Robert P. Balan has more than 4 decades of experience in the financial markets. Education in mining engineering, computer science, finance, and training in economics led to a commodity analysis career during the commodity boom of the early 1970s. Robert made a switch to global macro focus in the early 1980 when the commodity bull market waned, with specialization in foreign exchange. Robert wrote a very high profile daily FX analysis while Geneva-based in the mid-1980s (the first FX commentary with a real global readership, "most accessed" in the Reuters and Telerate networks from 1988 to 1994). He worked for Swiss Bank Corp and Union Bank of Switzerland (precursors of today’s new UBS) as head of technical research and as proprietary trader in various major finance centers (London, New York, and subsequently head of proprietary trading in Toronto, respectively) from late 1980s to mid-1990s. A stint at Bank of America as head of global technical research (in London and New York) followed in late 1990s to early 2000s. Robert did technical analysis for Saxo Bank (Denmark) in the mid-200s based in New York. He returned to Switzerland in 2004 as head of technical research and strategy, and FX and commodity market analyst for Swiss Life Asset Management in Zurich. He joined Diapason Commodities Management in 2008 as senior market strategist, and subsequently as Chief Market Strategist, utilizing fundamental macroeconomic drivers, and structural/technical data in modeling asset price and sector movements. Robert wrote a book on the Elliott Wave Principle in 1988, which was hailed by the London Society of Technical Analysts as “the best book ever written on the subject”. Robert is a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), USA.
I am a software engineer by profession. Got interested in market analysis some time back and now I spend most of my free time researching equities. .
I am also a freelance financial writer , investor and consultant. I primarily look for market inefficiencies to generate long term alpha irrespective of holding time and sector.
I try to carefully trade weekly & monthly stock options with expertise in mining companies & traditional manufacturers. Speak & write fluent Portuguese and speak good Spanish. Resided twice in Brazil and once on Guam Island. Employed at the same large foreign-owned Distribution Center the past 15 years & completely 100% Pro-NAFTA. Smart individual investing is the preferred solution to improving one's economic future, as opposed to vast & vague government handouts. Seeking Alpha is the #1 best financial blog because of honest opinions & superb organization.
Finished CFA level 1 & CAIA level 1 in a breeze. Looking forward to CAIA level 2 and CFA level 2. Made top 1% on the Bloomberg BAT, but was a black sheep at my mediocre college, and I was foolish to let it affect me. (non-traditional student)
Hope to write some quality articles in the coming year.
I was playing with fire my first year in the market, using a lot of call options. It was easy to make 50+% gain in 1st yr, summer '13 to summer '14 (thank you bull mkt). This past half year has been a little rough; I wish I had acted more decisively on material information about the energy market and the movement of the Ruble ($YNDX is a favorite).
I remember announcing the probably course of events to family the morning after OPEC's Thanksgiving's Day announcements, and I regrettably decided to wait it through b/c our professors chided us to take a buy and hold approach, and b/c I had bought some quality energy names at very fair prices in October. In retrospect, I realize the importance of optionality or in a sense, degrees of freedom.
In this case, I realize I am too committed to a base scenario (energy stocks recovering in the next year) that has too much opportunity cost. If the price adjustment cycle lasts longer than the expected scenario, then I will be unhappy with the opportunities lost. An equal weight short position would have been an ideal temporary maneuver, expressing my short-term thesis, while not causing commitment angst in the present, hoping for the long-term adjustment to blow over.
I was entrusted with a fresh 100K family capital this past summer, and I plan to be more prudent and thorough (obviously with minimal leverage or derivatives). This market is a little dangerous with high debt loads in China, somewhat high valuation levels (horrible Schiller CAPE ratio, but not sure if that matters as much), and jitters over rate hike, Ukraine, terrorism, epidemics, difficulty of private sector adjusting to Obamacare, and possible fiscal & monetary stimulus tapering.
I think low energy prices is a great stimulus, but the possibilities of a perfect storm with semi-hard landing in China or Europe, a serious violent flare-up with Russia or the Terror War, and disease outbreak could somehow happen at just the wrong time (perhaps, right after a rate hike).
