Closing 2 Trades (PCLN, TWTR, NFLX, ETSY)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 03.02.2017 (7:06 am) | Write a Comment

This morning I will be closing 2 of the remaining 6 live trades which will open a couple more spots which will hopefully mean adding a new trade tomorrow. On February 1st I opened a trade going long Priceline (PCLN) and short Twitter (TWTR) which has done well and currently stands at +31,35% after a continued collapse by Twitter and once again Priceline beating on earnings. As always, you can see my 2017 (and previous years) long and short trades here:

The second trade that I’m closing was traded a couple of weeks ago when I went long Netflix (NFLX) and short Etsy (ETSY). Yesterday, ETSY got crushed after disappointing Q4 earnings so that trade now stands at +25.63%.

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Closing 1 Trade (MSFT, TZOO)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 02.28.2017 (6:59 am) | Write a Comment

This morning I will be closing one of the 7 currently live trades which will open 1 spot to open a new one, hopefully tomorrow morning. On January 4th I opened a trade going long Microsoft (MSFT) and short Travelzoo (TZOO) which has done well and currently stands at +20,22%. As always, you can see my 2017 (and previous years) long and short trades here:

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New Trade: Long Netflix ($NFLX) & Short Etsy ($ETSY)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 02.21.2017 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 7th trade of the year and surprisingly they are all still live. So far so good but no need to jinx it at this point. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
ETSYEtsy Inc12.9N/A59.279.6839.833.833.061.893N/AN/A
NFLXNetflix Inc142.22338.1260.1514.7130.263.956.231.4620.5923.4695.62

Both of the two charts that follow are tremendously bullish for AMZN. That it’s seeing revenue growth accelerate while much newer player Etsy’s growth is quickly declining and as you can imagine that is also reflected in the interest from Google trends.

credit: Google Trends

Long Netflix (NFLX)

I have a long term very bullish view on Netflix that I hope to write about very soon but suffice to say that I think the company is starting to gain incredible leverage from its position in the market and I do think that while it will hit occasional stock price hits (difficult to avoid them when trading at such high P/E’s), the company remains tremendous value at these levels and I do expect Netflix to keep driving both the top and bottom line forward in the coming years thanks to its position in the market where consumers see it as a must have and content producers are in many ways forced to sell their content to help their long term competitor.

Next earnings: April 24th

Short Etsy Inc (ETSY)

Etsy is another one of those great businesses from a client perspective but that I have strong doubts about from a investor’s point of view. I don’t think any of the users of Etsy directly competes with eBay and Amazon. I would disagree 100%. Fact is that both sellers and buyers can find/sell some of those items at eBay and Amazon and that will end up putting huge pressure on margins for Etsy making growth both on top and bottom lines more difficult. Customer service, shipping, the overall experience all end up being components where Etsy is competing with the sky-high standards that players like Amazon have created.

Next earnings: February 28th 2016

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I do not have a position on NFLX or ETSY
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How to Turn Investments Into Tax Write-Offs

By: IS
Date posted: 02.17.2017 (12:30 pm) | Write a Comment

Investing has many benefits: it supports the economy, breathes life into new ideas and businesses, and can lead to profit further down the line. In general, it’s a very good idea to invest a portion of your savings as early as possible, since the benefits reaped increase as time passes.

While most of these are long-term benefits, there are some short-term benefits as well, such as the potential for tax write-offs. In certain situations, expenses incurred while investing can be written off, reducing the amount of taxes you need to pay each year.

Capital Losses


Similar to how capital gains are taxed when investments have gained value, capital losses can be written off when investments have lost value. In this way, capital losses function as the opposite of capital gains. These losses can only be deducted when they are realized, meaning the only way to write off depreciating value of your investments is if they have been sold that year for a lower value than their buying price.

The maximum value of capital losses that can be written off in one year is $3000—any greater losses will roll over into the next year. In the event of a married couple filing separately, that maximum is split evenly between them, so they can only deduct $1500 each.


Investment Interest Expenses


If you’ve taken out a loan in order to purchase investments or securities, the interest paid on such loans can be deducted as a tax write-off. This even includes interest on loans taken out to purchase property, provided that the property in question derives interest or royalties, or if you take a passive role in the property’s business activities.

