Year to Date Portfolio Performance – July 2015

logo-rcptIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, thankfully not the absolute worst. It only seems that way because I made mistakes that I know better not to do.

I’m not happy with the fact that one of my best ever trades culminating in the perfect outcome occurred during the same month as some terrible stock selections with piss poor timing and loose trade management. That one star winning trade was not enough to carry the load of my series of bad closed trades. July has been a psychological drag on me as individual high and low points have resulted in bringing me back close to where I began the year, but I guess that’s trading. For as far as I’ve come in my trading journey I still manage to find ways to reintroduce myself to the fact that I have much further to go.

July Net P/L:  -3.09%

Year to Date P/L:  +0.53%

Notable Wins

  • Receptos (RCPT) +25%, 56-day trade.  This was the bright spot of my July. Receptos proved to be a worthwhile application of Occam’s Razor in that the simplest outcome hypothesis is usually the right one. I have no idea how often I heard, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s a LOT of smoke around Receptos”. If I piled assumptions and skepticism on top of the facts I likely would not have made this into what it is – my most profitable trade of the year. I employed conviction in adding twice to my original position which became quite large ahead of Celgene’s buyout offer. This was easily the most obvious buyout scenario I’ve ever seen, and I was fortunate enough to benefit from it.
  • Apple (AAPL) +9.7%, 209-day trade.  I spent the bulk of this trade sideways from February through July where I finally stopped out on July 9’s break under 121.12 on increased volume. The following day’s reversal leading back up to 132.97 sucked after that, but this was ultimately a case of following my rules for this trade to take what I believed to be a logical stop and book a win. I now have a profitable short position going in AAPL which I’m ultimately looking to flip to the long side again.
  • GenMark Diagnostics (GNMK) +8.9%, 41-day trade.  If you look at the weekly chart of GNMK you’ll see the obvious range trade setup I took in mid-June as I bought near the 2-year support area. I passed on taking the soon to follow move up to 10.84 looking to hold for more further up the range, but that led to red ink as price dropped to within pennies from hitting my cushioned stop just below April ’14’s 8.48 low before reversing up. At that point the trade was beginning to look weaker, so I tightened up my stop to close out with a gain.

Notable Losses

  • Laredo Petroleum (LPI) -27.7%, 68-day trade.  I bought this when LPI was consolidating and pushing on the 40 WMA with increasing accumulation. My saving grace here was that my position size was small to allow for a stop near the 50 DMA which is where price headed soon after I bought it. Had I used a drawn support trendline I would have been out of this five trading days after my entry, but I established a new stop under 12.94 as I extended my rules. From there I had one chance to get out green as LPI advanced above the 200 DMA, but then it broke down from there. I failed to honor my stop before finally selling in early July to take the loss. One of my worst trades of the year. LPI is still falling, fortunately without me.
  • C&J Energy Services (CJES) -19.6%, 57-day trade.  As I review this trade I see my poor entry point was already after CJES was faltering from the 40 WMA, and it was all downhill after that with another failure to honor my stop. Like LPI, I’m thankful to have taken the loss as CJES continued to break down significantly.
  • Nuverra Environmental Solutions (NES) -17.2%, 6-day trade.  Another case of a steady uptrend buy at the break of the 200 DMA followed by an immediate collapse and not taking a stop where I logically should have. Being more speculative, my position size was smaller than normal. Outside of that, everything about this trade blew. All I can say is I’m glad I’m not still holding what would be more than a 50% loss currently.
  • Bonanza Creek Energy (BCEI) -14.5%, 6-day trade.  Having the December ’14 low of 16.36 in mind, I bought this on July 1 anticipating a possible double bottom play (there’s that word “anticipating”). It held for one more day, then it took me five days past that to get my head out of my ass and sell.
  • Hi-Crush Partners (HCLP) -12%, 32-day trade.  Unlike BCEI, this was a double bottom play that worked. I bought this on June 5 at 27.70, and it was a mostly smooth ride up to 31.98 – that’s +15%. I’ve traded HCLP before which I know to be a volatile quick mover so I had no inclination to tighten up my stop with my sights set on this being a longer-term hold. I was fine with everything that happened until the July 2 into July 6 sudden dive that just froze me in my steps. There’s no excuse for not at least having a break even stop after a substantial gain has been made, much less taking a loss. Due to my lousy trade management here, this one hurt the most.
  • Qunar Cayman Islands (QUNR) -12%, 24-day trade.  Poor entry, added to my position at a perceived support level, then stopped on the break of that level ahead of a huge nosedive.
  • Qorvo (QRVO) -12%, 2-day trade.  IBD’s #1 semi stock finding support at the 200 DMA just ahead of earnings? Seemed like running with the strongest horse in the race was a good bet on a chance of an upside earnings play. Weak guidance intervened, down she went, and I bailed.

