The Van Tharp Institute

October 12, 2006 — Issue #292

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In this Issue:

Workshops

$700 Discount Expires TODAY  on 17 Steps and Exchange Traded Funds Workshops 

Feature Article

Efficiency Portfolio Update, by Van Tharp

Trading Education

Peak Performance for Traders and Investors

Trading Tip

A Review of Market Models—Value Investing, by D. R. Barton, Jr.

Listening In...

What Attendees Said About Peak Performance in Australia

View this newsletter on-line, or read back issues

Our Condolences

It is with regret that we announce the passing of our good friend and accountant Steve Meredith who passed away on September 18th in Richmond, Virginia. Steve was a regular here at the Van Tharp Institute and he will be sorely missed. Not only was he our accountant and dear friend, but Steve also contributed regularly to our newsletter and was a welcomed speaker at our Infinite Wealth Seminars.  From all us that knew him - we send our sincere condolences to his family and may he rest in peace. 

 

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Feature

Tharp’s Thoughts

Market Efficiency Portfolio

Three Months Later

By
Van K. Thar
p

Efficiencies clearly show that the overall market can change quite quickly.  In February of this year the market was amazingly strong in terms of efficiency.  We had 406 stocks with ratings above 10 and only 11 stocks with rating below minus 10.  It was very hard to find a good short candidate.  However, the market was not into new high ground as it is now.  By August, the market moved as low as having 26 stocks above +10 to its current value of +39.  Stocks below minus 10 moved from only 11, to as many as 91, and there are now 32 at that level.  Today, things have reversed and there are 67 stocks above +10 and only 22 below minus 10. 

There is another way to measure the efficiency of the market.  What percentage of stocks have an efficiency rating above zero? This information has been charted in the second figure.  In February of this year, 80% of all stocks showed a positive efficiency.  By July 15th only 37.4% were positive, but as of October 10th, we’d moved back to 64.3% efficiency.  This yoyo effect has provided us with few trends and thus hasn’t been a good time for efficient portfolios, positive or negative.  The market only has a slight upward bias, despite the fact that the Dow has made new highs.  

I was in New Zealand and Australia for the last three weeks and, although the market moved in a much more positive direction, we were only stopped out of one of our shorts, CHS.  However, another is close to being stopped out, HOV.  And two other shorts don’t look so good, LEE and GYI.  Consequently, I exited three stocks at the open on October 11th.  I still want to maintain four short positions so I replaced them with MLS and MRCY, when the market opened on October 11th.  Lastly, JRCC dipped to a low of 9.90 and then was stopped out based on our 25% trailing stop at $12.25 on October 10th at a profit of 2.2R.  It was replaced with FMT.

The upturn was good for our long stocks with SYX now being a 2R profit.  CXW split 3 for 2 and still looks fairly good.  And we will keep LQU which has a slight profit.  However, the efficiency of VTR has dropped to +5.04 and there are many better candidates, so we sold this one at the opening price on October 11th.  Based on a market that is now 64.3% efficient, I want the portfolio to have six long stocks.  Consequently, we added CPY, OMG, and ENR at the open on October 11th.  I could have easily moved to 70% long based on the various efficiency ratings, but I really don’t like this market so I prefer to err slightly toward the short side.  On the short side we’ll add MLS, MRCY and FMT.

I don’t like turning over more than half of our portfolio every month, but this is what the system is telling us to do.  We have 16 closed out positions after three months and 14 of them are losses, although very small losses.  I’ve said many times before about how good trading systems can have long losing streaks.  Well we’ve had 14 out of 16 losses and that certainly counts as a bad streak.  Furthermore, we may have many more losses because I hope we don’t have to cash in our winners for some time.

Fortunately, our losses remain small and we have two profitable positions that are now above a 2R profit including one that is realized.  Thus, we are only down slightly on the three months.  Nevertheless, my preference is for a much less active portfolio and to hit stocks that really take off.  This has certainly occurred in the past and we hope it will occur in the future.

Most of our losses have occurred because the stocks stopped being efficient, rather than by being stopped out.  However, why hold positions that no longer meet our “reason for buying them,” especially when there are much better candidates to replace them?

