Swing Trading

IBD has a relatively new investment service called Swing Trader.  Now, to be fair, there is nothing new about swing trading.  What makes this slightly different is that their swing trades are based on IBD CANSLIM investing.

What is CANSLIM?

It is an investment system based on both fundamental and technical analysis.  CANSLIM is an acronym for the seven traits winning IBD stocks have before they breakout.

  • Current Quarterly Earnings – increasing quarterly sales
  • Annual Earnings Growth – at least 25% or more for the past 3 years.
  • New Product, Service, Management or Price High
  • Supply and Demand – high demand for limited supply of shares.
  • Leader or Laggard – industry leaders with superior earnings and sales.
  • Institutional Sponsorship – funds account for 75% of all market activity.
  • Market Direction – 3 out of 4 stocks follow the market’s trend.

IBD has a 30 day free trial for their Swing Trading service.  I decided to sign up.  Not necessarily to spend even more of my hard earned money but rather to see exactly how well they are doing.   To be honest, one could consider some of my trades swing trading.  My style of investing is quite similar to IBD in that I look for good technical setups and momentum trends of well-run or popular companies; but above all, when it comes to truly short term trades, I look for opportunity.

Case in point, some of my more recent trades were based on what I thought was opportunity.

  • When Amazon announced buying Whole Foods, and selling SEARS Appliances; Home Depot, Walmart, and Best Buy took a price hit yet recovered quite nicely.
  • When Disney announce they were leaving Netflix, NFLX took a price hit, and interestingly enough, filled the gap from their recent quarterly report breakout and found support.
  • And more recently Hurricane recovery trades with Home Depot, Restoration Hardware, Lumber Liquidators, Owens Corning, Generac Holdings and General Motors.

None of these stocks, except NFLX, made it on to the IBD Swing Trader alerts.

Looking back over the IBD Swing Trader alerts for the past year, I am less than impressed with the overall average return of .50%.  However their two currently active trades are based on classic setups and are performing quite nicely.

So, do you ever make short term trades, and if so, what are some of the triggers you look for?

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Lessons From A Flash Crash

The last time the stock market flash crashed, I was way over extended with my call options.  I was not paying attention or did not have sufficient alerts set up.  Like many, I was riding the wave of complacency.  The market was in an uptrend and despite minor warning signs, like low volatility, investor over-confidence, and many extended stocks, I was enjoying the relaxing ride.

I lost a ton of money in one day.

This time, with the market in yet another uptrend and a rising peak tide of good sentiment, low volatility, I was mostly in cash.  I had very limited long positions with tight trailing stops and only one call option in play (NVDA}.  Purely a hype play and I sold both call options shortly after the open Friday morning for nearly a 300% gain.

My stops took care of the rest.

I made a nice little profit and managed to protect most of it too.

IBD had a very interesting and timely article regarding the VIX, you can read about it here.

Basically the VIX was at all-time lows and despite a less than favorable UK vote and the ever depressing saga of Trumpolitics, there seemed to be little to no fear in the markets.

That was when it happened.

The VIX  “flashed” an extremely bullish signal (hitting historic lows) shortly before the selloff began.

By the time it was all over the market was down a lot!  It seemed everything lost value Friday.  But then I started looking at some of my watch lists and reading daily recaps and low and behold, the financial sector was up.

With republicans pushing through the repeal of Dodd-Frank and the up-coming Fed meeting where analysts believe rates will go up, Is the tide shifting?

Again, some other timely recap articles mentioned that the financials were bucking the trend and actually showing signs of recovery.  But much of their gains were on low volume.  Other articles talked about how during a correction, certain stocks and certain sectors will hold up better than others.  When the market does recover, and start another uptrend, the new leaders of the rally are rarely the same as the old leaders.

Selected stocks from the sectors which hold up better than the rest during a correction are more likely to be the new leaders.

So the questions are . . .

Is today the beginning of the end for the bull market and the start of the bear?

Or, is it yet another flash crash to bring the high flying market back down to support trend lines?  After all, we have had three of these within the past six months and each time the market recovers.

At least 3 flash crashes in the past 6 months

It certainly looks like a ton of money left the market Friday.  Just look at the formally high flying tech sector.  Interestingly, visually it looks like each crash is progressively more dramatic with more volume.  IF the money left the high flying tech sector, where did it go?

During a correction or consolidation, money basically goes one of three places.

  1. Cash.
  2. Defensive Stocks (like gold or consumer goods, food products and tobacco).
  3. New Sectors.

So to try and answer this I took a look at some screeners.  One is FINVIZ top gainers.  Believe it or not, there were 153 stocks earning over 5% Friday.  That is a lot for such a bad day on the street.

Here is how the 153 broke down sector wise.

