Sunday, May 31, 2009
So I’ve only got a few weeks left before I turn 30. As I look back on where life has taken me, I feel regret for all of the time, money, love, and energy I’ve wasted in my 20’s. I've accomplished a lot, but did I accomplish enough? At the same time, I feel hope and optimism for all the promise that tomorrow holds.
I’m going to be one of those people who are both older and wiser in all aspects of my life. I’m going to be one of those people who make the most of life and continue to believe in the realisation of fairy tales even if I know Santa couldn’t possibly exist.
I believe in miracles. I believe that for every Barbie there’s a Ken. I believe that life is full of possibilities if we open our minds and our hearts.
I’ve had enough of all this oh-woe-is-me... I’m ready for all the oh-wow-now-this-is-me!
I can feel it. I’m right at the threshold between what life could have been and how sweet and happy life really is.
This time it’ll be different. This time I’m doing it my way. This time I’m taking the high way because it’s faster and not because someone gave me an ultimatum.
This time, instead of thinking my brokers are trading against me, I’ll be thinking I’m the one trading against my brokers. Or maybe I’ll even listen to my brokers for a change because they're not so bad, really. They just trade against me, but if you look at it from the other side, I'm the one actually trading against them.
Someday = Today
(And now I want to thank all the producers for this is the story of my life.)
And no, I am not high on anything but life - and perhaps shopping!
It’s official. My Little Black Dress strategy (classic bearish divergence) seems to have shrunk. Instead of potentially yielding 300-400 pips, it is at best only getting about 100 pips - and I'm only getting 8. I’ve even had to weather a few small losses. The shame and embarrassment of wearing a little black dress that suddenly isn’t so little!
The fashionable thing to do? Go back to Bergdorf Goodman for the season’s best one.
This time, I’m getting one with a bow tie detail for a more dramatic entrance. And diva that I am, it has to be silk.
As Harry Winston the sage said: “People will stare. Make it worth their while.”
Friday, May 29, 2009
At the height of the economic crisis, when Goldman Sachs was trading at about $48, I overheard one of my Directors saying that it was a good time to buy GS.
Right before the recent rally in gold and copper prices, my friend Tim mentioned that he was long gold and copper.
Sometimes, in addition to doing your own homework, it's important to know who to follow. At the same time, developing a sense of what is overvalued and what is undervalued is obviously very important.
Is it more important to be a leader or a follower? Sometimes, it's necessary to be both.
Here's some more inspiration.
In fashion, people pay for seemingly insignificant details that are barely perceptible to less sensitive souls. I've discovered that this is also the case in trading.
One small detail can often make a very big difference to your bottom line. Perhaps one trade setup works better on a shorter term timeframe than a longer term timeframe. Perhaps the longer term timeframe works better with RSI or stochastics rather than MACD. Perhaps trailing your stop daily rather than hourly could enable you to gain substantially more profits.
Having the patience to look into these details can not only be eye-opening, but is also an important characteristic of highly successful people in general. It's a difference that can lead to a competitive advantage - the willingness and the passion to look at a situation from many different perspectives even if sometimes none of those perspectives seem to make any sense right at this moment.
Most people would rather spend their free time relaxing, but going into depth could be very rewarding.
To quote Harry Winston:
"Nothing perfect ever rolled off an assembly line. Perfectly symmetrical, yes, and perfectly attractive. But nothing perfect. Perfect is breathtaking. Perfect is inimitable. Perfect comes from staying awake until 2 am deciding whether to tilt a stone one hundredth of an inch this way or that."
Does the one hundredth of an inch matter that much? Yes, it often does. And with trading, it could prove to be even more important because we have a highly competitive environment here. When it comes down to it, we're basically trading against very highly intelligent A-type personalities. That's why details count.
Obama Tax Crackdown Implications
Interesting Analysis on Forex
The Big Inflation Scare
Rich People Are More Optimistic?
Thursday, May 28, 2009
While their bankruptcy is rather unfortunate, the way this article was written is just so wrong...
