We have a Long Weekend coming up with the Easter Bunny stuff (sorry, at the time of reading this you are probably munching Easter Biscuits…..), and I expect to make a good start on the Stock one in between Hot X Bun courses.
Right, the subject is about a Typical Day for me and how I focus my Investing Activities. To a large extent it depends on the Day. In simple terms, Monday to Thursday (inclusive) are spent on actual ‘work’ but on Friday I tend to have decided it is the start of the Sabbath and I don’t usually do much Stock stuff. Saturday and Sunday are pretty much spent away from Stocks also.
For Monday to Thursday, I will probably read the RNS announcements while lying in bed on my Small Tablet (7”) when my Alarm goes off at 8.30am. I will fire out some Tweets about anything related to my Stocks or other Stocks that interest me or I know some of my Followers hold. If I have a Trade or 2 to execute, I will probably get on with it now as I find that often when I am buying, the best price of the day is early on and things can often rise throughout the day - especially if my Timing Tricks from the Night before are working well. I am sure that if I could be bothered with all the stress, there might be better times to Buy or Sell during the day, but to be honest, I cannot be arsed with looking at a screen and trying to get the perfect entry - I have better things to do.
I find that once my mind is made up to do a Trade, if I do not get straight on with it, then I just think about it all the time and I cannot do anything else as I am totally distracted. Once the Trade is executed, I will write the price down on the piece of Paper with my Instructions on it (ok, you may be confused now, it should become clearer as you continue reading), and I will then Tweet out the Trade so Followers know what I am up to. I don’t recommend that anyone copies my Trades - I am just as clueless as anybody else, but at least you can see what I am up to and follow my Investing Travails.
I then spend some time mucking about on Twitter, bantering with a few of the great Peeps on there, and maybe at some time between 10am and 11am I might actually get out of bed. I usually watch a bit of the Leftie News, sorry, the BBC News on TV and I will probably read Investors Chronicle for the next hour or so. At 12 Noon the Daily Politics comes on and I usually watch that - although I often miss it and watch the repeat at Midnight on the BBC Parliament Channel. It is the ultimate Geeky programme but I find it by far the most informative Political show on TV and Andrew Neil is just God really. He is also one of the best comedians on the box. It is very important to understand what is happening Politically - our Stocks can be massively impacted by the Policies of these Idiots.
Around 1pm I will have my lunch - nothing fancy, just a Cheese Sandwich or something - fairly functional, it is a need to eat. But the beauty of this time is that I will spend probably the next hour to an hour and a half carefully reading Investors Chronicle and this is where I usually focus on the ‘Companies’ bit in the back and think about each one as to whether or not they are of sufficient quality to be popped into Wheelie’s Little Black Book. A big Cafetiere of Strong Coffee seems to assist this process. Not sure why, I love Tea and drink absurd amounts during my waking hours, but Coffee is the lubricant of choice for this task.
In the Winter, this process takes place in my Kitchen at the table, in Summer I am out on the Patio and soaking up the Sun - I absolutely love doing this and it is very helpful to me that my frame of mind is conducive to soaking up the Information and Analysing it. The only bummer is the roar of Airplane Engines every 2 minutes !! Another key part of this process is that I have a radio on full blast with the Local Radio Station, Time 106 FM - which many people will hate, but I love the variety of music and the fact it is so harmless. It is happy music and there is no strain to listen to it. I find that if I put stuff I really like on (some decent Rock or something - The Who, Rush, Foo Fighters, that kind of thing) then I get distracted and I do not focus on my ‘work’.
My neighbours are incredibly fortunate because they never have to pay for their own music or Radio Station - I supply it all for free. I am so thoughtful and generous to my Neighbourhood…..
I guess around 2.30pm ish I will drop ‘work’ and do something else. In the summer this means mucking about in my Garden or maybe rolling round to the local Tesco or the Garden Centre or something. If I am meeting up with mates, it will be around this time and I am usually back home for 7pm ish.
I think it is extremely important to allow myself ‘Thinking Time’. I have a small Vegetable Garden effort out the back of my House, and I love spending time messing about here doing mundane Gardening Tasks in the Sun. It is Quality Time and while prodding things with a Trowel I am often thinking about my Stocks or Strategy for coming Months etc. I will often just sit in the Garden in the Sun and think about stuff. A mug of tea is assistive in this Process.
If I am round the House, then at about 5pm, I will see how I have done for the day. It is lovely when I doss about all day, not doing much on the Markets, to find that I have made a Pile of Cash - it seems to happen quite often. Obviously I get down days (boo, hiss), but it’s all part of the game. As long as the Trend is steadily upwards and my Hedging Activities reduce the Downsides in Nasty Markets, then I am well happy.
