Friday, October 29, 2010

When You Know You Deserve An A...

... and you get a B, it really hurts. So I've got some bittersweet symphony going on at work. I got QU promoted with a happy shiny new title, but I decided not to stay on for another year at the +50% salary increase because it didn't fully reflect my trading ego and what I think I'm worth. My estimation is that I'm worth a lot more and now I'm going to find out how much more. I'm staying in Belgium until at least the end of the year. Where will life take me next? Will I find another job? Will I trade for a living? Will I regret I took a life-altering decision based on my QU feelings?

Some of my favourite Professors of Finance gave me a relatively good report card:

+1.36% on the SBA
-0.02% on the Roth IRA

Even on my small account, if I get a +1.36% increase consistently, I won't have to starve. But if I can't respect myself, then what's the point of any of it? It kills me to think that I at one point considered staying at my job after that ridiculous accountant accused me of being legal but unethical for only a +50% salary increase. It would be even more ridiculous to continue after all my previous demotions, so keep me in your prayers when you go in the Confessional Booth, HSFTs...

Don't let anyone tell you you're a B when you're an A...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In the Confessional Booth, Volume 271010

This edition of Confessional Booth with ForexDiva isn't going to be as juicy as it usually is. I'm trying not to give myself a hard time with my recent CENX sell. The thing is I got out of the trade due to an emotional situation and not based on any fundamental or technical reasoning. There's now a head and shoulders formation on the 3-month timeframe. The question is will it get back to $10 or $11 again? $11 looks more likely, but it could just as well break to the topside since many head and shoulders patterns fail - at least when it comes to forex. I'm now going to observe this H&S on CENX to see if the prevalence of H&S failures also exists in the equities market. Options chains analysis on CENX also points to the $10 or $11 level as critical levels. So perhaps I shouldn't have to regret that I sold.

But what happened to BAC today? It managed another +2.12% move up. I'm looking for some more opportunities to buy up the highly undervalued financial sector. It all depends on whether I stay in Belgium or not. Yes, I'm still negotiating!

-0.66% on the SBA
+0.32% on the Roth IRA

BAC is now in my SBA. Yet, due to how small that position is, even with the nice move up, it doesn't make a huge difference to the bottom line.

I now realise how much I need to risk and how much I need to potentially make in order to get a good ROI. Once you identify some price levels you're comfortable with, you can basically identify several different stocks trading in that range and just get into one or two positions at precisely the right moment. That gives you a consistent trading system that's slightly less emotional and much more profitable.

For instance, if you like stocks ranging from $10 to $12 and just look at only those price levels and find investment opportunities that match a potential gain of 25 to 50%, you've got a predefined risk:reward profile that's already built into your trading system.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So This Is Why I Didn't Get Into Columbia...

Why didn't anyone tell me I was misusing the word relentless? I keep saying unrelentless... It's my very own George W. Bush style semi-Republican blunder. Anyway, now I know why I didn't get into Columbia! But did somebody downgrade LEHMQ or something? LOL. It's hitting levels very close to its 52WL now, so since I'm still in that position from March 2010, when I missed out on a very big gain because I got greedy, I'm going to quote unquote average in with a tiny amount of cash in hope of some bigger gains. Let's see how that one works out. I want to be positioned in such a way that I'll be in for some upside when Lehman finally gets out of bankruptcy.

BAC moved up +1.25% today - nothing major... but here's my blah on it.

It doesn't take GWB to see that we closed the day at very critical levels today:

NASDAQ... 2497.29 (obviously very close to 2500)
DJIA... 11169.46 (obviously above 11,100 and holding)
S&P 500... 1185.64 (obviously close to 1200 - the infamous Lehman Level)

So are we going to rip off the bandaid? Or did I buy another top?

Interestingly, I noticed there had been some positive correlation between S&P 500 and BAC on the one year timeframe. However, lately, there has been a disconnect - particularly since September 2010, when the S&P rallied +12.99% with no followthrough on BAC - not even when the CFO bought above $13. So we've got some jet lag going on with BAC which must be corrected. If you study the S&P chart, 1150 was a critical area of resistance, which we just broke through recently. 1150 has to hold in order for more upwards momentum to occur. This is setting up to be another gold-diggin' Andrews Pitchfork it seems. Check this out...

