Welcome to both new and previous readers of my weekly portfolio update blog. This update covers most portfolio activity from August to mid-September. I'll summarize trading action for July in the monthly update for September that I hope to submit in a few weeks.
As readers know, I was bummed out a bit about declining readership and the time it takes to provide updates when I'm making a lot of swing trades. I hope that my brief "updates" for trade actions have at least been helpful. I also continue to appreciate the comments and questions from those of you who are able and interested.
The summer has gone by quickly and I've been fairly busy. In addition to a death in the family, we had to get a new car and computer. I've continued to volunteer at my church and complete a number of larger projects, including removing and re-locating an under-sized drainage pipe, re-building a collapsing storm drain vault, re-roofing a 12'x14' out-building/shed, helping re-hab a playground for the children's center, and helping remove three 40+ foot dead/declining conifers next to a building, in addition to pruning and planting shrubs, clearing wooded areas of non-natives/invasives, and planting and mulching new and existing flower beds. After fall hits here I hope to make more time for my investing.
Market Price Action
The weekly chart below for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) shows that this widely-followed index has again reached a new high, after pulling back in choppy trade during August. That pullback followed strong price action on weaker volume in July wherein the market finally broke out from the October 2018 (pre-bear market) high.
A look at the daily SPY chart for the past 3 months emphasizes the high degree of chop recently and that the bounces after the late July pullback stalled several times at the full retrace of the late 2018 bear market. This action gave many market commentators concern that a more bearish pattern was forming.
As I again check the progress of the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF), left chart below, and the small caps iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM), right chart, both continue to lag the full retrace of the bear market, although the financials are now making better progress. At this time I am still expecting that these will catch up to the SPY, based especially on the recent Elliott Wave pattern.
The Caldaro Objective Elliott Wave pattern analysis (the ELLIOTT WAVE lives on) that I have been referring to for many months now maintains the longer-term count that the SPX is in Major 3 (up) of a Primary III (up) bull market. On all of the larger time frames, the market is in an uptrend. After the volatility in July-August which led to several changes in labeling the shorter-term pattern, the OEW Group now seems to have settled on a count that has the Minute ii (down) wave confirmed as completed in early August (green ii), with Minute iii (up) now underway.
For the 9/7 weekly update (we may see a newer update tomorrow?), the OEW Group calls for a likely target of SPX 3080 for Minute iii and a target of SPX 3200 for the larger Minor 3 (up) wave.
With these higher price expectations, I have held off taking profits especially on my SPXL and TQQQ positions. I may, however, take these profits if/when the SPX gets to about the 3080 level, as 4th and 5th waves can be short and 5th waves can sometimes "fail" to reach a newer high.
I made a few changes to the fixed income holdings of my portfolio these past few months.
With the choppy market pullback in August, I added to 4 existing CEF's:
- On 8/5, I added 80 shares of Cohen & Steers Limited Duration Preferred & Income Fund (LDP) at $24.66, bringing my total position now to 328 shares.
- On 8/5, I added 190 shares of BlackRock Corporate High Yield Fund (HYT) at $10.45/share, bringing my total position now to 1,086 shares.
- On 8/6, I added 160 shares of Calamos Strategic Total Return Fund (CSQ) at $12.50/share, and on 8/7 I added another 150 shares at $12.41/share, bringing my total position now to 619 shares.
- On 8/7, I added 75 shares of DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund (DSL) at $20.10/share, and on 8/14 I added another 100 shares at $19.785/share, bringing my total position to 954 shares.
Like many stocks, some CEFs are at year highs and/or are trading at a premium to Net Asset Value. Readers may be interested in the recent series about CEFs by SA Contributor David Van Knapp. While his series is on-going, there is a lot of opinion across the spectrum about the long-term sustainability of CEF distributions and their capital appreciation (or total return). One tactic that I have used a few times already is to treat my CEFs like any stock investment: if the price appreciates a lot where I think that it has probably played out in the near term, and I am profitable, I can just protect my returns and look to re-purchase the CEF when price rotates downward. I recently did this with my small position in Cohen & Steers REIT & Preferred Income Fund (RNP).
- On 8/28, I sold my 51.171 shares of RNP at $23.25/share. I originally bought this a year earlier, on 8/28/2018, at $19.90/share. I collected a total of $74.77 in distributions over the year in addition to a share price profit of $185.70, for a total net gain of $260.47 or +26.06%.
