland. I’m currently reading The King of Elfland’s Daughter on Project Gutenberg.


Final Super-Amazing Post, Then KKBB On Break

World of Warcraft Westfall Quest
This is my final commentary for a while, and I plan to go out with a fizzle of glory. I’ve known for a while that live streaming was going to kill written bloggers, and that’s happening. Or maybe I just suck. Let’s go to bullet points, then praise World of Warcraft writing, and lastly talk stocks.

  • Scientific American reported last month on studies of brain changes in gamers. Gamers who play fast shooter-type games are shown to get various mental benefits:
    1. Improved ability to focus on visual details.
    2. Higher sensitivity to contrasts.
    3. Better reaction time to sudden events.
    4. Better making of correct decisions under pressure.
    5. Visual search improvement.

    I have to wonder if there are any drawbacks, however, versus controls. Are these gamers developing nervous disorders, sleeping more poorly, or overeating, for example.

    Scientific American also reported on the serious health risks of poor sleep, since scientists have discovered that brains flush toxins (like beta amyloid, responsible for Alzheimers’s) mostly during sleep, through the newly discovered “glymphatic system“.

  • Korean voice actress fired. She tweeted herself wearing a shirt that said “Girls do not need a prince”. The Mary Sue observes that South Korea is a painfully repressive country with low rankings in gender equality, and where supposedly 80% of young adults want to move somewhere else.In response to the charges, the young woman said: “she is willing to take responsibility if she did anything wrong.” My reaction is the same as Mary Sue’s – …..
  • Overwatch. Kotaku reported today on the strong characterization of Overwatch’s new heal/snipe character, Ana. Ana is a complicated, deep older woman, in contrast to all the young, pretty characters more common in games. The players apparently love Ana as a character, and that’s totally awesome. That’s Blizzard.
  • Gaming Hypnosis. The dark wizard Vive has produced two new gaming files: Healslut, which gives you a sexy submissive thrill of service and pleasure for healing in video games; and Blog!, which gives you a thrill of submissive service for writing up helpful blog posts … like this one.Remember these hypnosis files are no joke. They seem to “wear off” fairly quickly, but training the brain with pleasure can have long-term subtle influences.

World of Warcraft Writing: Exemplary


This week I re-subbed to WoW, and was playing through Westfall with a Shaman to unlock the Lady Liadrin paladin hero in Hearthstone. I also ran many dungeons with my lovable Death Knight.

The blog image above is exemplary of Blizzard’s game writing, so I took a screenshot when I saw it. Here are the great techniques this MMO quest dialog employs, aside from the cute name:

  1. Sums up the story in case you forgot. This is so important, yet all RPG’s routinely ignore the fact that players start and stop the storylines – very often.
  2. Involves you, the player. You’re actually a part of this story. You feel important. You’re called by a term of endearment, a rookie. It’s the norm for the player to go through the motions like a quest drone, a one-dimensional gopher.
  3. A mystery to solve.  The writing ploy often used in some MMOs, but just as often underused.  There should always be mysteries in game worlds. There should always be a sense that you’re seeing only the tip of a vast, dark iceberg.
  4. Using named and non-named characters. Some RPG’s (and writing by George Martin) overload you with character names. Biobreak posted a short, cryptic comment on this last week.That snippet of dialog from Durance in Pillars of Eternity made a great impression on me when I saw it in-game, because it’s so true. It’s important to only use so many proper names that the reader can brain. Everyone else’s name should be a generic yet clever, subtle device to give a greater impression of the game setting, its population, and its prevailing ways and emotions.

Game Stocks


NVidia soared yet another 2.7% today, which is insane. Intel had modest results this week, but cloud results so far this earning season have been extremely strong, so maybe that’s helping NVidia. I was close to breaking down and selling Nvidia yesterday to protect ridiculous profits. I’m glad I held.

Curiously, AMD is also up over 100% in the last year, but I was impatient and sold my little speculative stake long before that happened.

My #1 mistake, by far, in the stock market is being impatient, afraid, not being confident of my picks. I would be up thousands since last year in Amazon, AT&T, and AMD, if I’d simply held onto those picks since last summer and not panicked.

Microsoft’s (MSFT) stock had goblin rocket boosters this week after showing off their cloud results, which I’ve noted a number of times on this blog as a tailwind. If you’re in MSFT, you’re golden. Unfortunately, at some point the cloud ramp-up is going to level out. Cloud margins will compress under more and more competition.

On the other hand, cloud providers have security services on their side. I thought it was so stupid last year when Wall Street analysts were talking seriously about up-and-coming internet security companies like Palo Alto and FireEye. Those companies were soaring.

Not so much anymore. It was clear to this kitty that the big cloud companies would reap the biggest profits in security services. That’s happening.

On the other hand, the HACK ETF is showing some very solid chart strength lately, so that diversified internet security play is something to look at if you like that sector for a future cyberpunk world. It’s too bad they don’t have holdings in Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, but at least Purefunds has big trading volume in that ETF, unlike in GAMR.

