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My First Year of Trading
So here it is, three more days and October begins, which marks one year of trading for me. I figured I would contribute to the forum and share some of my experience, a little about me, and what I've learned so far. Whoever wants to listen, that's great. This might get long so buckle up.. Three years ago, I was visiting Toronto. I don't get out much, but my roommate at the time travels there occasionally. He asked everyone at our place if we wanted to come along for a weekend. My roommate has an uncle that lives there and we didn't have to worry about a hotel because his uncle owns a small house that's unlived in which we could stay at. I was the only one to go with. Anyways, we walk around the city, seeing the sights and whatnot. My friend says to me "where next?" "I don't know, you're the tour guide" "We can go check out Bay Street" "what's 'Bay Street?'" "It's like the Canadian Wall street! If you haven't seen it you gotta see it!" Walking along Bay, I admire all the nice buildings and architecture, everything seems larger than life to me. I love things like that. The huge granite facades with intricate designs and towering pillars to make you think, How the fuck did they make that? My attention pivots to a man walking on the sidewalk opposite us. His gait stood out among everyone, he walked with such a purpose.. He laughed into the cell phone to his ear. In the elbow-shoving city environment, he moved with a stride that exuded a power which not only commanded respect, but assumed it. I bet HE can get a text back, hell he's probably got girls waiting on him. This dude was dressed to kill, a navy suit that you could just tell from across the street was way out of my budget, it was a nice fucking suit. I want that. His life, across the street, seemed a world a way from my own. I've worn a suit maybe twice in my life. For my first communion, it was too big for me, I was eleven or whatever so who gives a shit, right? I'm positive I looked ridiculous. The other time? I can't remember. I want that. I want the suit. I want the wealth, the independence.I want the respect and power, and I don't give a shit what anyone thinks about it. Cue self doubt. Well, He's probably some rich banker's son. That's a world you're born into. I don't know shit about it. \sigh* keep walking..* A year later, I'm visiting my parents at their house, they live an hour away from my place. My dad is back from Tennessee, his engineering job was laying people off and he got canned... Or he saw the end was near and just left... I don't know, hard to pay attention to the guy honestly because he kind of just drones on and on. ("Wait, so your mom lives in Michigan, but your dad moved to Tennessee... for a job?" Yea man, I don't fucking know, not going to touch on that one.) The whole project was a shit show that was doomed to never get done, the way he tells it. And he's obviously jaded from multiple similar experiences at other life-sucking engineer jobs. My mom is a retired nurse practitioner who no longer works because of her illness. I ask him what he's doing for work now and he tells me he trades stocks from home. I didn't even know you could do that. I didn't know "trading" was a thing. I thought you just invest and hope for the best. "Oh that's cool, how much money do you need to do that?" "Ehh, most say you need at least $25,000 as a minimum" "Oh... guess I can't do that..." Six months later, I get a call and it's my dad. We talk a little about whatever. Off topic, he starts asking if I'm happy doing what I'm doing (I was a painter, commercial and residential) I tell him yes but it's kind of a pain in the ass and I don't see it as a long term thing. Then he gets around to asking if I'd like to come work with him. He basically pitches it to me. I'm not one to be sold on something, I'm always skeptical. So I ask all the questions that any rational person would ask and he just swats them away with reassuring phrases. He was real confident about it. But basically he says for this to work, I have to quit my job and move back home so he can teach me how to trade and be by my side so I don't do anything stupid. "My Name, you can make so much money." I say that I can't raise the $25,000 because I'm not far above just living paycheck to paycheck. "I can help you out with that." Wow, okay, well... let me think about it. My "maybe" very soon turned into a "definitely." So over the next six months, I continue to work my day job painting, and I try to save up what I could for the transition (it wasn't a whole lot, I sucked at saving. I was great at spending though!). My dad gives me a book on day trading (which I will mention later) and I teach myself what I can about the stock market using Investopedia. Also in the meantime, my dad sends me encouraging emails. He tells me to think of an annual income I would like to make as a trader, and used "more than $100,000 but less than a million" as a guideline. He tells me about stocks that he traded that day or just ones that moved and describes the basic price action and the prices to buy and sell at. Basically saying "if you bought X amount of shares here and sold it at X price here, you could make a quick 500 bucks!" I then use a trading sim to trade those symbols and try to emulate what he says. Piece of cake. ;) Wow, that's way more than what I make in a day. He tells me not to tell anyone about my trading because most people just think it's gambling. "Don't tell your Mom either." He says most people who try this fail because they don't know how to stop out and take a loss. He talks about how every day he was in a popular chatroom, some noob would say something like, "Hey guys, I bought at X price (high of day or thereabout), my account is down 80% .. uhh I'm waiting for it to come back to my entry price.. what do I do??" Well shit, I'm not that fucking dumb. If that's all it takes to make it is to buy low, sell high, and always respect a stop then I'll be fantastic. By the end of September, I was very determined. I had been looking forward everyday to quitting my painting job because while it used to be something I loved, it was just sucking the life out of me at this point. Especially working commercial, you just get worked like a dog. I wasn't living up to my potential with that job and I felt awful for it every minute of every day. I knew that I needed a job where I could use my brain instead of slaving my body to fulfill someone else's dream. "Someone's gotta put gas in the boss's boat" That's a line my buddy once said that he probably doesn't know sticks with me to this day. It ain't me. So now it was October 2018, and I'm back living with Mom n' Pops. I was so determined that on my last day of work I gave away all of my painting tools to my buddy like, "here, I don't need this shit." Moving out of my rental was easy because I don't own much, 'can't take it with ya.' Excited for the future I now spend my days bundled up in winter wear in the cold air of our hoarder-like basement with a space heater at my feet. My laptop connected to a TV monitor, I'm looking at stocks next to my dad and his screens in his cluttered corner. Our Trading Dungeon. I don't trade any money, (I wasn't aware of any real-time sim programs) I just watch and learn from my dad. Now you've got to keep in mind, and look at a chart of the S&P, this is right at the beginning of Oct '18, I came in right at the market top. Right at the start of the shit-show. For the next three or four weeks, I watch my dad pretty much scratch on every trade, taking small loss after small loss, and cursing under his breath at the screen. Click. "dammit." Click. "shit." Click. Click. "you fuck." Click. This gets really fucking annoying as time goes on, for weeks, and I get this attitude like ugh, just let me do it. I'll make us some fucking money. So I convince him to let me start trading live. I didn't know anything about brokers so I set up an account using his broker, which was Fidelity. It was a pain and I had to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to day trade with this broker. I actually had to make a joint account with my dad as I couldn't get approved for margin because my credit score is shit (never owned a credit card) and my net worth, not much. Anyways, they straight up discourage day trading and I get all kinds of warning messages with big red letters that made me shit myself like oooaaahhh what the fuck did I do now. Did I forget to close a position?? Did I fat finger an order? Am I now in debt for thousands of dollars to Fidelity?? They're going to come after me like they came after Madoff. Even after you are approved for PDT you still get these warning messages in your account. Some would say if I didn't comply with "whatever rule" they'd even suspend my account for 60 days. It was ridiculous, hard to describe because it doesn't make sense, and it took the support guy on the phone a good 20 minutes to explain it to me. Basically I got the answer "yea it's all good, you did nothing wrong. As long as you have the cash in your account to cover whatever the trade balance was" So I just kept getting these warnings that I had to ignore everyday. I hate Fidelity. My fist day trading, I made a few so-so trades and then I got impatient. I saw YECO breaking out and I chased, soon realized I chased, so I got out. -$500. Shit, I have to make that back, I don't want my dad to see this. Got back in. Shit. -$400. So my first day trading, I lost $900. My dumbass was using market orders so that sure didn't help. I reeled the risk back and traded more proper position size for a while, but the commissions for a round trip are $10, so taking six trades per day, I'm losing $60 at a minimum on top of my losing trades. Quickly I realized I didn't know what the hell I was doing. What about my dad? Does HE know? One day, in the trading dungeon, I was frustrated with the experience I'd been having and just feeling lost overall. I asked him. "So, are you consistently profitable?" "mmm... I do alright." "Yea but like, are you consistently profitable over time?" ......................... "I do alright." Silence. "Do you know any consistently profitable traders?" "Well the one who wrote that book I gave you, Tina Turner.. umm and there's Ross Cameron" ...................... "So you don't know any consistently profitable traders, personally.. People who are not trying to sell you something?" "no." ................... Holy fucking shit, what did this idiot get me into. He can't even say it to my face and admit it. This entire life