Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Phil Davis’ Mircowave Oven Theory of Behavior

I mentioned my Microwave Oven Theory this morning and I didn't realize it was hard to find so here it is again:

Last Thursday, I mentioned that Jim Rogers said:

I am as confused as anybody else (about the level of bearishness on the Euro).  Usually that indicates a rally… Once a technical rally starts, who knows where it can go from that. 

Don't you wish other people would be that honest with us?  It's very hard for people who give opinions for a living to stand in front of an audience and say: "I don't know."   Somehow they seem to feel that they HAVE to know and, what's worse, once they force themselves to make a decision, they somehow feel obligated to defend it, even if new evidence comes out to the contrary.

This is exactly what's wrong with financial reporters and analysts, especially the clowns on TV (as well as pretty much anyone who makes a living giving you their opinion).   My Members are familiar with something I'm going to share with you now.  It is a Nobel Prize-worthy theory that I feel helps make me a better trader and I thought this would be a good time to share it with you:

People love to make random decisions and stick to them like they were directly given it as a commandment!

How does this relate to microwaves? Well, aside from the fact that our brains are constantly being fried by the things every day (ever drive on the highway and see one of those dishes aimed right at you?  Do you know birds die if they fly too close to them?), this is what I observe:

You put something in the microwave, say pizza, and you put in a time, say 3:33 (or maybe you are a whole number person and do 3 or 4 minutes). Now, unless you are a chain store pizza buyer your pizza slice is probably not always the same size or maybe it has different toppings etc., but you probably put in the same number every time.

Theory number 1:  People tend to repeat behavior, especially if it was successful in the past.

So the light goes on and the little thing spins…
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7 Steps to Consistently Making 30-40% Annual Returns

Option Sage Submits:

Just a couple of decades ago it would have been almost unfathomable for the retail investor to consider generating consistent returns above 20% per year.  Indeed, those who competed in arguably the most competitive financial market place, the stock market, were considered gurus when they beat the S&P 500 year in and year out

Others, such as Jerome Kohlberg, Henry Kravis and George Roberts made a name for themselves in private equity as did Peter Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman with the Blackstone Group.  Gains in the stock market for Joe Public were subjected to a limiting factor – the inability to leverage substantially.  Joe Public was also limited in participating in private equity investments; they were the domain of the rich – the insiders.  These days, private equity still remains the domain of the rich, but leveraging is possible through the purchase of equity derivatives.  And the sale of those same equity derivatives can be highly profitable too.

Whereas it would have been unthinkable years ago to consider making big profits year in and year out on a stock that doesn't move much – because the only source of income, dividends, tended to be in the low single digits in percentage terms - these days options afford us the opportunity to sit tight and profit while holding stock positions.  This can easily be achieved through the sale of short call options against stock holdings, otherwise known as the Covered Call strategy.  While the Covered Call strategy may appear straightforward when first encountered, many applications may be employed.  In this article, we will consider the application that Stock and Option Trades labels: 7 Steps to 40% per year!

Step 1:  Wait for a selloff

Ok, so you want to skip this step and move on to Step 2.  Wait! 

One of the great quotes in investing comes from Jesse Livermore and pertains to this concept of patience.  In Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, it is stated: 

"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.  Got that?  My sitting tight!  It is no trick at all to be right on the market.  You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears


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Weekend Trend Spotting and Virtual Portfolio Management

What a wild last 30 day's we've had! 

I'm going to do a little bit of charting today so we don't miss out on the next potential Meatball Market (where bad news "just doesn't matter") as we get past earnings season without any serious dings.  Of course, like Icarus, they higher we go, the further we have to fall, especially when we're getting there on wax wings but part of our fundamental outlook is looking at market sentiment along with the motives, means and opportunity of the manipulators

The Fed threw a little monkey-wrench into the works Thursday with a surprise rate move but the market was amazingly unphased and, as you'll notice on the chart below, we are neatly repeating the same move we saw in early November, when we waited 400 points for the correction that never came – until January 20th of course!  This week, we took a few pokes at short plays and got burned and we went into the weekend a little bearish but mostly neutral.  Our Buy List is off to the races, of course and only 2 of our 42 trade ideas there (AGNC and DF) are off course – I had meant to do an update this week but there's no point! 

