A New Year, A New Start

(photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash.com)

Do you believe in the new year providing a fresh start? I do. Actually, any time is a good time to begin anew. With the calendar reflecting 1/1 to kick things off, it feels like a natural time to plan for new adventures.

My personal words to start the year are: Proactive, Energetic, Introspection.

To me, this means that I want to spend time uncovering what is most important, and then taking action steps to bring about positive, lasting change. I create my own path, one that is true to my needs and desires. I focus on my energy as I do tasks. Does this task bring about negative or positive energy?  I want to spend more time being in energy that frees me, energy that I enjoy, both my own and that which surrounds me. I am kind to myself.

In order to gain clarity on my inner voice, I need to do things each day that bring out this voice. To do this, I am implementing daily meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, yoga, nature hikes, and a (mostly) plant-based diet. Together, these practices will give my inner voice a passageway from my unconscious mind to my conscious mind.

In effect, my goal is to get in tune with my intuition. If I’m paying attention to my inner self, ideas may pop into my mind at any time. I need to be ready to write down these thoughts as they occur, and then take action.

I am excited to get started.

What are your personal words to start the year?

4 Stocks to Consider

This morning I stumbled upon an interview on YouTube that resonated with me. This interview from yesterday was done by anchor/producer David Lin of Kitco News (twitter: @davidlin_TV). David interviewed Gareth Soloway, technical analyst/head master trainer (@GarethSoloway). Mr. Soloway’s opinions on the state of the stock market, based on his technical analysis, were discussed.

I have watched various technical analysts give their opinions on the stock market in the past. It’s funny how two analysts can look at the same chart and provide completely different viewpoints. Some look at a stock chart and give valid reasons why the stock will go up, and another trader will give valid reasons why the stock will go down. So it is up to the viewer to make their own conclusions. Gareth’s points resonated with me and my style of trading. Other traders will have their own views that differ. With this disclaimer stated, let’s get started.

Below is the 25 minute video. No, you do not have to view it. I’m including it for my own benefit.


With so many sectors and stock prices still very high, it is difficult to find clear-cut buys right now. At least that is my opinion, and that of Mr. Soloway. As a side-note, there are now many stocks that have fallen from their highs. More and more it appears that a certain percentage of big name stocks are holding up the market, as these big name stocks are weighted heavier on the stock market indexes. Mr. Soloway provided three stock buy recommendations in the video, plus one additional stock in a recent tweet.

Here they are:

Baidu (BIDU), Alibaba (BABA), Viacom (VIAC), Las Vegas Sands (LVS).

To be transparent, I purchased all four of these stocks this morning. I bought just a small number of shares for each. If these stocks continue to drop, I may pick up more shares. Or, alternatively, once technicals reflect a solid base and shares begin ticking up, I may add more shares.

China Stocks: BIDU and BABA

China stocks have been under heavy pressure, with valuations cut roughly in half this year due to an ongoing government crackdown on high-tech China stocks. “Antitrust regulators issued new rules aimed at banning unfair competition. The new rules, proposed by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, affect various areas, including false advertising and the handling of consumer data.” (source: Investors Business Daily).

There has always been greater risk investing in China stocks due to possible communist government interference. However, China tech stocks have enjoyed the same stratospheric rise in stock prices as U.S. companies until this year. And as Gareth Soloway states in the video, his long-term view is that China stocks will emerge out of this regulation, and prices will grind higher. He recommends buying small quantities of stock now from Chinese companies like BIDU and BABA. He is down in his own positions, and these stocks may drift lower before beginning their uptrend within about six months.

BIDU – Baidu, Inc. provides internet search services (and other services) primarily in China. Here is a 1-year stock chart (source: tastyworks).

What Baidu does can be compared to Google (GOOGL). Baidu has a $48 Billion Market Cap, compared to Google’s $1.8 Trillion Market Cap. Google is bigger, yes. But Baidu is big too.

Here is Google’s 1-year stock chart (source: tastyworks). See any differences between the two charts? Baidu is down, Google is up.

A similar comparison can be made between Alibaba (BABA), a China-based company ($451 Billion Market Cap), and Amazon (AMZN) ($1.6 Trillion Market Cap). They both sell goods online. Again, yes, AMZN is bigger. But BABA is big also.

Here is a 1-year chart of BABA (source: tastyworks)

Here is a 1-year chart of AMZN (source: tastyworks). Amazon actually dropped in late July 2021 after reporting quarterly earnings.

