Supremacy of Cost-Free-Ness makes itself felt in Equity alone

The impact of cost-free-ness stretches across all asset-classes…

… that are long-term-holdable.

Equity, Gold, Real-Estate, etc., …

… with perhaps bonds being a question mark with regard to applicability.

Why is cost-free-ness not that valid a concept for short-term-holds?

That’s because multibagger appreciation of a short-term-hold is not realistically expectable.

Then, with gold and real-estate, there are certain nuances, which need to be mentioned.

Gold doesn’t adjust itself for inflation. The 100-year appreciation in Gold is 1% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. We can make some Gold cost-free, and then hold the cost-free Gold for the long-term. However, to expect it to burgeon into a multibagger is too much. There’s no human capital behind Gold, no intelligently thinking minds. Also, Gold is commodity-cyclic in nature. Forget about all these technical arguments. Sheer 100-year History has taught us not to think in multibagger terms with regard to Gold. Let’s say we held it for the touted 100 years. Well, then, 1 x 1.01 ^ 100 = 2.70. We’re then holding a 2.7 bagger after 100 years. Safety risk too. Naehhh, not interested.

What’s the deal with real-estate? No human capital behind it, again. Thus, the asset-class doesn’t auto-adjust for inflation. Also, we’re not taking any cash-component into consideration. What does that make real-estate behave like, in the long-term, in a regime like now? Perhaps like a glorified fixed-deposit. Or, even, perhaps, like a high single-digit yielding bond. Now minus inflation. Hmmm, after the math, real-estate becomes an asset-class that yields 2-3% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, let’s say 2.5%. Minus the half percent for its management (which is a hassle, btw). Well, then, 1 x 1.02 ^ 100 = 7.24. We’re left holding a 7-bagger after 100 years. With hassle in the equation, 100 years is too much effort for a 7-bagger. Not interested either.

Now let’s look at Equity. Human capital is behind it. Equity is hassle-free with regard to its management. Equity auto-adjusts for inflation. All Equity that ever existed, including companies that have gone bust, has shown a return of 6% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. Taking companies out that don’t exist anymore, Equity has given a return of 11% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, over the long-term. Intelligently chosen Equity, with proper due diligence, is extremely capable of giving a return in the range of 15% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, in the long-term. Let’s do the numbers. 1 x 1.06 ^ 100 = 339.30; 1 x 1.11 ^ 100 = 34,064.28; 1 x 1.15 ^ 100 = 11,74,313.45.

These numbers don’t need crunching.

It’s pretty clear, that the supremacy of cost-free-ness makes itself felt in long-term held, cost-free Equity.

I wish for you happy, long-term cost-free-ness!

🙂

Washing a Stock “Sin-Free” with Cost-Free-Ness

Each stock has sins on the balance-sheet.

Many sins don’t show up even, on the balance-sheet.

You see, they’ve been swiped under the rug.

One’ll never know the whole story, unless one is the promoter oneself.

Some stocks have nothing noteworthy to hide, though.

Others have a side they don’t want you to see.

Still others are brimming with skeletons in their cupboard.

It doesn’t matter what you’re holding, …

… when you make the stock cost-free, …

… for you, the stock just became sin-free.

Congratulations.

You’re done already.

That’s the beauty of cost-free-ness.

Yeah, in cost-free-ness, …

… one has a universal balsam…

…that rinses the underlying completely clean to hold, like, forever.

Cost-free-ness is like a magic potion that turns around the whole story, …

… any story.

So, …

… what’s the motivation…

—in making the wholesome effort…

…of creating cost-free-ness?

Multibaggers, developing within our high quality, and now cost-free, holdings.

And how could one classify our feat of cost-free-ness, in another, very meaningful and currently “hot, happening and insider” way?

Nothing’s happening to one if markets go down even to zero, as far as one’s cost-free holding is concerned, since one has pulled out all the principal. Since one is not incurring any loss whatsoever from the holding, even upon market-reversal, for one, this cost-free holding, if I’ve understood Mr. Taleb (coiner and first-user of the phrase “antifragile”) correctly, is antifragile in nature, also then because, price contraction in the cost-free holding is a good thing for us, in that more purchase of the high-quality holding can subsequently happen, with the goal of making more and more holding cost-free, as markets swing back upwards. Market reversal after cost-free-ness is setting us up for a larger cost-free holding in the future. Seen from our initial sweet-spot of cost-free-ness, since market reversal betters our poise and increases our potential to make our cost-free holding grow in units (and size), that would be the last tick mark, required and now ticked, which makes our cost-free and high-quality holding, also, antifragile.

Cost-Free-Ness doesn’t come for Free

Yes.

You read that right.

If you thought I was revealing some kind of holy grail secrets here, which you could copy-paste for yourself without having to do anything else, do please allow me to fine-tune your thinking.

