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Trading the Volatility. Part 2

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The VIX and its inverse relationship with the markets.

The VIX, as a contrarian indicator, is an incredible weapon for technical traders to determine extreme conditions of bullish or bearishness of the market, using its inverse relationship: when the market is rallying, the VIX tends to drop; when the market is tanking the VIX tends to rise. Smart and serious investors use it to bet against the crowd when its greed (or fear) levels are high. And mainly, they use it as protection or hedge for their investments.

The VIX, also known as the 'fear gauge', measures the frequency and intensity of changes in the SP500 in the short-term (30 days), through the implied volatility IV of its at-the-money call and put options. A level below 20 generally indicates a bearish or complacent market, while reads above 30 are generally associated with a large amount of volatility, and mean that investor fears are taking place.

Smart traders usually "buy bargains" when volatility is hi…

Take Advantage of Options: Three Ideas

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As you know, the US main brokers (Ameritrade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, eTrade) are now offering zero-commission in stocks, ETFs and options trading. A piece of great news, by far the best this year for retail traders.  It's a great opportunity to start trading options more aggressively, creating an options-based portfolio as now commissions are no longer cutting our profits. I share here some suggestions for taking advantage of the power of options during trading.


1. Options as a substitute for Stocks: Delta > 0.80
Substituting stocks with options has two unique advantages: only options bring leverage and protection.

- Options provide tremendous financial leverage to users when they are used in a conservative way: you can control the same amount of shares with less money, and mainly, the % returns are much higher when you trade with options. This carries another advantage: with more money available you can diversify better your portfolio.

- And provide protection: with the ap…

Designing a Winner Portfolio for 2020

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The year 2020 begins and investors and traders are designing the best asset allocation for their portfolios. And they ask ourselves the usual questions: how will this year comes and what surprises will it bring? What will be the performance of the global economy, today in deceleration with central banks resorting to declines in i-rate and debt issuance? Will the anticipated recession, due to inversion of the yield curve since 2018, finally will occur or seems the US its avoiding it? Will its manufacturing indices fall further and will consumption continue to be the mainstay of its economy? Will the impressive growth of the US exchanges continue or the correction finally come after 10 years of an incredible bullish rally? Will there really be a "Phase 2" in the Trade War? And the Brexit? Many questions and the experts are divided. Whatever the new year has in store, you've got options for investing in 2020 that promise a positive return.

This 2020 I will look for defensiv…

Stock Watchlist: January-February 2020

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Happy New Year, traders!
The 2019 trading year finished with a great performance for Wall Street, and also for some followers of this blog (thanks for the private messages!). Hopefully, the recommendations from the "Watchlist Update" posts and my daily tweets did it well. If you follow and trade them, good for you. It's your own responsibility.

For this 2020, I reduced to 15 the stocks of my Watchlist. I'm holding some stocks from my last Watchlist November-December, due to its good performance in these two months and an interesting forecast for next quarter:

- Disney DIS: my favorite stock for 2019 and a candidate to repeat this year.
- Fiserv FISV: now consolidating, ready for its next breakout.
- Kroger KR: we all need a defensive stock in our watchlist, and Kroger did well that "mission", rising when the market corrects. The recent alliance with Walgreens is another hit.
- Lennar LEN: its recent brilliant Q4 earnings report could send its shares up the…