Late addition… Since I wrote the China section above, this morning, Mr. Soloway published two new tweets this afternoon. Here they are:


ViacomCBS (VIAC): 

VIAC operates as a media and entertainment company worldwide. Its 1-year chart below reflects a huge drop in March 2021.

After a huge run-up in VIAC stock price to $102, per a Forbes 4/1/21 article, “The management decided to take advantage of the boom in the stock price by offering additional shares to raise close to $3 billion. This issue was priced at $85 per share, which was a 15% discount to where the stock had been trading on 22ndMarch. Along with the fact that the new issue would dilute the existing shareholders’ value, commentary from influential Wall Street research firms that the company’s management itself does not think that the recent rally of the stock to $100 is justified, led to a sharp reversal in fortune. This led to the stock tanking 50%. Additionally, the equity swap fiasco at Archegos Capital Management led to the hedge fund selling 30 million shares of VIAC stock in an apparent move to liquidate the fund, thus exacerbating the fall in the stock price.”

Per Mr. Soloway, two drivers may help the stock get moving back up. First, per Zachs’ 8/19/21 article, “ViacomCBS VIAC and Comcast CMCSA have announced a partnership to launch a new streaming service called SkyShowtime that will be available in 20 European markets. ViacomCBS and Comcast plan for the service to launch in 2022, pending regulatory approval. SkyShowtime will be set up as a joint venture between Comcast and ViacomCBS, giving them equal control.”

Second, a headline in an 8/19/21 Investors Business Daily article states, “Does ViacomCBS Video Streaming Deal Portend Bigger Transaction?”. Mr. Soloway predicts that VIAC may be bought out, and that it could in fact be Comcast that does it, based on their recent streaming partnership. He sees a $60 per share buyout possible, with the stock currently at $40 per share.


Las Vegas Sands (LVS):

“Las Vegas Sands Corp., together with its subsidiaries, develops, owns, and operates integrated resorts in Asia and the United States.” (source: Finance.Yahoo.com)

Mr. Soloway’s tweet from yesterday, below.


I chose these stocks because their stock prices have been hit hard, and the stories behind the big drops offer a good risk-reward. Will these four stocks go up from here? Only time will tell.



What’s Next?

Last week, I had an appointment with a new doctor. That means it’s time to fill out a whole bunch of paperwork upon arriving. One of the sections of paperwork asked if I had a living will and a last will and testament. I checked no to both. They are not done yet, even though I am aware that they must be completed. As a matter of fact, I already have a blank living will from the surrogate’s office in the county that I live. This document is pre-written out, except for blank spaces and check marks that I need to add based on my choices for medical care should I be unable to express these wishes verbally. I bet a lot of people have waited until their parents have passed away before actually taking the time to complete these important documents. I lost my mom last year and my dad in 2016. As their primary caregiver, I witnessed their end of life challenges first-hand. I am forever changed by these experiences, both in challenging ways (witnessing their struggles) and good ways (spending time with them).

Now that I have completed these tasks for my parents, including the grueling work as executor over the past year, I am ready to move forward. However, I have lost interest in going back to doing many of the things that I used to enjoy. That’s because I want to experience new things, and not simply go back to the old patterns of living. Looking at it from another viewpoint, the Covid shutdown put a stop to many of the activities that we all enjoyed. We’ve all had to create new ways of being (and surviving) during this pandemic. Now that things have opened up (at least for now), many people have gone right back to the way it was for them; doing the same activities, eating at the same restaurants, etc. I would prefer to try new things, and new ways of living.

As a single person with no family commitments now, I can literally create my life from scratch. One thing I crave, at least in the short term, is alone time. As an introvert, I regain my energy from quiet time; the opposite of extroverts who prefer to be around groups of people to regain their energy. And also, because I’m still recuperating from five years of not taking care of myself as caregiver, I’d like alone time for the peace and quiet that it will bring. I’d like to spend a lot of time in nature as that can be a valuable part of the healing process. And I’d also like to travel to locations across North America, camping along the way. This venture has been delayed, but I’m preparing for it.

Here are some of the things that I’d like as I move into this next phase of my life.

Live a minimalist lifestyle. I read someone else’s blog during this Ultimate Blog Challenge that reviewed the benefits of being a minimalist. It allows for a simpler life. Less physical clutter, and more space in the mind to focus on our most important and desired pursuits. All I own now (my parents and my belongings) is located in two 10×10 storage units. Ultimately, my goal is to whittle down to one 10×10 storage unit.

