Phil has some great insight into the market. He's given me a different perspective on the market and I know I'm a better trader/investor because of it.
I've been trading options since the late 80's and Phil is right. Unless you know what is going to happen (how can you, unless you have insider information), then do what the smart money does - be the house. Remember guys, we're allowed to sell options. If you're afraid to be short, then do a spread to limit your liability. When I think about the money I've made and lost on options, a good approximation is that I win 30% of the time when I do a straight buy; I win about 70% of the time when I do a spread; I win nearly 90% of the time when I sell naked.
Hi Mr. Phill, I am a Venezuelan lady tormented by our politicall situation, who use to be an emerging market trader, and many other executive positins in the finance "arena" and now is trying to built a new concept and service for asset management for clients on my own, I am in the trial and learning process at the moment, I also invest for some friends and myself. I want to congratulate you , because reading you fill my days with a touch of irony (besides ,of course the spectacular market insight) that happens to give me energy, its a joy the remarks and comments even the pictures used, sometimes I just read it for the fun, I completily agree with your thouhts, though we belong to totally different cultures and enviorements and certanly realities Your readings is like a little hand helping me out to be in the market and fight for my devastated country where every single day we looe inches and yards of liberty. You shoul try to writte a book!
Being a bear is easy (and I am not convinced we are doing all that well on the whole as an economy), but one cannot fight the trend (didn't Phil say that a while ago)? Just cover, make 5-10-15-20% and move on. It really does add up by chipping away. All I can say is I am back to 2007 levels in my account b'f the crash with this run up and some very nice help on this board….so kudos to us (and me!!)…
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! How will I ever do anything else in my life that will compare to the wild ride you get trading an ultra etf in the most volatile sector in the stock market the day before option expiration?
Took profit on QQQ 57 Puts, bot 40 at $0.07, sold 20 for $0.15 and 20 for $0.32. Thank, Phil
Thanks Phil, for banging the table on getting short and getting to cash. Usually when this happens in the market I am freaking out but I actually made money this week thanks to you. That HOV trade was a great way to re-deploy some of my cash.
As a fellow "low-end" investor I like Phil's Buy/Write strategy on solid stocks. Before I came here I loved to try to "figure things out" with very little success "TRYING TO FIGURE THINGS OUT"! I traded too much and fell in love with stocks that "should have done" what they didn't do. Now a majority of my accounts are in Buy/Writes suggested here or cash (waiting for a better time for more Buy/Writes). I use 15-20% of my total holding to short term trade and hedge. This is manageable with my full time job as a business owner. I have found Phil's system a more discipline way to achieve the returns I want without relying on my ability (more like inability to "figure things out").
Phil - FAS - I dont know whether to be happier I averaged down and sold calls or that I got myself out of FAZ the other day…thanks for that help
Killed it tonight trading copper. Anyone who jumped in right after election is up about 75k on one contract!
Thanks for the USO directions today. Made it 3 times (up/down/up) for a very nice win.
As a retired stockbroker from a major Canadian brokerage firm, I can tell you I would never had access to these type of trade ideas, especially the hedges.
Just closed out a July TZA 40/45 call spread today for a 271% gain in less than a month. I would have normally let that run but yesterday Phil commented to another member something to the effect that "you put down a $1 for a $5 upside, now that you are up 250% you have $2.5 in and you are hoping for a double."
Just closed out a USO July $38 put that Phil suggested yesterday for a 49% one day gain.
Gel1…..I've been here 6 months, mostly watching and learning. Lots of smart people on the site and I've learned a lot from Phil and many others. //// Inflan - I have to trump your sentiments regarding the wisdom of the board. I have to thank Phil and the many contruibutors for a 80% profit for 2009. I have learned a lot and am still learning ( even occasionally about political issues - ha! )
Iflantheman & Gel1
Phil- I am a former portfolio manager and now retired. I have been following you for about six months and I now know why you have so many followers you are very insightful and knowledgeable.
I have to thank you for excelling yourself during this past week. I have spent a good few hours going over your notes and comments and there are so many gems on repairing and rolling trades that I have been beavering away on paying special attention to my major positions and analysing them using your approach on Tuesday. Being able to look at a group of trades on the same underlying (in this case AAPL) and taking a detached view by assessing the impact of the underlying reaching different price points was extremely reassuring.
thanks for the DNDN recommendation last week phil. that was moneeeee….
Phil, 26% on the week for the 20% I day-trade, and since drinking the kool-aid last fall, the whole portfolio has doubled. Have a great weekend !!
