pyesetz: (rabbit)
Hi again!  I realize that this stock-market crap is of no interest whatsoever to my furiends, but I recently had a rare win so I thought I'd crow about it.  Please do not read this entry if doing so would have offended you.

You've heard of a company called "Yahoo!", right?  Well, here is a chart of that company's stock-price over the last year.  My trading bot jumped in and out of the stock nine times, as shown by the blue arrows.  Historically this algorithm should have produced gains about 40% of the time, but of these nine trades only 22% were winners.  What a drag, eh?  Makes you feel like giving up on the stock market and just hiding under a rock for a while?  Oh, but look!  The last trade was such a big winner that it wiped out all previous losses and then some.

My bot looks only at price; it does not read a news feed and has no idea that Yahoo owns 25% of a Chinese company called "Alibaba", which went public on Sept. 15th (the peak on this chart).  It does not know the traders' rule "buy the rumour, sell the news" — but that's what it did!  I wish it had sold a couple of days earlier, but them's the breaks.

pyesetz: (woof)
That's the title for this Reddit post.

In other news, on Monday I gave another lecture about stock-trading — or rather, about my inability to make any money at it.  I described the extreme efforts I had to go through to compile an archive of 20,000 hours of trading in one particular stock-ticker (IWM, an exchange-traded mutual fund that holds shares in the 2000 stocks that are just below the S&P 500).  One person asked if I was going to "liberate" this data.

Yes I can!  Unfortunately, intellectual-property licensing agreements prevent me from posting it here (I can give it out only to "a limited number of individuals", without charge, for noncommercial use, on an occasional and irregular basis).  I tried posting the data to the Google Group for the programmer's meetup, but my message has gotten stuck in the queue.  Please comment if you either want it or don't want it.
pyesetz: (woof)
It was about Emacs!  And stock-trading!  And the people I was speaking to didn't like any of it!  And I sort of knew that would happen before I even started!  I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment, because I keep trying to tell people things I know they don't want to hear.

Anyway, here is a transcript for my talk, which you should definitely click on if your preferred reading material contains text such as "Um, oh, okay, so there we go.  All right, so, perhaps if".  Clearly, I am not one of the world's best public speakers.

The timestamps in the transcript do not correspond to the original talk, but to this version (which you probably shouldn't bother clicking on).  I used audacity to reduce the tempo by 40%, which — due to the magic of mathematics — had the effect of increasing the size of the recording by 70%.

In other news, my Panasonic CF-Y5 laptop's LCD died again, so I got a Dell D620 to replace it.  So I had to give this talk using a computer that I had just bought, with an operating system (Mint 15!) that I barely knew how to use.  Considering that, things actually went reasonably well.

I had hoped that the guy from OpenText would be there again, but no such luck.  So, after my talk, I gave my résumé to the Company ℙ guy, but I guess there's no reason to expect any employment interest from him any time soon.


Mar. 17th, 2013 09:20 pm
pyesetz: (flag-over-sunrise)
Hey, Americans!  Did you know that the country of Cyprus went bankrupt yesterday?  I thought not.  Did you know that tomorrow just happens to be a regularly-scheduled bank holiday in that country?  After banks closed on Friday for a three-day weekend, the people of Cyprus were told that their deposit insurance was ineffective and they will lose 7¢ of every euro they thought they had — and the cabinet politicians assured them that they had negotiated this great deal because the ECB's original offer would have confiscated 40¢ of every Cypriot euro!  As you can imagine, the citizenry are a wee bit unhappy after hearing this news, with some minor-league rioting, so the back-bench politicians are making a show of not voting for the deal today like they were told to — so the cabinet declared that Tuesday will now be an unplanned bank holiday, as will every day from now until the government of Cyprus obeys its orders from Europe, because Cypriot banks actually failed last June and have been living ever since on borrowed time and ECB handouts, which have now come to an end.

Did you know that the people of Iceland were in a similar situation in 2007, and they refused to bail out the banksters, despite the dire warnings that their world would end if they didn't?  Well, things were bad for a few years, but Iceland's world didn't end, and they're doing sort of okay these days.  So it is not yet clear whether Cyprus will actually bend over as instructed.  The obvious alternative is to refund 100% of depositors' money for Cypriot citizens and make the foreign depositors take the loss.  Problem: the foreign depositors in Cyprus are widely believed to be Russian mobsters, who do not take kindly to losses — and Cyprus owes a whole lot of money to the government of Russia, from whom they took a bridge loan last year.  Did you know any of this?  Because American media have all collectively decided that you don't need to know.  But (for now) we still have the Internet.

Meanwhile, anyone who is paying attention will realize that "FDIC insured" doesn't mean anything any more.  There is not enough money in the world to make all depositors whole.  Eventually the USA will finish flooding the world with worthless government bonds that can never be repaid, and there will be no one left still dumb enough to buy them, so the government will run out of money, so it will no longer be able to make good on "FDIC insured" promises (because that's where the money has been coming from, folks).

Welcome to the Brave New World, where your news media are censored for your protection.  Because surely you wouldn't have wanted to hear about Cyprus if it would be upsetting and maybe put you off of your next shopping spree?  The world needs you to keep shopping, because God knows your money isn't safe in banks.  But that's such a downer.  Wouldn't you rather hear about two high-school football players who were convicted of rape because they tweeted about it?  The poor girl!  Those poor strapping young men whose athletic careers are now RUINED!  Let's not worry our pretty little heads about some boring "money" thing.  Change the channel, Edith!
pyesetz: (Default)

In this comment thread, note how ‘GubmintCheese’ and I never talk about *why* we want to buy gold, like two junkies discussing slight purity differences between the heroin of different suppliers.  At many bearish message boards, just mentioning gold is like shouting “Hitler!” in a room full of Godwin’s laws, but this crowd is fairly relaxed.  ‘MarketSniper’ tries to get things going with a physical-versus-paper debate, but no one takes him up on it.

