Give me your sweet stock tips!
July 12, 2005 12:13 PM   Subscribe

What are some stocks that you really believe in and enjoy owing?

I want to start buying some stocks, but at this point I'm not so interested in only purchasing stocks based on whether or not they "perform well". Yes, of course I want to make some money, but I also want to invest in companies that are "green", environmentally sound, socially responsible, etc. In other words, I want to be able to root for my stock and feel good doing it. Wind energy seems to be on the up and up. Certain organic foods distributors are doing well, too. Anyone have any stocks that they're particularly proud of or fond of? Perhaps some dire warnings from those that have been burned? Also, if any of you Board of Directors types can give me some sweet insider trading tips, go ahead and email me, that'd be great, thanks.
posted by billysumday to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Apple: AAPL

I use the product, love the design, and the stock has (finally) been good to me.
posted by qwip at 12:17 PM on July 12, 2005

Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Some of my love for it is because I bought it at about 12 during her trial and knew that it would come back. This is a brand that works and that people love and there is really no reason for it to ever suffer for long.

I also like Sirius radio. 50 million NASCAR fans and some Howard Stern people can't be wrong.
posted by spicynuts at 12:58 PM on July 12, 2005

of course I want to make some money, but I also want to invest in companies that are "green", environmentally sound, socially responsible, etc

There's not much point in that; none of your money goes to the company anyway unless you happen to buy at a time when they're issuing new shares and yours happens to be one of those, rather than ones another investor is selling -- not that you'd be able to tell in most cases. As a small investor, you have basically no influence on the company's operations, nor will your purchases in themselves drive up the price of the stock enough to overcompensate executives (who typically own lots of shares or options) any more than they're already being overcompensated. In other words, you're basically along for the ride, so you may as well just pick stocks that will give you the best ride.

That said, you might look at Whole Foods (WFMI). They have a very good brand, they treat their employees well, and they have a lot of potential for growth. Costco (COST) is another one that's worth a look.

I would suggest perhaps looking at a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is basically a mutual fund that trades like a stock. The KLD Select Social(SM) Index Fund (KLD) is just what it says on the tin: an exchange-traded fund that invests in large-cap companies in a socially-responsible index.
posted by kindall at 1:00 PM on July 12, 2005

You could have a look at a fund from Domini Social Investments, too. Their funds are all no-load and they offer a lot of information about companies doing "good" things:
As a shareholder in the Domini Funds, you make a difference in the world. Engaging companies on global warming, sweatshop labor, and product safety. Revitalizing distressed communities. Bringing new voices to the table. Redefining corporate America’s bottom line.

Invest for your future while helping to build a world of peace and justice.
posted by bcwinters at 1:35 PM on July 12, 2005

posted by fourstar at 1:36 PM on July 12, 2005

Ha Ha....


Was that on purpose?
Hopefully your wish does not come true!

/snide remarks
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 1:56 PM on July 12, 2005

posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:01 PM on July 12, 2005

Evergreen Solar - ESLR. Might be a bit more of a gamble than you are looking for, but I like em.
posted by drobot at 2:56 PM on July 12, 2005

There's not much point in that; none of your money goes to the company anyway unless you happen to buy at a time when they're issuing new shares and yours happens to be one of those, rather than ones another investor is selling

I don't think that's a valid position. On the moral side, if the company issues dividends, you personally profit as a stockholder in the company. On the practical side, buying stock in a company increases demand for its stock, which increases its stock price, which increases the value of the company. Claiming that a few shares doesn't matter is kind of like saying that your vote doesn't matter (statistically true, but not when combined with other like-minded stakeholders).
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:10 PM on July 12, 2005

Further to sirmissalot, you are buying the stock from an investor who also bought "green" Whether to get in on a rising tide or for more lofty reasons, they did buy the stock and help the company, that should be rewarded.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:02 PM on July 12, 2005

I am enjoying ADP. It's a payroll company and they're doing very well. I also own Netflix stock, which is not doing as well as I had hoped, however, I like the company and I have faith that the stock will recover.
posted by Ostara at 4:03 PM on July 12, 2005

There are three categories of people who invariably lose money in the stock market over the long term. First, people who casually buy individual stocks, rather than putting in the time week in and week out to research and follow what's happening. Second, people who make emotional attachments to their stocks. Third, people who invest based on stock tips they get from Internet message boards, or friends' "insider" recommendations.

People who tell you the contrary are always selectively remembering their successes and forgetting their failures or writing them off as one-time episodes of bad luck.

