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.

Unfortunately, Cost-Free-Ness doesn’t do away with Greed

So, one’s cost-free in the markets, and still gloating.

Let’s not gloat.

Much rather, let’s be watchful.

Watchful?

Yeah.

Why?

A still rising market is going to play tricks on our mind.

FOMO…

…missing-the-bus-syndrome…

…greed…

…call it what one will.

It is happening, or is going to happen, to us.

Without mincing any words, let’s have the lowdown laid out straight-up.

There are two things in our path that are now stopping us from the creation of multibaggers in our portfolio.

First-up, there’s the play-out of destiny.

Circumstances could occur that force us to reduce our cost-free-ness, or completely cash it out, to finance something immediate, if funds are not available elsewhere.

Please let’s create systems to avoid dipping into our cost-free-ness, if we can help it.

Cost-free-ness is a very hear-earned commodity.

One’s taken knocks to achieve it.

Yes, it’s cost sweat and toil.

We’re not letting go of it if we can help it.

Then…

…there’s greed.

This is the one thing which can cause us to cash out of our cost-free-ness, just like that, for nothing, except for the gratification…

…of itself (our own greed).

What’s the anti-dote of greed?

Practise giving.

Yes.

Do charity.

Everyday.

In some form or the other.

Cash, effort, emotion, support…

…give of yourself.

Give others joy.

Experience the joy of giving.

Greed will subside.

One’s hard-earned cost-free-ness will stay intact…

…and multibaggers will develop in our cost-free cum high-quality portfolio.

Happy Investing to you, and blissful cost-free-ness.

🙂

From Cost-Free-Ness to a Unified, Singular, Comprehensive, 360° Market-Field-Strategy

So you’re cost-free in the markets…

…and are contemplating your further market-journey ahead.

Yeah, now what?

First-up, let’s grab a hold of what you have in your hands.

You are holding high-quality material which fits your risk- and long-term holding-profile, and, most importantly, this material has now been freed up of its investment-cost.

That’s (very) huge!

So, how does it go from here?

I’ve been here, and have always bungled it up.

This time, I won’t.

Why?

I’ve finally realized the supreme importance of being at this point, and, …

… I wish to keep coming back to this sweet-spot, …

… again, and again and again.

It’s a wonderful feeling.

One feels deep satisfaction, of achieving something big.

Yeah, at Magic Bull, we sheer achieve, write about it, and then achieve more.

We’ll just go on achieving.

We’re not stopping.

The writing part is only to keep a log and to help others on the path.

And of course, it clears one’s thoughts, making one arrive at gems of strategies…

…which all converge and unify into a singular market-approach.

Let’s talk about singular.

At this sweet-spot, the ghost of trading arrives.

One feels like riding the highs by video-gaming through the markets.

And, one falls flat.

It’s not familiar territory, because the approach till now has been one of investing, and investing and trading are diametrically opposite in nature. Meaning that it takes some time to rewire.

Before rewiring properly, …

… one’s already pressing buttons as if buttons are soon going to become extinct, since one is seeking thrills. It’s normal.

One’s achievement-vector points only towards falling flat, such is one’s behaviour.

How do we conquer this pitfall?

We’re going to exhaust this ghost’s potential to our benefit.

We are going to trade, …

… because otherwise, ghost’s not going away.

However, we are going to trade only those scrips that are already inhabiting our cost-free portfolio.

We trade these, as new units, in a different trading account.

Entry is worth one small quantum, whatever small entry-quantum one has defined for oneself.

The objective is to ride a quick run, and make, let’s say, 20% of the traded units cost-free.

That’s would be good, hard, tangible bang for our trading bucks.

Assuming we succeed, we then transfer the cost-free units to our long-term portfolio.

In the event we fail because markets start to reverse, it’s still ok.

It’s a holding we are comfortable holding, into the next market cycle, where we’ll again try and make it cost-free, and we’ll then have cost-averaging on our side, since we’ll have reversed to an investing approach.

It’s win-win everywhere.

Failure comes eventually, because markets ultimately reverse.

No one knows when.

Till them we keep trading and increasing our cost-free-ness.

When failure comes, it’s once, and eventually we hold and try to turn it around.