Also note how MarketSniper never talks to me, but only to the people who are talking to me.  Exception: here, where he calls me an idiot who doesn't know “the first step in system development”.  After some consideration, I have decided that MarketSniper’s comment about detrending is either bogus or exceedingly subtle; my problem is more likely to be overtuning.  But he is an administrator at this board, so I try to avoid getting on his bad side.

(Do not click here unless you’re wondering WTF this all has to do with Furry.  Booboo’s previous avatar was an anthropomorphized box of french fries.)

Nobody ever comments on my trading journal, although I have received two private emails from people who said they tried to comment but Blogger was too difficult.  It has no followers, which is to be expected for a trading journal that isn’t making any money.  But Google says my posts there now tend to get about two dozen hits each.  A few months ago it was maybe half a dozen hits each.  I have no idea how many commenters at SlopeOfHope realize that I have a public journal.  I’ve never mentioned it there, but anyone who googles for "pyesetz" would find it soon enough.

pyesetz: (rabbit)
Today I received the first email from my new batch job.  Each day it throws away the hourly stock quotes I got from Schwab and replaces them with more accurate quotes from, to prevent "drift" in my technical indicators.  Because Barchart delays their data by 15 minutes, and sometimes there are "price corrections" a few minutes after 4pm, I have the batch job running at 4:20 pm.  *snerk*

And why do I have to do this?  Because Schwab gives "real-time" quotes, while I want "top-of-hour" quotes from several seconds earlier.  Schwab offers those, but not to robots (their website is carefully coded to make it difficult to extract this data). offers top-of-hour data, but not to robots (terms of service say "no bots").  Barchart offers this data, with a delay.  It's a conspiracy to ensure that I can't get the numbers I need when I need them!

And... *still* no capacitor!  USPS says it left their country ten days ago.
pyesetz: (Default)
Somebody spent billions of dollars yesterday to prop up the stock market.  Maybe it was Brian Sacks, trying to use up his budget at the Fed's "Plunge Protection Team" before his resignation today.  It seems that next week's megacrash has been postponed, at least for a short while.  I have closed my URTY trade with a profit.

Yesterday, I got a comment reply from the great Tim Knight! ⁽¹⁾  This was probably because I had the bad luck to be the last commenter on a thread that Tim then closed, but he said I have a "nice avatar".  Anyway, he noticed me, mouthing off about my bullish positioning, just before the stock market jumped through the roof.  Woohoo!
⁽¹⁾ Tim clearly has a "thing" for ursines, but I don't know how furry he is.
pyesetz: (rabbit)
If people would just return to the 'two sleeps' pattern of their ancestors, that would save energy (we'd go to bed earlier), increase the birth rate (nothing else to do between the two sleeps), and increase environmentalism (by bringing us back into tune with Nature).  The reason why 'two sleeps' is never mentioned in the Bible is because the House of Borgia demanded that it be expunged from all extant copies in order to increase candle sales.  Cancer, shyness, and nominalism are all side-effects of the unnatural 8-hours-in-a-row sleep pattern.  Also, squat toilets.

* * * * *

If the European Central Bank is actually intending to do an illegal bailout by printing up Euros and "loaning" them to Spanish banks, accepting gum wrappers and bits of string as the collateral, then which country will experience the resulting food riots?  Last time it was Algeria.

* * * * *

My URTY model triggered!  Since March 26th, my robot has woken up every hour, checked the stock market, and then asked itself: "Is it time to buy URTY yet?"  And every hour — 436 times in a row! — the answer has been "No."  Until 11am this morning, when the answer was "Yes".  I was shocked.  Shocked, I tell you!  The URTY model is designed to detect periods of inflation due to stealth money-printing by central banksters.  Unfortunately, it is wrong about ⅓ of the time.  We shall see.  When it's wrong, the robot will usually sell at a loss within a week.
pyesetz: (Default)
I made a shiny thing!  Click to embiggen.  It is supposed to show off how effective my new stock-trading strategy is, but we'll have to see whether that really works out.

I had to piece this together from images in my Firefox cache due to bugs at the website, which silently throws away colour-spots on the left of the picture if you add "too many" spots on the right — surely nobody would want to add over 100 colour-spots to their chart, right???  And there are many other bugs at that website, that often cause all the colour-spots on a chart to be silently thrown away.  Remind me again why I am paying them a monthly fee to use this crappy software?

* * * * *

Earlier this month, after four years of putting it off, I finally got my attic insulated!  And it cost NOTHING, as long as I agreed to apply urethane foam-sealant and weather-stripping elsewhere in the house, and pay $300 to have the house inspected twice.  In return for that, I will get a government grant for the attic insulation that is LARGER than its out-of-pocket cost, plus I'll get a prize for having done a good job sealing up my house.  The prize only *partially* pays for the inspections and sealant and weather-strips I had to buy (and would have covered those completely if I had sealed up the house just 3% better and gotten into the next prize category).  Net cost: $200.  Supposedly these improvements will pay for themselves with one winter's savings in heating bills, but it's hard to tell this year because it's been a very warm winter so far.

Dear diary: I never did get around to telling you that, after three years of putting it off, I finally got a sump pump installed back in Fall 2010!  It works great!  The basement is now dry-er but of course it's still damp.  During last spring's rains the pump got quite a work-out, but the water never rose above floor-level.

Last summer, I got my air-conditioner replaced.  It was quite old and its evaporator coil was full of pin-holes and so could no longer hold refrigerant — and the refrigerant that it used has since been banned for contributions to Global Warming.    The replacement unit works very well!  And hopefully it will work even better next summer, when the new attic insulation will help keep the heat out of the house so the A/C doesn't have to work so hard.  Last month, the people who installed it for me called to say that the government grant they had promised me hadn't been issued yet, and would I go to Ontario's website and click some buttons and scan+upload a copy of the receipt?  So I did that; hopefully there'll be a cheque in the mail sometime soon.
pyesetz: (stock)
My stock-market trading hasn't been going too well.  As of today, my account is down 16% for the year.  Hopefully, at the end of the month there will be some "year in review" articles where I can find out how badly everyone else has been doing.  Some say that this has been just a generally bad year for most traders, due to excessive interventions by the central banks of Europe and the USA which have caused the market to lack any clear "momentum".  Meanwhile, I've been putting so much effort into the stock market that I've been slacking at my dayjob (Company 𝔾), so there has been little income from that and none from trading.  Last year I refinanced my house; for now I have plenty of money for living expenses, but things need to improve next year or I'll be going bankrupt sometime in 2013.

