Are you Positioned?

What’s our biggest enemy in the markets?

This one’s invariably…

…our Self.

Cut to ’07.

Fancy hotel banquet room, snacks and drinks, chief investment officer of JP Morgan is talking…

…and we’re listening.

My friend and I…

…sitting on profits…

…feeling smug about ourselves…

…young guns…

…ready to conquer the world…

…nothing can stop us now.

Or can it?

“There will always be a correction…”. These words catch my ear.

I raise my hand.

“Yes? The gentleman with the lime-green tie has a question?”

I stand up, and before I know it, I ask the deadly question.

“Don’t you think there’s been a paradigm-shift with regard to India, and that India has decoupled from the rest of the world?”

“How old are you, Sir?”

“37”.

This was ’07, remember?

“I’m going to excuse your question, because you’re young, and have probably experienced the markets for…?”

“3 years”.

“Exactly. That’s why I’ll only answer your question with a smile.”

How controlled.

“You see, globalization is a reality, and decoupling is a myth”.

Myth, really?

“It’s fancy phrases like “paradigm-shift” that catch the inexperienced investor’s imagination, leading to huge market mistakes”.

In these few sentences, my entire comprehension of markets was blown up and thrown out the window.

And that would have been a good thing…

…had I listened.

Such is the arrogance of “youth”, that “youth” doesn’t listen.

Soon, the ’08 crash happened.

I lost big time.

Was humbled.

Took me a long time to get back and stabilize.

I remember my stomach churning and my unwillingness to meet people as markets crashed to lower and lower levels.

I almost couldn’t take it.

We are our worst enemies.

What’s it going to be this market high?

We’ve learnt, and are positioned.

However, there will be newbies (like we were) who are going to go through this chain of events.

What buzz-words or phrases will catch their imagination?

BitCoin?

Liquidity?

Vaccine?

Quantitative Easing?

FIIs?

Pending rally in small-caps?

There’s a new cocktail doing the rounds this time around.

This cocktail will ensnare.

Even the topmost analysts are beginning to feel that a correction could take some time coming.

Some weeks ago, most felt that a correction could happen anytime now.

Player psychology is set for the cocktail to do its work.

Then one needs a pinprick.

In ’08 this was perhaps Lehman on the world scale and the Reliance Power IPO in India.

What’s it going to be this time?

It doesn’t matter.

Remember? There will always be a correction.

Are you positioned?

Positioned

By now…

…, we are positioned.

The persistence of high price-levels…

…has led us to take appropriate action.

One after another, we are washing our market mistakes clean.

What remains, is cost-free-ness, in high-quality holdings.

We’ve then also helped our relatives and friends attain the same state of market-being.

MFs?

Now cost-free

ULIPs?

Gotten them to money-market.

Debt market holdings?

No more debt market for a while.

Bond-yields are rising.

There’ve been blow-ups. Boys @ FT and Nippon take a bow.

Parking where?

Fixed deposits.

Why?

Not in it for returns.

Just to park, safely.

We’re sticklers for parking safely.

Loss of interest will be made up within days of opportunity, into which funds then flow, and then some.

One can now say…

,…safely…

,…that we’re positioned.

What happens from this point onwards?

How many days has the main sensory index spent at PEs of 35+ within the last 5000 days?

Yeah, right?

Small-cap rally still due?

That’s what everyone feels, right?

That’s the point.

Leave the masses hanging onto something they’re expecting.

If it doesn’t happen, they’re what?

Left hanging. Devil takes the hind-most.

Please do your math, and please position yourself too, appropriately.

What if markets go on rising?

Sure, that’s a possibility, perhaps for a while.

Simple rule.

No level, no entry.

We know how to sit.

On our holdings, and then…

…on our cost-free-ness.

Now, capital will only move…

…upon opportunity.

And the pipe-line’s ample, our positioning has seen to that.

Come something like March ’20, and we’ll blast the flow of our pipeline.

Oh, another thing.

Notice the speed of moves, nowadays?

It’s fast, isn’t it?

As in markets are efficient, till they’re not, and then they’re efficient again, and then they’re not, back and forth, to and fro, all very fast.

