Another interest of mine is the stock market. I am aware that this sounds pretty nerdy, (but anyone that knows me or reads this blog likely already has been informed that I am kind of a dork) but I have been interested in investing since I was in middle school. Back in the building that could pass for a penitentiary called Eastgate, they had a short after school thing called the Stock Market Game. Basically, each group of participants would be given a set amount of "money" to "buy" and "sell" "stocks" over a certain amount of time. You had to track actual stocks and make "trades" based on closing prices from the morning newspaper, and at the end the group with the most "money" would win.
What's with all the quotes? Obviously, the money and transactions weren't real, it was just a tool to get kids interested in following the market from a relatively early age. For me, the program worked and I started investing in high school. In college, I became aware of the possibilities of trading stocks without a broker over the internet. It was a hell of a lot cheaper than through a bank and I didn't have to be "pitched" any financial ideas from some moron trying to get a kickback from a company if he sells shares of their mutual funds. I'm glad that I decided to go into investing on my own and I think I've done rather well.
By no means am I saying that I have been tremendously successful but I've been happy with what I have picked up. I've made my share of mistakes and I think that I have learned from them. Just as with gambling, there is a fair amount of risk involved, but some times it pays off. This week has been pretty nice, two small companies that have modest amounts of stock in had some interesting news. Yesterday, a nanotech company, Altair, announced that, in conjunction with a couple other partners, had successfully demonstrated a fast-charge all-electric vehicle in Norway (http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/071009/20071009005594.html?.v=1). Exciting news, you say? You better believe it and as the added benefit for the shareholders - the stock jumped over 30% in one day because of it. This I like to hear. Then today, another company (InterNAP) was named one of "Five Stocks Approaching Greatness" by the Motley Fool (http://www.fool.com/investing/small-cap/2007/10/10/5-stocks-approaching-greatness.aspx).
InterNAP didn't move 30% today, but 6.5% is pretty respectable. It's days like these that remind me why I like investing. I'm sure some report will be released that will turn everything sour shortly, so I have to enjoy them while I can.