So, things have been rather depressing for rather too many months now.  Once in a blue moon, on days when things actually go sort of right-ish for a change, I like to post these charts:

Here we see a chart of the prices for TZA over the last few weeks.  I bought near the end of the day on Nov. 30th, figuring I'd hold it for 2‒4 days as usual.  But things went against me on Dec. 2nd.  Then they went against me even further on Dec. 5th.  Grasping at straws, I reached for the "38% retrace" rule which often works (when a stock makes a big move in one direction, it will often retrace about 38% of that move before continuing on).  I told my broker to sell at $31.34.  Days passed.  More days passed.  Today, my order finally went through!  And then the stock immediately dropped back down after nosing my price!  I ended up selling for 10% more than I paid.  I had hoped for more, but at least it's a gain!  Any port in a storm!!!
pyesetz: (Default)

Day 6: Visit with Cousins

Walmart, North Attleborough⁽¹⁾ MA.  October 2nd, 12:23 PM.  Stop in to get a new CR2 battery for Wifey’s APX camera.  The camera was a gift from Kodak in honour of Kid #2’s birth.  APX cameras are no longer made; the Advantix® film for them either has been or will soon cease production.  Walmart insists on selling these batteries as a two-pack, so it costs $10 to keep the camera going for just a little while longer.  Also buy a new pocket comb for $1 because my old one is missing half its teeth.  The receipt is hard to read because significant quantities of the ink have fallen off—damn those thermal printers!
⁽¹⁾ Wifey (who lived in this town during her teen years) prefers the less-pretentious spelling ”North Attleboro”.
⁽²⁾ The City of Attleboro does not use the ‘ugh’ suffix in their official name, perhaps just to be different from the adjacent Town of North Attleborough.

BIL #3’s house, Attleboro⁽²⁾ MA.  Besides BIL #3 and his wife SIL #2, also present are his children (Cousins #1, #2, and #3) as well as BIL #2 and his wife SIL #3.  (The younger brother married first, so his wife gets the lower SIL number.)  The big family news is that SIL #3 is going to be a grandma because Cousin #4 (who married last year) is now pregnant.  The presents from Toys Я Us (which we bought on day 3 with BIL #1’s money) are well-received by the cousins.  My children get gifts of cash from BIL #2, who is still working at Chrysler.  Kids #1 and #2 both say they will deposit the money into their savings accounts to prepare for when their laptop computers next need replacement (which just happened recently, so their accounts are depleted right now).
      Unlike previous visits, which involved take-out food, today’s lunch consists of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and salad.  SIL #2 proudly discusses how much money she saved while buying the ingredients.  Later, when we try to give to BIL #3’s family the McDonald’s game-tokens we picked up on day 2, they inexplicably don’t want them.  Eventually BIL #3 admits that they don’t eat at McDonald’s anymore because it costs too much.  It was then that I realized that ”economic Depression” is not just my trading stance on the stock market, but is also a real-world horror that my extended family is living through.  The sensible pundits are predicting another five years of this—but it could be twenty more years if the ultrarich insist on starting a Class War, which will get them all killed and leave the country without any business leaders until a new generation can grow up.  (Similar to Cambodia after Pol Pot?)
      Wifey takes some family photos with her camera.  Hopefully we’ll get them developed while the technology is still in practice. [October 25th: haven’t done that yet.]
      We pick up a package of clothing that Wifey had ordered from a website that refuses to ship to Canada, so she had them mail it to BIL #3’s house.  (There were also two other items shipped to BIL #3’s house that we picked up, but I have no receipts for those.)

Hawthorn Suites, Franklin MA.  For dinner we eat Chinese take-out, delivered to our hotel room.  Somehow the receipt didn’t get saved, but my credit-card statement shows a $24.56 charge for ”Bamboo House”.  Not the world’s best Chinese; we probably won’t be ordering from them again.

Day 7: Drive to New York

Hawthorn Suites: A bill for $720.45 was slipped under our door.  Yet another reason why we don’t drive to Massachusetts very often.

Stock market: The market is continuing to head downward.  Buy *more* TZA!

Wilbraham MA: All my life, every time I passed through Wilbraham on the Mass Pike, I made sure to take a look at the topiary that greets visitors: Welcome to Wilbraham, home of FRIENDLY’S ice cream!  The topiary is still there this time, even though Friendly’s filed for bankruptcy on October 2nd.  I don’t expect to see it again.

Gulf Express, Blandford MA.  Fill up the tank at a highway rest stop before entering New York, whose gas tax is higher.  12:47 PM, $3.57⁹/gallon, 10¾ gallons.

New Lams Chinese Kitchen, Amsterdam NY.  Found by Googling for “restaurants” while at the Pattersonville rest area on the New York Thruway.  Food less than wonderful; we won’t be back.
      The local Coke saleswoman came in and wanted to complain about cans of Pepsi being stored in the Coke-branded refrigerator.  She insisted on speaking English, but the Mom+Pop owners of the restaurant would have much preferred to discuss the matter in Chinese and their English-speaking son wasn’t in the restaurant at the time.
      Cash only; no receipt.  Had to borrow US cash from Kid #1’s gift from BIL #2 to pay for it.  [October 25th: still haven’t paid her back with loonies.]

Homewood Suites, Liverpool NY: Includes free dinner!
      Homewood is now owned by Hilton.  Our stay is complimentary because we have so many Hilton Rewards points, which were about to expire so we used them to stay here.  Actually, we didn’t have *quite* enough points so we had to pay $12 to buy more ”free” points to top up the account for a ”free” room.
      There was a middle-of-the-night false fire alarm, which the hotel blamed on ”the wind”, even though it was a windless night.  Apparently the hotel staff have been taught standard lies to tell to guests, regardless of weather.

