The Transparent RRSP: Stock Picks

Action taken the week of May 29
  • I deposited $150.00 into the RRSP account. There is now $169.90 of available cash in the account.

I’m still waiting to see if the Canadian market will have a more definitive correction than what it gave in May. It could set up over the next few weeks/months for a new run, but I doubt it. The monthly chart looks like the market is inching downward. I still would like to see the market come down to the same level it was at in mid-November.

With the lower trading volume during the summer months, I put less emphasis on the market (as long as it’s not making any extreme moves that invite concern or attention) and I pay more attention to individual stocks that are getting a lot of action. I might casually pad my trading accounts now and then with extra cash so that should opportunities present themselves, I’m ready to take action.


Some Stock Picks

I found some stocks with nice charts, some of which are seeing a lot of recent action in price moves and trade volume. These have been trading better than the market – which doesn’t say much.

  • BBD.B.TO – I don’t like that Bombardier has gone straight up the last two weeks, but it’s been stronger than the market. I would prefer a correction on the daily time frame. It’s worth watching as the weekly chart is promising with a breakaway candle that held strong with increasing volume. I’ve owned this stock since early February 2016 and I can tell you that it’s not much of a mover. This can be a good thing when this stock experiences volatility because it’s less of a shock to your portfolio (unless you have a lot of shares and took on too much risk). While the monthly chart is very nice, the yearly chart is not inspiring.
  • BTO.TO
  • HGU.TO (This is a gold ETF.)
  • TD.TO
  • MG.TO
  • RY.TO
  • NA.TO
  • TA.TO – This is already in the RRSP. I was beyond busy this week and I wish I had a chance to look at the chart earlier this week. Depending on what it does next week, I might buy more shares.

If you’re not inspired to take on any risk, you can just watch these over the next few weeks and months and see how they do with or without the market. If you do feel inspired to trade, I’d recommend taking on less risk and buying fewer shares. I only say this because I still think the market will correct further and this could take down your stock and it could be a while before it starts to improve.

As always, please keep in mind the industry, sector, the company and its fundamentals, any recent news, upcoming earnings announcements, the amount of risk you’re taking, how it fits within your portfolio, your anticipated time horizon, etc. It’s always important that you look into what you need to in order to feel confident in your investments.

The Transparent RRSP: Managing Doubts

Action taken the week of May 22
  • I reviewed my holdings in both my RRSP and TFSA. I am considering buying more shares of TransAlta Corp. (TA.TO) next week because I like the monthly chart.

A Glance at the Market

XIC may

The XIC ETF price history charts on freestockcharts.com

As you can see on the weekly chart, there has been mostly selling in May, which is consistent with the saying, “Sell in May and go away.” It would take more buying than all the selling that’s gone on all May for the market to trade above that. If the selling continues to consistently happen, even in small amounts, we’ll start to move lower.


When I’m in Doubt I Stay Out

I’ve been going over my portfolio and considering each stock that I bought and sold over the last year. First, I listed my primary and secondary financial goals for each one. If I had sold the stock or some of the shares, I made note of why I made the sale. Then I looked at the price history charts for each stock on my list and considered whether the stock’s performance was still in line with my intentions and goals.

Of course, my ultimate financial goal is to make money in any stock that I invest in. The major distinctions between each of them are determined by how I want to make money (dividends? capital gains? both?) and when (in the next few months? in a few years? in decades?). It was interesting to see how many of my holdings were initially intended for a swing trade after which I ended up wanting to keep them for much longer. This tends to be a pattern with me.

I’ll often buy a stock with this thought process: Let’s see how this performs. If it’s good, I’m keeping it. I might sell some and keep the rest. I might buy more the next time it has a good setup. If it’s a dud (a stock that sees zero action despite the market or its sector), then I’ll opt to sell it at break even or for a small profit and move on.

