The Transparent RRSP: Market Fears

The Week of August 8
  • I left the RRSP account alone. I wanted to buy shares of Bombardier (BBD.B.TO), but I couldn’t find an entry. There might be an entry on Monday or Tuesday.

 

BBD vs XIC

Price charts: BBD.B vs. XIC on freestockcharts.com

As you can see in the top two charts, BBD.B has been more positive than the market (the two lower charts of XIC). If the market continues to head lower, I’ll either abandon the plan to buy shares of BBD.B or just wait until the market settles down.


Last Thursday, the markets collectively demonstrated anxiety over North Korea. There was a big market sell-off and most gold stocks went up. It’s hard to say at this point if this is a reaction temporary in nature, or if it will signify the beginning of more and more selling due to fear. I’m going to make it a point to pay closer attention to the news and to how the market trades over the next couple of weeks.

Last week, I put together a big watch list of stocks that had promising charts. After last Thursday, only a few of them still look okay:

  • L.TO (Wait another few weeks to a month for this to properly set up)
  • H.TO (I own shares of this stock already.)
  • EXE.TO (I own shares of this stock already.)
  • TCW.TO
  • D.UN.TO (This is a REIT.)
  • CNE.TO (Needs a better setup unless you’re into aggressive, riskier entries.)
  • LIF.TO

Until you know what’s going on with the market, I don’t recommend buying anything. These stocks would be worth looking at while also observing the market. Watch how these perform against the market or their sector. If resilient stocks start to show weakness, then it’s usually a good sign that a weaker market will become even weaker.

There are different ways to play defensive during uncertain times. You can buy gold or shares of gold stocks. You can also buy consumer staples stocks. You can buy nothing or you can sell all your stocks. Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of what you want for your portfolio long term and think strategically.

Since the late spring, I’ve been unloading shares of stock. I’m either selling portions of my positions or all of them to either collect profits or reduce my exposure to the market. I have still been buying shares here and there, but not as actively as I used to. This has nothing to do with North Korea. Rather, it’s more about the market, which has been pulling back since the end of April. Maybe eventually, it will have everything to do with a conflict with North Korea. Regardless of what happens, I’ll let the charts guide me, not my fear.

 

 

 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Summer Reading

The Week of July 17
  • I took no action for the RRSP.

Instead, all week I’ve been stewing and brewing over something I wrote two weeks ago:

This week, I was actually considering buying shares of APH.TO for the RRSP, but it’s not quite ready yet. I know this one is capable of developing really good patterns. Once I see the trading range tighten, the selling volume lessen, and a pattern improvement on the daily and weekly charts, then I’ll pick the price I’d like to enter at and I’ll put in an order. I’ll give it another couple of weeks. If it ends up going up while I’m waiting for these things to align, I won’t be too concerned if I miss the run. It will either set up again later or I’ll find something else.

So, APH had a major breakout three trading days after that post. The setup I was identifying actually happened – just a lot sooner. I took my eye off the ball. So, I went with my next play. Last week, I bought ECN at $4.03 with a strong feeling that it was going to take out a previous low of $3.87, which it did only three trading days after I put in my limit order.

 

APH ECN

Price charts for APH.TO and ECN.TO on freestockcharts.com

 

I was right both times. The problem is, I’m left frustrated, mainly because I missed the stock that had the bigger move. You know what’s worse than losing money for most traders?

  • Exiting a stock too soon and leaving money on the table;
  • Missing out on something you knew was going to happen;
  • Overcompensating for either of the above two reasons.

I actually shouldn’t be frustrated. Let’s say I never noticed APH at all. I would take that ECN trade any day and I’d be okay with it.

Trading Psychology

Trading psychology is actually a ‘thing.’ I once had a trading coach – an infinitely kind, generous, patient, uber positive day trader based out of Colorado. He was really into trading psychology and he consistently banged the drum on the importance of visualization, meditation, and forming a strong belief system supported by mindful practice. He got me reading Psycho Cybernetics and books by Tony Robbins, among many other things. This reading took me down a path of self-exploration deeper than any other self-improving attempt I’d made in the past. This was when trading had changed me.

I learned that most of what drives our decisions is conscious, but so much of what drives our actual actions is subconscious. A common action for traders is to right a wrong. When we lose, we become prone to overtrading or overcompensating for something we should’ve done instead. We try to make back what we lost or make what we should’ve made on something we ‘knew’ would work. The reality is, there is no certainty in markets and everybody knows this. Nor is there total certainty about anything in life.