Oil. Five related positions are not exactly the model of diversification, and that became starkly evident when they were all going against me at once. I was way too overweight in that sector and way too loose with my stops and exits. Receptos patched up the damage that was done, but not enough to help end the month on a positive P/L note. A brilliant trade wasted. Beyond that, I also responded to these losses by booking small gains on other trades out of fear of risking losses in them instead of allowing them adequate time to develop. I worked through that period and have some decent trades going now as I aim to get back on track for a positive August.

The main positive I can take away from this month’s losses is that in the past I would often doggedly hold on in the hope of getting back to break even in situations like those, turning trades into “buy and holds” in order to prove my rationale correct for taking the trade. Now I take the losses (better late than never). Had I held on in these cases, every oil position I sold would have me substantially deeper in the hole right now.

Current Positions

Long – BLDR   CVG   DATA   FANG   FB   FNGN   GNMK   HZNP   JUNO   MBLY   PANW   SBUX   SCAI   SWKS

Long Speculative – GST   REN   SGYP   TEU   ZIOP

Short – AAPL   MAT

Fumbling With My Fat Fingers

“If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” – Confucius

I had an interesting experience last Wednesday when I decided to sell my last 25 shares of Receptos at 230. Instead of hitting the “Close” button to close my position, I hit the “Sell” button. While that sounds like it might be the same thing, the close order closes whatever position I’m holding while the sell order is intended for initiating short positions. Sell creates an order with a default amount of 100 shares which I can then adjust to my desire. When 230 hit my limit order, I figured I was out of the position.

I’m glad I didn’t set that order and leave it. It took me a moment to recognize from the activity on my trading screen that somehow I was still in Receptos, then it occurred to me what happened – I fat fingered my trade and was now into margin short 75 shares at 230 with price creeping up. This, of course, elicited a measure of anxiety as the worst case scenario flashed through my head, that being a competing higher bid for the company, or even the rumor of one, jolting price higher in an instant. In a flash the potential risk of transitioning from booking an impressive gain to receiving a margin call and crippling or blowing out my account was now sitting in my lap.

Thanks to learning from another trader’s similar past experience the solution came to mind right away, that being when you’ve made a mistake, correct the mistake as soon as you recognize it. There was no stopping to evaluate price action to see if I might get my money back. I didn’t hesitate to act immediately and covered at 230.18 as price was on its way to 230.87 for the day.  That mistake cost me $13.50 + commissions which seems like a bargain in light of even the most remote chance of ruin being open to possibility.

Advice passed on to me, now passed on to you: correct a mistake the moment you recognize you’ve made it.

Year to Date Portfolio Performance – June 2015

Whether Greece or any other event was a reason behind underlying market performance, the bottom line for me this month was absorbing a dent to my profits due to changing up my trade strategy midstream. By that I mean initiating swing trades with targeted exits, then adopting a trend following approach to manage them once they’re working. Switching gears cost me earned profits on swings as well as keeping me in failing trades too long. Trend trading isn’t always the best fit for a choppy market, so swing trading with targets and/or tight stops had been working better for me. I switched because I would prefer to do the former, however the market dictated the latter would have been preferable. I should have listened to the market more carefully.

June Net P/L:   -4.91%

Year to Date P/L:   +3.74%

Notable Wins

  • Cytori Therapeutics (CYTX) +28.1%, 194-day trade. After several profitable trades, I finally gave up on my last piece of CYTX. I scaled out of CYTX several times with my highest booked gain being +125%, however I’ve given up on my moon shot aspirations at this time. I find that it simply is not worth giving up signficant gains in the hopes of hanging on over time to achieve a potential multi-bagger, many charts of which often start out with large percentage gains and losses along the way similar to CYTX. Hindsight always pays best though, doesn’t it?
  • Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) +21.8%, 48-day trade. This was a targeted trade from the start, then I switched it up when JUNO’s momentum looked strong. That decision clipped my profit from 35% down to 21.8%. JUNO’s upper trendline proved to be valid resistance near 69, however I stayed with it until the momentum fizzled where I stopped at 62.41 once the short-term trendline as well as the June 5 LOD were broken. Despite switching my tactics, this was a disciplined trade in taking the exit as soon as I recognized it failed. From there, JUNO dropped to 44.50.
  • Blucora (BCOR) +17.7%, 55-day trade. I first noticed BCOR’s chart pattern at the end of April seeming to be rounding up, so I put on a trade with a stop under 12.61 in mind. I benefitted from the earnings surprise, then stayed in while it ranged sideways through April into June. I booked the trade to free up stalled money for another setup.
  • Qorvo (QRVO) +11.7%, 81-day trade. I should have jotted down what I referenced to measure a price target here, but I know the projection was 88.45, so I planned all along to sell if it hit 88. Price peaked at 88.35, however this was another switch in mid-trade that proved to drain earned profits. I chose to hold it anticipating continued momentum and higher gains before I finally took the exit on June 26’s big down day. By not taking my target I swapped a 22.6% gain for 11.7%. Frustrating, and to add insult to injury the overall trend is still up. I’m looking for a re-entry here.

