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Insiders Club Trading Course Part 4 Bookmark

The “Other white Meat”

Okay folks, pull up your chair because I’m going to get crazy on you. In my personal investing lifetime the single best year I ever had, was being “short” the market. I find it stunning that to this day, the “average” person just doesn’t

The “Other white Meat”

Okay folks, pull up your chair because I’m going to get crazy on you. In my personal investing lifetime the single best year I ever had, was being “short” the market. I find it stunning that to this day, the “average” person just doesn’t utilize shorts and option puts to capture market moves on the down side. It’s criminal I tell ya.

GET OVER IT. There is no stigma in being short. You’re not Anti American, you’re not “unpatriotic” you’re playing the other side of the coin. No more, no less. So, since stocks fall faster than they rise, and EVERY stock will fall at some point in its cycles, doesn’t it make sense to be short when the time is right? You bet it does, so pay close attention to this next part.

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WHAT EXACTLY IS “GOING SHORT?”

You will have the ability (once you open your brokerage account) to sell a stock you don't even own, and the money for the sale will show up in your account. What's this, you say? Sell something I don't even own? Yes, and here is how it works: Suppose you think the XYZ company is going to fall like a rock today. You can literally call your broker and say, "I would like to sell 300 shares of XYZ short” and the broker will then place an order to sell 300 shares of XYZ. Let us assume XYZ is selling for 50 dollars per share. What is happening is that the broker will "lend" you the 300 shares of XYZ to sell. So in a few moments you find out that you have just gotten 15,000 dollars in your account. Now if you are correct and XYZ does indeed fall, you simply buy it back on the open market and give it back to the broker who loaned it to you. This is called covering your short.

So now let us assume XYZ fell to 46 dollars over the course of a few days. You buy it back at 46 and the difference between what you sold it at (50) and what you replaced it at (46) is your profit. This is a very handy tool and is the sole reason that we as traders can make money whether the market is going up OR down. The key of course is being right on your assumption that XYZ is going to fall, or you will end up having to buy it higher than you sold it for the purpose of replacing it with your broker.

Okay folks, did you catch that? Did you really understand what we’re doing here? It’s EASY to go short. It’s OKAY to go short. Finally, I want you to completely ignore the tired old cliché that only pro’s and “advanced traders” should go short. What a bunch of hooey that is. So, why the scare tactic and is there anything to it? Let me explain it so you understand it really simple.

In the example I gave you above, you thought XYZ was going to fall. You thought maybe the whole market was going to fall and XYZ was over extended anyway. So, you LITERALLY borrowed shares of XYZ and sold it on the open market. In our example, we sold 300 shares of stock we did NOT own. We borrowed it. So what does that mean? It means that at “some” point it’s going to have to be returned. Just remember that. You borrowed it and you’re going to have to give it back.

So, we sold it at 50. We were right, XYZ did fall and we “covered” meaning we simply pushed the “buy now” button on our platform at 46.00. The second we bought XYZ at 46.00, the shares were instantly electronically placed back into the brokerages account where you had borrowed them. But…and here’s the cool part…you get to keep the 4 dollars per share, which was of course the difference between where you sold it at (50) and where you bought it back to give back to the brokerage ( 46). The four bucks is your profit.

Okay, so why all the stern warnings about “don’t short unless you are advanced” Okay…here’s the big scare. If you buy a stock “long” as in a normal buy where you think the stock is going to go up...and it doesn’t, it goes down…there is a limit to how much it can go down and how much you can lose. For instance if you buy ABC at 50 bucks, the company goes belly up, the stock can go to zero. Yes it can. So you’d be out 50 dollars times the amount of shares you bought. Ouch yes, but at least you knew the risk.

But.. THEORETICALLY stocks can go up for ever. So let’s say you short ABC at 50 and it goes up and up and up. At 100 it does a split, and then it goes back to rising and rising and rising. You still have to “replace” the stock you borrowed from your broker. So if you sold it at 50 and now it’s 700 dollars a share, you’re going to have to buy it at 700 to give back to the broker. OUCH. That would be BAD. So, what’s the key? Like any trade, Risk management. If you short something and instead of falling it’s going up…you Cover your short ( buy it back) and take your SMALL loss. Period. No more riskier than that.