I will look through my Stocks on my Fone and note down any significant moves Up or Down - these are what I Tweet out around this time and I usually only bother with stuff that moves 3% or more - although I sometimes Tweet out smaller moves if they are on big Holdings.
Using my Larger 10” tablet, I access my ISA Account with iDealing and my small non-ISA Account with TDDirect and my Spreadbetting Account with igIndex. I take the Total Value of each of these Accounts and add them all together. This is then expressed as a Percentage of the Starting Portfolio Value on the 1st January, and this is Tweeted out. I do not include details on my Income Portfolio - I rarely log into this Account with iWeb and the only time I report on it is at the Year End ‘Scores on the Doors’. While logged into igIndex, I tend to look at the FTSE100 Daily Candles Chart and the US and DAX ones. The Percentage Figures I tweet out are based on Exposure, not on the Capital Used - All this will become clear in my Annual ‘Scores on the Doors’ updates.
Hang on, I need a brew…….
Right, next thing I do some Reading online using this Tablet. I have a pretty set pattern - firstly I look at Investors Chronicle Online and particularly look for Simon Thompson Tip Updates (he does these Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in the main), the Daily Market Roundup and the Trader bit with Nicole Elliott - I like getting her view of the Indexes to see if it chimes with my own. Sometimes there is another article that catches my eye, but those are the main ones I am interested in.
Next visit is to Evil Kneival’s page on the Spreadbet Magazine website - I always like to know what he is Shorting - I don’t want to be in any Stocks that he has got his Claws into. Evil has a lot of power in the Markets, and if his Cohorts join in, it can do your Portfolio serious damage. I tend not to Short in Bull Markets but when things get Grizzly, I will Short Individual Stocks with Stop losses - Evil’s column can help with good ideas here. The only Shorting I do in Bull Markets is on the FTSE100 to Hedge my Long Portfolio. Another great Source of Stocks to Short in Bear Markets is Citron Research - but they tend to do US Stocks only.
If it is a Wednesday or Thursday, then I will nip over to Robbie Burn’s site, The Naked Trader (obviously, derr), and see if he has done an Update. He rarely joins us these days, too wealthy, but when he does, it is always worth reading. I tend not to bother with all the nonsense above his ‘Markets’ bit - I used to read it but these days I have better things to do than read about how a Rich Bloke watches TV all day.
Next stop is Paul Scott’s SCVR (Small Cap Value Report on Stockopedia) - which is superb. It is not necessarily the case that I agree with all of Paul’s views or with the Comments in the bit below, but the key here is that they can give me ideas to go in my Little Black Book or help me to think about Stocks I already hold.
If there is time, I will then dip into my Gmail account to see if I have any Emails I want to read - to be honest I struggle to find enough time to do this these days since I started doing WheelieDealer - I need more Hours in the Day !!
If you are interested in visiting any of these Websites, then please go to my ‘Beginners / Useful Links’ page where they are all listed.
Around 7pm, I stop all this silly ‘Work’ nonsense and it is time for Evening Tucker. I tend to put Channel 4 News on - it is typically Left Wing but is much more in-depth than the utterly woeful BBC News and don’t get me started on Sky News which is hopeless.
Around 8.30pm I will have finished all the Cooking and Eating and Relaxing and I will probably mooch around doing chores or something or watching TV etc. It is often around this time on a Wednesday (funnily enough, my first draft of this is taking place on Wednesday April 1st 2015), that I will do some work on a Blog. The other weekday when I Blog heavily is on Monday - my Cleaner comes around 2pm ish and when she is here I cannot concentrate on ‘Work’ but I find that I can do some Blogging type stuff. She is only here for an Hour (I have a small and clean Bungalow !!) and after she has gone I can get Blogging in earnest.
This goes on until about 10pm when I start to think about logging on to my Laptop and powering up ShareScope to do the Daily Data Update and look at the Charts. Around this time I logon to my Interactive Investor (www.iii.co.uk) dummy Account which has the details of my Overseas Unit Trusts setup in it. This gives me the Value of the Unit Trusts and I add this to the UK numbers from earlier in the day - I record all these on Paper - very old fashioned !!
Once ShareScope is updated with the Daily Data, I first look at the Indexes and the Commodities - although in truth I only really take much notice of Brent Oil and Gold. Depending upon what is happening in the Markets - i.e. if they are at Highs or Lows really, I will probably do a Short Technical Analysis View which I shove up on the WD2 Homepage - this also tends to coincide with when I have FTSE100 Shorts on as it focuses my mind on what matters.
