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 7th comment being: "We call it "Testy Tuesday" for a reason and our 5% rule was tested twice during the day but the market failed to…
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.
Syriza is one vote short of an outright majority. However, Syriza has already secured an alliance with the Independent Greeks, a right-wing party that shares little common ground with Syriza except for its rejection of austerity measures.
The coalition would have at least 162 seats, and that's an allegedly comfortabl...
Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...
While Obama is doing everything in his power to show that when it comes to commiserating with the Saudis, he is first in line, the US relationship with that "other" US ally in the region, Israel, is in a fast and furious state of "crash and burn."
Recall, that it was yesterday when it was revealed that President Obama will forgo a visit to the Taj Mahal during his visit to India in order to pay respects in Saudi Arabia after the death of King Abdullah, the White House announced early Saturday morning. Vice President Biden was initially scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation, but he will instea...
A bit of a hodgepodge of charts to review. I'll start with my favourite of the bunch: the relationship between oil and gold prices. Peaks in the relative price between these commodities have historically provided swing lows for commodities - oil in particular. Certainly, sufficient time has passed between peaks to mark a major low.
The relationship between Nasdaq Highs and Lows doesn't suggest we have reached any major inflection yet. Ideally, Nasdaq Lows should spike above 100 to mark a major low, with 200+ for 'back up the truck' style low.
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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).
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An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software
Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?
John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common. In both ...
So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
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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