Market View from Costa Rica

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Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

It seems like a lifetime ago since I last posted a blog in February. I’d made a lot of life-changing decisions since the start of the year. I left my amazing job; I travelled to many places; I finished the courses I needed to become a certified equities trader; I moved to Costa Rica where I now live with my spouse; and when I’m not working on my rusty Spanish or chilling on the beach, I’m trading for myself.

My life may seem as volatile as the market these last few months. I don’t view volatility as a bad thing, though. I feel that drastic changes force us to adapt and stay sharp. We should be in a better place by the time we make it to the other side.

I’ve been hearing from friends who are concerned about the market. It’s understandable. The bear market I’d been anticipating came hard and fast. As of yesterday, the Canadian market’s gains of 2018 and 2017 have been wiped out. My answer to my friends has been consistent: You can either get out now or you can hold on — either way, be ready for when the time comes to get back in.

I’m not new to market drops. I started to learn about stock trading in 2008. It was a good time to learn because I saw how bad things can get before they get better again. Each time fear and pessimism took over (in 2011 and 2015/2016), after the market freak-out, I eventually found bargains of some very solid stocks. And I learned from these times which stocks I really wanted to own in my portfolio for the long term. Should there be another 2009, I want to be ready to buy when there’s a recovery. My stock wish list is comparable to my Christmas wish lists as a kid: unrealistic but crazy optimistic that one day, it’ll all be mine!

My current outlook is a lot more short-term and I’m taking less risk by using fewer shares and making fewer trades. Some of my stocks I thought I would own for a long time, but I had to let go and bank on the gains while they were still there for me to take. I find myself sitting out more often on what normally would be great opportunities. Am I always right? Of course not. It’s just not the right market to jump on most opportunities. I feel that my best play is to think defensively and to be more hands-on by watching the prices of my stocks more closely than usual.

The US market is still above its lows from this year. If it takes that out and then eventually 2017’s lows, the move will cause more downward pressure on the Canadian market. To what extent, I’m not sure. I’ll be paying attention to the support levels of previous years.


My Stock Wish List

My wish list consists of mostly American stocks, some Canadian, and some ETFs. It’s likely to change and that’s fine, I have plenty of time to decide. I already own a few of these stocks, but I keep them on my wish list because I want to remember to buy more of their shares later on.

  • ADBE
  • AMZN
  • ADT.A.TO
  • AXP
  • BABA
  • COST
  • DIA
  • DIS
  • DOL.TO
  • FB
  • FDX
  • GOOGL
  • HD
  • JNJ
  • LULU
  • MA
  • MSFT
  • NFLX
  • NKE
  • QQQ
  • SBH
  • SBUX
  • SPY
  • TSLA
  • ULTA
  • V
  • WEED.TO
  • WTW
  • XIC.TO
  • XIU.TO

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Post #15

Actions taken the week of April 3
  • I deposited $150.00.
  • I bought 25 shares of TransAlta (ticker symbol TA.TO) for $7.63 per share. This cost me $190.75 + 0.25 cents in commission which makes it $191.00 altogether.

This leaves me with $21.90 in cash. Penny stocks, anyone?

I bought shares of TA because the monthly chart caught my eye. The daily chart displays a long consolidation that shows this stock has been trading in this price range since late November. I had been checking this stock out for a few months now. I never took action because I wanted to wait for a better setup on the monthly chart. The weekly chart is a little sloppy, but I’m not as concerned because of its strong monthly chart.

ta

TA price charts on freestockcharts.com


I’ll just mention that for my TFSA, I bought some shares of TransAlta Renewables (a subsidiary of TransAlta, ticker symbol RNW.TO) at $15.73. I feel like I was late to the party for this one. I just kept missing the good entries. Its price moves are around $2 in range (as you can see from the arrows on the chart below). This stock has already moved up $1.30 since its last selloff in early March. If this goes up from here, it’ll probably stall at around $16.50. We shall see.