And I quote from The New York Times:
"But despite years of critical success, the company failed to break even, let alone turn a profit. Mr. Arnault sold Lacroix in 2005 to the Florida-based Falic Group, known for its Duty Free Americas chain. The Falic brothers aimed to refocus the luxury brand at the peak..."
I seriously hope the name Falic is not supposed to be pronounced the way I think it is?
Corporate Campaigns Hint At Brand Advertising Revival. The fact that companies are now willing to invest in long term corporate branding campaigns rather than just short-term tactical and promotional strategies indicates that something is in the air. And if companies are spending on marketing, then that points to an eventual slowdown in job losses. In general, marketing expenditure tends to be the first area cut during a recession and the last area to grow after a downturn. So, this is very encouraging news.
Holiday Sales Boost May Retail Sales Numbers. People are holding onto a lot of pent-up frustration and this extends to the shopping arena. Shopaholic or not, after months of sad news and repressing their need to acquire, most people just want to throw caution to the wind and splurge - if just a little. Whether this is long term remains to be seen, but at the least, there's a glimmer of hope.
Flawless Blue Diamond Sells For Record 6M GBP At Auction. Enough said.
All I know is that I've officially broken through a few personal resistance levels as far as my trading is concerned.
And I've had some dark days with that regard.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. I now know where to place my stops, which trades I should get into, and perhaps most importantly - when to stay out of the market.
As long as I continue to work on my trading psychology and risk management, I'll slowly but surely make a ton of progress.
I'm seeing my Little Black Dress strategy (classic bearish divergence) show up again and this time, I'm listening to my intuition.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
And apparently, he's doing it to finance National Healthcare Reform. Healthcare is certainly important. At the same time, I don't necessarily agree with nationalising healthcare. I just don't believe in the government interfering so much in our daily lives. Why can't people just take care of themselves and buy their own health insurance? If they can afford two cars and two TVs, why can't they afford health insurance? It's really a matter of prioritising.
I feel the whole Anti-LIFO concept is a bit penny wise, pound foolish. Anti-LIFO is definitely anti small business. So many small businesses will be adversely affected by an Anti-LIFO policy, and many will simply not survive. A wave of small business bankruptcies and more unemployment would definitely slow down the economic recovery. We cannot afford to let this happen.
I just bought a copy of FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression. I seriously need to start reading it. And so does Obama.
Wow, I haven't been this elated since... ever?
Part of my HWD position is now up over 90% and I can just feel this is going to be a winner over the longer term.
So, I'm super excited even though the rest of my portfolio is still down in the double digits.
But we have to remain optimistic, right?
I must remind myself that it's the long term vision that counts even if a little pebble trips you up in the short run.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
OMG, part of my HWD position is up almost 80% at the moment!
So, today is officially You Glow Girl Day (according to moi).
I can't wait until I really start profiting with this position. Then, I'd be able to get myself some Harry Winston - after a few years.
I've been hearing mixed messages on the future direction of the equities market. On one hand, stock brokers seem to be more optimistic that we have an economy on the verge of recovery. On the other hand, the guys at my forex broker are convinced that this is still a bear market rally and that a correction is in order. Obviously, the equities guys want to sell more stock and the forex brokers probably want you to keep trading forex.
Essentially, no one wants to call a market bottom in this environment, but like people like to say, no one will ring a bell when it does happen. I hate to think that I'd already missed the boat.
All I know is that we have to position ourselves for an economic recovery at a risk level we can tolerate and this involves building up positions on market dips. Pay attention to EPS and P/E levels and don't go chasing rainbows and we should all be fine.
DJIA is moving towards the 200 day moving average and if it closes above this level, I feel more upwards movement would be imminent. So, yes, I'm bullish.
I just have to remember to be smart and move my stops to lock in profits.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Oh, this adorable Hermes mini site is so much fun! It's made me giggle gleefully on this otherwise boring non-trading day.
There's a section with a blueprint of the Kelly bag, which you can cut out and attempt to make a miniature origami version of the Kelly - complete with different prints. ABC actually did a segment where someone used this to make a fake Kelly with leather. Excuse me very much, but even during a recession, who wants anything fake?
There's also a Rider's Fourre-Tout bag game where you need to catch falling objects - fun, fun, fun!
