Friday, June 12, 2009

What is Technical Analysis?

There is nothing mystical about the markets. Their movements can be analysed and understood by anyone who understands the basic concepts of energy.

- Trend gives us the direction of the market
- Momentum gives us the strength of the trend
- Cycles give is the timing for a change in energy
- Support and Resistance are barriers to energy

Technical analysis is the reading and evaluation of these energies.

We use Technical Indicators to measure these various energies so we have an objective evaluation of them.We cannot definitively say what a particular share price will do. However, when these energies align, as measured by the indicators and price patterns, we are presented with a low-risk, high-probability trade that we should act on.Successful trading is a combination of:

- Developing a trading plan with set rules
- Incorporating stringent risk management strategies into your plan,
- Evaluating the energies in the market through the application of technical analysis.
- Having the patience to wait for a low-risk / high-probability trade
- Executing the trade in accordance with your predefined plan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Secret of Writing Options by Louise Bedford

The writing of options in a sideways market is one of the few safe and effective ways to generate income for those with a blue-chip portfolio or a margin loan drawing capacity. “The Secret of Writing Options” by Louise Bedford is designed to guide interested readers in this field. This book provides detailed guidance on the subject of writing covered calls and puts to generate income. Louise Bedford takes a conservative approach concentrating on practices to protect the investor from loss. Both writing options on existing stock and undertaking a 'buy and write’ strategy are covered in detail however, this publication is not for those wishing to trade options on the options market.

The major topics covered in this book are:
· the benefits of writing options;
· a detailed explanation of the nature of call and put options;
· the stocks to use;
· an appreciation of both the buyer's and seller's perspectives;
· an analysis of pricing issues;
· an introduction to candlestick and trend charting;
· strategies to use;
· taking dividends into account; and
· putting your knowledge into action.

Learning "the secret of writing options" is assisted throughout the book by examples drawn from the Australian market, well-structured chapters, review questions at the end of each chapter, and a comprehensive glossary. I found this book to be an excellent read and a practical guide to the writing of options.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Louise Bedford: Australian Professional Trader

Louise Bedford is considered within trading circles to be a trading genius. She has been trading profitably for almost twenty years and currently trades from her home in Melbourne. She is in high demand as a keynote speaker on the science of trading, and she holds degrees in Psychology and Business from Monash University, the knowledge of which she applies to her trading principles.

Louise Bedford not only trades profitably but also educates others on trading and the secrets of her success. She conducts workshops and seminars throughout Australia, and is the author of the following trading publications: Trading Secrets, Charting Secrets, The Secret of Candlestick Charting, and The Secret of Writing Options. These books by Louise Bedford contain the foundation of strategies that have been implemented by numerous successful traders. They are a must read for serious traders, and those about to dip their toe into the trading world.

A sign of her true success is that many other authors of trading quote her works within their respective publications. Quite an achievement and compliment.

Many traders owe a great deal of gratitude to Louise Bedford for their success as the information she shares is priceless. I certainly fall into this category of individuals.

Friday, June 5, 2009

All Ordinaries - week ended 5/6/09

The Australian All Ordinaries (XAO) closed the week 4.11% higher at 3869.00. There were four (4) positive days and one (1) negative day with the biggest move for the week occurring on Monday the 1/6/09 where the All Ordinaries closed up 1.98% higher. However, this was closley followed by Thursday the 4/6/09 where the All Ordinaries closed down 1.92%.

Once again the ASX 200 Financial Sector (XFJ) did not perform as well closing the week only 2.71% higher. This was primarily due to the Sector losing ground on Thursday and Friday (2.32% was lost over these two days).

The ASX 200 Materials sector outperformed the All Ordinaries closing the week 7.49% higher. This was helped by a 5.57% gain on Friday the 5/6/09. Last week I forecasted the Materials Sector would be up this week but I did not expect it to be this significant.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NCM (New Crest Mining) trade I conducted

On Friday the 22 May, 2009 I bought 308 NCM shares @ $32.37 as the 26 12 9 daily Moving Average Crossover Divergence (MACD) crossed above the 0 line. I trade CFDs so the trade only cost me the 10% margin - $997.00

On Friday the 29 May, 2009 I added to my position and bought another 305 NCM shares @ $32.80. I paid the 10% margin of $1000.40.

On Monday the 1 June, 2009 I added to my position and bought another 300 NCM shares @$33.24. I paid the 10% margin of $997.20.

On Wednesday the 3 June, 2009 NCM shares closed at $34.40 so I am sitting on a nice paper profit of $1461.24.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Ordinaries - week ending Fri 29/5/09

The Australian All Ordinaries (XAO) closed the week 1.52% higher at 3812.30. There were three (3) positive days and two (2) negative days with the biggest move for the week occurring on Friday the 29/5/09 where the All Ordinaries closed up 1.56% higher.

The ASX 200 Financial Sector (XFJ) did not perform as well closing the week only 0.16% higher. However, the ASX 200 Materials sector outperformed the All Ordinaries closing the week 4.28% higher.