I then ‘plonk’ (basically, you hit the Space Bar and the Chart moves down to the next one in the Portfolio) through each of the Charts in my Various Portfolios. I start with my Mum’s Portfolio, which only has 2 stocks in it - CNA and NG. and then I move onto my Unit Trusts and then my Income Portfolio. I also look at a Portfolio that my Nephew has - he does very similar Stocks to me. Then I look at my ISA Portfolio and anything where I only have a Spreadbet (usually Foreign Stuff like EBAY at present).
I look at all the views that I normally show in my Technical Analysis stuff on my Blogs - for more details please see my OPAY Blogs at
Whilst looking through these Charts, if I see any where it looks like a Buying Opportunity, I will flag it up on the Twitter. I do not flag things up as Buys if I think they are no longer good Value. If something looks toppy, I will flag that up also on Twitter (sorry, bit of a flag obsession in that Paragraph.)
However, if there is something I want to buy (this could be a New Stock or, more likely, a Topup on something I already hold), then if I am totally satisfied that the time is right, I will write ‘Instructions’ on a piece of A4 Paper and it gets shoved on my Sofa. The simple logic and method here is that I am hopefully making unemotional Decisions based on what the Charts are telling me. I have already analysed the Stock from a Fundamentals Viewpoint, although I always do a final check of the Earnings Forecasts and Divvys etc. just to make sure I am not about to Buy something that is really overvalued. Buying Overvalued Stocks is one of the biggest screw-ups anyone can make.
Likewise, if there is something I want to Sell, then I will write Instructions for me to Execute in the Morning. Usually I will have been building up to a Sell for many weeks - I always Plan and Think well ahead and I write Targets onto my ShareScope Charts with statements like “maybe sell if gets to 450p”, that kind of thing.
My Instructions written on the A4 Paper are very clear and rigid. I will say “Buy x amount of Shares in YYY in my iDealing Account” (or maybe in another Account or as a Spreadbet or something). I sometimes put Conditions on the A4 Paper - like “only Buy if breaks above 210p at the Open” or maybe “do not Buy at higher than 540p.” etc. I am pretty good at following these Rules - maybe it is because I am so dopey in the morning that I just do it on Autopilot !!
As an aside, I very rarely do a Trade on the Day of Results. I know a lot of people Trade in this way - but to my mind you are much better off buying when there is no interest in the Stock and it is about 4 to 6 weeks before the Results. For me, the best time to pick up a Stock is when it has drifted down Short Term within a Larger Uptrend and it is out of favour simply because there has been a lack of News. I am sure you have seen me mention many times before that Stock Prices tend to move in ‘Waves’ of Buyers and Sellers - and out job is to take advantage of these movements.
On most Quality Stocks, I find that they tend to drift up prior to the Results, and it is only if the Company beats Expectations that they will go higher straightaway. Often the adages “it’s better to travel than to arrive” or “Buy on Rumour, Sell on Fact” apply here.
However, I must admit that of late, something seems to have changed a bit and I do see a lot of Stocks going up on Results Day and continuing on up. But, I sense a Danger in this - it seems unusual and I wonder if it is a function of Over-Exuberance which seems to have dominated Stockmarkets in this recent Bull Market - there is a huge Risk that the former Pattern will re-emerge (of course this assumes there is a Pattern - it could be a Cognitive Bias that I have and be entirely imaginary).
Linked to my ‘Instructions A4 Paper Sheet’, is the concept that I like to make Unemotional Decisions outside of Market Trading Hours. I am convinced that Intraday Movements and silly wiggles can affect my Emotional Capacity for Rational, Logical, Buy and Sell Decisions - so I try to stick to this as much as possible.
There was a notable example of this lately. I had Shares in Space and People (SAL) which had been a pretty dire Purchase after a Profits Warning a while back. Anyway, things seemed to be on the mend and I was eagerly awaiting a Trading Update a couple of Weeks back - with my expectation being for more progress. Anyway, the Results really were Pants and it struck me hard that this Company is a bit of a Joke and I do not see that it has much Future - it is certainly not of the Quality I want in my Portfolio. My error was in buying such a Small Microcap in the first place - slapped wrist Wheelie.
But I then broke one of my Golden Rules and I made an Emotional Decision to Sell the Stock at about a 60% Loss because I was just so P*ssed Off that they had the cheek to let me down again.