decision, quitting my job, leaving my rental, moving from my city to back home, giving shit away, it all relied on that. I was supposed to be an apprentice to a consistently profitable day trader who trades for a living. It was so assumed, that I never even thought to ask! Why would you tell your son to quit his job for something that you yourself cannot do? Is this all a scam? Did my dad get sold a DREAM? Did I buy into some kind of ponzi scheme? How many of those winning trades he showed me did he actually take?Are there ANY consistently profitable DAY TRADERS who TRADE FOR A LIVING?Why do 90% fail? Is it because the other 10% are scamming the rest in some way? Completely lost, I just had no clue what was what. If I was going to succeed at this, if it was even possible to succeed at this, it was entirely up to me. I had to figure it out. I still remember the feeling like an overwhelming, crushing weight on me as it all sunk in. This is going to be a big deal.. I'm not the type to give up though. In that moment, I said to myself, I'm going to fucking win at this. I don't know if this is possible, but I'm going to find out. I cannot say with certainty that I will succeed, but no matter what, I will not give up. I'm going to give all of myself to this. I will find the truth. It was a deep moment for me. I don't like getting on my soapbox, but when I said those things, I meant it. I really, really meant it. I still do, and I still will. Now it might seem like I'm being hard on my dad. He has done a lot for me and I am very grateful for that. We're sarcastic as hell to each other, I love the bastard. Hell, I wouldn't have the opportunity to trade at all if not for him. But maybe you can also understand how overwhelmed I felt at that time. Not on purpose, of course he means well. But I am not a trusting person at all and I was willing to put trust into him after all the convincing and was very disappointed when I witnessed the reality of the situation. I would have structured this transition to trading differently, you don't just quit your job and start trading. Nobody was there to tell me that! I was told quite the opposite. I'm glad it happened anyway, so fuck it. I heard Kevin O'Leary once say, "If I knew in the beginning how difficult starting a business was, I don't know that I ever would've started." This applies very much to my experience. So what did I do? Well like everyone I read and read and Googled and Youtube'd my ass off. I sure as hell didn't pay for a course because I didn't have the money and I'm like 99% sure I would be disappointed by whatever they were teaching as pretty much everything can be found online or in books for cheap or free. Also I discovered Thinkorswim and I used that to sim trade in real-time for three months. This is way the hell different than going on a sim at 5x speed and just clicking a few buy and sell buttons. Lol, useless. When you sim trade in real-time you're forced to have a routine, and you're forced to experience missing trades with no chance to rewind or skip the boring parts. That's a step up because you're "in it". I also traded real money too, made some, lost more than I made. went back to sim. Traded live again, made some but lost more, fell back to PDT. Dad fronted me more cash. This has happened a few times. He's dug me out of some holes because he believes in me. I'm fortunate. Oh yeah, about that book my dad gave me. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Day Trading Online by Toni Turner. This book... is shit. This was supposed to be my framework for how to trade and I swear it's like literally nothing in this book fucking works lol. I could tell this pretty early on, intuitively, just by looking at charts. It's basically a buy-the-breakout type strategy, if you want to call it a strategy. No real methodology to anything just vague crap and showing you cherry-picked charts with entries that are way too late. With experience in the markets you will eventually come to find that MOST BREAKOUTS FAIL. It talks about support/resistance lines and describes them as, "picture throwing a ball down at the floor, it bounces up and then it bounces down off the ceiling, then back up." So many asinine assumptions. These ideas are a text book way of how to trade like dumb money. Don't get me wrong, these trades can work but you need to be able to identify the setups which are more probable and identify reasons not to take others. So I basically had to un-learn all that shit. Present day, I have a routine in place. I'm out of the dungeon and trade by myself in my room. I trade with a discount broker that is catered to day traders and doesn't rape me on commissions. My mornings have a framework for analyzing the news and economic events of the particular day, I journal so that I can recognize what I'm doing right and where I need to improve. I record my screens for later review to improve my tape reading skills. I am actually tracking my trades now and doing backtesting in equities as well as forex. I'm not a fast reader but I do read a lot, as much as I can. So far I have read about 17-18 books on trading and psychology. I've definitely got a lot more skilled at trading. As of yet I am not net profitable. Writing that sounds like selling myself short though, honestly. Because a lot of my trades are very good and are executed well. I have talent. However, lesser quality trades and trades which are inappropriately sized/ attempted too many times bring down that P/L. I'm not the type of trader to ignore a stop, I'm more the trader that just widdles their account down with small losses. I trade live because at this point, sim has lost its value, live trading is the ultimate teacher. So I do trade live but I just don't go big like I did before, I keep it small. I could show you trades that I did great on and make people think I'm killing it but I really just don't need the validation. I don't care, I'm real about it. I just want to get better. I don't need people to think I'm a genius, I'm just trying to make some money. Psychologically, to be honest with you, I currently feel beaten down and exhausted. I put a lot of energy into this, and sometimes I work myself physically sick, it's happened multiple times. About once a week, usually Saturday, I get a headache that lasts all day. My body's stress rebound mechanism you might call it. Getting over one of those sick periods now, which is why I barely even traded this week. I know I missed a lot of volatility this week and some A+ setups but I really just don't give a shit lol. I just currently don't have the mental capital, I think anyone who's been day trading every day for a year or more can understand what I mean by that. I'm still being productive though. Again, I'm not here to present an image of some badass trader, just keeping it real. To give something 100% day after day while receiving so much resistance, it takes a toll on you. So a break is necessary to avoid making bad trading decisions. That being said, I'm progressing more and more and eliminating those lesser quality trades and identifying my bad habits. I take steps to control those habits and strengthen my good habits such as having a solid routine, doing review and market research, taking profits at the right times, etc. So maybe I can give some advice to some that are new to day trading, those who are feeling lost, or just in general thinking "...What the fuck..." I thought that every night for the first 6 months lol. First of all, manage expectations. If you read my story of how I came to be a trader, you can see I had a false impression of trading in many aspects. Give yourself a realistic time horizon to how progress should be made. Do not set a monetary goal for yourself, or any time-based goal that is measured in your P/L. If you tell yourself, "I want to make X per day, X per week, or X per year" you're setting yourself up to feel like shit every single day when it's clear as the blue sky that you won't reach that goal anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it will appear you are moving further AWAY from that goal if you just focus on your P/L, which brings me to my next point. You will lose money. In the beginning, most likely, you will lose money. I did it, you'll do it, the greatest Paul Tudor Jones did it. Trading is a skill that needs to be developed, and it is a process. Just look at it as paying your tuition to the market. Sim is fine but don't assume you have acquired this skill until you are adept at trading real money. So when you do make that leap, just trade small. Just survive. Trade small. get the experience. Protect your capital. To reach break even on your bottom line is a huge accomplishment. In many ways, experience and screen time are the secret sauce. Have a routine. This is very important. I actually will probably make a more in-depth post in the future about this if people want it. When I first started, I was overwhelmed with the feeling "What the fuck am I supposed to DO?" I felt lost. There's no boss to tell you how to be productive or how to find the right stocks, which is mostly a blessing, but a curse for new traders. All that shit you see, don't believe all that bullshit. You know what I'm talking about. The bragposting, the clickbait Youtube videos, the ads preying on you. "I made X amount of money in a day and I'm fucking 19 lolz look at my Lamborghini" It's all a gimmick to sell you the dream. It's designed to poke right at your insecurities, that's marketing at it's finest. As for the bragposting on forums honestly, who cares. And I'm not pointing fingers on this forum, just any trading forum in general. They are never adding anything of value to the community in their posts. They never say this is how I did it. No, they just want you to think they're a genius. I can show you my $900 day trading the shit out of TSLA, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Gamblers never show you when they lose, you might never hear from those guys again because behind the scenes, they over-leveraged themselves and blew up. Some may actually be consistently profitable and the trades are 100% legit. That's fantastic. But again, I don't care, and you shouldn't either. You shouldn't compare yourself to others. "Everyone's a genius in a bull market" Here's the thing.. Markets change. Edges disappear. Trading strategies were made by traders who traded during times when everything they did worked. Buy all the breakouts? Sure! It's the fucking tech bubble! Everything works! I'm sure all those typical setups used to work fantastically at some point in time. But