If you're a beginner, you might want to opt for a socially responsible fund, and spend a couple of years carefully tracking (and rooting for) the stocks picked by the fund, before you start to think about picking individual stocks.
posted by fuzz at 4:44 PM on July 12, 2005

The only stock I own is in Enviromission. I bought it at 20 cents; it's currently trading at 28, having been as high as 40 this year. Goodness knows what it will go to when the company finally gets off its arse and builds the bloody thing.
posted by flabdablet at 5:46 PM on July 12, 2005

What fuzz said, with a special emphasis on understanding what you buy.

When you buy stock you're making a bet on a company's ultimate worth. How you think that future value compares to today's share price should be the fundamental basis of determining whether to buy a stock. Share prices can differ from what you might think the correct value is for a number of reasons.

Sadly, stocks with a tremendous buzz are the ones most likely to be overpriced. It could be a great company but unless you think the stock price is going to go up because of company success/growth and not because there's a demand based on friends telling friends to buy, you have to hope you're prescient enough to get out before the buzz collapses.

See the dot-com boom for an all-too-familiar example of how these things play out.

There's nothing wrong with only buying socially-responsible companies, as long as you're making sure each stock you buy is a fundamentally sound investment.

Using social responsibility as the sole or predominant criterion, on the other hand, is a good way to pay for your broker's kids' college.

There's nothing wrong with getting leads or tips from friends/strangers/brokers/Business Week either; but again unless you do your homework before you make the buy/no-buy decision you're doing no better (probably worse, actually) than throwing darts at the financial page.

I'm an old-timer so there may be better authors out there now but Peter Lynch wrote a bunch of stuff for beginning investors. You might want to look him up and read a book or two before you open your account.

You can make money relying on the advice of friends without understanding what you're doing, but most likely you won't. In fact, most professionals who do this for a living don't beat the market (a secret your broker probably hasn't told you.)

Be careful out there.
posted by Opposite George at 6:22 PM on July 12, 2005

Listen to fuzz. I lost, well, a lot, really a lot, of money listening to a colleague and buying 3Com rather than doing my homework. (This was three years before the dotcom collapse, because any asshole can lose money in a market crash, I managed to do it in the middle of a boom. Well done me.)

For example, the first guy liked Apple. Fine, but I've read knowledgeable-sounding writers who suggest you should short Apple. Who's right? I don't care enough to do the work and make my own decision. But that's exactly what you need to do if you're going to sit down at the table.

Or like the man said, just buy a fund. Less exciting, but you sleep better.
posted by mojohand at 6:22 PM on July 12, 2005

I'd avoid google.
posted by malp at 7:43 PM on July 12, 2005

My wife and I purchased a few shares of Pixar (PIXR) a few years ago, for something to have fun with. Not everything that Steve Jobs touches turns to gold, but it seems that AAPL and PIXR are probably a bit more socially conscious and certainly nicer to their employees than, say, WMT.

We've really enjoyed owning the stock. Up until the last couple movies, we always got cool posters whenever Pixar released a new movie. And honestly, it's been a pretty decent investment over the long term.

A fun, but non-green stock that I've owned in the past was Jack In the Box (JBX). Their yearly reports are always a treat to read.

But I have to agree with the advice on mutual funds and financial advisors. Find someone who spends 50-60 hours a week keeping track of "money stuff", and give your money to them. You can ask them to look for green, socially responsible stuff for you, but if you try to invest in individual stocks, the odds are against you...
posted by ensign_ricky at 8:26 PM on July 12, 2005

I don't think that's a valid position. On the moral side, if the company issues dividends, you personally profit as a stockholder in the company.

Well, yeah, that's the idea. "Non-socially-responsible companies" are going to do what they do whether you own their stock or not -- so why not make some money off it? That way, at least you have some extra money to console you after the earth is raped, or whatever it is you're against. The moral side is giving them the money to do it -- not profiting from it. And, as I explained, giving them money is not really a factor.

If you're worried about your buy-in driving the stock up, and the evil executives profiting thereby, which is so miniscule a possibility given the quantities that small investors deal in that you literally cannot see its effect among all institutional trading, but anyway, if it bothers you, use a limit order to catch the stock at a price a nickel or so below market. That way you only buy if someone else drives the price down by increasing the supply first. It will happen within 15 minutes for most stocks due to normal fluctuation. It's win-win, except both wins are yours: you definitely don't give the evil bastards any money, and you get a better price!

But if you want a hippie stock pick, Whole Foods (WFMI) is mine, as I said. I also like Cheesecake Factory (CAKE); they have excellent food and a wide selection of it, their waitstaff makes out like bandits because they're always so busy and because their food is pricey, and they don't pollute the airwaves with advertising, a definite social good. Their P/E looks a little dear at the moment (about 40 vs. 20-ish for Outback), but they have a lot of room to grow and a great management team.
posted by kindall at 9:30 PM on July 12, 2005

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