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Charlottesville Meetup 'Popps' With Investing Insight, Analysis

When an IBD Meetup grows from three members to more than 100, you know the organizers are doing something right.

Meet Jim and Cathy Popp, self-described conservative investors who go by the motto: "A couple who trades together stays together." They've been running the Charlottesville, Va., Meetup since 2003. Jim is an Oracle database administrator at the University of Virginia. Cathy is a former flight attendant.

The Popps were introduced to IBD in 2002 and have been subscribers ever since. Like a lot of other investors, they initially entrusted a portion of their portfolio to well-known professionals who succeeded in losing a big chunk of it because they didn't follow sound sell rules.

Excelling On Their Own

Several Charlottesville Meetup members share a similar story: They lost a considerable amount of money during the 2008 market meltdown by allowing others to manage their investments. "Similar to Cathy and I, they now want to take personal responsibility for managing their portfolios," Jim told IBD.

The Popps' enthusiasm for stocks is infectious — a big reason why the Charlottesville Meetup is well-attended. "People gravitate toward us because of our unique approach based on IBD principles," Jim said. "Some members travel more than 100 miles round-trip to attend meetings.

So what's been the general tone of recent meetings in light of the market's follow-through day on July 11

"There's still a lot of trepidation and anxiety. People want to put some money in the market, but they also want to keep some of their powder dry because of increased volatility," Cathy said. "There have been times when technicals hinted at a market decline, but the market just kept going up.

The Charlottesville Meetup meets the fourth Wednesday of every month. New members are introduced and asked to describe their investing experience. After that, the current state of the market is discussed (the M in ). It's a sensible starting point, since the Popps know that gauging overall market health and putting money to work during market uptrends is the key to maximizing profits.

At each meeting, individual members make presentations on market topics and individual stocks. The group uses IBD's Leaderboard product and MarketSmith — a premium charting and stock-screening service to help investors find CAN SLIM stocks — to stay up to speed on the market.

Craig Cooper gives frequent presentations about investing in income-producing stocks, drawing upon IBD's The Income Investor column for occasional ideas. The column is a great way to keep track of high-quality, dividend-paying stocks that offer the best of both worlds: a solid dividend and relative price strength. Cooper tends to favor stocks yielding 3% or better with a good track record of dividend growth. He's also an avid options trader.

The Power Of Teamwork

Chuck Majeski, called "Captain Chuck," is known for his dynamic presentations. He's a chemical engineer who follows the precious metals and oil markets closely. He's been known to visit gold mines and oil rigs, speak with company executives and report back to the group.

And Marc Bresenoff, an accountant and attorney, is known for his detailed presentations on pharmaceutical stocks. At the June meeting, Bresenoff moved away from the pharma sector and gave an update on the Tesla Roadster.

"We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of individuals in our Meetup who have so much to contribute," Jim said.

Jim Popp recently gave a presentation on the evolution of high frequency trading and how it affects in the market. Another presentation had to do with the psychology of trading. Here, Popp talked about the importance of a proper mindset, defined goals and a trading plan. At every meeting, Popp also presents an IBD/Value Line screen of stocks with high Ratings.

In January of this year, the screen yielded high-quality names like Visa (V), Lumber Liquidators (LL), Gap (GPS) and Domino's Pizza (DPZ).

Popp says the group still has problems identifying the cup-with-handle pattern, but the group got good practice identifying it when Lumber Liquidators cleared one in January. The hardwood-flooring retailer broke out over a of 57.49. Fast-forward to today and Lumber Liquidators is working on a potential double-bottom base.

The group was also watching Visa (V) earlier in the year just before its flat-base in late March.

At the June meeting, Popp's screen yielded Haverty Furniture (HVT). Shares soared to a new all-time high during the week ended July 12, rising 12%. Other charts of interest at the June meeting were Hertz Global (HTZ), Sinclair Broadcasting Group (SBGI) and AVG Technologies (AVG).

To view a compilation of past Charlottesville Meetup presentations, click here