Sector Industry Sub-Total
Basic Materials Independent Oil & Gas 20
Basic Materials Oil & Gas Equipment & Services 12
Basic Materials Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration 6
Basic Materials Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing 4
Basic Materials Gold 1
Basic Materials Industrial Metals & Minerals 1
Basic Materials Major Integrated Oil & Gas 1
Basic Materials Nonmetallic Mineral Mining 1
Basic Materials Oil & Gas Pipelines 1
Basic Materials Steel & Iron 1
48
Consumer Goods Personal Products 3
Consumer Goods Sporting Goods 2
Consumer Goods Textile – Apparel Clothing 2
Consumer Goods Beverages – Soft Drinks 1
Consumer Goods Cleaning Products 1
Consumer Goods Electronic Equipment 1
Consumer Goods Home Furnishings & Fixtures 1
Consumer Goods Textile – Apparel Footwear & Accessories 1
12
Financial Regional – Mid-Atlantic Banks 7
Financial Money Center Banks 2
Financial Regional – Midwest Banks 2
Financial Regional – Northeast Banks 2
Financial Savings & Loans 2
Financial Asset Management 1
Financial Credit Services 1
Financial Investment Brokerage – National 1
Financial Regional – Pacific Banks 1
Financial Regional – Southeast Banks 1
Financial REIT – Diversified 1
Financial REIT – Hotel/Motel 1
Financial REIT – Office 1
23
Healthcare Biotechnology 12
Healthcare Medical Appliances & Equipment 4
Healthcare Medical Instruments & Supplies 3
Healthcare Medical Laboratories & Research 3
Healthcare Drug Delivery 1
23
Industrial Goods Heavy Construction 4
Industrial Goods Industrial Electrical Equipment 2
Industrial Goods General Building Materials 1
7
Services Shipping 8
Services Apparel Stores 6
Services Specialty Retail, Other 5
Services Department Stores 3
Services Home Furnishing Stores 2
Services Air Services, Other 1
Services Business Services 1
Services Education & Training Services 1
Services Gaming Activities 1
Services Publishing – Books 1
Services Restaurants 1
Services Security & Protection Services 1
31
Technology Communication Equipment 2
Technology Semiconductor – Integrated Circuits 2
Technology Application Software 1
Technology Diversified Communication Services 1
Technology Networking & Communication Devices 1
Technology Wireless Communications 1
8
Utilities Diversified Utilities 1
Total                            153

 

Of course, one day does not a trend or correction make but it might be interesting to keep an eye on what the market does, and if it does correct, which sectors hold up better than the rest.

Will it be Basic Materials?  Financials?  Healthcare? Or some yet to be determined sector?

What do you think?

Flash crash, beginning of the end, or market rotation?

Tracking The IBD 50

I love looking at data, discovering new trends, and finding hidden cause and effect relationships.  That is probably why I like spending hours analyzing computer event and security logs.   I also tend to do the same thing researching the stock market, especially when I notice a dramatic change.  In this case, I noticed a lot of new stocks listed on the weekly IBD 50 list.  So, I started something that I have been meaning to do for quite some time but never really got around to it.  Until now.

Tracking the IBD 50 list.

We all know the only state the market stays in is a constant state of change.  Prices fluctuate every day, every minute.  And it stands to reason that any watch list will do the same, though not necessarily on a daily basis.  My “gut” was telling me that the IBD50 list had been fairly stable and now quite a few new members had joined the list.  Conversely, this meant quite a few had fallen off of the list.  Of course I wanted to see the evidence for myself.  So I sat down and started plotting out the last two months or so of reports.

This is what I came up with.

Listed below is the stock symbol, IBD’s Group Classification, and the week the stock appeared / or not on the list.  If it appeared on the list the number is the ranking IBD gave it from 1 – 50 with 1 being the best of the best.  If it did not appear on the list then that week is left blank.

Now I have not had a chance, nor enough back testing evidence, to find out if these changes are due to quarterly reports, market conditions, changes in market cycles, investor/consumer sentiment, hype, fear, or some combination of all of the above.   But at least I seem to have enough proof that my gut was right.

Breaking it down into adds, drops, returns (on,off,back on again), and stay(remains on the list each and every week) and by sectors we get the following.  This was an attempt to see which sectors are strong and remain on the list, weak and dropping off, and gaining by being added to the list.

I’ll be tracking this further as time goes by and reposting any additional insights but I thought I would get it out there for those of you who might be interested.

Competition

stock-trading-competition

My, or rather, our investment club has done quite well since our previous leader mysteriously disappeared and we were forced to “elect” a new leader.  In our case, co-leaders.

We have attracted new members, diversified our topics of discussion, and now have a monthly newsletter which recaps meeting agendas and topics of interest.  The club has a really good mix of growth investors, chartists, value investors and option players.  An interesting thing about this added diversity is that it has really expanded our “Stocks of Interest” section or our meetings and newsletters. 