PSW – Price/Value; The value of PSW on a regular basis exceeds by far the price of the annual subscription. The edition of February 26 'Which Way Wednesday – Popping or Topping?', – priceless for the serious investor.
The best play I made this year was PSW. Will renew my membership tonight. Looking for the same trading profit percentages next year, but will have an advantage from the compounding, and much better skills acquired from you and the many skilled PSW co-pilots. Thanks!
Phil, I've got to give you props on the ICE spread play. Tremendous call! I jumped in on Friday when you made the recommendation and closed out today. Nice 57% return ($2,300) over a mere 3 trading days! This is why I dig your site!
I am struck by several things over the last few days. First is how level-headed we all are as Greece and China develop. Second is how very helpful it is to see the different trading styles we have, partly because of personal preference and partly because of different stages of development and education. It's very helpful. Well-done, Phil, to have developed this community.
Phil, I was so impressed with the personal note in the comments that I went ahead and paid for a months trial of premium that I have been on the fence for awhile about. Just reading the comments makes me already glad for the purchase.
In options trading, one must remain flexible with the ability to adjust to take advantage of the unexpected moves in the market. It is like chess - spend most of your time strategizing the next move. A good understanding of options is necessary to change direction and make adjustments as the market moves against you. I have a friend that honed his option skills while a member of Phil's elite membership over a period of two years. With the education acquired, he made over $2 Mil in that period, trading options and following the plays put on by Phil. If making money is your goal, then he is the go-to guy, as he knows option strategies better than anyone, and market timing is also a skill he has mastered.
Phil I have been applying your arsenal (matresses, Edz plays, Ugl verticals etc.) to my gold holdings . So a big thank you for "teaching me how to fish" rather than just giving me the fish...
Thanks for the free disaster hedge ideas. I implemented variations of two of them on SDS bull call spreads and EEM bear put spreads (haven't done the TZA yet) and they really hedged my short term longs nicely today. Makes it seem a lot less like gambling.
You are the man (of the people)!
Phil/Everyone here/Thank you - What everyone here with their insightful comments (including yourself) has helped me with is that I'm greatly increasing my ability to trade more psychologically neutral, although I've got a ways to go. Two years ago I'd wake up early and my heart would race if futures weren't pointing exactly how I wanted… I've noticed an exponential leap in my discipline skills especially over this past two weeks. The old me would have ran with that trade for profits without even asking. Now I know that there are ALWAYS more trades and that I have PLENTY of options to turn a bad trade even. Also, it's more logical and less emotionally draining which lets me focus my faculties on my wife, college, my job, and studying for the ol' Series 7. Would it be safe to say that one of the most important skills to develop is the ability to adjust? I'd love to get to the point where I can look at a bracket and know, for example, what I need to sell for cover in what month in order to get my desired results. Both COF and my past DMM venture have been excellent learning experiences. Thanks, everyone. I look forward to further lessons.
Cory Booker for President. :) . Thanks for all the good futures guidance Phil! Having one of my best months yet. Account is up 75% YTD!
I subscribed to Phils Stock World full service for a year or so and found that it was extremely helpful. Now I just get the Stock World Weekly summary, which I find invaluable.
Phil does not baby people and certainly can't make someone into a successful stock operator who does not make the effort on their own behalf, but he is extremely generous with his time in answering newbie questions.
Although I found it difficult to follow and implement all his trades in real time, what I did find was that once you got the hang of his methodology and way of thinking, you could work out your own trades and be quite successful. Even just using his patent Rule Number One* alone is worth its weight in gold. Rule Number Two is even better.
Rookie IRA Investor
Started my membership in mid-Oct and have since then learned so much about options by reading the site's articles and postings, members' chats and suggested trades – as a bonus, the articles are entertaining as well! Phil's long-term investing strategy makes really good sense as I've seen its effect on my GLW positions.
Phil – thanks for sharing your knowledge of the market! I've worked as risk analyst for the investment dept of a $19B insurance company, and the scope and depth of your daily commentaries blows away what I have seen and heard from the PMs and even the chief investment officer! Most of all, I will continue to be a member because you have your priorities right (from my POV) – it's not all about money and power.
Wishing Phil and all fellow PSW members a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2017! Thanks to all of you for your insights and comments which help make me a better investor every day. Wishing everybody the best of luck for 2017
Happy holidays to all members of PSW. Just completed my 6th year and still my favorite site to read. Thank you all for your contributions and support especially you, Phil!
