The end of the year isn’t just a time to plan for the next one, but also a time of some reflection on what went wrong in this one. The trick is to try learning a few things from mistakes made along the way.
In that spirit, I offer up the dumbest moves I made this year, hopefully not to be repeated in the coming year and that can offer a road map for smarter moves in 2013.
Holding Tight to Apple
Like everyone else, I watched in awe as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) soared skyward seemingly on the way to $1,000 per share based on unlimited sales of iPhones, iPads, Macs and anything else touched by the hands of Apple engineers. Well, somewhere around $705 per share, the dream died. Am I still ahead? Hell yes!
But not by as much as I was. Time is on my side, so I’m not going to do anything quite yet. In fact, at just north of $500 per share maybe it’s time to buy?
Not Getting Sirius
I chronicled my mistake in not buying Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) way back in the days when it was selling for just over 5 cents per share, and I compounded that by not buying when it was up to $1 per share. Now that John Malone and his Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) have the lead role in the company, shares are just under $3 per share.
Why didn’t I just listen to my own advice? I have no idea, but the next time I see something so inexpensive that I believe has some chance at survival, I’m in. So if Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) sinks to $5 per share, time to act.
Avoiding the Banking Sector
Sorry, I just can’t trust these guys, and yet Bank of America (NYSE:BAC, +103%), Citigroup (NYSE:C, +49%), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM, +31%) and the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLF, +26%) are all soaring year-to-date, despite my opinion that their loan portfolio problems look like something out of Alien vs. Predator. They’re also going to continue seeing increased federal oversight — but, damn, I wish I had some of those shares when 2012 started.
Jumping Out of Gold
I don’t pretend to know much about gold and precious metals, but perhaps hanging on to my small gold holding through SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD) might’ve been a good idea because nobody knows what the heck will happen if we all fall over the fiscal cliff.
Jumping Into Facebook
Look, everyone piled on to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as it came to market through a messed-up IPO, and lots of people reveled as Mark Zuckerberg’s baby took it in the shorts (literally) early on.
But guess what? Facebook started to figure it out, and when it hit $13 per share, a number of people I know jumped in — and as of this writing, they’ve doubled their money. But not me. Maybe, just maybe, the reports of FB’s death are greatly exaggerated. But I’m going to sit this one out for 2013, too.
Here’s to a smarter new year!
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long AAPL.