Meaning what?

Meaning, that there will be ample opportunities, more sooner than later, and that till there are inefficiencies on the down-side,…

…we sit tight…

…to maximize the impact of our positioning.

However, Cost-Free-Ness does afford us full Freedom of Focus

Markets crashing?

Is one cost-free?

Yes?

No worries.

Markets can crash.

Technically speaking, one’s money is not on the line anymore.

This makes crashing markets a good thing for one.

Why?

Because of the lucrative entries coming up ahead, that’s why.

Is one able to focus?

You bet.

Somehow, magically, one’s focus is not on one’s existing Equity in the markets. Anymore.

Why?

Because it’s cost-free.

Earlier, falling markets would hamper full focus, which was supposed to be on fresh and lucrative entries coming one’s way.

With great difficulty, and lots of practice, one did manage to shift one’s gaze though, in the end.

Now, with complete cost-free-ness in the picture, focus is a breeze.

Yeah, one is fully focused on entry levels that might crop up in the stocks one is looking to enter into.

Without appropriate entry levels, one’s funds aren’t going to move. Period.

For that, one needs focus.

And it’s there.

Cost-Free-Ness completely does away with Fear

When nothing from your end is invested, but you still have a holding in the markets,…

…you have created for yourself the state of cost-free-ness.

Cost-free-ness carries with itself a feeling of intense satisfaction…

…because of the sheer magnitude of the feat.

Well, congratulations.

With cost-free-ness comes absence of fear with regard to one’s cost-free holding.

When it’s not costing us, we’re not bothered.

Markets can go anywhere.

They can come down to zero, for all we care.

Fine.

Still unshaken?

Yes.

Why?

If markets comes down to zero, we can look to enter en-masse.

We’ve got principal, remember? Took it out, to create cost-free-ness, tu te souviens?

When markets come down to zero, owing to absence of fear, …

… our focus is not on our (cost-free) holding.

Instead, our focus is on the lucrative entries coming our way.

After markets come down to zero, if they do, they’ll soon reverse.

Then, our new entries will start becoming cost-free, as prices climb.

Soon, we’ll pull principal out again, and will have have new cost-free holdings, which we can transfer to our consolidated cost-free holding account.

Fear is nowhere in the equation.

Cost-Free-Ness

Why…
 
…do we play this game?
 
I play it to…
 
…win.
 
What’s one’s definition of a win?
 
It’s different for everyone.
 
I’ll tell you mine.
 
I want to be completely cost-free in the markets before the end of a bull-run. 
 
What does being cost-free mean?
 
It means that whatever one has in the market, has been completely freed up of its principal. 
 
That’s done by taking the principal out, over time, as markets climb. 
 
What purpose does cost-free-ness serve? 
 
Firstly, whatever’s in the market now, in a cost-free state, is all high quality material. 
 
It can’t be otherwise. 
 
What’s not high quality will be pulled out as markets persist in their climb. 
 
Why?
 
The impulse to book is very strong. 
 
In that state of mind, whatever is not worth holding anymore, will be automatically booked. 
 
It’s human nature. 
 
Secondly, what’s in the market now, can stay in, like, forever, without causing us any tension. 
 
That’s an ideal state of mind for the creation of multibaggers, and the underlyings in question are all multibagger material, being the essence of one’s entire market-play. 
 
Thirdly, one has gotten one’s soldiers home, to fight more battles, as valiantly as ever, in the times to come. 
 
Ya, cost-free-ness means that one has pulled one’s principal out. 
 
This very principal will now be utilized to make more and more shares cost-free.
 
Fourthly, we are not going to suffer any pangs about the markets climbing and climbing further. 
 
Further climb benefits our material in the market, immediately. 
 
More material, picked up at trading levels, is likely to yield a small chunk of cost-free shares, in the form of a winning trade. As one exits such trade, one leaves one’s profit in the market, in the form of cost-free shares. 
 
Sure, eventually the market will collapse, and we’ll be left with some material which is not only not cost-free, but is now losing, perhaps big.
 
That’s ok.
 
Why?
 
Because, quantities are relatively small. These are trading levels, remember? Thus, entries will be small.
 
Then, these are the same underlyings as already existing in our portfolio. 
 
We want to hold these. 
 
We are holding many cost-free units of these very underlyings. 
 
Current loss-making units of these underlyings can be averaged as markets sink further, because we are highly convinced about these holdings.
 
Eventually, the curve will turn, and a new cycle will start.
 
As markets climb in the new cycle, eventually these new units will start becoming cost-free.
 
Such positive loop outlined above is the market sweet-spot I always wish to be in.
 
It’s the essence of almost seventeen years of first-hand, in-the-field market learning, with personal funds on the line at all times, struggles, losses, beatings, the works and what have you. 
 
And now, there’s cost-free-ness.
 
That’s my win in the markets!
 
🙂
 
 
 
 

Using Counter-Intuition as a Buy-Sell-Tool

When the world is burning around you…

and there’s “blood on the Street”…

the last thing that one wishes to do…

…is to…

…buy.

Why?

One is afraid.

However, the most lucrative buys are the ones…

…made precisely…

…at this point in time.

Everything in our brain- and bio-chemistry will be screaming not to buy.

We will now use this state of being as a buy tool.

What?

You think I’ve let some kind of a secret out of the bag, or something?

Try doing it.

That’s the thing.

It’s most difficult to push through.

That’s also the reason very few people make big money in the markets.

Now let’s speak about exits.

Nobody really knows what’s a good exit, ever.

Why?

That’s because nobody knows the future in advance.

What we do know, is that euphoria can last long enough…

to wipe shorts out…

…as the recent shorters et al found out the hard way, in the US.

When there’s euphoria, we don’t feel like selling.

We want to make more, and more.

We feel that this can go on and on, ad infinitum.

Every bone in our body says hold on.

A sell made at this time could well nip a multi bagger in the gut.

However, our counter-intuition is speaking.

It’s already done us a service by providing us with great entries.

Let’s at least listen.

Tell you what we can do.

We can listen to it, i.e. we can exit, to some extent only.

That way, we’ll have exited and will still be in the market.

How exactly, then?

When we are feeling like this, and are experiencing prolonged euphoria…

…we can get rid of unwanted stuff.

As euphoria continues to rage, we target to make all wanted holdings cost-free, bit by bit, by exiting to that extent, ultimately and ideally.

Yes, ideally, we only want to be left holding cost-free items in the market.

From that point onwards, we don’t care where the markets are going with regard to our holdings.

It’s a sweet-spot, and we are in it because we have used counter-intuition as an effective and lucrative buying and selling tool.

Breaking Free

[ “I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free… ” – Queen].

How does one stay invested in the markets…

…despite all its deceptions and mind-games?

As indices creep up and up, our minds start playing tricks on us.

We seek excuses to cash out.

And, mostly, we…

…cash out.

Done?

NO.

We don’t want to be done.

Why?

There might come a day, when we wish we hadn’t cashed out.

Markets can stay overbought for ages.

Or not.

We don’t know.

No one knows.

Appreciation that counts sets in upon staying invested for the long-term.

How does one resolve this…

…conflict of mind versus reality?

One…

…breaks free.

Meaning?

Free up whatever has gone in.

Meaning?

Cash out the principal.

Leave the profit in the market.

This profit has cost no money.

Leaving it on the table is not a biggie.

Or is it?

It is…

…for most.

Those, for whom it isn’t, will benefit properly from compounding.

Now, what’s the danger?

No danger.

What’s on the table hasn’t cost you, so no danger.

Still, what would one fear?

No fear. What’s in is free, so no fear.

Let me paraphrase.

What’s the worst-case scenario from here?

Well, U-turn, and a big-time correction.

So what?

Use the correction to buy low, with the idea of freeing up more and more underlying(s) upon the high.

This way, size of one’s freed-up corpus keeps growing, and so does one’s exposure to compounding.

Wishing all very lucrative investing! 🙂

Liqui-Deity

Ammunition. 

Ask the soldier about it.

Running out of it on the battlefield is the soldier’s worst nightmare. 

We’re soldiers too, in our respective fields of work. 

Our liquidity is our ammunition. 

