by phil - January 22nd, 2017 6:38 pm
We're off to a great start!
Only 20 days into the new year and, since our last review, all 4 of our Member Portfolios have added substantial gains as our bets on a flatlining market are paying off:
- Our Options Opportunity Portfolio (OOP) is up $9,352 (9.3%), at $246,577, which is up 148.6% since its 8/8/15 inception – our newest portfolio.
- Our Butterfly Portfolio is up $7,816 (7.8%) at $331,408, which is up 231.4% since its 7/29/13 inception.
- Our Short-Terrm Portfolio (STP) is up $9,222 (9%) at $484,298 which is up 375.1% since its 11/26/13 inception.
- Our Long-Term Portfolio (LTP) has jumped 29,649 (6%) to $1,209,372, which is up 141.9% since its 11/26/13 inception.
In addition to our 4 virtual tracking portfolios, we also have our Top Trade Ideas, which do not go into a portfolio but I will do a review of those next week. For the first time ever, our last two Top Trade Ideas were hedges – that should tell you something about my mindset for the market going forward.
All of our Member portfolios are 75-90% CASH!!! at the moment and using 1/4-1/2 margin – leaving us plenty of room to adjust if the market does turn sour – something I feel is very likely to happen in the next two months and yes, I know I've said this before but, really, how much over our 2,100 top call on the S&P are we? It's at 2,262, so we're 162 points over what I called a value top and that's 7.7% but, in fairness, the Dollar is down 3% and that explains most of it.
The rest of the pop comes from runaway expections from the Trump Presidency and yes, he will lower the Corporate Tax Rate but Corporations only pay 12% on avergage now – how low can they really go? More pop came from the Banking Sector, where deregulation expections have added 20% to that index but we saw what deregulated Banks did to themselves under Bush – why is that a good thing? And, of course, rising oil prices have boosted the Energy…
by phil - January 1st, 2017 7:32 am
Happy New Year!
It's been a fantastic year for our primary, paired portflios with the Short-Term Portfolio finishing 2016 at $475,076 (up 375%) while our Long-Term Portfolio came in Friday at $1,179,723 (up 136%) for a grand total of $1,654,766, a gain of $1,154,766 (192%) from our $600,000 start back on 11/26/13. We're up $109,345 since our pre-election review on 11/6 - that's 10% in two months and, into December options expirations, we cashed in some more winners, bringing us to over $900,000 in cash (80%) into the holidays, a position we call "Cashy and Cautious".
On the whole, 2016 went about as well as expected. Last December, our paired portfolios stood at $1,004,162 so we've added 65% in 2016 and we were, fortunately, Cashy and Cautious into last January too because we were able to take full advantage of the Q1 correction in 2016. I strongly urge going over our early 2016 positions – most of them are still in our portfolios and the ones that changed make for an interesting watch list like ANTM, BHI, BID, BP, CHL, CIM, ECA, INTC, KORS, MYL, RIG, STWD, SWKS, TGT, WFM, WYNN – to name a few.
Our value-oriented strategies dictate we get out of even the best stocks when they become over-priced but that doesn't mean we don't want to get back into them when they calm down! Value investing is all about patience, even when we like a stock, we still prefer to scale into the position – just in case we're a bit early… They also dictate we regularly review and contemplate our positions and, when necessary, sit on the sidelines.
Our two smaller portfolios are self-hedging but also with a good deal of cash on the side in this very uncertain market. Our Options Opportunity Portfolio closed out the year at $237,225 (up 137%) and that's up $131,739 (132%) from $105,486 in our 12/7/15 review. That portfolio only began on August 8th of 2015 and we got off to a rough start but more than made up for it in 2016. Finally, our Butterfly Portfolio came in at $338,224 (up 238%) and that's a gain of $157,149…
by phil - December 10th, 2016 6:08 am
Wow, what a market!
When we left off our last Top Trade Review, we had just completed our first year of Top Trades with 119 trade ideas sent out by alert and, as of our reviews (we don't track them otherwise), 96 (80.6%) of them were winners. How can we have 96 winners out of 119 in a year? Well, for one thing our Top Trades are generally bullish and it's been a good year for the bulls and, for another thing, because we utilize our very excellent system of "Being the House – NOT the Gambler" and using options to hedge our positions and sell premium.
