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Found 3 results

  1. Mark Wolfinger

    Beware of swindlers

    Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain(source: Google search) I don’t know the difference between deception and criminal deception, but these hypsters feel like criminals to me. These swindlers publish stories that are so outrageous, that I am amazed that anyone on the planet could fall for it. Or is that just me being naive? Tell a good story, repeat it a few times, and the customers flock to you. Maybe ‘flock’ is an exaggeration, but people come to you, begging you to take their money. There’s nothing special about the options trading business. The liars and cheats are present in every business, dreaming up scams to separate people from their money. It makes me angry. Here’s one example, chosen via search: I don’t know whether to laugh at the nonsense or cry for the victims. He says you SHOULD be able to generate AT LEAST 20% EACH month. And how do we accomplish this miracle: By writing covered calls. If he were to say that it’s possible to earn 20% when things go your way for an entire month, I’d agree with the statement. But ‘should’ and ‘each’? Has he never seen a down market? Does he believe that VIX is always 100? It’s beyond belief. But I’m sure he sells his costly software and courses to the gullible. $1,000 invested for one year, growing at 20% per month compounded, becomes $8,900. Do it for six years and you’d earn one half-billion dollars. Sure, I omitted commissions and assumed taxes could be paid with other funds, but here is someone who would have you believe that this is the minimum result you SHOULD anticipate. How can making these statements not be against the law? I recently claimed that a skilled options trader – someone who exercises good risk management skills has a reasonable chance (but it’s not a cinch by any means) to earn 20% in one year. Mark, who blogs at option pit recently held a webinar through the option club.com and suggested that 13% is a reasonable annual expectation. So who is to be believed? The 20% per month boaster, or two experienced traders and teachers? The Banks also play the game It’s not bad enough to be cheated by random individuals. What chance does the naive person have when the banks openly overcharge for structured products- or options in disguise. One simple example is described by the Amsterdam Trader. The old profession of market making may be dead, according to All Options’ spokesman, but with a little creativity it’s fairly easy for banks to invent something new. Let’s have a small look what Royal Bank of Scotland is bringing us for fancy structured products. The rocket scientists at RBS have invented a basic option construction (“short atm put”) and labelled it with a fancy name (“discounter”). As of October 4th, they are actually selling this structured product to the retail investors. The marketing department didn’t only create the name Discounter, but also the wonderful slogan (“buy shares against a discounted price”). The product isn’t just comparable with a short put position, it is exactly the same thing. When the underlying share price goes up, you pocket the short put premium. If the prices drop, you’ll end up with buying the shares (and still get the option premium of course). You could also call it covered call writing. First of all, the retail investors are fooled into buying repackaged crap – there’s an adequate Dutch saying for that (selling turnips as lemons). Apart from trying to sell retail investors ordinary short puts, this RBS product is daylight robbery. They are charging an outrageous 2 percent fee per year, for basically nothing. Retail investors hand over their hard earned cash into the greedy hands of RBS, and RBS is charging them for it. Selling a bond to the bank and having to pay for it. If RBS goes bankrupt, you’ll lose a part of your investment. Nothing wrong with structured products, you always end up overpaying but as long as it’s tricky or impossible to do-it-yourself it’s fine with me. This one, however, is a bridge too far. We’ve recently had a lot of attention for financial institutions cheating on their customers, but they haven’t learned their lesson and prove unreliable. Cheating clients and getting away with it, at least for the time being. Investors should just buy the shares, and sell the at-the-money call if they wish to replicate this product. Stay away from the “discount” swindle. Mark Wolfinger has been in the options business since 1977, when he began his career as a floor trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Since leaving the Exchange, Mark has been giving trading seminars as well as providing individual mentoring via telephone, email and his premium Options For Rookies blog. Mark has published four books about options. His Options For Rookies book is a classic primer and a must read for every options trader. Mark holds a BS from Brooklyn College and a PhD in chemistry from Northwestern University.
  2. Now lets go back to the article and to the forecasts in general. Mark Hulbert tells us about a forecast from Sam Eisenstadt, "who has more successfully called stocks’ direction in recent years than anyone I can think of". He argues that "His previous six-month forecast, for example, was that the S&P 500 by the end of March (this past Tuesday) would be between 2,160 and 2,200 — representing an increase of at least 9.5% over where it stood at the end of last year’s third quarter. As fate would have it, the S&P 500 rose “only” 4.8% over that six-month period. In the inexact world of stock-market predictions, it must be considered a success when a forecasted six-month return is off by just 4.7 percentage points." Well, Mark Hulbert calls it "off by just 4.7 percentage points." I call it "off by 50%". Matter of perspective I guess. Don't get me wrong, I don't know Sam Eisenstadt and have nothing personal against him. I'm just trying to make a point regarding the whole forecast industry. To see how reliable market forecasts are, lets take a look at http://www.cxoadvisory.com/gurus/. Those guys asked a simple question: Can equity market experts, whether self-proclaimed or endorsed by others (such as publications), reliably provide stock market timing guidance? Do some experts clearly show better market timing intuition than others? To answer that question, during 2005 through 2012 they collected 6,582 forecasts for the U.S. stock market offered publicly by 68 experts, bulls and bears employing technical, fundamental and sentiment indicators. Are you ready for the answer? Terminal accuracy is 46.9%, an aggregate value very steady since the end of 2006. Did you get it? The average accuracy of the investment gurus is worse than a coin toss!!! As an example, Bob Prechter from ElliottWave made himself a pretty good name by correctly forecasting the 2008 market crash. What most people don't remember is the fact that Prechter's newsletter had been almost uninterruptedly bearish for the nearly two decades prior to 2008 -- and, as a result, according to the Hulbert Financial Digest, was near the bottom of the rankings for market timing performance over those two decades. A bearish stopped clock even gets to be right occasionally. cxoadvisory's research confirms this - Robert Prechter was ranked the last out of 68 gurus, with only 20.8% accuracy. The bottom line is that it might be very dangerous to rely on any market forecasts for your investment decisions. Related articles: Can you double your account every six months? Can You Really Turn $12,415 Into $4M? Performance Reporting: The Myths and The Reality Why Retail Investors Lose Money In The Stock Market SchoolofTrade: Another Guru Busted Are You EMOTIONALLY Ready To Lose? Do You Need A Lawyer? I Don't. 10 Signs Of A Fake Guru 3 Words You Won't Hear On CNBC Debunking Options Guru Advice Want to learn how to trade successfully while reducing the risk? Start Your Free Trial
  3. Yesterday Mark Hulbert, whom I highly respect, published an article in MarketWatch called Investing guru predicts 12% rise in stocks over six months. Before I tell you why I think you should not trust any market forecasts from "investment gurus", I must say that I don't like the word guru in general. One of my favorite quotes is "Our world needs less gurus and more teachers. Gurus are about helping themselves become successful - teachers are about helping others become successful." - Joseph C. Kunz Jr. Click here to view the article