Again let’s do an example. I think ABCD is going to fall. I short it at 50.00. Ten days later it’s at 54 and still moving up. OOOPS. I goofed. I made a bad trade. I “buy it back” (cover my short) and take my 4 dollar a share loss and move on.

So, yeah if you think you can just toss a short out there and forget it for ten years, no… you’re going to get hurt. But if you’re relatively active and check your positions once in a while, going short is just another tool we use and frankly it has the ability to put serious cash in your account quickly.

As I’m writing this, Ben Bernanke is literally “pushing” the market higher. Each and any attempt to short things has been a losing trade as no matter how bad the economic news, the market just goes up. This will stop folks.

In 2007 the DOW hit 14,000 in November. Knowing the disasters that were lurking because of the housing market and the fact I “knew” the banking industry was about ready to implode, we went short the financial sector, individual stocks, and even the averages themselves. I’d like to say I was smart enough to “get it all” as the DOW crashed from 14K down to 6600 but I didn’t. I did however make 40 and 50 dollars per share on some of our short positions, and we did it in 9 months.

So, being short is part of this game, and here’s all you really need to know.

Each brokerage has an inventory of shares that are available to sell short. On big stocks like MSFT, INTC, CAT, MMM etc etc, they might have hundreds of thousands of shares, while on small little known stocks they might not have any, or a limited amount. On your trading platform, depending on who you use for a broker, they will have a daily list of shortable stocks, or at “least” when you load up your order to short, it will say “shortable” or “shares available to short”.

So how do you do it? You simply look at your platform for the language that says “sell XYZ short”. Put in the amount of shares you want to sell short, and hit the button. Instantly the shares will sell on the open market, and the money from selling the shares will hit your account. So, if you sell 500 shares of XYZ short, and XYZ is selling at 10.00 per share… in an instant, 5,000 dollars will show up in your trading account.

Now if you’re right and XYZ falls to 7 dollars, you might “cover” which simply means “set your platform up to buy 500 shares of XYZ”. NOTE> some brokerage platforms actually have an area that says “you hold 500 shares of XYZ short” and right next to it a button that says “COVER”.

The second you “cover” or simply buy XYZ on the open market, the short is now canceled. You borrowed some at 10 bucks, and gave it back to the broker at 7 bucks. The 3 dollars in the middle is your profit.

Many people say “why would the broker loan you stock at ten bucks and then take it back at 7??? Is he nuts?” Nope. See the broker doesn’t own the stock either!! No kidding.

At any brokerage there are people that have bought thousands of shares of MSFT. Or thousands of shares of Cat or thousands of shares of What ever and they sit on them. So, the brokerage might have 12000 customers that own over a million shares of MSFT sitting in their accounts. The broker actually loans YOU the shares from all that inventory sitting on his books. The broker doesn’t care that you borrowed it at 10 and gave it back at 7. All he cares about is he’s going to get his 10 or 15 dollar commission for doing the trade.

So, when do we go short? When it’s clear a trend has changed. Go back to my salmon analogy. We do NOT swim against the tide folks. Salmon do it and then they die. No thanks. We want to go long on a market that is flat to rising; we want to be short when it’s falling. So, when we see the trend change, when the market plunges below it’s 50 and 200 day moving averages, when the advance/decline line starts showing more stocks falling every day than advancing, all these things indicate a change in the wind. A time to consider “going short”.

