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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top 5 Signs of a Market Bottom

Top 5 Signs of a Market Bottom - Watching Stocks and the Economy
By Aaron Smith, published Jul 30, 2008

It never fails that when the market is in free fall there are always those who are trying to call the bottom perfectly. Quite frankly, there is no strategist or analyst who has the ability to call the exact bottom. The best guide we have for finding a bottom is looking at how the stock market has acted historically near its lows. By compiling a source of data from other major bear market lows it helps investors find the top things to be looking for when the market may be bottoming out. What are the top five signs that the bottom is near?

Top 5 signs of a market bottom

1. Everyone on Wall Street is extremely negative about stocks and the economy-

This is the most obvious of the five signs, and it is probably the most important. The fact is, the more people get really negative about the prospects for stocks and the economy the higher the chance that the low is very near. One sentiment gets so low it has to swing the other way, and those who are contrarians can do very well in this environment. The best way to gauge negativity is through the Investor's Intelligence Bull/Bear ratio. This ratio has spotted many bottoms as well as tops. Whenever you see a huge departure from the norm in either direction a snapback is likely pretty soon.

2. A spike in the Volatility Index (VIX)

The Volatility Index (VIX) is a measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options. Many call this the fear index since it is typically seen as a great guide for how much fear is in the market. Past market bottoms have often coincided with a major spike in the VIX. This is likely caused by the fact that too many short-term traders are betting against the market and as soon as some buying occurs there is a massive short covering which can be a big wind to the sails of the bulls.

3. Huge volume panic selling

One of the main signs I look for in finding a bottom is the volume of the major indices. It is much healthier to see some very strong volume on big moves to the downside than it is to see light volume downward moves. The big volume panic selling is a great sign that the weak investors are all getting "washed out." Once these panic sellers are washed out the market often recovers.

4. Leadership groups fall

In a bear market the last group to get hit hard is the leadership group. For example, if tech stocks have been the major out performer while the industrial stocks have been plunging, tech stocks will get hit last. When the techs fall, they will likely fall very quickly and hard, but this generally means we are nearing a bottom.

5. Intra day turnarounds on huge volume

Countless time the market has put in a major bottom around noon. The sellers control the morning and there appears to be no buyers whatsoever, then around the middle of the day the sellers appear to slack off and some buying results in a major intra day turnaround. Very often a huge down volume sell off and a huge up volume rebound is a great sign that the bottom could be in the market.

Market bottoms are extremely hard to find so don't try to be a hero and spot the bottom on the nose. Keep an eye on these indicators and buy into the market slowly

Saturday, July 19, 2008

High Probability Trading: Take the Steps to Become a Succesful Trader

by Marcel Link

The Tuition of Trading
Setting Realistic Goals
Leveling the Playing Field
Trading the News
Increasing your Chances with Multiple Time Frames
Trading with the Trend
Using Oscillators
Breakout and Reversals
Exits and Stops
Making the High Prabability Trade
The Trading Plan & Game plan
System Trading
A Little about Backtesting
Employing a Money Management Plan
Setting Risk Parameters and Making a Money Management Plan
Discipline: The Key to Success
The Dangers of Overtrading
The Innerside of Trading: Keeping a Clear Mind

A Trader who has a Good Chance at Success has the following attributes.
Is properly capitalized
Treats trading like a business
Has a low tolerance for risk
Trades only when the market provides an opportunity
Can control emotions
Has a trading plan
Has a risk management plan
Is incredibly disciplined
Is focused
Has backtested his trading methodology

A Trader who has a Good Chance at Failure has any of the following attributes.
Is under capitalized
Lack discipline
Does not understand the markets
Rushes into the trades
Chases the market
Is afraid of missing a move
Is stubborn and marries a position or ideas
Misinterprets news
Is always looking for home runs
Let losers get too big
Takes winners prematurely
Takes trading too lightly
Takes large risks
Has little control of his emotions

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mania and Bubbles

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arm Swinging Exercise (平甩功)

Swing Your Arm to Good Health

This simple exercise is a form of 'qigong'. If practice daily for 30 min will lead to good health, good sleep and weight lost. It also claimed if the exercise is practice religiously, it can cure many illness like tumor, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, ulcer, insommia, depression, obesity and others (see videos and sources).


How to practice
Swing at least 10 minutes each time (about 500), one day three time.

It is better to swing for 30 minutes each time.

After exercise, drink a cup of warm water, it helps in the energy and blood circulation.