This was a relatively small position but it paid nicely. This moved a bit higher after my sale, but it is now pulling back some. At some point I expect it will become cheaper and I will reconsider a new buy. I present a monthly chart for RNP for this 10-year bull market, below. Notice that it has yet to recover from the 2008 recession, but it has continued to see-saw higher. It is currently still trading at a discount because its NAV is still growing, but it is still at a multi-year price high. I just felt that protecting the percentage gain on this one was prudent. So treating CEFs like stocks, buying low and selling high, is a strategy that works even if one is skeptical about the potential for long-term price decay for a CEF.
I also added to one of my dividend growth stocks recently.
- On 8/7, I added 20 shares of Comerica Inc. (CMA) at $63.00/share, bringing my total position to 60 shares.
I still like this financial stock despite the recent weakness, which was typical of many in the sector. The 5-year YChart below shows that CMA has continued to raise its dividend (now at 4.09% on cost), which should serve to pull up price at some point. New Constructs now ranks Comerica #1 out of 437 financial sector stocks and in the 99th percentile of the 2850+ stocks covered. This is my 3rd time owning CMA, after 2 swing trades for a total gain of +9.9%.
In July I closed 10 of 11 swing trades for profits, but a few were barely profitable so my overall gain was a net of +4.6%. I'll provide a table for those in my September monthly article.
I didn't close any swing trades in August, my only month since portfolio inception like that. As I wrote in a brief note on June's article, I was ready several times to close trades on my 3x leveraged trades on the S&P 500 - Direxion Daily S&P500® Bull 3X Shares (SPXL) - and Nasdaq 100 -ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) - ETFs. I've decided to hold these in the expectation that they are heading higher, based on the Caldaro OEW Group market pattern.
So far in September, I've closed 4 winning swing trades:
- On 9/5, I sold my 90 shares of Kroger Co. (KR) at $24.85 for a net gain, including a dividend, of +12.4% for 51 days in the trade (61% annualized).
I bought KR after the drop on earnings in June (leftmost black arrow), which was a low for the year. After putting in a lower low about a month later, KR reversed but stalled short term twice at about $24. I sold when it gapped higher (rightmost black arrow) to the congestion level from mid-June. It has since continued to move up and may stall again at the large gap from earnings in March at just above $26.
Here's my trade log:
- On 9/11, I sold my 120 shares of Axcelis Technologies Inc. (ACLS) at $17.70 for a net gain of +6.40% for 74 days in the trade (+22% annualized).
I decided to re-purchase ACLS a few days after it sold off on earnings in May (left black arrow). ACLS was in a portfolio I followed, and I took a small swing trade in spring. The stock continued to decline and reached a new low in late June. Given the time in this trade, I decided to sell after a few days recently of strong price gains. The daily 200 MA was overhead as well as a small gap from early May, both of which are potential resistance levels.
Here's my trade log, which also shows that this was my second trade in ACLS this year:
- On 9/13, I sold my 60 shares of ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury (TBT) at $26.75. for a net gain of +7.02% for 27 days in the trade (+65% annualized).
This -2x leveraged ETF on the US Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index dropped to a new low for the year in early August and I decided to try a swing trade (left black arrow). After a bottom a few weeks later as Treasury yields surged on easing trade concerns, the ETF rebounded and I sold (right black arrow).
Here's my trade log:
- On 9/13, I sold my 100 shares of Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. (SFM) at $20.00 for a net gain of +7.31% for 57 days in the trade (+32% annualized).
I bought shares of SFM after running across the name while doing some research. I was unfamiliar with the stock but saw on the chart that it was near a support level from spring and fall of 2017. I thought that I'd try a swing trade (leftmost black arrow). As with many of my swings, it continued lower, until earnings on 8/1, after which it started to uptrend. It may continue higher but it was stalling a bit at $20 (right arrow), at which point I sold. There are several points of resistance at the $21 level, including the daily 200 MA coming in (black line) and the mid-June resistance level. Given good ratings on Sprouts by both CFRA and New Constructs, I will likely re-consider a long on any pullback below $17.
Here's my trade log:
I hope that you enjoyed my blog, and I welcome your feedback and questions. If you think that others would find my Green Dot Portfolio of interest, please share this.
Wishing everyone the best for your investing/trading!
=Green Dot Investor=