the more people realize them, the less effective they are. SOMEONE has to be losing money on the opposite side of a winning trade, and who's willing to do that when the trade is so obvious? That being said, some things are obvious AND still work. Technical analysis works... sometimes. The caveat to that is, filters. You need to, in some way, filter out certain setups from others. For example, you could say, "I won't take a wedge pattern setup on an intraday chart unless it is in a higher time frame uptrend, without nearby resistance, and trading above average volume with news on that day." Have a plan. If you can't describe your plan, you don't have one. Think in probabilities. You should think entirely in "if, then" scenarios. If X has happens, then Y will probably happen. "If BABA breaks this premarket support level on the open I will look for a pop up to short into." Backtest. Most traders lose mainly because they think they have an edge but they don't. You read these books and all this stuff online telling you "this is a high probability setup" but do you know that for a fact? There's different ways to backtest, but I think the best way for a beginner is manual backtesting with a chart and an excel sheet. This builds up that screen time and pattern recognition faster. This video shows how to do that. Once I saw someone do it, it didn't seem so boring and awful as I thought it was. Intelligence is not enough. You're smarter than most people, that's great, but that alone is not enough to make you money in trading necessarily. Brilliant people try and fail at this all the time, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, engineers.. Why do they fail if they're so smart? It's all a fucking scam. No, a number of reasons, but the biggest is discipline and emotional intelligence. Journal every day.K no thanks, bro. That's fucking gay. That's how I felt when I heard this advice but really that is pride and laziness talking. This is the process you need to do to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Review the trades you took, what your plan was, what actually happened, how you executed. Identify what you did well and what you can work on. This is how you develop discipline and emotional intelligence, by monitoring yourself. How you feel physically and mentally, and how these states affect your decision-making. Always be learning. Read as much as you can. Good quality books. Here's the best I've read so far; Market Wizards -Jack Schwager One Good Trade -Mike Bellafiore The Daily Trading Coach -Bret Steenbarger Psycho-cybernetics -Maxwell Maltz Why You Win or Lose -Fred Kelly The Art and Science of Technical Analysis -Adam Grimes Dark Pools -Scott Patterson Be nimble. Everyday I do my research on the symbols I'm trading and the fundamental news that's driving them. I might be trading a large cap that's gapping up with a beat on EPS and revenue and positive guidance. But if I see that stock pop up and fail miserably on the open amidst huge selling pressure, and I look and see the broader market tanking, guess what, I'm getting short, and that's just day trading. The movement of the market, on an intraday timeframe, doesn't have to make logical sense. Adapt. In March I used to be able to buy a breakout on a symbol and swing it for the majority of the day. In the summer I was basically scalping on the open and being done for the day. Volatility changes, and so do my profit targets. Be accountable. Be humble. Be honest. I take 100% responsibility for every dime I've lost or made in the market. It's not the market makers fault, it wasn't the HFTs, I pressed the button. I know my bad habits and I know my good habits.. my strengths/ my weaknesses. Protect yourself from toxicity. Stay away from traders and people on forums who just have that negative mindset. That "can't be done" mentality. Day trading is a scam!! It can certainly be done. Prove it, you bastard. I'm posting to this particular forum because I don't see much of that here and apparently the mods to a good job of not tolerating it. As the mod wrote in the rules, they're most likely raging from a loss. Also, the Stocktwits mentality of "AAPL is going to TANK on the open! $180, here we come. $$$" , or the grandiose stories, "I just knew AMZN was going to go up on earnings. I could feel it. I went ALL IN. Options money, baby! ka-ching!$" Lol, that is so toxic to a new trader. Get away from that. How will you be able to remain nimble when this is your thought process? Be good to yourself. Stop beating yourself up. You're an entrepreneur. You're boldly going where no man has gone before. You've got balls. Acknowledge your mistakes, don't identify with them. You are not your mistakes and you are not your bad habits. These are only things that you do, and you can take action necessary to do them less. It doesn't matter what people think. Maybe they think you're a fool, a gambler. You don't need their approval. You don't need to talk to your co-workers and friends about it to satisfy some subconscious plea for guidance; is this a good idea? You don't need anyone's permission to become the person you want to be. They don't believe in you? Fuck 'em. I believe in you.
[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself
Intro. This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read. Childhood. I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well. My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude. I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship. High School. Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income. Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market. Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors. US Community College and Return Back. In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me. By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression. Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud. Brief Explanation of My Discoveries. In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility. In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention. Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all. You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month. A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is! The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in. The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything. Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data. They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit. Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't. Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy. Back to me. My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next. The future. With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time. Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight. As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea. I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy. So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age. Outro. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the LARGEST in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels. While ignoring (and even supporting) the atrocities of authoritarian regimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, US oligarchs have targeted Venezuela for “regime-change” in the name of “democracy”. Currently, the US is engaging in economic warfare against Venezuela to foment a coup and remove its democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro. Without providing solid evidence, our corporate-controlled government and mainstream media portray Maduro as a corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate leader with little to no support.
Why is the US Corporatocracy so Keen to Remove Maduro?
While Venezuela’s economy is not a strictly-state-run economy, its oil industry is nationalized and uses its revenues for the benefit of its citizens (especially the poor). After years of crippling US sanctions Maduro stepped over a crucial line in October when his government announced that Venezuela was abandoning the US dollar and would be make all future transactions on the Venezuelan exchange market in euro. Saddam Hussein also went off the dollar in favor of the euro in 2003 – we started dropping bombs on him the next month. A similar decision by the Gadhafi government in Libya (2011) was quickly followed by a devastating US-orchestrated conflict - culminating in Gadhafi's capture by radical Islamists who sodomized him with a bayonet before killing him. Since then, Libya has gone from Africa's wealthiest country to a truly failed-state complete with a slave trade! To make matters worse, after the collapse of the Libyan government, its military arms were smuggled out of that country and into the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria - enabling US-orchestrated chaos in those countries.
Who cares what currency a country uses to trade petroleum?
Answer: US oligarchy
The US dollar is central to US world economic domination. Like all other modern currencies, it is a fiat currency – backed by no real assets to prop up its value. In lieu of a “gold standard” we know operate on a de-facto “oil-standard”: "After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the United States struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes. The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and, through this status, the United States enjoys persistent trade deficits and is a global economic hegemony." Investopedia “The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence. Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.” Anthony Wile
US Foreign Policy is about Oligarchy Not Democracy
Since World War II, the US has attempted to over-throw the 52 foreign governments. Aside from a handful of exceptions (China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.), the US has been successful in the vast majority of these attempts. US foreign policy is not about democracy – it is about exploiting the world’s resources in the interests of a small, ultra-wealthy global elite. This exploitation benefits a small percentage of people at the top of the economic pyramid while the costs are born by those at the bottom.
US CIA Coup Playbook:
How to Plunder Resources from Foreign Countries While Pretending to Support Democracy
Find a country with resources you want.
Send in an “Economic Hitman” to offer bribes the country’s leader in the form of personally lucrative business deals. If he accepts the deal, the leader will amass a personal fortune in exchange for "privatizing” the resources you wish to extract.
