Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 market investments and learnings from ETF instruments

2011 was the first year I was really invested in ETF's. I learned a lot about them but the lessons took too long to get. But there were major learnings. It is a well known fact that they were designed to be used for short periods of time and not to just buy and hold like traditional stocks. However that is easier said than acted upon, especially if you bought some and the market moved in the opposite direction you had expected.

Let me give you an example using the Russell 2000 index, symbol RUT, and comparing it versus the ETF's which represent the Index, TNA, the 3x Ultra Pro ETF and TZA, the -3x Short ETF. This means that on a given day where the Russell moves up 1%, TNA should move up about 3% while TZA should be down 3% on the same day. This is all well and good in practice of a given day, but if you do not sell on that given day and lock in your profit while looking for more the next day and possibly the next day after that, then you will be surprised at the cumulative effect that will have on your portfolio.

For 2011, the Russell 2000 has lost 5%. One would expect the following. TNA should be then down 15% and TZA should be up 15%, but that's not what really happens. Let's see what you would guess the numbers should be before I reveal them? Take a guess! Well the chart below is a chart of the Russell and TZA, which one would have thought would be up 15% for the year. Here's the chart:

Now let's look at what you would have expected for TNA versus what actually occurs. In the chart below I have the Russell plotted against TNA.

The 3rd chart is a plot of only TNA versus TZA for the 1 year period.

It took me a while to realize I needed to trade these ETF;s when I made any good profits and get over trying to get back to my average purchase price, but when I did I actually made some good moves thanks to the volatility of the market during the year. My best advice is don't buy and hold these or other ETF's for long periods of time or you will eventually lose your money. I suspect many others don't understand these ETF's and it has been a painful lesson to learn. I hope these charts make it very clear and that the smae mistake is not repeated in 2012.

So what time duration seems to correlate closely or to say it another way, how long should you keep these ETF's. Here is a chart below of only 3 months comparing the Russell, symbol RUT, to TNA. During the last 3 months, RUT gained 16% and one would expect that TNA should be up 3x that amount or 48%. Well in fact, TNA gained only 39% as is seen in this chart below. So you will lose even in short a time as 3 months. Here's the chart:

The next chart is of the RUT versus TZA for the same past 3 month time period. As you might expect with a 16% gain of RUT that it would create a loss of 48% of TZA. Well as you can see the loss was greater than 48%. The loss was in fact 52%.

In summary, even a 3 month time period will cost you bigger losses or less gains than you might have come to expect. The shorter the timeframe the better the correlation.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kim Jong Il funeral celebration

North Korea to Celebrate Kim Jong Il at Funeral. The ceremony will likely mobilize hundreds of thousands of weeping participants in a display of national mourning that’s designed to portray broad public support for the regime, according to analysts.

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Year End summary of German DAX Index

To complement the charts I posted yesterday, I thought I would add the German DAX index over a longer history than I had before. As you can see from the chart below, this Index also has a Head and Shoulder Pattern which dominates its 40 year history.

Now Head and Shoulder patterns do not mean that this market will necessarily drop from here, but here is the definition for that pattern from Investopedia:

"The head-and-shoulders pattern is one of the most popular and reliable chart patterns in technical analysis. And as one might imagine from the name, the pattern looks like a head with two shoulders.

Head and shoulders is a reversal pattern that, when formed, signals the security is likely to move against the previous trend. There are two versions of the head-and-shoulders pattern. The head-and-shoulders top is a signal that a security's price is set to fall, once the pattern is complete, and is usually formed at the peak of an upward trend. The second version, the head-and-shoulders bottom (also known as inverse head and shoulders), signals that a security's price is set to rise and usually forms during a downward trend.

Both of these head and shoulders have a similar construction in that there are four main parts to the head-and-shoulder chart pattern: two shoulders, a head and a neckline. The patterns are confirmed when the neckline is broken, after the formation of the second shoulder.

The head and shoulders are sets of peaks and troughs. The neckline is a level of support or resistance. The head and shoulders pattern is based on Dow Theory's peak-and-trough analysis. An upward trend, for example, is seen as a period of successive rising peaks and rising troughs. A downward trend, on the other hand, is a period of falling peaks and troughs. The head-and-shoulders pattern illustrates a weakening in a trend where there is deterioration in the peaks and troughs.

Head and Shoulders Top

Again, the head-and-shoulders top signals to chart users that a security's price is likely to make a downward move, especially after it breaks below the neckline of the pattern. Due to this pattern forming mostly at the peaks of upward trends, it is considered to be a trend-reversal pattern, as the security heads down after the pattern's completion.

This pattern has four main steps for it to complete itself and signal the reversal. The first step is the formation of the left shoulder, which is formed when the security reaches a new high and retraces to a new low. The second step is the formation of the head, which occurs when the security reaches a higher high, then retraces back near the low formed in the left shoulder. The third step is the formation of the right shoulder, which is formed with a high that is lower than the high formed in the head but is again followed by a retracement back to the low of the left shoulder. The pattern is complete once the price falls below the neckline, which is a support line formed at the level of the lows reached at each of the three retracements mentioned above."

I hope this lengthly definition helps you analyze the charts yourself. For additional information on chart patterns, I find the book "Technical Analysis Explained" quite useful

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Year end summary of the Dow and stock market trends

This is my year end summary of the stock markets for the year and where I think what might occur in 2012. My first chart below is of thew Dow for the past 10 years on a monthly basis. As you can see below, for 2011 the Dow managed to stay between 11,000 and 12,800. Looking at the big drop in 2009, where we went all the way down to 7,000 on a monthly basis and 6440 as a low daily close.

