It's Been a Good Year (so far)

The first four months of this year have been good to me, investment-wise. After paying taxes and deducting living expenses, I’ve been able to bank 4x the amount of money I need for the rest of this year. So I had to ask myself, " Why am I putting in the hours I am, and taking the risks in markets that I am, to get more of something I don’t need?" It just didn’t make a lick of sense, not when there are dozens of more worthwhile projects I could be doing instead of grubbing after extra money.

But my decision to take off the rest of the year didn’t last even 24 hours. The problems offered by the equity casinos are just too interesting and too intriguing to walk away from. So the compromise I settled on is this. For the next four months, I’m going to limit myself to buying and selling just the stocks in the SP500 --done as Ben Graham would advise an investor to do-- and the list of ETFs that Seeking Alpha tracks --done as Stan Weinstein would advise an investor to do.

Both of those guys are my heroes, and their approaches to investing might be complementary. So it will interesting to see how things turn out. But I’m not to report my results on a daily or even a weekly basis, because there’s nothing more boring than to hear someone say, “Yeah. The fishing was really great yesterday. You should have been here. There was a fabulous Caddis hatch on.” Come September, when I’ve got four months of data, then I’ll do a report, but not before.

Another warm Sping day here, with laundry hanging the line (aka, my solar clothes dryer.)



Hi Arindam,

I sincerely do hope you do post regularly, as I have been learning a lot from your posts and that of others.

I am giving myself another year to “learn”…and yes, your earlier relatively recent post has made an impact already on me…And I think I am making the moves which I should have done a LONG LONG time ago…It is only baby moves I have made so far, selling some of the stuff, as it so so difficult to accept the big losses, but difficult times do require tougher decisions.

I never even considered that the portfolio can be completely or almost near completely wiped out…but now, I am no longer sure about that…The worst thing is, my loss is not from Meme stocks or Bitcoin or thing like that…Heck, I would have actually been much better off if I had actually bought and held them and that is saying something…

I had never wished for a time machine before, but if I could get one, I would have loved to come to these boards before I started throwing my hard earned money into stuff which I really should not have even touched with a ten-foot pole!

So, I do hope you keep posting regularly!




Want to hear some bad news? A year isn’t even a fraction of the time needed to “learn” how to invest, because the learning never ceases. So break the learning down to small, specific goals and set a much tighter time frame. E.g., “This week I’m going to do such and such and then review and evaluate.” What you’ll find is that what you focus on becomes obvious, easier, and second-nature, but that new interests or challenges arise.

Secondly, anyone who lets a portfolio become almost completely wiped out didn’t understand what is meant by the term. By definition, a ‘portfolio’ is basket of diverse bets, some of which might fail, but most of which should survive or even prosper. Making focused bets that involve all of one’s assets is no different than going on a bike ride without a spare tube (or two), a pump or CO2 cartridge, a patch kit, plus a cell phone to call a friend or cab if an unrepairable breakdown occurs, plus a sturdy cable and lock if the bike has to be left on site.

So here’s a Bon mot I’ve used before.

"Ques: What’s the definition of a ‘superior yachtsman’?

Ans: A ‘superior yachtsman’ is some one who uses his superior judgment to avoid getting himself into situations he’d have to use his superior skills to get himself out of."

Ques: Where does good judgment come from?
Ans: Experience.

Ques: Where does ‘experience’ come from?
Ans: Bad judgment.

Right now, it’s Spring, and the weather is gorgeous. Get outside for a bit and clear your head. Then identify one tiny problem that you’re going to address this week.

Wash, Rinse. Repeat.


A tiny bit of follow-up on my SP500 project.

I have a legacy scanner that does a creditable job of kicking out timely ‘buy’/‘sell’ signals. It suggested 40 buys for Monday, which is more postions than I wanted to put on. So I started vetting them at my fundie site, throwing out anything that Ben Graham would agree was ‘over-valued’ and shouldn’t be bought.

E.g., by nearly any version of ‘Simon’, MKTX is a timely ‘buy’. But its PE is 46.x, never mind that its balance sheet is clean, and its estimated ‘Fair Value’ is $175 compared with its present price of $318. By contrast, DXC has just a timely ‘buy’ signal, though a weaker balance sheet, a PE of 7.6x, and a ‘Fair Value’ estimate of $42 compared to its present price of $24.

For sure, ‘cheaper’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’ across all metrics. But Graham does argue that it might mean ‘less risky’, and that appeals to me right now. Here’s its chart. Do your Due Diligence.


I’m not able to pull up MTKX…doc


Try MKTX instead. In other matters, got into HTOO last week at 2.70. Gapped this AM. Getting killed on oil. Making a bundle on silver.