Meanwhile, in Canada: The Township of Wilmot took $180 from my chequing account for property tax.  Union Gas took $88 for methane supply.  Rogers took $150 for cable+Internet; one of these days I’ve gotta call them and cut back on the extraneous cable channels we don’t even watch!

Day 8: Shopping & Return Home

Land’s End Inlet, Rochester NY.  This is an outlet store for clothing.  Total $184.56, net after $150.54 ”savings off original price”.  1:28 PM.

Applebee’s, Henrietta NY.  Within sight of Land’s End, but the receipt says it’s in a different town.  $61.93 at 2:46 PM.  The food seems about the same as always.  Some people think Applebee’s will be going bankrupt soon.

Wegman’s Supermarket, Rochester NY.  Within sight of Applebee’s and Land’s End.  The receipt is about 30 inches long!  We buy lots of stuff that is more expensive and/or not available in Canada.  The receipt shows that we presented 15 coupons (which Wifey had printed out from the Internet) for a total of $13.45 discount (plus $3.70 for ”double coupons” less than $1).  We also get $14.07 off for using our Wegman’s loyalty card.  Final total $485.52, which I think is the most we have ever spent at this store (it used to be more like $300).  The haul includes one box of Sunshine Cheez-Its.  Exit at 4:21 PM.
      At 3:48 PM, I use the Wegman’s food court wi-fi to check the stock market.  The market had been heading downward, but in the last half-hour of trading it decided to zoom up and erase all losses for the past two days.  Just as I log in to check on it, my emergency trailing stop activates and sells all my TZA shares.  Rats!  The shares bought on day 7 got sold for just about what I paid for them, while the shares bought on day 3 were sold for a 13% gain.  Not bad, but I’m still waiting for the Big Drop when I’ll make a 60% gain on TZA.  Some people say that ridiculous behaviour like a 5% average rise in all 6,000 stocks over a 40 minute period is indicative of market manipulation, but everyone knows the market is rigged so either play along or go home.  Automated trailing stops are mandatory!

Wegman’s, 4:36 PM.  After loading our purchases into the car and deciding how much room remains, I return to the store to buy more Cheez-Its.  16 more boxes for $35.00.

New York Thruway rest area, Clarence NY.  Bought a muffin at Tim Horton’s; don’t remember why.  $1.27 at 5:46 PM.  Bought gas: Sunoco, $3.76⁹/gallon, 14⅞ gallons, 5:51 PM.

Canadian border, Queenston ON.  We declare $1600 in purchases being imported.  Because there are four of us and we were gone for a week, this amount is small enough to avoid having to pay sales tax upon re-entry.  To verify our story, the border guard asks to see a receipt from a week ago.  Wifey thumbs through the receipts envelope and selects the one for Penzey’s on day 4, which is less than a week ago but the guard accepts it anyway and waives us through.

Our house, Wilmot ON.  Good night!

pyesetz: (Default)

So, I drove the family to Massachusetts and back.  And I said I would write a post about it.  But all I have is this pile of three dozen receipts.  How am I supposed to weave them into a story?  I guess I’ll start with a dedication:

This road trip was funded by a grant from the estate of BIL #1, who died last year of alcoholism after being thrown out of the Army for refusing yet another tour of duty in Iraq.  I consider him to be a war casualty.

Day 0: Preparation

Buy gas: It is 1:45 PM on September the 26th.  The big trip begins tomorrow.  I am at the recently-opened gas station down the street from my house, filling up my tank.  I buy 67⅔ litres of gasoline for $81 (that's about $4.80/gallon for Americans).  I am thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t buy so much gas, since it’s cheaper across the border in New York, but I don’t want to deal with the stations near the border — last time I had trouble with a gas pump that wouldn’t accept my American credit card because my address doesn’t have a zipcode.
      This gas station has a large sign that says “Mac’s” with an owl logo.  The pumps have logos for Shell Oil.  The receipt says it’s from Shell Canada.  Nowhere to be seen is the name ”Alimentation Couche-Tard”, which I think is the shadowy megacorp that actually owns this store.  They are apparently not very nice and perhaps the #OccupyMontreal people should keep them in mind.  Still, they were willing to spend lots of money to build this station in my little town, so I guess they have some redeeming social value, unlike the banks who refuse to open any branches here.
      The receipt also includes a store number, a gas pump serial number, a transaction number, a credit card approval number, a sales tax ID number, zzzzzzzz...  You know what?  I don’t give a shit about this crap!  Let’s jump forward to the middle of the story, because that’s just the kind of left-handed doggie that I am.

Day 5: Aquarium

October 1st is one of two days of our trip that were set aside for visiting museums, on the grounds that BIL #1 would have wanted us to have some fun with his money.

Drive to Boston: We are on our way to the New England Aquarium.  I paid some tolls on the Mass. Turnpike to get here, but didn’t get any receipts so fuck it.  I haven’t been to this aquarium in many years.  As we get closer to it, I vaguely remember that it has some sort of parking problem.  I pass by one garage that seems quite far away from the destination, but advertises $18 for aquarium parking.  I keep going in hopes that maybe something more convenient will show up.

Parking: We arrive at Central Wharf, which is a mob scene with wall-to-wall tourists.  Eventually, at 1 PM, we complete the maze of one-way streets to arrive at the parking garage that is adjacent to the aquarium.  The charge is $35.  Ah, now I remember!  The aquarium and the garage next door are enemies; it is the $18 garage that is friends with the aquarium (get your parking stub stamped for a discount).  The aquarium hates the $35 garage because it causes people to feel cheated before they even get in the door, which reduces the take from their gift shop, etc.  This has been allowed to go on for many years, so I presume the City of Boston is raking some off the top from the garage.  Mustn’t miss an opportunity to scalp the out-of-towners!  The whole thing stinks of corruption, which overpowers the slightly-fishy odour of the wharf.  As we exit from the garage, we are accosted by barkers trying to sell us overpriced tours on harbour boats.  For a moment I feel like I’m back in Mexico.  But we must soldier on because that’s what BIL #1 would have wanted.

