I follow quite a lot of companies -- some more closely than others -- so the usefulness of a watchlist to me cannot be overstated. Without my watchlist, I'd be unable to keep up on my favorite sectors and what's really moving the market. Even worse, without my watchlist, I'd be lost when it came time to choose what stock I'm buying or shorting next.
What I intend to do as an experiment is to make every Wednesday "Watchlist Wednesday," where I'll discuss three companies that have crossed my radar in the past week and at what point I may consider taking action on these calls with my own money. Keep in mind these aren't concrete buy or sell recommendations, nor do I guarantee I'll take action on the companies being discussed weekly. What I can promise is that you can follow my real-life transactions through my profile, and that I, like everyone else here at The Motley Fool, will continue to hold the integrity of our disclosure policy in the highest regard.
Houston American Energy (ASE: HUSA)
Back in July I correctly (and luckily) called the top on Houston American Energy when I recommended selling the stock at its 52-week high. Now, five months removed from that call, it appears the stock could be ready to break down to multiyear lows. Yet things still look expensive from my standpoint.
As I had mentioned in July, the company sold off many of its Colombian interests, which netted the company much-needed cash but left it short of revenue-producing wells. Not shockingly, Houston American recorded just under $800,000 in revenue for the first nine months of 2011 compared to more than $17 million in the year-ago period. The company also reversed a nearly $3 million profit and turned that into a $4 million loss. Investors will be quick to point out that the company is sitting on rich oil fields, but I'd retort, "Where are the results?" With the stock having missed expectations in four straight quarters, I may look to purchase puts on this oil and gas disappointment in the near future.
THQ (NAS: THQI)
Most of you who read my articles know that I've always had a soft spot for small- and micro-cap companies, and admittedly, THQ, the company behind video games such as Red Faction and Saints Row, is garnering a lot of my attention recently. After nailing Houston American in July, I put my dunce cap on when I recommended THQ as a buy in July with the stock trading in the mid-$2's. You can see how well that has worked out. Now that it's trading south of $1 per share, I think the stock deserves a flier.
For one thing, the company has a portfolio full of marketable PC and console games. Although its reduced outlook, blamed on lower-than-expected sales of its uDraw Game Tablet, does mean that THQ's cash pile will likely dwindle, the company does have what I think will be enough cash on hand to survive this hiccup. THQ's rivals, Electronic Arts (NAS: EA) and Activision Blizzard (NAS: ATVI) , also have plenty of cash on hand to purchase THQ's portfolio of games, which makes it an attractive takeover candidate. I'm keeping my eye out for a stable entry point into the stock.
Angie's List (NAS: ANGI)
A stock dubbed by yours truly as the absolute Worst IPO of 2011, I can see almost no better short-side trade at present than betting against Angie's List. The only danger here is that Angie's List, like other IPOs in 2011, chose to artificially float only a small portion of its shares upfront in the hopes that it would drive up demand on the stock. Although this does create a temporary effect of euphoria, sound reasoning eventually wins.
Much like Renren (NAS: RENN) , which has been among the year's biggest losers, Angie's List has been unable to turn a profit -- despite being in business for 16 years, mind you. That alone should be enough evidence to prove that this business style is doomed even with the cash infusion that listing its stock publicly provides. If shareholders want to hang around while Angie's dilutes them to death, be my guest; as for me, I'm looking for the perfect shorting opportunity.
Is my bullishness or bearishness misplaced? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider taking my cue by adding these three companies to your free and personalized watchlist to keep up on the latest news with each company.
Add Houston American Energy to your watchlist.
Add THQ to your watchlist.
Add Angie's List to your watchlist.
At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorSean Williamshas no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He's a total nerd when it comes to making lists. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen nameTMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen nameTrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle@TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of and creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policythat believes transparency comes first.