Market analysis and insights on Forex & Commodities!

Guest Speaker at the SMART Expo 2017 – How to Build a Solid Investment Portfolio

Yesterday, I got invited as a guest speaker at the SMART Expo to share about my investment portfolio and trading strategies.

Check out our event photos below:

Thanks for the invitation, and a big thanks to all those who came down to support! 😀

Invited to Speak at the SMART Investment & International Property Expo – See You There!

This coming Saturday (25th March 2017) at 12pm, I have been invited as one of the guest speakers to speak at the SMART Investment & International Property Expo,  where I will be sharing my “15 Minute Trading Strategies” which I used to achieve financial freedom at 27 while travelling around the world (50+ countries).

Last year, I also completed the RES (real estate salesperson) course for my own interest, and I have recently been looking around for some personal property investments. Hence, I will also be talking a bit about the property climate amidst the rate hikes (including property counters and REITs), and how I structured my portfolio to optimise trading and investments.

If you are free on Saturday, do drop by and have a chat with me! 😀

Find out about SMART Expo, and click here to register for FREE!

SMART Expo Details

Whether you’re a seasoned property buyer, someone who’s looking to make an investment, or just curious about the market, the SMART Expo is one to look forward to. This is the place to go if you are looking for professional advice, sourcing for global investment experts or hoping to take advantage of guarantee yields from “buy-to-lets”. SMART Expo is free to attend and will be held on 25 and 26 March, at Hall 405 of Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

SMART Expos is one of Asia’s most established property and investment expos, with over 45 show track record in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. This year, you will receive first-hand information and direct overseas property developers’ prices. You’ll also be privy to luxury properties from some of the best current investment.

There will also be more than 20 educational seminars held over the two days, featuring speakers such as Fengshui consultant Adelina Pang, investor/trainer/mentor/author Jochen Siepmann and executive director of PropNex Kelvin Fong. There’s an eclectic mix of seminars, with topics including ‘Hydroponics and the link to food security’, ’5 Disruptive trends that are changing the Singapore industry’, ‘Property investment opportunities and risks in Asian emerging markets’ and ‘Weighing your options for financing overseas property investments’.

Find out about SMART Expo, and click here to register for FREE!

The Top Hedge Funds of 2016 Share Their Best Bets for This Year (With New Charts & Examples)

Bloomberg recently did a good cover on what hedge fund managers are looking out for in 2017. The general consensus is clear; the market is uncertain, and world events are causing markets to react in unexpected ways.

“You’re going to have to take way more risk today in order to try to make outsize gains versus a year ago,” -Hanif Mamdani, PH&N Absolute Return Fund

I found the article to be pretty insightful, with a handful of key take-aways. To make it easier for my readers, I’ve broken up the article into easy-to-digest sections, and added some charts and examples to make it clearer. Here we go:

1. Distressed Energy Companies

Hedge funds specializing in purchasing companies that are on the verge of collapse, actually profited from the rise in oil prices last year. Companies that were in the red started to turn profitable, and after purchasing companies at ultra-cheap prices, these assets were starting to bring in significant capital gains for hedge funds. Even though oil has risen significantly, hedge fund managers still see the potential for more gains.

It’s interesting to look at the related ETFs for oil and gas companies. I’ve pulled out 2 charts of U.S Oil & Gas company ETFs (XES and IEO). The gains over the year are impressive.

The charts above summarize the oil and gas sector for the year of 2016.

On the technical side, the Oil & Gas sector is still on an uptrend. It is prudent to remain bullish when the market is still trending up. It’s interesting that XES has broken out of a wedge, and looks to be gathering bullish momentum.

In the longer term, oil & gas companies seem to be picking up momentum.

 


A few weeks ago, I was invited to give a talk at the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) on the Offshore & Marine sector, and Keppel Corp was one of our top picks. 

2. “Global Macro Deceleration”

Some hedge fund managers are positioning themselves for the worst. For example, a border tax in the U.S could “cause a global depression and a major equity market decline,” says Carlson Capital’s Black Diamond Thematic Fund. They’re waiting for commodities to “correct meaningfully” (meaning a decline in commodity prices), and looking to scoop up good stocks at the bottom of the market decline.

