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My Options trading 2015 year end report and goals for 2016


UPDATE 03/01/2016

 
A few months into the new year I realized that my trading strategy and goals for 2016 had to be changed. My SPX trading didn’t work and didn’t make money. In January I lost substantial money and in February I was going for a large loss too.

I was very close to wiping out my account. I realized that I had to stop trading SPX spreads and return back to my original options trading strategy which worked well before I switched to SPX – selling puts against dividend paying stocks (meaning using dividend stocks as underlying and not the index; I do not own the stocks against which I will be selling the puts).

Below is my updated 2015 review and new goals for 2016 reflecting my trading strategy [with comments added].
 
 
 

In my last post I reviewed my dividend investing of 2015 and set goals for 2016. Today, I would like to provide a similar report on my options trading.

I decided to learn trading options four years ago to create additional income which I could use to buy dividend stocks in my ROTH IRA account (increase savings and contributions) and possibly use that additional income to help our family budget, pay off the debt, travel, etc.

It was a bumpy road, but I thought I learned a lot during that period of time when I started trading in 2011. I learned a lot, but realized I still have to learn a lot. As soon as I thought I knew how to trade successfully and make a consistent income, Mr. Market showed me that I didn’t learn everything I needed to be successful.

If you follow my blog and my monthly investing and trading reports, you can see my trading journey and hopefully learn from it yourself.

I started trading in mid of 2011 with $2,000 account and before the end of the year I worked my small account up to almost $8,000. I was proud of my achievement and I felt as a great trader ever. I quadrupled my account in a few months! What a great trader I was! And what power options trading had to boost my portfolio almost thru the roof.

Having no plan and basically not knowing what I was doing I continued trading. And I traded my account back down to $2,000. At some point my portfolio value dropped below $2,000 and I even lost my margin from the broker. By mid of 2012 I was broke again. For the next 6 months I stopped trading and investing, thinking what to do next.

In many books and on the interned I read that a trader should learn from his mistakes and stop doing them again. I was clueless. I didn’t even know what my mistakes were. I was not able to identify them not even learn from them and find out how to avoid them.

Before the end of 2012 I started saving some cash and started trading naked puts [against underlying stocks] as these seemed worked well for me. And yes, they worked great. Soon I added naked calls to my arsenal of trading tools. [That showed to be a great mistake!] I was trading short strangles selling OTM (out-of-the-money) naked puts and naked calls against low priced stocks such as Taser (TASR) – (my favorite one).

Soon my account skyrocketed to $28,000 equity value and $21,000 net-liq (net liquidation) value. Can you believe it? I worked my account from $2,000 to $21,000 net-liq and $28,000 cash value!

Then the best trade of my live came. I could take a trade where I could make $14,000 in a single trade!

You can guess what the result was, right?

I lost $14,000 in a few attempts of trying to save the “greatest trade of my life ever”. I lost money and every trade I took to reverse the losing streak ended as a disaster. This journey is best visible on the following chart:

 
My trading vs. account
 

Dreadful, right? [Well, it was dreadful and no wonder when I deviated grossly from a trading strategy which worked well before and became greedy!)]

 

 · My 2015 goals review

 

Because I was still clueless, I wasn’t able to set a meaningful goal for 2015. All I was able to write down was:

My goal for 2015 would therefore be to focus on money management and wealth creation and preservation.
I advise my readers to trade only 30% of available cash and keep the rest in reserves for trade repairs. I was constantly breaking this rule. This year my goal will be to strictly follow this rule.

Well, yea. Great goal! And what about strategy? What is that money management I was talking about and wanted to follow? Trade only 30% of available cash? Not only was I breaking that rule heavily I had no clue how to apply that rule at all! I had no clue and no plan on how to trade, limit losses, and be always on the right side of the market.

The result?

At first the account held the level, but then a free fall started and I was losing money even more and faster than in 2014. And I still wasn’t able to do anything about it!

At some point it looked like that no matter what trade I took, I was always on the wrong side of the market.

Any time I opened a bullish trade, the market fell. When I opened a bearish trade, the market went up. I was like a small ship in the middle of the ocean being tossed around by a storm and having no sails and steering wheel available to navigate the ship. The market literally did whatever it wanted with me. At some point I was so depressed that I wanted to stop trading at all. I was hopeless, clueless, and mentally down. I started to believe that trading options is a sucker’s game and all those winning traders out there are liars. You cannot win!

But, no matter how depressive and bad my trading was, it had some benefits to me. Here is what it helped me to do:

 
1) I was able to define my trading strategy [That was a lie I was telling to myself.]

This was a good step towards successful trading. [No, it wasn’t.] I finally defined my trading strategy. I now know what I want to trade, when to trade, and how to trade it. That’s a good start. I now understand my trades and what to expect from them and be finally on the right side of the market. [Yes, once I realized that my strategy was totally wrong I updated it along with this update.]

At the beginning, I was trading options against regular stocks and dividend stocks as well as $SPX (S&P 500 index). But I had to deal with earnings, turbulences in stock volatility, and mostly assignments. [Later I learned that this was just an excuse and a lie to myself for actually being greedy and deviating from my original plan.] In a few occasions I lost money because one leg of my spread got assigned (usually the leg which was against me) so I couldn’t give the stock enough time to grow back above the endangered strike, for example the recent stock I got assigned was a spread against AGU. The result was $1,500 dollars loss due to forced liquidation of unwanted position (I also received a margin call for that trade). [But this was my original plan from day one! This was the strategy which turned my account from $2,000 into $21,000! I wanted to get assigned! But as soon as I overtraded my account and tried to do whatever it took to avoid the assignment, the troubles occurred and I started losing again.]

I stopped trading spreads against stocks or any American style options. From that time on I only trade spreads against $SPX which cannot be assigned early (European style option). It also has a tax benefit as trading options against SPX is treated under IRS 1256 Contract with a 60/40 rule which is better for short term trades, where 40% of all trades are treated as short term capital gain and 60% as long term capital gain. You won’t get this advantage with stock options or non-index options. If you hold any other option contract less than 35 days it is automatically treated as short term capital gain and you pay heavy taxes on your gains. With SPX trades you do that only on 40% of all your trades and the wash rule doesn’t apply with SPX either. [This actually showed up as the biggest mistake I made. It was a wrong strategy and it didn’t work no matter how much I tried to excuse it, defend it, modify it, or re-learn it.]

 
2) I was able to learn from my mistakes [Another lie!]

Although I defined a strategy, I still continued losing money. I was still desperate and depressed. I couldn’t understand it. I had a great strategy, I was able to open a trade so far away from the market that I would never be affected by the market’s fluctuations and never be on the wrong side. I felt invincible.

Yet, there was a catch. I thought that if the market falls hard, there would be a fast recovery too, because to fall this hard and deep it would be a flash crash or similar thing and from such oversold market it must recover quickly.

It doesn’t have to. It can be down long enough to break your neck. And I learned this lesson in August 2015 when the market fell hard and I ended up with 5 losing trades which were more than I could afford to lose. By creating a weekly ladder I exposed myself to bigger loss than I could handle. Panicking at the scale of potential losses I tried to save the trades, roll them, reverse them.