Because we’re holding quality, the probability of turning the situation around is high.

Before this one failure, we are poised for many possible trading wins, with each win adding to our cost-free-ness.

And there we have it…

…voilà…

… , yes, it’s a unified, singular, comprehensive, 360° Market-field-strategy…

…courtesy your friend and comrade-in-investing. …

… Magic Bull !

🙂

The Department of no-frills 

Markets can be played in holes. 

No disrespect to the “hole”. 

Let’s put it this way. 

I trade the markets from a “bucket shop”. It’s actually a small brokerage. Parallels a bucket-shop, and all legit. 

There’s twenty odd people. 

Basic desktops. One gets to use them even with medium-sized accounts. A large account holder can walk into the manager’s office and get the manager to trade his or her strategy for him or her for the day. A three minute daily discussion is all it takes. This discussion can even happen on Whatsapp. 

If required, food comes from the street-vendors below, in newspapers and plastic cups. 

Welcome to the department of no-frills. 

No business-class travel or fancy-schmanzy wining-dining is required here. It’s sheer trading with no BS. 

Why? 

No overheads. 

No headaches. 

No constant terminal monitoring. Someone’s doing it for you.

Safety? Yes. Trust. Long-term relationship. Email and sms security measures. No nonsense. 

One doesn’t talk to the twenty odd people. 

One just trades. 

Trading for you isn’t really about building a consensus. You just trade. If then the market builds a consensus, that’s a different thing. You then trade the consensus. For or against is your call. 

This is as raw as it gets. 

You ask a question. 

You put your money where your mouth is. 

If your inquiry is in the correct direction, you get rewarded. If not, you lose a part of your money. 

Goes without saying, that overall, you try to win more than you lose. 

Department of no-frills cuts to the chase without useless paraphernalia. 

Stop-Loss vs Hedge – what’s what and how?

Insurance.

Makes you sleep easy.

Simultaneously, you are able to take a calculated risk.

Risk?

Why should you take a risk?

No risk no gain.

It’s as simple as that.

You have to put something on the line to possibly gain something.

That’s what market activity is all about.

You’re doing this all the time.

Day in, day out.

You’ve become used to a steady and dynamic LINE. Your line doesn’t harm you anymore. It doesn’t disrupt your life.

Well done.

How did you achieve this?

By using stops and hedges.

What’s the difference?

The difference is technical, and then practical.

For some mindsets and positions, a stop is more suited.

When you don’t mind exposing your market-play, and want to close your terminal and do other stuff, use a stop.

You get up from your desk, engage in other activity, and have forgotten about your position, because now you don’t need to tend to its needs for 24 hours, for example.

Great.

Your position will either play out, or it won’t.

If it doesn’t, your stop will automatically throw you out of your position.

The level of the stop is digestible.

Next morning, you simply move on to a new trade.

Let’s say you don’t want to to expose your market play, or, in some cases, when you don’t need to expose your market play – how do you then insure yourself?

Hedge.

A hedge maintains general market neutrality.

It leaves windows open for what-if scenarios.

For example, the trade could make money, and then the hedge could make money.

Or, vice-versa. As in lose-lose. Sure, there are win-loss and loss-win scenarios too.

The starting point is somewhat neutral, and then there are permutations and combinations.

Some people prefer this kind of play.

They like the possibility of maximizing profit from the total position at a calculated higher risk.

Also fine.

Generally, the idea is for your main position to make money and your hedge to lose money.

It might or might not play out like that.

Some like this uncertainty and know how to benefit from it.

A stop is sure-shot and straight-forward. It is low-risk as long as it is digestible.

Hedges open you to the risks of a meta-game. Play becomes more interesting, consuming, and possibly, more profitable, for experienced hedgers.

In my opinion, a hedge is slightly higher in risk than a stop.

However, both entities lower overall risk.

Currency pair forex trades are typically taken with a stop. However, they can be hedged too.

Market-neutral option-trades are typically taken using hedges.

Step into a trade with either or, for peace of mind and career longevity.

Cheers.

🙂

Patience and Nerves Anyone?

As someone I look up to put it recently – “It’s a game of patience and nerves!”

What is?

The stock-market. 

For whom?

