Saturday, July 17, 2004

Near misses!

Normally i would not be compelled to write about what coulda/shoulda, but these were close.
On Thursday, Harrah's acquired Caesars, for a small premium. I had included Caesars in the list of stocks i bought the Tuesday before, but removed it as part of my filtering, since
  a) There was no insider buying
  b) The stock looked expensive
  c) After the MGM/Mandalay merger recently, it was an open secret that Caesar's would be next. So the price reflected this.
No regrets here. 

Another close miss was PNC's purchase of Riggs Bank on Friday. After the money-laundering scandal (Gen. Pinochet makes his second appearance in this blog!), it was a well known fact that Riggs was up for sale. I did not plan to buy the stock till it was very cheap since the downside in the absence of a takeover looked substantial. The premium was decent. But it is still an unpleasant ending for a bank that was such an integral part of American history - Riggs financed the US govt's purchase of Alaska from Russia more than a century ago!.
Again, i have no regrets on missing this takeover since this one was too speculative and preserving capital still remains the most important concern for me.
I do own a few PNC shares since it is a prime candidate in the rapidly consolidating banking/S&L sector.


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