Equity – The New Normal for Parking

Who’s the biggest…

…Ponzi…

…of them all?

Insurance companies?

There’s someone bigger.

The government. 

Legit.

Probably not going to go bust…

…at least in a hurry. 

Moves money from A to B…

…with minimum accountability. 

Resurrects skeletons and gives them infinite leases of life…

…with good, clean and fresh funds…

…that flow out of the pockets of helpless citizens. 

So, what about the government’s bond?

Sovereign debt.

The herd is flowing to sovereign debt, and to some extent to 100% AAA max 3 month paper duration liquid funds. 

This is after the johnnies at FT India miscalculated big-time, and had to wind-up six debt mutual fund schemes in their repertoire.

Should one do what the herd is doing?

Let’s break this down. 

First up, the herd exited credit-risk funds en-masse, post FT India’s announcement. Logical? Maybe. Safety and all that. Took a hit on the NAV, due to massive redemptions. I’m guesstimating something to the tune of 3%+. 

This seems fine, given the circumstances. Would have done the same thing, had I been in credit-risk. Perhaps earlier than the herd. Hopefully. No one likes a 3%+ hit on the NAV within a day or two.

Let’s look at the next step.

Sovereign debt is not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Especially the long-term papers, oh, they can move. 3% moves in a day are not unknown. 13-17% moves in a year are also not unknown. A commoner from the herd would go into shock, were he or she to encounter a big move day to the downside in the GILT (Government of India Long Term) bond segment. Then he or she would commit the blunder of cashing out of GILT when 10% down in 6 months, should such a situation arise. This is absolutely conceivable. Has happened. Will happen. Again.

There are a lot of experts advocating GILT smugly, at this time. They’re experts. They can probably deal with the nuances of GILT. The herd individual – very probably – CAN’T. The expert announces. Herd follows. There comes a crisis that affects GILT. Expert has probably exited GILT shortly before the onset of crisis. Herd is left hanging. Let’s say GILT tanks big time. Herd starts exiting GILT, making it fall further. Expert enters GILT, yeah – huge buying opportunity generated for expert.

More savvy and cautious investors who don’t wish to be saddled with the day to day tension of GILT, and who were earlier in credit-risk, are switching to liquid funds holding 100% AAA rated papers.

Sure. 

This is probably not a herd. Or is it?

Returns in the 100% AAA liquid fund category are lesser. Safety is more. How much are the returns lesser by? Around 1.5 to 2% lesser than ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds. 

Ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds all fall under a category of short-term debt which people are simply ignoring and jumping over, because apart from their large size of AAA holdings, a chunk of their holdings are still AA, and a small portion could be only A rated (sometimes along with another smallish portion allocated in – yes – even sovereign debt – for some of the mutual funds in this category).

The question that needs to be asked is this – Are quality funds in the category of ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds carrying dicey papers that could default – to the tune of more than 2%?

There’s been a rejuggling of portfolios. Whatever this number was, it has lessened.

The next question is, if push comes to shove, how differently are 100% AAA holdings going to be treated in comparison to compositions of – let’s say – 60% AAA, 30% AA and 10% A?

I do believe that a shock wave would throw both categories out of whack, since corporate AAA is still not sovereign debt, and the herd is not going to give it the same adulation. 

The impact of such shock wave to 100 % AAA will still be sizeable (though lesser) when compared to its cousin category with some AA and a slice of A. Does the 2% difference in returns now nullify the safety edge of 100% AAA?

Also, not all corporate AAA is “safe”. 

Then, if nobody’s lending to the lower rung in the ratings ladder, should such industry just pack up its bags? If the Government allows this to happen, it probably won’t get re-elected.

The decision to remain in this category encompassing ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration bond mutual funds, or to switch to 100% AAA short-term liquid funds, is separated by a very thin line

Those who follow holdings and developments on a day to day basis, themselves or through their advisors, can still venture to stay in the former category. The day one feels uncomfortable enough, one can switch to 100% AAA. 

This brings us to the last questions in this piece. 

Why go through the whole rigmarole?

Pack up the bond segment for oneself?

Move completely to fixed deposits?

Fine.

Just a sec.

What happens if the government issues a writ disallowing breaking of FDs above a certain amount, in the future, at a time when you need your money the most?

Please don’t say that such a thing can’t happen.

Remember Yes bank?

What if FD breakage is disallowed for all banks, and you don’t have access to your funds, right when you need them?

Sure, of course it won’t happen. But what if it does?

You could flip the same kind of question towards me. What happens if the debt fund I’m in – whether ultra-short, or floating-rate, or low-duration, or liquid – what happens if the fund packs up?

My answer is – I’ve chosen quality. If quality packs up 100%, it’ll be a doomsday scenario, on which FDs will also be frozen dear (how do you know they won’t be?), and GILTs could well have a 10%+ down-day, and, such doomsday scenario could very probably bring a freeze on further redemptions from GILT too. When the sky is falling, no one’s a VIP.

Parked money needs to be safe-guarded as you would a child,…

…and,…

…there spring up question marks in all debt-market categories,…

…so,…

…as Equity players, where do we stand?

Keep traversing the jungle, avoiding pitfalls to the best of one’s ability. 

How long?

Till one is fully invested in Equity. 

Keep moving on. A few daggers will hit a portion of one’s parked funds. Think of this as slippage, or as opportunity-cost. 

Let’s try and limit the hit to as small a portion of one’s parked funds as possible. Let’s ignore what the herd is doing, make up our own mind, and be comfortable with whatever decision we are taking, before we implement the decision. Let’s use our common-sense. Let’s watch Debt. Watch it more than one would watch one’s Equity. Defeats the purpose of parking in this segment, I know. That’s why we wish to be 100% in Equity, parked or what have you, eventually. 

As we keep dodging and moving ahead, over time, the job will be done already.

We’re comfortable with the concept of being fully parked in Equity. 

Whereas the fear of losing even a very small portion of our principal in the segment of Debt might appear overwhelming to us, the idea of losing all of one’s capital in some stocks is not new for us Equity players. We have experienced it. We can deal with it. Why? Because in other stocks, we are going to make multiples, many multiples, over the long-term.

Equity seems to be the new normal for parking

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. 

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.

Dealing with Demotivation

Every now and then…

…we don’t feel like working. 

This…

…happens. 

Let’s not PhD over it. 

After accepting the onset of periodical demotivation, let’s focus on dealing with it. 

Nullify the cause. Let’s at least try.

Hungry? Eat.

Fight? Resolve.

Losing streak? Review, tweak, test, re-implement.

Unhappy? Chant. Then work. 

Let’s say one is not able to nullify the cause. 

Let’s take a stock. It’s down. You hold it. There’s nothing wrong with it. 

If you’re demotivated here, aha, please rewire your psychology. 

When something fundamentally and technically sound is down, we buy more of it. 

However, every bone in our body feels deflated upon an accrued notional loss. 

That’s how we humans are wired. We hate losing. We want to win all the time. The best time to buy good stocks is, though, when they’re losing. 

Therefore, …

… rewire,…

…if you want to survive in the markets. 

Once you’re done rewiring, get back to your desk, and buy more of that something fundamentally and technically sound offering margin of safety. 

Lazy?

Market will finish you. Cut it out. Back to your desk.

Wish to get away from your desk? Fine, take your laptop, ipad and smartphone to your easy-chair. Work.

Nothing’s working? Take a small break. Watch an episode of “Billions”, or of whatever gets you going. 

Done?

Let’s go.

We’ve got stamina.

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.

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.

🙂

Insiding

The correct market strategy for oneself…

…is like a holy grail.

It doesn’t come for free.

Some don’t attain it at all.

Mostly, one does get to it but is not able to maintain it.

It’s great if you can arrive at your correct strategy, and keep it alive, forever.

However, that’s a huge statement.

Lots of caveats will need to be addressed before this statement can be made achievable.

What works for me is lots of hit and trial.

Levels internalize.

One gets a feel for what is disturbing (to oneself).

Internalization gets our reflexes going on auto.

“Insiding” is a term that I’ve made up signifying the struggle one goes through recognizing whatever needs to be recognized and arriving at one’s correct strategy.

This act of recognition comes from taking hits, year after year, till one is street-ready to handle whatever the street can offer at its worst.

Market action is mostly about making mistakes.

One keeps these small.

Whatever you end up doing right for yourself, …

…, yeah, that’s what you’re scaling up.

Out of ten attempted ideas, one might work.

