November 23, 2015

Since the last post I went short Amazon via puts and that went very well, only to be followed by going long Chipotle via calls which went very poorly.  So all in all, those were a wash.  I’m out!  Its getting busy, near the end of the year.  I’m 100% pegged to the S&P 500 and am up around 6.81%, beating the S&P index by around 3.3% as of the time of this post. I think we rally into the end of the year.  Next year, I’ll probably start off defensive.  Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.

November 1, 2015

11-01-15 – Statement I’m up 4.66% on the year, and the S&P 500 is up 2.65% (total return) on the year.  So I’m up by around 2%.  The steep move during the month of October was not good for me… I remained cautious, and held large cash positions.  I’m actually currently net short  just a little bit, with my largest short positions being Nike, Altria, Microsoft, and ADP.  All of them are overdone and I’ll wait for around a 5% pullback, then sell.  I still have large cash positions. I’m still bullish the energy sector, and feel that after a pull back, this market will set new all time highs before the end of the year.  There’s nothing standing in the way and the central bank printing presses are in full production.  I predicted the Fed would not raise rates this year, and that appears to be the case.  I highly doubt the Fed will raise in December. This is a somewhat neutral market though, with individual stocks being winners & losers.  This is full a “gamesmanship” market IMO, but one that will set a new all time high before the end of the year.  Profits actually aren’t that bad.  

September 13, 2015

Holy volatility!  So if you’ve been following my twitter feed, I fired too early into the massive 3 day decline that started on August 20th.  I had little firepower to buy to market opening on August 24th, but put what I had to work.  Since then I’ve traded a lot… there’s been a lot of buying and selling and the cash position has varied from 0% to ~65% from day to day.  Trades based on the technicals were there to make, so I made them.  Swing & intraday trades have been there for the taking.  Overall, trading the volatility has gone well.  The portfolio is up 0.72% year to date.  The S&P 500 total returns (including dividends) is -3.39% year to date.  So we’re beating the index by 4.113% year to date.  An excellent score if I do say so myself. I traded the wedge range (S&P 1990-1900 range, zig-zagging to equillibrium around 1945) in the S&P 500, shifted the risk out of the index into Apple & Facebook, and recently shifted again into defensive names Altria, Honeywell, Proctor & Gamble… along with growth defended best of breed stocks NXP Semiconductors, and Goldman Sachs.  I like the extremely beaten down names, United Rentals and Viacomm… which have both performed very well.  I also hold Disney,the cyber security ETF, HACK, and the home builders $XHB.  I also put on the Labor day to Black Friday retail trade with Best Buy, Walmart, and Costco. …

August 16, 2015

The portfolio is grinding along.  As of the today, the portfolio is up 6.55% and the S&P 500 index is up 2.84% (total returns).  A little bit better than the previous blog entry.  The portfolio is mostly the S&P 500 index, currency hedged Europe index, currency hedged Japan index, and cyber security. We’re just going sideways, which makes this a nice trading environment.  I’ve been trading short term technical positions for the most part.  Most of those have worked out.  I sold some XHB (home builders index) because it has had a nice out performance compared to the S&P 500.  The cyber security index has badly lagged the S&P 500 since I’ve entered the position, but I’m confident that it will bounce back.  I don’t see cyber security as something we’ll need less of in the future. I’ll be cautious moving forward.  The sideways movement feels like 2011.  Just like then the “international contagion” fear is effecting our markets.  I think the China situation is a real threat, but I also think the Chinese leadership will handle it, and handle it well.  I think if the FED hikes rates, and they seem to really want to, it’ll lead to a 5-10% drop in the S&P 500 index, and with velocity.  Besides that, I’m just going to trade this market and try not to venture too far from being indexed. Doing something new, this statement is only from the last blog post …

July 1, 2015

June ended with the portfolio up 4.71% on the year, with the S&P up 1.09% for the year, for an over-performance of 3.62%.  Basically the portfolio stayed even for the month, and the S&P dropped 2.09%.  So an over 2% gain on the index in one month is pretty pretty pretty good! I did quite a bit of short term position trading which worked out.  If I had to identify the biggest winners, I’d say the Ambarella short, which I got out of too soon, but accomplished what I wanted. I played the FitBit IPO buying 300 shares at the open, and caught the rise in that.  And there were some nice options in there.  But generally, it looks like a bunch of smaller trades grinding out a tenth of a percent here, a tenth there.  Towards the end of the month, I was positioned excellently with Greece, build cash up until July 1, when I blew my cool and went back into the market based of a momentary opening surge. So far in July, some ground has been lost.  And the most recent selloffs had me liquidate all my positions… and go into the S&P index.  I have a few small side positions, but basically I’ve been working with the S&P index.  I’m pegged to it, with about 95% of the portfolio in the S&P 500 index. I have a lead, I’m going to keep it, and just grind out a few more …

