All Posts by Jani Ziedins

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About the Author

Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and financial analyst that has successfully traded stocks and options for nearly three decades. He has an undergraduate engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and two graduate business degrees from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes engineering at Fortune 500 companies, small business consulting, and managing investment real estate. He is now fortunate enough to trade full-time from home, affording him the luxury of spending extra time with his wife and two children.

Mar 27

Free Weekly Analysis and Lookahead

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis and Lookahead

This was one of the most volatile weeks in S&P 500 history with the highs and lows spanning more than 20%. The moves were so dramatic in fact, the index actually started a new bull market after climbing 20% from Monday’s lows! (Also making this the shortest bear market in history.)

These are strange times. I was there for the dot-com bubble. 9/11. The housing crash and financial crisis. I even have memories of 1987’s Black Monday. But few things compare to the levels of uncertainty we are feeling today. 1987 blindsided market participants and few things are as shocking as watching 9/11 unfold in real-time. But neither of those events affected Mainstreet the way Coronavirus has completely and totally shut down the global economy. Everyone was numb after 9/11, but most people resumed their lives after a few days.

Not today. Governors are instructing, if not downright ordering, citizens to stay in their homes for at least two weeks. And that is just the start. No one knows how much further this could go. Stocks rallied this week after Congress approved a $2 trillion dollar stimulus package and the Fed assured us they have “unlimited ammunition” to combat this economic slowdown. That was good enough to launch stock prices 20% above Monday’s lows. But can these things solve our problems? No…not even close.

This week’s rebound was more of a massive relief-rally and short-squeeze than a vote of confidence about our “new” outlook. While it was definitely nice to see the stock market string together a few positive days, our situation is not any better this Friday than it was last Friday. In fact, in many ways, they are worse now because this virus continues expanding at an exponential rate and this week’s shelter-in-place orders had a minimal impact on the growth curve.

As nice as it felt to see the market put together an impressive performance this week, we are far from out of the woods and should expect this historic volatility to stick around for a while. At the very least, expect prices to retest the lows over the next week or two. Maybe we find support at the prior lows. Maybe we don’t. Either way, hopefully, anyone who was savvy enough to buy this week’s rebound is also savvy enough to lock-in a big portion of those profits before they evaporate. Investors can buy these discounts for the long-haul, but traders need to be extremely nimble because today’s profits will turn into tomorrow’s losses if we allow ourselves to get greedy.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

Mar 26

If you’re not taking profits, then you’re taking losses.

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis

The S&P 500 produced its first three-day win-streak since early February. Congress agreed to a $2 trillion stimulus package and the Fed assured us they have “unlimited ammunition”. Those headlines were enough to launch stocks nearly 20% above Monday’s intraday lows. Looking beyond this relief rally, the bigger question is if these government interventions are enough to solve the market’s problems or if this strength is just another fleeting bounce on our way lower.

Three days ago bears were gloating over their investing prowess. Today it’s the bull’s turn. And so goes the swinging pendulum of sentiment in this violently volatile market. While it was definitely better to be a bull today than a bear, is the Coronavirus epidemic really solved? Did our politicians actually accomplish anything more meaningful than adding $2 trillion to our national debt? Ummmmm, no. We are in much of the same place we were Monday…and last Friday…and the Friday before that. Nothing has been fixed but at least some issues have been addressed…if only marginally.

These constructive headlines were at least good enough to stem the cascade of relentless selling. That said, we shouldn’t expect prices to race back to the highs anytime soon. The world is still gripped by fear of a killer virus and all the economic damage that goes along with these extreme preventative measures.

As I wrote on Monday, this market is incredibly volatile and that means huge swings in BOTH directions. One day’s gains become the next day’s losses (plus or minus a day or two). In periods like this, if swing-traders are not taking profits, then they are taking losses. Rather than gloat over the corpses of your adversaries, be savvy enough to realize that if you hang around too long, your corpse will soon be the one underfoot. While giving up on a winning trade is always hard to do, if you don’t, the market will take all those profits back.

I warned bears a few days ago and now I’m warning bulls. Lock-in those profits and be ready to go the other direction. The next big swing is just around the corner.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

Mar 25

CMU: The criticality of timeframe in trading

By Jani Ziedins | Free CMU

Cracked.Market University

As crazy as the last few weeks have been, far and away the most critical factor determining our success is timeframe. One person is buying with both arms while another is shorting like mad. Who’s right and who’s wrong? As strange as it sounds, they could both be right and make a ton of money from their seemingly contradictory trades. The secret sauce is timeframe.

I bring this up because in these short, after-hours posts, I often neglect to stress timeframe when talking about positions. While it is often obvious given the context, for new readers, I want to make sure everyone understands how important this distinction really is.

Two days ago I wrote a post about the safety of buying these levels and yesterday I told readers the opposite thing when I said this strength was shortable. The difference between these two posts is the first covered long-term investing while the second exploited the market’s daily gyrations.

Despite how it sounds like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth, I still believe both of these cases are as true today as when I wrote them. Anyone buying these discounts and holding for 12+ moths will see some really healthy profits. When prices finally reclaim 3k, whether a person bought at 2,300 or 2,400 will be fairly insignificant. The most important thing is they were busy buying discounts when everyone else was desperately selling them.

On the other hand, if a person wants to lock-in short-term profits next week, I would definitely suggest shorting today’s strength. This market is stuck in a choppy basing phase and one day’s gains become the next day’s losses. While today’s stimulus headlines were great and worthy of a 10%+ pop from Monday’s lows, now that we are at much higher levels, chances are good the next move is lower.

As strange as it sounds, I truly believe a person should be both buying and shorting this market. The distinction comes down to whether they are doing it with their long-term investments or in their short-term trading account. (You use both strategies, right?)

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What’s a good trade worth to you?
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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM