…a day is a long time in the markets.

The day after I wrote my three week stock experiment I sold a few stocks because they were up. This is what I wrote about my first $100 invested.

The first $100 I largely put into airline stocks hoping to see those bounce back, though I realize that’s a longer play. My one share of Alaska Airlines (ALK) I bought at $39.51 and now has a current loss of $1.25. I think I’ll be okay, thanks for the concerns. I bought 3 shares of American Airlines at $12.73 which if I sold now would mean a loss of $3.42 in total. Again, I figure with just the assets these corporations have (and the monopoly Alaska has on some routes) ensures a return to higher numbers — some day. I got 10 shares of Astrotech (ASTC) for $2.21 each that has dropped a bit and would mean a $4.70 loss if I sold today. So the first $100 (okay, $99.80) I put in has a total loss of $9.37.

The next day Pfizer announced favorable COVID-19 vaccine trial results and the airline industry took a bounce. I sold my one Alaska Air share for $45.73, a $6.22 profit. That was a $7.47 swing jump in value in a day, which as a dollar amount isn’t much, but as a percentage is pretty huge. I sold my shares of American Airlines (3 were part of the first $100 and 1 the second) for a profit of $3.03 with the shares up to $13.32 each. I have held on to the 10 shares of Astrotech which still has me at a loss of $4.70. So now that initial $100 has me up $4.55. So is that a 4.55% gain in three weeks (and a day) of investing? As of today, Alaska Air’s stock is at $47.72 (up 2 more dollars since I sold) and American’s at $12.53 (down about 70 cents a share from when I sold) so my timing was okay.

My second $100 has done well too, though I have not sold all…

The second $100, I put in about a week later and I put almost entirely into green energy stocks. I picked up 2 shares of Ballard Power (BLDP) at $14.85 for a total increase of $1.48 as of today. And 2 shares of Plug Power (PLUG) at $14.73 which would earn me $8.26 if sold today. I also got 4 shares of TransAlta (TAC) at $6.08 that I would get $1.16 more if I sold today. So my $83.48 green energy bet has been a net positive of $10.90 in just 2 weeks. That comes to around 13% growth. (I did have just enough to buy one more share of American Airlines which was down to $11.07.)

So again, the day after writing this I sold some of that 100 investment from two weeks prior. That American Air stock was a gain of $2.25. I sold the 2 shares of PLUG for $20.61 each or a profit of $11.76. I sold the 4 shares of TransAlta for $6.50 each, a total $1.68 gain. So the second $100 has earned me $15.69 in just over 2 weeks, and yet I still have the 2 shares of Ballard Power that today is worth $19.29 a share (thus up another $8.88) for a whopping 24.57% total gain in just over 2 weeks on that $100 (at the moment).

Let’s call that experiment a success, though I am still sitting on the 10 shares of Astrotech that I paid a total of $22.10 for. It’s still down, currently at a $17.40 total valuation.

With the profit from the shares I sold, I bought 1 share of Etsy at $118.83. Today it is at $140.06.

Exactly one month from my first purchases of stock using WeBull, here’s the cumulative profit and loss.

It is slightly deceptive, because when I joined I was later given 2 free stocks. One I have sold, the other I still have active.

Yes, I am playing with relatively small dollar amounts. There are a few reasons for that.

First, I have no idea what I’m really doing. I devour news and think about current events but I don’t usually put much thought into how those may translate to changes in the markets. I don’t know if I have the skills to actively manage my portfolio and do better than index funds, so I want to experiment.

Second, our tax situation means we’ll probably have to pay more than 30% of any profits in taxes to the foreign country we’re living in. I don’t think that we’d also need to pay in the US, but I’d rather not have to pay much in taxes, regardless of the actual earnings.

3 weeks into my stock market experiment

Here’s a screen capture of the current value of the stock portfolio I built using WeBull.

I have put $200 into it. The unrealized profit and loss of $2.38 is the earning of that $200. The current account value of $221.13 is because the two stocks that I received free for joining: ZNGA (Zynga, the gaming company) that’s at $8.73 right now, and AGI (Alamos Gold) that’s at $10.02.

The first $100 I largely put into airline stocks hoping to see those bounce back, though I realize that’s a longer play. My one share of Alaska Airlines (ALK) I bought at $39.51 and now has a current loss of $1.25. I think I’ll be okay, thanks for the concerns. I bought 3 shares of American Airlines at $12.73 which if I sold now would mean a loss of $3.42 in total. Again, I figure with just the assets these corporations have (and the monopoly Alaska has on some routes) ensures a return to higher numbers — some day. I got 10 shares of Astrotech (ASTC) for $2.21 each that has dropped a bit and would mean a $4.70 loss if I sold today. So the first $100 (okay, $99.80) I put in has a total loss of $9.37.