Later. Got into HTOO on 4/25 at 2.70. Sold just now --four market days later-- at 3.08 on a panicky, grab-the-profits-while-I-could exit. But made 14.07%, or about a gazillion percent annualized, which is good enough for the girls I go dancing with.

Actually, let’s run the numbers, because I think they are instructive. The long-term, historical average offered by stocks is about 10% per year. The average for the most recent 25 years is around 12%, or roughly 1% per month. Let’s simplify and say there are about 20 market days per month. So, if a person is averaging 4 to 5 basis points per market day across his or her portfolio, he/she is on track to make a very reasonable return for the whole year.

But here’s the problem. Almost no days, months, or years are “average”. Some days/months/years, a lot of money will be made, almost despite what one does. (“Never confuse brains with a bull market.”) Some days/months/years, a lot of money could be lost if positions are “let ride”. Hence, market-timing isn’t just something that some say can’t be done, but a risk-management, loss-minimization, and profits-harvesting tactic that should be employed. (IMHO, 'natch.)

If 4 to 5 bps/position/market day is one’s goal, and if the market offers windfall profits in far excess of that on a particular position, the conventional wisdom is to let the position ride. But my preference to grab the profit and to bank the money. Hence, I’m constantly selling “too soon”.

So, back to my trade on HTOO. If my goal is a modest 12% per year over the course of a full year and if a position offers 14% in just four market days, then I close the trade and let the money take the rest of the year off. It’s done its job, and it deserves a vacation (as do I).

Still later. Closed out LOCO at 9.75. In last week at 9.01.


When crude got crazy, I stopped trying to day trade it. A man has to know his limitations…doc

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Gas has come down alot at the pumps. But I am getting killed in Bito today. I thought it was going to have a good run.



You couldn’t have thought that. There was a very clear ‘SELL’ signal yesterday. Take another look at a chart.


Here is the chart Arindam. I am not seeing a sell until today.


and here is the chart for Bitcoin.


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“A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing.”

Quill’s 'Simple Simon Says" methods will keep an investor (or trader) out of trouble when the investing/trading situation is simple. But his methods aren’t intended to deal all with the subtilties that happen in the tape. What’s needed is ‘Candle Pattern Analysis’.

Here’s a far better chart that shows exactly what was going on.

So, what’s going on?

On the 24th, a ‘starting gate’ was established. That we all can agree on. So far, so good. Now the ‘Wait One’ rule kicks in. The next day confirms --in multiple ways-- that the previous day had reversed the trend. Again, so far, so good. We’d now be ready to buy the next day at market open, and a good-enough entry price would be something around 16.50. But prices gapped at the open. Therefore, a smart trader backs away.

The day ended down at a price that would have made a good-enough entry. But that isn’t what happened. I don’t follow BITO, though I trade it occasionally. But I’d guess that there was some news that spiked prices, and something in the (other) currency markets happened that them that trade BITO were cuing off of. That surmise is all but confirmed by the next day’s price action which seeks to re-establish the previous day’s high, but --significantly-- fails to do so.

Now what are you looking at? A two-day, bearish Haramai pattern, right? that the following day confirms. That’s the drop-dead obvious ‘SELL’ signal.

Candle Pattern

In short, you need to understand what Quill’s methods can and can’t do and to not apply them where it is not appropriate to do so.

Again, look at the chart and then look “underneath” it and try to understand the tug of war happening between buyers and sellers. That’s what’s going to make or lose you money. That understanding is immediate and actionable. The other stuff in the chart – the indicators, the moving averages, etc.-- . are just eye candy that summarizes what a bare tape is already saying. Worse, they always lag price action. That’s fine when prices are moving glacially. But that’s not the situation in the currency markets, which can turn on a whisper of news or rumor.

In sum, match the trading method to the tradable and both to the skills and goals of the trader. Quill’s easy, simple methods will make plenty of money when they are used properly. But they aren’t going to work every time, in every market, and that’s not their purpose or virtue.

So, where does one go to learn how to “read the tape”? Justin Mamis’ books are a good place to start. And throw in Greg Morris’ intro to CPA (any edition, though the earlier ones are hard to find.) And Ed Lefevre’s bio of Jesse Livermore would be helpful. Linda Raschke is good on tape reading, as well as dozens of others who actually trade for their living and who write about how they do what they do.

One last summarizing thought. If you want make money trading, you’ve gotta realize that your counter-party is smarter, faster, meaner, and better capitalized. In a slug-fest with them, you’re going to lose. Therefore, you’ve got to be skating to where they are going to be skating to and to trade from their side of the market. That means trying to think how they think, which is always a couple moves ahead of where the chart is right now, much less where it was yesterday or the week before. That doesn’t mean you’ve gotta move to intraday charts. But it does mean you have to build charts that will do for you what you need them to do for you. I want my charts to keep me out of trouble. That’s why I read the tape, rather than follow what amounts to a recipe for buying and selling. (If it really were that easy, then no one could make money in markets, because all the moves would be as obvious as Tic-Tac-Toe, which always ends in a stalemate.)

