Saturday, June 7, 2008

Off to Berlin... Placing some trades...

I'm heading off to Berlin for a few days. I'll be back next Thursday, but I'm interested in a few things I think might happen.

So I'm placing two REED orders. I sold mine today 1000 @ $2.55/$2.54, profiting $217 on my initial purchase of 1000 @ $2.34/$2.32. (Since there is such low volume on REED, you can't typically complete your entire order for the price set. When my SELL triggered today at $2.55, there were only 500 bids at that price; the BID then shifted to $2.54 leaving me with an extra 500 shares. I moved my sell order down to $2.54 to move them and they sold.)

My order book also has some Tessera in it since it's due for a bounce. Their Amkor arbitration is hitting on June 10th, so I'm watching to see what happens there. I think they already won and are just determining settlement stuff but that's a big deal and if it's great news, we'll see a huge spike. My play is a mid-term, but if it doesn't auto-sell by the 10th, I'm going to cancel a sell and/or buy it if it didn't trigger to begin with. We could see a $5 (20-25%) bump on good news about this.

I am also still in 40 AAPL @ $184.35. Watch to see what happens on the 9th with iPhone chatter. I don't know how much of it is priced in but I think "amazing features" and "available immediately en masse" could be enough to push this past its support. There's been chatter of it for months but the steady increase hasn't been related to pricing in on that. I think it can break $200. Let's see what happens.

Here's my order book:

6/7/08 04:21:07
SELL -250 TSRA STP 14.00 GTC TRG BY #48238739 OCO #48238740WAIT TRG
6/7/08 04:21:07
6/7/08 04:21:07
6/7/08 03:14:22
SELL -1000 REED @2.55 LMT GTC TRG BY #48238495WAIT TRG
6/7/08 03:14:22
6/7/08 03:12:47
SELL -1000 REED @2.50 LMT GTC TRG BY #48238484WAIT TRG
6/7/08 03:12:47

Friday, June 6, 2008

REED woes and cheers...

So I watched REED tank to $2.00 the other day. I held on, knowing it'd bounce back. But I didn't buy my belief: I should've bought in another 1,000 shares in if I really believed it'd hit the $2.50 range and average in. Instead, I just sat back. It bounced up to $2.47 in the mean time. Bad call; would've been up $470. Can't let that slip again.

Once it breaches $2.50, I'll sell. And once it hits $2.10-$2.25, I'll buy in again. This one might be my new fun time.

I'm also in AAPL, 40 shares @ $184.something. I'm hoping it pushes up past the $190 resistance we've been seeing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Next time, read the damn email... (Wanting AAPL, can't buy...)

So thinkorswim has been bugging me about getting my signature card in. I haven't done that since I established my account and I guess the USA PATRIOT Act requires that. So I got this charming message when trying to buy 40 shares of Apple: "On this account you cannot open new positions." Great.

Time to send the card in. Also, time to hold Apple for a medium play. Their price targets are in the $225 range and they're about to announce something big—almost everyone assumes the 3G iPhone. This is only good news, since there's no gap 'til profit as there was with the last iPhone announcement. It's only going to further entrench the brand with an already successful product. And I think it could surge past $200 and stay that way.

I want to buy in at the $185 point (which is hilarious, considering my first trade was to buy a single share of AAPL @ $123.35 three months ago... Man.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Touching the stove with REED...

I have that nagging feeling that I'm about to do something absolutely. fucking. stupid. I'm setting up an OCO bracket on a penny stock, complete with an idiotic trailing stop. Issue: Trailing stops won't trigger properly with such low market volatility. Issue: I don't want to set a simple sell limit, in case it maintains upwards momentum. Issue: I won't be babysitting the order at all. Issue: I'm completely stupid.

SELL -1000 REED STP 1.05 GTC TRG BY #4510 OCO #4511

Wish me luck. Watch what happens to $2,350 worth of cash here, eh? My emergency stop is set damn low, below its 52-week low of $1.50, but it hit that only two months ago. It spiked shortly after, saw by some as a great price I'm sure, but has steadily slumped back into the $2.30 range.

Still, the bounce of this stock is impressive: from $2.25 to $2.85 in about a week.

Let's see what happens.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's up with Berkshire...

I exited Berkshire Hathaway about a month ago because I was growing impatient and liked to see more movement. Ironically, I'm now trending towards more medium-termed plays, but I'm looking out for short-term/day-trades that will work, too.

Berkshire slammed down into the $4,035 range last Thursday, a support that it had broached the Friday before that before rebounding about $90. It's a pretty clearly established support; it hasn't dipped (more than 1%) below $3,900 since it first passed that point August 20th, 2007.

Clearly, a lot of people are recognizing it as a good time to average in for the long haul. BRK/B hit $5,059 in early December but started to slide real fast from that resistance point. It's probably closer to it's market-based "intrinsic value" at the near $4,400 mark, but I think it could easily continue on upward and break $4,600 next week. I'm not putting my money where my mouth is, but let's just watch what happens over the next week or two.