It worked with only 1 trade out of the 5 endangered ones. See the chart below:

 
My trading vs. account
 

This was a lesson I was finally able to learn from.

[Everything you just read in the paragraphs above is a bullshit. Lie, lie, lie, and a lie. I was deceiving myself to make myself look like a great trader.]

 
3) Still refusing to take a small loss [This didn’t work either!]

In trading there goes a saying: “if you are not willing to take a small loss now, you will be forced to take a mother of all losses later.” I still believed that if a trade goes against me I can manage the trade by rolling it away in time, or roll it away in time and higher, or even convert a bullish trade into a bearish trade.

This strategy worked with some trades, but not with all of them. At some point I had trades where I could take a small loss of $50 or $100 dollars, instead, I decided to wait hoping that the market will go higher and expire worthless and I make thousands of dollars I collected in premiums.

Yes, I collected a lot of credit, but I also increased risk. An original trade was risking $900 dollars, the final version of that trade after all the conversions, rolls, and adjustments, risked $4,000 dollars. What a foolish idiot I was!

As you can see, this cost me a lot when I reached a point when I was no longer able to convert a heavily losing trade. Of course, it could cost me more, as you can see in the table above, I risked $4,465 for a trade which ended up with $2,965 loss at the end. So better than $4,465 loss. But at one point all I saw was the credit of $1,500 dollars I collected and hoped to keep it. I had to give up more than that.

I realized that salvaging a trade is a dead end and decided to stop doing it anymore.

[This is good one (BS). Yes, I stopped taking a big loss, but I continued taking many small losses wiping my account further down. Don’t believe anything I just said in the paragraph above. It was that I again thought I was a great trader and finally got the edge. All I got was depression.]

I spoke with some other traders over Twitter, Facebook, or Stocktwits and one trader told me that he never rolls spreads. He either lets it die or close it early for a small loss. But fixing a trade is a nonsense.

 
4) My capital gains/losses in 2015

From my trading operations only (overhead and other gains or expenses excluded) I lost -$7,895.08 (adjusted for 2015 year only). That represents 67% of my portfolio value. However, due to some trades carried over from 2014, my total net-liq loss represented -$9,166.86 or 78.31% portfolio value loss.

Here is a table of my monthly records. Some trades prior to adjustment may not be recorded also some carry-over trades may be missing as I started creating this chart later and some trades I back-added. My 2016 year should be already accurate as I developed a method of effectively recording those trades without mistakenly omitting some or misreporting others.

 
My trading vs. account
(Click here to enlarge)
 

Note the discrepancy between total loss in the table and reported loss from my account gain-keeper software. It could be because of back dating some records into the table and I might have missed some trades.

 

 · My 2016 goals

 

Here is my new [(old)] trading strategy for trading during 2016.

Based on this new strategy, I am also updating my goals (see below).

 
1) I stopped trading the “ladder”.

I no longer trade a ladder. It cumulates trades and if the market gets into longer term trouble I end up with several trades in potential danger and bigger losses than if I only trade one trade at a time.

I will only trade one trade at a time based on Bollinger bands (BB) and 50% regression channel. If the prices of the market go down to the lower BB band or regression channel I will start adding put spreads upon trend reversal. If the market goes to the upper BB band or regression channel, I will start adding call spreads upon trend reversal.

 
2) I will trade 45 > DTE spreads as well as < 4 DTE spreads

I will be trading one contract at a time using longer term options with 45 > DTE (day to expiration) as well as one trade with < 4 DTE. With the loss limiting protection set forth below I feel comfortable to take such short trade.

 
3) Portfolio risk limit in 2016

I will trade spreads and open as many contracts as possible to only risk 10% of the entire portfolio at a time. Because I lost substantial money last year and current portfolio value wouldn’t allow me to trade basically anything, I will trade:

1) One trade/contract with 45 > DTE with max risk $1,000 in 2016 and
2) Two trades/contracts with < 4 DTE with max risk another $1,000 in 2016.

I will be trading this structure as long as the portfolio value grows enough to allow me to increase the number of contracts (which I do not expect this year at all). However, this can be by-passed when trading Iron Condors for example. I will maximize the margin available with Condors. If for example the market falls from highs and I open a bear call spread and the market falls down to a support and then reverses back up, I can add a bull put spread creating an Iron Condor which will not increase the risk of the portfolio and margin. With Condor, you can never lose on both side only one side.

 
4) Defending my trades 2016

Although, the maximum trade risk set up above is $1,000 per trade I will never let that risk to be converted in a full loss anymore. I will not roll any trade and I will use delta of the short strike to liquidate the trade if it goes against me early.

This was my biggest hard thing to do. I always feared that once I close the trade the market reverses and will go up (or down if call spread is the touched side) and I will take unnecessary loss. Well, look at it this way, we can always go back into that trade should that happen, right?

The maximum loss occurs only if the price of underlying stock, in this case SPX index goes thru both of the strikes at expiration. Even if this happens a few days before expiration, you will not see a full loss. For example I had a trade with total risk $1,500 per trade which went completely bust. Even 7 days prior to expiration it was trading for $1,470. So the full loss really happens at expiration. Anything prior to that there will be some value in the option spread (usually a time value).

In 2016 I will use delta 30 as my limit. If the price reaches any short option strike of the spread I will close that trade (at some occasions I may choose to deviate and set a different delta, for example I had a trade where I was so close to the market that using delta 30 would mean closing that trade almost right away after opening it, so I decided to use delta 40. The potential loss at that delta for that trade was only $40 dollars, so such adjustment was justified even by potential loss amount.)

There will be no questions, hesitations, or excuses to this rule. Even if the market reverses and continues back up higher after I was stopped out (or I can think that something like that may happen after I close the trade), I will still close that trade. I can put the trade back up if the market reverses and eliminate or lower the loss by a new trade. Should the market continue lower, by doing that I saved the trade, and I can always put a new trade back on once the trend reverses. A new trade would also help eliminating or minimizing the loss.

This was my biggest dilemma and I wasn’t able to handle this, ever. I always had a fear of losing the gain potential if I closed a potentially dangerous trade. What if it turns up and goes up without me. This weird fear of lost opportunity forced me to try to save a trade instead of closing it, taking the loss and move on.

The short term trades will be closed upon a touch and not delta value. If the market touches the short strike, I will close 1/2 of the trade and let the other half run until expiration if the price “dances at floor” (meaning stays bouncing at the strike price, or be ATM – at-the-money). Should the price continue rapidly down so it would endanger the protective option strike, the other half will be closed immediately too. If I have only one contract instead of two, then the entire contract will be closed upon a touch.

 
5) My capital gain goal for 2016

I have two expectations and goals for 2016 as far as profit expectations.

For the < 4 DTE trades my goal is to achieve a consistent 6% – 8% gain per week. This is not a gain per portfolio, but per trade! Per portfolio it would be approx. 1.2% gain per week.

