Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Untimely Exits

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Greetings from Starbucks here on Broadway in Burlingame, California. I'm the only person sitting on the porch here on this dark, rainy night, except for one creepy dude who has elected to sit about eight feet away from me, exactly to my right, and my peripheral vision indicates he's just staring at me. Maybe he's a fan of the blog. It's just my luck that all my groupies are middle-aged men.

I just wanted to dash off a quick post to put forth my frustration at closing profitable positions too early. The past several years of Bernanke-induced insanity have definitely messed with my head, and it's gotten to the point that when a position has a decent profit, I am inclined to take the money and run before the Chairman snatches it away from me. This is a mistake, and it is illogical. I suppose one of the reasons I carry such a ridiculous number of positions (presently 80) is to curtail myself from screwing up too universally.

Today's big mistake was to enter the day short AAPL and cover for a profit. Why would that be a mistake? Because I took the profit for the stupidest of reasons – – – because taking a profit feels good. The stock hadn't reached a technical target; I simply wanted to cash out. I've marked with an arrow the approximate point where I did so. This was really stupid, particularly since my view is that AAPl is headed to about $450 or so.


The worse mistake, percentage-wise, was symbol EDU. This is the kind of stock that might fall 90%. I decided a 15% profit was just oh-so-dandy, so I ran with it. I've made a similar arrow showing how hasty and illogical this was. The old saying is that you'll never go broke taking a profit. I submit to you that this is a very dumb saying.


As I continue this exercise in self-flagellation, I leave you with my GDX option trade. As you all know – – particularly Sloper "pecuniary" – I have been a raving bear on gold miners for many, many months. Precious metals topped out in mid-2011 (although kooks refuse to admit it), and miners have been peeing all over themselves for months. I bought put options based on my long-term bearishness; they happened to be December $55 GDX puts. Below is the graph of this option. The blue horizontal line marks where I dumped them (out of fear, panic, and uncertainty as to whether I was right……….a foolish mistake). I think they are up 200% or so since I ditched them. GDX could absolutely collapse this month, so this percentage gain left "on the table" will probably go much, much higher.


My point in all this is to remind myself to stick to my convictions. This month is treacherous for those of steadfast mindsets, because every minute brings new rumors, press conferences, and political volleys. December could be the most stomach-ache-producing month of 2012. A refusal to stand fast next to trades based upon reasoned principals has been, and will continue to be, a costly mistake.


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henpecked Benpecked (‘ben·pekd)



  1. (of a man stock trader) continually harassed or tormented by the persistent nagging of a woman central bank chairman (esp. his wife Ben Bernanke)


As I’ve discussed quite a bit lately, what makes the recent Sept
14-Nov 17th correction different from all other similar sell-offs in
recent years is the lack of fear this time around.  There are generally
two types of traders who short the market, other than commercial
hedgers:  The “permabears”, who always think the market is going to drop
and those more adept, flexible traders who are just as comfortable
trading the short side as the long side, depending on the charts,
valuation, and other market metrics.  I like to believe that I fall into
the latter categorization but I digress.



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It was only last Tuesday that I wrote how my short idea for McMoran had completed its journey to its supporting trendline (I went into this in greater detail on my TastyTrade show) and that it was time to cover and, for those so inclined, reverse the position.

Well, I just about fell out of my chair when MMR opened this morning; it is up over 80% right now, thanks to a corporate buyout.


It's an instance like this that has given me a lifelong fascination with charting: in a way, this chart provided guidance not only to direction but also to potential. You can see that, even in the face of an extraordinary premium paid, the price for MMR beautifully nailed the price level I had laid down months ago.


Of course, there's nothing actionable about it now; the ticker will soon disappear into the annals of financial history. But I think it's interesting to reflect on such an event.