Waiting in line: It is Saturday at a museum.  The line to get in is very long.  I generally avoid lines, figuring that anything *that* popular is probably overhyped.  But “visiting the aquarium” is our scheduled activity for the day, so we enter the line.  I feel like a sitting duck with a neon sign over my head saying, ”Attention all pickpockets!  The tourists are ⇒HERE⇐ and they can’t leave this line.”  But our time spent in line is uneventful.

* * * * *

I later learned that #OccupyBoston was holding a demonstration at South Station, about a mile away, but there was no evidence of any disturbance at Central Wharf.  I wish the occupiers well, but the situation is similar to the end of apartheid in South Africa: it is very, very difficult for the oppressors to climb off their pedestals, having told each other all their lives that they *must* remain on the pedestals because otherwise surely the unwashed masses will tear them limb from limb!  Well, no, actually the masses just want this horrid financial game to be over.  It is only after food becomes unaffordable that the violence will start.  There is still time for the top 0.01% of the ultrarich to do the right thing, but very little evidence so far that they can find it in their hearts to do so.

There is some confusion among the occupiers about who their enemies are.  While “the 1%” is a catchy phrase, most of the top 1% hates the ultrarich as much as the bottom 99% do.  Once all the wealth has been sucked out of the 99%, the vacuum will then be turned upon the 1% and probably many of them know that.  The real enemies are people whose names you have never heard of, who have fudged the public records so their loot appears to be spread out among a horde of fake nominees, because they believe that if their lives ever became public knowledge then of course they would be put to death immediately.  You might as well call them ”the Voldemorts”.

Of course, it is presumptuous of me to be speaking on behalf of the 1%.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor have I ever wanted to be, a member of that class.  At the peak of my career as a software engineer, my income was barely into the top 20% for Americans; it is much lower now.  I have always refused offers of promotion into management.  I have never kissed anyone’s ass (no, it’s not just a figure of speech) and I don’t intend to start now.  I have gotten into stock trading, not because it’s a popular pastime among my rich friends, but because my health is poor and it is one of the few jobs that truly doesn’t need anything more than a brain, a computer, some seed capital, and a whole lotta nerve.

The stock market is broken.  It has become a casino where the world’s wealth is gambled away.  It should be restored to its proper function.  But in the meantime, if you’re not playing, you’re losing.  The world’s corporations are taking the money from your pocket and putting it on the stock market.  If you want it back, that’s where you have to go.  To win, all one has to do is be smarter than the average bankster, which seems like it shouldn’t be that hard.  But the banksters have had many years to hone their game, while I am a newbie.

Many people have written their versions of ”What #OccupyWallStreet’s demands should be”.  Here is one from Shah Gilani, who is a member of the 1% and has been neck-deep in Wall Street for 30 years.  The language is a little stilted, and some of his demands are perhaps too lenient, but he seems to be roughly on the same page as the protesters outside his offices.  That’s a refrain I’ve heard from many sources: most of the people who work on Wall Street agree with the protesters, not with their own overlords.  They hate how corrupt their jobs have become.

* * * * *

Aquarium entrance: At 1:40 PM we finally got to the front of the line.  In the meantime, the rear of the line had become maybe 20% longer.  I pity the fool who joins it now!  Admission is only $91.80 for a family of four.  As soon as we get in, we immediately find ourselves at a penguin feeding show.  I really dislike the crowd-control language that the emcee is using, so I wait on the nearby benches until the show is over.

Lunch: At 2:20 PM we head to the cafeteria.  I get a salad.  Later I get the runs; hey Toto, maybe we really are back in Mexico?  The kids get chicken fingers and French fries, which are heavily coated with some bright orange powder of indeterminate origin and purpose (I suppose it *might* be food).  Only $31.51! McDonald’s would have been healthier and tastier.

Aquarium exhibits:  I liked the deep-sea tank, because it was a fake diorama.  They can’t actually replicate deep-sea conditions in an aquarium tank and it is very hard (or impossible) to capture deep-sea creatures alive and put them in tanks.  You can’t even taxidermy them because their bodies explode when you bring them to the surface.

Aquarium gift shop: The receipt says we bought a T-shirt for $25, but I don’t remember that because I waited outside.

LongHorn Steakhouse: In Franklin MA, just down the street a ways from our hotel.  We had stayed at this hotel in the past and thought this restaurant was worth revisiting.  Just over $100 for a family dinner with tax and tip.  I think the food was not as good as I remembered.  Perhaps the restaurant has had a change in management?  Wikipedia says the LongHorn chain was bought by the Olive Garden/Red Lobster people back in 2007.  Ah well; something’s gotta give in a “down” economy.  Receipt is dated 7:21 PM.

Stop & Shop supermarket: In same shopping plaza with LongHorn.  Just popping in for a few items while we’re here.  $22.35, 7:43 PM.

Buy more gas: Actually, this was 11 AM.  I am mentioning it out of order BECAUSE I CAN!  And because I wanted to start with the driving-to-Boston scene. Only $3.39⁹/gallon! Filled the tank with 17½ gallons.  Sunoco station in Franklin MA.

Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, Walpole MA.  Wifey bought $45.62 worth of sewing supplies.  We could probably obtain them in Canada, but Jo-Ann’s has a nice selection and we remember them fondly from our old life in New Jersey.  The receipt says we completed this purchase at 12:03PM, while the receipt from the $35 garage (27 miles away in Boston) says we entered there at precisely noon.  I think the garage is lying its head off.
      The Walpole Mall is just sad.  Around half the stores are out of business.

pyesetz: (rabbit)
This year, I have been playing "the slowest computer game ever invented".  Things have not been going well for me since February, but perhaps my luck is now changing:

Warning: I do *not* recommend TZA for casual stock investors.  That stuff is like plutonium: I feel like I'm losing health points for every minute it stays in my portfolio.  It is almost never the right thing to buy, unless you think the stock market is already crashing.

