Posts Tagged ‘Trading psychology’

Thrilling Thursday – Dow Hits Record Highs on Lower Earnings!

Why should we worry?

The Dow is at 16,580 so all must be well, right?  The fact that we're up here on low volume and even lower earnings is just one of those nit-picky things that won't matter a year from now, when TA people use the movement to draw new, bullish trend lines.

That's what the Fed is controlling, they are painting charts in broad strokes to keep things moving along – even when they aren't.  

Sure the US economy is only growing at a 0.1% annual pace and sure that's down shockingly from 2.6% last quarter but, hey, we EXPECTED to only grow at 1% – so it's ONLY a 90% miss – what, us worry?

The Fed says it's just bad weather slowing us down and, whether or not you believe that, they also promise to continue to stimulate the economy long after it is necessary.  The Fed is like Santa Claus, only they don't have to put in any effort to make their toys, so Christmas comes 365 days a year for the top 0.01%.  For the bottom 99.99% – well, it's 0.1% growth on the "trickle down" effect.  

4-30-2014 6-22-17 PM Corp CashIn fact, if you take out the Banksters, who are piling up the Fed's free money in their vaults and using it to manipulate the stock and commodity markets (and higher costs for Energy, Food and Health Care were the only reason our GDP wasn't -1% instead of +0.1%), then you can see that those companies not protected by the Fed are in big trouble

Not since 1999 has there been less cash relative to debt in Corporate America.  Yes, money is cheap, so why not borrow some but that money isn't being used to invest in plants, equipment or, God forbid, hiring and training more people – it's being used to buy back stock and pay out dividends to give the ILLUSION that earnings are improving, when it's actually only the share count that's being reduced.  

As you can see from this chart of the S&P, earnings are up just 25% from where they were in 2009, when the market…
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How to Get Off the Performance Roller Coaster

How to Get Off the Performance Roller Coaster

Munich Oktoberfest Preparations

By Brett Steenbarger 

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.

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See also: Addictive Trading: When Trading Becomes a Problem

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Educational Videos

The following is a collection of podcasts and videos from the Options Clearing Corporation and selected others.

The cover a lot of ground and new ones are occasionally added to their site.  They are not as good as the coursework from MarketTamer, who are Option Sage’s excellent group but these are free (as opposed to $99 a month with Sage’s PSW special) so take a peek at the subjects that interest you:

First up is a very good introduction to options basics from Adam Lass, a very good overview.  His next episode is the basics of call options – hopefully he’ll do more.  Then we have the podcasts from OCC: 


  Introduction to Financial Markets and Options Basics  View
  An Exploration of Basic Options Terminology  View
  Options Basics  View

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The Eight Beliefs of Successful Traders

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The Eight Beliefs of Successful Traders

Courtesy of Dr Janice Dorn at Minyanville

Editor’s Note: For those interested in both winners and losers, the 8 beliefs of unsuccessful traders can be found here.

One bright day in the middle of night, 2 dead boys rose to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot one another. A deaf policeman heard the noise, and saved the lives of the 2 dead boys. If you don’t believe this lie is true, ask the blind man, he saw it too.

-Author Unknown

We’re hard-wired to believe — and to hold on to our convictions — often in the face of contradictory evidence. In life outside the markets, this may actually be a source of strength. However, it doesn’t usually serve a trader well. One of the most important questions for the trader to ask every day is: What do I believe that’s not true? 

So how do we know the truth? The markets tell us. It really is that simple — and yet, it’s so difficult for most to accept and practice on a daily basis.

It’s important for traders to be able to assess their beliefs regularly, because — at any given market moment — they’re a composite of those principles. Fortunately (for some) and frustratingly (for others), beliefs about the markets are fungible and fluid; they can change from minute to minute.

The successful trader is in the flexible flow with this — and changes accordingly.

Beliefs of Successful Traders

1. The markets provide a constant stream of opportunities.

2. If I miss an opportunity, another will come along.

3. If my position is stopped out, the hypothesis that got me into the trade was incorrect.

4. I take one trade at a time, and stay in the moment with it.

5. I strive for excellence, not perfection.

6. I maximize profits by losing small.

7. I am not my trade.

8. I take complete responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, and actions in the markets.


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The Eight Beliefs of Unsuccessful Traders

The Eight Beliefs of Unsuccessful Traders

Courtesy of Dr Janice Dorn at Minyanville

Editor’s Note: For those interested in both winners and losers, the 8 beliefs of successful traders can be found here.