April 1, 2015

So I was incorrect in thinking that the S&P would continue running higher after the FED announcement on March 18th.  Instead, its been range bound, either consolidating, or topping. The S&P can’t seem to break through the 2100 level in any significant way. That said, I still think the market has some room to run, because I think that the FED will not increase rates until the 4th quarter, or later! The economic data has been weak, but it doesn’t really feel that way in my gut. When I walk around, go shopping, talk to business owners, and generally live life around Philadelphia, it seems like things are getting better. Companies have more people employed. People are buying things and saving money. Gas prices remain low. I think there is money being loaded into people’s chambers and that it will get spent. However, I still like the international markets more, because they are flat out printing money. As of the close of trading on March 31, the portfolio was up 3.53% and the S&P was up 0.88%, for an Alpha of 2.65%. Basically the same place I was on March 18th. I’m satisfied with that since I had the direction of the market wrong. I traded out of a losing SPY position at a minimum loss, took my lumps with Gamestop, but evened it out with Restoration Hardware, Lumber Liquidators, and Macy’s. I have distressed trade positions in SanDisk, Tyson …

March 2nd, 2015

So February was a heck of a month.  The S&P 500 ripped higher by 5.49%!  That’s a heck of a month, and really, one that I can’t keep up with. When markets rip like that, its just tough to keep up. I fell back to an alpha of 0.619%, so I lost about 3 tenths of a point.  Overall, not too bad. I’m in China with Ali Baba & Baidu through options.  I have some time with them, but I sure hope that China turns around soon., otherwise, I like my positions and am hoping to get a chance to get back into some names (like Apple & cyber security). I have been building larger & larger positions into in international stocks and believe that is a good place to be.  “Don’t fight the FED”… except in this case, don’t fight the ECB or the Japanese Central Bank.  As the U.S. tapers down, the rest of the world tapers up. That said U.S. equities are a fine place, with sentiment nearing all time highs and with nothing in the way to stop it. Until we start seeing inflation and the FED kills the market by raising rates. But there’s also been a sell off in bonds, so I see money flow into equities, both international & domestic. Really, just hold equities, its ripping up this year. Recently, bonds have been selling off, so there is plenty of money flow left into …

February 1, 2015

Whoa intraday volatility!  As of January 31, the monthly performance of the S&P 500 index was -3.1%.  The portfolio’s performance was -2.18%, for an Alpha rating of 0.923 so far for 2015.  Not bad at all…although pretty much the same place I was 9 days into January!  The reason for that is that I’m getting weighed down by FOX, AIG, & BABA… all losing trades right now, but trades that I think will turn around and move that Alpha number up a few ticks. I closed out of Chipotle with a nice little gain.  I just don’t like the lines that I see, they aren’t the eye popping lines I’ve seen in the past.  Although I think the portion sizes have gone down.  That said, I’m just not sure about it, so I sold.  Same with Panera. I had a small position in Ali Baba, which I was caught on the wrong side of as they missed their numbers and tumbled about 10%.  I bought a few more shares on the drop.  I still think its an excellent growth company, but I’m cautious it might follow a Facebook like trajectory… one that sinks like a lead ballon after the IPO. Speaking of Facebook, I’m adding to the position whenever I get a chance.  They are executing wonderfully and have a unique product that just can’t be beat right now. I bought Energy at the bottom, but I think I sold it …

January 14, 2015

The trading activity statements are running a few days behind when I print them out, but today was an excellent day centered around trading in Gilead.  Anyway… 2015 Should be similar to last year, except the rest of the world will be even worse!  I expect the “high water mark” for the S&P 500 to be about 6-12% with the finish around 4-8%  this year, but with lots of volatility.  The market will increase by virtue of inertia, sentiment, and the lack of alternatives elsewhere in the world.  I’ll go through my macro viewpoint for this year in no particular order: I believe the overall sentiment for the stock market is still positive, but I believe there will be a lot of negative sentiment introduced by the staggering weakness of the rest of the world.  The biggest concern I have is the strong U.S. dollar, which appears to be getting stronger as foreign economies print cash.  A strong dollar is usually bad for the stock market, so I’ll be watching that closely though the year.  Also, the Republican Congress should be better for stock markets as stereo typically, they are the “party of business”, which is good for overall stock market sentiment. The U.S. bond market should be strong again.  So far U.S. treasury yields have been falling even further, to under 2%!  People (I think lots of foreign money) are just buying U.S. bonds.  And why not when Spain …