What counts when an opportunity comes is how liquid we are.

When there is a market bottom, most of us are fully invested.

Is that sound strategy?

Putting together ammunition in one place is where it starts.

Holding on to ammunition and using it when most required – that’s sound strategy. 

Saving habits lead to accumulation.

Barriers hold the accumulated liquidity in one place. 

What are barriers?

Welcome to the world of self-created restrictions in an effort to have liquidity ready when one most needs it.

A dedicated bank account is what one requires first. 

Trading?

Link a bank account to your trading account, and use this one for nothing else.

Next, whatever accumulates in this account – take it away from your direct vision.

Meaning?

Block it as a fixed deposit. 

This is a barrier. One don’t see the funds as available. Thus one don’t feel the urge to use them.

When a trade motivates one enough to be taken, one then most need the funds. 

Break the FD.

Transfer the funds. 

Trade.

Has a trade just culminated?

Nothing else coming up?

Again, take the funds away from your direct vision.

Block them, either directly in your trading account, by putting them in overnight funds, or transfer them back to your bank account, if you know that you are not going to be trading for another week plus. 

Both options are valid. Do either. Bottomline is, the funds should not show up as available until you need them.

Investing?

Link a different bank account to your investing-only trading account.

Make multiple fixed deposits in this bank account, each one being one exact entry quantum in value.

Upon identifying an entry opportunity, whenever that happens, break one quantum’s FD, move the funds, and enter into the investment. 

Liquidity needs to be revered.

Unless we don’t give it proper respect, we will not have it at our beck and call when the next opportunity arises, whether we are trading or investing. 

Let’s go, let’s get our ammunition together, and let’s put it to great use.

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?

Bridging the Gap

How does one bridge the middle overs?

Sure, a blogger who is simultaneously a cricket fan…

…will dish out analogies from cricket… 🙂 … !

We’re in the business of identifying extremes…

…and acting upon such identification.

Whatever is in the middle of these extremes…

…is, for us, an area of…

…inaction.

Do we know how to not act?

There is an impulse for action in all humans.

In these loaded times, this impulse is extreme.

Why do we not want to act when an extreme is not there yet?

During times of complete pessimism, one is able to purchase underlyings for a song.

Similarly, during times of total optimism, one is able to secure good exits for stuff that one wishes to get rid of.

How one behaves in between adds or subtracts significantly to or from one’s market success.

Selling early means lesser profits, and the same goes for buying late.

This is the kind of behavior that lessens our multiple, sometimes greatly.

This kind of behavior would be absolutely ok if one were trading.

We, @ Magic Bull, are in the business of effecting multiples.

Anything coming in the way of that is behavior we wish to avoid.

With markets normally trading between extremes about 95% of the time, this leaves us with a lot of time in which we do not act.

Also, it brings us back to the pivotal question – how do we manage not to act when everything and everyone around us is screaming for action?

We do – everything – else.

Apart form market action, there’s business activity, charity ventures, extra curricular activities, family time, sport, leisure, entertainment … … one’s day is packed.

There are two portions of the day when one is driven to the edge of action, though.

The first is after studying market opening.

This is when one does a half-hour call with one’s broker and just sheer discusses everything one is observing.

Strike 1.

Then, as one studies the close, this situation can arise again.

One writes, for example.

Or, annotates charts.

Observes prices.

Collects impressions…

…and demarcates patterns.

That’s sufficient.

Strike 2.

There’s no room for strike 3 – one just doesn’t let strike 3 happen.

High-Conviction Diaries

Sometimes, we’re convinced. 

Every nerve in our body is rooting for a particular thing.

It’s a go. 

Do one thing – 

– don’t hold back. 

Listen to yourself. 

High conviction doesn’t just dawn just like that. 

We’ve worked our whole lives to arrive at this high-conviction moment. 

On the way, we’ve made many, many bad calls. 

Actually, they weren’t bad calls, because…

…if it weren’t for them,…

…how would we learn?

Is some college professor going to teach us the markets?

Is there a recognised university teaching successful market play?

It pays more to depend on one’s own self, and on one’s common-sense – this being my opinion, of course. 

We learn the ropes – OURSELVES – by making mistakes and learning from these.

