Four-month update: Investing $10k in the stock market – Parkzer vs. DougDoug and Twitch chat

Disclaimer: I am not an investment advisor, and the information contained in this post is not intended to be construed as financial advice. This is simply an anecdotal report of a personal project and does not imply that you should copy my strategy. Past performance is not a guarantee of future re­sults. Con­sult a certified professional if you need guidance with your own financial strategy.
 

Today marks the exact four-month point since starting the US$10,000.00 stock market investment challenge with Doug Wreden and his Twitch chat.

If you’re not up-to-date and don’t feel like reading the previous blog post for all the details, here’s a summary:

  • Doug and I each put $10,000 of our own money into the stock market by individually picking ten companies in which to invest.
  • Because Doug is not an experienced investor, he solicited for help from his DougDoug community on Twitch to contribute to the decision-making process.
  • I have low faith in the success of the stock market over the next year, so I took a more conservative route and bought into sectors that perform well during a recession; on the other hand, Doug’s Twitch chat seems to have not really stuck with an overarching plan, and instead just picked stocks that they generally liked or thought were good companies.
  • Whichever portfolio has a higher balance after market close on January 23, 2023 wins. All profits get donated to charity, and the person with the low­er portfolio balance has to do a punishment as voted on by Doug’s Twitch chat.

With all that out of the way, here is how our portfolios are doing:

Table containing 27 rows and 9 columns of stock market data

As of today, my portfolio is beating Doug’s with a lead of $1,016.31.

My portfolio is generally hanging in there, with Pfizer and Waste Management being the biggest winners. Walmart had also been doing ex­treme­ly well, but as you can see from the sparkline, it recently tanked after they (and Target Corp.) announced that their first-quarter earnings were worse than ex­pected.

Doug, on the other hand, is going through a very rough patch in his portfolio. He had actually been doing well at first, but with Netflix committing com­mer­cial suicide and the general sell-off of technology stocks, things are not looking good for him.

I’m also tracking a few benchmarks to see how our portfolios would have been doing had we invested them in the broad stock market instead of picking our own individual stocks. My hedge-against-recession portfolio has actually been doing pretty well com­pared to the S&P 500, having consistently been higher than it over the past two months and beating it by $258.05 as of today. However, Doug is falling fairly far behind, at $758.26 in the negative com­pared to if he had just bought the S&P 500.

Bonds are generally considered a safe investment, but even bonds are dropping in price. I personally use Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Ad­mi­ral Shares (VBTLX) in my main investment portfolio, so I decided to use the ETF version BND as the benchmark. If Doug and I had invested in bonds instead of companies, Doug would have $1,078.37 more in his portfolio, while I would have only $62.06 more.

Investing internationally is another common way to diversify a portfolio, and I personally own a large chunk of Vanguard Total International Stock In­dex Fund Ad­mi­ral Shares (VTIAX) in my investment portfolio, so I used the ETF version VXUS as our benchmark. If Doug and I had decided to go broad market international instead of investing domestically, Doug would have $849.49 more in his portfolio, while I would be down $166.82.

And finally, to keep things interesting, I also decided to do a benchmark with cryptocurrency. I selected the Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund (GDLC), not only because I already personally own it in my regular investment portfolio, but also because it is a way to be able to track the health of the broader cryp­to market, as opposed to looking at just a single coin. As of today, the holdings of GDLC include about 65% Bitcoin; about 27% Ethereum; less than 2% each of Solana, Cardano, and Polakdot; and less than 1% each of Uniswap, Chainlink, Avalanche, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. If Doug and I had taken a risk and put that $10k into crypto instead, Doug would be down $1,984.69 more, while I would be down $3,001.00 more.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I switched the platform I use to track our stocks—I wasn’t fully satisfied with the features of my previous platform, so I de­cid­ed to make my own using Google Sheets and Google Finance instead. Quotes from Google Finance can be up to 20 minutes behind, so it’s not vi­a­ble to use for active trading, but for my purposes of wanting full customizability and the non-urgency of price updates, it works perfectly due to its in­te­gra­tion with Google Sheets.

