Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time and Event Pressures on a Trade

Back at it today.

Time and Event Pressures on a Trade
Not all market moments are created equal.

There will be "good" times to be trading long and there will be "poor" times to be initiating open positions. There are all kinds of situations that warrant some attention be paid when trading stocks. The purpose of this post is to go over some of those situations as well as a live example from this week.

The three key factors to consider when looking to open a position are:

Where is the overall market in terms of the current cycle?
Depending on what kind of oscillator you use, you know that markets tend to go through the overbought/oversold cycles. A big mistake I made last year was starting new positions near overbought signals (I use iBC PPT Hybrid score) and I think you remember how things went last year at sentiment highs. Buying when markets overall or the sector you are looking at are extended tends to limit your upside on any remaining move.

The rally in 2012 so far has been able to keep markets from getting overheated, and turns at overbought levels have not had anywhere near the teeth they did last year. All this can change, but for now it's the reality on the ground.

Earnings Announcements
When I am using my long term account I obviously do not move in and out of the names I hold. That's a different game and not the target of this post. When I am using my trading account I am usually looking for near term moves measured in days to maybe 2-3 weeks tops. Earnings season can mess with that.

Knowing when a company you own will report earnings is both huge and will bite you at least a few times if you do this long enough. It gets lost sometimes, just finds a way to escape attention. Waking up to or finding out that a position you opened just gapped way past your stop on an earnings miss is a great way to get aggravated. Some times this can even apply to the "big" names in your stock's sector reporting and that reaction finding it's way to your stock.

"You" Events
Everyone I know has been really sick all through January. If you are very ill (I don't mean the usual cold and the like) it's never a good idea to try and force some work. Corners will be cut and your usual sharpness will not be the same.

Going on vacation? When I go I take nothing to be dialed in with and will not even look at a paper. If I am holding something right up to my departure date, I tend to get more jumpy and reactionary because I know I need to close the position before I leave. Take a break, market will be here later on.

If you are one of the soldiers that works all day, a stacked week of meetings at the real job may preclude you from being able to watch the market or pull triggers except on short breaks. Know your schedule and how it will allow for activity.

(Feel free to add others in the comments section.)

With this all in mind I wanted to discuss a trade I could not make this week with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG).

The stock came up on a screen I use in the iBC PPT late last week and I worked up a chart showing the pressure building on the stock as it approached the $49.70 price area. The accumulation volume was really coming in and I was looking forward to an entry early this week.

So what were the problems?
1- A "Me" event in that I was off from work Monday after the Patriots Superbowl loss and I just wanted to chill out.
2- SMG earnings were set for this morning before market open.
In light of these reasons I did not buy. The accumulation was for a reason as SMG had earnings it seems everybody liked, rising almost 8% just today:
I know it can be easy, especially this year so far, to say "that was an easy run up right into great earnings!" but I have seen enough of these go the other way to side step this set up right here

As things go, with a little recharge here SMG may be worth another look soon with an eye on the $59 level. Stinks to miss one like this but sticking to a plan and a set of rules will save you much more than it will cost you in lost opportunities.

Have a good night.


GawainsGhost said...

Yes, it's always good to have a plan and stick to the rules. But nothing in life is predictable.

I operate on a five-year plan. It's the only thing I have in common with communists. I look at myself and ask where do I want to be and what do I want to be doing in five years? Then I make a plan.

In 2001, my plan was to travel to England, attend summer school at Oxford, tour some castles, then go back to graduate school and finish my PhD. I had everything set up. But who knew my father would be stricken with cancer, in and out of the hospital for two years, and I'd end up selling real estate?

That wasn't part of my plan, but I have responsibilities.

That's the thing about investing. You may have a plan, but you always have responsibilities. The secret to having money is in protecting it. Invest in value and hold onto it. Some stocks may offer only a small return, but at least it's a return. Market fluctuations will drive you mad.

Right now my plan is to be completely debt free in five years. I think I can achieve that goal, absent another emergency. Either way, I'll make another plan when the time comes.

But responsibilities are a terrible thing. Accept them without question.

David Batista said...

Wow. Amazing response, Gawains! There is much truth to what you say. I'm always making long-term plans and setting goals for myself that almost never work out because real life gets in the way.

But that still doesn't stop me from making more plans. :)

Hey, GYSC, speaking of vacations . . . when's your next one?

GawainsGhost said...

Talk about a pain in my ass.

I have to renew my license by the end of the month. But I had to go onto the Texas Real Estate Commission's website to find out what courses I needed and pay my renewal fee.

Well, they've changed their website, and I had to register all over again. That took a while. Then I had to order some online courses (15 hours!), legal, ethics, and electives.

Total cost, over $350. This isn't doing my bleeding hemorrhoids any good.

EconomicDisconnect said...

Gawains, you are sharp! Thats a long test!

David, last week in April.