Do you find yourself on a performance roller coaster? This is a situation in which you make money for a while, begin to think you have it all figured out, only to fall back, lose money, and feel like a rookie all over again.
A while back, I wrote about the performance roller coaster and some of the emotional factors that sustain it. The gist of that important post was that how we process wins and losses affects our subsequent trading--and sometimes contributes to winning and losing streaks.
I just finished an enjoyable interview with Mark Wolfinger of the Options for Rookies site. One topic that came up was the way in which traders identify with their P/L. Once a trader’s sense of identity and esteem becomes caught up in profits and losses, the trader begins an emotional roller coaster simply due to the natural ups and downs of markets.
Well it sure was for us as my 10:01 Alert to Members was a play on the DIA Jan $103 puts at .56. Thanks to the late afternoon dip, they finished the day at .90 (up 60%) after peaking out at .95, a very nice win to close off the year. That was the only Alert trade all week as this market has been too tough to call and we don't make trades just for the hell of it. I had been sniping at DIA puts all week expecting a pay-off but Thursday it finally came together.
Of course, I also strongly advocated hedging on Thursday morning and listed 4 trade ideas in the morning post to hedge ourselves against the possibility of just such a drop so don't say you haven't been warned. Whether there will be follow-through on Monday or a full reversal remains to be seen and, even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you here because this is a review – predictions are another article entirely.
We treaded very cautiously into last year because our PSW Holiday Retail Survey was not looking very pretty so it was no surprise to us, on Dec 26th, when we got some horrific retail reports. These are, of course, the same reports that we "beat" this year – but not by much. Dec 29th was Monday and Israeli jets attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza sending oil flying up to $48 a barrel. That gave us a nice commodity rally into the close of the year but January 2nd was a Friday and we decided (fortunately) to take the money and run on our long plays, holding open our main cover of SKF Jan $120s at $4.35, which hit $80 later in the month (up 1,732%) and USO Feb $32 puts at $3.40, which hit $10.50 in the Feb dip (up 208%) so, on the whole, not too differently positioned than we are now, coming into the new year. Visually 2009 looked a little like this:
January – Waiting for Obama, or Something, to Change
We began January much the same way we ended December with my Wed Jan…
Does vitamin D have anything to do with investing and stock and options trading? Maybe. Preliminary research suggests that lack of vitamin D is associated with impaired mental abilities. And this may indicate that obtaining sufficient levels of vitamin D may improve cognitive performance.
Researchers stopped short of advising more sunshine, or fruit-flavored gummy D supplements (yum!), to improve one’s cognitive function. But further research is warranted.
In addition, and perhaps most importantly, many children appear to be deficient in vitamin D (see below) so it may be worth investing in some of those gummy Ds.
The push to prevent skin cancer may have come with unintended consequences—impaired brain function because of a deficiency of vitamin D…
“We know there are receptors for vitamin D throughout the central nervous system and in the hippocampus,” said Robert J. Przybelski,… “We also know vitamin D activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects neurons and reduces inflammation.
Two new European studies looking at vitamin D and cognitive function have taken us one step further…
The scientists found that the lower the subjects’ vitamin D levels, the more negatively impacted was their performance on a battery of mental tests…
A second study, led by scientists at the University of Manchester in England… looked at vitamin D levels and cognitive performance in more than 3,100 men aged 40 to 79 in eight different countries across Europe. The data show that those people with lower vitamin D levels exhibited slower information-processing speed…
Although we now know that low levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive impairment, we do not know if high or optimum levels will lessen cognitive losses. It is also unclear if giving vitamin D to those who lack it will help them regain some of these high-level functions…
I recently posted on the topics of psychological energy and life success and how we can overcome procrastination to become more productive. What is the difference between someone who persists through adversity and someone who gives up? Someone who makes that one extra trade to recover losses and someone who does not? Someone who stays alert and focused on opportunity and someone who overtrades in unfocused moments?
As Jim Loehr has pointed out, many times the difference is one of psychological and physical energy. How many times have we seen a basketball team make an attempt at a comeback, only to run out of gas late in the game and ultimately fall short? The same thing happens in the boxing ring: fatigue makes cowards and weaklings of the best fighters.
Less well appreciate are the effects of mental fatigue. We have free will only to the degree that we can direct ourselves in goal-oriented ways. When we are burned out, overwhelmed, or just plain tired, we lose that capacity for direction. We drift, rather than act with intent. Even our minds drift, rather than stay focused on goals.
A U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:
The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Russia denies that the Russian fighter jet – which was bombing ISIS – ever entered Turkish air space, and has put out its ...
If you’re a millennial, your definition of financial risk should be based entirely on the likelihood of losing your job or heading down the wrong career path. Stock market volatility should literally be the last thing on your mind.
Rob Arnott has made the case that the odds of you losing your job go up substantially when the stock market goes down, but it’s important that you separate the two things in your mind when putting away pre-tax money into a retirement account.
In fact, I would argue that stock market volatility should be embraced for the under 35 set. Ostensibly, you’ve got years (decades) of future accumulation ahead...
A second day for bulls to shine despite modest end-of-day gains. Some indices did better than others. The Russell 2000 was the key performer. It finished with a MACD trigger 'buy' and looks ready to outperform the Nasdaq 100. This is an important development for bulls looking for more from other indices. A move to challenge - then break - its 200-day MA, would convert August-November action into a healthy basing action.
The Nasdaq registered higher volume accumulation as a brief sojourn below the 20-day MA was reversed. It's nicely set up for a push to new swing highs.
Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...
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I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.
You see, Bitcoin is not about coins, currency or price pops. It is a massive computing net...
1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...
Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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