These columns must be mixed up

That’s what I thought at first when I logged on to my Wells Fargo on-line brokerage account today and saw $27.39 as the increase for the day for my aQuantive (AQNT) stock.

“That must be the stock price, not the increase,” I said to myself. “It’s been trading in the 30s. A $27 increase can’t be right.”

Then I read the daily news and found out Microsoft had agreed to purchase aQuantive for $66.50 a share, an 85 percent premium over the previous day’s close. It’s all over the blogs, too: here, and here, and here, and here.
Good for my IRA.

It just goes to show what a BIG deal on-line advertising will be. With Google having announced a deal for DoubleClick, Microsoft needed to buy a seat at the advertising table.

I first bought AQNT stock (but unfortunately only 100 shares) because of trends I had been following in media and advertising. Spending on TV ads is huge, but audiences are getting smaller and people are skipping the commercials. But so far there hasn’t been anywhere near enough on-line ad inventory for current TV advertisers to buy. So I figured companies like aQuantive would have a great long-term opportunity for growth as they figured out how to create advertising opportunities.
In this investment, I was partially taking advice from two money people I respect, and partially going against both. Phil Town in his Rule #1 Investing suggests purchasing single stocks in industries you follow and understand. That I did. This is an area I work in and blog about.
Town says, however, you should look for companies with long track records of earnings, but which are currently trading at a significant discount to projected future earnings. That wasn’t true for AQNT, but the long-term market upside looked too good to wait until this stock got cheap by his standards.
My real financial hero, Dave Ramsey, the get-out-of-debt guru, says you shouldn’t buy single stocks, but instead should invest in mutual funds with a long track record. He rightly points out the examples of Enron and others, in which employees who had all their retirement eggs in the company stock found themselves financially ruined.

So because I like the Town tactic and the Ramsey rule, I just try to, in essence, create my own mutual fund by limiting each individual stock to no more than 10 percent of my IRA. That meant I had to sell Apple because it had gone up enough that it was too big of a part of my portfolio.

Yes, I’ve had my share of losers, too. Nortel hasn’t been great (and that was one that did have accounting problems that whacked the stock.) And then there was the STUPID Tax I paid by falling for a “hot tip” on Pangea Petroleum (PAPO). But because they were small percentages of my account, they were just aggravating, not devastating.

aQuantive isn’t a Peter Lynch 10-bagger for me (although if you had bought it five years ago, it would have been), but having it go up 130 percent in six months, and 78 percent in a day, makes up for some mistakes.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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