I've read a fair amount of Buffett. But I love the tech industry mostly. To humor Buffett (a tech dinosaur), I bought a tiny bit of IBM. It has been working hard to transform its whole business, and actually has some top-notch talent and product portfolios with a fairly conservative valuation. The market is probably right that is a long-shot that IBM will grow significantly again, despite its immense technology assets and partnerships. Recent comment: feel lucky to have exited IBM at a small gain; mulling a re-entry and annoyed that I missed the recent Google explosion. Google is solidifying its reach and ecosystem, but at steep multiples.
I've been away from investing for much of the past half year (now dec'15), partly because I was getting cyberattacks on my twitter account, my computer, and broker connection was being intercepted, which made me very uncomfortable. My car also very suddenly needed an engine replacement that same week, despite a thorough check-up a month prior. I'm having a hard time moving forward, after severe blacklisting after-effects, (too long & weird to discuss).
CAIA & CFA level 1s were super-easy even though I was underprepared. I look forward to embracing the challenge. I will end up working in Europe or abroad, if I have to. Lucky to get tons of invites from Bloomberg recruitment due to top notch scores, but haven't really applied b/c of crummy school issues. Plan to work on Wall Street Prep & hopefully some SA articles.
Dreamjob: working for a hedge fund focussing in equities, preferably with a multicultural bunch (I'm half european / half asian american)
Long-term dream job: top-notch hedge fund manager
My favorite time horizon: 3mo to 18mo, b/c best chance of having a direct connect with news & analysis. market moves too fast to be primarily buy & hold, albeit such a mid-term outlook forfeits the benefit of effective interest-free loan in the the form of deferred taxes (as Buffett makes use of) as well as benefit of a capital gains rate, but on the other hand, a mid-term outlook maximizes flexibility. I'm trying to stay more grounded in fundamentals, flesh out the invest case for a quite a handful of stocks, and balancing risks in wide portfolio. Plan to explore ETF's more.
I am a value investor interested in learning more about the market and various trading strategies. I have been investing in stocks for over a decade now, and learned a lot about myself and investing in general. I believe in individual rights and free markets (therefore limited government), but have been around the block long enough to know that capitalism is not perfect and the market is subject to corruption and manipulation. I also believe it is possible to profit in any market - the key lies in your decisiveness, risk tolerance, and time horizon.
Several books that inform my investment philosophy are:
1) William O'Neill - How to Make Money in Stocks
2) Edwin Lefèvre - Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
3) Michael Sincere - Understanding Options
4) Benjamin Graham - The Intelligent Investor
5) Robert Hagstrom - The Warren Buffett Way
6) Ken Fisher - Markets Never Forget (But People Do), The Only Three Questions That Still Count
7) Pat Dorsey - The Five Rules For Successful Stock Investing
8) Heather Brilliant & Elizabeth Collins - Why Moats Matter
9) Jim Rogers - A Gift to My Children
10) Ray Dalio (video) - How the Economic Machine Works
I have also taken graduate courses in Strategy, Investments, Portfolio Management, Entrepreneurial Finance, Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, Corporate Governance, and Valuation.
Some of my favorites quotes:
when we know ourselves to be connected to all others, acting compassionately is simply the natural thing to do. -rachel naomi remen
the markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. - j.m. keynes
it is only by being bold that you get anywhere. if you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside. -richard branson
i have always believed that the only way to cope with a cash crisis is not to contract but to try to expand out of it. -richard branson
entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled. - howard stevenson
don't optimize a melting ice cube. - kevin efrusy
the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. - f. scott fitzgerald
the dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself. - archibald macleish
it ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble, it’s the things we do know that just ain’t so. - artemus ward
if you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe? the things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions. - oliver wendell holmes
I provide economic analysis, market commentary and company-specific research. My general view is to operate a diversified basket of long-term investments in both equities and fixed income. I have a bachelor's degree in economics from San Diego State University (2007), eight years of publishing experience and over a decade of cumulative investment experience. I have been published in several newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal and Barron's.
Chan is an investor in cheap businesses. Focus on low P/E or significant events. Generally like good balance sheets unless huge upside. Chan also like momentum plays. But avoid most risks. Chan also self-appointed spiritual leader of StockTalk. Follow Chan!