Selling at a loss is almost never an option for me. This only happens if, for whatever number of reasons, it becomes obvious beyond any doubt that the stock appears to be worth significantly less. I then have to ask myself if I’m willing to hold until that lower point and then wait for its recovery. If it does recover, at what price will it likely recover to before it goes up – or down – again? I rarely have to address the prospect of selling at a loss. This is not because I’m a decent stock picker. It’s because after years of trading, I saw that most of the stocks I sold at a loss ended up doing well weeks, months, or years after I bought them and sold them.

This basically means that it doesn’t matter if a stock has a good chart or not. It also doesn’t matter if you can time the market. More time in the market surpasses any well-timed entry. For a chart reader like myself, admitting this an act of hypocrisy! The price history chart is merely a tool that helps me understand the bigger picture.

Once I decide to invest, I rely on my ability to be patient. I believe strongly that patience is the key factor to growing a strong portfolio. Getting in and out of stocks frequently can really mess with your mind and potential to do really well. I learned that the biggest threat to patience is doubt. Doubt can be very powerful if you don’t trust the market, the world of investing, and yourself.

Whenever doubt starts to creep into my thoughts, I remind myself this: There is a finite amount of money and this puts a limit to the value that we place on things. Collective optimism makes things go up, but not forever. Collective pessimism leads to fear and this makes investors sell, but only until that fear exhausts itself. Humans are generally optimistic, and this is reflected in the overall market’s tendency to go up. I can’t always time everyone’s optimism or predict the end of all pessimism. If I get into a stock during its early signs of new optimism, it’s easier for me to exercise patience, even if it takes a while before market consensus helps the stock take off.

The main reason why I look at charts is because I can’t wait around until some analyst goes on TV to talk about a security that has been doing well already. While many investors might feel more confident in making investment decisions by waiting for an expert to give his or her opinion, it’s often too late for me at that point. I am more likely to act on doubtful thoughts if I know I got into a stock later rather than early on. I end up self-sabotaging my efforts by looking only for factors that confirm my doubts and fears. I’ve done this enough to know not to listen to such counter-productive thoughts. I’ve learned to trust my process and to stick with the strategies that give me the most confidence. Now, I only buy – and sell, even at a loss – when I’m confident in the factors contributing to the decision. I’m not afraid to make mistakes, but I don’t and won’t act on doubt.

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Just Watching

No action was taken the week of May 15 
  • I had been uneasy about the market all week, so my only play was to sit on my hands.

The last few months, I’ve been chipping away at making my trades easier to track, record, and analyze. This process was always interrupted by the market, attractive stock picks, sections of my portfolio that needed immediate attention, and addictive Netflix series. Each time I got back to where I left off, I found I disliked my method or format. You would think that after all these years, I’d have figured this out by now.

With summer coming, I expect the market to lighten up in volume and offer fewer opportunities. This means it’s a good time to get back on track with getting organized. I’ve been spring cleaning my house as well as all the portfolio information that I manage, making a bit of progress each day. It feels great to de-clutter my living space and streamline all the pertinent information for my trades. All I can do is keep at it until I’m in a place where I can function effectively on a consistent basis – and still watch my Netflix!


What a week! Here is my market analysis:
xic

The XIC ETF on freestockcharts.com

#1. The trade volume candlestick bars of April 24 and April 25 show an abnormal amount of buying.

With all that buying, there was such little price movement as you can see by the small size of the price candlestick bars. Big volume with little price movement often signifies a reversal. To trade beyond those prices would require even more buying. The following volume bars show that the market could not sustain so much buying. Another thing to note: we have not penetrated those prices since.

#2. What messy, volatile trading!

After April 25, there was more selling than buying. The candles show wider trading ranges, particularly the red bars, which depict heavier selling. I drew a square around this week alone to show you how, in such a short amount of time, the market can drop because of uncertainty, volatility, and buying fatigue.

On Wednesday (the day of that big red candle, third to last), the US market reacted to bad political news and this affected us (as well as many other markets). I believe that generally, markets are more prone to news when they’re already uncertain or weak. A strong market won’t be affected very much or will bounce back quickly. The following Thursday and Friday did show some buying. It will be interesting to see whether or not we can get back up to the previous trading ranges of the last two to three months.

#3. Lots of selling volume.

