Tag Archives: stocks

Mirkwood, Gaming Stocks, And Development Notes



LotRO’s recent Mirkwood update is actually really good. I’ve played through it completely with my main, and I’m working on an alt.

It’s clear the small LotRO team is working very hard, and they deserve some accolades for some of the highest quality content LotRO has seen in a long time.

The player base in general seems a little detached and apathetic, however. I’m concerned that the difficulty level of Mordor, and again of Mirkwood, may have expelled a significant number of players.

LotRO’s most recent update completely revamped the character selection panel, with overall improved results. Today I uploaded an update to my custom interface, which repairs some of the damage caused by the interface changes.


Gaming Stocks


The past month and the week before last saw record inflows into ETFs according to CNBC. I take these flows to be average people, including mom and pop, chasing this bounce. This is BEARISH, not bullish. it’s also stupid at this time of record uncertainty, risk, and rising interest rates.

These investors were face planted this week when the market crashed again due to various factors, especially Trump’s trade war with China.

Friday’s drop took the S&P index exactly to the critical level it needs to hold relative to the previous low several weeks ago.

The overall sentiment on Wall Street is that it won’t hold, which is my sentiment also. This is why I’ve been taking profits for the last month.

In my last post I bought Google and sold Albemarle. I took quick profits in Google after that. I more recently sold Nvidia (NVDA) and Tencent (TCEHY) both for 120% gains.

I’m currently as little exposed to the market as I’ve been in a very long time. I actually tried to go short the market at the recent top, but got shook out, missing a huge gain to date in inverse 2x short S&P (SDS).

In that case I broke one of my rules, which is to wait until the very end of a day before allowing myself to get shaken out on a high conviction trade.

I was distracted by real life and couldn’t deal with having that much money on the table, basically. I really need to get past that and make 2x or 3x bets.

If you’re currently in the market, then I think it’s too late to sell anything. I also think it’s too early to risk buying, but we’ll just see. Let’s break down individual equities.

NVidia (NVDA) should be watched for a buying opportunity on this pullback, but it has all sorts of issues and headwinds:

1. Amazon and Google said they will start making their own chips (i.e. so they aren’t held hostage, are more secure due to proprietary, and don’t have to pay NVidia’s 50% margins.)

2. Self-driving cars are higher risk since the fatality last week in Phoenix. Uber suspended its testing, and Uber uses NVidia chips.

3. AMD strongly asserts it will take market share this year, presumably from NVidia.

4. China says it plans to make more of its own chips, presumably to be less dependent on the U.S., which actually tends to block Chinese chips and devices for security reasons.

Tencent said this week that their mobile games sales have weakened in China. Gamers are migrating to more sophisticated, less dumb games, like the PC games offered by Netease (NTES). This is a risk across the industry.

This is good news though for people like me who hate dumbed down games. I’ve been predicting a resurgence of the PC for years due to this exact effect. I also predicted a difficult year for game developers this year, because of increased competition.

Jim Cramer was championing Activision Blizzard (ATVI) on his show last week. He said ATVI is making a new modern Disney. That’s a bold claim.

Meanwhile, Blizzard’s Hearthstone is offering ever-increasing free stuff, including a much more generous 70 packs for the expansion purchase, instead of 60.

This seems to say they need to sweeten the pot to keep their customers, who are pressuring them publicly about the expensiveness of Hearthstone.


Current Picks


Currently my only gaming stock holding is a moderate position in the GAMR ETF. NVidia and Tencent moved from the portfolio to the watch list. Other stocks on my watch list are Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM), Albemarle (ALB), Equinix(EQIX), Labcorp (LH), and Visa (V).

TSM is pressured by a very strong drawdown in the chip industry right now, but it’s a huge independent chip fabricator, so it might benefit from China vs. U.S. chip wars, especially as a subcontractor if China pushes faster to become independent of the U.S. chip makers.

Visa has strong relative strength and, while TSM is hurt right now by being a part of chip ETFs, Visa is a big part of financial ETFs, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates.

Equinix (EQIX) is my white whale. For years I’ve missed every opportunity at this stock. At some point, the real estate ETFs (REITs), will stop being pressured by rising interest rates, which, as I understand it, hurt these companies due to the high debt these run.