Let me be clear here. My error was not in Selling the Stock - I have no doubt it is a very poor Stock. My error was that had I waited until the Market had closed and then made my Sell Decision based on what the Daily Candles were telling me, the likelihood is that I would have waited a few days and got a bit of a Bounce Up before ditching them. I don’t think it will have cost me much, but it is something I must avoid doing in future. I need to make Calm, Rational, Logical, Buy or Sell Decisions based on what I see on the Charts - not based on my Intraday Emotions.
“Trade what you See, not what you Feel”.
Once the Charts are done, I open up my Email Accounts and have a look for anything of interest. I find more and more that a lot of the Emails that come through from various Financial Services Industry Firms are essentially useless - my ‘delete’ key gets a lot of use !!
Whilst in my Email, I might reply to a few queries from WD Readers and I get Notifications of any Comments on my WheelieBlogs Page. Sometimes I will go onto the Website and reply straightaway, but often I will think about a suitable response and reply the next day.
I am usually doing my Charts and stuff while Newsnight is on (BBC2 10.30pm) - I find this probably the only News Programme that actually does stuff in depth. The standard of ‘Normal’ News is woeful I feel. I tend to ignore most of Newsnight but my Ears perk up if anything Economic or Political comes on that is relevant to my efforts to extract Money from the Markets.
Another task I complete around this time is to fill out any Trades, Buys or Sells, on my Spreadsheets - these record what the Trade was and its date, price, number of shares, total value, stamp duty, commission, target, etc. I also make sure that the ‘Trades/Portfolios’ Page of the Website is up to date. I tend to use my Large Tablet later in the morning to update the ‘Changes List’ on the Homepage with any Trades I have just executed, but it is usually a couple of hours behind my Twitter Feed (which can be seen on the Homepage as well, if you are not on Twitter).
After Newsnight, I like to catch some of the Paper Review on BBC News 24 and then slip over to Sky News for their Paper Review - carefully skipping round the Adverts of course.
At midnight, I switch over to Bloomberg to see if there is anything exciting in the Headlines - there rarely is. I might watch 10 mins of this and then think about heading off in a Bedwardly direction.
Friday’s are funny for me - but I must say I always felt that when I worked in an Office the ‘atmosphere’ was very much the same. The simple fact is that I just never feel like doing much Stockmarket Stuff on a Friday and I have basically lost interest by now. It was the same in the Office - although it wasn’t just me who had lost interest - I always felt that no one (including Management) could really be arsed to do anything on a Friday. It also seemed like lots of people ‘worked from home’ (yeah, right), or took the day off as Annual Leave.
As per Monday to Thursday, I wake at about 8.30am and power up my Small Tablet to read the RNS statements. I tend to find that there are few of note on a Friday and I am not that interested anyway !! I very rarely Trade on a Friday - in fact, I would say that most of my Trades tend to occur on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. I have a good look at Twitter and Retweet anything that is of interest and covers Quality Stocks, and I will no doubt banter with a few Twitter Buddies.
If I am to have a pub lunch with mates or have an outing to a National Trust place or something, then this is the day I will do it. Friday’s just seem to be a flat day on the Markets and you get some silly moves anyway - I really am not interested. That is for the Traders - I am pretty much having the Day off. There is of course the occasional bit of Friday excitement - once a Month we get the US Non-Farm Payroll Numbers (NAPALM) - essentially the number of Jobs that the US Economy created in the Previous Month. These Numbers can move the Markets and I think they usually come out around 1.30pm UK time. If I do work on a Friday, it will probably just be a bit of reading of the Investors Chronicle or maybe some Research into a Stock I am interested in.
Around 5pm, if I am around the House, I will do my Numbers as usual and see how I have done on the day and also how my UK Stuff has done for the Week. Assuming I am not out in the Evening, I will do my Unit Trust Numbers and get the Weekly tally. I tend to tweet out these Results on the Saturday after, but sometimes Tweet them out Friday Night.
Saturday and Sunday
On Saturday, things are obviously peaceful with no Markets open and the Twitter is very quiet. Again, a bit like Friday, I tend to read Investors Chronicle but that is about it. In Summer, I will be sat outside in the Garden reading it - very nice. If I am not out on Saturday Night, then I will most likely be working on a Blog - I tend to do some reasonable first drafts on a Saturday Night - I have no clue as to why Saturday seems to have such a positive influence on my Blogging Skills. I promise you that I have not been on the Real Ales…….
On Sunday, I follow a similar pattern. No real Work, but the odd bit of Investors Chronicle - quite often (and this is always the case really), I am catching up on the ‘Companies’ bit at the back and am several Copies behind - there is no rush.