The trade volume over the last four weeks shows mostly selling. When you’re looking at longer time frames for longer-term buying opportunities, this situation is not tantalizing.

#4. First red monthly candle in almost a year!

We hit a new 2017 low with that one little day on Wednesday this week. What I like about the monthly chart is that it provides a bigger, clearer perspective.

The last time we saw significant selling volume was in June last year (remember the Brexit referendum?) and before that, the last major selling low was in January 2016. We’ve been going up for a year and a half. This new low is minor compared to the massive run we had. Way to go, Canada! If your portfolio didn’t do well last year, then maybe you should take a break from your advisor and consider buying a market index ETF – once it’s a good time to get in.


It will be interesting to see how we trade until the end of May. Whether we close positive or negative, this summer I would like to see a more substantial correction that comes down all the way back to where we were in November before going up again. For most folks – especially unrealistically optimistic people like me – this seems like a drastic thing to wish for. However, I believe that if you want a meaningful run in the market, you need a meaningful correction, not a one day sell-off like Wednesday’s.

I will be watching for how the US market impacts the Canadian market. The tech sector needs to take a break while the energy sector looks like it’s itching to make a run to the upside. I don’t think oil will ever trade back to its previous inflated levels, but I do think it will make a very short-term bullish move along with a short-lived rush in the gold sector. I don’t know if that would be enough to help the US market continue its upward trend. The Canadian market could still go down on its own, but it will to a greater degree if the US also makes a considerable correction.

 

The Transparent RRSP: Some Stock Picks

Actions taken the week of May 8
  • I think I bought 100 shares of Mariana Resources (MARL.V) for $1.70 per share.

This morning, I put in a limit order for the above values. I usually put in a market order which means buying a stock at whatever the market is currently selling the stock at.

When I perform a basic limit order, I put in the price I’m willing to buy a stock at. I like to think of it as this is the most I’m willing to pay per share for a stock, it’s my price limit. Limit orders can have different conditions going for it. My US margin account with Interactive Brokers lets me get a little creative with my orders. Today I put in a limit order because I have to go to work and can’t watch the market live.

If this order goes through, it will cost me $170.00 plus a commission fee of $1.00.

 

marl.v

Price history charts for MARL.V on freestockcharts.com

 

I don’t normally buy charts of stocks that gap up so much in price. Usually, gaps occur because of surprising news. If it’s good news and the stock gaps up, I don’t take action because it just committed a huge price move. Other investors who were in at a lower price will likely take some profits. Often, stocks that gap up go back down to where they started.

When you see a stock gap up, the best move to do is to watch and see how the stock holds. In this case, it held and consolidated for two weeks. The volume has remained intense compared to its previous trading volume. It’s been looking a lot better than the market.

This is a diversified mining company. Recently, the mining stocks are starting to heat up. So if the metals start to move, that will cause this one to take off too. I like this one because it’s been trading on its own page for a while now. I chose it for the RRSP because I think it would be a good hedge and it’s cheap. If it really starts to move in the right direction, I might treat half of it as a swing trade and choose to take profits if the charts indicate a big move is over. We shall see how it does.

This is one of those trades where a part of me says don’t do anything right now and another part of me says go with the momentum while it’s early. So I’m going for it. That is if my order actually gets executed!


I did a search and I have a few other stocks that might be interesting to check out. I’ll disclose that I already own some of these, but they came up in my search. I was happy to see that they were setting up for new entries.

  • Bombardier | BBD.B |$2.21
  • Encana | ECA | $15.56 – I’d watch this first. I think it needs to consolidate longer and shape up.
  • Timmins Gold | TMM | $0.63
  • Aritzia | ATZ | $15.99

Check these out, look at the charts, consider the sector, the company fundamentals, the stock price, etc. Ultimately, consider your risk tolerance and look into whatever you have to in order to feel confident in your investment.

The Transparent RRSP: Market Timing

Action Taken for the Week of February 28th
  • Deposited $150.00, giving me $150.48 of available cash in the RRSP.