First-up, true, cost-free-ness is a holy grail of sorts, I do feel.

However, it’s hot to handle.

As discussed previously, our greed comes in the way. We don’t unlearn our greed just by reading a blog-post.

Then, when I speak about cost-free-ness, I stand upon the shoulders of giants. I have always maintained that in all my writing. One struggles, and comes upon…

…gems.

Others have struggled and stumbled upon these gems before, similarly. Some have documented their experiences for us to learn from.

That’s the way of life. One builds upon the edifice that one’s peers have left standing.

As long as one gives freely of oneself, life moves on comfortable trajectories, and the Universe rushes to protect and encourage such giving.

Lastly, you’ll also have to struggle when you go about establishing cost-free-ness for yourself.

Make good causes, so that difficult Karma doesn’t spoil your party by forcing you to liquidate your cost-free-ness, in order for you to have to finance your way out of such Karma.

Then, complete market rewiring required by the brain takes about a decade and a half of putting one’s money on the line. That’s been my my experience. One needs to rewire one’s mentality to be able to create cost-free-ness in any market situation. Like I said, it’s going to cost you.

This freebie material here is just to get you started on your path.

Besides, I do owe a debt towards all the free material I myself use on the internet, so this is my giveback in lieu of that.

I wish for you happy, lucrative and cost-free investing!

🙂

Being Cost-Free is like having 100% Margin-of-Safety

What allows us to sit?

It’s margin-of-safety.

When we buy without margin-of-safety, we are not able to sit for the long term.

Long-term investing fails for us if we don’t know how to sit.

Extrapolating this logic further, what would allow us to sit on high-quality holdings, like, forever, allowing for multibaggers to develop in our portfolio?

It’s cost-free-ness.

Being cost-free in a stock is equivalent to having 100% margin-of-safety on the holding.

Such a state of being allows us to freely sit on the holding, like, forever.

A range of other benefits open up for us, and about these we have spoken in detail earlier.

For example, we become fearless with regard to our cost-free holding. Then, we experience full freedom of focus on future play, while simultaneously forgetting that we even have this other cost-free holding that we own! Like I said, we’ve discussed all this thoroughly in previous pieces.

Bottom-line is, that we understand explicitly following extrapolation : Buying with margin-of-safety translates into sitting-ability for us, leading to creation of cost-free-ness upon appropriate appreciation, and such cost-free-ness in turn equates to 100% margin of safety in the held underlying, which then allows us to sit indefinitely on our high quality holding.

We’ve thus set the stage for holding many multibaggers in our ‘folio, by the time we reach retirement age.

🙂

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.

🙂

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.

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 !

🙂

How Big is your Win?

Assuming you cruise…

…cost-free in the markets now…,

…how big exactly is your win?

Have you stopped to ponder over this fundamental point.

Let’s go over it together.

The question you need to be asking is, …

… “What will happen to my cost-free-ness from this point onwards?”

Well, what’s going to happen solely depends upon your behaviour.

We’ll just study a best-case scenario.

Let’s assume you leave your hard-earned cost-free-ness be, in the markets, for the next 25 years.

What would become of it?

First-up, let’s understand the very nature of your cost-free-ness.

It’s high-quality.

It urges you to hold onto itself, forever.

The fact that you can’t let go of it despite such highs speaks of it as being the essence of your struggle, in terms of quality, if you know what I mean.

High quality material would typically compound at 15% per annum, over the long run, adjusted for inflation.

The figure of 15% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, is very achievable for your high-quality material – let’s put it like that – in a market like India’s.

Let’s do the math.

1 * (1.15) ^ 25 = 32.91

There you have it.

Your cost-free portfolio is slated to increase almost 33-fold in the 25 years to come.

That’s 3300% in 25 years when seen as pure appreciation, making 132% per year simple appreciation (not compounded).

That’s how big your win is.

Yes, staying invested with your cost-free-ness will make your cost-free-ness typically burgeon almost 33-fold over the next 25 years.

Go figure.

🙂

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!
 
🙂
 
 
 
 

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! 🙂

Dynamics of a Right Call

India is in a long-term bull market.

Sure, there will be corrections.

We can easily have a big-time correction, but still be in the long-term bull market.

Putting things in a twenty year perspective, 2008 hasn’t done away with direction.

Sure, ideally one needed to be equity – light by Jan 14, 2008, which most of us weren’t.

Question is, will be be relatively equity-lighter on Jan 14, 2021?

Yeah, I will be.

Lighter.

That’s about it.

Won’t be selling a single share of my core-portfolio.

However, hopefully, will have sold everything else before an interim market peak.

You see, for every right call, we make umpteen wrong calls.

These are the ones that we discard on interim market highs.