I can't wait for the market to open tomorrow!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Granted, my 2008 forex losses were much less than my 2007 losses. I was pleasantly surprised that the losses weren't more. Yet, I sometimes still feel I'm not making enough progress quickly enough.
In the past, the thought of taking the easy route and giving up has occurred to me more than once.
Whilst I'm trading, my Dad's voice sometimes makes its way into my head: "When will you ever recover your losses in forex trading? You need to stop." Unfortunately, there was much worse of this kind of discouragement while I was growing up.
It sometimes surprises me how I was able to overcome all of this negativity and become relatively successful outside of my trading career. I attended a great university. I have a pretty good job with a pretty good salary and a pretty good boss. And I've got some good friends I can trust and count on. Even better is my enviable wardrobe full of enviable handbags and enviable Tiffany charms. Although I'm lacking an enviable boyfriend, I should know how fortunate I am because even without the enviable boyfriend, almost everything else seems so perfect.
And yet, when it comes to trading, my secretly smirking accountant or my secretly smirking Dad or my secretly smirking brokers are there right in the foreground.
So far, I haven't given up on trading. And just as it seemed the financial world was collapsing all around us, some bits of light and clarity were shining through to me as I discovered some key lessons on price action.
I started looking at the bid / ask prices and sizes on the highest volume stocks of the day, which helped me make better short-term trades.
In forex, I was looking at higher probability trade setups and only trading those.
Now, the fear is mainly gone from the market and yet it seems I've somehow frozen along with the sentiment shift.
I'm going to have to do better than this.
During the whole equities market meltdown, I basically watched my stock portfolio - along with my self-confidence levels - dwindle to very scary levels. But as I have a cash account and I believe in the long term potential of the majority of stocks in my portfolio, I held onto all my positions, adding to positions that were trading well below their book value.
I respect Warren Buffett - who doesn't - but I have to agree more with Carl Icahn's strategy on buying up companies priced below book value. The reason I like this strategy more is that it inherently takes into consideration the debt a company is carrying already. So, if you're buying up a company way below book value, the probability of its stock price gravitating towards book value or slightly above book value is much greater. This often means fast money.
I'm the type of investor who is not embarrassed of buying only 48 shares in a company. So, I had a few very small positions right before the escalation of the global credit crisis. When stock prices fell below book value for a number of these companies, I added a few hundred shares of this and a few hundred shares of that at bargain prices.
I was not smart enough to buy at the absolute bottom, but at the least, I'm not completely out of the game yet. I plan on adding more shares for a few positions at Fibonacci retracement levels providing that it won't ruin the average cost of my shares.
Even if I don't get to add more shares, if my market theory is correct, I'll still be able to make a five figure profit on my full portfolio once the economic recovery accelerates.
- Stock prices tend to test 52 week highs and if the fundamentals are sound, they'll break these levels.
- Currently, my average price for each position is well below the 52 week high.
- Once the economic recovery takes place, which I am confident it will despite what everyone says, the only direction most stocks can go is up.
- Had I just left my portfolio alone without adding to positions, the economy would recover, but my stock portfolio would probably take years longer to recover.
- I'm therefore quite confident that at the least, I've put myself in a better position to recover my stock portfolio faster. And I am in a position to profit!
If you somehow feel anxious about your stock portfolio, I'd recommend constructing an Excel spreadsheet with the following information:
- Company Name
- Number of shares owned
- Average cost price
- 52 week high
- Potential profit if you sell at 52 week high
- 52 week low
- Potential loss if you sell at 52 week low
- Potential courses of action for each position
You will most likely notice that your portfolio is not as bad as it currently seems.
I'd also recommend moving your stops to lock in profits in this trading environment. If your position is already down by over 50%, that is not the right time to use a fixed stop. Instead, I would either look to reduce the position at retracements, or adding to the position if the downwards momentum seems to be turning around. If you add to your position, ensure that you're doing it in an advantageous way. This means:
- you should not be adding to your position if you're trading on margin
- you need to know when to stop adding to your positions
- you should have more shares at lower prices
- your average cost needs to be at a realistic level and below key technical levels (i.e. targeting 52 week high, targeting the share price's return to book value, or even targeting a Fibonacci retracement of the 52 week high)
Like always, do your own homework and do not take this to be investment advice.