Notable Losses

  • Alibaba (BABA) -10.5%, 38-day trade. I took a full position in two halves on the pullback from the May surge to 95.06, averaging 91.95. It looked promising until June 8, then I held on too long with too large of a position.

Current Positions

Long – AAPL   BERY   CJES   FOMX   GNMK   GOGL   HCLP   JUNO   LPI   RCPT   SCAI   TEU

Short – None

Charting the High Seas

panamax-nykOne barometer of the market I check regularly is the Baltic Dry Index which reflects the balance of supply and demand for dry bulk shippers. The index rises when demand for shippers increases and vice versa when supply overwhelms demand. Volatility of this index can be explosive, more than doubling, or being cut in half, within a matter of weeks. Shippers that track this index often have stock prices which can enter periods of being similarly volatile.

First, here’s an overview of the Baltic Dry Index weekly and daily charts:

Baltic Dry Index ($BDI) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Baltic Dry Index ($BDI) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Baltic Dry Index ($BDI) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Baltic Dry Index ($BDI) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

The index has been gradually trending up since February’s all-time low and closed last week above March’s peak. Better to follow than lead and predict, the current direction is up so that is the preferred direction to follow. There are no obvious patterns to these charts other than those that demonstrate the index itself is erratically unpredictable and prone to both positive and negative swings for various durations of time. Fortunately a dive down into the charts of some of the stocks reflected by this index reveal clearer pictures at defining some good reward-to-risk trades. Risk is the key word here as these are not the type of stocks to attempt to pick a bottom in; ask anyone who’s been holding them from much higher.

I’ve chosen seven shippers within the cohort (dry ship, oil, etc.) to consider for trades with explanations of each one’s positive and negative points. Each includes a weekly chart for a better view of price history and a daily chart for trade setup purposes.

Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) – If you like buying strength and fundamentals are a concern, this oil shipper is the best IBD rated stock out of my selections with a score of 90 and is presently under heavy accumulation. A stop on a close under 8.69 would break the trend for me, putting risk from the current price at 12.4%.

Box Ships (TEU) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Box Ships (TEU) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Box Ships (TEU) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Box Ships (TEU) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

Box Ships (TEU), also under heavy accumulation, has been in an uptrend since reversing this past December, closing above the 200 DMA two weeks ago and holding. A positive 50 / 200 DMA crossover is also happening now. Watch for a break over 1.07 on volume. Failing to hold the 200 DMA and breaking the support trendline (originating from the December low) would be my exit which is presently near .88, putting the stop risk at 13.7%. TEU’s IBD rating is 39.

Diana Shipping (DSX) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Diana Shipping (DSX) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Diana Shipping (DSX) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Diana Shipping (DSX) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

Diana Shipping (DSX), perhaps the best known shipper of the bunch, has been in a 6.02 – 7.34 range since last December. While volatility is fairly extreme, accumulation has been strong since April. What’s compelling to me about this chart is the movement of price approaching the convergence of the 200 DMA (currently 7.38) with the 7.34 top of the range. DSX hasn’t been above the 200 DMA since April 2014. Price breaking out of its trading range and through the 200 DMA could lead to an explosive move. The negative drawback here is buying the 7.34 break with a stop under 6.02 risks a significant 18.2%. DSX’s IBD rating is 14.

Baltic Trading (BALT) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Baltic Trading (BALT) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Baltic Trading (BALT) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Baltic Trading (BALT) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

Baltic Trading (BALT) has a best and worst case scenario here. While it’s down -80.5% from its March 2014 7.89 peak and has a horrible IBD rating of just 3, the best part about BALT is that the symmetrical triangle on the daily chart offers a well-defined reward-to-risk proposition. Accumulation has been strong since mid-April with downtrending volume and a positive price divergence. A break of the support line and a stop under 1.38 risks 10.4%. Shouldn’t have long to wait for this pattern to resolve.