Now granted there’s really short term trades that you can “short” almost daily. You’ve all seen the market do it’s “gap” thing, right? The next little "gem" that you have to be aware of is something called a GAP UP or a GAP DOWN opening. This can be either the best thing you have ever seen, or a horrible nightmare depending on which one you get! Here is the deal:

Let's suppose you bought XYZ for your 50 dollars, and at the end of the day you pull up your screen and, "Yup, XYZ went up to 53 today." You are thrilled. Now tomorrow morning comes and HOLY COW--XYZ is opening at 54.50! What happened? That is called a Gap Up, and what happened is that the market makers still trade on systems called Instinet, Arca, and a hundred others after hours. Whatever it was that made XYZ rise during the previous day continued into the evening. Maybe it was more good news. Maybe it was fraud. Who knows. So while you were asleep, your stock was going up. That's good, but of course it can work in reverse, and you could awaken to see XYZ opening at 45. What's worse is that stop loss orders won't do a thing against gaps. Sure, your order will fire off in the morning, but you just lost 5 dollars a share!! That is the most dangerous thing about the market bar none, and every good trader has lived through it. Frankly gap up and down opens should be criminal and prosecuted. Instead it’s business as usual in marketland. That is why true "day" traders will sell before the close every day, because no one knows what might happen during the night

In any event, a really good time to use shorts is what we call “FADE the GAP”. Let’s suppose in the pre market, the futures are rising and rising. There are all kinds of excitement, but no one really knows why the futures are indicating such a big open, but they are. So, at 9:30 we see the market open up 100 points and then start moving higher. But by 9:50 things are slowing down. At that point, a wise “quick trade” is to short a stock that’s made a “stupid big” gap up move. Because almost like clockwork “some” of that bloom is going to come off the rose and it’s going to fade down.

Let’s suppose ABCD closed the night before at 50.10. Then because of the big futures and who knows what else it opens at 53 and runs to 53.75 by 9:50 am. So, you hit the “sell 500 shares of ABCD short”. Now the market enters its first morning pause and does pull back. In a matter of moments, ABCD falls back from 53.75 to 51.50. You cover the short and bingo; you’ve picked up 2.25 a share in probably 15 minutes. Don’t laugh folks, most serious daytraders specialize in fading gaps.

Look at this chart of MEE. The Heavy black smudge is where it ended the day before…see, this is a five minute One day chart….

As you can see it gapped up big, ran even higher, and then rolled right over. If you had shorted it at about the 9:50 high, by 10:30 you would have put about 1.50 in your account. It gapped and faded, and you shorted it.

This is a common play folks and one you should learn. We don’t do it in the Insiders Club much because of the time lags. Our communications with the subscribers isn’t real time, so by the time I shorted it, then went and wrote and email, got it sent, etc, you’d be getting the notice about the time I already covered it. Just know that there are daily fortunes to be made from fading gaps.

Oh and by the way, obviously that works the other way too. If the futures are down huge, and the market is going to open 100+ points lower than it ended the previous day, going “long the bounce” is a wise move. Even if the day is going to be lousy and the market is going to fall more, there’s almost always a playable “bounce” after the initial down open and subsequent fall. Usually just like fading a gap up, the time to attempt it is in the 9:45 to 9:50 area.

So to get back on track, shorting is normal, it’s useful and you have to do it to increase your incomes. When the financials were melting down in 2008, it felt good being short BAC as it fell and fell and fell and fell. When we covered, we were up 47 dollars per share; I just wish I’d have shorted 5000 instead of 1K.

So going forward, if you’re a member of the Insiders club and you see me going short, you can rest assured I think a trend has changed and it’s time to see if we can make money on the short side.

The Next thing I want to talk about is “stops” and boy this is the biggest pain in the butt we will have explored to date.

 

STOPS…can’t live with em, can’t live without em.

Okay in its basic form, what’s a stop? A "stop loss order." This is where you tell the broker that you want to attach a stop loss order on your stock and it works like a guard for you when you are away from the market. No one picks winning trades every time, and you will not be the first. That means that you are going to buy a stock that not only doesn't rise for you, it sinks like a stone!! If you are watching it happen you can hop on line and SELLLLL!!!!!! But what if you are out on the lake with your kids? A stop loss will save you from a horrible shock by selling your stock for you at a pre determined loss point. Suppose you bought XYZ with the concept that it was going to fly, but one hour after you bought the stock they released news that their Asian unit just went bankrupt? The stock would fall like the proverbial rock, so to protect yourself we recommend using stop orders.

Now the question arises…. Where do you place the stop? Place it too close to where the stock is trading and an intra day wiggle will stop you out. Place it too low and you’ll lose too much before it fires.