The 14 day Directional Movement System, 26 12 9 daily MACD, daily 12 9 TRIX, and the 12 day Momentum Indicators all forecast a positive week ahead for the Materials Sector.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Adding to Position (Pyramiding)

‘Pyramiding’ loosely means adding to your position in a trade, i.e. buying more shares that you already own. So when would you buy more shares in a company that you have already invested in? Many investors make the mistake of ‘averaging down’, which is purchasing more shares as the price is falling. The reason they do this is because they believe that if a stock was cheap when they initially purchased the shares, it must be cheaper now. This is a massive NO NO as it goes against the principle of setting up stop losses and getting out of the trade when your stop loss is activated. Furthermore, you have no way of knowing how far the price of the stock is going to fall. Remember – capital preservation is essential for a healthy and prosperous trading experience.

So don’t buy more shares if the price in that company is falling!

It is accepted that the price of shares do in fact trend. Therefore, adding to your position makes sense when you have confirmed that the price is trending up. So when do you add? How much do you add? And how often do you add?

You could keep it simple and base it on %s, i.e. if the price moves up 5% buy more. If it moves up another 5% - buy more again, and so on. Or you could base it on an Average True Range (ATR) movement, i.e. if the price moves up ½ ATR or 1 ATR – buy more.

Trading Example

I will keep it simple for this example and use the 5 % rule to demonstrate how adding to your position can increase your profits. This article should be read in conjunction with my post on ‘Position Sizing’. Remember that I only want to risk a maximum of $1000 per trade and I use 2 x ATR as my stop loss.

Chart supplied by

On the 20/3/09 I buy 1136 CRG shares at the open for $8.00 for an outlay of $9088 (1). The ATR of CRG on this date is $0.44 (4) therefore, my stop loss is set at $7.12 (Stop Loss is: purchase price minus 2 x ATR). At this stage, the most I can lose is $999.68 (1136 x $7.12 = $8088.32)

$9088 - $8088.32 = $999.68

On the 24/3/09 the price of CRG has increased by 5%, i.e. it reaches $8.40 (2). I now decide to buy more. The ATR is now $0.43 (5) and once again I only want to risk $1000 on this trade. My stop loss is now set at $7.54. To calculate the number of shares I am now going to purchase I divide $1000 by 2ATR:

$1000 / $0.86 = 1163 shares. Therefore, 1163 CRG shares are purchased at $8.40 for an outlay of $9,769.

I now own 2299 CRG shares that have cost a total of $18857. If the stop loss of $7.54 is activated, I exit both trades therefore, I sell 2299 CRG shares at $7.54 and receive $17334.46 (a loss of $1522.54).

On the 5/4/09 the price of CRG has increased another 5%, i.e. it reaches $8.82 (3). I now decide to buy more. The ATR is now $0.39 (6) and once again I only want to risk $1000 on this trade. My stop loss is now set at $8.04. To calculate the number of shares I am going to purchase I divide $1000 by 2 ATR:

$1000 / $0.78 = 1282 shares. Therefore, 1282 CRG shares are purchased at $8.82 for an outlay of $11,307.24.

I now own 3581 CRG shares that have cost a total of $30,164.24. If the stop loss of $8.04 is activated, I exit all three trades therefore, I sell 3581 CRG shares at $8.04 and receive $28,792.128 (a loss of $1373).

Now in this example, I would exit all three trades on the 14/5/09 on the open at $9.23 due to my moving average rules. So 3581 CRG shares are sold at $9.23 and I receive $33,052.63 (a $2888.39 profit).

Had I not added to my position, I would have only owned 1136 CRG shares that were purchased on the 20/3/09 for $8.00. I would have sold them on the 14/5/09 at $9.23, receiving $10,485.28 (a profit of $1397.28 ).

Adding to my position increased my profits by $1491.11 which is a 107% increase.

An interesting observation comes out of this example. Whilst I conducted three separated trades and risked $1000 per trade, my overall risk ended up only being $1373. Whereas if I had conducted three trades in three separate stocks, my overall risk would have been $3000.

Why would you not add to your position to a trend that is working in your favour? With proper risk management strategies, you can increase your profits while lessening your risk. Caution: do not put all your eggs into one basket. I only add to my position twice.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Position Sizing – What is it and How to Apply it?

Position sizing is about deciding just how many shares to buy or sell and it is crucial to Money Management (as is setting a Stop Loss). I consider determining how much to buy or sell the single most important aspect of trading because using a position sizing strategy limits your risk which in turn gives greater confidence to enter the trade.

I have found that most traders conduct each trade with the exact same position size, e.g. they invest $10,000 into each trade. If you are a trader that fits into this category, hopefully this article will cause you to adapt your trading strategy – or cause you to develop one.

Determining Position Sizing

The first thing you need to do before determining your position size is to identify your maximum level of risk, i.e. how much money are you prepared to lose on a trade before you will exit the trade.