S&P 500 One Year (notice the honeygreen trendline, which would be the median line on the Andrews Pitchfork)

BAC One Year (notice the previous positive correlation and now the negative correlation with S&P 500)

Isn't that beautiful? My portfolio wasn't that beautiful today though. Even though I added BAC, it was still:

-0.76% on the SBA
-0.46% on the Roth IRA

Poor CENX reported third quarter losses of $16.8 million, missing by about $0.23 according to my E*Trade platform. So it turned out to be quote unquote luck that I sold it, although not at the intermediate top. But I want to buy back again and ride this one to $20. I must wait for the right moment... when it's practically screaming "touch my market bottom." It's getting pretty uncomfortable in Extended Hours Trading with CENX... -4.62% already!

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Want Her On Our Team!

Sorry I couldn't blah earlier. I had to spend some time brushing up my resume so that it could hopefully make a "We want her on our team!" impression on someone in the near future.

I haven't been doing enough homework lately. Usually, I like to spend the weekend researching my next trend, but what's the point when all I do is ride it on the way up and neglect to sell it on the way down? In a way, I am glad I took action by selling CENX even though it seems to be on its way up again. It was an emotional decision, but a real-life decision. So if you ever wonder why price happens, it's because of these emotional decisions occurring on a micro-managerial level.

As I've mentioned before, my focus is now on recovering with BAC and C and I've taken one extra step towards that goal today by getting into some more BAC. It's one of the three stocks starting with a B that I'd mentioned in my earlier post. I seem to have forgotten my trading discipline here as I recall wanting to buy only when S&P gets to 1000 again.

+1.58% on the SBA
+0.74% on the Roth IRA

My Should I Stay or Should I Go dilemma is still on. And what really gets to me is why I can't convince my boss that I am worth what I've asked for. It drives me insane, actually.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I just bought BAC at $11.18 and am prepared for it to move a little more south to about $9.99 - at which point, I plan to buy a little more. That is, if I don't decide to suddenly close this chapter of my life and start a new one.

After having spoken to my boss today, I received an indication that this was the maximum that my salary can go. By anyone's standards, it would be a good salary. I do get to save quite a sum of money with my new salary structure. It's not about survival, but about trading ego. However, the question that continually pops up is... am I getting the shorter end of the stick? It seems like quite a number of people got a salary increase this year at my company and in comparison, my salary increase seems to be less substantial.

I learned the saying "The trend is your friend..." from my BFF forex broker. I learned the latter part of that saying "... until the end" the hard way this year when I: (1) tried to ride the GOL's momentum for too long back in May; (2) tried to ride Sultan BCS's trend past the +25% mark right after that; (3) tried to do more than +40% with CENX about a week or two back.

So... it leads me to the question... is my job a trend that's about to end?

I need some objective, honeygreen money making machine's opinion and unfortunately, everyone who I've spoken to thinks that this is a good salary increase. I put together all this objective evidence supporting my claim that I will still be underpaid if I get this high double digit salary increase based on the number of high salary jobs out there, the salaries of people in similar positions in competing companies, etc. Something doesn't feel right even though it seems like I went from needy to greedy with my salary negotiation. So if anyone is reading my blog and has a good idea, post a comment here! I'm all confused...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Well, I'm Still Here...

I had a discussion with my boss today after I sent him a resignation letter by email. I know that wasn't the best approach and definitely worse than breaking up with someone by text messaging - or on Facebook. But I was definitely very angry. So, we had a meeting today and as we both did not see eye to eye on my salary, we decided to go our separate ways. Then, like a movie scene, my boss' son decided to enter the discussion. I was offered a big salary increase, but I do not know if it's big enough. The main thing is I love my job and was offered the opportunity to devote part of my time to a high growth market. In terms of career development, that's very compelling. In terms of appreciation, I think the salary increase is a step in the right direction.

In terms of trading ego? You know I've got a big one. And the question now is... is my salary bigger than my trading ego yet? I have a salary in mind and I will defend the logic behind it with another one of my presentations.

I have the weekend to decide and honestly, if I don't stay in Belgium, I don't know where I'll go. Will I move to London or is that still a few years away?

It takes a woman with a lot of pluck to quit her job in the middle of the worst crisis our generation has known. My boss obviously appreciated me since he did not accept my resignation on the spot and his son decided to spend a very long time in a discussion with me. This year was definitely a test of character for me. In some instances, I've failed. In other instances, I discovered who I am as an international woman of mystery.

I won't be doing anything too experimental with my trading until I decide what to do. But to my embarrassment, it seems everyone somehow found out about the incident in the meantime.