Here we are. 

We’ve survived so far. 

Now, our sensors are on full. We’re on high alert. We’ve arrived at a high-conviction moment. 

We know this is the right call. 

It’s going to make money. 

All entry parameters are showing a tick-mark. 

What’s stopping us?

We’re human.

There’s always doubt. 

Negative experiences in the past enhance such feelings. 

What if we’re wrong?

Well, if we never get going, how are we ever going to find out?

Enter. 

With a small quantum. 

Keep entering with small quanta as the opportunity exists, along with high-conviction. 

Assuming that high-conviction continues, but opportunity stops existing – 

– Stop.

Wait for next opportunity. 

Assuming that opportunity continues to exist, but high-conviction wavers –

– Stop.

Wait for high conviction to develop again. 

If it does so, see if opportunity still exists. 

If high conviction doesn’t develop again, discontinue going in any further. 

Revaluate the investment upon a market high.

Making Time Our Friend

Hurry…

…spoils the curry.

Specifically with regard to Equity…

…one should never, never be in a hurry. 

You see…

…there will always be a correction.

You will get an entry. 

Wait for the right entry. 

You will, eventually, get a prime exit. 

Wait for the time. 

Make time your friend. 

How?

Simple.

Take it out of the equation.

Simple?

In the small entry quantum strategy, time is, by default, taken out of the equation. 

It loses its urgency as a defining factor, for us, psychologically.

We don’t have any immediate timelines. 

We go with…

…the flow. 

When opportunities appear…

…we act.

When they don’t…

…we don’t act.

Most of the time…

…we don’t act.

Then there are black swans, and we act many times in a row. Like now.

Action, or lack of it, depends on what’s happening. 

We don’t force action.

Why?

Because we have all the time in the world. We’ve made it our friend, remember.

We know that we’ll get action…

…eventually. 

We conserve liquidity and energy for when action comes.

You see, when the pressure of a time-line is gone, quality of judgement shoots up.

We make superior calls. 

Of course we make numerous mistakes too. 

However, the quantum going into the mistake is small. This is the small entry quantum strategy, remember. 

Once we’ve made a selection mistake in an underlying, and have realised this, we don’t shoot another quantum chasing our error. Instead we let it be, and wait for a prime exit from our error. It will come. 

We keep going into identified underlyings not falling into the error category, with small quanta. 

Many, many times, we make a price-error. Price going against us after entry is a price-error, because the market is always right. It’s us who are wrong when things go against us. 

Never mind. After a price-error, we enter the same underlying with another quantum, and this time we get a better price. Once gain one observes the friendliness of time, even after price has gone against us, all because of our small entry quantum strategy.

When price is going in our favour, we might not enter after a level. Though we’re not getting further entries in the underlying, appreciation is working in our favour. 

It’s a win-win on both sides of the timeline for us…

…because we’ve made time our friend.

Rewiring 3.0.3

We grow up, being taught to win.

Slowly, we learn to expect shocks, but only sometimes, in sparing intervals.

We prepare fancy resumés. 

Life must look five star plus all the time, that’s the standard. 

We see this standard all around us. It encompasses us. We become it, in our minds.

It’s not like that in the markets.

Markets are a world, where loss is our second nature. 

If we’re not accustomed to loss, we die a thousand deaths, in the markets. 

What kind of loss are we taking about?

Small…

…loss. 

Your stock holding going down to 0…

…is a small loss…

…when compared to another holding multiplying 1000x over 10 years. 

Both these scenarios are very possible in the markets. They’ve happened. They will happen again. 

How do we react?

Our stock going down to zero mortifies us. We do something drastic. Some of us quit. 

When our potential 1000x candidate is at a healthy 10x, yeah, we cut it. 

Then we quickly post the win on our resumé. 

We must look great to the world, at any cost. 

We keep reacting like this…

…and, like this, we’ll perish in the markets with very high probability.

We can’t take a hit, and are nipping our saving graces in the bud. 

When does this stop happening?

When we rewire.

Rewiring is a mental process that happens slowly, upon repeated market exposure. 