I'm working on a similar money management strategy for forex trading and when I have any new breakthroughs, I'll post it here.
There are only four handbags I can think of that would be equally desirable in any colour or material combination imaginable:
1. Hermes Kelly
2. Hermes Birkin
3. Bulgari Twistino
4. Hermes Lindy
I can't believe I've ever overlooked the Hermes Lindy considering it was launched in 2006, but perhaps I was focusing on the Hermes Birkin too excessively.
So, this is a note to myself to keep my eyes and ears open at all times for all possibilities both in terms of shopping and trading.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Whilst it was commendable that they tried to continue operating with all the financial burden they were going through, they should have just ripped the bandaid right off in the first place. Now, we've got to wait another 1.5 - 2 years to see how this all plays out. A hedge fund is implicated, so why do I get the suspicious feeling that there will be a lot of legal and financial hypocrisy ensuing in the near future?
I did only pay about $0.3 on the dollar for these bonds, but lament the fact that they're only subordinated notes.
People and companies should just do the right thing all the time. Whilst bankruptcy is not an especially honourable route to take, in this case, it was evident far back in Ion's timeline that it was probably the only unexhausted and realistic solution.
To those that feel that it is naive of me to expect junk bond issuers in general to actually pay interest as well as repay the principal at maturity (i.e. E*Trade), I would just like to point out a promise is a promise. Maybe it is naive of me, but it doesn't make defaulting any less wrong.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
This is why I disagree with people who contend that anything branded is all hype and worse still, that luxury brand consumers are selfish, superficial, and clueless.
How are we selfish, superficial, and clueless when we've got the intelligence to know what is best for us and the confidence to go ahead and pursue it?
Aren't their comments about luxury brand consumers just a little bit selfish, superficial, and clueless - plus bordering on jealous?
I don't care. I've already made up my mind to save up for my very first Hermes Birkin - or the Hermes Kelly - or both - come deeper recession or recovery.
And is it just me, or does Tim Geithner have a very good eye for luxury with his eye-catching Hermes tie? That guy is stylish and definitely not superficial!
I've learned to hold back on trading when I'm feeling especially vulnerable, but I really want to get to a point where I'm feeling zen all the time.
I do find that using brainwave entrainment helps to focus me. I love the thunderstorm ones in alpha, theta, and delta. I tried using gamma as well, but that started to really scare me as I was having strange dreams, feeling compassion for people who really don't deserve it, and whatnot after using gamma entrainment. Apparently, the whole thing about Tibetan monks being in a gamma state during meditation requires much more research. Tread with caution if you use gamma. Alpha and theta seem to work the best, but as I feel I'm at a stage in life where healing is very important, I've been using delta more often of late.
As I've mentioned before, I realised I've been struggling with self-sabotage quite a lot. It turns out that self-sabotage is supposed to be indicative of positive change taking place in your life. If you find yourself really opposing to a new change you're trying to make and you're encountering lots of self-sabotage, then that is a good indication that the change should really be taking place. Your subconscious mind is just afraid to change and is therefore creating self-sabotage to prevent that change from occurring.
The key is not only to persist, but also to push yourself to overcome this internal battle.
I've had an almost lifelong battle with feeling like I really don't belong anywhere, feeling like I'm not good enough, and basically living with many missing pieces - which altogether prevent me from living a fulfilling life. Who deserves such self-abuse? To make a long story short, I finally realised that I've been using my history as an excuse not to do better and not to be better. I've essentially been trading against myself.
Having the courage to acknowledge this is important as the traders that don't have these self-esteem / self-sabotage / emotional baggage issues - or the ones that do but rise above these issues - inevitably gain a competitive advantage. And I'm going to be one of them!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Anyway, I happened to get a fantastic rate at the Wynn Encore Las Vegas. My average rate is now $159 + tax per night and I get a $50 resort credit. I've got a resort suite and who knew they have six swimming pools? The Venetian Palazzo probably has a better rate, but I wanted to try out the Wynn Encore since I've been to the Palazzo before. So who says good things can't happen during a recession? (promotional code in case anyone's interested: AFFASV). In case you get a higher rate, just google Wynn Las Vegas promo codes and you should be able to find other offers that might be more advantageous.