Table 1 shows all of our closed out positions.

Stock

Profit/

Loss

R-multiple

FAL

-$2.28

(0.01)

BSX

-$182.82

(0.46)

DLX

-$183.56

(0.46)

AETH

-$132.00

(0.33)

AYE

-$56.95

(0.14)

CG

-$66.72

(0.17)

OGE

-$51.06

(0.13)

WPI

-$315.08

(0.79)

EBAY

-$381.78

(0.95)

CHS

-$399.78

(1.00)

HOV

-$346.09

(0.87)

VTR

-$97.51

(0.24)

LEE

+$64.04

0.16 

JRCC

+$873.90

2.18 

GYI

-$175.82

(0.44)

 

-$1,506.31

(0.24)

Our closed out loss totals minus $1,506.31, including commissions. 

Our active positions, prior to the new buys are shown in Table 2. 

Open Positions at Open on October 11th

Stock

Entry

Cost

Shares

Stop

Price Now

Value

Profit/loss

R-multiple

Longs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYX

13.25

1976

148

14.44

18.81

2783.88

807.88

2.0197

LQU

54.05

1960.8

36

43.24

55.25

1989

28.2

0.0705

CXW

42.33

1919.85

45

37.28

46.51

2092.95

173.1

0.43275

Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JRC

7.15

2002.7

278

6.87

6

1668

334.7

0.83675

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1343.88

0.830993

Thus, we have profits from our four open positions with a profit of $1,343.88 against losses in our closed positions of $1,506.31.  Thus, our portfolio on the open on October 11th was worth $19,837.57 for a loss of about $162 or less than 1%. 

With those changes in mind, let’s look at our portfolio.

The Portfolio on Wednesday October 11th

The new stocks were all purchased at the opening on October 11th.  We now have six long and four short positions.  The portfolio values shown are as of the open on October 11th and the new positions are just listed as being new. 

Portfolio On October 11th Open

Stock

Entry

Cost

(+$15 commission)

Shares

Stop

Price Now

Value

Profit

R-multiple

Longs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYX

$13.25

$1,976.00

148

$14.44

$18.81

$2,783.88

$807.88

2.020

LQU

$54.05

$1,960.80

36

$43.24

$55.25

$1,989.00

$28.20

0.071

CXW

$42.33

$1,919.85

45

$37.28

$46.51

$2,092.95

$173.10

0.433

CPY

$48.85

$1,969.00

40

$39.08

New

 

 

 

OMG

$53.17

$1,982.29

37

$42.54

New

 

 

 

ENR

$75.00

$1,965.00

26

$60.00

New

 

 

 

Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JRC

$7.15

$2,002.70

278

$6.87

$6.00

$1,668.00

$334.70

0.837

FMT

$13.87

$1,984.54

142

$16.64

New

 

 

 

MLS

$14.73

$1,988.82

134

$17.68

New

 

 

 

MRCY

$11.50

$2,085.00

180

$13.80

New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,343.88

0.840

 

About Van Tharp: Trading coach, and author Dr. Van K. Tharp, is widely recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to Financial Fre-edom and his outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program - a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at www.iitm.com.

Trading Education

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Seven money-making benefits  
awaiting you at the upcoming Peak Performance 101 workshop.

1. Learn the three ingredients of success. You’ll thoroughly understand how these three key ingredients can control your life. Most of all, you’ll know how you can control them.

2. Understand the components of a low-risk idea. You must understand what makes up a low-risk idea. It’s not what you think.

3. Understanding why position sizing is so critical to your bottom line results!  Think how calm you could be, knowing that your risk is always the same.

4. Learn 15 ways to develop rock-solid discipline in your trading. Real winners maintain discipline that allows them to charge ahead of others in the field. 

5. Learn Dr. Tharp’s Ten-Task model for successful trading and investing.  You’ll have tools at your disposal that the average investor or trader never even thought about.

6. Learn how to act quickly with sureness and confidence. You’ll learn how to develop the kind of confidence only the best traders and investors have.

7. Learn how to develop a plan for trading that will set you way above the crowd. Gain an edge over amateur investors. Dr. Tharp understands these disciplines. He is an expert at coaching others to use them.