I bought some TZA last Monday, even though the technical indicators were screaming "bull!", because the news coming out of Europe was so horrible.  Within an hour after my purchase, TZA started dropping, which it continued to do all week.  By Friday it was making me sick, so I bought more.  As you can imagine, I did not have a good weekend.  On Monday, TZA rose; on Tuesday it rose some more; today it rose a lot more—now it's worth more than I paid for it 9 days ago!

After today's meeting of the US Federal Reserve, TZA started going up rapidly, so I bought some more, even though I didn't know yet what the results of the Fed meeting were.  They decided to dust off Operation Twist, named for a dance that was popular in 1961 which was the last time they tried it.  The intent is to force banks to lend by drying up other sources of profit for them.  The stock market is now throwing a tantrum and I think TZA will continue rising for the next two weeks or so.

My retirement account is sitting on a large wad of cash, so I *could* buy a whole lot more TZA... if I dare.  The question is whether I have enough health points to complete this mission in the game.  Stock trading is hard!

I am sorry that this post isn't furry, or funny, or anything.  I just wanted to post that chart because it makes me look like I have a clue about stocks.  Soon I will be travelling to Massachusetts again; perhaps I could write some more travelogue posts?
pyesetz: (stock)

It slices!  It dices!  It juliennes prices!  And don’t you want to know how it works?  No, of course not.  (See obsessive details.)

I had a drawdown a few weeks back, for which the standard response is “stop trading and start analyzing”.  So I wrote an analyzer program, because — unlike stock-trading — that’s something I actually know how to do.  My program looks at weekly historical data for a stock and uses rules to calculate what the buy and sell prices would have been; from those it computes, for each week, how long the stock would have been held if bought then and what the profit would have been.  That was the easy part.

Then I added calculations for various technical indicators such as MACD.  Doing this required that I learn how those indicators really work.  MACD is especially difficult because it is the difference between two exponential moving averages, and EMAs are very sensitive to round-off error.  I don’t know how people managed to calculate these things back in the olden days of pencil and paper: if you make an arithmetic mistake in your EMA, it will continue to screw up your results for more than a year afterward.

To avoid having to write a graphing module for my program, I tried to make my indicators produce the same values as the indicators at so I can use their free charts to display my results.  This was mostly successul except that I think their values for Parabolic SAR are bogus and I refuse to match them; whenever a stock has a wide-ranging week following by several narrow-range weeks, from then until the next stop-out the pSAR values shown on their charts are just way too low in my opinion.  But I got everything else to match, down to at least one decimal place and usually two.

Now the creative part: I assigned limit values for each indicator.  If the indicator was on the wrong side of its limit, that meant the stock should not be bought.  For each week, if none of the indicators said “do not buy”, then my program would pretend to buy the stock and see how it would have done.  Then I used a technique much like simulated annealing to adjust the limit values for maximum gain.  Result: only 1% of weeks were selected for purchase and those weeks yielded a 6% gain on average.  Then I doubled the number of stocks being analyzed (from 50 to 100).  Result: average purchase yielded a loss!  So I tweaked the limit values some more and got the average gain up to 4% per purchase.

additional boring verbiage )

I slapped a GPL on my program, but I don’t plan to publish it yet until there are some realized gains to show.  It is written in Emacs Lisp, which is the best language I know for writing programs where you don’t know where you’re going until you get there.  It is a little slow: 0.03 seconds for a weekly scan of three years for a stock.  But the speed is fine if I am just testing individual stocks that has already selected for me.
pyesetz: (spirograph)

Wow!  You can use candlestick analysis on *anything*!  Here is a chart showing that college/university enrollment is probably going to fall at least 20% over the next decade.  I thought that higher ed was "overbought" back when I was there in the 80's; too many kids were going who really couldn't benefit from it and all they got was a "flunked out of college" for their résumé.  This chart says the problem has gotten markedly worse since then, but the same long-term oscillations that led to the rise will soon cause a "correction" in the college attendance "market".
pyesetz: (felix)
Weekly write-up.

A wild week on Wall Street!  I managed to trim my losses to only 0.1%, while SPY lost 1.8%.  Ha ha, I beat SPY *again* this week!  That's twice in eight weeks.

I once read of a certain Wall St. firm and its expectations for newly-hired traders.  For the first six months, they expected nothing but losses from the newbie.  Sub-par performance was expected for the first THREE YEARS!  For the moment I seem to be ahead of expectations.
pyesetz: (felix)
Init. Price $Gain ‱


Yesterday I reread Craig Ferguson’s website about how to do swing trading.  It’s the sort of thing I have to reread every month or two because the words don’t mean anything until you have some relevant experience.  I happened upon his 2-for-1 strategy page and thought, “IT COULD WORK!” (see Gene Wilder @ YouTube).  The 2-for-1 strategy (which is recommended for newbies) is to sell half your shares if the stock rises above your initial purchase price by the same amount that your initial stop was below that.  But Craig’s stops are much higher than mine (he prefers 2-5 day holds), so maybe I should sell half the shares if the stock rises by half the initial stop depth?  And if it rises by that amount again, sell another quarter?  And then an eighth, and so on until the remaining shares are stopped out or MACD turns negative.  Would that be better?

The table at left shows how profitable this new rule is.  “Old” was the New Rule for last week (use pSAR for stop prices, then wait to get stopped out).  “Craig” is the 2-for-1 rule, with one sale at the next opening price after the closing price exceeds purch+(purch−stop).  “Mine” is my revised rule, with sales at purch+N×(purch−stop)/2 where N is a positive integer.  “Actual” is what actually happened.  For stocks I still owned as of last night (shown with an asterisk), the “actual” value was yesterday’s closing price.  For this set of stocks, Craig’s rule is slightly better, but I like my rule because it lets me sell earlier and oftener.  Still, it probably needs more tweaking.

For now, my sell-stops are automatic (they can trigger any time of day) but my revised-rule limit sales are manual (they get the next day’s opening price).  I can’t automate both of them because that would need an order like "sell-stop all shares at $X−Y, or sell-limit half of shares at $X+Y/2 and then remove those shares from the sell-stop”.  That’s too complicated for retail trading.