It would be very profitable to have the savvy to get back into the REITs at the right time during this rising interest rate cycle.

I don’t have the experience to know when that is, but I really like investing in internet operation infrastructure, which is mostly dependent on internet bandwidth usage, and less related to sales of chips and software. Maybe I could research this in the charts going back several years to prior cycles.


Personal Project


Today and yesterday I was watching Harry Potter movies over and over on HBO Now, trying to understand why some of them (i.e. Prisoner of Azkaban) are better than others (i.e. Chamber of Secrets.)

I think it’s better characters, conflict, and lots of amazing magical things happening, but I should put my observations and writer insights into another blog topic.

I’ve also been working hard on the story and art for my game, as usual. The above image for this post is from the “evil” tavern, where the general bad guys hang out.

You know – the evil wizards, the demons, etc. I won’t say pirates because in my game the pirates are counted as good guys. They are free humans, rebels against the dark Lord whose laws say all humans must be registered slaves.

I’m also still reading about fairy magic and lore. Supposedly the power of 5 (the pentagram) is more normally used and powerful for fairies than the power of 3. Good to know, because I was going with 3.

The Harry Potter movies notably don’t have a lot of pentagrams or other provocative imagery hanging around. Harry does form a trinity with Ron and Hermione, however.

And a final thanks to the one person last month who bought a copy of one of my books. Thanks for the cheeseburger, amigo…

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North Mirkwood, Wow Multiclassing, Hearthstone, Etc.


Massively reported this week on the Northern Mirkwood update 22 for LotRO. I’m patching LotRO now. I’m morbidly curious to see if I’m kicked out of my LotRO kinship for inactivity, for like the 10th time.

When I finished the main story of Mordor (for all I know, there could be more of it now, honestly), I had no interest in grinding gear whatsoever. Just too much grinding, and confusing.

The sight of Mirkwood has me vaguely interested, since I’ve been completely unable to find an MMO replacement. My one month back in WoW didn’t persuade me to spend the next decade of my life grinding that game.

Massively wrote a speculative piece on WoW multi-classing this week. My main problem with WoW has always been the classes just never sticking with me. Are the classes in WoW just “dumbed down”? Maybe that’s why I’ve spent more time playing Rift than WoW.

Rift lost me on too many loot box and cash shop shenanigans, among other things. Hearthstone is pushing more promotional roulette wheel stuff, but effort you make in Hearthstone is never completely lost.

You can always dust your cards down the road (aka gear), use them in wild, etc. Maybe the Mech tribe will make a comeback, and unused cards will suddenly be playable, etc. Everyone wishes there were more achievements and things to do in Hearthstone though.

Politics and Market Commentary

The bounce. Is it a real ‘V’, or are we going down again? The news that Mueller is charging Russians for election meddling, but not the Trump campaign (yet), seems to take some steam off of the overhead of political risks in the short term. Yeah.

The initial big surge was the dip buyers, but after many, many months of no dips, that was expected. Some analysts insist the unwinding of volatility trades, among other things, will take weeks, not ten days, but things are looking pretty stable.

I went back big into GOOGL at the first of the week, because I liked the market action. I’m up 3%. The daily action looks fairly orderly to me, with money being put to work, not so much FOMO.

I am up 12% on RHT (RedHat) since last week, which is crazy. I mentioned LH (Labcorp) last week, and that has been insane too. I wish now that I had pushed. I would buy LH on another dip if we have one.

I sold ALB (Albemarle) already yesterday (Friday) at the peak of the market, within minutes of the announcement that Rosenstein was going to make a prepared statement. That was good timing.

I took 6% in ALB, and the reason I sold is that the dollar is holding support and bouncing, instead of breaking still lower. Kevin O’Leary stated he thinks the dollar has found a bottom, and he is acting accordingly. So, I decided maybe it’s a good idea to protect my profits.

Also, the breadth on this bounce is really not there. If the breadth increases on Mom and Pop Monday (Tuesday, this week due to holiday), then we could have a FOMO situation.

If FOMO hits this coming week, we could see panic buying into a double top pattern, and then who knows. Another big drop could cause lasting damage to morale of dip buyers. If breadth declines, then caveat emptor even more.