+1.21% on the SBA
+0.14% on the Roth IRA

Have a good weekend, HSFTs! And thanks for taking this journey with me. I'm dying for the day I can ride your trend again...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Felt Used & Abused & I Blew A Fuse...

My trading session today was short and fraught with emotion. I did one quick sell of CENX, which I vowed not to sell below my target price of $14-16. But when life happens, you've got to take action and life happened today. I even nearly sold my beloved Harry Winston, but decided not to do it just yet.

I had a career emergency and decided to step on the brakes with CENX at $12.98 for only at 26.63% gain on a position that was nothing to begin with just so that I can have some flexibility with my cash if necessary. I am at a crossroads and not sure what to do. It's one of those... do I stay or do I go situations and this time, only one thing matters: moola and lots of it in the strongest, most desirable, alpha currency I know of.

I've tried the pour your heart and soul into your work and be a team player but get no respect, no appreciation, and no moola route and now I'm going to try something new. As my cousin likes to say, If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

Anyway, this may be my final post if I have to quote unquote move on.

I wish I had a better report card, but have only got:

-0.36% on the SBA
-0.01% on the Roth IRA

I really wish I could have waited until 26 October 2010 for the earnings announcement. And given the news on China's buoyant economy, I might have missed out on a potentially good leg higher with CENX. But risk aversion can suddenly hit from out of the blue.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When You Don't Have Selling Discipline...

... you've got to have some buying discipline. And that has saved me so many times this year. But I've got the collector's predicament and that's scarier than some of the costumes you might be seeing this Halloween. I'm trying to be a little bit more philosophical, although it probably doesn't sound it. I reckon trading is a lot like cooking. You cook so you can have a meal. You trade so you can get some profits. Sometimes, you end up with a half-decent sandwich. Other times, you end up with pure decadence - such as my scallops grilled in truffle oil. But you've got to actually wok things the right way - and that involves timing. If you only cook the scallops for thirty seconds, you end up with sushi. So the main ingredient missing from my trading? Disciplined selling. I'm over-cooking my trades.

CENX gave the bears a run for their money today, moving up +3.56%. I'm still going to force myself to sell at my target price by moving my stops. I'll let CENX take me for a bit of a ride then. And if it stops me out, then I won't cry - or try not to anyway. But you all know now that I hold a grudge - especially when it comes to trading. Right, Ministers of Finance who sold me at 1.54? If I get stopped out and CENX one day bounces back to pre-crisis levels, I can't look back like I'm now doing with KO, thinking I missed out on about $10 per share by not waiting.

My next step in portfolio recovery: focusing on breaking even with BAC and C by either offsetting the losses with other positions or averaging in at infomercial levels. I want those high double digit losses in my SBA to become high double digit gains in the near future.

Report Card:

+1.60% on the SBA
+1.40% on the Roth IRA

Mathematically speaking, I have confirmed that a -3% loss is much more painful than a +3% gain is delightful.

For instance... on a $10,000 account, you gain 3% the first day, lose 3% the second day, and gain 3% the third day. It would work out to be a $300 gain the first day, $309 loss the second day, and $299.73 gain the third day. So, taking that loss not only knocks the wind out of your sail, but it also decreases your bottom line.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And I Didn't Even Get To Wake the Neighbours Yet...

But it's true that CENX might have run of out stamina - at least for the time being. It had a very quick -7.38% descent today, so I apologise for calling the idiot who tried to sell 17,000 shares on Friday an idiot. If I had not tried to sell in the meanwhile, I would have lost all respect for myself. Still, I put in too crazy of a price yesterday in the Extended Hours Trading session.

The earlier optimism in China is now temporarily done due to today's rate hike, but we've still got one more chance at romance on 26 October 2010. This is when all of the earlier optimism on China will show up on CENX's balance sheet - or not. Given AA's performance earlier on in the month, CENX should follow suit. Then, there's a third time's the charm possibility of China's rate hike being insufficient in taming economic growth that basically now has a life of its own. This may or may not become evident in future quarters, but the future is anyone's guess. I've still got a bullish bias and today's market doesn't change that.

My strategy: I'm trying the crazy price strategy again in Extended Hours till Earnings Announcement Time. I've decided that I'm going to sell, but I'm going to sell on my terms, which means the $14-16 range I've been eyeing since basically Day One. If I don't get to sell before Earnings Announcement, I'll exercise some patience and basically no trading discipline and then decide what to do. Wish me luck! In a downtrend, the bulls don't get much of a say in dictating prices, but we haven't come this far to find that CENX doesn't want to go for a second round. And this may yet be the beginning of the end for the bears - if my theory on China is correct.