I put in trades this afternoon for any stock that my revised rule said should already have been ½ sold—which was most of them.  Then the market went down later in the day so I locked in my profit!  Now the pie chart looks very busy, but that should clear up by Friday when today’s sales become cash.  I wasn’t able to sell half of ETN because all of it got stopped out earlier today at +12‱ (would have been +16‱ if I had put in my trade last night and gotten the opening price).

I called Schwab to ask WTF happened with GIII, which got stopped out yesterday even though my stop price was lower than the day’s official low.  They said there was a extra-low bid at the open, which no one accepted but still it triggered my stop and caused me to get the lowest price of the day.  This doesn’t matter much (I would have gotten stopped out of GIII today in any event), but still I dislike the idea that a stop can be triggered by a hidden bid that doesn’t show up in the exchange’s history of what happened that day.  This makes hypothesis-testing difficult because I can’t really tell which day a particular stop price would have triggered on.  Craig has stopped using stops for this reason, but I think I'll stick with them a little longer, just to make sure that I sell when I said I would.

pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
Thanks for reading!  And how typically Furry to express one’s interest as a series of complaints!
I don't think anyone over there [in Egypt] even listened to [Obama].
That was the impression they were trying to create.  But at every step they did what the USA wanted, such as when the Muslim Brotherhood pronounced that they would stay on the sidelines.  Egyptians know very well that they are dependent on American aid.  Whatever Obama did, it wasn’t meddlesome enough to ruin things, which makes him better at this than most recent presidents.
you could have bought the Sector SPDRs
That would require that I have some faith in those sectors.  I like swing trading because it doesn't require any faith in companies or sectors, just in the stock-trading system as a whole.
when you think the next bear market *might* be starting soon...
That would be “trend trading” which is beyond my pay grade.  I don't claim to have any idea when the next bear market *might* start, only that the current market *has* now returned to raging-bull status.  Because of QE2, I expect that this will continue until June, but Schwab thinks it will run for three years.
Your decision to exclude Energy and US Financials
No, I have been excluding *Healthcare* and Financials.  SE and CVX are both energy stocks, as are KOL and OKE.  Schwab recently downgraded the Healthcare industry to “underperform”, the same category where they had already placed Financials.
the number 1 and number 3 performing US sectors YTD
My problem with Healthcare and US Financials is regulatory capture.  This is the same thing that would cause me to avoid Telecommunications stocks when/if I open a Canadian trading account.  These industries are permitted to lie their heads off in their financial reports, which means there is no way to know how close they are to some cliff or other.  When doing swing trading, you don’t want any sudden moves—the stock should just keep going the way it’s been going.
What you are doing is trying to outperform an index, selecting from a universe of stocks that collectively are under-performing that index.
Over the long term, SPY is unbeatable.  What I’m trying to do is invest over a series of very short terms, picking stocks that are temporarily beating the average.  Many people make gobs of money at this, but it takes several years of experience to get good at it and I’ve had only two months.
Read more... )
pyesetz: (felix)

Ho hum.  Another week of obscene profits on Wall St.  I blame the Obama administration, with its Quantitative Easing and its calm, behind-the-scenes action regarding the Egyptian crisis.

The nice thing about this chart is that it creates the appearance that I know what I’m doing!  The green bars show that I have recovered my loss and now have more money than at the start of the year.  But the red line shows that I still would have been better off just parking my money in SPY.

Symbol Fri Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Actual
DRETF 8 6 6 6 5 5
SE 13 5 16 4 14 5 1 -3 0
FLIR 61 38 50 31 58 29 55 32 48 40 6!
ETN 23 1 12 -26 39 -14 29 -4 39 3 40 8
GIII -58 -101 -26 -80 -19 -54 3 -44 21 -30 7 -23
ATML -10 -55 -53 -121 -41 -78 126 -50 107 -38 96 0
MKL -8 -44 11 -51 15 -31 15 -18 11 -10 18 -4
CAT 20 -60 19 -35 -1 -20 12 -17 53 -14
CVX -11 -56 -47 -28 -28 -56
SPY 1 -38 -5 -31 -3 -20 7 -14
TNA -62 -163 -14 -104 55 -70

In the table below, each day has two ‱ figures, for that day’s closing price and the next day’s stop.  Grey is for prices I didn’t get because the stock was sold.  DRETF doesn’t have stop prices.  As you run your eye along each row, note how the two numbers both increase and also get closer together.

SE: The new pSAR rule said I should have sold last Friday for 7‱.  I ended up selling on Wednesday for 5‱, which is the same amount of money spread over more days.

FLIR: What a disappointment!  Wednesday night the company reported its Q4 results.  They had missed analysts' estimated earnings by a penny.  Also they will start paying dividends, first payment later this month.  Sounds like not-bad news, right?  Wrong!  At Thursday's opening, FLIR gapped down 6%, triggering my stop.  The stock was in free-fall and no buyers were available at my stop price, so the stock-exchange computer sold my holdings for 26‱ less than my stop!  Then FLIR recovered later in the day.  There was no way I would have given FLIR a 6% stop depth, so there was no way I could have avoided getting thrown off that horse.  These things just happen sometimes, especially to companies that sell pornoscanner equipment to the US government.

ATML: On Wednesday Atmel announced its Q1 earnings guidance, which blew analysts' estimates out of the water.  Its stock rose 15% that day.  This is one of those lucky breaks where you just have to be holding the stock when the good news happens.  What a nice way to counteract the sting of FLIR!

CVX: Got thrown off another horse.  Ouch!


In this week’s version of the pie chart, you can hover your mouse over each pie slice to see the name of the company; click on a slice to see a price chart.  This kind of HTML construction is called a "client-side image map".  I very rarely find any use for them.  They are a bit of work to construct, so I am not promising to do this again next week.

pyesetz: (rabbit)
Since SPY me
JA 28 +2.7% +0.4%
JA 20 +2.3% +1.1%
JA 01 +4.3% −0.4%
DE 20 +5.5% −1.5%

Okay, settle down, you rutabagas in the back row.  Carrots, be quiet!  I have some announcements to make.  The state of the trading program is not good.  No matter how you slice it, I would have been better off buying SPY than trying to do swing trading.  My total gain since 2010 DE 20 is -1.5%; last week it was -1.7% so it’s getting better, but it needs to get better faster in order to justify this hobby!

