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Multi-Strategy for the Novice Trader

I’m going to stick with the theme of blogging about my trading/trading plan because it is helpful for one and second it force’s me to put my thought’s on paper and have a game plan for the next day/week/month etc.  My trading has been suspect the last few days and I feel the reason is that I’m trying to take overnight position’s and I’m so small that if one position goes wrong I could be in for a long day.  I feel pretty confident about my intraday trading but my goal is to learn how to build a book with multiple strategies.  I was talking to Schwartz after the close about the strategies I would like to employ and since it’s always helpful to put things in writing here they are:

The first strategy would consist of names I have a longer term thesis in and would require less trading.  I have been following technology for the last year and although that is limited experience I try to read as much research as possible and there are some names I would like to have a piece of for the longer term.  Some names I like for the next year are CREE, NXPI, MMI, MRVL, PMCS, TQNT, and DRWI.

The second strategy would be putting on shorter term swing trades that I derive through various technical screens, similar to the Hillside Scan’s Betty goes over every morning around 8:45AM.  One particular screen I like to watch is a proprietary screen I developed which looks at the RSI, MACD, and Bollinger Bands.  When I’m looking for longs I like to look for names that have been beaten up and are finally starting to hold/base, so I look for names with a RSI below 35 (oversold), within 50 basis points of the lower Bollinger Band, and finally a bullish MACD cross which gives me confirmation that the stock is ready to reverse.  For shorts the opposite is true: RSI above 70 (overbought), within 50 basis points of the upper Bollinger Band, and a bearish MACD cross. These screen are all done using daily charts.

My third and final strategy would be looking for pairs trades that I could have on for a time frame of one day to a two weeks.  I have been looking at pairs for the last few weeks and while I’m brand new to the strategy I have had minor success and I like how it always keeps you in the game.  Right now we have been looking at stock’s that are highly correlated (80% or higher over a one year period) and a 30 day spreads that have widened out over the last few weeks.  This strategy was working well into earnings season and once the dust settles from this quarters earnings I’m looking to actively start trading pairs again.

If You Don’t Know Don’t Do it.

I did something that I don’t normally do yesterday and I am paying for it today.  I bought a little CREE before the close because I wanted to take a shot that the company would report a good quarter and that I would make some money on the long side.  Well, that didn’t turn out too well as the company missed street estimates and put up guidance that came in light as well.  The stock is down around $9 from where I bought it.  While I may have thought I knew something, I obviously didn’t.  I never take earnings trades when I don’t know or haven’t done some level of analysis prior to the report.  The CREE trade was pure gambling on my part and have no business gambling here especially when there are so many opportunities to make real money by doing real work and taking educated positions.  I tend to make these kind of mistakes every six months or so as I forget my own lessons and the urge to roll the dice overtakes me.  I guess its a small price to pay for six months of disciplined investing/trading.

Rolled and Lost in CREE.

CREE: Swing and a Miss

CREE came out today after the bell with another disappointing earnings release:

Cree reports Q2 EPS $0.55 ex-items vs Reuters $0.58 (62.90)

  • Reports Q2:
    • Revenues $257.0M vs Reuters $277.0M
  • Q3 guidance:
    • revenues $245-265M vs. Reuters $288.3M
      • cites seasonality and on-going inventory correction in Asia
    • non-GAAP EPS $0.38-0.45 vs. Reuters $0.57; First Call $0.58
    • non-GAAP gross margin +/- 46%
    • tax rate 21%
Overall, another pretty ugly quarter for the leader in LED technology but should you be dumping your CREE on this disaster?
Tough decision for those who are holding CREE into earnings but for those that are not I think the next few months will be a great buying opportunity as CREE consolidates.  There is support between $52 and $48, the level CREE bottomed following last quarters minor debacle, but, considering CREE declined 4% q/q I think the stock could sneak down through $48 and trend down towards $42, so scale in slowly.
CREE is probably dead money for the next quarter but I like buying weakness as I believe in the longer term story in LED’s and weakness in the stock price will bring back takeout chatter which should help support the stock.  Also, once the stock stabilizes all the analysts that take there numbers down over the next few day’s will be looking for any strength to upgrade CREE, very similar to last quarter.
There is also a rumor that there is a bid at $40 for VECO so keep that in mind.

A Wall Street Trader’s New Year’s Resolution 2011

Trading, Stock Market and Wall Street = writers block

I have had writers block for nearly a week. I had decided that my first Blog in the New Year would not be a traditional New Years Resolution blog; I could not find a single thing that I want to resolve. I did not want to put some silly list of humorous resolutions, such as I ”I resolve to not mix my Meds”.  I didn’t want to put a list together of common everyday resolutions such as “I will try having

Wall Street - A New Year

more date nights”. ……….With my wife or Marc Schwartz.