-4.79% on the SBA (oh, the pain...)
-2.18% on the Roth IRA

I don't want to go in the Confessional Booth, but I may have to before long - and quite possibly, for an extended period.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today's Session Left Me Wondering...

... did CENX price climax without me? We are now trading firmly above the 50% retracement level between the 52WH and 52WL at about $13.46, but CENX seems to be running out of breath before $14. I'm still doing my crazy price strategy in Extended Hours Trading, so if you see any unusual pricing there, it might be me.

I did my own homework this weekend and have identified five different stocks that I could invest in. Three of them start with the letter B, so you can go do your own homework and fantasise about what they might be. They're all in the banking sector. I'm already heavily into financial stocks, so I don't mind getting a little arbitraged this time around - especially if you're going to buy up CitiFrog or Sultan BCS. This year, banks got battered and it's about time we see a good rally. Today's session saw a broad-based rally involving many stocks in the financial sector - and this may just be the beginning of the end for the bears.

Am I not always saying that? Well, I suppose so. But this time, it could just be different. S&P 500 is getting very close to the 1200 level. Recall that 1214 roundabouts was where S&P 500 closed the day immediately after Lehman. We were slightly above 1600 pre-Lehman and now, we’re almost at 1200, which was tested earlier in the year pre-Hung Parliament. So are we going to break above this level and rip off the bandaid already?

Psychologically, people don’t want to see this level yet because that’s like opening up an old wound again – especially for the people who sold the market bottoms. LOL. What? I bought the market tops so I can make fun of the bottom sellers! Seriously, though… I wonder if the bottom sellers got out of position yet?

So what's different this time around?

1. Lehman caused a break below 1200
2. If I'm not mistaken, it took us about 18 months after Lehman for a try above 1200 again. That failed due to European Debt Crisis fears.
3. Now, we've got Bernanke wanting to lift us out of the abyss with some more quantitative easing.

I think the case for a higher S&P 500 definitely has a lot more potential than the bearish story. Quantitative easing + healthier balance sheets of banks + healthier balance sheets of many large corporations… that makes for a compelling push higher.

Whilst housing and unemployment would ideally improve further to be supportive of a move higher, business confidence is already back. I believe that the recovery will continue to be led by companies that are able to take a proactive and innovative approach to business rather than consumers charging up their credit cards to buy more clutter this time around. Once business starts taking off again, consumers will follow. Both will hopefully be a lot more cautious, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

People have been unemployed for a while and if they’ve managed to get on by for so long, then they’ll survive.

The question is how fast can the market move up without appearing insensitive? All the people on the news will be commenting on the financial hypocrisy if 1200 manages to hold. Maybe we need to move in a range for a while?

So, I’ll pay attention to what goes on now and if we hit the 1000 level again and my five stocks are at attractive levels then, I’ll buy some. Already, I’m seeing some interesting stocks trading near their 52WLs – near as in it could be conceivable that any move lower on key market indices could drive the stock of that stock lower and hit my “target buy levels.”

My trading legs don't part at every level, nor do they part for just any stock. Or, that's what I would like to think.

Anyway, that was a very big rant... And now, the part you've all been waiting for!

Report Card Time!

I jumped on the treasure trunk today...

+0.91% on the SBA
+3.05% on the Roth IRA

Let's see if I can have some forex now, but if I don't, there's always tomorrow!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The British Are Coming!

I really hate the GOLs! They zoomed past 1.60 and didn't let me in on any of the fun. Or rather, I chose not to get involved with them anymore. But now, I'm thinking... maybe I should consider getting part of my salary in GBP?

My Crown Prince has once again turned into a frog and CENX was no better. In Extended Hours Trading, an idiot is trying to sell 17,000 shares of CENX whilst I'm trying to implement my crazy price strategy.

My report card is so bad and I'm definitely not the type to sleep with my professor to get any sort of a boost.

-2.00% on the SBA
-0.52% on the Roth IRA

I'm going for some extra credit this weekend and will do some more research in preparation for the ultimate holiday trade. I'm going to spend some time looking through every chart I can get my hands on. When we do our homework, we do it properly!

This week, LVMH's third quarter sales increased by 14% and BAC took some steps to limit foreclosures, surprisingly seen as a negative to the economy. Well, the last thing we need now is for home values to go down. Interestingly, when I was in HK, I kept hearing about a law that was put into effect that enabled anyone who invested 6.5 million HKD to become a permanent HK resident. This caused property prices to basically skyrocket off of the Lehman lows and no one needs to wonder where the demand actually came from. Yes... China!