At the time of writing, the net equity in my account is $1771.02. I’ve contributed $1750.00 in total to the RRSP. I’m up $21.01 so far. $2.10 of that is from a ZPR dividend payment received in early February.


The Canadian market has gone up six months straight. The U.S. market has gone up four months straight. On top of that, the trading volume has declined – a sign of the market running out of the steam needed to keep going straight up. There is nothing I would love more than for the market to have a little correction – that is, a little selloff – before going up again for another leg. I would feel more confident in making a new trade if this happened.

 

tsx

The S&P TSX Capped Composite Index Fund ETF chart on freestockcharts.com

 

 

spy

The S&P 500 ETF Trust chart on freestockcharts.com

 

Market timing means timing your trade entries and exits with the stock market moves. It’s more of a shorter-term strategy. When the market is on its way up, you buy. When it begins its move down, you sell.

A lot of people rag on market timing and its futility. I don’t blame them. It’s not easy to estimate and it’s impossible to be right and exact all the time. On CNBC, the analysts and traders always goad each other into making short and long-term predictions and when one is right over the other, they really rub it in! It’s pretty entertaining. It doesn’t really matter because, in the long run (we’re talking years), the stock market generally goes up as it has historically for decades upon decades. Why is this so?

Investors, by nature, are optimistic. You invest because you believe there’s a decent chance you’re going to make money. When optimism shifts to pessimism (due to recessions, world events, interest rate hikes, etc.), investors sell to take their profits or reduce their exposure during a downturn, or as in my case, hold off on making new investments.

So what happens if your market timing is off? Well, if you bought at the height of action before a turnaround, you’ll just have to wait until you’re back in the positive. No matter what, don’t panic. These downturns are more temporary in nature.

There are ways to be impacted less by market timing. The general goal is that over the course of your life as an investor, you’re accumulating assets and creating a diverse portfolio. If your portfolio is diverse enough, a part of it should be performing better than the other part of it during a market dip. When the market is strong again, most of your assets should be doing well. Then, you’ll eventually get rid of the ones that don’t meet your minimum expectations regardless the market and sector. After years go by, you’ll be beyond caring about market timing as most sound securities pass the test of time and should increase in value.

Why do I care about market timing? I simply prefer to take positions at the start of the uptrend. I learned to look for signs that a trend might be tiring out and if I do enter a trade, it’s with fewer shares and moderate expectations. I watch the market enough that I’m able to pay attention to where I’m positioning myself within the trend (at the beginning, mid-trend, near a top).

Before taking another position for the RRSP, I’m going to hold off until later in the month to see if there will be a correction, or if the market will take a bit of a breather that will be more apparent on the shorter time frame of the weekly chart. The only way I’d break this commitment is if I saw a perfect setup (to-die-for charts on all time frames, volume action, sector making a new move, and the market had sold off, yet the stock wasn’t affected).

This is actually a good time to look for stocks in the middle of setting up. That way, I’ll be ready with options when the timing is better.

 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Post #8

Actions Taken the Week of February 20th
  • Bought 24 shares of Canadian Life Companies Split Corp. (ticker symbol: LFE.TO) at $6.12 per share on Wednesday, February 22.
  • This cost me $146.88 plus 0.24 cents of commission.

I had S147.60 left in the RRSP so I couldn’t afford to buy 25 shares, which would have made it a better bundle to manage. When you buy shares in ‘odd lots’ (not by the 100s), you sometimes run the risk of your order not all getting filled at the very price you want; or if you pay higher commissions per transaction, you will get better value for your trade costs when you buy in round lots of 100 shares, 200 shares, 300 shares, etc.

Times like this make me feel like a teenager who spent the rest of her allowance too quickly (only here I didn’t blow it all on bubble gum and nail polish). I now have 0.48 cents left in my RRSP, which means it’s definitely due for a re-up. To stay true to my commitment of regular monthly contributions, I will deposit another $150 at the beginning of March.