It is interesting to notice the Volume chart for the Dow. We averaged about 600 Billion shares a month from 2002 to mid 2009. Since then we have had a significant drop to 380 Billion shares. So the rise from 7,000 was built on significantly less volume than the rise from 2002 to 2009, which was a Bull market rally. It looks to me that since 2009 we have been in a Bear Market rally, as the volume has been too low for a true Bull rally.

The key to watch on this Dow chart are the 2 red lines. We will need a breakout either to the upside or to the downside to determine longer term trends from this chart alone. However, looking at the Dow 25 year monthly chart, we get more clarity, as seen below.

I do still expect a drop below current levels during 2012. The Head and Shoulder patters or "W" pattern as I call it does point to lower lows going forward and limited upside potential.

Given the chart readings, the next thing to do is see if world events suggest a more optimistic or pessimistic view for 2012. We have a Presidential year election in November 2012 and we have had gridlock in the Congress in 2011. I don't see the gridlock easing and many issues including our own debt which must be dealt with as well as continually funding the government. The Unemployment scene isn't going to get much better because we have structural unemployment which will be around for a long time unless somehow we retrain workers in new skills to meet a more technological demand than typical blue collar workers have brought to the work environment. We also have the Supreme Court making a decision on President Obama's Health care bill legislation as to whether it is Constitutional or not.

Then we have the Sovereign Debt issues in Europe, the Arab Spring and new leadership in North Korea, a test of the government of Iraq to function without our military presence and then there is Iran's pursuit of Nuclear weapons. The Euro is in crisis and Russians are challenging Putin's grasp of the presidency there. And last but not least, we have all those who believe the world will end on Dec 21st 2012 because of the Mayan predictions.

Let's conclude with the fact that 2012 will have many volatility swings ands most likely testing the previous extremes of those swings. It is a year to be cautious with your financial assets. My belief is that we humans will do almost anything to avoid pain rather than to risk succeeding. Therefore, I believe it is wiser to be on that side of the investment strategy by being short from time to time. It is also wise to take profits sooner rather than being greedy and waiting for more profit before selling.

Good luck this coming year. Thanks for taking the time to visit my Blog. This new year marks 7 years of my blogging. I have had 79,000 visitors to my site in that period. Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ever wonder why we promote the weirdest, zaniest candidates for President? The answer!

As we end 2011 and begin 2012, an election year for our President, have you ever wondered how this country ever elected someone like President George W. Bush or looked to Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich to be President. Have you ever wondered what's wrong with voters that they could be that stupid, or "tupid" as one of my best friends jokingly says? Well I found the answer to those questions right here. Play this video and you'll never wonder again why we pick who we pick for President and answer a whole bunch of questions about who we are as a people. Besides you will laugh too!

Now you know! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours and let's all pray for a smarter electorate as well. For those who don't know what the word "electorate" means, you might consider staying home this Presidential election. Only kidding! :)

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Market comments for the coming week of Christmas

Oh I hate to be so repetitive. As I said in my last post on Dec. 5th, "I thought it was time to post on the stock market again." The main points to make this week are that all Indexes are now below their 200 day Moving average line, shown faintly with the yellow lines on each chart below. My opinion continues that this shows the tendency is still to remain below the 200 day Moving Averages in the intermediate timeframe. While there was "hope" the Eurozone had "solved" its crisis we all know better now, don't we. Unfortunately it will take a stock market crash or a sovereign debt meltdown causing a market crash before Europe is forced to come to terms with its problems. Here are the updated charts of our major indexes.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Market comments for the coming week of Dec. 5th.

I thought it was time to post on the stock market again. The main points to make this week are that all Indexes, except the Dow, are still below their 200 day Moving average line, shown faintly with the yellow lines on each chart below. The second point is that while the Dow remains above the downward sloping red line, the Russell has remained below it the most. The Dow is most likely the most manipulated Index and the Russell the least. My opinion is that this shows the tendency is still to remain below these red lines in the intermediate timeframe.

This week will have its important announcements. The biggest news item will be the European meeting, scheduled on Dec. 8th and 9th, of Finance ministers to discuss resolving the Sovereign debt issues of Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others. This will be the most important meeting of the last year as it is the first since the coordinated Central Bank intervention to lower the rates banks pay to increase reserves. The Central Banks took this action because there was an immediate concern of a large bank failure in Europe. Our markets will react to what happens there, not here.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Fed and its $7.7 Trillion secret bailout to banks

This story is something that should spread like wild fire across this country so that every American understands what the Fed really did to bail out the banks with $7.7 Trillion in taxpayer money in secret. The Congress didn't know nor did many officials in government!

Click here for the Bloomberg article exposing the Fed.

Get everyone of your contacts to read this article. The 99% now have plenty of ammunition to keep their movement going. Ron Paul was right that the Fed needed to be audited and eliminated.

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Ideas for the 99% Occupy movement. Idea #2

Ok, here's something else that we could demand. How about every law that Congress passes also applies to Congress as well. That would eliminate the Insider trading scam Congressmen and Congresswomen portray on its citizens. It would also require Congress to have the same health Ins. plan that we all have. That would help eliminate the unbelievably lavish retirement benefits they get.

Are you for this too?

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