I’ve read the guru’s. All of them. I’ve heard about setting it at 7%, I’ve heard of picking a dollar amount, I’ve heard all the arguments. NONE OF THEM WORK ALL THE TIME. NONE. So, what does work?

The best approach I have ever found is this….

Every stock has a “wiggle factor”. That’s pretty much the difference between the high and the low it will trade on any one day. For some stocks, they might only wiggle 45 cents a day on low volume. For some, like a high flying BIDU or AAPL, they can wiggle two dollars a day.

The thing that seems to work best is to go back about 15 days and take an average of the wiggles it makes each day. Let’s suppose you find that ABCD commonly wiggles 90 cents to 1.30 a day. A good approach would be to set your stop just below that “big wiggle”. Maybe on this stock I’d set it 1.40 lower than it is presently priced.

That’s the single best thing I’ve ever been able to find and frankly it doesn’t always work folks. I’ve been stopped when I didn’t think I would many times. Get over it, it’s part of “doing business” in the market. My point is, you can’t leave a stock with No stop, or one day you come home and it’s trading down 6 bucks on you. But if you get it too tight, you’re going to get hit, only to see the stupid thing continue back up and onto going green. Swell. There is nothing you can do.

My best suggestion is to try the daily swing average and use that. It’s not perfect but in 20 years of doing this, I’ve found nothing better.

 

Now the one variant of this is called the "trailing stop" and we use it a lot.

Let's suppose you buy XYZ at 50 bucks. You put a stop on it at 49 just for good measure. Well, the first day XYZ gains 25 cents. Nice. The next day it's flat. Okay. The next day it's up 75 cents. Nice. The next day 30 cents. Then it dips a day. Then right back up another dollar. Soon you see that in a few short days, XYZ is now at 54 dollars. Do you still want that stop all the way back at 49? What if the trend collapses and it starts to fall back?? Do you want to give up 4 dollars of profit? NO YOU DON"T

So, what we do is "move the stop up" as the stock is rising. So, when XYZ got to 51, maybe we move the stop from a "loss" at 49 to our entry at 50. Then as it got to 52.50, we inch the stop up to 51. Then as it got to 54.00 we move the stop to 52.75. As you can see, we are "trailing it" higher. The purpose of course is that when the trend reverses, or the stock takes a hit, yes you'll get stopped out.. but you'll have stopped out WITH a profit.

We are in this game for profits folks. Yes it's grand to let a stock run 20,30 points. It's a mind rush. But.. sometimes for that to happen you have to set a stop so low that at times you'll erase 5 or 6 dollars worth of profit, before it resumes higher. If I couldn't pay attention to the market at least every other dya or so, I might have to live with that. But, being an investor, where I can watch every day if I'd like, I'd rather just trail my stops higher. If I get hit, that's fine, I can always re enter the stock when it resumes it's uptrend.

In the Insiders Club you will always see me use trailing stops. Usually I set them a tad too tight and I get stopped out on wiggles that I shouldn't have stopped on. It's a character flaw for sure. Yet I'm comfortable with it. The bottom line however is that you can't let days and days of profits completely evaporate, because frankly you will NEVER know when the trend will end and it will not be a correction, it will be a roll over and all your profits will disappear.

Follow the stock up with trailing stops. Use them loosely, but please use them.

 

How We Set Up a Day

Okay, so you've got a trading platform, you've funded it, and basically you're ready to "start trading". Good for you, so let's just take a peek at how WE do it at IY. Now granted it might not be how everyone does it, but it works very well for us, so let's get started....

As we said, the idea is to look at the global "big picture" and then look at all the little pictures inside it. As I'm typing this, the money presses are still on, and commodity inflation is still raging. Meanwhile tons of Benji Bucks are sloshing around Wall street looking for a home. In general the trend ( again, no matter when you're reading this, right now it's January) has been for them to buy commods, and techs. With that in mind, we're in a wicked winter, and "heat" is important. So we'd connect the dots and look at coal first.

So what we want to do is dig around and find out..
Who's the best coal company?
Who else is in the space?