Out of a hundred, three might work exponentially.

These are the ones.

Stick to these.

Scale them up.

Whatever it has cost you to arrive at them, is mere tuition fees.

Yes, that’s how you’ll need to see things, to remain sane.

Be happy – at least you have something concrete in your hands – a strategy that works – that’s huge.

The moment you see it turning incorrect, leading to market mistakes, just tweak, tweak tweak till the strategy starts working again.

Tweaking will go on as long as markets exist.

What’s a market mistake?

A market mistake is anything that makes you lose money consistently.

A correct strategy is something that yields money consistently.

That’s why one needs to keep things small till major mistakes are out of the way.

Make mistakes, sure, they are bread and butter.

Just don’t repeat them.

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?

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. 

Have the Guts?

Somebody did say …

… that Equity was not for the faint-hearted.

Oh, how true!

Everyday, my heart stands tested!

However, because of a small entry quantum strategy, I am able to stay in the game.

If I am able to stay in the game for multiple cycles, I will prosper.

Why?

Firstly, the strategy by default renders me liquid, such are its tenets.

Then, a good hard look at fundamentals is always called for.

To close, it is important is to enter with technicals to support you.

Now let’s say I make a mistake.

What is a mistake?

Ya, good question – in the markets, what is a mistake?

In the markets, when the price goes against you, you have made a mistake.

So let’s say that I’ve made a mistake.

Is the mistake big?

No.

Why?

Because of my small entry quantum.

What does it mean for my next entry?

Added margin of safety.

Is that good?

You bet.

Why?

Because fundamentals are intact.

What’s going to eventually happen?

Stock’s going to bottom out.

I’ll have a decent amount of entries to my name.

My buying average will be reasonably low.

The margin of safety my buying average allows me will let me sit on the stock forever, If I wish to.

Down the road, one day, I might be sitting on a big fat multiple.

Please do the math.

Happy and lucrative investing!

🙂

It has to be a Dunk

When I shoot…

… it has to be a dunk.

If I’m not getting a dunk in…

… I’m not shooting.

What are the implications?

Imagine only taking market dunks for multiple decades in a row.

Where do you think that’s going to leave you?

Most of the time, though, one’s not shooting.

That’s because, most of the time, dunk trajectoires are not available.

When one is not shooting, does it become boring?

Only if you let it.

Yeah, just don’t let it.

No action is a good thing.

It saves resources.

Then, when opportunity is available, one might get twenty dunk days in a row.

Things can get so active, that one wants activity to normalize again, if not stop for a while.

Actually, not a challenge.

I’ll tell you what is a challenge…

… for me.

Dunk opportunity…

… and travel.

I don’t like this combination.

How do I deal with it?

First up, what don’t I like about it?

Distraction.

Not doing full justice to the trip.

Not doing full justice to the investing opportunity either, as in distracted due diligence.

Hmmm.

What do we do here?

Sure, you’ll argue, today one carries one’s terminal where one goes.

Does one also carry one’s zone, you know, the magical frame of mind, from within which one takes magic decisions?

Very probably not.

When one takes an investment decision, is it not better to be in this magical zone?

Therefore, unless the opportunity is just too pressing, such that it makes me open my terminal even during travel, …

…, yeah, my terminal mostly stays shut when I’m on the move, …

…, because then it’s time to do other things. Yayyyyy!

😀

Busy Times

Market falls are busy times. 

No, we’re not busy whining. 

We’re busy buying.

Are we not afraid?

That the crack might deepen?

That it might go down to zero?

No.

We’re not afraid of this scenario. 

Meaning?

Meaning that even though such a scenario cannot be ruled out…

Huh!?

Yeah, it can’t be ruled out. With trade wars and back to back black swans waiting to strike, theoretically, the bottom is zero.

And you’re not afraid?

No.

Why?

Because I buy into fundamentally sound businesses…

…zero debt…

…great 5 year numbers…

…sometimes, great ten year numbers…

…and I buy with considerable margin of safety.

Still, one is normally always afraid, right?

Wrong. A small entry quantum strategy kicks out all remnant fear.

How?

This strategy leaves me liquid. Let it go down to zero. I’ll still have liquidity to buy.

And that which you’re buying…

…is sound, yes. If I buy something sound, it will yield returns. It’s like agriculture. Crops grow in good soil. They don’t grow well in bad soil. I make sure that I choose excellent soil.