The long-term investor. 

Do you have any?

What?

Patience, or nerves, or both?

You do?

Well, then you’ll do well in the markets, over the long-term. 

We look for complication. Meanwhile, we forget the basics. 

These are basics. 

If you’re not patient, you’ll for example jump into a stock at the wrong time, or you’ll jump out of it too early, or what have you. 

If you don’t have patience, well, develop it. 

If you can’t, do something else instead. Trade. Don’t long-term-invest then. 

If you cannot develop patience, you are not cut out to be a long-term holder. 

One method to cause the tree of patience to grow in you is to create the correct environment. 

Just don’t do anything that will make you jump. 

Invest your sur-sur-plus, money that is then pickled away, money that you won’t miss, yearn for or require over the very long-term. 

Go in with margin of safety. 

Stay in a stock you’ve singled out and entered until there’s a glaring reason to exit. Try to exit upon a high. This is the market. Highs are its nature. So are lows. That means that highs come. Wait for them to come, to exit from anything you need to exit from. 

Nervers, well, they come into play if you’ve not invested with margin of safety. 

I do remember two instances though, where everyone’s nerves were tested. October 2008, and March 2009. At these times, stocks sold for a song. Good ones and bad ones alike. Fear did the rounds, extreme fear. That’s what fear does. It creates once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Take them. Maintain a clear head. Your nerves of steel will do that for you. Create an environment for your nerves to become strong. Or, perhaps expressed another way, create an environment where any weakness in your nerves is not required to show itself, and gets subdued into extinction. 

How?

Again, just go in with your sur-sur-plus. You’re not going to miss this money even if the sky is falling upon your head. And you’ve gone in with margin of safety. Your nerves will stay intact. 

Ensure your basics. Allow them to shine. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

Good investing. 🙂

Happy Fifth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Turning 5, tick-tock, how time flies!

Has the game changed? 

No. 

What are we in it for? Why do we play?

Bread and butter. Security. Children, their future. Ourselves. Goals. Luxury. Whatever makes us tick. 

Each time we tick, let’s tick better. 

Mistakes mean learning. We’re seeing them as tuition fees, because mistakes cost money. They are the only real learning. You learn when you’re hit. You learn from the pain. 

All other learning is – paper learning. It doesn’t translate into our DNA easily (or at all). For DNA-translation, there needs to be a biochemical change in the body. Metamorphosis. If paper-learning does that for you, well, you’re lucky. Count your blessings. To be envied. 

Rewards bring hubris. 

Hubris makes us vulnerable. 

How?

We get lazy and are caught napping. Off-guard. Hubris-condition coupled with big market-mistake can mean downfall. Don’t want to take names, but exactly this has happened to many. 

What is it about success? What does it do to the human being? Why do we stop being ourselves once we succeed? Why do we stop learning once we succeed?

Yet, each one of us strives for success. 

Can we remember to behave ourselves once we succeed? 

What kind of behaviour are we talking about?

The same behaviour that paved the way for success. Can we maintain that same standard of behaviour? Why is that difficult? It becomes difficult because the after-party causes hangovers. Let’s just scrap the after-party. Let’s continue to be ourselves even after we succeed. 

Instead of the after-party, let’s do something for society, for example. We can even pursue a constructive side-game, which has nothing to do with the main-game. It keeps us ticking on a different level. 

It’s important to tick. The opposite of that is stagnation. Ticking means evolution. 

Evolution means that the next time you take a shot, you’ve better at your game. You’ve evolved because of past learning. You are human capital, remember?

Happy Ticking!

🙂

Making Sense of Losing Battles

Winning gets boring after a while.

Unbelievable, but true.

However, losing continues to pinch, time after time.

That’s the key difference between winning and losing.

Life’s bipolar game is skewed more towards the pinch of continuous loss than towards the continued pleasure of winning.

Get used to losing… but, lose small.

Win big. Don’t nip a small win in the bud and thus stop it from becoming a big win.

Sometimes, you identify losing battles.

These are areas where you’re just not able to win.

What do you do with a losing battle?

Walk away. One option. Weigh the odds. If your walking away impacts no one, and simultaneously betters your existence, yeah, this is a very valid option. For example, one walks away from a losing trade.

