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.
If someone were to ask us what year it was, we would probably politely answer that it was 2016, curious to find out whether the inquirer was a) very confused, b) had only recently awoken from a coma and was still unsure of his when-abouts, or c) was a time traveler who got temporarily lost.
In the unlikely case that we should find ourselves unable to remember the year with sufficient precision to ensure a reliable answer, we’d probably consult a calendar. We recently found out that a great many people actually seem to be uncertain about what year it is....
The New York Times is out with an investing column that posits the following: You should be 100% stocks in your portfolio because, given enough time, they should outperform everything else you can possibly own in an investment account.
And here is the data that “proves” it – as long as you’re willing to bet that the future will look precisely like the past:
I’m troubled by this idea, although I do agree that there are select cases where this could make sense. The author is David A. Levine, a former chief economist at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. And, to his credit, he does pay lip service to the...
"It is worse than in 2008. The oil price is as low as its lowest point in 2008-09 and has stayed there for a long time and doesn't look like going up soon. Freight rates are lower. The external conditions are much worse."
NOTE: readtheticker.com does allow users to load objects and text on charts, however some annotations are by a free third party image tool named Paint.net
.."There is a time for all things, but I didn’t know it. And that is precisely what beats so many men in Wall Street who are very far from being in the main sucker class. There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks h...
In May of last year, the S&P hit a key level and stopped on a dime. We applied Fibonacci tools to the highs in 2007 and the lows in 2009, to the chart above. The 161% Fibonacci extension level came into play in the 2,150 zone last year and when hit at (1), the markets stopped on a dime.
If your tools or adviser has suggested to be long and strong since May of 2015, that advice has been costly.
Our take, “Free advice that is wrong, is expensive!!!”
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This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).
We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options.
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Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.
Panic. Worry. Sell.
In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our mind and ignored it.
A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.
We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.
The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.
Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.
Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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