The maximum deductible investment interest expenses you can write off on your taxes is found by taking your net investment income and subtracting any miscellaneous itemized deductions, which are outlined below.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions


This category includes general expenses that are greater than 2% of your adjusted gross income. The main sources of miscellaneous itemized deductions are usually interest on home mortgages, charitable contributions, and taxes from property and income. However, certain expenses relating to investments are able to written off in this category as well.

As investments are considered by the IRS to be income-producing activities, fees incurred through the investing process can be deducted if declared as such on your tax forms. Some deductions that can be written off include custodial fees, clerical and attorney costs, and fees for transportation and safety deposit box rentals.

Investment expenses that count as miscellaneous itemized deductions:


  • Attorney costs for collecting taxable income
  • Accounting costs for collecting taxable income
  • Expenses for owned real estate that collects income
  • Rental fees for safety deposit boxes
  • Subscriptions to finance-related publications
  • Costs from transportation to financial advisors and brokers



Taxes are an unavoidable fact of life and can be very stressful when they sneak up on you. However, just as there are a seemingly limitless amount of taxes that are charged on your assets, there are many ways to write off these taxes as well. Losses incurred through investing can easily turn into a short-term boon, and may eventually become tax breaks in the years to come.

In addition, standard operating costs to acquiring and maintaining successful investments can be written off, however miniscule these write-offs can seem. Several small tax write-offs do add up, and the money saved from these breaks can be used to pursue future investments and increase the value and diversity of your portfolio. However, it is still important to consult with a tax professional before pursuing any of the potential tax breaks outlined here.

Christine Sato founded the CPA Review Courses website – an online resource dedicated to helping professionals pass all four sections the CPA Exam on their first try. Christine provides reviews of best cpa study materials and gives expert cpa study tips to ease the process of becoming a CPA.


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New Trade: Long Apple ($AAPL) & Short IAC Interactive ($IAC)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 02.10.2017 (6:50 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 6th trade of the year between between 2 names that I have traded quite a bit over the years. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaEarningsRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
AAPLApple Inc132.4215.813.114.5-7.734.5424.811.214/25/201739.4211.5612.27


Long Apple (AAPL)

The surprise here of course is not that I’m going long AAPL but rather that I wasn’t already long (apart from that long term speculative position). I continue to feel like the market is undervaluing AAPL but last year that trend clearly remained and I didn’t want to keep going against it. I do feel like that might have started reversing following its latest earnings release and continue to believe that there is a lot higher for the stock to go given its valuation. Yes, growth will remain a challenge for AAPL given its sheer size but it is also being priced much cheaper than the overall S&P500 and is the cheapest stock among the stocks that I follow in terms of forward P/E ratio. That is TOO cheap for a stock that will continue to grow steadily thanks to iphones but also services.



Next earnings: April 25th

Short IAC Interactive (IAC)

IAC has been proving for over a decade now how well managed it is and I expect that to continue. It has a very diversified business and has been able to knock out hit after hit over the years, spinning out several of those (EXPE, TRIP, MTCH for example) but I do think its valuation, especially when compared with Apple’s is expensive. IAC has been especially good at improving its bottom line in the past few years but AAPL has actually improved its top line at a higher pace.


Next earnings: May 2nd 2016

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I do have a long AAPL position
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New Trade: Long Priceline (PCLN) & Short Twitter (TWTR)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 02.01.2017 (7:11 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 5th trade of the year between between 2 names that I have traded quite a bit over the years. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
PCLNPriceline Group Inc/The1575.1327.0621.569.299.264.64199.321.25181.0820.759.49
TWTRTwitter Inc17.62N/A28.283.9358.092.856.491.483.3599.28N/A

Long Priceline (PCLN)

For this trade, I wasn’t sure if I’d go long Priceline (PCLN) or Expedia (EXPE). Both have been solid performers and trade at comparable valuations but I do think a clear difference is that Priceline has been so steady over more than a decade. One truly impressive aspect has been its ability to generate both top and bottom line growth so consistently over time. That reduces the odds of a miss that could hurt this trade. For that reason, I’m going with PCLN even though it has (slightly) slower growth in recent quarters.


Next earnings: February 15th

Short Twitter (TWTR)

I have started writing a post about Twitter but the short story is that the company has been incredibly slow in improving its product and that is a big part of why its user growth has stalled. The company could be taken over of course but I think that’s a risk that’s worth it in these circumstances given its current valuation and growth perspectives. Twitter continues to be a great product to use and perhaps the application I spent most time on personally but it’s been unable to grow and I believe the issue is mostly around product execution rather than having a product that’s difficult to use or understand.