If we open a spread with $500 dollar max. risk/spread width and collect $30 dollars premium, our total risk will be $470 dollars and our potential gain 6.38% ( 30/470 = 6.38%) if the trade expires that week.

For the long term trades I will use 50% credit capturing strategy (meaning that once the spread loses value enough to buy it back and keep at least 50% of the collected credit, I will close the trade). With trades, where 50% collected credit would be less than $30, I will place a buy back order so I keep 50% or $30 dollars minimum credit.

With this strategy, the average holding time of the open trade seems to be 23 days (but December 2015 it was only 6 days). From the last year records it appears that I can achieve a gain of 3% per month (or 23 days) average gains. So in 2016 my goal will be to achieve a consistent 3% gain per month on the longer period trades.

[My goal for 2016 is to rebuild my trading account back to the level prior to losses and end up with $21,000 Net-Liq value. I know, it is a very bold plan, but I did it once, I will do it again.]

[My second goal for 2016 is achieve min. $1,000 income monthly from options by the end of the year.]

 
6) Posting my trades in 2016

I will continue posting my trades in my closed Facebook Group for others to see how these trades are doing and how I am following this plan. Eventually, you can learn from those trades too! The group is closed and limited to 50 members only. The new members will be accepted only if any old members leave the group.

 
 

 
 

 
I believe, that this is a solid plan with a solid strategy on placing and protecting the trades. Losses or losing trades will happen, but with the strategy laid out above we can minimize them and reverse the money losing streak. What do you think? If you are an experienced trader, let me know your opinion

 

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Posted by Martin January 05, 2016
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Atlanta FED voted for rate hike but lowered GDP forecast again!


Data (in)dependent Janet Yellen and her FED cronies decided to raise rates to show us their good faith in the US economy. By raising the rates FED was “signaling their faith” pointing to “improvement of the labor market” but completely ignoring all economic data indicating that the US economy is in reality slowing down and that we are at the beginning of another recession.

Fed hasn’t increased rates with ISM index below 50 since 1986 when they raised them but were forced to lower them again a few months later when a recession hit the US in 1987 (source: Hedgeye).

 
Confidence
 

Unfortunately, an improvement of the labor market made mostly of part time jobs for economic reasons (where multiple people work full time job and a part time job, because a full time job will not provide them with enough salary to spend) will not provide enough confidence for American consumers to spend their money! And sure enough. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index has been declining since September and now reached the worst level since the end of QE3 (source Zerohedge). Americans feel that their economic situation isn’t as easy as it was before 2008. Many feel that they are worse off than before.

 
Confidence
Source: Zerohedge, Bloomberg
 

Atlanta Fed head Dennis Lockhart called U.S. growth “solid” yet they lowered the US GDP forecast for four times since November. Not so long ago, they lowered the GDP forecast from 3.4% to 2.2% in November 2015, then they supported the rate hike to show faith in the US economy while at the same time admitting that it is actually slowing down and now they lowered the GDP forecast to 0.7%!

 
Confidence
 

What is this telling us? It indicates that Yellen has never been data dependent, pushed herself into a corner by talking about rate hikes but not doing it and at the end raising rates just to satisfy Wall Street expectations, and save their already questionable “credibility”. The whole rate hike and optimistic US economy forecasts from FED are as phony as the entire recovery indicating what everybody probably knows anyway that FED has either no clue what’s going on or try deliberately lie themselves out of this mess and hoping that it may end well. It will not.

What’s ahead of us is quite scary.
 

 

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My Dividend investing 2015 year end report and goals for 2016


If you follow my blog you know that I developed from a chaotic, ignorant investor (sucker) into a dividend investor and later progressed into a chaotic, ignorant options sucker (hoping one day progressing into a trader).

 
A few years ago I created a plan to build a dividend portfolio for my retirement and learn options trading to create an income stream to invest into the dividend portfolio.
 

As of today, I am still partially failing with this plan.

I can proudly claim that I am successful in creating and building my dividend portfolio, which is growing satisfactorily but that trading part is still lacking any good results. Actually I must admit, that I suck in trading. But I learned my expensive lesson and hope in 2016 I will be successful again.

This post will review my dividend investing throughout 2015 and sets my goals for 2016. I plan on writing about options trading in 2015 and goals for 2016 in my next post.

 

 · My accounts review

 

I do not hold all my money in one account. I have a few more accounts because I believe in diversification not only inside a portfolio but also among brokers. Do you remember a scam of Bernie Madoff? Some people invested with him all their money. Instead of retiring, they have to continue working to be able to retire with at least some pension. They lost everything.

I am not saying that the broker I invest with is a scam or will go belly up, but it may happen. It happened once and it can happen again if a broker house gets itself too close to the margin limits. This happened in 2003 when the dot com bubble blasted and many brokers were left with uncovered margin calls and had to foot the bill. It happened again in a currency market in January 2015 when the Swiss National Bank de-coupled the Swiss Franc from Euro and forex brokers found themselves insolvent.

That’s the reason for me to spread my investments among several accounts (but still keep it on a reasonable and manageable level).

Because of that, I have a trading account with some play money to trade options – I call the account as “TD account”

Then I have money invested in a 401k account where I invest into dividend/distribution paying mutual funds. I do not report this account, as there is nothing to report much. All I did in 2015 was some rebalancing to trim gains from health sector and large caps and moved them into basic materials and energy which were underperforming. I also increased my contribution into 401k by 1% along with my salary raise. So as of now I contribute 7% and my employer adds another 3%. If in 2016 I get a raise (usually in June) then I will be again raising my contributions by 1% too.

I also have money in Scottrade account and motif investing. In both accounts I use strictly dividend growth investing and do not mix trading styles. With Motif investing I liked the idea of fractional purchases of the stocks. First you create a desired portfolio of stocks you want and then you are buying the entire portfolio and money you use are spread and spend into all stocks in the portfolio according to your desired target allocation. I loved this idea because in my regular ROTH IRA account I couldn’t afford to buy some stocks I wanted to own, for example at some point it was a Visa (V) stock. Before split, it traded for $200 or more dollars and I didn’t have enough cash to buy this stock (and I didn’t want to buy one or two shares only). Using Motif Investing was a great idea to buy all stocks at once with little money. With Motif investing I can invest the same way as you invest into mutual funds only this is your own mutual fund you create yourself.

Lastly, I have my ROTH IRA account where I use dividend investing and some options trading. This report and all reports on this blog is about this account.

 

 · My 2015 goals review

 

I didn’t set any specific goals for my ROTH IRA account for 2015 as I considered investing in this account as a secondary task and I mostly focused on my trading account and trading results.

It came a lot later to me to work on my ROTH IRA account more than I originally wanted.

During 2015 I made the following steps:

 
1) I activated a DRIP program

I did this because this year I started teaching my kids how to invest money into dividend stocks. I started their own accounts and set up DRIP for them as I wasn’t sure whether they would be able to manage dividend reinvesting the way I was doing it. For their age I considered my method too complicated. DRIP was easy.