Previously, any stock list provided was strictly a select list of IBD stocks Don, our previous group leader, picked himself.  In and of itself, IBD is not a bad investment strategy, but it is not the only one.  We now have a good mix of investment ideas and styles which really has added value to the group.

Prior to each monthly meeting, everyone sends in a hand full of stock suggestions as well as any topics of interest that they wish to discuss.  These get added to the newsletter which is distributed prior to each monthly meeting. 

Obviously, these stocks of interest are our monthly watch list but lately it has also turned into a bit of a competition to see who does best.  I call it the WSSG watch list which gets displayed right along with my own BWTB watch list on the side bar.

Last month we had a pretty good discussion comparing different stock screeners and how each of us use them to find potential investment opportunities.  Funny thing about that and our stocks of interest for this month is that it spawned some creative screens. 

For instance, looking for something different to do both my son and I looked for potential setups that we normally may not specifically look for.  He used FINVIZ to pick stocks setting up with potential bullish breakout patterns such as ascending triangles or inverse head and shoulders.  I, wanting to keep with an IBD flavor, looked for IBD momentum stocks with high sales and EPS that are reporting this month. 

All this has me wondering . . .

What other ideas and strategies do people use in investment groups as learning opportunities?

An Implied Alternate Reality

2016-election

Earlier this year a fellow blogger emailed me with one brief question.
“Am I in an alternate universe?”
Despite the ambiguity of context, I knew exactly what he was talking about.
You see, at that time a highly unlikely GOP front-runner was emerging from the ranks and dominating the headlines.
There was also a highly unlikely Dem candidate making headway into the Dem front-runners lead.   It was a very strange time in American Politics.
And it still is.
After all, how many presidential candidates can get away with insulting just about every demographic group there is, brag about “playing the system” and not paying taxes, and throw temper tantrums and name call everybody he doesn’t like (including the Fed Chair) AND STILL be considered seriously to lead the United States of America.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the “other candidate” either. Having held a security clearance myself, I know very well that I and any other regular shmuck caught doing the things she has and saying the things, or not saying the things, she has would end up sending our sorry stupid butts right into the slammer. But not hers.
Yes, I am afraid we really do live in an alternative political universe unlike any we have ever witnessed before.
But back to my original email . . .
My response to the alternate universe question was this essentially this.
And I quote . . .

“People are either for or against Trump. He has a very vocal and loyal base but, I’m not sure how well that translates into growth potential.
In other words, as more republican candidates drop out, their supporters are primarily anti Trump and will go vote for whomever is left, thereby decreasing Trumps front runner status. My guess is that whomever is left standing against Trump will have the votes to win the nomination”

Well, we all know how that turned out now don’t we.

So, it is with great trepidation that I make the following points, and ultimate predictions . . .

But before I do, let me point out some interesting stats from a recent IBD article on trading the presidents.

  1. Democratic Presidents have enjoyed a 12% annual return in the S&P since 1981
  2. Republicans 4%
  3. The standard deviation of the S&P for Dems is 12%
  4. Republicans 18%
  5. You can’t time the market and there is often no way to determine exactly when a catastrophic event or crash can or will happen. If you move the 2008 crash out a few months, the differences in the above numbers essentially goes away.

So what about GDP?

  1. Annualize GDP during the same time period is about 5.31%
  2. Republicans enjoyed a 5.87% average annualized return
  3. Dems, 4.57%
  4. The GDP standard deviation for the GOP, 2.75%
  5. Dems, .75%

Does all this mean that there is a direct correlation to market performance and who happens to occupy the White House?
Perhaps, and perhaps not.
I still think you need to factor in other things like the fed, interest rates, the dollar, oil prices, economic data and corporate earnings. Built into all these things is another factor called uncertainty. And if there is one thing the market hates is uncertainty and unexpected events. This uncertainty is expressed as implied volatility.
The market is essentially a collective “opinion” of what might, or probably will, happen.
So as the election nears and the results come in, take a look at how the market is reacting by measuring the implied volatility.
IBD had the following suggestions:
If implied volatility is high:
– Bullish strategies > cash secured short puts, short put verticals and covered calls.
– Bearish strategies > short call verticals
– Neutral strategies > iron condors
If implied volatility is low:
– Bullish strategies > long call verticals
– Bearish strategies > long put verticals or long out of the money put calendar spreads
– Neutral strategies > at the money calendar spreads
And what about my predictions?
I predict one candidate will cause greater volatility than another.
I predict that should the high volatility candidate win, he will be in for a really big shock and hate his new job.
I predict that the fed will raise rates this year, after the election.

  • one quarter of a point for the non-harassing low volatility candidate
  • half a point for the high volatility harassing and personally insulting candidate.

And as tempting as it is to use this little gift of memorabilia, I predict that I never will. It just might be worth something some day.

trump-roll