So………After hours of meditation…………………

I have a single New Years resolution, I am resolved to live each day in the present. I expect to experience 365 unique days. Too many of my mistakes from the last year were because I believed I could control tomorrow.  More importantly, they were because I arrogantly believed I had a clue as to what tomorrow had in store. Now before you stop reading, because you think this will be some self-reflective sappy shit blog, think about how this applies to your investing and your trading. For 6 months I have been bullish. I called for a 1275 2010 year end close on the S&P cash; I was off by about 25 points and one day, as we hit my level January 1st. And while I continue to be Bullish on the overall market as well as optimistic about the direction the world is going, none of that has anything to do with tomorrow’s trade.

Willian daley - Obama's New Year's Resolution

One of the most important objectives in this game, is to stay objective. Last year I was not objective. Objectivity is reality. My perception may be very different than the market, but it is the market’s view that is reality. I may believe a loss I have may turn into a gain, but reality is, it may not, and I must adhere to my risk limits. I can have an educated opinion, but only time will tell if it is reality. Truth be told, there is no such thing as an objective opinion, It is an oxymoron, moron. When you make an investment with a time horizon, what exactly does that mean? Who is to say one earning’s multiple is too high and another too low. Why did so many believe the euro was going to parity? Why did our market spend so much time in 2010 worrying about Europe? The sky did not fall. CDS spreads continue to fluctuate. The Dow is 17% off its all time high. That is just a few Flash Dashes away from a new high. And what about that Flash Crash thing? How can any trader believe they have an idea of what tomorrow holds in store when the concept of a flash crash exists? Every currency impacts the bond market, which impacts the equity markets, which impact the masses of IRAs 401ks and pensions, which impact all of you, which impacts the politicians. And what about the politicians? How can any trader be comfortable with “tomorrow”, when the president thinks he can change the rules on a daily basis? No more proprietary trading. No more shorting? Oh, just not in the shitty stocks. And what about

Shit, Shit, Shit, and Goldman Sachs

the word shitty? During the senate hearings villainizing Goldman Sachs, Senator Levin referred to Goldman as “Shitty, Shitty, Shitty”. Maybe he doesn’t realize that some of us like to watch C-span with our kids. And what about C-Span and the 1,000 other channels, Internet, and numerous other media outlets? We are bombarded with information. None of us can actually decipher it. The technology changes so rapidly that it is impossible to know which one will be in business tommorow. One year ago, I thought “THE CLOUD” was where God lived. And what about God, is he out there? You know what? I wont go there. I wrote in an early 2010 blog that I thought the market had systemicly changed. I was wrong. The market never changes, only the players change. I am a changed man.  Shit, that really sounds cliché. For many years I believed people couldn’t fundamentally change. My one new year’s resolution is to fundamentally change. Yes, I now believe that a person, given the right discipline and enlightenment can change fundamentally. My new year’s resolution will

Cloud Technology - Where is God

manifest itself in both parts of my life. The only two parts a real Wall-Streeter has, family and business. And for many a Wall-Streeter the line is particularly blurry. I expect to see every day with my family as both a blessing and a testament to all that I have accomplished. I expect to live every day of the business as a new challenge in the game, a new scene in an unseen movie or a new chapter in an unread book. I guess I am going cliché. Very sappy, I apologize. But I believe that the player has changed. I can no longer rely on skills honed during bygone years. It is time to embrace a new style of living and a new strategy in the game. Day by day. Moment to moment. As we survive, we grow stronger. As we embrace the moment, we secure the future. I can no longer waste a day thinking about tomorrow. I need to end the day thinking about all that I accomplished. I need to see a day as a building block for the future. I need to see the trade in the moment and the business as it is today. Maybe a time will come when the future can be planned, but that is not today and more importantly it is not tomorrow. Play the game like you are in the midst of the battle and then hopefully the war may ultimately be won. I once believed  trading was a long-term strategy. I now understand it is a series of short-term battles in an ongoing war. I once believed a business was methodically built over an extended period of time. I now understand that business is “ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of will. Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain and a hundred percent reason to remember my name”. (Fort Minor – Remember the Name) I now understand that I am in control of neither but capable of succeeding at both. My new years resolution is simple, I will truly embrace the moment, I will let go, and I will fundamentally change.