I wouldn't want to live next to some Mainland Chinese, but since Canada hasn't been as adversely affected as the rest of the world, wouldn't it make sense to encourage Canadian investment in the US?

Or is that unpatriotic?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pain In the Rut...

I don't have too much time to blah today since I got tied up with a lot of stuff, but in case anyone's wondering, I closed the day with some disappointing descending price action and wanted to share my report card for the day since I'm always so smug when I have a good day.

-0.81% on the SBA
-2.99% on the Roth IRA

I did notice that in addition to price resistance, there's another type of resistance going on with my account. Whenever it reaches a certain point, it's almost inevitable that it'll start going down shortly thereafter due to my complacency and lack of discipline to take decisive, constructive action. It's happened at least twice this year, particularly with my Roth IRA, which is dominated by the Sultan and CitiFrog.

I think this resistance, at least on some level, must be psychological. So, I'm looking to break through this threshold.

And the only way to do this is with some outside the portfolio thinking!

First step: Google OPEC Meeting and discover that even OPEC has a Web site...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Squeaky Wheel Gets Oiled...

Or so they say. Let's see what happens at tomorrow's OPEC meeting. Already, Venezuela is calling for higher prices in 2011 within a range of $90 to $100, stating: "Well, I said that we hope to have a new price in the future. We have to see and discuss. You know the quota system is a very complicated position. We are not in a position to discuss now.”

Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia reckoned that prices between $70-$80 are already quite satisfactory. Talk about being easily pleased. FT has an extensive report on this meeting in case anyone wants to see it all. The world's largest oil trading house, Vitol, forecasts prices between $70 and $85. Vitol's going on my permanent watch list too - right next to Glencore. Interestingly, both are Swiss.

So, the question is where is oil headed next? And is it necessarily bad if it remains in a range? More importantly, what are the implications for CENX, my new love interest?

I studied a one-year oil chart and compared it to the one-year CENX chart. The correlation is pretty strong and rings clear as a bell. I then tried to see whether there was any correlation between Shanghai and CENX. The correlation isn't as strong, surprisingly, even though there are many reports indicating that China is a major driving factor of profitability in the aluminium sector. Then, I compared CENX with FTSE and we had a correlation that is essentially the same oil, which means FTSE is even more tightly matched with CENX than the Shanghai chart. So what does this tell me?

FTSE is now coming full circle, running the sellers who sold back in March or April. So, it's likely CENX will do the same. The way the two charts accelerate seem very, very similar. They've got the same personality. So, CENX started out the year with a bang, opening at about $16.71. And I'm keeping my eyes on the ball - watching the $14-16 range more cautiously than ever. If FTSE hits the 5800 level again, CENX should have some more upside yet.

In terms of timing, the wok's very hot once again due to Earnings Season, but I fully expect a pre-election day lull before Santa comes along. So I'm going to wait for the momentum to build before selling anything, even though I have to admit I'm quite anxious. What? I'm just entering a new phase here with my PDO nearing completion. It's a big deal and CENX's -1.67% move today didn't give me any assurances, although Harry seems to desire my attention.

Report Card:

+1.05% on the SBA
-0.31% on the Roth IRA

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

OMG, This Guy Should Run for President!

I am talking about Hoyt Barber, the guy who wrote the Secrets of Swiss Banking book that I'm reading. As I mentioned in a previous post, this was written pre-Lehman. So you might be wondering what value there is in reading a book that's pre-Lehman. But I think it's important not to tie oneself to just one way of thinking. Lehman changed the world and how people feel about security, money, consumerism, etc. It will leave an imprint on our psyche for years to come and books written after Lehman will reflect these biases. Plus, this guy happened to hit the nail right on the head with a lot of topics. It's pointless to only listen to the perma-bears who were right about the crisis or only wear your rose-coloured glasses, isn't it.

Anyway, I found myself wanting to bookmark every other page so far and some of his best lines include...

On Bernanke (this one's so brilliant I wish I had said it): "Well, he knows the truth on the real inflation numbers that he's not sharing with the public."

On the US political landscape (written even before the election): "The next stop: socialism. The next president will be pressing for social changes, but with these ideas come high price tags, not unlike war."

... "and today, the United Nations has aspirations of becoming the Global Internal Revenue Service."