We don’t discard core-portfolio inhabitants.

These we allow to compound into multi-baggers.

It’s OK to make wrong calls.

Without these, we won’t get to make the right ones.

We won’t make the next mistakes though.

We won’t discard wrong calls without it being an interim market high.

Also, we won’t discard a right call as long as we keep feeling it’s a right call.

The best calls remain right…

… like…

… almost forever.

We’re talking Buffet and Coke.

Or, for example, RJ and Titan.

List goes on.

Point is, when we’ve made the right call, we need to follow up with right actions that allow maximum mileage.

Allowance for compounding.

Increase of position upon interim lows.

Patience.

No trigger-fingers.

You get the drift.

Over time, then, we are left with right calls which have developed into multi-baggers. Wrong calls have been discarded over many interim cycles.

The multi-baggers in our folio are, at this time, generating enough dividend to sustain us.

This is where we want to be.

It’s OK to dream.

Without the right dreams, we won’t arrive at the sweet-spot mentioned above.

Happy long-term investing! 🙂

Working Backwards

In trying to gauge the markets,…

… we work backwards.

What’s the starting point?

Current state of affairs.

One step back…

…is where the market is coming from. 

One step ahead…

…is the impact being had on the retail investor.

The rest is extrapolation.

Why are we targeting retailers?

This is because we wish to gauge market tops and bottoms. 

These are scripted by retail investors. 

At the top, retailers are left holding the hot pie in their hands, for which there are no further takers at that price. 

At the bottom, retailers rid themselves of stocks as if the world is coming to an end.

If we get a handle on how retailers are reacting to the market at hand, that’s huge.

This is working backwards in action.

We’re not first forming an idea about how the market should behave…

…and then we’re not trying to shove this perception down the market’s throat.

Because we are reacting upon what is happening, and not dreaming up what’s going to happen first, chances of winning are tilted in our favour. 

We’ve not invented this course of action.

Others have done it before, with huge success. 

We stand upon the shoulders of giants.

Here’s Steve Jobs on working backwards : https://youtu.be/oeqPrUmVz-o .

See?

It’s taken a while to get here, and also many knocks. 

However, we’re here now, and we’re here to stay!

Playing Over-hot Underlyings with the Call Butterfly

A call butterfly is a fully hedged options trade …

… with an upwards bias.

It consists of four call options.

2 buys…

…and 2 sells.

One can play any overtly rising underlying with the call butterfly, without batting an eyelid.

Why?

Firstly, and most importantly, one is fully hedged.

Meaning?

At first look, the call butterfly seems market neutral as far as basic mathematics is concerned, that is +1, -2, +1, net net 0.

So, net net, one isn’t looking at a large loss if one is wrong.

When is one wrong here?

If the underlying doesn’t move, or if it falls, in the stipulated period, then one is wrong,…

…and one will incur a loss.

However, the loss will be relatively small, because of the call butterfly’s structural market neutrality.

And that’s magic, at least to my ears.

Method to enter anything flying off the handle with the chance of a small loss?

Will take it.

Then, also very importantly, the margin requirement is relatively less, when one uses the following chronology.

One executes the buys first.

Then come the sells.

Upon the upholding of this chronology, the market regulator is lenient with one on margin requirement, as long as the trade-construct is market neutral.

Typically, for one butterfly, total margin requirement is in the range of 50 to a 100k.

Now let’s talk about what one is looking to make.

5k per single-lot trade-construct, if it’s fast, as in execute today, square-off tomorrow, or even intraday, if expiry is close.

10k if slow, as in 7 to 10 days.

If the butterfly is not yielding because the underlying is not moving, then one is looking to exit, typically with a minus of under 3k.

Just do the math. Numbers are great.

What kind of a maximum loss are we looking at, if things go badly wrong, as in if the underlying sinks?

5k to 10k.

Can the loss be more?

If the trade construct is such that the butterfly can even give 40 odd k till expiry, one could even be looking at a max loss of about 15k too.

Here’s an example of a call butterfly trade that can lose around 15-16k, but has the potential to make upto around 45k till expiry. The graphical representation is courtesy Sensibull.

GAIL Call Butterfly Dec 31 2020 Expiry

I mean, it’s all still acceptable.

Tweaks?

Let’s say one is losing.

Sells will be in biggish plus.

Square-off the sells. Yeah, break the hedge.

Margin gets returned. Premium pocketed.

Buys are exposed, though.

They are losing big.

With some time to go till expiry, if the underlying goes back up, the buys gain.

What one makes off the trade is proportional to how much the underlying goes up.

It’s riskier. Correspondingly, profit potential is higher.

Money risked here will be up to double of the fully hedged version of the trade, and one could lose this amount if the underlying does not come back up appropriately and in time. Pocketed premium of the squared-off sells softens the hit.