For the purpose of this article, I will demonstrate what I do. Many other traders do differently to this but this works for me. I have a trading account of $200,000 and each of my initial* trades will use no more than $15,000 of this $200,000. This allows me to have a minimum of 13-14 trades running at one time (diversification). I am prepared to lose $1,000 per trade before I will exit the trade. Before entering a trade, I need to know what the Average True Range (ATR) is for the stock I am trading (ATR is discussed in my third article that I posted on the 24/5/09).

I will now site an actual trade that could have been conducted by referring to the below chart.

Chart supplied by

On the 17 March 2009 you could have bought DJS at a price of $2.46 at the open. The 14-day Average True Range on this date was $0.11 (to the nearest cent). I use a stop loss of 2 ATR therefore, my stop loss for this trade would have been at $2.24 which is $0.22 below the entry price.

$2.46 – (2 x $0.11) = $2.24

Divide the amount that I am prepared to lose ($1,000) by 2 ATR ($0.22). This gives me the amount of shares I would purchase at $2.46 (4545 shares).

$1000 / $0.22 = 4545 (rounded to the nearest whole amount)

Therefore, on the 17 March, 2009 4545 DJS shares were purchased @ $2.46 for a total cost of $11,180.70. The stop loss is set at $2.24. If the stop loss is reached, I would sell:

4545 shares x $2.24 = $10,180.80

$11,180.70 - $10,180.80 = $999.90 which is the maximum I could lose from this trade.

As you can see in the chart above, the stop loss was not reached and I would fall back on my exit strategies to exit this trade. For interest’s sake, if you were still in this trade at time of writing you would be sitting on a nice paper profit of $5,181.30 as DJS closed at $3.60 on Wednesday the 27 May, 2009.

I do not factor in broker costs or slippage when I do my calculations. The reason for this is that broker costs are insignificant in comparison to the amount of the trade (as I trade CFDs my broker costs do not exceed $40 for the entire trade). Slippage very rarely occurs and I quite often get out of a bad trade before the stop loss is activated as other trading tools such as certain technical indicators have indicated to me that the trade is going bad before the price has reached my stop loss. As a result, my maximum loss can end up being less than the $1,000 limit I set myself.

*I referred to initial trade as this example doesn’t include anything on ‘adding to my position’ which I will discuss in another article.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Average True Range (ATR) - What is it?

The Average True Range (ATR) is a volatility indicator that is simply an average of the ‘True Range’ over a number of periods, usually 14 days. For example, if the True Range over 14 consecutive days is as follows: 5 8 3 5 8 8 9 7 4 7 6 3 6 5. The Average True Range for that 14 day period is 6.

5 + 8 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 8 + 9 + 7 + 4 + 7 + 6 + 3 + 6 + 5 = 84 ( / 14) = 6

The True Range of a particular day is calculated as being the greater of the following:
- the distance from today's high to today's low.
- the distance from yesterday's close to today's high.
- the distance from yesterday's close to today's low.

True Range differs from a daily range as True Range includes any overnight gaps in price.

Chart supplied by

You can see in the above figure at point (1) that the underlying price for David Jones Limited (DJS) becomes more volatile. At the same, the Average True Range indicator increases (2). Therefore, the higher the value of the ATR indicator, the more volatile the stock is. (As I reside in Australia, all the data I refer to will be ASX Data).

This discussion on ATR will lead into my next article on position sizing and stop loss.

I would like to thank the staff at incredible charts for allowing me to use their charts as visual aids.

Intro 2

As mentioned in my first post, I am going to share my experiences and knowledge with the world. I won’t be giving any advice in any of my posts as I am not a financial adviser nor am I a stock broker. However, I will be writing about what I do, i.e. when I buy and sell stocks, and why I conducted those trades.

I will tell you about the trading systems and indicators I use and why I use those systems. Furthermore, I will let you know when my trading system generates a buy / sell signal for any of the stocks in the ASX 200. This is all based on technical analysis.

Each weekend I will give a summary of the Australian (ASX) stock market in the week that just passed by referring to the All Ordinaries (XAO), the financial sector (XFJ), and the materials sector (XMJ).

If enough interest is generated, I will do the same for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, i.e give weekly summaries and inform you of signals within that market.

I will write about different technical indicators such as MACD, RSI, TRIX, and Moving Averages, and tell you which ones I like and why.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Intro 1 - me and trading

Hi, my name is Murray and I reside in Sydney Australia with my wife and two children. I developed an interest in the stock market in late 1999 when Telstra 2 floated as I bought some of their shares and made a small amount of money from it. As I looked into it a bit more, I realised that people were making a lot of money from trading stocks. Naturally, I wanted to know how they did it.

Since that time, I have been conducting technical analysis, trialing trading software, developing my own trading systems, and of course, trading stocks. Such is my interest, I thought I would share my experiences and knowledge with the world.

My following article will outline what I will use this site for and what subjects I plan on writing on. Happy reading and welcome to austradingforprofits!!!