Action note
1. 雙腳與肩同寬,平行站立,呼吸自然。雙手舉至胸前,與地面平行,掌心朝下。 (圖A)
Stand straight with legs shoulder-width apart, breathe naturally. Hands move to the front, parallel with the ground, palm facing downwards. (A)

2. 然後讓手像鐘擺似的自然往後甩,甩到哪裡算哪裡,保持放鬆,不要刻意用, 力往後抬。 甩到舒服的位置,利用慣性,把手甩回胸前。雙手輕鬆打直,保持平行,五指微微舒展。圖B)
Swing the arm naturally like a pendulum in a relax manner, no deliberate use of strength. Swing back and forth with hands slightly stretch and in balance.(B)

3. 甩到第五下,手往後甩的同時雙膝微微下蹲,輕鬆的上下彈動兩次。(圖C)
After every five swings bend the knee gently twice while continuing to swing. (C)

Principle of Practice
1. 腳踏實地。
Down to earth.
2. 雙手在前面始終擺平。
Both hands in front always in balance.
3. 左右平衡。
Left right balance.
4. 手不必刻意往後甩,每次讓它自然落下來即可。 平甩的特點,從一開始就養成不取巧的態度。
Hands do not have to swing deliberately, let it came naturally to you. Adopt a serious attitude towards the exercise.
5. 每甩到第五下,膝蓋保持彈性,蹲兩下。
After every five swing, gently bend the knee twice to maintain knee flexibility.
6. 蹲的時候,視個人放鬆狀況,可高蹲亦可低蹲。
When squatting, depending on the individual degree of relaxation, can be high or low squat.
7. 速度不要快,始終保持輕鬆,否則甩快了反而會有緊繃之感。
Do not speed, always maintain a relaxed pace, otherwise there will be a sense of tension.
8. 每日至少三十分鐘,以十分鐘為一個單位來緩衝初步練習時,可能產生的四肢酸麻的現象。
At least 30 minutes a day, 10 minutes per practice, to cushion the possible four limbs aching effect.



Fannie, Freddie crisis not the last: Soros

NEW YORK - Billionaire investor George Soros said that the crisis over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not be the last, and noted that the broader credit meltdown will impact an already slowing United States economy.

The Treasury Department agreed to raise Fannie and Freddie's credit lines above the existing US$2.25 billion apiece and buy shares to strengthen their finances, if needed. The Federal Reserve offered to let the mortgage finance companies borrow at the rate it charges banks for direct loans.

The government's aggressive move on Sunday underscored problems plaguing the markets and the potential for them to send the US economy into a severe recession.

'This incident (with Fannie and Freddie) is not the last one,' Mr Soros said in a phone interview on Monday, adding the year-long global financial market turmoil represented 'the most serious financial crisis of our lifetime'.

'Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have a solvency crisis not a liquidity crisis,' said Mr Soros. 'There's no problem in their borrowing. And in fact, insofar there is a problem, the Fed is there to provide the liquidity.'

That said, both Fannie and Freddie are 'extremely leveraged', he said. 'The deterioration in the housing market, the foreclosures are going to cause losses which exceed their equity,' said Mr Soros, whose famous bet against the British pound earned his Quantum Fund US$1 billion in 1992.

The government's drastic measures could keep the US dollar under pressure, Mr Soros added.

'I think the dollar is vulnerable because the economy is going into a recession and the actions of the authorities do involve the accumulation of debt,' he said. 'There is various ratios by which the creditworthiness of a country's assurances are deteriorating.'

Growing effect on economy
Mr Soros said the credit crisis is having a growing effect on the US economy, not just financial markets. 'It is an idle dream to think that you could have this kind of crisis without the real economy being affected,' he added.

All told, Mr Soros said Mr Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is in a bind.

'When he recognised the seriousness of the credit crisis, he acted very radically lowering interest rates and he used the tools that are at his disposal,' Mr Soros said.

However, now the 'armory' is depleted, he said adding that Mr Bernanke can't lower interest rates because of the effect it would have on the dollar and he can't raise interest rates because of the looming recession.

'Therefore, his options are limited - he is boxed in,' Mr Soros said.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Breathing Therapy

We have left, right nose, is that the same for inhale and exhale?
Actually they are different, can feel the difference; right side represent
the sun, left side represent the moon.

平常頭痛時可以用手把右邊鼻孔關起來,只用左邊鼻孔吸氣、吐氣,約五分鐘, 頭痛
When having headache, try to close right nose and use your left nose to do
your breathing, about 5 min, headache will be gone.