One of the features I was hoping for previously was to be able to chart our actual portfolio values over time, as opposed to only being able to chart per­cent changes; I made my own chart that sources from a table of the entire daily history of our portfolios, so now you can see the actual dollar a­mounts as the days progress.

My portfolio actually hadn’t been that stellar for a decent chunk of time, but you can see the point in early April at which I pull ahead and everything starts plummeting. Just like how it suddenly changed then, there is just as likely of a chance that it can suddenly change again in the future in the op­po­site direction. We’re still 8 months away from the end of the competition, and that’s a long time for unexpected things to happen, so I’m not getting too complacent.

In the meantime, I still think it’s pretty fun to keep tabs on our progress so we can will a higher power to move the stock market towards the favor of our own portfolio.

 

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Investing US$10,000.00 in the stock market – Parkzer vs. DougDoug’s Twitch chat

Disclaimer: I am not a registered investment advisor and do not have the qualifications to become one. Even if I was one, I would not be your investment advisor; to you, I am nothing more than a random guy on the Internet writing in his personal blog. This content is intended for comedic and en­ter­tain­ment purposes only. Everyone’s situation is uniquely different, so consult a certified professional if you need guidance with your own financial strat­e­gy.

 
A few days ago, my friend Doug Wreden, a broadcast personality who streams on Twitch and makes video content on YouTube, asked if I wanted to join in on a live event he was doing with his community where, together, they would invest $10,000 into the stock market. Unfortunately, I was overloaded with time-sensitive work that entire day and couldn’t join in live, but we decided to do the next best thing, which was for me to participate after-the-fact.

Thus, “Parkzer vs. DougDoug’s Twitch chat” was born.

 
Rules:

  • Invest US$10,000.00 into ten individual companies (no index funds, mutual funds, ETFs, or bonds).
  • No active trading is permitted after the initial purchase (though reinvesting dividends is allowed), and stocks must be held for one year.
  • The winner is the team with the highest account balance after one year.
  • Any profits beyond cost basis will be donated to charity.

 
Doug has very little investing experience (apart from purchasing Dogecoin as a joke and making a +800% return), so he relied on his community’s as­sis­tance to research companies and pick out the best stocks. Doug uses Robinhood as his brokerage, so that basically speaks for itself. On the other hand, investing and wealth management is one of my favorite hobbies, and I’ve taken it very seriously ever since my first paying job.

However, I knew I couldn’t let this make me get complacent. There are plenty of studies proving that even monkeys randomly throwing darts on a wall of stock ticker symbols can consistently beat investment advisors. Just because I’ve been doing this for longer doesn’t necessarily mean I am go­ing to perform better by default. I needed to es­tab­lish a plan.

 
First, I had to make some predictions and assumptions about what would happen in the coming year. Nobody can predict the future, but what I can do is use current events and cultural trends to make educated guesses. From there, I had to determine which sectors of the market are more and less likely to perform well in the given conditions. Next, I found some companies within those aforementioned sectors that I thought had potential for growth. Fi­nal­ly, I had to trim down my list to ten of my best candidates.

 
I made three major assumptions upon which I would base my investment decisions:

  1. I think the coronavirus pandemic will continue through sinusoidal phases of getting better and worse throughout the year. Although the latest var­i­ant has not been as deadly, it has evolved to become far more contagious. We don’t know how it will mutate next, and with people getting com­pla­cent, this is a ripe opportunity for COVID-19 to cause great damage when we least expect it, resulting in a stock market crash.
  2. I think it is more likely for the stock market to stabilize or fall than it is to rise in the coming year. I think the current state of the stock market is not as healthy as it may seem—it is only this high due to absurd inflation and government policy stimulating economic growth. Once things return to normal and people start repaying their COVID-19 disaster relief loans, money will be taken out of circulation and the stock market will revert back to what it “should” be.
  3. I think the development and modernization of core systems will get faster. Technology companies did well the past few years, but it will still re­quire more work to roll out their advancements infrastructurally so it turns from a luxury into something more commonplace. In simpler terms, I think we have a lot of great concepts, prototypes, and first-generation innovations, but now is the time to keep pushing development so it can be used not only by the elite, but also by the general public.