Sunday Night I start to get serious again. I guess around 9pm I will Logon to my Laptop and power up ShareScope - in essence, I am going through my Chart ‘plonking’ like I do Monday to Thursday. I look at the UK Stockmarket Almanac to get a view of what the Week and Month are likely to bring us and I look at the Lists of which Companies are expected to be reporting, with particular attention on my Stocks. I get this on a ‘Week Ahead’ email from Digital Look and also it is printed in Investors Chronicle. My ‘Useful Links’ page has a link for the Digital Look website.
Recent Changes to my Routine
In addition to the outline above, there are certain things that I am doing on a constant basis really. Since starting WheelieDealer, I am obviously spending a lot of time on Twitter - for a while this irritated me but it has become clear to me that Twitter is a very powerful tool and it enables me to communicate with my Readers and to help me make decisions about what to Buy and Sell and other Portfolio Management Ideas - there are some superb fellow Investors on Twitter and I find the tool very beneficial.
Obviously I want WheelieDealer to be a success - it is a bit pointless if I just produce a pile of shite and no one reads it. Twitter has driven the growth in numbers of Readers visiting my Website and I am happy to embrace Twitter because of these benefits. I access it using my Samsung Fone - so it is quick and easy. It has been a huge revelation to me. When I started WheelieDealer, the idea was to use Twitter just as a way to give Readers more ‘Near Real Time’ information - however, I totally missed how it has become the driver of New Readers to my Website - I just did not appreciate its power.
Apart from looking at my Twitter Feed, I probably check my ADVFN app on the Fone once every hour to see how my Stocks are doing - I often spot Breakouts and Upmoves that signal that something is happening - I tend to Tweet these out if the Stock still represents Value. If I ‘swipe’ my Fone Screen the Charts change from Intraday through 1 month, 3 months, 1 year, 3 years - I look at the ‘waves’ of the Price Moves and ‘read’ the Candles to look for Entries and Exits.
The ADVFN app is truly brilliant and it is FREE - I have it on my Fone and both my Tablets. Whilst looking at an Individual Stock that I hold, I am also thinking about what the Value is like and whether or not it has become a Sell. I also think about the Stock’s place in my Portfolio and whether or not it ‘brings anything to the Party’. It’s one thing to have Great Stocks but a very different thing to have a Collection of Great Stocks which work together well within a Diversified Portfolio. If I trip over a Potential Stock to Invest in during the day, I will use my ADVFN app for an initial look at it.
I have a 4G Contract with EE and I find this is very useful if I am out and about for accessing my Stocks and the Markets. I rarely do this, but if I am in a Coffee Shop or something and my mate pops to the loo, then I will probably grab my Fone and see if I am making money or not.
I look on CNBC.com on my Fone Browser to see what the overall Markets are doing - but you need to be careful because it sometimes does not refresh automatically - I often force the issue.
Since starting WheelieDealer, I have found that I simply do not have anything like as much time to doss about and I am really quite busy. I am happy about this as it has given me a New Focus which I especially appreciate in Winter but I do find I have less time to watch DVDs and generally waste time. Oh well.
There is however an upside. I am finding that I just do not have time to spend reading much Macroeconomic Stuff and watching Bloomberg and CNBC - but I think this is actually a huge benefit. More and More I am coming to the view that the majority of what dresses up as ‘Economic News’ is just ‘Noise’ and not ‘Signal’. These kind of stories (like China bubble, Money Printing Inflation, Secular Depression, etc. etc.) just seem to always be around and never come to fruition. The irony is that real Crises like the Credit Crunch are totally missed by the Economists and Talking Heads…….
This chimes with a discussion I was having with a few of the great People on Twitter who have been on a Robbie Burns Seminar. One of them made a comment along the lines of “he is really good at cutting out the Noise” - that really stuck in my brain and it alls ties up nicely (thanks @treesieT). Whatever you think of Robbie’s approach, it is hard to deny that he is one of the most successful Private Investors out there - the catch seems to be that parts of his technique are actually quite hard to put into practice - especially if you Work Full Time.
This means that I now spend my time purely focussed on Stock Specific News and almost totally ignore Macro apart from what I read in Investors Chronicle or pick up by osmosis on Twitter, TV News Programmes or whatever. The way I deal with the ‘Macro’ aspect of Managing my Portfolio, is to use the Charts to tell me when to put Shorts on and when to take them off. That is it.
Well, I hope that gives you all an insight into how I go about things on a Daily basis - I am sure we all do things differently and there is no Right or Wrong answer - but if I have got you thinking, then we are all Winners.
It got me thinking anyway………
Hwyl fawr am nawr!, wd