Dorian (LPG) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Dorian (LPG) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Dorian (LPG) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Dorian (LPG) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

Dorian (LPG) has the second best IBD rating of these seven charts with a composite score of 57. LPG has had alternate closes above the 200 DMA, however volume has not been notable. A 50 / 200 DMA crossover is imminent. Stopping on a reversal from the 200 DMA and closing under the April 12.85 low risks 9.2%. LPG trades on thin volume and often has a fairly wide spread.

Frontline (FRO) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Frontline (FRO) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Frontline (FRO) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Frontline (FRO) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

If you enjoy a wild ride then Frontline (FRO) is for you. I included it here because it does have a fair IBD rating of 54, has moderately increasing accumulation, and the rounding bottom on the daily chart appears to have support distinguished at the 200 DMA with all MAs now trending up. With price currently 32% above the 200 DMA, risk is too high for me to consider a stop there. If price dropped and that tightened up I’d consider it, but I’d make sure I have Dramamine on hand first.

Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL) Weekly Chart - June 12, 2015

Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL) Weekly Chart – June 12, 2015

Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL) Daily Chart - June 12, 2015

Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL) Daily Chart – June 12, 2015

One last chart to appeal to bottom fishers – Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL). Currently 8.2% away from December’s 3.57 low, the risk to try catching this knife for at least a bounce is steadily improving. GOGL’s IBD rating is 7. Not my cup of tea when there are far better choices available.

Keep in mind these are speculative stocks in an out-of-favor sector. Choose your timeframe, stop, size your position accordingly, trade with discipline, and good luck!

NYK Altair photo by Fleetmon.com

Year to Date Portfolio Performance – May 2015

logo-rlgtMay was a month of redemption as I managed to earn back the majority of my April losses. Stock selection and better utilization of strategy type for individual positions are what I credit as making differences in a choppy month for the overall market. I continue to find better success by choosing the best stocks available which have superior fundamentals coming into line with a technical setup that offers a favorable reward-to-risk trade. I’ve tried a few trades of lesser quality companies which have a good technical setup, however I’m finding these are more often than not panning out. Because of that, when those types of trades look as though they may fail I’m more likely to bail out on them due to lacking confidence in the fundamentals. Trading best of breed stocks is simple, sensible advice and worth remembering.

May Net P/L:  +7.63%

Year to Date P/L:  +9.1%

Notable Wins

  • Radiant Logistics (RLGT) 186-day trade for +51.1%. Definitely one of my longer-term trades, I love this company but I chose to book my profit for three reasons. First, while continuing to stick with the overall uptrend, I did not enjoy enduring the -20.2% drop from the April 6.09 high to May’s 4.86 low despite having more of an investor mentality with this trade than that of a trader. Second, priced dipped twice below the March low of 4.91 which had me considering whether or not the trend was changing. Third, RLGT filed a shelf at the beginning of the month, and I did not want to be holding if they utilized it. While pondering my next move, RLGT jumped 15% on May 18, and that’s when I took the money and ran.
  • Xenon Pharmaceuticals (XENE) 20-day trade for +7.6%. My second profitable trade in XENE, I sold ahead of earnings and avoided a -20% loss.
  • Planar Systems (PLNR) 77-day trade for +5.9%. Sideways action through the duration of this trade had me a little frustrated, and I did not have confidence ahead of their earnings report. Sold just before the close that day at 6.25, that decision steered this away from the loss column. Price sunk -36.5% from my sell point.
  • Hennessey Advisors (HNNA) 28-day trade for 5.7%. Another sell ahead of earnings which avoided a loss.

While XENE, PLNR and HNNA are not exceptional percentage gains, I still consider them notable examples of risk management for booking profits ahead of known catalysts which otherwise would have resulted in significant losses.

Notable Losses

  • Bloomin’ Brands (BLMN) 16-day trade for a -5.2% loss. On May 6, BLMN looked like a fabulous short, closing under the 200 DMA after the previous day’s -6.4% dive on more than triple volume – it did not continue. Shorts that aren’t working wear on me more than longs that aren’t working. My buy stop covered (perhaps prematurely) for the loss.

Although I’m increasing my focus on best of breed stocks, I always have some cash on hand for the occasional speculative flyer with a catalyst or showing a good technical setup. Regardless, I always know my risk and my exit before taking any trade.