 
With my grim outlook on the future of the stock market, it is clear that I would have to pick sectors that perform well during a recession. Out of the sec­tors defined under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), I knew I wanted to focus on the following:

  • Consumer staples. No matter how bad the economy, people still need to eat and use core household products. When people have less disposable in­come, they tend to shift their money away from consumer discretionary and into consumer staples.
  • Healthcare. Just because the economy is bad doesn’t mean you’re not going to get sick. On top of that, we are still in the middle of a pandemic caused by a virus that is actively mutating. The healthcare industry is booming, ignoring the fact that that’s probably not the most sensitive way to describe people’s misfortune.
  • Utilities. Similar to the above, people still use utilities during a recession, even if they might try to conserve spending and be more conscious of waste­fulness.
  • Real estate. Again, as you might have guessed, people still need a place to live, even if the economy is bad. However, real estate also bundles in de­vel­op­ment projects, which ties in with the infrastructural advancements I mentioned above that I think will happen.

 
I picked three well-established, reputable companies from each of the sectors above, plus three companies from the remaining sectors not listed above. From there, I took the list of 15 and narrowed it down to 10.

Here are my ten stocks picks with the amount of money I allocated to each company, alongside Doug and his community’s stock picks and their al­lo­ca­tions:

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE)

$   800.00

Waste Management, Inc. (WM)

$   800.00

Proctor & Gamble Co. (PG)

$ 1,200.00

Walmart, Inc. (WMT)

$ 1,200.00

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (BIO)

$ 1,400.00

Pfizer, Inc. (PFE)

$ 1,400.00

American Tower Corp. (AMT)

$   800.00

Prologis, Inc. (PLD)

$   800.00

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR)

$   600.00

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)

$ 1,000.00
 

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA)

$ 1,250.00 

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. (ASPN)

$   750.00 

Sony Group Corp. (SONY)

$ 1,250.00 

Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)

$   750.00 

Intel Corp. (INTC)

$   750.00 

CRISPR Therapeutics, AG (CRSP)

$ 1,000.00 

Hasbro, Inc. (HAS)

$ 1,000.00 

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

$   750.00 

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST)

$ 1,500.00 

The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)
PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP)

$ 1,000.00*

*The $1000 for Doug’s final stock selection is split evenly between Coca-Cola and Pepsi as a mini-game between “A Crew” and “Z Crew,” two halves of Doug’s Twitch chat community split by the first letter of their username, to see which brand (and consequently, which crew) has a higher return on in­vestment.

From these stock picks, I think it becomes fairly clear that my portfolio was built not to grow faster, but to decline slower. Thus, if the economy con­tin­ues to do well, Doug’s portfolio will defeat mine, but the economy slows down, my portfolio’s balance will conclude the year higher.

 
I’ve loaded all of our stock picks into some portfolio analysis software, and I might do quarterly (or even monthly, depending on level of interest) re­ports on the performance of our portfolios, showing who is in the process of winning. At the very least, I’ll be providing some statistics, charts, and tables for Doug to be able to review on his live stream.

Seeing as this is ultimately going to be for charity, I wish great success for Doug and his Twitch chat… with the caveat that his portfolio yields 1¢ less profit than mine. GL

 

Edit (January 28, 2022):

It’s been a week since we started this little competition, so I decided to go back and edit this blog post to add in some bonus content in the form of charts and a graph.

First, one thing to note is that, if you’re attentive to the numbers, you’ll notice that Doug’s cost basis is not a flat $10,000.00. This is because, when he was picking out stocks on his Twitch stream, he intended to invest $500 in Coca-Cola (as in, the competitor to Pepsi), but instead, he accidentally invested it into the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. This happened because the bottling company’s ticker symbol is COKE, while the Coca-Cola Company’s ticker symbol is KO; Doug and his Twitch chat got those two mixed up.