If the leader will not accept your bribes, begin the regime-change process. 3) Engage in economic warfare by imposing crippling sanctions on the country and blame the ensuing shortages on the leader’s “socialist” policies. 4) Work with right-wing allies inside country to fund and organize an “astroturf” opposition group behind a corporate-friendly puppet. 5) Hire thugs inside country to incite unrest and violence against the government in coordination with your opposition group. Use corporate media to publicize the orchestrated outbursts as popular outrage and paint a picture of a “failed state” mired in corruption and chaos. 6) When the government arrests your thugs, decry the response as the brutal repression. Use corporate-owned media to demonize the target government as a despotic regime while praising your puppet opposition as champions of democracy. 7) Work with right-wing military leaders to organize the overthrow the government (offer them the same business deals the current leader refused). 8) If a military-led coup cannot be organized, create a mercenary army to carry out acts of terrorism against the government and its supporters. Portray the mercenaries as “freedom fighters” and their acts of terrorism as a “civil war”. 9) If the target government has popular and military support and is too well-defended for your mercenaries to over-throw: label the country a “rouge state” and wait for the right time to invade. Meanwhile, continue to wear the country’s government and populace down using steps 3 – 8. 10) Escalate the terror campaign within the country to provoke a military response from the country against the US. If they won’t take the bait , fabricate an attack or threat that you can sell to the US population as justification for an invasion. 11) Once the government is removed, set up your puppet regime to provide the illusion of sovereignty. The regime will facilitate and legitimize your appropriation of the country’s resources under the guise of "free" trade. 12) As you continue to extract the country’s resources, provide intelligence and military support to the puppet regime to suppress popular dissent within the country. 13) Use the demise of the former government as yet another example of the impracticality of “socialism.” What Can I Do? Call your senators and representatives to voice your opposition to US regime-change efforts in Venezuela. https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/ Please share this message with others. Sources included at: https://link.medium.com/8DiA5xzx4T
ALAN MACLEOD FEBRUARY 8, 2019 A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (FAIR.org,1/23/19). Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated. Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox Newsarticle (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.” TheWall Street Journal(1/28/19) describes calls for negotiations in Venezuela as “siding with the dictator.” In an article entitled “Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the Starving Children of Venezuela,” the Washington Examiner (6/15/17) warned its readers to “beware the socialist utopia,” describing it as a dystopia where children go hungry thanks to socialism. The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) recently condemned Sanders for his support of a “dictator,” despite the fact Bernie has strongly criticized Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and dismissed Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, as a “dead Communist dictator” (Reuters, 6/1/16). More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald(2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whomless than 20 percentof Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.” This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (FAIR.org, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (FAIR.org, 1/25/19). Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods. For example, the monolithic Empresas Polar controls the majority of the flour production and distribution crucial for making arepa cornbread, Venezuela’s staple food. Polar’s chair is Leopoldo Lopez, national coordinator of Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will party, while its president is Lorenzo Mendoza, who considered running for president against Maduro in the 2018 elections that caused pandemonium in the media (FAIR.org, 5/23/18). Conspicuously, it’s the products that Polar has a near-monopoly in that are often in shortest supply. This is hardly a secret, but never mentioned in the copious stories (CNN, 5/14/14, Bloomberg, 3/16/17, Washington Post, 5/22/17, NPR, 4/7/17) focusing on bread lines in the country. Also rarely commented on was the fact that multiple international election observer missions declared the 2018 elections free and fair, and that Venezuelan government spending as a proportion of GDP (often considered a barometer of socialism) is actually lower than the US’s, and far lower than most of Europe’s, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation. The LondonDaily Express(2/3/19) demonstrates that redbaiting works equally well on either side of the Atlantic. Regardless of these bothersome facts, the media has continued to present Venezuela’s supposedly socialist dictatorship as solely responsible for its crisis as a warning to any progressives who get the wrong idea. So useful is this tool that it is being used to attack progressive movements around the world. The Daily Express (2/3/19) and Daily Mail (2/3/19) condemned UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his “defense” of a “dictator,” while the Daily Telegraph(2/3/19) warned that the catastrophe of Venezuela is Labour’s blueprint for Britain. Meanwhile, the Greek leftist party Syriza’s support for Maduro (the official position of three-quarters of UN member states) was condemned as “shameful” (London Independent, 1/29/19). “Venezuela” is also used as a one-word response to shut down debate and counter any progressive idea or thought. While the panel on ABC’s The View (7/23/18) discussed progressive legislation like Medicare for All and immigration reform, conservative regular Meghan McCain responding by invoking Venezuela: “They’re starving to death” she explained, leaving the other panelists bemused. President Trump has also used it. In response to criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over his “Pocahontas” jibe, he replied that she would “make our country into Venezuela” (Reuters, 10/15/18). The weapon’s effectiveness can only be sustained through a media in lockstep with the government’s regime-change goals. That the media is fixated on the travails of a relatively small and unimportant country in America’s “backyard,” and that the picture of Venezuela is so shallow, is not a mistake. Rather, the simplistic narrative of a socialist dictatorship starving its own people provides great utility as a weapon for the establishment to beat back the domestic “threat” of socialism, by associating movements and figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn with an evil caricature they have carefully crafted.
Corporate Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President: MSM Will Not Let Facts Interfere With Coup Agenda
Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected PresidentJoe Emersberger Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen. Graph: Approval Ratings of Main Venezuelan Leaders Nov 2016 - July 2018 Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci. The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail. What about the McClatchy-owned Miami Herald's claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government. It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update, 10/02). And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown. But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of the Miami Herald article, author Jim Wyss cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez. Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by nowwell over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced. The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions. Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept, 2/10/19):
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.
Yes, China is Hoarding Gold: Is That Positive for Prices?
In mid-2015, China ended years of speculation over its gold reserves by announcing that it had 1,658 tons of gold. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had increased its official gold holdings by 60% since its last disclosure in 2009. China had 1,054 tons of gold in its reserves as of April 2009. By 2015, the price of bullion had dipped to its lowest since the 2011 gold bull run that pushed the metal to highs of $1,900 per ounce. The East Asian economic giant had been accumulating gold as the USD strengthened, pushing the prices of bullion to some of the lowest levels of the decade. China is an export powerhouse and is not only the world’s largest exporter but also the largest holder of foreign exchange (forex) reserves. The country has over $3.11 trillion worth of foreign exchange holdings, to shield it during economic emergencies. These vast forex reserves also buoy its native currency and give it much-needed clout in international affairs. These immense reserves increase the footprint of the US dollar in international trade. Its dollar reserves have also been a significant contributor to the current global savings glut. The Chinese manufacturing sector holds a lot of US government bonds, and these savings — plus those made by other Asian countries — have directed mass capital flows to US households. Beijing has, however, clarified that it is diversifying its reserves away from the dollar. Beijing is highly exposed to American currency. Its overdependence on the dollar has been behind its silent gold-buying spree that raised its reserves from 1,658 tons in 2015 to 1,848.31 tons by the fourth quarter of 2019. Economists note that China’s bid to decouple from the dollar heightened with the China-US trade war. The US threatened not only Chinese stocks listed in the US with delisting, but slapped massive tariffs on their exports. China, on the other hand, used its dollar-pegged currency, the Yuan, to fight back against the US’s punitive measures.
China Diversifying its Forex Reserves
In August, the PBOC allowed the Yuan’s value to fall against the dollar to cheapen its exports. The move increased the prices of American goods, a move that not only caused a massive shockwave in the market but also angered the US president so much that he called China an outright currency manipulator. Besides diversifying to other currencies, China has also accumulated “shadow reserves.” Diversification away from the USD will also give the Yuan a more significant role in global finance. It is this Chinese desire to counteract a highly US dollar-centric system that has seen the country buy up massive amounts of gold as part of its alternative investments. One factor that has gone almost unnoticed is the massive accumulation of gold by Chinese citizens. They have collectively imported over 12,000 tons of gold into the country since 2009. Switzerland is the world’s largest importer of gold, buying about 22% of all global gold imports as per 2018 data. It is closely followed by China, which raked in close to 16% of all gold imports in the same year. Hong Kong, India, and the United Kingdom are also part of the world’s biggest gold-buyer markets. Switzerland might be a global leader in gold imports, but it is also the largest exporter of the premier precious metal. The central European country is a gold refinery hub, and it is home to four of the world’s largest gold refineries. The mountainous country is home to Newmont Mining’s Valcambi SA, which refines close to 1,400 metric tonnes of the precious metal every year. Switzerland is such an exporter of gold that of the 3,100 tons of the yellow metal produced in the country in 2016, 2,716 tons went to exports.
