It’s days like today that make me so glad I have an esoteric trading/investing style. Huh? Notice at the bottom of the screenshot (taken as the markets closed today in the US), The Dow Jones was -1.58%, the Nasdaq held up well and was -0.50%, while the bellwether S&P 500 was -1.16%. Not a disastrous day but I’m certain most investors felt a little pain today. Notice at the top of the page how my active trading portfolio held up. How?
My portfolio holds only a few ETF positions: $XLP (SPDR consumer staples, which held up well today), $VTV (Vanguard Value ETF, it was dragged down due to it’s high concentration in the Financials sector) and $GDX (Gold miners ETF, a new position I picked up early this morning). I did pick up some shares of Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) today because it was in the midst of a steep sell-off, it’s a solid dividend payer and the company isn’t going anywhere. I feel the same way about Phillip Morris ($PM) and Altria ($MO) and today I sold puts on these names. As an opportunist, I’ve held a heavy cash position for weeks and thus, I was able to exploit today’s sell-off.
My largest individual position is $SEMMX (a mortgage credit fund that was +0.09% today, I hold this for the consistent monthly pay-out). My largest concentration for this entire portfolio is held in short put positions and credit spreads. Click on the links to read about the merits of these trades. The greatest benefit to these strategies is that I’m short premium. Over a long holiday weekend like we just had, the option premiums I’m short erode due to time decay. Sure, anyone holding index put options over the weekend rejoiced this morning as the market gapped down, but I hope they sold them out at a profit today as tomorrow is another day…. The puts of the individual names I was short were up today, partly due to this time erosion (as these puts expire on June 15th). The credit spreads I’m short are $MDY and $SPY calls way out of the money. This is a low risk directional play.
The point of all this; just because you’re saving for early retirement doesn’t mean you have to conform with everyone else and passively hold index funds. There are many ways to skin a cat on Wall Street and the methods I use serve me well, especially on days like today. I encourage everyone to do their research and explore the many pockets of opportunity in the market, as there are many…