Investment Journal Update

Zapped by TASR

Ok, that was stupid.

The funds have cleared and I was itching to short this market. It always feels the worst seeing the market move without you, particularly when you’re waiting to enter.

My first trade was to short 100 shares of Taser (TASR) at $26.71. The chart is broken, it’s over-hyped imo, and holding up during the downdraft. So I figured it’s worth giving it a shot. No dice. I got stopped out at $27.75. So a hundred bucks down the tube. Back to an earlier discussion in the comments section, stop losses are important with volatile stocks. Sucks to learn the hard way, but hey another mistake you can learn from me.

Amazon/Overstock Pair

So licking my wounds, I put on a new trade, this time a pair trade long Amazon (AMZN)/ short Overstock (OSTK). I got 100 shares of Amazon at $41.65, and shorted 150 shares of Overstock at an average of $32.05.

The idea behind pair trades is that you try to minimize market volatility and instead rely on stock picking abilities. You don’t care whether the market goes up or down, you just want your long to outperform your short. In this case, I’m betting that will outperform Ideally, you want your pairs to be in the same industry with similar volatility. So if the market completely tanks, the decline in your long will be offset by a similar gain in your short. In a perfect world, your long will go up, and your short will go down, but in a perfect world, I’d be an NFL quarterback.

My thesis behind the Amazon/Overstock pair is that Amazon has upside in a rally, but Overstock has less upside. In a market meltdown, I’m betting that Overstock has more downside than Amazon. So the main thesis on this trade is more technical than anything else.

Fundamentally, I’m betting that Amazon has more clout than Overstock. Amazon’s gross margins are in the range of 22-24%. There are worries that Amazon will sacrifice their gross margins to gain market share. But compared to Overstock’s 10% or less margins, Amazon has the upper hand in this category. Look at their products, is just that, they sell stuff people didn’t want to buy – and their savings aren’t *that* good. I use Amazon, I love buying from Amazon. It’s not the most scientific of reasonings, but it’s a good place to start.

More later, my day job beckons.

Update: I changed the symbols in my post to the name of the company to make it easier to read. It’s a mental shortcut that makes it easier to type up too.

Overstock priced its secondary tonight at $30.50. It’s one of the catalysts I was looking at since more supply on the market generally puts a cap on a stock at least for the short term. It will be important to see how the stock trades after the secondary, particularly if it can hold the secondary’s print price.

9 thoughts on “Investment Journal Update”

  1. For some reason, I’ve never been a big fan of Motley Fool. Go figure.

    That’s the beauty of the market, Jeff Hwang, the author of that article, can bet against me with his trade. Incidently, I’m talking my book, and he’s long Overstock, so we both have a vested interest.

    A hypothetical trade I had on my “model” portfolio and have been following since September has been a long EBAY, short AMZN. That worked out nicely mostly due to the run up in EBAY. EBAY is up by 56%, AMZN down by 5%.

    One other angle I’m playing with this trade is that AMZN has been beaten down pretty badly.

    Wife calling, finish later.

  2. I hate to be the one to suggest it, but with respect, doesn’t this gibberish belong on some day traders’ bulletin board?

    Alternatively you might just report some results until it becomes clear that you know what you are doing (IMHO for various reasons an unlikely outcome), and add in the narrative from that point on.

    I used to work with a very funny guy who decorated his cubicle with quotes under the title ‘examples of meaningless broker-speak’. This stuff would have fit right in.

  3. You say that you’re respectful, yet you insult. And you call someone who’s publicly putting his own money at risk an incompetent, but you’re too cool to say why. You’re a class act, aren’t you.

    BTW, how’s your own track record?

  4. Jonathan,

    Thanks, you got my back as always.


    Money is like politics, you’ll piss off half the people all the time. Chalk this up under the “Economics, Markets, Finance” portion of Chicagoboyz. Big picture discussions of the economy are nice, but for me, it’s always more interesting where the rubber hits the road.

  5. Trent, if you don’t like it, change the channel.

    Confused, I’m with cog on this one. The Motley Fool is not a reference to me, and I don’t know any reasons why it should be. I don’t really care where it comes from. Let’s hear their rationale for recommending the opposite trade and compare it with cog’s.

  6. Seriously.

    It’s their blog, let them do as they wish with it. It’s gibberish to me too, but that is why I’m curious to read more and try to make some sense of these terms that are so foreign to me as a non-investment type. If that isn’t your thing, so be it. Keep posting about this ICG – maybe one day I’ll actually be able to understand!


  7. I don’t have a whole lot of investment experience, but as I probably will look into seriously investing within the next year or two, I’m fascinated with Cog’s little experiment.

    Keep it up. Although may I suggest more cursing and accusing people of being asshats? This is a blog post, after all…

  8. Sylvain,

    Agreed. Rationale is more important than provenance.


    It’s simple really, just buy low, sell high = ) I seem to do the opposite.


    With a name like that, why wait, jump in today!

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