The other secret to our success in Top Trades is PATIENCE!!! Patience is the hardest thing we try to teach our Members at Philstockworld as it tends to take years of practice and the nice thing about the Top Trades Membership is that you don't have a choice – we make our picks ONLY when we see a nice opportunity and if that's once a week, twice a week or just once a month – we don't care – we only make picks that have excellent chances of making a profit – 80% chances going by our first year's performance…
Of course, when you are reading our reviews, those losing trades are often still great opportunities as we're long-term VALUE investors and it's a bit arbitrary when we do a review whether or not our idea has caught on yet. Our last review was on Oct 22nd and, at the time, we still liked Chipotle (CMG), which has since popped 10%, Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI), which is now up 20%, Pearson (PSO), which gained 10% and S&P Ultra-Shorts (SDS) as a hedge, which is down 10% (as expected if the longs are winning).
So here we are, 6 weeks later and 3 of our 4 losers (75%) have turned into winners already – who says picking stocks is hard? With that being said, let's see how September and October's pics panned out and remember – keep an eye on the losers!
by phil - November 6th, 2016 7:48 am
That's up $945,421 (157%) in just under 3 years (11/26/2013) from our original $600,000 allocation on our paired portfolios. We are, however, down $27,008 (1.7%) from our September high (reviewed 9/30) and that's just fine as our portfolios are about 80% CASH!!! and very defensive into the election uncertainty. When you make 157% in 3 years, you need to know how to protect it.
We're well ahead of the market, the S&P was at 2,180 on the close of Sept 2nd and Friday we closed at 2,085 so down 95 points is 4.3% and falling at less than 1/2 the rate of the market is all we can hope for when we have so many leveraged positions. Of course, some of our bigger hedges don't kick in until the market is down more than 5% and, depending on the outcome of Tuesday's election – we may be seeing that and much more.
Other than our paired Long-Term and Short-Term Portfolios (and the STP is 20% of the LTP and it's main function is to protect our Long-Term positions), our two self-hedging portfolios are doing surprisingly well. Our $100,000 Options Opportunity Portfolio finished the week at $211,332 and that's up $111,332 (111%) in one year and 3 months since we began it. In our September 3rd Review, the OOP was at $189,027 so we've gained $22,105 in two months – not bad with hardly any changes.
Finally, our steadiest and oldest portfolio, the Butterfly Portfolio, finished the week at $296,092, up $196,092 from our $100,000 start on 7/29/13. That's up $8,212 since our 9/3 review and that's exactly what the Butterfly Portfolio is designed to do, grind out a steady income in virtually all market conditions.
The Butterfly Portfolio is very low-touch, fantastic for retired investors who don't want to watch the market every day – or every week for that matter. In fact, no new positions were added in the last two months – only adjustments the existing positions, made once a month ahead of option expirations.
PSW Members can access the full portfolio and positions HERE.
by phil - October 22nd, 2016 8:22 am
Who says we're not bullish?
While we are, certainly, cautious on the market and well-hedged (just in case), we certainly do seem to find a lot of bullish positions to take. That's because we're VALUE INVESTORS and there is almost always something of value to buy in any kind of market and our Top Trades are, of course, our top value picks – the ones we feel most confident in.
In our first year, our Top Trade Ideas had an astounding 81.1% winning percentage with 86 out of 106 trades making money within a few months. That's without even adjusting them. We do not have a portfolio for Top Trades, we just do these reviews but many of our Top Trade Ideas do end up in one of our 4 Member Portfolios.
Our August review took us through July 12th and July 12th was the last Top Trade Idea we had until August because I REALLY didn't trust the market in mid-July so this month, we'll just be reviewing our August trades as we like to give Sept time to cook before reviewing those. We had a surprising amount of trade ideas in August though. Our 15 May, June and July picks had 11 winners but, unfortunately, that actually bought down our percentage!
Of course, when you are reading our reviews, those losing trades are often still opportunities. CMG, CBI, PSO and SDS are all plays we still like from the last review – they are simply late bloomers! SDS, in fact, is a hedge – it's not supposed to win if the others are doing well but we still count it as a loss.