Before, I used no-transaction-fee ETF into which I invested all dividends and contributions and once I saved enough, I sold the ETF and bought a stock.

Once I saw how easy and effortless the DRIP was in my kids’ accounts I decided to switch and use DRIP too.

 
2) I decided to start options trading in ROTH too

At some point I polished my options trading strategy so well that I felt invincible and my strategy almost perfect. So I decided to use it in my ROTH IRA account too. Well, Mr. Market showed me that my strategy wan nowhere near to perfection and I lost money.

I stopped trading opt6ions in this account until I learn better. I still have one bad trade in that account which will cost me money and I will be closing it soon (most likely for a large loss). However, I plan on returning options trading in this account as an income generating strategy.

 
3) I renewed my contributions

During 2015 my family budget prevented me from contributing into my account (that was one of the reasons why I hoped for options as an income tool to substitute my contributions – and I still hope for it). At the end of the year I was able to renew small contributions into this account and partially use bonus to contribute.

 
4) My dividend income in 2015

My dividend income was at a satisfactory level considering that many of my stock holdings (mainly in the energy sector) cut the dividends. I noticed a drop in income on a monthly basis, but overall year end result was surprising to me.

In 2014 my dividend income was $1,096.28 and in 2015 I ended up with $1,074.90 dividend income; only $21.38 dollars less. Considering dividend cuts in KMI (true, KMI will show the drop later this year) or LGCY stocks, it is not a bad result at all and it actually came in as a surprise to me.

 
Here is my dividend income on annual basis:

Annual dividend
 

I contribute this result to the DRIP program which helped to offset the losses of income from the dividend cuts.

When reviewing my portfolio, my overall portfolio dividend yield is now 9.43% (thanks to some stocks price drop such as AGNC, LGCY, or KMI). Not bad if those companies continue paying their dividend.

 
5) My capital gains/losses 2015

When I started trading options, overall I realized -$801.89 (-0.99%) loss in 2015
My unrealized gain/loss for 2015 is -$2,648.04 (-7.17%)

Part of that unrealized loss is the option trade I was talking about above which will most likely end up bad in two weeks, unless the market jumps up a bit, which is unlikely, or I do not expect it. The rest is stocks which were beaten down significantly during last two years, such as KMI, LGCY, AGNC, etc. and I still sit on a loss. However, in dividend investing I do not consider capital value of the portfolio and unrealized loss important. I consider dividend income important and I believe, that my portfolio is already stable (I do not expect more dividend cuts) so I should now be well,

Remember, I am investing for the next 20 – 25 years. In this time period I can afford to wait for some stocks to come back up from current losses.

 
6) My stock holdings EOY 2015

Here are my holdings of stocks I have in my portfolio:

Holdings
 

 

 · My 2016 goals

 

 
1) Contributions

I will continue contributing my small money into ROTH. I can only afford $50 dollars per month and bonuses throughout the year. I will keep all contributions in my account as cash until I save at least $1,000 dollars to buy another set of shares to minimize commissions’ impact.

Typically, I will be able to contribute at least $1,000 semiannually my bonus (part of my bonus) and that money will be used directly to buy new shares or invest into existing holdings (accumulate).

 
2) Dividend investing

I plan on continuing using DRIP program reinvesting all dividends into the companies I hold. I will continue building up the portfolio by adding more shares of the companies I want to have such as AT&T (T), Verizon (V), Chevron (CVX), Abbvie (ABBV), Walmart (WMT), etc. I will focus on high yield (but safe) stocks with high yield growth and long dividend history. The stocks listed here are just an example and not the actual list although these are stocks I want in my portfolio so I will be buying them at some point in 2016 or following years. I will be performing my selection process individually when the time comes.

I will only invest minimum $1,000 dollars or more into each company at one time only to save money on commissions.

 
3) Options trading

I will be trading options in ROTH selling spreads against $SPX (S&P 500 index), but I will only limit the trades to risk $500 at this point and no more. Overall, I will risk no more than 10% of my account, which means that in 2016 I can risk no more than $1,500 dollars. That gives me an opportunity to take up to (3) $500 dollar trades at one time (3 contracts), but I will start with one contract only and grow to those three contracts slowly and gradually.

I will trade short term (less than 4 days to expiration), 5 dollars spreads. I will not compound any gains should they occur (meaning increasing number of contracts traded). I will only increase the number of contracts as long as the value of the entire portfolio increases so my total risk will still be within 10% limit.

The goal will be to reach consistent 5% – 8% gain every week trading SPX spreads. There will be drawdowns in options trading and I am aware of it. In a losing week I may realize up to 50% loss, but that wouldn’t be a loss of the entire portfolio, but of the dedicated trading limit (in this case $1,500 limit for 2016). That can be a wipe out of approx. 7 weeks of trading.

All profits will however be kept in cash reserve and once they reach $1,000 amount I will invest them into a dividend paying stock.

As of now, my goal is to reach 5% – 8% weekly profit and $360 monthly cash income from options in 2016 in my ROTH IRA account.

I will write details on trading this strategy in my next post about options trading review and goals for 2016 where I will be lining up the strategy, opening trades, trade management, and trade protection.
 

Please let me know what is your investing plan and what do you think about mine. What would you add to it if it was your account and your money to invest?
 






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Dividend stock picks and market outlook for 2016


I expect 2016 to be a bad year as we are heading towards a recession. I still believe FED had it wrong and raising rates was a bad move, although it was a minor hike, it will still do the damage.

Generally, higher rates is an economic brake preventing fast growing economy from overheating. We do not have fast growing economy. The growth is mediocre at best. Stepping on a break now is futile.

I have heard many saying that FED had to raise rates to save their credibility. What the heck is that? So are we saving our economy or FED’s credibility? We all know that FED has no credibility at all! All their economic predictions were always wrong in 70% of the occurrences.

I believe, FED actually lost the rest of their credibility by raising rates instead of saving it. Why? Yellen was always assuring us that she was data dependent. By raising rates now when incoming data are actually bad, GDP is slowing, PMI index is in recession (the index came in at 48.7 in November and 42.9 in December; any number below 50 is considered recessionary) proved she never was data dependent and she was actually lying! Or she increased rates just to please Wall Street’s expectations.

Yellen is truly a true Democrat dumb enough to raise rates into slowing economy. FED did this move in 1986, just to lower the rates again in 1987 as the recession hit the country. FED again didn’t foresee what was coming. They do not see it again today.

And once again the pundits on Wall Street are all optimistic and laughing at those who are warning about coming recession. I remember Peter Schiff warning about recession coming, warning since 2005 until 2008 about what FED, commercial, and investment banks were doing to the economy and mainly credit and housing market. Everybody laughed and mocked him.

I watched a video on Hedgeye website portraying a chief economist with BNP Paribas Senior U.S. Economist Laura Rosner predicting how great 2016 will be and that the growth will be driven by a consumer’s (thus us) spending. What spending was she talking about? All data on personal income and consumption point to slow growth (personal income grew only 1.7% annually during last seven years compared to 4.32% the pre-recession seven years, source FRED). In other words, people do not have enough income to spend these days! They do not feel comfortable spending (if they were spending their hard earned money, it would have had an impact on prices and consumer spending data).