January 5, 2015

What a good 2014! I’ll post my 2015 thesis soon, but I expect a strong U.S. economy with a weak international economy.  A strong U.S. dollar.  Low copper demand. Interest rates staying lower for longer… they may NOT be increased this summer. Low oil prices… this standoff will last for a while. My initial reaction is that the U.S. economy will be better than 2014, but the stocks will not be as strong as 2014 because there will be many more events that will sway sentiment negatively. So I finished the year at $116,363.41, a gain of 16.36% for the year.  Not bad at all!  This was mostly indexing with some expansion later in the year.  But healthcare, materials, and utilites made the early part of the year for me, with tech and certain retail stocks carrying the later half. The S&P 500 finished the year up 14.53%. Here’s the transaction record: 12-31-14 – Transaction Record For the next year, I’m using the built-in Interactive Brokers account and not the Morningstar system.  Morningstar makes nice reports, but their trade tracking is sub-par… Here’s the opening portfolio for 2015:  01-02-15 – Statement The Interactive Brokers (where I custody funds) simulated trading account is excellent for tracking all trades in real time. So now I don’t have to track or record anything.  The trade dates, times, amounts, profits / losses are all recorded right in those statements!  The one quirk is the starting …

December 10, 2014

12-05-14 – Morningstar Report 12-05-14 – Transaction Record \We have more action! I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve liked my positions.  Oil prices have crashed, wow! I still have my small position in EPD & AMLP, which are pipeliners, but still getting crushed. I’ve been caught in the Ali Baba retrenchment, but I still like it.  I’ll fire again when it hits 100.  Macy’s & Apple has fallen a bit, but at least that sold call option should pay off. I’ll basically stay put, get out of small caps, get out of Dow (that one’s sucked), and re-balance into restaurant stocks. I’ve been watching American Airlines just soar telling myself I’ve missed it, but I’ll dabble a quick trade.  I think oil is going lower… its just a war that OPEC has declared and I want no part of oil right now.  I’ll start wadding in once oil hits 55-57.  There is just way too much supply. But, I do think that the stocks getting hit by low oil prices this year will be the biggest winners next year. So its worth watching how this plays out.  But I’ll buy institutional names later… like Conoco Phillips, followed by some flyers like Atlas Energy (those guys have been crushed!). I’ve also messed with Google a bit, but I’m going to shift out of that into my other tech holdings. Their star is falling a bit, and other search engines …

November 4, 2014

11-04-14 – Morningstar Record 11-04-14 – Transaction Record So the “V” shaped rebound happened, which I was ready for.  I went pretty much all-in leaving less than 10% cash on the 14th, then got stopped out of a lot of positions on the 15th, to miss much of the rebound over the past few weeks.  Timing is key, but I suppose setting good stops as well is. Oil is getting crushed.  Its going to 75 or lower. You can’t always get what you want, but sometime you might just get… what you need. Maybe the world economy needs really cheap oil right now to help it sputter along. The global economic picture is not good. However, U.S. corporate earnings have been very good so far. I got hurt by Chipotle and Twitter.  Oh my, Twitter, from best to worst just like that. I did some heavy trading after the earning collapse and gained back a portion lost on Twitter, but the position finished net negative on the 2nd 100 shares.  The first 100 were purchased in the 30’s, so that was still a win. I had a pretty full position (over 6% of assets) of Chipotle before the earnings call… so I couldn’t buy more for the bounce. Although my limit is 12%, its tough to go right back into a name that could drop another 100 points. Its bounced back to where it was pre-earnings call, but 6% of …