Trading Plan: 2011


1.1  To make money on a consistent, long-term basis.

1.2  To improve day in and day out.


2.1  Plan every trade: Know exactly what prices/time you plan to enter and exit.  Be aware of what you are willing to lose.

2.2  Every trade must have a risk to reward of 2:1: Never get into a trade unless the reward to risk is 2:1.

2.3  Set a Target Price: When entering a trade set a target price and always adhere to the target.  It is normal to trade around a position but always have your initial size on if your target price is reached.  It is extremely hard to let profits run and its essential for my trading to improve.

2.4  Patience: Know your levels before you start the day.  I need to do my homework the night before and know where I want bids and offers before the day starts.  Once I put my orders out I need to have patience so that the trade comes to me.  Chasing only gets me in trouble.  When I let a trade come to me I’m in a good mental and it allows me to make rational decisions.

2.5  Time of Day: Be aware of the time of day.   The morning is the most inefficient time of the day, therefore I should be most active during morning trading and look to take advantage of over reactions and look for relative strength.  During lunch time the market is very quiet and I should do my best to stay off the keys.  The afternoon should be the time where I focus on getting the book set up for the next morning.

2.6  Keep a journal: Constantly reflect on my trading, what I did wrong and what I did right.  At the end of the day I should review the notes from that day, review charts and start to form thoughts on the market and how I should trade the next day.


3.1.    Daily: (JT Stop Loss: down 75bps I will hedge at least 75% of my book) Every trader should have a daily stop out limit, but now that I will be managing a portfolio I do not believe a hard stop is the answer.  If I happen to get in trouble and the book is down 75bps (75bps on $250,000 is equal to $1875) I will hedge out 75% of my exposure.  I will hedge using SMH’s (Semiconductor ETF) or Q’s (QQQQ) based on the make up of the book.

3.2.    Share Sizing: (JT Sizing: Notional Capital = $250,000; no position to exceed 20% of total absolute value).  First, determine the total amount of capital you wish to trade with.  Always be sure that the sum of the absolute values of every position does not exceed your total risk capital (or applicable leveraged figures).  Next, when managing a portfolio of names, no single position should constitute greater than 20% of the entire absolute value of one’s entire portfolio.  Sticking to this rule will help keep one’s portfolio well balanced and prevent outsized losses in an individual name.

3.4.    Givebacks: (JT Givebacks: If the book is up 1% sell 10%, Up 2% sell 20% and Up 3% sell 30%) To be a successful trader you need to have the ability to let your winners run, therefore my giveback will not black and white.  I will have several rules that are listed at the top.  I don’t want to get greedy so I’m going to force myself to sell into strength and book profits when I can.


4.1.    Daily: (JT Goal: 50 basis points) The general role is that you should be looking to make twice as much as your willing to lose but since I’m managing a portfolio my daily goal will be more realistic.  Also, the down 75 basis point day is a worst case scenario and should not be happening often, if it is something is very wrong and the book will be take down to zero.  I feel 50 basis points is a lofty goal but I feel it’s feasible.

4.2.    Long-term: (JT Goal: A $25,000 month) Your long-term goal should not be based on a dollar value as much as it should be based on consistently achieving positive days.  On average, you should be green on three out of every five trading days.  Furthermore, your winning days should be larger than your losing days.  The ability to achieve these two goals will allow you to make money in the long run.

4.3.    Increasing Your Goal: If you find that you are consistently achieving your daily profit target, it may be time to increase your goal.  A good rule of thumb is to increase your goal by 30% if you hit your target at least 50% of the time.  Remember that increasing your profit target also involves increasing your daily risk limits.  As such, increasing your daily goal should be done slowly and deliberately.  Increasing your goal too quickly can lead to inappropriate share sizing and lack of confidence and control.  Remember, if you can make $100 on a consistent basis you can make $1,000 on a consistent basis.


5.1.  This book will be focused on swing trades.  The trading opportunities will be generated from technical analysis, fundamental analysis, short term catalysts, and price action.

Technical Analysis: I will use basic support and resistance, chart patterns, moving averages, stochastics, RSI, volume, MACD, and other technical indicators to generate trading opportunities.

Fundamental Analysis: Will use basic fundamental ideas that will be confirmed by Dean to generate ideas.

Short Term Catalysts: Analyst meetings, upgrades/downgrades, and positive mentions in newspapers (i.e. Barrons) are all potential short term catalysts that could move a stock from day to day.