I found this stock when I was perusing the ‘Canadian Common Stocks’ tab on freestockcharts.com on Wednesday morning.

lfe

LFE.TO on freestockcharts.com

 

Even though the monthly chart wasn’t my ideal setup, the daily chart was too nice to pass up. When you see a three-month long consolidation with that kind of volume action, you pay attention. This could still consolidate longer, which means I might have to sit uncomfortably for a while, but if this continues to tighten up, I will buy more either in my RRSP (when I’m better funded) or my TFSA – or both.

Also, this investment company is a portfolio of four major life insurance companies, so if you can’t afford to buy shares of those individual companies, you can of this one and receive a nice monthly dividend to boot!


Don’t forget the RRSP deadline of March 1, 2017!

Claim your RRSP deductions and get a bigger tax return!

And when you get your tax return, invest it!

The Transparent RRSP: Post #7

Actions Taken the Week of February 13th
  • Bought 50 shares of Global Real Estate Dividend Growers (ticker: GRL.TO) at $7.74 per share on February 14th
  • This cost me $387.00 plus 0.50 cents commission

I now have $147.60 remaining in my RRSP left to invest. If I don’t find anything cheap enough to invest in, I’ll probably wait until my next regular deposit of $150 in the first week of March before I can afford to buy another stock.


 

grl

GRL’s Price History Chart on freestockcharts.com

 

I personally like the newness of this stock. The lowest it’s ever been is $7.30, so buying it 0.44 cents above that seemed like a good deal to me, especially if it goes up from here. It’s possible this can still go down to the $5 area. Stocks tend to test major price points of $5 multiples. If this doesn’t go down, then the first target area would be around $10 where there’ll be some profit-taking and then some more buying before going up even more.

I really liked this chart; although I will admit that my entry was aggressive and possibly premature. What I’d love to see this stock do is continue to trade in the $7.50 to $8.00 range. If this consolidates for another month or two in this area, you can bet I’ll be buying more shares before it breaks out. What’s also great is that this stock pays a monthly dividend of 0.05 cents per share.

Earnings Seasons for Stocks

There are a few things that can rock the stock market positively or negatively: a major world event, a major company gets caught up in a scandal, election results, or company earnings.

Four times a year, publicly traded companies announce their quarterly earnings results. Some companies (like Apple) are such sector and market giants that their earnings will affect the whole sector – and sometimes entire market.

Earnings season definitely adds an element of uncertainty. If a stock you’re interested in buying is scheduled to report its earnings, buying it beforehand could work for or against you in a big way. Suddenly it feels like you’re placing a bet instead of making an investment.

It’s great if it gaps up in price. Your portfolio will glow thanks to this stock’s incredible move. You’re an amazing investor and have become unstoppable at picking stocks. It’s in your destiny to be the sage investment advisor among your peers.

If the stock gaps down, the feeling is the complete opposite. You’ll be spending your time looking into why the company had good earnings, yet it still came down hard in price. What horrible luck were you just cursed with?

Financial analysts are always trying to predict the earnings results of major companies. What happens then is that traders start to take their positions and buy shares in anticipation of the price going up in a big way. When the actual earnings report comes out, if the predictions were correct, the price usually goes up by a lot because other investors who were waiting on the sidelines are now acting on the correct information. If the predictions are off by a lot, it can send the share price down – even if the company had a better quarterly earnings report than the analysts predicted.

This doesn’t seem to make sense until you start thinking about the psychology behind pricing. There is one thing you should never lose sight of: Stocks move in price based on investors’ perceptions. Analyst predictions are important because they shape people’s perceptions on what they think is a fair price for shares. So, even if the earnings are predicted to be weak earnings, investors can decide on what is a fair share price based on those predictions. People like predictability, even if the information isn’t always good. We don’t like unpredictability because it increases uncertainty. The root of risk lies in uncertainty. 

If you’re planning on buying a stock that has yet to report its quarterly earnings, you can either wait until after its earnings report comes out, or just buy a fewer number of shares to lower your exposure to risk. Sometimes, after an earnings report, the share price stays the same. If it’s higher or lower in price by a significant amount, then I recommend waiting until it settles down before buying more shares. Any big move will trigger a lot of action before it gets quiet again. The trading volume will eventually go down and the daily price ranges will go back to being average. Refer to any of my lessons on price consolidations under the category, “How I Find and Pick Stocks.”

