by phil - July 9th, 2011 6:39 am
Here we go again!
After a very wild ride tracking our VERY aggressive virtual portfolio, we closed out the first half with $53,942 – up 115% for the first half of the year and, since we put $11,630 back in the bank above $25,000 from last year's $10,000 virtual portfolio, that brings us to a grand total of $65,722 – up 555% from the $10K we started with last year. Our goal in this small, aggressive virtual portfolio is $100K but forget the extra $15,722 – as I said last week, that's our starting basis with a nice profit so we put that back into nice, safe, conservative investments (like our Income Virtual Portfolio) and that leaves us $50,000 to play with.
Our first week of trades has already been very interesting. Make sure you to read the original post and the update if you haven’t already to get an idea of what we are trying to learn by following this "hyper-aggressive" virtual portfolio model – especially last quarter's lesson on taking those profits off the table and working on those losers. Our "biggest loser" of last quarter was, of course, FAS and those Aug $23 calls hit $5 last week (we are already out), which is $40,000! Anytime you can roll and DD a position in a $25,000 virtual portfolio that eventually cashes out for $40,000 – you will probably come out well…
The problem is mainly in learning how to stick with a position like that and that requires a lot of conviction because there were dozens of opportunities to panic out with a loss and that's why we practice this kind of trading – you need to get the experience in playing these out over time so that you can learn to BELIEVE in the strategy and, even then, it should only be used in places where you REALLY have a very good reason to believe a stock or ETF will, eventually, come back sharply enough to make all the work pay off – because it's a LOT of work!
Of course, no one makes 100% every six months by taking it easy, right? Practice, practice, practice with virtual trading until you get comfortable with the strategies and, even then, use them sparingly. This aggressive virtual portfolio is meant to be a…
by ilene - July 30th, 2010 2:10 pm
Add Clinical Data, Inc. (CLDA) SHORT at the market, 7/30/10
Clinical Data, Inc. operates as a global biotechnology company developing early and late stage targeted therapeutics, as well as genetic and pharmacogenomic tests that detect serious diseases and help predict drug safety, tolerability, and efficacy.
After taking profits on earnings sell-offs from AMAG and BOOM, we are adding Clinical Data, Inc. (CLDA) as the 8th SHORT in our currently BALANCED tilt. CLDA is rated a STRONGSELL by Sabrient with a BALANCE SHEET score barely registering at 1.1 (out of 100) and almost non-existent FUNDAMENTALS score of 0.3 (out of 100). These rosy figures combine with five analysts forecasting a second quarter loss of -$.63. That is coming off a mind-numbing first quarter loss of -$1.44 per share, compared with expectations for only losing -$.63. These negatives provide us with a heavy dose of “preponderance of evidence” to believe CLDA is a reasonable SHORT at the market, Friday July 30, 2010.
EARNINGS UPDATE: Ingram Micro (IM)
Ingram Micro (IM): LONG with Phil’s Buy/Write strategy in DHH virtual portfolio
As expected in our July 26, 2010 post, IM posted better than expected results and higher revenues after the market closed on Thursday. Analysts had been forecasting a profit of +$.37 per share and revenue of $7.9B, but IM delivered a healthy +$.44 per share and revenue of $8.2B. "Every region performed well, with our two largest regions doubling and tripling operating profits on double-digit sales growth," Ingram Micro Chief Executive Gregory Spierkel said in a statement. That is the type of BOOM! (see BOOM! article this morning) statement we like to hear from our long stocks.
We feel very comfortable with the position we put on using Phil’s Buy/Write Strategy. IM is trading +1.67% today at $16.44. Recall that we took in $2.50 in option premium on Monday by selling the December 2010 $17.50 calls and puts. On Monday, we wrote:
Add LONG Ingram Micro (IM) at the market Monday July 26.
We like IM leading into its earnings announcement on July 29, 2010. The 10 analysts covering
by phil - February 7th, 2010 8:26 am
Option Sage submits:
I saw an infomercial from Fisher Investments where Ken Fisher mentioned 3 attributes that he believes are keys to successful investing which can be crudely summarized as follows:
 Focus on long-term investing
 Expect surprises
 Stay ahead of the crowd by knowing what others don’t
The first point is certainly critical and weeds out the greedy ‘get-rich-quick’ traders from the patient traders. Our policy here is that of ‘play-to-win’. We like to be aggressive in seeking profits with short-term plays but we also recognize that if those trades don’t work out that we can still rely on longer term plays to end up profitable in the end.
The second point regarding expecting surprises asks the trader the question “Are you managing risk well and do you have contingency plans in mind each time you enter a trade?” While the second part of the sentence is important, the first is paramount! No matter what you do, never violate risk management rules which we have discussed here in the past.
The third point is a luxury in my view. Of course, it would be nice to know what others don’t but it’s not critical. By definition only a small number can have information that the rest of the crowd does not have so if you are not trading full-time you have to find another way of making money without relying on staying ahead of the crowd.
As I was scanning for trades over the weekend, I came across one trade which might in fact fall into the category of offering relatively attractive profits by relying on options rather than additional information. In fact, I know many of our members find it hard to focus on the daily trades and would like to construct virtual portfolios with the longer-term in mind. As Phil mentioned in his classic "James Bond Investing" article, playing short-term positions requires constant vigilance and you need to ready to turn on a dime with…
by phil - May 30th, 2009 8:14 am
I often talk about stupid options tricks in member chat and I thought it would make for good weekend reading.
Today we'll look at salvaging bad positions, something that comes up once in a while in any virtual portfolio. Not everything has to be buy, hold or sell with options – there is always hedging and there is always an option! Since many of us are short on USO and not happy at the moment, I thought we'd focus on various salvage strategies for positions that go against us but, before we get into that, I did promise we'd discuss scaling, and the two do go hand in hand…
Scaling into a position is always a sensible strategy, we can't be right all the time with our entries so we need to plan ahead for being wrong. Also, we need to plan for our position going against us tomorrow, next week or next month. Ideally, you should never be in any position that risks discomfort if you lose it. If you have a large virtual portfolio, it's good to keep most of your positions under 2%. If you have a medium virtual portfolio, 5% and, if you are in the $50,000 range or less, it will be hard to avoid having positions that are 10% of your virtual portfolio and that's where scaling is even more important so we're going to focus on the small entries and I'll assume the big boys can multiply by 2-10 by themselves.
$50,000 is not a small amount of money and we can assume that, if that is your stock virtual portfolio, that you worked hard to make it and you would rather not lose it. This is all the more reason to take a more conservative stance with your positions. As I said, you don't want any position to be more than 10%, or $5,000. That doesn't mean it can never happen, but you need to treat anything over 10% as "uncomfortable" and look to reduce it when there is a good opportunity.
When entering a new position, we want to be ready to be wrong. Sun Tzu said: "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." We made a nice profit on Tuesday morning on USO puts we had held…