Personal

Ok, LotRO is done patching. Time to look up my password, log in, and see what happens. I see a lot of people in Mordor. I see the normal amount of people in both kins (on both accounts.) I see bands playing in Bree (on Landroval.)

So pretty much situation normal. I have no idea what to do, though. Maybe just wait for Mirkwood. I’m not grinding Mordor gear. Today I have a bunch of art to do for my game project, anyway.

A drawing of a fairy. A gnome merchant, maybe with a burro. Or maybe a flying transport carpet? My world is pretty low/medium magic though.

Maybe it shouldn’t be low magic? Maybe that’s just lazy and unimaginative?

I really improved my interface last week, and I put up a new splash screen for module three on Deviant Art.


Amazon Promises LotR TV series, Delivers Golden Packs For Hearthstone


I’ve been exhausted lately. In the last week, I completed season 12 objectives of Diablo 3, in bed. I can only say this was a satisfying single-player experience. And post a pic.


Lord of The Rings TV Show


Amazon announced a LotR TV series today, which is mind-blowing. There is no date set yet, and no cast, but they say they are committing to multiple seasons. This commitment must be a licensing thing.

What stories could they tell? Gandalf and Aragorn were very active between the Hobbit and Fellowship, but I’m not a lore expert. I just hope there are as many hobbits and elves as bearded men with wenches and big swords.

It’s been a while since I really looked forward to a TV show. I’m currently an Amazon Prime subscriber. Amazon now allows monthly subs, which is very cheap for a lot of value.

Sub for a month, watch the shows, order your stuff, unsub, for around $10. Plus right now you get a golden Hearthstone pack in Twitch loot. Not bad.


Diablo 3


As a mostly clueless Diablo 3 newbie, the season reset offered a good opportunity to create a new character and learn how to play the game. The difficulty and learning curve were perfect.

So I beat a “Greater Rift” in 15 minutes on difficulty 20 to complete the season, and now I have a level 70, 75 paragon Monk with a shiny gold hero portrait, and a complete Uliana set and build.

I thought I’d like the angel wings reward, but they’re a bit much.


Hearthstone


Blizz announced a new expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs. The theme has a nice Disney flavor and introduces a new single-player dungeon game mode.

No one is really sure if the mode will be good, or why Blizzard devoted development resources to this mode, or why people will play this mode, since they say it offers no real rewards.

The introduction of “legendary weapon” class cards in Kobolds is also a little ‘meh’. Just a good excuse to create overpowered cards that people have to have, and craft.


Gaming Stocks


Take Two (TTWO) and NVidia (NVDA) were two big winners in the last two weeks of quarterly gaming company earnings reports. Electronic Arts (EA) had the weakest results of the big three developers/publishers in focus on Wall Street.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) was somewhere in the middle.

Blizzard still soared last week on news of record-breaking release for Call of Duty: WW2, but then sold off again on general market weakness.

I purchased EA and held for a week up to the day of earnings, and sold before earnings for a very slim profit.

I also purchased Disney (DIS) within minutes of the rumor that they were talking to Fox studios about a purchase.

Disney went up, but I was not willing to hold through earnings. I washed out at break even. Earnings ended up bad, as I predicted. But it didn’t matter! The stock kept running anyway based on hopes and the force (Star Wars).

So Disney looks bullish into the movie release, but buying and holding seems a little premature to me. Analysts are predicting intense competition for the video game space. Why not also for entertainment in general.

I finally sold JD (JD.com) at break even, since I am already overweight China e-commerce with a double in Alibaba, and would rather diversify more in emerging markets (EEM) during a downturn. I didn’t realize JD announces earnings this Monday, though.

JD will probably soar immediately now that I sold, of course, but even if it jumped 10%, it would still be the weakest stock in my portfolio.

I am watching ANET (Arista Networks), and wondering if it isn’t too late to get in. I’m watching Z, ALB, APA, and CTRP. Broad market risks right now are very difficult. Since I’m obviously very risk averse, I’m still waiting for another serious dip.

There is speculation that people have been waiting to sell stocks this year, hoping for tax breaks that will be in force next year.

So January could be unusually bearish, but this week Congress suggested legislation maybe closer to 2019, and that’s partly where the market weakness came from in the last few trading days. Then there would be no point in waiting until January to sell.


Holiday Gaming!