I live in a region which sees economic growth and busy days in construction, yet I do not feel comfortable spending as I was before the Great Recession. It is also driven by the structure of jobs we are being told by this administration. Economists and FED are cheering about job reports, but when you take a look at the Labor Department, and see what was the jobs made of, the picture is actually sad and nothing to cheer about.

Involuntary part time workers increased, and most of the gains were in retail (15%) and healthcare (24%). The rest was construction (12%) and professional services such as book keeping or computer services (7.5%), etc. Most of the jobs are seasonal, part time jobs, and construction. The construction sector is quite related to the housing market growth which may actually be tampered by the recent interest hike and as a result slow down.

 

 · Dividend stock picks for 2016

 

Although, I am expecting 2016 year to be bad with either a major correction or a recession, it can be actually good for dividend growth investors.

A typical dividend growth investor does not look at the value of his portfolio. At least I do not look at it. I mean that it is not important to me whether my portfolio goes down or up. All I like to see is that my income from that portfolio is up and growing (or in bad years at least same). Then, I do not care much if my portfolio loses 15% in a a bad year. All what matter is that my dividend income is stable and growing.

The only time I look at the value of my portfolio and stock prices is when I can see an opportunity to buy my stocks cheap. If you are using DRIP and reinvest dividends, low stock prices are a blessing to every dividend investor. That’s the only reason why I would be concerned about stock prices and value of my portfolio.

Looking at the portfolio value also requires another perspective – time.

If you are at the beginning of the journey and started building your portfolio a few years ago or even starting this year, then every stock market collapse is actually your friend and you should welcome it with open arms.

It is easy said but gut wrenching to sit tight and watching your portfolio shrinking in front of your eyes. Many people panic and sell. If we see a blood bath in Wall Street this year, do not panic, take it as a great opportunity and invest into your stocks. Take your time consideration into account. Repeat to yourself that you are going to invest for the next 20 or 25 years and from that time horizon perspective any price collapse is insignificant. You can actually become very aggressive with your investing. You can even apply long term options strategies such as buying LEAPS calls or selling long term LEAPS puts (depends on your guts).

Just look at the market in 2008. When everybody was panicking, selling, and predicting end of the world, those who stayed calm and actually continued purchasing stocks at those beaten prices doubled or tripled their holdings.

SPX

The same goes with today’s energy stocks, mainly those involved in oil. They are beaten up, people are predicting more bad years to come, and end of the world. I even read a comment on Yahoo! from one commenter that oil is finished because of alternative renewable energy and that we will be using electric cars.

Quite laughable argument. Although cars are a significant segment using product from refined oil, it is not the only one. Military, large transportation (mainly maritime transportation – unless we go back using sails) will be using products made of refined oil; or can you imagine a large transoceanic carrier running on wind or solar panels?

Transocean

And what about other products which are made of crude oil? Our roads are made of by-product from crude oil (asphalt), lubricants, plastics, computers, paraffin vax, jet fuels (unless we start using hot air balloons again), and many pharmaceutical products. Yes, gasoline accounts for 46% of all crude oil consumption, but it cannot be eliminated whatsoever as the commenter assumed.

Thus I look at oil companies, mainly those dividend paying companies as a great opportunity to buy them cheap in 2016.

If you will be buying those companies, do not be however, discouraged by their price action. Remember, people will be panicking, selling them, running away, screaming, and predicting end of the world. When investing in those companies, consider your biggest friend – time. You are not investing for the next 12 months. You are investing for the next 20 years. No matter how depressive it may feel investing into crushing stocks today, you stay the course.

 
 
Here are my dividend picks for 2016 (not all are oil companies though):

Company Name Symbol Price Yield Growth Div. History (yrs)
Abbvie Inc. ABBV $59.24 3.85% 0.00% 2
Archer Daniels Midland Co. ADM $36.68 3.10% 13.52% 41
Ameriprise Financial Inc. AMP $106.42 2.50% 30.90% 10
BHP Billiton Plc BBL $22.65 10.90% 7.47% 13
Chevron Corporation CVX $89.96 4.80% 8.62% 20
Ford Motor Co. F $14.09 4.30% 48.33% 3
Cedar Fair LP FUN $55.84 5.50% 87.90% 5
GameStop Corp GME $28.04 5.10% 22.20% 3
Meredith Corp MDP $43.25 4.20% 15.30% 20
Magna International Inc. MGA $40.56 2.20% 28.22% 6
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. POT $17.12 8.90% 69.84% 5
Southside Bancshares, Inc. SBSI $24.02 3.80% 8.33% 5
Targa Resources Corp. TRGP $27.06 13.50% 30.77% 4

 
 

I will not be necessarily investing to all of those stocks as I do not have enough cash, but they are my favorite list of stocks for this year to choose from. I think they can bring nice dividends and dividend growth.

What do you think about these stocks? Which would you choose to invest to?
 






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December 2015 trading, investing, and dividends results


December is over and it is time to review how my trading and dividend investing performed during this month and throughout the year 2015.

I will be posting a few posts about my trading and investing these days. Today, I am posting about the December’s trading and investing results. In my next posts I will be posting my whole year trading and investing results, plans, and goals for 2016. I will post them in separate posts to make it clearer to review for all my readers and followers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for following our blog, reading, and commenting. Also, I would like to thank to all the followers who were interested in following my options trading and subscribed to my Facebook Group where I am posting my options trades against $SPX.

The trades I post in the group should show to everybody my struggle learning profitable trading creating a sustainable income. I also wish to create a legacy so the followers will benefit from my trading and they will be able to use those trades themselves, learn, and create an income themselves.


 


 
You may be interested in:

 
House Hacking: The ABSOLUTE Key to Early FI By FI Fighter with FI Fighter

 
IRELAND By CB3 with CanoeDock

 
How to Stay on Track with Your Debt Payoff Goals this Holiday Season + A Giveaway By Chonce with My Debt Epiphany

 
CONTROL YOUR BUDGET THIS CHRISTMAS By YETISAURUS with YETInvesting

 
Christmas Trees and A Law To Think About By Bryan with Income Surfer

 
Goals for 2016 By Ferdis with DivGro

 


 

If I will be able to reach this goal, I will be happy. So far, I am in the process of creating my own sustainable income from trading.

 

 · December 2015 trading results

In November I became profitable again trading options, but I had a few trades which I tried to save and rolled them into December. It once again showed up as a wrong move. Instead of closing the trade for a few hundred dollars loss, I rolled the trade and created an even bigger loss. I was then forced to close and take a few thousand dollars loss.

This was the biggest lesson I have learned this year that salvaging a trade is a bad idea. It worked with a few trades, but then it stopped working with one trade which destroyed the rest of my effort.

My December 2015 trading ended up with a big loss instead and literally, I am again at the beginning of my trading race. If you follow this blog, you may remember that in 2012 I started trading with $2,000 dollars, overtime I increased my account into $24,000 dollars but later in 2014 and whole year 2016 I erased it all. I am back at the starting point.