I didn't yet get to the muscular part just yet, but already, I'm feeling an affinity to the capitalistic notions detailed in this book. It made me wonder: why are we giving away one third of our salary to sponsor a government that is able to accomplish so little on such a large budget? We have to vote the pork bellies out of office and trade them for some Fair Weather Futures, BFFs!

Anyway, again, because I ramble... I had some more major fun with CENX. Mind you, I bought at $10.25 and we closed the day at $14.41, which is a 40.58% gross paper profit. I've been watching the $14-16 range for ages and now, my initial target has finally been touched. Shanghai rallied +1.23% today, bringing along many commodities stocks for the ride. Major miners like RTP and BHP seem to be testing their 52WHs now. Both had hit rock-bottom 52WLs only about four to five months back. It's another very critical moment for the market. Are we going to see oil break above $85 and even head towards $90?

There's so much speculation and anticipation about whether and how much Bernanke will QE2 our pain. It rather depends on how much he swept the street himself, doesn't it? I am going to watch the forex market more carefully now. A push higher in stock markets with no followthrough on risk currencies should mean we should move closer to the panic button.

To paraphrase Hoyt Barber: "Well, he knows the truth on the real... numbers that he's not sharing with the public."

Report Card:

+1.47% on the SBA
+0.56% on the Roth IRA

In just a few more days, my debt will self-destruct and my PDO will be officially over. I pressed the right button today and made the final payment to my student loan, which will take another few days to post. Since I was Swiss in a previous lifetime, I'm waiting for the amount to post on my account. Twelve years of carrying this debt around and finally, I am at the precipice of financial freedom. When I obliterate the rest of my debt, I'll be on here singing another happy song to my favourite Professors of Finance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Is This What They Would Call Karma?

Within twenty-four hours of beginning my research for a Swiss bank account, I got into a disagreement with my colleague. He essentially told me I was being legal but unethical and I told him I was being excommunicated for having a mojito. Then, I burned my hand. Plus, I didn't get to have any forex.

I wasn't even considering tax evasion! Everything must be legal and I report everything to the IRS, which just goes to prove that I really must have been Swiss in a previous lifetime. I was thinking something along the lines of revising previous tax returns and claiming previously unutilised foreign earned income tax exclusion limits. Now that I think about it, the accountant probably even knows how little I get paid if he became suspicious of my Hermes Kelly!

Still, I have to get my raise first and today, I had another brilliant idea. I am worth my weight in gold-digging!

Getting back to the Swiss... I've been looking at the currency wars and thinking about how futile the SNB's intervention efforts have been. Well, is it entirely inconceivable that Franc will have to join the Euro one day? Considering that so much of the world's wealth is concentrated in Switzerland (according to the Swiss bank account book I'm reading called Secrets of Swiss Banking, written before Lehman, about 40% of the world's private assets are managed in Switzerland), something like this occurring would be the equivalent of the dawn of a new age in banking.

CENX moved just as I thought it would - up! It ended closing the day with a try above $14, closing a cent below it at +4.72%.

+1.00% on the SBA
+0.46% on the Roth IRA

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Haven't Had Forex In A While...

So I thought... maybe tomorrow should be the night. It's expected to be one of the most volatile trading days, so I might do a MAT tomorrow.

AA's profits beat expectations - exciting! I nearly forgot about that, so I'm thinking this could boost prices for CENX indirectly tomorrow since it could boost expectations on the entire sector. I am now considering putting in a crazy extended hours trade for a ridiculous price on CENX. Ridiculous as in ridiculously high, of course!

Nothing got me more excited today than putting in a request for a salary increase. My boss told me he can only consider it in a couple of weeks' time. Without even hearing how much I wanted to increase my salary, he refused my request already. But I went in and showed him I did my own homework. Not only did I have measurable statistics on my value addition to the company, I also had a clear-cut, compelling strategy for next year's marketing campaign.

The funniest part is that I used a USD/EUR 10-year chart in my presentation and labelled it with the title: 9-Year Trend of My Salary. Then, I told him that my salary was inversely correlated with my value contribution to the company.

I even have some strategies for any potential refusal, although I think I will have my request honoured on some level. I already have three new ideas that could have an almost immediate and incremental payoff to the company. It feels good because I proved to myself that I can put my emotions aside and be a true professional. I realised I really do have an innate understanding of my industry and that's a definite confidence-booster. I hope this will be my biggest payoff yet. I'm already researching Swiss bank accounts. LOL.