Holidays. Vacation breaks. Good times. I already pre-purchased the Hearthstone expansion.

I’m very interested in CoD:WW2, since I’ve always preferred historical or diabolical shooters over other kinds, but I really want to buy CoD on the Blizzard launcher. Blizz added an Activision section to their launcher, featuring only Destiny 2, but that’s it.

Players are griping and DansGaming about this, but I’m fine. I really like the Blizzard launcher, except it is a bit of a resource hog. Are they going to add CoD? If so, I would rather have all my games on the Blizz launcher than have to load Steam.

That’s it. I’m trying really hard to get back to work on my game project. Next post will probably be post Kobolds and Catacombs. Happy holidays, and happy gaming.


Activision Blizzard: Sell ASAP, Or Back Up The Truck? Plus Hearthstone, Cyberpunk 2077

stock chart activion blizzard
In this post I look at a few upcoming game titles, plus the usual gaming stock analysis.

After mentioning in my last blog post that I quit Hearthstone, I jumped back in during the last three weeks. I got 60 more wins on my wild Dragon Priest to complete 500 total for the golden Tyrande hero portrait.

Overall Hearthstone is a horribly managed. I’m not even going to get started ranting about the new gnome hero. The Blizzard marketers are apparently in charge of game development instead of the actual devs.

And the marketers are solely focused on literally stealing lunch money from as many kids as possible, not making a great game to play.

I don’t know what those people are doing out in California, but they clearly aren’t taking care of business. As Kripp said on his stream a few nights ago, the Hearthstone devs are competent, but nothing is happening. They aren’t acting like it.

Something is just plain wrong with this picture. Maybe they are working on something really big.


Gaming Stocks


Activision Blizzard (ATVI) has entered a downtrend in the last month, and was pushed down harder in the last week from significantly negative analyst press.

I sold ATVI and called for a decline last summer. My slow-and-steady, diversified GAMR ETF has outperformed Blizzard since then (see comparison image above.) The question now is whether to buy back into Blizzard on this pullback!

I agree with everything the gaming analyst says. In previous posts, I mentioned over-inflated expectations for ESports, especially among game-clueless Wall Street people.

The linked article doesn’t mention other analyst observations like intense holiday competition with numerous game releases this season, as well as intense competition coming in 2018.

Justin Olivetti posted a Massively article today noting very strong numbers for Overwatch, but unfortunately the sales for Destiny 2 were very disappointing in September.

Blizzard releases their quarterly earnings on Nov. 2 during Blizzcon.

I have to wonder if the earnings are planned during reveals and excitement to cushion any earnings miss or other disappointment. Destiny sales disappointed. This is a known, but the unknown is how much this will impact Blizzard’s earnings compared to estimates.

I feel like Hearthstone is also going to disappoint. The recent Lich King expansion actually made the game less fun, at least compared to Un’Goro.

Will I buy ATVI? I don’t know. It’s timing and intuition. Watching the stock during any broad market volatility in the next two weeks will definitely help shine light on the situation.

I do know that the window of opportunity will be small, and if I miss a rip, I will lose out on an opportunity to make hundreds of dollars by pressing a couple buttons at the right time.

My last stock buy was 50 shares of VLO on September 13 at $70.50.

I sold it back on 9/14 because it dipped sharply, and I was going away for a long weekend. I didn’t want to be holding a big trade with no ability to dump it. The stock is at $77.42 now.

I watched this stock for two years. I was a coward not long ago when VLO broke out of a massive downtrend at $50, and I just didn’t pull the trigger. And now I missed it again. A $350 gain in one month because I was an idiot, and away from my computer on exactly the wrong day.


Upcoming Games


Today I looked at the holiday roster of big releases, and the only game I really wanted to play was FIFA 18, story mode. But wait, it’s the story of a guy only, no female option, so scratch that off too.

It’s the winter Hearthstone expansion, only.

But wait, again! Today Massively posted a very rare update on Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt affirms they are working really big on this game. They say they are redefining and innovating.

This game looks absolutely awesome, but for the love of the Borg mother, please let us play as a female character, instead of regurgitating another Geralt.

There are no real RPGs on the list of holiday games, unless you count Divinity: Original Sin 2, which is pulling some very high ratings. Middle Earth: Shadows of War is a male protagonist again. So is Red Dead 2 next year. I’d be excited about Star Wars: Battlefront 2 by EA if it were a Bioware RPG instead of another mindless killing field game.

