April Tips Recap: Volatility – The Sword That Cuts Both Ways
I should have know. I should have known last month when I tallied my results and got a little cocky with my trading, exited with my move up the leaderboard, that the market would jump up and give me the smack down. Trading in April was very difficult, market uncertainty persists and volatility is a harsh mistress. While volatility can be your friend, providing entry for new positions and market movement for us to profit on, it is also a two edge sword that cut your account down to size when you are on the wrong side of it. I’m sure by now you get the idea that I had a hard time in April and that idea is correct.
Total Cost Of Trading = $10,000
Total Return = $9,250
Net Return On Investment = -7.5%
There were 4 Monday’s in the month so 20 tips in total. Of those I won only 10, 50%. This is an OK number, not enough to damage my account, but more than low enough to prevent me from being profitable. My ranking over the last 30 days has plummeted, I’m embarrassed to say, to well below 30th which sucks, really and truly, but I know that over time I will be able to regain my spot. In the long term I am still doing quite well. My win rate is near 59% and my return on investment is above 22%. I’m not proud of my April performance, I hate losing money, but the thought that I’m up more than $10,000 over the last 12 months helps take the sting away.
What Happened on April?
Believe it or not a lot happened in April. Not only was the market still on shaky footing from the winter swoon oil prices hit new highs despite bearish fundamentals, economic data was tepid and mixed, earnings were poor, outlook was negative and through it all speculation of what the central banks would, could or might do drove a lot of day to volatility. Like I’ve mentioned in past recaps, keeping up with the news and the fundamentals are paramount to trading success, the caveat is that at times like these it is possible for price action to deviate from fundamentals while the market tries to figure out what the heck is really going on. My advice to newbies, oldies and myself…. take a step back, reevaluate your position on the market but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater… the market won’t stay crazy forever, if you alter you strategies as a knee-jerk reaction to one month of trading you’ll only end up losing more.
Week One April, 4th 2016
This was the start of the month, the first of a new quarter, and the onset of a fourth quarter of negative earnings growth. Economic data was mixed; jobs were strongish but other data showed slowing in the broader economy. I won 3 of my trades this week (the eur/usd, usd/jpy and gold), still riding the dollar momentum I had captured in the previous month, but lost out on oil and the S&P 500.
Week Two April 11th, 2016
This was the first of two really huge weeks for US earnings. The reports were basically as expected, very poor, with a small amount of upside surprise. The broad market was able to improve expectations for the quarter, but only from about -9% to about -8% growth and not enough to bring out the bulls, at least not in force. This wasn’t my worst week but it was not a great one, I won only 2 of my tips trades, gold and oil, and lost out to market fear and central bank hooplah (FOMC member comments) on the S&P 500 and both forex trades, the eur/usd and usd/jpy.
Week Three April 18th, 2016
This was yet another big week for the market, in more ways than one and in different ways than expected. First, the Doha meeting to set OPEC production caps on oil failed. Second, the ECB met and made no changes to policy, and made no indication of more QE even though the market kind of expected it. Also, this was the week after several massive earthquakes rocked Japan. Needless to say there were a lot of swirling sentiments, not in alignment, and all affecting assets on an individual basis and without regard to correlations commonly found in the market. I only won 1 trade this week, on gold, as all the craziness caused a mass run into the safe haven. If I’d been a little savvier I would have called on the yen too, instead of the put I lost money on.
Week Four April 25th, 2016
This was the last week of the month and another full one, what with the FOMC meeting, the BOJ meeting, weaker than expected US GDP and an ongoing weak quarter of earnings. Believe it or not this was my best week, I won 4 trades including gold, the yen, the euro and the S&P 500. The only thing I didn’t win was on oil, I traded a put on overwhelming bearish fundamentals, but that market moved back in line with my expectations the very next week. So far April is looking a lot better.