I finished reading Market Wizards, a great book featuring interviews with top traders in the U.S. These traders all had their own unique strategies, their special recipes for success. What they had in common, however, led to their success: tested strategies, experience, persistence, the need to manage their losses, and learning to deal with the uncertainties of the market.

In this book was also an interview with Dr. Van K.Tharp, a psychologist who focuses on the psychology of trading. It was so fascinating to read about how this psychologist understands the thought process behind trading and has dedicated his work to helping traders get past mental and emotional road blocks in order to achieve their goals for success. Of course, I ordered one of his books from Amazon. I’ll be reading Super Trader – Make Consistent Profits in Good and Bad Markets over the next few weeks as I also read Edwin Lefevre’s Reminiscences of a Stock Operator.

Am I upset about missing the move on APH?  150% yes. Have I missed other amazing opportunities in the past? Yes, hundreds of times. Has that ever stopped me from making other decisions with good payoff? No. Will I miss other great opportunities in the future? Of course. Will I take other great opportunities in the future? You betcha.

The market will always be there. Opportunities will always present themselves. I will try to be ready for them, but I can’t catch them all. Learning and growing from these experiences is part of the fun and adventure of trading. I know I’ll get over this missed trade with APH. I hope that things work out with ECN and that I’ll have another few opportunities to buy more shares of it. One day, APH will present yet another opportunity and I will do my best to be ready.

 

The Transparent RRSP: Share Prices & Flash Crashes

Action taken the week of June 5
  • Bought 20 shares of TransAlta (TA.TO) for 7.74. This cost me $154.80 + 0.20 cents of commission. I now have 45 shares of TA. There is $16.90 in cash left in the RRSP account.

If you buy a stock at different times and at different prices, then it makes sense to figure out the average cost of the shares. The previous 25 shares of TA were purchased at $7.63 per share. I’ve worked it out below:

  • 25 shares * $7.63 = $190.75 + $0.25 commission = $191
  • 20 shares * $7.74 = $154.80 + $0.20 commission = $155
  • $191 + $155 = $346
  • $346 / 45 total shares = $7.69

This is also known as the adjusted cost base, or ACB. I use the share price of $7.69 to determine how much I make in profits (or losses) when I sell the shares at a different price later on.

If I want to determine just the average price of the shares, I can do the same thing, only I leave out the commission fees. It works out to be $7.68. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but that’s only because my commissions are extremely low.


Flash Crashes

Yesterday the Canadian market closed positive. We traded sideways all week. Not much action, which I prefer. The US market, mainly the NASDAQ, however, experienced a flash crash. I saw the charts and so I had to see what the news had to say about it. They explained that the mega-cap tech stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google – aka FAANG) were starting to sell off. They weren’t the only ones selling off hard before the crash. The semiconductor stocks (SMH is a semi-conductor ETF in case you’re interested in viewing its chart) were selling off heavily after noon. It had been a long while since the tech sector had shown any major weakness.

After hitting new highs this week, investors were starting to collect profits and play defence by unloading some shares to be less exposed to a sell-off. Well, if enough investors with large holdings (particularly institutional investors) get the same idea, this triggers a mass sell-off. These sales which began around noon triggered the automated trading programs to sell later on in the day, which led to an overall big sell-off in the market. This domino effect happens when giant stocks fall; sometimes even one giant stock can affect the general market. The NASDAQ market lost its last three weeks of gains in minutes. It recovered partially at the end.

I have shares in a few of these tech stocks and I was thinking this week, “Wow, I can’t believe it just keeps going up! When will it come to an end?” I had sold some shares to collect profits a few weeks ago; I was left with the disappointing feeling that I had acted a little too soon. However, I did so because I was anticipating this. (If you’ve been reading my blogs, then you know this isn’t hindsight commentary.) I’ve lived through enough flash crashes to know that I’d rather make my decisions away from such events, not in reaction to them. I still have some shares left in these stocks, but I’ll see how they do over the next couple of weeks.

The Canadian market came down a bit in reaction, but it came back and closed positively. These flashes tend to be more pronounced in the US markets. Because the US market is so big, a crash can affect the global markets if sustained recovery doesn’t follow.

