Hansen's sodas

Handsome Hansen's

As a general rule, I try not to think too much about the what-might-haves and if-onlys. In trading, as in life, it seems best to learn what you can from experience at the time, then pull up your socks and get on with things. But on last night's broadcast of Nightly Business Report, a chart from the "stocks in the news" segment caught my eye. Hansen's Natural Corp stock had jumped 16% to close at $176.24 (9-May-06). "Wait just a darned minute," I said to myself, "I bought that stock once. I wonder how I did with it."

So I looked HANS up. On Friday 28-May-2004, I bought 200 shares of HANS at $25.75. The very next trading day, a stop-loss order triggered, and the shares sold at $24.16 for a loss of just over $300. If only, if only, if only!

HANS 2-year stock chart
Hansen's Natural (HANS)

If only I still had those shares, yesterday they would have been worth $70,496 for a profit of over $65,346, adjusting for a 2:1 split in the meantime. If only!

Of course, you can't think that way. At the time I wasn't very disappointed, because HANS continued to fall, eventually getting down to $17.76 (pre-split) before reversing. I would not have been happy with a loss of $8 per share, and certainly would have sold long before then. (Well, at least I hope I would have sold. I did, after all, hold my Enron stock all the way down from $75 to eventually sell for $0.16 after it went bankrupt!)

HANS stock chart
(Split adjusted prices)

Reconstructing the HANS chart for that period (above), I clearly jumped into HANS way too late, after it had been stretching the upper Bollinger band for nearly a month, getting way ahead of the moving averages. Nevertheless, a long-term uptrend was in place, and HANS followed the rules — it touched back to the averages before resuming its climb.

Although I'm chagrined to think about what might have been, I'm reassured to see that I have learned something in the past two years. I just wish the tuition hadn't been so high!