Starting to do some small time planning of our yearly European road trip. We depart May 28th and will return late Aug to our hopefully completed new house. We will start the trip from Portugal which is exciting since we’ve never been to mainland portugal, just the island, Madiera. We’ll probably spend 2 weeks total there and make our way into Bilbao, Spain. Either by Train or rental car. We’ve got two kids, a new born and an Au-Pair so it’ll be a bit of a caravan 🙂 We always make it work and we always make it fun. Spain and Portugal will probably take up 3-4 weeks of the trip. The rest will be spent in Poland, Germany and Italy. I was thinking of checking out Estonia for a week too which would at least add a country to my list.
In Portugal, we’ll stay in Lisbon, Porto and maybe see Faro? If anyone has any suggestions, they’d be awesomely appreciated.
After Bilbao, Spain, we’ll probably do Wroclaw, Poland and some more Southern Germany and of course our constant staple–> our fav B&B in Arona, Italy. (Cascina Incocco)
My favourite country is Germany but I’ve literally seen every city in that country and it’s hard to justify spending too much more time there but perhaps we may add Constance to the list this trip on top of Munich. I might go solo in Germany around Aug 10 until my poker tournament in Barcelona on the 20th.
I am digging the new trades for this trip. I can plan and initiate instead of stress and react 🙂 Looking forward to that. Though, I find I need big screen real estate these days for analyzing things. I will only have a laptop :<
I’ve now neutralized May STT so I’ve only got on June and July units. For some strange reason, my net liquid went down drastically over the past 2 days (in one account it went from 200k to about -10k within a night). I am not sure why. I know IB re-calculated the stress test from 12% to 15% but that was as of April 13th. Ah well, strange. I’ve sent closed out May STTs in that account and the net liquidity is back up to about 160k. Maybe it was the approaching expiring of the April BSHs?
I am going to wait for an opportunity in the next 2 trading days to put on more July STTs before the French elections. They are a decent way to play binary events. I probably won’t put many more on after this and will instead wait for Aug expiry to come out. Another odd thing, a lot of time value came out of the trades today (all of a sudden), P/L is mostly recovered from Apr 6. More of this will happen next week after French elections pass. Maybe I’ve missed a good opportunity to enter more July STTs which admittedly I am light on. The bulk of the trades are in June and June is almost nearing profit target…
I am starting to look at exiting my May STT positions though I might try to expire them if they aren’t taking up to much margin. Lotto ticket to the downside. I’ll be spending some time looking at that today.
STT Returns and commentary:
I expect to return about 5% a month on average for the STT trade. That’s 60% a year on the balance portion used for the trade itself, it doesn’t include your balance reserve which I keep at about 35%. That means we’re returning closer to 40-45% on the entire balance non-compounded. However, every month I will increase the unit size to match the 35% net-liquid requirements and that should get the returns closer to 60% compounded and much more over the course of 2-3 years. It’s slower and less sexy than the previous trades I’ve done. Though I mean, over the course of the 14 months I did the Rhino trade, I’ve actually not had the luck to experience those types of returns, but I did get to experience some of the swings 🙂 I mean, balance movements, profits, losses and their recovery were a lot quicker back then. It’s fairly slow these days. I just plan the trades, execute (spending a lot of time on fills) and really don’t care where the market goes. Watching paint dry kinda? Of course, It’s not without excitement, often times I’ll get caught filling one portion of a trade directionally only to have the market move the opposite way and become unable to fill the other portion. Those are always fun to deal with 🙂 Or the ever annoying fill issues. I’d put in a small order at a price, get filled, then put on a larger order only for it to sit there for an hour. Putting on and taking off trades can be a tedious process, sometimes taking a full day.
I am off May 4th to play in a big poker tournament (double the size as the one I played in January) so I am quite excited about that. I’ve been studying/preparing at about 1 hr a day since January. I feel my game is probably 70% of the way to where I want it to be. I’ll post updates when I head off. The SCOOP is also on (Poker stars spring championship) and I’ll be playing several of those events.
That’s all for now…
Last week was somewhat interesting re how volatility and vol skew can have an affect on trades. The P/L on my trades halved from Apr 6 to Apr 12 and the market had moved a whole 8 points during that time. Almost NIL. However, the volatility increased and the skew changed as well causing my way OTM options that I am a net-seller on to retain or gain in value with-out the help of a similar increase in the debit spreads (closer ITM). I found that quite neat, it’s not often you see such an increase in vol and change in vol skew without a corresponding down move. These types of things are fairly temporary and had we had a real down move, the debit spreads would have activated more. It’s an affect that occurs when there’s some binary events, or very low odd but genuine worry of tail risks (i.e. NK and Syria uncertainty) and probably the biggest reason, the French elections.
I don’t really follow market technicals as much as I used to. I had several sources and was fairly in tune with the market, though for some reason, I’d never use it for trading 🙂 I was mainly trading Rhinos which was incredibly frustrating for the last 14 months as most of you who trade that can attest. We’ve had a never ending up move from the Feb 9, 2016 lows (I think close to 45% on the RUT). The trade suffers in any cycle that has a 5%+ up move and that was 10 of the 14 previous months. The moves were pretty insane, I remember during the Brexit event, my balance increased 300k only to dwindle to half that in 2 days. That was the only time the market went down a modest amount and allowed my matured Rhinos to finally profit. I was struggling adjusting on the downside only to have the market scream against and rally until pretty much Feb of 2017. From that Brexit event, the rhino trade was a struggle.
The STT trades are the opposite, they’re quite docile. I had to get away from intra-day trading, as I’d stare at my risk profiles, do analysis and be like huh-ok, nothing to do..what am I supposed to do with my time now? Trading has become boring, I guess I’ve arrived 🙂
Here is my June STT trade
This is a 108 unit trade. I’ve got 4 other Junes. It doesn’t include the BSHs which are not fully financed and do rely on some of the P/L here to finance.
Here is my JUL STT Trade
This is a 45 unit trade. Most of its value is stuck in it as we await the French elections
I am making a pledge to myself to post at least 15 times a month :). I keep letting this go but I find it is a cathartic healthy activity that I need to focus on. It has benefits re accountability and maybe it provides some value to the readers. I just had a baby (third) so I’ve just been in this distracted state after 4pm. I love tending to this and I hate that I often let it go.
Re trading: nothing too exciting. I am up to 450 or so units on the STT which is something I guess. It’s been such an adjustment (for the better). I no longer wake up a few times a night to check futures and I don’t need to check the phones often outside my normal adjustment period during the day. My obsession with market technicals has gone down too! Love it. The trade is just so damn docile compared to other trades. It’s literally the perfect trade for my style. It’s gone from reacting in real time to market events to evaluating market events over a longer period of time and creating a plan for adjusting the following day in a much less stressed way.
I’ve still got on one last unit of Rhino (april) that I has very minimal upside risk left. I’ll still put some of these on bit only opportunistically.
I am trying to mechanicize the management of the STT and BSH re having a large account and this is what I am working on currently. This has everything to do with the financing the BsH. A new idea emerged that I quite like.
We are doing a 3 month Europe trip again come May 28th with a newborn and a 5 and 7 year old. Should be fun! We will get an au pair to help us out (university student that wants a free summer trip). Probably do Poland, Germany, Slovenia and Italy again.
I’ve got two more poker tournaments coming up. I’ve been studying and practicing quite a bit. I want that main event final table. That’s the goal. I will get it soon come.
Tomorrow I will post the screen caps of my current trades.