Next earnings: February 9th 2016

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I do not have a position on PCLN or TWTR
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A House of Cards: Can Wall Street Remain Bullish?

By: IS
Date posted: 01.18.2017 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment

January 2017 is proving to be a mixed bag for investors. Now that the New Year is well underway, some interesting trends are developing. For starters, the USD is struggling to maintain momentum against the JPY. The greenback was trading 0.3% lower against the JPY, at 115.64. Even the beleaguered EUR made some gains against the greenback as it rallied to $1.0626, before it dropped towards $1.0559. The heavily bearish GBP has also been gaining on the greenback, trading at $1.2167, from $1.2190 earlier.

The US dollar index is currently at 102.72, up 0.67%, or 0.68 points. The index has a 52-week high of 103.82. Simply put, this means that the US dollar is fractionally off its 52-week high, and well above its 52-week low of 91.92. The DXY measures the performance of the greenback against major global currencies including the JPY, EUR, GBP, CHF, CAD and the SEK. The most heavily weighted components of the DXY include the EUR at 57.6% and the JPY at 13.6%. The trading market cycles in January tend to reflect a rebalancing or repositioning of financial portfolios to accommodate the likely changes in the year ahead.


What’s Happening on Wall Street and Beyond?

Investors and traders are equally concerned about how high Wall Street markets can rally before correcting. Right now, we are seeing US stocks struggling to maintain their current levels. That the USD has come under fresh assault by leading currencies like the JPY and EUR is not to be taken lightly. Of course, a lot depends on what will happen once President-elect Trump is officially inaugurated on January 20, 2017. Traders remain highly bullish about a Trump presidency, and the massive fiscal stimulus that he has promised. Nonetheless, the mood of the moment is pensive. All major US indices are up, albeit modestly over the past 1 month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 0.88% and is now at 19,929.85, the S&P 500 index is up 0.55% at 2,272.05 and the NASDAQ composite index is up 2.06% at 5,556.80.

All major US indices have defied gravity, especially the Dow Jones which is moving ever-closer towards the critical 20,000 level. Across the pond, the all-share index in the UK – the FTSE 100 – racked up yet another consecutive day of gains. The FTSE 100 tends to perform strongly when the GBP is faltering. At last count, the FTSE 100 was at 7,310.32, up 5.12% over 1 month. The 1-year performance of the FTSE 100 index is extraordinary at +24.50%. The closest performing index is the DAX, with a 1-year return of 18.68%. For speculators, the 1-year performance of European bourses has been unprecedented. The Euro Stocks 50 PR has gained 9.57%, while the CAC 40 is up 13.77%

Factors Driving the USD Lower

Naturally, the positive performance of indices across the board is concerning. Any time an index rallies uncontrollably, the question has to be asked: Is this level fundamentally sound or is it driven by speculation? It is important to watch the performance of crude oil when trading equities. Brent crude oil reversed course and is now trading at $53.64 per barrel, after reaching $55.36 per barrel earlier on in the day. The reason oil prices are plummeting is news out of the latest US Baker Hughes Report that the rig count is increasing. As more WTI crude oil producers enter the fold, they undermine gains made by production cuts with OPEC members.

On Monday, 9 January, oil prices plunged 3.8%, raising concern that inflation expectations should be lowered. This had a negative effect on the USD which rallied on the back of its latest December jobs report. The USD is also being affected by inflation differentials in China. The PPI in China increased to 5.5% year-on-year, up from 3.3%, 2 months ago. This is being fueled by higher commodity prices (crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, copper etcetera) on a worldwide basis. Dollar-denominated commodities like iron ore, crude oil, and the like are negatively affected by a strong USD, and positively impacted by increased demand.

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5 Trends to Watch After Trump Takes the Oath of Office

By: IS
Date posted: 01.17.2017 (2:42 pm) | Write a Comment

President-elect, Donald Trump will take the oath of office on January 20 and he’ll officially become the president of the United States. In the last few weeks of being the president –elect, his actions and inactions have been moving the markets. However, Trump’s ability to move the market will be amplified exponentially once he takes the oath of office.

The chief reason why president Trump will be a major market mover is that he is opinionated, blunt and he doesn’t have the career politician’s ability to sugarcoat words. If Trump doesn’t like your company, you can be sure to expect some damning tweets that could send your stock spiraling. Boeing already found out the hard way that Trump’s tweet could cause a stock to tank and Amazon’s Jeff Bezo is trying hard to get off Trump’s black book. This article provides insight into 5 trends investors must watch after Trump takes the oath of office.

Broad Equities could have a strong pullback

Equities have rallied strongly in the last nine weeks since Trump became the president-elect. The S&P 500 has gained 6.71% and the Dow Jones Industrials has gained 8.91% as seen in the chart above. The main reason behind the gains in equities is that Wall Street is speculating that Trump’s economic policies such as tax reductions could provide a boost for U.S firms. However, if Trump is unable to effect his proposed economic policies, stocks could give back most of those recent gains in an abrupt pullback.

Healthcare stocks could suffer bigger losses

Trump has been vocal about his plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Opinion is divided on how dismantling Obamacare could affect the average American and it is hard to separate the fact from the sensational noise.  However, we do know that Trump thinks that pharmaceutical companies are enjoying oversized margins and he’ll push for regulation to reduce the price of drugs. More so, we can submit that repealing obamacare could have a negative effect on the stocks of healthcare and insurance companies at least in the short term.

Construction and Defense Stocks might fare better

Trump has also been vocal about his plan to adopt a tougher stance on immigration, chief of which is building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. If Donald Trump continues along the usual lines of riling Mexico, we can reasonably expect the stocks of construction firms to see as boost with the expectation of increased government infrastructural spending in building a wall.

The outlook in emerging Economies will remain gloomy

Investors with exposure to emerging market economies such as Turkey and Mexico can expect to see a weakening in emerging market currencies against the USD in the forex market. The Mexican Peso is already down to all-time lows against the Dollar. We won’t see the end of the decline in the Mexican Peso until Trump makes a final decision on whether or not to build the wall. The Turkish Lira is also down to historical lows against the dollar as macroeconomic concerns continue to make investors uneasy.

The Economy might suffer more risk-off trade

Donald Trump is also very vocal about his distaste for China. He has accused China of manipulating the Yuan in order to undermine the U.S. economy. He has also taken issue with the migration of many American manufacturing jobs to China. However, Trump’s outbursts against China could lead to more risk-off trade in Asia because China is not the only country “stealing” America’s manufacturing jobs.

Nobody knows the specifics of Trump’s foreign policy and it would be interesting to see how he handles China. Nonetheless, investors with exposure to American firms who making or selling their products to China might want to prepare for increased uncertainty going forward.

Final words…

It is hard to predict how the market will react under Trump because Wall Street has defied expectations at practically every turn by going against analysts’ consensus expectations. For instance, Trump’s victory in the election didn’t lead to a stock market crash as analysts had predicted. The performance of the financial markets in the next couple of weeks will provide clues on some trends to watch when Trump officially becomes POTUS.



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Top Assets to Trade in Binary Options Format

By: IS
Date posted: 01.10.2017 (2:39 pm) | Write a Comment


2017 has arrived, and already investors are reorganizing their financial portfolios to hedge against possible shocks. Several major geopolitical events occurred in 2016, including the Chinese stock market meltdown in January, the Brexit vote in June, and the surprise victory of Donald Trump in November. These critical events reshaped the financial markets. For example, day traders were able to capitalize on the collapse of the Shenzhen composite index and the Shanghai composite index, by shorting Chinese stocks on Wall Street, the LSE and other European bourses.


Currency traders cashed in on the melee by shorting the CNY against other top-performing G10 currencies. Within weeks, it became apparent that the Chinese economic growth engine was stuttering. Commodities imports to China were drying up an inventory levels were rising. This had an immediate effect on copper demand, iron ore, and other metals. Countries like Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and India all suffered the fallout from the slowdown in China.

Understanding geopolitical events and trading binary options

The Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016 sent shockwaves through the global community. Nobody expected Britons to vote 52%/48% in favour of a break from the European Union. Net short positions on the GBP were evident with binary trading UK brokerages. The GBP went into freefall, from 1.48 to the greenback down to 1.21. The GBP/USD pair plunged to a 31-year low within short order. Traders cashed in on GBP weakness by shorting the currency against the USD, JPY, EUR, and CAD. For the most part, these speculative assessments of the GBP proved correct. That the FTSE 100 index has been able to rally in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is notable. However, the reasons for the rally are found in the weakness of the GBP. Analysts calculated that the double-digit percent gain for the FTSE 100 index is only a low single digit gain when valued in USD, not GBP.