For successful rewiring to take place, real money needs to be on the line, again and again and again, as we iron out our mistakes and let market forces teach us the tricks of the trade. 

While we’re rewiring, we need to play small. 

When we’re partly rewired, we wake up to the fact that this is the age of shocks. 

High-tower professors who’ve never had a penny on the line and have put together theorems about six-sigma events (black swans) setting on once in blue-moons have led us to believe that black swans are rare. 

They are not. They have become the norm. Our first-hand experience of multiple black-swans in a row teaches us that.

Once we rewire fully, the expectation of black-swans as the norm is engraved in our DNA. Then, we use this fact to our huge advantage.

How?

We realize the value of our ammunition, i.e. our liquidity. 

Whenever we have the chance, we build up liquidity. 

We become savers, and are not taken in by the false shine of the glittery world around us.

Also, when markets are inflated, we sell stuff we don’t want anymore, boosting our ammunition for the next onset of crisis…

…and, we stop preparing fancy resumés.

Markets have humbled us so many times, that we now just don’t have the energy to portray false images. 

Whatever energy we have left, we wish to use for successful market play, i.e. to make actual money. 

When that happens, yeah, we know for sure that we’ve fully rewired. 

Welcome to rewiring three nought three. 

FOMO anyone?

Sure, buy…

Where were you some days back?

Buying was a breeze, for quite a while. 

Lately, as in, since Tuesday, it’s not so much a breeze. 

Pharmaceuticals are already up to their pre-crisis prices, and IT needs to recover another 10 – 15% and it’s there. 

If this trend continues for another week, we could be talking about an interim recovery. 

Prices haven’t recovered fully, you would argue, right?

Fine. That’s a valid perspective, in the event that you are a long-term investor.

What’s your compromise?

You won’t be getting full margin of safety at these prices. 

Also, on these up days, there’s so much upwards pressure that the bid-ask spread squeezes you generously to the upside. 

A few days back both these avenues were reversed. 

Still want to buy?

Wait for a big down day.

Margin of safety will be slightly better, and downward pressure will let you buy on limit, lucratively set to harness the downward momentum. 

How do we know that a big down day is coming, in the first place?

We don’t.

What if there aren’t any more big down days in the near future?

Wonderful.

Lock your spare funds away safely, and wait patiently for the next shock. 

Waves operate in shocks. 

This is the age of shocks. 

Buy in the aftermath of a shock. 

What if one isn’t able to buy anymore?

Even better.

Lock in whatever you’ve bought, and divert your attention to other activities.

Like?

Trade.

What?

Currency.

Oil.

Bullion.

Energy.

Industrial metals. 

Do something that takes away your attention from your locked in equity.

Why?

That way you will be able to sit without spoiling your compounding that will happen while you sit. 

Just forget about FOMO. Live in the now. Have your job cut out. Wait for the right conditions to appear. Then act.

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. 

🙂

Secret Ingredients in Times like Corona

Hi,

It’s been a while.

Unprecedented times call for every iota of resilience that’s inherent.

Whatever we’ve learnt in the markets is being tested to beyond all levels. 

If our learning is solid, we will emerge victorious.

If there are vital chinks in our armour, we will be broken. 

Such are the market forces that are prevailing. 

Have we learn’t to sit?

Meaning, over all these years, when over-valuation ruled the roost, did we sit?

Did we accumulate funds?

Did we create a sizeable liquid corpus?

If we did, we are kings in this scenario. 

One of the main characteristics of a small entry quantum strategy is that it renders us liquidity, almost through and through. 

If we are amply liquid in the times of mayhem, there is absent from our armour the debilitating chink of illiquidity.

Illiquidity at the wrong time makes one make drastic mistakes by succumbing to panic. 

We’re not succumbing to any panic. 

Why?

Because our minds are focused on the bargains available.

The bargains are so mouth-watering, that they are entirely taking away our focus from existing panic.

To twist our psychology into the correct trajectory in a time like Corona, the secret ingredient that’s required is called (ample) liquidity. This secret ingredient is a direct result of the small entry quantum strategy, which we follow. 

Then, let’s address the other potential chink, and just sheer do away with it. 

Having access to ample liquidity, are we now greedy?