We don't pay much attention to the Buy List in our daily posts or even in chat because those trades do their job with very little fuss.  Ideally, the bulk of your virtual portfolio should be made up of boring, low-touch trades that make nice, consistent returns and THAT allows us to have fun with our more aggressive short-term plays that do demand our regular attention.  Someone asked me about allocation the other day and I said that, generally, I feel 75% should be in long-term, well-hedged positions like the ones on our Buy List while the other 25% should be used for more opportunistic trading and, generally, we rarely stray from keeping 1/2 of that in cash to remain flexible. 

Of our aggressive virtual portfolio, we try to keep our allocations to no more than 10% of our cash on new positions (which means the more trades you make, the less you put into the next trade) and limit our losses to 20% of a full position or 2%
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Alert, Alert – How to Make 68% in 4 Hours with ETF Options

A lot of people ask us how our Alerts work.

There's not much to it actually.  Alerts are free to Premium Members but they are just Emails that come from our normal daily Member Chat from myself, Optrade or the Oxen Group.  Opt and Oxen usually send out trade alerts but I tend to concentrate on things I consider important enough to send out in case someone is away from their computers or (Heaven forbid!) on some other site.  One Alert I send out almost every morning are our daily level watches and then, if something big changes, I'll send out another one but I don't do it often as I don't like to bother people with Emails.  We have special feeds for members who want to have every comment sent to them anyway

Usually I send out my first alert just after the bell so we can see what the market looks like at the open.  Sometimes we see a good play, sometimes we don't.  Today looked uncertain so posted two possible DIA plays at 9:33 in Chat that were sent out on our Alert system (it's just an Email!):

So that's it.  This comment from Member Chat gets converted into an Email and ends up in your in-box a few minutes later.  On top are my normal level selections for the day with comments about what to look for.  As I had mentioned in the morning post, I didn't even feel it was possible to make it to our 10,300 levels so I didn't even bother cluttering this post with them this morning.  We looked a little weak so I was more concerned about the downside but we held our downsides like a champ and bounced back nicely.

In chat, we took quick profits on the $99 puts and my follow-up comments were:

9:37: "Boy, we can almost count on these morning sell-offs lately.  EU funds I think so I still want that upside play."

9:56: ".95 was plenty for the puts.  For me, that’s a .15 buffer to enter the longs, now .75 but I don’t want them unless they either get back to .70, (where I’ll risk 1x with 1x at .60 and 2x
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Dean’s Guide For Beginning Options Investors

At the beginning proceed with caution – or – FOR GOD”S SAKE DON”T DO WHAT I DID!

If you’re reading this article, understand that I’ve walked in your shoes. Like you I was a new member to Phil’s Stock World, arriving on the site looking for companionship and education on my options journey.   Probably like you, I had read a few books on options, dabbled in some trades, made and lost some money, but I was still looking for a system, as well as a teacher.

Having read Phil’s daily posts on Seeking Alpha, I was both amused and intrigued, here was someone who spoke plain English, obviously had some education, a passion for the markets, and an opinion on most everything! He also wrote on the importance of “being the house” – of being the on the side of the odds, and being consistent in an approach to investing.  All these things appealed and made sense to me, and after reading the article Phil wrote on “How to Buy Stock for a 15-20% Discount” I decided to jump in with both feet. Being a quick study, I took the plunge in late 2008, just in time to have a single, very successful month in December.

Wow – 10-15% gains in my first month! It was a great Christmas Season! I was going to retire early! Obama took office with great promise, and I was keenly optimistic for 2009. I invested heavily, in a variety of sectors, across the board. I sold lots of premium, and things were looking good.

Well, you know what happened next, things went bad, then worse, and then downright scary!  I had a number of sleepless nights, and the more I read, both on Phil’s favorites as well as the main street media, the worse things looked.  I did my best, but on a number of issues, I pulled the plug and panicked.  Not understanding how to roll down, I just sold, generally exactly when I should have been buying.  In my first three months of trading, I probably lost 30% of my holdings.

