Happy New Year, reading public. I've been doing some cooking the past few days from "Aromas of Aleppo ," a beautiful and very usable new cookbook from the fabulously named Poopa Dweck. Abby and I've made a couple of deserts, a green bean dish, a great baked kibbeh, a beef and rice stew and a few other things. The recipes work, the ingredients are accessible (aside from a few spices I picked up at the local Arabic market, but they have most of them at Whole Foods too) and the book is full of interesting facts and stories about the Syrian Jewish community. If you cook, especially if you cook kosher, I recommend it highly.
I am still waiting for year-end data on my overall investment returns, but my individual equities and etfs were a pretty mixed bag, redeemed in part because I hold a lot of dividend paying securities with cushions the blow when capital returns are low and down. I had eight double digit total return gainers: Apache (62.6%), the EEM emerging market etf (33.4%), the EWC Canada etf (28.4%), Exxon Mobil (24.1%), Verizon (21.7%), Microsoft (20.6%), the Reaves "UTG" Utility Fund (12.9%) and the IJK MidCap Growth etf (12%). I had five big losers: Sysco (-13.0%), Cognex (-14%), Bank of America (-18.2%), the ICF REIT etf (-19%) and Barclays, which I bought last January, down 28% since I picked it up.
Verizon is one of my larger positions, so that was great, but Bank of America is a larger holding as well, so that hurt, even though I had sold some of it early in the year. I was pleased to get out of Home Depot and Comcast with single digit gains, as they tanked later in the year. Cognex has been a poor performer for me for a few years, but is a very small position that I may yet hold onto. I like Barclays longer term and may yet add some more to my position. BofA is a longterm core holding for me. The Sysco I might dump at some point, I am up long term on it but am no longer especially excited about the stock or the company. I am looking at all sorts of interesting new ideas - vehicles, managers and allocation schemes - for 2008, and I'll keep you posted.
As far as resolutions go, see this post from last year? Delete the desk cleaning (I am better on that), make it "10 pounds or so" and keep the rest, all under the header of "Don't Be Lazy, Glassenberg." Sigh.