Traditionally, sector rotation strategists have sworn by investing in stocks like semiconductors, industrials and miners during full-blown bear markets. These stocks are famous for having high volatility and are not for the faint-hearted. A famous example, Caterpillar Inc, is shown below:


Heavy industrials like Caterpillar Inc tend to move cyclically with the economy. Notice the 6 big swing it has had since 2012!

3. Long High-Yield Corporate Bonds Amidst Rising Interest Rates

Some hedge funds are betting on higher-yield corporate bonds rising during this period. High-yield bonds typically have both a short maturity and high coupon rate. With interest rates expected to rise in the coming decade, bond prices are likely to fall and bond holders will actually be worse off (Economics 101!). However, with the shorter maturity, higher-yield corporate bonds become more attractive as they are less exposed to the beating by rising interest rates. Bearing in mind these ideas, it is understandable why these have been attractive to institutional investors in the past year.


I’ve inserted a little-known ETF, “HYG”, a high-yield corporate bond ETF that tracks the prices of high-yield corporate bonds. You can see that the bear trend sharply reversed at the turn of 2016 and has been rising steadily since. The uptrend is still in force, and some hedge fund managers are looking to speculate on a variety of interest-rate products.

What They’re Saying:

In summary, what we notice to be the consensus about the market in 2017 is this:

  • Heightened interest rate, inflation rate, and economic volatility
  • Renewed interest in unconventional investment strategies

That being said, it’s important to keep yourself updated and continually learning about financial markets. In such a unique market climate, it would serve you well to continue reading up and knowing what market participants are paying attention to.

Want to Learn How to Tackle the Markets?

Join us for a 3-hour intensive “Trading Foundation Workshop” where you will learn all the necessary skills, and witness firsthand live trading, where many of our new attendees managed to make some profits from their very first trade! 😀

Register now: http://synapsetrading.com/trading-foundation-workshop/

 

Research Sources:

bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-28/the-top-hedge-funds-of-2016-share-their-best-bets-for-this-year

Why Goldman Sachs Thinks a Stock Market Crash Might Be Coming Soon

Source: CNBC

“Financial market reconciliation lies ahead…”We are approaching the point of maximum optimism and the S&P 500 will give back recent gains…” – Mr. David Kostin, Goldman’s chief U.S. Equity Strategist

While the S&P 500 continues to break new highs, prominent economics and C-level staff in multinational banks are coming out to say it’s time it has to stop.

 

U.S Equities are at Extreme Highs

As the old adage goes, “what comes up, must come down”. However, this adage has a valid explanation in the world of stock trading. Prices that go up must come down eventually because at some point there will not be any more buyers in the market, buyers would look to take profits and sell, new sellers would short the market.

 

Markets move in swings; they often don’t go straight up.

As you can see above, classical technical analysis theory teaches that every uptrend swing must be accompanied with a correction downwards. Even though the price can go in one direction for “far too long”, there will always be a correction.

Riding the bull market 😄

A post shared by Spencer Li 🇸🇬 Synapse Trading (@iamrecneps) on

 

A Correction is Due, BUT…

Before I go on, let me state 2 very basic facts about market euphoria:

Fact 1: Euphoria in the Market Happens Often

In the forex markets, this happens very often. In fact, these are known as gentle trending markets and the easiest way to trade these markets is to buy, add on at every opportunity, and watch your profits grow.

If you zoom in to the 5-minute charts, 1-hour charts, or move to different financial products like Forex, Commodities or Bonds, you would notice that market euphoria is quite a frequent occurrence.

Euphoria in that sense, can happen in both directions, as seen in the diagram below (Hourly chart for EURUSD)

Euphoria can happen in both directions, and for very long. In this case,
there were many opportunities to short, and the trend lasted far longer than one would expect.

Here is another recent example of riding trends:

Trends can last far longer than one expects. That’s why it’s important to know this fact:

Fact 2: Markets Don’t Reverse Immediately!