Things have been very busy at work, but I'll be getting back into this more and more over the next couple of weeks, as I'm consolidating my Scottrade and Thinkorswim portfolios. (I work at Phoenix, Arizona Web Development firm Synapse Studios as my day job. See my blog there.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

MOS hurts, TSRA heals...

So MOS shot back up, but my stops triggered properly and it only hurt me something like $40 or $60. Or something.

I initiated a fun TSRA play last night:
I've stopped setting flat out limit purchases. The common wisdom is to never buy at MARK but to always place a limit order and wait for the market to come to you. Anything else is chasing and can be real trouble; you can almost always get a better price.

With a stock as volatile as TSRA, though, if it starts the day by shooting straight on down, it can be painful.

Say TSRA opens at 19. You have every intention to buy at 18.75. The market opens and it plunges downward, to 18.75, where your LIMIT order triggers. It then continues on its downward march to 18.35, before turning around. Here's the issue: Every penny below your purchase price is a penny you must now make back UP in order to come close to profitability.

One defense against this is the trailing stop on the BUY side with a threshold trigger. I set a trailing stop of 10 cents, only once it hit 18.55. What this means is that I can expect to pay no more than 18.65. But what it further means is that if TSRA is intent on tanking early on, I won't buy into a downtrend. My trailing stop will follow it on down, until the momentum shifts by 10 cents.

Now, on a very volatile stock with considerable spikes and lags, you can easily have a stock drop 40 cents, gain the 10 cents needed to trigger your buy order, and then promptly resuming its demise. I've had this happen. Twice. It then promptly ran into my STOP and sold me out, causing me to loose twice in a row. Things to carefully consider then: set your trailing stop level at something intelligent, based on a stock's tendency to spike and lag and its typical volatility. Truthfully, 10 cents is probably too anemic, but going much higher than that results in lost profitability; every cent the stock has to regain before you buy in is a cent you don't earn profit on.

Further, set your emergency stop further out. I should've had mine at 17, but I figured 18 wasn't going to happen. I was very, very wrong. And sad.

Yesterday, the stock started at 18.69 and started its way on down. It hit a day low of 18.33 before turning sharply and heading on up. It gained 10 cents and my trailing stop triggered in and I rode an amazing little wave on up to $19.90-ish, before it caught a lag back down to 19.74/19.55 and sold me out right about there. Still, on 250 shares, that was a profit of $272.

I'm doing something nearly identical today. I won't touch it if it doesn't bounce up at all during the day; my emergency stop is set for 17 and I think that's been a healthy support level and if it hits that, shit's hit the fan already. But holding it for a day or two is smart; it'll touch on 20 again and then back back off. A stock like this is volatile yet generally so within a range and relatively predictable. Naturally, I can get myself burned with too cautious stops or bad trailing stop levels, or if the unthinkable happens and big news causes an epic gap. But for now, it's fun and a potentially good play.

Tomorrow's order:
SELL -250 TSRA STP 17.00 GTC TRG BY #4661 OCO #46617

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MOS Short Selling...

I've got to head to bed real soon so I'm going to keep this short. My brother loves Mosaic, a fertilizer company. Their performance is tightly bound to Potash prices so it presents an interesting study. Every time they've had a 4%+ drop in the past six months, it's been followed by another nearly 4% drop, at least in the intraday.

So I'm banking on that happening again.

Here's my play:
Sell -39 MOS @ 122.75
Buy +39 MOS STP TRG+126.00

Maximum loss = $126.75, excluding any gaps and commissions.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Sorry for the lack of posts. I'm still jet-lagged. Got screwed by two Tessera plays that triggered and fired straight through my fucking stops. Lost about $160 on each, twice. Then watched it hit $18-ish after a dip in the $17s. Placed a buy order at $17.75 that never triggered because it shot through to almost $20. Hating it a bit about that right now.

Will be getting back into this way more actively next week. Liquidated Scottrade. Thinkorswim 4 life, etc.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Vacation...

I forgot to post that I'm actually on vacation right now, on a cruise ship for about 2 weeks. I made a QQQQs play, looking for it as a long-term. Overbought, so that I was on margin, had bought at the dip, caught that I was in margin while at the airport, sold it off in afters for about $120+ profit.

I made some on my MOS play.

I'm watching V break its initial resistance. $100 by August, anyone? (I don't own any, though...)

And I have a standing bracketed OCO order for TSRA when it hits $19.45, stop at $18.85, trailing stop set to trigger at $21.25 for 17 cents. We'll see if that plays.

If you don't see any movement here, that's because I'm gone til May 13th. Cheers!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Long TSRA, Short MOS, missed on AAPL

So I bought 20 AAPL at $162.60 right before close yesterday. And then I watched it spike amazingly to the $171 point in after-hours. And I didn't hit sell. As I was walking around the office a few minutes later, and then back to my desk, I was wondering why I hadn't at that point. By the time I had come back, it had gone from a ~$160 profit to ($133). Awesome. Ended up leveling out, but I don't want to hold it long.