What does greed mean?

It’s not greedy to buy when there’s blood on the street, no, it’s actually outright courageous. 

Greed Is defined here as per the quantum of buying. 

Are we buying disproportionately vis-à-vis our liquidity-size and our risk-profile?

Yes?

Greedy.

No?

Not greedy.

How will we know the answer without any doubt in our mind that we have the correct answer to this question, since it is vital to our learning curve to answer this question correctly?

The answer will make itself felt.

Are we able to sit optimally even if markets crash another double-digit percentage from here?

50% from here?

No? Greedy. We have bought in a manner that doesn’t gel with our risk-profile. Our liquidity is exhausting, and focus shifts from bargains to panic. Ensuing tension amidst further fall will very probably cause us to commit a grave blunder, with this happening very probably at the bottom of the market. We are poised to lose in the markets like this. 

Yes? Not greedy. We have bought and continue to buy as per our risk-profile. We will win…

…in the markets.

The secret ingredient that locks in great prices and continues to do so as the market keeps falling, is called quantum-control as per the tolerance level of our risk-profile towards further fall. This secret ingredient ensures that liquidity outlasts a longish fall, keeping our focus on the bargains and not on the panic. This secret ingredient provides for the basic mechanism of our small entry quantum strategy.

 

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.

So, Who’s Buying?

Yeah, who’s buying?

Superinvestors? 

Sure. Tremendous pipeline, great bargains, of course they’re buying. 

Who else?

Market-makers.

They buy and sell for a living.

They make the market for us to trade in.

Let’s forget about them for this discussion.

Anyone else?

The syndicate?

What syndicate?

I mean, is there even a syndicate?

Let’s not go into conspiracy theories. 

Whether or not there is a syndicate should not affect us. 

Moving on…

…think of anyone else?

Mutual funds?

Sure.

Lots of SIPs going in, a few NFOs doing the rounds, yeah, MFs are biting.

Foreigners?

More like exiting.

Hedge funds?

Busy trading I guess, won’t count them as strong hands, they’ll book a profit and will be sellers, over the short to medium term. 

What about retail guys?

Retail investors are scared. 

They’re tired of bad news. 

They’re tired of the markets.

Most have run away. 

Most of those who haven’t, want to. 

Is any retailer buying?

Well, the small entry quantum guys are. 

Why?

Firstly, they’re liquid.

Their strategy leaves them liquid, … , like forever. 

Till when are they going to buy?

As long as quality is selling cheap, they’ll continue to buy.

Are they scared?

No.

Why?

Their strategy gives them the courage to work on full throttle at times just like these. 

Times like what?

You know, bad news galore, whatsapps, lay-offs, scams, everything under the sky that can take place – is taking place.

And you know, bring it on. Gloom, doom, kaboom, and quality will start selling even cheaper.

We are loading up on quality and will continue to do so as long as it is cheap.

We’re happy that there’s a buying opportunity.

🙂

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. 

Nadir Non-Focus

Scared to enter?

Things look gloomy?

Forever?

NO.

Look at History.

Markets are where they are despite what’s happened. 

Governments, scams, frauds, bribes, wars, disasters – the list is endless. 

In the end, we are still where we are.

Is that good news?

YES.

What does it mean?

Growth – reflects in the corresponding market – eventually. 

Sure – we might not be growing at 7%+.

We definitely are growing at 5%+, perhaps at 5.5%+.

In a few years, growth could well accelerate.

Why?

Earning hands are growing.

So are aspirations. 

The consumption story in India is alive and kicking. 

What we’re seeing currently is a result of eighteen months of bad news. 

Such a long spate of negative stuff churning out gets the morale down. 

People start letting go of their holdings in despair. 

Maybe there’s another eighteen months of negativity left – who knows. 

That’s not the right question.

Don’t worry yourself about the bottom and when and where it is going to come. 

Why?

Please answer something far more fundamental first.

If you don’t have the courage to go in at this level (with small quanta of course, we do follow the small entry quantum strategy)…

…do you really thing…

…that you will muster up…

…anything remotely resembling courage…

…at a number that is let’s say 20% below current levels?

Gotcha there?