The second $100, I put in about a week later and I put almost entirely into green energy stocks. I picked up 2 shares of Ballard Power (BLDP) at $14.85 for a total increase of $1.48 as of today. And 2 shares of Plug Power (PLUG) at $14.73 which would earn me $8.26 if sold today. I also got 4 shares of TransAlta (TAC) at $6.08 that I would get $1.16 more if I sold today. So my $83.48 green energy bet has been a net positive of $10.90 in just 2 weeks. That comes to around 13% growth. (I did have just enough to buy one more share of American Airlines which was down to $11.07.)

You’ll note the screen capture also shows my cash balance of $5.65 for money deposited into my WeBull account but not yet allocated to a stock. As you can tell, I wanted to do some compartmentalizing to see and track these chunks of money.

As a little experiment, we also have a recurring deposit set up with the bank we have here in India. Each month it takes 5,000 Indian rupees (about $68) out of Pepper’s account. and it will mature one year form the start. We’ll see what gains that has compared to my playing around. I thought maybe I could do monthly $68 deposits and see if the market can beat the bank rates and how much if so.

Want to join WeBull? For just $100 you can get started and in doing so, I’ll get some more free stocks if you use my link!

Picking a music streaming service. AGAIN.

I am really hating the shift that Google has done from Google Play music to YouTube Music. Sometimes I want a music video. But let’s note that many artists create long intros, skits, interruptions in the song, long blank times for credits, volume changes, and other things that make their music video not the best option for listening to their song.

I’ve already used a number of past applications. From Napster to Grooveshark I have used some defunct platforms! I have a SoundCloud account, plenty of purchased music in Amazon music, and a Last.fm account. But I liked the Google Play and YouTube connectivity — I didn’t want to lose the dedicated music option though.

I jumped on the Google Play opportunities right as it released. I picked up plenty of their free songs and bought a few full albums before eventually paying for the monthly family plan for unlimited streaming. And now, a few weeks into having to skip a 2 minute intro to songs FAR too often, I’m ready to dump this Google “service”.

And so I just did. Not a moment too soon either, because renewal looks like it was just a day away.

But now I’m on the hunt for something to replace it. My initial thoughts…

Spotify. I was really interested, until learning that they paid 100 MILLION US DOLLARS to have the Joe Rogan Experience on their platform. So my money would undoubtedly be paying for a guy that has given Alex Jones of InfoWars a platform as a guest to further spread conspiracies. Jones believes climate change is a hoax, is opposed to vaccines, promotes the idea of white genocide, pushed the pizzagate bull, and has repeatedly called school shooting instances false flag events or that survivors were crisis actors. I’m sorry, but anyone that gives this guy air time for anything other than a retirement from his lies will not get my business.

Apple Music. Naw. I’m a PC user with an Android phone. If nothing else pans out I’ll come back and give it a try.

Amazon Music. Argh. I just feel like I bet on the wrong platform. I have the Google speakers and Chromecast and Android phones. But maybe should have gone with Amazon’s Alexa instead. For that one reason I’m leading away from Amazon. Okay, maybe that’s not the ONLY reason. The other thing that bothers me is the net worth of Jeff Bezos. I just struggle with sending more money to the richest person on the planet. I just wish he had a more employee-based business and had massive support of NGOs. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and even mark Zuckerberg are much more generous with their earnings. All that said, I am tempted a bit by the pricing of the HD music service. While twice the price of the service I’m mourning, I’d sure consider it if the equipment I play music on might make the sound quality worth it. If you’re considering this service, then try Amazon Music with an unlimited free trial and I get $3. Chances are, I’ll just be using it to buy music from them anyway (see the last option on my list).

Tidal. Speaking of sound quality… I remember my dad’s Bose 901s. The turntable. The big 70’s headphones with the coiled cord. I’ve got a box of albums that some have survived the early marriage purge of “Do you know how much this record is selling for on eBay?” and am a bit of an audiophile despite tolerating cassettes and tinny headphones for a decade. I had a mixing board as part of my sound setup in the early 90s that lasted more than a decade until I transitioned to digital crossfades when I invested in DJ equipment. The Mackie SR-1530 powered speakers I bought then, cost over $1,000 each and weighted in at a hefty 100 pounds each. They got 5 years of hard use before I sold them. Anyway, Tidal apparently is the streaming service for people that like their audio quality on the hi-fi side.

Pandora. Yeah, maybe. It’s got some features I need, plus it sounds like the predictive playlists would be nice. It’s right there on the averages for the basic monthly plan fees, and is compatible with my devices.

Audio Station. Here’s an other option. I’ve been pretty good about downloading the songs that I purchased, regardless of platform. I have a few CDs I could rip. Then I give myself a $10 a month budget to buy and download songs. All get uploaded to our NAS and I use Audio Station on my computer and phone to play the music I own outright. I don’t need access to a quarter of a million songs. Let’s face it, I probably listen to no more than 500 songs and maybe only add another 5 new songs a month. I bet some months I would find if difficult to find $10 worth of music that I wanted to buy once my major playlists are populated. The only drawback to this is my available time. If I was about to start a 4 day weekend then this might be a great project. But the lure of the ease of just installing an app and setting up automatic payments is strong.

So, for now, I remain undecided. Might have to sit on this for another week. Or until a 4 day weekend comes along.