I know, it can be discouraging to many people and they cannot stomach these big swings of going from $2k to $24k and back to $2k. Many people will never do that and will never trade. Many may use my results as an evidence that options trading doesn’t work.

Well, it does work if you do it right. Also, I use only a portion of my money as a play money, I still save money in few different accounts. I have a trading account where I used dividend investing and options trading but later I decided to eliminate dividend investing in that account and now use it for options trading only.

I also have 401k account which I invest into dividend paying mutual funds and use employer contributions advantage. I have a ROTH IRA account which I use for dividend growth investing only (at some point I started trading options in there but stopped for now until I learn to be consistent in making money). I also have an account with Scottrade and Motif Investing.

I started Motif investing account because I wanted to take advantage of fractional investing. I love the idea of creating a portfolio of stocks I wanted to own by creating a motif and then investing in those motifs the exact same way as if you invest into a mutual fund. Start investing with Motif and Get Upto $150 bonus. You can also buy my dividend stocks motif

So my trading account is a very small portion of all my money and although in my trading account I lost 78% of my money, it is only about 3% of all my money I have in other accounts.


 


 
You may be interested in:

 
The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Become A Millionaire By Age 30 By Financial Samurai with Financial Samurai

 
Blog Income Report and Traffic Stats – November 2015 (6 months of blogging!) By Cashflowdiaries with Cash Flow Diaries

 
Paying off $14,000 in Student Loans in 3 Years on a $55,000 Salary By Kate Ashford with Magnify Money

 
We are about to hit the independence accelerator By Integrator with Get Financially Integrated!

 
My Christmas Wish List By Mike with The Dividends Guy

 
Goals 2015 – End Of Year Review By Sharon with Financial Freedom to the divorced people

 


 

If you are interested in seeing and following those trades, I created a Facebook closed group in lieu of my newsletters where you can join and see the trades in real time when I post them at the time of opening. It is easier to manage and follow all the trades than via a newsletter and I hope that it will be beneficial for all members of the group who might be interested in trading options and generate an additional income.

To me, at first, I may generate an income of $120 to $360 per month, but as my account will be growing bigger, this amount will grow too.

All trades are spreads against SPX with minimum money to trade as low as $500. If that is something you may be interested in, I recommend you joining the group.

However, if you decided to trade options against SPX, be ready for some hard work, frustration, and tears. Be prepared for your account net-liq fluctuating up and down almost to a break point. Trading is not easy, get rich quick scheme. We will have to work it up slowly, step by step before we become confident, consistent traders.
 

Here is my trading result for the month:

 

December 2015 options trading income: -$2,833.00 (-24.20%)
2015 portfolio Net-Liq: $2,539.72 (-37.47%)
2015 portfolio Cash Value: $2,639.72 (-58.96%)
2015 overall trading account result: -78.53%

 

Here are the results of my options trading:

Options Income
(Click to enlarge)

 
Here are the results of my new options strategy:

Options Income
(Click to enlarge)

 
Here is the entire account value from the beginning of tracking it up to today:

TD Account Value
 

No matter how discouraging this may look I am positive and look forward to 2016 as I hope and believe that I will be able to trade with positive results again and create the desired sustainable and consistent income.

 

 


 
You may be interested in:

 
Is There Such a Thing As Underspending? By Mel with brokeGIRLrich

 
Debt Progress Report – December 2015 By Petrish with Debt Free Martini

 
5 BENEFITS OF HAVING A FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER By Erin M. with Frugal Rules

 
Bert’s 2016 Goals By Dividend Diplomats with Dividend Diplomats

 
Why I Love Giving My Nieces and Nephew One Particular Gift By Evan with My Journey to Millions

 


 

 · December 2015 dividend investing results

Of course, my dividend investing was great and I am pleased with results. I like to see my investments slowly growing as I use DRIP for reinvesting my dividends and buying more shares of the stocks I own.

Even though I had a few shares which suffered and were beaten down by the market for various reasons (some for dividend cuts) I still love the companies and I decided to stay the course. One company which cut dividends significantly (by 75%) was Kinder Morgan (KMI). The stock lost 60% of its value. Some investors decided to sell the stock and took 50% – 60% loss on their holdings I decided to stay, keep the stock, and actually plan on investing more in KMI. It may no longer be a dividend growth investment for me, but I look at it as a capital growth stock for now. If I get some dividends while waiting for recovery, I am fine with it.

And waiting for recovery? What if it takes years? What if it takes next 20 years to recover? Well, why not? I have 20 – 25 years to wait. I do not have to sell it now and take 60% loss! I can wait it out. And what if five years from now the stock goes back up to $25 a share, or $30 a share? Reinvesting dividends and investing more into this company can help me to recover faster. Is it good money being thrown against bad money? As of now, I do not consider it to be. It may change if the company starts losing money, losing their infrastructure of an energy transportation company. Nothing is the case here.

I have a few more companies like that, mostly companies involved in oil. I still take it as an oil recovery play. At some point in the future this oil glut will become a non-issue again and investments I am making today when everybody is running away will pay off. I only have one concern about my MLPs (LGCY and VNR) and that is whether they survive this threat or not. I believe they will but if not, then that will be a loss. But I am willing to take this risk and continue investing into those stocks.

 
 
 

Dividend stocks added or removed from portfolio:

 

December 2015 dividend stock buys: 27 shares
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM)
@ $37.09
December 2015 dividend stock sells: none

 

I had a dilemma this month which stock to add to my portfolio. I was about to invest some of the proceedings from my bonus and I was thinking to continue investing into oil involved companies and add Chevron (CVX), but I also wanted to know what my readers think, so in my last post I added a poll asking you what stock would you invest in if it was you and you could choose only one dividend growth stocks. The winner was ADM. So I decided to take another look at the stock and compare it with CVX. What I liked the most was the dividend growth of ADM.

Here is what I saw:

  ADM CVX
Div. history 41 years 20 years
Div. yield now 3.10% 4.80%
Div. yield in 10 yrs 14.49% 5.66%
Avg. div. growth 13.52% 8.62%

 

What a few more percent of growth can do in ten years! This made me to change my opinion as I wanted that growth! So I decided to buy ADM instead. I will of course purchase CVX next time as I have a few stocks which I like to invest in, but one step a time!

Byt the way, this is why I like Motif Investing as in that account I could already buy it as a fractional investment while in my ROTH IRA I have to wait to save enough money before I invest.
 
 

 

 
 

snowball

I also continued reinvesting my dividends using DRIP program. I love how my holdings grow when reinvesting the dividends and when the stock prices are going lower. As I believe we are heading into a recession I will be able buying more shares for a lot cheaper. For example I own American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC) and as the stock was sliding down I was able to buy 1.451 shares, the following month it was 1.592 shares, the next month 1.648 shares, etc. The more shares I buy the more dividends I receive and the more shares I can buy. It is like a snowball rolling down the hill and becoming bigger and bigger.