Who's the best steel company
Who else is in the space

Who's the best materials company
Who else is in the space

Who's the best tech companies
Who else could be in the space


So let's start with coal, just for somewhere to start. You can go to yahoo finance, or google "coal stocks" or go to bullsector.com and look under the heading for coal.

We know that BTU, MEE, PCX, CLF, are leaders in coal, but as you can see from the results in bullsector.com, there are other players...
ACI ANR ARLP BHP BRCO.PK BTU CNX FCL HW MEE WLB YZC. Then we consider the ancillary plays. To get to the coal, you need diggers, and trucks, and rail lines etc.

What we do quickly is go to bigcharts.com or stockcharts.com and literally open each one of these. Now, what we're looking for is this.. a good company, with a chart that suggests a challenge of a resistance level. So, take a look at this chart...





On November 9, the uptrend ran out of gas and on the tenth it pulled back. On the 11th it tried to get moving again, but couldn't bust over the 9ths high. A resistance has been set. So, what we'd have done is set an ALARM for when this stock got close to challenging that resistance.

An Alarm? Yes. Most good trading platforms give you the ability to set "alarms" of some form to alert you to something. On Think or Swim, we simply tell it we want to know when XYZ is getting close to moving over resistance. So in this example, we'd want to know when BTU was about to challenge the resistance set at 60.00. So, we'd set out alert to let us know when it's at about 59.40 or so and then watch it. If it crossed over that 60 line during the trading day, and the market was FLAT TO SLIGHTLY UP.. we'd take it. We'd push the buy button and take some on. If instead, it didn't make it, but the next day it gapped up and over it.. we MIGHT still take it. As long as the gap didn't send the stock up and over the resistance by more than about 60 cents, we sometimes still bite.

As you can see from the next few days, BTU did well. You could have bought it at 60.01 on the First and just a few days later it was 64.50. That's 4.50 a share in a few days. A perfect resistance break. In fact, we did this trade.

So, again to review.. get two or three stocks in the sector you think could be moving and receiving money. Make sure they're at least decent companies ( well known, not Joe blow from Idaho) and look for the stock to be challenging resistance. Then set your platform's alarms to let you know when it's getting close. From that point you can do a couple things. You can sit there and baby sit it in real time.. OR you can set an electronic buy in.

CONDITIONAL ORDERS

I DO THIS A LOT folks. High end platforms will let you actually set up buy in orders that will execute even if you're not there.

For instance in the above example, you could do this....

You tell your platform that You wish to buy 500 shares of BTU when BTU's price is => (equal to or greater than) 60.00. The moment you do that, the platform keeps an eye on things for you, and you could be out at the mall, and "boom" BTU crosses 60.00, the platform fires and you come home to find you own 500 shares of BTU at 60.01 or 60.02 or what have you.

Now to take it a step further, we can also attach a stop at the same time. First you put in the info that you want 500 shares of BTU when it's >= to 60.00. Then the next line is.. If I am filled on BTU => 60.00 then place a stop at 59.20 ( or what ever number you pick) Sure enough not only will the platform buy BTU as it crosses 60, if you get filled.. it will then attach your stop.

Now when you come home from the mall one of a few things has happened. Either BTU didn't make 60, so nothing happened. BTU moved over 60.00 you got 500 at 60.02.. and it ended the day at 60.25. Excellent you're "in the money". Or.. You got BTU at 60.02, it went to 60.30, but faded and ended the day at 59.69. You now own it, but a bit underwater.

Now there is something else you can do with the conditional orders. You can sell them at a predetermined price also. You can say if I am filled on BTU =>60.00 I want to sell it if it gets => 60.50. In this case you could be walking the beach.. BTU moves over 60, the platform fires.. it climbs and climbs. The platform sells you at 60.50. You come home from the beach and find you made 250 bucks, and you weren't even there.

I do these a lot folks. I have a life, kids, wife, health issues to attend, like to fish, etc. I often set my platform to buy me in and attach a stop. Usually I wont' set it for a buy in and conditional sell for profit. I like to come home and still "have it" so to speak.

 

Go to Part 3 | Go to Part 5









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