Fight. Second option. You’re not beyond your stop, whether in a trade or in life. You fight, to save the battle, and perhaps to win.

Learn. Third option. You’re not able to get away from the losing battle, because your exit impacts something or someone. You hang on. No choice. Your pain teaches you big things. You learn. Sometimes, such a big losing battle suddenly turns into a glorious win. That’s because all the lessons from the scenario have been learnt. Enjoy, you deserve it.

Devolution. Not an option. Don’t allow your losing battle to devolve you into a demon.

Incorporation. Very valid option. Incorporate the learnt lessons from your losing battles into winning strategies for other battles in life.

Cheers.

Loneliness of the Successful Investor

Walked alone?

No?

Please try.

Success needs original ideas. Original ideas need solitude.

Successful investors walk alone.

Sometimes, they’re lonely.

Investing is more about sitting than action.

Sitting around inactively breeds loneliness.

The antidote is activity – other activity. Not market-related.

Successful investors do other stuff to tackle this loneliness.

Buffett plays poker.

Branson is breaking into some virgin territory or the other.

Gates is busy souping up his home.

Trump blares his trumpet on a TV show.

Jindal plays polo.

Mallya’s sole focus has been other stuff, so much so, that he’s become unsuccessful.

Mahindra loves to tweet.

Tata walks his dog.

Sachin watches Wimbledon live.

Mr. Bean is seen on the F1 circuit.

You get the gist.

These people follow one or more “other” activity / activities so passionately, that they forget about their main activity for a while.

Their system recuperates. Time is bridged to the next instance of main-frame action. While traversing this bridge, body, mind and soul have recuperated. System is fresh, ready and waiting for new action.

When you’re walking alone next time, you’ll be able to deal easily with any loneliness on the path.

One might make moderate returns, investing with the masses.

To outperform, though, one needs to walk alone.

The successful investor realizes that he can’t get out of this one.

Therefore, the successful investor creates a way to still come out winning.

This is human capital at peak performance!

Happy Fourth Birthday, Magic Bull !!

I believe in birthdays…

…and Magic Bull turns four today… 🙂 🙂 … .

When I die…

… this writing will live on. 

I won’t be taking my forex with me. Nor will I be carrying any equities. My soul will carry the satisfaction, though, of having created Magic Bull.

I love to write. 

It gives me a high. A huge kick. 

I feel totally free. Complete freedom. Have you experienced such freedom?

No shackles. 

I like to break barriers with my writing. 

I’ve reached people. Inside. People start to think whey they read this stuff. 

This is earning. For me. 

ANYWAYS, just as a breakout underlying breaks away into new highs, shattering all resistance in the process, in the same manner, words have just been overflowing over the past few months, after more than half a year of absolute dryness…

… such are words. 

However, by now, I’ve learnt enough to give them the respect that is due when they come. 

When words start flowing, there’s just one rule that applies. LET THEM FLOW. 

I don’t care how embarrassing that might be. 

What is embarrassment when the same words can bring about vital change? I really don’t care about the embarrassment. 

I decided long ago to make my tenure count. 

Contact with me is going to make an impact on you. Words are my medium. Without giving you an energy boost, I remain unfulfilled.

Why? 

Everybody has a purpose in life. 

Mine’s to make changes with the sheer force of my words. 

You have your purpose. 

I have mine. 

With Magic Bull, I fulfil my purpose of existing.  

With due respect, have you fulfilled yours? 

And, with due respect, have you even recognized yours?

Food for thought. 

🙂

Moving away from the Greeks

I’ve never been to Greece.

I have nothing against people from Greece.

I don’t like Greeks, though.

Yeah, I’m an options player.

The Greeks I don’t like are options Greeks, he he he…!

What, you thought I didn’t like actual Greeks?

Come on, I’m sure I’ll love Greece and actual Greeks!

When you don’t like something, you can try to go around it.

I don’t need options Greeks to play options. I’ve found a way around the Greeks.

I’m sure others have discovered this too, because truth is truth.

Let me tell you about it.

You’re buying in the direction of the long-term trend.

You’re buying (calls / puts) after a significant correction / rally level has been hit.