In other words, the bubble effect that we are seeing taking place on the FTSE 100 index is not a true reflection of the performance of the UK economy. It is a result of the currency cross exchange rates. 75% of companies listed on the FTSE 100 index are based outside of the UK. This means that their repatriated earnings are worth more in GBP, with currency cross exchange rates. For traders, the choice is clear: go long on the FTSE 100 index as long as Brexit uncertainty places pressure on the GBP. The fundamentals of the UK economy appear to be sound, especially manufacturing, and this is going to help mitigate any negative effects on the GBP for the short-term. However, if financial companies start relocating from the City of London to Europe, the GBP will falter and manufacturing will fall below the key 50 level (50+ represents growth and 50 – represents contraction).


The Trump effect on trading

Donald Trump is a polarizing figure, but he is the President-elect of the United States of America. His shock victory on November 8, 2016 sent Wall Street markets into the stratosphere. His economic policies include massive fiscal stimulus for infrastructure development. Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild the American military, rebuild infrastructure, and restore American pride.

He plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to do this, and generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. Trump is seen as pro-business, with his tax cut policies (15% or 20% for corporate taxes) and his anti-regulation approach to the corporate sector. The Dow Jones is trading close to 20,000, the S&P 500 index is rallying, as is the NASDAQ composite index. As long as Wall Street indices are in the black, safe haven commodities like gold are no go options for investors.

However, binary options traders are cashing in on gold price weakness with put options on the precious metal. Gold prospers when a risk-off approach is adopted to equities markets, or when geopolitical shocks rock economy. 2017 presents multiple opportunities to profit big the state to the financial markets. The USD, Dow Jones, and FTSE 100 are clearly bullish, while the GBP, EUR and ZAR are on the bearish side.

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2 New Trades ($MSFT, $TZOO, $TRIP, $YELP)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 01.04.2017 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my trades #3 and #4. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaEarningsMkt CapRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
EBAYeBay Inc29.6918.8514.389.1-2.253.516.111/25/2017$33,520,000,000.007.11-2.480.74
GOOGAlphabet Inc771.82N/A18.943.1513.624.8N/A1.211/26/2017$546,000,000,000.00#VALUE!18.7314.78
FBFacebook Inc115.0544.9222.0911.1743.824.6418.781.041/25/2017$336,200,000,000.006.449.44#VALUE!
PYPLPayPal Holdings Inc39.4735.0223.0310.3915.244.1511.77N/A1/25/2017$48,220,000,000.007.57#VALUE!#VALUE!

And the usual chart that I like to bring up:

In many ways, this is a bet on a reversal of what happened last year:


Long Microsoft (MSFT) & Short Travelzoo (TZOO)

Microsoft has been on quite a tear. Despite significant competition, it has been able to turn around many of its businesses, make smart acquisitions (LNKD) and also build solid cloud-based businesses. I’m a strong believer in what the company has been pulling off. On the other side is TZOO, a company that has been performing at a high level and that was a difficult one to short in 2016. I do think that will come back to earth at some point this year and am willing to get back on this short. I will of course be following this one closely but TZOO mostly depends on email marketing which is a solid business and I think the company has been optimising it carefully but there’s a limit to how much that can be done as it will need to be adding a lot more subscribers and thus driving a lot more new users. That is something I’m not seeing right now making me skeptical of its current valuation.

Long TripAdvisor (TRIP) & Short Yelp (YELP)

I did consider for quite some time going long TRIP vs a short on TWTR and as I’ll soon be writing about, I’m very skeptical of Twitter’s ability to turn things around. That being said, shorting TWTR carries a decent amount of risk (takeover, turnaround, news, etc) and for now I’m judging that YELP is a better short. These are two competing products in many ways but I believe TRIP is growing much faster. The big problem of course is TRIP’s inability to convert those numbers into growth in its financials. Last year was painful as a TRIP longer term owner but I do think TRIP offers much better value and that will be reflected over time. Look at a chart from Google trends that gives insight into their traffic evolution:

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I have a long position on $TRIP
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