It’s events like this that could deter people from wanting to ever invest in the market in the first place. These things can happen in any market, though, because people are prone to panic. Rather than cave into your feelings and react out of fear of the worst to come, it’s best to try to be objective: Observe the sentiment of other investors and see how your holdings are doing on the bigger time frames like the monthly charts. There is a good chance that your charts are still looking healthy. A correction here and there is to be expected as nothing ever goes straight up. All I can say to all that is to keep calm and let your stock carry on!

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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: Month-end Market Read

Action for the week of April 24
  • I transferred another $150.00 to the RRSP account’s current cash of $29.90, which will give me $179.90 for the month of May.

I also didn’t do anything for the RRSP last week (the week of April 17). I mainly sold more shares of other stocks in my TFSA. I was feeling exposed having so many stocks at a time that I feel the market is going to have a correction. The fact that I still have 28 stocks in this account is still a head-scratcher. I managed to make a decent profit on some of these, so I’m sitting on more cash than I have in a long while.


Marks

The XIC and SPY ETFs on freestockcharts.com

The Canadian Market

You can see on the XIC that the Canadian market has just been trading sideways. At the time of writing this, there still remains one more trading day this month. There is usually a lot of selling at around month-end mainly because funds are re-balancing their portfolios for cash to pay investors. So, it remains to be seen how we’ll close, but I don’t think it will be too far off from where we closed last month.

The Canadian market has been lagging the US market this year so far. It’s not a surprise. Check out the two bottom charts where I drew the circles. Upon quick visual inspection, you can see we covered way more distance in 2016 than the US market. We (our economy and our loonie) got beat up so badly from the underperformance of oil/energy in 2015, that we had so much room to climb up and recover. And that we did. Our sectors in energy, mining, and finance gave great performances.

Every good run needs a break to slow down and catch its breath. If I want to find out what is making the market do what it’s doing, or where the market could be heading, I will look at the major players. I’ll either check out the sector ETFs, or the biggest companies in the influencing sectors.

For this scenario, I’m keeping an eye on the banks, all of which are in the process of a correction. It could be just a bit of a selloff, or it could be a substantial selloff that will keep going until mid-late summer or fall. Now, don’t go on selling your dividend-paying bank stocks – I’m just saying keep an eye on them if you want to have a better gauge as to where the market is going.

I will suggest that if you’re interested in accumulating more shares in bank stocks, you might want to wait a while for the prices to come down more and have settled down for a bit before going up again. I am a huge fan of waiting for new buying opportunities and I will wait months, even years, to get into good stocks.

The US Market

I can’t invest or trade or think anything stock-related without looking at “the SPY,” the most popular American S&P 500 Index ETF. It’s more out of habit having used it so much for day trading than it is out of necessity. I look at it to get the feel for the market, its momentum, and its sentiment. It often is quite off from the actual S&P 500 Index, but it’s where the action is at. This is where I discovered the importance of monitoring trade volume.

I never look at the SPY without looking at the QQQ, the NASDAQ Index ETF. Plus, I never look at “the Qs” without looking at some of its big players/action stars: Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. I attribute the US market’s most recent run, not as much to its new president (but I’m sure he’ll take full credit for it, very true), but to the technology sector. I’m sure this would stir a lot of debate, but I’m speaking from an on-the-ground perspective because I own a few tech stocks.

The tech sector has been the leading sector over the last year, so it’s important to keep an eye on it along with its biggest stocks. You can watch the Qs and the tech ETF, XLK and the semiconductor ETF, SMH. When observing the big players in tech, look out for shifts in volume and ask is the buying volume is lessening? is the selling volume increasing? or whenever the prices drop, is there a lot of buying or just a little?

I would also be watching the US financial sector’s ETF, XLF. Like Canada’s, the US financial sector has been pulling back the last couple of months. If tech starts to come down along with the financials, then I’d expect a more prominent correction in the US market before more new buying opportunities start presenting themselves again.


This is my process and how I see the market. I’m always trying to find clues that indicate optimism (buying), euphoria (heavy buying with big price moves), panic (heavy selling with quick and large drops in price), pessimism (selling), or neutrality (lower volume, sideways trading).

I still hear over and over that timing the market is useless. I don’t look at it as ‘timing’ because it’s not a science, nor is it something you can accurately measure. It’s more about reading the market. Investors’ feelings and sentiment move the markets, not numbers. I hope that one day, more people will see it this way and learn how to invest with the flow.

