Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Big Picture: Leading Stocks Turn before the Indices

"History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes"

We're just a couple months past the 5 year bull rally and it looks like we're getting exhausted.  Maybe we're taking a break before the next move up but no one knows.  What I do know is what has happened in the past.  Take a look at the Nasdaq composite.  This isn't a coincidence.  Resistance to higher levels at this point should be expected.  What concerns me here are a couple of things
1. The last 2 rallies ended almost exactly 5 years (this is likely a coincidence) but for it to happen a third time wouldn't surprise me.
2.  Look at the volume the past 2 months.  Huge selling versus the last couple of years.  This is not good!

The tapering also isn't helping.  And the Fed will continue to taper

For those waiting for SPX and Dow Jones to show further weakness could be a mistake.  Leading stocks always break down before the general market.  This is due to rotations of funds from speculative stocks to less speculative (CAT MSFT MMM PG XOM, pretty much anything in the DJ30 and large cap SPX stocks).  Utilities have be performing great due to low interest rates (look at how well TLT has performed) and its a defensive play.

Here are some examples of what I mean.  During the tech bubble some of the hottest companies during that time ran up substantially.  They also fell faster and harder too.

The Nasdaq Composite peaked out in March 2000, Q1 (it could be another coincidence we're peaking out Q1 2014)

Peaked out January 2000

PCLN - Peaked out from the get go.  Hot IPO that didn't have any legs and just continued to fall.  Sound familiar (KING COUP GRUB etc)

AMZN - Peaked out December 1999

MSFT - Peaked out December 1999

PLUG -Peaked January 2000

I was in high school at the time and I even knew at the time these stocks were some of the hottest tech stocks out there.  Also don't forget about the stocks that didn't survive the bubble.  There were many.

Now take a look at the new leading momo stocks: FEYE, SPLK, DATA, GOOGL, PCLN, WDAY, COUP, TWTR, NOW, YELP, IRBT, QIHU, BLOX, MKTO, NFLX, AMZN.......the list goes on and on because I haven't even mentioned biotech names.

Yes this is tech/biotech sector specific but what leads a market up will probably lead it down.  I don't think we'll get a crash yet but definitely a correction, a bounce here and there, but ultimately a crash is unavoidable.  The market always crashes, it's the nature of investing.  We hit euphoria and ultimately get the worst hangover ever.  Mean reversion.

OR maybe we do continue to fly higher and higher and never come back down.  But if you believe that lets be honest you shouldn't be investing.  Play some defense.  Take some profits from the 5 year bull and see how things play out.  Also note my time frame may be different than yours.  Trade according to your plan.

Good luck and trade em well!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, March 31, 2014

LETHAL: To Family, Friends, Followers

To Family, Friends, and Followers

I don't normally like to give stock tips or advice, but I feel compelled to keep you aware of possible scenarios that could happen.  When I see ads for pulling equity out of your homes to put in the market, house flipping tips, or jumping into the new IPOs (KING, BOX, etc) it raises some red flags.  Not saying it will happen soon but something you should definite think about or ask your financial advisor.

I jumped into trading because it can be very lucrative, but more so because of my fears.  I fear that I would one day be blindsided when I'm close to retirement and my 401k or IRA "investment"  loses 40-50%.  People say it will never happen to them until it does.  You can ask the millions in 1987, 2001, 2007 and many more before that.  For me I like to have a plan and not be caught off guard.  Being mentally stuck and hoping/wishing my stock will come back is a horrible horrible feeling.  We've all said this "when it gets back up to X I will sell or if it drops to Y I will sell", but never do.  Have a plan!   2013 was an amazing year for all 401k holders.  This is not a normal year!  The music will eventually stop.

I'm not saying the market is going to crash, I'm just saying have a plan and play defensively.  Here is a simple way of how you can protect yourself.  Plot a moving average on a long term chart either on a weekly or monthly basis.  Depending on your risk tolerance you can use a shorter intervals if you are risk adverse or those that can withstand bigger drawdown use something longer.  You can use intervals that may "fit" the chart better such as on this monthly chart I used 24 (2 year average).  As you can see it's not a perfect but its a simple plan and you can manage it once a month.  The moving average is the average price of the stock for X number of intervals (20 is 20 day average) and plotted as each day passes using the new closing price and replacing the old.  These charting tools are available through Yahoo Finance! and Google Finance.

Imagine if you exited the stock market when the S&P500 crossed below the blue line.  I would have saved many people thousands, even millions and a lot of heart ache.  All you have to do is adjust your exits once a month as the blue line changes.  Human emotions are always a factor.  So I suggest using STOPs on all your stocks and mutual funds (if you have mutual funds you should probably exit those because the fees are ridiculous anyways.  We can talk about it another time).  Stops are automatic entries that will exit your stock when it hits the price point.  With Charles Schwab they have a feature called Good till Cancel (GTC, typically last 60 days).  Example below.  This will ensure that you exit the stock.