Fortunately, I have some background
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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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7 Steps To 40% Annual Returns

Just a couple of decades ago it would have been almost unfathomable for the retail investor to consider generating consistent returns above 20% per year.  Indeed, those who competed in arguably the most competitive financial market place, the stock market, were considered gurus when they beat the S&P 500 year in and year out

Others, such as Jerome Kohlberg, Henry Kravis and George Roberts made a name for themselves in private equity as did Peter Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman with the Blackstone Group.  Gains in the stock market for Joe Public were subjected to a limiting factor – the inability to leverage substantially.  Joe Public was also limited in participating in private equity investments; they were the domain of the rich – the insiders.  These days, private equity still remains the domain of the rich, but leveraging is possible through the purchase of equity derivatives.  And the sale of those same equity derivatives can be highly profitable too.

Whereas it would have been unthinkable years ago to consider making big profits year in and year out on a stock that doesn't move much – because the only source of income, dividends, tended to be in the low single digits in percentage terms - these days options afford us the opportunity to sit tight and profit while holding stock positions.  This can easily be achieved through the sale of short call options against stock holdings, otherwise known as the Covered Call strategy.  While the Covered Call strategy may appear straightforward when first encountered, many applications may be employed.  In this article, we will consider the application that Stock and Option Trades labels: 7 Steps to 40% per year!

Step 1:  Wait for a selloff

Ok, so you want to skip this step and move on to Step 2.  Wait! 

One of the great quotes in investing comes from Jesse Livermore and pertains to this concept of patience.  In Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, it is stated: 

"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.  Got that?  My sitting tight!  It is no trick at all to be right on the market.  You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in
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Stupid Option Tricks – The Salvage Play

I often talk about stupid options tricks in member chat and I thought it would make for good weekend reading.

Today we'll look at salvaging bad positions, something that comes up once in a while in any virtual portfolio.  Not everything has to be buy, hold or sell with options – there is always hedging and there is always an option!  Since many of us are short on USO and not happy at the moment, I thought we'd focus on various salvage strategies for positions that go against us but, before we get into that, I did promise we'd discuss scaling, and the two do go hand in hand

Scaling into a position is always a sensible strategy, we can't be right all the time with our entries so we need to plan ahead for being wrong.  Also, we need to plan for our position going against us tomorrow, next week or next month.  Ideally, you should never be in any position that risks discomfort if you lose it.  If you have a large virtual portfolio, it's good to keep most of your positions under 2%.  If you have a medium virtual portfolio, 5% and, if you are in the $50,000 range or less, it will be hard to avoid having positions that are 10% of your virtual portfolio and that's where scaling is even more important so we're going to focus on the small entries and I'll assume the big boys can multiply by 2-10 by themselves.

$50,000 is not a small amount of money and we can assume that, if that is your stock virtual portfolio, that you worked hard to make it and you would rather not lose it.  This is all the more reason to take a more conservative stance with your positions.  As I said, you don't want any position to be more than 10%, or $5,000.  That doesn't mean it can never happen, but you need to treat anything over 10% as "uncomfortable" and look to reduce it when there is a good opportunity. 

When entering a new position, we want to be ready to be wrong.  Sun Tzu said: "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."  We made a nice profit on Tuesday morning on USO puts we had held
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Vacation-Proof Your Virtual Portfolio

A couple of years ago, Option Sage (Gareth) and I put up a very popular article titled "Vacation-Proof Your Virtual Portfolio."

In it we discussed several strategies for hedging existing positions, moving them into neutral positions ahead of a time when you would be going away and not able to keep your eye on the markets.  As we cashed out last week, it hasn't been much of an issue coming into this long weekend but some of you still have long postiions that need protecting and Sage has been kind enough to provide us with access to a free on-line seminar on the subject through his educational platform at www.MarketTamer.com.   

I don't recommend many services but Sage was an original member who went on to write many of our educational posts over the years and went on to develop an on-line trading education system that is very, very good for learning stock and options trading.  PSW members get a special offer of $99/month, which is 1/3 the going rate AND he will give you that $99 back if you are not satisfied after the first month!  So check out the link above, there are 3 free lessons there and read through the article.  If you plan on going away with positions open this summer in this crazy market – I think it will be time well spent…

Those of you who know Sage have probably already linked over but for those of you who didn't get a chance to meet him when he was on-line with us all the time, here's a copy of Market Tamer's recent press release, which tells you a bit about Gareth and the company he's been building:

Taming The Market
 
A shockingly simple yet amazingly powerful concept has been ignored by major hedge funds, mutual funds, and retail traders alike.  On their quest to outperform the market, Wall Street's best often get sucked into a single style of investing or trading:  long only, long/short, distressed, diversified and the list goes on.  They use a single approach to exploit a changing market.  And often a single approach works – for a while.  Bill Miller of Legg Mason was regarded as one of the stars on Wall Street until his virtual portfolio…
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$100K Hedged Virtual Portfolio Update

Well, there was no reason to adjust the virtual portfolio this weekend but now I'm a little concerned (as I went short-term bearish yesterday morning) and it's a good time to review our positions.