China Keeps Most of its Gold
China is the world’s second-largest importer of gold, but unlike Switzerland, most of the gold China imports remain in China. As an illustration, China imported $64 billion worth of gold in 2016, and only exported a paltry $1.2 billion worth of it. In essence, China was $62.7 billion richer by the end of that year. The East Asian nation not only stores its imports but also buys a large share from Hong Kong, the fifth most prolific importer of the precious metal. The Pearl of the Orient bought 842 tons or 8.7% of the world’s gold imports in 2016. In that year, Hong Kong sold 1,337 tons to China, dipping its hands into its reserves in its bid to meet the insatiable Chinese demand for gold. The Chinese have not always had it easy with gold. Mao Zedong banned the individual purchase of gold, and the ban was enforced for decades afterward. The Chinese bank was the only buyer of gold in the country, and it only allocated its gold reserves to a small number of state-owned jewelers. In the early 2000s, the ban on individual gold purchases was lifted, and the Chinese gold rush began in earnest. The world’s busiest physical gold exchange was launched and opened to the public, flourishing as the government put measures in place that encouraged the gold trade. This excitement and clamor for gold moved a lot of gold from western vaults to the east as the most massive movement of gold recorded in recent history took place. Since then, the Chinese demand for gold takes 14% of the world’s supply, yet the country has been the largest producer of the yellow metal since 2007. The nation consumes over two times more gold than it mines with a large percentage of its citizens spending massive amounts of cash on gold adornments. Many Chinese millennials spend thousands of Yuan on fashionable jewelry. Their parents, on the other hand, buy 24-carat clunky gold jewelry, the perfect investment vehicle for that generation. The jewelry — evocative of gold ingots — is easy to sell and the money recouped when the need arises. They also buy matt ranges of gold jewelry, shunning tacky pure gold adornments for creative and lower carat gold designs.
Gold is a Safer Investment in a Debt-Ridden Global Economy
China has been a net importer of gold since the 1990s, but its significant purchases have increased since the global economic recession. The Chinese central bank — the supervisors of the Shanghai Gold Exchange — has encouraged the gold trade in the country by enabling the commerce of fine gold at its lowest spreads. Sun Zhaoxue, the China Gold Association president, has, in the past, said: “Individual investment demand is an essential component of China’s gold reserve system, and we should encourage individual investment demand for gold. Practice shows that gold possession by citizens is a useful supplement to national reserves and is very important to national financial security …. We should advocate to ‘store gold among the people’ [“People’s Gold”] and guide a healthy, positive development in this segment … This is the aim of our gold strategy.” She goes on to ask for a strategic national gold strategy to make China resilient against multiple economic occurrences. To this end, the Shanghai Gold Exchange has made tremendous steps in making the gold trade as easy as possible, even launching an app to aid it. China’s centuries-old infatuation with gold has led them to accumulate over 20,000 tons of gold because the People’s Bank of China does not buy gold from the domestic market. Consequently, all the gold that is purchased by the Chinese stays in the local market. Pundits also believe that the Chinese central bank holds more gold than its official reserve numbers portray. The economic giant underreports its gold holdings to enable it to accumulate more of the precious metal at lower prices. As China slowly delinks from a USD that has already lost its value due to prevailing high debt to GDP ratios globally, it stands out as one nation prepping for an oncoming economic catastrophe that could inevitably lift prices. The World Bank has already issued a warning that the current wave of debt is untenable. Global debt percentages now exceed 322% of GDP. Central banks have pushed the global economy to the brink due to easing policies meant to stimulate economic activity. Unfortunately, they find themselves intertwined in a broadening circle of money printing activities, which will eventually lead to extreme inflation. The management of inflation means that real rates will keep falling, and gold values will keep rising. In debt-ridden financial systems, he who holds the gold makes the rules. And China is ready to step up.
Get ready for the trading week of February 25th, 2019!
Hey what's happening wallstreetbets! Good morning and happy Saturday to all of you on this subreddit. I hope everyone made out pretty nicely in the market last week, and are ready for the new trading week ahead! :) Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning February 25th, 2019.
Next week will be pivotal for markets with trade deadline, Powell, Trump-Kim and more - (Source)
The coming week could be one of the most pivotal for the Trump White House and the markets, depending on how President Donald Trump chooses to proceed with China trade tariffs. U.S.-China trade talks apparently have been making progress, and in a positive sign, sources said a possible meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping is being discussed for late March. Strategists expect some eventual deal to be reached, but first and foremost, the March 2 deadline on new tariffs looms at the end of the week. For now, it looks like the deadline could be extended. Trump, in fact, Friday reiterated that he could extend the deadline if progress is being made. He also said there was a very good chance a deal could be reached with China, and that he and Xi would make the big decisions. The week is packed with major events that could be market moving, including two days of economic testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. He appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, and then a House committee Wednesday for the semiannual testimony. Trump also heads to Vietnam for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday and Thursday, and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May faces another Brexit vote in parliament. The markets are also closely watching U.S. economic data after a string of misses on manufacturing and consumer data rattled stocks in the past couple of weeks. The lack of government data during the 35-day government shutdown has made it more difficult than usual to get a handle on the economy, and some economists now see fourth-quarter and first-quarter growth running at just 2 percent or below. Fourth-quarter GDP, delayed because of the shutdown, is finally released on Thursday.
Though earnings season is winding down, quite a few earnings releases are expected, including from retailers Home Depot, Macy'sand Nordstrom. "To me, the biggest story next week for markets is China. Do they announce an agreement or do they at least extend the deadline? That's the one that has the most immediate market impact. The markets are pricing in good news on China next week," said Tom Block, Washington policy strategist at Fundstrat. There were some news reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Trump campaign and Russia would be provided to the attorney general next week, but a Justice Department official Friday afternoon said that was not true.Whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russia or not matters much less than whether the president himself was involved. "This is of course great for American political drama but as for the $4.3 trillion foreign exchange market or what does this mean for the value of corporate America, it's not a big deal unless there's a smoking gun, and people think Trump is going to get impeached," said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. "Why this is important is it might paralyze other policy. … The only way it is a really big factor is if it's used as fodder to pursue further investigations that paralyze the administration like Watergate did." Chandler said while the geopolitical events in the coming week could add to tension, they could all remain unresolved. "We want some closure. Next week is not going to bring some closure. We're going to get extensions," said Chandler. The uncertainty around China trade has been impacting the economic data, and business leaders have called on the White House to end the tariffs on China. The farm belt has been hurt as China retaliated against U.S. products. Cowen analysts said the talks are nearing a "term sheet" between Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators. The memorandums are expected to touch on a half-dozen key areas, including forced technology transfers and cybertheft; intellectual property rights; opening up of Chinese financial services to U.S. companies; currency; agriculture, and nontariff barriers to trade. Those barriers include industrial subsidies, licensing procedures and other regulations. The talks are also expected to focus on a list of 10 goods and commodities that China will buy to help narrow the trade balance. That could include an additional $30 billion per year of U.S. farm products including soybeans, corn, and wheat, the Cowen analysts said. Fundstrat's Block said the president understands the political impact of continuing tariffs or raising them to 25 percent by March 2, as he has threatened.
Trade deadline, North Korea, Brexit
Trump has said the deadline could be extended. "The road to 270 electoral votes for Trump goes through the farm states of the Midwest. There's no road map for Trump to get 270 electoral votes if he doesn't carry all those Midwestern farm states," Block said. "China is very big for lots of reasons. …Trump's people have to figure out, at a minimum, how to extend the truce. … The biggest threat to those states is continued trade war with China focused on agricultural products exported from the U.S." Besides China and trade and the Mueller report, Trump plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in the week ahead, and Trump has said it is not to be his last meeting with Kim. The U.S. and North Korea are expected to seek a common understanding of what is expected in denuclearization, and Trump is expected to push Kim to give up his nuclear ambitions. Block said it's unclear what will come of those talks. "Trump overstates what he does, but the world is a little safer with us talking with North Korea rather than saber rattling with North Korea. That seems to be Trump's approach. Regardless of what his thought process is, the net result is better than not doing it," said Block. Investors are also looking to Europe where the U.K. Parliament votes on a no-deal Brexit, which critics say would disrupt trade and commerce . Prime Minister Theresa May continues to push for Britain's exit from the European Union on March 29. On Wednesday, there will be a vote on an amendment that would give the House of Commons the power to block a no-exit deal if May has not secured the approval by Parliament for a revised Brexit deal by the middle of March. "They're trying to force her to give up the no deal exit. The EU is expecting a request for a 60-day extension," said Chandler.