1. Long Term Investor.  Being a long term investor is just a definition of time/horizon.  People make money by trading day by day and there are people making money trading year by year.  My generation is considered the lost decade.  If you started investing in your 401K in 2000 you would have a gain of 0% as of April 2013!  I started investing in my retirement fund in 2005 when I started working and it just started appreciating in 2013.  I was lucky enough to pay more attention to it and doing much better.

2. Excuses.  Excuses are the reason why we say I wish I did this, I wish I did that.  Ifs are the same thing.  How many times did you say it in 2000 and 2007?  The next crash will be the same. And yes, shoulda woulda coulda

3. Taxes.  These are retirement funds buying and selling in and out of stocks shouldn't be a concern.  It's better to have to owe than have carryover losses.  Owing means you've made money. Just don't withdraw until your age limit.  And many of you make much more than I do so I would consult a tax advisor.

4.  Hope. Hoping a stock will come back up is not a strategy/plan.  Hope will eat you alive.

Here is a story by a trader named William O'Neil.
It's the story of an old man and his turkey trap. There was an old man with a turkey trap that consisted of a box held up by a prop. Wild turkeys would follow a trail of corn under the box. When enough turkeys were inside, the old man would pull a string attached to the prop, thereby dropping the box over the turkeys inside. The goal was to trap as many turkeys as possible. One day he had 12 turkeys in the box. One wandered out, leaving 11 behind. "Gosh, I wish I had pulled the string when all twelve were there," said the old man. "I'll waft a minute and may be the other one will come back." But while he waited for the 12th turkey to return, two more walked out "I should have been satisfied with eleven," the old man said. As soon as I get one more back I'll pull the string." But the turkeys kept wandering out the old man couldn't give up the idea that some of the original number would return. With a single turkey left the old man said, "I'll waft until he walks out or another goes in, then I'll quit" The last turkey joined the others and the old man returned empty-handed

5. Act and be Accountable.  Any action you take you should be accountable.  Can't blame others for your actions.  Whether I'm right or wrong I'm making the decision.

6.  Laziness.  Don't get lazy.  This is a 10 minute task to do once a month!  And after the market does crash the music will eventually play again.  Don't be lazy, find new investments in the recovery.

Here is some additional reading that I think is worth noting.

Hopefully this helps.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New to shorting? Here's a trick to pick your short trades

Shorting is considered much harder to trade than going long.  But ultimately you use the same techniques as going long.  You look for support and resistance, patterns and always always obey your stops.  Especially since going short your losses are unlimited if the trade goes against you.

There's also psychological aspects of going short.  Maybe people think its unamerican but personally if you can go long and short in this business you're risking some great opportunities.

I like to have some short stocks on hand as a hedge even if the market is going up.  I've made the mistake of fighting the trend many of times, you just have to learn and fix.

Here are 3 great examples of how I look for shorts.

I look for charts like TWTR for example and I'll invert it (usually in my head).  Here is an example

If this inverted view looks BULLISH, then it would present a good short opportunity.  See how its found support at 58-60 (which is really resistance) and its creating this "bullish" saucer.  I do this because we're so accustom to looking at charts on a Long basis.  This method just presents a different perspective.

Here is another pattern I look for.  Charts stuck in a channel pattern, such as LNKD.  This is great for short term traders using the channel as "bands" to trade long and short.

AAPL has also shown a pattern of resistance.  As long as it can't get above the resistance line there's no point to holding this stock long.  But it's definitely tradeable.  If anything this chart has a higher possibility of trading lower if it were to break 520.  Invert the chart and you'll see it.

AAPL Normal

AAPL Inverted

Hope this helps! Let me know what you think!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Effects of QE and whats happened since we've tapered

Everyone has said this market rally is due to Quantitative Easing.  Lets see if that's true....

How has gold performed? Could this mean lower prices? (I am currently long GLD and RGLD)

I personally think it is too soon to tell if tapering will effect this market.  Definitely needs more time to play out.  But it looks like the gold market lost its effect of QE long ago so possibly this market will too.  Time will tell.  Let me know what you think

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recap of Charts Posted 1.20.14

These charts have been posted on my Stocktwits feed and you can review my comments.  Some of them work out and others just weren't ready.  These are my opinions and personal analysis.  Take into account your time frame, strategy, risk and always obey your stops.  Please feel free to ask questions or would like my opinion on a chart.  Also many charts from my previous posting is still valid, take a look.

Current Long Positions: AMZN, CF, SFUN, SPLK, TWTR
Current Short Positions: SBUX, BWLD (entered yesterday), CMG (entered today), WFM (entered today)
*I am net long 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Setups from 1.15.2014

Potential Setups.  These are my opinions and personal analysis.  Take into account your time frame, strategy, risk, and always obey your stops.  Please feel free to ask questions or would like my opinion on a chart.

Current positions Long: TW, SFUN, SPLK, CF
Current Positions Short: SBUX