Current Positions

Long – AAPL   BABA   BCOR   BERY   BXC   CJES   CR   CYTX   FLWS   FWM   HW   JUNO   LPI   PEIX   QRVO   RCPT   RPAI   RUBI   TENX

Short – RJET

Year to Date Portfolio Performance – April 2015

logo-rtixThe last five days of April damaged my gains in several positions, some I’m still holding within trends and others I sold or stopped out of. Application of short-term swing trading would have preserved some profits, however my desire to utilize longer-term trend following timeframes for select trades ruled out in the end. I opted to take heat on some positions in order to hold them for hopefully larger moves down the road. I’m finding that in this market environment, choosing the correct strategy for any particular trade is as increasingly important as choosing the correct stock to employ it on.

April Net P/L:  -6.0%

Year to Date Net P/L:  1.5%

Notable Wins

  • RTI Surgical (RTIX) 16-day trade for +20.5%. A very good entry was made on a late March 61.8% retracement level preceding a straight line up swing trade.
  • Cheetah Mobile (CMCM) 8-day trade for +19.1%. I snatched this gain way too early on the first day of a four-day surge higher and regrettably left a lot behind.
  • C&J Energy Services (CJES) +12.8% on a 62-day trade. I had been through enough ups and downs to decide to take the profit after April 14’s doji candle printed.
  • Advanced Semiconductor (ASX) +8.4% on a 13-day trade. This was a Fibonacci calculated swing trade with two 1/2 position buys made near 50% and 61.8% retracements of the 2015 uptrend, then all sold on April 27 at the 61.8% retracement of the March-April downtrend. While it proved I could have waited for the 61.8% level to buy a full position, this was still my best utilization of fib levels in that my 7.00 basis was sold at 7.59 before price returned to 7.01.

Notable Losses

  • Array Biopharma (ARRY) -12.5%, 54-day trade. I bought what looked to be a range break higher which failed, and then I held far too long until it broke down at the end of April. That is why I prefer to buy support rather than resistance.
  • PMC-Sierra (PMCS) -7.6%, 69-day trade. Dead money going sideways before breaking down and stopping out in late April.

Despite the down month, I avoided changing up strategies in mid-trade on current positions I’m holding in response to negative market action, something I’ve been successfully working on. My biggest mistakes were taking profits too early in CMCM and CJES, however it’s often difficult to let some positions run without snatching gains, particularly in volatile stocks like those, when buy and sell points were determined with a high degree of accuracy in other positions such as RTIX and ASX.

Points to ponder.

Current Positions

Long – AAPL   AXAS   BCOR   BERY   BXC   CYTX   HNNA   HW   JUNO   LPI   PLNR   QRVO   RICE   RLGT   RUBI   XENE

Short – None

Getting Slippery Near the 200 DMA

Here are a selection of twelve charts in the Energy Sector with price positioned at or near the 200-day moving average. If the 200 DMA is your thing, watch for these crossovers and trade accordingly. Note today’s move in RPC Inc. (RES) on triple average daily volume – just what you want to see.

Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Continental Resources (CLR) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Continental Resources (CLR) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Helmerich & Payne (HP) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Helmerich & Payne (HP) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Laredo Petroleum (LPI) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Laredo Petroleum (LPI) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Marathon Oil (MRO) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Marathon Oil (MRO) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Parsley Energy (PE) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Parsley Energy (PE) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

RPC Inc. (RES) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

RPC Inc. (RES) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Range Resources (RRC) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Range Resources (RRC) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

Suncor Energy (SU) Daily Chart - April 29, 2015

Suncor Energy (SU) Daily Chart – April 29, 2015

All 61.8% or Nothing

I think I gravitate to Fibonacci levels because it satisfies the dip buyer in me while at the same time defining technical levels to evaluate the risk and reward boundaries of putting on trades. Who wouldn’t want to be able to determine the perfect buy point on a deep pull back before the next leg higher?

In some instances of finding chart setups of stocks I wanted to be in I’ve seen reversals from 50% retracements that never make it to 61.8%. Because of that, I adopted a practice of buying a half position in a stock when it seemed to me to have found support at 50%, then buying the second half if it did continue to retrace to 61.8%. If that happened, I’d be left with a compromise price between the two levels with an exit typically being a failure for price to hold the 61.8% level. If 50% is where price reverses higher, then the worst case scenario there is that I earn a profit on the smaller half position I’m holding.

That pre-planned strategy has been the one and only exception I use to add to a losing position. Knowing the price points in advance and sizing my position accordingly manages the risk.

I’ve since changed my philosophy on the strategy of buying half at 50% and half lower at 61.8%. I’m finding too many occurrences of the 50% level failing to hold and putting the 61.8% level in play. It really boils down to there simply being too many setups available to trade anything less than my optimal target of a 61.8% retracement. If a stock I’m watching for an entry fails to hit the 61.8% level then I simply forget about it and move on to others. That keeps me out of the adding to a losing position scenario as well as more sharply defining risk and reward when putting on trades.

Voodoo Charts – Past, Present and Future

Charts which stand out from others that conform particularly well to patterns and levels I like to call “voodoo charts”…..you know, that technical analysis voodoo stuff fundamentalists frown upon. If you like to think of them as squiggly lines, then by all means stop reading here. If you think technical analysis predicts the future, again, please stop reading here. Technical analysis uses past data to create projections, not predictions, of probable outcomes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does work, in some instances technical analysis can be eerily accurate. Those are voodoo charts to me.

CyberArk (CYBR) Daily Chart - April 17, 2014

CyberArk (CYBR) Daily Chart – April 17, 2014

Here’s a prime voodoo chart – CyberArk (CYBR) meets Fibonacci. CYBR’s quick +113% rip in February preceded a pullback, but to where? Looking at this in late February, where would you think a good place would be to buy this after it doubled so quickly? The 38.2% level provided a bounce, and while the 50% level didn’t really figure in, 61.8% surely did. The March 16 buy point which could have been determined as early as February 23 proved to be greater than 99% accurate. If your fortune-teller told you to buy near the 61.8% retracement then you’re holding a 27% gain today. If you don’t have a fortune-teller you could also have just used Fibonacci levels.

CYBR’s buy point is old news though. Advanced Semiconductor (ASX) is a voodoo chart that is progressing now which I currently have a position in.

Advanced Semiconductor (ASX) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Advanced Semiconductor (ASX) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

The shooting star candle of March 6 sent a blaring sell signal, setting the parameters for the Fibonacci levels at 5.91 for lower and 8.12 for upper. Afterward, there was a bounce at the 38.2% level, support for a while at the 50% level, then finally a dip down to the 61.8% level on April 16 which painted a beautiful hammer candle on 2.5x average volume. Seeing ASX withstand Friday’s sell off closing down just .29% was encouraging. Despite conforming to the 61.8% level, ASX does have a habit of dropping down to the 200 DMA, currently at 6.46, therefore I’m accounting for that in my position size in advance. The 78.6% fib level is 6.38 – a close under that knocks me out of this trade.

If I think a stock’s price is establishing support at the 50% level then I’ll sometimes buy a 1/2 position there, then add the other half if it does end up retracing to the 61.8% level. In that case, I end up with a full position calculated to exit on a failure to hold the 61.8% level. I did this with ASX buying a 1/2 position at each level, then I was able to reduce the size Friday at break even. I now have a position size to allow me to add if price drops to the 6.46 – 6.38 range if I choose to.

Finally, here are some charts I’m looking at for future buy points if they reach levels I’m looking for.

Ambarella (AMBA) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Ambarella (AMBA) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

 

Crown Media Holdings (CRWN) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Crown Media Holdings (CRWN) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

 

1-800-FLOWERS.COM (FLWS) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

1-800-FLOWERS.COM (FLWS) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

 

Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

 

Standard Pacific (SPF) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Standard Pacific (SPF) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

 

Silicon Precision Industries (SPIL) Daily Chart - April 17, 2015

Silicon Precision Industries (SPIL) Daily Chart – April 17, 2015

Good luck trading this week!

Symmetry in Qorvo

The reason why I study technical analysis is to try to determine what levels to look at for potential buys, sells, targets and stops. It doesn’t always work, but when it does the results can sometimes be uncanny. I’d say today’s trading in Qorvo (QRVO) demonstrated that.

Qorvo (QRVO) 2-Hour Chart - April 14, 2015

Qorvo (QRVO) 2-Hour Chart – April 14, 2015

QRVO’s previous 78.05 to 63.17 high / low retracement from January 28 to February 14 measured -19.06%. From March 24’s 85.63 high, today’s 69.30 low measured -19.07%, matching to 1/100 of one percent before inching up a bit toward the close. I’d venture to describe the accuracy of that symmetry as uncanny.

Of course, it only counts if it holds. Since the 61.8% level has already failed, a close under today’s low would be a sell signal for me.