Getting back to the expo itself, it seems like there's a great lineup of speakers, including Todd Gordon, Kathy Lien, Boris Schlossberg, Ed Ponsi, Tim Morge, John Person, etc.
I would have liked to see Brian Dolan included as well. Who knows, maybe he'll join in at the last minute?
Since I haven't been trading for all that long, I'm a bit anxious about meeting people who've been trading for years. I don't want to be the worst trader there or the worst trader ever... But I'm fairly confident I'll be learning a lot more about forex trading! And obviously, shopaholic that I am, I'll be paying a visit to The Fashion Show Mall and the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
My first Tiffany charm purchase was the iconic Tiffany 1837 lock that actually opens and closes. How cool is that? I purchased it at Hong Kong CLK airport along with a Dior watch. Although the Dior watch cost a lot more, I still like the Tiffany lock much better. The sales guy who sold it to me was also very charming, although not particularly cute, but he had a very good personality.
My second Tiffany charm purchase was the Tiffany Wall Street Charm, which I purchased on Wall Street right before the global economic crisis hit. My Wall Street charm is now more beat up than Wall Street itself, but it's actually my favourite charm so far. I remember I had to really search hard to find a sales person and it wasn't that great of a shopping experience because of that, although the lady who sold it to me was very professional. Nonetheless, they really need to work on their customer service experience as my first impression of them was not that great.
My third Tiffany charm purchase was the Paloma Picasso charm bracelet and Old Bond Street charm purchased at the LHR T5 Tiffany boutique. It was a memorable purchase in that I also received a Tiffany spring clasp for my Wall Street charm for free. That lady was a good sales lady, but I didn't remember her face so well. I kind of wish I had visited the Old Bond Street store to actually make the Old Bond Street charm purchase, but whatever, I was able to save myself a trip to Central London. Maybe when I get a chance to go to London again, I'll visit Old Bond Street and get another one that's actually from Old Bond Street and have it engraved.
My fourth Tiffany charm was one of the new sterling silver Tiffany keys with a 1 point diamond. It's so adorable and I purchased it at LHR T5 because I thought it would symbolise my key to London! I'll get there one day and live a metropolitan lifestyle with my Hermes Kelly and Birkin bags and maybe have a whole string of admirers that I'll have to fend off. : ) The sales lady from my previous visit to Tiffany LHR tried to approach me, but I was already being helped. It's good she remembered me because I didn't remember her. I have to try to remember faces better as I actually would have wanted to purchase from her again. I'm loyal that way.
I'm going tomorrow to get my fifth and sixth Tiffany charms - the Tiffany shopping bag and the Tiffany Fifth Avenue charm. I don't know if I'll change my mind when I get there tomorrow and end up purchasing something else?? I've been dying to get the Fifth Avenue charm forever. It actually could have been my second charm purchase. But you know what they say about delayed gratification.
My latest Tiffany Charms story...
I thought it'd be an uneventful purchase, but instead got a shocking surprise! I opened the box to see nothing in the box and had to go tell someone off. Thankfully, I was still inside the Tiffany Fifth Avenue flagship boutique (57th and Fifth). Otherwise, who would have believed me if I went back tomorrow? It would have been a few hundred pips down the drain (I only trade mini-lots)!
If you ever shop for major jewellery pieces, be sure to ask the sales representative to wrap the jewellery in front of you.
When you get into the Tiffany elevators, there's a quasi tour guide announcing 'major attractions' such as Second Floor for Diamonds and Third Floor for Silver Fashion Jewellery, including Paloma Picasso, Elsa Peretti, and Frank Gehry. I wonder why they do that? It's kind of unusual and quirky - not what you'd expect at Tiffany, and sorry to be such a diva, but it's not exactly elegant.