The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions:
“Of course, we doubt if many public prescriptions are really intended to solve problems. People certainly believe they are when they propose them. But, like so much of what goes on in a public spectacle, its favorite slogans, too, are delusional – more in the nature of placebos than propositions. People repeat them like Hail Marys because it makes them feel better. Most of our beliefs about the economy – and everything else – are of this nature. They are forms of self medication, superstitious lip service we pay to the powers of the dark, like touching wood….or throwing salt over your shoulder. “Stocks for the long run,” “Globalization is good.” We repeat slogans to ourselves, because everyone else does. It is not so much bad luck we want to avoid as being on our own. Why it is that losing your life savings should be less painful if you have lost it in the company of one million other losers, we don’t know. But mankind is first of all a herd animal and fears nothing more than not being part of the herd.”
We have arrived at critical juncture in the ongoing financial crisis. Have the government actions of the last year successfully spurred the animal spirits of Americans, resulting in a self-sustaining recovery?
The Obama administration and most of the mainstream media would answer yes. GDP has been positive for the last four quarters. Consumer spending has increased in five consecutive months. Corporate profits have been relatively strong. The country has stopped losing jobs. The missing piece has been a housing recovery.
No need to worry. Famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) $15 billion man John Paulson has assured the world that house prices will rise 8% to 10% in 2011. His basis for this forecast is that California prices have rebounded 8% to 10% in the last year, and this recovery will spread to the rest of the nation.
Maybe Paulson has teamed up with his buddies at Goldman Sachs to develop a product that guarantees a housing recovery. I tend to not believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone associated with Wall Street, but let’s assess the facts and see if they point to an impressive housing recovery in 2011.
The man who has been right on housing for the last ten years has been Yale Professor Robert Shiller. His analysis of U.S. housing prices from 1890 until present, which he first published in 2005, unequivocally proved that we were in the midst of the greatest housing bubble in history. At the same time, David Lereah, the chief economist (shill) for the National Association of Realtors, was pronouncing it was the best time to buy. He published his masterpiece of market tops, Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? at the 2005 housing peak. He called a bottom in January 2007, and the NAR has continued to tell Americans it is the best time to buy for the last five years as prices have dropped 36% nationally.
Dr. Shiller continues to be the voice of reason when it comes to the housing market. He is doubtful that the recent “recovery” will continue:
“Recent polls show that economic forecasters are largely bullish about the housing market for the next year or two. But one wonders about the basis for such a positive forecast. Momentum may be on the forecasts’
Some really interesting thoughts by Robert Shiller on the psychology of the markets and how negative psychology is beginning to compound, creating a snowball effect. Mr. Shiller is increasingly concerned about the economic outlook and the potential that we are talking ourselves off the edge of the cliff:
Today’s chart of the day comes to us courtesy of Robert Shiller at Yale University. The following is Shiller’s famous inflation adjusted home price index. Interestingly, despite a 30%+ decline from peak to trough, housing prices are still more expensive than at any other point in the last 120 years when you exclude the recent bubble era. Some say housing prices have bottomed. Not unless it’s truly “different this time”.
The couple bought their first home in a modest suburb in the late 1970s for an undisclosed price, then bought a home in another suburb in 1980 for $96,000. In 1987 they sold that residence for $110,000 and bought another one for $135,000. They then sold that house for $400,000 in 2002 and bought their current home for a price "in the $600,000s" (realtor-speak for about $650,000). After peaking in value at the bubble top in 2005-06 at around $1,000,000, the home is now on the market for $637,000 ($600,000 + 6% commission).
To peek under the hood of the larger trends, I’ve laid out each buy/sell along with its inflation adjusted value in current dollars. As always, I use the BLS inflation calculator; though it reflects the flaws of the CPI calculation methodology, it is consistent.
1980 purchase: $96,000
in 2010 dollars: $252,000
1987 sale: $110,000
in 2010 dollars: $210,000
1987 purchase: $135,000
in 2010 dollars: $257,000
2002 sale: $400,000
in 2010 dollars: $482,000
2002 purchase: $650,000
in 2010 dollars: $783,000
2010 sale: (projected) $637,000
These inflation-adjusted "real" numbers are insightfully different from the nominal prices.
To place the 1980 valuations in proper context, we need to recall that the U.S. was suffering from sky-high inflation in the late 70s and extremely high rates of new household formation as the 78 millon Baby Boomers went out and bought houses. Those two factors created a housing boom, both in valuations and homes built.