Therefore, it makes more sense to pull this tweak with at least ten days to go before expiry, giving the underlying time to recoup.

Got another tweak.

This one’s intraday, though.

Underlying’s on a roll, and you want to make the most possible off the opportunity.

Square-off the sells at a huge loss.

Let the buys, which are winning big, run for some part of the day.

Chances of them yielding more are very high.

Square-off the buys before close of trade.

If the underlying promises to close on a high, square-off the out-of-the-money buy before close of trade, and take the in-the-money buy overnight.

Risky, though.

You could lessen your risk, and increase your chances of taking most profits off the table by squaring off the in-the-money buy and taking the out-of-the-money buy overnight.

Square-off the overnight buy next morning on a high, or wherever feasible.

With this particular tweak, the trade becomes somewhat more like a lesser exposed futures transaction, at least for some time, after the hedge is broken.

There’s another thing one can do with the call butterfly.

One can adjust it as per the level of perceived bullishness.

If -1 and -1 are set at the same level, one trades for averagely perceived bullishness.

If one -1 is closer to the lower +1, and the other -1 is above this first -1, then one trades for below average perceived bullishness.

If one -1 is closer to the upper +1, and the other -1 is below this first -1, then one trades for above average perceived bullishness.

Anything else worth mentioning?

Volume. Need it.

Bid-ask spread needs to be narrow.

Scaling up needs to correspond to one’s risk-profile, requirement, temperament and acumen.

One can make it an income thing by scaling up, during bull runs, or generally, just in case an up move is tending to pan out.

One can make the call butterfly do a lot of things.

It’s a very versatile trade to play a rising market, with low risk and low capital requirement.

Happy trading!

🙂

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?

Triggers Ahead

Market moves require trigerrs.

In the absence of these, lack-lustre activity results…

…giving rise to illogical short-term trading ranges, for example.

Come a trigger, a move starts, or continues, or even ends, if the trigger is adverse.

What kind of triggers lie up ahead?

US election.

Yeah, Mr. President is going go keep US markets on a high till then, and that will translate over to world markets.

Corona cases receding?

Yes.

Trigger on the upside.

Corona recoveries increasing?

Yes. Reiterates the above.

Vaccine announcement for release expected till December ’20?

Upside trigger.

Vaccine starts showing good results?

Reiterates the above.

Small- and mid-cap buying by institutions to the tune of 28k Cr till the government deadline of January 31, ’20?

That’s a solid one.

This one is going to hold the back-end of the market (small- and mid-caps) perked up and reaching for January ’18 highs.

That’s five triggers back to back.

Any down-triggers in this time-frame?

Hmmm…

…let’s see…

…the picture till January 31, ’20 seems to be quite clear, actually.

Of course one might be wrong, and the model might break down.

That’s when we’ll just change the model.

However, till the model breaks down, one follows a charted roadmap which is already panning out.

Where does that leave you?

Assuming this model hits, there would be frenzied buying in small- and mid-caps just before the January 31, ’20 deadline.

Many MF Houses have announced their cautious and unpanicking approach towards picking up small- and mid-caps.

Come January, some players will not have picked up enough.

If the authorities don’t extend the deadline, these very institutions will make a beeline for such underlyings.

Government fellows will have a bit of a guilty conscience because of the mayhem they caused in this segment in January ’18, ordering the ad-hoc reshuffle of MFs.

To make things good again for affected parties, they might even allow such a frenzy to happen by not extending the deadline…

…and that’s exactly what we want.

Why?

We are waiting patiently for complete euphoria to set in, to sell those inhabitants of our folios, which we don’t wish to hold anymore.

As per this model, this could happen in January.

If It doesn’t, and if the model breaks down, that’s fine too, we’ll just wait for another time and high.

Winning in the markets is mainly about patience and discipline.

Money follows.

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.

Who Breathes Easier – The Investor or the Trader?

Sure…

…asset-light…

…going with the flow…

…can strike both ways…

…care-free almost…

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

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

Stop.

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

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

No baggage?

Sure baggage.

Emotional baggage for starters.

Cash baggage.

This one will always be there.

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

It needs to be safe.

It is a cause of…

…tension.

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

So, not asset-light.

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

Sure, go with the flow. Strike both ways.

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

NO.

Investors strike in one direction.

Investors are perennial bulls.

At least they know where they are going.

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

Do the math. You’ll see.

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

Care-free?

Who’s watching the screen all day?

The trader.

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

Images are deceptive.

Don’t go by images.

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

Nothing else counts.

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

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

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

Yes, Equity is a serious avenue for parking.

Use it.

With one caveat.

This is not a trade.

Trading rules don’t apply to parking.

In fact, trading rules are inverse to investing rules.

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

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

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

So, who breathes easier?

One would know this by now.

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