It’s easy to jump on the hype when almost every news outlet is talking about it. But the truth is this; what’s important is on the chart. Price already gives you the decision-making tools you need!

Even though Goldman Sachs says that a correction is due, that does not mean you immediately go ahead and go all-in to short the market. Even if you are fully convinced that the market is going to crash, it is best to wait for actual price confirmation before taking any action.

Daily chart of the S&P 500, with a small pre-emptive short position which I have initiated.

In trading, it’s all about probabilities. The above technical levels show how far the market might go, but what actually happens will depend on price action. And since the reward to risk is pretty decent based on this price channel, I am winning to take a small short position, and add on more later if it goes in my favour. This will ensure that I have a decent profit from shorting near the top when the market does crash. Till then, fingers crossed!

Here’s some food for thought before we conclude this article:

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” -Sir John Templeton

Cheers and have a great week ahead! 😀

P.S. For those who want to start learning about how to make money from the financial markets, don’t miss our last 2 workshops for this quarter at the special price of $25.
Check workshop availability: http://wp.me/P1riws-6gw

Research Sources:

cnbc.com/2017/02/21/goldman-sachs-market-investors-have-a-letdown-coming.html
thefelderreport.com/2016/05/23/this-might-be-the-most-extreme-stock-market-euphoria-we-have-ever-seen/

3 Dangerous Myths About Trading that Could be Affecting Your Profitability

The world of finance and investing is filled with opinions, news, jargon, and sometimes pure nonsense. It is only the people who actually make trades, who will be able to tell the truth from the lies.

After all, an opinion has no consequence. People can quip about what they think is true, if there is no money on the table. However, when you’re trading with your own money, you’re forced to confront the reality of things. I, for one, am no stranger to taking risks, but I only take calculated risks with a high payoff. That is what trading is all about.

Without further ado, here are 3 dangerous myths that could be wrecking havoc on your trading account:

 

MYTH #1: TRADING WITH LEVERAGE INCREASES YOUR RISK
(Reality: Trading with leverage reduces capital required, but risk can be kept the same.)

Let’s tackle the myth first; the media handles the idea of leverage very poorly, because it often sensationalizes the trader who over-leverages and blows everything.

The idea is simple: I have $100, and I leverage so that I can trade $500 or $1000 of stock/forex. I make one bad trade, and I’m wiped out.

This is true for the person without proper risk-management. After all, the temptation of leverage is to dump all your money into one trade, max out the leverage, and hopefully you make 500% on one trade and can call it a day. The truth is, these lucky trades do happen in reality. Eventually, the trader with his newfound wealth (and greed), piles his money into another trade, and loses everything.

Leverage kills the person who abuses it. It’s like fire; it can cook food for people, or it can kill people.

 

Leverage, in practice, actually keeps you disciplined. In forex trading, maximizing leverage is actually a wise way to start trading. When you leverage, you are actually committing less margin to a trade, and you can get comfortable with trading by committing as little margin as possible. Here’s what I mean:

For example, suppose you have a stop loss of -$10 and a target profit of +$30, and you make a trade of unknown size X.

1:100 leverage – Margin committed for X lots = $102.50 (I’m making this up)

1:500 leverage – Margin committed for X lots = $20.50 (five times smaller)

In the case of higher leverage, you stay comfortable because even though the stop loss is -$10, you see that the margin committed on your account is only $20.50. This allows you to not have to see the wild fluctuations in margin requirement, and keep you trading small and trading often.

There are several benefits to leverage that most people don’t know about.

Also, trading with higher leverage allows you to take multiple positions with little capital. This is great for beginning traders who want to experiment and take multiple trades with a small account. With as little as $500, you can take 3-5 forex positions with leverage, risking anywhere from $5 to $20 or so for each trade. This is a great way to start for aspiring forex traders.

 

MYTH #2: BROKERS ARE OUT TO HIT YOUR STOP LOSSES
(Reality: You get stopped out because of the market, not because of the broker.)