 

 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Market Analysis

No action was taken the week of March 27

I have been busy looking for good picks. I found one, but it’s too expensive for the RRSP. If I had more money in this account, I would have bought shares of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE Inc., ticker symbol BCE.TO). Instead, I bought BCE for my TFSA. It had a nice setup of sideways trading starting from November with a tighter consolidation forming this week. It also pays a great dividend.

Bell is my service provider for internet connection. Thankfully, I don’t have the headache of dealing with them, JP does all of that. He has the patience and persistence required to get the service we need. This week he also managed to get our monthly rate reduced – yet again!

I’m not too concerned with how this stock moves in price as this is a pricier stock. If it goes up, then I’m glad I got some shares at a lower price when I did. If it goes down, then I’ll wait for a good time to take on more shares. Whether it goes up or down a lot in price, I will always wait for a setup before getting more shares. That’s just how I roll.


Now it’s time for some market analysis. I’ll use my favourite ETF, the XIC, to figure out what’s going on with the Canadian stock market.

xic

XIC stock charts on freestockcharts.com

1. The daily chart shows the market has been moving sideways for all of March. If you look at the trade volume, you can see that there has been a bit of a tug of war between buyers and sellers.

I believe this push and pull happens because people get nervous when the market feels a little toppy; as I said early on this month, it’s gone straight up for much too long. I wanted to finally see a bit of a pull back in the market because I expected people to be taking profits after a six-month run. I’d much rather take new positions after the market sanely resets itself than to follow a euphoric run that doesn’t stop or pause for air.

2. The weekly chart provides a cleaner and clearer view of March’s action. I like bigger time frames because they have less noise than smaller time frame charts. The candles on this chart cover a wider price range than previous candles. Wider candles mean more volatility and uncertainty. The volume week-to-week shows buying, selling, buying, selling, then more buying in this final week of March.

There could still be yet a further correction in early April. Whether this happens or not, what I’d like to see is the price range tightening up before the market goes up again. Tighter trading ranges typically mean greater consensus among investors. The volume week-to-week should also be mostly green to signify more buying is happening.

3. The monthly chart finally gave me the candlestick bar ‘pivot’ that I wanted. It went below February’s price low of $24.32 and down to $24.24 this week. I like pivots because they’re a more distinguished correction on a price chart. I like to think of them as a likely turning point. 

The arrow on the monthly chart points to a lot more trade volume this month than all the previous months. Interestingly, the last time it saw trade volume to this level was in March last year. This big volume bar is green, so there was mostly buying this month. Based on my rough observations in the market day-to-day, I saw a lot of accumulation action in the metals, particularly in gold.

___________________________________________

Will the market go down again? Yes, but I think it will in the summer. Historically, the market either stays where it’s at for April, or it goes up a bit more. This generally happens because of earnings season and it’s the investors’ final run at making profits before things slow down in the summer. Also, with all that buying this month, if gold makes a bullish run for it, this will also send the market up.

As the saying goes, “Sell in May and go away.” Something out of the ordinary will have to occur to break this typical cycle.

 

The Transparent RRSP: More Thoughts on the Market

I posted on Monday that I had bought another 16 shares of LFE.TO at $6.12. This cost me $97.92 + 0.16 of commission. I now have $60.90 of cash remaining in my account. This was at the same price I got the previous 24 shares of LFE.TO at, giving me 40 shares of this stock.

Currently, I’m not crazy about entering any new positions given the market. I would prefer it to have a more substantial correction before it resumes going up. My preference would be for the market to just slightly sell off below February’s lows. The market could just move sideways for the rest of March, which I’ll be satisfied with. If the market isn’t going to have a correction, then it at least needs to take a break from going straight up.

When the market is operating near a peak like this, I tend to find that stocks with great setups are merely shortlived opportunities in that they might only be in the profit zone for a few days – then people get scared at the slightest hint of a reversal and sell their positions to take their profits.

Another thing I find when the market is iffy: investors tend to gravitate towards stocks doing their own thing regardless of what the market is doing. That is the only reason why I bought more shares of LFE. I said earlier this month that I didn’t want to take any new positions for the RRSP until the market had a decent correction. This stock was resilient during some market weakness and looked like it was taking off.

When I am doing something that goes against my intentions, I have to ask myself, “If this stock takes off without me, will I be upset?” Some setups are dodgy enough that I wouldn’t have regret even if it works because I’ve learned that if I took such setups every time, I’d have consistently worse returns. The setup LFE was demonstrating is the kind you just can’t ignore.