Price Action: Watching for relative strength on a day to day basis.  This will give me a good sense of which names to take overnight.  By watching names closely you get a sense of which names have bid support, when you notice a name has a bid it is often a tell that someone knows something and positive news could be around the corner.  Opposite is true for shorts.

5.2.    Name: Pivot Points

Description:  I will use camarilla pivot points for guidance to add and subtract to names in the book on an intraday basis.  I will add to names at S3 and S4 and sell into strength at S4.  Pivot points are not gospel but the will be a nice guide to trade names intraday.

5.3.    Name: Mean Reversion

Description:   Ill be looking for names that have traded 90% of their ADR (I use a formula that averages the 5, 20, and 30 day average).  If a name has done 90% of their ADR by 10 o’clock I will run a TWAP over the next hour, 10:00 – 11:00, making a bet that the stock reverses and move back towards unchanged for the day.  This is a daytrade and I will not be taking this position overnight.  I will also use the ADR to generate my stop, I calculate 12bps of the ADR and then subtract that fro the low of the day.  At 11am the stop will be placed just below the lows of the day.  (12bps of by ADR calculation)

5.4.    Name: BB, RSI, and MACD Model

Description: I have a model that generate Buy and Sell signals based on Bollinger Bands, RSI, and MACD.  If a stock is within 50bps of the lower Bollinger band, has an RSI below 40 I’ll receive a buy signal.  Then once the MACD line crosses up through the MACD signal line I will receive a confirmed buy.  This is all generated using a daily chart and has had success during earnings and analyst days. (The opposite is true for shorts but I want the RSI to be above 70)




6.3 Video Games: ATVI, TTWO, ERTS, THQI

6.4 Computers: AAPL, MSFT, DELL, HPQ

6.5 Semiconductors: ALTR, XLNX, ATML, ONNN, CRUS, TQNT, INTC, MU

6.6 Steel: X, STLD, MT, AKS, ATI

6.7 Coal: BTU, ANR, CNX,

6.8 Agriculture: POT, AGU, MOS, MON, IPI, CF


Trusting your Gut (Part II)

Much easier said then done.  I’ve been focusing on LED stocks for roughly the last six months and I’m getting a pretty good handle on how they trade.  CREE (the most liquid and most tradable), VECO, AIXG, and RBCN (short interest 60%) all trade in the same pack.  CREE and VECO trade very close to one another with RBCN and AIXG not far behind.  Anyway, for the last week I have been talking about a possible short term top in LED names after CREE made a strong move back up into resistance.  That resistance is roughly $70, give or take a few bucks as CREE is volatile name.

The last few days I’ve been reading statements from China lighting companies reinstating the rosy outlook in LED lighting for 2011 and through 2015.  Companies had been quiet as the slowing demand in LED backlighting slowed.  All of a sudden after a huge run in the LED names I trade, I notice companies defending the LED outlook once again which makes me cautious.

So this morning I come into the office and I’m reading another bullish statement from an LED company, Lextar, when I notice a VECO downgrade hit the tape.  I didn’t even have to read the downgrade to know it would be a disastrous day for VECO and the others would follow.  By 10:15 VECO was down 7.5%, CREE was down 4.5%, and RBCN was down 4.5% but AIXG was only down 1%.  I brought this up to Dean, we got a borrow, and while he started to pile into the short I took my time.  I figured AIXG had at least another 2% to go before bottoming out and this was a terrific divergence I had to take advantage of but the name is very thin so I was hesitant get big.

Fast forward and AIXG is trading at 35.50 a $1.50 lower and I’m already out of my short  with profits 1/8th of Dean’s profits becasue he had more confidence in me than I had in myself.  I knew this was a terrific opportunity, a lay up,  but I was to nervous of the volatility (AIXG is thinly traded) and was hesitant to pile in and quick to book profits.  This is the worst way to trade your best idea and I really need to push myself to trust my instincts if I want to take my trading to the next level.

If I took a max position in AIXG and trusted my gut I would have turned a flat day of PNL into a $1100 positive day.

LED Lighting Update

Last Sunday I said CREE had been showing relative strength and some positive commentary out of Digitimes Research could push the stock back up towards $70. (Last Blog:  Anyway we saw tremendous strength in CREE as Morgan Keegan finally felt comfortable with the level the stock was trading at and decided to upgrade the name and raised their price target back to above $100.  CREE closed the week up over 8%.

I will be watching the comps closely this coming week and looking for buying opportunities.   Last week, Rubicon (RBCN) was down 90 bps, Aixtron (AIXG) was 190 bps and Veco (VECO) was up 3.85%.  Looking for some of the comps to catch up with CREE’s performance as more analysts will reestablish their bullish outlook.