如果疲倦、累了,相反的關起左邊的鼻孔,只用右邊吸氣、吐氣,不用多久,馬上 精
If you feel tired, do it the opposite round, close your left nose and
breathe through your right nose. After a while, you will feel your mind is
fresh again.

Right side belongs to heat, so it gets hot easily, left side belongs to

Most of the girls breathe with their left nose, so their heart gets cold

Most of the guys breathe with their right nose, so they get angry easily

Do you notice the moment we wake up, which side breathes faster? Left or

If left is faster, you will feel tired. So, close your left nose and use
your right nose for breathing, you will get refresh quickly

This can be taught to kids, but the effect will be better if apply by

I used to have headache, it was so painful, go to doctor, doctor told me:
it will be all right if you married! (All audience laugh), doctor does not
bullshit, what he said is supported with proofs.

That time, every night I am having headache problem, not able to study, I
did take medicine, but that is not a good way.

One night, I sit down and close my right nose and breathe with left nose,
less than one week, my headache problem is gone! I continue to do it one
month, from that night until today, headache does not attack me anymore.

This is what I experienced myself, I told others, if headache, can try this
way, because this is effective for me. Many people have tried and it works
for them as well. This is a natural therapy, not like medicine, taking for
long term will get side effect. So, why not try it out?

Always breathing your body can feel very relax.

The sentences below are some wishes from author. Wish everyone is well and
healthy, and advice people must do good and act good J


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Four Pillars of Investing

Tuesday, 8th July 2008 (by J.D. Roth)

For the past year, I’ve been looking for a book to recommend for novice investors, a book that would offer sensible advice without becoming too technical. I believe I’ve finally found that book.

In The Four Pillars of Investing, William Bernstein describes how to build a winning investment portfolio. He doesn’t focus on the details — he tries to explain fundamental concepts so that readers will be able to make smart investment decisions on their own.

Successful investments, he says, are build upon four “pillars”:

•a knowledge of investment theory
•an understanding of the history of investing
•insight into the psychology of investing
•an awareness of the business of investing

These topics sound dry and dull, but I found the book lively and engaging. It’s not an easy book — there are passages that require the reader’s full attention — but generally the author presents essential information without making it too complicated. Best of all, his advice is sound.

Pillar one: The theory of investing
Bernstein begins by offering a brief overview of investment theory. This may sound intimidating, but it’s not. The author presents the material in a way that makes sense, even to an average guy like me.
The most important concept in investing is that risk and return are inextricably intertwined. If you want to obtain higher returns, you must face the prospect of higher losses. If you want to avoid the risk of losing money, you must reduce the chance of higher returns. Bernstein stresses this point:
High investment returns cannot be earned without taking substantial risk. Safe investments produce low returns.

If somebody offers you that an investment is safe and offers very high returns, they either don’t know what they’re talking about or they’re trying to scam you.

Howvever, the risk of an investment can be reduced by holding it for a very long time. The longer you own a risky asset (like a stock, for example), the less the chance of a loss. You can also diversify your portfolio — own other assets — in order to reduce risk.

Bernstein notes that past performance is no guarantee of future results. Everywhere in the investment industry, the performance of mutual funds is cited as a reason to purchase them. The author suggests this is crazy, and that regression toward the mean makes it likely that stocks and mutual funds with high returns in the past will have low returns in the future. The opposite is also true — poor performing investments are likely to improve in time. (This is only a general tendency, and not a hard-and-fast rule.)

If anything, the short-term returns from individual investments seem random. Bernstein writes that there is almost no evidence that professional money managers can regularly pick winning stocks. (Warren Buffett is an exception.) There is absolutely no evidence that anyone can time the market. Because of these facts, Bernstein argues that the most reliable way to obtain a satisfying investment return is to use index funds.

Pillar two: The history of investing
How many investment books do you know with sections about financial history? Bernstein devotes 36 pages to the subject, and it’s fascinating. By looking at centuries of information about financial markets, one can learn valuable lessons. For example, the Dot-Com Bubble of the late-1990s had many precedents in investment history. Bernstein cites famous bubbles from the past, including the South Sea Bubble of 1720.

But irrational exuberance isn’t the only problem investors face. Sometimes the markets are irrationally gloomy, depressing prices for prolonged periods. Bernstein writes:
The most profitable thing we can learn from the history of booms and busts is that at times of great optimism, future returns are lowest; when things look bleakest, future returns are highest. Since risk and return are just different sides of the same coin, it cannot be any other way.

