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Friday, 25 November 2016

Headless Chicken

In the world of trading, I've learnt from painful experience its better to take a quick and small realised loss than to suffer a conviction sapping and margin eroding unrealised loss.

Once I have cut loss; I feel relieved.

Money can lose; but presence of mind cannot.

Same goes for the investment side of my portfolio.

Not taking profit can mess with our minds too.

Take for example - M1, a stock I'm not vested in.

If you had bought in at $1.50 during 2009, you would be a most happy retail investor during March 2015 - M1 hit $3.94!

That happiness was short lived as by May 2015, it broke below $3.50.

Some of you wily old fox retail investors may have sold all or half your position here.

Any lingering doubts whether you have done the right thing are all cleared out during August 2015 when M1 broke below $3.00.

This was your last chance to protect your 2 bagger winnings.

Want to guess how the person who didn't sell at $3.00 is feeling now?

Would he join others in adding to M1 at below $2.00 since its "so cheap"? Or would he be more likely to "capitulate" and sell if M1 drops down to $1.80? Surely he is not going to let a winning position turn into a loss? Or?

All of us have our "uncle point".

Once we've reached that level, we become like headless chickens.

Its better not to let ourselves be in such situations.



  1. Hi SMOL

    Always remember to go out of casino right after jackpot ;)

    1. B,

      For someone so young (everything is relative), you have your head firmly on your shoulders ;)

      If we overstay our welcome at the casino, we'll likely lose what we have gained...

      When I read Bernard Baruch saying he made his money by selling too soon, it puzzled me.

      Took me 12 years before I finally understood what he tried to say, and implement it in my investment portfolio and trading account.

      Bernard Baruch is the few speculators who ESCAPED the great depression!!!

      I benefitted from the 2008 Lehman GFC. It will come to naught if the next big one comes, I'm still inside the casino...

    2. Do we need to be all in and all out of casino? Can we bank in most of our money and still hang around in the casino for free kopi and food? How to come to naught?

    3. CW,


      Don't let me catch you selling all your 10 baggers and keeping 1 lot each just for the bragging rights!

      Just like salt and pepper; add according to taste ;)

  2. So what's the moral?

    Buy and keep for life doesn't works?

    Or must B & H & S...rinse & repeat then works?

    i think both can work.

    1. temperament,

      You and I are veterans - of course we have "experienced" the markets (nicer way to say punished) to know not to have too "fixed" an opinion.

      Why sell indeed when the fundamentals remain the same and the company keeps growing year after year?

      How many companies we know are like that?

      No business cycles? No debt cycles? No demographic boom/bust cycles?

      Those newbie investors of today should know by now that the price of crude is a big catalyst for the O&G sector.

      Fast forward 10 - 15 years to the next oil boom.

      Would these "stuck" newbies turned veteran retail investors in the future still cling on to buy and hold mantras from 20 somethings CFAs and bloggers fresh from school?

      Or would they just sell their O&G holdings the first sign crude prices may tank?


      My opinions of today are formed from bitterness and anguish of thinking I know that ain't so...

      So don't listen to me; I've a bad track record...

      Just like Jim Rogers, my biggest mistake was making money in my first year :(

    2. I just thought of another funny example:

      Some were writing about the recent fall in prices of REITs due to the highly probable USD Fed rate hike next month. As if it was a surprise...

      Want to bet how many who were selling near the recent highs were retail investors who have gone through the taper tantrum of 2013?

      And now watching the US Fed's every more like hawks? LOL!

      Only 3 years ago right?

      OK, those who started their REITs investment journey from 2014 onwards you got your excuse.

      That's why we can't buy short-cut experience and wisdom... We have to EARN it.

      Its either we have an edge over others; or others have an edge over us :(

  3. At the end of the story, it is not only when you buy that matters, it matters even more when you need to sell.

    If you don't need to sell, only buy for 20 to 30 years (aka Index like S & P 500), you should be doing quite alright.

    Still when you need to sell it matters a lot.

    1. temperament,

      I'll keep an open mind; I'm not so sure about country specific ETFs or passive index funds.

      Its like making a speculative bet US in 30 years time will be stronger and bigger than today despite knowing all the unfunded liabilities and demographic time bomb...

      The same can be said for STI ETF I guess? Betting no political change for the next 30 years?

      Its interesting in recent sharing, one accredited investor blogger who used to come here during my early days has written he is displeased with the 5% plus returns he has been getting... It just not worth it considering the amount of time and effort invested. He decides to focus on property as that's where he has been getting 20% plus returns...

      Another retired from academia blogger was a bit disappointed that blue chips did not offer the protection he thought they would... His portfolio is currently now in the red. It's only slightly in the green if you include all the past dividends collected. That's not what's dividend investing is supposed to be right?

      It's a pity they are low key bloggers. What they say I value and empathise with more than loud mouths like me ;)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    Sigh...market likes to mind f all of us lah.

    The most recent example is that of HKL. Went up so much I didn't sell, cos I want to 'ride the trend'. Then it came tumbling down. Okay, so I learnt a lesson, don't overstay your welcome. So DBS reached 16 I sell, then it cheong up to 17.3 today. LOL

    It happens to everyone I suppose, though I will think that the market is out to fix me. Haha, so the best thing I can do is to make sure I can be a leg less chicken or a wingless chicken but I cannot be a headless chicken. I can lose a leg or wing but I cannot lose my head. Once my head is off, the game is over for me.

    1. LP,

      Make less is way better than lose money ;)

      I think next time we meet we can ask the fisherman to buy coffee!

      His 2 DBS trading positions are now in the money :)

      Losing our "head" can not only affect our pockets, it can affect our career performance, relationships with people that matter, and more importantly, belief in ourselves.


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