Build up a health coach business. Up until now, my business has been more like a hobby. While caregiving, I earned my life coach certification, and have coached on and off on a part-time basis. My masters degree in Integrative Health was an eye opener to the wonderful world of holistic health. And as a caregiver, I learned a great deal, as I interacted with various doctors, nurses, and professional caregivers.

Continue to grow as an individual stock trader. After meeting with a few brokerage professionals, I decided to trade my own money on my own, as I was not happy with their trading styles. One of my escapes during my caregiving tasks was learning various ways to trade. Most individuals know how to buy a stock when it’s low, hold it, and sell when it’s high. I now have an understanding on how to make a profit when a stock is going down, or when a stock remains in a range. In addition to trading stocks, stock options and futures allow for these various methods of trading. Putting this into practice will be the challenging and fun part.

Play Guitar: Another escape I had during my caregiver years was to learn how to play the guitar. I was able to purchase an electric guitar with credit card points, and it still works great. Until now, my practice has been primarily playing my favorite songs with chords. I am now ready to delve deeper by practicing scales, learning where the notes are on the fretboard, and playing more intricate songs.

Live a Holistic Lifestyle: I feel better when I eat healthy foods (especially vegetables), meditate, write (thanks UBC!!!), exercise, etc. I want to create time each day to do these activities.

Do all these things (and more) while on the road: After my self-imposed caregiver status at my parents’ home for five years, I want to get out on the road and explore wildlife with my camera.

It is time to take the road less travelled. To start anew. The time is now.



S&P500 Chart – 2 Day View

The S&P500 stock chart looks different over the last two days (Mon, Tue) than it’s usual straight up line. Above is a two-day S&P500 view by way of the SPX product. Each bar represents ten minutes.

Monday began (at the first down arrow) with a thirty-five point drop from about 4,475 to 4,440 over the first hour of trading. Then at 10:30am, the market made a huge reversal. And by end-of-day Monday, the S&P was back to a new all-time high. The Afghanistan news did come out on Sunday. Perhaps that was the initial cause for the drop. But the market brushed that off quickly.

Then, after the Monday market close, the market dropped again into Tuesday morning (the second down arrow). Only this was a bigger down move of approximately sixty points (from 4,480 down to 4,420). The market remained down through the early afternoon. And once again, sometime after noon, the market reversed directions to end the day on an upward trend, though still ending the day down at 4,448.

What does this mean for tomorrow? I have no idea. Will this new trend continue? Is it the start of a longer-term down trend in the market? Or will the market regain it’s bullish ways and hit another all-time high this week? I obviously have more questions than answers.

Stocks have been volatile over the past two days, pulling off of the all-time highs ever so slightly. There is the possibility of a short term pullback in order to consolidate. An up and down market that grinds to the upside is healthy. But what we have seen for quite some time is a straight up bull market without a meaningful consolidation.

I have had a Bear outlook for a long time, thinking the market has been overextended. Yet, I have been wrong for quite some time as the market has continued to propel up. I can finally say that today (and almost yesterday) was a great trading day for me personally. Recently, as the market has gone up, hitting new highs, I have been trading mostly with stock options, putting on Bearish trades. That means my trades make money if the market goes down. After the thirty point drop on Monday morning, I did not close out my winning trades. And that turned out to hurt me. As by end of day on Monday, all my gains for the day had disappeared. In the last hour of Monday trading, I decided to put on a few more Bearish trades.

Then Tuesday morning rolled around, and it was deja vu. The market was down again. Only this time it was down more, and my unrealized gains were bigger than Monday. Once again I held onto most of my trades in the morning, although I did close out a couple. Then, in the early afternoon, I noticed the same trend as Monday. The market began to base and started to head back up. Only this time, I quickly decided to close most of my winning trades. Success!

Then as the day wore on, I did put a few new trades on. I still used ‘stock options’ for today’s new trades. Initially, the new trades I put on were long positions, where I make money if the market goes up. Then after a little up move, I decided to put on additional short positions, where I make money if the market goes down. Both types of trades are now on together. As the market was showing signs of strength in the afternoon and into the close, I want to be long the market in the short-term. And as I’m really not sure which way the market will go short-term, I decided to put on a couple of Bearish trades as well. The best scenario regarding my current stock option holdings is that the market stays in a range short-term. That way I win on both sides. However, should the market go straight up or straight down, one side will be a winner and one side will be a loser. But at the moment I’m not concerned if the market goes higher, causing a loser on my short trades. As we would once again be near all-time highs if the market goes back up now, I would be comfortable holding on to my short positions.

I have begun throwing out the term stock options in this post and another recent post. Sometime soon, I’ll take a stab at explaining what they are and how they work.