How does one do that?

Due diligence. Period.

With all the scams and frauds going on…

Well, I look long and hard for shareholder-friendly managements. Representable salaries, willingness to share, largesse, debt-averseness, intelligence, business savvy, the list goes on.

What if you land up with a fraud management?

Solid research will make you avoid scamsters. I search the internet thoroughly for any kind of smoke. Crooks leave a trail, and one is able to catch their online trail pretty easily. 

Alone online?

Second recourse are annual reports. They reveal a lot. I don’t invest in a company without having a thorough look into its annual reports. I look at CSR, the director’s report, skin in the game, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash-flow, special items, what have you.

What if you still land up with a fraud?

After I know I’ve landed up with a fraud management, I would look to exit at the next market high. 

What if your holding is wiped out till then?

If it’s wiped out, I have many other holdings to lean on, and don’t forget the liquidity that is yet to flow into honest managements.

So you’re not afraid of the loss?

There is some risk one has to take. Here, it is the risk of being wrong. The good thing is, once I know that I’m wrong, I won’t double up on my wrong call. I’ll get busy elsewhere and look to exit from my wrong call with as little damage as possible, perhaps even in profit.

Profit?

You forget, I like to buy with margin of safety, and you’d be surprised at what people are willing to pay at market highs. 

I see, well then, happy investing!

Thanks! 🙂

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.

Nath on Trading – IV – We’ve got Stamina

61). We’re able to take many, many small losses, without flinching.

62). Only that sets us up for the big wins.

63). We don’t second guess our stops.

64). In fact, we want the stop to hit. As in, hit me, if you’ve got the *****.

65). When the trade moves in our direction, we let it. We’re doing other stuff.

66). When the trade moves against us, we let it. We’re doing other stuff.

67). That’s because we fully understand the function of our stop. It will take us out of the market, whether in loss or in profit. It’s dynamic, you see. It moves with the market as per the definition provided by us while punching in the trade.

68). We’re not afraid that our stop could be jumped. Can happen, in a panic. Hopefully, our technicals will have placed us in the right trade direction before huge and fast moves. It comes to mind that this kind of move occured at least twice in the last six years, once with the swiss franc, and once during Brexit. If we start worrying about such one-offs, we won’t trade at all. 

69). We look at the technicals, and we listen to what they’re saying. The trend is our friend. We trade with the trend, either on fresh highs (fresh lows) or on pullbacks, depending upon the conditions.

70). This is trading, so I personally don’t look at fundamentals. However, cook your curry the way you like it.

71). We might zero into tradable underlyings with screens or searches, but…

72). …we eyeball into final trade selection.

73). Yes, the chart needs to look and feel just right. All but the one tradable entity are rejected by the look and feel of the chart. The one remaining is the one we trade. If none remains, we don’t trade. 

74). Price is king. We’re into price action.

75). Indicators only indicate. Price does the talking.

76). What the price is saying will reflect in the indicator, but with a time-lag.

77). Do we want this time-lag? I don’t.

78). Thus, price action it is, for me. However, everyone is looking at the same price.

79). Therefore, we need to think slightly out of the box, to make money.

80). Edge + out of the box thinking + stamina nails it.

 

 

 

 

Nath on Trading – III – Meat in the Middle

41). If it’s high, it could go higher.

42). If it’s low, it could go lower.

43). Market forces tire the trader.

44). Engulfment in loss and loss-freeze suck one out.

45). That’s exactly why we’re not going to let that happen. You know how. (Hint : stops).

46). Trade selection is the least of one’s problems. It’s no biggie.

47). Trade management separates winners from losers.

48). Proper trade exits are the icing on the cake.

49). Longs exiting in a rising market – hmmm – really?

50). Shorts exiting in a falling market – hmmm – really?

51). What’s that other fellow trading? Who cares?

52). How’s that other fellow doing? You got it. Who cares?

53). The only entity stopping you from outperformance – is you.

54). All your demons – are in you.

55). They’ll slowly come out, over the years, one by one, or some now, some later. Hopefully sooner than later.

56). Let them emerge, show their antics, and disappear forever. Make sure you bid them goodbye.

57). That’s why, you’re trading small, right, till your demons have emerged, created havoc, and then disappeared, forever?