By understanding the history of investing, you can make more considered, rational choices. Familiarity with the history of investing might have prevented (or at least mitigated) the recent tech and housing bubbles.

Pillar three: The psychology of investing
“You are your own worst enemy,” Bernstein writes. The number one impact on your investments is you. He explains that diversification and indexing are the most reliable methods to obtain long-term investment success.

“If indexing works so well,” he writes, “why do so few investors take advantage of it? Because it’s boring.” Many people believe investing should be exciting. But that’s not the case.
Bernstein provides a list of techniques to deal with psychological pitfalls:

•Recognize that the conventional wisdom is usually wrong. Don’t participate in herd behavior that exacerbates booms and busts.
•Don’t become overconfident. Don’t believe that you’re smarter than the market.
•Ignore the past ten years. Recent performance has little bearing on the future of a particular stock or mutual fund.
•Avoid “exciting” investments. You shouldn’t invest for entertainment. This isn’t gambling. You invest to protect and grow your principal.
•Don’t let short-term losses affect your long-term strategy. Too many people panic at the first sign of trouble.
•Know that the overall performance of your investment portfolio is more important than any single part. You will have investments that decline in value from year-to-year. Diversification helps to mitigate these losses.

As with the history “pillar”, just being aware of the psychological component to investing can help prevent some mistakes.

Pillar four: The business of investing
In the fourth section of the book, Bernstein demonstrates how the financial industry is designed to part you from your money. Brokerage fees, mutual fund expenses, and taxes all produce heavy “drag” on your financial portfolio. A smart investor does her best to reduce all three.

But there are other enemies lurking in the wings, too. Inflation is the silent destroyer of money. Meanwhile, traditional financial journalism tends to hype hot mutual funds and brokerage houses — spreading what some people call “financial pornography” — in order to boost sales. Bernstein notes:
You can only write so many articles that say, “buy the market, keep your costs down, and don’t get too fancy,” before it starts to get very old.

So the magazines and newspapers resort to sensationalism. He says that in general you’re better off ignoring the financial media. Financial experts don’t know where the market is going or why. Educate yourself and make your own decisions based on market performance.

Putting it all together
After introducing his four pillars of investing, Bernstein explains how to use them to build a stable financial “house”. In fact, if I had read the chapter “Will You Have Enough?” before last Tuesday, I might never have posted my thoughts on retirement and financial independence; the book gives some advice on planning how much you’ll need for retirement.

In the end, Bernstein summarizes the fundamental message of his book:
With relatively little effort, you can design and assemble an investment portfolio that, because of its wide diversification and minimal expense, will prove superior to most professionally managed accounts. Great intelligence and good luck are not required. The essential characteristics of the successful investor are discipline and stamina to, in the words of John Bogle, “stay the course”.

I’ve read a lot recently about individual investors who try to beat the market. Some are able to do so in the short-term, but few are able to do this consistently in the long-term. Some use Warren Buffett as an example of an individual investor who has been able to achieve stellar returns. Buffett has worked full-time for more than fifty years to achieve these fantastic results. And even Buffett believes that 99% of investors would be better off choosing index funds.

Final thoughts
I am not Warren Buffett. I don’t have the time, skill, or inclination to pick winning stocks. I’m willing to “settle” for spending a few hours a year constructing a portfolio of index funds that will do better in the long-term than the results achieved by most professional money managers.

For more information on this book, check out:
•Introduction from The Four Pillars of Investing
•Chapter one from The Four Pillars of Investing
•A rave review from the authors of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing (which is itself a great book on investing)

The Four Pillars of Investing is challenging in places, but it provides an excellent introduction to the theory, history, psychology, and business of investing. If you’re just getting started, borrow this book from the library. Stick with it. If you’re able to finish, you’ll have a better grasp of investing than 99% of your peers.


Those betting on rebound in China stocks are wrong

His forecast contrasts with local stock analysts who remain bullish

(SHANGHAI) Investors betting on a rebound in China's tumbling stocks are setting themselves up for more losses, according to Marc Faber, who told investors to bail out of US stocks before 1987's so-called Black Monday crash and correctly predicted last August that the US would enter a bear market.

The CSI 300 Index has plunged 52 per cent from its October record as the government raised interest rates six times last year to cool the economy and commodities prices surged, fanning inflation. Mr Faber's forecast contrasts with local stock analysts, who remain as bullish as ever. 'Buy' calls still make up two-thirds of all recommendations for Chinese stocks, virtually unchanged from the market's peak, according to Bloomberg data.

