John Rodstrom Up, Sam Zell Down

Remember when the news hit that Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom was laid off from Wachovia? He gave up some big income -- nearly $900,000 last year alone.

But don't feel too sorry for Rodstrom: He made $58,900 this morning alone.

No, he didn't hit a lottery ticket at the corner convenience store. The stock where he's invested a good deal of his money, Netsol Technologies (NTWK), shot up 19 cents. Since he owns 310,000 shares -- more than one percent of the Pakistani company -- his stock value rose nearly 60 G's (it's come off that high a bit since).

We know this not only from Rodstrom's financial disclosure, which was posted on the Sun-Sentinel website, but from the Yahoo financial board, where someone posted a link to the disclosure form that was titled simply, "John Rodstrom."

Rodstrom, whose Yahoo handle is "jrjaguar" (he used to drive a Jag), replied: "Busted!! For the record I own 310,000 today, cost basis $1.92."

That means he's up well over $300,000 on a stock he put nearly $600,000 into. But don't hate him for his good fortune. At one point last year, the stock was trading at almost $4.50 before it fell to $1.50. Rodstrom not only rode that painful wave down, but bought more as it plunged (political unrest in that part of the world combined with a worldwide recession can be, um, volatile).

I asked Rodstrom about his investment this morning.

"Folks are a little nervous about buying into a company in Pakistan," Rodstrom said. "I like the chart pattern. It’s the best chart pattern I’ve ever seen and I put my money where my mouth is."

I must say that I admire that. He thinks it's going to go all the way to $20 a share, but he knows that a new war (Iran) or terrorist act could send it back down to a buck-fifty. But Rodstrom is a long-time stock market player and chartist who is now day trading. He knows the risks and says that he's prepared to ride out any storms.

And if you want to know about stock market storms, talk to Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune Co. I posted here a while back about his investment in Starwood Hotels. I told you last month that he was down a very quick $60 million on his investment in the company that owns the Sheraton and other hotel brands. The stock then was trading at about $46. I wrote that I thought it could go under $40 in the coming weeks. Well, it's down more than $4 this morning to around $35. And that's doing well -- just last week it fell all the way to $30. Right now he's down about $225 million on his $740 million investment.

Yeah, newspapers and hotels. Yikes.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman