Gauging the Crowd

What was it about winning?

Someone did observe, that 12% of market players win in Equity markets.

In Forex, the number is much lower, something like 5%, I believe. 

If these numbers are to be believed, what’s the obvious takeaway for us?

Behaving like the crowd will not make us…

…win.

Or, in other words, to win, we need to behave in a manner which is not exhibited by the crowd. 

This makes us gauge crowd behaviour…

…almost all the time. 

For example, what does everyone want to do just now?

What did everyone want to do in March?

Did we do the opposite?

If so, we are winning now.

It’s not that one can switch one’s buttons just like that.

It takes experience, solid research, conviction and will-power to go against normal market behaviour.

It doesn’t just come. 

One works towards it, and the only learning comes from mistakes made with one’s money on the line.

That’s the price of tuition in the markets. Unfortunately, books probably won’t teach you this one.

Those who don’t pay this tution-price early, when their ticket-size is still small, well, they can eventually end up doing so later, at a much larger ticket-size.

Just make your mistakes, as many as you can, as early as possible. 

Don’t repeat a mistake.

Great. You’re done already!

How does one gauge the crowd?

Let’s listen in. What are people saying? How many tips are circulating? What’s the quality of these tips? What’s the level of enthusiasm? Is the doorman talking stocks? Folks going all-in at the top?

Or, does no one want to have to do anything with the market? Are you getting calls asking whether one should stop one’s SIP? Is your close relative aghast that you have your money in stocks? Is he or she alerting you to the possibility of an absurd-looking bottom?

The human being is an emotional entity. Blessed be us Indians, we take the cake in being emotional. Not for nothing are our markets correspondingly volatile. And that’s great news for Equity players.

Why?

You’ll see wild swings in the playing fields.

Our indices roller-coast hugely, perhaps the most in the investable world.

We get fantastic bottoms to enter…

…and amazing tops to exit.

Question is, do we leave ourselves in a position to take advantage of this?

Are we continuously gauging the crowd?

Are we continuously behaving like the crowd?

Or, have we made it a habit…

…to win?

Who Breathes Easier – The Investor or the Trader?

Sure…

…asset-light…

…going with the flow…

…can strike both ways…

…care-free almost…

…that’s the image that lures one to the trading world.

Especially when the investor’s world has turned upside down, the investor starts wishing that he or she were a trader instead.

Stop.

Get your investing basics right. Your world will not turn upside down once you invest small quanta into quality coupled with margin of safety, again and again and again.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the trader’s world.

No baggage?

Sure baggage.

Emotional baggage for starters.

Cash baggage.

This one will always be there.

The trader will always have one eye on the cash component.

It needs to be safe.

It is a cause of…

…tension.

Reason is, the safest of havens for this cash component, i.e. sovereign debt, is volatile enough to disturb those who are averse to volatility when it comes to one’s cash component.

So, not asset-light.

Cash component is also an asset. It’s not light.

Sure, go with the flow. Strike both ways.

Can one say that this is a recipe for making higher returns?

NO.

Investors strike in one direction.

Investors are perennial bulls.

At least they know where they are going.

Small entry quanta make market falls work in favour of investors, over many, many entries into an underlying, over the long-term.

Do the math. You’ll see.

When one is focused on one direction, i.e. upwards here, chances of capitalising on runs are higher. The trader’s mind is always bi-polar in this regard, and game-changing runs are missed out on, upon corrections larger than the concerned stop-loss.

Care-free?

Who’s watching the screen all day?

The trader.

The investor watches the screen only upon requirement. There are investors who don’t watch the screen at all.

Images are deceptive.

Don’t go by images.

Whatever one chooses, it should ignite one’s passion.

Nothing else counts.

Let’s say you’re an investor, and you feel that you’re missing something by not trading.

Fine. Fill the gap. Sort out the basic folio, and then dabble in trading with small amounts, that don’t throw you out of whack. Do it for the thrill, if nothing else. As long as one is clear that this is not one’s A-game, and expectations are not as high as they are from one’s A-game, one might even enjoy the ride.

Let’s say you are a trader and need an avenue to park.

Yes, Equity is a serious avenue for parking.

Use it.

With one caveat.

This is not a trade.

Trading rules don’t apply to parking.

In fact, trading rules are inverse to investing rules.

You’ll need to figure this one out before moving your bulk into Equity for parking.

The investor is able to take trading with small amounts casually, and use it as an avenue for amusement.

When the trader explores the avenue of Equity for parking, its serious business, and spells doom for the trader if basics of investing are not understood.

So, who breathes easier?

One would know this by now.

Bonding

As Equity players…

…we enter the bond segment to…

conserve capital.

There is no other reason.

Return?

We do make a slightly better return than a fixed deposit.

We’re not in bonds to make a killing.

That is outlined for the Equity segment.

We’re Equity players, remember. 

I was just going through the top ten holdings of each of FT India’s now “discontinued” (new word for mini-insolvency?) debt funds. (I’m uncertain just now what word they’ve used, was it “stopped”? Or “halted”?) [Just looked up the internet, the words used are “winding up”].

My goodness! 

The fund managers in question wanted to outperform all other funds at the cost of asset-quality. 

Many of these top ten holdings (for six funds, one is looking at six top ten holdings) one would not even have heard of. 

A top ten holding constitutes the backbone of the mutual fund being studied. 

If the backbone is wobbly, the whole structure trembles upon wind exposure. 

This corona black swan is not a wind. It’s a long-drawn out cyclone, to fit the analogy. 

This particular structure has crumbled. 

Fund managers concerned have acted out of greed – that’s the only explanation for above top ten holdings. 

No other explanation comes to my mind. 

That they are also holding large chunks of Yes Bank and Vodafone is more an error in judgement, albeit a grave one. 

People commit errors in judgement.

Could one still overlook the a large chunk’s (10%?) segregation in FT India’s Debt folios, where Yes and Voda bonds have been marked down to zero?

Such a hit is huge in the debt segment.

Why are we in debt?

To conserve capital. 

10% hit in debt?

NO.

Wobbly top ten holdings?

NNOO!

Had no idea that the FT India debt portfolio had so many red-flags. 

Till they dropped the bombshell that they were discontinuing their six debt-funds, from last evening, one had no idea. 

Now that it’s dropped, one digs deep to understand their mistakes.

Why?

One doesn’t want to make the same mistakes. 

One doesn’t want to be invested in any funds in the debt segment which are making the same mistakes.

However, another look at their holdings reassures one that one won’t be making such mistakes, of greed, and of comprehensive failure to read managements and road conditions – in a hurry.

Nevertheless, one wishes to be aware.

Now that one is, all measures will be enhanced to prevent even an inkling of such an outcome for oneself. 

Wait up. 

Such measures were already in place. 

Greed? In bonds? 

We’re in bonds to conserve capital. 

No greed there. 

Top ten holdings?

Rock-solid. 

That’s the fundamental tenet one looks for while entering any mutual fund, whether in the debt or in the equity segment. 

We’re good. 

Are you Saying These are Small Losses, Mr. Nath?

No. 

Everything is taking a hit. 

Sure. 

Hit’s actually in the “Wealth” segment…

…and not as such in the “Income” segment.

Would you like to elaborate on this one, sounds pivotal?

Yes it is exactly that, pivotal. Because of this one fact, I’m talking to you with a straight face.

I see.

Auto-pilot income-creating avenues are still doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e. creating income. Nothing has changed there, yet.

You mean something could change there?

Sure, if companies start going bust, their bonds won’t create income. Instead, principal will take a hit. It’s not come to that yet, at least in India. You have an odd company going bust here and there now and then, but nothing major as of now. Income is intact, for now. If were done with CoVID in two months, this factor might not change. Let’s focus on this scenario. 

Right. 

Secondly, we’re highly liquid. We try and become as liquid as possible during good times, ideally aiming to be 80% in cash before a crisis appears. 

How do you know a crisis is going to appear?

This is the age of crises. A six sigma event has now become the norm. After Corona it will be something else. This has been going on from the time the stock market started. It’s nothing new. Come good times, we start liquidating all the stuff we don’t want. 

Don’t want?

Ya, one changes one’s mind about an underlying down the line. At this point, one shifts this underlying mentally into the “Don’t Want” category. Come good times, one makes the market exit oneself from this entity on a high.

Makes the market exit oneself?

Yes, through trigger-entry of sell order.

Why not just exit on limit?

Then you’ll just sell on the high of that particular day at best. However, through trigger-exit, your sell order will be triggered after a high has been made and the price starts to fall. It won’t be triggered if the underlying closes on a high. That way, if you’re closing on a high, you might get a good run the next day, and then you try the same strategy again, and again. In market frenzies, you might get a five to seven day run, bettering your exit by 15-20%, for example. Who wouldn’t like that?

You talk of market frenzies at a time like this, my dear Sir…

The market is like a rubber band. What were witnessing currently is the opposite pole of a market frenzy. Humans beings are bipolar. If they’re reacting like this, they sure as hell will react like the opposite pole when conditions reverse. Especially in India. We’re brimming with emotions. 

Which brings us back to the initial question…

Yes, these notional losses look huge. But, who’s translating them into actual losses? Not us. We’re busy enhancing our portfolios as multiples get more and more lucrative for purchase. That’s entirely where our focus is. We are numb to pain from the hit because our focus is so shifted. 

And there’s no worry?

With such high levels of liquidity, shift of focus, income tap on, dividend tap on – yeah, please don’t ignore the extra big incoming dividends, underlyings taking a hit currently are paying out stellar dividends, and these big amounts are entering our accounts, because we’ve bought such quality – – – we’re ok.

Stellar would be?

Many underlying have shared double digit dividend yields with their shareholders! That’s huge!

So no worries?

No! We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, i.e. buying quality. We’ll keep getting extraordinary entries as the fall deepens. 

What if that takes a long-long time?

Well, the year is 2020. We’re all on speed-dial. 18 months in 2020 is like 15 years in 1929. Because we follow the small entry quantum strategy, our liquidity should hold out over such period, providing us entries through and through. 

And what if it’s a four digit bottom on the main benchmark, still no worries?

NO! Look at the STELLAR entry over there. A bluechip bought at that level of the benchmark can be held for life without worries. So yes, NO WORRIES.

Thanks Mr. Nath.

One more thing.

Yes, what’s that?

What’s my maximum downside in an underlying?

100%.

Correct. Now what’s my maximum upside in an underlying?

Ummm, don’t know exactly.

Unlimited. 

Unlimited?

Yes, unlimited. Entries at lucrative levels eventually translate into unreal multiples. Looking at things from this perspective, now, the size of these notional losses pales in comparison to potential return multiples. It’s a combination of psychology, fundamentals, mathematics and what have you. In comparison, these are still small losses. If we can’t take these swings in our side, we shouldn’t be in the markets in the first place, focusing our energies on avenues we’re good at instead.

Right, got it. 

Cheers, here’s wishing you safe and lucrative investing. 

🙂

Sitting – III

Mood-swings…

…happen all the time…

…in the markets.

If we don’t get used to dealing with them, we’re pretty much gone.

When pessimism rules, it’s quite common for one to develop negative thoughts about a holding. 

Research – stands. 

There’s nothing really wrong with the stock. 

However, sentiment is king. 

When sentiment is down, not many underlyings withstand downward pressure.

Eventually, you start feeling otherwise about your stock that is just not performing, as it was supposed to, according to its stellar fundamentals. 

If your conviction is strong enough, this feeling will pass. 

Eventually, pessimism will be replaced by optimism. 

Upwards pressure…

…results in upticks. 

Finally, you say, the market is discovering what your research promised.

You feel vindicated, and your outlook about the stock changes, in the event that negativity had set in.

You’ve not ended up dumping this particular stock.

If your conviction had not been strong enough, you would have gotten swayed. 

Market-forces are very strong. 

They can sweep the rug from under one’s feet, and one can be left reeling. 

In such circumstances, solid due-diligence and solid experience are your pillars of strength, and they allow you footing to hold on to. 

However, if your research isn’t solid enough, you will start doubting it and yourself, soon (and if you’re not experienced enough, make the mistake, learn from it, it’s ok, because your mistake is going to be a small mistake just now, and you’ll never repeat it, which is better than making the same mistake on a larger scale at the peak of your career, right?! We are talking about the mistake of doing shoddy due-diligence and getting into a stock without the confidence needed to traverse downward pressure).

With that, your strategy has failed, because it is not allowing you to sit comfortably. 

Please remember, that the biggest money is made if first one has created circumstances which allow one to sit comfortably. 

Basic income. 

Emergency fund.

Excess liquidity.

Small entry quantum.

Rock solid research work, encompassing fundamentals and technicals both. 

Margin of safety.

Patience for good entries.

Exit strategy. Whichever one suits you. It should be in place, at least in your mind. 

Etc.

Fill in your blanks. 

Make yourself comfy enough to sit and allow compounding to work. 

Weed out what stops you from sitting, and finish it off forever, meaning that don’t go down that road ever again.

Very few know how to sit. 

Very few make good money in the markets.

Make sure that you do. 

Make sure that you learn to sit.

Happy Ninth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Hey,
 
Just turned nine!
 
🙂
 
We’ve seen stuff…
 
…in these nine years.
 
What is our endeavour?
 
We’re in the business of creating wealth.
 
What is wealth?
 
It is something that multiplies over a period of time, …
 
…, perhaps over a long period of time.
 
Wealth affords one things – comfort, medicare, education, luxury, and what have you. So does surplus income, but wealth has the capacity to do this whilst keeping its principle value intact, taking care of our need, and still retaining a large surplus.
 
On the grass-root level, wealth is an idea.
 
Look at it as a multiplication matrix.
 
When we’re looking at money through the spectacles of this multiplication matrix, we’re looking to create wealth.
 
When we’re looking at money without using such spectacle framework, well, then we’re looking at sheer liquidity, income, surplus income / funds etc.
 
In this form, funds are spent, or put into an instrument which returns less than inflation. Funds are burnt over time, and over the long-term, their buying power takes a huge hit.
 
Wealth, on the other hand, returns way beyond inflation. Over the very long-term, returns can even be triple-digit per annum (not using the word “compounded” yet). Double-digit returns, per annum compounded (ya, using it now), are normal. 26% per annum compounded gives a 1000%+ return over 10 years (triple-digit per year)!
 
Wealth kills inflation, and then some, actually, and then lots!
 
The assimilation of wealth doesn’t necessarily follow a linear mathematics.
 
It is better to not look at this mathematics on a day to day basis.
 
Wealth is best created out of sight, out of mind.
 
Why?
 
During the journey to wealth, one needs conviction in one’s rock-solid research.
 
Observing day to day trajectory deviation makes one lose such conviction.
 
Worst-case scenario can be to interrupt the wealth-creation process, or to stop it altogether.
 
One encounters many colleagues on the road towards wealth-creation.
 
Sure, everyone wants in.
 
Who ends up creating wealth?
 
In other words, what’s the wealth-creation mind-set?
 
Our basics have been put in place, by us, laboriously, in the beginning.
 
As in, we have a basic income going. Our needs for the next couple of years are taken care of.
 
We’ve been pickling any incoming surplus away.
 
We don’t need to draw on it for a while, for reasons explained above.
 
Our research is rock-solid.
 
Our small entry quantum strategy has been fine-tuned thoroughly.
 
However, we’ll keep at it, tuning further as per requirement.
 
We believe in ourselves, our research and our strategy.
 
WE are going to end up creating wealth.
 
Holding on to wealth and seeing it through to its logical conclusion will be the next challange.
 
Great year ahead, Magic Bull!
 
🙂 🙂

My Buddy called Compounding

Compounding…

…is my happy space.

When I’m having a difficult market day,…

…I open my calculator…

…and start…

…compounding.

My friend clears all doubts in a flash.

It’s easy to compound on the calc.

In German they’d say “Pippifax”.

The younger tribe in the English-speaking world would say easy peasy…

…(lemon squeasy).

Let me run you through it.

Let’s say you wish to calculate an end amount after 25 years of compounding @ 9 % per annum.

Let z be the initial amount (invested).

The calculation is z * 1.09 ^25.

That’s it.

You don’t have to punch in 25 lines. It’s 1 line.

What if you went wrong on the 18th line?

So 1 line, ok? That’s all.

What’s ^ ?

This symbol stands for “to the power of”.

On your calculator, look for the y to power of x key, and then…

…punch in z * 1.09 (now press y to the power of x)[and then punch in 25].

What does such an exercise do for me?

Meaning, why does this exercise ooze endorphins?

Let’s say I’m investing in sound companies, with zero or very little debt, diligent and shareholder-friendly managements, and into a versatile product profile, looking like existing long into the future, basically meaning that I’m sound on fundamentals.

Let’s say that the stock is down owing to some TDH (TomDicK&Harry) reason, since that’s all it’s taking for a stock to plunge since the beginning of 2018.

I have no control over why this stock is falling.

Because of my small entry quantum strategy, I invest more as this fundamentally sound stock falls.

However, nth re-entry demands some reassurance, and that is given en-masse by the accompanying compounding exercise.

At the back of my mind I know that my money is safe, since fundamentals are crystal clear. At the front-end, Mr. Compounding’s reassurance allows me to pull the trigger.

Let’s run through a one-shot compounding exercise.

How much would a million invested be worth in thirty years, @ 11% per annum compounded.

That’s 1 * 1.11^30 = almost 23 million, that’s a 2300% return in 30 years, or 75%+ per annum non-compounded!

Now let’s say that my stock selection is above average. Let’s assume it is good enough to make 15% per annum compounded, over 30 years.

What’s the million worth now?

1 * 1.15^30 = about 66 million, whoahhh, a 6600% return in 30 years, or 220% per annum non-compounded.

Let’s say I’m really good, perhaps not in the RJ or the WB category, but let’s assume I’m in my own category, calling it the UN category. Let’s further assume that my investment strategy is good enough to yield 20% per annum compounded.

Ya. What’s happened to the million?

1 * 1.20^30 = about 237 million…!! 23700% in 30 years, or 790% per annum non-compounded…

…is out of most ballparks!!!

How can something like this be possible?

It’s called “The Power of Compounding”…,

…most famously so by Mr. Warren Buffett himself.

Try it out!

Pickle your surplus into investment with fundamentally sound strategy.

Sit tight.

Lo, and behold.

🙂

Hocus-Focus

Yeah, where’s your focus at…

…as your market drops. 

Is it on your benchmark index?

Sure.

Ok. Drops further. Developing into a crash…

Where’re you at now?

My focus has shifted. 

Tell me more. 

I’m now focusing on the shares i’ve begun to accumulate,…

…and, specifically, I’m focused on the number of shares being added to my portfolio,…

…that’s my number. Yeah, that’s where my focus is at.

Not on your benchmark index?

First up, I feel the joy as this number enters my demat. After that, I cast a brief glance at whatever benchmark indices I’m looking at, and decide for myself, whether my focus needs to remain shifted. 

What if you’re rubbing your hands in glee, and dud shares are being added to your name?

That’s the whole point. These are not duds. They are gems as per due diligence done, and are going for the price of non-precious counterparts. That’s why my focus remains shifted. 

When will it shift back?

That switch happens on auto. When benchmarks start oozing expensiveness, focus automatically shifts to the benchmarks. It should no longer be on the number of shares entering your folio, because shares should not be entering your folio when benchmarks ooze expensiveness. 

Exceptions?

Sure. Specific stocks could be cheap when a benchmark is expensive. Let’s not deviate from the point though. This is about a healthy shift of focus, and then a second – healthy – shift back. 

Right. 

Making Time Work For You

Imagine…

…entering into a stock…

…many, many times.

When would you do that?

When your research is solid, …

… when you’re amply liquid, …

… and of course when the stock keeps giving you margin of safety to enter for a longish period of time.

There’s no excuse for not doing solid research. 

It’s a given.

Research – solid – period.

How do you render yourself amply liquid?

You do this for example by following a small entry quantum strategy. 

Let’s have a look at one advantage that springs up in particular. 

You become an expert in the stock you are entering into again and again. 

You know its nuances over time.

You start getting a hang of its overpricing, underpricing, par value, good results, bad results, and what have you. 

You’re in it till you’re convinced about it, sure. 

While you’re in it, you’ve developed an expertise on it.

You’ll take that, right?

Sure. 

What exactly have you done?

You’ve made time work in your favour.

First up, staying invested in a fundamentally sound stock over a long period of time should give you a good return.

Then, repeated interaction over the passage of time gives you expertise. 

Double-shot, please!

🙂

Control

Who’s in control?

You?

Market?

Does the market control you?

Do you control yourself?

How do you answer this?

Why are these questions relevant?

Control is pivotal. 

It sets the tone for market life, and its overhang affects normal life too. 

That’s why it is essential to have such control in one’s hands, and not hand it over to Mrs. Market. 

So, how does one answer this question?

What triggers you to open your terminal?

The market?

Or you yourself, at a time and place of your own choosing?

If your answer is the former, the market controls how you act.

However, if you decide when and where to let market forces into your life, and for how much time, well, then you’ve not handed over such control. 

Bravo!

How did you position yourself to achieve this?

Primary income not from the markets? 

Not.

Don’t listen to tips?

Don’t.

Have a set time for work?

True.

Have a set place for work?

Roger.

Have a set system that’s implemented?

Affirmative.

Watch market TV?

Nope. 

Read financial news online, or in print?

Only while researching a company.

Do your own solid research?

Do.

‘K, you’ve not handed over control all right.

Sure. Hand over control and the next thing you know it’s your life you’re handing over. 

Impedimenting II

Is this even a word?

You know, I don’t care. 

It gets a lot across. 

Isn’t that what matters?

I care about what matters. 

I don’t care about what doesn’t.  

What do we understand by “impedimenting”?

Putting stuff in the path, right?

Yeah. We put stuff in our path, deliberately. 

Are we mad?

Would one put stuff in one’s path, oneself?

Yes. We would. We are not mad. 

Amongst other things, markets…

…fall.

Amongst other things, we as market players are…

…trigger-happy. 

We need to let the fall deepen. 

Our action must be staggered. 

How does one stagger one’s action. 

This is done by putting impediments in the path. 

I can tell you about my ones. 

I start the day with exercise and prayer. 

Then comes a good meal. 

Coffee.

Paper.

Notes.

Emails.

Market study.

Writing.

Charity work.

Anything pending. 

It’s already well, well past noon. 

Back to the markets. 

Dust has settled. 

More study. 

Then, there’s two hours to do whatever needs to be done in the markets. 

Markets end. 

No more market work for the day. 

Out of the two hours for action, I only act during half an hour, or an hour. 

How many mistakes can I make in half an hour?

Sure, many. 

However, a lot lesser than those others can and do make in six and a half hours. 

Success in the markets is all about getting a handle on our mistakes. 

In long-term play, less is more.

You Miss, I Hit

We’re in the markets to…

…capture gains. 

How do gains come about?

Buy low sell high?

Sure, you’ve then got some gains. 

Enough?

Probably not, because everyone of us holds enough losers. That’s part of the game. Amongst many losers, we then find a winner.

How does one maximize gain?

One looks for mispricing. 

Let’s say we’ve id’d a stock. 

It passes our entry criteria.

Now, we look for an entry point that will give us a price advantage. 

We would ideally like the public to misprice the stock on the downside. 

That’s when we would like to pick it up. Higher the misplacing, higher our advantage. 

When is maximum gain captured?

This happens when the same stock is mispriced by the same public on the upside. 

Is such a strategy easy to implement?

Sounds easy, but NO!

Why?

(For starters), That’s because it goes against our grain to buy something really low, for fear of it going even lower, since sentiments are so down. 

Can well happen. You buy something really cheap, and before you know it, your something is down by another half. 

What’s your protection?

Rock-solid research. Identification of sound fundamentals. A shareholder-friendly management. Technicals that support you. Mispriced entry point. Product-profile that’s going to be around. Lack of debt. Substantial free cash flow. Etc.

If you’ve got such pillars going for you, it’s only a matter of time till they start to shine forth. 

If mass-depression causes you to wilt, though, it’s on you. 

Mispricing on the upside causes us to blunder too. 

Most sell their big winners which still have sound fundamentals, and can potentially go on to bag much higher multiples. 

Do this, sure, but only if you NEED the money. 

If not, give your potential multibaggers the time to become full-fledged ones. 

Sell early, and you won’t perhaps ever find another entry point. Winners barely ever give an entry-window. 

At market highs, sell your losers, because they’ll perhaps be inflated too, and you might get a good exit. 

When others misprice, make sure you hit some home-runs. 

Listening to Time

Market work…

…has some eccentricities.

One can’t work in the markets all the time.

That’s normal, right?

Well, yes and no. 

At a place of work, one should be able to work. 

Markets don’t always allow work.

So don’t other work places, sure. 

At other times, you don’t feel like doing market work. 

Aha. 

This happens multiple time a year. 

What do we do here?

We create an environment that incorporates this eventuality seamlessly. 

First up, why is this incorporation essential?

Let’s assume that we need to work in the markets all the time. 

When we don’t feel like, and we have to, well, then, we are likely to make mistakes. 

Read mistakes as losses. 

Mistakes in the market translate into losses. 

(Amongst other things), we are in the markets to …

… minimize losses. 

Therefore, when we don’t feel like doing market work …

… we just sheer don’t do it. 

So, back to square one, how do we incorporate this seamlessly?

By making market work our secondary source of income.

Our basic income needs to be sorted through our primary source. 

Now, we can shut off the markets at will without this affecting our basic income. Whether we can also emotionally detach is a discussion for another day. 

There are times when one just doesn’t feel like opening up the terminal. 

Listen to such times. 

Shut out the markets at will…

…only to open them up again when they’re a go for you.

We’re still at step 1, which you’ve just cleared for yourself. 

Now we try and gauge whether times are such that markets allow work.

Listen to such times. 

When you feel like working and markets allow you to work, go all out. Exhaust existing work potential. 

When you feel like working, and markets don’t allow work, do other stuff. Get your research ready. Become poised. 

Sooner than later, your action criteria will be met…

…and you will be able to act. 

The Cue from Disturbia

I am disturbed. 

This stock that I’m invested in is continuing to fall. 

That’s ok.

I want to be disturbed. 

That’s my cue…

…to invest more in the stock.

I’m in the stock for a reason. 

Something appeals to me. 

That something continues to appeal to me, despite the continuous fall. 

If that were not the case, the case for the stock would be closed, and one would look to get rid of it on a market high. 

However, that is the case,…

…and, I follow the small entry quantum strategy.

Where does that leave me?

My investment in the stock is small.

I am liquid.

That’s the beauty of the small entry quantum strategy.

It leaves you liquid.

Continued fall means better margin of safety, and that another quantum can go in.

The small entry quantum strategy ensures multiple entry opportunities as the stock continues to generate margin of safety.

When do my ears stand up?

When the fall is disturbing enough. 

The fall is the cue to go in. 

It is from Disturbia. 

Who said making money was easy?

This strategy works as long as one’s research is sound. 

Let’s go with what works.

Where do you want to be?

Where do I want to be?

Do I want to look at a stock price and know where things stand with the stock in question?

Yes.

That’s where I want to be.

It’s not going to come for free.

What will it take?

Looking at the stock…

…for an year or two.

That’s what it will take.

How boring, you say?

Sure.

When stock market investing seems boring…

…that’s when you’re doing it right.

Excitement and roller-coaster rides are for video-game pleasure, and for making losses.

Money is made when it’s outright boring out there.

Where do you want to be?

In the money?

I thought so.

Then, please get used to boring and don’t ever complain again that things are boring.

How does one position oneself in such a manner that one studies a stock for an year or two.

Hmmm.

Let’s put some skin in the game.

I know, this phrase is becoming more and more popular, what with Nicholas Taleb and all.

Yeah, we are picking up stock.

What stock?

The one we wish to observe for an year or two.

Why pick it up? Why not just observe it?

You won’t. You’ll let it go.

Why?

Because it’s not yours.

So we pick up the stock? What’s the point of observing if we’re picking it up now?

Well, we’re picking up a minute quantity – one quantum – now. That gets our skin into the game. Then we observe, and observe. Anytime there’s shareholder-friendly action by the management, we pick up more, another quantum. We keep picking up, quantum by quantum. Soon, while we’ve kept picking up, we’ve observed the stock for so long, that now, one look at the stock price tells us what kind of margin of safety we are getting in the stock at this point.

Wow.

Now, future entries become seamless. One look and we have a yes or no decision. Isn’t that wonderful?

Absolutely.

That’s where we want to be.

Happy Eighth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Hey,

Today, we turn eight.

This is an extreme time.

Extraordinary moves have become normal.

How do we react to a world full of upheavals?

Does anyone have a satisfactory response?

We don’t know, and time will tell if our responses are correct.

However, we do know, that we possess common sense…

…, and we are going to hold on to it for all our life’s worth.

It has not come for free.

It has been earned after making costly mistakes.

It is very valuable.

It is going to see us through.

The topsiness and the turvyness is good for us.

It will set up opportunities.

We are only going to grab opportunities.

When there’s no opportunity, we do nothing.

We have learnt to do nothing.

Doing nothing actually means no entry.

We use this time to do due diligence for the future, when entry is allowed as per our entry criteria.

Doing nothing is a steady part of our repertoire.

However, when opportunity comes, we are going to let go of all fear, and we are going to pull the trigger.

We know how to pull the trigger.

We are not afraid.

Why?

We are debt-free.

Our basic incomes are in place.

Our families are taken care of.

Without that, we don’t move.

We invest with surplus.

We implement a small entry quantum strategy.

We enter again and again and again, upon opportunity.

Because of our small entry quantum, we are liquid for life.

Crash?

Bring it on.

We’ll keep going in, small entry quantum upon small entry quantum.

Don’t forget, we have rendered ourselves liquid for life.

And, we’ve got stamina!

Happy eighth birthday, Magic Bull!

Nath on Trading – V – Make that a Hundred

81). Paper trading has limited value.

82). That’s because money on the line activates your emotions.

83). Is there a holy grail? No. Stop looking for it.

84). Small edges taken to the nth – that’s what cuts it.

85). Most advisories make more money advising and less money trading.

86). Many advisories ignore sheer basics such as risk : reward.

87). Advisories are after commission and management fees rather than your long-term benefit.

88). If you’re lookig for an advisory, look hard, and don’t be afraid to keep rejecting till you find someone who knows the game and is not greedy.

89). Everything is out there, for you, for the taking, on the internet.

90). Most of this everything is free, if you just make that extra effort to get it.

91). Disclosure laws are so strict, that you can get into the un*erp*nts of a management today, literally at the speed of thought.

92). Thus, to play the market, any market, all you need is funds, due diligence and a device.

93). Due diligence gives you confidence to hold the line.

94). Funds need to be saved first. What goes into trading is that portion of your savings which you are not going to need – at all, at best.

95). Your device needs to become a seamless extension of you. Work on your device till it becomes that.

96). The best ideas are born in silence.

97). The best ideas are also the simplest in nature.

98). Sophistication is a net-net loser’s game.

99). If you’re doing it right, and if you’re not a day-trader by profession, trading takes up only a small portion of your day.

100). Life has myriads of avenues, trading being one small such aspect. Being a trader doesn’t mean losing out on life’s countless drawing boards. Trade. Fine. Live too, and live well. Do all-round justice to your opportunity.

Stamina of a Marathon Runner

Yes.

That’s what a small entry quantum approach demands of its player.

To be frank, I’ve not run any marathons on field and track.

However, I’ve done my share in life, and continue to do so. 

If it’s not a marathon, I don’t get a kick.

If you’ve got that in yourself, you’re cut out for the small entry quantum approach.

There’s repetition.

Boredom.

The long-haul.

Life in the background.

No hype.

Going on and on…

…till you break through,…

…and the contents of your portfolio spill over…

…and start to show.

Might take a few decades. 

Do you have it in you?

What will make you hold out?

Stick to the tenets of the small entry quantum approach, and you will not only hold out, but your folio will burgeon too.

Buy with surplus.

Buy with margin of safety.

Learn to sit.

Enter small. Many times.

Keep entering over the years, till there is reason to enter.

Exit on highs. Only get rid of those stocks you don’t feel like holding anymore.

No fear please. Kill it. Create the circumstances for fear to vanish.

No euphoria either. That’s a tough one, especially when the whole world is dancing around you. 

Do your homework. 

Don’t listen to anyone.

You’re set.

 

Robotic Stock Selection Anyone?

No…

…thank you…

…is it?

Sure, stockscreens.

We use them all the time. 

A stock screen is a robot.

So why am I still saying no thank you?

I use stockscreens day in and day out.

I use them for trade selection, and I use them for long-term stock selection.

However,…

…(here comes the hammer),…

…the final say is mine. 

I’d like the human touch to answer yes or no.

Also, out of say a hundred selections, I can still say no to all.

And, if something catches my eye, I can dig deeper. 

I’d like to keep all these things in my hand.

I’d like my market approach to be with open eyes and usage of common-sense.

So where are we exactly?

Somewhere between one-fourth and half robotic.

That suits us. 

We save hours of sweat labour.

After sweat labour has done its work, we start applying our minds. 

We take over where the robot has left off.

Chancing

How does one discover the missing ingredient?

By chancing it. 

One keeps trying different mixes…

…till something hits. 

The hit is then fine-tuned…

…such that it is reproduced again and again.

Once the hit can be reproduced at will, one has got the strategy all together. 

A successful strategy is then let loose. 

At first it is on manual.

Ultimately, it comes on auto, or semi-auto, whatever best is possible. 

There has come and passed a stage, when this same strategy has not been winning. 

Aha. 

What is the difference between the mix of that stage and the current – winning – mix?

It’s some kind of a twist you’ve discovered. 

Something you are adding, or doing differently. 

This something is making the strategy win. 

Congratulations!

You’ve kept trying. 

You’ve been in the field. 

You weren’t away from the field, ruminating. 

You were getting action. 

Losing action, but action. 

Losing action has huge educational value. 

It tells you how not to do it. 

You keep twisting, fitting, tuning, upon loss. 

You chance new stuff.

Eventually, something clicks. 

You develop that something further and take it to the nth. 

Where does that leave you?

You have to keep chancing it. 

There is no way around this. 

Make funds available for the R&D. 

Have the courage. 

Don’t be afraid of a hundred losses. 

Winning is around the corner.