'I just wouldn't buy,' Mr Faber said in an interview in Bangkok on July 4. 'When a bubble bursts, you only hit bottom when people totally give up and vow they'll never buy stocks again. People are still more worried they'll miss the next rally.'

China's rout has wiped out more than US$2 trillion in market value after the CSI 300 more than doubled in 2006 and 2007, making its shares the world's priciest and prompting the government, Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett and Mr Faber, to warn of a bubble.

The last time that Chinese stocks fell by half - from a June 2001 high - the Shanghai Composite Index took four years to reach its low. More than 60 per cent of China's retail investors are 'confident' about the performance of the nation's stock market in the next two years, the Shanghai Securities News reported on July 4, citing a survey that it conducted with, a provider of financial data via the Web.

The declines sent valuations for stocks on the CSI 300 Index to their lowest in more than two years last week, with the benchmark trading at 19.9 times reported earnings, a level last seen in April 2006. Liu Yang, managing director at Atlantis Investment Management Ltd, which oversees about US$4 billion in assets, expected a rebound.

'Fundamentals are very strong in China compared to any other Asian nation,' said Hong Kong-based Mr Liu. 'Chinese stocks are trading at crisis valuations. Do they deserve to trade at crisis valuations? The answer is no. The market deserves a very good rebound from here.'

China, the world's fastest growing major economy, grew 10.6 per cent in the first quarter. That's the ninth straight quarter that growth has exceeded 10 per cent.

Mr Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, also said that Chinese shares could bounce off lows, though only temporarily. 'We could have rebounds of 20 to 30 per cent, but I wouldn't bet on it,' he said. 'I would rather use rebounds as a selling opportunity.'

The CSI 300 Index gained as much as 3.6 per cent yesterday, after China Merchants Bank Co and China Citic Bank Corp said that first-half earnings probably more than doubled. -- Bloomberg

Oei offloads NATSTEEL stake, happy with deal

Investment nets him $310m in all; Ong Beng Seng's outfit now has 81% stake


(SINGAPORE) Oei Hong Leong, the tycoon who lost a fierce battle to take over NATSTEEL Ltd more than two years ago, has sold his entire stake in the former steelmaker for $162.6 million to its majority shareholder 98 Holdings, which is controlled by hotel magnate Ong Beng Seng.

The off-exchange transaction, completed yesterday, was at a 9.8 per cent premium to NATSTEEL's closing share price of $1.32 last Friday. At 112.124 million shares, the stake was worth $162.6 million - still less than the over $200 million that he spent building it up, by BT's own estimates.

But Mr Oei was satisfied with the sale, saying that it was a 'commercial decision' and that his decision to buy into NATSTEEL had been a 'good investment'. He estimated that he had received some $374 million in dividends from NATSTEEL since it sold its steel business to India's Tata Iron and Steel Company in August 2004, and that he no longer saw a need to hold on to the stake. The total return on his investment was some $310 million, including the dividends, he said.

Mr Oei accumulated the bulk of his NATSTEEL shares in late 2002 through his investment vehicle, Sanion Enterprises, after buying an initial 11.1 per cent stake in October that year, a week after 98 Holdings made a cash offer for the firm. 98 Holdings had emerged as one of many suitors for NATSTEEL, after an attempted management buyout led by the firm's then-president Ang Kong Hua in June 2002 prompted the firm to hire a financial adviser to seek other potential buyers.

Between early October and end-December that year, Mr Oei spent some $203 million building up a 29.79 per cent stake in NATSTEEL, according to BT estimates from public records. His share purchases forced 98 Holdings to raise its offer price four times, from the initial $1.93 a share to $2.06. 98 Holding's offer was finally accepted by other NATSTEEL shareholders in January 2003, although Mr Oei held on to his stake in the firm, remaining its second-largest shareholder after Mr Ong's 98 Holdings.

In August 2004, the firm sold its steel business to India's Tata Steel. Since then, it has focused on chemicals, engineering and construction - and more recently, waste handling and water recycling.

Then in May 2006, Mr Oei launched a takeover offer for the firm after raising his stake in it to just above the 30 per cent threshold. That bid failed, as 98 Holdings refused to sell its majority stake.

But last night, the Indonesian-born tycoon said that he and Mr Ong, a Malaysian-born hotelier, have been 'good friends' since 1972.