Later. OK. Now that I’ve got my daily bike ride in, let me follow up on that ‘recipe’ idea. If a person just wants a batch of traditional oatmeal cookies, then following the recipe on the oatmeal box is a sound, fool-proof idea. Same-same with following Quill’s ‘Simon Says’ methods. If all one wants is an easy, fool-proof method of buying and selling stocks (or ETFs) that mostly keeps one out of trouble and that will be decently profitable --on average and over the long haul-- then his methods are the way to go.

I can back him up on that six ways from Sunday. What I wouldn’t claim for his methods --though he does-- is that there will never be a losing trade, because ‘simple rules’ and ‘market complexity’ just don’t mix well. Nor does adding complexity fix the problem entirely, either. Always, always, always, there are going to be losses.

What one wants to do about those losses and how one wants to manage them is a whole 'nother thing that Quill makes no effort to address, because he believes the high win rate achieved by Simon will take care of the losses problem. If positions are sized rationally, I’d bet he’s correct, though neither of us has done the necessary back-testing.

You bought BITO when you shouldn’t have, and you got clobbered. Specifically, how many hundred trades have you done using Quill’s method? How many dozens of times have you traded BITO? Putting even a simple set of rules into practice takes practice, a lot of it. Another name for it is “a learning curve”.



I’m looking at the trend of bitcoin this week and it looks like it is slowly trending up. It amazes me the worthless news one finds when searching for information on topics. Its like the news people are now assigned the task to hype up or talk down sectors and stocks. I guess its going to be about the numbers only and a few reputable sites for the news…doc


I use Stockcharts exclusively to manage several portfolios with many stocks.


re: BITO
I would like you to study the BITO below chart and find me a loss since November of 2022.
I am going to assume you did not write the rules on a 3x5 index card as a reminder on how to Swing Trade via Simon Sez III simple rules.

You are velcomed to back test at your leisure back to November 1, 2021 and tyme stamp the location where you spotted a loss. Bottom line, you could have made a substantial amount of money. Let Simon tell you what to do.

Patience and discipline is required at all tymes.

Re: BITW see any losses in the same time frame.
Re: BITQ see any losses in the same frame.

I would like to to divorce yourself from any of the funny mentals you were taught in the past 10 years that corrupted you mind and let the charts tell you EXACTLY what to do.

We only use two (2) types of charts Barchart, Stockcharts and tradingview which doesn’t tell you much information.

Let’s review the following and you tell me which chart you can understand and explain to the group what you see when it comes to the differences.

Read the information above the chart and then look at stockcharts chart. Since last May did you see any losses. There is no funny stuff other than the chart is telling a story on how to be a successful Swing Trader. Then expect to see a Head Fake or two.

I own a substantial amount of shares of UBER since the “V” (3/19/20). The “V” is used as a reference since the pandemic coming out party.

I wish you the best,
Quill -


Today gives new meaning to the term “seeing red”. Not a good day. But taking some small wins. At least NUGT and UGL are going in the right direction today.

Arindam, congrats on your excellent profits!

"Today gives new meaning to the term “seeing red”. Not a good day… At least NUGT and UGL are going in the right direction.

Au contraire, Lisa. Every day is a good day, and there are no '“wrong” or “right” directions. It’s just a matter of taking a peek out the window and deciding to carry an umbrella or not.


Hi Quill,
Thanks for your time. The chart I am using is the Simon Sez III chart that is set up in Barcharts.

Does it look like I have the chart set incorrectly? So I went in on 4/27/23, that was one day after it went green, I was in at $17.17. It was doing fine on 4/28 but then on 5/1 it went red. Today it is red also but it is trending back up. So I think it is a head fake and is going to go back up the next few days. Could you tell me what part of my thinking is incorrect or if I should not be using this chart?

For a little background I think the reason for the head fake was because JPM bought First Republic which caused the crypto’s to go down but then everyone will come back to reality and realize that more banks are going to fail.

Thank you for your time.


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Hi Andy,

I wonder if you were talking about the day trading - Meaning you are looking at days or weeks chart rather than the 2 month one?

Bcoz, I dont see any buy signal recently on the 2 month chart - only the sell on 4/17/23

I am not trading these yet…but just watching and trying to understand…

I guess you used the TSI crossing as a signal to buy on 4/27 ?

However, if I understood correctly, Quill uses the low price arc and first green bar to buy…and uses the TSI cross over as a confirmative sign, should that coincide as well…

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Hi Charlie, I am using the 2 month chart but jamming the chart to the left. If you do that you will see a low on the 24th. Now maybe I am misunderstanding and shouldn’t be jamming it to the left? That would make sense in what I could be doing wrong.