Below is a comparison of the daily and weekly charts of LFE to one of my favourite market index ETFs to watch, the XIC. I also watch the actual TSX Composite Index, however, I prefer looking at the XIC because I get a better view of the trading volume in the market.

lfe

I haven’t lost sight of the increased amount of risk when taking trades in a market like this. I feel that LFE will trade on its own page for a while. Eventually, it’ll likely be more affected by the market. Hopefully, that happens when it’s at a much higher price!

 

The Transparent RRSP: A Quick Update

Action Taken the Week of March 13

It’s really hard to schedule my blog posts because it’s just as hard to schedule opportunities! I much prefer to write about the Transparent RRSP towards the end of the week after watching the markets for the week. I will do another post either this Thursday or Friday. I just really wanted to share this recent trade in case others might want to consider this opportunity.


 

 

LFE2

LFE charts on freestockcharts.com

 

After I first bought shares of LFE.TO, the stock went up only to come down again and consolidate longer. I loved how the range got tighter and held up beautifully – while the market during the same time came down. It always gets my attention when a stock holds stronger than the market. It’s now trading above all the previous prices in this consolidation. Could this be taking off?

The Transparent RRSP: The Investor’s Mindset

No Action Taken for the Week of March 6

Let’s have a gander at the charts for the stocks in the Transparent RRSP.

 

4 charts

Four weekly charts on freestockcharts.com

 

The charts for LFE and GRL still look good. LFE is particularly nice in that it held up strong yesterday, despite a big down day for the market.

ZPR could use a correction. I’d like it to either go sideways or have a tiny selloff (hopefully, no lower than the $11.00 area) before going up again.

LIQ got ‘wasted’ on their earnings report yesterday morning, but the fast drop was followed up by some serious buying. Seeing volatility like that can be a little thrilling (for me, at least). A shakeout like this is called capitulation. This is when sellers get out in large numbers due to panic. The stock dropped off the open and went up for the rest of the day.

Whenever a stock trades like this at an abnormal price range and trade volume, it attracts the attention of many: the media, scared investors, and traders who are watching for a potential buying opportunity. I’ve lived through enough earnings/news shakeouts – my biggest regret for most them was abandoning my positions. This is because usually after enough time passes, there was almost always a recovery. I’m going to hold on.

As I mentioned in last week’s RRSP post, the market is in need of a correction before investors can feel confident in taking new positions or adding to their current ones. Remember, I only just entered these positions in the last two months; when you buy a stock at a time when the market is nearing the end of its shorter-term trend, you can face a bit of turbulence while the market either levels out or has a bit of a selloff. I’ve said it before: selloffs are temporary and often short-lived. When the market resumes its uptrend, all you can do is hope that your stock either follows the market or will have started going up before the market gets going again.


The Investor’s Mindset

Investors feel confident when they’re right. If you buy a stock and it’s positive, then you feel like a top contender for Wall Street’s Got Talent. You look for more stocks to buy or you buy more shares of the same one. A rising stock within a rising market is positive feedback and confirms that you made the right call.

If you buy a stock and it’s negative and lower than the position you took, you start frantically looking for reasons that explain where you went wrong. There will always be reasons to support why you’re making money as well as why you’re losing money. The problem with human psychology is that we tend to focus on losses and failures more than our successes and long-term progress.

Losing something is often a traumatic experience for us. We withdraw and try to rationalize why it happened and what could’ve been done to prevent it in the first place. Just watch an athlete on a streak make one mistake. The athlete who recovers quickly and keeps at it like nothing happened conquered that hit on the ego by staying focussed on the goal of the game, not the hitch. (If you’re interested in this high-performance mindset stuff, read The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.)

This doesn’t mean I stick my head in the sand and ignore all the signs saying to cut my losses when I should. I just need more information that’s relevant to me and my plan. I didn’t become a good trader/investor until I truly accepted the ups and downs that come with trading. It has taken me years to get comfortable with that. I’ve read countless books on trading and psychology to see if I was missing something in my mental processes. What I realized was that I was denying myself the joys and rewards that come from being patient.

I discovered the importance of having plans for your trades. Writing it down helps to remind you of your original intentions. (I’m getting better at this. No more loose post-it notes!) If you start getting antsy, then review your plans to see if you’re still on track with your short and long-term expectations.

Have a plan, stick to it, learn from it, and get confident!