 

Dividend stocks DRIP:

 

December 2015 DRIP: ConocoPhillips (COP)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC)
Realty Income Corporation (O)
Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (VNR)
Prospect Capital Corporation (PSEC)

 

Here are my ROTH IRA trading/investing results:

 

December 2015 dividend income: $71.28
December 2015 options income: $0.00
2015 portfolio value: $15,139.89 (1.57%)
2015 overall dividend account result: -13.24%

 

Here my dividend income:

ROTH IRA account value
 

Here is the entire account value from the beginning of tracking it up to today:

ROTH IRA account value

 

 


 
You may be interested in:

 
Age Isn’t A Barrier To Entrepreneurial Ability By Glen with Monster Piggy Bank

 
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7 Ways to Grow Wealth By JT with Dividend Diatribes

 
Why Dividend Growth Investing is Awesome! By JC with Passive Income Pursuit

 


 

Below is my dividend income review for the entire year:

Dividend Income
My ROTH IRA dividend income breakdown per month and per company.
 
 

 · All accounts

Besides trading and dividend accounts I also have 401k account, emergency savings account, etc., which I do not report in detail. You can review those accounts in my “All Accounts Value” table at the bottom of My Trades & Income page.

My accounts dropped from previous month and are losing -3.71% (down from previous month) for the year. This year will be a losing year for my investments.

Remember, if you like trading options and want to have trade ideas for free, join my Facebook closed group and follow my SPX trades in real time, comment, ask questions, and interact with other members.

 
 

 
 

What do you think?

How about your investing or trading results?
 
 






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Gerald Celente on interest rate hike a few days before the hike and recession


Gerald Celente – publisher of the Trends Journal – talking about the US economy. Gerald explains what kind of effect Fed hikes will have on currencies, markets and the global economy at large. And he gives us his take on what’s happening with oil plus much, much more as outlined in his latest Trends Journal.

 

 

Mark my words, the USA will slip into recession by the end of 2016, at 2017 at most.
 






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Posted by Martin December 24, 2015
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Santa, Bonus, Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas

I just finished a trade which gave me a hard time a bit. I was expecting the market to be silent with a bias towards down, so I opened a bear call spread. However, although volume in the market was low, S&P 500 managed to push higher this week and endangered my trade.

Fortunately, it still closed below my short strike and even though I was completely wrong on this trade, I ended up with a profit. You can follow my trades for free at my Facebook Group I created in lieu of the newsletter (because the group is easier to maintain and manage). You can join. It is free and you will be able to track all my options trades and if you like them, you can even mirror those trades.

 

 · What’s next? Will Santa come or not?

 

Santa rally officially starts next week. Usually five days after Christmas and two days into the New Year are considered a Santa rally. But will Santa arrive this year? This week we saw markets recovering from last week’s losses and it pushed higher than I expected. This may be a good push and indication that we may see a Santa rally for the rest of the year.

We will see next week. If the market continues pushing higher, I will be adding some bull put spreads to my options trading account and ride the rally. If weakness persists, I will be adding more bear call spreads. Next week will be important to my next trading.

This will be also important to the overall trend. As I posted a chart of the current trend last time I pointed out that my outlook is bearish. Let me re-post that picture:

SPX trend
(click to enlarge)

And now, let me show you the same picture cleaned a bit without all the noise around. I removed everything which could be distractive and just left the regression channel I use to determine how the market would probably act.

I added big magenta arrows pointing to the upper channel trend lines and lower channel trend lines. Also, in between, you will see a median line. As of today, the market bounced from the median line heading upwards towards the upper channel trend line.

SPX trend
(click to enlarge)

And here comes the fruity part. Before August 2015 the channel was trending up. What changed it? Well the sudden drop in August made the damage. The premise of this charting study is, that the price tends to stay inside the channel as long as it breaks out. If it breaks out, however, it still means nothing to the trend. It must break the channel and stay there for some time. The longer it stays out of the channel, be it below, or above, the more likely the trend is going to change.

And that’s what happened in August 2015 and since then, we have a down sloping trend.

I also added dashed lines on top of each regression channel trends. They project the channel into the future as you can see for yourself, it also shows me how the channel is changing over time.

The channel lines are changing based on the price (I track 9 months time frame) but the dashed lines don’t. They stay static, they do not move. If the channel starts sloping down steeper than it is today, I will see it. If it starts turning upwards, I will also see it as a difference between the new channel trend lines and static dashed lines.

As you can see, as of now, there is no change in trend what so ever. The new channel trend lines are following my dashed lines in a perfect alignment (I put the lines on top of the channel at the end of September). This means, we are heading further down and if nothing changes the prices will be dropping in the near future.

So why is Santa rally important?

Santa can break this downtrend. If in the next 7 or so days the Santa pushes the price towards the upper trend line (somewhere between 2100 – 2110 level) and the price manage to stay there for longer time or will be bouncing at the top of the trend then we may see a reversal in trend and I will become bullish again. If Santa fails, we will again head down.

What’s also positive here is that we are bouncing from the mean level to the upper level and not opposite. This can also move the market higher. But as of now, do not expect much. Rather, expect the market trading inside that sloping channel.

 

 · Bonus, yay! But where to put it?

 

As many of the bloggers who blog about their investing we put some, or all of our yearend bonus towards our investments. I do the same. Part of my bonus goes to my 401k account automatically (it is deducted and saved in my 401 k by my employer before I even see it. The next part will go towards my debt and the last part will go towards my ROTH IRA account where I will invest it into a dividend growth stock.

As every year, I have a dilemma which stock will be that happy one and become my adopted baby. And this year, with prices falling, it is even worse to make a decision.

I will probably invest into oil involved companies as I see an opportunity in this sector. Although I will be overweight in this sector, I think it is OK since I am still building up my portfolio and thus allocation isn’t as much important to me. As oil starts improving, I will focus to other sectors which will depressed at that future time.

Here are stocks I am eyeing to purchase, but didn’t make my mind which one. Can you help me to choose?
 

If you can choose only one dividend stock to buy, which one?


View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

 

If you choose “other”, please let me know which stock you prefer to buy in comments and why.

 

 · Merry Christmas!

 

The year 2015 is almost over and we are heading to celebrate end year holidays. Let me take this opportunity to wish you Merry Christmas, success, health, and happiness to you and your families! I hope the next year will be better to all of you and that all your dreams will come through!

Merry Christmas!

 






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Posted by Martin December 22, 2015
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Is Santa coming?


Santa
 

If you watch markets regularly you may feel its pulse time to time and feel whether it has steam to push prices higher or whether it is weak and prone to further selling.

We have seen nice recovery recently from 2000 support back up to 2040 level. But if you look under the hood, the recovery isn’t that impressive. The whole day looked like lazy day and volume was slightly drying up hour after hour.

Only the end of the day saw some activity and we dropped hard and recovered it sharply almost at the same time.

Will this be enough? are we seeing Santa finally coming? Or was that it? As holidays are coming my guts are telling me that we are about to stall and we will not see much this week. We only have one and a half day left to the end of trading this week and the market may not move anywhere. Everybody will be gone for Christmas.