October 15, 2014

10-15-14 – Morningstar Report 10-15-14 – Transaction Record What a day!  The market was down 2%, then rallied back.  The headlines read that the S&P had given back all of its gains year to date, and while that makes a good headline, it’s not really true. Including dividends, the S&P is still up around 4.14% for the year.  Including cash, trading costs, dividends, etc… my portfolio is up 6.31% for the year. The S&P held a key support level of 1850.  1850 is significant because it is the lower level channel trend line for the 6 month & 1 year daily chart, as well as the 3 year weekly chart.  To find the next channel level support, we’d have to look at the 5 year weekly, which has the next level of support around 1688!  Watch out below… The late afternoon rally today was HUGE… because that key support level of 1850 held. This is a potential bounce / bottom point here and I’m ready to fire away if the signals are right. I fired yesterday, but I suppose today was the day to fire. Yesterday I bought quite a basket of stocks, but most of them worked out. Those purchases were made because those stocks were at good technical levels and looked ripe to “bounce”, and some did: small caps, Twitter, Chipotle (did well relative to the S&P all day). I’m playing this as a bottom until we cross …

October 9th, 2014

10-09-14 – Morningstar Report 10-09-14 – Transaction Record 10-09-14 – Transaction Record The stock market is going nuts! Huge rises then huge declines… with Ebola, ISIL, and Russia vs. Germany in Europe. There is a global slowdown if we look to commodity prices and the weak demand for oil, copper, etc… I feel the the U.S. is still fine, but there is way too much selling pressure and fear about. The psychology of the markets is negative. There is a decided shift in sentiment of the overall conditions for a bull market. Quite frankly, I’m kicking myself right now! The global macro signs were there. But I return to the thought, what does any of that have to do with earnings of companies in the U.S.?  Besides companies with a European presence and the oil & gas industry… I’m not sure. I’m inclined to say not much. October has not been kind. My core energy positions have been killing the portfolio returns. Net of cash, the portfolio is now just barely beating the S&P 500, although still well ahead of the U.S. total market returns (i.e. large & small caps). I’ve tried to rotate out of energy and into U.S. based companies, Chipotle, Kroger, Molsten Coors, Cedar Fair, etc… After today, I will reassess and move into U.S. consumer driven stocks that benefit from low commodity prices even more. I continue to hold my core positions and am adding to …

September 15, 2014

09-15-14 – Morningstar Report 09-15-14 – Transaction Record Its been a good month.  I’m was beating the S&P by a little over 200 basis points before today. Losing significant ground now. Also, keep in mind that the Morningstar report’s benchmark is the total market index, not the S&P 500.  The report also shows returns without factoring in my cash position.  My total return is easy to calculate because I started 2014 at 100K.  Its about 11.88%. Overall I think I could be doing better… but most money managers are lagging the S&P 500 so I’m doing pretty well in comparison. Since the last post I have: Bought more JC Penny Sold out of YUM because I was scared (not stopped out), then bought it back once the technicals were back in line I got stopped out of XLE I bought more Apple I sold some Yahoo after it spiked up I sold the gold miner ETF… it was a dud I sold the rest of XLE – gas prices are declining, and will continue to do so I bought EOG to replace XLE, because the set up for EOG looks really good.  Set a tight stop Bought more Walgreens Today i just bought more Twitter and sold a call on it as well All my moves are posted on Twitter when they are done, so feel free to follow me on Twitter for real time info. Anyway, the momentum names …

August 18, 2014

08-18-14 – Morningstar Report 08-18-14 – Transaction Record So that was an interesting first half of August.  We had Putin related fears driving markets down and then the specter of war subsided.  I really don’t believe that another large scale war between sophisticated armies meeting on battlefields will occur anymore.  Wars aren’t declared and ended with signings aboard an aircraft carrier.  Wars between developed nations with standing armies are conducted via hacking, economics, and proxies.  So when fear of a conventional war occurs, I generally see that as a buying opportunity, as I alluded to on July 17th. On July 17th, right after the downing of the Malaysian airliner, I blogged about the S&P levels that I would buy at due to that geopolitical unrest.  On August 5-6th, the S&P hit the first real threshold of 1920, so I bought.  Before then, I was stopped out of utilities (XLU) and Southern (SO) on August 4th and August 5th. On the 6th, due to those stops, I had cash on hand.  I noticed that even with this geopolitical unrest, oil prices were falling and energy (XLE) was falling in sync.  Typically, oil prices would raise gas prices and boost energy stocks (relatively speaking).  Like I said on April 27th, Russia needs high oil prices. But their saber rattling is no longer spiking the prices as Putin needs to fulfill his domestic promises. Maybe this is a “boy who cried wolf” situation and the …