After I informed Doug of this error, he sold all his shares of COKE and realized $26 in profit, then put all $526 into KO. I was not aware that he was going to do this, otherwise I would have advised him to only put $500.04 back into KO, because that would’ve been the equivalent return on investment from KO from that time period. Thus, because of the transaction, Doug’s numbers are going to be a little bit off.

Hopefully the final results won’t come down to $26, but if our portfolios are indeed within $26 of each other at the end of one year when we determine the winner, we’re going to need to do a bit of math to see how much this affected Doug’s earnings.

After five market days, this is how our portfolios are looking right now:

For comparison, if we had invested the $10,000 into the S&P 500 instead, it would have grown to $10,230—$97 higher than my portfolio, and $363 higher than Doug’s.

Here is a graph of the price change of each of our portfolios, alongside the chart for the S&P 500. Keep in mind that these are by percentage, and are relative values, so this might not be the most intuitive graph. I ideally would have wanted to graph the total value of each of our portfolios over time in dollar amounts, but it seems like that is not a feature offered by my portfolio tracking and analysis software.

 

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Q&A with Doug Wreden for Tempo’s Sleepless Nights

For the past three and a half days, Tempo has been running a charity event called Sleepless Nights, a 24/7 non-stop broadcast of various Tempo players, personalities, and staff members streaming on Tempo’s official Twitch channel in an effort to raise money for charities on the front line in the fight against COVID-19.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to have a throwback to the good old days when I used to stream nearly full-time hours almost a decade ago. I decided to claim a slot in the streaming schedule for myself and ran a Q&A session with one of my good friends, Doug Wreden.

I figured that, seeing as this was on Tempo’s channel, the audience would be most interested in esports, business, and gaming media, so that’s what I made the topic of the show. But, we were just taking any questions from the chat, so we ended up getting into some very strange topics… as you can find out from the VOD below.

 

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Onboarding with the Tempo Storm Fortnite team

Literally three days after moving from Southern California to Las Vegas, I got on a plane and went straight back to California to visit Hollywood and Burbank for Tempo Storm’s Fortnite team’s onboarding. (Yes, I could’ve just chosen to move after the onboarding, but then I would’ve had to miss the Esports Arena Las Vegas grand opening, so that posed another problem. On top of that, we ended up postponing this Fortnite event by a week, so I was actually originally under the impression that it would happen before I moved.)

The first day was mostly composed of video interviews and photo shoots – we wanted to get as much media footage of the players as possible so we had some stuff to work with when creating features and segments. Our executive producer Doug was the one who primarily ran most of the interviews, while our photographer Bills captured head shots:

Doug conducting interviews in the recording studio

VapeJesus and Payne setting up their computers

VapeJesus in a photo shoot with Bills

Later on in the day, Greg Grunberg stopped by to direct a pilot episode of a talk show with one of our players.

Payne being interviewed for a TV show pilot

Speaking with Director Greg Grunberg

To conclude the day, we went up to the Observatory to enjoy the view of Los Angeles.

Fortnite team looking down onto Los Angeles

Looking down on Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory

Hollywood sign

The second day was show day. We had the players participate in a 10-in-5 challenge, where our team had to get 10 wins in 5 hours. We didn’t realize how easy it would end up being for them – they blasted through with 10 wins in a row in right around 3 hours, then spent the remainder of the time doing silly stuff to entertain the audience, like queuing up for 4-man squads the splitting up half-and-half to wipe out everyone else on the map and meet in the middle.

Doug introducing the broadcast audience to the 10-in-5 event

Doug and Carlos manning the studio control room during the 10-in-5 livestream event

The evening concluded with some group photos, followed by a trip to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and an escape room.

Fortnite team sitting on a red couch in the music room

KBBQ

The team recovered almost $1.1M worth of treasure while in the escape room

(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157689199589840)

 

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