It took $1.36 in 1980 to buy what $1 had bought a mere three years before in 1977. As people fled the stock market for tangible assets and Boomers started families, real estate soared (as did gold). While I don’t have the numbers for that house bought for $96,000 in 1980, anecdotally I can assure you that homes…
Some of the world’s smartest and dumbest economists have gathered in Davos, Switzerland to talk about the global banking system and how they’re all hoping that 2010 doesn’t turn out like 2008. CNBC’s Becky Quick grabbed Yale economist Robert Shiller for a quick chat.
Obviously, Shiller is one of the sharper tools in the economic shed, starting this interview by noting of his duller brethren: "The problem with a lot of economic theory is that they have not recognized what drives the economy." Sad, but true.
Relying on the valuation methodology made famous by Yale professor Robert Shiller, author of the prescient bestseller Irrational Exuberance, along with some analysis of his own, Doug Short, publisher of dshort.com, raises the question that many bulls seem to be ignoring (or avoiding): "Is the Stock Market Cheap?":
For a more precise view of how today’s P/E10 relates to the past, our chart includes horizontal bands to divide the monthly valuations into quintiles — five groups, each with 20% of the total. Ratios in the top 20% suggest a highly overvalued market, the bottom 20% a highly undervalued market. What can we learn from this analysis? Over the past several months, the decline from the all-time P/E10 high dramatically accelerated toward value territory, with the ratio dropping from the 1st to the upper 4th quintile in March. The price rebound since March has now put the ratio at the top of the 2nd quintile — quite expensive!
A more cautionary observation is that every time the P/E10 has fallen from the first to the fourth quintile, it has ultimately declined to the fifth quintile and bottomed in single digits. Based on the latest 10-year earnings average, to reach a P/E10 in the high single digits would require an S&P 500 price decline below 600. Of course, a happier alternative would be for corporate earnings to make a strong and prolonged surge. When might we see the P/E10 bottom? These secular declines have ranged in length from over 19 years to as few as three. The current decline is now nearing its tenth year.
I would add that the equity market’s low-valuation extremes were hit during what might be described as "turbulent times," including World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the stagflation of the late-1970s. Except for the most delusional of permabulls, it would be hard for anyone to argue that the unraveling that began more than two years ago doesn’t also fit that bill.
The owners of capital fared no better, with the nominal S&P500 stock price index down 20% for the decade. The dividends stockholders collected made up for some of that, but inflation took away even more.
Blue line: Nominal value of S&P500 stock index, January 1980 to December 2009. Red line: value as of January 2000. Data source: Robert Shiller.
One of the reasons stocks did so badly was that real earnings ended the decade 80% lower than they began. Even when you smooth out cyclical variations by taking a decade-long average as in the dashed blue line below, the downturn in earnings at the end of the decade is still pretty significant.
Green line: Real value (in 2009 dollars) of earnings on the S&P500, January 1980 to December 2009. Dashed blue line: arithmetic average of green line for the preceding 10 years. Data source: Robert Shiller.
But a bigger reason why stocks did so badly was the changed valuation of those earnings. Yale Professor Robert Shiller likes to summarize this by using decade-long averages of real earnings to calculate a price-earnings ratio. In January 2000, this cyclically adjusted P/E ratio was profoundly out of line with the average values we’d seen over the previous century. If you trust the tendency of this series to revert to its long-run average, it means that whenever the blue line is above the red, you should expect stock prices to grow at a slower rate than earnings. If you bought when the blue was as far above the red as it was in January 2000, then I hope there was something else you found to enjoy about the naughty aughts.
Cyclically adjusted P/E over the last century. Blue line: Ratio of real value (in 2009 dollars) of S&P composite index to the arithmetic average value of real earnings over
Always and everywhere the market timing argument resurfaces in multifarious forms. The idea is simple: sell high and buy low: what could be more obvious? Well, there’s a problem. It’s not necessarily insurmountable but it’s definitely a bit tricky.
You may need a time machine to implement the concept successfully.
The idea behind market timing is easy to state. Sell stocks when they’re high and buy them when they’re low. It’s the basic idea the lies behind all investment in stocks so it’s hard to see why anyone should object. The difficulty lies in the impossibility of implementing the technique accurately in the timescales generally envisaged. Which, to be precise, tends to mean any timescale you can envisage at all. Mostly we have no idea ahead of time whether any given stock has peaked or troughed. Most guesses – let’s not dignify these with the term “forecast” – turn out to be wrong.