Ironically, EA killed Bioware, of course.

Vampyr from DontNod has been pushed back to Spring 2018, and of course it’s another male gender lock.

So if I crave an RPG this holiday season, I’ll look at Divinity: OS2. I didn’t get very far into the first one though. The puzzles were hard on my kitty brain, and I don’t really enjoy crafting and heavy inventory management in single-player games.


Personal Project and Portfolio


I’ve had some health problems in the last month, and these have really set me back in my energy level. I won’t meet my development goals for the end of October. I’ve made a lot of progress though, and my game is fairly playable.

The more complicated systems like combat and spellcasting are barely sketched into the gameplay.

I was investigating the development of a new pen art style for combat action panels, similar to the look of Pillars of Eternity. So I bought my first tablet to try to speed up my workflow. I expected the tablet to have a serious learning curve, however, and I’m now bogged down on that.

I’ve always done traditional drawing. I’ve done quite a bit of comic pen work, including a completed full-size and finished comic book, but it’s just too tedious. It took me a month of full time work to do like 20 pages.

So happy gaming, and leave your thoughts on Blizzard if you want. I’ll be watching the stock. Otherwise, I am watching First Data (FDC), Hack ETF (HACK), Amgen (AMGN), and JPM and ALB, both of which I missed the boat on, although I know I should have jumped into them long ago.

I’m almost more interested to just add to my current holdings on a pullback. The market is very high and expensive right now, and Trump has to explode at some point.

Self-directed investing has taught me that confidence and patience are two of the most important virtues. I need to set definite exit rules before I enter a position, and stick to those rules after I’ve forgotten my original thought process.

I am still patient with JD.com (JD), the worst performing stock in my portfolio, sitting at a tiny .49% loss after a series of perilous dips and drops. Netease (NTES) is finally looking strong in the past few weeks, and it looks like JD is primed to follow it with positive analyst recognition a few days ago in Barron’s.


The Dark Lord, And General Thoughts Of Doom

owl river preview image

In this post I ramble about LotRO’s Mordor xpack, gaming stocks, the end of the world, and my personal game project (screenshot above).


Gaming Stocks


Through summer I predicted the usual summer swoon, and in recent weeks it has happened. My 15% gains in my previous investments this summer, Netease and JD.com, dwindled to near zero, then bounced this week with a feeble pulse.

This shows the all-important point of buying as low as possible – so you don’t lose faith and get knocked out on the next pullback.

I bought half back into Google on this pullback (I sold all at a peak last spring.) I added a solid bid on the ROBO ETF, which is a worldwide ETF focusing on the robotics industry. That’s right – the same robots that will soon take all of our jobs and rule the world.

I might double up Google on a major market breakdown. I hate Facebook. Facebook is moving into original content now, pitting itself against everybody else doing that, including Disney. Disney (DIS) just announced plans to pull its content from Netflix and send it to two new proprietary streaming services coming in 2019.

The main growth driver of big U.S. tech stocks in the last two years has been the cloud. Google is coming late to ramp this up, and sentiment is turning against Amazon, offering the cheap seats of the sector.

My diversified GAMR ETF is up 9% in a couple months. I’m happy with that. I don’t think it’s beating Blizzard (ATVI), but Activision Blizz is overbought. They had a great run with Hearthstone and Overwatch together, and they simply can’t keep accelerating at the same rate. Interest will inevitably dwindle.

So currently I have 25-30% of my portfolio in China, mainly by virtue of 80-100% gains in Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY). I have the GAMR and ROBO ETFs, and a U.S. tech-heavy index fund. My only U.S. single stocks are Home Depot (scoring a hurricane cha-ching recently up 25%), NVidia up 50% (again), and now back into Google on the pullback/consolidation. And the final entry is Stryker (SYK) up 25%.

I’m watching the TAN and XLV ETFs (solar and healthcare). For two years I’ve been watching these industries. Trump promised death to solar and death to high health care prices (as did Hillary.) No reform has happened. Both solar and health care are moving. I’m also watching Albemarle (ALB), a major Lithium producer, because solar and robots need serious battery power.