Top Trade Alerts come from our Live Member Chat Room at Philstockworld and represent a very small portion of our trade ideas but they are a fair representation of applying our "Be the House – NOT the Gambler" strategy and you can learn a lot by reviewing the performance of these trades through up and down markets over the course of a year. All PSW Basic and Premium Members have Top Trade Access (just make sure your smart phone number is in the box here if you want text alerts in addition to our EMail alerts).
by phil - September 3rd, 2016 8:10 am
That's up from our $600,000 start on our paired portfolios in just under 3 years (November anniversary) and, more importantly, up $52,975 (8.8%) since our July 4th review – not bad for 2 months where we were mostly playing defense!
We were wrong (so far) to heavily hedge our Short-Term Portfolio, which lost $22,581 as our hedges tended to expire worthless but having those hedges in place allowed us not to touch our Long-Term Portfolio positions, which gained $73,902 almost without touching our bullish positions all summer. That's right, if you had just read our review on July 4th and copied our Long-Term Portfolio positions, which only had a net market value of $123,955 at the time (we are 80% in cash), they are now net $186,397 (as of Friday's close) - up $62,442 (50%) against the cash requirement (and the LTP is currently using $339,750 in margin so the return on margin was 18% on margin in 2 months).
The reason some of the numbers are different is we did the individual reviews during the week and Friday's close was a little different but not very. Also, it's very important to note that the LTP is, by nature, 100% bullish while it is the responsibility of the STP to carry our protective hedges so the STP is SUPPOSED to lose money when the LTP is making money – that is it's very sad fate. Also, I will repeat our note from last time as it is still, obviously, very relevant:
To you day traders out there – I implore you - please read the July, April and December reviews and look over those positions and check out those same positions 3 months later and CONSIDER – please consider – that day-trading may not be the best way to play the market. Yes, the LTP goes up and down too but, when it's down, we have cash on the side to buy bigger positions (which is what we did last year) while they are cheap. Since those positions are INVESTMENTS, we end up with something of great value when the market comes back.
by phil - August 27th, 2016 8:31 am
The hits just keep on coming.
When we left off in June, our Top Trades had 70 winners out of 91 trade ideas but 5 of those trade ideas were for Lumber Liquidators (yes, I liked them that much) and they are all winners now so our winning percentage has jumped to 75 of 91 (82%) – not bad! Of course, a few of the other losers have turned around too but LL was one I simply pounded the table on (which is why I picked them 5 times) so I will move those to the win column. For the rest – wherever we are when we do our review (usually 2 or 3 months later) is where we mark it.
Our June review took us to the end of April, for example, where we had 16 winners and only two losers but one of those losers was a Chevron (CVX) short, who subsequently took a nice dive and the other was SuperValue, which was a 2018 $3/5 bull call spread with short $5 puts and we bought 20 for $880 on March 3rd and, as of our June 5th review, they were $670, down $210 for our other loss of the period.
Now SVU is back at $5.36 and the spread is $1.25 and the short puts are $1 so net $25 x 20 contracts is $500 – still a loser (worse, actually) but what a great trade as all SVU has to do is hold $5 through Jan 2018 and the trade returns $4,000 – that would be a $3,500 gain from here (700%), so still great as a new trade!
That's why it pays to read our Portfolio Review section over at Philstockworld – many hidden gems there – especially in our "losing" trades – rare though they may be! That's because we're FUNDAMENTAL investors and, while the charts may go against us for some period of time, if we get the fundamentals right we know that, at some point, the market usually catches on to what we're seeing.
by phil - July 4th, 2016 7:49 am
$1,519,454 – that's up 153% from our $600,000 start on our paired portfolios and, more importantly, up $69,064 since our April 24th review (11.5% in 5 weeks).
Our Long-Term Portfolio alone has climbed over the Million Dollar mark, up 100% from our $500,000 buy-in back in November, 2013. At this point, we're so far ahead of our target (20% per year) that we'll probably start a new portfolio in the fall. We already purged plenty of short puts from our LTP and we're certainly well-positioned to add new trades as we have plenty of cash on the side!