Report Card for today:

+2.1% on the SBA
-0.21% on the Roth IRA

I Like It On the...

... actually, I don't quite know, but I bet you'd like to find out. LOL.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sorry I'm Late, Professor...

... but not that much to report anyway. Today's report card was not very exciting, but Alan Greenspan wrote an interesting opinion piece in FT, which I have yet to read carefully. That photo they used of him on the front page of isn't very flattering, though.

+0.57% on the SBA
-0.55% on the Roth IRA

Overall, down for the day...

It looks like there's an Andrews Pitchfork Formation on the one-year Brent Crude chart. If we see a break above the median line, located at about the current price of $85.15, then it could be very bullish and catapult us towards $90. But will we see $75 first? I think it depends a bit on the horizontal support of $80, which was previously resistance.

Either way, we're at a critical juncture. If only I could half-in half-out with CENX. If oil zooms, the bears are doomed and we could see CENX move us higher even more quickly. +28% on nothing is still nothing. I would need an even bigger price escalation to justify staying in the trade for an extended period of time. I love semi quote unquoting Bernanke!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Textually Charged

Today's session was pretty epic, charged with irresistible electricity and unrelentless stop-running across the board. All the major markets were up, and the gold-diggers managed to boost the shiny stuff up to about $1340. If I had been short, I would be down -3.8% on that trade. Now that we're so close to $1400, I'm going to watch that level and see if it holds. If it doesn't, I may make my debut trade in gold, although I'm not desperate to get into it anymore. Equities are pleasing me plenty and I'm planning out an open relationship strategy between equities and forex.

We haven't had a rally like this in a while, so thanks to our sponsor, the BOJ for being all talk all action.

It may be hard to believe, but I was actually harassed while I was in Hong Kong. It was either that, or the guy was trying to poach me - or both. He held my hand really, really tightly, asked me for coffee, and placed his hand on my knee. One would think a Hermes Kelly would be able to fend off people like that, but instead they attract other undesirable attention. One thing is clear: I am adding accountants to my Don't Do List.

Getting to my report card:

only +1.52% on the SBA
+2.44% on the Roth IRA

If I didn't have that very nice bounce on the Roth IRA, I would have considered rebalancing my portfolio again or I would have been really whiny - or both. Yes, I am that competitive.

Everyone else rallied and DJIA was +1.80%... S&P +2.09%... Nasdaq +2.36%... FTSE +1.44%... Shanghai +1.72%... Nikkei +1.47%.

I am watching and waiting for Nikkei to finally burst up above 10,000 again. It has tried a few times over the past several weeks and failed. So, was today's BOJ Surprise enough to support a move like this for good?

And does anyone get why GBP/JPY wasn't able to stay up in the air for very long? If I were my old impulsive self, I would have bought GBP/JPY immediately after the BOJ announcement. However, I want to wait until after the CFTC regulations take effect before I jump on everyone's treasure trunk. We may yet see a test of old levels when that happens, or it wouldn't be called the forex market...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh, Right...

... here are the dates for Jumping On the Couch Earnings Announcements:

BAC... 19 October 2010
C... 19 October 2010
GS... 19 October 2010 (not in my portfolio, but could be influential)
MS... 21 October 2010 (ditto above)
CS... 21 October 2010 (ditto above)
CENX... 26 October 2010
HWD... 6 December 2010 (watch me get this one wrong again... LOL)

I kind of wish I had more stocks... I'm going to see if I can get it going with MS again soon. It is retracing very close to the levels back in July, so I'm going to watch it very closely now.

Go ahead, arbitrage me!

It's That Time Again...

No, it didn't occur to me to take profit on CENX on Friday before today's tragic retracement of -5.4%, but it did occur to me that it's soon going to be the time of year that I like best. It's time for... Jumping On the Couch Earnings Announcements! Speaking of which, I'm definitely in the market for a new couch. My IKEA one is no longer good enough for pursuits such as... well, you get the drift. I saw one for 50% off and am negotiating for further reductions.

Since it has essentially been a no-fail strategy this year to buy the rumour, sell the news, I reckon my time to sell this time around would actually be either before or after actual earnings get announced. The market, as everyone knows, is never 100% and I have a feeling people will want to shake this up a bit and catch people off-guard. Take this year's Sell in May and Go Away. The selling started in April already and I was definitely not in Military Position then. Now, it's my turn.

So, if there's a lot of selling before the announcement, I'm going to hold and if there's a lot of buying happening, then I might look to take an early profit. Of course, I'm ATNA (all talk no action). Still.

