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Like fishermen boasting about their catch -- which becomes bigger with each retelling -- investors like to tell tall tales from their investing adventures. With a bear market of historic proportions either getting over or going to get worse, I'll bet that there are a lot of interesting yarns that can be spun.

I'll kick off with how I fortuitously avoided some real stinkers by just moving from individual stocks to broad-market index funds around the late 2007 / early 2008 time frame. To qualify, I exclude any stock that is down by a comparable amount to the broad market.

AIG - sold at $54. Now $1.45.
GE - sold at $34. Now $12.
E*Trade - sold at $24. Now $2.40.

What about you? Maybe you moved to cash or fixed income and side-stepped the decline. Or you shorted Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers or any of the other train wrecks. Or you were unfortunate enough to enthusiastically buy some banks (lest you think highly of my market timing skills, I bought BMO). Over to you now...
 

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Beat S&P500 and TSX by 2.6% and 9.0% trailing 12-month respectively in Canadian dollar by under weighting in financials and energy, although I'd have looked smarter switching to 100% cash a year ago.

For individual fish, I'd say snapping up a few cheap preferreds near the bottom, and also hanging on to my Biovail stock, which is up 28% not counting the 13% yield. Just to add a little context, not everything is fine and dandy as I suffered a few big haircuts with Teck Cominco, Bank of America and etc.
 

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Well, I got somewhat lucky with RUS and OPC, selling out on RUS near $30 and OPC at $18.

On the other side of the coin:

With Priszm (QSR.UN) I planned to bail when the price shot up after they reinstated the distribution in Feb '08, but I got greedy with an ask near $8 that was never hit -- it's now under $2.

The one that got away:

I wrote about the fertilizer story and had a bid on AGU at $30 for about two weeks time. But when it neared that price it was doing so so quickly that I got scared and cancelled my order. It ended up bottoming just ~4% below that. I never ended up buying, and now it's up something like 65% from where I should have bought it.
 

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In March I bought BMO.TO at $34 then immediately selling covered calls at $36 Jan 2011 getting $5.85 option premium per share, rolling the premium to buy more stock which is not optioned

Have not been called on the option contracts yet even though iBMO at this time is in the $40 range.

In February I bought YLO.UN at $5.04, so far I have had two lots of $0.0975/share distributions
 

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Started DIY investing account with TD in February after selling my family of mutual funds. Glad I did it not because I'm the most clever investor in the world but because of the satisfaction of learning from my "mistakes". And it's nice pocketing dividends at a preferential tax rate here in BC whereas I paid tax on MF "distributions" regardless of performance while the managers collected their MER - a double whammy!

I should have known that February is one of the worse performing months of the year but I was champing at the bit to open my account. If I waited until March and bought the same Canadian stocks I would have regained 75% of what I lost in '08. And so it goes. I bought Manulife at 21 bucks and saw it fall to 10 within a month and sold it. Their core insurance business is excellent but being so equity contingent on the DOW while not hedging their segregated funds didn't look good and I couldn't take it anymore. But all was not lost since I bought BMO with the residue at 26 bucks and a higher dividend income stream at 11%. As that stock shot up to 40 bucks it was gratifying even if MFC went back up 100%.
 

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Had my a$$ handed back to me from the likes of GE, PFE, COS.UN, RUS and the real stinker BAC (Ken Lewis should be shot for what he did to destroy shareholder equity). The “dividend growth” story no longer has the same appeal to me as it once did. Luckily however, I didn’t pull a D. Foster and make an exit at the bottom. I did make significant swaps and purchases into high grade prefs, some pipeline income trust, and a bit of Reits to bring my portfolio back to respectability. Still a long way to go – important lessons learned however :).
 

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I was doing a lot of changes to my portfolio (dumping mutual funds for individual stocks) when the CAD was high. As a result, I sold out of my funds, and bought ALOT of US equities - that kept my portfolio from completely going down the drain over the past 8 months.

Now I'm just waiting for the USD to go down the toilet....

Did buy into the market late Feb for my wife's ETF portfolio - some decent prices on foreign small/midcap indices.
 

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My wife and I didn't sell. We generally don't sell since it makes little sense for us. Our results can be found at the web site below in my sig.

We bought more stock to add to existing positions. These are great times to make a lot of money.

The portfolio linked in my sig is already up 9% YTD (36% annualized) and both our new TFSAs are up 45% (135% annualized). These results will likely not continue.

Buying and never selling has been the easiest way for us to build wealth very quickly.
 
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