As for U.S. data, reports on personal income and spending are coming on Friday and fourth-quarter GDP on Thursday. December's disappointing durable goods data showed slower business spending, so analysts are watching closely to see whether there was any improvement in consumer spending. "The U.S. growth slowdown is seen intensifying in the first quarter too. We forecast U.S. GDP growth at a modest 1.5% annual rate in Q1. Slowing global manufacturing activity, tighter financial conditions, sluggish business equipment spending, and lackluster federal government spending (due in part to the government shutdown in January) are all contributing to the weakest quarter for U.S. growth in two years," wrote Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West. Anderson expects fourth-quarter growth at 2.2 percent. He also said if uncertainties in the U.S. around China trade talks and the Brexit negotiations go away, there is a good chance U.S. economic growth will bounce back in the second quarter. "I should note this is our base case forecast, as none of the parties involved in the negotiations want to see the worst case outcomes realized. If for some reason either of the negotiations go seriously off-track, however, the 2019 U.S. and global economic outlook will become considerably bleaker," he wrote.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
Pre-Election Year March: Small-Caps Perfect 10 for 10
Turbulent March markets tend to drive prices up early in the month and batter stocks at month end. Julius Caesar failed to heed the famous warning to “beware the Ides of March” but investors have been served well when they have. Stock prices have a propensity to decline, sometimes rather precipitously, during the latter days of the month. In March 2001, DJIA plunged 1469 points (-11.8%) from March 9 to the 22. Normally a decent performing market month, March performs even better in pre-election years (see Vital Statistics table below). In pre-election years March ranks: 4th best for DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell 1000 (January, April and December are better). Pre-election year March rank #3 for Russell 2000. Pre-election year March has been up 13 out of the last 14 for DJIA. In fact, since inception in 1979, the Russell 2000 has a perfect, 10-for-10 winning record.
What more can we say about the amazing rebound of the stock market since December 24? For the first time since 1997, the S&P 500 Index is up more than 10% for the year through this point in February. Of course, it was the worst December for stocks since the Great Depression—making a larger bounce possible—but the rebound over the past two months has been historic. That begs the question: What does it mean when stocks are overbought on many short-term levels? “Yes, stocks are quite extended near -term,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick, “but historically, extended markets have tended to deliver continued outperformance over the next several months.” We can see this by looking at the number of stocks in the S&P 500 that are above their 50-day moving average and the subsequent performance of the index. That number recently cleared 90%, which was one of the highest readings ever. And after 90% of stocks in the S&P 500 go above their 50-day moving average, their 1-, 3-, and 6-month returns actually have shown continued strength. In fact, as the LPL Chart of the Day shows, three months after hitting that 90% mark, the S&P 500 has been higher 12 of the previous 13 times going back to 1990.
This tells us the easy part of the recent rally is over, and we do see reasons to expect some type of consolidation or well-deserved pullback at some point, but we still think the stage is potentially set for new highs later this year.
More Good News
As this week’s Weekly Market Commentary suggested, over the near term equities appear quite stretched, but overall we continue to think the bull market has plenty of life left. Today, we’ll take a look at market breadth—one of our favorite technical indicators—to explore whether it may be pointing to better times ahead for equities. Market breadth measures how many stocks are participating in the movement of broader indexes. One of the easiest ways to measure this is via advance/decline (A/D) lines on various exchanges. An A/D line is a ratio of how many stocks go up versus down each day. The thinking is, if gains are caused by increases in many stocks, then there are plenty of buyers and the upward trend should likely continue, all else equal. On the other hand, if an upward move in a broad market gauge is driven by relatively few stocks, this can be a warning sign of cracks in the bull’s armor. Today’s LPL Chart of the Day shows that the NYSE Common Stock Only A/D line has broken out to a new all-time high. “This is another clue to market participants that things are actually quite healthy under the surface. When advance/decline lines are breaking out to new highs, history tells us that stocks usually aren’t too far behind,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
One aspect of the rally in stocks this year that we can’t stress enough is how strong breadth has been. Besides the fact that the equal-weighted S&P 500 is outperforming the market cap weighted index by close to three percentage points YTD, the vast majority of S&P 500 Industry Groups are also either right at or very close to YTD highs. The table below lists S&P 500 Industry Groups that, along with the S&P 500, hit YTD highs so far today. Of the 60 Industry Groups, 26 hit YTD highs today and five of them are already up 20% YTD!
In addition to the 26 Industry Groups above, another 16 Industry Groups traded within 1% of a YTD high today and three of those are also up over 20% YTD. Adding both lists together, 70% of S&P 500 Industry Groups either traded at or came within 1% of hitting a YTD high this morning. That’s broad!
Square, Inc. (SQ) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.13 per share on revenue of $908.21 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.16 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 80% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.12 to $0.13 per share on revenue of $895.00 million to $905.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 62.50% with revenue increasing by 47.43%. Short interest has increased by 8.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 4.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.3% above its 200 day moving average of $70.25. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 13, 2019 there was some notable buying of 5,812 contracts of the $75.00 put and 5,392 contracts of the $75.00 call expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 8.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.5% move in recent quarters.
Home Depot, Inc. (HD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:00 AM ET on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.16 per share on revenue of $26.56 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.21 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 27.81% with revenue increasing by 11.21%. Short interest has decreased by 13.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 8.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 2.2% above its 200 day moving average of $188.29. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 11,051 contracts of the $165.00 put expiring on Friday, March 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 1.1% move in recent quarters.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.17 per share on revenue of $1.04 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.20 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 43.33% with revenue decreasing by 58.71%. Short interest has increased by 117.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 22.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 33.4% below its 200 day moving average of $3.91. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, January 11, 2019 there was some notable buying of 5,346 contracts of the $7.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 14.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.6% move in recent quarters.
Etsy, Inc. (ETSY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, February 25, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.26 per share on revenue of $194.88 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.28 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 75% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 73.33% with revenue increasing by 43.01%. Short interest has increased by 2.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 22.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.1% above its 200 day moving average of $45.29. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 5, 2019 there was some notable buying of 2,590 contracts of the $55.00 put expiring on Friday, March 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 11.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.9% move in recent quarters.
JD.com, Inc. (JD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:25 AM ET on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.04 per share on revenue of $19.15 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.02) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 60% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estiamtes are for year-over-year revenue growth of 13.10%. Short interest has increased by 25.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 15.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.9% below its 200 day moving average of $28.80. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 15, 2019 there was some notable buying of 17,853 contracts of the $30.00 call expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.4% move in recent quarters.
Macy's, Inc. (M) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.65 per share on revenue of $8.46 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.60 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 28% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 6.03% with revenue decreasing by 2.38%. Short interest has decreased by 12.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 31.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 28.4% below its 200 day moving average of $33.59. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 3,804 contracts of the $24.50 call expiring on Friday, March 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 10.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 9.8% move in recent quarters.
McDermott International Inc. (MDR) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Monday, February 25, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.21 per share on revenue of $2.70 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.18 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 62% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 110.00% with revenue increasing by 275.99%. Short interest has increased by 9.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 15.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 48.2% below its 200 day moving average of $14.94. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 20, 2019 there was some notable buying of 22,689 contracts of the $8.00 call expiring on Friday, May 17, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 17.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 25.9% move in recent quarters.
PG&E Corp. (PCG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:45 AM ET on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.62 per share on revenue of $4.29 billion. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 18% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 1.59% with revenue increasing by 4.63%. Short interest has increased by 122.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 60.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 47.6% below its 200 day moving average of $35.85. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, January 24, 2019 there was some notable buying of 10,702 contracts of the $20.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 11.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.1% move in recent quarters.
Fitbit, Inc. (FIT) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.07 per share on revenue of $567.68 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.08 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 80% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of at least $0.07 per share on revenue of at least $560.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 200.00% with revenue decreasing by 0.54%. Short interest has decreased by 27.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 22.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.2% above its 200 day moving average of $6.13. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 5, 2019 there was some notable buying of 6,274 contracts of the $6.50 call expiring on Friday, March 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 14.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 13.0% move in recent quarters.
Amarin Corporation plc (AMRN) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:00 AM ET on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.08 per share on revenue of $74.45 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.08) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 0.00% with revenue increasing by 38.21%. Short interest has increased by 15.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 4.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 89.6% above its 200 day moving average of $10.48. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 35,406 contracts of the $20.00 call expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 17.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.6% move in recent quarters.
Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning April 15th, 2019
Hey what's happening wallstreetbets! Good morning and happy Saturday to all of you on this subreddit. I hope everyone made out pretty nicely in the market last week, and are ready for the new trading week ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning April 15th, 2019.
Some optimistic corporate outlooks in the week ahead could lift the stock market to a record - (Source)
It’s now up to corporate America to reveal whether the U.S. economy simply hit a soft patch this winter, as many suspect, or is on the verge of falling into an even deeper rut. Earnings from a broad swath of industries, like financials, technology, transportation and consumer products roll out in the coming week as the first-quarter earnings season gets underway. According to Refinitiv, earnings are expected to decline 2.3 percent in the first negative quarter in three years, but it is business leaders’ comments on the future outlook that are even more important. Commentary and guidance is always a big deal, but this quarter it is critical. Analysts do not agree on whether the first quarter earnings season represents the trough, or even whether the second quarter will see a gain or decline in profit growth. At the same time, economic data, like March’s jobs report, are beginning to turn more positive, and first quarter growth has quickly gone from forecasts of nearly flattish back in January to now around 2%, on the back of better March releases. The economic data has been uneven, in part because of the government shutdown, but it has yet to prove the economy is back on track. “The market has been very sensitive to data that’s been picking up. The market is reflecting that, even though there’s talk of an earnings recession. What you don’t want is an earnings recession leading to an economic recession. If companies believe there’s a major downturn in revenue growth, they stop spending and ultimately they fire people and that leads to a recession,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. The stock market is also at an important inflection point, with the major indexes closing in on all-time highs. The S&P 500 pressed through 2,900 Friday, seen as a point of psychological resistance. The S&P ended the week at 2,907, for a weekly gain of 0.5%. The next target traders are watching is the closing high 2,930 on the S&P. The all-time high was an intraday 2,940, reached on Sept. 21. Earnings season got off to a good start with J.P. Morgan Chase’s quarterly earnings report Friday. CEO Jamie Dimon was very positive, saying the U.S. economy’s expansion “could go on for years.” “If you look at the American economy, the consumer is in good shape, balance sheets are in good shape, people are going back to the workforce, companies have plenty of capital,” Dimon told analysts during a conference call. J.P. Morgan stock rose sharply, after its record profits beat analysts’ expectations. “Positive guidance, that’s what the market needs. [The S&P] could cross 2,900, but then again it could pull back,” said Krosby, but she said the momentum has been pointing higher. “The market has basically been endorsing 2,900 and beyond.” Krosby said important upcoming economic reports include Empire State and Philadelphia Fed surveys Monday and Thursday respectively, for a current look at manufacturing activity in New York and the Mid-Atlantic region. There is also industrial production and retail sales Tuesday. “Jobs data was strong. Everybody was really negative on the economy, and now we’re getting pleasant surprises,” said Marc Chandler, Bannockburn Global Forex chief market strategist. The economy added 196,000 jobs in March, bringing the monthly average to 180,000 over the past three months, even with February’s shockingly low 33,000 payrolls. Chandler said industrial production and other data should show an improved trend over last month. As stocks have shaken off growth fears, bond yields have also moved higher. The 10-year Treasury note was yielding 2.55% Friday, well above the lows of 2.34% reached on March 28.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
Typical April Trading: Mid-Month Surge Stronger Second Half
Over the recent 21 years April is the top-ranked month for DJIA. April ranks #3 S&P 500, #5 for NASDAQ, #2 for Russell 1000 and #4 for Russell 2000. Average gains over the period range from a low of 1.19% by NASDAQ to a respectable 2.29% by DJIA. The first half of April used to outperform the second half, but since 1994 that has no longer been the case. In fact the second half of April is stronger over the recent 21-year period. Early April trading is usually positive for the first 4 days then flattens off until mid-month. Then the market tends to surge from the tenth to the fifteenth trading days. DJIA tends to close out the month strongest with NASDAQ closing weakest. Except for DJIA weighed down by Boeing (BA), stocks are having an above average month so far, which is quite typical in Pre-Election years where April has tended to be even stronger.
Earlier today on our Twitter account, we retweeted a chart from Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal of inverted Jobless Claims versus the S&P 500. We have used this chart as an argument for the bullish case for the past several years. As we mentioned in a blog post this morning, Initial Jobless Claims came in earlier this week with a sizable drop off, down to 196K versus last week's revised 204K and expectations of 210K. This week's print was not only a new low for the current cycle, it is also the lowest reading since 1969. That sort of new low could be a good sign for equities. As shown in the chart below, claims and the S&P have mirrored each other since bottoming following the financial crisis. (In the chart, we have inverted claims on the right axis.) As the S&P 500 inches its way back towards all time highs, so has claims towards new lows. Additionally, with recent low prints for claims bucking what had previously appeared to be an upside trend reversal, the bullish case for the S&P 500 is growing.
The American Association of Individual Investors updated their weekly investor sentiment survey this morning and the results are very similar to the final days of February with bullish sentiment around 40%, bearish down near 20%, and neutral once again in the upper 30's. Up from 35.02% last week, bullish sentiment has crossed back over the 40% threshold; the first time it has done so since the previously mentioned week in February. While bullish sentiment is sitting a couple of points above the historical average, this is still several percentage points from reaching any sort of extreme level (more than one standard deviation above the aforementioned average). For that to happen, bullish sentiment would have to come in above 48.36%. If that occurs, then it could be a sign that investors are getting a little too optimistic.
Bearish sentiment, on the other hand, fell all the way back down to 20.38% this week, the lowest since its 20% reading on February 28th. That is around 10% less than the historical average for bearish sentiment. That is also at the lower end of the range bearish sentiment has stayed within in the past decade.
Neutral sentiment has still yet to have moved above or below the upper 30's coming in at 39.33% this week after falling from similar levels down to 36.71% last week. That is the third time in the past month that neutral sentiment has come in between 39% and 40%.
After the best first quarter for the S&P 500 Index since 1998, the big question is: What happens next? We’ve already discussed why a good start to a year could lead to more gains (here and here), but today we will take a look at another potentially positive signal. The December Low Indicator was created in the 1970s by Lucien Hooper, a former Forbes columnist and Wall Street analyst. Simply put, the indicator says that if the S&P 500 closes beneath the December low during the first quarter, it’s a warning sign for potential weakness over the balance of the year. The flipside is if it doesn’t, good times could be coming. Given the S&P 500 just went all of the first quarter without closing beneath the December 24 low, it’s worth taking a deeper dive. Sure enough, there appears to be some truth to this concept. “The December low indicator seems quite simple, but it has a tremendous track record,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “When the S&P 500 stays above the December lows throughout the first quarter, the full year has been higher an incredible 34 out of the last 34 times, which bodes well for 2019.” In fact, this warning even worked last year, as it triggered in the first quarter of 2018 and eventually played out during the big fourth quarter sell-off. As our LPL Chart of the Day shows, when the S&P 500 stays above the December lows in the first quarter, the full year does quite well.
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Thursday 4.18.19 After Market Close:
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Friday 4.19.19 After Market Close:
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NONE. (U.S. MARKETS CLOSED IN OBSERVANCE OF GOOD FRIDAY).
Netflix, Inc. $351.14
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.57 per share on revenue of $4.49 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.60 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 66% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $0.56 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 10.94% with revenue increasing by 21.32%. Short interest has increased by 10.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 4.2% above its 200 day moving average of $336.83. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, April 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 7,925 contracts of the $400.00 call expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.9% move in recent quarters.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:45 AM ET on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.65 per share on revenue of $23.29 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.67 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 4.84% with revenue decreasing by 14.11%. Short interest has decreased by 25.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.3% above its 200 day moving average of $28.66. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, April 9, 2019 there was some notable buying of 32,141 contracts of the $27.00 put and 32,059 contracts of the $32.00 call expiring on Friday, August 16, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 2.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.