Beliefs of Unsuccessful Traders

1. I must be trading something all the time.

2. If I lose on a trade, I feel angry, frustrated, sad, or sick. If I win on a trade, I’m a happy camper.

3. If I don’t get on board with the hot tip of the day, I’ll miss out.

4. The markets are out to get me.

5. I’m unwilling to take the stop-out, so I’m turning this trade into an investment.

6. If I just keep studying, looking, and reading, I’ll find the magical formula/indicator/guru to lead me to riches.

Buddha, trading philosophy7. Everything has to be perfect for me to get into a trade

8. If I win, I was skillful. If I lose, I was unlucky.

It’s only through daily assessment of convictions — and with radical honesty -- that a trader grows, develops, and thrives. Diligent examination of beliefs and the courage to change them is an ongoing challenge that must be conquered if the trader is to move to higher levels of success.

Buddha says:

"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it’s said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it’s said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it."




Phil's Favorites

Thanksgiving amid the Threats


Thoughts from the Frontline: Thanksgiving amid the Threats

Courtesy of John Mauldin

“Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.”
– Angela Merkel, December 15, 2010

“Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. Believe me, it will be enough.”
– Mario Draghi, July 25, 2012

“We have to safeguard the spirit behind Schengen,” Mr Juncker told the European Parliament on Wednesday. “Yes, the Schengen system is partly comatose. But . . . a single currency does not exist if Schengen fails. It is one of the pillars of the construction of Europe.”

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

IMF Approves Reserve-Currency Status for China's Yuan (Bloomberg)

The IMF will add the yuan to its basket of reserve currencies, an international stamp of approval of the progress China has made integrating into a global economic system dominated for decades by the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The most creative thing central banks have done since the financial crisis has had 'unspectacular' results (Bloomberg)

The most creative thing done by central banks since the financial crisis is taking benchmark ...

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Zero Hedge

Seeking A Savior

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via,

It’s an unfortunate truth that, when people are worried about the future, they often put their faith in politicians to somehow make everything better.

Politicians, of course, are famous for promising panaceas for whatever is troubling voters, and they even invent new troubles to worry about, presenting themselves as the only ones who can solve these woes.

Not surprising then, that, over time, any nation may slowly deteriorate into a population of nebbishes who turn to their government to do their thinking for them and take responsibility for their futures.


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Chart School

Semiconductor Index Breaks 200-day MA

Courtesy of Declan.

Today offered a heavier than expected volume day post-holiday. The majority of this action was to the downside, but the Semiconductor Index bucked the trend.  The latter index was able to push above its 200-day MA as it posted a relative advantage against the Nasdaq 100. While the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 suffered losses today, both will be helped by strength in the Semiconductor Index.  All technicals for the Semiconductor Index are in the green, with a return of the MACD to a 'buy' trigger (above the bullish zero line - a bullish development).

The Nasdaq suffered a minor loss. It wasn't able to challenge the recent high, but it's close enough ...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Market As Oversold As 1999 Lows

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Crude Oil is quite simply the most important commodity on the planet. But volatility with Crude Oil prices emerges every time there is conflict in oil producing nations or an economic slowdown.

And this has led to some pretty big swings in Crude Oil prices over the past several years.

But the latest swing lower is nearing a moment of truth. In fact, this decline may be the most important swing lower of the 2000’s.

Why?  Because oil prices are currently testing a key price support level comprised of the 2004 breakout level (above the 1990 highs) and the 2009 price lows – see red circles and line. In fact, this price support area also marks the 23.6 Fibonacci support level (from the 1999 lows to 2008 highs).  AND crude oil is as oversold as it was back at the 1999 price lows!

But that’s no...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 30th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


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. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Insider Scoop

An Inexpensive Small-Cap ETF For December Gains

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related IJR Of Rate Hikes And Small-Cap ETFs Active Management Mediocrity Continues There's still time to go small (Seeking Alpha)

Tuesday marks the start of December, and with the arrival of the last month of the year imminent, there... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

The Bitcoin Universe Explained

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).

This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist ...

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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

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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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

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...

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Baxter's Spinoff

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).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

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. 


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

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 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.

Thank you for you time!

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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