Is the Stock Market Just a Big Casino?

I hear it all the time, “the stock market is just another way to gamble.” But is it a gamble or a calculated risk?

Let’s back up a minute and talk about balloons. Yep, ballons!

What happens when you keep pumping air into a balloon, over and over and over and over again? It eventually pops, right?

So what do you think happens when you keep pumping money into a company (or index) over and over and over and over again? Eventually, it too pops.

Some companies become so overpriced, for whatever reason (usually has to do with profits), that investors begin to sell their stake in them – the stock pops!

If a company is selling for $50 per share (hypothetical) but it is only worth $20 per share on paper, eventually a sell-off will ensue. The company at $50 just cannot keep up with its profits.

Or maybe they were committing accounting fraud, who knows!? But either way, they’re just too expensive for whatever the reason.

Now, take that same company and multiply it by thousands. Why? Because there are thousands of companies in the stock market. Sure, some might be undervalued (worth $50 but selling for $20). But some are also overvalued (worth $20 but selling for $50). When the balance tips in favor of overvalued companies, you get a bubble. Or balloon, you choose the wording.

When there are more overvalued companies than there are undervalued companies, things get risky when buying. This is when a lot of investors will sit on the sidelines in cash… or, they might buy bonds instead. They see the bubble (or balloon) expanding, and they know it will eventually pop (sell-off).

So what in the hell is my point?

Retail investors (you and me) are always the ones to get caught with our hands in the cookie jar at the top of markets. What happens is this: Joe Blow, your market wizard neighbor, sees that company ABC (hypothetical) has been moving up for a month or more. So what does he do? He says “WOW! This is fantastic. Easy money!”, and he buys shares of company ABC.

This is fine if Joe Blow bought the shares at a decent price. But if he did not buy at a decent price, then Mr. Market and Smart Money might decide to sell their shares soon because the company is now overvalued. And when Mr. Market and Smart Money sell shares, it’s usually in extremely large blocks – millions, if not billions of dollars worth. This, of course, drives the share price of company ABC down. Joe Blow is now bankrupt because he invested his whole life savings into company ABC.

Getting back to the original question, “Is the Stock Market Just a Big Casino?” The answer is a resounding NO, in my opinion.

The problem with most (the average) retail investors is this… they fail to do their homework. They don’t perform technical and/or fundamental analysis on the companies they buy into. They, in essence, have no idea what’s going on. So instead of chocking it up to a learning experience, they simply say dumb things like “the market is a big casino. It’s all just a gamble.”

I firmly believe investing is a calculated risk, and not a gamble. This is just my opinion. I relate it to buying a house; would you go out and buy house without researching home values in the area? If you don’t, you might pay thousands more for the house than you needed to. This basic concept applies to the stock market as well.

With all that said… you are never going to win them all. I don’t know of anyone who ever has. Even Warren Buffett has lost on investments.

But with solid analysis (technical, fundamental, or both), I believe it is a calculated risk and not a slot machine.

Record Close for SPY Today

What a GREAT day it was for my account! New highs, and new record close. I’m still bullish, but with caution.

Click on the chart to visit my Trading View page.

A couple good things to note from today. 1) Volume was kind of weak until the end. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. It did pick up and ended up closing with about average volume. That’s a good thing. Low volume plus the record close would maybe be a bad thing. 2) The RSI divergence I wrote about yesterday is pretty much gone now after today. That is also a good thing.

Now, a couple of bad things to note from today. 1) The market is just one negative tweet, or one negative trade war news story from sending it down. That is enough to make me proceed with caution. I am still bullish, of course, but I’m cautiously bullish. 2) Jerome Powell (the Fed) speaks on Wednesday afternoon. He has moved the markets before, and he could move the markets again. If the market is looking for a 50 BP cut, and we only get a 25 BP cut, that could be bad. Or, even worse, if there is no cut at all that would be VERY bad for the markets. Everyone wants a cut, regardless if it’s a good thing or not.

Keep your eyes peeled and stay vigilant. Being at these all-time highs, a lot could go wrong. But, a lot could go good also. We will just have to wait and see what the near-term future holds for us.

My guess… and this is just MY guess alone… is that we move up and play in the $315 to $325 area for SPY. If negative news comes out, or if Jerome Powell dissapoints, forget about it! We would then probably fall well back into the $290’s.