If you own a stock for a while, you’ll know that the big ups and downs from earnings come and go like the seasons of the year – it does happen four times a year, after all! You need to recognize that you buy a stock for more than just its quarterly reports. You invested in the company because you like its product or service, its sector, its dividend, and hopefully, the low price you got it at (thanks to all the techniques I’ve been trying to teach you!).

The Transparent RRSP: Post #1

My Objectives for the Transparent RRSP:

  1. To teach and encourage people new to stock investing; and
  2. To make this account grow through regular contributions, market value, and investment income.

My Feelings About the Transparent RRSP:

Nervous and excited! You can buy a stock and be under water for a long time only to have it reverse and become your portfolio’s darling for a long time thereafter. Conversely, you can buy a stock and only ever see grow, grow, and grow in share price. I don’t know what to expect performance-wise, but my plan is to be prudent, strategic, and aware of a new stock investor’s perspective.

Actions Taken So Far:

  • Contributed $1000 to my RRSP through my discount brokerage, Virtual Brokers
  • Bought 50 shares of ZPR at $10.86

Some Points on the RRSP

Here are the main advantages of having an RRSP as long as you keep the money in the plan:

  • RRSP contributions may be deducted from your income to reduce taxation
  • Gains from the investments in your RRSP are not taxed

A big reason why I like RRSPs as a starting point is that contributing more means you can have a bigger tax return later. Why? Not so that you can go shopping with your return. My philosophy has always been to invest the tax return on top of what you have to contribute. Compound, compound, compound!

In my opinion, compounding savings + investing is the most crucial strategy you can employ as an investor who is starting out. I stress the importance of budgeting so that you’re able to contribute as much of your cash early on in your time horizon. A strong head start leads to an even stronger finish. 

Only when you make withdrawals from the plan will you be taxed on the income you used to contribute to the RRSP, plus any of the gains from trade profits and investment income. For this reason, I have a long-term outlook for my RRSP. I invest more aggressively with a shorter-term outlook for my TFSA because I want to have an account that I can withdraw from to ‘pay myself’ without getting taxed.

There are a lot of other advantageous features of the RRSP, such as the Home Buyers’ Plan, the Lifelong Learning Plan, and the Spousal RRSP. I get into these a bit in my book. There are a lot more ways you can juke and jive with your RRSP’s many features to really maximize the tax deductions and tax deferrals. But first, let’s invest in it!


Trade #1 for the Transparent RRSP

Today I bought 50 shares of an ETF called ZPR, the BMO Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF. I already own this in my TFSA and it’s one of those stocks I will buy over and over again because it’s very affordable and pays a monthly dividend. Affordable income-generating shares = the more shares I can buy, the more income I get! I have a feeling ZPR and I are going to grow old together. There are a lot of other comparable ETFs out there, but this one so far meets my own personal preferences of trading volume and price.

I don’t expect it to move like crazy in share price, but a considerable amount of its holdings are in Enbridge and financials which means it could have a good run if oil and the banks do.

50 shares at $10.86 = $543. My commission is a penny per share* so I paid 0.50 cents in commission. Today I paid $543.50 altogether, leaving me with $456.50 to invest. I didn’t want to use up all of my 1K in case something else comes up that I cannot pass up, like a great cheap stock or maybe a better ETF. I get paid this week, so for the sake of compounding, I’ll add more to this account.


*Not all my trades are a penny per share. Some of them are less, depending on the share price. Additionally, once every quarter, I have to do a trade at the full price of $6.50+ so that I don’t get charged an inactivity fee of $24.95 plus tax. My commission structure with Virtual Brokers is an old one from years ago and until now, I’ve been quite happy with these guys. I think the commissions and structure are quite different now, but are still inexpensive. Virtual isn’t paying me to write this either. Do your research on discount brokerage accounts and select the one that best suits the likely frequency of your trades.

20170104_162330

A VB freebie from the Moneyshow!