I’m not thrilled about the monthly chart; however, the daily and weekly charts, volume action, and monthly dividends made me want in. I like subsequent consolidations because it shows a lot of consensus among investors in price areas just below my entry. This is what traders call ‘support’ because if the stock does fall below my entry point, it’ll likely land softly around the $15.00 area where a lot of people have been buying shares at since January. I’m counting on strength in numbers to hold this stock up.

rnw

RNW price charts on freestockcharts.com

The market was positive this week. If nothing out of the ordinary happens (politically/economically), the market will likely trickle up for the rest of the month.

 

The Transparent RRSP: Post #2

Actions Taken This Week of January 9th

  • Deposited $150 into the RRSP account which increases my principal to $1150

After buying 50 shares of ZPR at $10.86 per share, I have $456.50 left in the RRSP (I paid 0.50 cents in commission). With another $150, I give myself a better chance to buy enough shares of something else when the opportunity arrives. Having more money gives me the ability to diversify my portfolio.


For most of my working life, I mainly saved any extra money that my expected budget permitted. While this allowed me to contribute more than I normally would from time to time, it still fostered sporadic saving rather than regular savings that could’ve compounded nicely in my investments. There is power in consistency. 

When you’re consistent, you’re better able to determine where you’ll be headed in the future. If you can figure out your rate of return from year to year and factor in your regular contributions, you can see the actual potential of your financial growth. This where a goal is more likely to become a reality, rather than just exist in the back of your mind as a half-baked wish.

The first fundamental concept of investing refers to the compounding effect of your invested money + its previously earned interest = more interest on top of your growing money. I, too, wrote about it in my book because it’s the most basic concept of growth. Interest on growing money is going to be more than interest on a static amount money.

It gets complicated when you try to calculate the rate of return on your portfolio of investments. Ultimately, you want your portfolio at the end of the year to be worth more than it was at the beginning of the year and not just because you’ve been putting money into it. 

So if you put $3000 in three stocks. The best-case scenario would be for them to be worth more year after year so that should you have to sell them at any point, you will make money. You buy stocks to make more money on the sale of them. Never forget this.

Another reason to buy stocks is to make dividend income. For some people, this is their primary reason to buy stocks. It’s a very good reason because if you buy enough dividend-paying shares, you can live off that money. Or it can be reinvested in a DRIP to buy more shares or you can use the cash to buy other stocks.

HOWEVER, you must keep in mind that dividends aren’t a company’s obligation and not all companies pay one. If a company does, it can increase, reduce, or stop its dividend payments to investors if it makes financial sense for them. So, if a company is in trouble and over the years you bought many dividend-paying shares, you’re not only out of income, you face a big capital loss once you sell your shares.

A lot of people can’t get over the varying outcomes that stock investing offers. I mean, you might not make a profit and you might not get your dividends! The reason why I feel it’s important to regularly pump money into your investment account is so that you have capital to buy more than the three stocks in my example. You need to diversify. 

Not all stocks go up and down at the same time. Just because a stock price is less than the price you got it at doesn’t mean it’s in trouble – it’s normal for this to happen and sometimes it’s even healthy. It could take a while before it shines and becomes the star of your portfolio.The nice thing about a well-diversified portfolio is that as performances may be cyclical, over time they should all be going up in value. Having different stocks can smooth out the negative effects of underperformance, capital loss, or a stop on dividend payments.

Having said that, if you diversify too much and have too many stocks from all the sectors, it could start to look like the market. It’s a lot of trouble (and commissions) to diversify only to look like the market (or worse) when you could’ve just bought shares of an index ETF. Don’t over-diversify or else you can dilute the overall performance of your portfolio.

My takeaway point is that you invest your savings regularly so that you can afford to diversify.

I believe investing regularly, reinvesting your gains, plus diversifying your holdings lead to a growth effect that transcends the old compound interest model. With lower interest rates and the negative impact of inflation on your money and investments, you must start thinking about stocks and their ability to do more for you than anything else.