My colleague and friend, Bill Carlino (editor-in-chief of Accounting Today) wrote a column recently about low-carbing, in which he cited Krispy Kreme. Now, both Bill and I love Krispy Kreme, and he reflected on what had happened to the company with the advent of the low-carb revolution. Well, I have my own story to tell and it relates a great deal to investors and the stock market.
I have always been a big advocate of not paying attention to tips, no matter from where they emanate and to purchase stock only in companies that I know, like, frequent, buy services or products from, and can easily recommend.
Krispy Kreme is one of those companies. Now, I have to take you back to another lifetime (no, not the time I rode up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt) but rather to 1958 when I was ensconced at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Second Marine Division. Krispy Kreme, as you may or may not know, was born and bred in the South and at that time there was just the basic glazed donut, nothing like the fancy stuff that permeates the Krispy Kreme stores today. All the donuts were hot and fresh, and exceedingly sweet.
Now, in April of 2000, Krispy Kreme issued an IPO. It opened at $21 a share and I quickly bought at $22 a share. My Northern friends looked at me askance. "Krispy Kreme? What is that?"
So, in the first few days, the stock lifted from $21 to $28 a share. My Northern friends told me to sell quickly. The gurus all proclaimed, "On an IPO, it's the first few days that count. Take your profit and get out before...."
"Before what? I responded. They only shook their heads.
Well, each week that passed, the yeast rose even more. Now I was staring at $31 a share and everybody was screaming at me (everybody really represents the beneficiaries of my estate and who takes what under the Will) to get out. Even my next-door neighbor, Larry, who trades on the Amex cautioned me.
"Stu, it's only a donut company. I emphasize. It's only a donut company."
I stayed pat. My poker face was on. My game face was operational.
My research, notwithstanding adverse advice from financial service people I knew, was that the donut company was heading North in a vengeance and would open stores all over the place. They would have a neon sign in the window when a batch of donuts had just been baked. People could then rush in and get them hot and fresh. It worked. At one outlet in New York City, there were lines around the proverbial corner. I figured that this would keep the stock moving. It did. Now it rose to 38 and then crossed the 40 mark.
More stores opened, but with now different varieties of donuts. The stock crossed the 44 mark, just double of what I had paid for it. But I noticed something running contrary to my own appetite. The company was boxing the donuts and selling them to Wal-Mart and other outlets for the consumer. Uh oh, my antenna went up. You can't them hot and fresh in much the same way.
When it stayed at 44, I sold. That was it. I had doubled my investment over a relatively short period of time. Greed is usually the neck breaker of most investors. I would not fall into that same trap.
Once the stock was sold and I had my nice profit, I put Krispy Kreme in the past other than visiting a store on occasion to get my sugar fix.
In September of that year, just five months since it was first offered to the public, Larry rang my bell one Saturday morning. "Have your checked your Krispy Kreme stock?"
I shook my head. Nope, I never look back.
"Go take a look at your computer."
I did. Stock can go up and stock can go down. Know where it was? 103! You got it. 103. All the way from 21. And by October 19, it had closed just under $90, a 328 percent gain since going public.
Do I kick myself? No. I got my profit. I reduced my risk. And suppose I had held it? Well, it did start to drop and drop and drop. And, when would I have let go? Who knows? Human nature is to ride out the storm. As my friend Bill pointed out in his column, it closed at a sawbuck. You know, Ten bucks.
Yeah, but they're still soooo gooood!
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