The elevator guides were too friendly whilst the sales representatives turned out to be the usual stuffy, arrogant sales representatives. I definitely tried to steer clear of those closing doors. Sales representatives, in my opinion, have no right to look down at clients. I get that a lot with E*Trade too. I have only a 5 figure account with them and get a whole lot of disrespect in return. For the amount of cash flow I'm giving them every month, it's just unacceptable and I'm researching other possibilities right now - possibly Charles Schwab.
Getting back to T&Co, I noticed some of the sterling silver pieces in the showcases - practically the vast majority, were very much tarnished. I understand there's a recession, but at the least make a bit more effort. I hate when people drop their standards like this based on the fact that there’s a recession. Who cares? You've still got a job - do it.
When I was taking the train, a fellow native New Yorker asked me about my Tiffany Charms bracelet. She was pretty stylish herself - in a self-confident, street-smart kind of way that is not dependent on an addictive need to showcase luxury brands. She obviously knows her stuff - citing a similar Chanel bracelet and acknowledging my efforts to accumulate all the different Tiffany street sign charms when I told her each street sign is exclusive to only select boutiques.
She even noticed my prized Wall Street charm. So far I've got six charms altogether and am planning another purchase - the envelope with a tiny diamond and the Tiffany notes lock.
I feel happy that someone else knows how much effort it takes to be a beautiful, stylish woman and realised that it's not just about the brand names, but very much about inner beauty as well. That girl's got self-confidence and right now, I can use a little bit more of that!
Seventh Tiffany Charm: the Tiffany notes lock purchased at LHR T5… basically, I purchased four Tiffany charms on one round-trip itinerary from Belgium to NY. I spent a small part of my tax refund check on these charms. They do make me feel a lot happier. And call me superstitious, but when I trade without wearing my Wall Street charm, I’ve noticed that I tend to mess up my trades a lot.
Is this bracelet worthy of envy or what? I therefore consider myself extremely lucky.
Friday, May 1, 2009
However, two traders could be trading the same exact system and one would be profiting whilst the other could be netting a loss.
Why? I've realised it has to do with trading psychology and money management strategy. Technical analysis is only one facet of trading.
How the trader reacts to different trading conditions as well as how he or she manages positions are two quintessential parts of the trading equation.
It took me a while to learn some basic technical analysis. I really didn't want to do it at first. My broker almost had to force me to do it, really. Anyway, now that I started doing technical analysis, I can't go back to anything else.
Just when I thought that I'd found a reasonably reliable trading system, I noticed that I suddenly couldn't trade any more. I just didn't see the setup that I like and so I took some time off - a few months to be exact.
When I decided to start trading again, I kept making bad trades. It wasn't like I was just having one bad trading day, but a prolonged trading drought coupled with major missed opportunities that could have yielded some great profits. Case in point: ETFC shares that I purchased at $1.35 and sold at a very minor 1% profit. Anyone following ETFC knows that it shot up above $2.5 recently, which would have doubled my money. I've been waiting since last November for this. I usually like to move my stop to lock in some profit, but instead just mindlessly exited the trade practically at market price.
Another case in point: a EUR/USD short based on my favourite trading setup - the classic bearish divergence, which to me is the equivalent of the little black dress. I noticed it happening on EUR/USD, shorted it, got stopped out and shorted it shortly thereafter. I got stopped out again and noticed another opportunity and finally thought - maybe the third time would be the charm - or maybe not. So, I didn't short it again - et voila the third time would have been the charm.
As if you needed any other examples, a third one would be today - a terrible trading day with no less than six trades all on GBP/JPY - stopping and reversing numerous times. What was I doing?
To make a long story short, I hadn't been admitting to myself that I have a major problem with self-sabotage. After doing an array of impulse trades that were like a series of punches to the face, I started googling self-sabotage and found a quiz. Yes, I forced myself to take this quiz and almost ended up in tears because basically all my answers pointed to a serious self-sabotage issue.
Here's the link to the quiz in case anyone is interested.
I guess admitting this here is my first step towards overcoming self-sabotage. No one likes to admit psychological barriers as it's definitely a sign of weakness. It's a little bit like admitting being a shopaholic.
But when you come to think of it, there are already so many factors out there that are out of our control. The one thing we can control is our mindset and that is critical to success.