Meanwhile, the S&P was at 2,080 on April 24th and it's at 2,102 today so fairly flat after dipping to 1,991 and it's important to note that our hedges did exactly what they are supposed do do – they allowed us to ride out the dip without panicking and, because we are Being the House – NOT the Gambler, we continue to collect our sold premiums – even when the market is essentially flat. As I said in the last review:
To you day traders out there – I implore you - please read the December review and look over those positions and check out those same positions 3 months later and CONSIDER – please consider – that day-trading may not be the best way to play the market. Yes, the LTP goes up and down too but, when it's down, we have cash on the side to buy bigger positions (which is what we did last year) while they are cheap. Since those positions are INVESTMENTS, we end up with something of great value when the market comes back.
As you can see from the S&P chart, markets are volatile things and, if you want to be a long-term investor, you need to plan on that volatility – not be surprised by it! I could say the same thing about the S&P since last June as I'm saying about it since April 24th – the market has gone nowhere but has had extreme dips and the best way to play it is to BE THE HOUSE and let other people take the risks for us.
by phil - June 5th, 2016 7:31 am
Yet another fantastic two months for our Top Trade Ideas! Not only did we start the year with 15 of 16 winners (see April's Review), but our only losing trade idea at the time was UNG, which just turned around last week – making us PERFECT for 2016 in our first 16 picks.
Of course, it's been like shooting fish in a barrel since the February dip on the bull side but the really cool thing is we also called the drop on Jan 8th with SDS and SQQQ hedges that paid off huge as we bottomed out the next month. We only started doing Top Trades last August and what we do is simply select one or two trades a week from our Live Member Chat Room at Philstockworld that we feel have a very high probability of success. That then sends out Text and EMail Alerts to our Members, so it's perfect for people who don't have time to be on-line during the day. All PSW Basic and Premium Members have Top Trade Access (just make sure your smart phone number is in the box here).
We don't have a portfolio for our Top Trades as it would be redundant to our 4 Member Tracking Portfolios but many Top Trade Ideas are from trades we do officially add to our portfolios. That's why we do these reviews once in a while – to check in and see if our logic is on or off track. You can't make good future decisions without learning from your past ones – something we emphasize at PSW!
54 of our first 73 (74%) Top Trade ideas were winners and 4 of our 11 losers were Lumber Liquidators (LL) trade ideas – still one of our favorite value plays! Getting 3 out of 4 trades right is plenty to move the investing ball towards the goal line.
Combine that with sensible portfolio management techniques (diversification, managing losses, hedging) and you'll beat the S&P by a mile with no sweat. Generally, with our Top Trades, we're simply picking stocks we feel are underpriced and we're using our various options techniques to give ourselves even better discounts and hedged entries but these are patience plays that can take time to get going, usually our Top Trade Ideas have…
by phil - May 7th, 2016 8:33 am
What a great month it's been!
Like the Fed, we've made very few adjustments to our portfolio but the ones we have made have been very effective and, more importantly, we added a lot of hedges that locked in our gains at very near our highest levels (45%) and we were relatively unaffected by this week's weak action. We started the portfolio on August 8th as an experiment with the people at Seeking Alpha to see if we could create a fully documented portfolio that makes a steady 5% monthly return. We failed to do that.
Though we are up just about 45% in our 9th month, the returns have been far from steady. As it turns out, our Butterfly Portfolio (one of the 4 virtual portfolios we use over at PSW) is still the champ and, to that end, we are incorporating more of those long, boring plays into the OOP from now on – as the goal was to have a low-risk $100,000 portfolio. The mistake we made was trying to make 5% in our first month, which we did but we were over-exposed when the market dove – bad timing as our first month coincided with a huge market drop that lasted through September.
Nonetheless, we got back on our horse and followed our "Be the House – NOT the Gambler" strategy and made a lot of smart bets and got ourselves back on track. Actually, this is a good time for a strategy note. Over at Philstockworld, we have an Education and Strategy section where we discuss our methods of scaling in and out of positions (something I also teach in our Live Trading Webinars) and it would be very educational for you to review our Options Opportunity Portfolio – 2016 Preview, which details each of our positions at the time and how much money we expected to make from each one. Although the BALANCE of the portfolio was just $101,571 at the time, the key quote was this:
Notice first that we have $98,672 worth of cash on hand. We started