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One big hit and some pesky “aw $#!^s”

Good day and happy December to all. The lack of updates over the last week was due to a well deserved getaway with my wife. More precisely, she deserved the vacation – and I had a good time too.  The palm trees and sunset photo gratuitously posted here were taken by me from a moving car on the PCH near Malibu.  Turned out pretty well for just holding the camera out the window.

My last post, “Where do we go from here?” has worked out really nicely with actual stock market action. Over the course of the last week, the S&P500 gained nearly 3%, the EAFE internationals did even better, and market breadth was DECISIVELY positive.  So there’s my “big hit” – it’s nice to get a call right, and even better when the portfolio feels that reward – which I definitely did.  I continue to think that the market’s bullish trend will continue into this week, and I’m continuing to trade the market long.  But then there’s the “aw $#!^s” I referenced…  What I mean is that a few of my holdings did not respond positively with the market action.  You know, a rising tide is supposed to carry all the boats – but I had a few sinkers (see image for cultural reference).  This meant it was time to trim the fat, and so I dumped a few positions this week.  Two were for a loss, one had a nice gain (NASDAQ:EGHT) which could have been much nicer!

The take away lessons for me this week were ones that I’ve learned before and really need to retain and use.  1) Use stops to protect profits.  2) Use stops to weed out crappy positions that had mis-timed entries.  3) Use stops to make my sell decisions automatically.  There’s a theme here, see if you can figure it out.  As a result, I’ve reviewed my portfolio and added trailing stops to all positions.