Thursday, March 27, 2008

Let's play the earnings call game... Buying Redhat (RHT)

Redhat announced that they bested earnings expectations by 7%. Quarterly earnings calls almost always come with a fun shift in the stock price: up for beat expectations, down for missed expectations. Naturally, this is an oversimplification. A stock's last few quarter's performance, it's market capitalization, the amount by which it missed or exceeded and of course, random market entropy all come into play.

But it's typically one of the safer bets you can make.

I'm hoping for a 5-10% bump and I'll roundtrip it if it gets anywhere near to that. After hours pushed +1.27 / 7.24% already, so the most of what we'll see may have already come and I could be buying into a sell off. Or we could see some shorts covered and a nice spike that nets me a small profit.

I'm only buying $1,000 worth, since that's all I have in "liquidity". In fact, I don't even have that; I have $500 in settled funds and another $500 in unsettled, pending funds. (From today's GOOG & AAPL sales.) The Federal Reserve's Regulation T requires me to have the funds settled before I can buy and then sell a new set of securities with the proceeds of an earlier sale.

Example: While I can buy 29 shares of RHT with the proceeds from my GOOG/AAPL sales, I cannot sell the position until the sales have settled, in three days. If I do, it's considered "free-riding" and it's a no-no; two instances locks an account for 90 days. I'm willing to take one instance to get a nice profit in.

I'm also completing a margin application, since you can get around this provision with a margin account.

The other thing I need to watch out for is the pattern day trading rules. If I perform 4 roundtrips (in and out of a position in the same day) within any 5 day period, my account converts to a "pattern day trader" account, which requires a minimum equity amount of $25,000. The punchline? They issue a fucking trading equity call for the difference if you don't have the $25,000. Or they close your account. Woo regulations.

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