You’re buying post a small move in the direction of the long-term trend, after the correction / rally level has been hit.

You’re buying out of the money to compound the cheapness.

You’re buying with breathing space on your side, so that the trade has enough time to pan out in your favour.

You’re not booking without a very solid reason, once the trade is running in your favour.

You’re trying to book (deep) in the money.

You must, must, must let your profits run as long as you can. This is the toughest part, but also the most essential one.

That’s all.

No Greeks.

Just common sense.

Options Strategy – Entry, Stop and Exit

What are we doing with options anyways?

We are trying to play a market without needing to be with the market the whole time. Also, we are defining our risk quite exactly. The option premium is the money that’s at risk. You don’t have to lose all of it if the trade goes against you. You can bail out anytime and save whatever option premium is left. The option premium is the total you can lose in the trade. With that, you’ve done one great thing. You’ve installed a stop which will stay with you during the entire trade. Is that possible in any other segment in India? Nope. If my info is correct, stops have to be installed everywhere on a day to day basis. Not so the case with options. You have your stop with you, always. 

That allows you to do other stuff. You can have an alternate profession, and still play options. 

You don’t need to be afraid of the time element in options. You can trade them in a manner where the time element is rendered useless. I’ll tell you how.

Though you try and go with the overall long-term trend, you try and pick up an option during a retracement. That’s when you’ll get it cheap. 

The idea is to buy cheap and sell expensive, right?

Secondly, give yourself breathing space. If the current month is well under way, pick up the corresponding option for the next series month. Give the trade 4-5 weeks to pan out in your favour.

A lot can happen over 4-5 weeks. 

Thirdly, you’re trying to pick up out-of-the-money options, which seem to have gotten out-of-the-money as an aberration. These will be even cheaper. Like what happened to Tata Motors the other day. For no apparent reason, the stock drifted towards what was formerly seeming to be an unlikely support to be hit, around the Rs. 430 level. On the previous day, it was nowhere near this level, and didn’t look like reaching it in a hurry at all. An event in the US occurred, and Asia opened down, with the scrip in question falling to the support and bouncing off. At the market price of Rs. 430 – Rs. 435, if you’d have picked up the out-of-the-money option of Tata Motors for the strike price of Rs. 450, which was going very cheap, that would have resulted in a good trade. 

Basically you are looking for such predefined setups – buying off a support / selling off a resistance, buying / selling at a defined retracement level, buying / selling upon piercing of a bar etc. etc. etc. 

Let’s say you’ve identified a setup. 

You’ve seen buying pressure, or selling pressure. Chances of repetition are high, you feel. You try and enter into the option at a time when the buying or selling pressure is off, and everyone thinks that this buying or selling pressure is not coming back. 

In this manner you’ll get some cheap entries. 

Now you have to wait, to see if your analysis is correct. If not, you’ll probably lose most or all of your option premium. Don’t be afraid of loss. It’s a chance you have to take. Without taking the risk, there is no chance of reward. You have to put yourself in line for the reward by going out there and entering into the option.

It’s possible that the scenario you imagined actually plays out. Let it play out even more.

You can exit in two ways. You could trail the market with a manual stop. This way you’ll be in the trade to perhaps see another day of even more profits. The downside is, that during lulls in the day, your stop could well be hit. The second exit possibility is to calculate an unusually high price, which is slightly unlikely to be reached. You feed in the limit order at this price. If this price is reached, you’re out after having made good money. Now, the scrip can go down for all you care. The downside is that the scrip can go deeper in your trade direction after you’ve exited, and that’s a little painful. The reason this latter scenario is often used is that the time-element keeps getting scraped off the selling price for the option as the series month approaches its end, and your exit on that very day at an unusually high price is more lucrative than you might think. You see, buying or selling pressure in your direction might or might not make itself felt again in the current month. If not, you’ve lost a prime opportunity to cash out at a high. Is it the high? You’ll never know. Therefore, you’ll need to try both exit scenarios and see which suits you more. Sooner or later, you’ll get a feel for both exit scenarios, and will be able to implement either, depending upon the situation. 

That’s it for today. 

Heavy?

It’s not. 

Options are easy. 

Playing options is like playing poker. it’s fun!

🙂