58). You’ll feel it from inside, when it’s the right time to scale up. Develop this dialogue with yourself. A clear voice emerging from within can carry great advice.

59). Sure, you’re looking at trade signals, and sticking to trade rules. However, the voice from within is the net resultant per saldo vector of your entire trading experience. It carries weight.

60). Mostly, it doesn’t come. Clear the way for this voice to make itself heard when you need to listen to what it has to say. Trading, at first, is a bunch of rules. Later, trading becomes an art.

Nath on Trading – II – Building up on Basics

21). You started small, right?

22). Ultimately, you’re staying consistently in the green, correct?

23). Then it’s time to scale up. Slowly does it.

24). Why the whole spiel about starting small? You make your biggest mistakes in the first seven years.

25). Hopefully, you don’t repeat a mistake once it has happened, and once you’ve learnt from it.

26). However, mistakes are good, because they teach you. Nothing else can teach you with incorporation into DNA. Mistakes can.

27). No university can teach you. No books. No professor. Play the market, make the mistake, and learn.

28). A big break early in the markets is a recipe for disaster. More likely than not, you’ll blow up later, when it matters.

29). The best possible way to scale up is using position-sizing as delineated by Dr. Van Tharp.

30). The good thing about position-sizing is that it makes you scale down, when trading corpus goes below par.

31). Day trading takes up the day. You’re exhausted and are not able to do much else.

32). Short-term trading also keeps you riveted to the terminal, mostly.

33). However, position trading and longer time frames keep you in the line for whatever else you wish to achieve.

34). Market TV makes it a video game. Switch it off.

35). Trading with targets caps big-win potential.

36). When you trade, you trade. You don’t invest.

37). Successful trading means buying high and selling higher, or…

38). …selling low and buying back lower…

39). …as opposed to successful investing, which is buying low, not selling for the longest time, and then selling for a multiple.

40). Read points 16 to 19 again.

Nath on Trading – Basics Win

1). Put yourself out there. Again and again. Take the next trade.

2). Keep yourself in a position to take the next trade. How?

3). Take small losses. Have a stop in place. Always. Have the guts to have it in place physically.

4). Trade with money that doesn’t hurt you if it’s gone.

5). Don’t exhaust stamina. Put trade in place with smart stop that moves as per definition, and then forget it. 

6). Keep yourself physically and mentally fit. Good health will make you take the next trade. Bad health won’t.

7). Have a system…

8). …with an edge, and even a slight edge will do.

9). Keep sharpening your system. 

10). Don’t listen to anyone. You’ve got your system, remember? Sc#@w tips. God has given you a brain. Use it. 

11). Let profit run. Don’t nip it in the bud. PLEASE.

12). A big profit doesn’t mean you’re it. It can become bigger. And bigger. Remember that.

13). What’s going to keep your account in the green over the long run are the big winning trades. LET THEM HAPPEN. How?

14). You exit when the market stops you out. Period. Your trailing stop on auto is fully capable of locking in big gains and then some.

15). Similarly, make the market make you enter. Entries are to be triggered by the market. Use trigger-entries on your platform.

16). When a trade is triggered, you’re done with it, till it’s stopped out, in profit or in loss. Can you follow that?

17). Your trade identification skills are going to improve over time. Get through that time without giving up. 

18). Despair is bad, but euphoria is worse. Guard yourself against euphoria after a big win. Why?

19). Big wins are often followed by recklessness and deviations from one’s system that is already working. NO.

20). Use your common-sense. Is your calculator saying the right thing? Can this underlying be at that price? Keep asking questions that require common-sense to respond. Keep your common-sense awake. 

 

 

 

Stocks and the Art of Synthesis

A lot comes together.

This coming-together is called synthesis.

The word synthesis has now become universal.

It is applied in various fields, including Chemistry, manufacturing and the like.

It is also applied in areas where deep thought boils down facts to unity, to arrive at a conclusion.

What all are we looking at, with stocks?

No action.

Action.

Time-frames.

Market-level.

Selection.

Entry.

Management.

Exit.

One can list other stuff, but this list should do too.

One needs to synthesize the ingredients in such a manner, that the resultant matches one’s risk-profile. [[Why? Matching means successful market-play. Try it out.]]

That, my dear friends, is the art of synthesis, in a nutshell.