Many people who have been trading for some time get convinced that the broker wants them to be stopped out of their positions. I’ve heard of this and seen it happen; the trade hits your stop loss, then immediately goes in your favour and flies in the direction you want, and then you beat yourself up and say “I was supposed to make $XYZ on this trade but I got stopped out because of the stupid broker!”

The truth is, the broker has better things to do than to keep hunting the stoploss on your account.

At least, this is for brokers who want to remain in business over the long-term. How do brokers make money? They make money if you keep trading. Why would any broker want you to stop trading? They would actually want you to be profitable, because for every trade you make, they get a small cut from the spread (also known as the bid-ask spread). Essentially, they want you to love trading and trade so much and so often that they get large revenues from spreads.

Why in the world would the broker want to stop you out? The reason why we get stopped out, is because we are bad traders.

Professionals are buying or selling exactly where your stop loss is placed, because they know that the average investor would place their stop loss there.

The solution to not getting stopped out, is to first acknowledge that trading involves some positions getting stopped out. Being right 40-50% of the time is already sufficient for you to be profitable, so don’t be surprised if half your positions get stopped out.

One example is a sideways market. Beginners love to enter on sideways markets because it presents many signals in both directions. However, professionals are buying and selling at the extremes of the sideways markets, causing beginners to get stopped out repeatedly, while professionals make money repeatedly. Remember that there is another trader on the other side who is filling your order; if you are losing money, it is because someone else is taking money from your account, and putting it in their account.

MYTH #3: FOREX IS MORE RISKY THAN STOCKS
(Reality: Risk is independent on the product, and forex actually requires less capital.)

In a previous blog post, I mentioned this: If you have $500 to invest, it actually makes more sense to trade forex.

In the Forex market, you can ‘get a feel of the game’ by risking a few dollars per trade. By trading the smallest lot size (0.01 lots), you can learn to make a few dollars here, lose a few dollars there, and rack up trading experience and learn to trade ‘live’ without incurring hefty losses. By learning to make many decisions and experiencing all the different conditions of the market, you would become seasoned enough to trade a bigger size, and fine-tune your own trading strategy to become profitable in the long-run.

Many traders discover they have certain characteristics about themselves that hinder success. In trading a ‘live’ account with a small sum of money, they are putting in some skin in the game, and getting used to the ups and downs of their account. The best part about forex is that there are no commission charges, making the ‘tuition’ fees a lot less than trading in stocks.

I’ve spoken about this at length in my previous blog posts. Besides the lower cost of trading forex, you actually lower your risk by getting better at trading. After all, the biggest risk is yourself. If you’ve got skin in the game, made a few hundred trades with real money, and got yourself a strategy that you can rely on, you are actually a lot less a risk to yourself.

24/7 market; choose when you want to trade.

The great thing about Forex is that you can decide when to trade based on your schedule. That helps people who have punishing schedules: trading in the middle of the night, or during lunch, on a daily basis, works out to a trading schedule that accommodates your lifestyle needs.

Stocks have bigger gaps between bars than Forex does.

Furthermore, with regards to stocks, stocks tend to see bigger gaps between days. Here’s what I mean:

forexForex pairs/currency futures tend to have less gaps between bars; bars close and open at roughly the same price. Here, the chart of NZDUSD (daily).

stockMost stocks have gaps between the candlesticks/bars. Notice how there are many ‘holes’ between bars for First Majestic Silver Corp (NYSE).

Gaps make the analysis a little more complex, because you have to take into account the size of the gap along with the actual candlestick printed on the chart. Forex allows you to employ technical analysis more simply, and learn how to read price action without the distraction of having to figure out what the gap means. Of course, this isn’t a problem among more liquid stocks like the SPY, C, MCD, FB and other “famous” counters.

WHAT’S THE REAL RISK?

The real risk in trading lies with the trader. The moment you stop improving, stop learning, stop growing, or stop challenging yourself, you’ll start to see your profits suffer. I encourage all of you aspiring traders to seek the truth, and rely less on opinions in your trading journey. After all, you can only find out the truth when you’ve got some money on the table, and actually start to make trades.

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