Obviously, my trading difficulties have nothing to do with the selection of jots and tittles used in these blog posts, so that is why it is very important that I change the jots and tittles at this time in order to improve trading profitability.  First off, the dates: it is time to start using Distinctly Canadian dates.  Yes, I realize that “2010 DE 20” is butt-ugly, but it’s Truly Canadian® because it’s just as ugly in French as it is in English.  For now I’ll be including dotted underlines so you can hover your mouse over the abbreviation to find out what MA means (MArch?  MAy?  MAssachusetts?  Master of Arts?  Moving Average?  Yo-yo MA?) but really it’s time to get with the program and learn these codes so you’ll know how long ago your canned kumquats expired.

Next issue: how to measure the gains.  Previously I was using +0.05%/day to describe a stock that rose 1% across twenty market days.  Note that this symbolism uses only ASCII characters with no Unicode.  We certainly cannot allow that!  So I will now use 5‱ instead of 0.05%/day.  The symbol ‱ is pronounced “bips”.

What happens if I buy a stock and then sell it the same day?  The %/day denominator is zero, which doesn’t make any sense.  So I will now add 3 to the denominator, which avoids zeroes and also covers the three days of fallow time after selling a stock and before I can buy another.  To make 10% per year, the average investment must produce 4.4‱, so any investment that produces 5‱ or more is making a positive contribution.  (This assumes that about ⅟₁₀ of the money is typically idle, but actually it’s been more like 2%‒7% in recent times.)

* * * * *

I spent much of the week playing around with super-high stop prices, which prevent large losses but make small losses more likely than gains.  No risk, no reward!  Clearly, heading for the break-even stop as soon as possible is no recipe for making money.  Underwater stops that aren’t far enough underwater to prevent stop-outs are just throwing money away.  I started using super-high stops in order to prepare for the Imminent Correction, but it seems the market has shrugged off its correction fears and will be continuing higher, so I need a way to calculate stop prices that are lower and riskier and thus more profitable.  I looked at Google Scholar but it didn’t help much.  One paper suggests that profit is maximized when no stops are used, but the paper’s authors admit that this is “unrealistic”.  Another says that I should use the “Kase Dev-Stop”, named for Cynthia Ann Kase who just happens to be the author of this paper in which she is naming the formula after herself (or, more charitably, after her company).  She says to use 1× the standard deviation for new purchases, 3× when things get going, 2× when you start to get sick of a stock.  Price charts that show standard deviations are offered by; they also show the Parabolic SAR (pSAR) which seems to give much the same answer as 3× and is more widely available at other websites, such as at Yahoo.

I don’t like the standard pSAR(0.02) because it takes too long to get to break-even, typically seven days or more.  Instead, I use pSAR(0.20) which is much more aggressive and typically gets to break-even after only five days.  Also it has the nice property that it will often stop me out of a stock *during* a day whose closing loss would cause MACD to say “sell” for the next day, thus yielding increased profits.  Anything more aggressive than pSAR(0.20) seems to be unsafe, frequently causing stop-outs for stocks that I would prefer to have kept.

New rule: Use pSAR(0.20) to set the stop prices, at least for the first five days.  In the following table, grey indicates a gain that I didn’t get because I had already sold the stock.

Closing ‱Stop ‱Commentary
JNK51  566656 54 Sold because MACD < 0.1.
DRETF35⁺ 555878 n/an/a Can’t have a stop because it’s a pink-sheet grey-market foreign stock.  Bought more of it on Wed.
GGG 33335−12−8−7 1713 Old rule is better for these longer-term holdings.  Gave this a 2% stop because it seemed to be on the way down.  Win!
BAGL −51−46−53−57−33−29 −47−58 New rule loses slightly more money on this loser stock that just went down every day after I bought it.
SE8⁺ −132330221413 57 New rule says I should have sold on Fri and taken 7‱.  We’ll see.
FLIR7⁺ 143893807861 3831 Doing well!
TNA  −48130878883 10 New rule says I should still be holding it; by now it would have a break-even stop price.
IRF    551125 11−1 New rule says I should still be holding it, with a barely-underwater stop.
BAL    39−72−126 −2−93 New rule is riskier!  It said to hold until Fri. and then lose a lot!
ETN2⁺     1323 0−28 Doing okay.
GIII2⁺     −33−58 −80−105 This stock is highly volatile.  (Insert joke about unstable fashion designers and their companies.)  Shouldn’t have bought it; too jumpy.
TTWO     0−2 −30−169 Should still be holding it, although it’s awfully volatile.
ATML1⁺      −10 n/a−215 Hopefully it will go up again.
MKL1⁺      −8 n/a−84 A sedate stock that doesn’t need a lot of water above its stop.
(Average) 78 (Using Friday’s close if not sold yet)

For stocks I still own, the stop has been lowered from the “Actual” number to the “Rule” number, which overall puts an additional 0.6% of my money at risk but hopefully will improve returns.

New rule: Don’t buy stocks that require more than 5% stop for their first day.  Too risky!  Buying such stocks but not giving them what they need just leads to losses!  This rule would have prevented the purchase of BAGL, BAL, GIII, TTWO, and ATML.  Revised average gain using both new rules would be 18‱ which is pretty good.

The figure at right is my latest attempt to describe what’s in the account.  Already-sold stocks are lowercase and have dates to indicate when their money will rejoin cash.  I would like to have an overlay showing how much of the money is at risk due to sell-stops, but I can’t figure out how to get OpenOffice to draw pie charts with multiple data ranges.

Tomorrow: buy CAT.  (Mrraow!)  It's now in its eighth day of uptrend, so the pSAR stop is only 3% below purchase price.  MACD says I should have bought on Wednesday, when the price was only 0.6% lower.  It's up 93% over the last year, of which ITA captured 73% but MACD got only 37%.  What could *possibly* go wrong???


pyesetz: (Default)

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