I'm going to have to learn. Mind you, this CENX trade was supposed to be a very quick open relationship type trade. It turned out to be more than a month and still running - though I really don't mind on this one since I've been in profit most of the time, though there were a few days when I was ready to jump ship.

Report Card for the Day, a very sad:

-2.56% on the SBA
-0.90% on the Roth IRA

It also looks like Sultan BCS is running out of steam, but looking back on some of my investments that could-have-been (if and only if I had the cash), I must say I made some pretty good calls:

NGG... +7.26% since 24 August 2010 (with a beautiful dividend yield of over 8% too)
SCHW... +9.7% since 31 August 2010
Gold, though... not that hot. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it rose about 2% since I started pondering about selling it.

And my beautiful CENX... over +20% since I got into the trade on 13 August 2010. So this trade actually was possible because I sold a partial position in C and then bought into CENX. C had been lounging around, doing zip all this time whilst CENX has been running on the treadmill all the way up to levels we haven't seen since the HP Incident back in May.

I shall continue to capitalise on doing my own homework, my dear Professors of Finance!

I won't let you down...

Friday, October 1, 2010

So That's What They Call QU Luck

I totally forgot to talk about CENX and C, my perennial favourite.

CENX was +2.66% and C was +4.6% (almost immediately after I bought it).

No one's giving me two thumbs up, but I'll be my own cheerleader here and toot my own horn.

Oh, gosh... that's so bad in a very Elmo way!

Confessional Booth Time: Volume 011010, Unintended Consequences

Anyone with a portfolio that increased this much today would probably be very happy, but as it is, my Hermes Kelly has resulted in unintended consequences. Scroll all the way down if you want to see my report card but not my JNSB. But this is kind of juicy if you like a good rant...

About a month back, someone from my accounting department stopped by for a quote unquote friendly investigation. He showed me some invoices from pre-historic times and started questioning me about them. I have been secretly boiling for a month and now, the more I think about it, the greater the rage that I feel.

It made me question my QU career and now it's become crystal clear to me exactly what went on. The story goes entirely like this and could only happen to a bimbo like moi:

Work really hard and get paid very little... Boss tries to place daughter as your boss... Nephew then tries to take over your department... Work harder and get paid very little... Buy up all the ads in the entire industry at a minimum of 50% less budget than other people in the industry... Nephew demotes you by putting a Head of Marketing above you in the organogram... Work harder and get paid even less because the EUR/USD decreases your effing salary... Add at least 50 times more value to the company than your salary in a measurable, objective way... Nephew demotes you even more by placing a psycho bitch named Miss Carry Trade as Senior Marketing Manager... Buy up some more ads in the entire industry, essentially building up a monopoly of the best advertising positions available in the industry at the lowest possible cost...

Work harder and get paid even less because the EUR/USD goes up even more and you’re living on the Euro and getting paid in dollars... Help to increase the company’s sourcing with a key supplier by over 39% - especially in high value areas... Get a raise with half your salary in Euros and think it’s the best thing in the world but actually ends up being the same as your previous salary in EUR terms because you can’t do the math... Lehman happens and get blamed for the resultant market crash... EUR/USD starts going down so work harder and get paid even less... Budget gets cut... Lose all respect from everyone around you... Colleagues look at you like WTF are you still doing here after someone creates a buzz for a brand that isn’t really Belgian (now that’s what people know as marketing, but WTF does he know about actual strategic marketing. It's like me saying that I'm an actual trader)... Get treated like less than a secretary when you attended one of the top 10 business schools in the world... Get effing accused of swindling money when all your career you’ve only done your effing best to reduce budgets by at least 75% because you’re Chinese and you can work with Chinese companies and bargain

So my Hermes Kelly had some unintended consequences for which I am not sure whether I should be offended or take as a compliment that someone thinks I actually have so much money.

How about I show him my IKEA furniture bills and credit card statements a mile high? Or how about my huge five figure portfolio?

I can put up with a lot, but I cannot put up with having my integrity attacked. If anyone else was in charge of my budget, it'd be at least 3 times higher. But I did my effing best to bring costs down and get effing accused of effing swindling. Now that's the joke of the effing century.

+2.27% on the SBA
+2.51% on the Roth IRA

After a week like this, even a 20% gain wouldn't make me smile, but a +200% increase on my salary might.

Wake up, ForexDiva... and work harder...

Perhaps this helps to explain why I'm always so bitter.