So I remain in Google, which is a rear-runner yet to really ramp up their cloud, despite having a strong position, and in Alibaba, which has a huge lead in China cloud.

A number of U.S. companies in the last two weeks, like Starbucks, have affirmed a very strong China this quarter, so I’m glad so far that I have a 25% weighting, but not in an ETF, since I’m afraid of the banks and insurance companies, which weigh heavily in China ETFs.

My China picks are Alibaba, China Mobile, and Tencent. I’ve looked at the Chinese solar stocks for various good reasons, like massive China pollution problems, but those companies have had issues, including some big names wanting to pull out of the U.S. market completely for some reason. The solar ETF (TAN) still seems like a solid pick that offers investment in a diversification of international companies.

On the topic of energy, due to oil prices breaking down this week and lackluster earnings results from Kinder Morgan (KMI), I sold that stock at a modest $100 profit before taxes. This paves the way for adding a sentimental favorite refining stock (VLO or TSO) if they ever turn around.

My only defensive stock now is Verizon (VZ), which was up strongly today on news that they are a likely buyer of Yahoo assets. I’m not sure it should be up on that, but I’ll take it. I’m a long term heavy user of Yahoo-owned Tumblr, so it would be nice to be invested, even if it’s business-wise something of a failure.

So that’s my final post for a while. I think my stocks are set in stone unless there is a really massive collapse in August that would force me out of the market at break even, only to start all over.

If I were to look at gaming stocks right now, I might buy Electronic Arts (EA) during a significant selloff in August. Blizzard is really short on stock “catalysts” after their Legion expansion, while EA has a bunch of releases and press coverage coming this fall.

Any August investments, however, are subject to terrifying U.S. Fed interest rate whims in September. The market went off a cliff last December when the Fed raised interest rates even a quarter point.

Gaming stocks have become a playground lately for stock traders, and the significant moves on game releases are clearly a bit silly (i.e. see: Pokemon doubling Nintendo’s stock, Sony soaring on E3 and VR, etc.) I’m tempted to sell Blizzard now and switch to EA, but I’ve learned not to sell Blizzard.

So there isn’t much to talk about now. I’ll sit on my Kitty laurels with over 300,000 total views on this blog. I’ll watch readership of my famous LotRO and Rift Newbie guides continue to dwindle into history.

Cheers, and happy gaming. Be safe, and take care of your body every day. Also consider making some investments instead of going into credit card debt. Your older, uglier self will give you a big hug.


New Compy, Pokemon Go, former EA CEO speaks on CNBC, Microsoft Good Times

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The new love of my life just arrived in Tempe 12 minutes ago, after traveling from one Chinese city to another, then to Japan, then to Indianapolis, and back to Phoenix.

She’s modest, just enough for my needs, and super-pretty, especially when back-lit. I’ll be playing in bed a lot more going forward. I’ll be playing WoW only since I’m dealing with cheap Intel integrated graphics on my first-ever laptop.

I want to unlock Lady Liadrin for Hearthstone. So, level a character to 20. I also like some of the Legion class changes, like Rift-style world events and open-tapping.  I’m actually kind of psyched for a WoW expansion for the first time since BC.  I just need a character to play it with.

My main reason for the new laptop is web programming for my game project, at the library and on the road. Analysts say the PC market is bouncing back in the second half of this year after a long decline, which is good news for PC gamers.


Pokemon Go


Everywhere I go, I see people playing Pokemon Go. Runkle wrote an excellent personal account today of the Pokemon Go experience.

CNBC analysts have been discussing the Pokemon Go phenomenon virtually all day every day this week. They are yammering about it right now, in fact.  John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity and former EA CEO was interviewed on CNBC early this morning.

Riccitello says to expect an ocean of Pokemon Go-like games, although “follow-on” games in situations like this rarely do as well, and he’s sure Nintendo will be developing this for years to come.

As of today, Pokemon Go is the most popular mobile game ever in the U.S.

I’ve said only Blizzard both understands and implements great characters, but Nintendo has clearly accomplished this feat.

Instead of streaming Hearthstone last night, pro streamer Reynad was discussing Pokemon Go characters. Blizzard’s Hearthstone characters have died into plain cards lately, flattened with familiarity, and no longer seem so alive.

Appropriately, investors are taking profits in Blizzard this week, in tandem with glaring bugs in the most recent Hearthstone patch.

Robbers in the U.S. are also taking profits from Pokemon Go players, who are showing up in remote locations with little defensive capability in their pajama pockets.


Weekly Stocks Commentary


Stocks are breaking out now, and after 18 months, I was finally there at the right time with my finger on the trigger. I’m up 3% in Tencent (TCEHY) and 6% in Kinder Morgan (KMI) after only one week, which were my blog picks in the last two weeks on technical breakouts.

Blizzard and NVidia are breaking out to new highs. The Dow and S&P are breaking out. China (MCHI) is breaking out. Dow Transports and the Russell 2000 are also looking pretty good as classic confirmations, with CSX (railroad) reporting strong results yesterday.

