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Greek Adventures

It is that time of the year again for me to take over the blog in Mark’s absence and live vicariously through Mark and his travels. In case you did not know, one week ago today Mark turned 50. In celebration of those 50 (mostly) glorious years, Mark flashed the bat signal, causing the assembly of a veritable wrecking crew from Champaign, Switzerland and parts in between and took off for Greece, Corfu, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia.

While the rest of us plunder along in unbearable temperatures, Mark, always one step ahead, set out for the greener pastures of a much needed and well earned vacation. Well…perhaps bluer waters would have been a better description. By my calculations, today Mark arrived in Santorini. As such, this is his current view.

santorini

Its no Daytona Beach Spring Break ’95 (it was legendary), but it ain’t bad digs.

I couldn’t help but chuckle reading the Journal this morning and seeing a headline indicating positive movement in the Greek debt crisis. I almost didn’t even want to read the article. I’d rather believe it was either Mark and the gang busting heads, talking some sense into the European powers that be or the economy being spiked by a sudden increase in the consumption of Mythos and Ouzo.

Back in the real world, we have had a good week. Charlie Osborne, our Assistant Vice President and Investment Officer (and overall brilliant mind) and I are keeping a close watch on everything that is going on. He and I will update the blog periodically in Mark’s absence. Charlie will provide his insight into the investment world and I’ll touch on some pertinent financial planning topics.

This past week has seen a nice pop back in the overall market after last week’s malaise, as indicated by the chart below.

sc

Additionally, we had positions in three separate companies that announced that they were merging/being acquired in the past week or so, allowing us to capture big gains for our customers. Two of our prevailing themes (as written about numerous times on the blog) have been natural gas and water. A week ago, mid cap natural gas company Petrohawk Energy Corporation (HK) announced it was being acquired by BHP Billiton in an all cash deal worth $38.75 per share, more than a 60% premium to HK’s closing price on the previous day.

On Wednesday, Naperville based water treatment company Nalco Holding Co. (NLC) announced that it signed a merger agreement with Ecolab and closed over 20% higher than the previous day.

Lastly, yesterday, Medco Health Solutions (MHS) closed 14% higher upon announcing an intention to be acquired by Express Scripts.

As such, its been a good week. Again, Charlie and I will try an uphold the, ahem, good name of Mark’s blog by providing you with market and financial planning information in his absence. Thanks for reading and, as always, if you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Charlie or me.

Best, and have a great weekend,

John