Yesterday seemed like as good a day as any to try and sell off some more shares of Halliburton and also close my position in Alcoa. I sold 25 shares of Halliburton, leaving me with just 100 more. I had been debating whether or not to sell those shares or not because they changed the ESPP program and purchases are now made on a quarterly basis rather than semi-annual. This leads to lots of less than 100 shares every quarter which means no covered call capabilities. I might hoard up some more shares in the future and keep some extra handy to take advantage of call writing, but for now I decided to sell off some more shares and diversify into other dividend growth candidates.
I also closed out my position in Alcoa. I purchased the shares in late 2011 hoping to get a bounce in price and then sell the shares. Greater fool theory in practice I guess, although there was at least some rational thought behind it as they did pay a dividend and in theory as the economy improves Alcoa should improve. I held on for so long because it was such a small position, just under $300, but it was time to get rid of this. There were so many mistakes made with such a small purchase and not having it fit my investment thesis so the shares had to go.
Now on to the details.
I had originally acquired the Halliburton shares through the ESPP program at work on 12/31/2012. Since I sold the shares less than 2 years from the grant date, 7/2/2012, and less than 1 year from the purchase date these will be a disqualifying disposition with short term capital gains. The amount reported as ordinary income on my taxes for this year will be $259.50 with $315.02 as short term capital gains. My cost basis was $867.25 to report to the IRS, but it was actually $607.75 in withholding from my paycheck. Before taxes these shares earned a 94.5% return in less than a year. Not bad at all. For more details on ESPP taxation and a spreadsheet to run your own calculations check out this post.
The Alcoa position didn't go quite so well. I purchased 30 shares on 11/28/2011 and had reinvested the first 4 dividend payments while taking the rest of the payments as cash. I received $235.91 in sales proceeds by closing out the position, so I found a great way to lose 18.2%. Ooops. I had a chance to close the position much earlier and actually for a profit but didn't jump on that opportunity despite Alcoa not really fitting into my investment strategy. I'm just glad that it wasn't a large investment so the loss is manageable despite the percentage being quite high.
I've updated my Portfolio page to reflect these changes.