A few years ago, I commited a few thousand dollars to “play money” with which I was supposed to use to learn to become a stock market wizard. I later increased it to $5,000. I learned some basics like the different types of trades, bid/ask spreads, P/E ratios, growth rates, and started buying and selling stocks in $500 increments ($5/trade, so 1% commissions in and out). I really never got around to learning anything in-depth, as I started reading numerous books that convinced me that it was highly unlikely I could ever beat the market over the long haul. Not impossible, but unlikely. Although I read a lot of various investing sites that talk about individual stocks, none of them have really convinced me otherwise.
So I sold all ten of my positions today, with an end balance of around $5,600. I am now solely invested in low-cost mutual funds, except for a few partial shares from Sharebuilder bonuses and some reverse-split shares that hopefully will be cashed out soon. I will probably get back into individual stocks with a small portion of my portfolio later, but only after putting in some time to learn more. If I don’t learn, then I won’t buy.
Here were my ten stocks sold today:
BUD – Budweiser
RIN – Rinker Group
VNQ – Vanguard REIT ETF
PML – High Dividend Closed-end ETF
PFN – High Dividend Closed-end ETF
PFE – Pfizer
INTC – Intel
AEG – Insurance
MSFT – Microsoft
YHOO – Yahoo