Champagne flowed at a recent meeting of the Fleet Landing Investment Club (FLIC). The club beat the S&P 500 average in 2018, not by a little, but by a significant amount. According to the club, the S&P was down by 4.5 percent. The club was up 2.5 percent, or 700 basis points better. In an average year, the S&P would have been up 10 percent. FLIC would have been up 17 percent.
FLIC realized that unexpected events often happen in the markets and was ready to handle them. According to the club, one unexpected event was the crash of Apple Inc. The club realized that after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple had failed to replace its source of creativity and innovation.
FLIC had huge profits in Apple. They carefully watched Apple’s performance as it coasted upwards on Jobs’ ideas. When the company finally faltered, they sold it before it plummeted and lost one-third of its value.
Market analysis also helped FLIC sell Home Depot and other stocks. According to the club, it is relatively easy to buy stocks that do well for a time. The difficult skill, said the club, is to sell them near the point of maximum profit. Fleet Landing Investment Club has done considerable study and research in this area. As a result, it has been doing well at this task.
Much of this improvement has been due to the leadership of Bob Dinda, who was elected president of FLIC about two years ago. His first 25 years were spent as an aerospace engineer. He rose to be an engineering director at Computer Sciences Corp., reporting directly to the president. He was then hired by Wall Street, where he spent the next 30 years. While there, he pledged to himself that he would spend maximum time in the research departments and learn from the brightest, most experienced analysts.
When elected president of FLIC, Dinda pledged to help the club beat the S&P. On the masthead of reports was the new motto: “BEAT THE S&P.” In January when Bob saw the performance figures for the past year, he couldn’t believe them. He was pretty sure the club had beaten the S&P, but he questioned if it was really by that amount. He considered it impossible. He spent much of January checking and rechecking the figures.
Dinda said this performance would not have been possible without the help of the eager and knowledgeable members: Howard Burdick, treasurer; Walt Trevaskis, secretary; Tom Steinke, keeper of the SSG; Joe Ruthenberg, master of electronics; and Ron Jacobstein, assistant to the president. New members are Dick Footh and John Lones.
The FLIC meets the second Wednesday of each month in the Executive Conference Room at 7:30 p.m. at Fleet Landing.