Learn More About Van Tharp's Core Workshop

Trading Tip 

A Review of Market Models:
Value Investing

by

D.R. Barton

“Value investing” is really one of the most overused terms I hear in the markets today.

Most of the time, when I hear the term “value investing, ”someone is trying to justify buying a stock at a low price.  True value investing is certainly a far cry from a rationalization and is practiced by some of the most famous investors of this and previous generations.  Included in this august list are Warren Buffet (of course) and his mentor, Benjamin Graham as well as Marty Whitman of the oh-so-successful Third Avenue Value Fund.  (We’ll spend more time on these folks in future articles.)

Buying stocks that are a good value is very different from buying “cheap” stocks.  After our discussion in past weeks on fundamentals, real value investors are the ones that dig into the fundamental valuation of companies and seek to find ones that are trading for less than their intrinsic value.

The basic tenet of value investing is that some companies fall out of favor with market participants or the market overreacts to bad news, causing stock prices to inadequately reflect a company’s true value.  Value investors seek to find such stocks and buy them at the best possible price, anticipating an eventual re-inflation of the stock price to its “true value” as dictated by the company’s fundamentals.

If one becomes adept at spotting undervalued issues, very lucrative investing can follow.  And the allure of ferreting out stocks that are “on sale” cannot be underestimated.

So what’s the catch?

The largest fly in the “value investing ointment” is establishing the intrinsic value of a company.  There is no one correct intrinsic value of a company.  A room full of five competent analysts could easily come up with five wildly divergent “intrinsic values” of the same company using the same data.

For starters, does one establish intrinsic using only current and historical assets, earnings and cash flows or do you place some (or even significant) value on future values of the measures?

And even when that question is answered, there can be many ways to look at value using many different ratios of price, earnings, book value, asset values, debt, etc.

If determining the real intrinsic value of a company is the biggest hurdle to successful value investing, it’s certainly not the only one.  Value investing often requires the patience of Job because the speed of a company’s return to “proper valuation” can be positively glacial.  Proper diversification is key as well, since some companies will never rebound from bad news business degradation.  And proper diversification requires sufficient capital, meaning that value investing is certainly not a game for the under-funded.

In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at some successful value investors and some successful value investing models and systems.  Until then,

Great Trading!

D. R. Barton, Jr. is the Chief Operating Officer and Risk Manager for the Directional Research and Trading hedge fund group. D. R. has been actively involved in trading, researching, and teaching in the markets since 1986.  D. R. has taught extensively in many investment areas including intra-day trading, swing trading, and cutting edge risk management techniques. 

His writing credits include co-authoring Safe Strategies for Fin-ancial Fre-edom and co-creator and contributing author on Fin-ancial Fre-edom Through  Electronic Day Trading.

D.R. presents the IITM Swing Trading Workshop and Professional Tactics for Day Traders Workshop. Each workshop is only held once each year. 

Listening in...  

What Some Attendees Said Following the Recent Peak Performance 101 Workshop in Australia

"Van Tharp brings simple but effective wisdom backed up by practical resources to enable any trader with commitment to succeed where others fail. I liked his style, pace and effort to maximize the learning. The 10 tasks and the final plan will help me achieve success. I'll be reworking my plan and sticking to it. Thanks!" —David Sanders

"Great course. I got lots from it and it went much deeper than I thought it would. Now I have lots of tools to take home." —Paul Hoogendyk

"This course has opened up a part of me that has me feeling very positive and seeing things in a new way...I am looking at everything anew and anything is possible. I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to have learnt these things..." —Mateusz Miszczuk

"This is a fantastic course, I totally recommend it. Trading is a personal performance. This course explores the personal to get the performance. Thank you for making it available in Australia." —Cameron Munro

"Great Course - Many Thanks!  had expected the workshop to be a walk-thru of the home study course. Very pleasantly surprised to find it quite different." —Ian Thomson

"100 of out 10!" —Tom Stojanovic

"This course has opened my eyes to new ways to improve myself that are very easy and simple." —Barbara Muller

 

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Copyright 2006 the International Institute of Trading Mastery, Inc.

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Workshop Schedule

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Tharp Concepts 
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