Monday gave us a lot if cushion but that doesn't mean we have to squander it.  Our last review was on the 25th and we had made adjustments on the 21st in member chat, triggering the plays we had decided to wait for the previous weekend.  Notice we haven't really had a down day since so there has been no reason to adjust what has essentially been a bullish set.   Yesterday, in comments, I called for covering our UNG play but that's the only move we've had to make in 2 weeks.  Sadly, vacation time is over so let's look over our positions and see where action will be required:

Our original positions were: 

  • 500 UYG at $3.48, selling 5 May $3 calls for .72 and 5 May $3 puts for .28, net $2.48/2.74

    • UYG now $3.91, May put and call combo now $1.05 = net $2.86 ($190 profit on $1,240 = 15.3%)

      • We are fine being called away on this position
  • Selling 2 FAS $7.50 puts for .45 naked

    • FAS closed at $9.40 so 100% profit of $90
  • 500 C at $3.04, selling May $3 puts and calls for $1.11, net $1.93/2.47

    • C now $3.31, We took out the callers for .30 on 4/21 and the May $3 puts are .20 = net $3.11 ($590 profit on $965 = 61.1%)

      • We should close this position, it is above our profit expectations
  • Selling 2 IYF May $36 puts for $2 naked

    • IYF closed at $41.80, May $36 puts $.35 ($330 profit on $400 =82%)

      • Because of the stress tests, I would rather close these out
  • 4/21 Sold 2 IYF May $34 puts for $2.10 naked

    • IYF closed at $41.80, May $34 puts $.20 ($380 profit on $420 =90%)

      • Because of the stress tests, I would rather close these out
  • Selling 2 JPM May $29 puts for $1.95 naked


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Zero Hedge

The War Between Public Pensioners And Tax Donkeys Is Heating Up

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The migration is only beginning, but that's only half the story.

You know it's serious when the newspaper of record finally reports it: A $76,000 Monthly Pension: Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash (New York Times).

It's a long article but the summary is brief: corru...



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Insider Scoop

Morgan Stanley Explains Why Apple Investors Need To Be 'Cautious' Ahead Of Earnings

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to report its fiscal second quarter earnings report on May 1 and investors should hold a "cautious" stance ahead of the print, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Analyst

Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty maintains an Overweight rating on ...



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Chart School

Short Opportunity II

Courtesy of Declan.

The first chance for a short play got burned but there is a second one on offer for the S&P.

The S&P tagged channel resistance and while today's reversal off resistance didn't amount to a big percentage loss it did register as a distribution day. There wasn't any significant technical change so if this short does evolve it will do so with risk measured on a move above 2,717.


The Nasdaq may match a 'bearish evening star' but if this is the case there has to be a significant move lower tomor...

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Phil's Favorites

What's unconscious bias training, and does it work?

 

What's unconscious bias training, and does it work?

Courtesy of Calvin K. Lai, Washington University in St Louis

A Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police on two black men on April 13, leading to their arrest. The two men, who had been waiting for a friend at the store, were released without being charged.

Starbucks has since apologized and announced it will close more than 8,000 of its stores in the United States to provide “racial bias” training for its 175,000 ...



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Digital Currencies

Only 0.04% Of Taxpayers Are Reporting Any Bitcoin Gains To The IRS

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

With the US tax deadline just one day away, crypto investors who traded actively during the market's run-up and inevitable meltdown should have a lot of activity to report to the IRS.

But according to a survey conducted by Credit Karma, only a handful of people who have filed their taxes using Credit Karma's tools have reported bitcoin holdings or holdings of some other cryptocurrency - fewer than 100 out of a total of 250,000 filers, or a whopping 0.04% in total.

In all likelihood, this means that (tens of) thousands of bitcoin traders are refusing to pay the IRS, either betting on the anonymity of the blockchain to conceal th...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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Biotech

How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida

...

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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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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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About Ilene:

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.

Market Shadows >>