Buying ALB (and any metals/commodities) have issues because of the extremely weak dollar. The dollar could easily keep dropping due to the inability of Draghi to do anything about the soaring Euro, and China purposefully strengthening its currency in the last few weeks. Still, at some point it will reverse.

I’m also watching the quintupling of Bitcoin this year, with morbid interest. I downloaded an app to buy some mid-summer during a pullback, but it shot so fast past my buy point that I didn’t pull the trigger. There is no 100% safe, fool-proof way for me to buy these currencies. That’s the problem.

My friend is currently mining Monero and Zcash in the mountains in New Mexico. I’m also watching this with interest, because I need a second job. Or something. My current ripoff low pay is ridiculous.


Mordor


I don’t play Hearthstone anymore. I’m on the verge of not playing LotRO anymore either. I finished Mordor and capped my characters on both accounts, and was happy with the expansion experience while dual boxing.

The solo Mordor is pitiless though. I play for a bit on my Warden and just log out. The endgame grind is confusing, over-complicated, and opaque.

The LotRO devs thought it was a good idea to offer good daily rewards randomly on some days, and bad ones on other days. I logged into LotRO tonight to play, and logged out fifteen minutes later. It’s a bad day for the dailies. No key. Just kill me.

Most of the work I did in the last two zones was quickly obsolete in Mordor. Everything I did over the summer was a waste of time. This leaves me angry. The LotRO devs over-pushed obsolescence, and now I feel stupid for running this hamster wheel for them. I know it will all be pointless in a few months, except for getting into the dungeons.

That’s all I want – to play dungeons, but I’m apparently not willing to invest hundreds of hours to get ready to have fun. I’m simply not logging in.

There are also no good, likable characters in this expansion. The evil leaders in Mordor are done well, but they are not your friends. And you can’t go fight them without spending hundreds of hours solo questing for purple junk to go in their dungeons, hopefully, eventually.

And then all that work will be obsolete again. Yes, everyone knows this, but I just finished a major Wastes grind at the end of July. I’m more in the mood to say fuck you than start all over again.


End of The World


Trump has to be the Anti-Christ. 90% of everything he says is a lie. The good news is the biggest hurricane ever is currently coming after his properties in Florida. So maybe nature is fighting back.

The bad news is that he is currently campaigning to do the age-old Republican tradition of tax reform AKA lining the pockets of the rich, at the expense of all the idiots and bigots who believe Trump’s lies and support him.

It’s unlikely we will survive the next four years without major disasters. That’s just the way the karma cookie crumbles.


Tunnels And Trolls, and My Personal Project


I just downloaded the T&T app that very recently released, to my tablet. I want to study the Tunnels and Trolls solitaire adventures to learn what made them fun way back in the day.

Currently it appears to be breaking my Android tablet Wi-Fi connection whenever it tries to update. But it updated on my iPhone, and I played Naked Doom. I ate hallucinogenic mushrooms and died falling into a chasm after being bitten by vampire bats.

I have a feeling the fun is the crazy situations in which your decisions make a big difference, and the results are wild. This design is difficult in a persistent campaign-type game.

You can’t just hand out a Heroic Sword +5 in your first adventure, for fun. The many ways to achieve instant death also have to be explained in my game world where your character is designed to emerge with some treasure and experience, and go on to the next story.

Today I sold an eBook, so my thanks to whomsoever purchased it. I published my first trilogy of novels two years ago on Halloween. My bilingual school of witches and wizards is already open for visitation, but my goal is to formalize that as of Halloween this year.

I’ve moved away from Greco-Roman mythology to the relatively British flavor of islands populated by elves and fairies. I’m on the fence about using Scottish and Gaelic names, however, since I’m trying to teach modern English. I deeply regret my stupid lack of imagination in this whole novel and game development process.

I’m a super smart person, but I am not a fun person. At all. So it’s an almost hopeless challenge to channel my playful side on a daily basis and try to entertain.

Sometimes I cringe at the literary success of young, relatively undeserving people with the right luck and connections, but I can understand how they are better writers than I am with popular fiction. I was probably a more inspired writer when I was twenty years of age, but I had no idea how to write good fiction.

Nowadays I know how to write, but no one cares. Even game blogging has become a popularity contest – among makers of video content.