However, this low volume/activity environment can actually be violent both sides and we may see sharp moves tomorrow or on Thursday. And the moves can go both ways. Yet I am bearish.

Below is a chart indicating why. I am bearish both time frames – long and short time. The market is below 21 day MA, 50 day MA and 200 day MA which is bearish and also a strong resistance. Will the market have enough strength to overcome that resistance? We will see tomorrow or on Thursday if so. As of now, I do not think the market will have that strength.

What worries me more however is the entire market direction. I use linear regression channel for the overall market trend (magenta lines in the chart below). In August 2015 when we saw the dramatic decline in prices the damage has been done to the trend and since then we are sloping down. What’s even worse is the dashed white projection lines. I draw them manually above the entire channel and extend them further to the right. On the chart, they are on top of the magenta lines although it may not be visible at the first glance. These lines help me to see how is the market changing. Is the channel sloping down more or slowly turning back up? The dashed projection lines help me to see the change.

And that’s the issue. As you can see, there is no change! The dashed lines are still on top of the magenta lines and every day the new portions of the channel are added and they follow exactly those dashed lines! What does that mean? That we are heading down and there is no indication of changing this trend.
That’s why I am bearish overall and unless anything happens, this bull market is over for now. It may change, and I will notice that change when the magenta lines start rising off of the dashed lines.

But now? Now we are heading down.

SPX trend
(click to enlarge)

 






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Is FED going to raise rates tomorrow?


Yellen

I have been a longtime proponent of an idea that FED will not raise rates at all although they have been talking about it for the entire year. They simply cannot afford doing it.

I always said that interest rates is a tool to cool the economy and prevent it from overheating. It is a tool to manage inflation. We do not have economy overheating. It is doing well, but not so spectacular so we need to slow it done. We do not have inflation (at least not the official one).

And I think, FED is well aware of it. If they raise rates tomorrow, they will derail the market, bond market will crash, and dollar will skyrocket.

A strong dollar will hurt our export even more and slow it down.

Higher rates will slow (if not stop) already tight lending, so the housing will slow down and all ARM mortgages will reset to higher rates which will have a negative impact to the lenders.

Higher rates will hurt housing market.

Car loans will stop too if the rates go higher. Today, consumers are buying new cars using low interest environment (rates) and yet many cannot afford it so they take out 6, 7 or I even saw 8 years long loans! When did this become a new normal?

Higher rates will slow car lending and car sales will go down too.

In my opinion, raising rates into slowing economy is foolish. Yet, Yellen may be foolish enough to do it.

People say, they have to raise rates otherwise they lose credibility. In my opinion, they lost the credibility several months ago. Raising rates now would be as damaging to the FED as not raising them at all.

Yellen always claimed that she was data dependent. If they raise rates now, she will prove that she never was data dependent as data coming in are tepid at most. ISM index has been slowing since 2012 and now is in recession level, consumer spending is non-existent, New York FED recently lowered their 4Q GDP expectations to 1.2% from 2.4% (what a surprise!) and employment data is nothing to celebrate about. We are seeing a seasonal increase in employment due to Christmas season (just review at the Department of Labor website what jobs made the data – all temporary jobs in service sector and retails). After the New Year we may see a slow down again.

Raising rates now would do the same damage (and bigger) than letting them at the same level. In short, FED is trapped.

Recently I received an email from one trader telling me what he thinks about FED and their rate hike rhetoric:

“At the end of the day, the Fed can talk all they want about how it is time to raise rates and start moving things back to normal.
But the truth is, the last thing they want to do is upset the apple cart.
Raising rates is for cooling down a hot economy and for fighting inflation. We have neither. Commodity prices are in a deflationary spiral, and a strong dollar would only add downside pressure to that group.
How can they suddenly appear hawkish without scaring the markets to death? Simple. They can’t. Whatever it is they do tomorrow, they will do it with an eye towards keeping the dollar in its current range, being friendly to stocks, and making sure the bond market doesn’t collapse.
I think everyone is looking for both bonds and stocks to collapse tomorrow. Which is why I think ultimately both of those markets will destroy shorts.”

We are also heading into election year. This is a big deal for Democrats. It is historically proven that every party tries to manipulate economy at the election year.
During 1962 – 1973 Federal spending increased by 29% during election year. Social security increased 100% higher compared to non-election years. Nixon pumped $1 billion a month into economy and pockets of unhappy voters, President Bush awarded federal grants to projects in strategically important states; tax cuts, drug benefits to seniors, military spending increasing the federal budget deficit by $477 billion in 2004 (Stock Trader’s Almanac 2016, p.28).

If you think, Obama administration will be doing otherwise, you are mistaken. Yellen is a Democrat. She will protect her party and she cannot afford markets collapsing and economy crumbling even more during election year. She needs a Democratic presidential hopeful wins the election if she wanted to be re-appointed to continue as a chair if the FED.

Whenever Yellen (or any other of the FED’s members) tests waters and releases a blah about a “strong possibility of raising rates” at the next FOMC meeting, markets tank heavily. This has been happening for the entire half of 2015 year. I believe, that this is what scares FED members and at the end they back off.

I think, FED will continue their talks but they will keep rates at the same level tomorrow. If they, however, raise it, it will be a small raise and they will be forced to lower the rates again next year.

What do you think? Will Yellen move forward and raise rates because everybody expects it or stay the course because economy is not ready for the hike?
 






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All Dividend Investing,  Options Trading,  Personal Finance
Posted by Martin December 08, 2015
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KMI cuts dividend by 75% slapping their investors face


beating

 
So the news is out. KMI cut the dividend by 75% after the market today. After hours, the stock dropped 6.5% and we may expect more investors abandoning the ship. If you feel like your investment fleet took a beating, don’t worry, you are not alone.

The dividend cut is a blow to all investors who were diligently building their portfolios and such behavior from the management who knowingly brought the company into this situation deserve a punishment. And there will be many who invest in their taxable accounts and they will tax harvest and sell.

But if you are like me, I need a different strategy.

 

 · What are my options and views?

 

  • I have all my stock investments in ROTH IRA account. Tax harvesting doesn’t make sense for me.
  •  

  • Selling now would mean I will be taking almost 60% loss. My cost basis is $35.68 per shares. At current prices I am not willing to take that loss.
  •  

  • Because I own shares in my ROTH IRA account I have more than 20 years time to wait for this stock to recover. In the meantime, I will be reinvesting dividends and even buying more shares to further lower my cost basis.
  •  

  • In other words, I will no longer look at this stock as a dividend growth stock, but a growth stock. At least for the time being.

 

KMI is a pipeline company owning large infrastructure, it will not go under. I expect this stock to recover when the energy stocks recover too. If the management improves and gets better in managing balance between their debt and other obligations such as dividends and investments the price will go up and the dividends may also go up. If so, I may keep the stock, if not, and my cost basis will be low enough to sell, I will sell.

 
But for now, it is all about a damage management. Lower the cost and wait for recovery. I believe, in the next 20 years it will happen.
 






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