Good luck to all, and may we all profit!

RSI Divergence on S&P Futures

As soon as I started charting and prepping for tomorrow, I noticed that there is RSI divergence on the daily /ES (S&P E-mini) chart. Not only that, but there is declining volume as well. And it doesn’t end there… we are at all-time highs while all this is happening.

Take a look at this chart I made on Trading View.

Notice how the black line at the top of the chart, and the black line in the RSI section are moving in opposite directions? That’s called divergence. And when there is divergence on a large time frame such as the daily, and when that divergence is happening with a momentum indicator like the RSI (Relative Strength Index), it is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

The RSI is a momentum indicator, so it is showing us the direction of the overall trend which has been climbing for quite some time. But it started to crest a few days ago. Notice how it never reached as high as the crest before it? That’s an ominous sign. And that is the divergence, as the S&P has continued to climb through it all.

Not only that, but notice how long the volume has been declining? This is implying there is relatively no buyers left in this market. This is implying that there might be some exhaustion on the buy side.

Sometimes, but certainly NOT always, divergence tends to predict near term movement. When the divergence on the RSI is to the downside, the stock tends to move down eventually. The opposite happens when there is divergence to the upside on the RSI. However, it does not ALWAYS work out this way.

I just wanted to point this out. It is a big bearish technical indication, and is worth keeping an eye on. We are at all-time highs, which makes it even more important to look at. You have to understand that this market is having a very tough time deciding if it wants to break through to new highs. Yes, we keep making new highs, but we can’t seem to close at new highs – there is a difference.

I will be watching my positions closely tomorrow. Right now I am pretty well balanced with my option positions. I have just a slight positive delta, which I may re-balance to a slightly negative delta depending no the open tomorrow morning.

Good luck to all this week! May we all profit.

The Holy Grail of Strategies

Have I got some news for you or what!? Are you ready… are you sure? Here it is….

The Holy Grail may exist! Woo hoo! But, unfortunately, the Holy Grail of trading strategies, most certainly does NOT exist! I know, bummer, right?

Some claim to have the “perfect” strategy, or the “best” strategy, or the strategy that will make you a multi-gazillionaire over night. I got news for you – they’re lying!

There is no such thing as a perfect trading plan or strategy. If that existed, we would all win our trades 100% of the time, and we would all be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.

But, the good news is that there are strategies that increase your odds. There are also ways to mitigate risks before you even choose the strategy you want to implement, and that is by utilizing solid analysis skills (doing your homework).

I never enter a position based solely on a “gut feeling.” I never enter a position based solely on “well, it’s gone down this far, it has to turn around.” Yes, I will admit, however, that I do sometimes think those things, but only AFTER I have done my other homework first.

I utilize both technical and fundamental analysis. Some people just use one or the other, and that is 100% OK. I just personally think that they work best when used together. One compliments the other, so to speak. In specific, I believe that technicals compliment fundamentals. What I mean by that is – technicals move based on the underlyings fundamentals. That’s just my opinion. It works for me.

Back to the “Holy Grail” of trading strategies… They don’t exist! You will NEVER find it! So stop looking. Instead, find a strategy that works for you. Make sure that strategy has logic and reason behind it, and make sure that strategy involves some kind of risk management. Over time, if your strategy is solid and it works, you should make money. Will you become a millionaire with it? I don’t know! It’s possible, of course. Anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

Ignore the people that say their strategy is better than yours, or they know more than you do. Blah blah blah! These people, in my opinion, have nothing of value to share with you. They just want to brag and sound cool, but probably are not as smart as they think they are. I’d rather follow the people who are humble and do not push their strategies on me. The people I like to follow have tons of information to share, and never brag about it.

For example: I “ran into” a gentleman in a Facebook group named Nicholas. He runs ‘Option Alchemist.’ He’s a very smart and humble options trader with many many years of experience navigating the markets. I have been talking to Nicholas for only a couple of weeks, but I have already learned quite a bit via “small talk.” These are the types I’m looking to learn from, not the bragger.

If you are interested, you can find Option Alchemist on Facebook, Twitter, and their website. Here are the links: Facebook, Twitter, and website.

Ok, my rant/lecture is done. I hope you gained some insight if you are a new trader. The market is full of gimmicks and “get rich quick” schemes. Ignore them. They don’t have the answer you’re looking for. They don’t have the Holy Grail!