Citigroup, Inc. (C) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.78 per share on revenue of $18.71 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.84 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 58% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 5.95% with revenue decreasing by 22.15%. Short interest has decreased by 12.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 20.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 3.2% above its 200 day moving average of $65.31. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, March 29, 2019 there was some notable buying of 17,657 contracts of the $59.00 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 2.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.3% move in recent quarters.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:40 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $4.74 per share on revenue of $8.97 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $5.21 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 60% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 31.80% with revenue decreasing by 10.62%. Short interest has increased by 9.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 11.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 0.1% below its 200 day moving average of $208.02. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, April 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 6,817 contracts of the $220.00 call and 5,555 contracts of the $195.00 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 2.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.1% move in recent quarters.
UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (UNH) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:55 AM ET on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $3.59 per share on revenue of $59.66 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $3.66 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 18.09% with revenue increasing by 8.10%. Short interest has decreased by 1.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 10.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 13.4% below its 200 day moving average of $257.63. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, April 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 4,190 contracts of the $227.50 call and 3,732 contracts of the $227.50 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.6% move in recent quarters.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:40 AM ET on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.03 per share on revenue of $19.63 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 48% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 1.46% with revenue decreasing by 1.89%. Short interest has decreased by 22.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 1.0% above its 200 day moving average of $134.65. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, April 8, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,510 contracts of the $170.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 1.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.
Aphria Inc. (APHA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:05 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.04 per share on revenue of $41.11 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 70% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has decreased by 26.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 57.1% from its open following the earnings release. On Thursday, April 11, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,595 contracts of the $9.50 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 6.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.2% move in recent quarters.
ShiftPixy, Inc. (PIXY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.10 per share on revenue of $14.84 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 59% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 11.11% with revenue increasing by 88.16%. Short interest has decreased by 14.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 34.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 54.0% below its 200 day moving average of $2.61. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 27.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:45 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $2.70 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.68 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 20.00% with revenue increasing by 12.59%. Short interest has decreased by 5.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 3.8% below its 200 day moving average of $47.14. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, April 10, 2019 there was some notable buying of 3,000 contracts of the $43.50 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 2.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.9% move in recent quarters.
M&T Bank Corp (MTB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:35 AM ET on Monday, April 15, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $3.29 per share on revenue of $1.50 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $3.35 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 48% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 11.90% with revenue decreasing by 2.65%. Short interest has decreased by 2.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 5.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 1.6% above its 200 day moving average of $165.09. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, April 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 841 contracts of the $165.00 put expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.0% move in recent quarters.
GBPJPY Trend Invalidation Signals and Contingency Plans
Took multiple losses on GBPJPY as it ran through all the trend continuation setups, and the persistence of how it has done this move is something that gives us reason to re-assess trade plans, and be diligent on risks as well as opportunities the conditions we are now in may present. I feel like I've seen this movie before. Usually when getting squeezed in a trend continuation, there are a few hits you have to take and then there is a big pay off. As a general rule, the better the move will be the harder it is to position for. So early losses on this were all within the acceptable margin of error in this strategy (I think I also made setup errors, which was bad. I can do better on that). After we ran some more setups (that looked fully valid at time of execution), I noped out. Stopped selling, and waited to see what happened. Last time I remember being on the wrong side of such a fierce move of this form on GBPJPY was similar. Done well shorting, scalped some buys at a support, then reversed into the "correction" - and it went parabolic against me. I remember this well, because in the coming week there were news reports of the GBP having it's best day/week in a yeadecade (I forget specifics, but GBP was in the news for the rally). In the week after that, the high was made .... because that was when Brexit happened. What happened there, from a charting perspective, is we went into a 2 week corrective cycle and then started another impulsive wave. If this happens we may see something spectacular in GBPJPY in the near term. This may feature a record breaking rally (or at least strong one) into 145, and even 155 (current price 130). From there, we may start a new trend taking the market into the large chart forecasts of 89 and 61. I can retire if that happens. Absolutely. I'm going to plan, with various contingencies, for something like that possibly happening. In this post I''ll show what warnings signs we got over the last days as sellers. Where our main dangers will be as buyers. The levels as which we can be more sure buyers have won out in the short term, and also where the possible spikes low could come and how we'd trade them / what we'd do next. I'll use MT4 charting for this analysis, since it will require a lot of different fibs and patterns assessment, I find fibs on MT4 quicker to work with than cTrader.
The Big Gartley Pattern
So the first thing we want to establish is where the buyers are coming from. Double bottom is accurate, but a bit vague. If we look closer, we can see the daily chart pinging off the 61.8 and 76 fib levels. This would be consistent with a Gartley pattern, and this would be a bullish reversal pattern (If successful). We have a couple probable scenarios here. One is a big break and move lower, and the other is a persistent move up in a small time frame trending chart form. https://preview.redd.it/ycjwj3bsxmk31.png?width=806&format=png&auto=webp&s=94198bcff8cdf3e9b4cae306496bd91b5477a7f0 Let's look closer and see what the last days of trading have suggested to us about this. Here is the 1 hour chart around the 76 level. https://preview.redd.it/1c31uqv4qmk31.png?width=809&format=png&auto=webp&s=47df97d3f4f31238bacbb20282f8495399e01527 We've possibly formed the start of a second trend leg in the recent move up. Our best move here would be wait for a dip, buy into that and then run the trend upwards. We should see more strong moves like today, and these should be in nice structured form giving us easy entries and exits. This would be a good scenario for trading. If a spike out is to form from this level, we'd now have it in a clear butterfly pattern. So we'd look for a 1.61 extension of this swing giving us a projected low of 125 area. This would be a harder move to trade. We either have to keep selling into the resistance levels and risk multiple small losses, or wait for momentum downwards and use breakout strategies. I feel method one has failed this week. We can perhaps look more at method two in a close under 128 (which will not happen if we are to trend). https://preview.redd.it/djz31dxdrmk31.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=ce05f051a785177e7598e8c4f430224183366013 As buyers, the possibility of this take out low move is our main danger. We have to be aware this can happen and it will be a fast move if it does. Risk control is important.
For now I am going to work on trade plans for if price remains above 128.50 and indicates bullish momentum. I want to work on targets and then reversal areas. When we use the analysis above and consider we may be entering into big corrective leg, we can consider that this might be a 'ping swing' like move. https://preview.redd.it/s9fyuyhmsmk31.png?width=813&format=png&auto=webp&s=8aa69ac8b99bbd3874593a60fcf6e76b930be911 Remember the main characteristics of a ping swing. It's very strong. The move is parabolic. There's a spike out of major levels, and then there is an impulse leg. Weigh that against the price action I described the last time I seen the same setup on GBBPJPY running into Brexit. The market followed that same template of price movements, and then came down in spectacular fashion. This is where our main opportunity is, and this is where it seem the smart way to be betting is at this time. If the lows made here are taken out, we can look for positions around 125 to load up for this (a spike out and rally is still valid). In the immediate term, we can just buy dips. Use tight stops and get high RR if it runs up, have very small losses to the downside. A correction from 130.20 to 128.50 gives us a great buying opportunity to get started in this move (buying over 130 but under 130.60 I think is a bad trade. Better to wait) If we can establish a good buy position and see a ping swing move (which would be 2,000 pips - and GBPJPY can do this without many pullbacks, it's wild) the profit potential on this is enormous. Very small risks can be taken for extreme profits on the other end. If we do this and make good profits in the run up to that, we can then use a portion of these profits to position aggressively on the 61.8 spike out, and maybe have big positions in a decade long breakout to the downside in GBPJPY. Whether or not there is a spike out low, when buying our first target is 145.00. This is either buying from 128.50 or 125 if that trade does not work out. It would be very dangerous to sell if there is a spike out low into 125. Selling here could be brutal in the whip against you (as could selling in the leg we have but not getting out quick). For some perspective on this, GBPJPY went from 145 to 160 in only a couple strong trading days the last time we had conditions similar to this. The possibility of this, makes it a bad time to be a seller - horrible time to be a stubborn one. Wrap up. No buys 130 - 130.50. Possible buys if there is a break of this. Sells possible in this area, but risky. Not great RR. I'd not bother. Buy level 1 - 128.50. 143 could be swing target here. 128 major bear break area. Danger of fast move here. Cut buys. 125 if met in spike, big buying area. Target 143 and stop 123 (tighter with price action). 145 first major upside resis. If we break this, 155. Absolutely no selling into parabolic moves on GBPJPY at levels not mentioned here, isn't worth it.
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