LED Backlit Outlook

We talk about LED names (CREE, VECO, RBCN, and AIXG) on the desk everyday so I want to share some color that Digitimes released last week.

According to DIGITIMES Research, worldwide LED TV shipments will rerach 37.2 million units worldwide in 2010 and will account for 21.3% of the LCD TV market.  LED sets’ penetration in the LCD TV market has been enabled by chipmakers fast capacity expansion, as well as backlight unit (BLU) makers aggressive switch to the new form of backlighting.  LED TV’s are expected to have a market share of 68% in 2012, surpassing CCFL sets.

We finally saw a bit of relative strength in CREE last week and I wanted to post this blog because I believe this note is why we saw the strength.  Two quarters ago CREE and the rest of LED related names were taken down because of softening LED backlit orders and this note is giving us clarity that the LED backlit story is still intact.

I like CREE for the larger story, general lighting, but this is a catalyst that could push CREE back up toward the $70 level it saw prior to the earning release.

Technology Review: 10-19-2010

Tech and the NASDAQ got beaten up early today on the heels on Apple and IBM’s weakness following yesterday’s earnings.   The XLK, which is the technology ETF closed just off the lows at 23.82 down 1.77% while the SMH’s, the semiconductor ETF closed almost 2% off the lows at 27.94, down 1.2%.   The NASDAQ and Technology actually hung in relative to the S&P 500 and bank’s as they didn’t make a new low when the S&P flushed following the BofA news.

For more on tech, CREE reported Q1 results at the end of the day of $0.60 cents per share better than the estimate of $0.58 and Revenue’s of $268.4 mln, slightly worse than the $277.68 mln expected. Cree also reported Q1 gross margins of 48.6% vs Street est of 48.4%.  The company issued downside guidance for Q2, seeing EPS of $0.56-0.60 vs. $0.60 consensus and Q2 revs of $270-280 mln vs. $297.04 mln consensus.

CREE immediately traded down about 10% after hours before getting a bounce back to $48.50.  Expectations for the earnings were not high, analysts were expecting inline Q1 numbers and lower guidance.  While EPS was slightly better but rev’s were pretty light, inventories also rose and while guidance was expected to be light it seems like most were hoping for CREE to keep it inline.  Inventories also continued to weaken and overall the quarter and outlook are soft.

Last quarter the company posted a similar quarter and the stock gapped down eight points, then proceeded to bleed lower over the next moth until it bottomed at 47.30 which was a 30% decline from the earnings date.  While I don’t see a 30% decline in store for this pullback CREE is slowly becoming a binary trade.  LED lighting will either become mainstream, which I believe is highly probable, and analyst price targets of $80 - $112 are in store or LED’s will fail to gain traction and CREE will bleed it’s way loer for some time to come.

Technology Review: 10-12-10

Tech was nice and strong today as it led the S&P 500 to the highest levels in since the late April highs.  Apple and Google both showed strength out of the gate and with Apple reaching all time highs it seems we’ll see 300 tomorrow.

The Hardware names were strong across the board and an announcement from Lee Ainslie late in the day spiked DELL.  Ainslie in a speech in downtown NYC said that Michael Dell could be looking to his company private and the stock rallied up to 14.14 but couldn’t hold gains and closed the day at $13.92. Ainslie also said that tech stocks including ADBE, CSCO, DEKK, HPQ, IBM, INTC, and MSFT are great value plays providing a high free cash flow yield of 12% in 2010 and 13% in 2011.  Ainslie also said tech names are attractive because of the weaker dollar.  The weaker dollar can help U.S. companies export and many tech companies already earn half or more of their revenues overseas.

Moving into the cloud names, CTXS, AKAM, CTXS, and RHT all had a nice bid to them throughout the day.  No direct news but it seemed like people could be covering after another brutal day Monday.  Although, there did feel like there was some real buying in this space today and it will be interesting to see if we can get any follow through tomorrow, being today was the first decent day since EQIX took down their numbers.

Semis were solid today as the  SMH’s closed up 63 basis points.  ALTR, NVDA, SNDK, NVLS, MRVL, and NETL all traded well today but LLTC and INTC will set the tone for tomorrow.

LED stocks were weak today as RBCN was off 8% and CREE closed down about 1.6%.  Sterne Agee had negative commentary out regarding RBCN and GE commented that LED pricing was very aggressive.  TV sales figures over Golden Weak missed expectations.


Worst Performers: MOT, ERTS, FSLR, PAYX, MA, TXN