Unfortunately the idea is seductive and apparently easy to implement, in hindsight. Looking back everything seems so obvious that the untrained human brain finds it almost impossible to believe that the future isn’t equally predictable.
Buy and Hold
A recent study from the CFA shows that markets go up twice as much as they go down. Their recommendation, if you have cash to invest, is to invest everything now: the research shows that this will maximise your returns over an investment lifetime.
However, this is a pretty unnerving suggestion: had you thrown your money into the market back in the middle of 2006 you’d be sitting on a very nasty loss. Of course, you’d have been appallingly unlucky to get your timing that wrong, but inevitably some people did and the fact that the odds were against them doing so will be no consolation. The alternative suggested by the authors is to feed your money into the markets gradually – averaging your costs. This is a form of insurance, ensuring that you don’t put all your cash in at the market top or, of course, the market bottom.
However, the research also shows that there’s a limit to the value of averaging. After eighteen months there’s no discernable benefit to spreading the timescale of your investments. The vast majority of the benefit comes
Robert Shiller of the infamous Case-Shiller index has a particularly interesting piece in the NYT. Instead of hammering on numbers he takes a look at the psychology of home buyers and sellers and why that might affect home prices for some time to come.
Shiller examines the behavioral biases that lead people to “irrationally” hold onto houses during a period or declining values. The concluding paragraphs are thought provoking:
For this reason, not all economists agree that home price declines are really predictable. Ray Fair, my colleague at Yale, for one, warns that any trend up or down may suddenly be reversed if there is an economic “regime change” — a shift big enough to make people change their thinking.
But market changes that big don’t occur every day. And when they do, there is a coordination problem: people won’t all change their views about homeownership at once. Some will focus on recent price declines, which may seem to belie any improvement in the economy, reinforcing negative attitudes about the housing market.
Even if there is a quick end to the recession, the housing market’s poor performance may linger. After the last home price boom, which ended about the time of the 1990-91 recession, home prices did not start moving upward, even incrementally, until 1997.
I say it’s thought provoking because when you look at the recent frenzy in the lower priced end of the housing markets it’s hard to come up with a theory that squares with Shiller’s ideas. Unless you are of the opinion that the drastic decline in prices constitutes an economic “regime change.” Certainly, there hasn’t been any fundamental shift at all in the general economy that has prevailed in this sudden shift from a buyers to sellers market. So what might be driving it?
The only plausible theory I can come up with is that the buyers perceived an exceptional opportunity to purchase housing at favorable prices. Did they do so on the assumption that prices were about to begin a march back? Is the meme that you can’t lose money long term buying real estate so firmly ingrained that no amount of empirical evidence to the contrary will diminish it or are they simply grabbing an opportunity to buy shelter?
Calculations and explanations with respect to our member Randy's covered call (CCall) writing may be somewhat confusing. I further cannot agree to hold a stock for a month, sitting idle, while I am waiting in hopes that the stock will recover.
There are actually two ways I write CCalls, and I'll use JNJ as an example.
1. Buy the stock and sell an equal amount of calls against it, provided the stock offers more than a 3% dividend. (JNJ only pays 2.6%.)
2. Set up a leap BCS and sell ½ the amount of shorter month calls against it.
JNJ was trading at $122.71 on Friday, Feb 24. Randy chose two different months to sell his calls.
We first look at the March 17 position. As you will notice, JNJ has gone from another member’s ...
Hedge funds are raising their exposure to commodities as prices rally and investors respond to macro shifts including the prospect of accelerating inflation under U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Citigroup Inc.
Hedge funds are raising their exposure to commodities as prices rally and investors respond to macro shifts including the prospect of accelerating inflation under U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Citigroup Inc.
Before Donald trump took office, he promised to rebuild the US military by diverting a lot more funding into the armed forces. And when he made that promise, he wasn’t just talking about our conventional forces. He also proposed expanding America’s nuclear capability; a position he recently reiterated in an interview with Reuters....
Bio: Andrew Sather, founder of einvestingforbeginners.com, uses past bankruptcy data to minimize downside risk– only buying with an adequate margin of safety, sound balance sheet, and long term growth. He teaches value based ratios in his free ...
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New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.
By Elizabeth Kolbert
In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous. Of course, what’s hazardous is not being vaccinated; that’s why vaccines were created in the first place. “Immunization is one of the triumphs of modern medicine,” the Gormans no...
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nor its affiliates
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This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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