There is a massive shortage of available equity in the U.S. and a massive amount of cash. Interest rates are near zero. Bond yields are low.  Gold and silver have had a huge spike, and they are looking much more toppy than stocks. It looks to this kitty like supply and demand are a wind in the sails for stocks right now.

Currencies, oil, Europe financials, and world politics remain big risks. There are far too many factors to even start discussing. It’s amusing to see market nerds in interviews and on Twitter yelling certain doom and protesting because they are in bonds and precious metals, and the market turned against them.

Microsoft (MSFT) has been extremely strong this week after notching deals with Facebook and General Electric. This is a very sharp up-move, outperforming the broad market. I’m holding Google, which is out of favor right now. I have $MSFT in VOO, my one ETF holding.

Everyone is talking about Pokemon Go‘s positivity for Google (maps and supporting tech) and Nintendo, but no one is talking about Microsoft’s focus on AR from the very beginning, with its Hololens. A smashing public success of AR in Pokemon Go probably augurs well for Microsoft’s vision.

Pokemon Go can also be a boost for wireless providers like Verizon due to insane data usage.

I’d like to say I’m done playing the investment game for a while, but I have a feeling Blizzard, NVidia, or both could get slammed on any earnings disappointment on 8/2 and 8/4, so we’ll just have to see. They are only large holdings because they are large winners.


Tribute To Juma

Jaguar Juma


Juma The Jaguar


I’d planned to blog again after Brexit, but on Monday a jaguar was killed during an Olympics torch ceremony in Brazil. I happened to be in the library on Monday, doing jaguar drawings for my video game project.

So I will name the jaguar in my game “Juma”, in tribute to the deceased jaguar. (Shown above is the “contact sheet” for my party companion portraits.) My setting is the classic, mythical Underworld, so it works.

This is a super-bad magic for the Rio Olympics, by the way. There are already reports of athletes being assaulted and robbed, on top of the Zika virus and contaminated waterways in Rio. The jaguar is a sacred animal.

It could be noted that the Greeks invented the Olympics, but they also invented the concept of human hubris. I’m really feeling my inner elf lately, feeling sorry for animals, plants, and crushed bugs. I’m not even sure why.


Summer Steam Sale


Tomorrow (Jun 23) supposedly kicks off the Steam Summer sale, according to reports. I’ve really been wanting some vampire, and I’m thinking again of a return to Elder Scrolls solely to get that fix.

That’s a lousy reason to re-install Elder Scrolls Online, but I heard they are revamping the game so you can wander and play any quest at any level. This surely means vampire blood is relatively easy to achieve.

Otherwise, I still need to pick up Fallout 4 and Black Ops. I’m kind of “meh” about games these days because I feel like I’ve already played them. Franchises might need to consider more continuous, connected storylines to keep players engaged. Oh wait – just make an MMO.

I feel like I’ve been there and done that with Fallout. I saw a picture of a “rad storm” on Tumblr yesterday that reminded me of the ash storms in Morrowind though, which was nice.


Video Game Stock News


This week is Brexit. A vote by the Brits to leave the EU will be cataclysmic by all accounts. This could snowball into more countries wanting to leave. The British pound is predicted to collapse.

The U.S. market is stuck now in a trading range, and until it breaks big either way, there is no reason to do anything.

This morning I saw a good buy point on Valero (VLO) (pullback to support after a solid 5-day breakout, although not on great volume). Once again I was too lazy and unaggressive to pull the trigger. Brexit in the next two days is scary. Venezuela is rioting. North Korea is firing illegal missiles. #WTF

Earlier this week I entered a position in CTrip (CTRP), the Chinese internet travel corp. This was featured in Barrons last week, suggesting a big upside. The stock popped, dropped agressively on sell-the-news action (?), and it’s been up since, like a little lifeboat for my barebones portfolio.

I’m still watching Visa (V) confirm my decision to dump it immediately on the reversal. I am also looking at Dow (DOW) wanting to break out of a two-year range. When AT&T (T) broke out recently, it went to the moon.

DOW (3.5%) doesn’t have quite the dividend as T (4.7%), but it has almost half the P/E ratio. This is an extremely high-demand time for dividend stocks. This is due to low or no interest rates around the world right now, sending utilities and telecoms to record high P/E ratios. It’s crazy what’s happening, actually.

I like the DOW CEO, and DOW also stands to benefit long-term from permanent lower oil prices, since DOW is a big plastics producer. If DOW catches a bid from the dividend yield collectors and breaks out, I’m in. I have nothing in my portfolio except tech and game stocks.

The U.S. Fed met last week and held interest rates steady, with the implication that they are throwing in the towel, and rates are staying lower a lot longer. It will be interesting to see what happens after Brexit, although I’ve already seen news outlets finding new topics beyond Brexit that could also spell doom.

Stay tuned, and here’s to you, Juma. Life is too short.