Until next time, good luck trading!


Trading Products to Consider

(photo by Patrick Weissenberger on Unsplash)

In today’s world of investing, there are a variety of products that are offered to the individual investor in which to trade, such as individual stocks, stock options (topic in a future post), ETFs, Futures, and Micro Futures. In today’s blog, I will provide an overview of each of these products.


Most investors are familiar with individual stocks, such as Apple (AAPL), Nike (NKE), JP Morgan (JPM). Some stocks can be volatile, such as technology and biotech stocks. Others may be less volatile such as bank and chemical stocks. While stock prices do fluctuate a lot, if held for the long-term, stocks tend to drift higher.


Another product that can be bought and sold like an individual stock is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). An ETF is a type of security that tracks an index (i.e., S&P500), sector (i.e., technology), commodity (i.e., gold), or other asset. A well-known index ETF is the SPY, which tracks the S&P500.

The S&P500 is a stock market index that tracks the performance of 500 large companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges. This is the broadest and most used index as it represents 80% of all U.S. stocks. While ETF prices also fluctuate, because it tracks a group of stocks (or other asset groupings), the volatility of one stock will not cause as much of a dramatic change in the ETF price as holding a single individual stock might.


ETFs and individual stocks can only be traded during regular trading hours of 9:30am to 4pm EST, plus one hour before and one hour after; so technically from 8:30am to 5pm EST.

However, FUTURES are open during extended trading hours, up to twenty-five hours a day, five days a week. The majority of FUTURES start trading at 6pm EST on Sunday, and close on Friday afternoon between 4:30-5:00pm, depending on the commodity. And trading will stop for 30-minutes to 1-hour each day, at the end of the business day.

Similar to ETFs, there are a variety of FUTURES products to choose from. FUTURES may track an index (i.e., S&P500), commodity (i.e., gold), or other asset. I will delve into other futures products another time. Today, let’s stick to just one of these futures products, the S&P500 Futures Contract, also known as /ES (slash-ES). Also, there is a smaller MICRO-FUTURE that has the ticker /MES (slash-MES).

S&P 500 Futures are closely followed by all types of investors and the financial media as an indicator of market movements. Investors can use S&P 500 Futures to speculate on the future value of the S&P 500 by buying or selling futures contracts.

One big difference between Stocks/ETFs and Futures is how much the product moves for each point up or down. In the examples below, I refer to “one share” when referring to Stocks/ETFs; and to “one contract” when referring to Futures. For purposes of this discussion, think of shares and contracts as the same thing.

Stock Example: Apple is currently trading at $149. If I buy one share of Apple at $149 and it goes up one point to $150, I make $1. And of course the opposite is true, that I would lose $1 if the stock goes down one point. The same case holds true for ETFs.

/ES Example: One point moves in the /ES Futures are worth $12.50 per contract (versus the stock $1). So the /ES moves faster than a stock. I can make more money or lose more money quicker by trading the /ES product. This product moves fast, so it may not be appropriate for many individual investors.

/MES Example: One point moves in the /MES Futures are worth $1.25 per contract (versus the stock $1). This is a much more reasonable price for the average investor. I use this product myself.


Stocks and ETFs have “overnight risk”. Because we can only trade stocks/ETFs during regular trading hours, it is possible that negative news is reported overnight on a stock we own, causing the stock price to drop before the market opens the following day. Or a stock price may fluctuate dramatically when a company reports quarterly earnings results after the market closes. If earnings are great or horrible, the stock may move sharply up or down before the market opens the following day.

Some investors trade Futures for the purpose of minimizing risk in their stock portfolio. For example, the stock market is currently at all-time highs. If I own several stocks that I have held for a long time, my stock portfolio reflects a large unrealized gain. I can choose to sell a portion of my stocks now and lock in gains. Or I can continue to hold my stocks, and hedge my portfolio by shorting some /MES Futures Contracts, for example. In this scenario, if the stock market drops, my stock portfolio will drop in value. But I will earn back a portion of stock losses with my short position in /MES.


Many investors diversify their portfolios by investing in stocks from various sectors and industries (i.e., technology, banks, chemicals, etc.). Today, many types of products are now available in addition to just stocks, such as stock options (topic in a future post), ETFs, Futures, and Micro Futures. These new product offerings can be added to your own stock portfolio to add a layer of diversification, and to even protect a percentage of your stock portfolio from inevitable market down turns. By paying attention to the trends in the market, we can assess where and how to invest our money wisely. Good luck!