I've loaded up an interesting play in Mosaic Company (MOS). They had a rough day yesterday and a quick look at their 6-month charts shows that every time they've had a pretty rough day, they've continued to slide the next day, sometimes to much greater effect. But they've always bounced up enough to trigger an upper-limit buy-to-cover, so I've pushed it up a bit high.

My order looks like this:
Sell -20 MOS @ 131.50 LMT
Buy +20 MOS STP 136.00

Basically, I want to sell short almost immediately when the market opens. If the stock turns around and spikes up to $136, I'll buy to cover my position, total loss: $100.

If the stock flies through the $129 mark, a trailing stop will take effect such that if it rebounds by more than 10 cents at any point, a buy to cover will take effect and lock in some profit. If that hits, minimum locked in profit: $49 or so.

Might turn out that I'm fucking up how I place limit orders with shorting, but I'm learning the platform and figure my stops are in place to protect me from my own stupidity.

This will be my third roundtrip if it executes, so it's a good thing I'm leaving. I need to liquidate my Scottrade positions or convert them into something more stable. Maybe try the DJIA; see if we can see some gains in 19 days. We're past the nasty bank stuff and the rough earnings period, so we might see some bounceback and growth. Berkshire is also trading at a near-6-month low, but I won't be here to lock in the profits on that and Scottrade doesn't have logical/bracketed trades.

We'll see if I keep losing with my position ideas. I need to get the hell out of AAPL as well. I'm going to put a stop on that to make sure it doesn't tank.
Edit: AAPL exit positions:
SELL -20 AAPL STP 156.00

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sold 200 TSRA @ 20.00, Profit: $104.30

So after having re-bought into TSRA another 200 shares on thinkorswim for $19.4285, my trailing stop limit triggered at 20.00.

This is because I was fundamentally misunderstanding the utility of the trailing stop limit, which is to say, simpler than I was making it. Instead of a trailing stop that only triggers once it hits a limit, it's instead a trailing stop that triggers instantly, with an upper limit that will force a sale no matter what. A bit less useful, but basically a hybrid way of placing an order with two levels of protection in a single order.

TOS does allow you to create triggers and rules, though, so the way around this and to get the desired behavior I was talking about yesterday would be to create your basic bracketed OCO with a low stop where you want it and then to create a trailing stop with the MARK - whatever value, and a "AT OR ABOVE" trigger on the mark price.

Fortunately, TSRA swung back down just after hitting 20.00, but not before hitting 20.22, which means my TS would've triggered at 20.12, basically killing $20 in profit. Probably the cheapest form of that mistak I could make; if it had triggered on the next 20.00 touch, where the stock broke out all the way up to 20.70, I would've been much more pissed.

AAPL Earnings...

Every once in awhile, I set out to do something that I know is probably dumb, but I'm determined to do anyway. Most the time, this is a losing proposition.

There's all manner of speculation on AAPL's earnings coming out after hours today. Some are saying they'll at least meet, others are saying they'll exceed. Since there are expectations they'll exceed, they have exceed by something of a landslide in order to break past the priced-in pre-expectations game already being waged. An analyst downgrade today helped cool it down a bit by bumping it down about 8 points, settling in at 160. (You'll recall I bought AAPL in my first stock move; an ill-advised single share at 125 last month.)

It's been slowly trending up as we've been approaching earnings; again the market can price things in based on their abstracted layer of expectations. A meet or lightly exceeds is probably pretty tightly priced in right now.

The flip side of this of course, is if that fail to meet. I don't think this is likely, but if they pull a GE, watch out: The Qs will drop and you'll see the NASDAQ as a whole take a slide. It will be a bad thing.

I don't think they'll fail. I think we'll see some sell off heading into it in anticipation of missed expectations. And then hopefully that'll take some of the priced-in effect off and they'll post good numbers in the call. Apple is a strong brand that has become considerably more price-competitive and is outselling, in terms of growth, their competitors by a 10-to-1 ratio. This helps make them recession-resistant, but in any "splurge" item, we could easily see Apple issue crap guidance for Q3. Poor forward-moving guidance can take the wind out of any positive earnings announcement and can even cause a stock to slide heavily in the face of amazing earnings increases, as seen last week in Intuitive Surgical (ISRG).

There, the market had priced in some sky-high expectations and the guidance shifts scared investors who felt it an indication of hospital belt-tightening and further anemic growth to come in the "recessiveish" market.

We'll see if AAPL follows the same trend.

I'm thinking we'll see some impressive numbers. If AAPL sells off pre-earnings and hits $153, I have an order for 20 shares, STOP @ 152.00, TRSTPLMT MARK-.30 @ 167, which means either it'll stop sell $1 down at $152, or it'll initiate a trailing stop of -.30 cents if the market price hits $167.

We shall see. Most I can lose is $20.